My name is Chris…and I’m an atheist.

So…I found myself in a church the other day. Not really by choice…I was a guest at the wedding for a co-worker of my wife. I don’t do well in churches. It really isn’t much of a secret that I’m athiest. To me, religion just doesn’t make sense. I plain don’t understand it.

I can understand a time when humankind had not yet evolved the reasoning skills to explain where we came from. Stories are a handy way of filling in those blanks. How did the sun rise? The work of the Gods. Where does this weather come from? It was sent by the Gods. It was a handy way of covering up our lack of knowledge. Anything we didn’t understand became something that was the domain of a higher power. As our understanding has grown though for the world and the universe around us we haven’t discounted this practice and I can’t understand why.

We now have what is referred to by some as the God of the Gaps. When we reach a point where our current knowledge cannot explain some phenomenon, we attribute it to God. “This is where the divine providence lies. This is the proof of his existence. Since we have no explanation it is therefore the work of the Lord”. It instead, to me, seems a much more fitting logic to say that there is just something we have not yet discovered. It would be arrogant to assume that we have at our disposition all the tools and knowledge to unlock the secrets of the universe at this time…but it is just as arrogant to assert that lack of said explanations automatically proves the existence of a higher power. It would seem to me to be evident that everyday we are discovering more. That every day we are closer to being able to explain how it is that the world came to be and yet many of us still try to hold on to the idea that there is still a God that created everything. I liken it all to still deciding to believe that there is a Santa Clause living in the North Pole even though our parents have already sat us down and explained how every year they put the presents under the tree and drink the milk and eat the cookies that have been laid out. I prefer to put aside that reasoning. To no longer accept that illusion and to instead try and see the universe through logical and scientific eyes. There is so much natural beauty and wonder in the universe that I fail to see how there is need to attribute it to a supernatural being.

We live in a world of beauty. With changing weather…orbiting a a massive nuclear reactor at a distance of 149, 597, 870.7km. The scope of this universe is mind boggling. It is impressive enough when we picture our place in the world. When we try to wrap our minds around our place in the solar system or the universe at large…it is very very humbling. If we were to guess at the number of planets in the whole of the universe it would not be unreasonable to put the number somewhere around 1000000000000000000 (thank you Carl Sagan). Dr. Sagan uses this little factoid for one of my favourite arguments. If there are a billion billion planets in the universe, and the odds of life developing on a planet such as we have is 1 in a billion…then there are roughly a billion planets in the universe that hold life (extreme paraphrasing here since the book is all the way upstairs).

There is an unfortunate trend today of a sense of superiority amongst nonbelievers such as myself. I have read the works of such writers as Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens and I agree wholeheartedly with their underlying messages…I just wish that they could argue their points in a manner that wasn’t so condescending or condemning of people that choose to hold onto a faith. It isn’t for me. I don’t understand religion, I don’t understand faith. I realize that the point of faith is supposed to be believing in something despite the lack of evidence or proof but that rings hollow to me. All I ask is that we can try and keep everything out of the way. I don’t believe that someone else’s religious views should affect my life in any way and in return I will not argue with you about how I feel in regards to the mythology of your religion.

I do no need need the fear of divine retribution to live a moral life. I have no fear of hell but that does not mean that I live a life in sin. I live holding to the thought that we all have to share the world so we might as well try to make it a decent place for all of us. We’re all in this together. What’s more…I believe that we only get one shot at it. This is it. So…let’s try and do it right.

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16 Responses to “My name is Chris…and I’m an atheist.”

  1. assassingrl Says:

    I struggle constantly to find that balance of expressing my disbelief in magical explanations and not sounding condescending. I do have followers that are believers, and have lost followers that were turned off by my “atheist tweets.” So I try to keep “attacks” aimed only toward those that try to infringe upon my constitutional right to not believe and those that assume atheists are somehow morally inferior. I take both of these as an open invitation for flogging.

    • moriahbethany Says:

      I just got ganged up on by a group of those very same people, the way I see it…you’re right. I for the most part leave my christian friends and family out of it,they are good people. But I am getting tired of keeping my mouth shut when it comes to people who believe you have to be christian to be a good person.

  2. I respect your beliefs as an Atheist. I am a practicing catholic (ironic, I know, but I was raised that way). I have incredible faith that I am not meant to understand everything. I will never try to convert you or tell you that your beliefs are wrong because I don’t believe that ANYONE is right. But *I* personally believe that there IS a God that no one understands, a God that has been abused and used to justify murder and pain and suffering. A God who is used to justify sorrow and pain. I don’t think that God is like that at all. I think there is God in the beauty of the sun shining through the trees, in my sons smile…in the path that I was led to when the logical path would have ended in nothing but horrible things. But that is MY God. My god is just and loving and not a man OR a woman, but just a being. A God who would certainly respect your right not to believe. A God who would not just *poof* things into creation, but rather craft them through scientific laws, and not limit itself to one planet full of morons that is more of a social experiment than a society.

    So my only request, as someone who DOES have great faith, is that you do not judge ME for my beliefs. In turn, I won’t judge you for yours. And maybe we can start a trend…Maybe we can slowly make everyone respect everyone and then the world might be a tiny bit better.

    I may be an idealist but…I like it that way :).

    • moegreeb Says:

      I will not judge someone for believing anything (just as I hope they don’t judge me for not believing anything;D). All I’m saying is that I just don’t get it. I don’t understand how people still believe. That’s all.

  3. Sueanne Shirzay Says:

    Hey. Nice post. Very well put. You should write more often.

  4. That was one of the best posts about why/what we choose to believe I have read in a very long time. I commend you on being honest about your beliefs and having the guts to tell the world. More often than not when I read about “why I’m an Atheist” it turns into an angry rant about how religion is wrong or how it wronged that individual. I also think the way you do and I’m happy to see that there is someone else out there that isn’t going to condemn others for believing while you and I do not.

  5. Lord_Kinboat Says:

    While I agree with everything you said I don’t feel people need to know one’s proclivity either way.

    IMO it’s like sexual preference; the only people that should know about yours is you and the person you’re fucking. Everything else is a feeble grasp at validation and approval.

    • moriahbethany Says:

      Not really, you just don’t want to hear about it. People need to hear about life from other peoples perspectives because we all go out there and vote on things that affect each other.

      • Lord_Kinboat Says:

        Religion is a personal choice like what your favorite dessert is or whether you like to be spanked. No one else should know much less care unless they are baking for you or have your pants off.

  6. Ian O'Brien Says:

    If there is a higher power I don’t think that we as humans have the ability to define it. We don’t possess the experience or depth of knowledge to even begin to try.

  7. QueenSarah2062 Says:

    As a Christian Nontheist (not an atheist), I agree with what you have said so well here. I do not believe in the God you describe, and I do not sign onto faith as you have defined it. My concept of God is not a Being, intervening in history, but as Tillich explained, the nonpersonal Ground of Being. My concept of faith is not to assent to certain propositions about God, but to respond, sometimes with action, to the incomprehensible world. It is belief-neutral. This is probably more in line with atheism than with the most common forms of religious belief, but there are actually many progressives like me within Christianity, with whom you would probably not disagree.

  8. As an atheist Wiccan and a folklorist who loves ritual & metaphor, I agree with you – and point you towards Eddie Izzard’s latest tour – but to play the devil’s (god’s?) advocate, I would suggest that you (& Eddie) are missing a logical and believable alternative to atheism.

    Malevolent design. There’s a creator, and he’s a sadistic psychopath.

    • moegreeb Says:

      You make a great point Sara…and it is something that I have considered. Carl Sagan has mentioned something long those lines before…if there is a God…it would be awfully cruel for him to create us as such tiny and insignificant creatures in the backwaters of the universe.

  9. moriahbethany Says:

    Sounds similar to what I’ve been saying. See my blog “blip its over” at moriahbethany.wordpress.com

  10. Great post, well thought out. I am not an atheist, but rather a Pagan, a Heathen. I also think that it is arrogant to assume that we know everything. It is also ignorant to classify something that we don’t understand as something ‘super’natural. But I do think that at this point in our understanding of the cosmos to classify certain powers or forces as beyond our current understanding. We may understand them 1000 years from now… but for now, in the present, there is no harm in addressing them in a way that we can currently comprehend.

    My Heathen ancestors understood the beginning of the cosmos as a clash between fire and ice that cause an explosion, which in effect created all that is. Now, we know that is the Big Bang. But, is it not also an explosion of fire and ice? To me, religion is the poetic expression of the science of the universe.

  11. Chris,

    Get back to updating!

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