Show of hands, fellow heathens: how many of you have been called anything from one to all of the above by believers? Show of hands, dear believers: how many of you think that anything from one to all of the above truly applies to all atheists? I can see that’s all hands up…
I can’t and won’t speak on behalf of all atheists – we are an extraordinarily diverse fabric of people and the only thing that unites us is the simple fact that we’re not convinced that some god/s exist. I will, however, speak for myself in this entry because I am getting sick and tired of wasting my time dealing with the same old idiotic accusations from “the other side” (yeah, that same “thy shall not judge”, “turn the other cheek”, “the meek shall inherit the earth” bunch that are so quick to judge, snap back, hate and showcase their most epic arrogance that can be possibly conceived of in the universe…). I don’t just allude to one religion here either, because in one manner or another they all come up with either one or a few or all of the claims listed in the title – same old accusations I’m getting sick and tired of hearing every other bloody day.
1. The “immoral” atheist, or “where can you possibly get morality if not from god?” plus “you just don’t understand god/ god’s ways/ message/ whatever”.
I’ll write a long in-depth, well-linked entry on morality one of those days. For the purpose of this entry, here is a short version:
a) Where do monkeys, dolphins, ants, crows and other social animals get their morality from – what literature do they read? Ah, that’s right – they can’t read. They have no access to the babble or koran or you name it. They have no ‘soul’, they are incapable of moral decisions and self-reflection, yadda, yadda…
Weirdly enough, they still show exactly the same behaviors we deem moral: care for the weak, wounded, sick and little. Mercy to the defeated. Appropriate in scale punishment and reward systems. Mutual care, grooming, protection within the group. Noticeably, they don’t wage genocidal wars for the most part…
They – and us humans, too – do NOT get morals from anyone’s favorite mythology texts.
‘Morality’ – or the innate sense we all (with the exception of babies, some types of the mentally ill, some people with specific medical conditions (like pain insensitivity) and sociopaths) share of what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ to do on a fundamental level, at least the basics like not killing/hurting others, comes from evolution. It is a necessity for the survival of a species that relies on the social structure and group for its existence. We’re hard-wired to be empathetic and be reciprocal in care and empathy.
Some sneaky bastards manage to jump in with “oh, but there still exists an OBJECTIVE standard of good and evil, otherwise how would we know if murder is bad to begin with or love is good, blah blah blah… Therefore = god”
Therefore, say I, =IDIOTS. With all due (dis)respect.
To be as juvenile as to claim that the world is divided into two polar camps of ‘good’ stuff vs. ‘evil’ stuff that is always that what it is regardless is akin to being stuck in teenage maximalism well into adulthood. No, there ARE NO inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’ things in this world. No, even something like murder isn’t inherently good or bad (otherwise you’d send all animals out there to the gulag and you’d also be forced to condemn everyone who ever killed someone in self defense to a lifetime in prison). Things just ARE. And we humans go ahead put labels on them according to what we see fit.
We do as a species seem to agree that slaughtering everyone over minor disagreements isn’t the greatest way of ensuring our survival (abrahamic religions’ god, of course, has a totally different idea and in the spirit of ancient tribalism is very much into genocide over some petty shit like, say, different skin color…), that pain is rather unpleasant – but this isn’t morality. This is self-preservation: selfishness at its utmost. We don’t want to be beaten up, tortured, killed and stolen from. Not one person truly wants to (masochists aside, but even they have their limits). So since we as individuals live together in groups, we figured out back in monkey times (no, we did NOT evolve FROM monkeys – we are apes and we share a common ancestor with modern monkeys – this was just a figure of speech) that if we don’t do all that to others all the time, then they also don’t do it to us all the time, and then everything works out and everyone’s happy. No rocket science. No grand morality, either.
b) I do, however, claim to be MORE moral than believers. Here is why:
– My moral values aren’t something I’m spoon-fed by others while unconscious. I didn’t accept them without any thought or questioning. They are not immune to any criticism (which makes them superior, not inferior, to the nonsense ‘infallible’ claims). They are not a product of blind superstitions and faith in toothfairies.
– My moral values are NOT influenced by fear of punishment and hope of a reward. If I were to face the person I most strongly despise on a deserted island and i could kill that person and no one would ever know about it – unless that person attacked me I would still not kill them NOT because I would fear some sort of a punishment, but because it is wrong.
– My moral values aren’t centered around preserving some old mythology for the old mythology’s sake. They are centered around making sure the entire society flourishes, human rights and the rule of law are observed and not denied to anyone, our liberties and freedoms remain available to all.
– My moral values don’t request and require mandatory hatred and condemnation, guilt-tripping over or fear of anything that is in and of itself completely harmless and natural. I am talking about LGTB community, sexual practices, food, skin color, ‘tribe’ – you name it.
– Equally, I don’t have to walk around with a book under my arm on one hand screaming till I lose my voice about how it’s fucking infallible and perfect and to be taken literally, then on the other hand right there and then refusing to stone disobedient children and adulterers, beat slaves, wage genocidal war on non-believers, subordinate women and all those other ‘nice’ things that somehow have a special ‘not infallible’ exemption status in the otherwise ‘infallible’ book… (to all that doublethink, I say ‘bitch, please!’).
– My morality doesn’t give me a sense of ultimate, unquestionable sanction to all my actions from the ultimate authority, and thus puts me in no danger of committing hate crimes and inhumane atrocities (like holocaust… And nope – Hitler was NOT an atheist, he believed strongly he was acting out god’s will and was his messenger on earth, was under the wing of the Catholic church and I doubt ‘Got mitt uns’ would make it onto SS officers belt buckles if he didn’t meant it in all sincerity. If STILL in doubt – read Mein Kampf) just because the perceived ultimate authority who isn’t to be questioned presumably commands it.
c) There is a load of other reasons, but I’ll just mention the last one here, which also deals with implying I’m a dimwit because I just don’t understand your religion/ god/ etc (by the way, a very dangerous thing to say to an atheist – we DO, on average, know your religions much, MUCH better than YOU do – which by the way is just another reason we aren’t buying that shit):
The epic fucking narcissistic megalomanic arrogance of those self-righteous bigots! They call me arrogant for denying their unsubstantiated myths – while they claim to have a personal relationship with the presumed ultimate creator of the universe! Whoa!
Sorry, darlings, you’ve got it all screwed up. I’ll explain:
Being HUMBLE (moral, and intellectually honest – AND superior) means thinking like I do, i.e. the following: realizing you’re just one transient species that arose from the game of evolution on a tiny planet orbiting an average star of the millions and millions of them in the corner of an average galaxy out of the billions and billions of them somewhere in the suburbs of the universe. Realizing that all that grandeur was NOT made with YOUR self-centered ass in mind by anyone, and definitely NOT by anyone who’d for some reason be compelled to give the slightest damn about YOUR ass’s petty existence and daily routine, words you mumble, etc. Realizing that most likely millions of other life forms inhabit the universe and you are NOT fucking special in any sense. Realizing you have but one life to make the most of and but one chance at leaving the legacy after yourself that would make this our tiny piece of a planet more hospitable for all others after you, if only just because it is nothing more grand that simple common courtesy. Realizing you are not infallible, you have NO special insight, knowledge, channels of communication, no special powers, no special brain abilities that would make YOU, out of all people, more likely than anyone else who ever lived or will to tap into ‘the most profound secrets of the universe’. It also means constantly seeking knowledge, breaking out of one’s cognitive comfort zone, accepting truth and fact even if it’s painful – because it is truth and we have nothing better than trying to know more and more of it at our disposal as a tool to understanding anything.
Alternatively, thinking you’re the ultimate masterpiece of the ultimate intelligence, who made EVERYTHING in this universe just for YOU to be here, cares a huge deal about what you do, think, eat, etc., and that you’re SO special as to KNOW for CERTAIN ALL of the answers to the most intriguing mysteries of the universe, and that includes what that supposed ultimate intelligence of the universe is, wants (although it can’t, by definition, give a slightest damn or want a single thing, for desires imply lack, and the ULTIMATE something can’t be LACKING in anything…) – now THAT, my darling, is EPICALLY ARROGANT MEGALOMANIA.
It also stops any questioning and inquiry – no wonder so many idiots who have not a slightest clue about even the most basic DEFINITIONS (I’m talking about you, “evolution is just a theory” nutcases… Why don’t you test the THEORY of gravity by jumping off a high cliff, huh?.. Alternatively, you can read and learn what the word means before you use it) of things they dare talk about keep spitting out so much inane bullshit all the time, instead of getting a bloody education… I’m not even mentioning the constant logical fallacies you perceive to be ‘compelling arguments’ – because you don’t bother learning any better…
2. “Why are you so angry?”, “You probably just had a bad experience with some Christians (or insert other faith) or your own believer family and now are traumatized…”, “You’re just angry at god for not letting you do whatever you want”.
Or something along those lines… I’ll answer in order:
a) Have you ever played that psycho game with someone who is in a great mood, or just perfectly clam, when you come up to them and say “Yo, mate, just chill off, relax, it’s okay”…? Then repeatedly suggested that person to relax and chill off when they kept telling you they’re actually perfectly fine?.. How long, on average, did it take you to fully spoil that person’s mood?
Dear believers: please stop PROJECTING your own ANGER and FRUSTRATION onto everyone else, okay? Thank you. Should I even go on?
Bah, okay, I will a bit. You’re an online someone I do not know – just what exactly makes you think your meek existence has any significance to me and thus bearing on my mood?.. Or are you stupid enough to think that if I start using swear-words, I turn into a red-neck-esque hate-spewing chainsaw-massacre-like character? PUHLEASE, give me a break. You’re really, I mean REALLY not THAT important to my life to get me actually angry. I begin to swear because I see there is no actual intelligent conversation to have with you, so at least I annoy you with foul language and cussing you’re so afraid of (because as we all know, magic words can cast magic spells onto you… That’s why they’re called CURSE words… Ahem…).
You’re annoying – that’s true. Because you all constantly misrepresent facts, twist words and quotes and meanings of everything you say/quote. You refuse evidence and facts and goddamn REALITY point-blank simply because they don’t go well with your mythology. Then you DEMAND to be taken seriously? You claim your IDIOCY has the same value and merit as the whole body of scientific and other knowledge of humankind? Oh, fuck off. That’s annoying. That, and you calling me all those retarded names and giving me the same old retarded labels. Just who the fuck are you to judge my entire life and character on the simple basis of the fact that I happen to have a higher standard for evidence i demand before I accept something as true?… That’s right – you’re a nobody. You’re no psychic. Live with it.
b) To the bad experiences and horrible family – nope. I was lucky to have had non-believing (and wonderful – for me, at least) family and I never had to face any hardcore mad believers in my life until I got an internet connection and Facebook.
c) More than having a problem with the idea of someone telling me what not to do (and sometimes they’re right – if I get told not to sleep on train tracks, it’s probably good for me), I have a problem with someone telling me what I MUST do, when that list has such shit as “hate, kill, discriminate, be in constant fear yet obligated to love the same one you must fear (definition of pathological relationship, by the way), and consistently feel guilt for every single normal thing you dare to enjoy and the fact of your existence, too. Oh and you’re a female – so shut up and be your man’s doormat, spitting babies out all your life.
I don’t need a bid sky daddy to be nice to other people and fair – I covered this in morality part. If a sky daddy, however, truly showed up and had THOSE demands for me? I’d tell that idiot asshole to go stick it back up the same hole they most likely came from.
So I’m sorry, my life isn’t one raging stretch of fiery anger. And even on the rare occasions when I get irritated, what I do occasionally get angry about is not your ‘god’ (for the same exact reason that you don’t get mad at unicorns and dragons, by the way), but about what people who think they have divine sanction for their actions do way too often for my liking.
3. “You’re lost in life”, “your life has no meaning or purpose (without god)”, “you must have such a meaningless life if you think there’s no meaning/purpose/afterlife/god/etc”.
To being lost: I think it’s those who still insist the earth is flat and 6000 years old need an up-grade of their GPS – not me. I’m good on direction for my life, thank you.
Objectively speaking, there IS no purpose, meaning, direction to this life and universe (well, ultimate death and annihilation notwithstanding…). We’re a cosmic accident bound to live once then die forever and that’s that.
To cope with that reality, some people resort to magic-think and fairy tales and wishful thinking stuff like ‘afterlife’ or ‘reincarnation’ or what not. Some for some reason find joy in subscribing to eternal slavery to an infinitely jealous egocentric psychotic imaginary friend in the sky…
And some people simply accept the reality for what it is, and then decide for themselves what THEIR personal purpose in life would be. This is why we have some people who work all life on cancer cures, others writing cook books, others working on super-computers, yet others teaching kids… THESE are the purposes in life! To give, to contribute, to leave a legacy, to leave a better world after myself – THAT is a purpose.
You, believer, have a purpose to second-guess a set of thoughts and actions such that as to not to piss off your imaginary friend too much, so that you can deserve your warm spot in the heaven of some sorts and avoid pits of hell… That’s just fucking LAME! Even lamer is making it your purpose to infect as many people with that same bullshit as you’ve been infected with. That’s both lame and inhumane…
Now, MY purpose (and other heathens have their own, of course – and we all ultimately do) is to make the most of this lifetime that I was lucky enough to even get in the first place. So my purpose is to live a life in pursuit of education, a life full of love and experiences shared, a life that would leave a legacy behind it, however small, that would impact people’s minds, inspire them to think, act, dream and do, to love, to open their hearts to the world. My purpose is to capture the beauty of this world in pictures and words and share it. My purpose is to have a blast.
My purpose also is to make sure everyone else has those same opportunities – by making sure human rights, rule of law and social justice are ALWAYS preserved, above anything else, for ALL people. And this is where we collide: believers hate, discriminate, de-moralize, de-humanize, label people who differ/ disagree with their preferred myths. Believers have the nerve to dare tell someone else what they can or can’t do with their body. What they can or can’t do with other consenting adults (no matter how many or of what genders) in their homes and bedrooms. My purpose is to call out your ignorant, bigoted bluff and bullshit whenever I come across it, to destroy it, so that not a single other additional mind is destroyed by the hateful ancient bullshit you hold so preciously dear to your hearts and minds.
We didn’t climb out of the Dark Ages just to allow all the advancements of humankind to yet again be lost and destroyed by superstitious idiots. You want to see what happens when ancient religion is wed with government and becomes the main code of conduct of the land? Middle East. Africa. Latin America. Asia. Follow the map of the strength of religious belief in the world. It very closely corresponds to the map of the GDP distribution in the world… Most prosperous and FREE and SAFE and democratic countries? Atheist. America? Most devoutly Christian of all developed nations – and most violent, recently slipping to 23d place in list of ‘most desired countries to immigrate to’ when assessed by safety, standard of living, work opportunity etc. Highest rates of violent crime (by a magnitude of about 2 times or more worse than runner up), gun deaths, highest percentage of population in jail IN THE WORLD, highest teen pregnancy rates, highest STD rates (same applies for stats between states of the USA – the more fundamentalist the state, the worse the stats…)… Isn’t it maybe JUST about time to fucking have those bells ring that make you go ‘aha!’…?
So thank you for your concern about my purpose in life, but why don’t you closely re-examine your own instead. I have an incredible life that very many can envy. My life is full of magic and wonder and love and adventure. I am brought to tears when I think of how darn lucky I am to have such a life as I do. I want to keep it that way.
This is why I also am forced to battle with people like YOU, who seem to be hell-bent (pun intended) on making sure you spread misery, hate, crime, poverty and other unpleasant things everywhere you go. Whether you realize that’s exactly what you’re doing, or not. Remember this next time you dare to call me immoral.