Posted: Feb 12, 2012 11:07 am
by John P. M.
stalidon wrote:
Does it come from concern for others? Do I think they'd be happier if I debunked their myths? How do I know they aren't happy just as they are?
Or, does it come from concern for myself? Do I feel threatened by, for example, fundamentalism, in my lifetime?
Or, do I just think this is just a useful social function in the process of achieving some social consensus about reality?

All of the above for me. But it personally started as a process where I gradually understood that what I had been told my entire life were exactly the kind of 'rock' Truths you speak of, were in fact lies and distortions and withholding vital information to the contrary view.

I thought I had a religiously based Truth that - although challenged by science and logic on some fronts - was ultimately true even in the face of contrary evidence, because my Truth was based in an entity that had always existed, had created everything, couldn't lie, and should know what 'he' was talking about.

"Thankfully", my view was rather fundamentalist, so I trusted the authors of the literature I was subjected to 100% and didn't think they would ever lie or distort (God was after all overseeing the process). So when I found out that that was exactly what they'd done, things started to unravel.

So this process has been for me. My 'quest'. But I left family members behind that still put their lives on hold because they believe God will come back 'any minute now' so they don't make any long term plans, they spend an inordinate amount of time of their life at meetings and preaching, they need to fully swallow the lies and distortions they are taught, and they would rather die than receive a vital blood transfusion.

Are all ideas equal? The way I see it, if someone promises you a fantastic life after death, where any doubts you may have now will be settled, and everything will be great and happy and shiny, but it demands of you that you make detrimental sacrifices in this life, which is the only one you know with 100% certainty that you'll ever have, then they better come up with 100% evidence of that fantastic afterlife.

Are all ideas equal? Is the moon truly made out of cheese? Will eating a pound of gummiworms every day prevent heart failure? Will cutting the clitoris off a child appease an invisible, silent entity? Is the universe actually ~10.000 years old, and/or mankind about 6000? Is the sun dragged around by fairies? Are we constantly pushed towards the ground by angels? Will drinking a litre of bleach clear your mind? Is a vital blood transfusion that could save your life an abomination to an invisible, silent entity? Is there truly a plague of penis-snatchers in Africa? If I jump from a tall building, is there a chance I'll be the first human to fly unaided?

Are they all true? All impossible to differentiate in any real sense from better ideas because we'd have to start off with an axiom or two about reality in order to do so?

I don't think I necessarily have a need to convince everyone of atheism. But over time, and as a society, I think we at least would be better off without unevidenced superstition. Superstitions that rob people of time, resources, trust in others, equality, rights, health, and a general quality of life, the only life they can be 100% certain of ever having.

Are they happy? Yes, possibly, because they are trained to think this is how it is, and should be. But if we wanted people to be happy for happiness' sake, we might as well drug everyone.

Reality may not be as exhilarating as fairy tales, but it is what we find ourselves in and need to cope with. And when we do, I think there is still beauty and awesomeness out there, even if there are no pots of gold at the end of rainbows, or guardian angels making sure the other car got wrecked instead of yours.