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Getting On : Faith

Life, the Universe, and Everything

from Jules - Friday, September 27, 2002
accessed 1840 times

One of my favourite authors is Douglas Adams, whose writings are both hilarious and brilliant. I recently read his final book (published posthumously, after his tragic and sudden death last year) entitled The Salmon of Doubt. It's a collection of published and unpublished previous writings, and included the interview below. It really sums up my own beliefs, and he says it all so much better than I could, so please forgive my laziness in just including the article here.

Life, the Universe, and Everything: An Interview with Douglas Adams
by David Silverman

David Silverman: First, a note about me. I’m a very conceited person. I see myself as a damn good writer who is quite eloquent and proficient at making points about Atheism and related issues. Fortunately for the rest of the population, there are some people out there who keep my ego in check. Every once in a while I am reminded of my limitations by certain individuals who so obviously surpass my abilities that I am forced to admit that I still have lots of work to do. Many of these people are part of American Atheists, and all serve the purpose of making the rest of me strive for self-improvement. Then there are people like Douglas Adams: talented writers so brilliant in their prose as to give even the most conceited writer-wannabe an inferiority complex. Many of these people are Atheists, but few will take the time for an interview for their fans. When they do, well, the result is something you save for future debates and arguments.
For the rare reader who does not already know all about him, Douglas Adams is the creator of all the various manifestations of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which include a radio series, a TV series, a stage play, record albums, a computer game, a series of internationally best-selling books, a set of graphic novels, and a bath towel. In a long and varied career Mr. Adams has also written the Dirk Gently novels, a non-fiction book (Last Chance to See) on endangered species, worked as a chicken-shed cleaner, a bodyguard for an Arab royal family, and played guitar for Pink Floyd. He’s brilliant, he’s witty, he’s an Atheist, and he has quite a bit to say about Atheism, Agnosticism, and religion.


AMERICAN ATHEISTS: Mr. Adams, you have been described as a “radical Atheist.” Is this accurate?

DNA: Yes. I think I use the term radical rather loosely, just for emphasis. If you describe yourself as “Atheist,” some people will say, “Don’t you mean ‘Agnostic’?” I have to reply that I really do mean Atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god - in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one. It’s easier to say that I am a radical Atheist, just to signal that I really mean it, have thought about it a great deal, and that it’s an opinion I hold seriously. It’s funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly. In England we seem to have drifted from vague wishy-washy Anglicanism to vague wishy-washy Agnosticism - both of which I think betoken a desire not to have to think about things too much.

People will then often say “But surely it’s better to remain an Agnostic just in case?” This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I’ve been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would chose not to worship him anyway.)

Other people will ask how I can possibly claim to know? Isn’t belief-that-there-is-not-a-god as irrational, arrogant, etc., as belief-that-there-is-a-god? To which I say no for several reasons. First of all I do not believe-that-there-is-not-a-god. I don’t see what belief has got to do with it. I believe or don’t believe my four-year old daughter when she tells me that she didn’t make that mess on the floor. I believe in justice and fair play (though I don’t know exactly how we achieve them, other than by continually trying against all possible odds of success). I also believe that England should enter the European Monetary Union. I am not remotely enough of an economist to argue the issue vigorously with someone who is, but what little I do know, reinforced with a hefty dollop of gut feeling, strongly suggests to me that it’s the right course. I could very easily turn out to be wrong, and I know that. These seem to me to be legitimate uses for the word believe. As a carapace for the protection of irrational notions from legitimate questions, however, I think that the word has a lot of mischief to answer for. So, I do not believe-that-there-is-no-god. I am, however, convinced that there is no god, which is a totally different stance and takes me on to my second reason.

I don’t accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me “Well, you haven’t been there, have you? You haven’t seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally valid” - then I can’t even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we’d got, and we’ve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don’t think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don’t think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: How long have you been a nonbeliever, and what brought you to that realization?

DNA: Well, it’s a rather corny story. As a teenager I was a committed Christian. It was in my background. I used to work for the school chapel in fact. Then one day when I was about eighteen I was walking down the street when I heard a street evangelist and, dutifully, stopped to listen. As I listened it began to be borne in on me that he was talking complete nonsense, and that I had better have a bit of a think about it.

I’ve put that a bit glibly. When I say I realized he was talking nonsense, what I mean is this. In the years I’d spent learning History, Physics, Latin, Math, I’d learnt (the hard way) something about standards of argument, standards of proof, standards of logic, etc. In fact we had just been learning how to spot the different types of logical fallacy, and it suddenly became apparent to me that these standards simply didn’t seem to apply in religious matters. In religious education we were asked to listen respectfully to arguments which, if they had been put forward in support of a view of, say, why the Corn Laws came to be abolished when they were, would have been laughed at as silly and childish and - in terms of logic and proof -just plain wrong. Why was this?

Well, in history, even though the understanding of events, of cause and effect, is a matter of interpretation, and even though interpretation is in many ways a matter of opinion, nevertheless those opinions and interpretations are honed to within an inch of their lives in the withering crossfire of argument and counterargument, and those that are still standing are then subjected to a whole new round of challenges of fact and logic from the next generation of historians - and so on. All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.

So, I was already familiar with and (I’m afraid) accepting of, the view that you couldn’t apply the logic of physics to religion, that they were dealing with different types of ‘truth’. (I now think this is baloney, but to continue...) What astonished me, however, was the realization that the arguments in favor of religious ideas were so feeble and silly next to the robust arguments of something as interpretative and opinionated as history. In fact they were embarrassingly childish. They were never subject to the kind of outright challenge which was the normal stock in trade of any other area of intellectual endeavor whatsoever. Why not? Because they wouldn’t stand up to it. So I became an Agnostic. And I thought and thought and thought. But I just did not have enough to go on, so I didn’t really come to any resolution. I was extremely doubtful about the idea of god, but I just didn’t know enough about anything to have a good working model of any other explanation for, well, life, the universe and everything to put in its place. But I kept at it, and I kept reading and I kept thinking. Sometime around my early thirties I stumbled upon evolutionary biology, particularly in the form of Richard Dawkins’s books The Selfish Gene and then The Blind Watchmaker and suddenly (on, I think the second reading of The Selfish Gene) it all fell into place. It was a concept of such stunning simplicity, but it gave rise, naturally, to all of the infinite and baffling complexity of life. The awe it inspired in me made the awe that people talk about in respect of religious experience seem, frankly, silly beside it. I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: You allude to your Atheism in your speech to your fans (“...that was one of the few times I actually believed in god”). Is your Atheism common knowledge among your fans, friends, and coworkers? Are many people in your circle of friends and coworkers Atheists as well?

DNA: This is a slightly puzzling question to me, and I think there is a cultural difference involved. In England there is no big deal about being an Atheist. There’s just a slight twinge of discomfort about people strongly expressing a particular point of view when maybe a detached wishy-washiness might be felt to be more appropriate - hence a preference for Agnosticism over Atheism. And making the move from Agnosticism to Atheism takes, I think, much more commitment to intellectual effort than most people are ready to put in. But there’s no big deal about it. A number of the people I know and meet are scientists and in those circles Atheism is the norm. I would guess that most people I know otherwise are Agnostics, and quite a few Atheists. If I was to try and look amongst my friends, family, and colleagues for people who believed there was a god I’d probably be looking amongst the older, and (to be perfectly frank) less well educated ones. There are one or two exceptions. (I nearly put, by habit “honorable exceptions,” but I don't really think that.)

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: How often have fans, friends, or coworkers tried to “save” you from Atheism?

DNA: Absolutely never. We just don’t have that kind of fundamentalism in England. Well, maybe that’s not absolutely true. But (and I’m going to be horribly arrogant here) I guess I just tend not to come across such people, just as I tend not to come across people who watch daytime soaps or read the National Enquirer. And how do you usually respond? I wouldn’t bother.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: Have you faced any obstacles in your professional life because of your Atheism (bigotry against Atheists), and how did you handle it? How often does this happen?

DNA: Not even remotely. It’s an inconceivable idea.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: There are quite a few lighthearted references to god and religion in your books (“...2000 years after some guy got nailed to a tree”). How has your Atheism influenced your writing? Where (in which characters or situations) are your personal religious thoughts most accurately reflected.

DNA: I am fascinated by religion. (That’s a completely different thing from believing in it!) It has had such an incalculably huge effect on human affairs. What is it? What does it represent? Why have we invented it? How does it keep going? What will become of it? I love to keep poking and prodding at it. I’ve thought about it so much over the years that that fascination is bound to spill over into my writing.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: What message would you like to send to your Atheist fans?

DNA: Hello! How are you?

Reader's comments on this article

Add a new comment on this article

from xhrisl
Tuesday, October 29, 2002 - 02:22

Luv you Jules, and I'm glad someone else in here is also a Douglas Adams fan
(reply to this comment)
from monkeyfart
Wednesday, October 09, 2002 - 05:52

"Heaven doesn''t want me & Hell''s afraid I''m running things".- Unknown source.
(reply to this comment)
from JoBlo
Friday, October 04, 2002 - 22:51

From JoBlo
28 September, 2002, 10:16:00 PM - Thank you for your reply Jules. I really admire you, and what you have done. I guess I hit a bit of a nerve, as I was surprised you made the automatic assumption that I was just rattling off arguments I heard in TF. Without having done some research and given it considerable reflection. Although it is true that I have heard a similar line of thought in TF as well. I would have thought it more in keeping with the generally high standard of corespondence I have observed from you on this site to give an example of a rational thought that would lead to a morality where the good or hapiness of other accidental collections of atoms, would be more important than your own in any circumstance. Please understand, I am allowing for and would in fact rather prefer that such a logical and rational morality could and does make sense. As far as Alf's comment, while I have long enjoyed his post's with witty satires of TF's crazy beliefs, I don't see how a great deal of his posts directed at people would have any effect of leading to more productive discussions. His comment here certainly contained no particular insights. However, I wish him the best, although I suspect I will receive some sort of negative and sarcastic comment from him to this rather than an intelligent and reasoned point. Although you never know and I could be pleasantly surprised. Have a great day
(reply to this comment)
From Jules
Sunday, October 06, 2002, 19:58

Not to worry, you didn’t “hit a nerve”. I’ve just been busy, and one-liners to Joe are easier to write than my opinions on the meaning of life.

I did not mean to offend you by insinuating that you had not given this issue much thought. It seems as though you have. However, logical deductions may be flawed if the premises are false. That’s why I think it’s important to research things for ourselves and make sure we have as much information as possible on an issue before deciding anything. You stated that: “As far as I can see if you are a true atheist, life is just a random collection of matter, without meaning, purpose or design.” If this is not just reiterating what the Family teaches, then may I ask where you did get this idea from?

What you have asked for is for me to “give an example of a rational thought that would lead to a morality where the good or happiness of other accidental collections of atoms, would be more important than your own in any circumstance”. Perhaps I wasn’t very clear in my previous post, but what I was trying to say is that your question itself is based on some assumptions that are not accurate, in my opinion. Based on your statements it seems you assume:
a. That atheists perceive their fellow humans only as accidental collections of atoms
b. That morality is to put the good or happiness of another above your own
c. That immorality is sin (I have taken that as the violation of a law of God), which assumes that good and evil (right and wrong) are real properties, and have intrinsic value themselves
d. That hedonism is the only alternative to theism

I am not out to “convert” anyone to atheism. I think it’s important for us all to find our own paths and figure our beliefs out for ourselves. These are important philosophical issues, and you may enjoy studying on these topics if you have the chance to do so.
(reply to this comment
from joblobutforgot my password
Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 00:18

I really enjoyed this article. As I enjoyed the books Douglas Adams has written. I am far from conclusive on these religious matters, although I have given it alot of thought, right now I am just letting these issues be. I am tired of worrying about "truth" for so long. However I don't understand the list of wonderful things about solid Atheists. As far as I can see if you are a true atheist, life is just a random collection of matter, without meaning, purpose or design. What is wrong with murder or a host of other "sins"? Why isn't whatever makes you feel good "right" damn the consequences to others. How can there be a right or wrong. Hurting others is hurting a random colection of matter, not something intrisicaly sacred or of value. What do you think?
(reply to this comment)
From Jules
Saturday, September 28, 2002, 08:00


I have to say that I find it extremely irritating when people just rattle off arguments they learned in the family, without having thought an issue through or researched it for themselves, whether the subject is feminism, politics or religion. I guess we all do that though on some level and at some point. Sometimes it takes time to even recognise that's what we are doing.

The issue here is one of Original Meaning, which is one of the big philosophical questions in cognitive science. What is it that assigns anything meaning? What is it that makes religious beliefs “moral”? Why does a set of contradictory and conflicting values, (many of which require huge leaps in rationality to accept) hold any value at all?

Morality and values are things we have created culturally to assign worth to desired behaviours. Why would the belief that your values are divinely dictated be more motivating than the knowledge that your values come from informed and educated conclusions. What is more likely to be exploitative and harmful: blind acceptance of a code of ethics supposedly dictated by an omnipotent being, or morality based in rational thought, education and debate?

If you are really interested in researching this, I would recommend 2 books on the topic: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, by Daniel Dennett, and Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.

Jules(reply to this comment
From JoBlo
Saturday, September 28, 2002, 22:16

Thank you for your reply Jules. I really admire you, and what you have done. I guess I hit a bit of a nerve, as I was surprised you made the automatic assumption that I was just rattling off arguments I heard in TF. Without having done some research and given it considerable reflection. Although it is true that I have heard a similar line of thought in TF as well. I would have thought it more in keeping with the generally high standard of corespondence I have observed from you on this site to give an example of a rational thought that would lead to a morality where the good or hapiness of other accidental collections of atoms, would be more important than your own in any circumstance. Please understand, I am allowing for and would in fact rather prefer that such a logical and rational morality could and does make sense. As far as Alf's comment, while I have long enjoyed his post's with witty satires of TF's crazy beliefs, I don't see how a great deal of his posts directed at people would have any effect of leading to more productive discussions. His comment here certainly contained no particular insights. However, I wish him the best, although I suspect I will receive some sort of negative and sarcastic comment from him to this rather than an intelligent and reasoned point. Although you never know and I could be pleasantly surprised. Have a great day!(reply to this comment
From Anthony
Saturday, September 28, 2002, 01:46

Yours is quiet possibly the most stupid and naïve comment I've heard on this topic in a very long time. Please do you homework and come back when you’re ready to take on this subject.

Anthony(reply to this comment
from monkeyfart
Friday, September 27, 2002 - 22:04

One main question I've had is regarding "Faith" from the Bible. The Bible says "Faith is a gift of God".

Seeing as you cannot believe in a religion which you do not have faith in my question is: Why would God want to send you to Hell for not accepting a gift? Especially if it was presented in the way that it was to us. If there is a God & there is a Hell I certainly would expect him to not to hold any disbelieving attitudes we may have against him considering all the BS we've been dealt (supposedly) on his behalf.
(reply to this comment)
From Jules
Saturday, September 28, 2002, 09:01


I think one of the points of this article is that it's silly to look at religion in terms set by believers. For some reason all other issues are held up to scrutiny by rational standards of arguments and logic, and that's okay, but faith is untouchable and should be respected, even if it makes no sense whatsoever.

Your question begs many others, all of which come from the standpoint of debating religion on it’s own terms. What is faith in God? Why would God do anything at all? Who can know what God thinks? Why would he create a hell in the first place? If faith is between you and God, why do Christians need to spread the word?

The point is a believer would say something like the following to this: "I can't claim to understand why God does what He does, but I do know that God is a God of love and mercy, and although His ways are not our ways, He does everything in love". (I think I have sat through enough "Word Classes" to be able to take this liberty in assuming a response along these lines.) Appeals to our guilt (how dare you question something so much greater than you) and emotion, (God loves you even though you are so unworthy), but what does it really say? Not a thing.

For any observable occurrence, there are an infinite number of theories to explain it. The analytical principle known as Ockham’s Razor states that the simplest theory and the one without additional baggage is most likely to be true. This is what Adams was talking about in regards to the burden of proof. God used to be our best explanation for meaning, life, humanity, cognition and all other observable phenomena. We now have better ones, and the least convoluted theories do not need divine intervention to make them work.

Jules(reply to this comment
From monkeyfart
Sunday, September 29, 2002, 03:21


Firstly, I want to express my respect to you for setting up this site, I truthfully don't know anyone who could have done it better and also have remained such a good host. -If there was an Oscar for websites, there's no doubt who'd have my vote.

Regarding your article and comments, I respect your beliefs or lack of them however may be the case. I also see your point of the pointlessness in dissecting religion in a logical or rational manner. If life was a treasure hunt of finding the most logical ideology or system of beliefs then to me you may already be the winner. Perhaps religion is nothing more than another illusion of life like so much else, something which people feel they need in order to maintain a validity of self, something to keep them from sinking to depths of unconscionable behaviour or being solely driven by desire of self gratification. Perhaps Atheism is only suitable for those with extreme rational minds, persons to whom logic is the beginning and ending of all things. Perhaps in another century or two all culture, philosophy and religion which does not meet standards of logic and rationality upheld by atheism will be inexistent or eradicated.

I think I understand what you meant when you said "that it's silly to look at religion in terms set by believers." You may note however that Adam's himself began by asking the very same kind of question as I put forward and I am sure that in his dealings with people the same questions he had answered before for himself would have to be answered again for explanation to others.

Personally I have no problems with people believing what they want provided they are a) Not forcing their kids to believe the same (obviously it must be understood that influence or social guidance is not a bad thing but religion must not be forced) b) Not a threat to themselves or society (by threat I mean harming themselves in a way which makes them unable to function or contribute properly in society). If religion requires a feeble minded host then most of the world is feeble minded. When someone leaves "The Family" may they become Muslim, Catholic, Anglican, Buddhist or any other religion, faith or philosophy which suits them even if they choose to incorporate some Berg rhetoric from their childhood. Individual faith, belief or philosophy is a completely individual thing and as you have said should rightly be respected.

However my opinion of "The Family" is that I do not accept their beliefs or practices to be religious. Therefore I personally do not see how "freedom of religion" should be an issue with regards to the treatment of them. To draw a parallel, if a body piercer was to decide to incorporate his peculiar lifestyle with the teachings or Buddha or Jesus and make a religion out of it in order to try and immortalise himself would that make it a religion? And if his new religion extended to extensively body piercing his children, would it be persecution of religion to step in and remove his children from him? Similarly, "The Family" was created by a sexual pervert who preyed on the confusion of some of those experiencing the "hippie lifestyle" as well as true sluts, prostitutes, whores or even paedophiles who were more than happy to now have a religion to validate their inordinances and socially unacceptable attitudes and ideas about life.

Therefore my issue with "The Family" is not as much religious as it is social or moral. We have been taught since kids to act and think and believe things which decry morally and socially acceptable behaviour. I won't list here things which we were taught but I believe we were taught what we were taught on the pretext of religion which was formed around Berg's and other hippie slut's wishing to gain immortality, validate their morally & socially unacceptable ideas and to continue having fresh and young meat to feast their enormous sexual appetites on. So far from being a religion vs non-religion debate I believe that "The Family" or "COG" should be exposed for the farce that it is, not be allowed privileges awarded ordinary religions and instead be treated as the true sociopaths that they are and be awarded due process for the harm inflicted on us both mentally and physically.
(reply to this comment
from Lance
Friday, September 27, 2002 - 19:48

Jules, all I can say about this article is I think I love you,lol.
(reply to this comment)
From monkeyfart
Friday, September 27, 2002, 20:49

(reply to this comment
From Lance
Friday, September 27, 2002, 20:59

Is that a question or a statement?(reply to this comment
From monkeyfart
Friday, September 27, 2002, 21:13

Perhaps both:

As a question: Do you "love" the poster of the article the same way as you "love" the person who actually wrote it?

As a statement: A candid expression of "love" is to me a pubescent trait.(reply to this comment
From Lance
Friday, September 27, 2002, 22:27

The answer is that I love Douglas Adams opinion, and since Jules uses his words to discribe her own belief I love her as well... But I thought that would be a given.(If you are bright enough you can find the commonality)

I'm curious to know why you feel the need to disect my statement even though it isn't directed at you? And I suggest you understand the true meaning of words before you go throwing them around, especially when using them as singular.
(reply to this comment
From monkeyfart
Friday, September 27, 2002, 23:46

I hope you will pardon my cynical attitude towards the usage of the word "love". You were apparently using it as an expression of admiration or respect on a mutual level. Unfortunately the obscure meaning of the word itself and constant over-use of it while growing up have destroyed any desire for me to use it in a positive manner. To me the word "Love" is understood directly as it relates to or has related to your association with the word itself, what you may have read or been taught about it, or your own experiences with what you consider to be "love". Therefore to me it is a pretty dumb descriptive, being unlikely to be understood accurately.

I do agree that your comment was written to Jules therefore her interpretation or understanding is what counts, but then again you could have sent that kind of thing confidentially if you didn't want a comment about it.
(reply to this comment
From Lance
Saturday, September 28, 2002, 12:55

I would think that with a name like Monkeyfart, you would have a better sense of humor, or at least the ability to discern playful flattery from whatever it was you got from my comment; I am still confused as to why the singular usage of the word “pubescent" has anything to do with your interpretation of a versatile word such as "love".

But getting back to the main subject: those who know me also know that I am an Atheist. It is my firm belief that society is held back in it’s development largely due to our perception of right and wrong as deemed by the popular religious infrastructure that has so deeply ingrained itself into the public mind. Religion does not provide one with a moral compass; one only has to look at the dogmatic crusades of times past to understand this. Yet everywhere we go there are pedagogues feeding off the public’s notion that religion provides a deeper sense of respect for humanity then does the innate conscience. I find this only one of many misconceptions about Atheism.

(reply to this comment
From monkeyfart
Saturday, September 28, 2002, 20:07

Ok Lance,
"pubescent" was being used as a descriptive of you, therefore singular. Your association with the word "pubescent" is directly related to the pubescence shown by you in your pubescent usage of the word “love”. Now stop getting your head in a muddle over your short and curly’s.- They’ll grow soon enough.

As for you being an Atheist, I never insinuated you weren’t so what do you expect to achieve by letting me in on that fact. Should I now be saying “Oh wow, what a cool, intelligent, modern and progressive guy Lance is.”? As far as I’m concerned people should believe whatever they want to as long as they aren’t a threat to themselves or society. I find plenty of logic can be found in both Atheist and non-Atheist alike. Like religion not all Atheist’s agree either and I don’t believe it to be an absolute ideology, however I have respect for it’s greater form of logic. – Sorry Lance, perhaps I’m just an non-progressive cave-man, if so, then sobeit.
(reply to this comment
from Craven is a raging Atheist
Friday, September 27, 2002 - 14:32


Don't be lazy tell us how you came about your own views.



In much the same way as Mr Adams.

I once believed, then noticed how ridiculous it was.

I kept believeing "just in case".

Then saw that there was no "in case" needed. It was no longer "burden of proof" as a reason not to believe but proof to the contrary that made me stop holding out on an immortality clause>

In any case I wanted to be true to myself. When I considered it I realized that being true to myself meant not holding out on such a ridiculous pipe dream and accepting the cold hard truth.

There is no god, never was never will be.

We invented him for these reasons:

To give us our greatest wish, immortality. Throw in some virgins, harps and grapes and you have an even sillier concept called heaven.

To keep idiots in line. FOr the simpletons who weren't keeping in line for the carrot there is no better stick than firse and brimstone.

To explain away our ignorance. Who made us? Gee I dunno, let's say a god did.

To give meaning to aleatory things in life. To explain the depressing randomness.

TO think we are more special than we are.

To have the best "big brother watching" that ever existed.

But it all boils down to one thing, we want to be immortal so we just pretend we are. ALl you have to believe in is a childish god.
(reply to this comment)
From Jules
Saturday, September 28, 2002, 09:47

The way I came about my own beliefs is not terribly interesting.
When I first left the Family I believed very devoutly in God, but was pretty angry with him for letting his followers in the Family screw up my life, and for deceiving me for so many years. I told him that it wasn’t working out and we needed some time apart and if that meant judgement, so be it.
Lightning didn’t strike, and cautiously I began to give myself permission to ask questions and think about things a bit. I experimented with other kinds of spirituality, all of which seemed to be about the same as Christianity, they sort of worked as long as you had faith in them.
The more I study and learn, the less of a need I feel to assign meaning to random events or look for divine guidance. The residual effects of growing up with intense religious indoctrination are still there, but it is starting to fade, and I am at least starting to recognise “mystical” beliefs when I react to them.
I don’t agree though that materialism or randomness is depressing. I think we are incredibly special and lucky to even exist. The intricate complexity of life, human culture, everything we can observe, is all amazing. By removing the constraints of religion on science (a brilliant analogy I heard is instead of “turtles all the way down”, religion is “gods all the way up”) we can potentially open every door and fully understand everything about our universe and ourselves. If there is a rational explanation for everything, we can find it and understand it all. I find that possibility incredibly exciting. Is the notion of immortality really that wonderful? I always hated the concept of heaven as the family portrayed it: eternity in a Family home. Now that is depressing. (reply to this comment
From lucidchick
Sunday, October 06, 2002, 20:24

Ah, Jules. What a mind!(reply to this comment
From Craven cdkcdkcdkcdk
Saturday, September 28, 2002, 11:52


I never mentioned materialism.

As to the depressing randomness it's not all randomness that's depressing. The complex algoritims that dictate the universal drummer's beat are indeeed interesting.

I speak of random tragedy. When horrid things happen to babies or otherwise innocent persons it is sad. Many seek comfort in a god.

I too didn't much like the idea of Berg's perverted heaven. But I wouldn't mind seeing my dead loved ones again. That's where immortality becomes tempting.

Regards(reply to this comment
From Jules
Saturday, September 28, 2002, 12:51

True, these are valid points. Sometimes my pontification gets the better of me. (reply to this comment
from jpmagero
Friday, September 27, 2002 - 14:08

An interesting definition of an Athiest:

An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now - here on earth - for all men together to enjoy.

An Atheist thinks that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue, and enjoy it.

An Atheist thinks that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment. Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god.

An Atheist knows that a hospital should be built instead of a church.

An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said.

An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man. He wants an ethical way of life.

He knows that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end to troubles in the hereafter.

He knows that we are our brother's keeper and keepers of our lives; that we are responsible persons, that the job is here and the time is now.
(reply to this comment)
From Craven likes citations
Friday, September 27, 2002, 14:25

Murray v. Curlett

that preamble was written by: Madalyn Murray (reply to this comment

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