Jeffrey Clark Feb-18-93 12:24AM All my reasons for being atheist

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Jeffrey Clark Feb-18-93 12:24AM All my reasons for being atheist! Attn: Bill Connor Organization: ITC, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia From: ednclark@kraken.itc.gu.edu.au (Jeffrey Clark) Firstly, not all my reasons are purely logical but some are merely subjective evaluations. For the purposes of this article Atheist is defined as "one who does not believe in the existence of God or Gods and operationally believes that there is no God". Note the use of the word operationally, meaning that I believe such a thing for the purposes of decision making within my life but I am not 100% certain. (N.B. I particularly like point 19). 1. I have received no IMO trustworthy accounts of any interaction of any God or Gods with any humans. All accounts of such encounters that I have encountered thus far have been clouded by alterior motive, need for self-convincing, drugs or hoax. 2. There are thousands of differing religious belief structures which are mutually exclusive and equally believable. Some of these belief structures do not involve deities. The major point being which one? And if one, why one? Why any, isn't just as likely that all of them got it wrong? 3. As history has progressed the role of Gods has decreased as understanding has replaced supernatural explanations for natural events. If there were no God, then one would think it likely that in our stage of development, the hypothetical God would only be responsible for those things which we do not currently understand. In other words the remaining God or Gods in our modern society will only be necessary for the "possibly" supernatural parts of existence. However if 500 years ago God/s were necessary to explain the perfection of the heavans, where as now we know it's to do with the 4 forces of nature and the 3 families of matter, then I do not see why this trend will not continue, as it has for thousands of years now, until understanding will eventually replace all of the hypothetical God's reasons for existence. 4. If there is a God, how did such a being come into existence? The Big Bang Theory is, on the surface, a remarkably simple idea. However I have heard no such ideas contemplating the creation of God. 5. People who seem to have a broad knowledge about the workings of the universe as we know it so far do not think that a God is necessary to obtain a working hypotheses of the world around them. E.g Albert Einstein. Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, David Suzuki, Arthur C. Clarke etc. Here I am talking people who know a lot about a large number of fields of science and philosophy. 6. Much of the work of religion seems to be based on guesswork or pure creativity. The age of the Earth, the age of homo sapiens, history as it happened over the thousands of years seem to differ from religion to religion and, most importantly, differ from the objective findings of archeologists, geologists, biologists etc. 7. I could not enjoy Monty Python half as much, were I a theist. 8. I have never seen the distinction between Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, God, the Googy Monster, or distinctly pink invisible unicorns. All of these things seemed to be stories told to you by your parents that you eventually grew out of. From now on I'll deal distinctly with why I am not a Christian. 9. I have discussed religion with many theists (3 of which I have converted to atheism) and most of them cannot answer the most simple inconsistencies in their beleif systems. Most of them make great sacrifice for their belief systems and therefore undergo dissonance when confronted with ideological impasses. This leads therefore to not think about the inconsistency, it's better to bury the dissonance (avoidance behaviour) rather than confront the dissonance and move your belief system accordingly, which may cause much dissonance. This is why I believe we should set up Zealots Anonymous all over the world to help christians and other cultists come down from their mind bending cults. 10. Having done psychology I have come across the Gazzanigga split brain studies and numerous studies involving personality alteration via neurotransmitter infusion. These operations and drugs which affect the synaptic gap in neurones can and do radically alter peoples personality profiles. Their basic awareness, their memories, their mores, their reactions, their processing capacity, their motor functions: every function of the brain which has been hypothesised as part of the mind or soul can be and is effected by these treatments. Why would the soul alter due to physical changes in the brain? Isn't it much simpler to believe that these personality functions are the direct result of the brain and not of some intermediary supernatural soul which accomplishes nothing? 11. History has shown that those viewpoints or ideologies with the most aggressive doctrine are more likely to survive the centuries. Throughout the history of Christianity and Islam is numerous examples of this aggressive viewpoint. This is why they are the dominant views today. So why, in particular, should the most aggressive ideologies necessarily be the right ones. 12. A lot of testimony about the existence of a supreme rightness or God comes from Xtians and Moslems who claim to have felt God due to this spiritual ecstacy they had felt during a "religious experience". However I also have felt similar feelings to what they described as i sit upon a country hill at night underneath a cloudless sky and can "feel" Earth as a giant spaceship speeding through the Galaxy. I become so overwhelmed by the immensity and beauty of it all that I stare for hours. However I still understand the basic principles behind how the whole of the universe exists, and none of it requires a God. 13. Beleiving anything with a conviction that it precludes questioning is merely beyond my capacity. I simply can't do it. I have an enquiring mind and I have found my beleifs to be wrong before so why not again in the future. To believe beyond question in a supreme, all-loving deity seems absurd to me for the mere reason that it asks you to suspend reason. 14. Too often in the past has religion been used as an excuse for the great evils of human beings. Kings have promised the subjects that they rule by divine right or that they themselves are descendant from Gods and are therefore Gods themselves. Torture, genocide, racism, slavery, invasions, mass rape, and war have all been justified under the auspices of divine authorisation. This represents to me that religion is a powerful tool used by those smitten with power for unscrupulous ends (was that poetic or what). I do not want to be associated with such vile acts any more than being human already implicates me. 15. Too often the church does backflips and makes errors. If the chuch heirarchy were truly led by a divinity (as most claim) they would not make such glaring errors. It is because of this desire to maintain a divine public image that the church is loathe to admit to mistakes until the mistake is shown to be ludicrously obvious (eg Galileo). 16. As I point out the problems with each individual denomination under the Christian umbrella, Christians will often defend by saying "Oh well, THEY'RE not real Christians, but my church or I AM". This is so common that for each claim of true Christianity there is probably over a hundred other denominations chastising them as not real Christians. 17. Church teachings are sexist, judgemental, arrogant, inconsistent, filled with authoritative eplanation rather than rational explanation and are therefore not conducive to learning a good life philosophy. 18. The Bible has literally hundreds of ambiguities, inconsistencies, falsehoods, and ascriptions to God of horrific, peurile behaviour. Anyone who does not acknowledge that this is true really is not reading the Bible seriously or has a major mental block in the way of them seeing it. The Bible is bunk, there is NO denying that. 19. The anthropocentric view is a dangerous view for humans to have at this point of time. Humans, even non-theists, believe for some reason that the universe is here for them and that we will not be destroyed because there is some purpose. This abrogates responsibility. In order for our species to survive, and personally I think that this would be a good eventuality, we must realise that the universe is as ignorant of us as any other piece of space dust and cares nought whether we propagate and fill the universe or extinguish in a nuclear blase. We are responsible for our own survival. We cannot look to some all powerful Daddy to come in, when we have sufficiently stuffed it up for us to learn our lesson, and make it all right again. Once we stuff it up, it's stuffed up. Religions promote an anthropocentric view, to the detriment of our species. It is for this reason that I actively oppose Christianity and any other anthropocentric religion. 20. Religions have played their role in history. They were one of the major cultural influences in uniting peoples into close-nit communities. It enabled the survival of the species through some of it's toughest tests. But we have reached adolescence now and we must give up our childhood fantasies. We must quickly reach maturity before we become another teenage drink/driving or drug overdose or suicide statistic in the Universe's intelligent race survival book. I'd like to be part of the maturing process not the part that holds on to childhood days. 21. Any one of these reasons may be refuted, but in collaboration they shore up their strength in order to make only one option available to me in my choice between theism and atheism. I think this is, in effect, the start of an "Atheist manifesto". Not bad for a first draft. If anybody else would like to edit bits or add bits gives us an e-mail. Jeff.

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