Sunday, March 23, 2008

Too literal?

I suppose that anyone who has known me very close at all, has probably known that I am skeptical of religion. I'm not sure why, but I have always been. Maybe I'm too literal. Every subject besides religion is supposed to be highly scrutinized. You must be careful what you read, and double or triple check your work. Why is it the bible gets a free pass?

One of my earliest memories of religion is being taught the story of Noah's ark. I was fascinated with dinosaurs, and wanted to know if the dinosaurs were on the Ark. Apparently god saved all the other animals, but the dinosaurs didn't get there in time. As a big fan of dinosaurs I had a hard time trusting a book that killed them all off in a great flood because god was mad at humans.

As time passed, I realized that there are a lot of parts to that story that don't make any sense. The biggest problem with the flood story is the time line. Figuring out dates from the bible is a little tricky, but you can get a relative time for basically every event that happened in the bible (according to the bible). Noah's flood happened approximately 2500 BC (here is a bible timeline, you can find hundreds of them with similar results). Conveniently for us, there were a few civilizations around during that time that can confirm that the flood happened. Why don't we ask the Chinese and the Egyptians how they managed to survive a global flood, and still found time to invent silk and build pyramids? What's really amazing is that the Chinese and the Egyptians kept very good records, and yet some how neglected to mention that the whole of the earth was completely covered in water and their civilizations were destroyed! How rude of them not to collaborate with such an awesome story!

I know that most of you must be thinking in your head that obviously, the story of Noah's ark isn't literal, it's symbolic or it's allegorical. Okay, so I'll give you that, it's not literal. Where does it let you know that it's not literal? Which part of the bible is literal, and which part of the bible is metaphorical? Was Mary literally a virgin, or was it a translation error? Is the earth really less than 10,000 years old? Was everything in the universe created in only 7 days (6 really)?

There are probably a hundred other reasons the great flood can't literally have happened. There are hundreds of other stories in the bible that are in similar predicaments. How can I believe anything from the bible, much less find god through it?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How to define an atheist

The definition for Atheism is not very definite. There are many different interpretations, and many negative connotations. Many that are essentially atheists, wouldn't dare label themselves as such, while many atheists find it necessary to add to the label of atheism to give a better description of their belief. There is a rather lengthy discussion of the definition of atheism on

Here are a few quotes from the above linked website which convey how I feel about atheism. I'm still trying to figure out how to get this all into one line that sums it up well.

A belief that the existence of a deity is unlikely, but not impossible. No certainty exists. However, if the person had to make a decision based on the existence or non-existence of a deity, they would probably assume that no deity existed.

No belief in a specific deity. Faced with a wide variety of conflicting beliefs about deities, the individual has not accepted any of them as true.

A person who actively denies the existence of any and all deities is at least one form of Atheist.

"Weak Atheist," "Negative Atheist," "Soft Atheist," "Skeptical Atheist" to refer to a person who simply has no belief in a deity because there are no rational grounds that support his/her/their existence.

Madalyn Murray (later O'Hair), wrote a document used in the court case Murray v. Curlett, 1961-APR-27. It reads, in part:

"An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now - here on earth - for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist thinks that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue, and enjoy it. An Atheist thinks that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment. Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An Atheist knows that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethical way of life. He knows that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end to troubles in the hereafter. He knows that we are our brother's keeper and keepers of our lives; that we are responsible persons, that the job is here and the time is now."

This is me again, no more quotes.

Basically, I don't believe that god exists. I don't assume that it's impossible or provable, but if there is a god, then he definitely hasn't expressed himself through any of the religions that are currently practiced or have ever been practiced by humanity. Of the thousands of religions around, not one can logically show it's authenticity or divinity, yet according to each one individually, they are authentic and divine. Wouldn't a truly divine religion speak for itself? Be logically sound? Stand out among the crowd? Why choose muslim over christianity, or vice versa? Both are mutually exclusive, and both condemn you to eternal torture and punishment for non-belief, yet neither offers a guide to choosing the right path other than a gut feeling.
The very arguments for christianity's righteousness, are the very same arguments for muslim's righteousness and for that matter, every other religion. Even if one of humanities religions actually is divine, it is indistinguishable from all the other false religions, so who even cares? The argument over which religion is right, is to me, the same as arguing over whose invisible girlfriend is hotter.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm an Atheist

The title of this blog is "New Minority". I chose that title because I'm an Atheist. As an Atheist I'm part of the largest minority that has ever been. Christians and Muslims unite against Atheists. The American public would rather elect a person of any race, religion, sex, or nationality to public office than to elect an Atheist. To a religious person someone of a different religion at least has the common belief of a higher being, even if they don't agree on any other facet of religion.

An Atheist is someone who does not believe in a god. An atheist is not by default an anarchist, a communist, a satan worshiper, or an immoral person. As an atheist I'm not any of these things.

This blog is to talk about what is going on in my life, and to put into writing my beliefs (or really my lack there of), and how I have come to them. If you have an open mind, and would like to get to know a fellow human a little more intimately, please read more. The posts will probably make more sense if read from oldest to newest, even though I will try to make each post stand independently.

So this is life...

Life is very interesting for me right now. I haven't quite gotten used to working as apposed to staying at home with the little munch kin. The funny thing about my work is that I have almost nothing to do. I have to "work" 8 hours a day M-F, but I literally don't have anything to do. That sounds great, until you realize that I have to look like I'm doing something. I can't watch movies, or play video games. I can barely even surf the internet because we are on a military network that blocks almost everything; Blogs, humor, porn (that's obvious, and I don't want to look at porn, especially at work, but it uses words to block, so cooking websites get blocked because they say chicken "breast", etc), personal, games, and fun are all reasons I've received for why a particular website was blocked.

It's a good thing that I have a beautiful understanding wife, and two really cute kids. On March 17th I will actually have work to do for my job, and a chance to show them that I was worth hiring, but unfortunately I will be in Ft. Lewis, WA. I'll be there for 6 weeks and I'm really going to miss Jess and the little monkeys. At least the pay is good.

I've got a lot going on with just normal life, and on top of that I have really been searching for religion, spirituality, god, etc. I'm going to write more about this, but I'm going to put it in another post.