My, my, I am feeling the alliteration lately aren't I? That's two in a row now. Moving on, as you can no doubt tell from the post title, I've got some angst that I want to get off of my chest, and it has to do with atheism, or rather my being an atheist.
I've been an atheist sense almost as far back as I remember, my family is Catholic and I of course as a kid went through all the song and dance of being integrated into the church from baptism up until my first communion, after that I refused to go, I didn't want to be confirmed into a religion I didn't believe in. My immediate family is really good about my beliefs (or lack there of) and for the majority of my interactions with people it never really comes up. Its not often that I enter a room and immediately shout out that I don't believe in god. But recently It's come up at work, where some of my more religious coworkers have been pelting me with questions about my lack of beliefs and doing what happens a lot when I'm sucked into these conversations, trying to reason me back into faith. So in light of this I've decided to outline the questions/comments that frustrate me the most, please note that this isn't an attack on religion or religious thinking I'm just trying to let people know how it sounds from the other side.
1) So you worship Satan?
-No joke I've heard this one on at least ten separate occasions. No, I don't worship Satan, or any other mythical figure for that matter. Being an Atheist means that I don't believe in any of the characters in any mythos, Judeo-Christian or otherwise. I get to the religious mindset that the opposite of believing in god is automatically associated with some sort of devil figure, when the real opposite of believing in god is simply not believing in god. I promise that no other worldly figure is responsible for my lack of belief.
2) Aren't you afraid of going to Hell?/You do know your going to Hell
-Or in the case of well meaning people, I don't want you to go to Hell. Which I guess is a nice sentiment that people don't want me to go to a place they see as very real and very bad. But to be honest telling me that I am going to hell is pretty much equivalent to me telling someone that they're going to Narnia. It would have to effect, because we all know and accept Narnia as an imaginary place. The same goes for hell and any other type of purgatory to the Atheist.
3) What do you lose by believing in God/ Pascal's Wager.
-To be honest I would lose very little by believing in God as an abstract concept, and I would probably only lose one morning a week to religious belief. The problem is even if I did convert to a religion it would be only a half conversion my mindset will not allow me to accept something as real that I have to reason to posit the existence of. And in the case of God I see no reason to believe or posit his existence. For me there are no mysteries that can only be explained by appeal to some higher power, Its just something I don't need in my life. In the case of Pascal's wager, the same is true I feel no need to buy in to the cosmic insurance policy, I can't believe "just in case"
4) What do you think happens when you die?
-That one is easy to answer, I die, my consciousness ends and I as a person ceases to be. I hold no belief in an afterlife or that my consciousness will survive the death of my body. For me this makes this life more precious than If I had the concept of an afterlife to fall back on. I will live on in my legacy on this earth and that motivates me to leave behind a positive legacy and make the most of a very finite time to live.
5) Well where did we come from then/ Origin of the universe.
-This is one of the harder questions for me to answer, primarily because I don't have a definitive answer. The only things I state with any sort of certainty is back through how our galaxy was formed and from there the planets, and our individual species. This is all the information science has been able to give me. As for the origin of everything, as of now science does not have an answer, only theories. With those I am content, I am okay with not knowing exactly how the universe began, this uncertainty does not require me to reach for a higher power. Because for me the existence of a higher power creates the same question where did he/she come from? I guess I don't need absolute certainty for these matters.
There you go, the five questions that come up the most. Now please note that I in no way speak for all Atheists, these are just what I think about these questions. If you take issue with anything I've said or if you have any questions about religion/ lack their of don't hesitate to comment.