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.

Doubt.

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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