There’s probably no God…

I feel like I’ve been gettin’ on the soap box a little too much lately, but bear with me.

In early February it was announced that the TTC had approved atheist transit ads.

At first I was cool with it. I actually was quite supportive of the idea. In general I’m okay with the expression of different ideas and beliefs, whether I agree or not.
Then I heard what the ads would say:

(I saw this sucker on the bloor line last weekend)

There’s a lot of things in that statement that I do take issue with. (Yes I understand that there are a lot of religions out there that post “you’re going to hell” signs or pass out pamphlets and whatnot, but hear me out.) Also I guess I should state now that I was raised Catholic, but have since come to the conclusion (through achieving my Philosophy degree) that I don’t know what the hell I believe in and thus I have a pretty big threshold for tolerance because I just don’t know.

I don’t think it’s okay for anyone to state that what someone believes in, probably isn’t real. It’s like saying “Oh, that thing that you’ve devoted your life to and have complete and total faith in? Yeah, that- I doubt it’s real. You should probably stop waisting your time.” To me it just sounds like a challenge. I don’t like that kind of thing no matter who it’s coming from.
I don’t like when people outside of a person’s beliefs decide to tell the believer about their faith.
I agree with critical thinking, I agree with questioning beliefs- I don’t agree with outright suggesting that someone’s faith is incorrect- or potentially wasteful.

I particularly hate the last line “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” This insinuates that someone with faith cannot enjoy their life. That someone who believes in a God of any kind will by default be full of worry and incapable of really diggin’ their life. A pretty big assumption no? I feel like too many liberties were taken here. And yes, I’m sure they wanted to shock people and get more press about their ads etc. I just think there are better ways to go about getting your message out there.
The vast majority of people on this planet believe in something bigger than humanity. Many people take their cues from their faith.

Then again to flip this coin over– one of my favorite philosophical texts is Nietzsche’s Human All Too Human. In this book he attacks religious worship, Chrisitianity in particular. (And a myriad of other things)
He encourages people to stop worrying about trying to be like Jesus- because in that sense they are trying to compare themselves to God (if one really believes in the holy Trinity) which is essentially unachievable.
He encourages people to simply try to do the best they can within their means, not worrying so much about the guilty nature of religious beliefs.

So yeah. I don’t know. I’m frustrated with those ads and I’m down with Nietzsche.
Maybe I just feel the need to get pissed on behalf of my God-loving-Catholic parents who are definitely happy and enjoying their lives to the fullest regardless of their faith.

I guess I’m just a proud hypocrite.

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6 Responses to “There’s probably no God…”

  1. internet elias Says:

    Hey! Good post! It’s different. Made a good point. The athiest, rather than practicing their unbelief, seem to spend lots of time downing the religous folks for their belief. It doesn work both ways….? Good observation. I’m a Christian, one of those strange ones who loves everybody…the good…the bad..the ugly :smile:. I participate in a jail ministry and I get far more benefit from the female inmates than they get from me. They are all so precious. Thier problems so varied. They just enjoy having someone say, ‘hey, you can do this. You’re gonna make it.” Never saw an athiest I didn’t like. I don’t feel threatened by anyone’s belief systems. I guess you could say, ‘I see the bigger picture.” It’s all in God’s authority. All I have to do is love and serve those around me….from the heart…not from duty or expectation…from the heart.

    Again, good post.

  2. adc Says:

    dude. I think you hit the nail on the head by being all “I don’t know what to think!”

    My current philosph’ du jour (redundant, yes), is that living via principles is sorta lazy. To say, from this moment on, I am an Athiest, and please don’t try to change my mind via presenting various arguments to the contrary, is madd lazy. It’s almost to say, once you’ve “decided” who you are, you don’t have to think, and you can switch off the “thinking” part. And it goes both ways, pro or anti belief in anything.
    I dislike how the idea that one is constantly open to new ideas, and continually evaluating this complex thing called life is sometimes called “wishy washy”, and that not “picking sides” is viewed as a sign of weakness.
    I feel that one can get much more out of life, and learn more about themselves if they are always open to new experiences, new ideas, and are in permanent absorb info mode. That way you never cut yourself off to something different, or the chance to understand another person’s point of view.

    So I give you kudos for understanding Nietzsche (I’m a fan of the Will to Power, myself), and for not liking the athiestbus ad simultaneously.

    I know, sometimes I don’t make sense.

  3. houseclouds Says:

    I went to their opening when they first released it onto the streetcars, I think it’s totally awesome (but that’s coming from a militant atheist).

    I know what you mean about the statement they chose to use, I personally wish they chose something a bit better but I think it makes it’s point. Most religious people probably do worry, most I’ve known worried a lot about whether or not they were living their life to God’s wishes. From your perspective, you’re thinking of moderate Christians, people who pick and choose what they wish to believe and yes, they probably don’t spend a lot of their time worrying.

    The whole point of the “ads” are to provoke thought and to be able to have that other side of things out there, it’s the principle really. One more big step for the population of atheists and agnostics that have to see tasteless anti-abortion ads or church signs. I think people disputing that these ads should not be up are basically against free-speech. (I know you’re not disputing that they should not be up). :)

  4. Kayla Hillier Says:

    Thanks “Internet Elias”- I really appreciate your feedback. It’s nice to get a variety of opnions – especially from someone who believes.

    Hey Arthur- I’m glad you picked up on my whole “wishy washy” fence sitter sentiment. I hate that lack of opinion or uncertainty can at times be viewed so negatively.- and yes you do make sense shhh.

    Jess- I hear ya. I just wish that the slogan on these current ads was more (or actually) thought provoking and not so… yeah. I feel like they had everyone’s attention and they didn’t use the spotlight appropriately. Make sense?
    But I wouldn’t say that my perspective is solely from moderate Christians though, my mother is a Pastoral Minister which is essentially the right hand lady to a Catholic priest. So who knows.
    But I agree that there should other options out there and that the atheist voice should be heard.

  5. Cayrah Says:

    Ooooh hows about a Christian perspective? As a practicing Christ-follower (there is a distinction between Christ followers and Christians, I won’t go too deeply, but it’s about dissolving denominations and just reading the Bible and believing in Jesus and His teachings BUT believing most of all, that he is divine and died for your sins.)
    However, I digress…
    This ad totally misses the point about most monotheistic religions – you believe in Jesus/Allah/Buddha whichever, I won’t speak for other religions since I am not versed, but the idea behind Christianity in particular is that by accepting Jesus as your personal saviour/the son of God you don’t have to worry (but everyone does, – we are mortal!) since we are sinners and yet free of sin since Christ died for us. I know this is some heavy concept to get into and essentially we could debate the existence and non-existence of God, faith vs. tangibility.
    If I may raise a point, the idea of Christian is not to be like God, it’s about holding yourself to a moral code and understanding the profound love God has for you. It can be explained, as other monotheistic religions, in these terms.
    God is omniscient, omnipresent, and benevolent. That is, He (or for the case of the argument, whichever religion you subscribe to) is all knowing, everywhere, all the time. There is no need to worry.
    I just don’t understand why atheists would feel compelled to place ads. It spooks me when any other religious/non religious do the same thing. It irks me in the same way it irked you, that is, people with faith can’t enjoy life but I digress to my original point, that there is no need worry!
    K, this is wayyyyy longer than I thought.

  6. Kayla Hillier Says:

    Hey Cayrah-
    Thanks for your response! I agree- I don’t think that belief and worry go hand and hand. I really appreciate you throwin’ another spin on this.

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