This I Believe

arthur - san diego, California
Entered on April 11, 2007

Why I Am An Atheist

I became an atheist when I discovered the world of reason. Scientific method dictates that every theory, old or new, is open to challenge. If any flaw is found even the most established theory is discredited. Scientific theories change when new discoveries are made, which distresses those who resist changes and dislike thinking. It is a world without certainty, uncomfortable for people who want simple answers to complex questions.

Religion works in a different way. Charismatic religious leaders invent dogmas that are embraced by people who become zealous followers. Tales of impossibilities are accepted without question. Proofs are not required or encouraged. If someone finds an inconsistency in the belief system, that person is ridiculed or exiled or murdered.

Science encourages discussion and new ideas. Religion is hostile to questions and challenges. The bible-based religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam began when we had no understanding of the origins of our planet and our species. The creation story invented by the founders was based on ancient myth rather than evidence. When science found proof of a totally different origin sequence, religion stubbornly rejected the geological evidence and threatened prison, torture and eternal damnation for anyone who challenged their fantasies. Bible stories such as the ones about a rainstorm that flooded the entire planet and someone popping out alive after three days inside a whale are too absurd to merit discussion. But people continue to believe, although some with a wink and a nod.

It defies experience to believe that good and evil are rewarded or punished by god. It defies logic to believe that the souls of dead people exist in an afterlife. A just and fair god? Look around. Good and bad fortune is distributed randomly without regard to the morality of the recipient. Has everyone forgotten the Nazi concentration camps? Was god out to lunch? Descriptions of the “afterlife” are vague except for gory descriptions of the pain in store for sinners and unbelievers. Which spouse does the remarried widowed person end up with? First? Last? Both? How does someone who experienced life’s pains and joys share emotions with someone who died at birth? Is a loving pious child separated from a loving but errant parent? The all-purpose answer is never to question god.

Some people say that even though many bad things are done in the name of religion it serves a good purpose because it gives people hope and a moral compass in times of uncertainty. I say that people would be far better off if they would develop a good social code that would keep them from killing each other.

Being an atheist isn’t a matter of choice. Once a thinking person has been exposed to science it is impossible to believe the charlatans who mislead the ignorant.

I don’t write to make converts. I write to clarify my own thoughts and for my own entertainment. Saving the world would be an unexpected bonus.