The Great Chain

The Great Chain

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It is so Good to be Godless

It is the start of a new year and once again I am glad to be godless.

When theists rail against atheism, they often speak in apocalyptic terms, as if we represent some kind of shambling zombie horde, just itching to burn churches, put believers in camps, devour brains, and of course, eat babies.  It is almost as if they actually believe that atheism somehow strips the world of beauty, of meaning, of purpose, of wonderment.  To that, I can only shake my head.

It is good to be godless.

Far from stripping the world of wonderment, I have found the world and our Universe to be a far more magnificent, magical, awe inspiring place once I let go of the illusion of god.

I am humbled in the face of the Universe.  I feel reverence and awe when I look up at the cosmos.  I feel inspired by the magnificent and abundant beauty that has arisen all around us.  And that feeling of reverence is only compounded by the realization that there is no plan, no design, no authorship.  Those moments of randomness where a chance glance outward captures the rays of the setting sun perfectly echoed in the clouds.  Or a single wind warped tree clinging to the side of a cliff.

These are not moments created by any authorship - indeed, authorship would strip them of their grace and beauty in the same way that stacking the deck to ensure a royal flush would strip away the excitement of honestly receiving it.  It is the very unlikelihood and randomness of existence that makes it so powerful and beautiful.  And it is our ability to actually appreciate the wonder and grace and elegance and beauty of existence that sets our species apart.  Our ability to be moved by beauty.  Our ability to find meaning and power and inspiration in the world around us.

We do not need god to be moved.  We do not need god to be inspired.  We do not need god to feel reverence and awe.  This world in all of its magnificent, jaw dropping beauty is more than enough all on its own.  We are privileged to bear witness to the culmination and combination of countless billions of changes in billions of species over billions of years coupled with the magnificent evolution of the geophysical world wrought by erosion, plate tectonics, hydrology, gravity and time.

This beauty is rare, fleeting, improbable.  We are privileged to experience a world in full bloom.  To simply attribute such awesome beauty to some supra-entity is to miss out on one of the most vital and profound experiences of all - the rarity and preciousness of existence.  To attribute such beauty to god is to cheat onesself out of the truly amazing and profound power of life.

As late and wonderful Douglas Adams once wrote, "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"

It's 2011 and I'm glad to be godless.


  1. Authoritarian personalities crave an authority figure. They want to be told how to behave, what to think, and who to credit for whatever they notice. That's why I like the label "free-thinker," though it is reminiscent of "free love" which was kind of a bad idea.

    I'm glad to be godless too. It makes everything in the world that much more precious and special. The park without a fairy is MacArthur Park, and it needs some tending to by very natural human beings.

  2. They say I'm hateful and arrogant, that I want to silence their worship and tear down their faith. They say I'm a monster...evil and vicious, without morality. They say I am everything that is wrong with the world and that one day I will face eternal torture for my deeds.

    Those are all lies and I've never been happier to be god-free.

  3. You can claim there is no plan, no design, etc. but you do so in spite of the complex mathemtical order of the universe, and in so doing make a definite claim going beyond the simple definition of atheism as "lack of belief".

    Because Belief is not what you lack. You have plenty of beliefs, including that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself can be explained by mindless undirected processes.

    The trouble is, you can't demonstrate this, even in principle.


  4. @ Skeptic

    Really, you're trotting out the finely tuned Universe argument again? I've already dealt with that here.

    And of COURSE I have beliefs. We ALL have beliefs. I happen to be a secular humanist, which is a cultural and sociological system of beliefs.

    My atheism, however, is simply driven by the fact that there is no evidence to support the existence of any Gods or Gods. I do not claim to KNOW about the existence of God or Gods one way or another as theists routinely do, I'm agnostic as to the knowledge claim, however based on the evidence, I can make the reasonable inference that as there is no evidence in favor of a fantastical claim, the fantastical claim is probably false.

    And if you want to argue that an invisible sky man who secretly steers the development of the Universe whilst simultaneously concealing all evidence of his existence is NOT fantastical you might consider joining the Bigfoot society or the 9/11 Truthers or some other fringe conspiracy group.

    Existence and life do not require God. This has been amply demonstrated by cosmology, geology, bilogy, paleontology, chemistry, evolutionary and genetic biology, etc. The fact that our knowledge is imperfect does not justify your retreat to the God of the Gaps. That is just unconscionable intellectual and emotional laziness.

    God is merely a more problematic, complicated and wholly evidence free answer than what science has proffered and can already readily demonstrate. Even the theistic resolution of the uncaused cause problem is simply a retreat to a uroboristic deity. If, afterall, you can retreat to atemporal eternality to resolve the logical problem, so can the Universe.

  5. Godless people have much more to ridicule and laugh at. Imagine being denied the joy of reacting to "religious leaders" as complete twits? The joy of sending them up, disputing the nonsense they trot out, the respect they seem to expect and letting them know that normal people regard them as silly twats that spread a dogma of bigoted hatred and they deserve nothing more than a passing giggle.

  6. It's 05.21.2011....and I've never been any happier about being godless. In fact, today's hoax just made me feel more pity about the sheeple that really expected for this to happen.

  7. Beautiful words Jeff. I agree completely with every one of them. I will be subscribing.

  8. I did a GOOGLE search on something I have been saying for years!
    "The randomness of the universe is what makes existence so beautiful!"
    I am so happy to have found this blog, it really hit home for me!