06 January 2011

Dear Atheists: Why the long face?

Let me try to answer "Father" Tim Moyle. My answer are in black and his words in blue.

Why is it that so many in the atheist community cannot bring themselves to get past their anger whenever they engage in discussion about religion? The language of many of atheist contributions in public debate is laced with venom and dripping with sarcasm.
There are exceptions and of course many atheists to do not bother to post their views on blogs so there is no telling how they feel. But comments by atheists in the public square usually depict the religious as being ‘malicious’ or ‘venomous’ with the aim to  enslave the ‘feeble minded and weak.’

Of course, I cannot and should not answer this "angry" accusation for other atheists.  After all, atheism is a lack of belief. Atheists are not a homogeneous group in any sense. In this blog and in many comments I put on public forum, I do sound angry.  Moyle is exactly right that I am angry.  I am accusing people like Moyle of spreading unsupported claims as if it were true, I am accusing these professional liars of deliberate deception.  I am angry at the people poisoning young minds with superstition and fear.

Venom is something that is oriented towards death; Christians and other religious people are oriented towards a different direction. We speak not to the culture of death that grips our world but rather for the culture of life and light that ends with the gift of eternal life.

For example, the Catholic Church in its human incarnation is sinful (as is every other human institution) corrupt and often acts differently from what it teaches. But 2,000 years of experience has permitted the Church to experience the waxing and waning of the faith in different part of the world at various time before. We do not despair these difficult times because we have been here before … and we will be here in the future.

Christian doctrines may have given people relief, just like drinking alcohol can temporarily make one drunk and forgets the immediate pain. By diverting attention from this life, people are given false hope in a non-existent eternal life.  Life is unfair and we do not need religion to make it worse. Why are some children born in war-torn country?  Why are some children born into hunger and despair? Why are some children born with disability? I acknowledge this unfairness and unjust.  I do what I can to help only because I feel good helping people.  I am not expecting any rewards, not from fellow human nor from the non-existent god.  If there were a god, a just and loving god, why the suffering?

The Catholic Church was, has been and will continue to be a power seeking organisation.  The tactics have always been intimidation, crack down opposing voices, ruled with all the power it can coercive.  The sole purpose of its existence is to accumulate wealth and amass political power.  It has been doing this for 2000 years.  But it is time for this to end.

When priests were found abusing children, abusing the trust parents have on them, molestering minors and doing those deeds they publicly denounce, the church move these people around - providing more victims to be abused instead of making them face up the crime, putting those responsible in the proper authority.  The only objective was to protect the Church. When the priests have raped too many children, they file a bankruptcy protection. [source]  I would argue to go after the Vatican and return the amassed wealth to common people.

Why are believers so confident? It’s because even though we have suffered the wounds of sin from various clergy, we know that they not the totality of our experience. There have been times when we stood as a paragon of grace for believers. Even today there are times when the voice of the Church has truly spoken to the core of many, moments when the transcendent presence of God is visible despite our sinfulness and brokenness for anyone who has both the eyes and heart to see it. It is these moments, brought about through the faithful ministry and efforts of almost all clergy who has taken up the yoke of service, which makes possible and strengthens the convictions and fidelity of many believers today.

As an organisation, it is inevitable that there are bad apples. To be a responsible organisation, it is important to find these bad apples and allow natural justice to be applied.  The act of moving the accused priests around, providing them with more victims is far from any moral person would attempt to do.  Yet, this happened.  Not in one county, but in all the countries that such abuses were reported. I don't know if great minds think alike, but evil minds did.

I have never had any feeling of "transcendent presence of god".  Why god, who wants everyone to worship it, left me out?

Believers are told, as shown here, that they are sinful. Sinful for being born!  Sinful because a fictional character was tempted by a talking snake into eating a fruit which god forbid to eat.  An all knowing god would have known that before it created human.  This is just a story to enslave the feeble mind. A story to give power to the priests because they are the messengers of god.  "You better listen, you sinful human.  I am god's messenger and you better do what I tell you to do."

But I think that there is a more primordial reason for the ‘bad  mood’ of so many atheists.

Atheists tend to see the state of their personal world as being  limited to the best they can achieve. Life’s injustices will never  ultimately be surmounted and they are limited to a ‘what you see is what you get’ assessment of life’s trials. Believers know that things will be better. They know that following the teachings of the church can bring them closer to that promised ideal in the here and now, and that any justice denied them by the events of  their personal lives as a result of their fidelity to God will be theirs to enjoy in the life to come.

It is easy to understand how this fuels the anger that many atheists. When one must content themselves with an atheist creed that necessarily means they will never experience ultimate justice, peace or love; they cannot look past the annihilation in death.

No wonder they’re so grumpy.

Yes, I understand that I can only do the best that I can. That's life and I do not have the delusion of another chance of life. I understand this world is unfair and unjust.  I can live with that. And I have to live with that because there is no other choice.  Religion does not give us another choice nor chance anyway. It is delusional to say there is an eternal life waiting for you.

It is better to face up to the reality instead of hiding my head in the sand. It is better to be positive and do the best as the circumstance prevail. There is no ultimate justice.  Peace and love is here, now and real. We can enjoy peace by not getting into wars with others, we can embrace love with our parents, spouse, children and friends.  When death comes, I can face it, bravely knowing that I have done my best and I have been enjoying my life - whatever the circumstances have thrown to me.

The greatest crime one can commit is to spread false hope, unsupported claims and take advantage of the feeble and weak.  That's exactly what religion has been doing.  This is, itself, a good reason for me to be angry at those to continue to commit this crime.

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