Tuesday, August 14, 2012

From the Search Logs: Why Atheism is better?

While browsing through the logs to see what sort of intriguing searches bring people to this site, I found this little gem: "why atheism is better?"

I'm really torn. Because, on the one hand, there are all sorts of tongue-in-cheek, snarky, or otherwise humorous answers: you can sleep in on Sunday. You can eat anything you want, any time you want. You can shower in private, secure in the knowledge that there aren't any Peeping Tom's watching you from On High. Seriously, depending on your particular {complaints with/view of} religion, you can compose an entire Top Ten List of reasons.

But on the other hand, there's also a serious answer: atheists think atheism is better because we think it's true. We think that the world we live in is more accurately explained, and better understood, as the result of impersonal natural processes than as the work of some all-knowing, all-powerful creator. As far as we can tell, the available evidence does not indicate the existence of any sort of active divinity, singular or plural.

So when, for example, Gerie (of Exposing The Darkness And Telling The Truth) was shocked - shocked, I tell you! - to discover that atheists have already made up their minds, my reaction is basically, "Well, duh. Of course we have." I mean, we don't say these things because we're faffing around; we say them because, after careful consideration, we have come to think that they're true.


  1. I guess it boils down to: better in what way, and for whom?

    That is, are we discussing the merits on a social scale? Political? Cultural? Individual? Atheism is better for me, because I think it's true *and* because I, personally, don't have to experience a lot of the bullshit that came with my former religion. I'd never want my former religion in charge of deciding law or social policy, because it isn't rooted in what's actually good for people but in a very disconnected notion of what *ought* to be good for people. Actual consequences were less important than scoring philosophical points.

    That doesn't mean that an atheist can't have abhorent political/social beliefs, or that [Religion] can't institute good policy, but it's an entanglement that can cause problems.

    On the other hand, I have essentially no interest in "converting" people. If your religion is better for you, awesome. If your religion gives you cultural or social connections that are important to you, even better.

  2. Reading the link: I find it hilarious that somehow I'm supposedly responsible for attempted murder of Christ and making fun of him, which is somehow way worse. (Because we all know that Jesus was never ever critical of his followers. Ever.)

    I'd really like to know what Gerie envisions for people who aren't RTC. How long do you wait for conversion? Surely I shouldn't pretend to believe when I don't - that's incredibly corrupt. Should I be spending 15 hours a day waiting for a conversion to occur? Wouldn't Jesus prefer that I get on with, you know, caring for others and helping the poor and tending the sick and baking apple pies? At some point, isn't the ball in the court of the all-powerful, all-loving being?

  3. People try to find out the real reason I am an atheist. They refuse to accept that I am an atheist because atheism best describes the world as I see it. Just today a commenter said she was sorry that I was harmed by legalistic Christianity and she hoped that I would try her kinder, gentler Christianity. She assumed that the solution was Jesus, just a different one than I had before. I told her there is a third solution, rejecting God altogether. It is atheism that gives me true freedom to be who I am.

  4. I mean, we don't say these things because we're faffing around; we say them because, after careful consideration, we have come to think that they're true.

    I think this goes back to something that Fred Clarke (and one or two of my other favorite Christian bloggers) points out somewhat frequently: Some Christians simply can't imagine that. They're convinced that if anyone takes an honest look at all the evidence (nicely prepackaged by Josh McDowell and friends), they'll come to the inescapable conclusion that Christianity is true and correct. The idea that honest and sincere examination could lead anyone to any other conclusion is simply a reality they're not prepared or willing to deal with.

  5. Yeah, I've been dancing around that conversation over in the support group for Christian parents of unbelieving children. One of the mothers there is convinced that the problem is that people aren't being presented with the historical and archaeological evidence that clearly proves the existence of Jesus. Fortunately, at least one of the other mothers has stopped to point out (gently) that what seems like clear evidence may not be perceived that way to their unbelieving children.

    I mean, there are situations where I'd be willing to pick the argument apart... but that isn't one of them.


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