No Shoes, No Shirt, No Satan; Alone in Alabama

September 18, 2018

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What percentage of atheists are Satan worshippers?
Angie M.

 Point of Inquiry Brings Some Reason to the Season

Zero.

Or at least it should be – by definition. A proper atheist doesn’t believe in any purely evil, supernatural being – not Satan, Lucifer, the devil,  Anton Chigurh  – none of them.

I even question whether Satan worshippers are Satan worshippers. If you really believe in an all-powerful God (who nevertheless allows an evil-supernatural-but-less-powerful  nemesis to roam freely … FOREVER) , why hitch your wagon  to a trouble-maker who is at BEST a distant 4th (think holy trinity) in the Bible Power-Rankings?

Then again, we know from Nixon and Trump supporters, 20th Century Chicago Cubs fans, and the French  that some people chronically back the wrong team. So I guess it’s possible… but certainly not well-thought-out.

 

Is it possible that we are just humanizing the word God and applying to a human concept instead of a universal energy, force, that mainstay the order and chaos simultaneously?? At the same time the religious people and atheists are both correct in some ways!
Hugo S.

 Sacrifice_of_Isaac - Religious Morality

Well… the inventors of God sure do make him sound human. Richard Dawkins sums up the god of the Old Testament as

“…jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Reminds me of some neighbors I once had.

That’s the god that launched Crusades, fosters intolerance among peoples, and keeps the psychiatric, psychological, wine and pot industries profitable.  People don’t smite their enemies in the name of a universal energy force that keeps order in the universe.

Atheists call that order: physics. There’s no need to humanize it.

That tepid, universal energy/force replacement for the enfant terrible of the bible is what we see New Agers turn to because the bible god can be such a goon.

 

 

As an atheist, how do you stay centered with religious people? I’m  an atheist living in Alabama, surrounded by religion. Personally, I hate religion and believe it to be one of the core problems in the world. If it didn’t affect our lives, our laws, etc, and if people kept their beliefs to themselves, I’d do better with it. But i find myself discarding religious friends and acquaintances and don’t even want to be in their presence. The current political climate and polarization ramps it up a notch. I tend to see people from the religious right as enemies. My growing intolerance is uncomfortable, but i find it hard to be around people I consider stupid, superstitious, gullible, brain washed and bigoted. I feel pulled between wanting to fight for logic, sanity and evidence on one hand, and being more accepting on the other. Clearly, intolerance seems to be winning. I’m looking for a better balance. Any words of wisdom before I jettison ALL my religious and conservative friends and acquaintances? Thanks.                                                                                      
Lou

 

I’ve been there brother… though I haven’t lived in Alabama where it sounds like you’re much more burdened by local religious belief than some of us in big, cosmopolitan cities. But I have been angry at religion and at believers at different times.

You might keep a few things in mind to try to soften a bit about the people around you.

Religion has had thousands of years’ head start on science a secular thought. They are very good at creating, maintaining, and perpetuating belief to the general populace. You don’t have to be stupid to get caught up in the traditions and beliefs behind Christianity. Christian beliefs are pervasive in some places, as you well know, and most people aren’t very comfortable with rocking a boat that could negatively affect their lives socially and economically.

There are probably plenty of people like you around that are flying below God’s radar. You might want to check out – or even start up – a Meetup  near you so you won’t feel so isolated.

Remember that religion taps into lots of notions that feed easily into our biology. We humans…

  • Are cause and effect oriented
  • Are authority oriented
  • Have a hardwired desire to live on — which makes afterlife attractive
  • Are social, group oriented creatures

All that together sends people to Jesus’ arms in droves, and you can’t blame them too much for succumbing to their own biology. I know people smarter than I who are believers, but can’t see the folly of their beliefs. Try to cut them some slack.

Think of yourself as a square snowman on a 32+ degree day. Hang in there as best you can.

Ultimately, what I try to remind myself is, that people mostly just want to live decent lives free from want or fear. They want to be around others who are friendly and kind, and if you are that friendly and kind person, they will respond positively to you.

If they don’t, screw ‘em. Who wants to be around bigots and hypocrites anyway?