Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In answer to PZ part 2, in which I disagree with him a bit

PZ Myers asked "Why are you an atheist?" and went on to describe some of his peeves with atheists. In my last post I answered with why I'm an atheist, and will now point out where I think PZ's wrong to be peeved. It is this bit:

"Babies are all atheists or I'm an atheist by default, because I was raised without religion. Nope. Uh-uh. Same problem as the Dictionary Atheist — it implies atheism is simply an intellectual vacuum. Babies aren't Christians or Muslims or Hindus, and they aren't atheists, either, because we expect at least a token amount of thought is given to the subject. If babies are atheists, then so are trees and rocks — which is true by the dictionary definition, but also illustrates how ridiculously useless that definition is.

Babies might also have an in-built predisposition to accept the existence of caring intelligences greater than themselves, so they might all lean towards generic theism, anyway. Mommy is God, after all.

There are a fair number of adults who ought to know better who insist on the dictionary definition, too. They've been brought up without god-belief, and some of them may not have even considered religion much at all. Unless they are real lightweights, genuine feathers adrift in the wind, they also carry a set of values that incline them towards godlessness…otherwise you'd expect them to fall on their knees and turn Christian the instant they first hear about Jesus. They don't, and why? Probably because they learned some critical thinking skills from their parents. They carry positive values that make them resistant to the cheap promises of faith."

I would actually like to see an increase in this category of atheist.

Granted *right now* you'd be a fool to say religion isn't important in the world. However, I think it would be great to see more people raised godless, who don't really consider religion at all, and get on with their lives, in the same way, that lots of people don't believe in ghosts, or the Bermuda triangle, or crystal healing. There is a lot of nonsense floating out there, and there are not enough hours in the day to take a serious look at it all.

I would like these people, when pressed, to explain they've never considered it as it's just ridiculous nonsense, and it would be great if this could be the way the majority of people are raised.

This is easy for me to say though, Britain is already, or at least getting close, to the point of religious types being in the minority.

I think it is the above type of atheist that help this. At school, I was very interested in religion (well, still am), but a lot of people just didn't bother considering it.

As the BHA highlights, there's still plenty of work to do in becoming more secular. Also, I don't think the States are ready for more of these atheists, as, if they're not considering religion, then they won't be considering such issues as atheism in schools and such.

However, ultimately, I'd like these people to be the norm. A man can dream...

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