So far, it's a list of 8 items... a nice 10 will be settled upon in the long run.
8. Enjoying Personal Pleasures
Ultimately, this one is something that religious and the non-religious do alike. However, non-religious may not be as devastated by guilt and fear of eternal hell-fire for enjoying private pleasures. I will touch on this subject in the other bullets, without getting into too many details (I don't want to give away all my secrets, but let's just say I am VERY happily married, and won't go to hell for anything I've done....). Remember what is truly ethical, right for society, and legal (as legal as possible), and you will feel complete without feeling empty.
7. Thinking Outside of the Box.
Yeah, I said that annoying business axiom. However, how much more outside the box can you get? The phrase asks us to question what's accepted, challenge the status quo, and get away from the beaten path. If religion were obscure, rare, and limited in scope, then this would not apply. Religion is none of this, it is everywhere. It dominates rational thought across the world, and it keeps critical and free thought in check, as it has for many thousands of years for many millions of people.
6. No Masters.
This is similar to number 5, however more literal. I will officially state order of importance as to who your masters really are:
5.No Thought Police.
I think bad things... sometimes a lot of bad things. We all do. We are animals, barely civilized in a few thousand years time. In fact, listen to the news and decide for yourself how civil we actually are today. I have vividly thought of violence against people. I have had reprehensible sexual fantasies. I delight in doing harm in the privacy of my own mind, however, I am in control of myself. I love my life, family, wife and children, and I believe in the general well being of others. It saddens me that some people need a supernatural mega-being to keep them in line. My obligation to family, society, and humanity are my regulators. It is healthy and natural to have immoral thoughts, it is not either to pray for forgiveness from a jealous and vengeful God.
4. No Invisible Overseers.
One of the best things I ever did was to decide that no one was actually watching me every minute of the day. Whether a god, an angel, a dead relative, or even a dead pet following me around, I just never liked the idea of being watched by an unseen being. Especially when I was 14, and thought the door would fly open at any minute because my dead grandmother had tipped off my mom about my appointment with a Playboy magazine.
3. No hell.
No brainer. See "No heaven" for much of the argument. The human sensory system can only accept so much input, before it overloads. To keep it simple, it sure is nice not having to worry that you picked the wrong god, didn't do enough Hail Marys, or masturbated too much when you were 14 (or last week).
2. No Heaven.
This one may seem unusual, as you may be thinking that is the best thing about faith (although the bible itself is pretty sketchy on the afterlife. As with many of the stereotypes we maintain of religion, it has mostly been made up along the way). Here are some issues with heaven, for starters:
- Sanity. How can the human mind go on forever? Too much of anything would become a hell. If I think of my 30 best days, I know I couldn't tolerate them for eternity.
- Relative pleasure: what is everyone's heaven? Will my Aunt Marsha be in my heaven, as it would likely conflict with her perception of heaven? I would love to see all my dead relatives and friends again, but it does not stand to reason that we would all share a personal paradise.
- Morality: What if, as a perfect Christian, you lived a life burying your homosexual impulses? That is who you are, and it partly defines you. How then, can you be happy in a heaven forbidding such desire? Are you waging that you will be rewarded with fulfilling those needs? What about other fetishes? Does heaven remove them entirely? I don't know that I would ever want to stop fantasizing and subsequently having sex (as long as I'm conscious).
1. You won't have to defend ancient dogma and superstitions to atheists!
Trust me on this one. Atheists tend to really do their research and can be quite articulate. Their arguments are usually logic based, and it can be really frustrating trying to convince them that faith is an answer to anything. I am fortunate that I have never had to do this, but I seen a few people squirm, question, and paint themselves into corners. I didn't envy them.