Poems by a Fed-Up (but Otherwise Really Happy) Atheist

Archive for May, 2011

Don’t Tell Us What We Think

How is it that Christians feel qualified to proclaim what atheists think or feel?

  • Atheists are filled with despair
  • Atheists lead empty, meaningless lives
  • Atheists dread death
  • Atheists are immoral

Have they even talked to an atheist? Because they’ve got it all wrong.

Atheists aren’t despairing. We don’t lead empty, meaningless lives. Because we don’t believe in an afterlife, or any hocus-pocus god-figures, we find joy and meaning in the here-and-now. We build rich and fulfilling lives for ourselves around family, personal relationships, our work and hobbies. We strive to leave the world a better place. We try to get as much as we can out of this life, because this is the only life we’ll have. So we fill it with joy and happiness.

Most of us don’t dread death, either. Why dread nothingness? It’s not such a bad state. The 1500’s weren’t a bad time for me; I wasn’t alive. Similarly, the 2500’s won’t be a bad time for me: I won’t be alive then, either. Christians may have more to dread than we do: they are often bombarded with the angry-god scenario – if you don’t do such-and-such, you’ll burn in hell! If you don’t believe thus-and-so, you’ll be tortured for eternity!

Now that’s some scary stuff. I can see why Christians might dread death.  Getting into heaven might be a little dicey. You don’t want to go through the wrong door. What if God is having a bad day on Judgment Day? What if God is angrier about that little episode in college than you realized?

If I were a Christian, I’d be biting my nails. I might even feel (this is ironic!) despair.

And atheists certainly aren’t immoral. I hope it won’t come as a disappointment to Christians to learn that being a Christian does not automatically confer moral standing. Reading the Bible and believing in God does not automatically give you moral bragging rights.

Have you read the Bible? (There’s a poem in a previous post you might like to read!)

Atheists know, just as well as you do, that it’s wrong to lie, or steal, or hurt others. We don’t need the Bible to tell us this. We also don’t need a scary god-daddy standing over us, threatening to hurt us if we aren’t moral. And actually, I suspect you don’t, either.

Here’s a question for you: If God were to somehow appear before us (he’s Real!), and announce unequivocally that he’s done with Earth and humanity, that all bets are off – you can all forget the whole Christianity thing, he’s going away and not coming back – would you Christians suddenly become immoral? Would you suddenly be consumed with the desire to steal, lie, rape, and murder? Would you go out and “live like animals?”

I most emphatically believe the answer is no. I really don’t think you would. Because even though God would no longer be holding a big stick over your heads (or the threat of eternal damnation and hellfire), you know it’s wrong to hurt others.

Just like atheists do.

(And if you don’t know hurting others is fundamentally wrong, then I whole-heartedly urge you to continue believing in God, with his big stick and eternal hellfire!)

Maybe Christians are used to making big sweeping proclamations without any evidence to back it up:

  • God approves of a and b, but doesn’t approve of x and y (often conveniently tracking with whatever issues Christians happen to approve and disapprove of)
  • To get into heaven, you must act such-and-such way, not this other way (which again, will conveniently track with current Christian “values”)
  • Heaven looks like – whatever, fill in the blank: Jesus, family members, God’s right hand, angels with harps, blah blah blah
  • God is for this army, but against that army
  • God says “An eye for an eye!” No, no, wait, he’s changed his mind, now it’s “Turn the other cheek!” He thinks such-and-such now, not thus-and-so (even though both things are in the Bible); but he really means such-and-such now, trust us, we know
  • Evolution is silly/”just a theory”/untrue
  • The earth is 6,000 years old

And the list goes on.

So maybe they can’t help themselves when they proclaim, without evidence or seemingly any knowledge on the subject whatsoever, what atheists think and feel.  Who we are. What we’re like. The extent of our happiness, the depth of our satisfaction, the level of our morality.

I wish they would just ask us, though. Instead of proclaiming for us. Since it’s so conspicuously and preposterously wrong.

So to you Christians out there – the ones who like to pontificate about atheists, the ones who say we’re “despairing” and lead meaningless lives, etc.  – go ahead and proclaim to the world what you yourselves think and feel. About you, yourself. But please don’t tell the world what atheists think and feel.

Because you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.

God vs. Dog

God vs. Dog

When feeling lonely in the night, to God some people call,
But my dog is right beside me: she never left at all!
I make the slightest murmur and my dog is by my head,
She gives my hand a friendly lick, she snuggles me in bed.

God’s love is downright chilly: “Do This” and “Don’t Do That.”
(Unless, of course, you break His rules, and feel His fiery wrath.)
His comfort is cerebral. You must obey the laws.
A dog just plain adores you, and overlooks your flaws.

Dog’s love is unconditional; she loves you through and through.
She fills you up with selfless love, she puts no strings on you.
They say that if you listen hard, God’s voice is in your heart.
But no one has to “listen hard” to hear a real-live bark!

Now here’s a Truth: I feel it, from my head down to my feet:
God’s love is on the stern side; a dog’s is oh-so-sweet.
Your soul is feeling empty? There’s meager help from God.
To fill your soul to “overflow,” nothing beats a dog!

Christian Love

Christian Love

Christians are so loving! They love you through and through.
Don’t know a thing about you, but they love you, yes they do!
They’re moral, kind and loving, taking orders from Above;
The world would be a better place if filled with Christian love!

But then a Christian family finds an atheist in their midst:
The retribution’s swift and harsh; it’s shouted and it’s hissed.
Christian loving might include to badger, scream, or shun,
There’s very little tolerance if you beat a different drum.
Families can be torn apart – they simply cannot stand
You to have a different view: it’s their way, or be damned.
They quote their Bible verses; they threaten and they pray,
They won’t respect or listen to a single thing you say.
The vitriol, the hurtfulness – so callous for a dove!
I must confess to needing less if this is Christian love.

There’s a special kind of Christian love if you happen to be gay.
They’ll love you ‘til you’re not yourself, they’ll love the truth away.
They quote their Bible verses: “Accept Jesus and be saved!”
They explain that gays are sinners: “You’re immoral! You’re depraved!”
Their loving God can wipe out towns – vindictively, some claim
God raised a storm, Katrina. It’s those gays who are to blame.
“God hates you!”  and “You make me sick!,” and “You! Repent your ways!”
Hate signs, screams, and beatings, that’s the love they show to gays.
“Change yourself!” “Don’t marry!” It’s more loving (seems to me)
To accept them fully as they are. (Hint hint: equality.)

Christian love is loving? Unless you think like them,
They’ll yell and scream and bully you with classic Christian venom.
Want to hear an atheist pray? Here’s what I’m thinking of:
God save us from this ugliness that some call Christian love.

The Battle of the Bards!

My poem The Bible Makes You Better? inspired a reply in verse from a reader. I replied, also in verse, on his website. We then launched into a heated and poetic exchange. Read the full “Battle of the Bards” at Bill Peddie’s blog.

Believe It If You Want To

Believe It If You Want To

Atheists are baffled: your position makes no sense.
You claim to know what’s true (or not), but have no evidence!
You can’t hold up the Bible as your “proof” – that logic’s bad:
Kind of like a salesman – “It’s true! Just read my ad!”

If you’re gonna claim your story’s real, and that you hold The Truth,
You gotta have a teeny bit of independent proof.
Until you’ve got some evidence (and its testing doesn’t fail),
The stuff you “know” to be so “true” is just a fairy-tale.

So here is what we’re saying: Believe what you believe!
Believe that Christ is risen! Blame everything on Eve!
Believe in all those miracles with wine and loaves and fish,
Believe you’ll live forever! (That is a happy wish.)

But keep your god’s haphazard laws out of public sight:
Don’t dictate who can marry whom (injustice isn’t right!).
Don’t teach creation stories in a science class; don’t tell
Those you disapprove of that they’re sinners bound for hell.
When it comes to an abortion, or same-sex wedding rings,
If you believe that they are wrong, then don’t you do those things!
It’s wrong – it’s absolutely wrong – for your religious view
To restrict the lives of others! (You know, the Taliban does that, too.)

So bind your mind with nonsense, flog yourselves for sin,
Pray to God He takes away the mess He put you in.
Believe it in your heart of hearts, believe it without proof,
But the rest of us won’t listen when you rant about “The Truth.”
Until you have some evidence that indicates God’s real,
Spare us all your Christian rules and your religious zeal.
Hear the message, loud and clear, from all non-Christian folk:
Don’t ram your spiteful made-up god down our collective throat.

The Bible Makes You Better?

The Bible Makes You Better?

So atheists have no morals ‘cause we don’t believe in god,
But the Bible gives you morals? I find that rather odd.

God declared to Abraham, “Go kill your only son.” (Genesis 22:2)
In the end, he didn’t have to; but what would you have done?
All kids who “curse their parents” should now be put to death, (Leviticus 20:9)
Plus kill all Sunday workers! (Will anyone be left?)  (Exodus 35:2)
If you rape a virgin, marry her! Then everything is great. (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)
Says God: “Kill men and women; the virgins you can rape.” (Numbers 31:17-18)
A brother rapes his sister; a father tells the crowd, (2 Samuel 13:11-14)
“Gang-rape my virgin daughter!” This Bible makes you proud? (Judges 19:22-24)

God slaughters every firstborn in a fearsome show of might, (Exodus 12:29-30)
Atheists are horrified – hey God! That wasn’t right!
The Bible’s full of murder – did God forget it’s wrong? (1 Chronicles 21:14, Deuteronomy 3:3-7)
Dead women, children, animals – the bloody list goes on.  (2 Kings 10:25, Joshua 6:20-21, Numbers 15:35-36, Deuteronomy 20:16-17, Psalms 137:9, Deuteronomy 13:15-16, Joshua 11:21-22, Ezekiel 9:5-7, Hosea 13:16)

The Bible talks ‘bout buying slaves, just like we buy our bread. (Leviticus 25:44-46)
I wonder why it didn’t say that slavery’s wrong, instead?
Oh here’s a moral teaching! To kill your slave’s a crime. (Exodus 21:20)
But beat him so he’s down for days? Well, that’s completely fine.  (Exodus 21:21)

You believe the Ten Commandments, the “one man one woman” rot,
Gonna kill those Sunday workers? Do you believe, or do you not?
If you stand up for one part of it, you stand up for the rest.
Those virgin rapes, those massacres –  I dare you! Call it blessed.

Atheists know that murder’s wrong; rape and slavery too.
Didn’t learn that from the Bible. Hey Christians – nor did you!
The slaughters, all that raping – you think those things are good?
All those acts should be condemned – a moral person would.
You think you’ve higher morals ‘cause you’ve read that violent book?
The Bible makes you better? Better take another look.