Why atheism?

by Skimmer 28 Replies latest jw friends

  • Hojon

    You can't "choose" to be an athiest any more than you can "choose" not to believe in the Tooth Fairy. Lack of belief is the base condition, until proof comes along to show that something exists you don't believe in it.

    Also, nearly all athiests figure out that they are athiests by doing research on the subject. Ours is a Christian culture, most people are brought up believing in God in one form or another. Only after actually examining the evidence does a person realize that there is no proof of God, and at that point by definition becomes an athiest (or an agnostic if you hold out that there might be a god and that lack of proof does not mean lack of existance). Isn't there an expression about that, something like "Non Existance of Evidence isn't the same as Evidence of Non Existance?"

    RunningMan- I like the baby tooth analogy, that is exactly how I came to discover my atheism.

  • bboyneko

    This is very long but it sums up why I am an atheist

    A Quick Ten Minute Slam of Christianity

    What is Christianity?

    Christianity is the belief in an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, eternal God who sits outside of any known reality. He has been around forever, although He transcends time (in some vague, ill-defined way); He is intangible, yet He touches everything; and He is rational and just, though not in any of the ways we mere mortals would consider rational and just. This God, who has been from eternity, has waited for eternity, has suddenly been struck with a great idea: He wants to make a universe.

    We don't know why He wants to create the world. It must be out of sheer boredom, even though this God is entirely complete in Himself, and does not need any external refrence to derive meaning. But I think God seems to be without meaning, without purpose, He is lonely, and needs to create beings infintesimally smaller than He is to keep himself company. This is His "Plan for the Ages".

    As we can see, this "plan" is a plot to boost God's ego by creating a whole slew of beings who are to worship God forever. God first creates angels. These angels are "messengers" and "helpers" of God, although God, being able to do all things, would never need errand-boys and lackeys in the first place. In addition to their normal duties, these angels are also created to give worship to God forever. However, after some time, God finally figures out that these angels are a little too robotic for His infinite taste, so he decides to spice things up a bit - he gives the angels free-will. Of course, this omniscient God presuamably doesn't realize that if He gives the angels free will, they will get bored with the incessant harp-playing and chanting, and that Satan, one of God's creation, would rebel if he was granted free will.

    Bother. Now this God has flubbed it all up. He created these angels to love Him forever, and now a third of them hate His guts. Of course, God, being able to do whatever He wants, could wipe off these beings from his sight with a lift of his finger. But nooooo ... instead of cleaning up the mess He created, He feels the need to prove His infinite grace to the angels, and so he lets Satan go ... and comes up with a better "plan".

    This "plan" involves creating man. Of course, He doesn't just create man, he creates a lot of things along the way. A short list of them: the universe, matter and energy, the four fundamental forces, the big bang, chaos, quantum mechanics, relativity, subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, metals, non-metals, semiconductors, organic compounds, inorganic compounds, gases, light, heat, hot gases, stars, planets, asteroids, comets, satellites, solar systems, binary stars, multiple star systems, brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, main-sequence stars, giants, supergiants, novas, supernovas, neutron stars, black holes, quasars, stellar x-ray sources, spiral galaxies, elliptical galaxies, barred-spiral galaxies, galaxy clusters, water, oceans, dirt, land, continents, polar caps, atomosphere, ozone layer, amino acids, neucleotides, proteins, RNA, DNA, cell membranes, cells, bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, poisonous plants, vertabrates, invertabrates, insects, poisonous insects, reptiles, poisonous reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, the poisonous Japanese blowfish, the Japanese, mammals, primates, hominids, and finally, men. Of course, this all was just child's play to an infinite God, He could have gone on and on and on, but He only had an eternity to waste and He had to stop somewhere. In any case, this process of creating the entire universe was for the express purpose of creating man - nothing else. It took this infinite God about 15 billion years to get it all working correctly, but He figured that it would be just too complicated to explain the entire deal to man. So when God tells his prophet Moses about the origin of the universe, He says that it was all simply created in seven days, BOOM, just like that.

    This God, of course, did not bother to destroy all the dinosaur bones and did not even think of setting all the radioisotope indicators back to suggest the world was created only a few thousand years ago. He probably never thought we'd get that smart.

    God also explained to Moses a lot of weird things. He told Moses about Adam and Eve and the story about the garden of Eden. As the story goes, after God finished creating a perfect man on the sixth day, he put Adam in a beautiful garden. The first task Adam has to complete is that of naming the animals, presumably in Hebrew. But instead of being happy at God's creation, Adam feels lonely. Imagine that. If you had an infinite God who loves you and takes care of you, would YOU feel lonely? Of course, this is because our all-knowing God, having already made male and female animals, somehow forgot to make a female human. So, to rectify this situation, God creates woman - out of Adam's rib, no less.

    Oh yeah -- I forgot to ask. Anyone here disagree that this is indeed Hebrew mythology?

    Anyhow, back to the story. God has created a perfect man and woman to worship Him forever, right according to the specifications. But, presumably, this all-knowing God forgot the lesson He learned from Satan, and so He makes the mistake of creating free will, AGAIN, and giving it to man. Of course, being all-knowing, he KNEW that Adam was going to rebel, but He had supossably already worked out a complicated plan of redeeming the whole world already. Unfortunately, this plan involved sending a lot of God's creation to a place called Hell, which God had created long before He created the universe. But God isn't content with just giving man free will, He sets a forbidden tree in the garden for the express purpose of tempting Adam, and He also lets Satan into the garden in the innocent form of a talking snake. Now God's got everything set up.

    This is of course sacrilige, to say that God tempted Adam and Eve. It is better to call it a "test" of Adam's faith. However, Adam knew God personally and had no need of "faith" to believe in God. Not only that, God knew the result of the "test" beforehand. What sort of God creates tests he knows his creation will fail?

    Anyhow, the snake tells Adam and Eve (presumably in Hebrew) to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, and Adam and Eve, not knowing good from evil, are dumb enough to do it. God gets so upset that he condemns them to death, throws them out of the garden, curses the land Adam walks on, and curses Eve by bringing pain into childbirth. Why God would let his creation continue in this charade, and let Eve bear children who have the mark of the original sin, is not known. But God made sure to tell Paul that all sin entered through Adam and Eve. Presumably, God, who has created all things, including good and evil, felt the need to blame His creation for the mess He made.

    God of course, has no reason to be angry at Adam - Adam had no knowledge of good and evil, besides, compared to God, Adam is a piddling trifle. Why should God care what his creation eats? Why should He care if this thing he has created, exercising the free will God gave him, chose to disobey? This seems to be the celestial equivalent of beating a two-year old baby to death with a baseball bat for stealing out of the cookie jar.

    Later on, the first stage of God's miraculous plan for the ages includes wiping out all of his creation except for 8 people he miraculously keeps alive in a boat. Apparently Noah rounded up all the animals from all the way across the globe - penguins from Antartica, kangaroos from Australia, various American animals. He packed them all into a rather smallish boat that would sink alone by the weight of the insects carried inside, let alone birds, mammals and reptiles. After getting off the boat the animals apparently headed straight back to their homelands, crossing wide oceans, blazing deserts, dense jungles. This was all tiring work, but luckily the carnivores refrained from eating other animals until they were sufficiently populated enough to sustain a carnivore-like lifestyle. Upon returning to their homelands, the genetic diversity in every living creature just exploded a billionfold times over, while God was busy at work creating fossils and setting back their radiometric dates, so that it would just APPEAR like they had been living and evolving for millions of years.

    Let's not get started on the tower of Babel.

    Step two of God's "Plan for the Ages" was to design a barbaric institution in which millions of innocent animals would be slaughtered in order that God could "pretend" He does not see inequity. Why God would invent these theatrics is completely beyond me; I do not see why God needs something to die in order to forgive sin. It couldn't possibly be because that the nations around Israel also performed animal sacrafice? Naw ... Well, I suppose it should come to no surprise that the smell of burnt flesh is "pleasing to the Lord", but one would think, if God really liked that smell, wouldn't He burn His own animals himself?

    It seems this Hebrew God is a real stickler for making sure every sin has a corresponding death. Even if the thing that dies is not necessarily the thing that sins. But that's ok. God has the right to be capricious. We can see that God is powerless to forgive sins without killing something in the process.

    Step three of His "plan" (which already looks highly overrated as a "plan") includes the nation of Israel. Israel, of course, being lead by the one true God, felt righteous indignation at the baby-killing practices of the poor ignorant idolaters in the Promised Land. And at God's command, the Israelites exercised their divine right to - uh - murder the children of these disgusting idoloters. They also enjoyed the bit about murdering the idolaters themselves: all the men and women too, along with annihlating the cities and destroying the livestock of these disgusting idolators. And the looting, plunder, and raping wasn't too bad either. In any case, I believe the correct term for the systematic killing of an entire race of people because of their religion is "genocide".

    So much for "thou shalt not commit murder". Of course, God really had to do all of this because He was completely powerless to convert the ignorant idolators or at least relocate them to far distant lands.

    I am happy to report that though, that the spectacle of dead animals doesn't last forever. As it appears, God has had a neat little trick up His sleeve all this time. He sends this guy Jesus who is not only some superintelligent rabbi, but actually God himself. 100% man, 100% God. Remember, folks, this is before government invented statistics. This Jesus lived a sinless life in which he broke nearly all of the Mosaic law (harvested grain on the Sabbath, refused to stone a woman according to the Law as punishment for adultery, took up a whip and went through God's Holy Temple in a rage savagely beating peoples, taught that one should hate their mother, leave their father, follow him, and that the Hebrew cleanliness laws were all obsolete). This Jesus is also the same man (God?) who had the audacity to say that God is Love and that you should Love Your Enemy - despite anything the Old Testament said about annihalting entire cities, destroying houses, cattle, and killing men, women, and children. Eventually, though, Jesus lets himself get killed on a cross, although we don't know how an omnipotent God can die in the first place. This sham death now pacified God enough that all men can be saved from Him sending people to Hell. Well, not exactly ALL men - only those who believe that God is all loving and would kill his only son to prove it. The rest he sends to Hell.

    Lemme get this straight: God creates Hell, then kills Himself to prevent Himself from sending everyone to it? It's like pointing a gun at the person you love most in the world, and remarking that you love them so much, you're not going to shoot them. But instead, you shoot yourself.

    To quickly finish this diatribe up: in the end, of course, God will do a few more theatrics just to prove to His rebellious creation that He is God, shortly before he throws them into the lake of fire. You see, this God, who has required his creation to take his existance on faith, is very angry at his creation for having faith in the wrong Gods, or no Gods at all. This world was entire guessing game, and those who guess wrong should be punished. But who should care, we're all dust anyway, right? This system of morality, this meaning of life, this hope that we will spend eternity with a very vengeful God who is not very far removed from the Satan He created - it's all meaningless. God is angry for being misunderstood, but it never occured to God that more people would believe in Him if He just would show Himself.

    In the end, also, God destroys everything that is evil (God, having created evil, has the right and ability do destroy it at any time - why He has not already done so is such a mystery). He also finally gets around to destroying Satan (another thing He didn't want to do earlier), and calls everything that remains back up to heaven so that He can be worshipped forever, just the way He wanted. Presumably he gets rid of that "free will" thing that He created so that no one has a chance of rebelling ever again. And we all live happily ever after.

    Well, I have been accused of many things in my life as being an atheist, but the primary accusation is that I must have some ego trip, that I am just 'too smart for God'. No. That is missing the point entirely. The point is that we don't even know if God had anything to do with writing the Bible. It could be the work of mere men, or angels, or demons. But if were written by God, it would make sense. It would be perfect. God wouldn't make all these blatant mistakes. Give me one good reason why this blithering mess we call the Bible could not be the work of mere, superstitious, scientifically ignorant men? How do you 'rationalize' all these problems? How do you explain them away? The answer is: you don't - you ignore the problems completely, you close your mind and believe on blind faith.

  • RunningMan

    Whew! Did that take as long to write as it did to read?

    Good work, though.

  • Skimmer

    First, let me thank all of you for your thoughtful responses.

    Second, for any who might have taken umbrage at my comments as being patronizing, you are mistaken as to my intent. There is apparently some misinterpretation of my use of the word "choice"; maybe "decision" would have been better. But in this context I think it is a distinction without a difference.

    Third, as for diatribes against theism or Christianity, some of what was posted is pretty good -- perhaps almost as good as what I've once said myself. Ones by the likes of Voltaire, Nietzsche, and Ayn Rand are even better. Are they convincing? That is for each to decide.

  • Ranchette


    I’m really not crazy about labels because like others have pointed out they are up for different interpretations but I will try to describe where I am at now.

    If I understand this correctly an Atheist just flat out denies the existence of God or a creator.
    That’s not comfortable for me because I don’t have proof that God exists anymore than I do that he doesn’t.

    I think Agnostic would be closer to where I’m at. If there is a God I see absolutely no evidence of him being involved in our lives.
    At best he set things in motion and lets nature take it’s course.

    To imply that he is involved would make him a very partial, prejudiced, and unloving God in my opinion.

    Most religions teach that God has the power to solve mans problems and end suffering.
    Many also teach that the reason he hasn’t done any thing yet is because Satan caused Adam and Eve to sin, then Adam, Eve, lost their everlasting life and all their offspring suffer terrible things to this day because of their mistake. Meanwhile Satan who caused the whole mess in the first place gets a six thousand year or more party!
    That is not the work of an all powerful, loving and just God.

    Here is a recent example why I cringe at the thought of an almighty God.
    When the WTCs fell thousands perished. Then we have people who escaped or were late to work or decided not to go that day saying that it was God that saved them.
    Well I’m glad they are alive but what makes then so much more f*****g important than the thousands that died!
    God had nothing to do with it.
    God and religion is a fantasy to me, just a warm fuzzy feeling because of mans fear of death.

    I didn’t choose to believe this way. In fact it would be so much easier for me to go with the flow since I live in the “Bible Belt”.
    Here non- belief is considered non patriotic as well as a one-way ticket to Hell!

    How did I get here? Tons of time, research, experience, logic, thought and evidence or rather a lack of it.
    We were taught that we must have God, Jesus, and religion in our lives in order to be persons with strength of character, morals, and values. I believe this to be false.

    Without the crutch of God and religion I found a feeling of intense responsibility and appreciation of life. I also love others and myself so much more now that I don’t have guilt, fear, and the constant message that I’m not living up to his expectations.

    I was a JW all my life and when I lost trust and respect for the organization I started my journey, looking for answers.

    I started by reading the Bible from cover to cover and comparing between several translations. That alone was enough to convince me that it is not divinely inspired book. The war God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are not the same.
    I did much more research and I could go on and on but this is getting long so I’ll close for now.


  • COMF

    I didn’t choose to believe this way.

    It's no use, sis. He's locked into a mindset, he isn't hearing anything.

    Without the crutch of God and religion I found a feeling of intense responsibility and appreciation of life. I also love others and myself so much more now that I don’t have guilt, fear, and the constant message that I’m not living up to his expectations.

    Amen, alleluyou, sister! Tell it, tell it! Dass right, mm-hmm, dass sho right!


  • Ranchette

    Hi Comf!

    Nice to hear from you again.
    You said,

    Amen, alleluyou, sister! Tell it, tell it! Dass right, mm-hmm, dass sho right!

    Were you dancing when you said that?

    Anyway glad you've had the same experience as I have on this.


  • Rex B13
    Rex B13

    My own two cents to your quesion:

    As a JW, one is taught all of the negatives about Christianity, the mysteries are scoffed at with rationalistic thought that completely ignores scriptural interpretation. Along with that, the Society (as do Islam and many other false religions) denies the deity of Christ. JWs deny the immortal soul and the separation from God for those who refuse the atonement offered by Christ's sacrifice. They slander real Christianity and create a mindset hostile to anyone but them, i.e., you've heard 'dubs say, "If the WTS is wrong, then all are wrong" or, "I'll never join any other religion".
    The last part is a leftover fear that just "maybe the Society is right". That's why we see temporary increases in meeting attendance when a crisis occurs.
    Once people discover that JW rationalism cannot explain every scripture to satisfy skeptics, they easily lose faith in the Lord God Almighty. It's really a brilliant and effective way for Slanderer to trap more people in his web of deceit.
    They never receive the Holy Spirit. They worship a sad characature of God, one that is not sovereign (in ultimate control) and is one dimensional (the Father only). They are false teachers who are controlled by His Nibs.
    The best lies are the ones with a grain of truth.

  • pseudoxristos


    Did you make a choice or decision to become Catholic?
    Were you raised in a Catholic family?

    Please give us your background.

  • Skimmer

    Hello pseudoxristos:

    A fair enough question, although off topic.

    I answered this long ago in another post. My choice to become a Catholic was made after about twenty years of "weak" agnosticism interspersed with brief brushes of Deism. It was and continues to be a mostly Scholastic road to belief, a contrast to the possibly superior and certainly more common emotive route. Neither of my parents are Catholic, although my father's mother (passed long ago) was a Catholic as was by recently deceased mother's only brother. I myself was raised in a Methodist family before spending a brief period of my middle teenage years as a JW.

    I do not believe that the Roman Catholic Church has a monopoly on truth, nor is it free from a whole slew of historical mistakes. The Pope believes this as well, and his encyclicals and, more notably, public apologies of recent years show this to be the case.

    I cannot say that the RCC is the best path for everyone; certainly there are many hundreds of millions of people that have no knowledge of the RCC or even Christianity in general. Are they doomed? I rather doubt it, and I for one would hesitate to try and limit God's actions with selecting alternative methods of belief for others. Who knows? Perhaps for some, atheism is the best way for them to lead a life with Christian morality albeit without any Christian ritual. That is clearly better than having the ritual without the morality.

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