Argument for the day
If you are an atheist, you are bad. If you’re religious, you’re good.
This familiar old debate, put forward by the believers, has been ongoing for decades, ever since it was introduced among the masses during the period of the Renaissance in Europe.
Before I proceed further, let me set your expectations by publicly proclaiming that I am an atheist.
Nevertheless, I have sincerely tried to abide by the principles of fair debate. This is my personal take at this issue. I hope that the offended reader might forgive me.
I, and anyone else who would try to use his rationale putting aside prejudices and bias, would say that the argument of the “believers” to defend their stand does not hold water.
Religion Does Not Preach Hatred
The most common argument used to defend believing in God, and religion, is that “religion makes you good”. The believers will then go on to cite several merely statistical examples of instances where the atheists have taken to all anti-social activities you can think of, and the believers have remained as they are………
Without even going into intricate details, I have a very simple question for them:
I can cite several examples of people taking to anti-social activities in the name of religion. How would you care to explain that?
From my point of view, hitting out against humanity in the name of religion is a misinterpretation of what that religion preaches. No religion in the world preaches hatred for other human beings.
Without going into religious philosophy, I am basing all my arguments with this firm belief in mind.
1. Being Good
Atheism makes being good
This might seem hypocritic. But this is a fact in which I firmly believe.
If you would care to study the philosophy of all religions, you would come across one common point: all of them lay down certain guidelines by which its followers are expected to abide by. That is basically the fact that a value system is laid down before you, ready to be followed.
All people are not great. But the religions existent today were formulated by great (good) people. Therefore, the value system they laid down is what represents real values and good qualities.
Besides, those believers who cannot intrinsically accept the value system laid down by their religion with heart and mind, often end up practising it due to the fear of God.
Whereas, if you are an atheist, there is no concrete value system laid down before you. You have to build your own value system. That is inherently more tough rather than following one already before you.
Every atheist is not a great (or good) person. The principles of the value system of his life, the atheist chooses himself, in its entirety. Thus, as a result, he may adopt principles or “values” in life that he believes to be good, which are intrinsically bad.
Whereas, what if atheists fail to formulate or believe in an intrinsic value system? This is where atheism suffers a serious disadvantage. If an atheist does not believe in a value system, the only way to keep him abiding by one is by the fear of something.
That ‘something’ cannot be God, they don’t believe in him. Our social system is such that it is easier to impart fear of God than a fear of something earthly. The job then becomes much more difficult.
Those who can follow an intrinsic value system are the so-called “good atheists”, and those who can’t are known as the “bad atheists”.
THE CONDENSED IDEA Religion makes you good. Atheism too makes you good, albeit with greater effort on your side.
Most people debating religion vs. atheism fail to proceed any further. Some do, and I too will.
2. Suicidal Tendency
Some people have even gone to the extent of linking (needless to say, unscientifically) atheism with suicidal tendency! In the following way.
Suicidal Tendency is directly proportional to the degree of atheism you embrace.
Hmm! Have we found any statistical proof for the same? I have never referred to, or even heard of any scientific research paper establishing such a connection.
I think I would like to slightly tweak that sentence quoted in bold.
One of the factors affecting suicidal tendency in a person is whether he has found purpose in life.
Once again, religion makes it easier than atheism. It is so because every religion lays down a duty, a purpose in life for its every follower:
- Service to self.
- Indirectly, service to God by service to mankind.
- And for some, only service directly to God.
Most believers take at least one of the three listed above as their purpose of life. Thus, every person who believes in God and adopts a religion automatically assumes a duty in life.
When a man finds purpose in life, or he believes he has a duty to perform here on Earth, he thinks it worthwhile for him to live on Earth, and devote himself to that service.
When he does not, two possible things can happen:
- He ends his life.
- If not, he becomes an anti-social person.
Once again, atheism hits the court with a disadvantage. If you are an atheist, you need to find for yourself a purpose in life. That is once again more difficult than someone handing you a list of your duties you are to perform in your life.
THE CONDENSED IDEA One of the factors affecting suicidal tendency is finding purpose in life. Religion makes it easy. If you're an atheist, you gotta work it out yourself.
3. God gives us company
Perhaps the greatest human fear is loneliness.
We often embark in such conquests in life during which we fail to garner any support from people we are very close to, leave alone other people.
The greatest emotional breakdown occurs when we lose the support of the people with whom we have the strongest emotional bonds. The people on whom we depend for emotional stability.
We feel hopeless. Be it believers, or atheists. However, believers have an advantage. Religious philosophy says that God will always stand by you, if you do good. The believers ‘feel’ the presence of God as their emotional support.
Atheists cannot do that. The only way out of such a situation would be to have confidence in yourself. For that, you need to have a very high sense of self, which is easier said than done.
THE CONDENSED IDEA God serves as an emotional support in times of loneliness. Atheists have to develop enough self-esteem to go without anyone in times of loneliness on Earth.
4. Atheism tenders humanism
Arguably the greatest advantage of tending atheism rather than religion is that you remain totally grounded to the Earth.
Religion teaches us to pray to God in order to ask for what we want to accomplish. Yet, speaking of practical reality, both believers and atheists are aware of the fact that praying to God rarely accomplishes much. Once again, a victory for atheism!
Or is it not true? Well, from the point of view of psychology, praying does make you accomplish something.
“Hooray! ” says the believer. “What did I tell you?” Whoa, not so fast, mate! I’m not done with my psychological perspective of the matter yet.
Praying works not because your prayers reach God, and he delivers on your requests. Absolutely not.
Prayers do work because of your brain. When you pray, you are actually convincing your brain to what you are saying as a ‘prayer’.
Perhaps contradictorily, therefore, I believe that atheists also should pray. Because of its tremendous psychological influence on your behaviour, which have often been demonstrated in scientific experiments.
A practical person knows that praying to God does not help. He knows that what he accomplishes in life is decided by he himself. He defines his future by his present actions. He knows that only he is responsible for what has happened, what is happening, and what is about to happen.
Practically speaking, God does not remote control humans. There is absolutely no evidence for that! If you wait for God to make you accomplish things in your life, you’ll never achieve anything.
By should you wait for something to happen to you which will never happen?
THE CONDENSED IDEA Praying to God does not work. Be practical. You decide your present, and therefore your future. No one else does.
I personally believe that it would be unjust to definitely say which is a better choice: religion, or atheism. I believe that we should respect everyone’s choice, regardless of whether we agree with it.
At the end of the day, the aim of the believer and the atheist boils down to one simple yet hard-to-achieve prospect: finding happiness in life.
Those who cannot take the hard path of atheism take to religion. Those who can, they stick to atheism.
CLOSING NOTE Religion and atheism are just two different paths to finding happiness in life, the former the easier, the latter the tougher. We ought to respect every person's choice of either.