Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Atheism as a religion

Mike Dobbins has a book out called Atheism as a Religion. A Christian site shared an excerpt online and I can't help but take issues with some of the conclusions.
One sacred symbol to atheists is the 'A' that symbolizes atheism. Three 'A' symbols are prominent in atheism.
Sacred? How does that even make sense? Sacred is defined as 'connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration', 'religious rather than secular' or '(of writing or text) embodying the laws or doctrines of a religion'. Atheists don't have a god. We are secular. Atheism doesn't have any individual laws, nor is it a religion. So the term 'sacred' doesn't make sense for an atheist symbol. Furthermore, we won't threaten someone for burning an atheistic book or destroying an atheist 'A' symbol. Sure, we might be pissed if a believer destroys our property, but there won't be any religious fervor.
One 'A' symbol was created in 2007 by Atheist Alliance International and has a circle around it...A second popular 'A' symbol was created by Richard Dawkins and is a red letter 'A' on a right leaning slant....The third sacred 'A' symbol was created by the American Atheists and is placed in the middle of an atomic circle. 
The second is my personal preference. It is just more visually appealing to me. It also looks pretty nice on the back of my car.
As you can tell, not only are these symbols for atheism, there is atheist religious symbolism within them that only atheists or those who study atheism know.
Religious symbolism? No. But every well thought out logo has symbolism and  meaning greater than simply looking good. Is FedEx a religion because if has extra details to it? What about VAIO, Northwest, Amazon, The Bronx Zoo, the Hartford Whalers, or various others? Are they religions as well?
The Atomic A, as it is known, is allowed on gravestones of U.S. military personnel who are atheists. Atheism is so sacred to some atheists that they want the atheist 'A' to represent them to the world after their death.
Come again? It is common practice for the gravestones of military personnel to be marked with a symbol of their religion. While atheism isn't a religion, wouldn't it make sense to mark an atheist's grave with the 'A' instead of just leaving it blank (if that's an option)? And if it is optional, perhaps they hope to help dispel the myth that there are no atheists is fox holes.
Many atheists demonstrated just how sacred the symbol 'A' is to them in the Christmas of 2013. Since my hometown city of Chicago allows a Hanukkah Menorah and Nativity scene to display on government property during the holiday season, the atheists asked to display their own religious symbol so the government wouldn't give the appearance to be endorsing one religion or the other. The monument the Freedom From Religion Foundation chose was a giant Richard Dawkins letter 'A' which stood 8 feet tall and lit up red at night for all to see. Countless atheists showed respect for the 'A' by making a pilgrimage to the site where the 'A' was displayed and having their picture taken with the 'A' which I'm sure will be kept as a cherished keep sake for many.
I would say that 'pilgrimage'  would be a bit of an exaggeration. And so what if people took pictures with it? That doesn't suggest that it is in any way sacred to them. Maybe it was a picture for the novelty. Maybe they liked that they were being represented in the public square. What about a picture suggests holding it in a religious manner? People take pictures with sports mascots as well. Does this mean that sports mascots are religious figures as well?
They also advocated for their atheist faith by erecting a sign that read, "There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
Yes, because that is so much worse than telling every non-Christian that they are going to burn in Hell forever and ever and that they deserve nothing less...
The FFRF must go one further to state what they dislike about other faiths. I just can't imagine a Christian nativity scene ever placing a sign next to the nativity stating something cruel and hateful towards other religious faiths.
They don't need to post a sign. Just say the word atheist or Muslim in parts of the country (mainly the south) and brace yourself for the shower of hate.
For some reason, atheists at FFRF can still sleep at night doing this.
Maybe he should ask the believers I just mentioned...
This speaks very poorly of the character of leaders and members of the group. The positive message within atheism must be very weak if they must resort to such hateful, negative tactics.
Christianity should be the last group complaining about attacks, but I do agree that the message could have been better. While I agree with what it says can be true, I would have truncated it before the  'hearts and minds' bit and inserted something different.
An additional religious symbol is the atheist Darwin fish. The fish was traditionally a symbol of Christianity for early Christians to recognize each other and since many of Jesus's [SIC] disciples were fishermen who he would transform into 'fishers of men.'
A symbol that was a Pagan fertility symbol before it was a Christian symbol no less. They just love robbing the Pagans it seems...
The atheists have usurped the symbol to declare their belief that Darwin's theory of evolution proves God doesn't exist. 
Actually, we use it to show we accept the fact that is the theory of evolution. Evolution only proves that a literal interpretation of creation in Genesis is false. After-all, there are believers that also agree that evolution happened.
While it may have started as a parody on the Christian fish symbol, it is now an easy way for atheists to recognize each other, mission to non-atheists, and show their gratitude and respect to the person whose scientific work they believe is the foundation for much of their atheist faith, Charles Darwin.
Help us recognize other atheists? Yes. Mission to non-atheists? How? I don't feel that a person with a 'Jesus fish' on their car is trying to convert me. I simply feel like they are saying  "Hey look! I'm a Christian!" Show gratitude to Darwin? Maybe. Foundation of atheist faith? Not at all! As I said there are plenty of believers that don't contest that evolution happened. Also, there is no faith in atheism. Actually, most atheists are scientifically minded, which is quite the opposite of following faith.
Many more, less popular symbols exist including the empty set symbol of mathematics, the invisible pink unicorn, and the flying spaghetti monster. As the atheist religion continues to fortify itself certain symbols will likely tend to dominate as they work for uniformity and cohesion amongst all atheists.
Uh, no. As he's said before, most of them are parodies. There are different ones that each atheist may prefer. Since atheism isn't a  religion, it is not trying to coerce uniformity with something as trivial as symbols.
Atheists are also installing their own religious monuments across the United States. In July of 2013 the American Atheists erected a monument at a Florida courthouse that had allowed the displaying of the Ten Commandments...The group has said they will erect 50 more monuments in other locations where the Ten Commandments sit on government land...the atheists are very explicit about where their priorities are: building 50 more religious monuments to atheism.
Way to miss the point. American Atheists isn't building them as sacred monuments to atheism. They are building them because the courts ruled that the Ten Commandments displays can stay if they allow other monuments as well. So they installed the atheist bench monument to balance the conversation.

I would hope that the rest of the book is better, but the title and this sample doesn't leave me with high hopes...


-Brain Hulk

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