"To you, I'm an atheist. To god, I'm the loyal opposition."
--Woody Allen

The full title of this writeup should probably be "The Tenets of Atheism, Confessions and Observations of an Atheist", but I felt that too drawn out a title for this forum, having said that I now launch into the following:

Take a look at the quote above. In it is contained one of the problems with modern American atheism. Now Mr. Allen made this statement with clearly humorous intentions. Don't think I'm too dense to realize this, however it is representative of many of the attitudes which are making their way through the atheistic community. The "I'm an atheist because I hate god" syndrome, a way of thinking that in itself is a paradox. It is this paradox that I find both amusing and distressing.

The archetype of the modern atheist is one that is generally anti-Christian, confrontational and outspoken. Many an evening I have spent with individuals like this, you probably know one yourself. They berate Christians in the vicinity, and laugh about it with their Wiccian, Pagan or similarly bent companions, fully unaware of the blatant hypocrisy being committed. The singling out of one religious group for ridicule, is little better than the Baptist organizations in the southern US specifically targeting Jews for conversion. I must admit that I am the friend of many self proclaimed "pagans", and enjoy their company only because, while still misguided, not one of them has ever attempted to convert me. Once again, read the quote at the top of this page. now, you see the well-spring from which this breed of atheist as sprung.

Being that "god", in this day and age, predominantly refers to the Christian god, which has direct connections to the Jewish and Muslim faiths as well. However the Christian population is indeed the largest, and most vocal, supporter of this deity. The large majority of the above crop of atheists was raised within the structure of one of the "Big Three" religions and, in keeping with the spirit of the opening quote, having become disenfranchised with the experience have decided to become a part of this "opposition". One must consider though that in it's truest form Atheism is not the opposite of any religious belief, but merely the absence of it, much similar to the statement the light is not the opposite of dark, but darkness is merely the condition created by the absence of light. To oppose god, one must believe that they have something to oppose.

      Let me say that I am not opposed to religion. I am sure that any homeless person who has ever received a meal from the hands of a clergy or congregation member will agree with me that many religious organizations have done much to the benefit of mankind. And there are those who are opposed to religion who will vehemently point out what detriment religions have inflicted upon this planet until they are blue in the face. Overpopulation can be pinned on both camps with equal validity. One can point to religious organizations stopping abortion, birth control and sex education. Or one can see how advances in medical technology have reduced infant mortality rates and extended lifespans. One can also pin as many wars on religion, "god said this land is mine" as they can on greed "I said this land is mine". And people will use whichever argument they need to drive their point home.

One cannot fail to see how the moral code imposed by religions has been of a benefit to society. Indeed one could say that an atheist without a code of ethics/morals is at best a hedonist or a social darwinist, and at worst a sociopath. In this age of overpopulation, poverty and economic turmoil, and without a punishing "god" it would only seem to make sense to become entirely self-centered and concerned with ones own survival above all else. One could see this progressing to homicidal/sociopathic tendencies. Fortunately the basis for societal laws spring from a firm moral background first imposed with religious overtones. Indeed in the time when the basis for todays laws came into being survival was a much more violent issue. One can also easily see how many sins came into being in a time when science was in it's infancy. The Jewish and Islamic dietary restrictions probably helped stave off food related illness. The sins concerning sex were well suited for their time in discouraging the spread of venereal disease, especially in a time when it could wipe out an entire society. All of these observations have been made before. "Your radical ideas about...yadda yadda yadda."

Back to our modern atheist. Indeed these "(I choose to be an)" atheists seem to be almost god-obsessed, shouting their opposition of him to the four corners of the earth. Indeed the true atheists have a much different worldview. In being an atheist one sees no harm in the the worship of a diety greater than a waste of time (and if that's a problem then so are television and video games). One only becomes incensed when outdated aspects of a religious moral code are made into law, forcing your compliance. Indeed it is at this point when all atheists seem to join together despite the motivations behind their beliefs. All well and good, every body of shared beliefs needs a unified voice from time to time, and legislation is always a bit of a hot topic.

The crux of atheist belief for me tends to lie in the issue of death. Believing that death is oblivion, the end, game over man, is a rather bleak prospect. It entirely removes purpose of being, to a point. If one takes "natural order" into the equation, one sees their purpose as one of propagation. To procreate, and provide and protect for the next generation. Indeed, for many, this is an adequate reason to go on. Some, who see the problems of over population, see no reason to propagate and seek knowledge for knowedge's sake, others live to experience all that being alive has to offer, in a somewhat restrained hedonistic lifestyle. Still others, seeing that death is the end of all, send their lives in fear of that oblivion, knowing that the time they have on this earth is all that they've got, they commit their lives to extending their own lifespan (sometimes finding ways to extend that of others as well). Somehow this makes me hope that my doctors are atheists. "You better bring me back, there is no 'better place'!"

Now, gentle reader I hope you will forgive this philosophical/observational/etc... rambling, and perhaps ponder some of the subjects covered. It's those very thoughts which caused me to ramble on so.


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