Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Bad Atheist

A bad atheist

I’m a bad atheist. I’ve been told this often. I believe there is no god. That is, to say that I don’t believe in god is less accurate than to say I believe there is no god. My brain doesn’t seem to work in negatives. I hold the belief that god is imaginary; I don’t lack a belief that god is real. Am I making sense here? I think in affirmatives, not negatives. This makes me a bad atheist.
Now, people will sometimes tell me that this is dogmatic, or that I must have faith to hold this position, or that this makes atheism a religion. I think all of these are wrong. I believe that unicorns are imaginary. No one seems to think this is dogmatic. I believe that the tooth fairy is a legend. This requires no faith. I believe ghosts do not exist. This does not it a religion.
I’ve been told this is unreasonable; that to hold this belief I must be god, or at least all-knowing. I find this ridiculous. I believe there are no such things as chimeras. There is no need for me to be all-knowing to realize the possibility of a chimera actually existing is so incredibly small, it is negligible. So I neglect it.

Since I make this an affirmative statement, I’ve been tempted to call it “the atheist’s gospel”. Mostly because I think it is “good news” that god does not exist. Perhaps there is too close a parallel drawn here for some atheists. But while the believer’s “good news” of jesus comes with the “bad news” of sin, the atheist’s “good news” of no gods comes with the “bad news” of personal responsibility. With no god to tell us what to do with our lives, and no absolute moral standards, we must use our admittedly faulty faculties to find our own path. We must define, and re-define, our morals, our standards, and our lives. We have no deity to guide us. But there is more good news: we have each other. No one said we have to do it alone. God isn’t here; we are.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think that you're a bad atheist. I think you're about as good as they come. One more proof that "intelligent atheist" is an unfair stereotype.