So what prompted all of this discussion with Clai and then prompted the posting of the argument? A small quote written on a white dry erase board of a professor with a room on the same hall as Clai: “Masculinity and Femininity, gifts from God, when properly excercised*, unto each other, receive the greatest blessings.” *Not quite positive on correct word.
I stated to Clai how the use of “proper” along with “God”, “unto each other”, and “blessings” was mildly offensive and others would probably take offense to it. This began a long discussion about beliefs, and let me be quite frank. I have been working intensely on a paper for the last month and have had very little sleep. It has also been a long time since I have had to argue with an intelligent person about my beliefs. To top if off, Clai has a tendency to counter your arguments just to counter them. So for an hour, I tried to hold my own with my beliefs. After sidetracking from the main discussion of whether my argument was valid, Clai’s main focus became if believing in God did not change anything what advantage would I have by not believing in God. I ended the argument by stating that I would be changing my belief in God, and thats a change I am not prepared to make. This along with Ronnie’s blatant attacks on my post (Damn Him, hehe). Has started me down a road, I thought I had already visited. (Let me warn you I still have not gotten the sleep required to question one’s personal beliefs.)
Why am I an atheist?
Throughout my life, I have had various spiritual encounters which could for the normal sane person verify their belief in a supreme being, but for me, it proved how easily swayed we are to emotional events. During a C.A.P. boot(lite) camp after being demeaned, belittled and bullied, I went to a Methodist service, and for the first time in my life, I felt sanctuary. I decided from that moment on to follow a spiritual path and counseled with spiritual leaders on the base. For months, I had a purpose and goal for my life. The ultimate reason why I wanted to be a pastor was the sanctuary. Also, the idea of being a spiritual leader and guiding and enlightening people intrigued me. Unfortunately, one major sticking point kept me from following that path: I do not believe in a god. Though I tried, I could not convince myself to believe. My conscious would not allow me to pursue a vocation that meant I would have to deceive people on a daily basis. (One of the main reasons I have never been able to pursue sales.)
Years later, I started to attend USL. I thought I wanted to be a psychologist and had prospects of helping people. As I took each class, I noticed a pattern. The students passing the psych classes were not people interested in helping anyone other than themselves, either by self diagnosis or monetary satisfaction. (Let me state this is not the overarching diagnosis of the psychology students pursuing the degree, just an rash observation.) I was having a discussion with a friend, Bob, and we stumbled onto the subject of spirituality. I stated proudly that I was an agnostic and he questioned my reasons. Bob can be abrupt and rude at times, and he finally ended the discussion with something such as “Why don’t you get off the fence?” I doubt he meant the statement to have the influence it did, but it did. I spent the next few years trying to get off the fence. I dont believe I came up with the best choice, but it was my choice. I could not convince myself that there was a supreme being.
Why don’t I believe in a god?
1) I strive to be logical and simplistic. This is hard with so little of the universe being understood, but I cannot accept beliefs that go against logic.
2) I want to accept my deficiencies and strive to fix them. To many times, I have seen people use their god as a crutch patiently waiting for god to direct them and fix them. I cannot accept that. I believe the only control gods can have over human life is the control that is given to them.
3) I believe man created the idea of god and religions for their own purposes, whatever the purposes may be.
4) I believe each individual is ultimately responsible for themselves. Actions which do not have a direct negative affect on the living should not be judge by the living: abortion, suicide, sodomy, gluttony, sloth, homosexuality . . .
5) I believe no living person should be treated differently because of their beliefs.
6) I despise organized religions for using their power and control to manipulate situations to benefit the religion. I used to believe that the Buddhist were the answer, that a religion without a godhead was the way, until I saw one group of Buddhists attacking another due to the refusal for the latter group to abandon a holy site. Religion fails when man is concerned, especially when gatherings of men become involved.
7) I believe people need spirituality but I do not believe spirituality needs a godhead.
8) I believe spirituality is personal and changes from person to person.
9) I lack faith in the unknowable. I cannot accept something that I cannot prove and is unprovable. Clai argued that I have faith that events that happened before will happen again. Well, I can agree that I have faith that events which I have witnessed on a regular basis will happen again, but I have never witnessed a god.
10) I have never had the overwhelming spiritual moment which could not be understood with logic. I have not had the moment of clarity where I will be forced to accept the believe in a god because no rational logic can explain it.
I am not so cold and hard to believe that my believes will never change. I also do not look down upon individuals who believe in a god for themselves and themselves only and do not work to convert others. I avoid discussing religion and spirituality because I do not want to influence someone into not believing. I have only told individuals who I believe would accept my belief and allow me to believe it. Unfortunately, this has usually been proven wrong. I have found that people cannot accept the fact that I believe differently then them. I have only successfully forced the subject to be closed, which is depressing because I used to enjoy discussing believes with others.
I am tired of defending myself. I do not believe I should have to defend my beliefs on spirituality. In fact, I find arguing about spirituality is an endless conflict. It will never have a solution because neither side will abandon their beliefs.
I am an atheist by choice.