On why I am belligerent atheist

Many people, especially those quite familiar with my upbringing, suggest that that I am an atheist because I ‘hate God’ or something similar.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  After all, it is tough to ‘hate’ the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, or the Tooth Fairy.

It really pains me when people read my atheist posts on Facebook, here or other places and get that sort of impression.  As an atheist, I am upfront about it, in general, but am quite ashamed that I do not have the cajunas to be more up front about it in other, more risky settings (i.e. at work, with bar buddies, etc).

However, I think that, objectively, I can still classify myself in the ‘belligerent atheist’ genre.

Here is why I am a belligerent atheist.

It pains me to see people waste their lives on religious beliefs. Some of the nicest people I know are clergy, nuns, or something similar, and I think they could really do a lot of actual good in the world if they were not so blind to reality. The wasted potential of humanity, if you think of all the kind souls, and wasted effort, in these areas, is really mind boggling. There are many other minor reasons to be belligerent about being atheist, but they are all nearly universally are a subset of this main concept.

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

  1. David Ellis said:

    Just out of curiosity, why do you find it difficult to be open about your atheism at work and among friends? I live in the bible belt and have never had any serious problems resulting from my openness among friends and acquiantances (other than an occasional obnoxious comment—and even that has been rare).

  2. innertubes said:

    Well, FL is an at will employment state (terminology?) where they can fire you for no reason. So all it takes is a bible banger boss, and you can be gone.

    This doesn’t apply to me, but many business owners definitely do not tout that they are atheists.

    The connotation is so bad, largely because the public is uninformed on what being an atheist means, and the path that atheists take to reach that point. Sad really, but can you think of one openly atheist politician, for instance?

  3. David Ellis said:

    “Well, FL is an at will employment state (terminology?) where they can fire you for no reason.”

    It’s the same here in Kentucky. But “at will” employment is not absolute. They can’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender or religion according to federal law (so long as the business has a certain minimum no. of employees, 15, I think, but don’t recall for certain–I recall a recent story of a receptionist for a dentist who was fired for being an atheist—which it turns out is legal since his is such a small business). Of course, even where the federal anti-discrimination laws apply people can still come up with an excuse even when your views on religion are the actual reason. Personally, I wouldn’t want to work for a boss who was so prejudiced he’d fire someone for their religion any. But that’s an individual decision and everyone’s situation is different. When one has been at a place for years and is building up to a pension, for example, they might need to be more cautious than I’m inclined to be.

    “This doesn’t apply to me, but many business owners definitely do not tout that they are atheists. ”

    Where I live that would probably be wise. The level of prejudice is high enough that a significant percentage might not patronize their business. But I’m mostly just relying on my own intuition about that. I wonder if there’s any real data on that subject.

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