The Atheist Manifesto
NOTE: This does not represent the views of Volant Turnpike, Dan Rothschild
or other users.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeffrey Clark)
Subject: The Atheist Manifesto (reposted due to popular demand)
Organization: ITC, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
Date: 2 Mar 93 03:55:26 GMT
Firstly, not all my reasons are purely logical but some are merely
subjective evaluations. For the purposes of this article Atheist is defined
as "one who does not believe in the existence of God or Gods and
operationally believes that there is no God". Note the use of the word
operationally: meaning that I believe such a thing for the purposes of
decision making within my life, but I am not 100% certain.
(I particularly like point 19).
1. I have received no IMO trustworthy accounts of any interaction of any God or Gods with any humans. All accounts of such encounters that I have encountered thus far have been clouded by alterior motive, need for self-convincing, drugs or hoax. Basically because these reports are of a supernatural, immeasurable or unbelievable kind, it is easier to doubt the source than credit the information.
2. There are thousands of differing religious belief structures which are mutually exclusive and equally believable. Some of these belief structures do not involve deities. The major point being which one? And if one, why one? Why any, isn't it just as likely that all of them got it wrong?
3. As history has progressed, the role of Gods has decreased as understanding has replaced supernatural explanations for natural events. If there were no God, then one would think it likely that in our stage of development, the hypothetical God would only be responsible for those things which we do not currently understand. In other words the remaining God or Gods in our modern society will only be necessary for the "possibly" supernatural parts of existence. However because 500 years ago God/s were necessary to explain the perfection of the heavans, where as now we know it's to do with the 4 forces of nature and the 3 families of matter, then I do not see why this trend will not continue, as it has for thousands of years now, until understanding will eventually replace all of the hypothetical God's reasons for existence.
4. If there is a God, how did such a being come into existence? The Big Bang Theory is, on the surface, a remarkably simple idea. However I have heard no such ideas contemplating the creation of God.
5. People who seem to have a broad knowledge about the workings of the universe as we know it so far do not think that a God is necessary to obtain a working hypotheses of the world around them. E.g Albert Einstein. Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, David Suzuki, Arthur C. Clarke etc. Here I am talking people who know a lot about a large number of fields of science and philosophy. I believe that belief in an all-powerful being is intellectual weakness as is the requirement for an afterlife to avoid the fear of death.
6. Much of the work of religion seems to be based on guesswork or pure creativity. The age of the Earth, the age of homo sapiens, history as it happened over the thousands of years seem to differ from religion to religion and, most importantly, differ from the objective findings of archeologists, geologists, biologists etc.
7. I could not enjoy Monty Python
half as much, were I a theist. But on a more serious note. I have read that some high percentage of New York Catholic Priests were diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic by the MMPI (I think it was around 60%, well over 1000 times the national average maybe someone could supply me with a reference), ans also the systems of temporal lobe syndrome (or epilepsy) correlate highly with religiosity. In other words sick people become devout religious types. I do not have any symptoms of schizophrenia or temporal lobe epilepsy.
8. I have never seen the distinction between Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, God, the Googy Monster, or distinctly pink invisible unicorns. All of these things seemed to be stories told to you by your parents that you eventually grew out of.
From now on I'll deal distinctly with why I am not a Christian.
9. I have discussed religion with many theists (3 of which I have converted to atheism) and most of them cannot answer the most simple inconsistencies in their beleif systems. Most of them make great sacrifice for their belief systems and therefore undergo dissonance when confronted with ideological impasses. This leads therefore to not think about the inconsistency, it's better to bury the dissonance (avoidance behaviour) rather than confront the dissonance and move your belief system accordingly, which may cause much extra dissonance. This is why I believe we should set up Zealots Anonymous all over the world to help christians and other cultists come down from their mind bending cults.
10. Having done psychology I have come across the Gazzanigga split brain studies and numerous studies involving personality alteration via neurotransmitter infusion. These operations and drugs which affect the synaptic gap in neurones can and do radically alter peoples personality profiles. Their basic awareness, their memories, their mores, their reactions, their processing capacity, their motor functions: every function of the brain which has been hypothesised as part of the mind or soul can be and is effected by these treatments. Why would the soul alter due to physical changes in the brain? Isn't it much simpler to believe that these personality functions are the direct result of the brain and not of some intermediary supernatural soul which accomplishes nothing?
11. History has shown that those viewpoints or ideologies with the most aggressive doctrine are more likely to survive the centuries. Throughout the history of Christianity and Islam is numerous examples of this aggressive viewpoint. This is why they are the dominant views today. So why, in particular, should the most aggressive ideologies necessarily be the right ones?
12. A lot of testimony about the existence of a supreme rightness or God comes from Xtians and Moslems who claim to have felt God due to this spiritual ecstacy they had felt during a "religious experience". However I also have felt similar feelings to what they described as I sit upon a country hill at night underneath a cloudless sky and can "feel" Earth as a giant spaceship speeding through the Galaxy. I become so overwhelmed by the immensity and beauty of it all that I stare for hours. However I still understand the basic principles behind how the whole of the universe exists, and none of it requires a God.
13. Believing anything with a conviction that it precludes questioning is merely beyond my capacity. I simply can't do it. I have an enquiring mind and I have found my beliefs to be wrong before so why not again in the future. To believe beyond question in a supreme, all-loving deity seems absurd to me for the mere reason that it asks you to suspend reason.
14. Too often in the past has religion been used as an excuse for the great evils of human beings. Kings have promised the subjects that they rule by divine right or that they themselves are descendant from Gods and are therefore Gods themselves. Torture, genocide, racism, slavery, invasions, mass rape, and war have all been justified under the auspices of divine authorisation. This represents to me that religion is a powerful tool used by those smitten with power for unscrupulous ends (was that poetic or what). I do not want to be associated with such vile acts any more than being human already implicates me.
15. Too often the church does backflips and makes errors. If the chuch heirarchy were truly led by a divinity (as most claim) they would not make such glaring errors. It is because of this desire to maintain a divine public image that the church is loathe to admit to mistakes until the mistake is shown to be ludicrously obvious (eg Galileo).
16. As I point out the problems with each individual denomination under the Christian umbrella, Christians will often defend by saying "Oh well, THEY'RE not real Christians, but my church or I AM". This is so common that for each claim of true Christianity there is probably over a hundred other denominations chastising them as not real Christians.
17. Church teachings are sexist, judgemental, arrogant, inconsistent, filled with authoritative explanation rather than rational explanation and are therefore not conducive to learning a good life philosophy.
18. The Bible
has literally hundreds of ambiguities, inconsistencies, falsehoods, and ascriptions to God of horrific, peurile behaviour. Anyone who does not acknowledge that this is true really is not reading the Bible seriously or has a major mental block in the way of them seeing it. The Bible is bunk, there is NO denying that. Besides there is multiple versions of this book. It is constantly being updated (read "rewritten") to suit the leaders of the church responsible for the particular version that produce it. The is no such thing as "The Bible" it is like saying "The Apple is better than the The IBM". Which Apple? Which IBM? Which Bible? The excuses that Xtians offer for Bible inconsistencies are extremely weak and remind one of the sort of things that die-hard scientists, clinging to an old dogma, produce in order to protect an old dogma.
19. The anthropocentric view is a dangerous view for humans to have at this point of time. Humans, even non-theists, believe for some reason that the universe is here for them and that we will not be destroyed because there is some purpose. This abrogates responsibility. In order for our species to survive, and personally I think that this would be a good eventuality, we must realise that the universe is as ignorant of us as any other piece of space dust and cares nought whether we propagate and fill the universe or extinguish in a nuclear blase. We are responsible for our own survival. We cannot look to some all powerful Daddy to come in, when we have sufficiently stuffed it up for us to learn our lesson, and make it all right again. Once we stuff it up, it's stuffed up. Religions promote an anthropocentric view, to the detriment of our species. It is for this reason that I actively oppose Christianity and any other anthropocentric religion.
20. Religions have played their role in history. They were one of the major cultural influences in uniting peoples into close-nit communities. It enabled the survival of the species through some of it's toughest tests. But we have reached adolescence now and we must give up our childhood fantasies. We must quickly reach maturity before we become another teenage drink/driving or drug overdose or suicide statistic in the Universe's intelligent race survival book. I'd like to be part of the maturing process not the part that holds on to childhood days.
21. No-one has given me a good explanation of why humans are any more deserving of a soul and an after-life than other animals. When did we acquire a soul (at birth, at conception, at baptism, never)? Why don't dolphins get souls? There are many unanswered questions in Christianity: Should we use contraception, pop-up toasters, refrigerators? None of these things are mentioned in the so called God's word. If God had written the holy word, why did He write some of it allegorically and other parts literally without marking the allegorical parts clearly to distinguish them from the literal sections. Basically, if the Bibles are meant to be manuals for life, they are extremely poorly written and are highly confusing and are unclear on the most basic points. I am sure a God could do a much better job. It makes much more sense that they are not the works of a God but are the works of people attempting to keep control of their flock.
22. Since the beginning, religions have attempted to make predictions about the future and have been invariably wrong. Despite this appalling track-record, religious leaders continually predict the date of some armageddon or future mundane event (such as resurrections of exorcised wives: we saw this in Australia recently). Some of the evangelical types have told their flock the "God has told me to raise 3 million by next week". This kind of blatant fleecing of the sheep-like video sotted tele-christian flock only clings to vestiges of morality via the fact that those who are ripped off by it are so bloody thick.
23. Any one of these reasons may be refuted, but in collaboration they shore up their strength in order to make only one option available to me in my choice between theism and atheism.
Since this was last posted a number of people have contributed to it and hope that more people will continue to point out errors, suggest additions,
demand an improved explanation of points. Anyone may use this in any way
they see fit, except to get me in trouble.
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