Philosophy Turned Me from Religion, Not Science

Perhaps one of the reasons I’m not one of obstinate “everyone who believes in god is an idiot” atheists is because my reasons for leaving faith are more philosophical than scientific.

Sure, when I was a kid my atheism started when I realized I only believed in god because adults told me to. When you start thinking critically for yourself you have to question it. I believe it must dawn on everyone that spirituality is completely incongruous with what we understand about the world around us. A choice must be made to put faith in the comfort of supernatural guidance or seek new answers.

Honestly, I don’t think any atheist turns from religion because god “obviously” doesn’t exist. I also don’t entirely believe the ones that claim they “wish I could believe in god.” The truth is that if you really want to believe in something you can convince yourself to, especially in religious matters. Confirmation bias will provide you all the proof you need that god exists. If you are of a more skeptical nature than it will do the opposite, no matter how much you “want” to believe.

I turned from religion because I completely disagree with the philosophies of supernaturalism. In fact, I despise them. That’s not to disparage those that don’t. If you find comfort in the idea that all powerful entities looking after you then that’s fine. It is a lifestyle I simply cannot abide.

To me a lifestyle with god is a life of submission and restraint. Why is it that every religion asserts humility and meekness? Judeo Christian: You are a child of god, he is your savior. Buddhism: in the beginning there’s so much wrong with you that most of your existence will be spent fixing it to reach nirvana. Hinduism: Seek awareness of god and the blessings of deities.

I am so fucking sick of hearing how our species is broken and wrong. How many times do we have to be reminded that people have done horrible things? Why is it that no one is born enlightened and great? Why must all our effort be put into seeking the perfect self?

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t like arrogance, I don’t think anyone is born perfect, and I think we should all aspire to greatness, but it seems to me that religious and spiritual philosophy claims we are much farther behind in our development than we actually are.

Imagine a religion where you are told from birth that god created you with the expectation that you will be better than him. Instead of being born with the guilt of “original sin” (a crime you didn’t even commit), you are told that your species has so much potential it can surpass its creator. What kind of fire would that light in you?

We are not weak, we are not flawed, we are not predispositioned to sin and debauchery. Humankind is an awesome species that will reach out to the universe and overcome any challenge thrown at it.

I don’t need or want some all-powerful entity holding my hand as though I’m an accident-prone child. I can’t stand the idea of something that considers itself the ultimate authority watching me all the time, casting judgments in matters it has absolutely no business judging. How, exactly, is my participation in pre-marital sex an affront to god’s sensibilities? Why should it care? It baffles me that people who follow the strict tenants of the church hear all those rules and think “god sure is a great guy.” To me he’s an overbearing parent more concerned I do things his way rather than finding my own path.

Do you find comfort in the idea that every action is judged?

Do you find comfort in the idea that every action is judged?

When I was a kid I spent way too much time worrying whether my actions would send me to hell. I always wondered if god would be okay with my rationale for doing something that went against church doctrine. Man was that a horrible way to live. Who is god to judge me? All powerful, all knowing, creator of the universe, I don’t care! Why does it get to be the ultimate judge of every living thing?

I was so sick of the tenants religion gave that it was easy for me to accept that god doesn’t exist. I realize some people of religion might claim that I abandoned god as an “excuse to sin.” That I am so arrogant I believe my way is better than that of the almighty.

Please.

I have fundamental disagreements with the philosophy that made me more inclined to believe it untrue. Maybe if I agreed with them I would have clung to religion longer, but when you take an objective look at things god is a difficult concept to believe in. You’d have to really want to believe in religious philosophy to have faith in the supernatural.

In simpler terms: If I liked the idea of an all-powerful protector it would have been much easier for me to ignore the fact that there is no evidence supporting the supernatural. In the same vein, if someone was desperate and seeking answers, it would be much easier for them to accept the comforting thought of divinity and that everything is part of a plan.

So, evangelists and Christian “scientists,” please save your breath. Your promises of an otherworldly kingdom and questionable discoveries supported with pseudo-science will do nothing to sway me. Divinity is a hard pill to swallow, and without indisputable proof I will never believe in it. The idea of god is completely repulsive to me.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Philosophy Turned Me from Religion, Not Science

  1. I sympathize with you. As the Pascal Wager states, “If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible.” Along those lines the great Sufi mystic Rabia Basri said, “Since no one really knows anything about God, those who think they do are just troublemakers.” Of course, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist; rather, you just can’t find him in a Bible, a church or in a religion.

    • It’s funny to me that so many people say their god works in “mysterious ways” and then claim to know exactly what it considers right and wrong. That’s a great line from Basri.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. I’ve been quietly faithless for about 6 or 7 months now, and my abandonment of my own faith was tied to my mental infirmities. That you were able to philosophically reason out of faith principles is truly remarkable, and I wish I’d had the mental discipline when I was younger to do so. Your statements about wanting to believe in the divine are spot on, and I can personally attest to how wrapping one’s mind around a thought can make it persist in the mind if the will to do so is there.

    Now that I’m away from it, I feel more empowered than I used to. When I had faith I also wanted to believe in people, so now I feel more rewarded than any promise of an afterlife can give. Not only does it feel good to have the thought that people can achieve so much, but there is tangible, real, provable, falsifiable evidence to back that assertion up. This is assuredly more than what can be offered up for an alleged deity.

    How freaking awesome is that?

    • Thanks for the kind words. Honestly I wasn’t so enlightened when I became an atheist. I was just a jerky thirteen-year-old kid who suffered at the hands of Catholic school and thought, “Screw those guys! I don’t need their crappy religion anymore! Also, church is boring and I hate it.”
      Haha, thankfully it grew more refined than that down the road.

      It’s great that leaving religion has done so much for your mental state. It’s very liberating to free yourself from an ever vigilant, completely incomprehensible, infallible authority figure who judges you based on morals you may not agree with. It opens our minds up to what -people- can do, rather than relying on the intangible.

  3. Great post. It is refreshing to see thinkers who enjoy things like truth, empirical evidence and consistency. I find it strange how people can create a static area where physical laws no longer exist. Square circles, leprechauns, and fish who can’t breathe under water that live at the bottom of the sea somehow thrive in this mystical area of existence. I have nothing against translucent antigravity unicorns I just know they do not exist- just as deitys do not, and can not exist. As soon as they do exist, they are of this universe and are subject to our laws. That is why atheist is such a bad word. People think I am against god in some way. Not at all. I know you don’t use science to eliminate the impossibility of gods, but knowing there is more than one way to exclude mysticism is a good thing. I too love philosophy and how it answers all the wrong answers to this world. Thanks for your thoughts on this topic. It’s a fun one to debate.

    • I think I’m one of those people who would hate god if I thought it existed, *if* god existed in the terms defined by strict adherers of faith, particularly those who claim there is a “plan.” A plan that involves death for the “greater good” orchestrated by a an omniscient being that could easily have created a plan that didn’t involve people dying isn’t a “good guy” in my book.

      There are some definitions of god I could tolerate, but for the most part I am not a fan.

      Thanks for reading!

      • I agree. All people would need to do to see how evil he was is read the bible. Killing everyone on earth by flooding, telling others to kill non believers, gays, etc. on and on and on. I like to live by universals and cherry picking certain words from a book to fit my lifestyle isn’t what I consider valiant, noble or holy. Universal ethics is all I need to be a good person. I can do that without fairy tales or 10% of my income. Thanks for your response. :)

  4. Few people are scientists, trained in scientific methods and “use” pure science. Perhaps it’s atheist machismo to claim Science as the great liberator? Philosophy gets a bad rap from scientists. But Science is mostly the domain of professional scientists.

    Whereas, Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is my process, and, for me learning about science and scientific methods falls under philosophy or general problem solving.

    I appreciate your self-reflections and philosophy!

    • Atheists -looooooove- claiming science as the ultimate destroyer of religion. I have no interest in science, and I only have a rudimentary understanding on most scientific subjects. You’re probably right about machismo playing a role there. I’m relatively certain most of those guys on twitter saying they don’t believe in god because they know science don’t know quite as much as they claim to.

      I think more people can be swayed towards atheism by convincing them the tenets of religion aren’t all that great rather than shouting “you’re wrong!”

      Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s