I Am An Atheist – Thank God

Actually I was brought up a Roman Catholic and it took a long time for me to shake that programming. Those priests did a good job of drumming the fear of hell and eternal burning into me, but it was the possibility of earthly burning that finally forced it out for good. Surviving the 2009 Black Saturday fires when 173 other people didn’t finally brought home to me that there is no one looking out for us and we are all responsible for our own lives. No one is going to “save” us and we don’t live for any higher purpose. We just live. And, after giving it much thought, I’m perfectly happy with that. I don’t need anything more than my family, friends, a desire to embrace all the wonders around me and an enquiring mind. As Linus Pauling (winner of the Nobel chemistry (1954) and peace (1962) prizes) said, “Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life”.

It is a shame that so many people have deluded themselves into thinking there has to be something more in order to be happy and fulfilled. What is even more unfortunate is that they think it is their duty to force these delusions on the rest of us. I don’t want to be killed by someone who is grumpy because I don’t share his imaginary friend. And with all the imaginary friends out there I don’t understand how one group can be so sure that their imaginary friend is the right one. How do they know that their book is correct and everyone else’s is wrong? Where is the evidence? When is there ever any evidence? How can anyone claim that intelligent design should be taught in science classes as an alternative to evolution? Teach it if you must, but not in science class. At least evolution is supported by evidence. There is no evidence for intelligent design, so it cannot be discussed in the same environment. How people of science, who are taught to question and search for proof, can be religious is beyond me. I guess that early age indoctrination is pretty hard to break.

I have recently returned from Colorado where the Colorado Coalition of Reason (http://www.cocore.org) has generated the latest atheist controversy. They have erected two billboards in Denver which read, “God is an imaginary friend. Choose reality, it will be better for all of us.” This is the latest in a series of atheist slogans including, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, which was plastered on British buses and “Atheism – celebrate reason”, which was far too inflammatory and heretical to be run on Australian buses. Why all the concern? Whether you believe in it or not surely the atheist viewpoint is entitled to just as much exposure as the theist one? I personally find the stylised fish on people’s cars and various slogans on billboards telling me to “repent the end is nigh”, or “Jesus is the light”, etc. offensive, but I believe people have a right to express their views. Although why such a big deal is made of religious freedom is another mystery to me. If my religion is sport, as it seems to be for many people, and my team plays on Sunday why can’t I have the day off to pay homage to them? How is that any different to asking for the day off because my imaginary friend tells me to? And how are these adult imaginary friends any different to the ones children sometimes have? At least those friends don’t tell their devotees to maim, kill and slaughter.

I don’t, however, agree with Richard Dawkins who states in his excellent book, “The God Delusion”, that religion is the root of all evil. I believe a perceived lack of resources is the real reason we decide to murder each other en masse. Religion is used as an effective tool to cleanse our consciences when we do invade. They don’t believe in the same imaginary friend as us. Therefore, they are evil and we are obligated to destroy them. Just because we acquire lots of arable farming land and litres of oil is, of course, beside the point.

Surely it is time for the human race to grow up and face facts. There is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of a god. Accepting this does not mean the end of morality. We are a pretty poor species if the only reasons we have for not killing each other come from the dictates of a non-existent entity. Having successfully discredited Apollo carrying the sun across the sky in his chariot, and the world being supported by an infinite tower of turtles, isn’t it time we completed the exercise, enjoyed our lives for what they are here and now and moved on into a rational future?

Dr. F. Bunny

“If you want my final opinion on the mystery of life and all that, I can give it to you in a nutshell. The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.”
(Peter De Vries, Let Me Count the Ways. Little Brown, 1965)

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