Atheism is not an affirmative belief that there is no god. It does not answer any other question about what a person believes. It is simply a rejection of the assertion that there are gods. Atheism is too often defined incorrectly as a belief system.
While there are some religions that are atheistic (certain sects of Buddhism, for example), that does not mean that atheism is a religion. To put it in a more humorous way: If atheism is a religion, then not collecting baseball cards is a hobby.
If you call yourself a humanist, a freethinker, a bright, or even a “cultural Catholic/Hindu/Muslim” and lack belief in a god, you are an atheist. Don’t shy away from the term.
Here are 15 reasons why you should.
15. You Don’t Have To Be a Hypocrite
A. C. Grayling, the renowned British atheist and philosopher, made a profound statement while speaking against religion at an Intelligence Squared Debate on November 15, 2011. He stated that there are essentially two kinds of religious people. The first kind are those that are fanatical, and who believe and act on every word given in their religious texts. These, in fact, are the truest of their faith, as they follow every rule in the book. The second kind, are those who conveniently skim over the more rebarbative parts of the religion and “cherry pick” its best features, so as too live a normal, urbane, familial life, without having to do anything but go to the Church or temple each week, make a little donation once a while, and remain on the the generally moral side of things.
As Grayling says, however, the problem with the latter half is, quite simply, that they are hypocrites. They consciously fail to live up to the standards set by their faith and it’s texts. Therefore, if true religion roughly translates to extremism, the world is certainly better off without it. And if the world is better off without these truly religious folk, why not put the hypocrites in with them too?
14. Free to Live-In
Live-in relationships are a total no-no for most religions. Led by Christianity, and followed by Hinduism and Islam, the bandwagon of faiths absolutely disapprove of the very concept, without any reasonable argument to support the same. With the emergence of radical modernism, and the convenience of urban life, people are realizing the great benefits of being in a serious, yet non-committal relationship, as compared to diving straight into marriage. But this is often very difficult to do with a straight conscience if you are a devout believer in religion.
13. Marriage and Funerals
Your relationship has now stood the test of time. You’re confident of matrimony. But the fact remains that the very concept of the big fat wedding is now waning into darkness. Apart from realising the absolute futility of the innumerable rituals and ceremonies, people also hope to save precious resources, and make the union a more meaningful occasion. Atheist weddings are the most sincere celebrations of love, devoid of priests and pandits and all the pretentiousness of faith.
The same now applies to funerals. People are gradually beginning to accept death as an inevitability rather than a stroke of misfortunate, and celebrate it rather than futilely pray or mourn. While religion is stuck deep in the quagmire of blind tradition, atheism is making great leaps forward towards meaning and purpose.
12. Fashionable Rationale
The newspapers talk about the Catholic church preaching against short skirts and shorts, about Muslim clerics wanting to reinforce the practice of wearing burqas even in the merciless heat of the Arabic peninsula, about Hindu godmen calling for the “cleansing” of women’s dressing styles when they come to temples. Do these seem even remotely rational? Are they in compliance with the moral, or logical standards we humanely ought to observe? It may seem surprising, but there still exist a great many faiths that deny people entry into “holy” places on the basis of their attire. Would you want to subscribe to such beliefs?
11. Gone is the Stigma
There was a time when atheism, like premarital sex and homosexuality, was considered an almost leprous taboo. The Church riled against non-believers, while Hindu and Muslim families vehemently refused to marry their kin to an atheist. Nature worship was dubbed as heresy and liberals were labelled blasphemers. It took hundreds of years for us to uncover the shroud; as aptly put by Dan Brown, “So dark (was) the con of man”.
Amidst the chaos, sense emerged. Surely, but slowly. And atheism is now accepted as the norm. Though there may be millions still misled, who fiercely preserve their trust in religion, a majority of Generation Y and Z are secular or agnostic. There is absolutely no shame in finding religion nonsensical; there is only enlightenment.
10. Terrible Text
Let me quote the Bible for you. Leviticus chapter 20, verse 13, says, “If a man lieth with a man as he lieth with a woman, they both have committed an abomination. Surely they must be put to death.”
Now stop and reflect a minute. This doesn’t seem to be a rather nice verse does it? Don’t you feel this could be used by puritans to perpetuate homophobia?
Well, you’re right. It doesn’t, and they have.
Now here’s the Quran for you:
“Kill them wherever you find them and drive them out from where they drove you out. Persecution is worse than slaughter.” And: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks.”
This verse is simple, straight and up there, ready for the ISIS to take like a sword and butcher the infidels with.
Can we all agree that religious texts, the basis of their respective faiths, are redundant? Can we do without their barbarity?
That religion spawns extreme forms of violence and terror is unquestionable. From the Inquisition, to the Salem Witch Trials, from 9/11 to Paris 2015, millions of innocent lives have been sacrificed at the alter of extremism; by a handful of feral-minded, inhuman murderers. While it is a pity that suicide bombers believing in the reward of 72 virgins in heaven, bring shame to a large number of otherwise kind-hearted religious people, how would the situation be, if there was no religion to conveniently misinterpret?
8. The Dissemination of Morality
In the same debate on November 15, 2011, arguing for the cause of religion, was Dinesh D’Souza, ex-head of King’s College, London. He stated that the reason the world was better with religion was that religion was a mode of transmission of morality, that without it people and their children would live as immoral, ungodly animals.
The question is: why do we need the Gita, Bible, or Quran to live as good humans? Thousands of better, less outlandish and more logical books have been penned down by legendary philosophers like Heidegger, Kant and Nietzsche. Why can we not teach our children from these texts, if theoretical knowledge of morality is so, so very necessary?
Have you ever been to the Vatican? Or visited the sprawling shrine of a saint in India? Have you noted anything amiss? Have you thought on the boundless opulence you may have witnessed there? From where do they get all that wealth?
Can the money pumped into such wastefulness be used for better purposes? Can we stop believing in fraudsters who misappropriate our donations for their selfish gain? Or better still, can we do away with the very institutions that validate this amassing of wealth?
If your answers are mostly “yes”, you must already be an atheist.
6. You Can Be a Confident Science Student
In 1987, the United States Supreme Court ruled that creationism is religion, not science, and cannot be advocated in public school classrooms. Theistic evolution attempts to reconcile Christian beliefs and science by accepting the scientific understanding of the age of the Earth and the process of evolution.
While I do not advocate that schools have the perfect science syllabi, the topics covered thankfully are devoid of any contamination by way of religious dogma.
The debate of creationism vs. evolution, the Church’s teachings vs. Copernicus’ evidence, etc. are merely tips of the iceberg of discrepancies that school students have to shuttle between. They learn one thing in school, and another in church.
Sure, people come up with new supernatural “explanations” for stuff all the time. But explanations with evidence? Replicable evidence? Carefully gathered, patiently tested, rigorously reviewed evidence? Internally consistent evidence? Large amounts of it, from many different sources?
The fact is, if you look at reason, and the proven track record of scientists to constantly establish the truth by way logical research and hard substantiation, you will realise that supporting science is a no brainer.
5. Eat Freely
Being an atheist can be the biggest favour you would have ever done to your taste buds and stomach. I don’t claim that all atheists are very healthy eaters, but that obviously is a matter of choice. What I say without doubts, however, is that you shall face no restrictions whatsoever when you denounce religion. For if you are Jewish, you can’t eat pork or shellfish. If you’re Muslim, the sight of a pig would forfeit your salvation. If you’re a Christian, you’re made to follow the Lent. If you’re Hindu, it’s your unofficial duty to beat up those who eat beef. And if you’re Jain, you pretty much can’t touch anything worth eating.
4. Celebrate Without Qualms
Most atheists partake in the secularized version(s) of what once were traditional, religious celebrations of the region in which they live. For starters, it just makes sense to have fun when everybody else is. You ask who the most miserable, insufferable people are? Querulous idealists who throw away all the joy in life over trivial stuff. “Sure, be a pedant over the thousand year old links to some dying religion and miss out on the greatness of being alive!”
The religious origins don’t really mean anything. We’ve adapted (and re-adapted in the case of Christmas) religious stuff into fun, secular things for everybody.
3. Save Some Dough
Religion is known to be a major drain to one’s pocket; you don’t need to be an intellectual to agree with this. The money pumped into every unnecessary pooja, every forced donation, every expensive iftar party you host, could have very well been used for an orphan’s education, a widow’s supper, a little girl’s vaccines or the rescue of an endangered species.
If someone went to church for an hour every Sunday and lived 80 years they would have spent around 4160 hours (about 173 days) of their life there. Now, usually people spend at least two or three hours at their place of religious worship, at least once or twice a week. You do the math. And then tell me, do you believe in spending at least (in the most moderate of cases) an entire year of your precious life in a building whose foundations are built on misconceptions and hypocrisy?
1. God Doesn’t Exist
Whether he’s a he, or a she, or an it, God doesn’t exist. Period.
If he does, why do calamities occur? Why do blameless people die from disease and starvation and war and terror attacks? Why has God has never left any physical evidence of his existence on earth? Why has God never spoken to modern man, for example by taking over all the television stations and broadcasting a rational message to everyone? Why, when we analyze prayer with statistics, do we find no evidence that God is “answering prayers”?
Lastly, it is not up to atheists to prove that God does not exist. It is up to believers to prove that he does. And in the absence of any good, solid evidence or arguments in favor of God’s existence — and in the presence of a whole lot of solid arguments against it — millions will continue being atheist.
You’re screaming for clemency to a being that does not exist!
Realize you were wrong.
Realize that you’re on your own.
Realize that you’re meant to be atheist.
We all are.