Rethinking the atheist position

Earlier this week, P.Z. Myers had an interesting post about atheism, and what we atheists should be for and against. There were old atheists (whoever they might have been), New Atheists, and now something Myers states is Atheism 3.0. He’s against the whole idea inherent in that.

It’s been around as long as atheism has, and there’s a much better and far more descriptive term for it: “Atheism But.” As in, “I’m an atheist, but I think religion is a wonderful institution (usually for someone else, just not me.)” It’s atheism for people who don’t like atheism, or who want to neuter atheism so it doesn’t challenge a pious status quo, or have this condescending idea that the rest of society is dumber than they are, and needs the palliative of unreasoning faith. The New Atheists, as much as we detest the title, at least offer an honest, open integrity about their ideas; these guys seem to be more interested in hiding the significance of the nonexistence of gods so they can hide behind a façade of superficial religiosity, and appeal to a waffly, wishy-washy middle ground.

I hate the whole labeling aspect of this stuff.

Atheism is a philosophy, to my mind, not a religion. It’s a life without gods, and it’s a good life, I think, that can be a great life if a person puts the effort into it to make it so.

It’s a life not every religious believer is ready to embrace, however, nor are they always wanting to embrace those who do. Should we be forcing them, badgering them, insulting them, calling them deluded? I don’t think coming across like an enemy is going to make us any friends, nor will it make much headway. I would rather not come across as a asshole just to state my position as an atheist, new or otherwise.

I will admit, however, that I think it’s unfortunate that people want to hang onto miracles, ghosts, astrology and new-age nonsense as if those “truths” are as verifiable as what’s in my refrigerator:

Will you believe me if I said the plastic bag has chicken in it (for later today) and the aluminum pan has fudge brownies? I wouldn’t lie about the existence of fudge brownies. I might lie about how many are left so I don’t actually have to share any, though…

The best thing atheists should be is passionate and compassionate. Fight for rights, for equality, for whatever goals are worthy ones. Fight for quality education, pure science over pseudo-hokum. I think we need to encourage people toward leaving that stuff behind, and if we can’t get them to do that, then at least we have to get them to stop pushing their antiquated beliefs into a society that needs to move forward.

Faith might be an anchor, but we all know what anchors are for. Sail on and see the world in all its wonder, or sink with it as you dream of some heavenly distant shore you’ll never lay eyes on.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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