Attacking the Shield of Faith

November 9th, 2006

“Does God exist?” This question has occupied the minds of people throughout history, and continues to do so even today. If you’ve read the two previous posts of I, Atheist, it should be clear, that in my mind this question has no real validity whatsoever. The only reason that it still appears a valid question, worthy of discussion, is the disturbing fact that the majority of the world’s population believes the answer to be positive. I asked in the previous post, why people believe in God, and speculated that most do so, only beause they haven’t questioned what they have been told from childhood. This indicates to me, that the most important question today, is not if there is a God, but why people believe that there is. This question seems to me, so important, that it should occupy, not only the thoughts of the philisophers of our time, but the thoughts of every single person on earth, not including us that already know, of course. Anyone who believes, or even has the slightest doubt of the existance of God, should ask him or herself this question. Why do I believe in God?

I want to believe that most people would, after (varying degrees of) serious reflection, come to the same natural conclusion that I, and many other strong atheists, have reached. The obstacles that obstruct logic, are the shields of faith, that I briefly touched upon in my previous post. Our shields of faith, because we all have them, protect parts of our beliefs from logic and reason. Some shields protect our beliefs that Mac’s are better than PC’s, Coke better than Pepsi, or Mustangs are better than Chargers. However, most people when faced with logical reasoning, and/or evidence , are willing to accept the shortcomings of their beliefs on such matters. This is not true for most theists. The shields of faith that protects a person’s religious beliefs, seem to be made of a far thougher material than any other such shields.
I suspect that there probably exist people who have a shield of faith too strong for even the most simple logic, or the most persuasive empirical evidence to break through. I also realize that not all people share the same mental ability to abandon assumptions based on faith, and reflect based only on logic. I do however strongly believe that the vast majority of the worlds population do have the capacity to think logically. I know for a fact that the human brain is capable of doing so, mine is, and I’m neither scientist nor philosopher. In fact, without this ability the world would be alot different, I mean after all, most people use logic every single day in matters regarding anything but faith.

The challenge then, is to initiate the process of logcial thinking regarding belief in a deity in the sky. To jumpstart people into asking themselves; why do I believe in God? There is probably not a single universal way to attack these shields, but more likely do different ones have different weaknesses. It is therefore paramount that atheists all around the world stand up and make our case, be it for logic, common sense or the scientific method.

This has nothing to do with “proselytizing atheism”, as some would argue. I am not asking anyone to take my word for anything. I’m not even asking people to buy into evolution or any of the other (proven) scientific stuff that’s outside of their knowledge base. I’m only asking people to start thinking. To use what they are already capable of. To think about their reasons for believing in mankinds invisible friend. Do they believe because their logic tells them to? Or is it possible that they believe because of loose assumptions made by themselves, the people who indoctrinated them, and millions of people before them all throughout history. Assumptions made solely to solve a difficult question with an easy answer. If the answer is the former, which I don’t believe is the case of the majority of people, then you belong to a group of people with insufficient logical ability, and cannot be helped.

I do not care what people do, as long as it doesn’t bring harm to anyone. People could worship square post-it notes and claim rectangular ones to be evil for all I care. I wouldn’t even mind people gathering in temples devoted to the almighty blue cheese. I might not like blue cheese myself, but I don’t mind others liking it. I sure as hell won’t go out of my way to keep others from eating it. The problem is that this is exactly what religion does. If religious people could be content with keeping their beliefs to themselves, then there wouldn’t be any need of arguing for atheism. But because religion causes delays in scientific research that could end up helping millions of people from suffering unnesessarily, and because the Pope promotes the spread of HIV in Afrika, by condeming the use of condoms, and because islamic jihad promotes young men killing, not only themselves, but as many innocents as possible, then it becomes evident that sitting idly on the side is no longer an option for atheists.
Religion does all these things, and yet claims to be tolerant, humane and a prerequisite for good morality. I only see the dangers of delusion. We must therefore arm ourselves with spears of logic and swords of science and attack those carrying these shields of irrational faith. It may very well be an uphill struggle, but that doesn’t stop Pepsi from trying…

Why God?

November 5th, 2006

If a true atheist is a person who by reflection has reached the logical conclusion that God does not exist, as I think it is, and if all people are atheists when they are born, and indeed untill taught otherwise, then why haven’t more people come to this conclusion? In short, why arent there more athesits in the world, or in fact, why isn’t everybody an atheist in todays age of information? To find an answer to this question, one must ask why people believe in God. There is obviously no simple straight forward answer to this, as most people have not only their own image of God, but also their own motivations for believing in him. Take into the accounts all the different branches of the many existing religions, and one might think it’s impossible to answer why people believe in a God.
For most people the answer is, because they are taught so. Indoctrinated from the cradle to take for granted what others have told them to be true, without any schred of evidence I might add, it’s not difficult to appreciate the fact that many people simply haven’t questioned their faith. The faith instilled in them by their parents and other parts of society, is such an integral part of their identity and how they view the world, that they have no reason to doubt it. Because faith is blind, and discourages free critical thinking, it works. Life works, and why should anyone question it. Besides there is neither reason or time to question it in the middle of grocery shopping, school runs, maintaining relationships, professional carreer and paying the bills.

Take also into account the historical efforts of religion to burn libraries, prosecute great thinkers, discourage knowledge seeking and encourage blind faith, it’s no wonder that atheism is percieved as something inherently evil by many religious people, instead of being the starting point, from where we begin to seek out knowledge about the world that surrounds us, by means of science.

My point is that while it may at some point, have been the easy answer to a hard question, for mankind to create an invisible friend to explain life, the universe and everything, today it is obvious to the logical thinker that this socalled explanation causes far more problems, and raises far more questions than it actually solves or answers. Why that hasen’t stopped people in believing in this fairy tale of God, but instead has made them come up with increasingly far fetched explanations in defence of their invisible friend is, quite simply, beyond me. “God works in mysterious ways”, “Our minds are not capable of understanding the Lord’s will” and “you have to have faith” and other statements such as these scream excuse to me. Excuses that conveniently stop more probing questions that cannot be answered with God from destroying the foundation of religion. The fact that great thinkers throughout history have seen the fundamental flaws in the concept of God, is only a small display of hope. They didn’t have the scientific evidence that we have today, to support an alternative, and rational and logical explanation to the same hard questions, and yet there have always been people who have challenged the established ignorance. Still, ignorance has always prevailed, and still does. Even in what we call civilized and modern societies with almost unlimited knowledge at anyones fingertips, still the majority of the world believes in an invisible friend up in the sky.

Ignorance must truely be a bliss, and mankinds invisible friend is not only invisible but also invincible in the minds of those who believe. Shielded with faith, from logic, common sense and even empirical evidence, those who truely believe are forever protected from the realiziation that life only lasts untill death. Ignorance prevails, and in the process suppresses those who challenge it, thereby delaying technological advances and human progress.
Hope, then, lies with those who either are in doubt or have not yet reflected sufficiently upon the subject to reach a logical conclusion. Those with a chipped shield of faith must be attacked, as to prevent mankind from selfannihilating because of sheer stupidity. As much as I despise proselytization, the insufficient attempts to spread logic to the masses might just be the very reason why mankind still holds to an ancient fairy tale of an invisible friend up in the sky.

With religion on the rise all over the world, clearly, something must be done … soon.

Profession of non-faith

November 4th, 2006

For my first post, I find it appropriate to make clear what my position on the subject of atheism/theism is. This being a part of the Raving Atheists [dot com] site, it should not come as a surprise that I am an atheist. When asked, I often use the label “Radical Atheist” about myself. I use the term in the same manner Douglas Adams used it; as a way to underline that by atheist, I truely mean atheist. Not agnostic, not even weak atheist, but a strong, or radical, atheist. It further serves to show that my atheism is not something that I have grabbed out of thin air, or decided was the best choice out of all the options, but rather that it is something which I consider an important part of who I am as an individual, and which I have thought about at great lengths.

When asked if I believe in God, I always answer that I know that God doesn’t exist. I need nothing more than my common sense and logical thinking to tell me that the entire concept of God, Creation and Religion as a whole, is contradictory and ultimately impossible on many levels, but also just utterly ridiculous. The abundance of ever increasing scientific evidence is basically irrelevant, because when it all comes down to it, if you take “faith” out of the equation, all arguments for religion and the existance of God fall to the ground … hard.
There simply is no way to arrive at the conclusion that God exists, by the means of logical thinking. Without faith, the entire concept becomes basically what it really is; a seemingly easy solution to a difficult problem. Faith discourages critical thought and an active search for knowledge and truth. Faith acts as a shield against logic, and that alone is reason enough to reject it.

Yes, there are philosophical problems attached to the statement that I know that God doesn’t exist. What I mean by it, is that I know that God doesn’t exist, in the same manner which most people know that there is no real Flying Spaghetti Monster, Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. Most people know that these things are not real, yet they would be hard pressed to prove it. In fact it is impossible to prove that the Tooth Fairy does not exist. It would also be just as impossible to prove the non-existance of God. There is therefore no better reason to believe in God than there is to believe in the Tooth Fairy, or any other fictional entity. By logical thinking, this places the burden of proof on the theists, who assert that God exists. And yet, there exists no such evidence. Using the Bible to prove that God exists, amounts to the same as using Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to prove that Sauron exists. There is no empirical value in the socalled Word of God.

Atheism is the default position of all earths creatures at birth, including humans. If it was not, then why the need for babtizing and confirmation? Atheism is not, as some religious people would like to see it, just another religion, or belief. Atheism is the logical conclusion that God does not exist. For any true atheist then, it is impossible to “convert” into believing in a God. The only way that I can see, that would make it possible for an atheist to become a theist, is for him/her to become mentally ill, and suffer from delusions and hallucinations. Either that, or he/she would have to be indoctrinated/brainwashed for a long time … say from childhood to adulthood ?