Monday, August 24, 2009

No faith in Christianity


by Cylinsier

At some point it happens to every secularist. The discussion of faith arises and you are feeling particularly comfortable or maybe a bit confrontational or defensive. You decide to hell with it, I'm going to share my opinion. So you let it go that you don't believe in god. And then the fighting begins. It is in my experience at least that an atheist or, as I think of myself, an apatheist draws scorn and criticism from religious folk (specifically Christians for me because I simply haven't had the opportunity to interact with members of other faiths on a regular basis) to the point that a debate becomes inevitable. And the debate is always a stalemate. That's because the two sides of the debate play by different rules. The secularists formulate an argument on logic and deductive reasoning. The believers form an argument on faith and emotion. Its like playing football with a kid from Peru; you just aren't talking about the same game.

I personally decided to stop actively believing in a higher power, or at least stop believing in any of the ones specifically laid out by mankind, when I reached a point where logic and faith could no longer work together. I found that I had to choose one over the other. To me, it was a natural choice. Faith was all about ignoring the gifts we were given as human beings (physics, math, biology) despite the overwhelming level of support for their accuracy to believe in something we would never have proof of and which, more importantly, didn't really matter when considered from outside of the boundaries of said faith. Science was about accepting what my senses were telling me was true. The choice came down to whether or not I could trust myself, and if I can't trust myself how can I trust a being I could not possibly meet until after my life was spent? I came to realize that I didn't need an imaginary friend of endless power to inspire me to lead a good life.

Religious people don't seem to understand this idea. The closest thing to a logical argument against not believing is the insistence that there is no incentive to act in a morally upright way without the influence of faith. I would counter that faith is one of the easiest devices for justifying morally inept behavior. Wars, murders, the slaughter of children and animals; all have been committed and justified in the eyes of a silent lord. From a strictly logical view point, there may be no incentive to behave in a good way but there is none to behave in a bad way either. Atheism is a clean slate, inspired strictly by the internal emotions of the non-believer and with absolutely no interference from outside and often archaic moral codes. As a non-believer, I am free to adapt my moral code to the time I live in and to the things that society has learned in the past so that it is as relevant as it can be. Religious morals too often apply strict and inadequate ethical standards; organized religion is the status quo and the status quo is a road block on the way to growth and evolution as a race.

As an apatheist, I do not wish to deny people the right to believe in something that may bring them comfort that they cannot find in the material world. What right do I have to tell someone else what they should believe? I do feel sorrow for the level of influence faith tends to have on decisions that should be free from its influence. Gay marriage is the easiest one to cite. But I would not actively seek to eliminate faith because I personally believe it will fade away to a minimal level on its own. It will never truly cease to exist altogether—there would always be pockets of believers here and there—but the current trend suggests that as peoples' education in general increases, so too does their tendency to fall back on dogma to explain what they do not understand. In other words, as science fills in the gaps, religion loses its luster.

But the big problem for me now is also the impetus for this blog post. Believers tend to draw atheists into debates over faith and then, when it becomes clear that a conclusion to the debate cannot be reached because a consensus was never reached on the rules of the debate (reason vs. faith), the believers tend to fall back on claims of victimization. "Why are atheists trying to destroy Christianity?" I've heard it a lot of times. Most Christians are actually pretty good at keeping to themselves anymore, but the ones that start the debates are also the ones that play the victim card in the end. But they are the ones seeking out atheists and trying to convert them! If you don't want a fight, don't get in the ring.

I'm not saying there isn't a god, I'm just saying that god isn't anything like what people think who believe in him. If there is a creator, chances are he's a being that physically exists or physically existed somewhere in the material universe. His biology is probably scientifically explainable and his relationship with us is clearly one of apathy at best. There is absolutely no reason to assume a deity that cared about us would not interact with us in some way. And there is no reason to assume that the existence of a god and an afterlife go hand in hand.

Faith is nice if you need answers that bear emotional happiness; if this brings you comfort then enjoy it. Sometimes I wish I could believe in such things to bring myself peace of mind. But atheism is not really a choice and this is what most believers don't understand. Certainly there are some who claim to be atheists out of anger or sorrow or fear, and then coincidences in life cause them to gain faith, but a true atheist has seen something he or she cannot unsee. Once an atheist knows god does not exist, there is no pretending. One too many times I have been told that I better shape up or my immortal soul will be cursed forever. If god exists, I don't think pretending real hard that I believe that is going to cut it. If he does exist, he's clearly intended for me to not believe in him because he's created me in his own image and that includes endowing me with the ability to see that the sciences explain everything I need to know. Thus, if god exists, I was destined for hell the moment he created me. This does not jive with the benevolent god theory. Since god is infallible, this logical fallacy disproves god to me. This is not something I can change no matter how badly I would want to. This is what believers do not and seemingly cannot understand. I cannot believe in god. I am incapable.

The Bible, the Quran, the Torah...these are all books, penned by the hands of men which use the possibility of an omnipotent power as a means to an end. Arguments can be made that these faiths were built to set forth rules for the good of mankind that could not be enforced without instilling a certain amount of fear in them (sin and you will burn in hell). It could be argued that they are systems of control (the opiate of the masses) designed to bring disparate people together into a coherent and manageable group. Or they could simply be philosophical attempts at explaining the existence and function of the natural world in a time when science was in its infancy and when people began to question their reason for living and to fear what came after death. But again, from the playing field of secularism where we can only operate on the rules of logic and reason, the very gifts that were so graciously imparted upon us by a god if she or he or it exists, the most unbelievable possibility is that these words are an unfiltered manual from a supreme being sent down to define our existence for all of eternity without so much as an undergraduate class to help us absorb the material. The books impart many important life lessons and should be studied in history and philosophy classes for all of eternity. But at least in my personal library, they are filed in the fiction section. Sphere: Related Content

21 comments:

Ondinita said...

Cy...Awesome post! I totally agree!

Cylinsier said...

Thanks!

Wesley said...

What a very revealing compost Cydisturbed. A secularlist and and atheist and an apathetic retard are not necessarily the same thing. Thank you for clarifying. If anyone had any doubts before, they are now removed. You have identified yourself as a vapid asshole narcissist. Your beliefs are just as radical and dangerous as those of fundamentalist Christians. Christian fundamentalists see religious faith as their exclusive prerogative, and your atheism brands all religious belief as irrational. You stake a claim to an exclusive prerogative to morality. Science and reason can and do exist alongside each other every day. There is vast ocean of people that are religious and are the most respected scientists that live now and have lived in the past.

Interesting that when discussing your lack of faith in God you use the expression “to hell with it.” In spite of what you say, I believe you thrive on opportunities to shock people with the revelation that you don’t believe in God. You think that you are so smart that if God existed you would have proven it by now. When the truth is that you don’t feel the need to honor anyone or anything but yourself because that’s what narcissists do.

What you are really doing is promoting a belief system that is not, as you claim, based on reason and science, but on your simple fuck worldview of us vs. them and the false myths of human progress and your own moral superiority. We do agree that religious debates between a non-believer and a believer very seldom convinces one side to surrender their beliefs. But that debate is not really the issue you opened with. The original issue you introduced was whether or not you believe God exists. Now your talking about someone trying to recruit you into their private club who always claims to have to have the one true God and the one true way of worshipping him. You would get the same result between a devout Catholic and a devout Baptist and it’s not because one side is devoid of science and reason. Why don’t you stick to the original argument as to whether there is a God or there is not a God.

Any trained scientist knows that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And in spite of what global warming fanatics think, science is not up to a vote. Many scientific advances could not occur without making certain educated assumptions. Unproved theories are used every day in scientific practice. There are many things that they don’t know how they work yet but they can see the result. One might say they have a faith that certain things are true. So, your argument that these people are clinging to ignorant fairy tale belief systems is not likely to win the day.

For certain, when you do find yourself cornered and have to debate religious matters, it is frustrating when people who insist on infallible logic in every other part of their life suddenly get dew eyed and talk like drones spouting scripture and avoid historical facts that scientists know to be true. The age of the earth comes to mind. But there is some middle ground. There is a place where someone can believe in a greater power or a greater thing than himself and see that there are rivers of goodness flowing in most of man’s religions even if they do obscure them with allegory and myth.

Your absolutism is as frightening as that of an evangelical Christian. Truly spiritual people do not judge you or cast any scorn in your direction, no matter how breathtakingly ignorant you sound. You seem to have a persecution complex and the feelings of defensiveness you confess to when the subject of religion comes up, suggests some sort of pathology.

Wesley said...

and the ability to hope for things and the desire to improve yourself. Because someone allows themselves the freedom to imagine a God it does not mean they have severed their connection to their gifts of reason. Many scientists believe there is something divine in scientific things, a certain roadmap and architecture that suggests a grand and common design. Some even think they are looking at God when they look at scientific things. Instinct is a sense and it can tell you that something just might be so, even when there is no way to prove it scientifically at the time.

How do you know you are leading a good life? By what scientific standard have you based that? How do you measure what is good and how do you measure what is bad? So instead of an imaginary friend you have an imaginary sense of self importance. Thankfully your lack of faith in a greater power than yourself does not make that greater power disappear. You may chose to keep unplugged from the wall but that does not mean the electricity is not flowing there.

Faith is often used for justifying all manner of the worst imaginable human behavior. But that is like saying that electricity is bad because they use it in electric chairs. Criminals abound that have no faith at all.

If your morality is inspired solely by your internal emotions then you have set yourself up as God and the one who has the most superior knowledge. In this Cytopia, you are a selfish narcissist and no wonder you are so orgasmic about the possibility of someone else paying for your medical care because you don’t want to compete with others to be successful. You want to stay on your mountain top and judge others.

You need to figure out if you believe in God or not. First you say you jump into arguments with secularlists and tell them you do not believe in God and then in your conclusion your are saying you believe in a God that isn’t like what people think. Pick a side so I can debate with you Cyjello.

In closing, if you are playing football with a kid from Peru it should be painfully obvious in a matter of seconds that you are playing with a soccer ball and why they hell would you be talking about the game instead of playing it. Go back and check what you said. Your writing is getting a little sloppy Cyuddha.

Wesley said...

One of the other gifts we were given as human beings is the gift of imagination

This should have been the first line of the last post...

Wesley said...

Are you mostly dead or all the way dead?

Cylinsier said...

Who, me? No, I just don't give a shit about your opinion of me.

Wesley said...

That's what I thought...nailed you. Shot score.

Cylinsier said...

Uh huh. Why is it that you have nothing better to do than obsess over me?

Wesley said...

Another NPD episode hey? If you make ignorant public statements about God's existence then who else should I respond to??? It's your fucking post isn't it? I was attacking your ideas and motivations which seem to be typical of your ilk.

Cylinsier said...

Yes, its my post. Why are you driven to comment on it? Am I that compelling a writer? I must be hitting a nerve with you if you can't help but comment on everything I say.

Cylinsier said...

Aw, hope I didn't hurt your feelings.

scott said...

Great post, Cy. Would it surprise you to know that i generally prefer the company of agnostics and atheists to most other Christians i encounter?

Not all Christians see faith and reason as mutually exclusive. For instance, i view the natural world as a reflection or embodiment of God. Science engenders a better understanding of the universe in which we live, and breath, and have our movement. Therefore, in a way, scientific exploration reveals greater insights into the nature of God. When religion and scientific fact appear to be in conflict, it's either because they're relating to the human experience in differing contexts, or we're not smart enough to understand how the conflict is resolved in the entity referred to as God.

The idea that faith brings comfort has merit, but imo, an active faith should not only comfort the afflicted, it should also afflict the comfortable.

Keep up the great writing.

scott said...

Er, that should have been "breathe, and have our being." Movement? What was i thinking while typing that? Perhaps i was subconsciously trying to give e some fodder for a scatological reference. ;-)

Ellipses said...

Why is it always up to me to bring the shit?

Cylinsier said...

Thanks for the compliments, amph!

Ellipses said...

Cy... thanks a LOT for bringing the quality... This blog would suck phony's old wrinkly sack if it were up to me to supply content.

We should have started this months ago... when I didn't have shit to do at work :-)

Cylinsier said...

Yeah, this is a blast. Wish we'd be doing it since before the election because that would have been like a 5-post-a-day thing.

Wesley said...

I know Cytoplasm, come back and fight like a man, it’s merely a flesh wound as you flop around unable to answer a single point I made. All that is missing is the snot flying from your noses as you snort your mutual admiration. Speaking of Snott, I see you have called in reinforcements.

I thought this was a blog and not a cytard intervention site. You guys know this post is not up to even Cylosers low standards. It was a pointless rambling stream of consciousness. Note to Cynerd: you are supposed to figure out your thesis before your start writing and then stick to it.

As to why I came here in the first place….it was quite by accident but the reason I stay is because its kind of like bubble wrap. I like popping your empty air filled heads and the sound it makes. It relieves stress.

So you took the jet train out of town rather than actually have a debate. Meanwhile pass me another sheet of bubble wrap.

Lori said...

"Amen" or as you would rather say "So Be It." This is good stuff, can I copy it, study it, ponder it?

Cylinsier said...

What do I have to fight about? Unlike the health care debate, there is nothing to base this argument on but opinion, and I don't value yours. Please feel free to continue to stroke your ego by imagining that you've won some type of debate though.