Atheism from the perspective of a life long atheist.

I don’t have the anger or disappointment that lays behind the words and arguments of former theists. I also had very little in depth knowledge of doctrine before religion came bothering me and my family. I had the mad aunt who mad us go to church and had in younger days and the many people insisting quite crudely that I will burn for eternity. Considered the proposition of god was something I did, it is not easy to avoid people who believe and need you to believe, but nothing about religion seemed important in my life and in the long run not worth consideration. I never once believed or saw the need.

So what is atheism? Atheism is quite simply a lack of belief in gods, any gods.

Hug an atheist and feel the love :)

Hug an atheist and feel the love 🙂

The only thing missing from the definition of atheist, and a big part of the reason for there being atheists in the first place, is a definition of god. It is a fact that in trying to define god the many religious doctrines of man become contradictory, demand of authority, they guess at things they cant hope to know and are scientifically and historically inaccurate. For someone like me it is hard to understand why anyone would ever believe.

To clarify my position before starting, I do not regard religion, church or the doctrines to be the only measure of god. Mind you, to clarify the importance of doctrine in defining religion, if you believe in a god or more a jesus, that is in any way like the biblical, and claim not to be christian or religious, you are an idiot. I personally hold the position that ALL spiritual, psychic and untestable woo claims that define themselves as supernatural or outside our natural world (another way of saying supernatural) are by nature god claims. As any claim of jesus is christian, any claim of supernatural is godlike. As our theist counterparts can not define god, I take it upon myself to do so and equally, I do not accept redefining of existing terms. Of the 3000-6000 gods know to man most were not creator gods (though several were, it was a busy time), the one defining quality of god is being supernatural.

Returning to my initial point, atheism is a lack of belief, in fact more a denial of proposition, of god. God being anything or any claim of a supernatural nature.

Ask, really, ask. There are not many questions I wont answer to the best of my ability or openly admit I don't know the answer.

Ask, really, ask. There are not many questions I wont answer to the best of my ability or openly admit I don’t know the answer.

Without clarification on the term god atheism is often claimed by people who are far from atheist. Buddhists often claim atheism (until it comes time to get tax breaks, then they are a religion) insisting enlightenment is not the same as god, yet, the stories within buddhist doctrine insist buddha is higher that the heavens, in effects a super-god. Some jewish people claim atheism but like a christian who denies he is religious, you have to pick and choose your doctrine carefully to redefine your religion that way. These people are not atheist, their beliefs still center on a raft of supernatural claims and stories. What value does any religion have if it doesn’t have a god? To clearly define atheism all supernatural claims must be pooled together as god.

I have been atheist by this definition all my life.

As a child my parents went through the Santa game with me (as I have with mine in turn, it proved to be a great tool for teaching critical thinking) but I as all kids must, always wondered at the chimney story. I believed in Santa, what option was there, I was a child and my parents were my authority figures (the same as religious indoctrination, but, less harmful), I did however think of Santa as a real living person (elves and workshops were a great story). I got chills from the shadows in my room as all kids (and some adults) do but on coming fully awake I don’t ever recall believing there were actually monsters or ghosts. I had a long running dream of my younger brother falling from Ayers Rock in central Australia. Though the dream was vivid and scared me I never remember thinking it prophetic.

I never remember thinking people who bent spoons and did tricks I didn’t understand were in fact supernatural, it was just tricks, magic, illusion. Not believing in the mystical or magical never took the joy from things in life, if anything it added to my love of it. Knowing people could be so clever and trick me, knowing if I studied I could learn to do it too. Knowing there were explanations to be found and things still to be learned. Today I still have things that excite me like this, I love rocket science and love history. I still know I could learn these things and do the work but given my life’s finite nature it is enough to know other people understand it and I in turn do things they don’t. If I live to be 300 I will try it all but now I have other things to do and learn.

As an adult I ran a cinema in a building more than 100 years old. I had many people tell me the story of how a woman may have died there and still to this day haunted the building (I know of no evidence for the death story) The cinema room proper is a converted dance hall with the cinema seating built over the original dance floors. It is a quite beautiful building for it’s location in central Australia and its history as a dance hall is clearly defined in the building for anyone looking. Fact is and I will credit this point, the room is quite creepy, something that set my fact seeking mind running. When you walk in to the dark hall the shadows dance, odd reflections on the darkened room that give the sensation of movement. Not believing in the supernatural and having time in the building to search for the reason I did just that. The original windows were boarded up but never completely sealed, the brickwork also leaks some light due to the mortar turning to sand over 100 years. Originally a dance hall it was not constructed to be light proof. The building leaks light, nothing more, still people tell stories of seeing ghostly images but I will never understand jumping to the conclusion anything is ghostly. Because I saw something I looked for the cause and each and every one of the shadowy regions led to at least one sometimes pinhole sized light leak, sometimes more. Knowing full well what the effect was caused by, I still occasionally thought as I walking into the room that someone was there before me and felt the tingle up my spine. These evolutionary responses to things in my environment are not evidence of ghosts and yes, I love it. It’s amazing that a very natural effect on a darkened space and with full understanding of it, I could still get that tingle. Even as a fully reasoning human I am still the culmination of millions of years of evolution, beautiful.

That guy who said,

That guy who said, “are you sure?”.

I am also a great fan of fiction, escapism is a great form of relaxation and sometimes clever writing tests or minds and expands our thinking. Nothing is more satisfying than loosing yourself in a fiction story, visualizing the characters and events as you read them. I appreciate not only the story but the writing skill and find great pleasure in it. This is one if my life’s little pleasures but at the end I never believe in fairies because someone wrote about fairies.

My other pleasures (of which I have many) include landscape and wildlife photography. I am no less in awe of the life and function of a lizard in nature than I am knowing the sun is a ball of burning gas and not a god. Knowing the truth of something is something I can not imagine swapping for a guess such as “because god did it”. I want to know the blood flowing in the lizard keeps it alive as mine keeps me alive and the air I breath is the same air it breaths. I find no shortage of joy or wonder in these things. Even the fact life ends and everything breaks down to become something else’s nutrient is beautiful.

The idea that atheist have no joy is simply a way to justify belief and enhance hate. This idea and the other ridiculous and abusive claims made against atheists will be my next blog. At this time it is enough to know that I am a life long atheist and that my atheism has always extended to all supernatural claims.

I hope I have explained my basic position well enough but I may return to this another day as my life long atheism and never having been a theist is the thing that has driven my writing. I have no issue with ex-theists or their expression, I simply want to address the fact that knowing a religion from the inside is not the only way to be atheist. Addressing religion and the nature of belief I did early in life, addressing specific doctrine came much later and is the least important part of my being atheist.

Until next time I write stay well and enjoy life. I am open to questions (but not preaching, had that shit all my life) so feel free if you have any.

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

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