posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 03:32 PM
While growing up in a culture that never even thought there might be a god would certainly take away the "common knowledge" pressure of it, it seems
it would also steal some of the liberation from atheism.
I have to admit that one of the major selling points of atheism, in my mind, is that it doesn't argue that I was created to serve or follow rules
"just because". In fact, depending on the philosophy one chooses, the "purpose" to the extent that there really is one, may well be to play out
all possible scenarios- in other words, if I may poison my own well with the words of Aliester Crowley- "Do what you will".
This is important to me because I didn't jump straight to atheism. The existence of a God, in the abstract, is, in my experience, the last religious
tenet to fall in the move to atheism
First I questioned the perfection of the Bible. Revelations warns not to change Revelations, essentially admitting that the Bible can be changed. Then
there are the disputes over which books should be included in the bible, and finally one even begins to acknowledge the weakness of responses to
contradictions within the Bible.
If the Christian God is real and the Bible is not perfectly accurate, then a question arises of how we know God is really such a nice guy, or all
powerful for that matter. That makes Genesis a really weird book to read, especially in regard to "lest man become like US" and the dubious claim
that God created his own enemy with full knowledge of what would happen. Now you've got one of two things: Either God is a drama-queen who is making
people miserable with this little Reality TV show he calls Humanity, or else God is not the one all-powerful source of all things- in the later case
one must conclude that God, if not God by virtue of creation, is God by force- a tyrant.
So I made my first stand against God in the belief that I would probably go to Hell- though I really had no way of knowing whether hell would be fun,
lonliness, torture, or nothingness (I would have been OK with 3 of the 4, and the one I wasn't OK with is the least likely anyway, being a relatively
modern embellishment of Greek ideas).
As more Christian apologetics began to lose hold though, the idea that there was a God remained but the idea that it was the Christian god became
increasingly remote. I reasoned that the true God, if he had a religion at all, would have made himself known at the dawn of mankind, left traces near
the cradle of civilization, and wouldn't have let himself be forgotten. Unless one makes the argument that Judaism is based closely enough on
Sumerian mythology to be one in the same, there isn't really a good contender out there. Hinduism would be closest, but doesn't quite meet the
Which leaves a god who doesn't have a religion. Agnosticism and Deism were the two major options at that point.
And finally, for a Deist, God is readily replaced by science.
The fun part of that is that the spirit of resistance to God leaves one with a general sense of defiance to social norms, which in and of itself ads a
meaning to life perhaps as potent as religious meaning- the conviction that ones actions are a product of his freedom adds significance to little
things. Telling dirty jokes does for me what singing songs of praise does for Christians.
So considering that, I think I prefer being a "born again atheist" to being a "natural" atheist.
Any minute now someone will say that I have proven Atheism to be a religion. I suppose it would be if I had adopted this from someone else and not
come up with it on my own. But since there is no doctrine or dogma to be taken on faith, merely the conclusions one draws at any given time, no code
of conduct nor rituals, merely what you choose at any given time, etc, it seems very unlike the traditional concept of religion, and if my atheism is
indeed a religion, then it could be argued that a set of dice practices religion by taking whatever action the influences acting upon them dictate.
The next challenge is obviously that I have reduced myself to a cog in a cosmic machine. Perhaps I am. But if I am, then what does that make the
person accusing me?