Someone did a blog about atheism and atheists (who wasn’t one) and this is my response (which quotes bits of the blog):
“I’m just amazed at how many proponents of atheism are in the pro gaming community. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps its the ego centricism of the activity the gives atheism an appeal.”
That’s a pretty crummy thing to say. Intelligence, being in the younger generation and making more money all correlate with being less religious and all correlate with being a video game maker. People in technical fields in general tend to be more secular. But thanks for concluding instead that atheists are all just selfish assholes. Have you ever even met an atheist?
“Well there would be a departure from the rules and principles that my existing faith has taught me. But do I have a problem with that?”
That is only appealing to people with overly oppressive religious backgrounds.
“Well, clearly I have a sense of morality, so I’d just need to base my sense of right and wrong other than God. Should I choose the government? Or perhaps what feels good? Or perhaps I should just deny that morality exists altogether?”
I’ve never met an atheist who chose the first or the last, and everyone chooses the second to some degree, ie food that tastes good is better, a relationship that makes you happier is better etc. Morality is mainly just having concern for other people and not just yourself, and people accomplish this perfectly well without religion. Here is a parody of the idea that we can’t be moral without the bible if you’re interested. It’s very you.
“And renouncing and reframing everything would be tough too.”
Yes, having to actually think about everything is hard. But extremely rewarding.
“Then again, I don’t believe that I can depend on myself entirely. But should I? So perhaps if I’m smart enough and know when to utilize my relationships effectively to achieve what I want. But what if those don’t work either? I guess that’s a risk that I take.”
We live in a world where people can try hard over and over again and fail miserably, and others luck into success – but also a world where there is not just one kind of success (some things are more important than money – some of them are achieved by that “tough” examination of important questions). Life is analogous to a game of cards, some people have a winning hand and some have a losing hand, but how we play our cards gives us a lot of wiggle room in how things turn out. We all have to make the most of what we have, but we live in the exact world I’ve described regardless of whether or not there is a god. It’s not as though being christian means you will magically live a blessed life.
“Honestly, from a sales standpoint, I’d rather just take a chance on believing that there is a God who is responsible for creation”
And whether it’s actually true is an afterthought? You said above that if you were an atheist you might selfishly conclude right and wrong was determined by what felt best – aren’t you doing that here? Just deciding that what it feels best to believe is therefore right? What if you find that islam or hinduism tickles you more? Does that mean allah or vishnu are real? What if it makes you feel even better to believe you are napoleon, are you going to believe that?
I want to feel good and be comfortable and not stress out as much as anyone – but truth is above comfort on my list of priorities because it really matters what is true, and since our beliefs influence our actions it matters what we accept to be true. So I will not shop around for a worldview like I’m picking out a new tie.
“as well as an absolute truth of right and wrong,”
There is no absolute right and wrong, and many parts of the bible contradict that notion as well. Morality is dynamic and situational. Even shooting someone in the head is not “absolutely” wrong, if you’re a SWAT team sniper and the suspect says to the hostage negotiator “fuck it, I’m killing everyone”, you send a bullet through the man’s head. Is that morally equivalent to shooting a random person on the street? No. Same act, different circumstances – relative morality. This doesn’t invalidate the concept of morality, it is just more complicated. It’s one of those things you have to think about.
“not to mention a hope for a life beyond this one and a means of attaining it that has nothing to do with my capacity to perform.”
Wanting it to exist doesn’t mean it does. To quote the rubayat of omar khayyam:
“Some for the wonders of this world,
and some sigh for the prophet’s paradise to come;
Ah, take the cash and let the promise go,
nor heed the music of a distant drum.
Were it not folly, spider-like to spin
the thread of present life away to win
what? for ourselves who know not if we shall
breathe out the very breath we now breathe in!”
“True, there are a lot of things that I can’t empirically or rationally prove, but I don’t really trust human empiricism or rationalism. Atheism is just too hard for me to trust.”
So something being hard to think about means it’s bullshit? So calculus is fake? That the moon landing is faked is easier to understand than the actual details of how we went to the moon – does that mean it never happened? Genetics is harder to understand than the idea that cells operate on love and happy thoughts, so are you going to believe the latter?
I’m sorry, but apathy isn’t a good basis for a worldview. If you don’t want to think about this stuff then call it a mystery, but don’t pretend to understand it and refuse to try to understand it at the same time.