Atheism


Is humanity overrated? The Finnish boy involved in the latest school shooting thought so. How can we differentiate right from wrong? I find that without the right compass we will find ourself being all lost. Humanity shouldn’t be underrated, nor should we overrate ourself.

Yesterday I watched Herzog’s great documentary “The Grizzly Man” about Timothy Treadwell who where living, and finally died, among Grizzly bears at Kaflia Bay in Alaska. Timothy “Bambified” bears, he gave them human qualities and interpreted their behavior through the looking glass of the emotional life of humans. In the documentary we can follow how he interpreted his own life circumstances and emotions on the bears. It seems as he thought he was one of them, rather than being part of human civilization. As if humanity was overrated. I find this very disrespectful toward both God, humans and even against the grizzly bears.

(rude language)

This seems to me as being a religious journey to him, even though he claims, in the film, that he is not a religious man. I think most people are religious, they just call their belief systems other things than religion. The Grizzly maze was Timothy Treadwell’s religion. To him, it was his calling. He tried to do it as sanctified he could. Teaching school children about Grizzly bears, and in some deranged way he thought he protected them by living close to them and interacting with them. In his mind he was acting good and righteous, that doesn’t make it right to adjust these bears to humans and to misinterpret wild life as being friendly and protective towards him.

The movie are full of extraordinary scenes. In one Timothy touches some still warm female bear poop. He seems to feel some strange kind of sexual religious ecstasy. In another scene he is fighting the “park service” as if it was Lucifer himself. However, the love for animals makes a poor Christ… Touching the poop seems to be an intimate act for Timothy, but sometimes poop is just poop.

Who killed Bambi?

“Djurens rätt” is the largest animal liberation movement in Sweden with over 35 000 members. There are similar radical environmentalist movements around the world trying to force their view upon others. The recent shooter in Finland had a shirt stating that “humanity is overrated”. To me this is closely related to what happens when you leave God out of the equation. They both do not acknowledge that man was created in the image of God and have a special place in the creation.

At downtown Stockholm there is only one furrier left. The rest has been scared away. They have killed a very old tradition and destroyed the well being of their fellow man. Terrorism is kind of O.K. these youngsters seems to think. With threats and violence they can force their opinion through. No matter democracy or public opinion…Reclaim the street, Animal rights, the ecofascist environmental movements… That they believe they are righteous does not make their actions less evil.

Finnish lights
Pray for the souls of the victims.

Acknowledging animals’ right – as a religion – makes the shooting in Finland no worse than a common hunting season, like there’s no difference between killing Bambi or killing a human. However: Animals do not have a soul. It is important to understand this. Humanity is not overrated. Moral value is not relative. Don’t let your love for the creation stand in the way of the love for the creator.

People want to be their own Gods and their own jury, separating right from wrong by themselves. Creating moral without a compass will end you up in a cold place where right and wrong is dependent on whatever seems most practical for the moment.I don’t believe in defining what’s right based on popular opinion. I don’t believe in a moral only skin deep.

(Kinski in the 1986 movie Crawlspace)

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If you, as I did, found out that Jesus actually is sitting there waiting for you, to which church would you belong? The Mormons or maybe the Baptists? The Church of England or perhaps of Sweden? Maybe the Orthodox Church has shoes that fit, or the Roman Catholic? Or perhaps we don’t need a church at all…

In a couple of posts I will describe my view upon different churches and why I chose the way I chose.

Jesus as merely a philosopher
Here in Sweden it is common to believe in some good power, instead of the traditional Christian God. Those people often say that they feel that Jesus was some kind of great philosopher…

Well, have they really thought this through? Listen to this:

And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.Matthew 28:18-20*.

This is not the words of a great philosopher. This man is either a complete lunatic or the Son of God. It’s either or.

For me his divinity struck me a few years ago. I couldn’t help it. I believe we all, sooner or later, have to make this choice of to believe or not, and if we find ourselves with a belief in God, we should seriously contemplate the consequences on how we live our lives, not out of fear but in humble respect and love.

I used to be very non-religious. I thought that to believe or not, just didn’t matter. I would not have called me an atheist though. To me atheism is a form of religion: The religion of no God.

Most atheists are in fact merely dividing belief systems: Their own, which often are held for impartial, and others, which are called religion. Here in Sweden, movements like “Humanisterna” (The humanists) try to change the society and our culture solely according to their beliefs. They work against people expressing their religiosity if those expressions do not conform to their own – religious – beliefs.

I think that people are free to believe in the nearest lamppost, if that will help them. I would (and still do) consider it wrong to tell them not to. I do not approve when people impose their belief system on others. This is precisely what many atheists is trying to do: Only secular ethics and morality matters; No religion in politics; No homeschooling, no religious “free schools” or even religious education in schools, etcetera. They seem to say that religion shouldn’t have impact on anybodies life.

Well, for billions of people, letting God matter is exactly what it’s all about. I – both earlier as a non believer and now as a Christian – believe we do have a free will. No matter what the actual truth about God is, we have a right to choose and I think that this choice has an impact on our souls and therefore must impact the way we will live our lives. To be religious is a way of living. It’s not only theories about an afterlife.

Don’t get me wrong: To me religious freedom doesn’t mean that all religions are right: – Only that everybody is free to choose wrongly.

A short time ago I listened to a discussion where a person felt bad because he had to listen to religious songs during Christmas. For me this is almost a fanatic point of view. As a Catholic I do not get offended by listening to people expressing their beliefs. I like stories about Viking mythology and I enjoy hearing the Islamic muezzins calling out for prayer. Why, then, anybody should be offended by similar Christian expressions, I do not understand.

When I was young and the school visited a Jewish mass, I was not offended; as a non-Christian visiting church as the end of the semester, it was not offending; when I visited churches on different family occasions, I did not partake in the Eucharist. I did not worship God: – I was merely participating in traditions. Being offended by the Christian impact on Scandinavian culture is like being offended by the fact that the world didn’t start the day I was born. It’s plain stupid. Eliminating Christianity out of our culture is using the same logic as the ones who blew up the giant Buddha statues. Religious symbols and traditions are part of our heritage and culture. If you don’t believe in them, don’t worship them, it’s as easy as that.

That some people don’t like Christianity is one thing, but to be offended by it is strange to me. Sometimes I hear people blame Christianity for the wrongdoings of different individuals, but that’s like blaming money if someone got killed in a robbery. Even the popes are only human. We all commit sins. God’s kingdom is not yet here on earth. Deal with it.

So, when people are talking about religion and politics, the distinction that atheism is a religion is interesting. Both religion and politics handle the ethics of our lives and if you rule out everything that isn’t from a secular point of view – What are you left with? Impartial truths? Probably not. Saying that only secular ideas should be allowed in politics is like saying that only Islam or Christianity should have an impact. It’s impossible to divide religion and politics; it’s something every society will have to live with. Instead we should prepare room for each another.

So you probably, just as me, believe in some form of lamppost, most people do. It’s either that or nihilism. Well, I too believe in a lamppost, I chose the biggest and brightest I could find.