Wow, I didn’t realize there was an Ask The Atheist Day, and it turns out it’s today. Big thanks to WWJTD for pointing it out to me. Well, I’m an atheist, and I like to answer things. How shall I celebrate this auspicious day? I suppose I should ask an atheist some questions. Hey, I’m an atheist! I’ll ask me some questions and see what answers I can come up with! Or better yet, you could ask me a question in the comments here or through email and I could respond. But only if you want to…
Question 1: Why don’t you believe in God?
I’ve actually answered this a few times, like here, for instance, but I’ll do the short answer here. I used to believe in God. I was raised to believe in the Christian God, or more to the point, the loving hippie Christian God my parents believe in. But as I grew up, I saw things that confused me. How could the happy, loving God of my childhood be responsible for so much of the truly attrocious crimes he commits in the Bible? How come the book of God’s word is so inconsistent and factually flawed? That freaked me out, and I began to try to find proof of God’s existence. Long story short, I didn’t.
Question 2: Are you a liberal? I hear all atheists are liberals…
I am not a liberal. I’m actually a centrist. Most people think of this as a fence-sitting wuss. Not the case at all. Economically, I am moderately conservative, and socially I am moderately liberal. I believe that we need to have government, that it needs to run well, and that we need as much as possible to encourage our citizenry to actually take the reins of their lives and run with them. I don’t believe in Big Government, but I don’t believe in Small Government either. I believe that the size and scope of government needs to be balanced for the times it exists in. But the biggest thing about being a centrist is that I don’t subscribe to an ideology about politics. Problems exist, and there are always a myriad of ways to address or ignore them. To assume that the left or the right is always correct is a limitation I reject. I know some very Conservative people who do not believe in God.
Question 3: Why do atheists have to be so annoying?
We don’t. We just often are. I know I am. What’s funny, though, is that you don’t see how annoying you are with your faith to us. I don’t care if you believe in God, gods, or whatever. I just get noisey when your faith either a) makes me giggle or b) attempts to infringe upon me, just as you get noisey when my atheism does either of those to you. See? We’re not really that different.
Now, as far as why I write this blog and why I promote my atheism, there are a few really good answers. One of them is that I love writing and sharing my opinion on stuff. Another is that I like learning and researching, and this blog has forced me on many occasions to learn both about topics I want to comment on but lack enough information and, as much as it pains me to admit it, to learn where I have incorrect opinions. And I have a lot of them, just as you do. But the biggest reason is because I have a lot of friends who are at various stages of their spiritual de-journeying, and if something I write can help them in a conversation, help them understand something, or just make them smile, that’s pretty cool.
Question 4: What’s the one thing you find most amazing about how you view the world?
That we share common ancestors with carrots. Seriously, the astonishing diversity of life on this planet just blows my mind, and it saddens me how few people really understand even at a layperson’s level the concept of evolution. A few weekends ago, The Lovely Lady and I took The Demon to Banff. While we were driving, I looked out and saw this amazing ecosystem, saw the mountains, saw the clouds, saw the sun, and I just sat in awe of how infinitely complicated and wonderful life on earth is.
Question 5: Why do you say mean things about the faithful?
Honestly, I don’t try to. I admit that sometimes I’m blown away by the ridiculousness of certain beliefs and don’t feel the need to bite my tongue. There are other things, like Draw Muhammad Day, that I support for the sake not of meanness, but of standing up for my own rights. And there are times where, like you, I react without thinking.
Hey, here’s the thing. You have faith? That’s fine. I think you’re deluding yourself, but you’re well within your rights to do so. As a concerned person, I have no problem asking you about this delusion and seeing if I can’t help you past it. But my goal is not to insult you, it’s to engage you. You don’t see things my way, but what I see is a huge limiting factor put on you, something that keeps you from seeing the world as it truly is, as much as people are capable of doing so. I just want to share with you, and sometimes I get accidentally arrogant about that.
So… Any questions?