The Implications of Godlessness – Atheists Be Aware!
“Therefore I think it seems required of me, and my Duty, as a Man, to pay Divine Regards to SOMETHING”.
Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion Benjamin Franklin November 20, 1728
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship…”
Thomas Jefferson’s letter Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)
One’s freedom to choose one’s own beliefs about God is among the most personal and “sacred” of human rights. Thus, your choice to accept the tenants of any particular religion or to choose none is private, personal, and protected – so long as you keep them to yourself. Likewise, one’s choice in responding to the religious beliefs of others is also private, personal, and protected. But recently, during a discussion of these matters where some participants were atheists, I noted that I would probably hold it against someone running for public office if they claimed to be an atheist. Conversely, I might also hold it against someone if they claimed to be Catholic or Moslem or Baptist. Because this has created some confusion and issues, I have given it considerable thought and hope to explain my thinking here.
My belief is that an atheist is one who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of any God and rejects belief in the existence of any Deity. Because I strongly believe in the existence of a Deity (aka God), an atheist and I are in direct opposition in beliefs regarding something I hold paramount. If our beliefs are totally subjective, then holding opposite views is purely trivial and so long as we make no effort to impose our views upon each other the matter is inconsequential. Unfortunately, that’s not the situation. My belief in God is not subjective (as it is based upon objective evidence) and my awareness of God imposes a duty of righteousness.
Righteousness, as I see it, is based upon truth – its recognition, creation, and dissemination. It is my duty to the Divinity to maximize truth and maximizing truth involves increasing the awareness of truth. Because every human has the potential for awareness of truth, it is my righteous duty to learn, create, and teach truth. So it doesn’t matter to me whether someone else believes in God or accepts some particular religion – so long as their “righteousness” and mine are compatible. Unfortunately, by definition, an atheist and I are inherently at odds. And, anyone who professes a falsehood as though it is the truth – especially in regard to God – is an opponent.
However, one truth which I accept is that I have no right or obligation to impose truth upon others. Thus, both atheists and religious “fanatics” are free to avoid my righteousness – unless and until their denial of truth impacts me or others. A person seeking public office or assuming an authoritative role is likely to impact others and therefore their view of God and righteousness is at issue.
The fundamental issue centers upon truth and one’s value of it. It is my experience that many who term themselves an “atheist” are actually those who greatly value truth. They value truth enough that they avoid what they perceive as the falsehoods of religion. Their perception of religion and of God is based upon traditional religious notions of the Divine, either as Jehovah, Christ, Allah, or Brahman. In rejecting those notions they may have created their own or they may have simply avoided any notion of God. Thus, my first question for any “atheist” is what do they believe is responsible for Creation and where does truth fit in. In many cases, the atheist conception of God is incomplete, the belief in Creation is limited, and the reasoning for their rejection of God is flawed. Thus, atheists are much like other religious fundamentalists who espouse theological ideas or religious doctrines that fail the test of truth and reason.
There are more reasons for my concern regarding atheism, but they are less objective. I would start with “intuition”, something which is certainly not objective and yet is so inherent in our nature that we cannot deny its reality. My personal experience is that intuition and “spirituality” are closely aligned and my intuition is that spirituality and God are either one and the same or are also closely aligned. Atheists, by nature and reason, are denied the most important aspects of intuition (which in my thinking partially explains their lack of awareness of the Divine).
I “get it” – it is easy to get so turned off to “religion” and religious views of God that we reject the very idea of a purposeful super-intelligent Creator. It is reasonable to reject the anthropomorphic image of God and the ridiculous descriptions of God’s nature prevalent in “scripture”. But there is a certain intellectual laziness (as below) and denial of instinct (also below) inherent in simply giving in to the idiocy of others to miss out on the greatest thing of all.
“God” is difficult. Full pursuit of the Divine is simply beyond our ability. So, should we not try? Even if your instinct says this is a “dead-end pursuit”, isn’t the potential reward (a relationship with the Supreme Being) worth a bit of intellectual effort? I’m not talking about reading the Bible in Greek or going to Sunday school… I’m talking about serious science and mathematics. The objective “God” is revealed through study and evidentiary truth using the scientific method. (And I’m certainly not talking about the pseudo-science proposed by some religious nuts). Science is simply not prepared to deal with God although our expanded awareness of the truth of our reality and its origins consistently points in one direction – purposeful, intentional, intelligent Creation (Not the myths of Genesis, but physics, chemistry, biology, and math all agreeing in astounding and unexpected revelations). I’m not elaborating here, but if you want my respect as an atheist, you had better at least be able to say that you’ve looked into the science and answered the questions posed with rational objective answers.
The other subjective aspect of my belief is “instinct” that integrates logically with my “intuition” which fits right into my scientific understanding of the Universe. OK, instincts can be dangerous and only a fool follows an instinct without careful assessment. But then again, only a fool ignores their instincts without giving them due consideration. It is a normal, natural human instinct to seek the divine. And, it is a normal and natural human instinct to grasp an “ultimate cause” for Creation. If you are truly an atheist, you have overcome these instincts. Perhaps this was the result of careful deliberation and study, but more likely it was merely the result of frustration. Religion failed to satisfy the “need” and you didn’t readily find an answer, so you decided there was none (been there, done that). I’m saying it’s time to give it another shot using a different approach and seeking a better result. You have nothing to lose – the effort itself is rewarding.
Here is what I propose for the godless folks: start the process, ask the BIG questions, and seek the facts using your most skeptical mindset. If at ANY point, you find evidence that there is no “God” or you find fault in the process – quit and go back to being an atheist. If you simply hit a dead-end and get frustrated, give up… assuming you’ve given the pursuit of truth a fair chance to address your concerns or blockage. Once you have done this I will fully respect your choice to be an atheist. Otherwise, you’ll only get my vote because I like you.
Please let me know if you have comments about or corrections for this web site.
This is a Rich's Writings Opinion Page. To return to the Opinions List, click here.
Email us at: Comments@thehumanfuture.net
Join our email list
Visit our Store
Sign our Guest Book!
This website and its contents are Intellectual Property - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED! 2010 by Rich Van Winkle