Thursday, July 21, 2005

No Doubt About It

Sorry for the long internet silence again (I am attempting to condense a spacious one-bedroom apartment in northern California into a tiny, cramped room in L.A. - hello eBay, goodbye hordes of childhood toys).

I just came across this L.A. Times article, inappropriately titled "A Time of Doubt for Atheists." Yes, we are being assaulted by the commercialization of Jesus everywhere we look, but doubt has no place here. "A Time of Outrage" or "A Time of Bewilderment" or, for some, "A Time of Mild Irritation" would be more appropriate.


It seems that every time I tell someone I'm an atheist, they attempt to make an argument that there is no such thing. "Surely you must believe in something. You believe that we're standing here having this conversation, right? Then you're not an atheist." This logic escapes me. An atheist is not, by definition, someone who does not believe in anything. An experience that can be recorded scientifically, such as exchanging vocal sounds with another human being, is not the same as an imagined conversation in which God or Satan tells you to put on a green sweater and kill your neighbor's dog. Equally absurd is the agnostic argument: "How can you know that God doesn't exist? How can you truly claim to be an atheist?" I admit, I have seen terrible paintings of unicorns frolicking in the clouds, but I don't think that they should be studied in zoology, alongside the zebra and the gazelle. And I have read Peter Pan, but I don't believe in fairies. Tinkerbell may not make it, but we don't need her to. We can make do without her. We always have, in reality.

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Blogger Steve said...

Have you tried this line?

'I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.' - Stephen Roberts

The quote a fairly new one to me, and I'm not fully comfortable with it because it can be interpreted to imply that the speaker dismisses the listener's god on the same basis that the listener dismisses other gods. In other words, that both the listener and the speaker succumb to dogma.

The correct interpretation, though, would be that the speaker accuses the listener of acquiescence to dogma.

I have not had a chance to direct this line at anyone. If you have, or do, I'd like to read about the reaction.

Cheers! I hope you're comfortable in your new digs. Steve

6:36 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

"Tinkerbell may not make it, but we don't need her to. We can make do without her. We always have, in reality."

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Another way of saying it, if I may, is: E.T. and Aslan are worm food.

Greetings from the Dominionist Occupied South. Love the blog.

11:11 PM  

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