Why Don’t Atheists Get It? (Actually, Some Do)
To keep this discussion simple, I am – for arguments sake – abandoning ship. I’ve left behind all my connections to religion and a supreme being and am joining the legions of the non-believers. I have finally escaped from what Christopher Hitchens calls “the celestial North Korea”, the tyranny of the infinite and transcendent creator of mankind, who commands, demands, scrutinizes, and metes out reward and punishment by agency of his incomprehensible divine system of justice. As Hitchens himself so eloquently phrased it, the “hideous realm of permanent total inescapable unfreedom,” is behind me now. I am free.
I must admit, it is more than a little disorienting. I am so used to filtering my perceptions, ideas, and emotions through the lenses of a God-centered reality, that without him in the picture I’m not quite sure how to view the world and my place in it. However, I see there is only one path in front of me; I have only one life to live before the eternal blackness of non-existence engulfs me. My destiny is in my own hands; I will answer to no higher power or calling, because there is no higher power or calling. I will answer not to those of flesh and blood, because they are no better, no worse, no more or less important or significant than I am. I will answer to no creature that creeps on the earth, that flies in the air, that swims in the sea; no heavenly body, no man, no woman, and no god. There was a time when I saw myself as being accountable to only one, that is to say, the One. In a certain sense, in my new existence as a non-believer, this has not changed. I still only answer to one. But now, that one is myself. This is the first principle of my new life: In the final analysis, I answer to, and am accountable to no one but “I”. I will allow no man to interfere with my freedom; I will make my own decisions, form my own outlooks, forge my own path and values, and create my own unique identity and existence as I see fit. I will not allow others to seduce me with their delusional ideologies, and their phony utopian schemes.
I will let others sink in the quicksand of comforting fictions such as the following: “I have a dream when all God’s children, white men and black men, Jew and gentile, Protestant and Catholic will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” The only one who is “free at last,” is the one who rejects this type of imaginary nonsense. Every word out of this dead colored preacher’s mouth is a lie: (Yes, if I want to call him “colored” I will, how dare you presume to tell me how I should talk or what I should say. I reject your inane political correctness as much as I reject your religious superstitions. The next thing you’ll be telling me is who I can have sex with and how.)
- There is no significance to being a preacher because religion is a farce.
- There is no “spiritual”, only atoms, molecules, chemistry and physics, and of course no God Almighty.
- We are certainly not “god’s children,” if anything, we are, perhaps, “Darwin’s children.” More accurately, we are the children of a blind, purposeless process that was named after Charles Darwin. Mr. Darwin himself, of course, rotted into nothingness a long time ago, and is not aware of his own notoriety, nor of the full extent of the upheaval he caused with his Origin of Species. (In that sense, I guess, the joke’s on him.)
As long as we are on the subject: I note with amusement the elevation of Charles Darwin, among certain secular/atheist scientists, to a level roughly equivalent to that of sainthood. I confess that even as an atheist I find it hard to be enthralled with a man whose greatest accomplishment was, essentially, to point out that a human being is to a cockroach, what a cockroach is to a paramecium. Do you find that exciting? Richard Dawkins certainly does. (Boy, I’ll bet he throws a wild party!) Eugenicists and Nazis also found it quite exciting and interesting. I think many – including phony sentimental atheists who desperately need to feel politically correct – judged them too harshly. In my opinion, they deserve a lot of credit for not just talking about natural selection and survival of the fittest, but for actually doing something about it. They certainly had a lot more guts than namby-pamby biologists who go around sappily wishing each other “Happy Darwin Day”, which is easily recognizable to someone like myself, as an attempt to create some sort of “sacred” secular ritual. They even go on “sacred pilgrimages” to the Galapagos Islands!
I, on the other hand, will never allow myself to be led astray by phony atheistic “preachers” either. I laugh with contempt at the banal, monotonous soliloquies of a Sam Harris, as he tries to convince us of his boring, “scientific” atheistic moral values. Who exactly does he think he is anyways? Does he fancy himself as a sort of oracle? What does Sam Harris have to offer that is more worthwhile than that of any of the other 6,000,000,000 human-primates that inhabit this planet? Jabber on Mr. Harris, jabber on. If you are able to con other non-believers into buying your books and convincing them of your status as atheistic “prophet,” then bully for you!
We are animals, Mr. Harris, nothing but animals. Instead of the Amazon jungle, we live in a human jungle. We are no different than our chimpanzee relatives, other than the fact that we have evolved higher intelligence and are therefore able – despite the fact that we share so much genetic material – to make sure that we are the zookeepers, and they are the ones in the cages, under our control, and to be available for our entertainment.
But you may ask: What of human emotion? What about human compassion and the natural altruism that most of us experience? What about conscience? Please don’t misunderstand me. I, as an atheist, feel emotions just as do all human beings. I take pleasure in the bonds I share with my fellow human-primates and often enjoy being of assistance to my fellow creatures. However, I will not allow illusion and fantasy to rule my life. I fully comprehend the simple truth of what philosopher Michael Ruse has pointed out; namely, that morality is nothing more than “an illusion put in place by your genes to make you a social cooperator.” Of course, this is obvious. Moral values have no actual reality.
Morality is a completely artificial construct. What is “moral” to the cannibal in the Fiji Islands is radically different than what is “moral” to the Eskimo, or to the liberal humanist at an ivy-league university. I say, different strokes, for different folks. Those atheists who pretend otherwise are simply lying to themselves and others. I have the capacity for compassion, but I also have the capacity for cruelty. I have the capacity to give, but I also have the capacity to take. I have the capacity for beneficence, but I also enjoy wealth and power. I will decide when to act with compassion and when to act with cruelty. I will decide when being of assistance to other advanced primates suits my purpose and when it does not. I will decide when my sexual needs take precedence over another creature’s needs and when they do not. Which other collection of atoms, molecules and chemicals in human-primate form presumes to be able to dictate to me how I should behave? Of course, the deluded “humanist” atheists will tell me that society would be chaotic if everyone behaved that way. In response, I declare to Abraham Maslow (another secular saint rotted into nothingness), and his loyal minions, “Whatever floats your boat,” just don’t tell me how to behave. I will decide what my relationship will be with the rest of society, not you. If that’s not clear enough, I will decide when killing suits me and when it does not. Of course, they will then threaten me with jail and punishments. “Society will not tolerate your dangerous behavior!” I say, Catch me if you can!
It is laughable to see how quickly the so called, enlightened, scientific, and sophisticated atheist resorts to threats and brute force to get what he wants and to enforce his own subjective and narrow-minded view of what he “believes” a society should be. This, of course, is the hallmark of “true believers” throughout history. If that is the game we are playing, then perhaps, I will try to win hearts and minds by whatever methods are necessary and create a society to my own liking; a society that is “in my own image.” Others have achieved it, why not I?
Ironically, in quite short order, we have come full circle. The bittersweet joke is on you my atheist friends, there is no escape. You have simply exchanged the religious ritual for secular ritual, the religious saint for the secular saint, the tyranny of a “celestial” North Korea, for your own subjective version of the tyranny of a “terrestrial” North Korea; or as Dennis Prager once put it, God with a capital “G”, for a god with a small “g.”
Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website at http://rabbimaverick.com/