Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why Should I Become an Atheist?

PREACHER: I see no advantage in becoming an atheist other than that you can disassociate yourself from religionists who have done evil according to your view of morality and have the feeling of satisfaction that you have grown out of believing in "fairy tales." Does it really matter what you believe, anyway? I can stay a Christian and behave myself according to your morality and everything ends up the same in the end. So, why should I become an atheist?

SKEPTIC: Well, I guess the answer is that you probably shouldn't become an atheist. You've invested your life in a belief system that seems to work for you, so more power to you. I, on the other hand, have become a skeptic after much study and consideration of the claims of Christianity, as well as the historical basis of the religion, and have concluded that it doesn't hold water. It's been my experience that many, if not most, Christians came to believe based on an emotional appeal rather than anything based on real knowledge of the religion. I suspect that the average Christian has a very limited knowledge of the historical roots of the religion and doesn't have much desire to explore those roots.

PREACHER: You may well be right about the average Christian. And, weren't you one of them before you became a skeptic? I would contend, though, that your basis for rejecting Christianity is based on conclusions made from a limited amount of knowledge, the unproven theories of those who share your belief system, and a strong desire to be free from any control that a deity would have on you. Don't you feel a great sense of freedom by not believing? I on the other hand find my freedom in finding out what His plan for my life is. Jesus said "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

SKEPTIC: Thanks for granting my point about the average Christian not knowing much about the historical roots of Christianity. It seems to me that if you base your whole life around a particular belief system, you should know where it came from. To just go with it because it feels good seems pretty irresponsible to me. And yes, I grew up in a very Christian church and called myself a Christian for many years. But then off I went to university, where, unlike my church, they encouraged me to think and examine and research for myself. A dangerous concept, I know. What I concluded was that religion (of all stripes) and a belief in a personal God was nonsensical and had no basis in reality. For me to believe in God, it has to make actual sense, and there are just too many contradictions and logical fallacies for me to make that leap. By the way, you're right that I feel a sense of freedom by being a non-believer, but only because it means that I don't have to follow silly little rules and don't have to check with a holy book every time I need to make a decision. When you're able to take responsibility for yourself, it really is quite liberating.

PREACHER: I on the other hand I grew up going to church with parents who knew what I would be facing when I entered college, so they made sure that I was prepared. My dad had a PhD. in biology (his major professor was a card carrying atheist) and my mom still loves to debate about ultimate reality issues. I gave my profs in college probably as much trouble as you gave your Sunday school teachers. I'm sure you have stopped checking the Holy Book to make sure that you are acting in a moral way, but I would wager that you are still strongly influenced by it. That is the reason that I think that we can still debate about these issues. I deal with atheists in my community all the time who are basically "a law unto themselves." They always thank me when I don't talk about Christianity in their presence. As for taking responsibility for ones self, there always comes a time when the limits of physical and mental health are met. As a Christian responsible before God I will take responsibility for myself, but never be so arrogant to claim that I will always be able to do that.


  1. I'd like to know why or how the Preacher can seriously believe that his religion is the one true religion.

    Does he not realize that it's only a matter of where in the world he happened to be born?

    If he had been born in the Middle East, he'd most likely be a Muslim and would adamantly preach that Islam is the one true religion.

    That is one of the reasons I believe that if there WAS a one true religion, God (if he exists) would make it known.

    Otherwise, if the Christian God is real he's just an ass who is knowingly condemning half the world to hell for not being born in the right place.

  2. Preacher asks: "Does it really matter what you believe, anyway?"

    just look at the environmental disaster that humankind has created through industrialisation coupled with captialism.

    I put it to you that the Christian (and Judaism/Islamic) belief -- faith, really -- that your "god" has "created" humans to be the master of all "creation" has led to the exploitation (some call it rape) of all nature, without regard for other species and harmonious co-existence.

    quite unlike the animists and pagans you (ie. "believers") have invested so much in eradicating; they did live their lives aware that we all are part of nature -- not above it.

    Preacher also says that "..your basis for rejecting Christianity is based on conclusions made from a limited amount of knowledge, the unproven theories.."

    but you have faith -- I thought it is impossible to prove what one has to take on faith, and, regarding the limited knowledge -- are you omniscient?

    Preacher says "As a Christian responsible before God I will take responsibility for myself.."

    I think that is decent of you as a person, however, the problem remains that most other believers live their lifes as they please, knowing that all they have to do is utter "I believe in Jesus" or somesuch phrase on their deathbed to be absolved from all their "sinful" behaviour, no matter how atrocious their conduct has been. IMO, this get-out clause has been a significant contributing fact to the mess that we find ourselves in.

    to conclude, people who leave judgement to their "god" are, on balance, an impediment to peaceful co-existence on our planet.

  3. I have athiest friends in my neighborhod that fight over public money that is left over from the city budget. Communist China and Russia which are human experiments on trying to get all their people to become athiests have failed and are today known for poluting the environment and much humanitarian abuse. Until you can give me a significant example of how well you non-believers get along, are kind to your fellow man and protext the environment, what you say is just a bunch of left wing propaganda. Now, back to my point: You have given me some reasons why I should disassociate myself with Christians and the Church. I find many of the same problems with those outside the Church. Why should I ever want to become an athiest.

  4. Paul writes: "Communist China and Russia which are human experiments on trying to get all their people to become athiests have failed and are today known for poluting the environment and much humanitarian abuse."

    different from USA where every public speech ends in "God bless America"? to be fair, the USA is not alone in polluting and abusing.

    "Why should I ever want to become an athiest."

    you *could* start by becoming agnostic. ;-)

  5. A very unattractive proposal!

  6. Paul.

    I have to agree with you, agnosticism is as unattractive as (mono-)theism, but it is marginally less bankrupt in intellectual terms.

    thinking that, rationally, it would be the lesser of two evils.

  7. What proof do you have that you are thinking rationally? What does the denial or the in of the existence of God, and Jesus Christ (many very rational people believe) have to do with making a person rational or not? My schizophrenic friend thought he was a world champion boxer and had to be sedated so he wouldn't hurt himself. That is an example of irrational thinking and behavior. I hope that both you and I are thinking rationally with just different belief systems or world views.

  8. Paul.

    "What proof do you have that you are thinking rationally?"

    I suspect, as little, or as much, as yourself. ;)

    however, "My schizophrenic friend thought.." is a good illustration of a delusion, defined as "may be a symptom of madness" (OED). if I have shown myself to be deluded, please feel free to point it out.

    you, on the other hand, have claimed that "God is ... my commander and chief." (in the "Mother Teresa: Angel or Agnostic?" debate).

    you say: "What does the denial or the in of the existence of God ... have to do with making a person rational or not?"

    my argument is that if you need to base your actions on the words of an "invisible friend", and you use this as a justification to abrogate personal responsibility for your actions, then that makes you delusional -- charitable interpretation.

    the fact you share this delusion with "..many very rational people.." is neither here nor there, since this can be explained in terms of training and conditioning, group behaviour, peer pressures, and so on.

    so, while I can share your hope that "..both you and I are thinking rationally..", I have no evidence of it. your apparent "..belief systems or world views" are based on faith alone, I prefer to stick with tangible realities to conduct myself.

  9. Paul.

    in addition to previous post:

    it is possible to be rational yet dead wrong.

    in computing they use the acronym GIGO to describe this, "Garbage In, Garbage Out", ie. if you base your thinking on false data, assumptions, you wind up with false, unusable results.

    hope this helps.

  10. Right on! Accept your pearl of great price is my garbage, and your garbage is my pearl of great price. I find my results usable and good. I hope yours work for you.


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