I wrote this on Facebook a few weeks ago. I intended there to be more added to it over time but I haven't gotten around to it yet...

Why is the Atheist Grumpy?

This atheist is grumpy for a couple of reasons.

Let me first establish something that I think many religious folk don't or perhaps refuse to understand about atheists. We are human beings, just like you. We have ears to hear what you say, we have eyes to see what you do, we have emotions that work the same way that yours do. When we are angry, we can yell. When we're happy, we can smile. When we're sad, we can cry. There is nothing at all physiologically different between you and I.

In a study where scientists studied the realtime MRI images of the brain while placed under moralistic situations, the believer and the non-believer both used the same parts of the brain in order to weigh their decisions about their situations. Thereby proving, at least to me, that the non believer is just as moral as the believer.

Why is it important to establish this fact? Because people like me are seen as out-of-the-normal, strange, debased, evil, insane, immoral or even amoral.

I have looked back through history and found an interesting pattern that occurs. I won't get into the situations that resulted in millions of innocent people being slaughtered for their lack of belief in a particular religion (which still happens today). I will focus on those events which completely changed our perception of the world, which originally had been the domain of god or gods.

When mankind started really making observations of the world about him, he was in awe of the complexity and beauty he was surrounded by. From the creation of the wheel to the understanding of the human body, mankind learned what he could about it. What he couldn't know or didn't understand he relegated to the unknown and eventually started attributing it to god, gods, daemons, or other beings that reside in a world which we could never know about, only that it was the answer.

Slowly, as mankind learned more, those mythological explanations fell away into real knowledge. Not one time has the education of mankind about the world around him resulted in the proof of the existence of any world or magical being.

Then came religion, namely those three religions which have led to more senseless bloodshed over the last 5 thousand years than anything else ever has on this planet.

That knowledge that was left unknown became the holy ground of god and any challenge to it was to be met with instant death, no questions. While variations of this punishment for such heresy existed, death was the usual end. The domination of these theocratic empires led to not just heretical deaths but senseless and needless deaths due to snake charmer techniques and the idea that magic existed and that prayer fixed all problems. These times have been called the dark ages.

Regardless, those that wanted to learn, did so. Some lived, some died. Gaining knowledge was a risky business but when all was said and done, the proof stood clear as day. The earth wasn't flat but spherical and wasn't the center of the universe but revolved around the sun, which was just one star among countless others in the sky. One by one, those false beliefs fell away to become knowledge. The gods continued to loose ground as we learned more but still gained ground because as we learned something new, we uncovered more of what we did not know, thus continuing the cycle.

The fact is, and conclusion of this particular point is that despite the lack of knowledge today about a certain topic, does not relegate the ownership of that topic to a mythological being in a mythological place. For once in the history of human kind can we just say, "I don't know the answer to the question." instead of saying, "GOD DID IT"


Views: 23

Comment by Kevin Leroux on April 11, 2009 at 8:18am
I think in the face of a lack of evidence, facts etc. atheists have demonstrated a greater ability for a suspension of belief than theists whose mental security and balance depend on having something, anything to believe in and cling to.

For atheists, that ability is fueled by a knack for logic, deduction and inquisitiveness... the things that we consider the inner workings of intelligence. The theist who brushes up against what they imagine is the coldness of uncertainty or disbelief seems so much more a slave to animal instincts than the atheist.

I love the uncertainty. I love the void. I love the possibility of nothingness. They are like chewing gum that never loses its flavor for my brain to chew upon. I can handle there not being answers to all questions!

The religious that gasp at the revelation that someone is an atheist do so because their mind, the one that panics at uncertainty, is fearful that not having faith-based morals is tantamount to being a raving serial killer set to go off at a change in wind direction. That's what you're encountering and so are the rest of us here.

Acceptance of atheism would be a cinch if theists could just accept that the same morality they may espouse can derive from common sense, good will, humanism, love and forward-thinking reason. But they often will not because to do so, in their minds, would corrode any justification for their faith to begin with.

So it's a real sense of threat that we're encountering or provoking in theists when a godless morality is proposed. The caveman instincts buried in people's brains react like an intruder has been discovered in the cave in the middle of the night. It's really sad.

I've had such an encounter and said something like "Look, I'm a good person, right? I do good things. I love and help people altruistically. I treat people the same exact way that you do, right? So why does one need a god and a bible to justify being good? Isn't better to act morally and conscientiously of others without being told by a church or magical man in the sky that one MUST do good in order to be rewarded upon death or avoid damnation? How authentic would that be?"

i.e. What good is being good if not for its own sake? Isn't your omnipotent sky wizard overseer able to see you're acting good just because you were told to?

But, naturally, that is just too much for the average person to handle. I share you grumpiness.

I think that clash is at the very heart of the divide between atheists and theists and I'm not certain the dark ages every completely ended. Hrumph.
Comment by a7 on April 13, 2009 at 3:50am
hi from Glasgow Scotland. Nice post pal, I have been thinking for years now about the way forward for the atheist movement and have written a wee blog on my thoughts, its titles the way forward for atheist movement ( lol ). I would love to hear your opinion.



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