Read the Atheism one first

Read the Atheism one first
7 comments, Monday, September 3rd, 2012, by ., in Featured, Opinions

I ask that you read the piece about atheism first only because Connor Allen and Cameron Simek laid out an extremely eloquent and simple-to-understand explanation of their beliefs. And make no bones about it, atheism is, without a doubt, a very defined and rigid ideology. Many would have you believe they are spiritual anarchists of sorts, but their beliefs are based on the life experiences and feelings they have accumulated just as much as any person of faith’s beliefs are built upon.

To understand the differences fully, you have to first know what is held in common. All people have that little voice in their head that tells them if something is wrong or questionable. With few exceptions, we all feel compassion toward other people and experience the highs and lows that life has to offer.

No matter your ideology, you have to put food on the table and provide for your family. We all long for love and seek to find a connection with other people. And we all need to feel that we are needed in the work place, in our community or even just within the walls of our own homes. Life is not unique to one set of people, only to each of us individually.

I could not tell you exactly why Hindus believe what they believe, why Muslims practice their religion the way they do, the reason the Jews have some of the rituals they do or even why some Christians believe what they believe. As a Mormon, I can’t even tell you why some Mormons do what they do. I can only explain what I personally believe and why I choose to live my life the way I do.

The saying goes “the Devil is in the details.” For me, that could not be more false. And I don’t mean the cliché answer that I see God in a tree or a flower, even though I do. I am talking about the connections I feel with those around me, be it a family member, a friend, a classmate or a coworker. There is something in the relationships that I build with other people that makes me feel there has to be more to it all than this. Why would we become so close with so many around us if it all just faded to black when this life ended?

The understanding of life can very easily get lost in the explanation. I don’t understand a lot of science, but I know a lot can be explained through learning its methods. I don’t understand a lot of mathematical equations, but I know it explains the interactions we encounter every day. I cannot give a logical explanation of how I know there is a God, or explain why I know what I believe about my faith to be true—I only know that I understand it. Faith gives me an understanding to know what can’t be proved.

Believing in God does not make me any better than anyone else, and I understand that because I know my weaknesses and limitations. I choose to believe in God because I feel strengthened in those weaknesses and limitations and feel a confidence that comes from knowing that with God’s help I won’t remain weak and limited.

Atheism is not anything to be looked down upon, but on the same token, neither is being a person of faith. Having a belief in a power greater than yourself is something that even a lot of believers need to remember is key to truly living the values and principles you believe in.

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7 comments

  1. Jeanie
    September 3rd, 2012 3:29

    I go by what Jiminy Cricket said, “Let your conscience by your guide.”

    Personally, I find the fact the that it all “fades to black” when its over, makes each second in this life and my connection with people here and now, are precious, and sacred, and making the most of each second, knowing I have the power to do that, and I am responsible for my life, makes me feel powerful beyond measure.

    Believing the same creator that made everything also stands by and watched The Inquisition, genocide, starvation, religious myth inspiring torture, murder, slavery, polarization and exclusion in his name, is a primitive frame of mind I do not care to return to.

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  2. Julie
    September 3rd, 2012 8:34

    Jon,
    I read both articles, thank you for sharing them. While I do not understand athiesism, it is within each of us to choose what feels the best, what resonates with us spiritually or non-spiritually.

    My comfort and faith does not come from dogma of organized “religion.” My faith is a result and culmination of my 53 years of life experience. A personal study of how life flows when I surrender to faith, that all is well and that I am forgiven. I don’t go to church,I do pray and it does feel right.

    I believe that we are here to evolve & grow. Many tragic are a result of human kind – not to be blamed on God. We were given bodies, minds and hearts to grow with, and mature with. We must accept responsibility for the world we are creating. Whether we “believe” or do not, we are all responsible for our thoughts and actions and must allow space in our hearts for one another.

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  3. Paul Sanders
    September 3rd, 2012 11:15

    There’s a huge difference in fundamental ways of discovering truth, here. Some people believe that they can “choose” what reality is by simply sticking with whatever feels good. Fortunately, truth doesn’t conform to the whims and preferences of anyone, even if it feels really good.

    Choosing to believe in God because to do so gives you confidence, comforts you during hard, makes you feel less alone or even gives your life purpose doesn’t mean that a god exists.

    “Because it feels right” has got to be the worst reason in the world to believe in something. It leaves you open to emotional manipulation, self-deception and the type of moral relativism that allows whoever speaks for God (In the case of Mormonism, that’s particularly relevant.) to have an incredible opportunity to abuse your gullibility. All because it “feels good.” We need to abandon that way of finding truth to…

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  4. Cooper
    September 3rd, 2012 13:35

    Such eloquent words defending the “knowledge” that God exists, based on an argument from ignorance!
    You yourself say you are completely unqualified and too lazy to learn or judge what is true: come back and tell us something productive after you’ve made a critical analysis of the scriptures or religion for the first time in your life.
    You say we all have common morals (even atheists), but then:
    “Having a belief in a power greater than yourself…is key to truly living the values and principles you believe in.”
    By all means, if you are going to rape, kill, and steal without your belief, then please keep believing.
    Except what would you do if God told you to kill me? Your scriptures and prophets can’t justify something so simple as not bashing infants’ heads in with rocks. Belief subserviates humans to the idea of a tyrannical Demon-God, whose might makes right, and good men…

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  5. Marty Kay Zee
    September 3rd, 2012 17:05

    Atheism is to religion as abstinence is to promiscuity.

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  6. Dacey
    September 3rd, 2012 19:14

    I’m an atheist and I certainly believe in powers greater than myself: science, mathematics, the universe, nature, etc. I don’t need to read ancient mythology to tell me how to be a good person.

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  7. WBThacker
    September 4th, 2012 14:53

    “I cannot give a logical explanation of how I know there is a God, or explain why I know what I believe about my faith to be true—I only know that I understand it. Faith gives me an understanding to know what can’t be proved.”

    You keep using “know” as a synonym for “believe”. Stop that.

    This is the root of my disapproval of theism. It manipulates people to be dishonest, to claim certainty where they cannot possibly have certainty.

    You think there is a god. You believe it. You’ve accepted it. You’ve staked your immortal existence on it. But you don’t KNOW it. That’s a mockery what it means “to know.”

    Use the right words.

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