Monday, March 2, 2009

Atheist Quote of the Week 24

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
~Carl Sagan

This is truly the root of atheism. Believers are always presenting Pascal's Wager in some form or another: "Why not believe? If you believe, and there is a supreme being, you get to go to heaven. If you don't, and there is one, you'll go to hell. Either way, none of it matters if there is no God, so what difference does it make? Believing could win you eternal life, or nothing. Not believing could get you eternal suffering, or nothing. Why choose the option with no good outcomes?"

As always, they focus too much on the hypothetical afterlife - and only their version of it, might I add - and not on the life we know we are currently living. I consider it a massive waste of my precious time alive to sell my integrity, my dignity, and my intelligence for some vague sense of reassurance that nothing is my fault, "God has a plan". I refuse to live in a state of deliberate ignorance and vapidity just so that I get to have easy answers to all the great questions of existence. Why would I want to ignore the way the universe really works just so I wouldn't have to learn and grow throughout my lifetime? Why would I want to have morality dictated to me so that I don't have to make any difficult decisions using my own mental faculties? It's laziness, it's fear, and it's an unwillingness to accept that we are not special and that there are no easy answers.

Sure, it would be nice to believe that some father-figure deity up there cares about me and has created some kind of destiny just especially for me. And it would be nice to think that this guy wanted me to live forever in eternal happiness (just as long as I believed in his existence, no matter how much doublethink and willful ignorance it required). But it's more important to me to be honest in my search for purpose and knowledge in the lifetime I know I have, rather than to sacrifice my integrity and my intelligence in exchange for something for which no one can offer proof. Why focus on an afterlife when I can have a sincere and fulfilling present-life?

Delusion, no matter how much more comforting, is not worth losing the ability to understand the sober truth of the reality of the universe.

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