Justification for my atheism

GeneralRamos's picture

Why am I an atheist? I have occasionally been asked why I don’t see god, or why I deny god. I have been told many times I’m not really an atheist; that I really believe in him at heart. I have heard all sorts of things that simply don’t mesh with the reality of why I am an atheist. I am not an atheist because I’m rebelling from god, or because I haven’t looked at the world around me, or because I’m afraid of punishment and thus deny god.

So why AM I an atheist? Perhaps we should start with a background of me in association with religion. I grew up being a very weak Christian. My family was not at all religion centered – in fact, the only religious training I got was a very broad study of some of the happier stories of the Bible with my aunt, who is a Jehovah’s Witness. My view could have been described as a theistic evolutionist. I did pray regularly, and from my heart, but never attended any churches as a child or even through adolescence. I thank my parents so very much for not indoctrinating me from the start in religion, because it left me free of the dogma associated with church and left me to freely question everything.

My Sophomore year of high school is where I typically mark my de-conversion. It was really rather uneventful. I simply started to question the existence of a god more and more, and all it took was some debating in a forum to sway me to the other side. The argument that won me over was a logical explanation of why religion came to be, and I noted the simple obviousness of it, and dropped the traditions. I had many other friends who were atheists, so there was really no issue here. I was content with this until I got to college.

In my freshmen year of college, I fell in love with and dated a very devout Christian literalist. I also came out to a very religious area of the country, and it became a presence in my world greater than ever before. Coming from a skeptic position, as I’d been most of my life, I continued to question and investigate the beliefs of my girlfriend and fellow students. My reasons for being an atheists increased greatly as I read more and more into the history of Christianity, science literature, debates between atheists and theists, and Christian apologetics. After my girlfriend and I broke up, I tried once again to sincerely find god. I tried praying, and going to church, and opened myself up to the idea. But I couldn’t reconcile a god with the world around us, and realized my praying was just me talking to myself. My investigations to try to reconcile Christianity and the concept of a god with the real world only collapsed further as I looked into it more and more. Again, the reason grew and the pseudoscience, logical fallacies, and contradictions became glaringly obvious.

What you should get out of this history is that I am a skeptic, a freethinker. I don’t adhere to doctrine or dogma simply because it’s doctrine and dogma. I question things and require empirical evidence to back up claims. In your life, do you really trust things to faith? Would you be able to accept that Vishnu exists on faith? If you can’t, then you see why I don’t believe in the Christian god when there’s no other evidence to support his existence. People will undoubtedly try to point out plants and flowers and sunsets as evidence of god. These same people will never point out tornados or hurricanes or ravaging fires. Besides, neither category provides any evidence of a god. The argument from design doesn’t hold up to scrutiny – there’s no comparison by which we can justify any claim that the natural must be created. Rather, evolutionary processes seem to accurately and fully describe how a plant came to exist from primitive single celled organisms, and abiogenesis describing the development of the first cell from a progression of more and more complex proteins.

You should also understand that I have been around the trail a couple times. I know what I’m talking about, to quite a large extent. I understand what evolution is and what it’s not (despite the strawmen many build), I understand what’s in the Bible, I understand what the Jesus character said, what the god has done, etc. I know a lot about the history of Christianity and its origins in other religions from around the region. I know that there exists no contemporary evidence for Jesus, that the first writings were at earliest 70 AD, and that the earliest existing copies are newer than that.

I am not a Christian because the origins of Christianity appear to be far from genuine. It is built from certain Jewish sects of Gnostics, based off of other savior god myths going around at the time of this gnostic movement. It borrows much from Zoroastrianism and other religions of the area. Judaism, the base for Christianity, has polytheistic roots as well. How can one, knowing all this, come to the conclusion that there’s one god out there? Especially the one as described by Christianity, since it came so late in the game. Wouldn’t we expect the oldest religion to be the right one, too? Zoroastrianism is the earliest monotheistic religion we know of, why don’t we accept that as the truth? If god has been talking to everyone from the start, why should it be the first religion? This, compounded with the lack of evidence for Jesus and the countless contradictions within the Bible and between it and the real world, all lead me to the conclusion that it’s irrational to believe that Christianity is correct.

Beyond this, there’s plenty of reason to dismiss other gods, but since most people asking me this already do so, I shouldn’t have to worry much about it. There is nothing special about Christianity that gives it any more credibility than Islam or Hinduism. All of these gods have no evidence going for them, have religious texts that are not in line with reality, and have similar sketchy origins. The fact that so many religions exists should immediately lead you to question whether a god exists. Also, the fact that religion is largely dependent on the area you live in and who raised you should lead you to question the validity of any given religion. Shouldn’t a religion that is true be prevalent everywhere from the beginning, rather than in some region?

The issue that supernaturalism has no mechanism by which to interact with the natural. Our senses, the only things we have for determining information about the world around us, only work with the natural. Even the devices we use to extend our senses are dependent upon physical matter and energy, not the supernatural. By its very nature, the supernatural is beyond nature, beyond our grasp. We couldn’t detect it if we wanted to. You can’t hear god unless he’s making vibrations in the air, you can’t see him unless light is being reflected from him. There is no evidence for a soul, the soul is in fact a useless entity – there is no need for anything other than the brain to understand consciousness and the mind. It’s a supernatural body that would run into the same interaction problems.

Also, if heaven and hell are not physical places, there’s nothing to worry about. One can’t be tortured or enjoy pleasure in hell or heaven without senses, and can’t have senses without a body. Since we are our brains, we are not the soul even if such a thing existed. What is a soul supposed to be? Everything that makes me who I am is in the brain, stored experiences and instincts. So what’s there to worry about? There’s no reason to believe anything happens to you after you die, because you are your brain, and your brain just rots. Do dolphins go to heaven? Apply this same thing to humans.

I think I have provided adequate justification for why I’m an atheist. If I think of anything more later, I will feel free to throw it into this.