Chapter 8: Work Synopsis and Ending
Section I: Introduction
Through this work I have first debunked the concept of Faith to the best of my ability, making way for the concept of Reason. Then I systematically examined the most commonly purported evidences of god and supernaturality: origins, religious experiences, miracles, and benefit from belief. Then in the previous chapter I examined the possibility of the existence of a god or any form of supernaturality. Now, in the last chapter, I shall write a work synopsis of the previous chapters.
Section II: Work Synopsis
In chapter 1, I made an introduction to the concept of Atheism. Atheism was defined as the nonbelief, not exactly the confirmation of the nonexistence, but the nonbelief of a god. I am more than an Atheist, however; I am also a Materialist, as I believe that in no supernatural being. Therefore, I lack belief in gods, heaven, hell, ghosts, or other forms of supernaturality. It was also necessary in this chapter to identify that the burden of proof for the existence of a god or a supernatural being lies with the person who claims the existence of this supernatural being. The evidence given by the religionist was what I criticized in the following chapters. Also in chapter 1, I discussed the various philosophies and titles that are associated with Atheism and nonbelief of supernaturality. A Secularist is one who believes that the church and the state ought to be separated; a Skeptic is one who believes in Skepticism, the belief that no knowledge can be absolute; a Secular Humanist is a fanciful title for Atheist and is synonymous with Humanist, a person who believes their species is supreme, much like a White Supremacist believes their race is supreme; a Rationalist is someone who approaches the question of supernaturality with rational principles in mind, often coming to the conclusion of Atheism or Agnosticism; a Realist is one who seeks out the truth of reality; a Naturalist is one who believes that the natural laws of science are all that are necessary for explaining the phenomena that happens in the Universe, as well as the origins of the Universe; a Materialist is someone who believes in the materialistic Universe and nothing else; and an Epicurean is one who believes in the philosophy of Epicurus, which was based on living a simple life to attain happiness, without fear of a god or afterlife. I am an Atheist, a Secularist, a Rationalist, a Naturalist, and a Materialist. To me, there is no meaningful difference between an Atheist, an Agnostic, and a Freethinker. Many will proclaim that the difference between an Atheist and an Agnostic is how possible they believe god is. An Atheist will think god is less possible whereas an Agnostic will think that a god is more possible. However, in the previous chapter I dealt with the possibility of the existence of a god, so where I stand should be clear. Whether I deserve the title of Atheist or Agnostic, I cannot say, as I can clearly see no meaningful difference between the two.
In chapter 2, I examined the nature of Faith. Faith is the foundation for most of the religious belief by the masses. Faith, in the sense that I used it, was not simple devotion to a god as many presume it to be, but believing something without proof. I rigorously attacked this principle of Faith. First, I compared god to Santa Claus, two beings which are accepted on Faith. The similarities go on: they both live far away, both are indemonstrable, both were learned through the community and authority figures, both have magical or supernatural powers, and both reward with heaven or presents and punish with hell or no presents. The first difference that is claimed to separate Santa Claus and god is that god reveals himself personally to persons who believe in him whereas Santa Claus does not, but this argument is tipped over on account that many people believe in different types of gods who are in no way the same god. One may argue that the difference between Santa Claus and god is that Santa Claus is magical whereas god is simply supernatural, but both words cannot be meaningfully separated, as both god and Santa Claus do things through unnatural methods which could be called magical or supernatural. Santa Claus must make 822 visits per second on Christmas Eve whereas the gods and ghosts of different religions are responsible for the creation and sometimes the maintenance of the Universe. Clearly, both beings are supernatural or magical; choose whichever word you wish as there is no meaningful separation. One final means for separation of Santa Claus and god is that Santa Claus evolved from a myth whereas god did not. Although I did not delve into the Sun religions that contributed to the development of the Western religions, I simply noted that it did not matter if Santa Claus came from a myth or not and that it only mattered that he was equaled in justification for belief as is god, not where the myth of Santa Claus developed from. To this point, I had not proven that Faith was incorrect in attaining knowledge; I had only compared Faith in Santa Claus to Faith in a god or ghost. However, I debunked the concept of Faith by showing that just as a scientist needs evidence for claims and a jury needs evidence to convict, reason is a necessity to truth and should not be expelled from examining the concept of a god or any other supernatural dogma; for a religion, or anything else, to be true, it must have evidence and it must be logical and reasonable. All of the major scientists, as well, such as Charles Darwin, Charles, Babbage, Albert Einstein, Thomas Henry Huxley, Luther Burbank, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, and others, were nonbelievers of conventional religion. I also pointed out how scientific and historical beliefs are different from religious beliefs in that scientific and historical beliefs are dropped when the evidence is pulled, yet religious beliefs are still tenaciously held in spite of lacking evidence. There are, however, two primary arguments for Faith. The first is simply to attack Reason and knowledge, by claiming that since certain things may not be empirically demonstrable, such as the existence of microscopic bacteria, that we believe in them by Faith. This is incorrect, however, as these things that are not empirically demonstrable can be demonstrated by someone or by anyone, and even if not empirically demonstrated, it does not mean something is absolutely correct. The second argument is based on stating that we accept authorities on Faith and that we should accept a theologian's authority on Faith. However, this is also flawed as an Atheist can have a thorough knowledge of theology and still qualify as an authority on theology without believing in it. Through this entire chapter, I attempted to debunk the concept of Faith to make way for the rest of the work which would examine the various evidences for a form of supernaturality.
In chapter 3, I examined the claim that our origins are from some sort of divine being and that a god created or designed the Universe. First, I examined the concept of placing supernatural explanations for natural phenomena. The Muslims explain lightning by stating Allah is trying to kill whom he wishes, the Christians and Jews explain the origin of woman by claiming that woman came from the rib bone of man, the Hindus and Buddhists explain the origin of fire by claiming that the god Agni creates it, and the Roman Religionists explain the origin of the metals in the Earth by stating that the god Pluto places them there. These supernatural explanations for natural phenomenon are based on ignorance and nothing else; these things claimed by religion to explain the origin and workings of the natural Universe are false. Then I argued that god simply cannot explain the origin of the world, as who created this god? If everything that exists needs an explanation, and god exists, then what can explain the origin of a god? The concept of a god ends up creating a larger hole than it was trying to fill by leaving more to be explained than it explained. There are those who claim that god always existed, but then that needlessly assumes the existence of god when we could ascribe the same explanation to the origin of the Universe: it always existed. Many claim that god created himself, but this falls into error, as no one may create themselves. Before anyone can do anything, they must exist, and if you do not exist you cannot create, and then you certainly cannot create yourself. For example, if you wanted to get to your car, you couldn't drive your car there. There are those who claim that this god can break the laws of logic, but they fall into error by the fact that simply because the man who invented the guillotine invented the guillotine, it does not mean he can survive it, and the majority of people who understand the workings of logic and the Universe do not hold belief in Theism. Finally, some claim that god is supernatural and the Universe is natural, and that is the difference - and that is why god needs no creator -, but this argument assumes the existence of the very thing it is trying to prove! The argument of design falls to the same errors: if everything that has design requires a designer, then who designed god? Also, the design of life on Earth is explained by Darwin's theory of Natural Selection. The Analogical Argument of Design claims that since the Universe could have taken one of billions of forms, that it requires a design, but then every rain drop should then require a designer, as it could have fallen in one of billions of locations. The First Cause Argument claims that everything requires a cause, just like a row of dominoes and then claims that god was the First Cause of everything, but this falls victim to contradiction: if everything requires a cause, then god himself must have had a cause as well. In section V I explained the scientific proofs and evidences for the origins of ourselves as we appear today. Matter has always existed, as concluded from the First Law of Thermodynamics; it stated that matter cannot be created or destroyed. The Big Bang theory states how matter spread across the universe, not how it came into being. In regards to the origin of organic material, Stanley L. Miller and Harold C. Urey, in 1952, conducted an experiment that reproduced the early conditions of Earth and after inserting heat into the experiment, they had organic matter in a week. Sidney Walter Fox furthered the findings of Miller and Urey by heating up the organic matter intensely, thus producing matter that acted much like bacteria: eating, moving, and reproducing. Charles Darwin introduced the concept of Natural Selection. Through the existence of vestigial organs - or rudimentary organs - Darwin was able to prove the existence and process of Natural Selection in the natural world. Through this chapter I attacked the long-held concept that this Universe was created and worked by supernatural beings, this old dogma that once was selectively held by primitive beings and not rational beings.
In chapter 4, I examined claims of religious experience. The argument from religious experience is plagued with the fact that there are many different religions experiences due to various regions and religions: North American or European Christians experience being Born Again, southern Asian Buddhists experience Nirvana, Asian Hindus experience Enlightenment, Asian Zen Buddhists experience Satori, eastern Asian Taoists experience Wu Wei, and global Yogis experience Nirvakalpa Samadhi. However, if someone is born in China, they are likely to experience no religious experience because China is officially an Atheist nation. These are all religious experiences for different gods and different religions. The fact that some religionists are happy and they purport that god is responsible for the happiness proves nothing; Atheists world wide are happy and whole without a god. The Near-Death Experience (NDE) or Out-of-Body Experience (OBE) can be reproduced with Ketamine as shown in a study by Dr. Karl Jansen. Also in The Washington Post, an article titled "Tracing the Synapses of Our Spirituality" discussed the recent advances in neurology. It traced work by many scientists who were capable of creating an NDE or OBE through magnetized helmets, hallucinogenic drugs, epilepsy, and meditation. One may argue that this is proof that a god designed us because it is a religious experience within us, but this is flawed because it only proves that we get religious experiences through chemicals and hormones. One may argue that a conscience is felt just as much as a religious experience, but the conscience is proof of itself, whereas someone experiencing a religious experience goes further to claim that because it exists, so does a god; it purports more than one who feels their conscience. One may also claim that they spoke with a god in a dream, but they cannot know if they spoke with god in a dream or that they dreampt that they spoke with a god.
In chapter 5, I examined the claims of miracles, prophecy, and revelation. In chapter 3, I examined the proclaimed divine origins, finding them based on arrogance. A Christian or Jew may believe that woman came from the rib bone of man, but this is based on ignorance of how life evolved. Similarly, when someone proclaims a miracle that has happened in reality and nature, it is based on ignorance of the natural workings of reality and nature. Praying for a miracle is flawed, as things happen naturally. To pray for the Sun come up - and the Sun comes up - does not prove that the Sun comes up because of prayer, but it came up because of the natural workings of the Universe. To pray for the Sun not to come up - and the Sun comes up anyway - proves that prayers are not fulfilled. If a prayer appears to be have been fulfilled, it is based on the natural workings of the Universe. To say that something odd that appears to be a miracle is caused, it is no proof of a god, just as someone could say that rain is caused by invisible, pink unicorns, but it does not prove their existence. Certainly not! One may argue that god physically causes miracles, but god is not a natural or measurable being; he is a supernatural being, and therefore cannot be held responsible in any way in the physical, natural Universe. One may argue that god does not answer all prayers, but this may be so, but then this god is not benevolent and attempts to prove the existence of a god that doesn't make miracles through miracles is absurd. A prophecy proves nothing. To say that a war will happen within a century - wars being something common in Western civilization - does not prove that it was a prophecy, any more than to say that in a month it will rain. The difference between a prophet and a meteorologist is that the meteorologist is at least more accurate. Miracles cannot be interpreted properly, as well. If someone may say that a miraculous event is proof of god simply because it happened, what of another person saying that a river flowing is proof of an invisible, pink unicorn? A river flowing is a naturally explainable event, just as any purported miracle is. However, it is based on ignorance that people accept particular events as miracles. It is the ignorance of the natural laws of science. Finally, the concept of a god certainly does not solve the unexplained events that happen on earth by making up miracles; after all, what can explain the existence of a god, except that this god was too a miracle? If that is so, then we run into the same problems as we did when we say that god created the Universe: who created god? Who miracled into existence god? The concept of miracles certainly cannot prove the existence of a god or any form of supernaturality.
In chapter 6, I examined claims that it was simply better to believe in the existence of god rather than not believe in the existence of god. First, I thoroughly examined the history of the doctrine of hell. Charles H. Spurgeon, Father Furniss, Father Arnall, and Jack T. Chick are preachers and writers who have recreated the concepts of hell in their own words to instill fear in their fellow men. The Bible, the Qur'an, the Roman religion myths, the Buddhist writings, and the other various religious authorities usually believe in a hell of a sort, as demonstrated in their scripture. Fighters for Freethought have always fought the intolerable doctrine of eternal punishment. Thomas Paine, Epictetus, Democritus, Diogenes of Oenoanda, Lucretius, David Hume, and Henry Louis Mencken were some of the nonbelievers who have mocked the doctrine of hell. It was the sole purpose, however, of Ingersoll and Epicurus to remove the doctrine of eternal punishment from the minds of men. Some argue that god sends bad souls to hell just like a good police officer sends criminals to jail, but the sole purpose of a jail is to protect the public, whereas the sole purpose of hell is to torture beings. Some claim that man sends himself to hell, which is just ludicrous, considering that god is responsible for creating man and therefore is entirely responsible for all the actions of man. Some claimed that hell exists but god is cruel and others claim that hell doesn't exist while a benevolent god does - these views are acceptable as they are logically consistent. Furthermore, we are told that it is to secure mental happiness if one believes in a religion, but I find this highly doubtful. Although I did conclude that immortality may be the only joyful concept of religion, the rest appeared to be sadistic and unkind. In regards to immortality, I stated that I understood I would die one day and cease to be conscious, and I also stated that I was not afraid of this nor depressed by it. Religion limits sex in many cases in all religions. Also, all religions seem to limit food intake and pleasure in general. Ingersoll noted many, many times on how religions always end up being vindictive methods of self-abuse. John Calvin was a theologian and a mayor of Geneva, a Swiss town. In the town, he banned drunkenness, songs, dances, and games, as well as my most favored form of entertainment: blasphemy. Self esteem is the next thing religion attacks, by claiming that you should not be proud, that you should be humble, and that you are a sinner. Religions also end up practicing self-abuse physically: Buddhists train themselves to keep perfectly still under the threat of being struck by a master and Christianity preaches self-castration and to take abuse or turn the other cheek. Also, in all religions universally, it is obviously apparent that scripture backs up the doctrine that believers are rewarded and non-believers are punished. All this concludes out to the fact that a believer with a low self esteem will enjoy the slave-master relationship provided by all the major religions. The next ploy of the benefit of belief is Pascal's Wager, which states it is better to believe simply because of the chance of a god who rewards with heaven. However, this is in error, as a god could exist that would reward Atheists with heaven, as this is purely based on what could be and not what is. Also, Pascal's Wager seems not to consider the amount that is lost - the emotional abuse of religion - and the life that is wasted by basing your life on an unfounded lie. If your whole life is based on preparing for a lie, then your whole life is wasted.
In chapter 7, I examined the possibility of the existence of god rather than arguing against some sort of proof for the existence of god. If a god exists, it is based purely on how we decide to define god. A god could exist, as long as this god is defined in such a way that it does not conflict with the three laws of Logic: the Law of Identity, the law of Excluded Middle, and the Law of Contradiction. Some define god as love, such as those who developed their concept of a god from the roots of Tolstoi's god of love (although Tolstoy did believe in an external being rather than just love as god). It is imperative to take note as to why god does not answer prayers or why the world is in a bad condition if one chooses to define god as a benevolent being. Furthermore, a god could exist, but it is simply possible, but not definitive. This is just how it may be likely that god is impossible, however, it is good to note that a god could exist, just like a planet could say "GOD" in its surface, a god could exist. Finally, it is imperative to note that god does exist, but purely as an idea.
Section III: A Few Remaining Words
Atheism and nonbelief of the gods is everywhere. It has been in the mind of Giordano Bruno who was burned for his refusal to worship Christianity. It was in the heart of Ingersoll as he fought to remove the foul doctrine of eternal punishment from the minds of men. It has existed in the character of Joseph McCabe who has written over 250 books on Atheism. It has echoed in the caves of time, bouncing off the walls indefinitely and held in the minds of the infinite Freethinkers; and it shall continue to exist and to prosper as long as someone continues to question what they are told of the indemonstrable. The winds of Atheism carry with it the incomparable view of truth and the absolute bliss of knowledge. Atheism may not confirm love or justice, unless it is the love of the natural and the justice of truth. The lack of belief in gods guarantees the most immortal truth: we are not immortal; this life is our only life, all that we can make of it is the highest of our possible accomplishments, and all that we may dream in this life is all that we may dream at all. This knowledge of Atheism - a confirmation of truth and value - is priceless.