Thursday, January 31, 2008

How I Became An Atheist

Children are pliable in the extreme, and they without fail emulate those they respect. My father was a Christian, so I became one as well.

Realize what I mean by that: I didn’t decide to become a Christian; it just happened. As a child, if someone you respect tells you that something is true — or even just illustrates that they believe it to be true — it becomes absolute. This is something that people don’t realize. There is no choice in these matters for a human until much later in life.

The place was more segregated than anything I’d ever seen. Everyone disagreed on where Jesus was buried, where this happened or that happened, and overall had their own dogmatic and exclusionary versions of how things “really” transpired.

I remember the moment it happened — the moment I realized I no longer believed.

I was reading a story about Moses going into a town to spread the word of God. The people of the town must have been Pagans or something because they wanted nothing of Moses’s teachings. They became quite terse with Moses, as I remember, and invoked the anger of God.

In a fit of rage, God proceeded to set fire to the town.

As I was reading this, with all of these doubts and questions in my mind already, I was dumbfounded. Setting fire to a town? A town full of humans he created? Was he surprised at their non-belief? How could he be if he created each one of them from scratch as an omnipotent and omniscient being? Wouldn’t he have had to create the very “flaw” within them that gave them the option to choose incorrectly? If not, how did it get there without his knowledge? What part of any of this was outside of God’s control.

Nothing. Nothing is outside the control of an all-powerful and all-knowing God.

Moses ended up negotiating for the people who’s town was being destroyed by God. He begged and pleaded that they didn’t know any better, and that they should be sparred. God finally listened to Moses and stopped his attack (praise God).

That was it for me. I put the book down and have been an atheist ever since.

As an example, the Bible clearly says that if you work on the Sabbath you should be put to death.

Whosoever shall work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.— Numbers 15:32

But millions of Christians and Jews work on the Sabbath and think it’s just fine. Why? Because they’ve justified — using their own morality — that no just God would really condone killing people for such a thing, right? Well, here’s the simple question: what gives regular men the right to deny the parts of the Bible that they see fit? What tells them to pick and choose what to follow and what to discard?

The answer is nothing. Nothing tells them it’s permissible to ignore the exact words of the ten commandments if at some future time the laws don’t permit their enforcement. Let me state this again: God commanded Moses to kill a man for gathering firewood on the Sabbath. The man was killed. There is nothing about this that expired or became obsolete due to later law. If you are a Christian or a Jew, and you work on the Sabbath, you are breaking God’s law in a way that God himself says is punishable by death.

And that’s my point. You, my fellow humans out there who know this is a hideous idea but cling to a Christian identity are fooling yourselves. You are moral because YOU are a good person. You are moral because you don’t kill people who check their work email on Sunday. You decide how your family follows the Bible. You decide the moral way to raise your family.

You think your goodness comes from the Bible, but it doesn’t. It was inspired by the Bible, and you enjoy the idea of the Bible, but that idea is actually your own version of it — not the real thing. If it were the real thing you’d be in jail right now. The same goes for Muslims, as the Koran commands unspeakable evil as well of its followers. In short, if you’re open, thoughtful and moderate then you’ve perverted the original teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by being so.


yogijp said...

Do Our Values Come from God?
The Evidence Says No

God - The Failed Hypothesis - Keynote Presentation

Why I am Not a Christian - Bertrand Russell

Victor J. Stenger

Richard Dawkins

Sam Harris

Jakob DeRoover


yogijp said...

Isaac Asimov

yogijp said...

Scott Adams - Dilbert

Life, the Universe, and Everything: An Interview with Douglas Adams

yogijp said...

Pope Denounces Some Biotech as Affront to 'Human Dignity'

Pope Cancels Speech After Scientists Protest