I was watching Up with Chris Hays this weekend-he covered the Rally. Made me think about where this belief fits into my life. If I had to describe myself in 5 words I am not sure it (atheist) would make the list- but it probably would on a list of ten. Christians are coerced into going after recruits. That gives them power of a sort. But I feel no need to convince anyone else of my lack of a belief in a god. Just something I am trying to come to terms with...any thoughts?
I, too, don’t try and recruit people to atheism. For one thing I hate it when people try to get me to join a religion so I’m not about to try and get anyone else to realize that religion is a falsehood. For another thing, trying to recruit people simply is not effective.
Jonathan- Do you ever feel the need to stand up against the religious craziness going on now-ever feel like you have to speak out in response to the destructiveness?
"Made me think about where this belief fits into my life."
Well, if you're talking about atheism, …it isn't a "belief", it's probably better described as a negation of a belief claim. As such, "fitting" a no/non/not proposition "into one's life" is for me a strange concept on its own.
"But I feel no need to convince anyone else of my lack of a belief in a god. Just something I am trying to come to terms with...any thoughts?"
Let's put this in terms of a no/non/not proposition:
I do not collect ceramic pigs, I have no problems with ceramic pig collectors as a rule, what they do in the privacy of their homes and at any conventions or clubs they may belong to is of no consequence to me at all.
The thought of informing all I meet that I am a non-ceramic pig collector, and/or that, ceramic pig collecting, is a waste of time, utterly irrational and completely absurd; is patently ridiculous.
However: If, I was living in a society where 80% or more of its populace were ceramic pig collectors, and those ceramic pig collectors decided that their hobby was the only thing that gave life meaning, morality and direction so that everybody should respect their ceramic pig collecting construct of life's meaning, absolute morality and direction; and/or that their status as ceramic pig collectors gave them special privilege to things like reproductive rights, marital institutions, education, justice, foreign policy and other purviews of public policy to the point that any who didn't share their hobby were marginalized, or worse oppressed….
I'd probably think differently of how, not-collecting ceramic pigs, "…fit into my life".
It isn't the no/non/not that brought us together at the Mall in DC, it was (from my blog):
Every speaker made a point of expressing their gratitude to all who came, and most spoke directly to those, still alone and for whatever reasons they may have, afraid to admit their disbelief to any but themselves. They were told, in no uncertain terms that they have a community of others who answer no, to a ridiculous notion that an invisible and unknowable entity has anything to do with reality.
But, this was also about more than just what we as a community, don't believe, and about the many important issues and ideologies attached to that single "no", that we not only lack a belief in, but we won't tolerate any more.
This was a very loud "no" to; religion and state, religion and its bigotries (all of them), and religion and its lies (all of them).
i'm 38 years old. i became an Atheist around 14. i've discussed it with others from time to time in my life. my mother came to grips with my non-belief while i was in college. the topic of religion has come up rather infrequently in my life, although those who know me know i'm not a believer, largely b/c my last name people always ask/assume that i am Jewish. i've always explained that i was raised Catholic but am now an Atheist. were it not for my last name i would have had very few opportunities to call myself an Atheist or describe what i believe/don't believe.
the scene has changed. i don't think something inside of me has changed. i joined this site in October of '11, have purchased Atheist t-shirts, read books on the subject, and have now attended the RR. the culture war has brought out the warrior in me. i'm sick of all the religious bunk that pollutes the political scene, tries to enter the classroom, as well as our women's lady parts.
i swear it wasn't this bad 5 years ago. maybe it was, and i'm just starting to notice. either way, Atheism is now an official part of the description of me. it was always there, lurking in the shadows, but it will never be hidden again. at least until Secularism has become the norm.
I agree that things have changed. Gotten MUCH worse. I have held my beliefs for many years but until the last 10 or so did not feel conflicted about just, for the most part keeping it to myself. These days I feel I must speak up and out.
Brilliant, Richard! The ceramic pig collecting nails it on the head. It would be nice if theists who say atheism is a religion or that atheists are "afraid of god" could understand your point. They constantly ask why we feel the need to let people know about our lack of faith. I have a friend at work who never wears T shirts. He doesn't blog, rally, or otherwise advertise this fact. Why? -It's because no one is telling him he's a morally bankrupt individual because of it! I fear, however, that if the ability to understand ~reason~ were in most theists' repertoire, they would likely not be theists.
Richard I guess in the context of my life, surrounded by Christians in my family and in the rural area where I live, the "fitting into my life" concept is real. Many Christians truly believe we are condemning ourselves to hell by our denial of their God. These are not evil people. Some I hold in great admiration. If the reverse were true, and I thought I knew they would go to hell for believing in their God, I would probably feel compelled to at least try to convince them of my point of view. This is not a simple answer for me.
I enjoyed reading your comment. Personally, I wouldn’t care how many people agreed with me that there is no god as long as their unwillingness to see things my way didn’t define so much of the society I have to live in. As long as religion is going to be a leading driver of public policy and a primary reason for war I feel a need to speak out in support of the notion that there is no god.
I wouldn't define myself as an atheist in the first 5 words either. However, being a former theist, my "Revolution for one" really changed the way I thought and approached problems in my life. For the first time, I was truly independent and could work on tangible, practical solutions instead of "giving it up to God". I really feel its part of my Identity because I used to be a "ceramic pig collector" and understand that it is a dangerous, wasteful hobby.
So, if I ever finally get a tattoo, it will be of a big atheist "A"(cliché, I know). And when the tide changes and the default position becomes the reasonable one, grandpa will have it changed to something more meaningful. There are plenty of other words starting with "A".
This is an issue I’m still working through. One part of my mind is keenly aware that the only way things change is by educating people one person at a time. Personal experience has taught me that, when it comes to religion, people’s views are about as intractable as they could possibly be. So, even though I know what the solution is I can’t bring myself to go out there and work on educating. About the best I can do is write about things and hope someone out there reads what I have to say and gets something out of it. If anyone has words of motivation I’d like to hear them. Sometimes I feel like our country is going downhill fast and that there’s not much us rational people can do to help throw on the breaks.