Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Faitheist

I'm an atheist, but I don't tend to talk about it very much. It's not really a big issue, since you either agree with me or you don't. I'm not trying to convert anyone, because the argument for atheism is one of logic and science, whereas the argument for religion is one of emotion and belief. You can't disprove religion because proof is not what defines religious faith.
Not to mention, most people like to argue religion on the internet, and until very recently acting nice to other people on the internet wasn't common practice, so talking about religion was just a way of starting a fight. I've seen people on adorable kitten videos start arguments about religion, it's just stupid.
Usually, when I see one of those religion vs. atheism arguments, I comment merely to say "stop arguing, you're wasting everyone's time". But there's one thing that religious people say about atheists that really bugs me, because it's severely untrue: "You have no faith."
It's often used as an insult, but even when it's not it's just taken for granted that atheists are faithless. This pisses me off, because not only does this prove that religious people don't know what "faith" actually means, but it's unfair, untrue and unkind. Let's start by explaining what faith means.
The Word of the Day is: 'FAITH'

Faith /fayth/ n. 1. Confidence or trust in someone or something. 2. Belief which is not based on proof. 3. Belief in the teachings of religion. 4. A system of religious belief: Christian faith; Jewish faith. 5. A duty or obligation of loyalty (to a person, promise, engagement, etc.): To keep or break faith with; To act in good faith; Act in bad faith.

If you call yourself a Christian and you don't agree with that definition, then you're not a very good Christian, because a similar definition can be found in the Bible itself:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
- (Hebrews 11:1)
I don't believe that faith is necessarily a bad thing. That's not to say that I think it's a good thing either, it's just kind of a thing. Because, as the dictionary says, faith is "a belief which is not based on proof". Believing in something without proof isn't a good idea most of the time.
I mean, when I was a kid I believed that stars didn't move in the sky. It's not that I was taught wrong or that I didn't understand the idea of the Earth spinning. But because I used to watch cartoons as a kid, and to save on animation, when they transitioned day to night they'd show the moon and sun spin around like a roulette wheel, but the stars were stuck in the same place, never moving. So, I believed that to be an accurate picture, with no real proof, just an assumed understanding from what I’d seen on television. Now, I know that’s just silly, the truth is that the entire sky turns, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

So faith isn’t all that impressive a thing, and it’s quite frustrating that people flaunt it like it’s something to which we should all aspire. Especially when they don’t understand what it means. See, the kind of people that use “you have no faith” as an insult - in my experience - tend to be the same people that believe they can prove God exists. To those people I say: “No you can't.” For two reasons:
One,  you can’t prove something supernatural with natural methods, as it assumes that supernature can be observed and defined. Two, proof denies faith.
I’m sure many of you have heard the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” argument that proof of god would deny the existence of god. It’s just a bit of funny rhetoric, but it’s appropriate in the sense that religion so oft relies on believing that your god is the one, true god because you are made in their image, you follow their morals and all kinds of other things I don’t understand. It’s a matter of faith, and without faith, then religion is meaningless. I have no problem in being told “Yes, the universe was created by this dude, over here, his name is Paul and he likes crackers” (so long as it’s proven scientifically), but that doesn’t mean I have to pray to it.
So, congratulations, you’ve proven that your faith is meaningless.

But more importantly, in fact most importantly, as I said before “I don’t believe that faith is a bad thing”. I do have faith. In fact, I would argue that I have a great deal more faith than religious people. Allow me to explain . . .
I believe in people. I have faith in humanity. You religious people, you believe in God and have faith in Jesus and for you it’s easy. God doesn't exist have any flaws; because gods don’t get things wrong. Even when they do get stuff wrong, gods “work in mysterious ways” or they really were benevolent, it's just that someone else got in the way (the devil, the gays, the feminists, the liberals, etc) and made God look like a total dickhead. It wasn’t God’s fault, it was everyone else!

But me? I have faith in people, and people have a tonne of flaws. They let me down all the time. They keep killing one another, they keep hating one another, they keep raping, dehumanizing, disrespecting, destroying and annoying one another. But I still have faith in us all, because we do good things a lot of the time as well, and there are good stories in the world, and even when we do the wrong thing, I have faith that we’ll learn from those mistakes and disappointments and be better people tomorrow.
I believe this, despite the lack of evidence, because it gives me hope for tomorrow. And because sometimes - though not often enough - it pays off.

The thing is, People stereotype. We think we can know people from these small, defining characteristics. But you can’t just a person for being atheist, hell, you especially can’t judge atheists because we all have only one thing in common - just one - we don't believe in a god. That's it. There's no system, there's no rite or rituals, there's no common gathering of atheists. I mean, there are some groups of atheists that group together and do stuff as atheists, but fuck those people. One of the benefits of being an atheist is that I don't have to go to church or read a book written by some douchebag, so by gathering together you're just ruining the fun of it.
But anyway, atheists have a wide array of beliefs. Some of us believe that the Harry Potter movies are better than the books; some believe that different brands of batteries are provably better at powering our devices; some believe that Jesus Christ did exist, but that he was just a dude & some even believe that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a really cool show with good story and characters.
We have all kinds of beliefs, it's just that we don't believe in that one.

And the same should be said of religious folks. Faith isn’t a bad thing. I mean, I do honestly believe that these bible thumpers are wrong, as in morally wrong, especially when they're trying to impose their beliefs on us or force innocent people to suffer for their stupidity. But, this isn't a big deal, because everyone knows they're wrong. Even the good, honest Christians know these people are wrong because when people use Christianity as a weapon, they're not real Christians, that's not what the religion is meant to be about at all.
Here, I think George Michael said it best:
"I know for a fact that many devout Christians . . . are truly wonderful, kind-hearted men and women who take the best parts of that religion and live admirable, generous and loving lives . . . But in my opinion . . . there are others who use their twisted interpretations of ancient scriptures as a pathetic excuse to be totally fucked up cunt-sucking bastards."
- George Michael, on hearing that some Christians prayed for his death
So while there are some bad eggs, I have hope for you all. As I said, I have faith in humanity, that includes all of you Christians as well - and there’s an awful bloody lot of you - so I have faith that you’re not all the kind of people that want to make the world a worse place. Please, please, please, don’t let me down.

I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and until next time, I might be a while for the next post. I'm working on my next Duke Forever chapter a little bit earlier than usual, since I'm trying to get them written with more frequency. I'm also looking for a job, so things might get shuffled around a bit. Rest assured, I will keep posting here as often as I can, and I have faith that you'll all get my next blog post sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the job search, and I couldn't agree more about having faith in the goodness of human beings. Quite a few people have ruined that faith, and yet we have to keep believing in goodness to function in the world.

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to make suggestions, ask questions & comment . . .
I would love to read your words.