Saturday, January 19, 2013

Attempts to diminish the value and meaning of atheism

A lot of recent posts and comments were made that atheism is nothing more than simply not believing in a god.

Atheism is much more than this. It's about changing one's perspective on a world dominated by religion in one form or another since the dawn of humanity.

Atheism is much more than the simple dictionary definition. Communication students in their second semester should start to see this if they stray from the assigned textbooks and delve secretly into behavioral research at the library.

Skepticism and atheism are inextricably linked. One student's essay claimed that one can be a skeptic and not be atheist, this is impossible as true skeptics deploy a scientific method of inquiry to determine facts. Anything beyond facts, evidence, and reproducible results is speculation, and conclusions based on speculation require faith, which has no credible place in the scientific community.

Claims that something is true simply because it is written down in some ancient book is madness. Claims that because some common-sense truism was written in an adjacent paragraph, a paragraph written about some scientifically impossible event must be true, is also madness. This tactic is called "proximity rationalization" and is a classic writing strategy used by fiction authors to assist the reader in suspending disbelief.

Another author of a recent essay discounted the value of atheists because they have no discernible organization or leadership. Organization and leadership in a belief system is required because the members must be managed enough to refrain from escaping the corral of their beliefs. Atheists are guided by the purity of reality constructed of only facts, evidence, and reproducible results. No leadership is required in the realm of reality.

Adopting atheism isn't just about denying a god. It's about calling into question everything that you have accepted in your life so far, including authority figures, especially those who surround themselves with and appeal to, religious groups.

Atheism is about revisiting the value of everything in your life and culture, and reassessing your whole value system.
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