Friday, March 6, 2009

Debating God: What kind of atheist am I?

Atheism is not evil. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism isn't a cohesive framework of beliefs outside of "there is/are no god(s)" or "I have yet to see compelling proof of a god or gods".

I am not the type of person who can change another's belief. I've had no success doing it in the past, and it is excruciatingly annoying to me to try. Besides, if one person believes in god and the other doesn't it is hard to make a point that the other will respect. Or so it seems in the few online debates I've read so far.

I also observe it's hard to make a statement about the opposition without offending them deeply. An atheist tries to separate goodness or morality from god and a Christian thinks you're about to nail them to a cross. A Christian makes a point from the stance of god/Jesus/the bible says, and the atheist is offended at the implicit suggestion that correct judgement cannot exist outside of god--or the particular god the opponent wants to believe in.

I find it interesting how people try to tell you what you think when you don't believe in god. I guess the Christians think the same thing when you quote the Bible at them, but I didn't point to a book and say it's the basis of my beliefs; they did. As far as I can tell each religious person has their own personal religion and pretends that there is cohesion with the rest of Christians (or whoever). Until you try to bring up the Spanish Inquisition, Crusades or other problematic causes in the name of religion. But as far as I can tell atheists generally make no presumption about other atheist's beliefs.

So, what kind of atheist am I? I'm not the type that wants to convince religious folks that their god doesn't exist. I can have a conversation, but at my age I'm not interested in being converted. If you're interested in how people can live without god and manage not to rape children or conquer Europe in the process I can talk to you. However I am annoyed when atheism is associated with evil or foolishness. Religion does not have a monopoly on morality.

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