Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why I am an atheist

This is not a comprehensive list. I just had a bit of time on my hands last night and was thinking about a time when someone, pretty much out of the blue, asked me why I was an atheist. I replied that it was because I didn't believe in God. (How much simpler could it get?) But I was thinking that next time someone asked me that I'd rather be a bit more prepared.

Feel free to add more reasons in the comments section. If you disagree with any of my reasons, mention it in the comments and I'll try to address that one in a later post.


1. I do not believe in an all-powerful invisible human-like figure that controls the clouds to make it rain (or not), and I don’t believe in any such power behind any other natural phenomena either. Including the very origin of the universe (assuming the universe can be coherently said to have an origin...)

2. Because “God” means different things to different people. Vastly different things. So much that the concept of “God” is pretty much useless.

3. Because prayer to any kind of god or force makes no difference whatsoever outside of the physiological realm. If you would like to challenge this assertion, bring evidence.

4. I think it is more plausible to believe that people have lied or been fooled than to believe that any miracle story is actually true. This is why I asked for evidence in #3.

5. Whenever a new scientific breakthrough is made, the realm of the gods gets smaller. Especially stuff like the Theory of Evolution. This is why fundamentalist Christians rage against science—they may be crazy, but they are not stupid.

6. Anytime I’ve questioned a person if they say God has “spoken” to them, it turned out that they just got inspired. I’ve never been able to see what God had to do with it. Why don’t these people credit their own good thinking?

7. Anytime I’ve heard that God has worked in someone’s life, when I found out what actually happened it was usually something really mundane or total explicable by natural causes. Even with the really amazing stories, the conclusion that God had anything to do with it would have to be a non-sequitur.

8. Because “theology” is nothing but speculation—I determined this when taking Bible/theology classes during my two years at Trevecca Nazarene University. Everyone has a pet theory—but naturally no one can actually check to see if their idea is anywhere near the truth.

9. Because the traditional view of the history of Christianity (and probably any religion) does not match the actual history of Christianity. I also learned this at the Christian university mentioned above.

10. Because it used to matter dearly what version of Christianity a person followed—so much so that members of different versions of Christianity would sometimes torture and kill each other over theological differences—now people are relieved if you only just believe in some sort of higher power at all. Just so long as you are not an atheist. The church used to rip its critics like an enraged pit bull, but the influence of secular Enlightenment values and scientific discovery has knocked out most of its teeth.

11. Because any real morality and ethnics has a perfectly good secular foundation. No one bases their morality on the Bible, except maybe Fred Phelps. And most Christians I know don’t think much of people like him.

12. Because no God or any form of higher power has ever shown himself to me, even when I believed that one would.

No comments: