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      I am an atheist. Atheism is not a religion. There is no assigned moral code; each atheist has his or her own personal morals. There are no written texts giving guidelines to life for atheists. Some acclaimed atheists might just be lazy and want to escape from the responsibility that comes with believing in a god and feeling guilty for blasphemy committed. In that case, I think that this person is not atheist, but just a pathetic human being who doesn’t like to take responsibility for their actions. Sure, atheists do not believe in the existence of a god, but does this mean that they lack morals because they do not follow teachings of a religion?
      I say, of course not. It is simply not fair for anyone to judge anyone else for anything, and atheism is a great example. I would like to give viewpoints from many religions, but my general knowledge doesn’t go past the conflict between Christianity (specifically Catholicism) and atheism. My idea of a model Christian is a follower of Christianity, no matter what branch, that lives his or her life by what the Bible says. They might have just converted from another religion, or they might have been raised under their religion. They grew up with their values, taught by their parent figures that were probably influenced by their Christian teachings and what the Bible says. I was raised Catholic, but my family never took me to church a lot. I spent my sixth grade year in a Catholic private school and it was after that year that I decided that Mass was extremely boring and the whole thing started to sound like regurgitated garble after some time. Last year, I decided that I was atheist.
      To me, atheism only makes sense and religion doesn’t. Science explains what religion can’t and what science can’t explain, and religion does… doesn’t cut it for me. This might be the attitude for a good amount of atheists around the country, so does this make them immoral people? Sure they are “faithless” when it comes to having faith in a god, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t have faith in another person or have hope for a bad situation. A lot of people look to their god when they are in some sort of slouch. This does not mean that an atheist has nothing to help them get through the harder parts of life. Their disbelief in a deity does not mean that they lack emotion.
      Discrimination against atheists is not non-existent. Just because it is not brought up often doesn’t mean it’s not there. To a lot of Americans, for another citizen to be a real American, they need to have some sort of faith, preferably Christianity. Some people do good things because it is something they think that their god would want them to do. Atheists can do plenty of good things as well. Atheists do not do good actions for a god; they do it because in their book, it is what makes a human being a good person.
      Christianity teaches that promiscuity is wrong. Does that mean that someone who does not practice Christianity is going to engage in sexual activities left and right? Christianity teaches that humility is commendable. Does this mean that someone who does not practice Christianity is a complete megalomaniac? Fidel Castro is an atheist, but Adolf Hitler was not. Like any large group of people on the world, atheists cannot be judged as an umbrella term.
About time I posted this up.

Peace.

**EDIT: December Tenth, Two-Thousand and Seven

Wow, so comments about my essay. What people have been saying about it just blows me away everytime. I really appreciate the fact that everyone seems to like it and that fellow atheists can identify with it, so you guys rock. However...

I was just reading over it and it doesn't cut it for me. Not the viewpoints, but.... it's pretty poorly written. I expect better from myself. So, I won't discard all the awesome comments by taking it off of deviantART, but I will rewrite it. So yeah....

Cool? Cool. (and Bill O'Reilly offended me mucho big time a few nights ago)

:new: **EDIT: August 8, 2012

Wow, so I wrote this bit back in '07. I was... 15 at the time? Hold on while I do some math... yup, fifteen. Jeeeeez, I was young. (Yeah, I realize I'm only 20 now.)

Yes, though, this is still in total need of a reboot. Has been for forever but I feel like I finally have the motivation to do it. It's still gonna be a quick read but it will likely be a bit longer. And it's still meant to give a quick description of what atheism, at its core, really is.

Guys! I'm all tingly and excited for this. :3
Get ready...

(Oh, and one of the reasons it's so loosely put together is that this was originally a typical 5-paragraph essay for my English class in the 10th grade. So I definitely put effort into it, but, you know, sophomore trying to finish the quarter with a C effort.)
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:iconemmetearwax:
EmmetEarwax Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I read this lousy tract about the last words of many atheists, and while some were famous (Voltaire, Mirabeau, Tallyrand) others were unidentifiable. Also how many of these were genuine, and not inventions of enemies who sought to defame the person ?

Voltaire never screamed about Hell as he died -an invention of some Jesuit.

As for dying words of Christians, I recall reading something by a guy named Shoeshine Jim. Probably a black man held down by white race discrimination and had no gumption to fight back, even if it meant killing a white man.
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:icon10binary:
10binary Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
The trouble I found is that someone thinks that believing in any god automatically means that you believe THEIR idea of God. It is like assuming that someone is gay just because they wear pink. No relevance whatsoever.
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:iconcutlassprincessx:
CutlassPrincessX Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Although I am an apatheist, and things like this don't usually interest me, I found this intriguing. You're a good writer. You really are.
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:iconjh5kradio:
Jh5kRadio Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Student Artist
This was so true...to the point that, for some odd reason, I'm actually crying.

Growing up with Jehovah's Witness parents, it is INCREDIBLY difficult to convince my parents that I just don't believe in a higher power of any kind. Trying to convince the weekly Bible Study that I'm more or less forced to attend is no less easy.

One of my biggest gripe I have is that they honestly cannot tell the difference between a satisfying answer and simply unable to argue against them because of the sheer insanity religion has. Here is an example:

Satisfying answer:
"The sky is blue because the light from the sun reflects off of the sea."

Unsatisfying answer:
"The sky is blue because God made it blue. If there is no God, then there would be no sky. But there is a sky, therefore there is a God. God made everything. A book said so, and it mentions Israel, which exists, therefore it's true."

I get a lot of the latter, leaving me not satisfied with the answer given, but rather completely frustrated. This frustration somehow translates to "I am now a theist" to Jehovah's Witnesses.

Not only that, but trying to disprove anything is considered "biased", therefore is completely invalid.

Perhaps the worst part of all is how many religions seem to create an incredibly sharp divide between "we" and "they", reducing anyone different, Atheist and otherwise, into a single stereotype. EVERY TIME non Witnesses are brought up, they're always portrayed as people who lack self control, greedy, rapist, and complete douchebags.

This was an incredibly long comment but I am utterly frustrated with religion as a whole, with special mention to Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormons.
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:iconcorsecagent:
CorSecAgent Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Even rough, it's still worth a read.
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:iconthecommentmonthly:
TheCommentMonthly Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2013
Hi, I enjoyed this essay. Can I use this in my newsletter (available in my gallery) to conflict with [link] if the author gives permission for it to be used?
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:iconshojiamasawa:
ShojiAmasawa Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Professional General Artist
One of my favourite things about being an atheist is that I can still practice my Bhuddist beliefs! Buddhism thankfully does not require a belief in a higher power. Admittedly I do not know how much of Bhudda himself is myth, but I can follow his example and live my life for the better because being moral makes me feel at peace with myself. The Dahli Lama recently said something like "if sience proves Bhuddism wrong in any aspect then Bhuddism will need to change."

Sorry if this is rambling I just wanted to say that and that I love your article!
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:iconwillthelombax:
WillTheLombax Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Are you sure Hitler wasn't an Atheist?(I'm a Baptist,but I just want to be sure.)
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Writer
Yup. Regardless of any (legitimate) source you check, there's a consensus that Hitler was not an atheist. He actually was his own kind of Christian (though he was reported to be skeptic about Christianity). He wanted a version that tried to get rid of all Jewish elements of it. (Impossible much?)
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:iconwillthelombax:
WillTheLombax Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Damn. I usually thought that Hitler was atheist. Guess I was wrong.But you still think what he did is wrong, right? Not every Christian is evil. But since you told me why Hitler wasn't an atheist(with good evidence),I guess I'll have to wonder if there were any atheistic dictators. Thanks for the facts. I was confused. O-o
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:icontotally-dead:
Totally-dead Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Stalin may have been. Not that this is remotely important for any kind of debate.
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student Writer
Um, of course I think what he did was wrong?? Nowhere in my essay do I say Christians are evil or that atheists are great... And there might have been atheist dictators. Or maybe even some atheist dictators in power now. It's a big world with a lot of ugly in it so I can't imagine that there weren't at least a few in history.
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:iconwillthelombax:
WillTheLombax Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah,Hitler was a nutcase(according to mom). My mom said he killed the Jews simply because he didn't like the way they looked. And because of their beliefs....
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:iconphantom8139:
Phantom8139 Featured By Owner May 4, 2013
He disliked Jews because of how successful Jews are, generally. They controlled most German stores and companies at the time. He didn't like how they basically controlled the German economy.
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:iconbart-fargo:
Bart-Fargo Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013
Actually, it was basically projecting from the fact that he himself was struggling. It was easier to blame the Jews than to own up that he was an exceedingly mediocre artist trying to make a living with his art.
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:iconwillthelombax:
WillTheLombax Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I see. Maybe if I payed more attention in World History(instead of spending time learning about Serbia), I would actually know this. Thanks for telling me. :nod:
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:icondarkheartedmistress:
DarkHeartedMistress Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011
I have been forsaken by so many friends because I am Atheist ans they are Christian. I just want to be understood and accepted. :cry:
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Writer
I think the important thing is that real friends don't give a crap about your religion. It sucks being misunderstood and ostracized, though, I know that. :[
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:iconthe-real-dr-pain:
The-Real-Dr-Pain Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2011  Student General Artist
This is an extremely good essay, I read that you feel it is poorly written in retrospect, but in my opinion, it should be as simple and easy to understand as possible because it seems to be directed at those who do not understand Atheism. Atheism is obviously misunderstood and "taken the wrong way" frequently, and so I believe the essay is not poorly written, but rather, written for a more general audience, considering that well over 95% of the world have religious beliefs (are non-atheist). In my own experience, I have found that a good amount of people who believe in a god (or gods) are intolerant of the fact that others disagree, and some even go so far as to look down on them for having alternative viewpoints. I especially liked the way you explained that although atheists are indeed faithless in the sense of not having faith in a god, they are not incapable of holding faith-I don't think it could have been worded more clearly. Overall, in my opinion, this essay is very well done. It may be rewritten for more advanced or scholarly readers, but I just feel it's unnecessary considering the wide spectrum of readers it concers. Also, way to stick up for the minority.
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks! I wrote this sooo long ago, it's surprising to see that people still comment on it!

And yes, I do agree with you that it doesn't really need to be made more scholarly, which is how I originally intended to rewrite it. Years later, though, I still want to rewrite but I no longer plan on getting rid of that general appeal. It does need to be kept simple but, generally speaking, I've become a much stronger writer and my true voice isn't apparent much in this. So not so much of a rewrite as a few tweaking. I'll keep this one up and upload the improved version later.

Hope you don't mind re-reading. :]
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:iconthe-real-dr-pain:
The-Real-Dr-Pain Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Student General Artist
I'd love to read the re-write when you're finished with it!
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:icondancingpenofautumn:
DancingPenofAutumn Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2011   Writer
The senator resumed:--
"I hate Diderot; he is an ideologist, a declaimer, and a revolutionist, a believer in God at bottom, and more bigoted than Voltaire. Voltaire made sport of Needham, and he was wrong, for Needham's eels prove that God is useless. A drop of vinegar in a spoonful of flour paste supplies the fiat lux. Suppose the drop to be larger and the spoonful bigger; you have the world. Man is the eel. Then what is the good of the Eternal Father? The Jehovah hypothesis tires me, Bishop. It is good for nothing but to produce shallow people, whose reasoning is hollow. Down with that great All, which torments me! Hurrah for Zero which leaves me in peace! Between you and me, and in order to empty my sack, and make confession to my pastor, as it behooves me to do, I will admit to you that I have good sense. I am not enthusiastic over your Jesus, who preaches renunciation and sacrifice to the last extremity. 'Tis the counsel of an avaricious man to beggars. Renunciation; why? Sacrifice; to what end? I do not see one wolf immolating himself for the happiness of another wolf. Let us stick to nature, then. We are at the top; let us have a superior philosophy. What is the advantage of being at the top, if one sees no further than the end of other people's noses? Let us live merrily. Life is all. That man has another future elsewhere, on high, below, anywhere, I don't believe; not one single word of it. Ah! sacrifice and renunciation are recommended to me; I must take heed to everything I do; I must cudgel my brains over good and evil, over the just and the unjust, over the fas and the nefas. Why? Because I shall have to render an account of my actions. When? After death. What a fine dream! After my death it will be a very clever person who can catch me. Have a handful of dust seized by a shadow-hand, if you can. Let us tell the truth, we who are initiated, and who have raised the veil of Isis: there is no such thing as either good or evil; there is vegetation. Let us seek the real. Let us get to the bottom of it. Let us go into it thoroughly. What the deuce! let us go to the bottom of it! We must scent out the truth; dig in the earth for it, and seize it. Then it gives you exquisite joys. Then you grow strong, and you laugh. I am square on the bottom, I am. Immortality, Bishop, is a chance, a waiting for dead men's shoes. Ah! what a charming promise! trust to it, if you like! What a fine lot Adam has! We are souls, and we shall be angels, with blue wings on our shoulder-blades. Do come to my assistance: is it not Tertullian who says that the blessed shall travel from star to star? Very well. We shall be the grasshoppers of the stars. And then, besides, we shall see God. Ta, ta, ta! What twaddle all these paradises are! God is a nonsensical monster. I would not say that in the Moniteur, egad! but I may whisper it among friends. Inter pocula. To sacrifice the world to paradise is to let slip the prey for the shadow. Be the dupe of the infinite! I'm not such a fool. I am a nought. I call myself Monsieur le Comte Nought, senator. Did I exist before my birth? No. Shall I exist after death? No. What am I? A little dust collected in an organism. What am I to do on this earth? The choice rests with me: suffer or enjoy. Whither will suffering lead me? To nothingness; but I shall have suffered. Whither will enjoyment lead me? To nothingness; but I shall have enjoyed myself. My choice is made. One must eat or be eaten. I shall eat. It is better to be the tooth than the grass. Such is my wisdom. After which, go whither I push thee, the grave-digger is there; the Pantheon for some of us: all falls into the great hole. End. Finis. Total liquidation. This is the vanishing-point. Death is death, believe me. I laugh at the idea of there being any one who has anything to tell me on that subject. Fables of nurses; bugaboo for children; Jehovah for men. No; our to-morrow is the night. Beyond the tomb there is nothing but equal nothingness. You have been Sardanapalus, you have been Vincent de Paul--it makes no difference. That is the truth. Then live your life, above all things. Make use of your _I_ while you have it. In truth, Bishop, I tell you that I have a philosophy of my own, and I have my philosophers. I don't let myself be taken in with that nonsense. Of course, there must be something for those who are down,--for the barefooted beggars, knife-grinders, and miserable wretches. Legends, chimeras, the soul, immortality, paradise, the stars, are provided for them to swallow. They gobble it down. They spread it on their dry bread. He who has nothing else has the good. God. That is the least he can have. I oppose no objection to that; but I reserve Monsieur Naigeon for myself. The good God is good for the populace."
The Bishop clapped his hands.
"That's talking!" he exclaimed. "What an excellent and really marvellous thing is this materialism! Not every one who wants it can have it. Ah! when one does have it, one is no longer a dupe, one does not stupidly allow one's self to be exiled like Cato, nor stoned like Stephen, nor burned alive like Jeanne d'Arc. Those who have succeeded in procuring this admirable materialism have the joy of feeling themselves irresponsible, and of thinking that they can devour everything without uneasiness,--places, sinecures, dignities, power, whether well or ill acquired, lucrative recantations, useful treacheries, savory capitulations of conscience,--and that they shall enter the tomb with their digestion accomplished. How agreeable that is! I do not say that with reference to you, senator. Nevertheless, it is impossible for me to refrain from congratulating you. You great lords have, so you say, a philosophy of your own, and for yourselves, which is exquisite, refined, accessible to the rich alone, good for all sauces, and which seasons the voluptuousness of life admirably. This philosophy has been extracted from the depths, and unearthed by special seekers. But you are good-natured princes, and you do not think it a bad thing that belief in the good God should constitute the philosophy of the people, very much as the goose stuffed with chestnuts is the truffled turkey of the poor."
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Writer
I feel it necessary to at least address this?

It's been over a year since I saw this comment and it repelled me from deviantART instantly.

Why quote a large passage from a book in the comment section of a 15 year old's blurb about atheism...? (Though you didn't know the age part.)

And no, definitely didn't bother reading it. Maybe you can summarize it for me..?
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:iconskeleton-boy:
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
It looks like the guy left deviantart a while ago, but I can summarize.

It's by Victor Hugo, from Les Miserables,

A senator and a bishop are arguing, and the senator declares that he's a materialist, that religion is the opiate of the masses, and that there is only one ethical choice in life: suffer or enjoy.
The bishop strikes back at him sarcastically, saying "wouldn't it be nice if we could live without having to feel responsible, but poor people can't afford to live a life centered around enjoyment."

I haven't read Les Mis, so I can't be sure of context. From what I can tell by research, the bishop is a central good guy and the senator isn't. I think this commenter was either taking a shot at you. Or they just really like Les Mis and your essay reminded them of it for reasons.
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Student Writer
Kay, got it, got it. And oh my god, so sorry that that happened!

Super nice of you to respond with a summary, thanks for that. :] That's the general vibe I got (that they were trying to take a shot at me) but the way to do it isn't by quoting a wall of text from Les Miserables... so weird. -___- And then there's the "Can I ask you whether you knew God's name?"

Can't tell if they were being serious or creepy. Either way, it only came off as seriously creepy.
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:icondancingpenofautumn:
DancingPenofAutumn Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2011   Writer
*smile*

Can I ask you...whether you knew God's name? Can I also ask you...whether you think he is the ruler of the world?
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:iconazael95:
azael95 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2010
Mmmmm, wow i used to think that the american atheist had it easier because america it's supposed to be a diverse country.

I'm saying this beacuse i live in mexico, and a lot of people thinks that mexico is full of ignorants (it hurts you know) and its kind of a relief that mexico its not that bad (they dont discriminate me and i'm atheist :O) mmmm i'm mixing ideas sorry. My point is that i thought that america was more tolerant, in mexico they know what an atheist is and when i explain why im an atheist they understand. I only hope more people questionated themselves for their religion so they can actually open their eyes.

Also, the essay was excellent great job, and sorry if my english sucks.
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Writer
Your English was great. :]

As for the assuming America's got it more tolerant, I'm afraid to say that isn't the case. Mainly, we're experts at making the whole country look perfect to outsiders, but once you live here the problems become more apparent. It's definitely not terrible here (at least not the area I live in--I can't speak for other parts of the country) but it's certainly not as great as people like to pretend it is.

You're right--I personally don't care as much as I used to about whether or not someone believes in a god or practices a religion. The problem is blind faith--if you don't seriously question your views, at least once in your life, you're not paying respect to yourself. Err, if that part makes sense, I mean. I mean when people just follow religion without thinking about it twice, it's a little sad--you're not doing your own brain justice, I feel like.
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:iconplaytheist:
Playtheist Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2010
You've got the makings of a good tract writer. The Net equivalent of handing out flyers on the streets.

And you're savvy enough of a writer to know when you need a rewrite.

These 'creative geniuses' who get their poetry in flashes of celestial light from above make me want to bring forth what is within me all over their shoes.

I'll be sixty this summer. I asked for a typewriter for my 11th birthday. I've written thousands of poems...really, I lost count after the first two thousand, for a while I didn't title them, just let the number be the title.

But sixty means I've got 20 maybe 30 years tops so I've sworn off rewrites...to little time to waste on cleaning it up. Still sneak back in a do a few tweaks. It's kind of hard not to.

Not to get off the subject, but are there any atheists groups on this site? I started one called AtheistsAgainst to try and attract art and essays. But when I did a search looking for other groups to affiliate with mine was the only one that popped up.

I'm feeling kind of lonely, me being the only member or all. It's just am I really so inept I can't do a simple search because when I do a search on atheism I get all kinds of deviations.

One thing before I stop chattering like my teeth in winter, check out this book:

Good without God : what a billion nonreligious people do believe
Epstein, Greg M.
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:icontheepicureanatheist:
TheEpicureanAtheist Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2010   Writer
Excellent essay (and not too poorly written ;) ). I've been an atheist for two years now and if there is anything I've learned from all this is that people will believe anything (and often times want to). I love science because it uses logical, deductive reasoning with empirical evidence, while religion (i.e. creationism) uses myths and illogical premises. I used to be infuriated by it all, but now I've come to find it slightly amusing.
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:iconadamisonfire1:
Adamisonfire1 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010  Student Artist
You make a few good points, no new arguements, but good ones nonthelesss. The only problem is that the essay is very loosely structured and doesnt seem to flow very well from one point to the next. I take issue with 'this person is not atheist, but just a pathetic human being'; if someone is raised without religion and does not consciously deny religion you cannot assume that the person is simply pathetic, it would make you as bad as any preacher to assume that because someone did not share your views or passion for atheism that they are a lesser human being. This section has flawed your entire message, to be so self righteous is usually a Christian quality. Regardless of how apathetic a person is about their beliefs, if they deny God then they are atheist. Is it lazy to accept the world for what it is? To live as nature intended without man-made deity's governing your life? I think those 'lazy' atheists are simply innocent, not necessarily ignorant.

P.s. I love Atheism!
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Writer
I think you misunderstood my point with 'lazy' atheists but pretty much entirely because this whole thing is pretty badly written. (I added something new to the descrip a few minutes ago that should explain the structure.) But before I get on that, hi! And thanks for the comment, I love critique.

First, I don't get what you mean by "if someone is raised without religion and does not consciously deny religion you cannot assume that the person is simply pathetic". I wasn't implying that? Maybe I did, but I sure didn't meant to.

What I originally meant is probably better understood written as:

There are atheists who claim atheism as their (ir)religion out of a lack of discipline. Clinging to atheism as an excuse for living a guilt-free lifestyle is as ignorant and pathetic as clinging onto any religion exclusively for the sake of keeping others happy or using it as insurance.

Eh, still not well-written, but I hope you understand what I mean this time?
I think you might be thinking this is meant to be an essay about all atheists. It is and it isn't. Mostly it's an opinion piece so my personal views are stamped all over it. I *personally* find atheists who use atheism as an excuse to be lazy and pathetic just like I personally find theists who are just religious because they've never questioned it to be pathetic. Not saying it's true--everyone has their individual reasons for everything. But I'm a rather harsh person and I especially was back in high school.

I've actually met a few people who claimed to be atheist when I could really tell what they were was actually agnostic and wanting to seem their own strange definition of "hardcore"/hold heavier weight in philosophical discussions. And I was friends with one person who claimed to be atheist but was pretty obviously culturally torn between Judaism and Christianity (Jewish dad, Catholic mom; thus they chose to follow neither faith) and pretty terrified of what happens after death. Not in an "I'm unsure" or "I don't want to die" kinda way but more in an "I'm probably going to hell so it's best not to think about it" kinda way.

Furthermore, I've never thought of pathetic as a particularly negative word. I mean, it is but not always. Like I'm a pretty pathetic person about motivating myself but I don't think of myself as completely pathetic because of it. Does that make... sense...?

((re-reads comment))
((shrugs))
((posts))
:]
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:iconadamisonfire1:
Adamisonfire1 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Student Artist
Yep, I think the majority of this probably stems from your experience of confused teenagers trying to come to terms with Religion and a lack thereof in a country where beliefs are still very prone to stigma (I didn't realise you were 15 at the time (angst much? :P)). Maybe I was picking up on a point that seemed to generalise but instead offered personal connotations, it's a bit torn between being a statement and an account. When I was 15 (now 21), I was just utterly astounded that I was being told the things I was about the origins of existence etc. in School. Every belief system seemed to offer only convenient fantasies and denial of reality. My hatred still grows and it's hard to shed considering the outrageous nonsense that is Religion (all Religion) and the fact that it's still held in such high regard in some societies despite it's ability to destroy and it's proven track record of evil. I personally have never encountered a person that uses Atheism as an excuse to be lazy (or as an excuse at all) and I'm still not sure what you mean by that. Atheism is essentially the acknowledgement of reality, nobody profits from not believing in God, Atheism doesn't beg to be heard or condemn others, it is simply a lack of absurdity and an acknowledgement of a lack of human knowledge concerning origin. The word 'Atheist' shouldn't really exist, God doesn't exist so we shouldn't need a word to remind us of the fact that we oppose a lie. There isn't a term for people that dismiss the claims made by children that believe in Santa, that would be crazy haha. I just thought that the essay made more of a point of condemning people that didn't want to accept the responsibility of dogma and doctrine but why shouldn't they? It's utterly insane to abide by a set of rules on the off chance that you'll become immortal, it's a waste of a life and nobody is obliged to be burdened by that. It isn't a lack of responsibility or lazy to deny God and his rules simply because you don't wish to be responsible for unnecessary guilt, that's just common sense. Hopefully you understand that now; essentially what I'm saying is that you can't dismiss somebody as lazy because they don't want to believe in God, that's what atheism is and you aren't concerning yourself with disbelief for the right reasons if you suggest that there MUST be a discipline and a responsibility to go with it. Thanks for replying :)
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student Writer
Well, I dunno... I'm a pretty passionate person. Like a lot of people, my family is religious. Realizing I didn't believe in god (or (if I write it the way I try to refrain from saying) that there is no god) turned into a bit of a battle for me. I get, and like, what you mean by saying there really shouldn't have to be a term for acknowledging something that's true but I guess it's that you need a word to describe the opposition of a majority, rather than a lie. Personally speaking though (personally, again), I've always been an outcast from the family. Kinda important to also include that I come from an African family and was the first one of us born and raised in the States. My immediate family was the part that wasn't super religious and my parents are pretty much OK with me being atheist (my dad: doesn't care; my mom: still doesn't quite understand lol).

But, if you know any people that come from African families (no point in including the word 'large' because that's just a given), they might have expressed to you how crushing the weight of judgment and pressure to conform to tradition is. I mean, I was screwed from the start--I was raised outside of our country. I've always dealt with random aunts, uncles, and cousins claiming I was trying to be white, trying to be American, denying my culture, denying my roots, blah blah blah. Soooo being atheist while everyone else is Catholic on *top* of all of that crap is pretty literally a fight. Because of all that, I'm passionate about atheism in a way that's not necessary.

And I'll stick by what I mean by lazy atheism. You believe what you believe and the same goes for irreligion. If you know there isn't a god, you're an atheist. If you believe (or 'know' as a lot of theists would say) that there is one, several, whatever, then you're a theist. If you believe Jesus died for your sins, you're Christian. If you believe Muhammad was the last true prophet, then you're Muslim. Or you can believe a slew of different things from in and out of any religions and call yourself something else or nothing at all. But for me, it's all about honesty to yourself. If you say you don't believe in god, to yourself and others, but feel a pang of guilt each time you say it/do something you remember you weren't 'supposed to', then you're not being honest with what you *really* believe. I've met (like I said before--swear I wasn't exaggerating or being judgmental) Christians who were clearly agnostics in denial. Agnostics who were, at heart, flat-out theists. Some of the *atheists* I knew back in high school are theists now, and not out of a sense of obligation but because they felt like they finally figured out what they thought. If someone who felt that way just kept on describing themselves as an atheist so that they could openly do stuff that wouldn't be OK under a religion they identify with, I feel like it's using atheism as an excuse to not challenge your belief system. Does that... make sense...

To me, none of that shit matters in the end. I feel like, regardless of background or religion, one of the most important things in life is to recognize and acknowledge what you truly are, in all aspects. Sexuality, religion, heritage. That could mean you have to actively search for an answer and it could mean you never have to think about it because a particular aspect never comes into question--like it's just a natural thing to never think about (like an atheist being raised by atheists or a Turkish person being raised in Turkey).

Of course no one's obliged to be burdened by the absurd rules set in place by plenty of religions but I think one of the most unintentionally obnoxious things about a lot of atheists is this thought process of theirs that suggests they think belief in God is a flexible/changeable thing. Practices and behaviors can change--things you believe from your core tend not to, at least not easily. It's the same things with theists, too, about atheists. I guess about people in general in regards to a lot of things. Ugh........ I've been rambling, this probably isn't too coherent.

I'll just end with saying you can want to *not* believe in God but still, at your core, do (like my mother). And you can be someone who knows there isn't a god but still finds the idea nice or wishes there were--and you'd still be an atheist.
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:iconskeleton-boy:
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2009  Professional General Artist
I don't believe in any personal god, but I stopped calling myself an Atheist a year or two ago. My reason for doing this is that Atheists tend to neglect how useful and beautiful religion and mythology are, when they are viewed as pieces of storytelling and poetry.

I become morally educated through literature, that doesn't mean I let books tell me what to do, but the analogies and philosophies espoused in works of literary fiction deepen my understanding of humanity, ethics, and philosophy. I read His Dark Materials, Watchmen, The Chronicles of Narnia, To Kill a Mockingbird, poetry, comic books like Spider-Man and various TV shows; and when I read or watch these things, I understand the messages that the authors were trying to get across about the human condition.

And unlike many atheists, I haven't become so hard-hearted towards religious texts that I can't look at mythology like the literature it is and see the same truths about the human condition shining through. Does that mean I'm stupid enough to think that either Moses or Spider-Man was ever a real person? No. But I can read the bible and learn things from it, and I know (from years of study) that mythology is much more than the "total bullshit" that many atheists spin it as.

You know, I wouldn't even go so far as to say I don't believe in God. Gods, after all, are just metaphors for aspects of Natural Law. I believe that metaphors exist, and also I believe that the truths of Nature exist (as truly as Nature exists), and so I believe that all metaphors for the truths of Nature are valid. By this reasoning, Gods do "exist."

That doesn't mean you can take the metaphor and literalize it. For example, you mustn't think that there really was a "Pandora's box" that can be dug up today or a YHWH that can be found in space. Still, just because something isn't physically "real," doesn't mean it doesn't "exist." It's real in the imagination. Myth is all symbolic, and it stands for those conceptual truths that can't be depicted in objective terms.

As science-lovers and freethinkers, we should know better than anyone else that when you treat subjective metaphors like objective facts, it becomes a falsehood.

But I think most of us spend too much time trying to hammer that "objective falsehood" part into other people's heads that we forget to admire the truth (in terms of structure, concept, internal logic and poetry) of the subjective metaphors.
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:iconskeleton-boy:
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
Your response is interesting, but what's even more fascinating is the amount of time that's elapsed since the original post.
You were 14 when you "became" an atheist, 15 when you wrote this, probably 17 when I posted my comment, and 20 now.
I was 18 when I first commented here (I don't even remember doing it!) and I'm 21 now.
It's like looking at a time capsule! A lot of stuff changes, and a lot stays the same.

My beliefs are roughly the same as they were when I posted last. I'm a little bit farther along, a little bit deeper. A liberal arts education hooked me up with some Eastern philosophies, but I stay at a comfortable atheistic vantage point. Now I have some theories about anthropology, psychology and art mixed into my worldview that tie things together in a nice way. It's very interesting and rather complicated so I won't bore you with it unless you ask, especially since the curse of the freethinker is (or should be) that everything is tentative. A worldview is a work in progress!

When I posted in 2009 I was just discovering those ideas out for the first time. I was really excited about them and they came spewing out of my head towards whoever would listen. Even though I was calling for a more mellow atheism, I was firey about mellowness. I've calmed down and extended my concerns today. After all, I've got my theory, I've identified my need for spirituality and confirmed my ability to explore it without having to give up reason. My theory validates faith, so most Theists don't make me mad. I've learned that hardness can't promote softness, so most Atheists don't make me mad. Nothing really makes me mad these days. I don't try to convince people of things (but sometimes when I talk, I win people over.)

These days when I philosophize I think about what to DO with my worldview. How I can use it. People who believe in God pray, people who believe in spirits cast spells, astrologers make horoscopes, there's got to be something for me to do with my "naturalism plus the power of make-believe" ideas. I'm moving out from the passive "understand the world" stage that faith and science and philosophy bring us, and entering into the "hack the world" stage.
I'm also trying to get a better handle on personal growth and discipline, which had formerly been the purview of the mystic.

Generally my approach is in coming up with a lifestyle and an artistic practice that taps into that part of me, even in a winking, eiron-ic way.
I'm not sure what that will be yet.
But hey, maybe in three years when you get around to replying to this one, I'll know.

Talk to you whenever you swing by next!
—Thomas
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Writer
Mm... just wrote a long comment so I wanna keep this short...
Ok, ready!

I agree with you that religious texts and mythology hold their value as written pieces, as well. I mean... if I ever read anything--poems, novels, comic books, scripts, holy books, the restaurant history on a menu/to-go bag--I am always paying attention to every aspect of it. And foremost in importance, for me anyway, is the quality of the writing. Then the clarity and strength of the message behind it (y'know, if there is one).

I first figured I was an atheist when I was around 14. And like anything a 14-year-old does, I did it with gusto and total ignorance. I Bible-bashed, scoffed at church, and was generally disrespectful. I'm 20 now and not an idiot anymore--or rather, all of my idiocy has graduated from being focused on social issues and religion and has moved on to poor decision-making regarding alcohol. :]

I realize the importance of religious texts and not just in the 'they make for an interesting read' sense. They're important. regardless of whether or not one believes in deities or an omnipotent whatever, denying how much religious texts influenced the world we live in is ridiculous. For better or for worse, we are the way we are largely due to religion. And yes, a lot of this text was just the human condition being expressed and I love your point that in that way gods do exist. Very poignant and true, I love it.

The problem with atheists is that a lot of us (sometimes I think it's the majority of us all, sometimes I think it's the majority of the ones who use forums) really *do* look down on people. And since they don't follow a faith they kind of believe their own opinions to instantly be above religion and, thus, factual--which is fucking ridiculous and a very self-absorbed type of faith in itself. I've come to realize that a lot of atheists subconsciously think of themselves as their own gods. Themselves and Christopher Hitchens.

I wouldn't call myself a science-lover, as I know pretty much nothing about science, but I am definitely a proud freethinker. I hope my shoddily written essay didn't come off as perpetuating falsehoods. Oh, and another thing I'm proud of is never ever trying to convince others that I'm right or that they're wrong about religion.

And I appreciate your comment! Look, I failed at being concise! :D
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:iconskeleton-boy:
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
Oh hey.
I wrote you a long, friendly response but I think I replied to the wrong comment so... uh...
It should be right below this one in the comments section on the deviation page
sorry... ^^;
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:iconwolfgaze001:
wolfgaze001 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
Thank you for posting this- hopefully this will change what some people think of Atheists. I'm Atheist-Agnostic (Doesn't believe there is a god, but acknowledges that I really don't know)and I have been long angered by the false and generalizing ideas toward this 'group.' I agree whole heartedly that there are no written guidelines for Atheists- everyone is different.
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student Writer
(Almost three years later)

Thanks. :]
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:iconokayim:
Okayim Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
Great essay (well I thought it was fine as is but if you want to go write it again then be my guest! lol), and very true. I'm atheist not because I was trying to rebel from my parents (who raised me as a Lutheran)or anyone else, or because I was trying to escape from some of the responsibilities that a religion poses, but simply because I couldn't except the belief or idea of a god creating everything. And I can't stand it when some people say I'm a bad person, or I worship the devil, or God will punish me. Really, a part of this country just needs to grow up and accept differences, just like with racism.
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:iconthe-chaosincarnate:
The-ChaosIncarnate Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2009
An excellent essay! I grew up with atheist parents who left it up to me to decide on my beliefs, and I myself am an atheist too.
In primary school we had to sing hymns and pray - which I disagreed with and still do - and I just stood up one morning in assembly and refused to do so on principle (although when my class got to the higher years, we all sang the wrong lyrics :XD:) and for some reason got told off for not believing - which is surprising in the UK. I think I remember both my parents going batshit at that, since all I did was voice my opinion.
Also, IMO a god who promises hellfire to those who disagree with him doesn't seem all that loving to me
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:icondevilofechoes:
DevilofEchoes Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2009
i can relate to the second paragraph 210%. lol. i was supposed to be lutheran... the 2nd rate catholics. XD. but i never had the privilege of going to a christian private school...thankfully. and ive always been pretty much non-religious since i was little. didnt like church. and definitely didnt like the religious babble. i was pretty much towing the line between non-religious and religious, then as i learned more i leaned toward agnosticism. and then its only been recently that ive made the hop-skip over the fence to atheism. i feel much better not being an imaginary being's marionette. and for your note about it being poorly written.. that may be.. but leave it to the rest of us to see the most imperfect thing.... perfectly.
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:iconthe-enso:
the-enso Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2009
I like your essay... a lot! :w00t:

Religion doesn't really explain anything. It just assumes something is true, giving no evidence. They claim they have the absolute truth, without even trying to prove what they say. (btw, where is the humility in this?)
And in my humble or not so humble opinion, I don't think religion helped humanity so much. Some people still do bad things, and most of them aren't atheists. Most of the people aren't really happy.

Science doesn't claim anything. It advances theories, that *might* be true or not. And it tries to support the theories with evidence and logic.
Science tries to help people. But it's only a tool, so it has to be used responsibly.
We can't expect help from a God. We have to help ourselves. And science is humanity's way of self-help.

That's one of the reasons I'm an atheist.
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:iconrosesarepizza:
RosesArePizza Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2009  Student Writer
I like *this* comment
wayyy more than I like my essay.
You've got it down totally, friend.

Glad you like my essay. :]
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:iconthe-enso:
the-enso Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2009
Thanks... :D

I've discovered Discordianism, a joke diguised as a religion and a religion disguised as a joke. It's main book, Principia Discordia, contains some interesting (philosophical) ideas. If you're interested and have the time, you can read it on principiadiscordia.com

One of the ideas is that order and disorder are man-made concepts, therefore subjective. We can't see the world from an objective viewpoint, mainly because our perception is limited to our senses and because reality (the true reality) is beyond the level of concept.

I've read it about three times... and I still find new and interesting stuff in it. :D
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:iconskeleton-boy:
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
Hail Eris, yo!
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:iconamatorre:
amatorre Featured By Owner May 23, 2009
really like it...this is something peopleshould be proud of...being an atheist.

And we should make our parts in the society cause a lot of people are scared to say they are atheist cause there is a social intolerance for us atheists. Im inviting you all atheist to take a stand I just started my part and make an Atheist campaign in Puerto Rico named (Movimiento Ateista de Puerto Rico) so people lets do our part let the world that we people that think rationaly are here ...stop hiding!

Edward Vitale
[link]
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:iconsandmanda:
sandmanda Featured By Owner May 11, 2009
It will be many years before an proclaimed atheist is elected into anything political, especially President. We have a long way to go.
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