One of the first articles I read upon joining this site ( 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 as amazing?
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?

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Atheism frees up your time for way more useful things - useful for society, for yourself, etc. No need to go to church every single Sunday and if you're Mormon or Jehovah's Witness, for instance, miss out on the experiences of having fun with your friends when you're a kid and everyone else is at a birthday party, all because your religion says you can't have fun on a Sunday (if you're Mormon) or you can't attend a party of any kind (if you're Jehovah's witness). For instance. Or if you're a Muslim, there is no need to pray, facing toward Mecca (so make sure you carry your clean rug and compass with you at all times) 5 times a day, every day. Etc. I mean think about if all the people spent that time researching a cure to AIDS or Cancer instead... or even just went to birthday parties (because they're only 8 years old and deserve to have fun)? Atheism is freeing in so many ways, not just with time of course. As an atheist you choose which rules to follow - you might not want to have sex until after you're in your 20s, for instance, but the set in stone "only in marriage" rule you can choose not to follow. You can try to use your own logic to figure out what's right and wrong, which is shaped by society and your upbringing and all that stuff, but not have to search through a book to see what God wants because you honestly don't know and can't even try to figure it out on your own. Etc.
I like your line of thought here - that atheism is paving the way for a more enriching human experience, and I completely agree. The individual is no longer a slave to antiquated myth and ritual, things that make him no more advanced than primal man offering blood sacrifice.
I love the here and now; atheism is so often misconstrued as some sort of self hatred as you no longer become a divinely inspired puppet. The difference is that I consider that a love of self, a celebration of myself.
Or, often times, atheism takes on this false appearance of bleakness; I think you and I would both agree that this is a misconception. When the flicking, artificial light bulb of heaven finally goes quiet, man sees the sun for the first time.
when you just happened not to go into work the day of 9/11

A week before 9/11, our client changed their mind on where they wanted the new software myself and a co-worker were installing located from the upper floors of the North Tower to their office in San Francisco.

I'd have been somewhere above the 75th floor that morning, if it were not for that decision. A human decision. Fortunate for me and my co-worker, but no god needed. And it would be the height of arrogance to assert that I (or my co-worker) were so special that a deity intervened to save us from death, but the thousands of others who died were not worth said deity's time or effort.
I absolutely agree. The religious person will so often claim that atheism is self righteous, man attempting to "play God;" I find monotheism to be the epitome of conceitedness. The idea that you are divinely inspired, that you are better than a person of any other faith, that when anything great or wonderful occurs, it's because you deserved it more than the person next to you.
How is that cosmic justice?
And how, how can there possibly be some universal standard for goodness that applies to all people in all situations, whether they know it or not? Everything is relative.
nicely put dave man
How fortuitous, Dave... for you & for us that enjoy your presence here at T|A.

What gets me the most about the "God kept me from dying during the 9/11 attacks!" So... what? You're sooo much more important than the 3000 people that he let die a variety of horrible deaths? The arrogance in that astounds me.

Ditto for "God cured my cancer!" What about the poor sap who died from theirs, who prayed just as hard & just as faithfully? Does God love you more than them? Or does he love you LESS, that he wants the other person "home" with him before you?
If anyone is neglecting to give someone needed medical attention on account of 'medicating them' with faith alone, they are undeniably acting with neglect. I definitely feel as though atheism: activity where faith: passivity - and passing off prayer as a true "effort" is a sad excuse for action.
I completely agree that it is the responsibility of both theistic and nontheistic peoples to listen, to cooperate. Even if I as an atheist DO think that the world would be better off without established religion, I recognize two things:
a. that screaming at a religious subscriber, calling them stupid or foolish, is no way to provoke change, and that,
b. I quite frankly find it to be impossible. Man will ALWAYS find something to "deify." So while religion may be uprooted, the sentiment will not; that is why I classify it as a tragedy - because it technically fits into the same vein of sad inevitability.
I do feel that some religions are more progressive than others, however.
Your creation of a personal locus of control, for example, I find to be a giant step in the right direction as opposed to theories which claim all of mankind to be internally blackened and at the mercy of God's grace.
Perhaps, even if religion itself cannot be fully wiped away, it can become the lesser evil of itself.
nice post

take care and dont talk man, puff ffs
Thanks! I'm just getting started here.


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