Rant Back

Monday, 8 September 2008

Here's That One

I think it's cowardly to flame someone after that someone has left.

Anyways, on my atheism.

Here we go then.

My atheism is really a culmination of ideas that started with the doubt I had about the proof given to me by my Ugama teacher when I was 7-years-old. I was confused by the proof, unable to process how it would make sense. And then as I got older, I started reading books on religion. I was at first trying to understand religion. At first I though positively about it. It's claims for peace. It's looking after the poor. It's claim for eternal happiness.

But as I read more and talked with people who had the same doubts, then I started to realise the nonsense of religion. The fact is. every single argument I've read for religion, I managed to rebutt by myself. The arguments for religion were often inconsistent, illogical and contrived. The Aquinas Proofs were empty and meaningless. The morality argument was extremely flawed. The Intelligent Design argument was contrived. The ontological argument is unbelievably stupid. The Beauty Argument is again, contrived.

To dissect one by one these proofs would take a lot more space than intended. So I will discuss that sooner or later.

Contradictions in religion itself was to me a main reason. There are so many unexplained, unaddressed issues in religion that one begins to wonder why people believed it in the first place.

Atheism simply, means this: To believe in the non-existence of God.

Agnosticism on the other hand, is something different: doubting the existence of God, yet not fully believing in its non-existence.

Contrary to what people might say, atheism is not a religion, for this one major reason: it stands on reason, not on faith.

Religion on the other hand, depends so much on faith. Even in the face of contradictory evidence or doubt, one will still choose to believe in religion. Yet with atheism, if there was a conclusive proof for the existence of God, atheists will embrace it. But the belief is based on reason, that non-biased, scientific, reasonable evidence so far points to the non-existence of God.

For most parts, atheists probably only share one major trait: The rational belief in the non-existence of God.

That's where the similarity ends. I for one, am a humanist. I believe in the importance of individual relationships more than I do in world-changing ideas. But that doesn't mean I don't wanna change anything in this world.

I don't believe in the concept of fixed morality. Hence another reason why I don't believe in religion. The concept of morality has changed over the course of humanity that one wonders whether in the future religion will one day be considered as immoral as say, witch-hunting. The truth is, thousands of years ago, it was not considered immoral to maybe marry a 12-year-old, or kill someone for cheating. But times have changed. Our notion of morality has evolved.

The problem with religion is it sticks with medieval or ancient notions of morality. And even the believers subconsciously know that. How do you otherwise explain the abandonment of stoning rituals, beheadings and corporal punishment? We don't execute people who don't believe in Islam anymore, because we know it's immoral. We don't stone people in Shari'a courts, because we know the horrific nature of such an act.

Admittedly this still happens in countries like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. But then we know we wouldn't wanna live in such countries, where muta'ween (religious police) patrol the streets and anyone not wearing a beard is looked at with suspicion.

The Quran is very much regarded as a proof for the existence of God because of its beauty and sheer size. I think this is unreasonable. Now John Milton wrote his beautifully epic Paradise Lost while he was blind, and managed to write 10 books - each about 1,000 lines - of it, allegedly under a 'celestial muse.' Now this is a more epic effort, in my opinion. I can appreciate the poetry in both Paradise Lost and the Quran, but it doesn't mean I will worship either.

And why am I targetting Islam? Because I know this religion best, better than Christianity, Buddha, Judaism, etc. My whole life my mind has been wrestling with the illogicality of religion.

And people keep saying I shouldn't target Brunei? Why? I live here. I've lived here my whole life. And I know there are people who have similar thoughts, but might think they're alone in thinking so, as there're no proper outlets. And it's my right to talk about it. Why can't I talk about Brunei?

And why should I discuss this only with like-minded people? It wouldn't be much of a discussion if people kept agreeing on views. A good conversation, maybe. But not a proper argumentative discussion.

To leave out Brunei and Islam, would starve this blog of its original intentions, that is to discuss, to rant about the lifestyle of an atheist in a religious country, forced and pressured to act in certain ways out of a distorted sense of social obligation and personal responsibility.

And the talk about not knowing where I came from. You're not understanding the whole point here. I'm talking about Brunei because in all the cynicism and skepticism, I'm hopeful for the better. I could've just run off to another country and be living a free lifestyle, but no, I didn't. I'm not about to run away from these problems. I'm in a process of thinking of ways to address this. And one way of addressing it is to discuss it. In public. But sadly, I can only discuss it in anonymity, for reasons given in my 'Q&A' entry.

Do you know how many people just want to get out of Brunei? Do you not wonder why I didn't leave in the first place. And you dare say I don't 'kenang budi?'

There's a difference between criticism and utter disrespect. Okay, the way I phrase things might be offensive, I give you that. But then the underlying point is that Brunei can be open-minded. It can be nonjudgmental. But right now it isn't.

Religion was once a creature of convenience. It gave people happiness, even though it is illusory and false. Think about it. A drunk man is happy. A religious man is happy. And both delude themselves into this state of happiness.

People who think morality is THE argument for religion, I suggest you read 'Moral Tissues,' one of my previous entries.

And to be honest, I could not have foreseen how many close-minded people would read my blog. On a happy note, there are believers and non-believers that are willing to give a decent discussion.

And no, I'm not shoving anything down other people's throats here. You chose to read this. This isn't a pamphlet thrusted into your face for you to read. This isn't a compulsory lesson in your high school. And no, this isn't your parent forcing you to listen while you're in the car. You had a choice. And you made that choice, to go on reading. Sure, I publicised it. But I did say you might get offended. I did warn you.

If you're just here to bash me with incoherent and ignorant bullshit, you can leave.

If you're willing to open up your mind and bear the profanities (I'm sorry, it's a habit), then you'll know where I'm coming from.

And to be honest, I wasn't gonna make my atheism The main topic of the blog. It was really just meant to be an attack on some of the absurd cultural and social norms in Brunei, and the people shoving religion down my throats. But people focused on that, so by popular demand, here it is.

I'm off, for now. If you could, if you wanna reply to this specific entry, comment on this one. Not on the cBox. It's confusing.

I'll be back fairly soon. Count on it.

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