Freedom From Religion Foundation

(Image source Wikipedia)

I figured this moment would be a good time to talk about somethings I feel compelled to talk about.  As an agnostic atheist I’d say I am as unique as any other out there.  It is easy to discern that not all atheists represent other atheists, in fact you’d be lucky to find one atheist that is ideologically identical to the other.  However, I do think as I am now, my experience is an important feature of who I am.  Just because a person is an atheist doesn’t suddenly make them inhuman, superhuman, meta-human, or mean that there experiences of life or otherwise must be entirely different.  Ideologically, the only difference between us is that on a logical reason level we place different weights on fact, evidence, emotions, and superstitions.  We do, and feel the same things.  When I see a spider, logically I can assess very quickly if it’s a health risk; however, my overwhelming response is to freak out because I am still human.  I accept that the unexplainable events in my life are just that, unexplainable; however, the profoundness of these feelings make me want to believe they are more.  The only difference between my beliefs, and the beliefs of the religious is that ‘in my opinion’ I treat them realistically, with full knowledge that I can’t prove them and have no evidence of them.

Science has thus far, shown to be the only reputable source of knowledge about life and the world in which we live in. It's time we gave credit where credit is due, not religion over science. (Image source Wikipedia)

I feel it is in the interest of wisdom, that I mark these beliefs and challenge them.  Furthermore, that I should resist incorporating them into my knowledge.  It’s quarantined information in my mind, because I realize logically the risk in accepting things uncritically.  “The fool is always assured of self, and the wise always question themselves.” – unknown.  A scientific mind, has beliefs and superstitions like everyone else, accept that they make a concerted effort to not let those beliefs blind them.  However, it is quite intrinsic that religious people (specifically Christians), link God inseparably with morality, and many other concepts.  As such, when dealing with an atheist becomes a perceptual problem because they see our disbelief as rejection of falsely mutually exclusive traits they attribute to their belief.  However, in a sense, I do reject the morality of the bible, but this does not mean I reject morality.  In fact morality is my highest principle, one which my conscience in very sensitive and in tuned to.  Point simple, rejecting the objectionable morality of the bible should be everyone’s prerogative, not just the atheists.  But, as we all know, Christians tend to cherry pick biblical morality.

If our society embraced biblical morality, there would be sheer chaos.  And if you disagree, look at the middle eastern theocracies.  It demonstrates itself as flawed with no need for others to test it, but that is a whole other topic I will not touch on in this article.  Point is, dogma has no place in moral ethics because it creates an envelop of sacrosanctness that can impair one’s ability to challenge that morality in the event that it become unethical to do so (if it was ever ethical to begin with).  However, does this mean that beliefs and feelings can be proven?  No.  But, the uncritical thinking approach to accepting things on faith, will never produce evidence only assume or assert fictitious proofs that are logically flawed thus impairing the possibility of knowing with scientific proof.  I think it is possible, much in the way we have learned to detect invisible particles in Quantum Physics.  (I.E. the rings of detectors in particle accelerators, or other detection mediums.Meaning, the afterlife/soul may be very real, but remains unproven; therefore faith is a fundamental impedance to finding evidence.  I for one theorize that the soul does exist, but lack experimental proof to show this.  Scientific method is the only way to show with certainty to the living that which only dying will show now.  However, look at it this way… Healthy skepticism means either you’re right, or you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you are wrong.  At least that is an optimists view of it.

While ideas such as religious thought of angels coming to whisk you away in the event of death seems romantic, it's important to take a dose of reality. There is no evidence of such things, and if an afterlife exists maybe completely different from what we are all told. In fact, the afterlife could be either the most joyous or terrifying thing you have every experienced. This type of imagery is designed to comfort, nothing more (image by Reneta Scian)

I find it unhealthy to live under the “guarantee” of the afterlife, because of the potential risk of relegating or devaluing the weight of one human life perhaps even your own.  In the event that belief in a soul and afterlife is proven false, (in the event of murder over religion) you are condemning a valuable and unique individual to oblivion over a false belief.  For what reason; dogma, superstition, and religious control not to mention the under such systems, most are fleeced, while only a few prosper.  What greater blow to religion could there be to prove the soul exists but doesn’t follow the principles of religion, or need a divine being to exist, or even that this “divine being” isn’t anything like they tell you in Sunday school.  Religion isn’t about saving your soul, because most of what I see of religion is rather that it is a system of power, control, and a way to merge the wealth in a way that is beneficial to a minority, and subjugation to the majority.  It’s a governmental system hiding behind divine providence, self-righteousness, and self-edification; and ‘in my opinion’ a form of government that has long outlived it’s usefulness.  I understand that it was useful in the foundations of civilizations, but it at the point we are at has become an impedance to progress.  Any modern culture who has suppressed science for religion stops advancing, and has been occurred many times (Baghdad at the turn of the 1100s).  Religion and science are not compatible, as one is based on method and evidence, and the other shirks the entire process and leads to magical thinking.  Religion and Science are the antitheses of each other.

We all want to know these big questions, being atheist doesn’t mean I don’t want to know, or that I sacrifice my want to learn to be so.  Quite the contrary, it makes me want to learn, and not jump to conclusions about things I can’t possibly know.  Religion, blind faith, inflexible moral absolutes, and dogma will never lead to the discovery of the truth of who we are and why we are here; however, scientific method has been demonstrated through evidence to be the most honest and likely approach to give us the answers to that question.  All faith does, in the religious sense, is stop us from learning by valuing a trait that allows us to be lazy, and make up conclusions without having tested them and proved them valid.  I have don’t have faith in my friends, I have reasonable expectations through their actions that their character is sound enough to invest my trust.  Faith is dangerous, because you’ll let your friends swindle you because you accept what they tell you uncritically.  Everyone is skeptical about something, I am just a little more skeptical about a few more things than many Americans are.  From its own proofs, logical thinking, and my own experiences religion seems more like a scapegoat than a valid principle.  I argue for this, because I think the really challenging questions of life, and human nature will continue to elude us as long as mankind doesn’t think logically thus leaving a vacuum for the fallacious dogmas of religion to fill (God of the Gaps).  If there is an afterlife, soul, reincarnation, or transcendent places we go when we die it will be science that proves it, not the uncritical, magical, and flawed religious dogmas of the world.

The beauty of discovery through science is a profoundly almost religious experience, because it exposes your mind to the wondrous transition from the unknown to the known. It is in these places, and the minds of those who live in its methods that will show the unknown to us. True desire for knowledge, to learn with an open mind is the key to understanding our world, and each other. (image source Wikipedia)

So I still have “beliefs” and fundamentally I am still human, and like so many of you I want the answers to the many questions of life.  However, I will not jump to conclusions to carry out this, because I feel it’s disingenuous to do so and a false victory.  Victory comes in true pursuit of knowledge, not in haphazard guesstimates, short cutting which circumvents discovery, or the deeply ingenious claims of unknowable proofs.  What is unknown, remains as such until it is known, but not any method will suffice.  I am just highly critical of what and how I prove that which is provable.  Using an argument, belief, justification to degrade the value of the life of another, eroding empathy and compassion felt towards that person is morally objectionable, probably psychopathic.  This is quite rampant in fundamentalist religious practices, and is an affront to basic human decency ‘in my opinion’.

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