So after writing that last post on atheism I thought I would share a list of questions and statements that I have heard and that have been asked to me directly over the years… these are just a few and I plan on adding more in further posts…
(Just to say: Many of these questions came from fellow students in my university theology classes where many were studying to be active participants in the church, and where I was often the only atheist. I also saw many questions like these on parenting forums also and by e-mail from my blog)
Ok… first, the basics:
- Theism: belief in at least one deity
- Monotheism: belief in just one deity
- Polytheism: belief in more than one deity
- Agnosticism (in regards to theism ) the existence of a deity is unknown
- Atheist: absence of the belief of a deity
If you don’t believe in a god then what do you believe in?
Nothing. Really. I believe that religion is man made. I believe that the notions of gods are man made. I believe that Religion was created to serve a purpose and can still serve a purpose for many. But I don’t believe any of it. Not even a little.
So if you are atheist you believe/worship in yourself?
No. Most Atheists, like myself, don’t worship anything, atheism is about the lack of belief. I see no reason or want to worship anything and it has nothing to do with being self-centred.
However, the notion of an worshiping self is the description of LaVeyan Satanism. Which seems to strangely be often confused with Atheists.
So Atheists are Satanists?
NO! Atheist are Atheists. There is no god.
Satanists are theistic. They believe in a god named Satan (and it could be the Christian Satan or another Satan altogether). There are also Satanists who claim to be atheists, they believe that Satan is a symbol of human traits and therefore worship that. However, they don’t call themselves Atheists, they call themselves Satanists and they follow the teachings of their “religion”and they self-proclaim that they worship themselves.
What do you think happens after we die?
Depends, if we are cremated we are burned and if we are buried we rot. It might be blunt, but it is true.
I don’t believe in a soul, or an afterlife. I do however like to think that we can live on in people’s memories and it is up to us to make our lives memorable. If we have children our bloodline also “lives” on, but that is it. Knowing that doesn’t make me sad at all, but it makes me respect life and want to make a positive imprint in the memories of others and do good because it is the only life I have.
What is the purpose of life then?
Well, we are animals, albeit we are intelligent, have opposable thumbs, and are technologically advanced. But, just like any other living thing, we are born to mate, to procreate and then we die. If we don’t procreate then when we die our bloodline dies. That is a choice to make. And because we have one life to live, we should make the most of it and be happy.
Where do Atheists get their Morals from?
We get them from the same place that everyone does. From society and culture and from our social contracts. Morality is not an absolute and is not based in religion. The idea of right and wrong varies within communities and societies. If it was absolute, a Christian in Canada would have the same morals as a Christian in Africa or India. But it isn’t so.
When you think of it like that then you can see that this social contract is what inspired religious texts. What isn’t the best is that is that is that writings do not leave place for change and for evolution of thought so religious participants are forced to pick and choose the rules that still can apply…
So let me rephrase the question to reflect what I think people are really asking: “If you don’t believe in god then what keeps you from doing bad things if there are no consequences?”
My answer to that is that like in parenting, punishment is not the way to get people to do things. I don’t do bad things because I believe in mutual respect and that my rights extend to the point that the rights of others start. It is the same thing I teach my children. Also, in asking that question does that mean that person asking would love to go out and kill and rape and steal if they were not scared of going to hell or being hit by lightning? If that is the case, then I am glad that we don’t believe in punishment as parents because I want my children to do what is right because it is right, not because they are scared of the consequences.
So, those are a few of the most asked questions that I have gotten over the years, if you have any other questions just ask!
i usually say i am agnostic but i think i am more of an atheist, my husband is agnostic also. it is crazy to me that people don’t understand how we have morals or stop ourselves from doing bad things. i saw a news show that did a poll and atheist were the most untrusted people in the world, more than terrorist. so sad!!! good post!
I tend to be more agnostic than atheist. I literally just do not know. I can no more prove the lack of an existence of god than I can prove the existence. At the same time, I don’t see that ones’ belief or lack thereof necessarily has any bearing on our lives. Why even talk about it? (except when one group’s belief system advocates stepping on the rights of others). Some say dinosaurs had feathers, others say no. Does it make a bit of difference in my daily life? Absolutely not. Religion is the same way for me.
I have to say, I really like what Margaret Atwood has to say about Religion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMrz_ivl8jo and have to admit that her book, The Handmaid’s Tale creeped me out to such an extent that it actually played a part in our decision to try to leave the US in 2003. I certainly didn’t want to get stuck on the wrong side of the border of a Christian theocracy.
Todd… I agree… I really debated with myself on whether to post this or not.. or even whether to mention that news article last week…
because, like you said… it is just who I am and it doesn’t have a bearing on my everyday life… at home we don’t talk about there being a god or there not being a god… the kids don’t even know what a god is…
but I am glad that I did post it, because it might just help someone understand that being atheist or agnostic is not that scary…
Religion is a tough topic to talk about. It’s sometimes hard to be fully honest because people are so willing to take offence even if none is given.
I’m atheist but at the same time a very spiritual person. I think the earth and life in general is a pretty amazing thing. There is no end to the wonder of life. Like how our bodies are made to give birth and everything that happens in the birth process has a useful reason. It’s fecking incredible to me.
Thanks for writing this post! I hope it’s enlightening to those needing to hear what you’re saying.
Todd- I have shivers just thinking about that particular train of thought…
Oh darn, hope that didn’t come out wrong. I am glad you posted it as well.
I think lots of times what gets people in trouble is not religion or lack thereof but fundamentalism. There are fundamentalist atheists who annoy me as much as fundamentalist religious people. The only difference being that the legislation that the atheists might propose in the name of their beliefs would bother me less than other fundamentalists might be behind.
lol… todd… not at all…
I completely get where you are coming from… and that was a bit my worry I guess… to sound like I was “preaching” when my goal was more about information and clearing up some myths in my own words..
Anyway… yeah, I would take the atheist proposals over the religious ones… usually they are made with the idea of protecting freedoms instead of taking them away…
So well said! Thank you for being so real!
Thank you for this! Great post. I think I’m an Apatheist. I could care less if there’s a god or not.
My dad’s terrified of Atheists. They’re the cause of the downfall of families in our society. Sigh.