Thursday, February 28, 2013

Opinions/Rants/Raves: That's It, I Am Out!

By: William G. Muir
I am saying it now, I give up on Atheism. Ok not Atheism, but I give up on the Atheist Community. I have given it a try and it is not for me. I am thirty-eight years old, and except for a few short years, I have been an atheist all my life. I was born an atheist and in all likelihood I will die one as well. I'm not changing what I believe or lack to believe; what I am doing is changing who I chose associate with. I'm far older than the so called Atheist Community and I can live without it.

I am not an antitheist, like some in the Atheist Community seem to be. I don't hate religion. I'm not angry with religion. I'm not angry with God, I don't see how you can be angry with someone you don't believe exist. And I surely do not believe that religion is the cause of all the world's ill. I tend to think wrongs are committed in the name of religion, that people use it as tool to justify their action not only to others, but themselves as well.

Many will point to religion and talk about the greed, the bigotry, the killing that is done in the name of religion. I hate to break it to my fellow atheist, but those things existed long before any of the major world religions show up on stage. Those are traits that go back to our oldest of ancestors, and not just the human ones. Some of them go far back into the evolutionary record. Religion did not invent these things. They are tools that have been used by the religious just as they have been used by everyone else.

And if we are going to be honest, there are some good teaching in religion. Some. But no one religion can lay claims to anything unique. Once you really look into it you find one religion has built on those that came before it. They have all evolved, one religion grew out of another. The founders of a newer religion took what they thoughts was good from previous religion, mixed it with aspects of other surrounding religions of the time and sprinkle on top a few new rules. What once started off a sect of one religion has become a thriving faith in itself.     

And that is happening in the Atheist Community. What was once just a lack of belief in any gods has been evolving. For sometime now those that identify as nonreligious have been turning away from religion at a faster pace. Making the nonreligious the fasted growing segment of the religious community. As this new wave of the nonreligious grow, they long for the trapping of the religions they left behind. They may no longer believe in the god of their former faith, but they still want all the rituals and ceremonies that they have grown accustomed to. They long for that sense of community.

Us old school atheist needed none of that. We were secure in our lack of faith. Sure we knew it set us apart from the rest of society, and even cost us friends, families and in some case jobs. But we were firm in our convictions, we knew where we stood and that was all we needed. Maybe that was why in decades past it was so hard to start an Atheist Community, old school atheist didn't need one.

But now we have an Atheist Community, and like all burgeon communities the Atheist Community has opened it's doors to all comers. The only requirement to be part of this new Atheist Community is that you must lack a belief in god. Or that was the original idea of the Atheist Community. The thing is that once a community starts, all kind of people tend tp come in and lay the ground work on what that community should be like. People with agendas appear and wish to impose their views on every member of that new society.

Sadly this is now happening in the Atheist Community. Where once there was a place for atheist of all stripe to get together and discuss and share their opinions; gargoyles have now set themselves up at the gates. They have appointed themselves as the arbiters of what is and what isn't permissible to say in the new Atheist Community. They have become the thought police for Atheism.

Where once Atheism was just the lack of belief, these newer atheists want Atheism to become a social movement. They want to limit the community to only those that think and believe like them. One of the great thing about Atheism before the A+, feminist and the nanny staters showed up was that Atheism was defined by one thing and one thing alone; a lack of belief in god. Their was no entrance exam to get in. You could be from any walk of life, Republican Democrat, Libertarian, Environmentalist, Capitalist, Communists, Fascist...etc and you were still an atheist.

But now these new gatekeepers only want the right kind of atheist. They have demanded that all atheist must follow the same social agenda as them or you will be shunned from the community. In their eyes you will be no better than the theist. No better than the theist? Sure their are some theist that have done things that are shameful and paint their religion in bad light, but let us not paint them all with the same brush.

You my atheist friends look down on theist for holding onto beliefs that you see as silly or mere superstition. But what if they are the correct ones? What if they are right about their being a creator of everything. I'm not saying that any of the gods of the major religions really exist. I think if a god or gods did exist us human could never come close to comprehending it/them. Neil deGrasse Tyson once that all that makes us human may be found in that 2% difference between human and chimp. And that if encounter a superior being, if they are just slightly more advance than we are we would never be able to comprehend them. I agree with Mr. Tyson and say this would not only be true alien lifeforms but ant gods as well.

So maybe there is a super intelligent being that pulls all the strings and created everything. Maybe we atheist are wrong. Maybe we are all wrong, atheist and theist alike. Maybe the only ones that have it correct are the deist. But then again maybe they are wrong as well. Thing is none of us are ever going to know the answer in this lifetime. No matter how sure you are. The brain is a mighty tool and we have yet to fully understand it. But we do know that it can trick us into believing things that are not so.

So let us remember, and you atheist like to throw quotes around, this one from Carlin Sagan.

"An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed"

Because there was no way for science to prove or disprove any notion of any god, at this present time, Carl Sagan was an agnostic. Sure you might say he was an atheist because he didn't believe in god. but Carl knew that Atheism was only a statement about beliefs. Agnosticism is a knowledge claim and Carl wanted to know and not just believe, or disbelieve as the case may be.

If someone as brilliant as Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson can not bring themselves to label themselves as atheist than how can I? Even Richard Dawkins, a person who speaks out on behalf of Atheism describes himself a weak atheist. There is part of him willing to give the concept of the possibility of god or gods a consideration. This is not appeal to authority. I do come to my thoughts based on these think. I come to my thoughts because see great wisdom in the words they speak.

Atheism is only a statement of belief, it is not knowledge!

Yet with that said I see Atheism turning into something that is was not. Or maybe something it has always been but us old school atheist refused to acknowledge because we never wanted to associated with the baggage that comes along with this word. Could Atheism be a religion? So many of atheist reject the notion of Atheism as a religion because we see all the negative aspects that come along with that term. But you don't need a belief in god to have a religion, you just need a set of beliefs. Many religions have no god/gods. And with this new wave of atheist, especially the A+ crowd, they are bringing a whole set of beliefs with them. They have an ideology and they wish for that ideology to be the governing factors for Atheism.

If the A+ Atheist had there way there would be no opposing points a views in the Atheist Community. All those that did not agree with them would be misogynist, rape enablers or what other smears they could come up with. They do not hold back their contempt for those that do not think like they do. Their leaders, like Rebbecca Watson, have stated in public that they believe certain kind of speech should not be cover by the constitution. These people have a narrow view of what the world should be. And if you do not agree with it you are the villains.

They like to speak out against oppression and privilege. But it seems to me these A+ are abusing their privilege.

But please readers do not think that all atheist/nonreligious people are this way. Just above I have listed some shining examples of those that do not believe in any deity. And there plenty more beyond them. It is only a small minority that wishes to oppose their views on others. But they are a very loud minority and history has shown that a loud minority can affect policies.

You might ask me if it is only a minority, and if I don't agree with them why don't I fight back. Cause my Atheism is not my defining characteristic. I have many principles that make up who I am and Atheism is not even one major principles I hold. Besides it is not only the A+ that I have a problem with. I can careless if Churches are or are not taxed. I have no opinions about nativity scenes in front of state owned propriety. And I have thoughts on in God We Trust or One Nation Under God. To me there are bigger fights to be fought. 

I guess in the end if you had to stick a label on me I would be irreligious. I'm just indifferent to the whole thing. Believe or don't believe what you like. Just please pay me the same courtesy. 

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