Atheism is Dead Wrong

02.10.08 | 40 Comments

Now that the pejorative title has attracted you perhaps because you think atheism is wrong from a religious perspective or maybe you’re an atheist expecting some religion-based diatribe on the evils of atheism, I’ll ask you to read on because this statement comes from neither perspective.

The first draft of this entry had an extensive first-person narrative of a recent event that seemed to be the catalyst for this entry. Suffice to say, I’ll record it at some point but I’ll summarize by saying it was an instance of aggressive panhandling for jesus. This event sparked an emotional response from me that I was unprepared for when being damned to hell by the panhandler when he asked if I was “saved.” Normally, I would have replied atheist. But in a flash of, perhaps, insight? It occurred to me that while being an atheist (one who does not believe in god) is completely valid, a notion of atheism is not the answer.

Here’s the reasoning behind that statement. Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy? How about the boogeyman? Unicorns? Compassionate Conservatism? (couldn’t resist, sorry) Dragons? The Great Pumpkin? Or, the piece de resistance, Santa Claus? Chances are, if you’re reading this, you don’t believe any of these myths, though they are pervasive in our societies and perfectly normal to really, deeply believe as children. At some point, it becomes clear to children that the wool is being pulled over their eyes and the belief stops. When children come to this conclusion, are they penalized for the discovery? To the children than ban together to form clubs of anti-Santa-ism? Are the anti-Santa-ites individually? Of course not, they’ve simply grown up and recognized the reality of the situation.

That’s because it is simply rational to not believe the myths when sufficient observable evidence appears to make a judgment. As humans, we work under this assumption in virtually every aspect of our lives except one, religion. To be fair, most people simply have no chance. They’re indoctrinated into a particular sect of a particular religion at birth and are so steeped in the myth and so consistently and constantly reminded of the validity of the myth it never occurs to question what’s happening until much later in life. In fact, this practice is brainwashing and it’s an abhorrent practice that is akin to child abuse, but that’s another entry.

Getting back to the thesis at hand, the notion that there is an “atheism” is like establishing the “anti-flat-earth society” – it doesn’t make sense. There is no national movement, there is no membership, there are no dues, and there is no hierarchy. I believe we would advance rational thought as a practice simply by treating religion like any other myth. The antidote for belief is rational thought made on the basis of observation, hypothesis, and testing.

The intent of this entry is not to convert people of myth, that’s ultimately up to them as individuals. This is more to convert people of thought to ditch the label atheism and simply revert to rational thought as the distinction between themselves and people of myths. After all, when there is a label it makes it easier to lump people into a category and spread false information about them. How many of you believe Hitler was an atheist after all? I bet many do because that’s what you were taught. He was a staunch Catholic and his secret police, the SS, had “god with us” as a patch sewn into their uniforms.

The punch line to this entry? Debunk any myth you like and believe what you like. But if you happen to fall into the side of the argument that says there is no god, you might think twice about saying you’re an atheist because it’s simply another “church” so to speak and will ultimately be treated that way. It’s fine to not believe, but it’s much more effective to be for something, like “rational thought” than against something, like gods and churches.

In closing this morning’s sermon, I leave you with a cartoon from the book of humor:

Don Addis Atheist Cartoon showing christian attacking atheist with a cross, then atheist siezing cross and breaking it while christian says have a little respect.
Cartoon Credit: Don Addis via Friendly Atheist