Atheism

Why be an Atheist?

Atheist-Badge-BronceI find it interesting that, being an atheist in a world still predominantly religious, that I do not get more questions, arguments, or statements contrary to my beliefs. I refuse to believe in god or superstition, and these religious folks, especially Christians, due to my geographic location, are almost afraid to say anything.

Now, I have had some discussion with religious family members, and every once in a great while I get some remark on a Facebook post someone does not like, but, generally, I am ignored. So, in lieu of this, I wish to present some limited amount of logic to explain to the silent majority why I believe we should all be atheists.

Logical Trends

For the past millenniums, religion simply made sense. Someone in authority had to answer questions that they could not possibly have reason to understand. This, I believe is one of many sources of religion. Click here for a link to an article from Boston University regarding the roots of religion. As a warning, this article is really long and detailed.

As an example of this idea, the Israelite tribes, wandering the desert, according to Biblical mythology, were, perhaps, curious about where everything began.

Picture a young Jewish boy, looking into the night sky filled with stars and far away planets… things he could not possibly understand with the limited technology of the era. Pondering it all, he sits up and looks to Moses, the tribe’s teacher, and says, “Rabbi, where did everything come from? How did we get here?”

Moses, now burdened by the locked gazes of his people, a man of tradition and heavy superstition, comes up with his answer. This answer, now known as the beginning of the book of Genesis, becomes the standard for reason to the Israelites and, later “Jews and Gentiles” alike.

This sort of fireside story telling has been known by anthropologists as the standard for carrying on mythology and history before writing became more prevalent. Here began religion, stories of monotheistic and polytheistic higher power(s) who dominated mankind’s fate.

I believe, personally, that religion is simply an answer to the unknown. Why does this or that happen? Well, because “God” made it happen. What happens when I die? Will I go to hell? Well, you can avoid that consequence by believing in “God.” He alone decides your fate. Simply trust in him/her/them, and you will have a pleasant afterlife. Will I see my dead mother, father, uncle, wife, horse, or other loved ones, some day after death? Yes. “God” can make that happen.

The problem, now, I believe, is that religion is merely a fading, stubborn part of the past, a result of selective evolution.

We have answers to many questions, now. The origins of the universe, for example, can be explained and scientific research can even prove the majority of our origins. Genesis is no longer needed to satiate our curiosity.

Is there a god? Well, there is no empirical evidence whatsoever to prove that there is. Therefore, the answer, scientifically (the test of a logical atheist) is that there is no proof, therefore the probability of the existence of a god is very small.

The point is that, with the application of reason, devoid of the intentions of superstition and historical mythology, most of these questions can be answered.

“What about the unanswered questions,” you ask. Well, put simply, there is no reasonable explanation. Therefore, we cannot know and we cannot, logically, make statements of knowledge.

What happens when you die? There is absolutely no evidence that can answer this question. Being that, once a person dies they can no longer communicate their experiences, the only logical answer is “I do not know.”

To say that there is an afterlife is conjecture, the enemy of the scientific method.

Logic is NOT Religion

I say again, “LOGIC IS NOT RELIGION.”

I find that a common reply to atheism, personally, and globally, is that science is a religion, just like theism. This statement first causes me great annoyance. Much like a teenager arguing their impossible point, this statement immediately strikes me as ignorant. (I apologize for any offense. I am simply being honest.)

To begin with, religion, according to our dear Merriam-Webster is:

: the belief in a god or in a group of gods

: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

Now, I understand that the last entry in these definitions could refer directly to atheism. I will admit that many atheists demonstrate religious behavior in that, much like myself, they are arguing passionately their personal points. In this way, atheism could, perhaps, be construed as a religion.

However, science, the ultimate product of logical thought (to be argued, I’m sure), is not, in and of itself, a religion. Some people might approach it as a religion, but to do so would be a fallacy. In fact, approaching science as a religion is completely oxymoronic.

I recognize, of course, that there is Scientology, which has no scientific basis, and Christian Science, which makes many claims based on non-empirical evidence. To put “science” into anything is to state that, by modern definitions, an idea has been hypothesized, tested, and proven by statistical probability  to be almost certainly true. The only thing more steadfast than a PROVEN theory, are the scientific laws.

For example, Newton’s Three Laws of Motion, which are absolutely true, without question. A violation of these laws is, by definition, impossible. (Quantum Physics does pose some arguments, but the quantum universe operates by its own laws.)