Saturday, June 1, 2013

Stephen King knows horror, but not how Atheists think

I decided to start this blog when a Christian blogger I thought was a pretty decent guy, and often downright reasonable, posted a blog entry called What Atheists Have Dead Wrong About Religion.

As I read the blog, it dawned on me that he really has no idea what an Atheist is. None. I started reading his previous posts and further realized that, as much as I didn't want to believe it, this guy is just like most other Christians: he lumps all non-Christians, including Atheists, into one category -- and we're all secretly miserable because we don't share his faith in his particular magical, invisible friend.

I responded to his blog specifically in my own blog, What Religious People Have Dead Wrong About Atheists.

That blog from two years ago came back to me when I heard Stephen King talking to Terry Gross on her show. You can hear it for yourself (around the 15:45 mark) or read it here:
“I choose to believe [in God]. … I mean, there’s no downside to that. If you say, ‘Well, OK, I don’t believe in God. There’s no evidence of God,’ then you’re missing the stars in the sky and you’re missing the sunrises and sunsets and you’re missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But, at the same time, there’s a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, ‘Well, if this is God’s plan, it’s very peculiar,’ and you have to wonder about that guy’s personality — the big guy’s personality.”
Here we go again...

Mr. King, the stars, sunrises, sunsets, bees pollinating crops and flowers - this and more brings me, an Atheist, joy and wonder and amazement. I marvel at all of the variables that have brought the world to this point - the forces of evolution, the forces of plate tectonics, the forces of physics in the universe. And I marvel at the specifics and the generalities. I marvel at what I understand and, even more, what I don't, when it comes to all of the beautiful thing in the world. And I became so much more in awe and wonder of it all when I embraced my Atheism - it freed me from the oh-so-limited thinking of people such as yourself.

I no longer wonder how a God can allow babies to be raped every day - every minute. How a God can allow people to be slaughtered, en masse, by other people or by a storm, a hurricane, an Earthquake, etc. That's the downside of choosing to believe in God - you have to believe that he or she or it watches all that horror and does NOTHING. You have to believe your God is a perverted sicko. I was washed clean of that confusion and anger when I embraced my Atheism. While you and others say sickening things at those moments such as, "It's all a part of God's plan," things that must tear apart those who hear such and are in so much pain, I look for ways to help, ways to respond, and ways to prevent. I accept that I cannot prevent every horrible natural act that the Earth or the cosmos may throw my way, but I don't accept man's inhumanity to man. I look at what I can do, what I can influence, and I do my best to act. I don't wait for an invisible magic friend to decide, based on people's desperate prayers, that maybe he'll do something about it. Instead, I embrace my responsibility as a part of the human race to do all I can.

As Hemant Mehta said in his blog on this same subject, "Letting God take credit for all of that just cheapens it all — it makes everything just a part of someone’s blueprint instead of something that turned up naturally yet came together beautifully."


Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Deists, whatever - please stop lamenting about what Atheists don't get, don't understand, don't enjoy in this incredible world of ours. Stop telling me I don't feel joy or wonderment. Stop telling me I don't enjoy life and the world. Stop telling me that there is no mystery or poetry in the world for me. You're wrong - on all of these points. Life is a rich tapestry for me, an Atheist - a tapestry of mystery, wonder, joy, poetry, excitement, confusion, pain and comfort. Unlike you, however, I have no borders in how I have to think about it all.

1 comment:

  1. God, once again getting all the credit and none of the blame. When King mentioned that there's no downside to it, I was thinking he was going the Pascal's Wager route.