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Why I Am an Atheist

Nature is my staff                  

Atheist Atom Symbol (gold)

Atheist Atom Symbol  (Photo credit: WikipediaThe universe my rod

The Universe my rod

I find religion’s  notion

Of what God is

To be odd

 

The first Gods were creations

By people who could see

That there are things far greater

Than them, or you, or me

 

These Gods – they represented

The “spirits” all around

The thunder, lightning, rainfall

Trees, fish, the sacred ground

 

The Aboriginal people

Thought these – and more – “divine”

Respected all their power

And took them as a sign

 

And somewhere in antiquity

Someone with big ideas

Thought if these engendered awe

They’d then engender fears

 

And so it came to pass

That someone else built on that plan

And shifted awe of nature

To awe of some “sky man”

 

No longer were the spirits

Of mountains and of trees

Revered as sacred beings

That brought men to their knees

 

Instead the temple priests

Who figured out the game

Co-opted all that well-placed fear

And misplaced it in “His” name

 

To them it stood to reason

That man held all dominion

And nature was ours to be used

In their learned opinion

 

And people could be pushed and pulled

As long as they “believe”

And from that moment it was truly

Easy to deceive

 

And so they wrote a Bible

And in it they averred

That God created everything

And it was made “the word”

 

And people having little

Education in that day

Were told that this is how “it” is

And “it” was underway

 

And Judeo-Christians learned that God

Made all in six long days

A mere ten thousand years ago

Well, God does  have his ways

 

And yea, He did all that about

Ten thousand years ago

(Science shows we’re thirteen

Billion years of age or so)

 

But science cannot be believed

In matters of creation

Reason holds no sway

Over fiery conflagration

 

(This alone should be the hint

That God is mere device

To keep the thoughtless scared to death

Scared not  to sacrifice)

 

Anyway –

 

At the same time God created Adam

And – as the story goes

Woman came from Adam’s rib –

And that was that – case closed

 

And verily, and yea we say

Thou shall not question why

Or think, or challenge any word

Of Him up in the sky

 

And he who lies with another he

And she who lies with she

Must be then all put to death

Leviticus two-oh-one-three

 

And owning slaves is okay ‘cause

The Good Book finds no fault

And Jonah lived inside a whale

And Lot’s wife turned to salt

 

And Bible folk say these tales are

Apocryphal – truth hidden

So gay folks needn’t worry

Fundamentalists are just kiddin’

 

And war? And murder? And man’s

Inhumanity to man?

These things are none of God’s affair

Have faith – He has a plan

 

Anyway –

 

So nature was by then a thing

Disposable to shape

To take from and despoil

To pillage and to rape

 

And yet I’ve never heard that “word”

Mine eyes have never seen

That glory – but I have seen lightning,

Mountains, grasses green

 

I’ve heard the ocean’s mighty roar

Seen the stars we spin amidst

Seen photos of our tiny planet

By the sun been kissed

 

I’ve seen the majestic elephant

The shark, the whale, the bee

Seen waterfalls and tiny buds

Walked deserts, dove the sea

 

I know each snowflake will be different

Throughout eternity

And within each grain of sand

A googolplex of mystery

 

There’s proof that I am made from

The big bang long ago

Those atoms that have never left

This universe we know

 

And when I need to speak with

Or worship the divine

I stand on holy Mother Earth

And look up at my shrine

 

 

In this matter Barking in the Dark in no way wishes to diminish anyone else’s belief system. I am merely stating my own.

 

 

© tony powers and Barking in the Dark, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to tony powers and Barking in the Dark with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About barkinginthedark

Tony Powers is a writer/actor/musician. His full bio may be seen by clicking on the picture, and then clicking on either of the 2 boxes below it.

Discussion

46 thoughts on “Why I Am an Atheist

  1. 2 long …

    Like

    Posted by walid ataya | September 30, 2012, 11:43 pm
  2. I especially enjoyed this very beautiful well expressed poem. For those that are like minded, it is wonderfully eloquent. For those not, it is provocative in a perfect manner so as to perhaps open a mind, cause a question. Bravo.

    Like

    Posted by lindakraus | May 22, 2012, 4:46 pm
  3. I so love this, Tony. So much. I am actually rather amazed at the number of atheists there are now. I have no idea of an actual number, but I see so many people who blog admit their atheism plus there are so many sites of such. Our numbers are growing as people come to realize and ACCEPT the truth. The bible is nothing more than a book of fiction used to maintain control over the masses. And the churches still attempt to do so – even more so.

    However there is one passage in the bible which I do believe, “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return” (Genesis 3:19). So, when we pass we are nothing more than ashes to ashes and dust to dust – unless we’re pumped full of embalming fluid… then we just slow down the process.

    I often hear Christians ask or comment that without the promise of eternal heaven (or hell) then for what reason would an atheist be “good”? Christians assume that if we do not believe in heaven then we will be evil and do whatever we please since we have no fear of damnation.

    My response is always very simple and often shaming to a Christian. I explain that atheists are good people because that is what we want and choose to be without the promise of heaven. It is much more fulfilling to do so because it is what is right, not because a book or person at a pulpit tells us to do so. So invigorating!

    Like

    Posted by Michelle at Motley News | May 20, 2012, 10:35 am
    • @ Michelle and others,

      Actually, I’m moved by Michelle’s comment to be a little contentious here. I don’t mean to start a big argument, but rather to try to clarify a couple of points for the record. I believe the bible is much more than a book of fiction. It is a diverse compilation of myths, accumulated lore, and in some cases a written record of actual events that has been edited for religious purposes by committees. I submit that it is also a fundamental early part of literacy for Western civilization, it being the primary reading material before the printing press. History could not be taught and understood without an understanding of and familiarity with the “good book”.

      I would also argue with the statement that atheists are good people. Why should anyone doubt that some bad people are atheists too? Altruism, or the lack of it, can be explained biologically. My head just happens to be full of a book on the human condition I recently finished, “The Social Conquest of Earth” by Edward O. Wilson, an evolutionary biologist. It is his contention that the evolution of human beings is a matter of both genetics and social patterns, a matter of co-evolution. Thus, he says, it is understandable that humanity’s individual selfish nature is always in conflict with his tribal nature wherein cooperation is a survival trait. Incidentally, Wilson also says that religion will never resolve that dual nature.

      Like

      Posted by Jim Wheeler | May 20, 2012, 1:43 pm
      • Hi, Jim. You’re not starting an argument at all. You’ve presented your views in a respectable manner. No hate and no name-calling. Sadly, that is becoming rare these days – even in our Congress which is supposed to be filled with adults – but that’s another discussion and post….

        Your description of the bible is a more detailed, accurate description of my “book of fiction.” I believe the same thing, “myths, lore, and some actual events (although with this I believe anything actual is not much more than name and location).

        In regards to me “atheists are good people”…. There are no absolutes in life. Of course there are horrid people who are atheists, and the whole run of the spectrum on how we judge people. My point of emphasis here is merely that many Christians preach that atheism is evil and those of us who do not believe in god must be evil as well.

        But I will note that every atheist I have personally known has a much higher set of morals and integrity than many of those I know who “live by the word of the bible.” Naturally I have not met every atheist, but I know quite a few. I actually find the number I personally know to be somewhat heartening in the fact that there are more who have “seen the light” (sorry, couldn’t resist) than I used to think.

        Like

        Posted by Michelle at Motley News | May 20, 2012, 3:32 pm
    • That’s well put, Michelle. A reason occurs to me as to why you haven’t met amoral atheists. It just might be that people of that persuasion who are “bad” also have no desire to talk about it with others. It’s a hypothesis. 🙂

      Like

      Posted by Jim Wheeler | May 20, 2012, 4:26 pm
      • I don’t inquire about people’s past. We all have our own skeletons. When I meet and get to know someone, their morals show. That is my basis for learning who someone is and what they’re about. One can tell by the little things they do… Do they hold the door open for the person behind them? When someone is signaling to come into their lane, do they allow them? Or do the speed up and block them? These are only a few examples of how people’s traits show through. For the most part, it works. People who are putting on a “show” focus on the big or major actions and neglect the minor ones. it’s amazing what you can learn about a person by watching the little things they do. Do they take the grocery cart to the “cart gathering area”? (I don’t know what it’s called) Or do they leave the cart just out of reach from their vehicle. These are all small actions but reflect upon respect for our fellow man. All of my atheist friends do simple things like this, while a few people I know who swear by the bible do not. And I mean a consistent basis. We all have our moments and react in a way we normally wouldn’t. Watching and studying people and the little things they do has always fascinated me and I’ve been doing it since I was a teen – about 30 years now. I love “people-watching.” Amazing creatures, we are.

        Like

        Posted by Michelle at Motley News | May 20, 2012, 4:36 pm
    • thank you Michelle, and i am heartened by the civil exchange between you and Jim, and, like you, i believe that for the most part, people who make a big show of their righteousness are not as righteous as they would have you believe. And – all the Atheists i know are quite ethical in their behavior, as well as more conscious of their puny place in the universe, and they are aware, unlike the super religious, that they are NOT the most important, or greatest, thing since sliced bread. i had to respond to this one tho’ am still working. continue…

      Like

      Posted by barkinginthedark | May 21, 2012, 1:23 am
  4. hey tony! thought you might think this is funny (davo showed your blog…) xx zoe

    In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

    Dear Dr. Laura:

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

    7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    Your adoring fan,

    James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

    Like

    Posted by zoe | May 20, 2012, 1:37 am
    • I love this. I’m sure she’ll try to answer him, but there’s no way an intelligent answer to it can be composed — unless she just says she’s sorry. I won’t my hold my breath waiting for her to see why she should be.

      Like

      Posted by Sparks In Shadow | May 20, 2012, 1:53 am
      • Sadly, her listeners will only see it as another liberal elitist attempt to undermine her and god.
        Hope it gets a ton of coverage though…

        Like

        Posted by El Guapo | May 20, 2012, 1:55 am
    • oh Zoe, this is SO wonderful, Prof. Kaufman truly knows how to put ignorance in its place…i’m sure “Dr.” Laura did not respond. thanks girl…and my thanks to your dad for showing this to you – which, in turn, engendered this GREAT comment from you. i really appreciate it. xoxo continue…

      Like

      Posted by barkinginthedark | May 20, 2012, 3:44 am
  5. Great poem. I’ve been thinking, for several years now, along the lines that a bunch of scholars got to talking way back when and decided that there was no afterlife, but that if people really realized that, they’d all go nuts and just sit around rocking and moaning, or kill and rape and rob each other at will, with no rules whatsoever. So they invented Jesus and the Bible to give people false expectations, and follow some rules that they should have followed anyway. But no, it’s probably more like you say: the fear and control thing (though they achieve the same thing, don’t they?).

    Like

    Posted by trailertrashdeluxe | May 20, 2012, 12:54 am
  6. As an agnostic, I don’t have problems with the ideas of religion – do no harm, love your fellow man, look out for each other.
    It’s that religion has been corrupted in service of everything else that gets me.

    Eloquent as always, Tony. And I’ll take Mother Earth over the rest any day of the week.

    Like

    Posted by El Guapo | May 19, 2012, 11:34 pm
  7. This resonates like a bell in clear mountain air …

    Like

    Posted by PiedType | May 18, 2012, 7:18 pm
  8. Fantastic. Though I don’t think you need the final disclaimer. To hell with it!

    Like

    Posted by Sam Flowers | May 18, 2012, 5:10 pm
  9. I submit that you should have no fear of diminishing anyone’s belief system by this posting – believers will avoid it as heresy and blasphemy. But as poetry it is very good indeed and pleasing to those receptive to the precepts. Nicely done.

    Like

    Posted by Jim Wheeler | May 18, 2012, 3:18 pm
  10. Nicely done indeed!

    Like

    Posted by chancedagger | May 18, 2012, 2:33 pm
  11. Wouldn’t it be a lark if there was some “Sky Dude” – a Big Lebowski – laughing his head off at all these ants running around killing each other and craving shining things ? That would be one universal irony (geddit ?) .

    Like

    Posted by Single Malt Monkey | May 18, 2012, 1:34 pm
    • ants is right Al…if only people got the relativity of it all…actually these “smart” selfish cocksuckers do, but they just don’t give a shit because they think life stops when they’re dead (which i wish was now). thanks, continue…

      Like

      Posted by barkinginthedark | May 19, 2012, 6:11 pm
  12. So much said here, so much that needed to be said ! No matter what a person’s beliefs, I think its so important for the masses to wake up & see that “religion” is a man made concept & really is used as a control mechanism ! I get so fustrated with people who believe in a “spiritual god” but follow the bidding of child molesting popes – wake up!
    When I was growing up (as a lutheran) I often thought if all this god /heaven/ hell stuff is correct, then based on the amount of starving children and cruelty in the world, we must be in hell.

    You hit it out of the ballpark- the secret to the truth lies in nature…..

    Like

    Posted by MJ, Nonstepmom | May 18, 2012, 1:01 pm
  13. applause, standing ovation in fact.

    Like

    Posted by Valentine Logar | May 18, 2012, 11:40 am
  14. I love, love that last verse.

    And great use of googolplex! That took me back to the good old days of Carl Sagan on PBS.

    Like

    Posted by Sparks In Shadow | May 18, 2012, 10:25 am
  15. While I plod prosaically to present such thoughts, you lilt poetically. Great post. Valid thoughts!

    Like

    Posted by Archon's Den | May 18, 2012, 7:53 am
  16. And so it came to pass
    That someone else built on that plan
    And shifted awe of nature
    To awe of some “sky man”

    Omg Tony what a brilliant poetry…Loved it
    so true and i just hate these so called self proclaimed god men who in their airconditioned offices in temples take desicions on behalf of God…i wonder they get mails or sms’s from HIm

    those who love and believe in God would embrace every thing he created and not find fault….marvelous write up

    Like

    Posted by Soma Mukherjee | May 18, 2012, 6:30 am
    • “those who love and believe in God would embrace every thing he created and not find fault” this sentence defines “true believers” hypocrisy, and inability to think critically…to connect the dots…and how illogical they are. marvelous. thanks Soma, continue…

      Like

      Posted by barkinginthedark | May 19, 2012, 6:19 pm
  17. Reblogged this on I Want Ice Water and commented:
    This is… beautiful!

    Like

    Posted by IzaakMak | May 18, 2012, 6:27 am
  18. That was… beautiful!

    Like

    Posted by IzaakMak | May 18, 2012, 6:24 am
  19. That is beautiful Tony, and it does seem to be true that things once held sacred we now treat as disposable. I like the she and one three rhyme.

    Like

    Posted by davo | May 18, 2012, 6:24 am

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