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Atheistic notebook

"Every religious feeling is a servile feeling and whoever prostates before God is getting ready to prostrate before a king."
(Joseph Joubert / 1754-1824 / Notebooks, vol. 1)

On this page are collected some reflections or thoughts, noted with the passing days, chronologically presented, therefore without logical continuation.

In the middle
Those who are declared atheists or who are fully aware to be atheistic are only a small percentage of the population, let us say 10% to give a round figure. Enthusiastic believers and regular churchgoers are about the same percentage.
In the middle, the great majority of human don’t take any interest in religion. However, they declare to be Catholics, Protestants or Moslems for conformism, comfort, force of habit, idleness, "culture", because they are born inside. But, deep down, they don’t really believe or then hardly... if... or not to close of the doors of a hypothetical paradise.
One should not however make a mistake; this disinterest is not the sign of a "secularization" of the society. Faced with a smooth talker, a false prophet (pleonasm), a merchant of hope or of illusion..., most are ready to prostrate themselves or to follow these guides that give (or sell) a "sense to the life".
Apart the increase of the educational level and of the general knowledge, I don’t see what could slow down this human tendency. To increase the standard of living, it is well, it is even a priority for the majority of the inhabitants of Earth, but that is not sufficient.
(May 11, 2005)

Habent papam
They have a Pope. White smoke, ringing bells, a city that stops short, crowd running to applaud the newly elected pope. Catholics had lost their spiritual leader; from now on the relief is assured.
More generally, the inclination of men to fall self-satisfied or kneeling in front a leader, whatever he is, is immense, even if he wears beautiful dress, if he holds a microphone, if there is a decorum... and obliging medias (that is an euphemism).
The danger for humanity is really here. With the amplifying power of the means of communication and of the techniques of seduction, the 20th century gave a big place to the supreme leaders in any kind. Humanity paid a heavy tribute to them. The quotation of Joseph Joubert, on the top of this page, takes that way all its sense. Unfortunately the lessons of history do not cause genetic changes in the human body that would prevent such events to come back. For that, tens of thousands of years would be necessary. There remains the collective memory, but what weighs it in front of the credulity of the great majority?
(March 20, 2005)

Prayers for the Pope (continued)
Further down on this page (February 9, 2005), I wrote that I did not understand the meaning of prayer. However, since the death of the pope John Paul II, but also while working on a next article, it seems to me to understand the real sense of prayer.
Indeed, I wrongly looked toward the one for which payer is addressed. No, the aim of prayer is above all to relieve the suffering and the stress of the one that prays. Prayer, by the adopted posture, the recited texts, their rhythm..., has something in common with an appeasing relaxation. Prayer comforts more especially when it is accomplished in group, according to an immutable rite (which reassures) and in a hundreds of years old church… eternal on the human scale.
(April 4, 2005)

Spiritualism and materialism
The spiritualist approach of things ("spirit can exist independently of matter", from where the notion of a more or less eternal soul, of a transcendent god) looks like a purely egocentric vision. World is seen from one’s self-consciousness, which defines itself as a spirit... Then, one's is the judge in one’s own case (spirit asking the question of spirit); consequently one’s is subjective, what can necessary lead to this impression that spirit is superior to matter. One only has to receive a blow on the head and to lose consciousness to be brought back to the hard reality of matter.
On the contrary, to be a materialist, it is to know how to consider the situation with detachment, to know how to forget one’s tiny being to observe the world. A more objective look that leads to a different conclusion.
(March, 23 2005)

If I were God …
If I were God, I would not be impartial with the non-believers. I would not condemn them to burn in hell, but rather to read Bible… eternally.
As for believers that I would welcome into paradise, I would honour them reading myself Bible to them… eternally.
(March15, 2005)

Cut the throat of your family!
From believers, it is always the same old story: "If you do not believe in a God, all is possible." Recently, one of them has even suggested me, if I don not believe in the divine punishment: "Cut the throat of your family or of other beloved people, put fire at your home and stab you!"
Do we have to laugh at it or to cry?
So believers do not kill their family only because they are afraid of the divine punishment! It is to insult the very large majority of them thinking they reason like this.
Fortunately for society, the moral conscience exists to the majority of human beings independently of the concept of God or of transcendence. In fact, such argument of religion appeals only to a very small part of the population and their effectiveness has not be proved.
(March 9, 2005)

About the Latin mass.
Sometimes I ask myself whether the substitution of the Latin mass by the mass in English has not contributed to clear more and more churches. In Latin, language that in general nobody understand, one could let thoughts wander, enjoy the freshness of the church, the architecture, the plays of light on the stained glass, the melody of hymns... In short to spend the most agreeably this moment formerly devoted to social proprieties.
But in one's mother tongue, that is not possible anymore. One is obliged to hear, to understand, to support words that shock reason, twaddle in which one does not believe and that lets attention lapse...
Once, that goes, twice is once to often...
(February 26, 2005)

A persistent preconceived idea
Among the advantages that believers, even if they are little practicing, ascribe to religion and often bring up, there is that of the safeguard constituted by religion with regard to morals. "Without religion, every one will do according to his desire!"
There is hardly falser idea than this one. Utilizing a transcendence, a divinity that sees every thing and that takes stock of each human being in the next world, at the Last Judgment, religion handles the carrot and the stick.
It appeals to the most primitive feelings that are fear and the hope of a "future" benefit. It appeals neither to the human intelligence that is qualified to understand the interest of such or such behavior, nor to the sense of responsibilities for each one towards the others.
Agnostic or atheistic parents as well as the secular education are capable to provide to children the moral bases necessary to the life in society.
(February 18, 2005)

Prayers for the Pope
The Pope is hospitalized and thousands of faithful pray for him.
I completely admit that one meditate to think of somebody whom one loves or admires, that one supports him, that one encourages him when he is suffering...
But to pray? In what aim?
To ask for a miracle, for a remission of the disease, to delay the fatal outcome? If prayers were effective, that would be known, more especially, in our "cathodic" Period like ours, when few human beings have been the object of as many prayers than this Pope.
To require a divine intercession for the salvation of his soul? But it is to insult him by letting suppose that his terrestrial life does not fulfil the conditions for paradise and that he needs finishing touches to deserve it.
Worse, it is insult this dod in which all Catholics believe, by thinking that it is necessary to attract his divine attention toward the first of his faithful. Indeed, that lets imply that God is interested in the catholic Church as in his first shirt or else that he is not omniscient.
I ask to believers to excuse my "materialist mind" to remain irremediably hermetic to the concept of prayer.
(February 9, 2005)

An altogether commonplace story
One of the aims of the Christian theology is to attribute a divine origin to the accounts of the Gospels. For the modern man, the theological contortions of Incarnation, of Trinity, of Consubstantiation, of the Immaculate Conception, of the Virgin Mary, of the "I die to save men from a sin which dates back to Adam and Eve"... is close to the perfectly ridiculous. I understand why churches become empty.
By admitting that Jesus, as human being, has existed, which is not yet proven, this story of a man who disturbed the authorities in power becomes much easier to explain and to understand if it takes place only between human beings. Easier... and unfortunately commonplace.
(February 2, 2005)

Question to unbelievers
In your opinion, if a believer uses invectives towards you who is unbeliever, shouts insults at you, promises you that you will go to hell, regards you as amputated of a part of the brain preventing you from perceiving his TRUE, is intolerant..., what will be your reaction?
Faced with such a behavior, you will stiffen in your positions, you will be reinforced in your convictions and will consider that this attack is a proof of weakness and of lack of arguments. In short, the believer succeeds the opposite of what he wanted to do and confirms the old French proverb: "One does not catch flies with vinegar" (harsh treatment pays no dividends).
The reverse is obviously true. It is not by attacking brutally religions and their followers that one can lead them to reflect, to reconsider their beliefs, to doubt about their TRUE...
(January 25, 2005)

Some believers promise the "surprise of their life" to atheists when they awake after death.
Hell waiting for atheists sent cold shivers down their spine!
The atheists on the other hand cannot promise any surprise to the believers, even not to discover that they have believed for nothing, that there is nothing after death, no next world, that God does not exist... Because, until their last breath, they will believe, then emptiness, nothing... There will be nothing to discover because they will not be there to do it.
But some believers will be, in the last moments of life, seized by a terrible doubt.
"I have believed for nothing?"
Dreadful pangs of death.
Immeasurable regret.
For the alive ones, it is always time to start without waiting to give oneself up as lost. So, life will appear more beautiful.
(January 18, 2005)

Gods are bored
Veil, kipa, turban, pork, halal meat...
Having eternity behind and before them, gods are bored with doing nothing. I understand them. Then they spend their time as they can... by dictating the way their flocks are dressed or eat, for example.
(January 11, 2005)

God makes circles in water
The hard and blind reality of nature has remembered its existence to humanity, causing in a few minutes tens of thousands of deaths. Humanity, so quick in moments of madness, to tear each other to pieces in wars - much more murderous, it should be said - seems for once time to want to stick together. Let us be pleased with this planetary solidarity.
I acknowledge that I would not like, after such a catastrophe, being in the believers' place. How to keep the faith in a God "of kindness and love"? How to believe that life has a meaning, except the one that man would humbly give to it? How to believe that prayer could have any effect, if not a placebo effect on the one who prays? How to believe that immaterial souls left bodies in putrefaction to live elsewhere another life?
Theologians will have to do new intellectual and spiritual contortions to give the religious dogmas consistent with reality.
It is true that reason doesn't weigh much in face of exacerbated feelings of fear, sorrow and despair. Its action is more in the duration.
(January 4, 2005)

Following page >>> Notebook : fourth quarter of 2004

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