Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ask an Atheist: Because free thinking is cool

I know everyone hates it when I get serious around here, but on occasion it’s okay. I don’t do it often but when I do, it is something that is mildly important to me or might help someone else out in some other way.

Atheists will always get shade thrown from believers. Always. In my experience in dealing with certain believers when they find out that I don’t share their same beliefs, I am immediately told that I am wrong, ill-informed and going to hell. Thanks, guys! It’s also been my experience that some believers never, ever want to let it go and they will rain down hell-fire and redemption on my worthless non-believing ass.

What usually follows are misguided attempts by believers to convert me through fear even though I am perfectly happy being reasonable and open-minded. Most go on the defensive at once and they want to question my bible knowledge or my thoughts on the afterlife, yada yada yada. Here is the thing: I don’t care. I don’t care to debate or challenge. You aren’t going to change my mind and I am not going to change yours. Can we just go get a slice of pizza and a beer or something? That seems like a lot more fun than arguing about our belief systems which is something I just don’t want to do. Mostly because I don’t so much care what anyone else believes. We live in a big world, there is room for everyone. Can’t we all just get along? It turns out we can’t and some people still like to argue. Enter Jim.

As most of you know if I come across a question or questions that I can’t answer, I just ask someone else. Jim is a longtime friend and fellow atheist. If I ever have any questions about what to say in certain situations when uber-believers won’t STFU, I ask Jim. So I thought to myself “Hmmmm…I might be onto something here…” I figured if I had questions, other atheists might as well. So I compiled those questions, sent them on, and here we are.

To everyone interested, please read on. If not, peace to the out. And thanks, Jim, for taking your time out between model building and guitar picking to answer my questions. And happy birthday! (Today is his  birthday, how awesome of a gift is it to be on this amazing blog on your birthday, I ask you?!)

So what's your beef with religion, man? What happened to you to make you this way?

Nothing in particular happened to make me leave religion. It was a gradual change. We are all born atheist and that's a fact. I was never heavily indoctrinated as a child. Also I spent the majority of my time in church coloring or some shit so it never grabbed hold of me. Religion divides. Its teachings are absolutes. There is no gray area. Religion was a way for older societies and ancient civilizations to explain the world around them and control the population. We have no need for that anymore. I value reason and science. We know why grass is green, what thunder is and how life evolves (thanks Darwin). Yes there are many things we still don't know about but that's no reason to say a celestial omnipresent dictator had anything to do with it. It’s time for humanism to replace religion. Quit worrying about who can marry whom, the well being of stem cells and abortion and focus on the world’s actual problems. If religious people put all that time, thought and money into ridding the world of poverty and hunger we'd be in a much better place.

Upon finding out that you are an atheist, how do believers normally react? Do they get offensive all of a sudden?

Most people have no clue as to what an atheist is. They think you worship the devil or something. We don't believe in any god, devil, spirit, ghost or unicorn.....although I find it hard to let go of bigfoot. It's simply a lack of belief. Hence the "A" which means without.

I'm pretty sure Bigfoot is real and should be capitalized but whatevs. So since you believe in nothing, how are your morals holding up? The bible is the only example of morals, right? And how often do you hear dumbass questions about your morals?

It's typically one of the first questions asked. Morals predate religion...most certainly the three monotheistic religions we are familiar with. If the bible were my guide to what is right or wrong and I followed the law to a T then I would be stoning people for working on Saturday, killing non believers, and killing my children for talking back. "Oh that’s old testament law and we don't follow that anymore, that's why Jesus came". Hilarious. I'm not sure where Christians got that nonsense from but the new testament isn't much better with its degradation of women, gay bashing and pro slavery talk.

The ten commandments aren't much help either. I'm pretty sure none of these were very profound at the time. I mean the first four having nothing to do with morals at all. They are strictly dealing with how to worship god. Why not scratch that shit and add one about not molesting children or rape. But nooo the almighty sky daddy feels it's more important to not do shit on Saturdays or draw any images of him (sorry Sunday school kids, draw pictures of Jesus and you're dead!). The rest of the commandments are common sense. Man would have never been able to form a society if they were stealing each others shit and just pointlessly offing people. Animals (which we are) understand this and I've never seen a chimp reading the bible. They'd rather throw their shit at people.....and so would I.

Well throwing shit at people is pretty much a no-brainer. I am sure, like me, that you get told you are going to burn in hell a lot. How do you respond to that?

Well I surprisingly don't get that much. I find that most religious friends and family find it hard to imagine me or any loved one burning for eternity in hell. So you almost have to wrestle it out of them. They know you are not deserving of such a place but that their "good book" is clear in the matter and you will indeed roast. God is good.

Not to mention hell probably wouldn't be so bad. Hell is full of some of the smartest and most entertaining people in our time. That beats eternal harp music and Jesus ass kissing every time in my book.

I'll be in hell so that automatically makes it that much cooler, am I right? ... Ha. That wasn't your real question. It goes without saying, really… So what would you say in this scenario: someone tells you to just read the bible and your faith will be restored. You would say:

"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." Isaac Asimov

That quote really sums up how I feel about the bible and its teachings. The God of the old testament is a genocidal maniac who puts Hitler’s attempt at ethnic cleansing to shame. Unfortunately his son in the new testament is only a bit more tolerant. This book as a whole is just filled with intolerance, racism, sexism, murder, rape, incest....I could go on. The bit of positive teachings of Jesus are not the least bit original to Christianity and were typically ripped off of another religion or philosophy. The story of Jesus is not actual the least bit original. The amount of gods that predate Jesus and also happened to be born of a virgin on December 25th, perform miracles, have 12 disciples, die just to be resurrected 3 days later is staggering and quite the clue that the bible is the work of bronze aged desert dwelling goad herders. My favorite story from the bible has to be that of the prophet Elisha and make this a lesson for all of you bullies out there. "And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them" (2 Kings 2:23-24).

It’s like no one every pays any attention to the really, truly ridiculous in the bible. They just pass over all that to get to the “good word”, it’s a little silly. Okay, in closing, in your opinion or whatever, what happens when someone dies just so everyone is clear what exactly an atheist “believes”?

Your heart stops pumping blood to your brain which in turn makes you brain dead. Actually your heart could still be pumping and you could be brain dead...anyways when the brain no longer functions’re dead. There’s no heaven, no hell, just nothing. So you’ve got this one life to live and enjoy yourself. Enjoy your family, enjoy your friends, beer, nature, your pets, sex, junk food, Falafel, the Smurfs, Alf, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure(and Bogus Journey). You get the picture. Time is precious...don’t waste it by pumping up an imaginary sky daddy’s ego with your endless worship.


The Mean Beene said...

Amen! (hahahaha)

DId Shakesphere write the Bible? I sure as hell don't understand this: And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them".

And yes, Bigfoot is real. I have all of his books.

Stacey Garrett said...

Jim, you got a comment! Which is more than most of my posts get! How cool do you feel right now? It's just Morgan, but she does have the best comments, don't you think?

I don't even know, Morg. It has been some long years since I cracked open a bible but it's just as plausible that Shakespeare did write it. It's all just a bunch of made up tales of fantasicalism meant to scare everyone into submissions so it's plausible.

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