There is no God
I find religion an interesting subject, although once I studied it I no longer subscribed to it. Gods and religions developed to help man explain what was unknowable at the time. However as we have gained knowledge many unknowns have become known and as time passes the truth will be learned about many things that remain unknown at present. When most of the population was illiterate it was easy for the Church to change it’s position with only the small ruling class having the knowledge that it had changed. The Church knew that the ruling class wouldn’t reveal the change or changes to the peasant classes as no ruling class wants to upset the status quo by shaking the faith in the church. However the times have changed to where almost anyone has access to vast volumes of information. They may not understand what’s presented, but at least they’re exposed to new ideas and the latest science. With all this exposure to new concepts I find it hard to believe that a portion of the population are still Theists and/or believe in a personal immortality. I know these people exist as I work with some of them. I know that some people need a force greater than themselves to depend on or to blame for their circumstances in this life. I’m convinced that there will always be some form of Theism that will exist as long as man survives on this planet due to certain individuals’ needs. However, would it not be far better for humanity to learn to appreciate this brief span of time we call life and to embrace our future nonexistence than to scare the Hell out of people with the threat of eternal damnation?
To let you know what I think of many of the so called Christians I know I will use a locally popular saying “I’d rather be standing in my shoes or yours than theirs when it comes time to go to Hell” as they fail to live what they preach. Christians are their own religion’s worst enemy by not setting good examples with their own lives. The Christians that aren’t setting good examples help contribute to the fact that many people a little older than me and younger are becoming nonreligious and/or Atheistic. I come from a small area where almost everyone knows who everybody else is and what they are doing. Also I think that most Americans, although they will give lip service to Christianity do not take it very seriously. Maybe a few are hoping for that death bed conversion. Can you imagine some of them waking up before God and saying “Damn it God I honestly didn’t see that semi coming” and God replying “To Hell with you”. I couldn’t resist that little bit of humor. Although over 70% of Americans claim to attend church regularly the church records show only about 20% to 40% of their membership attend on any given Sunday and that’s not considering the large number of us who aren’t church members . I believe that the USA is a functioning Atheist country. I hear people say that this country is in danger of letting the religious right take some of our freedoms. We are just hearing the vocal few and I don’t think that we’re in danger. We must remain watchful, but I see no real danger from the religious right. The population is unwilling to give up the conveniences it’s become used to in the last 40 years. When I was a small child in Ky there were Blue Laws (Laws that forbade businesses to open on Sunday), but these had mainly disappeared by the early to mid 1970′s. All the time the preachers were preaching that you’re going to send the owners and clerks to Hell as they will be unable to attend church. Surprising how many church goers go out to eat on Sunday as they must realize that they are requiring others to work to prepare the food and serve it to them causing them to be unable to attend church. Therefore who is the most guilty of sending these workers to Hell the patron or the worker? To sum it up if there were no patrons there would be no need for anyone to work. My finial point is you’ll know how good of a Christian a man is when he has to chose between his religion and money.
The question of whether God exists or not I feel is rather mute as God/Gods don’t seem to manifest themselves on our planet and we aren’t immortal. What difference does it make to us? I certainly don’t think that there is any possibility of the Gods of the world’s current religions existing. At least the ones I know about don’t seem to exist. Therefore I fit into the Strong Atheist category. I certainly don’t believe that anything that can be called God exists. There may be an ultimate force out there responsible for this mess but I can’t conceive whatever it is as being thinking or intelligent. Furthermore if I’m wrong and it’s possible that this force could be intelligent I don’t believe that it’s in the least concerned about us. However I remain open-minded and allow for the possibility that I can be proved wrong. However; the evidence for God must be based on true scientific work and not on pseudo-science and /or mysticism. Both the pseudo-science and mysticism approaches have been tried on me before without the theist getting their desired results. In fact I have caused a few theists to rethink their theism to the point that they have become atheists. I like also pointing out to theists with so many Gods to chose from how can they be sure that they’ve picked the right God. After the usual assertions that they have chosen the True God, I say but if you’ve chosen the wrong God you’re no better off than I am because both of us will burn in The True God’s Hell.
The concept of immortality although ancient remains unproven. Stated quite simply no one has ever come back from the dead to tell us about it. Although there are many interesting debates about near death experiences, I subscribe to the view that near death experiences are merely hallucinations that the brain produces as the brain starts to shut down as we approach death. If the brain had totally shut down and they had actually left their body they couldn’t have returned to talk about their experience as they would be dead. I know no more nor less about this great unknown called Death than any other living thing on this planet, but I will share what my common sense tells me about death and it’s results. As one man had inscribed on his tomb I now know more than the wisest of men. I really don’t like the idea that I’ll cease to exist upon my death, but I can find comfort in the knowledge of the peace that my nonexistence will bring. At least most people don’t subscribe to a physical resurrection anymore. I know that I’m going to die and my physical body will decay and by some means be returned to earth as nature requires to be recycled for eternity within this brilliant universe. Well maybe that’s why we’re such restless creatures as we are unable to stay in one place for long either while we’re living or dead. All one needs to prove that the eventual recycling of our physical bodies will occur is to see what’s there when an old grave is disinterred. In many cases not even bones are found. Once I return to the ground I’m confident that neither God nor anything else can ever put this body back together. Nor do I believe in a soul as what’s me (my intellect) is simply the electrical impulses in my brain. What is me is up on death is lost forever as the main frame has crashed without backup discs. Although this may sound strange, if I can’t have my body as it is now, which is an impossibility, I have no desire for immortality. If immortality does exist I think that after so long it would become extremely boring. With immortality there would be no motivation to accomplish anything as time will no longer be a factor. Interestingly I suspect that mankind most often wishes for what he really doesn’t want, which is immortality as mankind doesn’t understand immortality’s ramifications. One of my favorite quotes is “Our existence is just a crack of light between two eternal darknesses”.
Heaven and Hell are interesting concepts as the Christian Bible and Church present them. According to it we are condemned either to eternal joy or eternal torture. Let me ask this how does a person appreciate eternal joy if there is no pain or how does a person know that they are in eternal torture if there is no pleasure as there are no reference points if both don’t coexist? Another interesting point is why are the descriptions of Heaven and Hell physical when the physical doesn’t affect a soul? The reason is that the full blown concepts of Heaven and Hell were developed when people believed in a physical resurrection from our tombs just as we were the day we were placed in our tombs. This we know is an impossibility. I am convinced that most of our current concepts of Heaven and Hell were developed during the Dark Ages, when the threat of Hell was used by the small ruling class to control the large peasant class. One of the reasons that people are becoming less religious is that many have lost their fear of Hell as the concept makes no sense. Religion loses control without the fear of Hell. Heaven doesn’t sound too pleasant to a whisking drinking fun loving fellow like me where people are just praising God for all eternity. I have no fear of Hell as described in the Bible because if I have a physical body like this one it will quickly be consumed by Hell’s flames and I will just cease to exist anyway. I can’t imagine what material that my body would be made of so that Hell’s flames will torture yet not consume me. As you can see I find this whole concept ludicrous. Hey if we’re wrong maybe we’ll get to enjoy each others company for the short period of time it takes Hell’s flames to turn us into a puff of smoke. HA!HA! It makes no sense to me that if I am immortal why I have to die just to be resurrected. If I’m immortal wouldn’t it be much simpler to not die in the first place? Our resurrection will just be more work for God to do. Another interesting point that Christians need to consider is that according to Revelations only 144,000 souls are saved. Considering the millions or even billions of Christians, who have lived in the last couple thousand years, one would have to be or have been among one of the most excellent Christians that ever lived to even be considered. Plus some of the slots are allotted to the best of the Jews from the pre-Christ era. If I was a Theist I think I would be looking for a God who’s Heaven has more room.
The Bible, which is the basis of Judeo-Christian Religion, is less than a perfect book. The Bible is simply a compilation of other books and documents. Either as a historical document or as a theistic guide I have little regard for it’s accuracy as we can’t see what wasn’t included when either the Old or New Testaments were Canonized. The Old Testament contains books written thousands and in the case of the Creation billions of years after the events. The early books contain some stories that appear to have been lifted from earlier events having nothing to do with the Jews. Archeology in the Middle East has proved that some sites and events are well within the Jewish era, while others are much older than the Jewish era. After these earlier writings the Bible becomes a rather skewed chronicle of the Jews, which appears to be less than historically accurate. For example I’ve seen some T V shows that question the existence of King David’s great kingdom as archeologists can’t find any evidence for it’s existence. Also the Old Testament contains stories such as Noah’s Ark and the great Flood which appear to have been borrowed from older civilizations. I won’t rehash the Noah’s Ark and the Great World-wide Flood Story, but common sense tells me that it didn’t occur. The New Testament has even more problems starting with the birth of Christ. Scholars generally place the birth of Christ between 6 and 3 BC. Augustus and Herod’s reigns are the only historically verifiable events mentioned concerning Christ’s birth. Based on this Christ had to be born before Herod’s death and may have been at least two as Herod ordered the slaughtering of the males under 2 .The slaughtering isn’t historically verified so no one knows when this event occurred or even if it occurred. If Herod was already dead at the time of the flight to Egypt there would have been no reason to flee. There is also the trouble of finding the correct astronomical event that could have produced the Star of Bethlehem. The only other verifiable historical person mentioned concerning Jesus is Governor Pilate, who is associated with the Crucifixion. Another passage states Jesus as saying that some of the people living when he ascended would witness his return. I don’t know anyone that old do you? That’s probably why nothing was committed to writing until years after the events. Although Christ’s followers believed that he’d return within their lifetimes it would only make sense to still maintain a record of such important dates in case Christ didn’t return as soon as expected. Another problem with the New Testament is that Rome decided what was included and what was discarded in the final version. I’ve often wondered if the reason that the Dead Sea Scrolls have been kept guarded is that they may contain things contrary to current Jewish and or Christian religious beliefs. Revelations I totally discount as rantings. The author of Revelations was brilliant by using his rantings to scare the Hell out of people. Another interesting point about the Bible is why did it not continue to expand instead ending with Revelations. If God spent several thousand years revealing himself and offering guidance to mankind why did he suddenly stop? Maybe God needed a vacation.
Did the Historical Jesus exist. Who knows as there is nothing to prove his existence on this earth. The only three verifiable historical persons mentioned are Augustus, Herod, and Pilate. The first two are involved at Jesus’ birth the last with Jesus’ crucifixion. Beyond the Bible there is no record of Jesus. Jesus, if he ever existed, in my opinion was a radical teacher and magician who gained much more esteem after his death than he held in life. In death he was made incredibly fantastic causing the sect to gain a following. There was even much disagreement among early Christians as to what about Jesus was true and wasn’t true. If Jesus wanted to convert people to this new system why didn’t he write it down himself? If he had written it down there would have been no questions and it would have been accepted or rejected by it’s own merits by each individual. Jesus was probably perceived by the Roman authorities as at least a trouble maker if not a revolutionary as he was upsetting the status quo. Interestingly no Roman records that have come to light mention him. One of the most interesting problems with the Historical Jesus are the events surrounding his crucifixion and resurrection. During the crucifixion the Bible records that the sky went dark, there was an earthquake, and the dead were up and walking about. If this is true why are there no other records of these events. Even if I’d failed to record the first two events I certainly would have made note of the third. Also how does one get 3 days from Friday Sundown to Sunday morning? I’m sure there are some answers, but are they plausible? One big problem I have with the period between the resurrection and the ascension is that he only revealed himself to believers. If he wanted people to believe in his system why didn’t he reveal himself to the world at large and in particular to his judges and those responsible for his execution? I have one simple answer. There was no resurrection. His closest followers knowing Jesus’ claims removed his body from the tomb and deposited it in a secret location which they never revealed carrying the secret to their graves.
What are our origins? We will probably never be able to learn the actual beginnings of the universe, but science has revealed much about this planet, solar system, and galaxy. Science learns more every day and it’s beauty is that it’s willing to question everything discarding what is no longer true and embracing the new truths, which it still questions. Science has now proved evolution simply by proving animals share enough DNA in common that there must be common ancestry. Science may have not learned the exact mechanisms of evolution, but the evidence supports evolution. Creationism has lived past it’s usefulness to mankind. I watched a religious show where it admitted that the earth was much older than a few thousand years, but later in the program they returned to creationism to explain life. What I wanted them to explain, which they didn’t, is how once living creatures, who lived just a few thousand years ago, became part of rocks formed over a million years ago. Darwin certainly shook the foundations when he proposed evolution. At least two if not all three of the great Western Religions (I know a little about Islam, but I don’t know where it stands with this concept) are based upon the idea of original sin and evolution destroys this concept. Without original sin there is no need for a Messiah or Savior. Therefore the death of Jesus on the cross meant nothing. The Church was forced to stick to it’s dogma and has fought the concept of evolution every step of the way. This is a battle that the Christian Church can never win. As science provides more evidence for evolution more and more people will see no need for the Christian Church. A large part of this is due to people questioning that if the Church is wrong about evolution what else could the Church be wrong about? How can one be sure that the Church is correct about our eventual fate when it’s incorrect about our origins? Therefore the membership of the Christian Church will eventually consist only of those who refuse to consider the evidence for evolution or any other dogma that science can successfully challenge. It’s time to face the fact that this world evolved to what it is now and wasn’t created by some force that can be called God. This world and it’s life forms have had to evolve in order to work together for survival. We and the rest of earth’s creatures are less than perfect in our physical bodies. I could think of a few design changes, which would make my body more useful to me and enhance my ability to accomplish certain tasks. Another explanation as to how we came to exist that I’ve heard about is that we are partially descended from aliens, who visited this planet. I will keep an open mind about this idea, but I won’t believe it until irrefutable evidence is provided.
We are living in an great age where technology and civilization are rapidly advancing. With these advances man is slowly learning that he no longer needs Deities to live his life. Other things are becoming more important to us than religion. Religion in the last several centuries has been slowly but surely losing the dominance it’s held over mankind and therefore civilization. I wish I could live long enough, although I know it’s an impossibility, to see the day when mankind is totally free of religion. I think the world will be a much better place if man would accept his place as part of this planet and no longer thinks that he’s above it.
In conclusion of this section, that although I do not accept any concept of a higher being nor any concept of a personal immortality I do not find my life to be the least depressing. I like everyone else have their good and bad experiences in this brief span of existence we call life. However; I try to appreciate each day of my life to the best of my ability by helping myself and/ or others to have as good of life as possible. I also believe that I appreciate my family and closest friends more as I realize that this brief existence is the only time that we will ever have together in this vast eternity. As each of these people pass from existence we realize that we’re saying goodbye not in false hope of meeting in another world, but forever. My advice is for everyone to live life as fully as you can and to appreciate everything and everyone to the fullest and the future will take care of itself. If you’re a Theist don’t waste your time feeling sorry for, praying for, and/ or trying to convert me as I’m perfectly content with my concepts. If I’m wrong, which I don’t honestly think I am, I’m willing to the pay the consequences for being a nonbeliever. I find it impossible for my own intellectual honesty to be anything but an Atheist. Just remember “that which is the most awful of evils, death, means nothing to us because when we exist there is no death and when there is death we do not exist”.