|Sent on:||Friday, May 1, 2009 11:14 AM|
There are lots of religious nuts who call themselves atheists; I suspect you met one of them.. ?It also seems there are lots of fundies who claim to have once been an atheist.. ?Of hundreds of atheists I have known over the years, many of them used to be fundies, but it never goes the other way in my experience (of all the atheists I know, someone would have heard about one of us going fundy).. ?
I believe most atheists do not act as you are describing (holding the sign that says you are wrong).. ?Rather, this is the type of atheist that gets all the media coverage (the media hats atheists too, and they always choose the most disturbing atheists to use as an example to paint the whole group in a negative light).. ?I know many atheists who feel as you, and they generally gravitate to secular humanism (there was a big argument at AFS about 10 years ago over this very subject; and they split into AFS and HGA).. ??
I'm a member of the group and have been following the email banter.? I joined the group for the same purely social reason Lindy did, and am a lifelong Atheist.? Unfortunately, I have found many Atheists are as fanatical as the fundamentalist religious crowd.? For me, Atheism is not a system in itself, but the starting point to finding a reasoned and truthful way to live.? Religion serves a deep rooted psychological and cultural role to so many, and Atheism is such a great threat to them for that very reason.? Atheism does not and cannot answer their questions and needs.? All Atheism offers to a Theist are negatives, empty spaces where they used to derive so much comfort and social connection.?
The most common confusion I hear from Theists is "without God how do you know how to live your life?"? I had a conversation with a professed Atheist recently (yes, Atheist) who suggested that without some divine moral direction the only option is amoral hedonism.? I wholeheartedly disagree with that assessment and was especially surprised at the source.? When you tell a Theist, ?There is no God!? you are actually telling them ?Not only are you wrong but everyone you have cared about and loved since childhood has lied to you!?? Add to that a healthy dose of elitism and intellectual arrogance and the outcome is effectively pre-determined.? Consider the titles of two of the most recognizable Atheist books; The God Delusion and The End of Faith.? I love both of these books and agree with nearly all of subject matter and conclusions, however, the titles alone will set a Theist firmly on the defensive before any discussion begins.? Again, rather than offering something Atheism simply takes away.
The only way to replace superstition and mystical thinking is to understand what creates it, what human needs it serves, and find a reasoned way to meet those needs based on verifiable truth.? The Theist has followed dogma their entire lives and will need an example from which to learn to live without it.? An angry Atheist, holding derisive signs, pointing fingers at them and screaming ?You?re wrong!? isn?t very inviting.? That is not the person I want to be or the contribution I wish to make.? Mainstream acceptance and change will come with Atheists proving we have a positive way to live life, rather than being a constant attack on how Theists live theirs.
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