Atheist vs Agnostic

The term agnostic is usually referred to someone who is unsure about the existence of gods/goddesses or something like that. I think that it could easily be applied to being uncertain about any claim to knowledge.

My WordWeb dictionary has two noun definitions of “agnostic”.

1. Someone who is doubtful or noncommittal about something
2. A person who claims that they cannot have true knowledge about the existence of God (but does not deny that God might exist)

I fall under both categories given that I can’t claim 100% certain knowledge about everything that exists or not. Technically I can’t know that I don’t live in a Matrix where everything is all an illusion, but I dismiss this because there is nothing I could do about it if it was true.

I am what I like to call a practical atheist. When it comes to ideas such as the supernatural, spirits, gods, or an afterlife, there is not really anything I can do about these things even if they were true. I have countless reasons for thinking they don’t exist such as the fact that none of them can be clearly defined by the believers in them.

So when a pantheist says God is the universe, then fine, I believe God exists because it has been defined as the universe. However, this is not what a Christian, Jew, or Muslim means when they talk about God. They describe a person with thoughts, emotions, intentions, etc. What I think they are doing is just taking all their own thoughts, emotions, and intentions and combining them all into a blob named “God”.

I used to do the very same thing. I used to think: “I like ketchup so God must like ketchup. I am sad when babies are aborted so God must be the same.”. There came a day when I realized what I was doing. God was nothing more than a clone of my personality. I stopped believing in hell because I didn’t want anyone to burn forever so I figured that God must not be that way either. I was a universalist type of christian for awhile believing that everyone went to heaven after they died.

So what changed? I realized I had not one shred of proof for this. I could not convince anyone that my beliefs were true. Another problem is that I had another internal conflict that was going on. I became increasingly upset at the abortion situation and wondered why God didn’t just turn everyone pro-life, remove their reproductive organs, or just turn everyone asexual.

Of course by this time I already had dismissed the bible as a bunch of lies. I wanted to believe in a nice God instead of the one that demanded animal sacrifices and struck people dead for certain sins. It all sounded so crazy so I quit basing my beliefs on the bible and instead was entirely emotionally driven.

Perhaps I still am a slave to my emotions an what I want to believe, but I have come to understand that is what everyone is doing. What I mean is that we are all biased and have reasons for believing things based on what we believe the consequences are of believing those things.

Think about it this way, people who believe in Free Will do so because they WANT to believe they are in control of their own destiny and what happens to them. At the same time, people who believe in God WANT to believe they have an imaginary friend or heavenly father/mother that will take control over their lives and help them when they screw up.

There is no escape from our desires that compel us to believe or disbelieve certain things. I have come to see believe in God in much the same way as belief in Free Will. It may be a nice thought to believe there is someone to help you when none of the humans in your life care about you, but that does not make it true.

So could I be wrong? Could there be some type of personal guiding force or creator that people have been referring to as “God”? I suppose so, but until I meet this force I will think the concept is just something that mankind started believing to help them overcome their fears about death.

So I am agnostic about this but I use the label of atheist because belief in something is binary. You either live by it or you don’t. I will live this way until I am proven wrong or until I die.

I wasted the first 25 years of my life in christianity and I have come to hate the way it causes people to shut their brain off and just live in a state of perpetual drunkenness. I think of religion as a sort of drug that makes people feel happier but later causes them great pain.

Why are we here?

There is an interesting blog post at:

One of the comments caught my attention.

“The reason i am active in the pro-life movement, as active as I am, is that I DON’T believe in heaven. IF I felt that the aborted just go directly to paradise, I would still be against abortion, but I wouldn’t actually be trying to stop it. I would figure that there were worse evils to fight than something that just sends babies to heaven. When you believe in heaven, no matter how you cut it, abortion is not that bad.

But as an atheist, I know that there is no Heaven, no afterlife. The babies are just gone. Just gone. No second chances. Their lives are over, they have lost the only life they will ever have. That horrible tragedy is why I am active in the pro-life movement” – Sarah Terzo

This belief does make a difference. The worst part is that it makes it reasonable to kill anyone of any age if you believe they are destined for a happy paradise after death. Sarah has pointed out the reason that I became as upset about abortion as I am. This is a big difference between those who believe in an afterlife and those like me and Sarah who don’t. What do you think? Does killing someone to make them happier make sense to you?

It makes sense, but only if one is convinced beyond ALL doubt that an afterlife exists and that it is completely happy. I am convinced that the concept doesn’t make any sense. If there was a god who could make a place full of bliss with no pain: Why are we here?

Why heaven is irrelevant

I do not know for sure what heaven is supposed to be. People talk about it as a place that some go after they die. Since it is a place, I consider it to be the same as Japan, England, or Australia. Since I have never been there, I can make no assumptions of who is there or what is happening. What other people tell me or what is written in a book about it may be incomplete or inaccurate.

The definitions of what heaven is can be almost anything. It can simply be the sky. In that case I would like to know where in the sky. It can also mean some type of paradise.

The notion of heaven is usually connected with a certain religion. I do not think that this is necessary or rational. I also have never understood why I would have to die to visit whatever this heaven is.

If there is any action that I must take in order to go to heaven, I would like to know what it is and who else is there. I would like to try it before I buy it. Only then can I decide if it is for me.

I also wonder why I could not simply be born in heaven the first time rather than on planet earth. If I cannot figure out my life right now, then I am not ready for another one.

Why hell is irrelevant

I spent so many years being afraid of hell that I think it is relevant for me to explain why I no longer believe in the religious idea of hell. Not only is the idea of burning forever the most painful thing that the mind can imagine, it is also so illogical that my mind CANNOT imagine it. It never did make any sense to me, but repetition can convince people of anything.

I was told by some former friends that “friends don’t let friends go to hell”. When these “friends” rejected me, I learned that not only were they not friends but that they also did not truly believe in hell. If they were concerned about people going to hell, they would spend more time preventing them from going there. Instead, they bring them to church where they can experience the musical hell of their “worship” songs. It may be true that burning for eternity sounds painful, but not as painful as hearing Contemporary Christian music performed by people with no musical talent for all eternity!

But there is another problem with the hell idea. Mainly the fact that the idea of a human burning forever without being consumed would clearly imply some type of supernatural miracle. It would require some type of God to first create this place of torment, then to intentionally create humans to fill it.
The hell teaching is scary enough on its own, but some Christians teach that, later on, this God changed his mind and decided that people could instead be tortured in another place called heaven, where they can reunite with many of the same Christians who abused them on earth. I wish that they could at least explain exactly what causes people to go to heaven or hell. Then I may have the knowledge to avoid both places.

In contrast to the teaching of the sadistic God, people are also told that there is a God who loves them unconditionally (as long as they meet certain conditions, of course) . How is anyone supposed to make sense of all this? I know I could not. It leads me to think that it is best for me to wait until a proper definition of God is given that makes sense. I challenge anyone to explain why God can’t simply love people unconditionally.

In my mind the story is too bad to be true. If it is true, then I am probably destined for one type of eternal torment or another. I can’t help but wonder why I was born on this earth instead of in hell to begin with. Just maybe God is too nice to burn me forever.

Why death is relevant

For those who have not accepted their mortality, death can be a scary subject. Still, I think that it is one of the most relevant topics that people should talk about. Death affects all of us. Not only do most of us know someone who has died but also we all will die eventually. I think about death often and I would like to be able to comfort someone who has recently experienced the death of someone close to them or who is considering suicide.

I will tell you the story of how I came to my current understanding of death. I realized that once a person dies, that as far as this earth is concerned, they are gone. Whether they have an afterlife somewhere is irrelevant to me because I have no knowledge of it. The relevant thing is that they are no longer on this planet to communicate with those who are here. When I thought about this, at first I was sad, but then something else happened. I thought about the plans I had, the things I wanted to write, the people who were important to me here. I became aware that my time is short. I may live another hundred years but it is still short compared to eternity. Then I decided that I wanted to do something that would be relevant and would last forever. That is why I decided to write. Anything that I keep only to myself will die with me. I could not let myself become irrelevant!

Also, to those who want to end their life, I have one request. Before you do, let the world know exactly why. There is plenty of time for silence after death. While you are still here, I want you to know that you are relevant!

Why are you relevant? Because you are one of the people intelligent enough to know that life is full of pain. What makes me feel suicidal are the people who are happy all the time and seem to think that life is wonderful. Some people have the honesty to admit that there is something wrong with this world. They feel like life is always going to be miserable. They often want to commit suicide. If other people find out, they may try to talk them out of it. They don’t understand that this method is ineffective unless a person has a reason to live.

When someone wants to die, it is assumed that they must be crazy. Hey, maybe you are crazy. But it is the crazy people who change the world. That is why if you are a person who wants to die, then I ask you to help me change this world. We have a lot in common.

If I am going to die anyway, then I would rather make a difference. My question is not if I will die or when I will die. The question is: Will I still be relevant after death? Ask yourself this question and decide for yourself what relevance you can bring to the world.