Atheism: an epiphenomenon

Atheist Spray_CropChristians who don’t know me often accuse me to turning from Christianity to Atheism for answers.   They see Atheism as a sad, lonely, mental home — if not peverse, corruptive and dangerous.  So for those folks I wrote this:

I turned away from saving people. I turned away expecting prayers that end with “In Jesus’ Name” to receive better treatment than prayers of non-believers. I turned away from a smug salvation. I turned away from expecting to be able to do magic by getting god to break the rules of nature.

Instead, I turned to loving on equal terms. I turned to understanding the world, to understanding my common nature with other animals. I began to revel in ordinariness. I expected no magic, I developed patience. I turned to genuine love — not love expecting eternal salvation and comfort in this life.

I didn’t “turn to atheism”, I just happen to be an atheist because I don’t believe in the gods and spooks you declare are necessary to believe in so as to live forever.

I believe in lots of things, just not your magic, self-centered world.  For that you call me an “Atheist” — fine, if that works for you.  But  “Atheism” is not a sad home for me, it is an epiphenomenon — a consequence of many good changes !

To illustrate my point, the image above may look like just a bunch of weird symbols, but if you see those dark spots as the background, the block-letters of the word “A T H E I S T” will appear.  In a similar way, my Atheism only really appeared as a result of other attributes in my life.  So, my Atheism is an epiphenomenon. I did not “turn to atheism“.  Instead, several other traits slowly crystallized in my life only to  eventually yielded the secondary outcome of being an atheist.  I am primarily all those other things and only secondarily an atheist.  Only because of your dogma, am I known as an “atheist”.

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Note:  In case you could not see the letters above, I have photo-shopped an image for you to make them clear.

Atheist Spray_Crop_inverse

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8 Comments

Filed under Philosophy & Religion

8 responses to “Atheism: an epiphenomenon

  1. bataille9

    This is a fantastic post! The thing that has always bothered me is the way many of the Christians I’ve known refer to atheism. It is not the sour tone of voice that barely hides disgust – that I can handle (it tickles me, frankly) – but the way that atheism is automatically thought of in religious terms – almost as an orthodoxy itself. Your focus on the phrase “turned to atheism” really resonated with me.

    And, amazingly enough, usually this “religion” of absence of god is “everything that my religion isn’t”.

    Having never been especially religious (but raised in a very mainline Methodist church to about 12 or 13) even I had this problem. I remember distinctly my own prejudice when I befriended a student-teacher when I was in 9th grade (15 years old). He was a decent person in every respect. Very smart, kind, introduced me to new music, passionately devoted to education…and one day he offhanded mentioned he was an atheist. I distinctly remember the sick feeling I got. I reflexively thought of “thou shalt not kill” “thou shalt not steal” etc. and I wondered to myself “How could he be okay with killing and stealing?!” And I distanced myself from him for a few days. But then I realized what was happening…

    I’ve never quite forgiven religion for instilling this vulgar prejudice in me.

  2. @bataille9

    I know what you mean. Like you, I was raised Methodist, but more evangelical. In school, our teacher lectured us about the evils of “Secular Humanism”, and how it replaced god with man. Ever since then, I had a negative view of secular humanists. Atheists I could tolerate, but not humanists, they’re evil!

    Now I’m a card-carrying humanist. :)

  3. Aaron

    First of all :)

    Secondly, that graphic looks just like one that says Jesus in much the same way… interesting ;)

  4. If by this, you hint at the liberal Christian who tries to practice the compassion that he imagines Jesus to have had, then I get it. Otherwise, I think the dogma of godhood and salvation will always carry with it waves of corruption. Thanx for visiting.

  5. The Paul Bloom discussion was FASCINATING! Thanks for sharing. My favorite quote was regarding one consequence of believing in extinction at death, “you will never know you’re dead.” There’s a mind-bender.

  6. @ Rckight: Yeah, pretty good, eh? Hey, your name links to an empty website — such a tease. Do you plan to start writing?

  7. Syl

    Love this, Sabio – you’ve very much captured my thoughts and feelings about this, too. Well said!

  8. Wow, thanx Syl. It is cool to see someone actually followed a link. :-)

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