Do We Need More Atheists in This World?April 16, 2008 at 2:16 am | Posted in teologi, tuhan | 11 Comments
What do the anti-democracy Taliban, the pro-democracy United States of America and the democracy-in-progress Indonesia have in common? These political entities believe in God, a Supreme Being believed to be somewhere here, there or everywhere, watching us, His created mortals that will be judged later in the afterlife.
The Taliban has had and always wanted to set up an Islamic state ruled by the Law of God. The United States, though it was never officially a Christian country, is headed by a Christian, and the two strongest candidates to replace him are also Christians. Indonesia is often and also officially said to be a Pancasila State, which considers the idea of the One True God as its first credo.
With all due respects to all smart, rational atheists and agnostics out there – whose numbers are believed to have significantly increased in the past century –, most nations in the world are unfortunately (or the believers may say miraculously) headed by theists. They may not be religiously observant persons, but they still look for God when they need Him. Even Sarkozy, who heads France, the main proponent of secularism and home to atheists and anti-religion activists, married in a church (Well, I don’t know for sure, but he did support for religions to have more ‘active role’ in public life).
And yes, we know the world is not getting better with the theists still in charge. It is likely that more people are living in fears. The Northern countries, which represent the mental image of the developed West fear the violence and atrocities incited by Islamic militants, while the Southern countries, which bear the post-colonial image of “deprivation and backwardness”, are always suspicious of their Caucasian enemies, whom they condemn as hypocritical imperialists who prosper on the back of ages of inhumane colonialism.
The latest headlines in media are not about AIDS, poverty, bird flu or global warming. It is about a man who for no good reason insisted on airing his film entitled Fitna, which according to Muslims contains fitnah (defamation) against their faith. He is not the first to try to meddle with the angry, cornered Islamic fundamentalists. Death fatwa against Salman Rushdie and the September 11 attacks have become the collective memory of the post-Cold War society.
I just discussed this with a friend, do we need more atheists and agnostics in this world? Will the world be a better place without religions, without God?
I don’t know the number of atheists or agnostics in this world today. One thing I know for sure, the majority of mankind still believe in God. And…again, the world is not getting better. Is God to blame for that? Is He to blame for the death of thousands of people in the WTC, Iraq and Afghanistan? Is He to blame for the increasing food prices around the world? Is He to blame for the global economic slowdown? Can’t we just blame communism? The U.S? China? Why not blaming capitalism? Or Zionist Conspiracy? We have plenty of scapegoats, why Him? 😀
I think it is pretty unfair to blame God alone. After all, some people hate God and advocate the idea that He does not EXIST. So, how could you blame something that simply never EXISTS. OK, it is perhaps the IDEA of God that causes all the miseries in this world. But, hey, most Christian nations in Europe that believe in the idea of God, such as Sweden or Switzerland, are happy. Some oil-rich Muslim countries, who think they are submitting to the will of God, such as Qatar, Brunei Darussalam and, of course, Saudi Arabia sound happy too. They think they are ‘blessed’ by God. Look at the Jews, they are happy too though they have been historically nurtured to believe in Yahweh, the God that saved them from Pharaoh and Hitler.
Well, I don’t think that we can blame the idea of God alone either for the atrocities and the agony of those who suffer and hunger. Wait, blaming an idea? Can we indict an idea? Can we ask people to stop thinking about God?
I appreciate Richard Dawkins who has written great books to provide scientific explanations that God does not exist or is not necessary in the making of life. [Speaking of this guy, he tells crazy stories about animals. Well, I don’t really understand about bats and the radar and sonar thing (The Blind Watchmaker), but a female insect eating her male spouse, starting from his head, to gratify her stomach and sexual desire!!!!? That’s so insane, so inhumane! He tells this on The Selfish Gene, btw].
An atheist friend of mine said he really wanted to believe that God exists. “It’s so comforting to believe in God,” he said. “But I just couldn’t,” he quickly added. You know, I really want to believe that God does not exist. On the contrary, I think it’s more comforting to believe that he does not exist, so that I need not to bother myself with hurtful remorse after committing any sins or thinking that I am CONSTANTLY committing sins for thinking and questioning too much about Him and His words. But I can’t for a reason I could hardly comprehend. It’s like being cursed to be a theist.
I don’t really understand science, and I am so reluctant to rely my judgment on a body of knowledge produced by some people calling themselves scientists who experiment, observe and conclude with mathematics and their EYES! Science, I fully agree with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is never immune from the Black Swan.
It is not whether it is OK or not to disbelieve in God or to reserve judgment for scientific reasons, it is about the consequence of living without God. We have to make sure things will get better if the world will have to move on without Him or the idea of Him. The existentialists have killed God and they have proposed some sort of ‘ethics’. Some have lived with it. I had once.
Now, atheists, what will we become? OK, some of you are still hiding in the closet, especially in this predominantly-Muslim country, Indonesia. Please come out, and speak out. I think we need more atheists to tell us what you have in mind about our future. We, the human species, need to perpetuate our existence, don’t we? Does knowing that life is blindly designed and that there is no God – the sacred knowledge of all living organism – will make the world and life better?