Atheism shall set you free

People who hold a belief in God often ask me why I would subscribe to such a depressing Worldview as Atheism or specifically Naturalism. I suspect that this entry  will be similar to previous entries, where I explained why I not only do not believe in gods but why it’s also a good thing, that  there is no evidence for them (as far as I’m aware).

Still, I want to summarize why I as an Atheist don’t want deities to exist. My first reason is of course, that if God exists (or all meaningful definitions of him), then we would be forced to follow his rules or fear certain consequences. Those consequences are of course punishments in this life like tragedies etc. being born in another life in a low social status ,like the Hindus believe or punishment in form of an afterlife.

Why would I want to be in ownership of anybody? Theism entails, that God owns us and while we wouldn’t have to adhere to him (and I hope I wouldn’t) God does come with consequences, which I don’t desire and which I think no one should desire.

Now there are of course certain consequences, which theists would assert are desirable. If we adhere to this being and follow his rules, then we will spend an eternity of bliss alongside him in heaven.

I have 3 reasons against Heaven being good and one caveat but ultimately I find my 3 reasons convincing to me at least.

First the Caveat: My relatives. Some of my relatives are already dead, mainly one of my grandmothers as well as and most importantly my mother. It’s a complicated story, which I don’t want to talk about on this post but under my belief system I’ll never see her again. I would give a whole lot, just to talk to her one more time. It makes me sad, that I won’t have that opportunity anymore.

Now for my reasons:

My first reason is, that it would make me sick to my stomach, to spend eternity alongside a deity, who sends others for eternity to hell. He could of course (as some Christians suggested to me he would) manipulate my mind in such a way, that I wouldn’t know, that people were in hell. In that case, the person that is in Heaven could no longer be my true self.

But hey there’s a really simple way out of this one: Maybe hell doesn’t exist in the first place. There are theists who reject hell. Wouldn’t that mean that God is a good God as he rewards everybody? The theist would think so, but Heaven to me sounds utterly terrible. I don’t know where I found this quote or who it could be attributed to but I find it fitting:

IMG_0151

Does this sound like a Paradise to you? Eternity is not only a long time to be wrong it’s a long time period.  Way too long for me.

The third and most important point: What purpose does this life serve? Why would I try to accomplish anything? Why would I go to University? If merely believing in a deity and worshipping it gets me everything I want or need, why waste my time trying to accomplish anything? I’m just as fine of, sitting at home all day, getting food paid from my state and watching TV. The accomplishments however little they are to an Almighty, are meaningful to me because they are mine. They make me proud and give me purpose. But in the end if theism is true, it was all for nothing as sitting in my home and praying would at the very least have the same, if not a better result, then trying to be successful.

Atheism gets rid of all that baggage and while death is frightening, to me at least it’s better than the alternative that is eternal life. Atheism has set me free.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

What I’ll do if I’m wrong!

Way too often we as Atheists get asked the question: “What if you’re wrong?” , even though most theists don’t seriously consider the possibility, that they might be in error. I don’t believe in deities and I’m fairly certain, that they don’t exist and that they’re all made up. Can I be 100% certain? No. It might be the case, that I’ll die as an Atheist unrepented and I find myself before the “Big Guy”. So here’s what I’d do in that event:

It’s needless to say, that I would be in total and utter shock. I wouldn’t know what to say. I would be speechless. After picking up my jaw from the ground, my first question would be obvious: “Who are you? Which one are you? You aren’t the Christian one right? Were the Muslims right? Are you a deistic God whose existence was lost on all of us?” Then I would wait for his answer.

The next big question I would have to ask is “What did I miss? Where was the flaw in my reasoning? What did they figure out what I couldn’t?” I would love to find out where I went wrong and why others could figure it out and I couldn’t. That would be of utmost importance to me.

If we get into more detail and we presume, that God is a merciful (or at least not outright cruel) God and he is pleased with me and wants to spend an eternity in heaven with me, I would thank him for the offer but would respectfully decline and ask him to just let me die. If he forces me into Heaven, then I have an eternity to be pissed off at him.

If he had intentions of sending me to hell then I would ask God for a favor beforehand: I would ask him, to let me see my family one more time, so I could say Goodbye to them for good. If he said Yes then this way I would see, who of my family members made it to Heaven and who didn’t. They would know, that God would send me to hell and they would either A) resent him for it and would know he’s not a good God or B) they wouldn’t be my family and God would’ve replaced them somehow. I would then join my other family members in hell if there are any. As an extra I would have had one final encounter with those who are dear to me.

If he said No then I would go to hell immediately and would then meet my family members in hell (or not) and I would resent him even more for not granting my last humble wish.

If he sends me to hell (as some of my Christian/Muslim detractors say, is exactly the fate that awaits me) I would still be pleased in a way. I would know that I was right: There is no omnibenevolent deity. God doesn’t exist. Only the Devil does.

Of course for me, both Heaven and Hell would be Lose-Lose-Situations but I would make the best of it. So what if I’m wrong: If I’m wrong I’m doomed either way no matter if I go to Heaven or hell, unless he lets me die, in which case me being wrong but having found out why holds no real weight.

If I’m wrong I’m wrong and there’s nothing, I can do about it.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

a dialogue on morality and meaning

Today’s post is something completely different. I’m gonna do a little experiment. I’ve had a very interesting dialogue with a Christian on the topics of morality and meaning of life. It will be the longest post so far (so please don’t get mad). I do have to say that in retrospective I could’ve answered some questions better but I asnwered the way I did at that time. I really think, that the following illustrates some key difference in our worldviews and how we go about living life, so I wanted to share it with you. We’ll refer to her as Katy in the following thread:

Katy: Why does it matter if we further humanity if eventually we’re all going to be burned up by the sun? And then why do people go against your system of secular morality so often, then? Finity doesn’t give something meaning or beauty. If we have no purpose, we have no meaning. If our purpose is just to exist, then why do we still crave meaning outside of just existing? Your sense of morality justifies all means. By your system, anything is permissible as long as it furthers humanity. If twenty million people got sick with a life-threatening, untreatable, contagious disease, would it be okay to commit genocide so the rest of the world didn’t get it? If a baby was coughing, alerting Nazis in the other room, would it be okay for his mother to smother it so she and the rest of her family didn’t get sent to a prison camp? Where do you draw the line, sir?

Me:Why do we crave meaning outside of ourselves? Speak for yourself cause I don’t. Most people I interact with don’t and most of my friends are theists. They and I crave secular goals of enjoying life. Why do people go against my system? Well firstly not everybody agrees with my system and secondly there are times when individuals see better consequences for themselves if they ignore their empathy. People are selfish but in most cases people do see the value to behave in such a way that society flourishes because they themselves flourish. our purpose isn’t just to “exist” it’s to procreate it’s to start a family and it’s to live life to the best of our abilities. You must be mistaking me for a utilitarianist. I’m not. I do admit that I do’t know how to answer these difficult moral questions. They’re moral dilemmas. As I already conceded my morality isn’t perfect or absolute. In those situations I would then seek out dialogue with the people involved, consider the experts and decide after debating these topics so that we might make the right decision. It always depends on the situation though. If time was lacking I’d probably go with what my gut was telling me. but yes in general human well being (and the well being of other nonhuman animals) is the goal. I’m shocked that you would disagree, How would you go about those dilemmas and why?

Katy: Personally, in the case of the first moral dilemma I would quarantine those already sick, make sure they were as comfortable as possible, and pray. In the second, I would have to trust God to bring the right outcome to pass, knowing that my only responsibility is to obey his instructions (do not murder) and pray for his will to be done. I’m sorry, but my worldview is just much more applicable and sensical than yours. Everything from how the universe came to be, to what our goal in life is, and what our ultimate end will be, is perfectly explained. If you’re not utilitarian, then what are you? From what you’ve said our purpose is, you’re literally the definition of a utilitarian. My belief is that we were created to give glory to God. And that God loves us and can give us much more joy and fulfillment than we could ever give ourselves. We can never create meaning for ourselves unless we have something to live for, if we have a purpose. If our purpose is wrapped up in something that will not last, that no one will ever remember, not even ourselves, then it is meaningless. By your worldview, you will be obliterated. The big empty universe will never remember you, you have no hope, no true joy, no true life. Everything you thought of as beautiful and important will have meant nothing. But my beliefs are the source of my hope, joy, and life, and I have an answer for how we came to be, why we love the things we love, I have an answer for all the questions I have in life, and I know that whatever happens to me, I don’t need to be afraid. I don’t care if I will be torn apart limb by limb, because I have a Savior who loves me, whom I’m going to be with for all of eternity. And I desperately want the same for you.
Me: In the first moral dilemma I agree. Good thinking. In the second one I probably wouldn’t kill the baby neither. Primarily because my conscience wouldn’t allow it. Just listen to my gut. I’m a consequentialist btw. My worldview (Big Bang, evolution) has evidence behind it. Even if we were intelligently designed it wouldn’t mean Goddidit. We can create meaning for ourselves and we do. Starting a family, exploring the world, making a positive impact on people are all things that give my life meaning. My true hope and true joy is life itself. I have no interest in eternal existence and no use of 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 and so on years. That thought alone scares me. At some point I actually want it to end. I don’t know why anyone or anything needs to remember me in order to have meant something. Life and existence is meaningful to me right now. I’m living it and enjoying it. That is all I want or need. “because I have a Savior who loves me, whom I’m going to be with for all of eternity. And I desperately want the same for you.” If given a choice in the matter I thankfully most respectfully decline. If you’re right and I see God at Judgement day I will ask him 2 things: A) What did I miss? Why didn’t I see the evidence? B) I want neither heaven nor hell for eternity. Can I just please die? I don’t expect you to understand my perspective but here is basically why I fear heaven as well as hell: 100000000000000000 years in heaven
This will be my last reply to you. I have other things to do and I need to move on with this topic. Goodbye

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation

The Christian’s relationship with Heaven and Hell

Yesterday as I stumbled upon the following Tweet of Ray Comfort:

“The friendly preacher who fails to warn of the reality of Hell, betrays the Son of God with a kiss.”

I had the really strange thought that Ray may actually  (for the first time in his life) be right about this issue. Of course he’s not right that Jesus was betrayed or that hell actually exists but he’s right about the fact that most preachers and especially most Christians don’t seem to be alarmed about the (in their mind) very real consequences of their religious beliefs.

If you think about the fact that only about 1/3 of the world identifies as Christian you would think that every Christian would do everything in his power to see everyone converted to Jesus. With the eternal consequences that belief/disbelief has it would be the reasonable, compassionate and morally right action to devote your life to saving souls. Yet strangely enough most Christians live their lives just like I do. Granted I get to sleep longer on Sunday, I don’t talk to the air and I actually read the Bible but other than that we have similar livestyles. They enjoy watching and playing sports just like I do, they enjoy watching TV series and movies just like I do (maybe even the blasphemous ones) they find joy and happiness in a mostly secular lifestyle just like I do.

Now this of course isn’t a staggering observation but I still find it to be a curious one.    Why?

Because there is another option besides eternal torment that guarantees them an eternity of bliss and fun and happyness and love.

Those two promises, those two consequences should normally be very real to anybody who calls himself a Christian (although Muslims and others have of course similar belief systems).

To all my atheist readers: What would you do if you truly believed that those two places exist and that over 4.5 billion people living on this Earth right now will be tortured for eternity?

I tell you what I would Do (and I hope that most if not all of my readers will agree):

I would study and make my doctrate in Christian apologetics and I would make it my life mission to become the next William Lane Craig, with the obvious exception that I wouldn’t suck. I would try to find evidence for God and Christianity, I wouldn’t leave a rock unturned, and I would spend every waking moment of my life trying to convert nonbelievers. I would do so because I know I will get my reward in the next life after this one and because I owe it to the people and myself.

Strangely enough though I can only think of a handful of Christians who are getting remotely close to the standard that heaven and hell demand while the vast majority doesn’t seem to be concerned at all. My question is simple: Why aren’t Christians more concerned?

I’ll leave you with this to ponder on but I suspect you already know your answer.

Goodbye from yours truly,

Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation