The God Idea


This is an essay written by "Manhattan." I think itīs really good, so I hope you enjoy it.


First off, I'll put the definitions out there in the hopes that no one starts arguing that 'atheism is a religion' or that they're 'not atheist they're agnostic.' These are incorrect statements and they have no bearing on any serious discussion. You can be an agnostic theist or agnostic atheist. Atheism is strictly the lack of belief in any gods, not the belief that there aren't any gods (that's what's called strong atheism). Agnosticism is the belief that there is no proof that any god can be proven to exist. It's the opposite of gnosticism. Atheism is not a belief system, it doesn't even have ONE belief. An atheist who isn't agnostic would probably fall under the title 'strong atheist'. Weak atheists don't believe that there is definitely a God OR that there definitely is no God. They're neutral, I guess you could say. I'll describe religion as such: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Since this is the model all major world religions fit into I'll use it. Prepare for itemized skepticism:

1. There is no proof of God. Not even in the way deists wish there was. First of, 'nature is complex and beautiful' is a point I hear a lot in support of design but it completely glazes over any rationalization. Y'know, the question of how that would be God's design pops out at me, just sittin' here, barely awake, random thought, I know, it's crazy and OUT THERE but there it is. Once you ask a deist this question it's all prosaic nonsense from then on. All of the arguments I've heard (and that's plenty) orbit a central, convoluted pseudophilosophy. It's too beautiful to happen by "chance" (a huge misunderstanding of Darwinism), or some other stupid, unscientific response. If you're deist then there's no reason anyone acting in a scientific capacity should take you seriously. You barely take philosophy seriously enough to warrant a discussion metaphysics. That's about as far out as you can get in science. Plus, if God appeared I'd think I was hallucinating and even if I thought he was really there I still wouldn't necessarily give a shit about anything he had to say anyways. There's always reason to believe he doesn't exist. There is, really. First of, he's either there and a complete douchebag or he's this flimsy poetic... thing that's everywhere and you've slapped a personality on him. It's anthropopathy and people shouldn't treat it seriously at all. But people do.

2. There are other reasons to be moral than believing. Naturalists, rationalists, etc., are all moral without religion. In USA, the most religious developed country in the world, there are more handgun homicides and teen pregnancies than any other developed country. Obviously the Christian moral structure is not working. Since most people are religious and there are so many crimes, the believers obviously have some differences between what they infer as religiously important. It doesn't matter that it's just there, innate, part of its own system, the religious moral structures are not being implemented by most people. Why? Well, I'd venture a guess and say that because most of it is fucking obvious and the other parts are just so off the wall it's hard to take them out of historical context. But on a bigger, less "are you taking crazy pills?" note, most people are moral, they are just like you and me in the sense that they know what others expect them to do and what their actions would be if we did something wrong. These aspects of morality are universal. Religion has no upper hand here. Especially since religions dictate how the universe came to be and how it was intended to run. That would have an impact on believers. A lot of people out there really don't think critically about these things. They have a good feeling and run with it. And if that's what the core of religious belief is then I feel slightly stupid for not being more facetious about religion in the past.

3. No matter what system you use to teach people about God, there will always be those people who act politically on it. These people aren't just in Opus Dei or the Vatican or any of the megachurches, they're in even the most liberal churches. They act politically with fucked up motivations. It's one thing to believe there is a God, I have nothing against those types of people now. But even with people in my family, who believe God isn't the Old Testament guy, and that the rules in the Bible aren't meant to be used now, will still pick at what they personally feel, for whatever reason, is wrong and will have heated comments about homosexuality, abortion, war, etc. These are people who are not pious for the most part, but even they believe that homosexuality is unnatural. What motivation do they have? No, Ophiel, not stamp collecting or friendship (LOL), but religion. Not only has it been proven that homosexuality is natural, there's never been any evidence that homosexuality is destructive in any way, per se. It goes to show you, nothing taints a person's view the same way religion does.

4. Why am I so vocal about Atheism? Isn't that just the same as being religiously outspoken? No. Not even close. I'm hoping for a system where people think rationally about all things, including their spiritual beliefs. Not all the time, strict logical thought isn't useful in many situations, but on the important things, yeah, I expect people not to base their decisions on what some magical, invisible entity tells them to do. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but that line of thinking kind of throws me off. Go figure! Religion is an important political device, it shifts government actions and causes undue problems. To be spiritual is great, I fully support it, but using it as an excuse for any behaviour that affects others -- and in a world where it's improper to address religion critically -- is too easy.

5. Atheism is not depressing. Just like people think existentialism is depressing, they often attribute it to nihilism. It's not. You can be an existentialist atheist (like me) and still be happy. Talk about close-minded, most believers think it gives them some sort of awareness of reality that I just don't get. Well d'uh! Everybody sees the world slightly differently. Everyone in your church sees God differently! They feel their own versions of happiness, sadness, anger, nostalgia, etc. You have nothing I don't have. Except extra baggage and a block for scientific logic. Life's complicated enough without all the shit religion brings to the table. Should I start wearing my tin foil hat? I hear the aliens can read my thoughts. If I ask you that then is your first response different from a question I would aim at your religious beliefs (if you have any)? Why? There's no conclusive proof for or against either.

6. Is it really a coincidence that less than 10% of MENSA believes in God? Does being intellectual make you an unbeliever? Not necessarily, but you do start thinking outside the box more often than not, and disregarding the MENSA study, what kind of thing is God? With the concept of any god, there is no universal model and there's no way to hold one up over the others because you're citing transcendental forces, some magical being. Excuse me? Okay, and I shit concentrated evil, right? You either are realistic and rational about religion or you aren't. That's the deal. You can base your entire reality on religion but expect criticism. It's easy to criticize, too easy. How can you not criticize the belief in God as a rational person? And in practical context, how can you justify what religious beliefs have caused?