Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Being an Atheist in a Non-Secular World

I've been an atheist since I was 14. Ironically, I realized that I was an atheist during in the middle of religion class. Although my close friends and family don't have a problem with my being an atheist, it's not something I go around advertising. For instance, if somebody asks my religion, I'll say that I was raised a catholic (which is true) and that I'm not very religious (which is also true). I just leave out the part about not believing in god. The reason why I do that is that I get some very confused, and often angry reactions for saying that I'm an atheist. The 3 most common comments I get are:
  1. "Oh, so you're an agnostic?"
  2. "You're an atheist, so you have no morals."
  3. "How can you not believe in god? That's just wrong!"
My rebuttal:

1. ATHEISM != AGNOSTICISM. Atheists don't believe in god. Agnostics believe that there's something out there. BIG difference.

2. Just because I'm an atheist doesn't mean that I lack morals. Although I think it's great that religion instills morals upon people, I don't think that they're mutually-exclusive. Do I need to believe in god to know that killing is wrong? No. Do I need to believe in god to know that I shouldn't cheat my way through life? No.

3. There's nothing wrong with not believing in god. Jews, Muslims, and Christians believe in a single god; hindus believe in multiple gods. I believe in no god. It's a matter of preference and belief. Just as I respect my friends of different faiths, I would expect them to respect my faith (or lack thereof). Does it mean that I have no faith whatsoever? I wouldn't say so. Just as I don't think that morals and religion are mutually-exclusive, I believe the same applies for faith and religion. Maybe it's all of that Star Trek that I grew up with, or all of the science books I read through the years, but I need PROOF! But that's just my opinion. I don't expect anybody to agree with me.

I guess it's ironic that I put a post up about not talking about my atheism "publically" - the Web after all, is as public as it gets. Oh well...I guess I was just itching to get my point out. :)

4 comments:

Peter said...

Have you ever considered adopting the Jedi religion? Aparently it's quite popular in Britain, New Zealand and Australia as thousands of people fill that in as their religion in census surveys.

I think it's actually achieved official religion status in the UK back in 2001 (according to this article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/10/09/jedi_knights_achieve_official_recognition/).
It's listed in their lists as code 896. "Heathen" is code 897 and "atheist" is 898.

peter said...

Something interesting to read?
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/02/10/italy.christ.ap/index.html

IndyComp0T1 said...

I saw that...I think the atheist dude is going too far. That's up there with some Americans suing over the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" in that they found it offensive. Boo hoo...cry me a river!

Adam S. said...

Actually, agnostics believe that there *may* be a god, but we can't really know one way or the other.

Check out my blog posing on the topic.