|The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli. (Wiki.)|
by Louis Shalako
People find atheism threatening. If there is no God, then all their past assumptions must be disposed of, also there are practical considerations.
We live and die by our assumptions.
What about Christmas? What about the Easter Bunny and New Year’s, what about the Constitution? What about Halloween, eh?
What about Halloween…
What about a nice big church wedding and a proper christening for our children? What about those conspicuous displays of social status?
And who would we have not just the right, but the duty to hate?
I guess the retailers would find other reasons and other ways to market their goods. And those who are so inclined will find reason to hate somebody, or something.
But these are all superficialities of religion.
What about morality?
This is a much better question.
Essentially, nothing changes. That’s right—nothing. We could still be hypocrites if we so choose. That part is easily transferable.
We could even clothe ourselves in the colours of atheism and use it as a platform to indulge our bigotry, our prejudice, and our ignorance, if that is indeed who we really are, deep down inside, where it counts most.
What atheism has taught me about Christianity, and perhaps some other religions, is that the universal values, the Golden Rule, the ‘do unto others as you would have them do to you,’ must have come from somewhere.
Once you accept the possibility that God does not exist, you must also accept that he never did exist.
Hard on the Old Testament scholars (some of whom are making a pretty good buck off of it) and believers, I admit.
But what if that is indeed the truth?
In which case what was Jesus saying? What was Moses saying when he came down off the mountain with a list of ten commandments?
Where did he get ‘em?
The only possibility is that the words they spoke and wrote came from somewhere inside of them.
They made it up on the spot, ladies and gentlemen, and so, once we accept that, how are we to account for their popularity? I mean, besides the fact that they represented an alternative to the political and social realities of the day?
Back then, everyone who wasn’t a king or at least filthy stinking rich was all covered in shit.
That’s still true, isn’t it?
But how are we to account for the fact that the injunction, ‘thou shalt not kill’ somehow resonates inside of each and every one of us? That is to say, those of us who aren’t true psychopaths?
Never mind that some will find exceptions, which in their minds somehow proves the truth of the assertion.
Why does it resonate within the human heart? It’s not just our education—surely we have forgotten or rejected much of that.
The world is all new, every day, and the world has changed much since we were born, in my case decades ago.
Much of our knowledge is obsolete. Much of it is out of date. So much of it we never use.
Atheism showed me the truth about the human heart.
Most human beings are worthy and rational individuals, most of whom need little encouragement or direction to do the right thing. Virtually all of us began that way, surely. Most of us really don’t get bent out of shape until some injustice comes along, and we see something that is not right.
What bothers most of us is a hypocrite—someone who has plenty of life-instructions for everyone else, not bothering to live by them themselves.
Religion at one time might have served the world well. It was an illiterate age, and the average person was ill-equipped for any great philosophical notions. They also had the annoying habit of asking why.
The funny thing is, if you took a grade one class of students, and made them memorize the ten commandments, and made no reference to God, religion, faith, the Bible, or anything other than those commandments, those kids—those children would take them to heart, memorize them, and remember and refer to them for the rest of their lives. You could not get the same results with adults. I grant you that much.
Honour thy mother and father. Do you honestly think a seven year-old kid is going to contradict that?
This is why atheism is such a threat, not so much to the state as to some individuals—it represents an unwelcome and unwholesome questioning of established values, notions, and power structures. It attacks prejudice, ignorance and bigotry right at the root.
What happens to the Constitution if there is no God to create everyone equal? Ah, but you never agreed that was true in the first place—you only ever claimed to ‘love the Constitution’—and you are prepared to kill to defend that viciousness, that ignorance that lies deep inside of you.
I have saved you from your hypocrisy. Don’t all rush to congratulate me. I’m being facetious, ladies and gentlemen, for surely this must be the most unwelcome news…
What if there is no God to witness the oath of office, or the oath that kings take when they are crowned?
People actually like kings. They sit above us and hand down their laws. We have no minds of our own.
It seems that we can’t trust each other. That’s because we have been divided up and conquered, but it’s really our minds that have been conquered.
We have become lazy in our thinking and so we honestly believe that certain notions of brotherhood, equality, liberty and freedom must have a divine sanction or they are no longer valid. We at least make a stab at obeying them, not because they have any real utility, not of our own free will, but because some imaginary being, unknowable, untouchable, unreachable, said so—in writing, all those long centuries ago.
But under atheism, they are still valid—in fact these notions are the only thing that can save us from a worse fate, a world, a nation, a people at war with themselves, and for no good reason except that it gives some very hypocritical and very small group somewhere justification to rule, exploit, enslave, and ever so obviously, despise. Our kings fear and despise us—surely that must give one pause to think.
We are all brainwashed in this society. It begins at birth, and it goes on all through school, university if you are ‘lucky,’ and into the home, the workplace and the streets. They try to create citizens that above all, fit into the established social order. Let’s face it, what else is there?
It is a simple rule of delusional thinking, also brainwashing, in that it is inconceivable to the individual. We trust our own selves, right? We trust our own brains.
Everyone else has been brainwashed—but not us. We are too smart to let that happen. We’d see right through it.
There is no place on the globe that is not owned, claimed or ruled by someone. We have no place else to go.
The first step in breaking that mind-lock has been taken.
It is up to the individual as to how far you want to go with it.
I can’t help thinking that for the average believer, they get something out of religion. They keep going back for a reason.
They go back for answers—and atheism just seems to keep asking questions and making statements that no one can deal with. Religion per se is not all bad. It has merely been abused. There are no simple, easy answers under atheism.
Atheism challenges a person to think--to think, ladies and gentlemen.
Having a God up above really hasn’t cured the ills of this world, it has not prevented war, injustice, corruption, or man’s inhumanity to man. It has not enlightened our leaders, nor exalted the common man. If the benefits outweigh the costs in some measurable way, perhaps it is not entirely useless. However, people could just substitute something else, some trendy new belief system that makes even less sense than the religion that they are rejecting.
Some would say ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,’ but we have deluded ourselves into thinking it does work—and if there is no God and there is no religion, then there is essentially nothing there to fix anyway. Atheism proves that God isn’t even a necessary fiction to govern ourselves, it’s merely a convenience that comes at a very high price: an unwillingness to accept that others have a right to their culture and their place in the world.
But see, they’re different from us, and that is all the justification the human race has ever needed.
Atheism is just a little bit different, ladies and gentlemen.
Religion is just delusional thinking that has been formalized and codified, all the way along the line. The fact that a good percentage of the people believe in it, or pay some minimal and passing homage to it, really doesn’t change the facts.
No one knew what gravity was until some brilliant mind came along and explained it. Until then, you stayed on the Earth’s surface because that was what God had willed.
I would like to think that now we know differently—but just listen to the rhetoric of those who would attempt to explain it in ‘scientific’ terms.
“God decreed that there would be gravity so that we wouldn’t all fly away into space, according to the laws of momentum...God created the universe in all of its elegance, and so the laws of God and science hold true from one end of the universe to the other.”
They want to have their cake and eat it too.
If there really is a God, we don’t need any laws of science at all. Neither does he.
What is the worst job in the world?
I would have to say judge.
Yet there are those who would willingly, gladly set themselves above us as our judges.
And if they had us in their courtroom, why, heads would roll, wouldn’t they? For they hate people like us with a very fine passion. That’s because we’re not as good as them—their God has decreed it. According to them, we must goose-step along in perfect synchronization or we are damned to eternal hell-fire. But if we do go along, we are doomed to fallacy, hypocrisy, and living a deluded lie which justifies every kind of injustice!
I’ve often wondered where that came from, but I can assure you of this much: it did not come from God.
That ignorance comes from somewhere deep inside of us. That hatefulness runs very strong and deep in some individuals.
It stems from fear, ladies and gentlemen.
If you conquer your fear, you will find that you get along a lot better with people who are a little bit different from yourselves.
And all the world is people.