The Ugly Atheist

I want to begin this post by stating clearly and unequivocally  …
I AM NOT AN ATHEIST.

I most definitely do not believe in the Christian god — and I highly doubt the existence of any other type of god. However, to my thinking, this, in itself, does not give an individual (who has never met me) the right to label me an atheist based entirely on comments or thoughts I’ve expressed in public.

Yet people do … simply because I disagree with their perspectives on the god represented in the bible.

Further … while many of my blogger friends have openly stated they are atheists, many others have never made this claim. They are simply deconverts from the Christian religion. They may describe themselves as deists, anti-theists, gnostics, agnostics — or any other word they feel best fits their theological position. ( NOTE: None of these identifying titles hold the same meaning as atheist. Suggest you look them up if you disagree.)

Yet they too are branded as “atheist” simply because they disagree with a person who claims the title of Christian.

The incentive that finally moved me to write this post was the following comment recorded on a blog owned by a Christian:

Aetheism (sic) is the highest level of ignorance. Full of arguments. Carnal. Judgemental (sic) and believe that all and sundry should be dragged into mundane ways of thinking by philosophy, science, myths or ancient facts. It’s a pity.

IMO, the “pity” is the individual who wrote this.

Comments like this are (unfortunately) extremely common among believers. Any and all individuals who do not “profess Jesus” and/or who happen to see life from a non-religious perspective are “ATHEISTS!”

From a personal standpoint, I’ve found it difficult to understand why such anger exists within the hearts of those who claim to believe in a man who (is said to have) made the following comment in Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV):

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Even in the Hebrew Bible, there are similar words found in Leviticus 19:17-18 (ESV):

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall … love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Yet behind the cloak of anonymity — or simply because it’s not face-to-face conversation — believers apparently seem to feel they possess divine impunity and can strike out at any and all who disagree with their faith perspective. Even those who serve as their god’s ambassadors are guilty.

I’m well aware of the “Great Commission” given to Christians to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Matthew 16:15, KJV). But there is also another scripture they seem to often overlook which states: And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet (Matthew 10:14, ESV). It doesn’t say call them “atheists” or other derogatory names as you leave.

The diversity of human beliefs about life is immeasurable — primarily because we are each individuals with our own backgrounds and experiences. As has been repeated innumerable times … No Two People Are Alike. Thus, when it comes to religious matters, it would far better serve all of us to keep this in mind and cease and desist placing (often incorrect) labels on other people.

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Question for Atheists, Agnostics, Non-Believers, Etc.

While the following question may require using your strongest, most adept skills of imagination, I’m hoping you will give it your best shot …

If you were presented with incontrovertible* evidence
that a supernatural entity (i.e., a god) exists,
would your life change significantly?
If so, how?
If not, why not?

*Impossible to deny or disprove

P.S. I think the majority of people who frequent this blog are most familiar with the “Christian God” so while my inquiry is not limited to that god, it may be referenced for the sake of discussion.

Naturalism, Materialism, Consumerism

To make sure we’re all on the same page, please read the following definitions.

Naturalism: the doctrine that the world can be understood in scientific terms without recourse to spiritual or supernatural explanations

Materialism: a desire for wealth and material possessions with little interest in ethical or spiritual matters.

Consumerism: A preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods.

***************
QUESTION: Based on the definition for Naturalism, does Materialism naturally follow? And does Consumerism then naturally follow Materialism?

A blogger seems to think so. He writes … if the physical world is all there is then we must get all of our fulfillment from material things in this life.

He further suggests … consumerism is one of the logical outcomes of materialism. 

Background: This blogger is a pastor of a Christian church, which naturally follows that his outlook is different from many of us. Nevertheless, his perspective on this particular issue intrigued me and I decided to open it for discussion.

What do you think? Does one follow the other? If we reject spiritual or supernatural explanations about our world, will we then be entirely focused on the accumulation of wealth and material possessions? Will our entire focus on life be directed towards the buying of consumer goods?

P.S. Someone left the following comment related to this blogger’s post:  It is indeed silly how much time, energy, and money we invest in things that are destined to disappear. I couldn’t help but think to myself … It is indeed silly how much time, energy, and money some people invest in things that don’t exist.

Points Well Made

Following is a portion of a comment I just read on The Closet Atheist’s blog. Although the person (“Paul”) is responding to the blog writer’s post (Coming Out to My Mother, Part 2), he added some additional commentary that, to me, is excellent.

What saddens me to no end is how good people, well-meaning human beings, are led to invest a life-time of effort and often no small amount of their earnings to support a belief that comes to us from the ancient, tribal world of Canaan and those desperate Israelites, who were besieged, conquered, enslaved and beaten and who, out of those horrid times, penned a chronicle of survival–a good deal of which is pure fiction to shore up a world of misery and defeat.

I suggest you click on the above link and read the rest of what this person has to say. I have a hunch you’ll agree.