Athesim Essay

This essay has a total of 1535 words and 6 pages.


It is remarkable how many people insist I am not an atheist. It seems obvious to me that I
do not believe that any god exists, and that makes me an atheist. Nevertheless, here these
people are, so insistent that I cannot possibly be an atheist. "You really believe, you
just don't know it." (How's that again?) Sometimes I hear something like "You believe in
something, and that is really God" or "you are still looking, but you'll find Him." (He is
invited to stop by my house at any time.) When I have the time to converse with these
people, however, it usually comes down to this: I am really an agnostic, they say, because
I am willing to admit that I do not know there is not any god. It is apparently so
important for people to believe that I am "really just an agnostic," that I find this to
be a haunting sign of the hold religion has on people. It is tragic that the mere thought
of a good friend or relative being an actual, avowed atheist is so horrible that it must
be denied.

Sometimes I have the chance to explain that I am an atheist not because I know there is
not a god, but because I do not believe there is. If someone insisted that their pet fish
could talk, I really couldn't say I knew it didn't, especially if I could not go and see
for myself, but it would still be fair for me to say that there are no talking fish. The
relevance of this is that I do not believe god exists any more than I believe fish can
talk. Certainly, I have not examined all species of fish, nor every single fish for that
matter, nor could I ever accomplish such a feat, but the claim that they exist is so
contrary to my own personal experience and reliable facts that I simply will not believe
it unless very definitive proof is provided. Of course, if I visit someone's pet fish and
it talks to me, I am still wiser to test the possibilities of trickery or insanity before
believing it can really talk. But if I found many fish that talked, trustworthy people
confirmed it, scientists published carefully researched papers about them, and newspaper
headlines read "INCREDIBLE DISCOVERY: TALKING FISH!" then it would be more than reasonable
to believe that they existed. No one really disputes such common sense, until it is
applied to religion.

I have never seen or talked to a god, nor seen a god do anything unmistakably godlike.
People insist that they know one exists, but most of them really say they only feel it,
and do not offer any other proof. Indeed, it is odd that even the believers brand those
few who honestly offer the more genuine proof of actually hearing god talk insane,
Believers are probably right about that, but their own "feeling" that a god exists isn't
any more convincing to me. Anyone might "feel" that fish could talk, but that wouldn't
mean it were so, nor would that be a very reliable way to know it was true even if it was.

People also say that the Bible says a god exists. The Bible also says that a guy lived
inside the belly of a giant fish for three days, somehow failing to be digested in its
stomach acids, and there was a flood "so great" that it covered all the mountains with
water for the purpose of fulfilling a genocidal whim of an apparently uncreative god. (Why
not just make everyone vanish instantly and save the world's people and animals the
suffering of being drowned?) Since these all sound like tall tales to me, I think god is
probably a tall tale, too. If the Bible said there were talking fish, I would not believe
it until I saw one myself. (The bible does fittingly claim the existence of a talking
ass.) Likewise, the Bible may say a god exists, but I still will not believe it until I
see one myself.

It also seems reasonable to me that if people lived by reason instead of faith, a great
many tragedies would be averted, and an equal number of advances would be made, especially
in human behavior. I do not claim this as a recipe for utopia, only for significant
improvement. How many times do we find ourselves saying of a criminal or a politician,
"They are just so stupid! Any rational person would have acted entirely differently." A
criminal or politician can have all the faith we want them to have, but they will still do
stupid things--and that is the problem. Thus, we only need people to act intelligently. We
can do without faith. In fact, the "faith" of Islamic suicide bombers and abortion clinic
murderers is actually a real threat to humanity, as was the "faith" of Red Party members
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