Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Atheism as Rebellion

I have often said atheism is not a religion, though Atheism (with a capital A, defined as one who claims and militantly defends the belief that there are not, or cannot be, gods) is a faith; when organized into a group, it can take on aspects of religion (like American Atheists or Brights).

On the other hand, atheism is simply a rebellion against religion, just as anarchy is not a system of government, but a complete lack thereof. Both of these ideas, anarchy and atheism, are statements of one saying that having nothing at all would be better than what we have now. Both are a call towards ideological emptiness, devoid of all culture, an intellectual vacuum. When a system begins to break down, and that system has successfully suppressed much of its outside influence, rejection of the old is directed towards nothing, figuratively and literally.

However, most individuals cannot stay in a state of rebellion for long, let alone a lifetime. It is not some form of weakness that draws people to faith, nor is it fear, or even emotional. Each person’s needs are fulfilled differently by religion, which is why we are fortunate to have such a vast choice. Religion offers many things to people: moral guidance, community, and some third one (I thought for five minutes and got nothing). However, it does not have a monopoly on any of them.

I would argue that there are more believers in America because there are more options (though more people in non-monotheistic religions would be nice). It’s the same reason we watch more TV: more channels. If you live in a country with few options, you will be driven to atheism. Many atheists will convert before they die. Many won’t. I have no idea what the break down would be, but it’s clear from observation that some, like Anne Rice, forsake their hedonistic past. Others, like Christopher Reeves, reject organized religion to the very end.

We all take different paths in life. While some follow what they hope to be a master’s path, they must trust those who have tread upon and obscured the original footprints. Some push to new terrain, despite the herd’s shouted threats of danger. Perhaps the maps we follow are different because we do not seek the same things. Regardless, atheists may wander freely, while Atheists must be content to sit alone, laughing at those who pass.

It is great to have choice, even with A/atheism.

1 comment:

  1. There is only one choice. Life or death.


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