Why I am not an atheist
Seeing the insults hurled at Christians here on News 24 and often times the hatred displayed by some atheists towards them I have often reflected why I believe in God and why I am not an atheist.
What follows are my reasons as a layman for not being an atheist. I shall not refer to any Biblical scriptures in so doing as atheists would in all probability say that such premise is illogical. They will say: “You are using the Bible, a book that we do not believe in, to prove to yourself that God exists. Why not use external facts or logic or science to establish the existence or absence of God?”
I shall thus purposefully try to motivate my beliefs without reference to scriptures in the Bible as corroboration for my beliefs. I concede readily that I am not an expert in religious matters.
Most atheists pride themselves that they are independent or free thinkers and most of them here at News 24 insult Christians as if they are total imbeciles.
These atheists are in my opinion aggressive atheists – no one is justified to believe gods exist, according to them. I sometimes wonder whether it is a prerequisite for an atheist to be rude and insulting when I read most of their comments. I then remind myself that stereotyping is devoid of logic and that there must be some decent well-mannered atheists who do not troll around to pick a fight and insult other like one of my “favourite” intellectual bullies here on News24.
I realise that you no doubt get clever and stupid people in any belief system including Christianity and atheism.
One must also understand that, true to human nature, there are many different views of Christianity and the interpretation of the Bible. Atheists similarly also differ amongst themselves as I shall point out underneath.
I want to make and motivate the following main points:
1.1.) Conventional or positive atheism is a belief system which has religion as its foundation. Without religion there can be no atheism.
2.2.) Central to every religious belief system is the notion that it has to be spread or advocated. That is probably why most all atheists here also group together and commend each other’s opinions and try to convince other to think like them. I call them evangelical atheists.
3.3.) Belief systems like Christianity, Islam and atheism have different species or sects and within each species or sect, they also differ with each other. (That is human nature and not necessarily bad in my opinion.)
4.4.) The early work and deeds of each belief system and their dogma are definitely open to criticism in present day context.
5.5.) It is difficult, if not impossible, to scientifically prove or disprove a belief system like religion or atheism.
6.6.) Atheists are conspiracy theorists.
7.7.) God does exist.
1.) Conventional or positive atheism is a belief system which has religion as its foundation.
Before starting to write here I did not concern myself with atheism simply because different religious theories do not interest me.
What I have seen here makes me believe that broad atheism is indeed a religion. It is a fixed belief of which the antithesis is belief in some deity. That is why I say atheism – especially evangelical atheism (as I call it) cannot exist without religion in the broad sense (belief in a deity).
Put more simply: If there never was a belief in God then the concept of atheism would not have existed because nobody would have deemed it necessary to say they do not believe in God and are atheists.
2.) Central to every religious belief system is the notion that it has to be spread or advocated. (Evangelism)
My second point is just as easy to substantiate. It is a well-known fact that Christians and Islamists have made war over the centuries to spread their religion. The trouble that atheists go through to convince others of their beliefs and the aggression with which it is sometimes done proves to me that there is a similar belief. Yes, not all atheists spread the atheist word but the same holds true for Christians and other religions.
Richard Dawkins may be another example of the above but since I have never bothered to study atheism and religious systems deeply, I cannot say for a fact. (It is not that I refuse to do so, it is just that I have neither the time nor the interest to do so.)
What I am writing here comes from the heart.
I thus believe that every religious belief system by and large wants to spread or advocate its beliefs.
My third point is just as easy to explain:
3.) Belief systems like Christianity, Islam and atheism have different species or sects and within each species or sect, they also differ with each other.
Two researchers at University of Tennessee found that atheists and agnostics there run the range from vocally anti-religious activists to non-believers who still observe some religious traditions.
Atheists also differ amongst themselves in that you get what I call true or broad atheists, Secular Humanists, Anti-theists, Non-theists, Buddhists and many other “-ists” that I do not even know of. (Some may say Buddhists are not atheists but that debate is irrelevant here.)
The same goes for Catholics and Protestants in Christianity.
4.) My fourth point is that the earlier philosophies or works of each belief system and its dogma may be open to criticism in a present day scenario.
The word “Bible” is derived from the Latin word biblia meaning books. The Bible is a collection of books. I view the Bible as a library (Afr: “biblioteek”).
The books of the Bible were not written to explain evolution, dinosaurs, the origin of coal and oil, etc, etc.
I believe that one should view the Bible in perspective. I have stated that I see the Bible is a collection of books. One should always ask oneself which book one is reading, who wrote the book, who the target audience was and what the message was at that specific point in time. (The underlined words are very important.)
I do not believe Genesis was meant to give the answer whether or not dinosaurs existed or not or whether evolution is defensible or not. I simply believe that the book with those answers is not in the library.
This is where I differ, with respect, from some Christians who by hook or by crook want to find all answers in the Bible and who always and under all circumstances interpret the Bible literally. My view is that one should check who the book was addressed to and what the message was. (The golden rule of Bible study.)
I, for one, do not believe that e.g. the story of Noah should be interpreted literally. The Bible is full of stories with a specific message or lesson. It is those messages or lessons or laws that we should extrapolate and use in our daily lives and religion. The Ten Commandments and the Parables of Jesus are obvious examples.
Let us, take this specific argument away from Christianity and analyse atheism.
Let us analyse the earlier atheist writings. Christians may have difficulty in explaining some books of the Bible if interpreted literally but let’s look at the earliest atheist writings.
Anaxogoras was one of the earliest atheists but he sought explanations in the stars. He did not have any idea about evolution or the origin of things. To use his works like that of Moses to try to explain evolution would be ridiculous.
The atheist society known as the “Society of the Godless” is another weird group of atheists. They were guided by anti-religious propaganda and Bolshevik party's orders with regards to religion. This league aimed at exterminating religion in all its manifestations and forming an anti-religious scientific mindset among the workers in Russia.
It propagated atheism and scientific achievements, conducted 'individual work' (a method of sending atheist tutors to meet with individual believers to convince them of atheism, which could be followed up with harassment if they failed to comply.)
Talk about indoctrination, talk about brainwashing. Even atheism is prone to it - above is an example.
If I thus want to engage in unfair “atheism bashing” I can zoom in on these foolish people and indicate how atheism can be abused.
What is my point?
I say that to look at erroneous interpretation by human beings and wrong dogma to criticise a belief system is easy but it does not prove or disprove that the specific belief system is right or wrong.
It only proves one thing: Fundamentalists proponents of specific belief systems are weird – like the human race.
5.) It is difficult, if not impossible, to scientifically prove or disprove a belief system like religion or atheism.
The question posed over and over by atheists is whether we can scientifically prove the existence of God.
I can counter it by asking atheists whether they can scientifically prove, given what I have said above, that God does not exist.
They cannot prove it.
They may be able to prove that forms of evolution exists and that Noah could not catch all the species of flies or kangaroos and Syberian tigers and American Bison but in so doing they only prove that some well-meaning Christians are misinterpreting the Bible, not realising the golden rule of interpretation of the Bible namely that one should look at the purpose of the book, to whom it was addressed and what the lesson was that they wanted to convey at that time.
They also forget that not all the books with all the answers are to be found in the Bible. For starters: space does not permit.
6.) Atheists are conspiracy theorists:
An atheist called me a conspiracy theorist once because I do not swallow everything that our controlled media dish up. But he made me think as he gave me the definition of a conspiracy theorist and it struck me that he was accusing me of something that he is actually guilty of. He quoted Barkun as per Wikipedia to me:
According to Barkun, the appeal of conspiracism is threefold. He says: First, conspiracy theories claim to explain what institutional analysis cannot. They appear to make sense out of a world that is otherwise confusing. [This may be so true in the case of atheists. It struck me that this atheist guy does not understand religion. He is trying to make sense of it all.]
Second, they [in this case atheists] do so in an appealingly simple way, by dividing the world sharply between the forces of light, and the forces of darkness. They trace all evil back to a single source, the conspirators and their agents. [Atheists blame the churches, the Popes and what not as the evil people that gave us religion.]
Third, conspiracy theories are often presented as special, secret knowledge unknown or unappreciated by others. For conspiracy theorists, the masses [Christians] are a brainwashed herd, while the conspiracy theorists in the know [atheists] can congratulate themselves on penetrating the plotters' deceptions. [That is what the aggressive bad-mannered atheists do here at News24.
We, the religious types, are brainwashed and the atheists congratulate themselves on their ability to see through it all.]
7.) This brings me to the most important question: Does God exist?
In my opinion, religion is a set of opinions and system of beliefs, symbols and practices that is generally accepted and practised in a community or communities and which observes certain rituals, traditions and mythology including metaphysics and includes personal belief and mystical experiences.
The following convinces me of the existence of God without having to resort to the church or the Bible:
It is improbable that over the centuries, in different, cultures, different continents and different civilisations people always independently believed in some deity be they the Egyptians, Mayans, Romans, Israelites, Bushmen, Zulu, Caucasian, Viking, European, Tibetan, Indian, Red Indian, Amazonian, Japanese, Chinese, etc, etc. Why?
Billions of people all over the world in different centuries claimed that they had experiences that could not be explained otherwise than by some form of divine intervention.
What are the probabilities that this is all hogwash? I believe nil.
So, on the probabilities there must be some God and a life here after. Where does this belief come from otherwise?
Closer to home: Evidence of supernatural experiences that people or their families or close friends experienced is the basis of belief in a deity and life after death. That supernatural working in their lives are not scientifically explainable. That is why religion is also removed from science.
That is why Christians like me believe in God, the Holy Ghost and its workings. The mystical experiences that we as religious people had and saw and that cannot be explained is thus my proof that God does exist.
That is why I am a believer and not an atheist.
*If I happen to be wrong and God does not exist, so what? No harm done. Why attack me and belittle my beliefs? I cannot understand that.
What if I am right and God does indeed exist?
Ever thought about that?