I'm Not Religious, I'm Spiritual: Of God and Atheisms

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God Is Not Dead ★ Of God and Atheisms ★ A Lighthouse in a Storm

Why Atheisms?

Atheisms, plural, because if atheism isn’t a religion or even a belief system, then each atheism must necessarily be it’s own thing. Thus, “atheisms.” Of all of the arguments presented by atheists, that is the one that gets under my skin because it really can’t be countered and it shields atheism from criticism by definition. As I claimed in the first section, atheism is moreso the inversion of a religion, one that totally disregards the capacity and qualities of the human mind.

Religion equips us with the wisdom of dozens of generations – and yet, it’s outright rejected by most atheists. Again, atheism is the inversion of religion; it is the attempted obliteration of the foundations of such belief systems. And it does so while saying that it is the absence of any belief system. Ok, but where does that leave us?

Atheism is Misguided

I believe atheism is misguided. IMO, athiests say there’s no room for God because it has been shown or can be shown that there is no God. The facts do not permit it. That is often the basis of their religion of rejection of religion. In my opinion, that is so incredibly arrogant. How can anyone say that they have personally looked for God under every rock and sifted through all the sand on every beach and found nothing? If you say that you have looked and found nothing, I would say that you haven’t looked at all.

Look around, breath in, real deep … hold it … hold it, push down with your diaphram … and now let go. Did you not just feel the benefits of an atmosphere that just so happens to be perfect for life? Life is so amazingly complex that I cannot imagine a universe just randomly assembled by chance. It might not by an old dude in a robe, sitting on a cloud in sandals, but to say that you can dismiss any possibility of God is incredibly arrogant. To me, the more I look, the more I learn, the more I confirm the existence of God.

Life & The Universe Are Infinite Metaphysical Reflections

IMO, life evolves through a stochastic process of innumerable events to reflect harmony with and self-similarity to certain intangible metaphysical forms and entities. In other words, we were made to reflect God’s image. So, no, you might not be able to see that, but you said you had looked everywhere, right?

Which part of the beauty of this world did you miss? Did you take a look at that sapphiric jewel floating in the massive expanse of ether? Did you stop to think that the only reason we can begin to fathom the infinite, magnificent expanse of our universe is because the universe began to reflect intangible metaphysical artifacts and imbued star dust with the potential to become self-aware. Over the course of billions of years, the universe evoked forms through which it could wonder in awe of it’s own beauty.

Religion Is Harmful?

Anyways, I think it’s a bit myopic to view zero possibility and zero value in religion. Other atheists make the argument that there is no value and that religion has damaged humanity by fueling conflict over millenia. Those people at least acknowledge the power of the belief systems established by religion, but apparently completely missed all the good that it has accomplished. IMO, humanity is neither inherently good or evil. But the conflict you’re referencing is the product of humanity, not a particular religion.

And what should we replace such religions with? What happens in countries which force atheism? What do they replace it with? State-worship and cult-of-personality, which is essentially a religion. They simply disempower any belief systems which might provide competition, then create their own. So, is that a better world, where a man can declare himself king and god in order to more efficiently rule his country? By creating whatever rules he sees fit to project through state-worship? I’d prefer a world that worships an imaginary flying spaghetti monster, if such a being simply and clearly enumerated a list of rules that remained constant for millenia.

There Is No Man Above Him

That is one of the aspects that I admire about Christianity. Jesus declares himself to be “King of kings and Lord of lords.” And this means there is no person on earth, whether a pauper or emperor, who could challenge the authority of what is written in the New Testament. That for two millenia, even the most powerful rulers would be bound to adhere to such a clearly stated set of rules. Ethics and laws which could never change on the whim of a tyrant. And which could be used to hold such tyrants accountable for transgressions against a set of laws which no man could question.

Furthermore, the only reason Western Civilization arrived to any kind of modern age was through unity behind the establishment of such beliefs. Through the chaos of medieval Europe, would it have been possible to promulgate any such belief system capable of generating the stability required for the Renaissance and the Enlightenment? Just look at the geography of Europe. We have been fighting an uphill battle since the incursions of Darius I and Xerxes I.

Conflict: Economics, Resource Distribution and Geography

Geography and resource distribution have determined conflict since far before the emergence of religion. These two factors have cursed and blessed cultures around the world and continue to drive world conflict. Throughout history, Empires rose and fell based on the locations of valuable resources, along with the maintainence and defense of the trade routes that emerged and shifted. So, actually, economics and bad luck have encouraged conflict to a much greater extent than religion.

And hopefully, we soon reach a place in history where it’s possible to move beyond war. I hope we find a place where our childrend and grandchildren don’t have firsthand experience of war. Yet, that’s also a very dangerous place to be, isn’t it? When a nation or generation is completely unfamiliar with the consequences and tactics of war, for which there truly are no rules, how can they cope? When they’ve become detached from the motivation to remain strong, where does that leave them if conflict emerged?

Restructuring Expression of Conflict

As for war, I hope that we continue to wage our conflicts that redirect tensions to be expressed through economic competition. Conflicts between nations should be determined by how hard their citizens can work and by how much a nation can help raise the developing world. We should utilize game theory to encourage cooperation of influential nations to, instead of resorting to competition by armed conflict, redirect our energy into stemming third-world injustice and raising those nations to be self-sufficient.

On the other hand, it is improvident, expensive and dangerous to empower those who harbor dangerous sentiment towards a nation who is trying to help. And while plenty of nations judge the United States for interfering and causing conflict out of self-interest, that couldn’t be further from the truth. What do other nations do around the world? China is helping to develop various areas in Africa. And there are countless other examples. But to think that the world is going to get any better by ignoring injustice is ignorant. And to bash America for it’s incredibly expensive history of doing so makes me irate, honestly.

Atheist Evangelibots

What does this have to do with religion? Basically, an army of facebook atheists and bots embroiling believers into fruitless arguments over religion is not only wasteful and insensible, it slowly chips away at foundational aspects of our culture. These aspects help to establish, declare and propagate shared values systems in the diverse culture of America. By slowly eating away at this foundation, especially in the younger generation, this makes us weaker because atheists don’t seek to replace the belief systems they disrupt with anything else that fulfills the roles provided by religions. And don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean to dictate to atheists what they should or should not believe. Yet, it seems obvious to me that atheists disregard the value provided on religion, based on fallacious, emotional or myopic arguments … some of the exact same points they use to deride about religion.

Refuting Atheist Arguments

The Facts Say Religion Is Not True

Science is constantly changing: what is true today may not be tomorrow. So where is your truth? And did you bother looking closely enough at religious text to actually examine everything that could be asserted as true or false? Or did you gloss over the surface and decide that one fact didn’t fit with your worldview, therefore it must all be false?

Religion Seeds Conflict

Just covered this one earlier. While it can be shown that, yes, many conflicts have been driven by religion, weakening the value-propagating function of religion in society without replacing it with anything, leads to demoralization and disrupts the viability of widely-shared value systems.

Religious People Are Judgemental

By insulting the right of adherents to choose their own way in life, especially with this argument, you’re also insulting the sacrifices they make to adhere to such a way of life. By practicing religion and remaining faithful to it, someone is restricting their actions by adopting a moral code. And people who refrain from, in particular, pleasurable activities their religion declares immoral, have every right to be proud of the life they lead. And there are reasons behind the rules they follow. It takes a lot of effort to do so and they have every right to be proud of it, without letting that pride cloud their vision. At the same time, they should be accepting and tolerant towards people of other faiths.

Religion Leads to Bad Policy

So does bad science. IMO, science itself should be considered a religion because the belief systems extrapolated from current understanding are just as formative in the belief systems of the acolytes of science. Science can easily lead to dangerous utilitarian policy, since it doesn’t typically lead to strong definitions of ethics.

Religious Beliefs Are Outdated

By definition, the Scientific Method that requires that science constantly challenge itself to progress, implies that science is constantly in flux. So, not only does it create belief structures, just like a religion, it’s constantly in cyclic flux, invalidating itself and the belief systems of it’s followers. Yet, it doesn’t necessarily propagate the new beliefs to those followers. This can sow the seeds of a cultural rift between generations.

Relgious Beliefs Are Vulnerable to Exploitation

More to the point, this flux creates an opportunity for exploitation. Whoever funds the science exerts control of the flux from one paradigm to the next. The control resides with the few with the resources to do so. And the vulnerability for exploitation is powerful, as the decisions of lawmakers are often based on the current extent of mainstream scientific knowledge, with the best intentions in mind. IMO, I’d rather have policy decisions based on something unchanging, like humanist values. At the same time, I don’t think it’s a good idea for people to entirely base public policy on religion.

Arguments Not Based On Propositional Logic

Ok, this is fair, but it’s also my personal favorite. I somehow got in an argument with someone on Facebook about atheism, where he was berating me for arguing that religion has value, regardless of its scientific provability. Ok, the argument was heated and we were both berating each other. I made most of the counter arguments above, but he asserted that I knew nothing of propositional logic. Again, this was fair because my argument didn’t actually hold under propositional logic. I acknowledged this and he immediately incurred an aneurism. I then introduced category theory and higher-order logic, which he knew nothing about. He then countered by blocking me on Facebook. I think it’s because I won. Often the value and sometimes the truth in religion isn’t found at the surface.

Part 3: My Beliefs

In the final part of this series, I describe some of my own beliefs. I’m in the odd position of arguing on the behalf of organized and unorganized religion, yet I’d miss the target if I didn’t bother specifying some of my own beliefs and values, which are derived from learning about world religions, from gnosticism and theosophy, and from self-discovery.