The Great Courses

My Atheism Informs My Opinions

Nov 8, 2016 at 3:41 PM
1 year ago


I rejected superstition ("Yeah! You're awesome!"), and that rejection of superstition informed my opinions about everything from sexuality to charity to the death penalty to LGBT rights ("Ugh! You're an SJW shill and sellout!")

It's weird. Many insist that my atheism must exist in this little glass display case, disengaged and disconnected from perceptions, discussions and opinions about real-world issues.

atheism logo in glass case

But I want my rejection of religion to be reflected in my positions. I don't require this for anyone. I'm not dogmatic about it. Unlike many, I don't have or seek a label for it. But I want it for myself.

  • I was once pro death penalty, couching my stance in religious language. As an atheist, I changed my mind.

  • I was once anti-LGBT, excusing bigotry with scripture. As an atheist, I changed my mind.

  • I was once suspicious of science, a secular conspiracy. As an atheist, I changed my mind.

  • I was once flippant about the climate, as we were obviously living in Christ's End Times. As an atheist, I changed my mind.

  • I was once convinced that the USA was a Christian theocracy. That its founders were Christians. That its purpose and position in the world was divine. As an atheist, I changed my mind.

  • I once felt that God's cosmic justice would ultimately right the wrongs in our world. As an atheist, I changed my mind.

The list goes on and on. So many of the things I had once assumed or accepted were approached with fresh eyes, outside of superstition, from the perspective of one who didn't believe in God or gods.

sam harris quote

My atheism influenced how I see and approach the people, the issues, and the world around me. And I'd think that this would be the case for many. Certainly not all, but many.

When people step out of superstition and become proactive about helping people, fighting bad ideas, and promoting positive change, why are so many cheap-seat armchair quarterbacks gleefully waiting with the tar and feathers? It's fine if they'd rather not engage in this way, but why attempt to diminish the work of others by spitting "Social Justice Warrior" as the insult of choice?

It's like they think atheism is a museum piece. You can look at it during visiting hours, but whatever you do, don't touch it. Don't handle it. Don't use it. And if you do, you're a sellout, a shill, and an SJW.

Strange...and more than a bit sad.

-Seth Andrews

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