Splendid Elles (right) tagged me to answer these series of questions.
Can You Remember The Day That You Officially Became An Atheist?
Officially is a redundant word in the question. I neither am a card carrying atheist, nor had a party where people celebrated my non belief. If you want an action that publicly made that, it would be in front of the White House when to a TV crew I spoke about atheists being treated as equal citizens with everyone else – that it was no reflection on your character or ability to be a moral person.
There is no one moment, where you rid yourself of the blood of the lamb. While at University it was a nagging feeling that there was no evidence for a supernatural being that communicated directly with us. Reading philosophy, and in particular Bertrand Russell, and reading politics just meant that god slipped away as I realised we humans have to take responsibility as the only conscious species in making the world a better place – rather than hoping with death we make it to a better one.
Do you remember the day you officially became an agnostic?
Fairly soon after leaving the study of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It occurred to me that their religion was the work of man and that prophecies claimed in the bible were allegories or concerned with actual events that had already happened. The human yearning though for a spiritual side to existence was one that completed the human experience, but religion was only an answer to that expression rather than the answer to the ultimate question of life the universe and everything.
Some people think the politically correct thing is to term yourself a skeptical agnostic. Yet becoming an atheist just means that you hold out there being no evidence that there is a god; and refuse to accept any argument by a person as being divinely inspired. They will need rationality, logic, empirical evidence, and the welfare of life to consider.
How about the last time you spoke or prayed to God with actual thought that someone was listening?
When I read Watchtower publications and realised that these were the works of men, with false prophecy and changed dogma. I prayed for realisation of what his will was, and that I may come to an understanding of the ultimate truth of things. The answer to those things is in the living.
Did anger towards God or religion help cause you to be an atheist or agnostic?
No. My anger was directed at the Watchtower organisation. That new editions of books did not highlight changes interpretations. It was almost doublespeak of Orwellian descriptions. My anger was directed at the real possibility of dying from refusing a blood transfusion – one that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have changed their mind about since 1956 when they first decided it was against god’s will.
Here is a good one: Were you agnostic towards ghosts, even after you became an atheist?
I never believed in ghosts. However nothing wrong with science trying to rationally explain the paranormal experience people have. Everyone has to make a living.
Do you want to be wrong?
If there is a god I think belief in him is the last yardstick by which he will measure your life on earth. The notion of freedom and autonomy for me goes against wishing for a celestial all powerful being to exist. There is no guarantee such a being would be benign – with 99% of all living things now extinct, and the way entities in nature try to survive pointing to life as a reflection of god’s attitude is one that would terrify me.
I do not fear death, just as I do not fear life. My ancestors went through it. People around me do it. You just have to figure out what you want to do in the time you have.
So to spread these ideas around, and keep the meme alive, I better tag some people: