Thursday, July 31, 2008

Atheist = Witch

Gentle reader,

I am nominally an atheist - a person who does not believe in God or Gods. It has been said many times before that defining oneself as an atheist is a strange thing to do. To do that is to name yourself for something that you are not. In the same way, I could call myself an "avegetarian" (since I do eat meat).

Beside the nonsense factor behind the word "Atheist", I think we have just about reached a point here in the United States where using the "A" word to describe one's lack of religiosity is tantamount to saying "I'm a witch!". Not literally, of course. But it has much the same effect on many people.

Often, the end result of describing myself as an atheist is an uncomfortable silence. It shuts down debate and questioning and puts up barriers.

Although I hold the opinion of a strong-atheist (i.e. I am convinced that God does not exist) I have chosen to no longer refer to myself using the "A bomb". Instead, I am trying to use terms such as "non-religious" or "secular". I feel that taking a slightly less confrontational approach is more likely to foster rational debate and lead to a better understanding of what I (do not) believe in.

Time for today's quote:

Man is distinguished, not only by his reason,
but by this singular passion from other animals,
which is a lust of the mind,
that by a perseverance of delight in the continued
and indefatigable generation of knowledge,
exceeds the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure.
-from Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan
Until the next time, gentle reader, I remain,

Your Friend,

Buford Twain

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