What if humanity decided to part once and for all of religions ? Some would say it’s not possible, some would add « I’d rather die ». But Darwin Bedford has faith we could all loose our religion.
first came across Darwin Bedford on an image board. I didn’t know who he was, just a strange guy wearing a pink T-Shirt where you could read : « If Jesus returns, kill him again ». But Bedford was more than just a meme : I contacted him and found out he was an atheist activist in Canada, and that he called himself The Atheist Messiah. For years, he’s been creating dozens of low-tech websites to spread his words against Christianity, notably through essays such as Jesus is a no-show, the Pope is Humpty Dumpty, and Why god is siding with bin Laden. He even opened a zazzle shop to sell the T-shirts…
I decided to discuss with him. Here are his uncut words.
TRYANGLE. First, who are you ?
Darwin Bedford. I was given the name David in North Vancouver, Canada, where I was born in the middle of the previous century. Both my parents were real people, as opposed to supernatural beings–my mother an Anglican, my father an atheist. I didn’t really pay any attention to religion until I was confronted with the idea that people believed that a god was responsible for creating the world. I totally rejected the idea on the spot, in fact, I was very upset at the notion. I remember the incident clearly. I was walking home from a hike with my friend on a beautiful sunny day when my friend said “Isn’t it wonderful how God created the trees so green and the sky so blue.” I was 11 years old and this was the first time that I was presented with an explanation of how everything came into being.
Somehow I just knew that that couldn’t be true. I asked my dad about it in the car with my mother and siblings present and he explained “Some people believe that God created the world and some people don’t.” Then my Grade 6 teacher explained to the class what an atheist was.
That Christmas I told my parents that I would no longer open or accept any gifts from anyone, as it would suggest to people that I support the idea that God made the universe.
Then in Grade 10, I started writing my name as “Atheist Dave Bedford” on all my tests and library checkout cards and etc. The teachers didn’t know what to do with me as I refused to stand up for the Lord’s Prayer in the morning. They positioned a desk for me at the back of the class so no one would see me not standing up. It led to me becoming a social outcast. In high school I was asked if it was true that I followed 70 year old ladies home and raped them–because that is what their mother had told them that atheists do.
I started blogging on the Internet in 1995. In 1998, I registered the domain name atheists.net, my first web site. So, you can see that I’ve been doing this for quite some time. I like to think that I’ve been pushing the envelope for society dropping religion, but there are now thousands of antitheists on the Internet contributing to the effort. For about 20 years I branded myself with the same “throw-away-the-cross” t-shirt, but now I have over 20 shirts up at www.666shirts.com. I’m not retired yet, but when I am, I promise to expand my efforts regarding my web sites.
TRYANGLE. If the precedent messiah were fake, why should you be real ?
I’m not sure which precedent messiah you are referring to. If it is Jesus the Christ, well that’s just a fairy tale that was passed down through the ages. The story of the Christ messiah may have started with Horus the sun god and travelled around the Middle East and surrounding area. Historians are now confirming that a Jesus of Nazareth may have never existed since there are no records of him until more than a hundred years after he was claimed to have died.
I know that I am real because when I pinch myself, I can feel it. I am not really recognized as a messiah—just a messiah wannabe. A messiah according to my Webster’s dictionary, could mean “any leader and liberator of any oppressed people”. Since I am trying to lead people from the oppression of their religion, I am a real messiah.
In 1998 I changed my internet publishing name to Darwin to reduce the risk of an employer firing me. I was already calling myself a Spiritual Reality Therapist. In 1999 I also declared myself as the Atheist Messiah because no one at the time was owning up to the role. Later I added “Ambassador of Reason”, “Destroyer of Faith”, and “Supreme Antitheist” to my title. Yes, I know that there are others out there that are more deserving of my titles.
TRYANGLE. And why are you so mad at god ? Were you once religious ( in « Apology from Christedom », you seem to be mad because the foreskin of your penis was cut for religious reasons ).
It is nonsense to ask “Why are you so mad at god?” because anything said in the context of a god being real is just that – nonsense. I’m not mad, I’m just trying my hardest with my mere wherewithal to have people not to go down that road (that gods exist). It is not only wrong and misleading but it is so dangerous and wasteful.
As I already explained, I was not religious from the start (something that is true for everyone); nor have I ever been religious. The closest I came to religion was reading a Yoga book that explained that my body was the temple of my soul.
It should be illegal to mutilate a person’s body without their consent, including those whose are not old enough to give their consent. My older brother’s penis was left alone, but by the time I was born, the religious had gained some influence in the matter.
Religion has been a thorn in family relationships throughout my life—another reason why I come across as hating God.
TRYANGLE. Do you consider all believers to be mentally ill ? As a « spiritual reality therapist », how do you plan to cure them ?
Everyone one needs some spiritual reality therapy at some point in their life. Remember the old African adage “It takes a whole village to bring up one child.” Curing people that believe in the supernatural takes education, cooperation with others, and patience.
Also, according to my Webster’s dictionary the word “oppress” means “to treat with unjust harshness or to cause to feel mentally or spiritually burdened.” Religious people are mentally or spiritually burdened because they have to follow their perceived God’s wishes in order to be rewarded and not punished in their afterlife. They also have to spend a great deal of their time praying and serving their church, not to mention contributing their hard earned money to their church as well. My therapy mainly involves telling them that they don’t have to do that. There is no life after death, death is the same as before you were born, and that they are living their only life so enjoy it in the confines of reality.
TRYANGLE. Your website has some philosophy to offer, such as conception of « the simplicity of existence ». You seem to want to show that being an atheist is not only denying god, but something else ?
Atheism is simply the absence of belief in any gods. I personally think that one should not fully and completely believe in anything because when you do you are no longer open to further learning and choices.
When I was in high school I was repeatedly asked “So what do you believe in then?” At 17 years of age I wrote down my thoughts which became the bases of my “Simplicity of Existence” post. I have revised it every decade or two since then. It needs revision now because it has misinformation regarding entropy. It has now come to light that life came into existence a result of entropy playing out and is also the driving force of evolution.
Here’s what I believe now. The true essence of the universe has existed forever and I mean it did not have a beginning and that is because time is something other than what we understand it to be. Time is simply a limitation on motion of mass. There probably was at least one Big Bang. We will never know the size of the multiverse before the time when mankind becomes extinct. Keep in mind that only the “now” has ever existed, and that that the “now” is never going to go out of existence.
I find that I sometimes have to be a spiritual reality therapist to scientists as well. Mankind will become extinct sooner or later and no trace of mankind ever existing will prevail. This will most likely occur before we are able to communicate to other life entities on other planets. I don’t think that we will ever be able to communicate at greater than the speed of light and that means we won’t be able to have any meaningful communication with other life forms elsewhere in the universe.
We should therefore concentrate our efforts into preserving the planet as our paradise for as long as possible. This means no praying and more time spent on the sciences.
TRYANGLE. You wage a real war on the web, notably by registering numerous domain names, answering mails…. is internet the new place for spiritual warfare?
Undoubtedly the Internet has taken over for sharing of ideas. At the time when people believed the world was flat universities were the place to exchange ideas. Then came the printing press, it was a vast improvement but people with money still had too much control of what was expressed. With the internet that all changed and its effectiveness is a vast improvement many fold.
TRYANGLE. If Jesus returned and was killed again, don’t you think it might have the very effect you don’t want to happen, ushering a new age of an even stronger Christendom?
Not to worry, Jesus was only killed in story. If it was to come to be believed by people that Jesus returned and was killed again, it wouldn’t add that much to the story. Nor would it that God created his only daughter and sacrificed her too.
If you have never tried to create a religion of your own, you will find that it is a very difficult puzzle to come up with one that will interest people, and have them convinced to spread it to others. L. Ronald Hubbard, an American science fiction author who developed Dianetics and founded Scientology was reported to have said that “If you really want to make money, then start a religion.” However, doing so is far more difficult than writing a hit single.
TRYANGLE. Have you ever convinced anyone ? Nobody stops being religious because you want him to?
If I recall correctly, from reading their emails to me, that I may have turned a couple of teenagers away from religion, however, I don’t recall anyone
expressing that I saved their life from their religion. Having said that, I do believe that myself, and others, have prevented people from being infected by a religion-virus. They may have been, had we not expressed our distaste for religion.
TRYANGLE. Can you tell me how to be a happy atheist?
Yes, don’t tolerate people telling you how to behave in accordance to their religion. Be fully expressed whenever anyone tries to shove their religious beliefs down your throat. Think before you conform. And finally, try to contribute to what you think is right for others.
This is item actually one of my health rules. Given that we are evolved as a social specie, like wolves in a pack, we need to contribute to the welfare of the pack. If you perceive that you are not contributing, then something will happen to your own wellbeing to make your life shorter (so as to make it easier for the pack to survive as a whole). I’m talking about millions of years of evolution of internal programming of your mind acting out. This is similar to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Yes, religion isn’t all bad, religions have some truths within them but the paranormal has to be thrown out.