Saturday, July 29, 2006

Born again!

Yes, you can become a born again atheist.
Though I'm not certain I'd call it that. It kind of implies that you have been born into a new world when, in fact, all you've done is drop the illusion you've been stuck with all your life.
Anyhow, I'd always been leaning towards atheism anyhow, but being in AA kind of drew me away for a while.

This revelation was brought about by reading several articles by Sam Harris, author of The End Of Faith.
He wasn't, for the most part, saying much I didn't already know, but what he DID manage to do was bring to the forefront feelings and views that I had not put into a concrete framework. He also showed me the hypocrisy of my actions.

List of Articles

The best has to be the Atheist Manifesto. Its long winded, but worth it if only for this paragraph:

It is perfectly absurd for religious moderates to suggest that a rational human being can believe in God simply because this belief makes him happy, relieves his fear of death or gives his life meaning. The absurdity becomes obvious the moment we swap the notion of God for some other consoling proposition: Imagine, for instance, that a man wants to believe that there is a diamond buried somewhere in his yard that is the size of a refrigerator. No doubt it would feel uncommonly good to believe this. Just imagine what would happen if he then followed the example of religious moderates and maintained this belief along pragmatic lines: When asked why he thinks that there is a diamond in his yard that is thousands of times larger than any yet discovered, he says things like, “This belief gives my life meaning,” or “My family and I enjoy digging for it on Sundays,” or “I wouldn't want to live in a universe where there wasn't a diamond buried in my backyard that is the size of a refrigerator.” Clearly these responses are inadequate. But they are worse than that. They are the responses of a madman or an idiot.

Atheist Manifesto

These articles etc, also helped me realize that my tolerance when it came to other people's faith was misplaced. I don't have to (nor should I) respect their faith. I do (and should) respect their right to believe it.
What does this mean?
It means that I certainly don't burn churches or try to make laws preventing practice of religion. I let people believe what they want and behave how they will, so long as no one gets hurt.
It also means that if someone brings a god or supernatural faith into a discussion, I can treat it with the same weight as if they said "A big blue ocelot told me so".


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