I became an atheist at the age of ten, and because of that my life was affected in a profound way. I honestly have no idea how it happened, there was no sudden moment of clarity, just a creeping realization that no loving god would treat me or any other human the way I was treated. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t even have it that bad. I knew I could be dying or poor, or many other things far worse than my own life, yet the idea that I shouldn’t be treated that way remained. Eventually, as my young mind added up the cruel realities of our world, I began to understand that, not only did god not exist but god couldn’t exist. Though, at that time, I naturally had no idea what an atheist was and as far as I was concerned I was the only person on the planet who knew there was no god, so I was quite stressed.
I’d never met anyone who didn’t believe in god and, up until the point I decided there was no god, I didn’t even consider not believing an option. For some time I kept my mouth shut about my thoughts concerning god and it began to wear on my mind that perhaps I was crazy. What kind of person didn’t believe in god? Then, one day, a teacher of mine happened to ask me what my religion was. It was then that I chose her to be the first person to learn about my feelings on god. And so I told her that I didn’t think there was a god. To which she replied, “Oh, you’re an atheist.” I was instantly curious and inquired as to what that meant. She said, “It’s someone who doesn’t believe in god.” In that moment I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew there were others out there like me, who thought like me, and all I wanted to do was talk to them. That was one of the best days of my life, and it would change me forever. And for the better.
There is a great deal of time and experience between that day and now but over the years I’ve learned a few inherent facts about religion. It’s true that I, like many atheists, found roots in the great minds of our world, Twain, Voltaire, Carlin and Epicurus and later cut my teeth on social media figures like TJ Kirk (TheAmazingAtheist) and Dr. Phil Mason (Thunderf00t) but I want to focus on what all these influences brought to me. There are many truths about religion that often repeat if you listen long enough. There are far too many to list so I’ve tried to bring out the ones that really do the most damage.
First, and most obvious, is that religion is dangerous, no matter how innocuous or well meaning it may seem, it is always harmful. Religion always preaches love and understanding with one hand while it beats, berates and belittles with the other. For every passage or psalm speaking of good will and kindness there is another written in the blood of millions and still today the death toll rises.
Second, religion lies. There are no lengths religion won’t go to defend even the most ridiculous of stories and no matter what they might say or how they might try to conceal it, the violent words and tall tales are never removed from their Holy Books. For the thousands religion claims to help every year, think of how many it kills. How many lives could be saved if churches advocated for safe sex over abstinence? How many lives could be saved if people didn’t buy into the lies of faith healers and televangelists? What if instead of churches and mosques being places of worship they were places of refuge, where people could get a warm bed, a hot shower and a hot meal? But instead, gobs of wealthy and poor alike pour into churches and mosques every day eager to give away their money and hear their leaders preach about good will and peace.
Third and finally, religion divides and conquers. No creation of man, including politics, has done such an excellent job of creating discord as religion. Religion tells you who to hate, who to love, who to kill, who to enslave and why. Sect, after sect, after sect, has taken their turn massacring the other in hopes of making sure only the right people go to meet their loving god. These three evils feed off of each other and breed more of their kind, like viruses, each making the other stronger as they consume themselves and the world around them. To put the three ideas simply, religion has grown wealthy and powerful off of war, poverty and slavery all while preaching peace and benevolence.
You see, the three are linked, they have a symbiotic relationship. The lies feed the division, which fuels violence, which causes more lies and since the lies are all linked they must be protected, meaning more violence, which divides people further. Even when you remove third world extremists, you’re still left with a group of people who use their so-called moral code to justify bigotry and sexism. The world was scandalized by Kinsey’s revelation that women masturbate, engage in homosexual encounters and generally enjoy, excuse the vernacular but I’m making a point, fucking. We live in a society where any man can sleep with as many women as he chooses and receives no shame while a women will be termed a slut. Many make the case that, it’s easier to be a slut than a stud but so what? Why should she be shamed for enjoying sex? Is her high level of desire somehow wrong? And furthermore what man doesn’t want a partner who is highly sexually active? But lets move onto another atrocity the Bible and Quran openly justifies, slavery. Some might argue that slavery is largely gone in the modern world but is it? I think a women who is raped and beaten by a brutal husband she was forced marry, would probably disagree with you. If she were allowed. Women, for most religious concerns, are property, men could become free if they were slaves but women in the Abrahamic Religions have always been nothing more than sperm receptacles that must be kept in line. This ideology still lives on in our world today in the form of slut shaming, essentially telling women that they should feel like shit for enjoying what biology has told them to enjoy. But make no mistake about it, Islam maybe the barbarism of the day where women are concerned but Christianity, left to it’s own devices, would have modern America back to Victorian era morality, or worse, in no time. Religion has conquered every aspect of our lives, from our politics to our policies, from our sex lives to our moral fiber, religion has infected us with cold morality, hypocritical codes and brutal punishment to anyone who disobeys.
Life is meant to be enjoyed, and joy comes from the freedom to go the places you want and experience the things you like with the people you like. Religion stands in direct opposition of that and that is why people like myself stand directly in opposition of religion. As I said I wrote this as my first post as a declaration of my own ideas and to establish my credibility as both an atheist and an anti-theist. I’m creating this blog not as a discourse but as a look through the eyes of someone who doesn’t have the bias of god. I don’t mean to say that my world view will always be right but I will be honest in my both my successes and my failures; and I will do my honest best to bring my readers an informed and unbiased opinion. In a wonderful TED talks about Trial and Error Tim Harford speaks of The God Complex, stating that “No matter how complicated the problem, you have absolutely overwhelming belief that you are infallibly right in your solution.” This is not what I am saying, I have no delusions about my own position in all this. I will rarely, if ever, make the claim that I have the answers but I will always tell you what the answer is NOT and it is NOT religion. We’ve tried religion, multiple times, and it doesn’t work, I don’t know what will but making sure people’s basic needs—food, water, shelter, medical care—are met is a good start.
That is the real end result of my two decades without god, an undeniable understanding that we are the only ones we have and that we are in this together. It is by helping each other and lifting each other up that we make a better world, not by calling people infidels or telling them who they can love. To me, you don’t get to call yourself an atheist if you won’t help someone in spite of their religion. I can quote, Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens with the best of them but endlessly repeating scientific facts and logic doesn’t always win the day and it doesn’t give people an alternative way to live. People, especially devout worshipers must be shown that religion leads to suffering and that science, logic, freedom and reason lead to happiness. This is not to say there is no need for such people, or their statements, the fight against the willful ignorance that is religion must be fought on all fronts, for it is the ideology that religion can do NO harm that is most dangerous. That is literally why I am here. I’m no great scholar or legendary comedian, I’m not a Biologist or a Physicist, I’m just a layman’s atheist who understands that religion does harm on every level and I’m here to do my part against that by showing you what I see.