At a young age I prayed, to what god I know not… I do know it was a better god than commonly depicted in both the Old and New Testaments of the bible. Why, that god of the christian bible was nothing, weak and impotent, compared to the one I held in high esteem… indeed, my god was the only god and their god one of the imagination. My god was kind and would never destroy its creation. It would never encourage war or violence. Even in its actions a gentle approach, painless in fact, was always the rule.
Then a “friend”, though I really doubt that now, introduced me to the christian god and for a while I felt that was who I had previously prayed at night, every night, as I lay on my pillow. A prayer to keep everyone safe and alive forever.
The prayers failed of course, never transpiring, and now I have only memories of those I prayed for life, but now dead, dead, dead.
I was reintroduced to the fairy tale while serving in the United States Navy. Lonely, I sought company, this was my weakness I admit, but one the religious preyed upon with relish. This was a charismatic group, the rage at the time – mid 70s. Pentecostal in design, they believed dogs and cats were vessels held by demons… the devil was looking around every tree, and sitting on every stump. They believed that our government was out to get them… quite odd, as the group was led by the wife of a Master Chief of the Navy on the nearby base. Needless to say, after a while all I wanted was to flee. My usual common sense mind, as well as my science oriented background, was in constant conflict with the fantasies presented there.
Although I retained belief for quite a while, it faded by 1983, or 1984… I have a clear record of stating there were no gods by 1984.
Now I am quite aware of the origins of the christian bible (not capitalized on purpose). It is a mass of separate stories forced together in a book, stories which tend, if you look closely, to contradict each other. Stories selected by a group of barbarians long after the supposed events took place. Stories that also, mysteriously, marked the end of god’s miracles… seems he isn’t working any more… must be retired. Anyway, god seemed so schizophrenic, that is if the god of the old Testament was the same as the new. Through reading many books it was clear that the main characters were taken from previous folklore. Jesus never walked on this earth.
I see nothing in other religious circles that would indicate that their god exists any more than that of the christian one. Many of these other religions are simply different arrangements of the same material, with added pieces to make it separate… like Islam. Not a one of these other belief systems can prove any god exists. The results they all receive from their fervent prayers are no more than one might get after praying to a jug of milk, a stone edifice, or select your image.
Lost many a christian friend when I cast faith aside. Lost more friends when I openly broadcast my atheism. Lost many atheist friends when I would not cooperate in the adoption of other ideologies. Yes, atheists have ideologies, unfounded beliefs which develop among groups of people. To be an atheist free of unfounded beliefs requires a solitary existence. I had thought previously that care could be taken to avoid the adoption of unfounded beliefs while building an atheist group. This was simply part of the idealism which has plagued me over the years. You see, I had up till lately, felt that people could be free, moral, without ties to unfounded belief while building a group. I admit now this was simply the idealism, recently deceased, that clouded the reality. I see now why atheism hasn’t spread far and wide, and never will spread throughout. The only true atheists do not belong to any group. A bold statement, yes, but I think true. It simply isn’t possible for humans to form in groups without developing or adopting some false thought. Humans are a social animal, that is true. They seek the companionship of groups of like-minded people. Groups develop group think. Atheists cannot exist in groups. Unlike religious minded people, who are happy believing non-sensible things, atheists cannot remain atheists in a group and therefore will never be able to rule the earth. Main line faiths today may fade and disappear, but they will only be replaced with faiths that claim no faith… these secular faiths which exist now… like humanism.
I found many assumptions are made about atheists. It is assumed that you will be totally liberal and that covers a number of assumptions. If you do not accept every single progressive suggestion you are dismissed as close-minded. “Open-minded” is used as club to enforce compliance.
So I stand apart. An army of one… watching a world of humans racing towards oblivion. I do not know where it will end, only that someday it will. I will watch and take note.