The Gifts of Not Believing In God: Say What??

what the hell face

Oh no she ‘DINT!

Yes I did… hear me out:

I’m respectful of people’s personal beliefs, but that’s just the thing: beliefs are personal, or at least they should be. I would NEVER criticise someone’s convictions simply because they stood in stark contrast to my own, no matter how daft they might seem to me. But, have you ever noticed that the most ardent and overzealous of discriminatory attacks come from religious people? Why is that? THEY have a book that tells them how to lead virtuous lives. Atheists don’t. So why do many (and unfortunately, it’s the majority rather than the minority) of religious people tend to doll out more judgement, discrimination and prejudice than anyone else?

It is in the spirit of common sense and all that is rational that I’m allowing myself this one small rant to relieve the tension that builds in my bones over this issue. Julia Sweeney, one of my new favourite authors, comedians and actors, waxes lyrical about the incredible gifts that come with NOT believing in God: not taking life for granted being one of them.

I think we can ALL benefit from that message, whether you’re religious or not (and I’m serious about that)…

Video Source: “Julia Sweeney: The Gifts of Not Believing in God” Uploaded by ChicagoIdeasWeek to YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkMikZ5LH9w

Author: Thea Beckman

Domain Eukarya, kingdom Animalia (Metazoa), phylum Chordata, class Mammalia, order Primates, family Hominidae, genus Homo, species Homo sapiens, subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens... essentially. I have a Master's Degree in Atmospheric science, which doesn't entitle me to be generous with my opinion, but my sense of self importance does! I love writing, I love science, I love reading, but I'm not nuts about long walks on the beach. Short to medium walks are preferable. This is my blog and I have something important to say: https://whybecausescience.wordpress.com/

10 thoughts on “The Gifts of Not Believing In God: Say What??”

  1. hey 🙂

    I’m really spiritual, yes with future and ghosts etc. 😉 (not bilble, church and this things; more for my own)

    but I’m right there with you, that unfortunately the big part of the attacks are coming from the religious wing… (of all parts).
    I’m really sad about this, because I cannot explain it to myself. The why…I try to understand people if they are speaking in the name of jesus, maria, etc. but the only thing I notice is, that a lot of them are preaching water and drinking wine.
    I have many friends of both sides, because I’m a really open person and so I have many atheistical friends or friends with an own “religion” and many devoutly religious friends… and I see also, that the intolerance is coming more from the religious side…

    I think, that we all live on a beautiful planet. To begin this story with. And we live ALL on this one planet together, so we have to live in peace together.

    This is the most important thing a human should know and do (my opinion), learning to live in peace with other people.

    Than, sadly, there are many facts, which are causing so much hurt, but yes, the religion is also one of these facts. Or maybe, that a lot of people cannot accept another religion or another sight. Maybe because they are afraid of this? I don’t know, but I try to understand this. You are totally right, and I just think, that the causes of our problems are a mix of religion, biological, psychological and medical facts. Power, Sex, Fear, Group- Dynamics, etc.

    I really hope, that this people are changing their way to think, but it seems to me, that it will need a little bit longer, because this is a complex issue, and the world is not sooo modern, how we imagine it- I mean yes, in the technology but not in social and education.

    My comment, and sry for my stupid english 🙂
    Amen.

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more. I fight bigotry in all forms, whether it comes from atheists judging religion or vice versa. I do have a lot of very religious friends, but these people do not judge me, nor tell me I’m going to hell. They just believe in God and they possess a quiet spirituality that I actually find quite peaceful. Unfortunately, though, the intolerance certainly DOES come more from the side of those who are supposed to be practicing acceptance, non-judgement and tolerance (aint that ironic).

      Historically, the reason wars have been waged was in the name of religious and ideological differences. “My religion / my God is the one true religion / God and you are a heretic, you are subhuman and you must be eradicated.” What follows is murder, rape, pillage, theft and cruelty… all in the name of religion. So, I am really not a fan.

      I like how you conclude your comment with “amen”. I’m on the same page as you and never mind any spelling errors. Rather be a little English language ignorant than worldview ignorant like so many heavily religious people are 😉

      1. Couldn’t agree with you more. I fight bigotry in all forms, whether it comes from atheists judging religion or vice versa. I do have a lot of very religious friends, but these people do not judge me, nor tell me I’m going to hell. They just believe in God and they possess a quiet spirituality that I actually find quite peaceful. Unfortunately, though, the intolerance certainly DOES come more from the side of those who are supposed to be practicing acceptance, non-judgement and tolerance (aint that ironic).
        Historically, the reason wars have been waged was in the name of religious and ideological differences. “My religion / my God is the one true religion / God and you are a heretic, you are subhuman and you must be eradicated.” What follows is murder, rape, pillage, theft and cruelty… all in the name of religion. So, I am really not a fan.
        I like how you conclude your comment with “amen”. I’m on the same page as you and never mind any spelling errors. Rather be a little English language ignorant than worldview ignorant like so many heavily religious people are 😉

        Yes, this is true, bigotry is a big problem, and I think that religion and religious differences are sometimes just a pretence to reach the goal (money, power, a name, etc.)
        I think also, that it is always the thinking and hoping of being better than someone else…this haughtiness, which in my eyes, is a symptom of the wish of power and strength. Sry, I’m not able to explain it better; you know, I have the feeling, that this wish of power, is leading the world (and that it has also a biological sexual function). It is leading us from the childhood, over the school to policy (obviously), etc. Here we are, again in the science 😉 It is all connected.
        And yes, also here you’ re right (my opinion), that many wars are caused by not respecting the different ideologies. Religion can be a beautiful anchor…but it can also be encroaching to get more power. I mean, I’m Catholic, but the power of the Vatican and all these religious leaders is extreme… It sounds maybe funny, that a spiritual person is speaking like this about religions and I did a lot for the church, when I was a child…but seriously…I’m disappointed of how they treat people… I live in a really catholic country where things were made worse than they are, because “God said”… I think always “oh, when? When he had lunch with you or at the cinema?” I just don’t get it… I mean some priests are sometimes living two lives… At the one (worthy, holy?) side, they are saying, that living the homosexuality is a sin (the eternal story is the best example I think) but on the other side, it is demonstrated, that a lot of the priests are living their homosexuality. And mostly the canting people are braking first the ten laws ^^ (best greetings to my saint, sickly sweet neighbours who are knowing more from me, than I… Love you all…)
        I think that people who are acting like this and believing really in what they do, are interpret the bible, etc. in other ways, because also these books are written double- tracked. At one side: “love all human” and at the other side “kill him, her…” It drives one more confuse than the theory of relativity (no, I don’t understand it 😛 cause I’m too stupid, but this holy books are more complicated ^^).
        At the End, keep on writing, it is not just interesting but also funny and ironic
        And another Amen for you (maybe one day we will be saint, who knows? ^^)

  2. I agree with what is said. And I have experienced some of the hostility in person also from devote religious people. Here in India, declaring yourself as atheist itself earn you those pesky scornful looks and a label as being sinful. It’s so remote idea for them to accept that ultimately being atheist is one’s personal way of brewing belief system. It could be different. Every time I present my beliefs (i.e. in support of Atheism), rather than leading to healthy brain-churning, it just slides towards heated arguments preferably in the vain effort to make me realize that I am doing something wrong. It’s pity how ferociously god believers defend themselves.

    1. I know! As though there aren’t already enough believers on planet Earth. I just find it terrifying how religion generally promotes ignorance. I say “generally” because I have met a few devout Christians who do take an interest in science and who don’t label scientific exploration as “heresy”. It will be interesting to see what percentage of the planet’s population still believes in a God in the next 100 years. Why, just 100 years ago nearly everyone – even the most eminent scientists like Albert Einstein – were devout Christians! People are gradually coming to their senses and they’re taking responsibility for their own lives, rather than leaving it in the hands of some omnipotent being.

      1. Agree. With modern lifestyles and improvements there comes freedom of belief system also. I think true thinkers whether religious or not have these peculiar asset of understanding. As one of my devote but good friend confesses that he agree most of what I say but don’t want to flex his psyche by detaching from God right away. He can only have peaceful mind with that 🙂

  3. oh I’m so happy I read this post…Makes me feel like I’m not the only one gnashing my teeth at the unfairness of it all..I’m genetically wired to be an atheist and i feel people who claim to be religious are actually just superstitious. And they go around judging everyone else..my blood boils..

    1. I’m also genetically hard-wired to be atheist! I grew up during a time (I’m an 80’s kid) when they still taught religious studies at schools and I ALWAYS struggled to wrap my mind around it. I was like: “Wait, you want me to believe this ACTUALLY happened??” I tried, but eventually gave up.

      Having said all that (regarding prejudice, bigotry, etc), we must remember that all too often a small group of extremists give an entire group a bad name. Although in the case of Christian people, it’s more like the ignorant majority give a small group of liberals a bad name.

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