One of the first articles I read upon joining this site (http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/atheism-means-giving-up-mo...
) details what one must give up to become an atheist. And while I wholeheartedly agree with every tenet of the list, I can't get around the countering question that's pestering - 'well, don't the benefits negate the difficulties at every turn?'
Well, don't they?
At the end of the day, truth has no equal. Even the journey to embracing a godless universe is a gift; it is an ascent to embracing reality as it is, raw, unprocessed by mankind.
Atheism is tasting freshly picked fruit for the first time, feeling the grit and fuzz on your hand as you sink your teeth into something that isn't chemically shined and rosily colored.
For the first time, your teeth don't squeak. And for many, that can be jarring. Unexpected. Frightening. Because - (heaven
forbid) you expected someone to make that apple pretty for you, right? Someone to tell you that you were made special, along with all the other apples, in the big factory in the sky?
(People forget that apples are made from dirt and the procreation of limbs. We may be "shined" by religion, but we come from the ground.)
The fundamental difference with atheism is that it embraces the grit. I was not made special, I was simply made from a combination of sperm and egg; isn't that amazing enough? Can’t I define myself
Here's what I think the BELIEVER has to gain from the ATHEIST:
1. An internal locus of control
: So much of religion credits everyday events, natural beauties, evil, good, everything
to a deity – an idea. In every area, humanity stands to gain from actively taking credit from the happenings on this Earth.
a. In terms of everyday events? We learn from them. We move on from them. We, as humans, draw what we wish, and find significance for ourselves. Hello, individualism – it’s been far too long. Ready to make me into my own savior again?
b. Natural beauties? An embracing of the Earth as ours and close to us will only propel us to explore it more than ever before. We are already curious by nature; in fact, herein is where (I feel) the idea of a God was spawned. In realizing that the Earth is palpable and moldable as opposed to static and divinely inspired, we take it back from the clouds and put it back under the microscope.
c. Evil – evil is critical here. Whether God is seen as harboring some master plan which anesthetizing suffering or whether man is simply traveling on a broken trajectory due to original sin, there are infinite religious explanations for evil which lessens the tragedy of it – which make excuses for it like a parent spewing apologies to the school board because little Tommy didn’t share his toys nicely. There should be and there is not anything a religion could say which makes inherently disgusting acts like rape and murder acceptable.
To pass of a chopped up child in the woods as part of “The Plan” is a tragedy, not a worldview. And anyone subscribing to such spiritual pain medication is inhibiting action to stop malicious forces tangibly, actually, within our nation.
d. And finally, good; why, oh why
is it so socially taboo to actively and proudly own that good side of you? Why, when a stranger runs after you with the wallet you forgot, or when you just happened not to go into work the day of 9/11, why is that anything more than coincidence? There seems to be a natural human desire for beauty; mankind searches for it everywhere, lining the everyday with religious romanticism that is nothing more than an idea. To the religious individual: look at the man before you, the one who just picked up the credit card that you dropped. Look at him, thank him, tell him that HE is good – do not be so condescending as to credit his proclivity for decency with a higher power. Wonder about his parents. His upbringing. His personality. Wonder what makes him so…wonderful
. Do not stagnate your appreciation for the human race by looking over his head, covered with sweat in running after you, and thanking a God.
2. A humanistic oneness
(without the help a God): “My God is the real God. Yours is false – I laugh at your afterlife. At your cannon. Mine is divinely inspired
.” Sound familiar? Well, I hate to break it to you, you unnamed religious intolerant, but their text is divinely inspired TOO. They all are. Presents a funny little problem for your faith, now doesn’t it? And what about dead religions – the gods of the Greeks? Of the Mayans and the Egyptians? How can you possibly pick and choose which religion correctly espouses truth – is there a system, or is it comparable to walking into a bookstore and picking up the cover of a fiction that speaks most to you? It is, undeniably, the latter. So please, let’s discuss the fact that we are all living, breathing human beings. Let’s have a community standing firmly in the roads that we as humans pave. If you approach me with guns and planes for your God, you are nothing more to me than a frightened child wishing to placate the monster in his closet so he can sleep easy at night.
a. AS A SIDE NOTE: The atheist has to play nice here as well; this is a mutual human responsibility. I have no tolerance for violence on account of religion - or non-religiousness. It is fact, however, that organized religion has stoked (and condoned) an infinite amount more of violence than atheism – probably due to the fact that the “divine text” itself, in many situations, urges it.
3. The truth
: Need I say more?
The list is truly infinite; especially when one delves into the everyday.
So now, I’m curious. Is there anything in specific you would add?