Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lil Snarky Erica

Is there a way to explain why you've chosen to be an atheist without sounding condescending?

On sounding condescending, I relate to when I was a vegetarian (1 year). There was no way for me to say that eating something that was once alive and breathing grossed me out without making it sound like I was also grossed out by the person asking the question for them eating meat. How do I say that the notion of a god existing is a silly one without sounding like I also think the believer is a little off their rocker as well?

My old youth pastor messaged me on facebook this weekend asking why I decided to be an atheist. It took me a while to answer because I didn't want my response to be rude or disrespectful in anyway. I basically said that I can't rely on blind faith in a god to direct my life. Here's what I wrote him.
"The atheist thing sort of came about over time. I'd always struggled with believing in all of it even when I was a little kid. I wanted to believe but, from what I've found, the existence of God doesn't make sense. I could go into the whole evidence and science thing but I know the likely response to that will be the argument of faith taking the place of evidence. It's a circular debate. There was no "if god existed then (insert bad event) would never have happened!" moment. There was no one whispering in my ear telling me god wasn't real. I just began evaluating what I believed and why."

I felt pretty good about that answer.
I wanted to write "Atheism makes me happy!"
Strangely enough, it does. Freedom is an amazing feeling.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

EhHem, Your Attention Please

I listened to a podcast with Adam Carolla interviewing Seth MacFarlane about about his "near death" experience on 9-11. Seth had tickets for one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center. Because of mistakes made by his travel agent, he missed his flight and lived. Now, most people in that situation would think there was some sort of divine reason he was spared and he now has some super-natural purpose to be on this planet. Along that same line of thought, what is the divine reason all the other people didn't get to live? If there was a reason the creator of The Family Guy was "chosen" to live, why were the others "chosen" to die?

How arrogant we are to think we are special when in reality it's just chance. Life and death are chance and it makes no difference who you are or what you believe in.

He was lucky that day. That wasn't the first flight he'd ever missed and surely not his last.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Atheism is Kinda Like an STD

When I was a kid I remember trying to get the courage up to talk to my friends about going to church and god. My major fear was they they were going to have an argument that I wouldn't have an answer for and I would start to doubt my faith. Even then I knew that what I was being taught didn't make sense to people who weren't raised in it. I knew it was hard to believe.
For me, religion was based on feelings and my need to fit in and be loved.
Now, I fear being judged for my lack of belief.

Like I talked about in my previous post, I get annoyed by the insertion of belief in everyday media, conversation and life. I don't like being forced to pray at public ceremonies and events. I always hope that there isn't going to be some local mega-church leader standing at the front giving his dramatic pre-dinner prayer.
I always keep my eyes open. It's my little protest.

I don't know how to approach religion in public.

I thought I was going to have one theme for this post but I was mistaken!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Prayer Chain

I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter if what you're saying makes sense.

Example #1: One evening I was watching Extreme Home Make Over. (I know, bad idea.) An entire city was devastated by a horrible tornado. One part of the show centered around this old woman whose house had been completely demolished but the heart warming part was that God spared her rose garden. Really? That line of thinking seems a little backwards to me. Ok, so God was like, "I need to destroy this town but leave them a shred of hope to cling to so I'll cut this old lady some slack and NOT blow her roses away. They'll appreciate that for sure." It's strange that they seem to think that one thing is not related to the other. They seem to think it was like a battle between the weather and God and the one thing God was able save was a bush. How is it that God is given credit for what he saved from the tornado that he brought? That's weird, right?

This next example has been spinning around my brain for days.

In order to protect the identity of the innocent I will call this person, "Frank"
The conversation went as follows:
Frank: My wife is flying to Texas to be with her brother in the hospital.
Me: Oh no, what's going on?
Frank: Her brother is only 36 and had back surgery but something went wrong and now his internal organs are failing and he might not make it.
Me: That's awful!
Frank: Yea, tonight when I get home I'm gonna get on the phone and start a "Prayer Chain".
Me: *eyes widen, brain explodes*

This conversation reinforced my suspicion that what you say doesn't need to make sense if enough people say it. I'll explain what a prayer chain is for those who aren't familiar with it. One person calls a bunch of people and asks them to pray for something and those people call more people and ask the same and so on.

Alright, here's my beef with the prayer chain. The logic behind it. God is causing this guys internal organs to fail, but if enough people pray for the man God might change his mind and not kill him. It's Gods will to kill or not kill but apparently if we all pray we might sway him. Is it that they don't think God is aware of the situation? Did they forget that according to their line of thought God is the one willing this to happen? Isn't praying questioning Gods infinite wisdom?

What if the entire world prayed all at once to end global warming? What if we all prayed to grow tails? (I would totally do that.)

When I bring these questions up to people who say things like this I get the stink eye and told that I'm just being negative. Huh. I'd never equated logic and negativity before.

Perhaps what they want is to remain blissfully ignorant.