Your Friendly Neighborhood Atheist

I was over on the Think Atheist reading the Sunday services and I read an interesting article by someone who felt that Atheists are people who choose not to accept responsibility for their actions. The author feels it is because we don’t have a divine person to account to. I’d like to address some of these stereotypes.

The first one I’ve heard is that we’re all a bunch of assholes who think we can do anything we want. While there ARE a tiny percentage of atheists out there that use their non-belief as an excuse to hurt others, the larger percentage hold themselves accountable for their actions and even do charitable works. There have been food and clothing drives sponsored by atheist groups. There are even major secular charitable groups such as Oxfam International, Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF.

At Tam7 (the seventh annal Amazing Meeting, a conference for non-believers, free thinkers, secular humanists and the like) there was a wedding of two major players in our skeptics community. Rebecca Watson of and Sam Rodriguez said their I Do’s in a beautiful ceremony that really showed their love for one another. You can see the video here

Skeptics and non-believers also have their little quirks like everyone else. I name my cars. My current car, a 1993 Honda del Sol is named Maz because he thinks he’s a Maserati. This doesn’t mean that I believe that my car has an actual personality. I know that it is just a machine. It’s just fun to pretend once in a while. This is simply a carry-over from my childhood when we named our cars.

I have met many skeptics and non-believers out there more than willing to apologize if they are wrong or if they hurt someone’s feelings. Most people I have met on various forums are tactful when dealing with believers. We HAVE to be. People are easily offended when their beliefs are even gently put into question.

I think that people feel threatened because they don’t want to appear stupid if their favorite belief is proved to be in error when put to a real scientific test. When people get scared they tend to lash out. So a skeptic has to be careful.

Even when we’re being kind and gentle in helping people question their beliefs in things that may not be scientifically  sound, many still see us as baby eaters who are out to consume their souls and destroy everything that is good in the world. For me, babies are too stringy, souls are too insubstantial and I LIKE stuff that’s good.

Just because you understand that rainbows are refracted light or what a shooting star REALLY is, that doesn’t have to take the wonder and joy from the experience. The world isn’t magical, but it IS wonder filled. So talk to a skeptic. Get to know an atheist. You may be pleasantly surprised.


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