Entries in an Atheist's Journal

Fiction By Laura Elizabeth // 10/10/2011

 March 16

 

I have just come back from a journalistic tour in Iran. There, I interviewed a Christian pastor facing execution for his beliefs. I asked him why he would rather die than give up his faith in God, as well as leave his wife and children without him.

"Wouldn't it be better," I asked. "To give it up outwardly, and be reunited with the family that needs you, than to go to your death? What is the point? And why would you love a god so much, if he demanded you to do such a thing?"

The pastor sat in silence for a while, and then he looked up at me and said, slowly,

"It all depends on how you look at it, sir. It depends on who holds your love the most. For me, my love is first to Christ, who saved my soul from sin and hell. It is only through loving him that I can truly love my family, though to a lesser degree."

"Wait," I interrupted. "Why? Why would he require that you die, if he loved you?"

"We love him, because he first loved us," replied the pastor. "He died for me. It is the least I can do to stand for him. I cannot deny that I love him, and believe in him, any more than I can deny that I have seen the sun shining in the sky above me, or felt the wind on my face."

"But you can't see him. It is much different than seeing the sun."

"A blind man could say the same to you," said the pastor. "Your eyes are blinded by sin, and you cannot see the sun of righteousness, just as a blind man cannot see the sun in the sky."

As he spoke to me, his whole face was alight with... with something. I can't say what.

These Christians are certainly persuasive. They say things so simply, and with such passion, that you could almost believe that what they are saying is true. Almost. Until you realize that they are dying for an unseen being; it's very much like setting out cookies and milk for Santa Claus. It would be just as absurd to die for the Tooth Fairy, as to die for a god you can't see. And not only that, but a god who is cruel and insensitive, and demands death for someone faithful to him. Humph.

 

April 7

 

I debated a prominent Creationist yesterday. He brought up the (by now really old and lame) argument that the universe could not exist without a creator anymore than a watch can exist without a watchmaker. First of all, this is absurd. Where did the watchmaker come from?
I then brought up the reality of pain and evil, which always seem to throw them off track a bit as they attempt to insist that it is man's fault, not god's, that there is evil and suffering. I asked him why, then, did little children suffer; little children who have never done anything wrong. I tell you what, these Creationists are so entrenched in their silly ideas of god that they will excuse him for the worst crimes committed, though he could have stopped them all if he wanted. They say that it is men, not god, creating the evil because of their natures, and, well, blah blah blah. All the same stuff I've heard before, over and over. It's not convincing!

Then we had question time, and someone from the audience asked me where we got morals and ethics if we simply evolved. They ask that every time. When will they come up with something original? It's quite easy to see where ethics and morals came from: it's only natural that not killing someone is the right thing to do. We don't have to have a god up there, telling us what right and wrong is. Pshaw.
Someone needs to tell these Christians how to be original and to use their brains a bit more. Most of them don't even have a Master's Degree, and then they presume to question someone who's been in the field and studied it extensively. It's all nonsense to say that a god exists. As Russell said, we might as well believe in a tiny teacup, caught up in the orbit around earth, too small to be observed by any apparatus that we have, and then insist on calling anyone who disbelieves in it a fool and a liar.

Here is basically what a typical exchange between an atheist and a theist looks like:

Theist: There is a god.

Aethist: Prove it.

Theist: Look around you. It's easy to see that someone made everything around us.

Aethist: Why can't we see him then?

Theist: He is a spirit.

Atheist: Then how do you know about him?

Theist: Through his word.

Atheist: How do you know it wasn't just written by men?

Theist: Because it says it is the Word of God.

Atheist: That's hardly proof. Anyways, it's full of errors.

Theist: Well... um... just look around you... you'll see the Bible is true!

Atheist: I've been looking around for a long time, and I still haven't seen that.

Theist: Guess you're going to hell, then.

Atheist: Whatever. I don't have time for this foolishness. I'm going back to real science.

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A/N:
Please tell me what ya'll think about this! There might be more some time, if I get any ideas. I don't know if American journalists are really allowed to interview Christians in prison in Iran (probably not), but I just wrote it as a "Suppose this happened?" And I'm just guessing that this is how atheists think. I really have no idea what they think! They seem quite inscrutable to me :)

 

Comments

 I LOVE the analogy about the

 I LOVE the analogy about the blind man and the sun. 
I think the idea of this is really good, and your execution of it, too. The first entry I wouldn't change a bit. But in the second, he seems a bit silly. Some of their arguments ARE silly, but I mean more that he sounds like a high school kid frustrated with Christians than a scholarly debater. More his side comments of 'blah blah blah,' etc.
Just a suggestion that might make it a bit more realistic - though maybe you're going for funny; I don't know.

Kyleigh | Tue, 10/11/2011

 Thanks, Kyleigh! Yes, you're

 Thanks, Kyleigh! Yes, you're right. He kind of does sound like a highschooler. Perhaps because the author is still a teenager... :D I'll try changing that. Although, he is frustrated with Christians, because he can't understand them and has a nagging feeling that they're right :) But he probably would sound more scholarly, even if writing in his journal, because he knows it could be published after he dies.

Laura Elizabeth | Tue, 10/11/2011

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The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

Actually, I've noticed that a

Actually, I've noticed that a lot of the time people like this are very immature and high-schooler-ish in their attitudes and responses to debate, especially if something a Christian says convicts them. It's almost laughable, sometimes, the way they get so evasive, circular and nonsensical in their arguments, even whiny in some cases. It would be laughable, anyway, if it wasn't such a serious deal.

Anyway, good essay, Laura. Very compelling and thought-provoking.

Mary | Tue, 10/11/2011

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

 Thank you, Mary. Yes, I've

 Thank you, Mary. Yes, I've noticed that too. Now, I don't know what to do :D I'm stuck between Kyleigh's suggestion (which I agree with), and your's (which I also agree with)!

Laura Elizabeth | Tue, 10/11/2011

*************************************************
The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

This is a very interesting

This is a very interesting essay. I, personally, am not a Christian. I am not an athiest either, but I am agnostic, meaning that I believe in the possibility of something being up there. I believe in evolution, but I acknowledge that there are some things that can't be explained by science.

Now, I don't think that there is a right or a wrong-Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Athiest-we all have a right to believing what we want to. We are, after all, only searching for answers, and most likely won't find everything.

So, obviously, I am not going to wholeheartedly agree with all of views expressed in this particular essay. I have seen Christians also make highschooler like debates for their religion. It is difficult to see the views of someone who doesn't believe what you do, let alone put it into words. So, overall, I thought that you did a pretty good job :)

Erin | Tue, 10/11/2011

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Well written!

I love all your athiest stories--you handle the characters so well! Over time I've formulated my own opinions on most things religion-related. So, yeah, I may not agree with everything the Christian examples said, and I certaintly don't agree with everything the athiest said! But very good.

My opinion--of course God can't stop things from happening! I wholeheartedly believe that. I do believe, though, He can help you along the way of recovery. ;) So yes, agree with that there! That was an especially well-written paragraph.

Overall, a good job! You wrote it so well! :D 

Madeline | Tue, 10/11/2011

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

 Thank you :D I certainly

 Thank you :D

I certainly didn't mean to imply that I believe God can't stop things from happening. That's just the atheist speaking there. I tried to put myself into an atheist's shoes, so none of the views expressed are my own :) I do believe that God can stop things from happening, but that He doesn't, because of His own wisdom.

Laura Elizabeth | Tue, 10/11/2011

*************************************************
The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

 I think that if you kept his

 I think that if you kept his style of writing but changed some of the side comments, like 'blah blah blah' to 'etc., etc., etc.' to make them a bit more scholarly it'd be a good mix between the two sides of it.

Kyleigh | Wed, 10/12/2011

The Athiest actually makes

The Athiest actually makes some good points. Many things, of course, he's dismissing because he just doesn't want to hear about the fall of man and such... and in other instances, he's too right. Often Christians have no idea why they believe the Bible is true...

Anna | Wed, 10/19/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Wow!

This was fantastically writen, I think it sounded very... truthful of what an atheist... might think. Of course, everyone is different so some atheists might think like this and might not, half and half you know. LOL! I think if I were atheist, I wouldn't really spend all that much time trying to prove everyone wrong and just go along with what I believe and not really put much thought to it... maybe that's because my agnostic beliefs pretty much follow those lines I've just said. I don't think of God 24-7 you know, but I guess for some people it's very, very important.

I think both Christians and Atheists (and really anyone really heated about their own religion) can make high-school-er sort of toddler comments and stuff like that... I most certainly have, I think Kyleigh knows what I mean, LOL.

This brought up some very interesting philosophical subjects, which would take a long time to talk about, like evolution, creation, the bible, God, all that sort of stuff!

Very, very, very, very well writen! Good job!

Kassady | Thu, 06/21/2012

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
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Write On!