Architects of a New Dawn

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A while back (quite a while, actually) I read a post on some forum or other describing atheists as "devil-worshipers" and "evil".

Well, being an atheist who doesn't worship the devil either (I like to be even-handed) and I tend to be guided by what I feel is right, I simply had to respond. The subject of that response I include below but first, if only for its entertainment value, I'd like to share what happened next.

Within a week or so of posting my response, I began to receive unsolicited emails from some atheist organisation (I no longer recall the name) informing me that I am part of a growing "Atheist Community".

Well, the reason I am an atheist is because I do not have a belief system. I am fully aware that there is something far greater than I would ever be able to comprehend. I cannot deny that I am part of a cosmic process but I make no pretense of knowing what that might be.

I do not believe in a God that loves me or gets angry at me or worries about what I believe in. I do not believe in a God who is prone to such human failings as anger, jealousy, vengeance and a megalomanic obsession with being worshiped.

The "Atheist Community" struck me as just another belief system and just as evangelical as any religion I have encountered. What on earth can an atheist community actually share except not believing in God? And why is it so important to share this absence of belief? What do they do? Do they have gatherings where they don't pray together? Maybe not sing a few hymns and possibly even not have a collection afterward? Who knows?

It seems that the main objective of this evangelical atheist community is to prove there is no God.

As an atheist, I am not saying there is no God. I am saying that I do not feel within my heart that the God described to me by every religion actually exists. I didn't choose to not believe in God and I cannot choose to believe. All I can do is be true to my heart. However, it should be born in mind that, had I not seen a duck-billed platypus with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe in those either. I am too aware of my capacity to be completely wrong to say that I know there is no God.

Religions identify this force, this process that is beyond comprehension as something that fits into an explanation. To be a devout observer of any religion is to say This is what I know to be true. I cannot in all honesty make that claim. In fact, the only thing I know for sure is that I don't know anything for sure.

I don't want to convert people to my views. I would not want a devout person to abandon their faith on the basis of anything I have said. I am not against religion. In fact religion has played a vital role in our development regardless of what one may feel about the conduct churches and religious institutions.

I just feel that I do not have to Know the forces that move me. I don't have to name it or explain it or worship it.

What I do have a problem with, however, is the vilifying or persecution of anyone because of their belief (or lack thereof). Why should I be branded as "evil" because I don't happen to believe what some people think I should believe? Would I be less "evil" if I pretended to believe? I'm afraid I put a higher value to my honesty than that.

I never responded to these emails from the Atheist Community and eventually, they stopped arriving. No doubt, they have written me off. I don't know if my name ever comes up... "Ron never got back to us, did he? Ah! He hath fallen by the wayside!"

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Comment by Melanie Worman on July 7, 2009 at 7:54am
In the AA steps programme I believe the first step is to acknowledge that there is a power greater than yourself. This would indicate a 'seperateness' but you're correct in saying I view god as the whole.

I know a number of recovering alcoholics and each of them joined a religion or embarked on a spiritual path as part of their recovery, as I did. I don't know any recovering alcoholics who are atheists but no doubt you'll be able to dig up a few!!!
Comment by Ron Tocknell on July 6, 2009 at 6:27am
Well, that's a bit subjective. Discovering yourself could be considered discovering God so, in this respect, that's obviously true. It's a matter of semantics. You seem to define God as the whole; that is to say the whole universe, the whole world, the whole being, the whole cell and the whole atom are all one and the same. I feel this too and yet I still call myself an atheist because I don't feel that there is a separate entity out there that directs or judges or warrants worship in the sycophantic traditional sense. My brand of atheism is very pedantic but then, I tend to be a bit pedantic myself.
Comment by Melanie Worman on July 6, 2009 at 3:14am
In my experience, if an alcoholic doesn't discover god then they don't become a recovering alcoholic! X
Comment by Ron Tocknell on July 3, 2009 at 5:45pm
Mel, I've just got to ask... what happens if a recovering alcoholic doesn't discover God?

I admit I did once have a near-life experience in which St. Peter appeared before me. Now that was a bit of a dilemma... particularly for an atheist (although, strictly speaking St. Peter isn't God).

I figured that either I'm having a genuinely religious experience, in which case, I'll have to revise my views, or I'm hallucinating, in which case, I'm mad and I'll have to revise everything.

As it turned out, it was neither a religious experience nor was I hallucinating. He was mad and he was hallucinating me. I can't tell you what a relief that was!
Comment by Melanie Worman on July 3, 2009 at 5:13pm
I thoroughly enjoyed this blog and your sense of humour is so refreshing when dealing with 'serious subjects'. I only discovered god because its a pre-requisite for recovering alcoholics! Of course my god is not called god, cannot be explained in a religious context .and it's certainly gender-free.

I can say "this is what I know to be true", which is born of my own life experiences and that's enough for me.

I've called you many names in the past but "devil worshipper" and "evil" were not among them. XXX


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