Please explain how this works….
- God specifically said to the Pope that Catholicism is the one true church.
- God specifically said to the Christian evangelicals that Catholicism is idolatrous because of prayers to Mary and the saints, and Jesus is the only way.
- God specifically said to Muslims that Christians are infidels because they do not accept the Prophet.
- God specifically said to Joseph Smith that we need special underwear to keep us holy and that men (not women) get their own planet in the after-life.
- God specifically said to the Jehovah’s Witnesses that only 144,000 people get into heaven (far less than their current ranks) but they need to go convert more believers.
- God specifically spoke to the Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarians, Shintos, animists, ancestor worshipers, Seventh Day Adventists etc and got their systems set up, all of which are considered false by the other religions listed above.
But I am the one who is weird for questioning the existence of a deity and the value of religion.
Put two people of any two differing religions in a room, and ask them to figure things out. You’ll come up with more batshittery than you can shake a stick at, with both sides dooming the other to hell. But atheism is what’s wrong with the world?
I say a-theism — the assumption of no God — is a safer place to start any discussion intended to lead to goodness, sanity and harmony on this planet. To do good because it’s the humane thing to do, rather than from fear of punishment, is a more stable moral ground than to force others into a code of ethics because “my god says you’ll burn in hell if you don’t see things my way”.
Two news items this week reflect the fact that atheism is on the rise worldwide, and that atheists and agnostics on average know more about religion than believers. That is, atheists tend to arrive at our views after in-depth consideration of faith and scriptures, not after attending basement seances in which we eat kittens and write love letters to Satan.
There’s a tired old canard among believers that, without god, we’d all be murderers, rapists and bank robbers. Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church has perpetuated the myth that all atheists are angry. A lot of us got where we are out of a sincere pursuit of truth and a determination to live as ethically as we know how. We’re not interested in “justifying our sin” by making god go away. If anything, we’re interested in making the world a better place. We find this imperative, because we don’t believe we get a second chance. We’re not willing to watch the world burn while we shrug and say god will work it out.
I used to believe the majority of humanity was going to physically burn in hell for eternity because they were not fortunate enough to have heard about Jesus. I used to belong to a belief system in which Christian quarterbacks win championships “for the glory of God”, while millions of people die from starvation and preventable disease because “God is sovereign” (which doesn’t actually answer anything — it’s just a dodge for ending an awkward conversation). I guess you could say I abandoned faith, in large part, because I grew exhausted from shutting my eyes so tightly against human need and suffering. I lost the ability to rationalize away — or “faith” away — the galling contradictions between everything religions say about the human condition and the bare-face realities of what the human condition actually is.
I became an atheist because I care about truth, I care about people, and I care about morality. Go figure.