Thursday, August 9, 2012

Atheist Belief

Prima facie, this blogpost might furrow some brows. "Atheists have beliefs?"

Let me assure that this is entirely possible, and although I may not elucidiate as eloquently as Alain de Botton who wrote the more famous "Religion for Atheists", I do want to address some deep-seated beliefs, and how contradictions are resolved ironically - via religion.

This post was inspired firstly when my friend had this quote on Facebook:

Lewis's defense against atheist, forms his underlying argument which starts from the fact that you must accept the following premises to accept his argument:

1. If thought is not designed by anyone, therefore we cannot trust that our thoughts are what they really are and not by some random design of chemistry.

2. Hence, it is unfathomable that Atheists' arguments against God is true since they might just be random

3.If those thoughts are not random, then you must accept that someone must have put those thoughts there in the first place and it must be a higher being since no known human have that ability.

I suppose it is a neat defense against the religion-hating Atheists (what Alain de Botton suavely calls "neo-atheists"). If we use the argument of neo-atheists that religion or even God is irrational, then C.S Lewis's arguments, along many others actually do defend their point very succintly. However even C.S Lewis misses the point entirely. 

The existence of God is not about an argument - it is as pointless to ask why would a parent love a child and yet another won't. We will risk into particularising or worse, over-generalising accounting some vague notion on pathology of the parent who abandons his/her child or engages in acts of incest for instance. Hence as much as neo-atheists engage in theist bashing calling them irrational, Chesterton was quite right in calling the neo-atheists equally irrational - nonetheless in the fable of the monk Michael to the atheistic scientist Lucifer. 

God is about belief and it is not about why people believe. It is quite a pointless questions as I've tried to point out - too many individual factors and perculiarities from one's dispositions to external family circumstances or even sometimes a bolt in the blue.

I think the right question to ask is what about a particular belief in God that reaffirm an individual and therefore consequently, why do atheists like myself find reaffirmation without it? I think theists and atheists are not very much different. Whilst we may have dramatically different practices, rituals or even world views, the common denominator is that we believe. Hence rationality as a factor in argument against or for God is a moot point because reason and evidence has nothing to do it.

Asking why do you believe in God is the same as why do you love one and not the other. It is arrogance in claiming you know of God and hence He is deserving of your love, or that you claim to know God so much that He is not. Regardless, neo-atheists and neo-theists both stem from the seeds of our own lofty ideals that love is for us to give. Perhaps we should be humble in our claims and understand that "worth" may not apply in the sense of religion. It is something we attribute rather than to be taken as whole truths. 

Atheists are as guilty as Theists, for we both delve in the matter of faith and until we learn to respect the value of each other's views and engage with them than merely dissing them for being "irrational", we will continually fight for an endless battle of which there will be no end.

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