Strange Questions

Strange Questions #2: Isn’t Atheism Just Another Religion?

For the last strange question article, click here.

This is a question that you can either hear this as a question or as if it is a definitive fact.  One of the means that apologists use to try to win people over to their side of the argument is to claim that Atheism is just as dogmatic and creed driven as any religious faith. This is on one hand a very sad argument and on the other hand incredibly annoying.

As stated before, you almost only hear this question posed by trolls and apologists, which in reality are pretty much one and the same in my book. Apologists are incapable of stating that there are any issues with the faith and have no real argument for why that is the case, so instead they try to create controversy within the atheist ranks where there really is none.

Atheism = A lack of belief in a god or gods.

That’s it, nothing more, nothing less.

Now let me first state that there are organizations within the atheist community that do act in some ways like a religion. Secular Humanism and Satanists both have creeds and to a certain extent dogma, Satanists even have their own rituals. However anything that these groups teach are actually an addition to atheism and mean nothing towards the simple definition that I have laid out.

I am an atheist, I am also a secular humanist.  However, I’m a secular humanist because I care about my fellow human beings and like the ideals of the secular humanism. I could easily be an atheist and not follow any of the ideals of secular humanism or Satanism for that matter.

Do you have faith that there is no Santa Clause? If the answer is yes, and you actually have to actively believe in the non-existence of something, then you are more than likely mentally ill. Not believing in something does not create a need to believe in the lack of something. If that were the case then my next scenario would require belief…

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Say I told you that sleep is a blessing granted to us by little green men who live under our beds. These little green men are invisible, though they did reveal their green skin to me once, so I know it’s green. They are also 5th dimensional beings and so even if you don’t have space under your bed, they can exist within the confines of your bed.  Each night when you close your eyes, they wave their green penises, large for their small stature I might add, over your eyes and you drift to sleep. I know this is true because each night when I close my eyes, I eventually drift off to sleep.

Does it require any faith on your part to say….I don’t believe there are little green penis waving men living under my bed? If you say it does, then I question your sanity. If you say it doesn’t then the same can be said for anything else that you lack belief in.

Now some will try to reverse the argument and say, well you can’t prove that anything exists. This is where evidence comes into play. If I were to say the little green men, leave green semen trails on our noses each night, and you woke up with green splotches on your nose every morning…you might have some work on your hands to disprove my theory. However, god shows none of these signs.

People will say that nature proves god’s existence and yet we have scientific explanations for just about everything in nature, which are much better explanations than “God dun it…” People will say that god is an ever-present force throughout the universe that is undetectable but obviously there. If it’s undetectable, then we might as well say it doesn’t exist, as in order to have an effect on us, it would have to be detectable in some way.

Some will go so far as to say that god is the universe, yet if that’s the case, why not just call it the word we already have for it….the universe.

If you are new to atheism having just come out of faith, you will find that theist love to move the goalposts on their argument. They will try to do anything they can to prove that atheism is a religious faith in some fashion or form. Yet the following list should clear this up.

What Atheism requires…

1.) A Lack of belief in a god or gods.

What Atheism doesn’t require…

1.) Faith
2.) Belief in the supernatural
3.) Belief in Science
4.) Rituals
5.) Sacrements
6.) Meditation
7.) Works
8.) Prayer
9.) Creeds
10.) Anything outside of a lack of belief in a god or gods…

Are we clear?

If the answer is no…just realize…that green semen is actually invisible too but I was allowed to see it once and that is why I know it’s green.

Thank you for reading.

My Journey

My Journey Away From Faith: The Epilogue: Part 5

For part 4 of the epilogue, click here.
To start at the beginning of my journey, click here.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
-Oscar Wilde

The day of my second appointment I was far less worried. The drive there still bothered me greatly as I hate long drives. We reached the office about a half an hour early and I sat down in the waiting room. Thoughts of my life passed through my mind.

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I remembered how hard childhood had been, never knowing what to say or how to take the things that others said to me. Making friends is difficult when you don’t recognize the difference between sarcasm and actual anger, or realize that you should offer comfort to someone who is sad. I remembered my teenage years, spent in part trying to do everything I could in order to be seen as “normal” and then spending the second part of those years doing everything I could to not be seen as anything close to normal.

AnarchyI remembered the first time Jennifer and I had been together, how much love I had felt for her in those early moments and how much deeper my love for her is now that weTexas have reconnected. I felt the pain of losing her go through my mind and the struggles I faced trying to put my life back together. All the times that I wanted to give up and yet still pushed forward regardless of the circumstances.

FightingI thought about my second marriage, how I had tried finding someone who was the exact opposite of Jennifer, somehow thinking that this would lead to happiness. Remembered all the pain I went through but all of the joy as well spending time with my two-step children from that marriage. Watching them grow has been one of the favorite parts of my life and it still is.

Storm cloudsI thought of my cousin, who had lived a parallel life as me. Had he been autistic? Were the struggles that he faced caused by the same source as my own battles in life? He had always seemed to be more outgoing but hearing stories from others around him, he was always distant, cold, and preferred to be alone. Would he still be here today if he had sought out the help of a psychologist instead of the dogmatic dog whistles of his cousins ministry?

autismI thought about my nephew, that small bundle of joy that had cleared the path to my own mental health and stability.  If he hadn’t existed would I ever have known the name to my own struggled? I know he has many struggles to face in life and it won’t be easy, but he is smart and loving, an absolute joy to be around, especially for the uncle who understands him so well. He is and always will be my hero.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, the psychologist came and took me to a small room beside the reception area. I sat down behind a laptop computer and was explained the testing that I would be taking, a simple quiz of around 500 true/false questions. He told me that through the take home quiz and this one, he would be able to gauge exactly where on the spectrum I was.

I started taking the quiz and after about 100 questions the program crashed.  He restarted it and I had to restart from the beginning, about 100 questions in the program crashed once more. He started it up again and the same thing happened. Contacting the IT department, he found out that the virus scan software was what was crashing the program. He disabled that and asked me if I was willing to try it once more, if not I could return in two weeks and try it again.

Thinking about the trip it takes to get there, I decided to give it another shot. After about 120 questions it acted as if it was going to crash, an icon appeared on the screen and simply spun for a few seconds. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “GOD DAMN IT!” The program then went on to the next question and I realized the ass that I had just made of myself. No one came in but I’m sure the receptionist got a bit of a scare from my loud outburst.

I finished the quiz, which continued to act as if it was going to crash every 20 questions or so, and went back to the waiting room. A few minutes later the psychologist asked me to come into his office to talk just a bit more. I sat on his couch and he asked me about a couple of the answers on the quiz. I explained the answers and he then said that he thought he had enough to come up with a complete diagnosis. He told me that since I had brought him all the information about the struggles throughout my life, it had been easy to see that I had been correct. He said he was impressed by all the research that I had done before even approaching a psychiatrist and that i had made his job very easy. It would be a couple of weeks before I got my copy of his report but there would be no surprises in there for me to worry about.

I drove home happy to be done with the long trips to the psychologists office. I had been right. I have ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder. All the times that I had felt different from the outside world made sense to me now. All that I had been through in childhood and life in general were now clear. I wasn’t a failed human being, I was a whole human being, just one that happens to have ASD. My brain works in a wild and wonderful way that could never truly be understood by someone who does not also have autism.  I am perfect, just the way I am.


 

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If you’ve followed me throughout my entire journey and the epilogue, thank you. It might come as a shock to know this but outside of a few people close to me, you, the readers, are some of the first people to know about my journey towards a diagnosis with autism. Thank you so much for the kindness you have shown me.

My journey away from faith is fairly well-known in my community. I still live in the same area as I did when I was a minister. Initially, I had considered moving to a more suitable area for someone who lacks a faith. In the town where I live sits a gigantic mormon church, just on the outskirts of town there is a Jehovah’s Witness Temple, as well as several other churches. My own former church is just over 5 miles away from where i currently live. Moving away might have been an easy solution for me.

However, I want people to have that uncomfortable feeling they get when they avoid me in public. I want the former members of my church to see me, happy and healthy, while a growing sickness builds within their gut. I want their cognitive dissonance to be hit as hard as possible, they need to see that I am still the same person I was, just happier, not filled with hate, living a good life in their midst. It isn’t that these things bring me joy, in fact a lot of times they hurt, but I do think they serve a purpose.

Life experience led me away from faith, finding that faith lacked everything which I had believed it to hold. No comfort was found within the pages of the bible once my eyes had been opened. No strength was found in my faith to get me through the hardships I had to face. Religion is nothing more than a vast build-up of lies. We lie to ourselves enough that one day we find we believe those lies to be true, however, in many cases it doesn’t take much to tear that wall of lies down.

I love my life now. So much wonder and joy is found in the natural world that I question why I ever sought out a supernatural one to begin with. My indoctrination though had started long before I had actually reached an age to make my own decisions for me. I was taught that the world was a deeply sinful, scary and cold place; filled with evil does waiting to bring me down to their abyss. What I have found since leaving is that life is a wonderful thing, something that we only get to experience once. Religion had mad me hate this world and wish for the next…

As Christopher Hitchens is so famous for saying, “Religion poisons everything.”

 

Freethought Friday

Free-Thought Friday #3: Guest Bloggers Needed

For last weeks Free-Thought Friday, click here.

Free-Thought Friday is your chance to have your voices heard. I am looking for guest bloggers who something to say but maybe don’t believe they have a platform from which to say it. This article is all about you. Have something that you think fits any of the themes of this blog, let me know and submit an article. You can do that through the contact page on this blog or by contacting me either on Facebook or Twitter.

So what are some of the things that I am interested in? I would love to read about your journey away from faith or your life in general. Have something you want to rant about, this is the article to let you do it. Interested in sharing a story about your life, including maybe stories about your autism and how it has shaped your life? I’m interested in those stories as well.

Basically, if you have something that you think is important and needs to be said. Let me know and say it. I look forward to anything that you have and are willing to submit. Every time I read one of your stories I enjoy it and look forward to reading many more.

A few topics of interest:

Atheism
Agnosticism
Doubts
Former Faith
Autism
Asperger’s
Stemming
Sensory Overload
General Science
Physics
Evolution
Biology
Paleontology
Archeology
etc…

These articles are about you getting to have your say in the way you want to say it. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you!