Saturday, November 6, 2010

Introduction to Your Atheist Muse

I'm an Atheist. I'm a Secular Humanist. Both titles are just dandy to describe me.

There are a lot of Atheist-based and Secular Humanist blogs, and their numbers are growing. I think there are a lot of reasons this is happening:
  • Atheists are starting to feel more comfortable about declaring their lack of faith.

  • Atheist bloggers are realizing that there are a *lot* of misconceptions about atheists among non-Atheists, many of them downright insulting and potentially harmful, and its in our own best interests to counter these misconceptions.

  • Atheist bloggers are becoming frightened at the rhetoric and actions of many people of faith who are working to suppress science, knowledge, and even basic freedoms and human rights.

  • Atheists bloggers are hoping to bring some comfort to fellow atheists out there, particularly those who are feeling alone in their lack of faith, surrounded by people who, consciously or not, maliciously or lovingly, keep trying to convert them to a faith-based belief system.

  • Atheists bloggers are not always comfortable with this or that atheist speaking on behalf of ALL atheists, -- and want the diversity of Atheist voices to be heard.

  • Atheists bloggers are realizing that they like being atheists and that they want to share that joy with others, Atheist or not.

  • Some Atheists bloggers are actively trying to encourage people to abandon their religions.

Which of those are my reasons for having this blog? Probably all of those but the last one. While I wouldn't mind at all being responsible for turning people of away from fundamentalist religious beliefs that promote the enslavement and oppression of women, cultivate hatred of gays, discourage an understanding of science, encourage revisions of history to be kinder to their religious beliefs, etc., I'd be perfectly content if they all became oh-so-tolerant and reasonable Universal Unitarians, Sufi Muslims, adherents to Confucianism, etc. -- those people who believe there are many paths to "God" tend not to block the teaching of scientific principles like biological evolution and plate tectonics, and tend not to encourage gay teens to kill themselves, and I really like them for that.

I decided to start this blog when a Christian blogger I thought was a pretty decent guy, and often downright reasonable, posted a blog entry called What Atheists Have Dead Wrong About Religion. As I read the blog, it dawned on me that he really has no idea what an Atheist is. None. I started reading his previous posts and further realized that, as much as I didn't want to believe it, this guy is just like most other Christians: he lumps all non-Christians, including Atheists, into one category -- and we're all secretly miserable because we don't share his faith in his particular magical, invisible friend.

So, to this Christian blogger and other Christians: yes, indeed, we Atheists are non-Christians. But so are Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and lots of other religious folks, and those folks most certainly are NOT atheists. They have much more in common with you, the Christian, than with me, the Atheist. Like it or not, if there really could be only two football teams, they would be on YOUR team, not mine.

So, here's yet another blog by an Atheist/Secular Humanist, about being an Atheist/Secular Humanist.
  • It's for people who are realizing their own Atheism and need some comfort to know they aren't alone. - It's for Atheists who are feeling under siege by religious people, who also want to know they aren't alone.

  • It's for people of faith, especially Christians in the USA, so that they understand what Atheism is, not as defined by their pastor, but by an actual Atheist. Maybe that will dispel some myths they have been told. Maybe it will encourage them to think for themselves.

But what's my name? Because of the nature of my work that takes me to many developing countries where one's political or religious views can put one in danger, I cannot associate my name directly with this blog -- which means I can't put my name on it. However, it's rather easy to figure out who I am, if you don't know already. If you write me, I'm happy to use my real name in corresponding.

And a side note to those of you wanting a career in international humanitarian development: be careful regarding your online public declarations of your political beliefs, government criticisms and religious views; there are employers, including the Peace Corps, who turn candidates away (like Derek Volkart) for saying the wrong thing online. Here is more advice on pursuing a career in international humanitarian and development efforts.


  1. A little much-needed sanity is good to find.

  2. Are you saying I'm *sane*?! Wow! I take that as a huge compliment! My husband sometimes wonders...