2012-08-01

On the nouveaux érudits and anti-theism

Since the rise of a few prominent and vocal atheists about five years ago, public anti-theist sentiment has increased dramatically. The nouveaux érudits are successfully introducing into the public subconscious the idea that theism as a liability. These days, everybody I know that believes in God in some way goes about it relatively quietly. The public scoffing at religion is unfortunate, because removing religion from public discourse robs humanity of an important aspect of human cultural identity and diversity. Just like in the natural world, diversity is at the root of the beauty of humanity.

Atheism is as much a belief system as any religion I can think of. Both theism and atheism is a belief and a choice. Unfortunately neither theism nor atheism constitutes a falsifiable hypothesis based on tangible, observable evidence, so we should all simply agree to coexist happily while respecting others' beliefs, since arguing, belittling, attacking etc. doesn't actually do anybody any good. I don't understand how much effort some people put into tearing down others' beliefs.

That applies to both theists and atheists, incidentally -- there is no justification for, or usefulness in, fighting with a person or trying to coerce them to believe the way you do in the name of either "saving their soul" or "protecting them from religion". Share what you're excited about by all means, if somebody wants to listen, but respect people's agency, and once they have heard what you claim as fact, let them figure out for themselves whether or not what you are saying is true. And you can teach people what you believe without tearing down what they believe. Or as the Qu'ran rather ironically says, "Let there be no compulsion in religion -- truth stands out clear from error."

Back to my original point though -- it is sad that the religious people I know generally don't feel that they can present this as part of their public identity anymore.

(In response to Nils Hitze's post on Google+ wondering why most people he follows are atheist. The above is also posted to my G+ feed, so there may be comments there too.)