Atheists Against Atheism??

12

I spend a lot of time talking about the hateful, baffling, and often false things Theists say and believe on this blog. Today I’m going to mix it up a bit and discuss another group and an incomprehensible position I just can’t get my head around. The group I’m going to be talking about are atheists, a very specific kind of atheist which some of you may recognize. Some of you may even be this kind of atheist. If you are maybe you can help me understand…

There is a group of atheists out there in the world who have taken the time to think about the issue, they’ve pondered, considered and (hopefully) studied and become comfortable enough with their position to openly call themselves atheists. This particular kind of Atheist has determined, just as the rest of us have, that religion and religious claims are false, baseless, utterly man-made, and often times harmful however this sub-set of atheists regularly and actively call down anyone who challenges a theist’s religious assertions, or points out the falsehoods and inconsistencies in their doctrine. These people ostensibly reject the idea of a god, reject all forms of religion but see no problem with the practice, and are actually affronted by the more aggressive species of atheist who choose to debate and discuss the issue.  I really don’t understand this type of atheism. I suppose one could chalk it up to some of them just being “live and let live” types not interested in pushing their own views or “agenda” on anyone but if that’s the case why are they involved in the discussion in the first place?

I write and debate on the topic for a couple of reasons: 1) I’m an AntiTheist.  I honestly believe that religion and religious thinking are divisive, detrimental and dangerous, not just to those individuals snared by it but to all of humankind. 2) I know that there are more plausible, more demonstrable, more awe-inspiring truths out there that explain our origins, and indeed all origins far more correctly and satisfyingly than any faith system ever has.  I value knowledge, study, learning, and honest inquiry.  I myself have learned the vast majority of what I know because someone took the time to put their thoughts to paper, to debate and discuss, and I am eternally grateful for that. If I can make just one person  actually consider and question what they profess to believe and that leads them to go out with new questions and seek actual answers I’m a success.  I can’t imagine a better pay off for an hour or two of typing. I consider any amount of “yelling into the wind” to be well worth that payoff.

I understand those atheists who want no part in the debate, they’ve come to their personal truth, it works for them and they have no interest in convincing others. I understand agnostics who are satisfied to say “I simply don’t know” and leave it at that. What I can’t understand are those Atheists who actively take part in the debate but only to say that they don’t think there should be a debate at all and deride those who foster it. The position against discussion doesn’t make any sense to me. I like talking to thoughtful theists, to be honest I like talking to less than thoughtful theists too. I enjoy the discussion. I like when people make me think, and I like when I can tell I’ve made someone else think. This is how we improve ourselves. I don’t get how anyone can be opposed to that, and it seems especially strange to me to adopt the label “atheist” and then attack those advocating atheism…

If you see encouraging debate, or even taking part in one as “proselytizing” and you’re honestly opposed I can respect that. I disagree, but I can respect it, but to proselytize against proselytizing?? I don’t understand that… It seems to me like an effort to be seen as a superior, more open-minded, less offensive brand of atheist and it comes off, at least to me, as hypocrisy. It seems we’ve developed the secular equivalent of the religious moderate, that species of theist who professes to believe that all outlooks are not only equally worthy of respect but equally valid as truth.

If you want no part in the debate that’s your call and I respect that. If you want to take part in the debate and have a different outlook than I do I welcome your contribution to the discussion. I really do, but if you spend your days advocating against advocacy, if you actively label yourself an atheist but oppose discussion of the “whys” of atheism then as I’ve said several times: I don’t understand you. What is it that drives such an atheist, and how did you come to be an atheist? Did your lack of belief happen in a bubble? You read nothing, discussed nothing, and debated nothing? Really? I doubt it, so why would you deny others the tools that you yourself more than likely took advantage of in forming your opinions?

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Posted on January 7, 2013, in debate, Editorial, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. proselytizing: Convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.

    Some people wrongfully believe that if we just let people be everything will be alright. I personally think that is a harmful attitude. It’s as if these people would ask MLK to just let it be, no need to convert people’s opinions. Even if you think that an unfair comparison, you’ll understand the point.

    Slavery was wrong, racism was wrong, anti-GLBTQ is wrong – religion is always on the wrong side of positive change in society. When non-believers do not speak out, they offer a protective buffer for those that will continue to oppress others.

    I agree with you.

  2. Hypocrisy has been defined by a plethora of hypocrites. In it’s most basic form, it is when one’s actions belie one’s stated beliefs. You continue to give me pause ad you are, by no means, hypocritical in your passion to shake foundations & challenge long held beliefs. It is inspiring Adam. That noted, not everyone in, and around your camp is as well written, nor are they as well studied. This is where the large oozing sore contiues to fester. When asked to defend a point, or when challenged with valuble insight, many throw stones, & resort to finger pointing and accusation. If these discussions are supposed to be emotionless & intelluctaul then emotionless they must remain. Please, understand that I in no way mean this as a plug, but in my year of writing I’ve many pieces for publication, recently a (truncated to be sure) piece was run in a local paper. As a firearms owner I offered an opinion and must remain open to (obviously) passionate criticism. (considering recent events) There are opinions on every side of this debate, & yes Sara & I put ourselves, actively in the middle of it. Change begins when people are positively affected by others, never before in history have the words, “we attract more flies with honey” ever been more important. Just some thoughts, a well written piece indeed }:)

  3. (^sorry for the spelling & grammar^) it’s supposed to read, “and you are; by no means”; “in my years of writing” & “I’ve submitted many for publication, & recently had a piece run”, sorry }:/

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