In a way, I can admire the clarity of thinking of fundamentalist believers; they just believe whatever is told them, without question. It must be very restful to not struggle to understand, but just accept. I can understand the appeal of that – it takes no effort to not think, but just go about your business and life with a sense of surety of purposes, and not merely certainty, but absolute certainty of your place and everyone else as lesser than you, because god said so. How can people even argue with that? God said so because either I or one of God’s earthly representatives said that god said so.
The people I find confusing are the moderates and worse, the apologetics. People who do not take the sacred texts as literal and just cherry pick what suits them as need be – but rather moderates and apologetics undermine the sacred texts as metaphor or stories to illustrate truths rather than being historical telling. Moderates who bend their religion to appear to blend or bend to the reality of history and scientific knowledge.
How can they maintain a faith in a god, when they aren’t really convinced? That they acknowledge inconsistencies and inaccuracies – that they have to put actual effort in maintaining their beliefs – they must be exhausted from being on the defensive from fundamentalists who require no mental effort, but who expend energy into converted by the word or the sword; and from non-believers who constantly point out more and more reality, more and more scientific knowledge that poke bigger and bigger holes in religion and leave narrower and fewer gaps in knowledge for god to occupy.
Part of the problem is expectations, we are instant gratification seekers, so I can see the appeal of religion as providing apparently simple and very easy answers to any question. Goddidit, God’s will, sometimes the answer to a prayer is no.
You can pick any question, spin the wheel and any of these three things will provide an answer to the question. And don’t think too much about them not being actual answers that satisfy anything except the person who don’t want to think too hard or think unpleasant thoughts like, the invisible is pretty much the same as the non-existent.
And, if the universe has a causal agent, god, then what came before god? At which point, the believer brain freezes and numbs over from the blasphemy backlash.
But, by believer logic, if god needs no causal agent or anything before, then why can’t the universe be positioned the same way? Or at least, the horror, leave the question unanswered. What caused the big bang? We don’t know. Yet.
What caused the Big Bang? “God” or “We Don’t Know. Yet.” The response “God” leaves a full but unsatisfied feeling, while, “We Don’t Know. Yet”. This promise of eventually finding an answer is exciting, tantalizing, it demands action and answering, but filling in the answer blank with “god”; that stops all questions but answers nothing.
Science is the study of nature, god is outside of nature. In religious studies, despite the number of people who claim to present the various gods on earth, gods and their ways are not accessible to mere humans, who worship, appease, pray and sacrifice, without ever being able to predict the particular god’s response – and so assume that lack of response to be a no; yet, they continue to worship their absentee and deadbeat deity.
That the universe exists does not confirm the existence of a god – and especially, not any particular god. And there’s been a lot of them worshiped by all the civilizations and tribes and even individual people throughout human history. Moreover, the apparently orderliness of the universe suggests no god at all, for any god would have to exist outside of such orderliness.
Further, human brains are pattern seekers – we cannot know that there’s actual order or are we merely imposing order on the parts of the universe that what we can perceive; except that for the universe to exist, it must be orderly, otherwise, the universe wouldn’t be coherent and stable enough for life to be able to evolve. Chaos with infinite time, resolves into order, for chaos, is not sustainable.
Again, no gods are required, as gods are not agents of order and are not confined by the apparent laws of nature, thus, they cannot exist in nature. Logically, gods are not compatible with order and as such, they have no impact in practical terms.
Especially, to the usual apologetic position of what if what the god willfully does is to give the appearance of order – like making things appear mature so disguise the young age of the world. The simpler answer is that things are exactly as they appear to be, and there’s no need for any god to make them appear as they would be if they were as old as they actually are. Simple age and passage of time can easily explain the appearance of oil and geological features, without resorting to a trickster god who makes the world appear old.
Indeed, why go through all of the machinations of making the world appear old and god hiding behind the appearance of a natural world, if the world is indeed young and managed hands on by god?
The effort of moderates and apologists to cling to their gap-god, when the gaps are becoming fewer and narrower with the passage of human time, is staggering and mind boggling all on it’s own. The effort to reject realty and nature is to maintain a cognitive dissonance of Herculean proportion.
This is the problem of denying reality’s pointing to natural processes to explain the appearance and fact of things, leaving the apologist to claim that that god makes things look the way we would expect natural processes to achieve?
Seriously, god made oil appear to be made in a way that indicated a hundreds of millions of years process; god has arranged the universe in a way that it appears that there’s no god, yet, this same god expects to be openly acknowledged and worshiped for all these naturally appearing processes?
Don’t apologists think it’s odd for a god who is too shy to make it’s presence openly known and acknowledged, to demand to be worshipped before all other gods, is not only pathologically jealous but also shy?
If there is a god who is so powerful as to be able to manipulate everything to appear as though there was no god, while only revealing itself to a few humans who are in on it and who are charged with convincing everyone else to worship said shy god on pain of death now or everlasting torture?
Really, this god sounds like all the mythical evil tricksters who don’t need worship, so much as willing followers to drain of life force, as if the god derives power from those willing to hand it over not those who have been compelled to, but who are willing. Is this why god believers claim we have free will and that is what we are to hand over to said god by our worship? If there were a good god, then it would leave us to our own devices and not interfere with humans. Only an evil god would want us divided and our attention diverted to themselves rather than our own potential.
After all, if god proved he existed, then there would be little choice but to worship – thus, what god wants, and what anyone who seeks to be the leader of people want: unquestioning obedience.
That is not something that any person who believes in the ideas of a secular democracy should be willing to hand over to anyone – this explains why Americans promote their form of government as the ideal of individual freedoms, but still feel the need to be armed against the government, if it should fall into disrepute and act against individual human rights, that the population can withstand or hold the government accountable.
The true American values are not Christian values, but are the social liberal values that upholds the individual, the inclusion of groups of marginalize people and the opportunity to economically participate and to be heard in the larger society. The poor, hungry and tired of the world, who seek a place they can call and have as home.
Religious people do not understand atheism at all. Religious believers are motivated by promises or threats of afterlife reward and deeply attached to tradition, wherein all their thinking about the big picture has been done and is ready made packaged for them. They simply and literally do not understand that atheists are not only not motivated, but honestly do not expect, anticipate or wish for an afterlife reward.
People who have adopted religion have embraced a system of beliefs that provide answers instead of questions, that tell comforting stories that they individually matter when the world does not give this assurance, it soothes the brow and warms the heart with promises of love and care taking and justice for all.
Admittedly attractive, but, like pastries and cakes in the bakery window – pretty to look at and to smell, but tasteless and unsatisfying – especially compared to homemade offerings that take knowledge and effort, craftsmanship and artistry.
Atheists reject claims for any afterlife for the same reason as we reject religion – there is no evidence to support the claims – only subjective experience and wish/fearful thinking of death; all propped up by so called sacred texts that have no basis in historical fact – other than being set in a particular geographic region where cities and villages and some people actually existed, but the sacred texts are no more truthful than any movie or TV show set in a real city and occasionally incorporating a real life person or event within the fictional world of the show.
No comfort at all is scary when compared to the false comfort of religion, but, if you are unafraid, there is simply no lack of comfort to fear.
It is the rejection of religious claims, full stop. There is nothing else too it than that simple premise.
Anything else is down to the individual and nothing to do with atheism. This is why there is no atheist suicide bombers or political system or genocide.
Atheism offers nothing to die or kill for.