Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Hideous Grind of Life; the Wondrous Effect of Faith.

Last week I received the following message from a facebook friend:

“A Catholic high school classmate of mine posted this: ‘The only way to find happiness in the grind of life is by faith. A faith-filled life means all the difference in how we view everything around us. It affects our attitudes towards people, toward circumstances, toward ourselves. Only then do our feet become swift to do what is right.’ How would you counter this?”

My reply follows, revised and extended:

It's unfortunate that some people are so shallow, their lives so unfulfilling, their grasp on reality so loose, and their willingness to surrender their personal responsibility for morality and ethics to an imaginary being is so strong; and that is precisely what that childlike testimony of your friend expresses. That he disparages life as a “grind” as oppose to a marvelous and wonderful experience to be savored and enjoyed to its fullest all by itself, is the mindset of so many Christians whose pained existence and/or perspective on life as just god's waiting room causes them to seek escape into the fantasy realm of religion.

Did Mother Teresa's faith influence her "attitude toward people?" Indeed it did. And it caused her to glorify the pain of her patients as "god's gift, a blessing.” As a result her order withheld pain medication that would have eased the misery of her patients in their final weeks, days and hours. This in spite of the millions of dollars her order amassed. Somehow I don't see that as a good attitude towards people, or doing what is right by any measure of reasoned thinking. Your friend will likely rationalize that to have been a wonderful thing, for such is the affect of faith on the mind.

A “Faith-Filled Life” effects how religionists view everything. Some faithful view the unnecessary death of a child caused by parents withholding medication in favor of prayer as "God's Will." Others view competing religions as from the devil and provoke hatred and inspire terror by mindless acts of book burning for Jesus. Others encourage the spread of AIDS among third world peoples by rejecting the effectiveness of condoms and the reality of the human sex drive. Still more reject scientific evidence and proofs of the natural world- passing along the foolishness and intellectually crippling their children - because it contradicts an ancient myth written by Bronze Age misogynists.

Faith causes some people to fly airplanes into buildings; blow up clinics; discriminate against their fellow human beings for their sexual preference; mutilate genitals; kill apostates; justify sexism; disparage all other beliefs or lack there of because THEIR faith is the "true" faith and the only way to properly live and die.

Yes, it takes the expectation of a supernatural reward for them to be moved to "do what is right." That or their "doing what's right" is motivated by the proselytizing agenda of their imagined man-god or church shaman. Their sense of right is not out of pure empathy, compassion and humanity. To them it can’t exist without make-believe. The fact that empathy exists in all humans, save sociopaths, is lost on them. No, only when their minds are willingly vacated of all personal responsibility and the void filled by make believe do their “feet become swift” to do the right thing. That is what they call happiness, and doing what's right; it’s what I call zombie like denial of reality and crediting natural human emotion to the supernatural.

We the thinking can do what’s right, and we do. We can enjoy life to its fullest and experience happiness, and we do. And we do it without the fallacy of life after death rewards, the mind-numbing drug of religious delusion, or attributing our charity, happiness and personal success to a boogie man.

But all this will be lost on the religiously deluded, your friend included. The ignorance of faith is indeed bliss to them. They cannot see beyond what they have been programmed to see ... and that never included questioning their belief, or challenging their tiresome platitudes.
[[ Thanks to Generosa for the inspiration for this posting]]


NewEnglandBob said...

This is a wonderful explanation of the error of a faith filled life. I would replace one sentence: "To them it can’t exist without make-believe." with the sentence "To them it can’t exist without the supervision of a sky-daddy".

Dromedary Hump said...

Bob, thanks. yeah... both sentences would work well ;)

Leslie said...

Bravo. I agree with Bob in saying it was wonderful. People who believe as your friend's old classmate does are nothing short of pathetic. Someone told me the other day that people who don't believe in god live a sad life with no moral code to live by. I let him have it with some of the same things you said here.

Dromedary Hump said...

Thanks Leslie. Yes, they mouth the line, but when challenged to give examples of "sad" atheists they know, or how atheists they know have demonstrated their lack of morality, they have nothing.

OH.. they will sometimes drop back 65 years and punt Stalin.
Stalin is a fav whipping boy of the religiously confused.

Dannette said...

Every time I read something along these lines (more often than not written by you) I am left with the puzzling eternal question "Why don't normal people GET this?!"

Dromedary Hump said...

Dannette..NORMAL people do.

Momma Moonbat said...

It always befuzzles me that the believers seem to think that life has no meaning without skydaddy in the picture. Life is full of meaning for nonbelievers. We're not sitting around waiting to die so we can get our mansion in heaven. We value here and now. Yet they call us illogical.

Rachelle said...

Nothing irks me more than religious nuts who think a person can't be moral, happy or fulfilled without some bullsh*t "god" or "faith." When is this rapture supposed to happen so they can all go the f*ck away?! LOL!

I cannot tell you the number of times I've been mistaken for a "Christian" simply because I smile,laugh or do a good deed for the sake of doing something nice (no strings--not trying to "convert" anyone). I LOVE seeing their faces when I say I'm an atheist. LOL! I'm content with the way I'm living MY godless life because it's the only one I've got.

longhorn believer said...

Hump, I think this is one of the most powerful things I've seen written about atheism - this plus the post you write last year comparing god to an abusive spouse were real eye openers for me. I would like to know how you would respond to xtians who have over come addictions or otherwise turned their lives around after getting "saved" etc. Those kinds of life changing events are very powerful "evidence" for some people, because it's their own experience. When it gets right down to it, so many of our conclusions about the world are based on our own personal experiences. Even though I believe there are psychological explanations for the "saved" experience, to not acknowledge that they have experienced something important seems hypocritical to me. Because I have experiences too that have lead me to become an atheist. I can't very well dismiss their experiences if I want my own acknowledged

Dromedary Hump said...

Long horn asks: I would like to know how you would respond to xtians who have over come addictions or otherwise turned their lives around after getting "saved" etc. Those kinds of life changing events are very powerful "evidence" for some people, because it's their own experience."

In two words: "I don't"
It is fruitless exercise to use reason with people who credit a supernatural being for their health. It would be like trying to convince native americans of the 19th century that thier rain dance didn't really bring the rains. What's the point?
If that's their preferred placebo and it works for them... Mocloch Bless em.

I do know that evangelical Xtians will often claim to have been addicted to (pick one or more) porn, alcohol, drugs; or overcame their "gayness" when in fact they had no such issues / proclivities at all. They do this as a form of testamony to win more sheep for the flock.

Joan said...

Thanks so much for the inspiration. The following is obviously not about me, cause I am way obsessed with paying for food, medicine and utilities… Charity-wise, though, I do have a weakness for Girl Scout cookies.

Being Good

I try to love my neighbor as myself,
Give goods to charity and money too.
I’m not obsessed with gaining too much wealth
And try to have an open-minded view
About the folks that many people spurn
Who earn much less or are a different hue.
I work on damping down excessive pride.
If I slip up, it’s something that I rue.
It’s not a very easy road to ride.
I’m human and it’s difficult, that’s true.
When people ask me why I do these things
That is the point at which I take my cue
“I try to always live this way because
I feel it is the Atheist thing to do.”

Dromedary Hump said...


Joan said...

Awww Thanks, Hump! You are too kind. But we know that graciousness trait is due to being an Atheist. (grin)

Sparta Doc said...

As a newcomer to atheist camel, I happen to be reading old posts. Probably none of the regulars will see this comment.

Whenever anybody tells me about their religion I always ask how they know it to be true. It always boils down to faith. Whereupon I observe that faith is the "great leveler". With faith all religions are on the same footing. "How do you know your faith is any more correct than that of, say, a Muslim suicide bomber?" And I never get an intelligent response

Dromedary Hump said...

Thanks for your comment.

It is this claim of "one true religion" which has caused so much misery through the ages.

You'd think the challenge you give them would cause them to think, would jog their inquisitive side. But for the majority of them it is simply unworthy of considertion.


NewEnglandBob said...

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