Last Updated on 2022-07-08 by Joop Beris
These are my reasons for being an atheist
Sometimes people ask me why I am an atheist. While I can think of many general reasons, I have personal reasons that first started me to doubt my faith and later convinced me that there was no reason to have faith at all. While I have written several posts about this slow process of realisation, this post is intended as a summary of that process. These are my reasons for being an atheist.
I have had several discussions with clergymen, protestant and Roman Catholic and what struck me as very odd is how they managed to have wildly differing interpretations of the Bible. More specifically, I discussed Genesis 1 with them and while one advocated a literal interpretation of Genesis and denied that dinosaurs ever existed, the other opted for a more metaphorical interpretation and acknowledged the existence of dinosaurs, telling me they had died out before the flood due to God changing the climate of the Earth.
Two competing interpretations by two men trained to teach about Christianity. They couldn’t both be right but they could both be wrong.
If the Bible (and other holy books) are open to interpretation, what does that say about their origin? If they are the word of a god or divinely inspired as the religious would have you believe, how could this be? Surely God could write or inspire a book that was perfect, easy to understand and not open to interpretation and misunderstanding. A loving God would want people to understand the message he/she/it had so they could all be saved. The fact that this isn’t the case is a very strong argument for the man-made nature of religion.
Simple logic defeats religious arguments
The first priest I ever debated, at age 11 during catechism at school, tried to silence me by enlisting the help of the school principal, who instructed me not to ask questions during catechism any more because it was disruptive. Rather than engage me openly in debate or just answer that he didn’t know either, the priest needed to rely on someone else’s authority as the church has always done to make sure it’s teachings weren’t questioned. If the priest’s faith couldn’t stand up to the logic of an 11 year old boy with an interest in dinosaurs, how could it have anything significant to say?
As a schoolboy, I was made to recite the Roman Catholic “Mea culpa”. Never once did I feel that this was just or right. How could I have anything to do with something that happened thousands of years ago? I couldn’t possibly be responsible. It wasn’t until much later that I realised just how illogical and morally disgusting the teaching of “original sin” actually is. God engineered the fall from grace or at least allowed it to happen. He allowed Satan to mislead Adam and Eve and when these events transpire, God not only punished them but the entirety of mankind, only later offering them a chance to redeem themselves by allowing himself to be killed as an offering to himself so he could forgive us for the wrongdoings he engineered in the first place. How illogical and morally dishonest is this? How could a thinking person believe this? Even worse, if we do not accept this chance, which is essentially a human sacrifice, the ever loving heavenly father will condemn us to eternal torment by fire. That isn’t love, it’s blackmail. How could punishing one person exonerate another person? What kind of disgusting morality is this?
Prayer is ineffective
I have seen up close and personal how prayer is totally ineffectual. Not just once but many times in church and in my personal life I have prayed, been prayed for and witnessed others being prayed for without it making a single bit of difference. People still died when doctors said they would. People still lost their jobs despite prayer. People recovered with the help of medical science. The more banal the prayer was, the more chance it had at being fulfilled. Truly difficult things, things that would be considered miraculous: never.
The explanation for this seeming indifference of heaven was that we can not know God’s plan but we must trust his will. Probably one of the biggest insults to human reason and understanding: just switch off your brain. Despite the fact that Jesus promises clearly that prayers in his name will be answered, nothing happened. This demands a better explanation.
I was forced to conclude that prayer was pointless. If there is a plan, then why pray? If God doesn’t care, then why pray? If God is unable to help, then why pray? And of course, if God doesn’t exist, prayer is pointless.
Religious people aren’t better people
You’d think that people who allowed God into their hearts would be better people, if there is any truth to what they belief. They certainly are fond of telling the world how you need God to be good.
Morality doesn’t appear to come from the Bible, though. Anyone with a bit of empathy could improve on the Ten Commandments. The Bible has no problem with slavery. The Bible is pro death-penalty, even for offences that seem trivial in the extreme. When has any reasonable person ever seriously considered that it might be a good idea to stone someone to death for wearing different kinds of fabric (Leviticus 19:19)? The morals of God leave much to be desired, judging by the Old Testament.
So do the morals of those who believe in a deity. Just open your newspaper or switch on the news. Every kind of cruel, unjust and inhuman act conceivable is done somewhere in the name of some god. It seems as if religious belief almost equals a universal pardon or a license to cruelty for the faithful. On divine command, it’s perfectly okay to set someone on fire, to hang them, to stone them, to shoot them or to beat them to within an inch of their life. Carve up someone’s genitalia? No way! Oh, your religion demands it? Well go ahead then, cut into that infant. Rather than a fountain of morality, human dignity and kindness, religion seems the opposite. By contrast, you’ve not heard of anyone killed or maimed in the name of disbelief in God.
Once I saw all of the above clearly, there was no way I could continue to have faith in a loving heavenly father who will one day take us up to heaven to be rejoined with our loved ones that have gone before us (apart from the ones roasting in hell, obviously), to live forever in eternal bliss and happiness, singing his praise. I came to see how religion couldn’t possibly be true, with all its many failings, errors and inconsistencies. I came to see again how science offer much better, more believable explanations for the world around us and this life, this one life is all we have. How sad to waste it waiting on an afterlife that will never come.
These are my reasons for being atheist. What are yours? Or maybe you are not an atheist and want to respond? Use the comments form below.
The “let me save you” meme was taken from the atheist memes section at Godless Mom.Thank you for creating the repository of funny and striking images.