Why Atheism?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by clembo, Feb 12, 2021.

  1. clembo

    clembo Well-Known Member

    I've decided to give you all something to chew on here.

    Why would anyone choose to be an Atheist?
    Well, why would anyone choose to be a Catholic, a Baptist, a Hindu?...and the list goes on.

    In my case it took some time but Christianity had a lot to do with my deciding upon Atheism. Not so much Christianity in itself but the rampant hypocrisy exhibited by so many that refer to themselves as "good Christians".

    First impressions are lasting and if you want to instill wariness in me introduce yourself as a "good Christian". If that's the case why do you have to tell me? Shouldn't actions speak louder than words? Are you informing me because you truly are or is it because you're convincing yourself?

    Why are so called "good Christians" so arrogant that they believe their way is the only way? This is what prompted me to eventually post NO SOLICITING signs in my yard and on my door.
    Rampant Baptists in my neck of the woods and I finally had enough.
    Still, I've had them come knocking.
    The last were subjected to a litany of profanity I'm still proud of. Hey, they were too stupid to leave when asked.

    After all, I don't come knocking on your door to espouse my beliefs so what makes you think I want you knocking on mine?

    I was not raised in a particularly religious household. The Lutheran church was as close as we came. I was raised to believe in God and do right by others. I still strive to do right by others.

    My wife was raised Lutheran. We had a small wedding in a Lutheran church. My best man was (and remains) Catholic. I had two ushers, one Catholic and one Baptist. All friends since childhood.

    So why would I eventually decide upon Atheism?

    Is the Bible a good book chocked full of great wisdom? Absolutely.
    Was Jesus a great man? No doubt in my mind.

    First big problem for me is the Virgin Mary.
    Sorry; conception does not work that way. Doesn't now and didn't then.

    Mary got pregnant the usual way. Was it rape? A one nighter? A relative?
    We'll never know.
    Sorry again folks, but I don't believe it was caused by any deity. It was caused by a man.

    This point of view in itself might qualify me as an Atheist I suppose and in the eyes of so many self righteous a sinner. But who are they to say and why should I really care?

    Jesus. Yes Jesus.

    Indeed a great figure in history. Christianity is based on his teachings from what I've heard.

    Religion spoiled it along with the many interpretations which led to said religions.

    Religions evolved into power and money. If I were to decide to attend a church it would more likely be a ramshackle building than some grand cathedral.
    Worshiping a God on a shoe string budget seems more genuine to me.

    "Christians" have soured me on religion. In large part, I'm sure, because I live in a predominately "Christian" environment.

    What I have witnessed "good Christians" say and do over the years has frankly disgusted me. Saying one believes in God and He'll forgive me is a crock and an excuse to act without a moral compass of any kind.

    To many, I feel, God is someone to thank when things are going good and someone to blame when they aren't.

    Too many "good Christians" are anything but. They don't follow the teachings of Jesus. They pay it lip service.
    I'd rather not include myself in that group.

    There are so many deities one can follow but to good old Christians they're all wrong.

    What was the harm in the beliefs of Native Americans when white Christians arrived? It worked well for them for quite some time I believe and still does for many. Good for them I say.
    A resounding "bully" actually.

    But alas Christians felt the need to force feed their beliefs upon these people.

    Truth is white Christians have been quite the rotten lot throughout history and particularly nasty here in the good old U.S.

    Live and let live has never been an option

    If you worship what you identify as God and it works for you. Good.
    If you worship a tree and it works for you. Good.
    If you worship the rear passenger tire on your car and it works for you. Good.

    As long as it causes no harm to others I say good.

    Unfortunately this rarely is the case.:(

    Live and let live.
    Enough! likes this.
  2. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Well-Known Member

    I’ll open by commending you for this comment. In this day and age, accepting others for who they are is far too often unacceptable.

    I don’t know your history and you probably don’t know mine. Just so you will know, I spent the first 35 years of mine chasing a rock star dream. The whole gamut. Women, drugs, the limelight. The whole smash and I couldn’t give a hoot about religion. It wasn’t until I was almost forty that I knew Easter was anything other than a reason to treat the kids to chocolate bunnies..... I was drug into a church by my wife kicking and screaming..... My introduction was nothing short of welcoming. There were no people looking down their noses at me and I became engaged after a period of time and now am a fully engaged Lutheran. Old rehashed story of a bad boy going good.

    Now I won’t knock on your door or force Gospel on you. If you ask me I will happily share. The most enlightening learning I have received since becoming Cristian is humility. I still occasionally struggle with my ego, but I know where I can go to bring my own head back down to size.

    My wife and I engaged in a program through our church to care for abused children. It’s been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. We had a senior moment and adopted through that program. I also run a food pantry and a program where we collect Christmas gifts for families on hard times..... Living outside myself has been far more fulfilling than being a rock star.

    Here’s my rub..... Any “group” will have its outcasts and extremists. Christians are no exception. The 98% of good caring Christians are a group you don’t hear about simply because they make for boring news. So we focus on the 2% that are extremists. Standing on the street espousing hell and damnation. The priests that abuse children. Yes, and even those that bring their religion into politics. That is what we hear about and where we draw our judgment from..... I never seen a newscaster broadcast from my churches food pantry. However when my pastor did a bible study from a beer tavern, the news spent a week out front.

    My point is, there is vastly more good happening in those sanctuaries than there is otherwise. It gives my family and countless others a solid foundation.

    So to keep from rambling too much more, I’ll just close by again commending your approach. Yes, live and let live. I’ll treat you with the respect you deserve and only ask the same in return. Judgment of others is our national cancer in this day and age. Live and let live should be our national goal.
  3. clembo

    clembo Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your response and kind words MP.

    I won't argue that "finding God" has been a great thing for many people that are troubled. Nor will I argue the fact that there are many "good Christians". Now as for 98% I can't say I agree but of course we are two different people with different opinions and points of view.

    I honestly only know two people that I consider "good Christians". Two that really strive to follow the teachings of Jesus in everyday life on a daily basis.
    I may be guilty of being judgmental but so be it.

    One is a woman in her late 70s that I used to work with. A truly lovely lady is Linda.

    Funny thing is that the many times I've been in the hospital she would tell me she prayed for me then apologize because I'm Atheist.
    Why apologize? I appreciated her prayers because they were sincere not the "thoughts and prayers" line of BS that I hear too often.

    I will not give you my prayers. I don't pray.
    Telling someone I will pray for them would not be sincere so I won't do it.
    You might, however, merit my thoughts. Those would be sincere.

    Now as for being in the hospital. An interesting place. Been in so many I can tell you which have the best food.
    I pretty much know the menu of the one closest to me.

    That aside I invariably get the visit from someone asking me if I want to pray.
    My answer is always no thank you.
    A few have decided to preach to me and I sent them on their way.

    One is a lady named Yvonne. I actually look forward to the discussions we have because they are just that. Discussions.
    The last time I was there she came in and I said "here I am Yvonne, your favorite Atheist".
    She said she had a question for me. Simple to me but not to her.

    "How do I talk to an Atheist?" "The answer is right there" I told her "talk don't preach".
    Just because someone doesn't want to pray doesn't mean they might not want to talk.

    I don't fear death. I've come close a few times.
    Doesn't mean I want to die though. I figure I've got a quite a few good years in me but one never knows. I could get hit by a car in a few minutes when I go for a walk.
    Hope that doesn't happen though as it would ruin my funeral plans. The lake is frozen.

    My funeral plans? Well, I figure I'll be dead so what do I care.
    Put me on a wooden boat on the local lake and fire a flaming arrow.
    A good old Viking funeral for me but skip the sacrificial virgin. Not fair to her.

    A final blaze of glory and it would make the news as an added bonus!
    Mopar Dude likes this.
  4. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    I guess that we've had this conversation a few times because I seem to have heard much of this already. I'm on my iPad so I'll keep this short. I hear this common complaint that Christians are singled out, ridiculed, made to feel like they are somehow crazy for their beliefs or just persecuted in areas of higher learning and in places like Holllywood. If that is actually true, why are there no openly atheist politicians? Why do we say prayers on the floor of the Senate? Why is it tolerated when Joe Biden or any other politician talks about their faith? Why do we use tax money to fund private religious schools? Consider the same practices if atheists demand equal time. Then tell me Chistians are under attack.
  5. clembo

    clembo Well-Known Member

    Quit complaining Joe.

    At least Atheists can eat at Chick Fil A. Unless they're gay of course.
  6. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Well-Known Member

    That was slap funny right there....
  7. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    Point being, if you think it is tough being a Christian in a majority Christian country, try being an atheist.
    Enough! likes this.
  8. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Well-Known Member

    Well..... When I think of just my community here.... The orphanage and the food bank are Christian organizations. If I can’t pay my bills one month I can go to several Christian organizations for assistance. If my house burns down the interfaith organization is first to respond with clothes, and paid hotel rooms. If you want a pathway from drug/alcohol abuse there is a Christian center two miles from my house that you can check yourself into at no charge.... And you know what? Not one of these organizations will ask you your religious affiliation when you seek their assistance..... Now, this is just my community, I cannot speak for others. But I most imagine if we had an atheist food pantry, that it would be met with open arms. But there isn’t one that I know of. So I have to ask.... What is so tough about that? And if these institutions were eliminated to sooth the ruffled feathers of non-believers, who then would take their place? The government?? Croak!!!
  9. Recusant

    Recusant Member

    I reject the premise that atheists "choose" to be atheist. Having some experience talking with atheists, I know that plenty of them seriously struggled to shore up their faith. Sometimes for years, they asked their god to help them maintain their belief and tried to keep to it, only to realize eventually that they simply could not reconcile reality with the myths of their fathers.
  10. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    That's because atheists don't proselytize. Who ever suggested replacing religious organizations? There are plenty of great religious organizations that do great work. I only take issue with ones crossing over into politics such as Evangelicals. They should stick to the food pantries.
  11. GeneWright

    GeneWright Well-Known Member

    For me, it just kind of came most naturally to be an atheist. I don't like the idea of "faith" and need hard evidence, probably why I became a scientist. So it's less to do with "I believe there is no God" so much as "I can't know for certain, so I won't worry about it."

    I also didn't grow up with any religion, but my parents were supportive and open about it if we showed interest. A question like "what happens after we die?" asked at a young age would be met with different belief structures (christians believe this, buddhists believe that, etc.) My siblings even attended church/Sunday school for a little while, and it's cool my parents supported them in something they wanted to do even if it wasn't their personal beliefs, I just wasn't interested.
  12. clembo

    clembo Well-Known Member

    Yes, there are a lot of great Christian organizations that do a lot of great work for the community. The PR they get for it is great too.

    Atheist don't. Now why is that?

    Well, for starters we don't exactly congregate. Hey let's go to mas on Sunday (or any other day for that matter). What would we do considering we don't worship anything?
    No hymns. Hey! Let's sing Zappa's Joes Garage in it's entirety!
    I reckon they would be quick and extraordinarily dull services.;)

    Plus, we have different reasons for being Atheist. Most weren't raised that way.

    I really only know one other Atheist and his reasons are entirely different than mine. He's a Viet Nam veteran. After a few months he figured the enemy was fighting for something they believed in just as he was. Their beliefs were just as strong. Besides, he says, how can one God watch over 7 billion people.

    If you think about it's been a relatively short time that Atheists have been "coming out" as it were. After all doing so could (and still can in many cultures) get you killed. It's another reason I stated that white Christians are a rather nasty lot.

    Although many Christians shun the idea of Atheism and insist that we be "saved" we're no different than others. A former co worker of mine described me as "an Atheist with morals". I like that description as I feel my morals are a heck of a lot more solid than many "Christians".

    When the pandemic hit the senior center where I exercise closed but started having food drives for the local pantry.
    I'm on disability and money is always tight but I figured with people suddenly losing work and therefore an income they just might have it worse. Especially where children were involved.

    No one should go hungry. Especially kids. So I'd find $10 I could spare and go shopping at the Dollar General and Family Dollar nearby.
    I shop there myself and for $10 you'd be surprised how much food you can get. Not crap either but stuff that is just as good as name brands.
    Canned goods, cereal, pasta. Non perishables that fill you up and are better for you than fast food.

    I mentioned it to a few friends and they started pitching in. One day I had $45 to spend and hit 4 different dollar stores.
    When I brought it to the center they told me I was donating more than anyone doing so. (The drives were always on Thursdays so they knew).
    I guess I'm tooting my own horn here but it made me feel good.

    The "Masked Atheist" strikes again!

    Point is that there are a lot of "good Atheists" out there. We just don't go around announcing it. Religion has had a jump start on us by a few thousand years after all.
    Religion has also had a lot longer to be corrupted by power and greed.:(

    That's all I have to say about that.

    For now at least.
  13. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    Now I look at the good Christians from Adam Kinzinger's family and I have to wonder if he wouldn't have been better off being raised as an atheist. I admit that I've met a handful of really good Christains and they walked the talk. Most of the rest I wouldn't waste a yawning Hello to. They are Christians in name only, you know, CINO's. My grandparents were devout German Catholics. They sent me to catholic school. Good education, bad religious philosophy. But I guess it backfired on them. The first thing I gave up for Lent was Catholicism. Not afraid of burning in hell.
  14. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Well-Known Member

    In all seriousness..... The typical response that I hear to rejecting organized religion is that we are too educated in this day and age. We now know better. And I would agree.... If I asked my mother where rainbows came from, she would have likely told me stories about Noah, the flood and a rainbow is Gods promise to never do that again. Probably would play out much the same in any 1950's-1960's home in America.

    The age of the internet has made information easily available for anyone with a connection. From my observation having the foresight of being an adult prior to the internet age, I also believe that the age of the internet has made us as s society much more self consumed. If we have something to say, well now we all have a platform to say it from. So I have to ask.... Are we really better off now to be so consumed with our own selves that we can nonchalantly reject the views and/or the belief systems of others? Am I overstating this? Or is the internet age all about me so to speak? Have we boxed ourselves in the whole time believing that exactly the opposite has taken place?
  15. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    More information cannot be a bad thing. The more you know as they say. Organized religion thrives on being the sole source of information. It is what gives them power over the rest of the flock. They and they alone are the conduit to God. Religious doctrine has been proved false again and again. The world isn't 4,000 years old. The fossil record clearly shows evolution taking place in every species including us. Noah's Ark did not exist. We did not all spring up from Adam and Eve. These teachings were all proved to be allegory not actual historical events. The more you know, the less religious dogma makes sense. That is the crux of the war between religion and science. Science isn't anti-religion, it is the pursuit of truth about the physical world we live in and inevitably, that is going to clash with what the church says about the physical world. It's unavoidable.

    I have a perfect right to reject the belief systems and views of others. I do not have the right to tell them what to believe or not to believe. Nor do they have a right to tell me what to believe or not to believe. I reject the influence religious belief systems have on my life. I don't want to pray for some religious cause but not because I don't agree with the cause but because I don't want to be roped into their religious beliefs as a consequence. Our country is overrun with organized religious views throughout our public discourse. I have no interest in what you believe. I don't care what you choose to believe, just don't try and make me participate in your delusions. Is that simple enough? Does this make me anti-religion?
  16. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Well-Known Member

    I would agree with this if it were prior to Gutenberg and the printing press. For decades organized religion held reign over what the flock was deemed worthy to hear. However since the mid 16th century, that has not been the case. I would agree with you... No the earth is not 4000 years old, we didn't spring forth from the Garden of Eden and I truly doubt that Jonah took a ride in the belly of a whale..... But these things are not the message of the bible. People throughout time have embellished stories for the sake of teaching. Heck, I have done the same thing trying to teach my kids life lessons. In the end though, who is to say that either you or I are suffering from delusions? I wouldn't try to change your views. I know you are happy just the way you are and I can say the same for myself. I just don't see myself any more or any less delusional than you.
    JoeNation likes this.
  17. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    I didn't say that religion was your delusion. Religion is a communal delusion. It is an agreed to lie that many in society agree to believe. That doesn't make it so much an individual delusion as it is a societal delusion. There are other examples of societal delusions we tolerate such as Santa Claus, extraterrestrials, and Donald Trump. The evidence is overwhelming that belief in these things are simply delusional.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
    Mopar Dude likes this.
  18. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Well-Known Member

    WHOA!! Wait just a second.... Now we are questioning ET??:rolleyes:
  19. clembo

    clembo Well-Known Member

    That's been going on a long time.

    It's why I stated that white Christians have been a pretty nasty lot for quite some time.
  20. clembo

    clembo Well-Known Member

    ET was well known to the Incas, Mayans and Egyptians to name a few.;)

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