Monday, December 03, 2007

Ad nauseum

I'm beginning to thing that I don't have anything to add to this whole "atheosphere" thing. All the arguments I have for being an atheist are being repeated and explored all over the net: sometimes in blogs that are better written than mine, or more considered, or better planned, or from a more solid grounding in philosophy, theology, the Bible, the Qu'ran, or whatever.

So why the hell am I doing this? Because I kinda like it.

It's also helping me get through some of these things for myself.

Although I live in Canada, and we're kinder to our atheists here than the U.S., I'm still surrounded by people of varying degrees of religiosity. My grandfather is strict Baptist, my parents have recently more or less become United, my brother & I are atheists, my wife is Catholic, I'm not sure my sister ever thinks about god (but her kids believe in Santa), my wife's friends are more or less theists, and when I outed my self to a friend of mine on his blog (he writes for the paper), he was astonished that I'm an atheist. So I have to answer questions all the time about stuff like this, and because I'm avidly consuming the material on the blogs, the news feeds, the subscriptions, etc., I'm talking about it a lot. So it's coming up. I'm bringing it up.

In fact, it's a testament to how different things are here in Canada that I can say in a pub, "I don't believe in god at all," and not start a fight.

So I read, and I write, to settle things in my head: here is why I don't believe in god, here is what is necessary to convince me, and here are the things that won't.

So what have I said already? Epicurus' arguments, first. And to be fair, that's pretty compelling. After that it was my own personal revelation. And I'm afraid I wasn't clear on that.

One of the things I get when talking to religious people is the evidence of personal revelation. "I know God (you can hear the capital 'g' when they say it) exists because I've felt Him." or, "He's spoken to me." or, "He answers my prayers." It's argument from personal revelation, and to be honest, the only adequate response is, "You're crazy."

Actually, that's a little harsh, and I wouldn't say that to my wife, or she'd get an annullment. She'd probably divorce me except that she's Catholic.

But since god doesn't exist, he can't speak to people. He can't answer prayers, and he can't make you feel him. Therefore, since we have to assume religious people are telling the truth when they tell you this, it means they are deluding themselves. Or, they've been deluded. But to be uncharitable, you can't be deluded without allowing yourself to be deluded. You are complicit. So, you are deluding yourself, and delusional.

If Tasha's reading this, I'm sorry. It's just logical.

But to return to my original train of thought, an argument for faith is that of revelation. Allow me to rebut.

An argument for my personal atheism is revelation.

I recall the days when I was religious. I talked to god. I asked him questions. I asked for favours. I asked for forgiveness. And I don't recall ever once hearing back. I shouted, I cried, I begged, I pleaded and I wept. There was no response. I remember feeling fear, and despair, and existential angst (though I didn't know it at the time, and I was only 11, so I didn't have enough sense of cool to cultivate it), and ultimately, alone. And there's the thrust of it.

God is supposed to reveal himself: ask and ye shall receive and all that happy crap. He never revealed himself. Ergo, ipso facto, caveat emptor and carpe diem, he's not real.

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