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The Lonely Atheist

by Hassassin (writer), Los Angeles, November 06, 2006

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“Dear Diary,
God doesn’t exist, so I’m hoping I can share my thoughts with you instead…”

Oh the folly of man, to take God’s gift of a mind and use it to deny His existence. To ponder the concept of infinity and stoop himself in chronology, turning his back on the mystical nature of the universe in favor of theories that render themselves obsolete every new round of textbooks.

I’ve long sat outside of this public debate, choosing instead to address the same debate that is occurring in my own mind. Unfortunately, in the public arena, the people with the largest vocabularies and means of persuasion would lead you to believe that we are living in a Godless universe. This does not surprise me, for in the mind of an atheist, knowledge and humility have long been estranged lovers. The blind conviction with which they spread their message is befuddling; ironically, it rivals even the most uneducated religious zealot’s assertions.

Apparently Albert Einstein agrees, saying “The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer”. In fact, Einstein’s got a slew of quotes on atheism that might surprise those that use his theories to support their cause.

The supposed relationship between higher intellect and a more “scientific” perspective is merely a reflection of the misguided standards of intelligence that modern society continues to hold. I respond by using a simple metaphor: just because you can build a gun does not mean you understand the implications of using it. If that is a little too cut and dry for you (which again would be ironic), I will simply say that the prioritization of quantitative knowledge has allowed the pursuit of qualitative knowledge to slip through the cracks.

Now with regards to the preferred avenue of pursuit, religion has been attacked voraciously since its inception. Not that it’s difficult to attack religion, it’d be like sifting through a million essays and choosing to respond to the worst paragraph. I’ll be the first to agree that organized religion is in many ways flawed, but those flaws are merely a reflection of man’s impotence. How can something as awesome, bewildering, and powerful as God be encapsulated in something as inadequate as human language and interpretation?

What I find most amusing is that the same people that denounce others’ attempts at abstract conclusions will use the same flawed system to argue their side. A written language that could not capture the nature of the universe in its “stories” is all of a sudden omniscient in its assertions of a Big Bang world. On a related note, the Big Bang Theory is derived from the need to think chronologically, but I have yet to find someone who could tell me what happened a second before the Big Bang. Furthermore, I am having trouble finding a person who can explain to me that the Law of Conservation of Matter and the Big Bang Theory are compatible. Or for that matter (no pun intended), how mathematicians can use infinity in their formulas and deny the possible infinite nature of time and space? (In defense of mathematicians, high math has little to do with numbers and often borders on philosophy, which in my opinion is not a coincidence). All of a sudden the columns of science that atheists lean against get a little shaky.

Finally, I must question the atheists’ need to share their message. I suppose it would be quite lonely to deny a collective consciousness, and attempts at communication could possibly whole the hole left in one’s spirit (Spirit? What spirit?). Even the famous Albert Camus put a few chinks in his own Existentialism when his protagonist sought refuge from the stars before he was to be executed.

If all else fails, I could default back to this: the only thing more difficult than proving the existence of God is disproving it. Rather than default though--and I am sure to receive some backlash for this--I would prefer to ask this question to any atheist journalists out there: If God doesn’t exist, then why are you writing?


About the Writer

Hassassin is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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13 comments on The Lonely Atheist

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By Stephanie Michele on November 06, 2006 at 04:07 pm
Hassassin, thank you for this article!! Well said.
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By Charles Harmison on November 06, 2006 at 04:44 pm
All do respect to you and I certainly do not wish debate the existence of god. I consider myself a Spiritual Existentialist with Buddhist tendencies. I do agree their is more out their than we know but i genuinely believe that in addition to the many good things it provides, organized religion has caused a lot of harm to the world in the form of war and intolerance. Whether a God being approves of this honestly i don't think we are supposed to know. It's called mystical because it's supposed to be a mystery. The trouble starts when we claim to know. But you asked a question in your article and I feel its important to respond. The big bang theory does have a few explanations to what occured before it. Stephen Hawking believes that the universe expands and contracts much like a photon is both a particle and a wave. The theory is that before the big bang a universal black hole type of occurrence created a singularity which than burts back into all of existence. The theory is that the universe is perpetually expanding and contracting and this falls right in line with the law of conservation of matter and energy. Science is a good thing don't deny it just because its not always right. Einstein also stated that through science we are better able to understand the mind of god. The purpose of existentialism I believe is to deny the human ability to arbitrarily justify existence and allow a deeper mystical connection to life by way of the phenomenal experience. The science of self as it were is not necessarily to deny god and in many ways allows a greater connection to your spirit than religion provides. Atheism is not synonymous with existentialism and many of the most ardent existentialists like Nietzsche, Sartre, Kierkegaard, and others were extremely mystical people and it is an unfortunate misinterpretation to accuse them of being atheist. I hope I did not offend anyone's religious sensitivities I just wanted to ensure that existentialism was not categorized as blanketedly atheist. I realize that you have not necessarily have meant that but i just wanted to make it clear.
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By Hassassin on November 06, 2006 at 05:17 pm
I should clarify that I don't find science to be in opposition with a belief in God (I find the existence of such an opposition to be the problem), and you will also find me in the camp that greatly appreciates Buddhism and Daoism (I tend to believe that the distinction between monotheistic and polytheistic religions is a matter of language and semantics) I read the Hawking writings before I submitted the article, and I truthfully did not find his answer sufficient. More importantly, I did not find anything in his theories that suggested a Godless universe. I apologize for any relationship drawn between Existentialism and Atheism, and I do not attribute any of the mentioned Existentialists directly to Atheism; that would be like saying Confucius's ideas on humanism strip him of his spirituality. I instead was trying to relay that I was led back to God through a thought process akin to Existentialist exercise, and I propose that others will undoubtedly as well.
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By J. La Mont on November 06, 2006 at 09:28 pm
The flaws of the devout are the same whether Christian, Muslim or Athiest. You can't prove either so go with whatever brings you comfort and peace of mind. The only important thing is if you follow 'love thy neighbour', the Golden Rule, Kantian ethics, etc. If we followed that simple tenet then maybe we could get past the normal cliches and circular arguments and make progress on what unites instead of what divides.
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By Noa on November 06, 2006 at 10:32 pm
I would not be surprised to read a great book by you some day! You write beautifully!
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By Ariel on November 06, 2006 at 11:55 pm
ummm, that was a smart comment.
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By Annonymous on November 07, 2006 at 03:09 pm
I've seen this argument many times before. Something like, "Regardless of whether the concept of God is true or not, it certainly provides emotional satisfaction for some believers. The emotional satisfaction some believers get may be beneficial for those believers. Therefore, the belief in the concept of God is worthwhile for some and should be defended by all." This argument is a kind of "ignorance is bliss" statement. I agree that humans do benefit in some regard with belief, but the big question is how to reconcile faith and reason?
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By Annonymous on November 11, 2006 at 02:30 am
Our life on repeat. How would you live your life if Hawking's theory was true to an EXACT science (pun intended)? What if the universe "banged" in the same way each time for the rest of eternity? What if God just has the repeat button on and all those millions of particles reenter the atmosphere to create an identical universe to the one that was imploded? One side of the infinity symbol looks too damn similar to the other. Ultimately, how will you perceive today if you were doomed/graced to having to live it over and over. Hassassin, you are genius...(BANG)...suineg
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By V on December 05, 2006 at 02:18 am
I don't know anything much. And I can't be sure of anything. But I don't want to know everything. The wondering and the seeking gets me through.
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By V on December 07, 2006 at 03:16 am
Just had to read that again. You Sir, are a fantastic writer whose first novel I look very much so forward to reading one day. After my brain has had tune up that is. Bravo!
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By Umbrae on December 28, 2006 at 05:44 pm
I like the article, but it's seriously misinformed in a couple of areas. First, Albert Einstein was not religious by any means. I have a nice quote for you: "From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist.... I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our being." The last line in Einstein's little known quote is an important one and really does illustrate most atheists resolve. People of science are not cold, unfeeling and lonely creatures as most religious folk would like to believe. The passion in which they pursue their life studies says otherwise. I can only say for my self that, the fabric and inner workings of the universe are in fact beautiful and awe inspiring. With or without a celestial designer, the humility is there and resonating. Most atheists don't rampantly want to destroy an individuals choice to practice matters of faith. They want to destroy the lies and ignorance that corrupt religious institutions are spreading.
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By Hassassin on December 30, 2006 at 05:20 pm
I should clarify that I had no intention of painting Einstein as a religious man, nor an atheist. If you read the quote again you'll see that I used him merely to illustrate that arrogance and bigotry is not reserved exclusively for the religious zealots. Removed from the term "religious", I will reiterate that Einstein in fact believed in God -- which is central to my assertions about the symbiosis between God and Science. Stating that "God doesn't play dice" certainly suggests that Einstein was mindful of a greater power. In the spirit of your comment I should mention one of my favorite quotes from Einstein, one that could address your comment better than I: "Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish" I am certainly not trying to create a dichotomy between atheism and religion, I do not consider them equal opposites. Rather, my central point is that in the effort to denounce the dogma found in most religions, many have lost God altogether. Atheism by definition (and I apologize that we have to operate under a language as stringent as it is inviting of interpretation) suggests that there is no God, whereas I think Agnostic would be a more appropriate term for most. I agree wholeheartedly with you and Einstein that humility is central to one's perspective on the nature of the universe; I also feel while this humility can get lost in religious doctrine, it has been completely abandoned when asserting that there is not a higher power allowing us to ponder those thoughts: "I do not think that it is necessarily the case that science and religion are natural opposites. In fact, I think that there is a very close connection between the two. Further, I think that science without religion is lame and, conversely, that religion without science is blind. Both are important and should work hand-in-hand." - Albert Einstein
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By Umbrae on January 01, 2007 at 07:38 am
"Einstein’s got a slew of quotes on atheism that might surprise those that use his theories to support their cause." I understand that your intentions may not have been to isolate Einstein in either context. However, this quote delivers the verdict for you. Why would you isolate atheism as the context for Einstein's observations as opposed to the conflict of modern spirituality in general? Einstein was quoted multiple times as not believing in a personal god. What this actually means is subject to interpretation, though I agree that "agnostic" would be the general term as such. By definition, even agnostics would not be cordial to such strict definitions and therefore are not a suitable catalyst to what point you were trying to make. Science vs. God is a stronghold debate that holds water with some of our most respected physicists, such as Mr. Hawking, who makes multiple references to a supreme being in his text which, as you may know, challenged the convictions of modern day unification as we know it. I can only say that I agree with you in that our understanding of God is infantile. What holy texts aggregate among us such beliefs is subject to hasty politics and human endeavor. It has been the source of semantic conflict since the written word was invented! What goes beyond that, what encapsulates the atheist belief, is that none of us are better than the whole. We're equal parts to an operating machine that goes beyond the perceived notions of design. The quote which closed your last statement only supports what I am saying: "I do not think that it is necessarily the case that science and religion are natural opposites. In fact, I think that there is a very close connection between the two. Further, I think that science without religion is lame and, conversely, that religion without science is blind. Both are important and should work hand-in-hand." I know this quote well, and it resides close to my heart. To one such as I it says: Spirituality defines science. If it weren't for the subjects considered illogical to some, then there would be no logic. Einstein was agnostic by nature. His credence was defined by his observations of the natural world versus his ideas of Judaic philosophy.
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