Atheists Don’t Need Any Handbook

AtheistsAtheists put their faith in ethical behavior:

Atheists, they lament, are the last minority in this nation that is fair game for bigotry. Experts who study religion in public life concur.
“Atheists are not very well-thought-of in America,” says John Green, a senior fellow with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “It’s still acceptable to criticize atheists in a way that’s not polite. People may harbor negative views about Jews, Catholics, Muslims and evangelicals, but they know they’re not supposed to voice those views, so they don’t. But it’s still OK to say anything bad you want about atheists.”

The article provides a good definition of atheism, although I doubt most people who label themselves that have given much thought to it:

In a nutshell, atheists believe in reason alone, in those things that can be arrived at through intellect and the scientific method. Concrete evidence for God, they argue, simply doesn’t exist. They don’t cotton to leaps of faith or anything that involves a supernatural being reaching into human lives. They believe you can live a happy, respectable life based on human ethics that were derived not from God handing down a tablet but from a code of rules that emerged naturally through an evolutionary process in which humans learned how to live together successfully.

2 Replies to “Atheists Don’t Need Any Handbook”

  1. What bad things are you going to say about a group that doesn’t believe in God? Would most of them care?

    I believe in the aliens. Does that make me an athiest?

  2. Description kind of rankles. I don’t believe in reason anymore than I believe in gravity. Reason works and is the only thing that works to deal with the world. Praying for a crop doesn’t grow one. Meditating for peace doesn’t keep your neighbor from beating his wife and kids. Abstaining from masturbation won’t get a capsule to the Moon.

    Reason is not something in which one places faith. It’s a fact which one discovers. It’s also not mutually exclusive with the power and proper place of ritual and myth.

    The article is right about the socially approved bigotry, though. George I (Bush that is) was quoted on his campaign trail as saying atheists shouldn’t be allowed to be American citizens.

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