Why I Am An Atheist
By SamanthaLily on August 27, 2014
I think, at this point in my life, it’s pretty safe to say I am an atheist.
|No, not Satanist...Atheist. Why do people always get those confused?|
What that means:
|Merriam-Webster definition of "atheist"|
What it does not mean:
1. Satanist (see above).
2. Person who hates all religious people.
3. Person of no morals or ethics.
4. Person of no spirituality.
7. Person who is unfit for political office/to teach your children/to work for you/to be alive.
I'm no longer an agnostic (someone who is unsure whether there is a deity) and I am definitely no longer a practicing Christian, as I was before that!
|*sniff* I smell a Christian. OHHHH I found the culprit--my graduation photos.|
Photo by Kirsten Spencer
Some Reasons I'm an Atheist:
(Not nearly all of them. That would take a book.)
1. A mythical all-powerful Man in the Sky created Earth in 6 days and still cares about it, we promise, no don't look at Africa, just keep your eyes on Europe. No, not that part of Europe, just the wealthy part. No, not the Jews or the Romani or the Basque or the Poor or anyone else, just the wealthy white people in Europe (and America). See how well they're doing? God loves us all!
|God flipping the bird at everyone who doesn't look like him.|
2. I went through a series of classes (multiple times) that was originally meant for the wives of seminary students so they could learn all the same things as their husbands even though they weren't allowed to attend seminary (don't worry ladies, I'm getting to that). This was a weekly thing on top of my weekly 6 hours of church and 3 hours of youth group, all of which were about hardcore bible study.
Even after 6 years now of trying to forget all that shit, I still know more about the Bible than 99% of Christians and could win almost any argument I wanted to for the Bible, despite not believing a single bit of it. All that scholarship has led me to believe EVEN MORE STRONGLY that the Bible is an absolutely ridiculous script to take seriously. You would be better off living your life by the doctrine, stories, and example of Doctor Who. I'm dead serious right now.
3. The Abrahamic religions (namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are all horrible to all kinds of people in lots and lots of different ways.
Some of them vary slightly (for example, women are allowed to learn in Islam and, if they're quiet about it, in Christianity, but many Jewish groups believe it is wrong for a woman to be educated about the Torah), but for the most part all three religions are horrible to each of the following groups:
-witches (or those who could be accused of "witchcraft" which is a pretty damn broad term)
-children born out of wedlock
-the list goes on...
Modern versions of these religions aren't much better, cherry-picking the things that benefit them and fully ignoring others. A well-known example here in the U.S. is that the religious right wing (almost exclusively Christian, mostly protestant) likes to pick on homosexuals, women who would seek abortion, women in general, rape victims, children, the poor, and the non-white. They especially like to ignore the stuff in the Bible that says being rich is not a virtue.
|"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." -Matthew 19:24|
Photo courtesy of christcommunityspringville.com
4. Most other big religions (like Hinduism, some forms of Buddhism, Mormonism, and Unificationism, among others) aren't a lot better.
|While we're on the topic, let me share one of my favorite crazy things--the Unification Church (known colloquially as the "Moonies" because they follow the now-deceased Rev. Sun Myung Moon) mass wedding. This one was around 3,500 couples.|
Photo courtesy of the Daily Mail
...and frankly, if this is what the gods humans create are like, I want nothing to do with them. Even if I die and find out I was wrong and there is a god or gods, I will not regret my beliefs nor my lifestyle because I believe that to be human is not to treat other humans that way. I will not give up my humanity for any being, not even one who is purportedly more powerful than I am.
5. The universe is magical enough entirely on its own.
|Cat's Eye Nebula, taken by the Hubble Telescope, courtesy of NASA.|
I don't need any myths about how it came about, because the truth is beautiful enough. Our planet is spinning madly around a relatively small star in a relatively small galaxy in an incomprehensibly enormous universe. There are billions of other stars with billions and billions of other planets. There is probably other life out there. We are not the center of the universe, we are a tiny small speck, but that tiny small speck is still made of stardust. We are alive and sentient and can feel a sense of wonder and beauty when we look at one another, at our planet, and at our universe, and that alone is worth living for.
|Photo courtesy of izquotes.com|
6. There are perfectly good people who are religious, but that doesn't make religion itself favorable to me.
I know a whole handful (a handful, I tell you! That's like...6 people!) of Christians who are truly good, kind, open-minded, and honest people (here is one Christian I respect deeply--follow her excellent blog). I know a few more Jews and Muslims who fit that description (I think being a minority in this country forces you to be more kind and open-minded), and I know lots and lots of people who are vaguely religious who fit it.
But I'll tell you a secret:
Being good, kind, open-minded and honest doesn't make you right.
It makes you good, kind, open-minded and honest, which in my opinion is more important.
Everyone is wrong about something. We all hold onto beliefs that don't make sense for a huge variety of reasons, and being right about everything is not only impossible, it is not the pinnacle of virtue. This is why I don't disrespect all religious people, despite my irreverence toward the religion itself and my extra impatience with religious wrong-doers (I hold a special kind of hatred in my heart for Todd Akin, Rush Limbaugh and Fred Phelps).
For example: I have horrible arachnophobia. Spiders come up in my dreams almost every night. As a child I didn't know how to calm my own mind, so I prayed, thinking God helped the spiders go away. After I stopped believing in God, I realized that the act of praying was just calming my mind enough to let it refocus, and calming exercises worked just as well. I also discovered I am a lucid dreamer and can make the spiders go away most of the time without even waking up.
|Even my own cartoon spiders on pink backgrounds are terrifying.|
If you'd like to, in the comments, I would love to hear some of the things you were wrong about and why.
I'd also love to have a discussion in the comments about religion and atheism. I trust you guys will be respectful, but if you're not:
|Cyberman property of BBC|
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