Why atheism doesn't make sense
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s atheist doctrine is as full of holes as that of any religion. Image: Mensagem Subliminar ILLUMINATI / CC BY-SA 3.0

Atheism doesn’t make sense. When I saw through the illusions and delusions of the religion I was raised with, I was an atheist for a minute. But I quickly saw several problems with that position as well.

While atheism sometimes successfully deconstructs other erroneous belief systems, it’s also an erroneous belief system. It attempts to use the same tools as religion to destroy it. But that’s fighting fire with fire, and it doesn’t work. It makes grandiose claims that it can’t prove, it can be just as blindly self-serving as any other belief system, and it unsuccessfully tries to validate itself with science.

Why atheism doesn't make sense
Image: Osado / GFDL

I am not about to lump all atheists into a singular category or sweepingly attribute attitudes or behaviors to all of them. There is a rainbow within the atheist demographic. There are raging, God-hating atheists and there are quiet “whatever, dude” atheists. There are atheists who have never believed in God and there are outspoken apostates. There are saintly atheists and atheists who are the scum of the earth. Ultimately, I respect them all and their fundamental right to believe as they wish as a part of their pursuit of happiness.

But they do have one thing in common: their brand of antireligion, atheism, doesn’t make sense under scrutiny.

Atheism makes claims it can’t prove

The problem with the argument in favor of the existence of God is that there is plenty of evidence but no proof.

The problem with the argument against the existence of God is that there is plenty of evidence but no proof.

Why atheism doesn't make sense
Photo: Hannes Grobe / CC BY 3.0

It’s the ultimate unsolved mystery, a millennia-old stalemate. Simply picking a side doesn’t solve that mystery or declare checkmate. Neither side has convincingly proven one way or another whether God exists, so picking either side is ultimately an arbitrary choice.

Let’s take one of the most famous and compelling arguments in favor of God: the argument of design. Someone had to make all of this, right?

This argument is flimsy because it is based upon a mere assumption. No, someone did not have to make all of this. The universe is an unimaginably complex system wherein every element is inherently interrelated with every other element throughout space and time … but that doesn’t prove that anyone made it. It doesn’t prove that no one made it, either. In fact, it doesn’t prove anything either way. People simply leap upon this observation and take either a “yuh huh” or a “nuh uh” stance, and the merry-go-round keeps spinning.

And this leads to my next point.

Atheism is as much an ego trip as is deism

It is delusional and arrogant to believe that one understands utterly unknowable things. In face of the fact that there are hundreds of religions in 2016 America, it is blindly egocentric for someone to say that his or hers is correct and the others are all wrong. And if the argument can be made that more than one is correct, the distinction between those two is ultimately arbitrary. There can only be one; hence, war.

But simply declaring them all to be wrong is equally egocentric and just as arrogant.

Why atheism doesn't make senseBelief is ego behavior. There has to be a believer, so the statement is always “I believe,” and “I” is a function of the ego. (And ultimately, “I” is a delusion as well, but that is beyond the purview of this piece.)

Rather than simply allowing a situation to be what it is, the ego has to assert itself upon that situation and say, “Well, here’s what’s really going on. I know it is because I say so. And I am right because I am the infallible me.” Then the rationalizing and evidentiary cherry-picking begins, usually influenced by one’s conditioning — be it ethnicity, family, peer influences, convenience, brainwashing, etc.

To believe that there is no God is just as outrageous as to believe that there is a God. They are equally hubristic outlooks that have everything to do with feeling right and nothing to do with reality itself.

Atheism is reactionary to deism

With no deism, there would be no atheism. Therefore, without God, there could be no reason to deny god. It accidentally validates deism by acknowledging it.

Why atheism doesn't make sense
Image: Emil Nordén / CC BY-SA 2.0

“I say there is a magic cricket!” “Well I say that there is no magic cricket!” Without the assertion that there is a magic cricket, how silly would it seem to leap up and proclaim the absence of a magic cricket?

If you were born into some hypothetical situation wherein you were never spoon-fed fanciful fairy-tale versions of reality, would you make them up yourself? Or would you simply live your moment-to-moment life, dealing with the present situation as it unfolds?

Atheism is simply the negating of an idea rather than an original idea itself. There is no ultimate truth to be found in mere naysaying.

Science doesn’t support atheism any more than deism

Science may dispel religion, but it does not inherently favor atheism over deism — or at least, it hasn’t yet.

Here’s what science is: a process. It’s not a religion. It has neither doctrine nor dogma. It does not pick sides. It observes impartially and walks away. It’s often portrayed as anti-religion, and indeed it has dispelled many a ridiculous religious concept. But it’s merely a procedure for questioning, not an institution or catalogue. And while it is surely a panacea for nearly all religious mumbo-jumbo, all that does is destroy the emperor’s (or empress’s) clothing — it neither proves nor disproves him … or her, or them, or us, or you, or whatever.

Why atheism doesn't make sense
Image: Noam Raby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Along these lines, the Big Bang theory is often blown way out of proportion in this context.

Let’s remember that unlike evolution, it’s a theory — and a flawed one at that. There is a lot that simply doesn’t make sense mathematically about the first few moments after the Big Bang, nor has an actual cause been clearly defined, and they are long-standing dilemmas. And to all those hardcore Big Bang theorists out there, what if the Big Bang was nothing more than God’s version of creation? Now what? (That’s also an utterly absurd idea, but it’s an absurd conversation in the first place.)

So here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: the solution to the atheism vs. deism dilemma.

Agnosticism.

“Gnosis” is Latin for “knowledge,” so to be agnostic is to admit that one doesn’t know. It’s to be able to see how one thrusts one’s own hopes and fears onto the world in an effort to render it more understandable — and thereby less scary.

But there is nothing comforting about making up a lie to cover an unpleasant truth, nor is it useful.

Why atheism doesn't make senseWhereas atheism doesn’t make sense — nor does deism — agnosticism does because it establishes an honest initial outlook: I admit that there are some things that I don’t know. I admit that I do not have the resources that would enable omniscience. Therefore, regardless of what I think or believe, there are some things that I really cannot and will not know. That’s an honest statement. That said, I can now approach the world genuinely without constantly falling into delusions — a major source of suffering in life — based on my own misinterpretations.

Agnosticism is also the ultimate act of humility. To say “God, I know you” is not humble. In fact, it’s so prideful that it’s almost Satanic. It’s like watching a movie while wearing red-tinted sunglasses.

On the contrary, to say “God, you do not exist” is equally proud. It’s like watching a movie while wearing blue-tinted sunglasses.

However, to say “Maybe God exists and maybe not. I don’t know, I’m just a mammal. But it sure is a beautiful day today” is to allow reality to just be itself. It’s like watching a movie with no filter whatsoever. With the red glasses, you won’t be able to see some things that are red, and you will have a false perception of everything you see; likewise with the blue glasses.

There is no truth to be seen wearing red or blue glasses. However, to simply say “This is this” is an utterance of indisputable truth. What is this? Heck, I dunno. It’s just this. But how are you today?

Why atheism doesn't make senseWhereas atheism doesn’t make sense because it is reactionary to deism, agnosticism bypasses the problem because “making sense” is not the point of it. It lets go of that.

For these reasons, there is greater comfort in agnosticism than atheism or deism. What if “this” turns out not to be what you thought it was? What will you do? Can you let go of your attachment to your view of reality and relax into the truth? Are you living in a constant cloud of delusion and clinging because you can’t accept things simply as they are, gods or no gods?

As the Christians are fond of saying, “There is power in acceptance.” It’s so true. We will never know the real truth if we’re convinced that we’re already right. We only stop exploring and start fighting. By accepting what is rather than constantly superimposing our neurotic stories upon life, we cut through delusions and relax into the power of residing fully in the ultimate.

Isn’t that the primary goal of religion, anyway?

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