The Insanity of Atheism: Is Atheism an Insane Idea?

Isolation does funny things to people, it certainly has to me. There are examples or case studies that claim to show that isolation actually leads to insanity. These case studies along with the fictional story of ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ do not, as far as I know, attempt to explain why, but they simply suggest that the phenomenon happens. So why would isolation lead to insanity, and better yet, what does it mean to be insane?

isolation 2

The latter first, I think insane is just a deviation from the norm. The further from the norm one becomes, the more insane that person is. I don’t know if this is true, I only suspect that this explains in part what we mean by insanity.

The former which is why would isolation lead to insanity is very much dependent upon the latter. People who have opted to or been forced to live in isolation have only their own thoughts as a reference for defining themselves. I think, so much of our identityis derived from what others think of us that we never truly know ourselves without looking upon that reflection of what others think.

A conditional statement argument: If we only know ourselves based upon the reflection we see on the faces of others, then we do not actually know ourselves. The reflection on the faces of others is the representation of their perception of us. Two people with different perceptions will come to different and possibly contradictory conclusions as to who we are. That would mean that we are not one thing but many things depending upon our audience. I find this final sentence incoherent in that at our core, we must be what we are or, rather, who we are. I know in experience that society and culture dictate various behaviors, and we act according to our environment in many cases just to get through the situation peacefully. Still, we are who we are even if we contort ourselves to a desired status quo.

So, I think that the reflection from others directs us, and we mold ourselves based upon our perception of that reflection. We do not actually know ourselves. In the case of isolIsolation 1ation, we are void of the identity producing reflection thus we can only be what we are without judgment, without labels, and without coercion. I feel like I must be what I am first, and I must be what you think I am second. Otherwise, I am nothing more than what you want me to be, or I am insane. Remember though, being insane is nothing more than a deviation from the norm.

“Isolation does funny things to people, it certainly has me.”

–Steven Clear


8 thoughts on “The Insanity of Atheism: Is Atheism an Insane Idea?

  1. Interesting points, but how does this apply to atheism? I thought perhaps you were going to make a point that in understanding there are no gods brings forth a sense of isolation perhaps not felt by the theist who imagines a supernal family.

  2. Hi John, I apologize for not meeting your expectation, but this applies to me as a person who was forced into isolation because I could not be a Christian. My community did/does not like questions. They think I am insane in some sense of the word and promise to pray to fix me…This was not a global post, this was something a bit personal.

    I am reflecting on the challenge of being an atheist in the presence of Christians. I think many people can relate to this, and we are not crazy for not believing crazy things. This post was meant to be unclear with the hopes of helping those with questions to keep asking questions.

    • Ah, understood. Sorry, i was off on a tangent. I’m guessing you’re in the States, huh? I hear some true horror stories of how some particularly superstitious communities react there.

      My two cents: you’re not insane… but you already know that. I saw a good meme once which now comes to mind: “Atheism is like being the only sober person in a car full of drunks who won’t let you drive.”

      • If I were writing for a Christian audience, an audience of my neighbors, I would use smaller words and say God a lot more. I don’t mind your reaction. Every conversation elicits a reaction.

        This is why I blog. I cannot have a reasonable conversation with the people that surround me, so I reach out. Thank God for the internet. lol.

        Where are you on Earth? Obviously not in Indiana, USA, as am I.

      • Regretfully no, otherwise i’d suggest a beer. I’m in Brazil, although I’m Australian. Australia is tremendously non-religious and we just had an atheist Prime Minister… the first to at least make it public. Religion is a non-issue, the way it should be.

        Indiana. I’m guessing it’s an epicenter of religious nonsense? Is there a local Humanist org?

  3. The comments cleared things up. John, as always, was right on target. Now I see perfect sense in this post. As I re-read it several times I concluded that ‘WOW – god belief is an enforced reflection of who others think we should be’ and to me that seems fairly profound on many levels. It works at the level you were writing with and the level on which I think about thinking.

    We each run a simulation of the world in our minds (or just the parts that are applicable from moment to moment) and the ‘reflection’ we see of ourselves in/from others is nothing more than their perception of us viewed through the lens of the simulation running in their minds. When that simulation includes the rules for god=true, what comes back in the reflection is twisted (so to speak). Your kindness is reflected very poorly because your lack of god is shown so bright and so on. The prayers to fix you are not to make you a better person, but to make their perception of you inside their simulation more palatable.

    Good post!

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