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Absence of Knowledge vs. Absence of Belief

By Carl S. ~

Believers and even some atheists describe atheism as “absence of or lack of belief.” Why “absence?” You wouldn't describe non-belief in dragons or unicorns or Klingons or pink elephants as meaning that something is lacking in the individual’s mind or personality or morals, because those beliefs are not accepted. Nor should one be expected to believe anything for which no proof exists.

In contrast, religions exhibit the real lack or absence of knowledge about how the real universe, including Nature, works. So the argument should turn around when it comes to “absence” about this fact that believers lack knowledge. Their very scriptures are classic examples of the lack of, not the presence of, knowledge.

Considering beliefs, it is efficacious to note that for the most part non-believing is sanity. Just a few examples: The belief that three Jewish boys walked in a furnace afire, and because they praised their deity, they were unharmed. Contrast that to reality: millions of murdered Jewish bodies were cremated in the furnaces of concentration camps. Didn’t they praise the same deity?

Consider the fascinating belief in the “miracles” of the loaves and fishes. On one occasion, texts relate five thousand men (women and children not counted - add them in) are fed with five loaves of bread and two fishes. In another telling, likewise, only a smaller number. The miracle man, as it is written, told his disciples that, “Even greater works than I have done will you do.” Has anyone at any time ever even heard of someone else feeding thousands in this way? What?!!! When you catch your breath, consider that no historian, at the time these original “feedings” were to have taken place, ever mentioned them. Surely, those who take them seriously do so with an absence of grounding in reality.

Consider the story of a man (whose Superman strength was due to his long hair) who killed thousands with an equally super-strong BONE! Even James Bond didn’t have that ability or technology available; nor did Paul Bunyan.

Consider: If Jeffrey Dahmer had lived in O.T. times, he would be a biblical hero, praised as a model of virtue for having murdered, dismembered, and eaten the bodies of gay men.

Consider that after the massacre of schoolchildren at Newtown, the citizens were asked to pray. Consider that BEFORE the massacre, parents, relatives, friends, and neighbors prayed for their health and safety and security. Why, after they were gunned down, are the same people praying to the “PROTECTOR?” Are their prayers the prayers of praise, thanksgiving, or petitions to him NOT to allow further deaths? Surely, their actions indicate no “lack” or “absence of” belief, but lack and absence of dealing with the reality before them.

If anything, it can be stated that, far from having “absence” or “lack of,” atheists have abundant fullness of life as it is. We can appreciate the words of the fictional Auntie Mame, “Life is a banquet, and most poor slobs are starving to death. “ Contrast the empty-calorie, junk-food repasts of believers who satiate themselves regularly, content with being placeboed to drunken-like states, on fantasies, to the non-believing pursuers, with the fascination of children discovering the world anew every day.

If Jeffrey Dahmer had lived in O.T. times, he would be a biblical hero, praised as a model of virtue for having murdered, dismembered, and eaten the bodies of gay men.It is not atheists who shun or fear the writings of Dawkins, Darwin, Carl Sagan, Bart Ehrman. Many of us know more about Christianity than most Christians; a fact that they do not wish to deal with. We make it a habit to read the latest discoveries revealed in books like “Zoobiquity” and “Crimes Against Reason.”

Consider by contrast the news-stand periodicals often banned in churches and church schools: Discover, National Geographic, Free Inquiry, etc., EVERYTHIN G dealing with genetics, varieties of religious cultures, evolution, dinosaurs, energy sources, the brain, mind, medical advances, psychology, the Universe and it‘s beginning, etc., etc., (the banquet), i. e., reality as it is continually revealed. And yet they are assured they have or will have eventually ALL the answers they need to live a full life! (Maybe the proper way to describe this isn't so much “starving,” but “malnourished?”)

Don’t you find those who have “all the answers” dull; and the seekers who don’t, interesting? Is there anything more BORING than someone who speaks in sermons?

Is there any action more ludicrous than that of a believer praying before eating lunch, who has already come from praying for two hours at a church service? {I just had to put that in.)

Once you have looked behind the curtain and seen those creating the “Mighty Wizard,” with fire threats, before whom you have been taught to approach with reverence, dread, even trembling, you are freed to leave “him” behind as the fantasy-creation “he” is.

Once you have read “The Emperors New Clothes” in its entirety, you will understand the connections between the sellers of the clothes and religious apologists and theologians. This is because their spiels are so much alike to keep one wondering for a long, long, time.

Once you find yourself laughing at beliefs you once took seriously, you know you're free!

It’s true that non-believers “lack” and are “absent of” the shackles of irrational beliefs and superstitions. And we sometimes insist on our right to have the unmitigated gall to challenge those who DON’T “lack” them!

But we will NEVER lack religious material to laugh about!

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