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« A Rogue Book Review (Dean) | Main | Music as Medicine for Wounded Vets (Andrew) »

December 10, 2009

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the problem is that any word one might employ in a religion/atheism discussion is loaded with associations. i'm an atheist...but people then assume you hate religion, associate with hitchens, dawkins, etc...to the point that every discussion involves a lengthy description of what you don't believe, instead of what you do believe.

you mentioned in a previous comment thread that you're largely indifferent to the question of god, and i'm very much of a same mind. so we need a new label. a label that connotes atheism, but not an atheism that scoffs at religion or faith. rather, an atheism that springs from indifference, disinterest...not adherence to the diatribes of hitchens and maher and that sort.

i've made it a rule not to discuss religion with people. i just change topics. until a better word comes along...a word that means, "there is no god...and no, i'm not condescending towards your faith...no, i don't watch 'real time with bill maher'...i genuinely, utterly feel nothing about religion and the possibility of god...please leave me alone"...until then, i'm just keeping it to myself. (not counting this comment. secret atheists are allowed a total of three utterances, i've checked the rules).

If this article is correct, you and Ruchira are true atheists, while Ditchens are 'anti-theists' in addition to being atheists.

Thank you, M. The Ditchens don't thrill me with their rhetoric. I don't go "aha!" when I hear them make a particularly incisive point against the religionists. But I am not their etiquette teacher. They can make their case as they wish to. They don't speak for me on every aspect of the debate. What I appreciate about their effort is that they have started a conversation which until now, was one sided. The aggressive (and abusive) reliogisity of vocal proponents was the only opinion in the market place. Now another set of loud voices has been added to the cacophony. Hopefully, our politicians will learn at last that not everyone is looking to god for guidance in deciding policy.


My take on religion is that it is a waste of my time. There are many harmful ideas there that I don't accept at all. The good things I can figure out myself, no matter how prettily or mysteriously they are presented by the devout. The god question is a bit different. My attitude there is "so, what?" whatever the answer to that question may be. In Walker Percy's novel, The Moviegoer, the protagonist said something that I will paraphrase here:

If god appears some day at my breakfast table, I don't think I will choke on my toast out of joy, fear or guilt. If on the other hand, the atheists prove to me with a mathematical formula that there is no god, I will not break out into sobs of disappointment or go dancing in the street. Either way, my life will go on as it always has.

That is indifference. So, what should we call ourselves? I am sure you will have a far better idea than I can come up with. Give it a shot:-)

Which article, Sujatha? The link takes me to an A.B. page.

I always liked Nietzsche's description of god and the end of religion. The passage where he says, "God is dead": religion is an afterthought in that passage. The atheists are scoffing at the idea of faith, but Nietzsche portrays them as self-absorbed, closed off to the significance of universal values. The two extremes...religion and peacock atheism...are dismissed. I like the ambivalence of it.

Sorry about the mixed up link, Ruchira. Here's the correct one

Thanks Sujatha. Good distinctions.

I guess by the standards of the article, I am a bit of an anti-theist in that I believe the meddling of the theists in public matters does do us harm. But I wouldn't want to ban or convert them. I just want them to shut up.

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