Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Believers vs. Atheists - Does It Really Matter?

There is only one of two possibilities.  Either there is a god or there isn't.

If there is no god, then all believers are wrong.  This means that they navigate this life on their own with nothing more than a delusion of divine guidance.  But they make it through just fine anyway, even if they are wrong.

If there is a god, then all atheists are wrong.  However, they somehow make it through life just fine without the faith that god guides their decisions.  But they too make it through life just fine, even if they are wrong.

What do believers and atheists have in common?  We share this planet.  We both lose our car keys.  We both get hungry when we don't eat.  We both have bills and rent (or mortgage) to pay.  We would both do anything to raise our kids safely and happily.  We (for the most part) try to be good citizens.

What do believers and atheist have in difference?  Atheists look for their car keys.  Believers pray, and god lead them to their car keys.  Atheists thank those who provided and prepared their food.  Believers thank god for their food. 

In short, believers put all their faith, trust, hope, confidence, and dreams into the hands of an invisible being whom they have never met.  When life goes their way, this being is blessing them.  When things go bad, this being is testing them.  If they screw up, someone else will cover them.

Atheists put their trust and hope in themselves.  If an atheist fails, it was because they did something wrong and need to correct it.  When life goes their way, great.  When things go bad, shit happens.  When they screw up, they take personal accountability.

We all have the same life experiences.  Whether there is a god or not, we all get through life just fine.  In short, it doesn't matter what you believe as long as YOU are a good person and are tolerant of other people.

Unfortunately, both sides seem to forget this far too often.  I am just as guilty.

Seen on Facebook: "What you believe is not so important as how you act, because your actions reflect your true beliefs."


Daniel Midgley said...

Well, I do think that it matters what you believe, because beliefs have consequences.

But to say that both sides forget this is not quite correct. Many Christians have it as a matter of doctrine that it does matter what you believe, and that being a good person is inadequate.

On the other hand, as atheists, we have no illusions that our friends will suffer an eternity of torture or isolation if they don't accept our worldview. The anxiety I used to feel for the welfare of people's souls has given way to a much more relaxed approach to what I consider to be misplaced faith.

Heather said...

I like that end quote. Thanks for sharing that one.

It really doesn't matter what you believe as long as no harm is done. But all sides are guilty of harm, and all sides are so passionate that I think, unfortunately, mankind will be dealing with this issue forever.

good post.

Insomniatic Sunrise said...

Along with what Daniel said, it just sucks to know that no matter how much you strive to be good, to strive for pure happiness, you will never be good ENOUGH in the Mormon's eyes.

I just can't wait for this (I'm 15, still active, but it's suffocating me.) To know that family conversations will be about how to "bring me back", to know I am the pink elephant in the room, the new ward project, the subject of Bishopric and BYC meetings (I already am.) To know that I will never be good enough to my family. To know that they will believe that I will be separated from them in the aterlife. To know that I will not see my sister or brother get married. To know that I will be thought to be miserable, and lost, gone astray, or "commiting eternal sin".... Can't wait for it. Well this just sucks.

Mormon411 said...

Daniel, yes I'll never understand how a person's beliefs override everything else. I could claim to believe in god but be a terrible person and still expect to be "saved". If you ask me, that is the lazy man's way to heaven. At least the LDS believe in earning their place. At least they put some effort into their salvation.

I agree, Heather. There will never be a time when all of humanity agrees. So the best thing we can do is learn to be tolerant.

Sunrise, I once wrote a post on those very feelings you are sharing. You know you can no longer believe. And you walk away knowing full well what will be said about you. You will be talked about, gossiped about, judged, shunned, disrespected, talked about some more, and viewed as a weak soul who was deceived by the devil.

Every single ex-Mormon here at Mormon411 has suffered their losses at the hands of Mormon family, friends, employers, and ward members. It is really shameful behavior coming from those in the "only true church". For those of us who leave and are viewed as evil, it is almost always them who judges and cuts ties.

Every single ex-Mormon has to deal with the very real possibility that they will be outcast and mistreated. If we are the evil ones, why do WE have to worry about how we will be treated simply for changing our beliefs? The Mormons cry and whine for religious tolerance but hand out none of it.

It's just wrong. We all know exactly how you are feeling.

senigami said...

This reminds me of an image that was shared around Christmas that read:

Being an atheist is okay.

Being an atheist and shaming religions and spirituality as silly and not real is not okay.

Being a Christian is okay.

Being homophobic, misogynistic, racist, or otherwise hateful person in the name of Christianity is not okay.

Being a reindeer is okay.

Bullying and excluding another reindeer because he has a shiny red nose is not okay.

Mormon411 said...

I have seen that image myself and it is true. I have been guilty of bad talking religious people sometimes. Does this mean I am going to stop sharing my feelings about why religion is dangerous? No. But I will attempt to do it in a more respectful manner. That being said, I have a post soon to be published that is quite sarcastic in nature, but (hopefully) helps drive home an important point.

WindspriteMüsli said...

Hi there.
I am catholic, although I don't believe that god is really the way the bible tells. Maybe there is a god, maybe not, but I don't believe that Jesus really was god's son. I think if there is a god, he or she or it is hidden in nature and not between the pages of an old book(Maybe there too, since books are a part of nature)Maybe everthing on earth is a coincidence. For me it doesn't matter if you. Though I think for some people I know, their belief is very important. I don't talk about that I don't believe with anybody. But I think the idea of shurch s actually good. Coming together to sing songs. Rituals and celebrations. I actually don't need god, but I need the feelingof belonging somewhere and church gives me that. I want to marry at church.
The funny thing is as far as I know, the official rules of catholic church are almost as strict as those of the mormons (Althogh the catholic churchis to big to resemble anything)but in Germany, where I come from, and where many catholics live, many are catholic but don't really practise the rules. Like don't having sex before marriage -I was christened, when my parents married, and to top it, my father marrying a chinese atheist -no problem. I believe that, as soon as the mormon community grows a bit older, they won't be as strict as now. And then another extreme church will come. And so on. It's like a closed circle. Okay, it now doesn't seem realistic. But catholic church once was the same and you see, now they're really more tolerant. Not officially, but when you're part of it you know that. Catholics by they way are actually a very differentkind of christians, but still I think it is something worth talking about. I don't know much about mormons, but I know a girl belonging to Jehovas witnesses and that really was kind of strange to hear her talking. Things about that the big bang theory can't be true, and apes aren't related to humans. Really, really strange and confusing.
Catholics are strange. The youth advisor at our church tells, that priest should be able to marry(He wanted to become one and then met his wife), The one priest tells that priest shouldn't marry. The other has a secret girlfriend. One tells, that the marriage between man and woman is sacred, the other thinks, gay marriage should at least be possible.
I really don't know much about mormons, so I would like know the differences.
And to answer the question,I think it depends which atheists and which theists you mean. You see, explaining so much about catholics was only to show, that it's really difficult to define atheists and theists. Am I an atheist? I'm not sure. But can't understand, why anybody should "save" somedbody, who wants to leave church. It's not imaginable for me to try that, since I'm sceptic myself, although I don't preclude that there might be something that is nature itself.
Anyway, I don't believe that god rules us. I think that if a church supports poor people or proojekts for a greener world, you should support that too, and if a church supports christening people against their own will you shouldn't support that.(Babies don't count, since they don't have a will)
Talking about that topic really is difficult. I'm not going to start explaining, that if you tolerate christians you're actually an agnostic, and not an atheist. Look it up yourself. But its worth to find out, I promise

WindspriteMüsli said...

Sorry for posting that comment twice. You may delete the second. Now I've read your blog and it gave really much information. I can't belve what I read about Mormons.Are they really that worse? Come to Italy and you'll see why I don't understand it at all. Really. In Germany people are able o make jokes about their own church -and even the priest laugh. Honestly. My physik teacher(He confessed to be an atheist in front of our class by the way) would say.that americans are crazy. Maybe germans are crazy too. I think europeans are mainly christians, who mainly don't believe in god. But I don't understand that anti-christianity attitude. Every christian confession is different. I know many protestants, and the at first are the same, but then there are differences too. It's true that religion flies you into skyscrapers. But its also true, that christians do make the world better. It more depends, how the church is. I once listened to a speech of one very fundamental catholic, and that wasn't much different to the behaviour of some moromons you describ in your blog. But I also know my religion teacher at school (In Germany you can go to catholic religion lessons), and he is actually a smart man. Only he belives in god. You know, originally, peacemakers, organic-food people and others didn't come along with christians very well.Which is paradox, since christians should fight for the integrity of creation. Now actually they come along, at least in my location, where there are many catholics, and many people of the "green" party. And some are in both. I support that. I think christians and atheist and other religions as well shouldn't fight each other. Only what you tell about mormons -that is shocking. So I'm not sure, how to judge that. It sounds so terrible.

senigami said...

While there are good Christians who have made a difference in the world so to have many Atheists made large contributions to our world. Just have a look at some of histories most famous atheists:

And here are some other popular atheists you may have heard of:

Mormon411 said...


I don't know much about the Catholic church. I know a few people who are Catholic but they just don't seem to feel the need to bring up religious topics. It seems to me that while the Catholic church does have it's set of rules, they are not as demanding that they be followed like the Mormon church is. Please correct me if I am wrong.

There are good and bad Catholics. There are good and bad Mormons. There are good and bad atheists. There are good and bad Muslims... Jews... Blacks... Whites...

It is surprising how many famous people in history were atheist.

C. L. Hanson said...

This post has been nominated for a 2014 Brodie Award in the category of "Best Moving On from Mormonism Piece". Please go here if you would like to vote for it! :D