Saturday, September 17, 2005

Atheism tutorial continued

It is clear from many of the comments regarding my previous posting about why "Under God" should be excised from the Pledge of Allegiance that many people really do have an uninformed, if not twisted, view of atheism, at least atheism as practiced by yours truly.

First, Big Bonnie does believe in something. I posted my credo: "Humans should strive to support the best possible quality of life for all living creatures." And, yes, that does mean that I revere all life on the planet. Indeed, when push comes to shove (as it often does), I increasingly find that I prefer most dogs to most people. (You posters know who you are.)

And if I may be allowed a second commandment, it is that we also owe the natural world, both plants and animals, our attention and respect. While the U.S. media almost universally ignores such stories, the Independent in the United Kingdom reports that we may be approaching the point of no return with global warming -- if we have not passed it already. (For a lengthy discussion of my analysis of why, please visit my less-than-optimistic article called "Why conservatives will keep winning ... and winning ... and winning.)

As a card-carrying atheist, I look to science for answers to many but not all questions. So I exercise those not-God-given brain cells of mine seeking information that helps me better understand the world, knowing that we can never find all the answers.

I realize that it is less work and less unsettling to believe in a sky god or astrology or some other system that requires only faith. And some spiritual constructs, if they are appreciated as metaphor and not as literal truth, contribute to our quest to make sense of our lives.

But it is the pursuit of information and ideas and the attempt to place them within a logical framework that makes life exciting and worth living for me. I would actually find it quite sad and constricting to find that someone or something else hands us all the answers.


Edgar said...

I could not have said it better.

Atheist or agnostic though?. That is the question that I normally face. I consider myself agnostic, though I might still go to a church (any church really) every once in a while, I consider it like going back to a kindergarten reunion, the one where I learned my first words...

And though I definitively disagree with all religions and their rites, I consider many of them, and their teachings (when placed in the proper context) necessary for human survival.

And of course, on there being a 'god' that will always depend on what your definition of 'god' is!!.

Wes said...

Speaking of misunderstood, we atheists are also untrusted.

I've honestly had someone ask me if atheism means that I "worship evil." It ain't easy believing in science.