Coming Out of the Atheist Closet
|from here but|
|Conversation between dudes|
People seem to equivocate theists with atheists, as if being an atheist means actively believing in the nonexistence of gods. That's why you get the following from Urban Dictionary, of all places:
Agnostics on atheism: On the other end of the spectrum, unlike atheists, an agnostic uses a more scientific approach to their belief system. An agnostic knows that just because there is no physical proof of the existence of a higher being, it dose [sic] not automatically mean that one does not exist. An agnostic views an atheist on the same plane as a religious zealot; often because the belief [sic] that human beings are the pinnacle of intelligence and there are few things that we do not or have the potential to understand.
The realization of knowing that “we cannot know everything” is the backbone of the agnostic belief.
Christian Zealot: God loves you and everyone. He will save you
Agnostic: Prove it.
Athiest: There is no way that a god can exist.
Agnostic: Prove it.
|Non-believers of the world, unite!|
So, if you're a closeted atheist, it's time for us to band together. Sure you can still call yourself an agnostic or a secular humanist, but admit that you're an atheist too. Even if you're "spiritual but not religious" you might also be an atheist. With infighting and self-division, we obstruct the progression of our cause, which is to free ourselves from a religio-normative culture that insists everyone must belong to a religion and that belonging to a religion is natural. We don't want freedom of religion - that leaves out those without it; we want freedom of conscience, and we want stigma against atheists to end.
Most people don't consider the fact that humanity has, for the vast majority of its history, done just fine without institutionalized dogma and mandated loyalty to one or more liturgical supreme beings. Most of the time, people have just believed what they wanted to, making things up as they went along. Now we live in a world of mega-religions that choke diversity of thought. I still remember an idea I read while flipping through a random book last year: The Americas were more religiously diverse in 1491 than they ever have been since. It's worth remembering that even some people who belong to a religion may be atheists - Buddhists, for example (though that may negate what I said two paragraphs ago). We need a society in which honesty about one's beliefs is valued and rational debate about one's beliefs is valued. Engaging seriously with important ideas can only be a good thing, right?
If you're in the atheist closet, please come out. No matter who you are (well, especially if you're a nice person) you will help non-belief to become more accepted and respected in society. A Mormon president? Hell no. I want to have a self-avowed atheist president, by 2024 at latest, please.