Why I'm an atheist and what atheism means to me. My perspective.
Disclaimer: I do not proofread for grammar or spell check my blogs.
First off, atheism is not a set of beliefs or non beliefs. If you study or have studied linguistics, you know that words are used to describe ideas or issues or things. Atheism stems from the word theism, which means; the doctrine or belief in the existence of a God or gods. There is monotheism (the belief in one god), polytheism (the beliefe in many gods), henotheism (stems from heis or henos, which means one. It’s not a synonym for monotheism, even though it has the same etymological meaning.), pantheism (the belief that the universe is god and we have to worship it), and panentheism (A panentheistic belief system is one which says that god interpenetrates every part of nature, but is nevertheless fully distinct from nature); I believe I covered most of them.
Now, atheism is used to describe those that simply deny to believe in a god. It is not a belief system. However, it is not just a simple denial, it describes an individual who thinks critically and rationally. I cannot subscribe to theism based on evidence, therefore by default I'm an atheist and am linguistically categorized in a group of people that fall within a set of nonbeliefs; but remember this a definintion that is used solely for lingustical purposes, so that it makes sense to us. How else would you describe an atheist? Atheism stems from being rational, not emotional. It stems from being sensible, not knee jerk reactional. It stems from an intellectual view that empirically rejects the idea of a god or of any supernatural untestable idea based solely on empirical analysis and evidence. An atheist would never use a story of suffering to convince everyone to become an atheist (ahem, The story of the crucifixion) because as I said an atheist does not function based on emotional issues to convince people of "atheism". Athesists live their life in a manner of rational and sensible manner who use critical thinking to help them make decisions in life. Atheists are not "faith based"
Athiesm is not a set of beliefs or a set of non beliefs, it is not an idea, we don't go to achurches, celebrate achristmases or aesters; we do none of what someone who follows a "set of beliefs" would do; we live a life that may or may not be morally right (yet from what I've been seeing atheists seem to have upper hand knowledge on morality based on the fact that they actually pay attention to the world and not blindly believe into something).
We see the world for what it is and we are seeing religion and theists destroying this world with their holy wars, we see the theists making a mockery of our constitution here in the US, and in recent years have seen an uprising of religion used for scoring political points with politicians. We have seen religion being used to discredit science, we are seeing religion attacking every single aspect of our lives, including our education. The US already has a very very low standard in education and now, the theists are trying to lower that standard even more. With the introducution of intelligent design we are going to see less scientists, less cures for diseases and when you go to the doctor you will be told to "Say two prayers, and call me in the morning." We are seeing pharmacists passing moral judgements as opposed to scientific ones. It is getting bad, very bad. Another example on how religion is getting in between science (medicine) and you is this. Recently scientists have developed a vaccine that would innoculate you from HPV (Human Pappiloma Virus). This virus, however, only causes pathogenesis in women. It is responsible for cervical cancer. Now, many atheist sceintists would like this vaccine to be mandatory before entering high schools so as to reduce the risks of cervical cancer. Makes sense right from an epedimiological and public health perspective. However, the theists want to put a halt to this vaccination due to the fact that THEY belive will promote sex. This is how bad it's gotten.
It is not the atheists that are the enemy, even though we are being protrayed as such. We don't care that people believe in God, but now these sets of belief systems are starting to spill over on OUR lives and OUR choices, based on a handful of extreme religious right politicians who feel that the biblical law MUST be imposed on everyone. They are slowly trying to change this free democracy into an enslaving form of theocracy.
The theists are trying to fight the battle using their terms. We are letting them describe the terms of discourse. For years scientists refused to engage the Intellingent design folks because they were looked as a bunch of religious loonies that would never have a chance to push forward with their atenda Well, look at Kansas. It has gotten so bad that Scientists are now forced to defend what has been accepted and proven for centuries. The religious right have spent millions of dollars on a campaign to discredit science, and did they do this sceintifically? No. They did it using Public Relations propaganda and conspiracy theory-type arguments to convince the ignorant masses. They use peoples ignorance of science against them to gain support. They present "flaws" and then turn around and say "See? It's obvious that evolution is flawed. So ID is the ONLY answer" But they give no explanation to back up their story, they give absolutely no evidence, just FAITH".
This is why atheists have become more vocal in recent days to make sure that the extreme theists who are not only happy making millions of dollars (Jerry Fallwel, Pat Robertson, Dobson, and many others) off of their gullible followers, but now they want to change the course of this country. Money leads to power, which leads to more power and a hunger to conquer. This is why the ultra rich extreme right wing theists are building theist law schools, universities, think tanks to help in changing the course of our democracy into a theocracy.
This is what I, and many other "atheists" stand against. The idealogical takeover of our lives by biblical laws. We believe in the constituion of the United States and the clause of separation of church and state. We believe that all should be able to worship anything they want or nothing at all. And all laws and decisiosn should be made based on the church/state separations clause. Of course the argument I get is that churches and religious beliefs are being suppressed etc..etc.. I respond with this... When was the last time you were forced to close your church? When was last time someone prohibited you from going to church? When was the last time you were told that you were FORCED to have an abortion based on secular laws? When was the last time that the thousands of television and radio evangelical programming was shut down by the FCC? When was the last time you were prohibited to worship in your churches, mosques or synagogues? NEVER. Becase this is a FREE country and any laws made are never to advocate or impede religion. The theists are mad because we wont' allow the ten commandments on a public tax payer building, well let me ask you this how do you think they would feel if I wanted to build a monument commemorating the qu'ran on the state capital? Most theists would be appalled at that, and woud never allow it they would then start touting the church/state clause. This is the hypocrisy we see. They dont' want freedom of religion, they only want freedom of XTIAN beliefs ONLY.
The whole argument that our fore fathers started this country based on xtianity is a fallacy as well. Our fore-fathers were deists, not theists, and purposely left God out of the constitution to ensure that TRUE freedom of worship, free from the endorsement or chastisement of government would be allowed. Sure some were theists as well, but they believed in democracy over their religious beliefs, that is why they drafted the constituion the way it was. Free to worship without endorsement or chastisement from government. However, the religious zealots of today are trying to completely turn around what our fore fathers had envisioned for us. Why? because the more followers the church has, the richer the church gets. I will not get into the Straussian philosophy of the use of religion for controlling the masses here, except that the neoconservative movement is very well awar of the power of ignorance and religion. Keep that in mind.