Sunday, July 20, 2008

You're a non-believer too, you just don't know it.

For some reason people look at "Atheist" as a dirty word, as if being an atheist makes you mean or angry. Personally I think it is often misused, it's almost implied that if your an atheist, you want to forcibly convert all religious people of the world to your way of thinking.

But in reality we are all non-believers, ever heard of Zeus? Or Xenu? How about Apollo? Bet you don't pray to them, do you? Well guess what, millions of people either did or do. Many Christians despise atheists yet they don't believe in Mohammad, Jews don't hesitate to disregard Jesus - but still call themselves believers. So what makes atheists so different - we just believe in one less God than everyone else.

Believe it or not, all modern religions are just ancient ideas that have been rehashed. There's nothing original in any of them, even in Judaism which is the father of "The Big Three". Religion - like human beings - has evolved over thousands of years, into what we see today, every generation wholeheartedly accepting what the one before taught them, without rethinking what they'd been told. Imagine applying that same rule to astronomy, or medicine - what was thought to be true only a few hundred years ago is now laughable, but I digress.

When I started exploring the world of knowledge, outside of what I was raised with, one of the big questions to me was, how could there be so many people out there that are just as certain as I am in my beliefs? I'm a pretty cynical guy, but I don't think the Pope is consciously trying to deceive anybody, I'm sure he believes every word he says. As terribly misguided as I think the Tusher Rebbe is (just an example), I still think he means well, and is sincere in his convictions. If these guys are so certain that they are correct, how could I be so sure of myself? I understand the arguments for and against belief, but one belief against the other is just two straw men - it doesn't work.

It was kind of a big mental hurdle to get over, but it force me to think. If every religion says that theirs is the right way, and the others are 100% wrong, than whom do you go with? Don't they all cancel each other out? Is it purely by chance - I was born to Jewish parents so I'm Jewish, but I could have easily been born to anyone else and raised to believe in something else entirely?I asked my dad that question, and he had an angry and expletive-filled answer for it, but that's a story for another time.

The bottom line is we're all non-believers, we just pick and choose what not to believe in, I personally have chosen to throw God out along with The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and The Boogy Man.


Izgad said...

David Hume makes a similar argument in his essay on Miracles. I would also recommend C.S Lewis' book on Miracles which is, in part, a response.

For all that various religions disagree with one another, there is so much that they do agree about. Every civilization that has ever existed has believed in some sort of higher power that takes an interest in how we behave. Not only did they believe this, but they made it the foundation of their civilization. This may not be important if you operate on the fundamentalist model of my religion is the truth and everyone else walks in darkness, but the moment one is willing to acknowledge that there is a value to other religions then the issue of unbelief fades away.

On a side note. I found you through Jewish Philosopher. It was not fair of him to treat you as he did.

Shaya Getzel said...

The fact that they all believed in a "higher power", doesn't make it true, we rejected most of their ancient ideas but kept the central one: God. My question is, why?

Izgad said...

I believe that it is because this claim of a God has more merit than other claims. (This is not to say that it is true.) We have held on to many things from the ancients. For example we still talk about laws of nature and right and wrong.

Shaya Getzel said...

We still talk about the laws of nature because they have been proven to be correct, not so for god.

eeeee said...


i cant WAIT when he chooses to throw you out...

woww, this blogger, has some people with some serious issues..