Happiness, Truth, Beauty, and Wisdom

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” – Christopher Hitchens

What is better about being an atheist rather than a theist?  Than a Christian?  Than a Mormon?

  1. Blaming yourself.
    • When you make a mistake, it’s your fault.  It isn’t Satan.  It isn’t God.  It’s your fault.  You can choose to learn from it, or you can ignore it, but it’s your fault and it’s your choice.  When you have trouble understanding something, it isn’t because “God works in mysterious ways”, or because you didn’t ask with enough faith.  you just need to study more, or ask better questions.  If you’re selfish and hurt a loved one, you weren’t “tempted by The Adversary”.  It’s your fault.  It’s your choice.  You’re not being punished.   You’re not being admonished.  It’s just you vs. The Universe.
  2. Praising yourself.
    • You earned the job.  You earned the paycheck.  You earned the bonus.  You caught the ball.  You hit the homerun.  Your anti-bodies beat pneumonia, or the flu, or the cold.  Your body healed the broken leg, and the sprained knee, or even beat back cancer.  You weren’t “blessed.”  You weren’t rewarded by God.  You did it.  Biology did it.  Your genes did it, and that feels pretty damned good.
  3. Blaming Nature.
    • Earthquakes are tectonic plates.  Volcanoes the same.  Hurricanes are warm air and a spinning planet.  Disease is biological and chemical reactions.  Parasites are an unfortunate side effect of evolution.  You don’t have to wonder why evil and suffering exists.  You don’t have to wonder if you’ve angered some omnipotent being.  You don’t have to wait for help and relief from above that isn’t coming.  Make your own miracles.
  4. Helping.
    • Really helping.  No “thoughts and prayers”, but actually donating time, money, and effort to help those in need.  Thoughts and prayers don’t work, and if they did, we wouldn’t need ambulances, first responders, or doctors.
  5. Sundays.
    • …or whatever Sabbath day was previously set aside for praising and worshiping.  Having two weekend days, pretty nice.  Wonderful, in fact.  An extra day for shopping.  And extra day for taking your kid to the aquarium, or the zoo, or the museum, or a hike, or a bike ride, or just to sit around and watch Ghostbusters for the 10th time this month.  An extra day to teach her how to make muffins, cookies, or soup.  An extra day to sit outside and enjoy the sun with a cool beverage, or an extra day to sit inside and enjoy the warmth with a warm beverage.
  6. Thinking.
    • Nothing is off limits.  You can imagine that there are ten gods, or none.  You can debate endlessly with William Lane Craig, or Rabbi Schmuley, or Frank Turek, or Christopher Hitchens, or Bertrand Russell in your mind.  You can contemplate the repercussions of any position without fear of going over some imaginary line.  “Was Jesus real, or wasn’t he?”  “Is there evidence for The Exodus?”  “Is there enough evidence to justify that position?” “What if there is a god?”  No stone left unturned for fear of the truth that may be waiting underneath.
  7. Reading.
    • Much the same as #4.  Nothing is off limits.  You can read history that destroys your heroes – secular and religious.  You can read history that builds up the ‘villains.’
  8. Money.
    • There’s no registration fees or membership dues to be an atheist.  As opposed to religions who say, “But God loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more.” (George Carlin)
  9. Guilt Free Sex.
    • Notice I didn’t say, “consequence free”.  Of course there are still consequences for your actions, but you need not feel guilty for responding to natural, healthy sexual instincts.  Masturbation is perfectly healthy and natural.  Safe, consensual sex is perfectly healthy and natural.  There is no need for young people to be shamed and guilted about natural drives.  They are better served with education about healthy and safe  sexual behaviors instead of needless shame.
  10. Freedom.
    • In short, freedom.  Freedom from supernatural thought, theistic thought, and religious thought.  Freedom to think for yourself.  Freedom to reason for yourself.  Freedom to be yourself.  Freedom to blame yourself.  Freedom to praise yourself.  Freedom to spend your money as *you* see fit.  Freedom to love, physically, mentally, emotionally, or all of the above.  Freedom to live without wasteful wishes for something more and better and to love all that this life is and has to offer.

One Reply to “Happiness, Truth, Beauty, and Wisdom”

  1. Or you could be a theist.

    1. Agency. You are able to make choices with negative consequences. The effects of your negative consequences is your fault.

    2. Agency. You are able to make positive consequences, of which you can feel proud of.

    3. Blaming nature. As a theist, you are able to except the material natural world, philosophical humanist ideas, and the supernatural/spiritual knowledge. You are free to accept truth as it is, without needlessly rejecting spiritual knowledge. You are able to recognize that when natural disaster happen, that they are natural. You don’t have to wonder why evil and suffering exist, because it was all part of God’s plan for there to be opposition in this life.

    4. Really helping. As in joining the world wide relief efforts held by both your church and the others you may be able to. As a member of the LDS church, you can volunteer in orchards and at cattle ranches. You can work in local canneries that send food to places in need all around the world. And after all you can do, after there is nothing more, you can add your prayers. “Faith without works is dead”, I would extend it also to “prayers without works are dead”. After all we can do, God can make up the rest.

    5. Sundays. One day a week, you have a day set aside for spiritual, mental, and physical rest/recovery. A day to not have work so that you can spend time with your family, and to visit those who need a friend. A day to join with your local church community and encourage and strengthen each other and be encouraged and uplifted on the journey of life. A day to study, to learn, to grow.

    6. Thinking. Nothing is off limits. You don’t have to blindly deny all things spiritual or supernatural. You can simply accept truth as you learn it. You can wonder about whatever you’d like, and you can try and find answers to all the questions you can possibly think of. You can ponder all things that you’d like without hitting the limitation of “there is nothing spiritual about this existence.”

    7. Reading. You can read whatever it is you’d like. Something that being a theist or atheist does not effect.

    8. Money. You can spend your money as you see fit. You can choose to pay tithing, which is a constant reminder that this life is temporary, and God owns all of this world. You can be humbled by sacrificing your own money to help contribute to the direct aid of local community members through fast offerings(if you are LDS). You can easily make donations to whatever world wide aid your local church provides world wide as well.

    9. Safe healthy sex
    You can have sex with a partner safely in the bonds of matrimony. Where you have both pledged to stay together in the journey through life. You can live chastely until marriage which protects you from diseases that are spread by socially glorified casual sex. You can also be protected from the mental damage of casual sex, and being in relationships that are only about sex. You can be with a partner that truly loves you for you, even without sex until after marriage.

    10. Freedom. When you repent of your sins by turning your life around, you will find forgiveness, hope, love, and peace that is the greatest sense of freedom I can possibly describe. You will find the ultimate freedom of consciousness. The freedom to accept all truth as it is, without needlessly rejecting spiritual and supernatural truths. “Come now, let us reason together saith the Lord” The freedom to reason for yourself, to learn what you wish, and to not fear death. Freedom to live the best life you possibly can without fear of death being the end of existence. Being able to enjoy all that this wonderful life has to offer, but being filled without the hope that our existence will just keep getting better even after death.

    A good life isn’t established solely on denying all things spiritual or accepting anything spiritual about this life. Rejecting spiritual truth is kinda like rejecting scientific truth. If I decide I don’t like the law of gravity and it doesn’t exists, it’s gonna keep on existing whether I like it or not.

    The effect on the life of a true follower of Christ, is an increase of love, charity, kindness, meekness, humility, virtue, integrity, respect, and a change on perspective of everyone. Viewing everyone as a beloved child of God.

    Can an atheist act the same way (except the last part)? Of course they can! And of course they should! But with Jesus Christ as the ultimate example, how much easier is it? I can tell you that despite my own individual efforts to be a good person, I found the most success developing those attributes as I began to study my savior and how he exemplified each one of them.

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