One reason to talk about atheism ….

Workout notes
This was a complete bust. Last night I had a mild headache (not serious), so I took two extra strength Tylenol PM; that was complete overkill. Note: I rarely take anything.

Hence I was groggy this morning and my attempt to run was a farce; I was hung over!!! I made it 2.5 miles in 27:30 (11 mpm) and quit and walked it in…so total was just over 3 miles or so. It was a pity since the day was perfect for July; not that warm and not humid. I might take an extra walk home just to enjoy the day more.

I wasn’t going to even write about this, but while searching for a good music video to listen to as I typed an article about Bayesian hypothesis testing, I found some old Christopher Hitchens videos. In one of them, he was asked “why do you talk about God so much if you are an atheist”.

Hitchens’ answer was fine; he responded that he was fighting against some truly evil ideas (e. g. that “end times were near” and improving the “here and now” was relatively unimportant that many monotheists have). That was a good enough answer though I know of many theists who think that the real purpose is to establish “God’s kingdom on earth” via good stewardship of the planet, working for peace, justice, curing the sick, feeding the hungry, etc.. By the way, those are great things to do.

I know of other theists who see the appeal of “packaged spirituality” and “community”; one Christian flat told me that he didn’t really ascribe to the “supernatural mumbo-jumbo” and were he living in, say, Indonesia, he would have become a Muslim instead.

Here is my take, as an atheist

Mostly I am an atheist for intellectual reasons:
1. I’ve seen no proof of anything supernatural and
2. The idea that in our multi-billion galaxy universe, it makes no sense that on planet orbiting one particular star in one particular galaxy is somehow, well, “special”.
At a lower level, think about humans being around in present form for 50,000 years (at least) and that this deity decided to reveal itself to us…in the last 6000 years?

But there are emotional reasons too.
1. I don’t expect miracles (ok, magic tricks) to be performed on my behalf. I am subject to the same laws of nature that everyone is subject to, and I don’t expect “exceptions” for me or for my loved ones.
2. I sure as heck don’t expect for some awesome deity to have a “plan” just for little old me. Being a theist would inflame my megalomania. 🙂

So, you know, for me, atheism is a type of “Good News”: “don’t worry about soliciting for exceptions to the laws of nature because you are bound by the same laws as anyone else. So relax and enjoy as much of your life as you can!” If something bad happens, there is no deity to be upset with.

Now, much of what I said does NOT apply to, say a Spirit of the Universe, Creative Power/Force, or some deity that doesn’t suspend the laws of nature at the bequest of someone (or at all) and should evidence of such a deity were to be discovered, I’d consider it.

So, one might say that I am an agnostic (in the informal sense) with respect to deities that I haven’t heard of yet.
But I definitely do not believe in the deities that I’ve heard of.

As to the possibility of knowing (which formal agnosticism applies to): knowing at some 100 percent confidence level is impossible. But I am reasonably confident (say, 99.999 percent sure) in rejecting the existence of the deities that I’ve heard of (e. g. deities that display human characteristics such as jealousy, anger, rage, rewards for “faith” or blind belief, etc.)


July 11, 2013 - Posted by | atheism, religion, running | , ,

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