Sunday, January 17, 2010

The “Importance” of Being Atheist

When I sit down to write a blog post, I have to get into the mindset. I must to have an idea and consciously concentrate on the subject. In other words, the contents of this blog are not the things I usually focus on. Moreover, my blog is hardly about atheism so much as it is a reaction to religion. Atheism is just not that important to me.

Atheism is little more than a preference, not all that different from homosexuality, polyamory, or enjoying pork/beef. There are religions which preach against all of these, but the truth is they are harmless in and of themselves. More importantly, these kind of inclinations are largely outside of conscious choice (though their practice is not, I personally find it abominable to deny people a harmless joy).

In fact, these distinctions are hardly even important to most people who possess them. Instead, significance is projected from those who fervently oppose the activity. While homosexuality is openly criticized in a Christian culture, the consumption of pork is forbidden in Muslim or Jewish society (as well as homosexuality, and atheism for that matter).

The truth is, taboos are significant only to the those who avoid them. Vegans have created a whole new language of terms for people who wear animals products, eat or don’t eat eggs/milk, and even for honey consumption. Normal people don’t have any need for defining themselves based on what foods they eat, even if they don’t eat them. Most people don’t eat dogs, but we do not feel compelled to state it... though no one in America is ever going to let Koreans forget that they used to.

I think there are very few people who define themselves based on their religious standing, whether they are believers or not. They may self-identify, but how often does religion really come up? Unless you subscribe to fundamentalism, I would imagine not often. I hope this blog doesn’t turn me into a fundamentalist atheist.


  1. Interesting thoughts. This gives me some ideas. I might borrow from your lead and expound on this point. I totally agree.

  2. I sometimes wonder how much more I have to say about the topic of atheism. I found myself sitting down and starting to write about Pat Robertson about five times... and everytime all I could come up with was:

    - He says this kind of stuff on a regular basis.
    - This is hardly the worst thing he's said.
    - He is living proof that the good die young.

    I just didn't feel like it justified a post because I felt nothing by it. I just could not be any less shocked that someone used religion to justify a tragedy in such a callous way. It has no effect on me anymore, and I would be more shocked if no one brought it up.

    I'm starting to feel like an apatheist.

  3. "Atheism is little more than a preference, not all that different from homosexuality, polyamory, or enjoying pork/beef. "

    I kind of disagree here Ginx. I think for most atheists it's not simple preference - but rather the result of reasoning, and sometimes passionate, other times dispassionate analysis.

    I don't think it can be boiled down to preference unless you are an atheist simply because you find the music at church lame and the sermons boring.

    I mean, you might be that kind of atheists.... but most I have met (and no, it's not a sufficient sample to generalize) - seem to be atheists because they find no objective proof for the existence of God.

  4. I believe reasoning and logic have little to do with it. I feel nothing for religion, just as I feel nothing when I see a sweaty, bare-chested guy. If I got excited by the sight of that, I would be gay/bi. If I felt a divine presence, I would be religious. I don't think there is a difference between these intangible feelings, nor is it something controlled by the individual (like choice).

    However, just as a gay/bi person can live their life against their urges as a heterosexual, plenty of people who feel nothing for religion go through the motions anyway. I know this to be true because I have talked to people in this situation. I also know that many people have what they will defend to the death to be "a relationship with God." They aren't "wrong" for feeling that way, just different.

  5. interesting. I often get commenters who are like "but are you sayign you left judaism cause of emotional reaons!!! The only valid reason to leave a religion is one based purely on logic!"

    But yeah, the feeling just isn't there for me anymore. It was at one time, but not anymore.


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