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.

The Secular Scene is Too Damn Depressing

In my anniversary post I mentioned that I was hesitant to reenter secular society and Scott of Skeptic Meditations asked me what that meant.

The world of vocal atheists is a depressing one.

When you reacquaint yourself with the popular outspoken voices of secularism you’ll mostly be listening to complaints about the world and harsh attacks on people of faith. That’s not to say the situation isn’t similar in religious circles, but I don’t think fighting fire with fire is the appropriate response here.

There are very few vocal atheists promoting positivity. Everyone seems to be consumed by arguments and screaming how things should be. Look up popular secular YouTube channels. It’s almost exclusively people talking about what religious people did wrong this week.

Man, I’m a gamer. All my negative energy is spent complaining about everything wrong in that industry (Mother characters got cut from the new Smash Bros? For what? Doctor Mario? Are you friggin’ kidding me?). I don’t have any to spare!

The fact is that when we do nothing but argue over every issue our beliefs and principles become a very dark place in our minds.

It’s not that recognizing problems and injustices in the world is bad; it’s that the monologue usually consists only of talking about how wrong it is. I believe that if we talk more about the goal and ideal then we present a positive picture. People will be less inclined to start arguing or take sides and instead work co-operatively to achieve a utopia… An actual utopia, not a literary one that’s destined to fail to teach a lesson about hubris.

When you only talk about what’s wrong, there will always be people who disagree with you and start an argument. When you talk about the goal, it’s less confrontational and more “hey, we can do something good if we try!” Which may be cheesy and not as fun, but in the long run we’re better off.

Reminding each other that there is a simple, positive goal that we all agree upon makes it easier to achieve the goal. The goal is beautiful, uplifting, makes your outlook better and encourages you to reach for the sky.

When someone tries to promote a cause you completely disagree with, like taking evolution out of school, don’t immediately take the confrontational stance. Instead, ask why. Make an effort to empathize their reasoning and then come up with a counter argument that is more accommodating to their thoughts and beliefs rather than ruffling their fathers by obstinately saying “you’re wrong.” They are wrong, of course, but you’re not going to convince them of that by acting like the know-it-all opposition.  The goal in this situation is: Best education for our children. Both sides can agree on that, work from there.

It’s not easy. Fighting is more sensational, more fun, and keeps things interesting, but it doesn’t get shit done.

I didn’t want to get back into the secular scene because I cannot stand seeing everyone too busy fighting about everything to actually accomplish anything. I became a humanist because I love the philosophy that mankind can achieve anything it sets its mind to. Angry, depressing, derogatory blogs, vlogs, and tweets make me believe it a little less every day.

Isaac Asimov Talks About Humanism PSA Style

I found this to be hysterical. Yep, I sat through all 45 minutes of it, mostly because Isaac Asimov is my personal hero.

I must admit, I never hear people complaining about humanism unless I specifically google “humanist critics.” People have never complained about it to me because when I say the word humanist they either look confused or think I’m part of a cult.

It was kind of surreal to watch a video so like the tapes I was forced to watch in middle school. Although this was better because I actually agreed with everything being said.

Just wanted to share this for the small number of you who will find this as funny as I did.

Also, what’s with that ominous, depressing music right after Asimov’s idealistic and optimistic speech?

Why I Love Humanism

When I was atheist/agnostic I grew tired of people telling me “I can’t believe you don’t believe in anything. You’d have a much more fulfilling life if you did.” Atheists and agnostics believe in a lot of things. They have a tendency not to believe in supernaturalism- that hardly rules out “anything.”

They can believe society can function without religion. They can believe that death is a finality which makes life all the more wonderful. They can believe the sky is one of the most beautiful things in existence. They can believe our interactions with other people make life worth living. They can believe the color indigo is just a funny way of saying blue. They can believe wint-o-green blows the pants off peppermint.

Atheists have just as much belief invested in things as anyone else, they just don’t have a belief that has been indoctrinated into philosophy.

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