Sunday, August 15, 2010
The 3 Reasons Mormons Give for Atheism
Being away from all my things I will probably only make a couple more posts this week, but I want to add another thought to today's post.
I've already done my little dissertation on how Mormon's view atheists in the BoM, but I want to take it into a more present realm of the church. See, it's all fine and dandy to point out that the BoM has no atheists in it, and that Mormons probably derive understanding of atheists from the BoM, but I want to go back and state my view in a more concrete way.
Mormons have three views of atheists:
They are trying to justify sin
They are depressed and think there is no God but this is because they are sad
They are angry at God for some reason
Any honest member will know that some people don't believe in gods, but I find most literally think in one of these three ways.
First: Justifying sin
Mr. Sitggley, at one point in the last class, was talking about apostates and how a general authority asked a group of them what commandment they didn't want to live. This was as if they left the church so they could trick themselves into thinking they could live without one of the commandments of the LDS church. Mr. Stiggley continued, saying that most apostates and atheists have alterior motives for leaving.
This is the same for a lot of people. A non-member friend of mine brought up some teasing that was aimed at stereotypes of atheists, such as if I had any morals anymore, or that I just wanted to party. All in good fun, but Christians in particular have a notion that atheists just don't even exist.
Second: Atheists are usually depressed
Completely untrue for one, I will soon put up a post on my podcasts and videos I regularly watch, about half of which are atheistic in nature. In one of these I will give a reference to a good podcast that profiles the whole non-religious group on an international scale. In this it points out, statistically speaking, that church goers are not any happier than atheists, though both are happier than self-proclaimed agnostics.
There can be many reasons for this. People who believe but are losing faith may call themselves agnostic, but are really theistic. They feel bad for lacking faith, and wonder if they are 'good people.' I think anyone in this position would be mildly distraught in the least. And often this is what Mormons see.
Last year, when I was wishy-washy floaty agnostic I was back and forth and got depressed a couple times. I talked with a person about this and she mentioned her brother was clinically depressed and thought there might not be a god. In her words, he was an atheist sometimes. The conclusion? She thought, and many Mormons do, that Satan makes people depressed and then helps them to lose faith and belief in God. Depression and atheism are intertwined. Unfortunately, a couple weeks later I did get depressed, over something else entirely, but it probably didn't help her worldview.
My conclusion? I haven't spoken of my atheism, or why I am an (agnostic) atheist but when I finally took the 'big step' over about 6 months ago I felt such a release and a flood of new things to enjoy. These last 6 months have seriously been some of the happiest months of my life. Not that I didn't have low points as I lost my faith, but the other side IS greener.
Third: Atheists really just hate God
Ridiculous notion as it's a paradox for one, but this is another one of those 'no real atheists' statements, and Mormonism loves it. This goes all the way back to Cain who knows there's a God but hates him and works for the devil, pretending to be sasquatch or Big Foot up in the Rocky Mountains. Okay, this is Mormon folklore, but I've met people who believe the apostle who said Big Foot is Cain. Course, my retort was to ask how Cain survived the flood, but that's assuming ANY of the story is true and thus defeats itself.
I have not yet had anyone confront me on this, I certainly have reasons to be angry with God if he was real, and sometimes, if frustrated with life, I wish he was so I could call him a f***** prick, but so far I have never submitted myself to momentary belief in a non-existent being just to feel like I'm yelling at someone.
With this off my chest I am ready for bed. I hope fellow postmos and even members who stumble on this notice what I'm talking about. The Mormon view on atheism is childish and ignorant. It's a lie that leaders in the church keep pushing. Sometimes they will allow for a fourth category - atheists are Satanists - but I think that's just because they realize that some of the atheists are being sincere but just can't believe they can be good people at the same time.
Some people really do NOT believe in gods. Actually most don't, but some people just go one more god further than the rest.