Atheism is the lack of belief in any deities. It is based on observations of an objective world.
I used to call myself an atheist for a few years. But I changed my mind. Why? Because when I was honest with myself finally, I realized the faults of atheism and the typical beliefs that tend to go along with it in this day and age.
This did not come easy for me. I had to be convinced and it took me a couple years. I could not just choose to change my mind. That is not how my mind works. If it doesn’t make sense to me, then it doesn’t make sense and I won’t believe it. But then after mulling it over for a couple years I came to some realizations that did change my perspective.
For starters we may live in an objective world but we experience it through a subjective worldview. Our thoughts and ideas about the objects in the world around us are shaped by our beliefs. A red car may still be a red car no matter who looks at it. We can objectively agree to that. But our emotional and logical responses may vary depending on a variety of things in relation to that red car.
This filter of the world is unique to us. We may share similar beliefs to others, even up to 99.9999%, but we still experience the world as ourselves and ultimately we face ourselves when we close our eyes at night. Which means that we have to be honest with ourselves or at least we should be. What I had failed to take into account as an atheist were my own emotions. The modern atheist movement is heavily focused on logical arguments based on material evidence. Emotions are often sidestepped. There is no room for emotions when debating the objective material world, just as there is no room for emotions in the courthouse when dealing with someones guilt or innocence based on what actually happened. But that is other people. When we deal with other people, taking an objective position is fine, even preferred. When we deal with ourselves though, emotions should be considered. Does atheism fulfill me? Does it give me hope? Does it make me happy? Does it inspire me? For some it may, but for me it didn’t. You may have a debate with someone and feel like you won the argument or made a solid irrefutable point, which may provide an ego buzz, but that’s a cheap thrill. It’s not the same as feeling hopeful and fulfilled about your life and your future and your meaning here. Â You may be able to get those from elsewhere in your life, but the lack of a belief in somethng higher to me personally, was not fulfilling.
God of the gaps
It’s a common argument that theists always put God in the gaps that science has not yet shed light on. The understanding is that there are fewer and fewer gaps left as science helps illuminate the darkness around us. Giving us greater knowledge and incite into how things work. But this is a huge universe, and the time and energy it would take just to reach another star is well out of our reach and potentially could always be. We may never create the technology that can get us there. We may never discover wormholes through spacetime. We may not even be human if and when we create the technology that might get us there. That is just reaching the closest star. Let alone things we will probably never understand, like why the big bang happened or what is truly inside of a black hole. So many of these things will never be observable in probably all of humanity going forward, even if given ten thousand years or more. We’ll only have guesses that may one day be passed off as facts because they’ve become so old and accepted and considered “highly probable.” Assuming we don’t destroy ourselves first.
But what about in our own lives? Aside from what humanity may one day discover we’re not going to be around to see it. By the time we die, there will still be a ton of gaps. Far more gaps than knowledge about the whole of the universe Even by the time humanity finally becomes extinguished in this universe, there are still bound to be countless gaps, things not fully or remotely understood. We could in fact understand 99.99999% of all things and still that last bit could be where the real magic is. We can say it’s totally improbable, but it will still require a degree of faith to dismiss it because we won’t really know for sure.
So as far as I’m concerned, the God of the gaps argument is not to be easily dismissed simply based on probability. Especially when we are still this young at science and haven’t even stepped foot on another planet in our own solar system and barely know what lies at the bottom of our own oceans.
Anyway, disproving the claims of ancient revealed religions through science is only testament to those revealed religions making poor claims, it does nothing to disproof the existence of an intelligent deity in general. It just sounds like it does because those claims are often tied to a specific kind of diety that most people believe in.
Which leads me to…
I realized after a while that my biggest reason for becoming an atheist was because I disliked the revelead religions. Modern militant atheism is really about hating on revealed religion and other superficial claims that have no physical evidence. But mostly it’s about debating theists online and watching youtube debates between prominate atheist and theist champions and reading books that have a bias you agree with.
There are good reasons to be disgruntled with revelaed religions and the actions of some of their followers. Especially when it comes to laws and civil rights issues. But I had to eventually take a step back and realize I had thrown the baby out with the bathwater. It is possible to believe in a higher power, even one that may interact with humanity in some way, but not believe in or follow a revealed religion. Haivng come from a Christian background before becoming an atheist, it was automatic for me to let it all go out the window. I mean haha if Christianity was all bullshit then what are we left with, atheism right? No. Not necessarily. That was just the path I had chosen and one I know a lot of others have taken. It’s an immediate step from one extreme to another. Like coming out of a relationship with an abusive man and becoming a extremist man hating feminist, forgetting that ultimately you still like men, just not certain kinds of men that are abusive.
So at some point it dawned on me that I really wasn’t an atheist in the dictionary definition of the term. I didn’t believe in the deity of the bible (or at least not as a whole) but I certainly didn’t feel like there was nothing out there. Somewhere inside of me there was still that emotional longing and hope for a higher power that cares. I also realized that atheism as a whole was a severely depressing outlook on life. Atheists say it’s truth, but they known damn well it’s not any more truth than belief in something higher existing. In this matter truth is what you choose to believe. It’s neither been proven one way or the other. It’s subjective truth, it’s not objective truth. They actively chose to live with no hope or faith that there is something higher. Mostly because they did as I did, they backlashed against revelaed religion for all its ills and threw the idea of a higher power out with it completely. All because they saw no physical evidence, most of whom don’t even know what kind of physical evidence would qualify for them to prove such an existence of a deity.
which leads me to faith….
This is the one that messed with me, because I did ask that question of myself. What evidence would I need to believe in a deity? I was amazed to realize the answer I came up with.
The truth is, there is no material evidence that would convince me. I could always argue that the evidence is purely natural. Anything in the natural world can be argued away as natural. Any cicumstance can be argued as coincidence or yet-to-be-explained. It’s self protecting logic. The same kind that is used by some revealed relgions. Atheists love it because they know this deep down inside. They know they can always win an argument with it because even if they can’t produce a reason for something they can always default to “just because we don’t understand it now doesn’t mean you should immediately jump to God did it, there probably is a perfectly natural cause we just have yet to discover. We don’t know everything and we don’t claim to know everything.”
The truth is, they are right for the most part. Anything in the natural world can be explained naturally. It’s the ultimate motivation that is still in question.
Faith turns out to be, of all things, the best and only way to a deity. You need to have faith in a deity. As I said above, you view the objective world through a subjective lens. By having faith in a deity you see the world around you in a new light. What was before just a natural process now becomes divinely inspired or motivated. It’s easy for an atheist to pass this kind of thinking off as delusional. Because they don’t see it. They lack the faith to believe it. So that is actually the doorway as it turns out. If you deny it you’ll never see it. From an atheist worldview it may sound crazy but it’s true. It’s as simple as a change of perspective. Like viewing the world in infrared instead of visiable light.
There are of course those that would try to test faith, but they’re really just testing the claims of an individual or of a revealed religion. When those claims fail the test often the entire religion including the belief in a deity are thrown out. But I say again, throw out only the specific claim. If the claim is that praying can heal the sick, that can be tested. I generally believe that such a deity probably sees all these claims being made but never made them itself. Like a couple kids going around saying “my dad can beat up your dad” when such dads never made these claims themselves and would never follow through with them just because their kid made them. I see this with religious people all the time, they go around threatening other people with claims they were told by others that were told by others and so on. And those are generally considered the good claims because they came from a holy book. Yet we know very little about the book and the motivations of those who wrote it. Worse are the people who make original claims which we know they are just pulling out of their ass because they aren’t written in any so called holy book and we’ve never heard them before. The person is just angry or believes some easily refuted thing. A lot of judgement gets passed around like this. A lot of hellfire talk whenever someone encounters someone or something they don’t personally like. As I said before, when we deal with other people it’s better to deal in objective terms we all agree on rather than subjective emotional reactions. Religious claims get thrown around like battle axes with dull edges because they aren’t actually backed up by a diety.
This is why I see revealed religion as a failure and a con job.
So I am not a fan of revelaed religions, as you can tell. They make a lot of claims about morality, history, the world and the nature of a deity. I like to use my own senses and my own capacity to reason. I like science and the discoveries we make using it. Some of which refute religious claims. But I cannot call myself an atheist, even if it turns out that I agree with most atheists most of the time and get extremely frustrated with religious people. For me, the failures of atheism are personal and may not apply to others, but it’s me I live with.