Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Quite Like that Channel ...

Atheism, by definition, is " disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings." Religion defined is "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects". While atheism could in fact be an aspect of a religion (ex. some Buddhists are atheists) it is not a religion in and of itself.

It's usually religious folks making this assumption but I have come across a few atheists/agnostics/I don't give a fuckers who have felt similarly - I'll get to them in a bit. It's not difficult to understand why a Christian would think this. Psychological projection comes to mind, combined with the black and white worldview that Christianity tends to confine them to.

I think Christians may have a difficult time comprehending indifference in this case; for it is one of those biblically non-existent gray areas. There really isn't much you can be apathetic toward, without the risk of downward spiraling, which a lukewarm faith can cause. Of course, the subjects in which it is "actually" okay to be lukewarm toward are cherry-picked and then denied or ignored by the individual. That is besides the point, since the whole denial thing cancels out the idea that it may okay to be somewhere in the middle thus lessening the likelihood of raising consciousness there. To them, one cannot simply disbelieve without any emotional fuel.
"I love Jesus. You don't love Jesus. Therefore, you must hate Jesus" seems to be the common mindset. To be indifferent to Jesus/the idea of his love does not compute. Only a lack of understanding or knowledge of his existence are sensible explanations for such nonchalance.

Likely resulting from the (fucked up version of) love which fuels the idea behind Christianity, C.S. Lewis, for example, could only find three possibilities as to why Jesus would claim to be God (he was either "a lunatic, a liar, or who he said he was"). His reasoning completely ignores the possibility that stories of Jesus are exaggerations and that Jesus never personally claimed divinity. I doubt that Lewis was deliberately boxing his readers into a limited answer set but rather, was genuinely unaware due to passionate blindness.

In the same way that Christians tend to attach an emotion (hate/anger) to the Atheist due to their passion for God's love and the power of projection, attaching religion to Atheism comes just as naturally. Stemming from the black and white mentality that results in love/hate, sinner/saved, etc classifications, I think Atheism is viewed as the opposite of Christianity when in actuality it only opposes the general belief in god(s) - not religion in general and certainly not Christianity specifically. These things become hard to separate when one's worldview requires the lumping together of all dissenting views. While possible to peel apart, it requires more effort than it would for the open-minded free-thinker, already in the habit of thinking critically about these things and in general.

Still, while it is mostly (in my experience) Christians making the claim that Atheism is a religion, it has not always been the case. I can recall one agnostic and one 'peace monger' (he seemed to be an agnostic/atheist but actively refused to be associated with the term and called himself non-religious instead), both of whom shared the idea that Atheism is a religion.

The self-proclaimed agnostic seemed to confuse zeal for religious beliefs with the atheist's common frustration in standing against the zealots in order to takes steps toward progression and with humanitarianism in mind. This is a common mistake - one I have mentioned before and once thought to be true. The "non-religious peace monger" used the argument that since Atheists believe god(s) are not real, gather and discuss atheistic ideas, this makes it a religion. I tried to explain that by his logic, non-stamp collecting is a hobby and lack of belief does not necessarily equal belief. I also went out of my way to explain that Atheists are not confined to a specific set of rules as are members of any religion, sect or cult. He was for some reason too emotionally attached to his view, as he lashed out and didn't bother reading my explanations before dismissing them over and over. Given what I know of his personality, I am guessing either a) pride in being right for the sake of it, b) wanting desperately not to be labeled ("I am an individual with my own thoughts, I will not be classified, rawr!") or c) a bit of both. Unfortunately, pride clouds thinking whether or not it can be blamed on someone's religiosity.

At any rate, I quite like this off channel that is apparently Atheism. As for my new dye-job, I'm not quite sure how this bald color goes with my complexion ... o_0

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