|SSA "Graveyard of the Gods" at Texas A&M--Corpus Christi|
In the six months that I've been maintaining this blog, I've noticed an interesting trend in the spheres of Christian influence that I follow. There's a real tendency to take atheism personally.
We are out to get Christianity. We've got a nefarious plan to destroy Christianity. We're after Christian children.
But nothing could be further from the truth. As an atheist, I reject all gods--not just the Christian tradition.
Just to be fair, today, I thought I'd give you a peek at some of the other gods that I don't believe in. It's not complete, but is extensive.
And those are just the A's.
The point here isn't to mock Christianity, but to point out that it's simply inaccurate to assume that atheists are out to get any religion in particular.
Much like Christians may feel the need to try to save people from hell by evangelizing, atheists may feel a need to expose the shortcomings of religion. This is a need that I personally feel.
I don't want to destroy religion; what I want is for people to think carefully about the conclusions their religious beliefs lead them too.
Would I be happy with a world where every god, ever, was on the list above with the rest of the dead gods? Of course I would. That's human nature. But I recognize that this is, at best, improbable, and more likely, it is impossible. And I'm okay with that.
What I'm not okay with--and again, I'm not the voice of atheists everywhere, so I'm only speaking for myself--is allowing religion to continue to exercise undue influence in the spheres of this world that we share. Politics, education, justice--these and many other areas need to be free of religious influence. Secular values in these areas are what protect us all.
But that's not an attack on Christianity or on Christian values or on the effect those values can have on individuals, the good that it can work in individual lives.
On a larger scale, though, I find the messages of Christianity damaging. The idea that we are inherently broken and in need of saving is itself a damaging idea. It's an idea that needs to be carefully considered and the implications of it fully explored by the people that subscribe to it. And yet, those believers seem to be the ones least likely to really stop and think about what they are thinking. Instead of scrutinizing these beliefs to better understand them, they blindly accept that this is the way things are--often simply because that is how they have been raised. It's the beliefs we hold most dear, however, that I believe should be examined most carefully. We should be willing to look at our thinking, to follow it to its logical conclusion, and to make decision on whether it is sound thinking there. Religious beliefs should not be immune, and a religion that demands blind faith and acceptance is one that also denies the very fundamental aspects of our human nature.
There's a wide variety of views among atheists--much like Christians or Jews or Muslims. Some truly do want to see religion destroyed. Some just want to live. Some want to do away with Christian privilege. Some just want the influence of religion limited in public spheres that we all share.
The best way to know an atheist's view of religion is to talk to them. You may be surprised.