Beyond Atheism

I’ve been clear in a few of my stories, especially “Betting on God”, and “Bless me Father for I have Sinned”, that I do not believe in religion.

Let me be direct and specific about my religious beliefs so that there is no misunderstanding.

An agnostic does not know whether god exists or not. In the absence of proof, he suspends judgment.

In contrast, an atheist believes that there is no god.  Unlike agnosticism, atheism is a form of religion because it is based on an unprovable belief about god. Atheists argue that their religion is easier to believe because it is more rational than other religions.

I go a step further. Not only do I firmly and deeply believe that there is no god, I hope with all my heart that I am right.

God, if he existed, would be a bad thing. A terrible thing.

I refer you to god’s supposed works. Begin with the world as a whole. What a mess. Any god who created such a thing would have to be incompetent at least, if not downright evil.

No one with half a brain would have made huge expanses of the earth arctic and desert environments that will not support us unless we expend energy on heating and air conditioning in closed environments. Not to mention making half the earth cold and dark half the time. And then creating winter? What was that all about?

What would be wrong with balancing the earth at the center of four nicely spaced suns that would continually bathe it in warm light from all directions?

Given this mis-designed earth that requires energy expenditure for us to survive over most of its surface most of the time, no one with half a brain would have made fossil fuels the best source of energy. No only will they run out one day, possibly one day soon, using that fuel poisons the air and is likely to kill us all at about the time the fuel runs out.

What would be wrong providing a clean, inexhaustible energy source for us? Tiny little fusion reactors that float down from space at regular intervals would have been nice.

And the people that he supposedly created? Don’t even get me started on that. Endless crusades and inquisitions in his name. Mass murderers who invariably find Jesus after they’ve had their bloody fun times and been caught. Mean-spirited, bickering, arrogant people raging around us day in and day out.

Don’t tell me all these things are “tests so that I can prove my faith.” Not when the answers to the tests are the very science and technology that the faithful tell me are ungodly. I know bullshit when I hear it.

Tom Waits sings, “There ain’t no devil, there’s just God when he’s drunk.” I understand what he means. God would have to have been drunk to have created this world and the people in it.

But I’m not with Tom on this one. I believe that there ain’t no god, either.

If the world is the result of the natural processes that science has described, including the big bang and evolution, then we have hope. The world is simply a collection of problems and we can use our brains to find solutions to those problems.

On the other hand, if the world is the result of divine will, what hope can we have? Who would want to believe that the world is the product of malicious caprice? After some god has ignored our prayers for ten thousand years, why would we be foolish enough to keep praying to him? If god exists, his will is clear. He wants us to keep suffering and dying.

If god does exist, then it’s long past time for him to get off his ass and make things better down here.

Until that happens, I will be more optimistic that atheism, science, and hard work will make the world better than waiting in vain for my prayers to be answered.

I wish that English had a word for the step beyond atheism – not only believing that god does not exist, but desperately hoping that atheism will never be proven wrong.

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About Ashley Zacharias

I'm a post-modern woman who lives a vanilla life and dreams about kinky adventure. I write BDSM pornography but have no interest in acting out my fantasies in real life. Find my work on SmashWords.com and Amazon.com
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5 Responses to Beyond Atheism

  1. Curtis says:

    I was an atheist from maybe age eight to twenty-eight, at which time I converted to agnosticism, largely for the reason that you state (atheism is a belief system). While I believe there is no god, and Occam’s Razor tells me that it’s unnecessary and therefore unlikely, I can’t prove it doesn’t exist. I’m a fan of the definition that ‘an agnostic is an atheist who lacks the courage of his convictions’.

    “God, if he existed, would be a bad thing. A terrible thing.”

    I agree, and what’s with heaven? If there was such a place, wouldn’t its publicity team go to some lengths to make it sound like a desirable place to be? Instead it’s some place that sounds a lot like the common (non-Catholic) definition of limbo — a place where nothing happens and nothing changes. Dear, that’s hell.

    “What would be wrong with balancing the earth at the center of four nicely spaced suns that would continually bathe it in warm light from all directions?”

    The only place you really lost me (though I suspect you’re being facetious). To make that happen it would’ve needed to write a set of physical laws that probably would have to exclude gravity as a concept. And again, for me it would be hell. I love the night life, and I like winter because the nights are so much longer.

    An alternative that you might appreciate and that wouldn’t require changing this universe’s laws of physics would be predicated on the known stability of equilateral triangles in orbit. La Grange determined that if you have a massive object (like a sun) and a less massive object (like a planet) in orbit around it, orbital mechanics will create spots one sixth of an orbit ahead of and behind the less massive object in which other less massive objects will remain without moving toward or away from each other (unless acted upon by some force outside of that closed system).

    This means that you it could put smaller suns in the same orbit as the Earth, but two months ahead of and behind us. Each of the smaller suns would be approximately the same distance from us as Sol, but one would rise and set four hours earlier, and the other four hours later, thereby knocking eight hours off of each night.

    Now, this makes me wonder if it would be possible to have six objects equally spaced in orbit around one less massive object. In other words, could you have six suns orbit one planet? I suspect not, but I don’t have the math to prove it. Something to ask Larry Niven, I guess.

    • I admit that my physics is shaky. It’s been a long time since I studied Newtonian mechanics. But we’re talking about an omnipotent god, so I have a justification. He could change the laws of physics on a whim. Or, as you suggest, he could consult Niven for a lot better advice than I could give him. Ringworld engineers rule!

      On your other point, when I was a teenager, my Methodist Youth Pastor commented that he respected atheists more than agnostics because they had at least made up their minds. I think that was the point at which I made up my mind. But not in the direction that he expected. Philosophically, he was saying that he valued strong belief over skepticism. But, really, he was just trying to shock his young, impressionable flock and force them into a binary choice that would require that they accept Christ more deeply than the unthinkable alternative. Maybe if not forced into that choice by him, I might have found agnosticism more acceptable.

      As far as heaven, I understand exactly what you are saying. Eternity is a long time. People don’t think about what that means. After a soul has done everything, it would still face an eternity of boredom. Heaven would only be a joy for a soul who is in something resembling a state of permanent drug-induced euphoria. That doesn’t sound so great to me.

  2. Koala says:

    First off, as a disclaimer, I’m coming at this from a Unitarian/ Universalist perspective, which means I do believe in a higher power and that what happens in this universe has meaning, but I don’t believe that any of the major world religions have got it exactly right, or have a monopoly on truth.

    One perspective I recently found interesting, is from this rabbi I heard on the radio ( http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124582959 ) saying that if there is an inherent conflict between a God who is all powerful, and one who is all loving, he’ll take the all loving one. My take on that is that if by God you an all-powerful one who is micromanaging all the actions of all of us, I’m with you and I fervently hope no such God exists, since the objective evidence would indicate that he is exceedingly cruel and capricious. But that still leaves me room to hope for a God that love us and wants us to live fuller, more meaningful lives. That may sound odd from a guy using a marsupial as a pen name to write porno on the net, but it’s what I believe.

    • I’ve never been an official member of a UU congregation, but my family has. I’ve attended a few services but I’ve spent more time driving kids to cons, washing dishes (a lot of dishes), and going to OWL meetings designed to reassure us frightened parents who don’t understand the variety of sexual activity that people engage in. 🙂

      Though UU literature talks about a higher spiritual power, belief is not obligatory. They are so tolerant that they accept atheists and agnostics, too. In fact, the minister at the church that I was most familiar with was probably an atheist himself, though he never actually said so (as nearly as I know).

      If I were going to attend a church, there’s no question that it would be UU.

      • Koala says:

        That’s awesome. We do have a lot of folks in the atheist/ agnostic/ humanist spectrum at our congregation, and we all get along great. Probably the only world view that wouldn’t work is Nihilism. You can believe almost anything that works for you, but you have to believe in something.

        I’m laughing about the OWL thing. My oldest is about 2 years away from starting that, and we’re already somewhat freaked out. That and the dishes, although for me it’s been more about going to committee meetings than doing dishes.

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