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December 3, 2009

Why I Appreciate Atheists

By Douglas g

I not only appreciate Atheists, but I also admire them for their character and bravery. I admire them for their thinking skills and their sense of honesty.

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The whole thing (belief in God) is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life. — Sigmund Freud

I am not atheist or a nontheist. I don't pretend to know that God doesn't exist.

My mind at times is agnostic although my heart always tells me there is a higher power or some sort of magnificent, universal spiritual force that is open to all of us.

I think for the most part we have the wrong idea of God.

I believe that we share our life in God.

God, to me, is the divine ground of all being from which all of consciousness arises. God is our life and he/she/it shares in everyone's life experience and yet he/she/it is beyond our lives.

Once while out for a walk a couple of decades ago, for some reason I began paying attention to a little girl roller skating. I watched her as she played happily but then suddenly I had this profound inner knowing that there was also this presence that was watching and experiencing everything that little girl did. Then, I realized that spiritual presence was not only in that little girl experiencing her life, but it was in everything and was everywhere including in me. I had this profound feeling of this presence in me and out of me. It was in everything watching and experiencing me and in everything else from everywhere. But the knowing of this divine presence quickly faded.

After years of trying to come to a greater understanding of that 'little girl experience while out for a walk,' I am sorry to say that I can't say much more than this presence seemed a part of us yet beyond us. This presence seemed to be keenly interested in every aspect of life and yet it was also outside of what we know as our life. The Bhagavad Gita talks about the knower, and that knower being a part of creation and yet something more. This idea of God portrayed in the Hindu Classic is the closest I have come to some understanding of what I think God may be.

I relate this experience because I think it shows where I am coming from concerning my spiritual beliefs and experiences.

Although I have some personal beliefs and experiences with spirituality that lead me to believe in a Divine Universal Consciousness outside of any particular body, place, or time, I do enjoy atheism and atheists.

I enjoy atheist arguments. I enjoy their wit and their perspective. I appreciate how atheists expose ignorance and hypocrisy.

I firmly believe that many people are atheist precisely because of their profound sense of compassion and humanism.

I can't speak for all atheists but I can offer some impressions.

It seems that atheists are often more attune to the the suffering and death that exists all around us and they firmly believe that there can be no loving God(s) that would allow this. That is probably one of the first sentiments that moved many atheists to the position that there is no God(s). They likely moved from this feeling for life and its hardships to the search for an understanding of God(s). When they found no satisfying evidence for a God of the great religions they had to be brutally honest with themselves.

From my experience, most atheists are critical and rational thinkers. They apply that reasoning to the search for God and find a 'false belief' that has led to so much death and destruction throughout history in the name of that 'false belief'. The atheists reject a life of faith in God because they try to be honest, and their thinking doesn't bring them to that conclusion. Unlike most spiritually minded they don't generally cover up inconsistencies in reasoning and evidence with faith.

I have found atheists to be much more heroic in their quest for truth than nearly all of the 'true believers.' Their search for truth has led them to a life of no God(s) and that can be a fearful position to take for those with less strength of character.

But, for me, the greatest service atheists offer is what they have done for society. Atheists have done a fine job of exposing frauds, fraudulent doctrines, and beliefs.

Here are just a few of the great atheists that have tackled the lies of history sold us as truth.

-Voltaire

-Rousseau

-Thomas Paine

-Karl Marx

-Sigmund Freud

-Albert Einstein

-George Orwell

-Noam Chomsky

In truth, the list could go on and on. Obviously there are evil and nasty atheists. But the point is that if it weren't for these great atheist thinkers, humanity would be suffering under even more brutality and ignorance than what presently exists.

People are a gullible bunch. They want to be true believers and let others do thinking for them. But we know that people lie all of the time. We also know that the greater the power and the bigger the institutions the greater the lies. In fact, these institutions are empowered by the 'Big Lies' that they tell and that people believe. Especially in religion, here we have the Big Lies supposedly coming from God himself. The true believers can never bring themselves to question God unless that belief in God or his institutions is offering them extreme pain.

But atheists throughout history have been brave enough and honest enough to question the Big Lies of God. If it weren't for their genius and bravery, we would all be enslaved right now by ecclesiastical power along with corporate and governmental power. Unfortunately, being free of one out of the three is the best we can do right now. I guess atheists can't do everything for us.

Still we can, as a people, reach for that same sense of honesty, courage, rationality, and critical thinking that has been displayed by atheists throughout history to tackle those forces that shackle us from our own ignorance and irrationality. But it does require that people move beyond the True Believer mode and into a brave new world of critical thinking.

So I not only appreciate Atheists, but I also admire them for their character and bravery. I admire them for their thinking skills and their sense of honesty.

I, for one, am thankful that we have people that are as committed to truth and honesty as atheists and not afraid of where that truth and honesty may take them. Even if that commitment to truth and honesty has brought them a great deal of societal condemnation, atheists for the most part have been brave enough to make a stand using their reasoning and critical thinking skills.

For those of us that have some belief in God(s), we have a lot to learn from atheists.

Submitters Bio:

I am a progressive.


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