I am an Atheist because I see no reason to believe in the existence gods.

There are a lot of things that can be explained in ways that feature supernatural beings, but so far I have not found a single one that cannot be adequately explained without them, or that makes me feel that it will never be adequately explained in a non-supernatural context. What is more, I find that explanations that do not have any supernatural components are more useful than the ones that do, for the simple reason that by definition, anything supernatural is beyond our understanding. Supernatural explanations simply state at one point “this is done by Magic” and cease to inquire further.

This, you could say, is the rational argument against theism, or any other kind of supernaturalism. But I feel us humans are not just rational beings. We are also full of instincts, imprinted behavior, strange half-understood fears, likes and prejudices that make life a lot more unpredictable and interesting than it would be if we could come up with a clear, rational reason for everything we did. I think that evolution, our environment, and the unique make-up of our individual minds all influence our behavior, and the mix is so complex it is hard to imagine how we will ever be able to pinpoint the exact origins of all that we do.

So apart from not having a rational reason to believe, I also have a few irrational reasons not to believe. I find the concepts and ideas behind a lot of religious beliefs offensive. They do not appeal to me emotionally, and I think there are a lot of them that I would reject even if there was a god. I think that if the abrahamic god really existed, I would have to rebel against him.

For starters, there is the problem of sin. A sin is a thought or action that goes against god’s law. The problem is that if god created us, and created the entire world, and has everything proceeding according to his great design, then that design also includes us sinning. To even blame us in the slightest for our actions would be petty in the extreme, because all we can do is dance to his tune.

The same problem applies to virtue, which is defined as obedience to gods law. This part makes me quite angry. If all virtue is simply the divine working through us, then we deserve no credit or reward for it. If it is not, then not everything is determined by the plan.

This basic contradiction can only be solved by tying your mind in some truly spectacular metaphysical knots, the kind of mental contortionism that theologists excel at. No-one ever seems to get upset at the fact that god takes responsibility for all that is best in us – compassion, love, empathy, creativity and courage – but holds us responsible for qualities which are considered bad. And all this in a universe he creates and administers, in which not a bird can fall without him seeing it, where he is all-powerful, all-present and al-knowing?

It is the usurpation of all our good qualities that upsets me. We are remarkable creatures. We live short, fragile little lives, but we still dare to dream, to love, to create things. In a small vulnerable organism in a hostile universe, this is heroism of the first order. To live life as best you can is a noble thing to do. For me it is an intrinsic part of human dignity, something that makes me proud to be a human being.

Abrahamic religion teaches you that pride is a sin, that all that is good in you is a gift from god, or god working through you, and all that is not so good is you befouling your soul and making god sad. Like the stereotypical bad mother on alcohol and sleeping pills, god slaps us down and tells us he loves us in the same sentence. All we do is disappoint him. All good things are his gift to us, and we are not nearly grateful enough for it. We are basically unworthy, and we are nothing without god.

To follow these religions is to allow yourself to be stripped of your human dignity. You give up responsibility for what is best in you and delegate it to god. You are left with nothing but your flaws, which remain your own. This is a good thing, because it makes you humble. And all along we are expected to sing this gods praises, to remind ourselves how flawed we are by comparison, how unworthy of such love. This is not love. It is subjugation.

There is a word for people who enjoy being subjugated. They pay good money for someone to dress up in an imposing costume and tell them what worthless little swine they are. They get a strange kind of pleasure out of being debased, out of being punished, out rendering themselves entirely into the hands of another. They yearn to give themselves up completely to a master who is cruel and sadistic, because it affords them their master’s complete attention. They enjoy being a slave to someone else’s whims.

I dislike the underlying philosophy of abrahamic religion because I find it masochistic. Its god is a dysfunctional father-figure who punishes more than he cherishes, and makes his children thank him for his chastisements. What he wants is slaves that have convinced themselves they enjoy slavery. And most of all, it turns people into a little less than they could be, into followers in stead of individuals, and makes them feel like they should be grateful for it. Even if it were true, I would hope I would be brave enough to resist it to the best of my abilities.

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Comment by Matt on March 15, 2010 at 4:46am
quote away, it would be an honor, and thanks for your kind remarks!
Comment by David Prentice on March 14, 2010 at 3:15pm
To Eric - Isn't it interesting that our entire justice system is built around paying the state for crimes against the people. Sound familiar? "Vengeance is Mine", sayeth the government lol.
Comment by David Prentice on March 14, 2010 at 3:11pm
Really nicely and concisely put. I wish I had your articulatory ability ;) There are some choice passages I'd like to quote if I may, from time to time. I'll reference you, of course :D
Comment by Matt on March 10, 2010 at 12:55pm
Hi Eric

I agree - the concept of salvation is disempowering and another repetition way the abrahamic religion depicts humanity is basically unworthy and depraved, and needs god to make them worthwhile.
Comment by Eric on March 10, 2010 at 9:03am
Matt,

It's hard to believe that this wasn't something that I wrote. You managed to capture my feelings almost perfectly and set them out very clearly.

I do have one other point that is important to my rejection of christianity. Beyond not really making much sense, the whole concept of salvation of my sins through Jesus' sacrifice is inherently immoral. Let's say I was guilty of some terrible crime. There is a trial and I'm found guilty, given the death penalty. Then my mother shows up and begs the judge to execute her in my place. For me to allow an innocent to be punished for my actions cannot be moral. For the judge to execute her in my place doesn't make any sense, would not be just and ultimately would be lacking in morality. In the bigger picture, it doesn't serve any purpose or make the world right. The concept of sin, and that there needs to be atonement or punishment to re-balance the world or something just doesn't make much sense to begin with. There is no reason why an omnipotent, all-loving god would need blood sacrifice rather than just giving forgiveness. Even if this were all true, it is weak, cowardly, and immoral to allow someone else to take the blame for your own actions. The only moral or honorable stance is to take responsibility for yourself and for your own actions.

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