Join the Atheist Movement

This was inspired by a New York Times article about how atheism is catching on. Funny, for me it’s not like that. I’m not against religion (although, objectively, it is a terrible distraction from efforts needed to solve real problems and often becomes a conduit for hatred)…I just don’t think about it. The idea of getting together with other people who don’t believe in God makes me laugh.

37 thoughts on “Join the Atheist Movement

  1. I can see where you're coming from with this, Ted, but as a supporter of the so-called "New Atheist" movement, I think you're missing the point. As far as blogs and books go, the point is to draw attention to the abuses caused by religion, and lessen its political and social influence.

    I can understand where the point about atheist clubs and dating networks might seem a little silly, but bear in mind that in many circles atheism is not socially acceptable. For people who have been disowned by family or lost friends due to their nonbelief, I could see atheist clubs being a great source of moral support.

  2. Ted,

    I completely agree. I'm also apatheistic – it doesn't matter to me whether there's a god or not, because we as humans certainly have our hands full as it is!

    When I renounced Christianity and declared myself an atheist a few years ago, I found that getting together from time to time with fellow 'recovering fundies' via Meetup or Facebook was a good way to blow off steam and achieve some sense of closure. Now, though, I don't see any more sense in insisting that my circle of friends consists of non-believers rather than adherents of some religion. Religion – in either its inescapable presence OR its determined absence – is a hindrance to solving the manifold problems we face.

  3. I grew out of atheism, into a more (I think) realistic view of a Universe which is alive and interconnected, where practically anything can happen. Self-described atheists, in my experience, are every bit as close-minded as the Christians and Muslims they oppose. Their entirely materialistic worldview is every bit as nonsensical as talking snakes and living in whales.

  4. Don –

    What is a apatheistic?

    Apatheistic is NOT a word. At least in my dictionary. Are you one of those crazed word-inventors I've heard about?

  5. "Their entirely materialistic worldview is every bit as nonsensical as talking snakes and living in whales."

    cool dude, must be nice to be able to simply declare by fiat that materialism is nonsense… while using a fucking computer and internet to do it. gotta love that cognitive dissonance, eh? so do you actually have an ISP you log in with or do you just do an incantation to get online?

  6. I was going to fire off a reply to this cartoon until I read what Jason had to say. And I couldn't have put it better myself. Thanks, Jason, for your understanding and compassion!

  7. cool dude, must be nice to be able to simply declare by fiat that materialism is nonsense…I never said "materialism is nonsense". I said their "ENTIRELY materialistic worldview", which basically discounts everything that can't be scientifically proven, even though what science "knows" is just the tip of the iceberg, as anybody who has used psychedelics can tell you. Next time, exchange a little bit of the cleverness for some basic reading comprehension.

  8. OKAY, RALL!

    BY THE AUTHORITY INVESTED IN ME BY DENNIS DENNETT … IN THE NAME OF DAWKINS ….

    I HEREBY DECLARE YOU *NOT* A "BRIGHT"

    YOU ARE ANATHEMA TO OUR FREETHINKING AND LAUDABLY RATIONAL WAYS!

  9. Jason and nighttrain you have my sympathy, but the new atheists could have learned something from the punk movement.

    If you're going to call yourselves "Brights," why not go all the way and use "Smugs" instead. It's edgy, it's disarming, and it's funny.

    "Why, yes, we ARE smug. Thanks for noticing, Enlightenment Fail."

  10. I need to clarify, somewhat: I don't believe in "God" in any religious sense of the word, but I don't consider myself an atheist in the same way that I don't eat meat, but I don't consider myself a vegetarian. I hate being associated with shrill people who possibly share some of my beliefs.

  11. I think this is also an American thing, the need to be militant about your little inner struggles and to gather with same-minded folks.

    Funny thing is, "terrible distraction from efforts needed to solve real problems and often becomes a conduit for hatred" precisely describes what I think of politics.

  12. Reverend, who or what exactly are you? You've disassociated yourself with just everyone, including god, and still haven't defined yourself.

  13. During my sixty years of godless living, I've never sought out non-believers, for lack of a better word, for moral support or extended relations.
    My worldview has always been second nature and I never found myself in the position of needing to 'defend' my disbelief — never put it in anyone's face — closeted maybe, but never frightened or threatened by what I considered to be a very unique, and exceptionally unpopular way of thinking.
    With the Internet's arrival, all 'hell' broke loose — nothing's sacred, not that is ever was actually, and we now have all this heathen hype.
    It definitely won't hurt religion, but will it help establish the reasonable rationale I, and many others choose to live by?

  14. Incitatus, politics is precisely the necessary forum for interacting to solve problems. The fact that political discourse gravitates to the lowest and most barbaric common denominator when given the opportunity to do so does not make it less necessary.

    I agree with you that this is an American thing, Americans have to turn everything into a game with a playing field, teams that are artificially kept somewhat equal, spectators, winners and losers.

    Atheism as an anti-religion is completely moronic, as well as oxymoronic. As with Ted, I simply don't think about it unless I'm interested in some aspect of human ritual. I was raised Presbyterian, in a church that stressed the importance of faith over knowable truth. Therefore, once it is stated to be beyond human knowledge (thus, unknowable truths), any attempt 'to know' is a waste of effort, to say nothing about forcing your un-knowledge on others.

    I may differ from some though in that I think religion, and especially spirituality, is socially and psychologically necessary, and can have enormous benefits. That it is a conduit for hatred is not really a concern of mine, because hatred will find any conduit that exists. The achievement of inner peace, and therefore the acceptance of pacifism, is, in fact, the worst enemy of authoritarianism. A person who is spiritually at peace is difficult to control through fear. The persistence of organized demonstrations of religious expression is a symptom of a society that IS NOT at peace.

  15. @smithy boy:

    a better idea would be for YOU to trade in your LSD and mescaline for a basic education. to compare an "entirely materialistic worldview" with a belief in ridiculous mythology IS to denigrate it and call it nonsense (despite the fact that "entirely materialistic" means based exclusively on testable evidence so that all the nonsense is filtered out), your 13-yr old lawyer semantics bullshit notwithstanding. and meanwhile, you're some clown who thinks the universe is "alive and interconnected," and that goofy notion is apparently based on nothing but some fucking acid trips! that's pretty awesome, man. you base YOUR world view on shit you see when you're hallucinating under the influence of a fucking drug, and then you arrogantly dismiss a world view based on centuries of rational thought and experimentation as being "every bit as nonsensical" as some primitive creation myths. and to top it off, all this is done on a computer, using a massive worldwide communications network, all of which was brought to you by the "entirely materialistic worldview" you reject.

    sounds to me like you need to grow the hell up. i think mommy spent a little too much time making you feel smart and proud and not nearly enough giving you any actual reasons to do so. maybe that's why you think you can simply declare that the universe is whatever YOU think it is, for no other reason than that you want it to be. well, you just keep living in those ever-shrinking gaps, mr. LSD, and those of us who DON'T warp our perceptions with drugs will keep living in the world of factual reality. but get one thing straight, chump– it's YOUR world view which is equivalent to stupid mythology, not ours.

    oh, and i love how you come back hours later and post a comment clarifying your beliefs and opinions, as if anybody gives a fuck! LOL!

  16. Yo Mr. Smith, the whole point of The New Atheism is we don't have to nod and smile when you talk pompous nonsense out your ass. Go find somebody who cares what you "believe."

  17. Wow, the uptight basement dudes are out in full effect on this one.

    Sorry, everybody for not officially labeling myself a Pagan-leaning Nature-loving agnostic who has seen enough to not believe ANYTHING is written in stone, and pardon me, prudes, for suggesting my consciousness was once possibly expanded by something that wasn't spouted by some hipster dick in an interview or what some bullshit band told me.

    Ah, the internet comments sections. State something, which stands alone and is certainly a comment on the cartoon in question, and watch the basement boys' blood pressure rise and the "insults" start flying. It's the same everywhere, whether Fox News, Huffington Post, or apparently even here.

  18. LOL, the good Reverend just tapped on an exposed conduit for hatred…

    Aggie, the way you feel about "organized" religion is what I feel about organized politics. Trouble is, what the Pope does or says has very little effect on your daily life, whereas with politicians…

  19. It's like those shrill lesbian harpies I was talking about earlier. Every time I distance myself from those man-hating dykes, in a calm and reasonable manner, they suddenly start throwing around insults. I mean, the fact that these carpet-munching ball-busters have to resort to insults just supports my original claim that I am morally and intellectually superior to them in every way.

  20. @devil:

    what makes you so sure anybody gives a fuck what YOU think? why don't you take your sophomoric insults to a gamers' board where they'll be sure to impress the 13-year old boys?

  21. "it's YOUR world view which is equivalent to stupid mythology, not ours."Mythology became a way to perpetuate dogmas and aristocratic excesses. That is why the children of that mythology destroyed it.

    Will we do the same to the new mythology running the modern world?

  22. blake, i'm sure you know a lot about what impresses 13 yr old boys, so i won't get into that with you. but here's why you're a fucking moron: your pal smithy-poo posted a little livejournal entry addressed to no one in particular, essentially telling ALL the readers here about how he doesn't eat meat but he's not a vegetarian blah blah whatever. of course, nobody but his mommy (and maybe you) gives a shit about what he eats or what he considers himself or why, and so i pointed that out– in a comment ADDRESSED TO HIM ALONE. so *I* obviously was NOT laboring under any delusions regarding who cares or does not care what i think, since i wasn't talking to anyone BUT him.

    see the distinction, smart guy?

  23. The irony being that I'm as anti-religion as anyone here. All I did was state why I choose not to label myself an atheist anymore, due to their close-minded intolerance for anything that strays from a 3D linear Newtonian view of the universe that's been out of date for at least a hundred years. Thanks for illustrating my point beautifully, Afghan Vet–I mean, "devil".

    The only other thing I said was that everything is interconnected and alive (ie. not static), which has been all but proven by what we know about quantum mechanics. And anybody who has a problem with how I may or may not have gotten there (of course, I've never used illegal substances) is an idiot.

    I also said later, , as any scientist will tell you, that what we know is far outweighed by what we don't know. I obviously value science over religion (which is worthless to me, as I'm my own god), but science isn't infallible.

    Thanks, regulars, for defending me against the trolls du jour.

  24. incitatus sez:
    "Trouble is, what the Pope does or says has very little effect on your daily life, whereas with politicians…"

    Don't you think they are just like the pope? They merely inform private actors on what the government position is. I challenge you to find examples of real enforcement, where relevant private actors are concerned.

    I would say that if anyone can successfully dictate here, it is certainly not politicians.

  25. One thing that I find disturbing is that I see a number of atheists drifting over to the Libertarian Party, which is a racist right wing group of assholes. (Yeah, I always say that and I always hear the lame-ass Libertarians claim that they're not racist right wing assholes.)

  26. Incitatus, go back just a couple hundred years and you'll find that what the Pope had to say had a major impact on the lives of people in Europe, some of whom settled in North America as an attempt to free themselves from religious persecution (isn't it ironic, don't ya think?). Politics is now practiced through a secular bureaucracy and I think that's a major advancement. So we're not too far away from a time when religious authority WAS political authority, and it is important to keep that in mind when reviewing the actions and behaviors of politicians like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. They see no problem with theocratic rule, as long as it's their theocracy.

    The best we have is a secular state. It may be too large, or too small, and it may be (as I think it is now) utterly incompetent in the face of a complex and rapidly fluctuating society, but it is not the Monarchist police state that the authoritarian conservatives want, not the Theocracy that the social conservatives want, and not the corporate feudalism that the capitalist elites want. That being said…it is very clear which side of the aisle would like to regress our social progress a few hundred years.

    Just remember, democrats in all new or newly restored democracies tend to appear outwardly more corrupt. Given that the United States was liberated from tyranny a mere few months ago, I'd say the corrupt democratic new regime is loads better than the one they replaced, even if they are doing their best to bury the crimes of the past.

  27. Smith-
    Intolerance for straying from an outdated Newtonian view of the universe? Where are you getting this from, exactly? I don't think I've ever heard an atheist deny that Newtonian physics is outdated in some respects. I've certainly never heard any prominent atheists (Dawkins, Harris, etc.) suggest anything to that effect.

    And regarding the materialistic/naturalistic worldview, while I obviously can't speak for all atheists, my view on it is nicely summed up by Carl Sagan's famous quote, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Any hypothesis suggesting the existence of supernatural entities or forces ("supernatural" more or less meaning "not bound by the same physical laws which seem to govern everything else") should not be taken seriously unless overwhelming evidence is provided.

  28. This strip brings to mind the late Bill Hicks' bit on the people who hate people party.
    Quote: There's a new party being born: The People Who Hate People Party. People who hate people, come together! "No!" We're kind of having trouble getting off the boards. Come to our meeting! "Are you gonna be there?" Yeah. "Then I ain't fucking coming." But you're our strongest member! "Fuck you!"

  29. Aggie, none of those who settled in the present were fleeing from persecution by the Catholic church. There's an interesting theme here, an anthropological thesis waiting to be written about the apparent contradiction of the US, the largest Protestant nation on Earth, where no national church crept up like in the Protestant nations of Northern Europe, and nonetheless is the only nation in the Western world where religion is used routinely by the state, for its own purposes.

    Now, I leave my thoughts on this topic for Tatsuya to express flawlessly:

    http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3168

  30. Just saw this… couldn't stop laughing. I have friends like this. Personally I hold no beliefs including belief in nothing. There isn't a support group for folks like me …yet.

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