Abyss of Silence

Thursday, April 06, 2006

MY problem with faith

Disclaimer: No, that isn’t a typo. The following is MY opinion. Anyone who is happy in his/her religious beliefs and doesn’t want to hear anything to the contrary should STOP READING. This is not written for you. I’m not trying to offend you; this is MY OPINION. I have a right to my opinion as much as you have the right to believe whatever ridiculous crap you want. hee-hee! ;)

Ok, let me state right now that I am an atheist. People get all caught up in semantics and labeling. I consider myself an atheist because I don’t believe a god exists. Am I certain of this? No.

“Oh, but then that would make you an agnostic!” someone might say. Whatever! Call me what you want! I call it atheism. Since I have been completely unimpressed by what others might consider evidence of a god’s existence and see no reason to believe that any god exists, I am an atheist. But like the pope, I am not infallible. Maybe there is a god! Anyone who knows for absolute certain either way is at least partially insane. You can believe, you can't know.

Why write this? I don’t know really. I feel like it. I want to talk about why I don’t believe this and explore a bit why I don’t and maybe work though some feelings I have about people who do. If you do and you are offended easily (so many of you are), and you’re still reading at this point then don’t bitch at me! I warned you.

First of all what religion am I talking about? Given my geographical position, I’ve had the most exposure to Christianity but it sort of relates to all of them. Anything based on mysticism, but my comments will relate mostly to Christianity after all I went to a Catholic high school. Again, and this is my last warning, if any of my god-believing friends are STILL reading, don’t take any of this personally! If you do, I will be royally pissed at you. I speak in generalities and not about anyone specifically. ‘Nuff said?

Ok so someone has faith. Where did this faith come from? It was taught to them by their parents, and where did their parents, parents, parents get it? It was from some anonymously written ancient text passed down through the ages, supposedly written by god or by some dude god used to transcribe it for him. Without even opening the book, I have a problem with this already.

1. No one knows who really wrote it. The Christian bible (whichever version you want) had many authors and many editors over the years. How can I weigh the credibility of a text without knowing who wrote it let alone who rewrote it?

2. People are crazy. Some dude walks up to you on the street and tells you he’s talked to god. What do you do? You say, “Super!” and try to get away from that person as quickly as possible. Why are older wack-jobs given more credence? And even if the authors weren’t crazy…

3. People are liars. They have their own agendas. This goes back to that credibility question.

AND SO… I’m expected to believe at the get-go that god wrote this book. Why? Because it says so, in the book. Great! So already, I’m prepared to chuck the book out the window but instead I open it. Bad move! Holy crap! Have the people who put so much stock in this book ever read it? In a nutshell, here are my problems with the bible (old and new testaments):

- It’s insane. To quote David Cross, "What kind of D&D [Dungeons & Dragons] bullshit is this?"

- It’s wrong. Historically and scientifically.

- It contradicts itself. Read the four different accounts of Jesus' resurrection.

- It teaches intolerance, bigotry, playing favorites with children, subjugation of women, slavery, rape, murder, etc.

- It depicts an angry, jealous, childish, unreasonable, unforgiving god. How do you worship something when you don't even respect it? I'd think a "god" would have greater emotional stability than a human.

It's pretty much the same as every other religion. You have to put trust in a text when you don't even know who wrote it and it's full of mystical crap that doesn't exist in our state of being. And you have to put all of your love and trust into a god whom you have not met. How is this fair?

If there is a loving god somewhere and his litmus test for heaven is not the content of a person's character and deeds but instead their ability to suspend disbelief then he's actually pretty mean. It's like a cruel laboratory experiment...

Ok, so I will
1. make a sentient being with the capacity for logical thought and deductive reasoning
2. remove all evidence of my existence except for a badly written, kooky bunch of writings
3. see which still believe I exist and punish the shit out of the ones who use their BRAINS! heh heh heh!

Faith based on flimsy evidence is an unreasonable expectation from such an animal. Not only that but it's so strange a requirement. Why faith? It isn't a good judge of character and besides trust is earned, not bestowed. I'm not an omniscient being and I know that.

I realize I'm supposed to respect the beliefs of others. Or at least that's what's been hammered into my head. But I don't. I respect that everybody has the right to make up their own mind but I can't really respect something like this. And since the courtesy is rarely returned I feel much less inclined to comply.

Now I know some of these are probably just stereotypes I've invented but here are some reasons I think people "believe":

-Because it feels good: Sure heck! It would be nice to think there was all-powerful parental figure always watching your back. Gives you a warm, safe feeling.
-Because it’s old: Some people believe things because they've lasted a long time, which gives them no more credence if they haven't been examined and picked apart for validity but this is enough for some.
- Because everybody else believes it: We've got this horrible mindset that questioning things is bad or arrogant. Bullshit! If that doubting Thomas had a chance to shove his digits in Jesus' wounds, then why don't I? Why is the person who believes without seeing any better than a skeptic? Believe it because we say so! Sorry but I don't think so.
-Because it all has to mean something: This to me is the height of arrogance. Just because we're alive and possess the intellectual capacity to realize that we're alive that we must be a part of something great, a grand plan. "I" am so important, "I" am made in the image of god, and that god has a plan for "ME". Whoa Nelly!
-Because I’m scared: Nobody wants to die. It's a lot more comforting to believe that nothing bad will happen because Daddy's looking after me and after I die I go to a place where I frolic with butterflies and eat marshmallows all day! If I question it, I might not get it.
-Because it’s what I was taught and I just can’t let go of that: "Gimme that old time religion, it's good enough for me." We cling closest to the things we learned and loved as children.
- Because I'm covering my bases: Some people believe in this stuff simply because "what if it's true". If I were god, I think these people would piss me off more than anybody else.

Or quite simply (and perhaps unjustly) it may just boil down to stupidity or laziness. Some people are just stupid and will believe everything they read or are taught. Anyone who has listened to a raving zealot knows what I mean. And the laziness part comes in from people who are intelligent and believe what they were taught as children but have no interest in examining it. The latter drives me crazier. Stupid is one thing but willful ignorance is another. Again this may be a bit too simplistic and somewhat unjust.

And yet there is another classification of people who mystify me: Deists. These are the people who don’t believe in organized religion but believe in god nevertheless. My question is WHY!? I feel an overwhelming need to base beliefs on evidence and facts.

If I believed that the bible was the word of god and to be followed, I'd be one of those zealots who takes it all literally and not picking and choosing the parts I like. This is the book, the basis, for their religion written by god himself! I don't understand people who just believe the nice bits and I don't understand anyone who believes that there is this mystical being but not the one depicted in any religion. They base this belief on what? A feeling? Ugh!

I don't get it. Maybe I'm too logical. Maybe I took too many of those standardized tests as a youngster where you have to answer the IF/THEN questions. I don't hate people who believe in this stuff but it will always be in my way to really understanding them.

And besides maybe I'm wrong, but if there is a god I doubt it is a god of human understanding because they're just too silly.

By the way, I'm not really interested in debating with Christians. I've done enough of that in my life. Besides all of your arguments are based on scripture. Since I reject the bible as the word of god, you're just wasting your time. And you can dispense with your ever kind and helpful notifications that I'll "burn in hell" or that you "feel sorry for" me. If you feel like praying for me, go to town, but it's not necessary.


  • You angry darling. I was just thinking, like, your very damned words today in the car. Mine was, "Why does God give us the ability to question and search but then threaten to punish us terribly when we find the wrong answers?"

    Semantics! Oh you are so right! My sewing teacher is wrapped in a blanket of smug about how atheism can't really exist cuz it implies "faith that god doesn't exist" or some such crap. 'Kay. Fine. Whatever. I'm a Nontheist, happy? Why do they cling on to that pointless logic?

    I argue with Christians, but then I feel bad. Because who am I too pee on their parade? They're just trying their best.

    Plus, it won't do a drop of good, everything you say to them can be argued and disreguarded because their god and their religion is quite slippery and bendy. There is a crappy answer for everything in Christianity, you know? My favorite being "God has to let bad things happen to good people or else everyone would just follow God for the perks, not love." OH WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? What, heaven vs. hell isn't a perk???? God's protecting hand isn't a perk? Just smug bullshit.

    My only good argument, that Christians stumble with, is, "How come when you believe in an unseen god it is 'faith' but a Wiccan believing in Mother Earth is rediculous?" After disarming faith, the other arguments, (Bible, history, common sense) are shot down more easily from that vantage.

    Why am I suddenly so angry?? I was just gonna say, "Yeah that's right!" but got very carried away.

    But my point is, we shouldn't harass Christians, they aren't hurting anyone. Yeah. There it is. Sure.

    By Blogger Imez, at 7:37 PM  

  • It amazes me that so many people - even educated people - can be rational about everything in life ... yet they still cling to such supernatural beliefs.

    Leprechuans? Mermaids? Nah ...

    An invisible man in the sky? Why yes, of course!

    We are evolving, just a little too slow in this area.

    By Blogger freethoughtguy, at 3:57 PM  

  • Freethinker...oh. You're the guy who goes onto Christian's blogs (around Christmas time) and tells them they're wrong and should be happy to celebrate Winter Solistace.

    Which, I gotta say, is kind of a pissy, smarmy thing to do. And very pointless. Christian's love persecution.

    I think I wrote as much on your blog some months ago but you managed to delete my comment quite quickly.

    By Blogger Imez, at 6:03 PM  

  • Esereth-
    I don’t blame you for thinking it; my own mom even gets it wrong. I am infrequently angry about such things. I wasn’t at all when I wrote this post. If anything I might have gotten a little annoyed. The problem is that I am, by my very nature, critical and blatantly honest. When things don’t make sense I point it out and my mode of declaration is a bit ruthless at times I admit. Most people confuse it with anger. I’m far less emotional about these things than people assume. Usually people will lash back in a very emotional fashion that takes me aback because it was never emotional for me in the first place. Although I do get annoyed when something doesn’t make sense and someone else won’t acknowledge it.

    Your sewing teacher is being silly. Theism is belief in the existence of a deity. Atheism is a lack of belief in the existence of a deity. It is lack of faith not faith that something doesn’t exist. That’s the dippiest thing I’ve ever heard.

    I don’t really argue with Christians except on the internet where they’ve come to forums to duke it out. I argue with the ones who purposely troll atheist boards looking to start fights. Oh, I revel in arguing with them.

    Whether or not the Christians are just trying their best I really think these questions should be addressed. A lot of them sit on their high horses and spew out judgments about anyone who doesn’t believe the way they do. And they are the ones in power. I don’t like the fact that a lot of them will sit in their living rooms and watch Fox News and not question anything. It’s shortsighted, and lazy and ignorant, and in the case of the current administration, dangerous. Rights are being chipped at.

    I however don’t really confront anyone who isn’t looking for a confrontation. As you said, it is generally fruitless. Anything that doesn’t make any logical sense they can attribute to a matter of faith. It bugs me that this is ok. I almost envy them but I can’t whole-heartedly because blindness of it disgusts me.

    It’s funny too how they can twist our being good for the sake of being good is somehow wrong. While they talk about being good purely for the love of god and then smugly talk about when they go to heaven. (Picture me rolling my eyes)

    FreeThinker- I think the rational in every other aspect of their lives people still cling to this because this is one of those taboo things to question. It’s been drummed into their heads that to question this one thing makes them a BAD person. I don’t want to be a bad person.

    Esereth (again) - I’m staying out of this one.

    By Blogger Abyss of Silence, at 9:49 AM  

  • love Love LOVE that post! You said it!

    By Blogger David Fitzgerald, at 10:23 AM  

  • Thank ya, doll.

    By Blogger Abyss of Silence, at 10:48 AM  

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