Atheism: Only For Those
Who Can Handle It?
Clyde Ward

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"It is with the mysteries of our religion as with wholesome pills for the sick, which swallowed whole have the virtue to cure, but chewed, are for the most part cast up again without effect."
    -- Thomas Hobbes


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From: "Positive Atheism" <>
To: "Clyde Ward"
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: October 18, 2001 12:17 AM

D'Holbach likewise thought that although religion does no good toward stopping criminal behavior among religionists, we should be very cautious as to whom we should advocate atheism. Some even suggested writing atheistic literature only in languages understood by the educated. (Now that Latin is gone, what might that language be?) That is not necessarily relevant in America today, because even if they could understand it, most Fundamentalist Christians in America would not believe it. If Bertrand Russell is right, even that wouldn't matter because they wouldn't understand it to begin with: "A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand."

I do know that psychologists often will not let a patient come to terms with a specific problem all at once, but will let the patient gradually come to terms with new information.

However, I tend not to agree with George Washington, John Adams, and many others who thought that the masses need religion in order for there to be peace in society. Washington and Adams and the others all who have thought this way surely did not think that they needed religion for themselves!

Cloaked within this idea is the notion that some of us are superior than others, and this may or may not be true. However, I am not willing to base policy on certain classes being superior or inferior -- even if it is true. As far as I will go is that if a certain responsibility requires documentation of skill or background checks, then I think the policy of issuing licenses to individuals who seek to do certain things (such as practice medicine) is only proper. Otherwise, policy needs to be fair -- even if certain aspects of our lives are actually degraded in order for things to be fair: that's just the price we pay to keep the peace when we have decided that we believe that "all men are created equal" in the sight of the law. Thus, any policy which determines who may or may not study atheism (or even who will or will not be encouraged to be religious) is, in my opinion, inappropriate.

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However, who I will and will not deal with as an individual is solely my business. As far as my personal dealing go (as opposed to being a government worker or a licensed professional), I have the right to explain myself or to let people sit there and scratch their heads. And sure, there are some people that I am willing to talk with and there are others that I am not. Most of this has to do with how that individual treats me.

Under no circumstances, though, will I try to encourage a theist to become an atheist. Deconverting to atheism is, in my opinion, one of the most private decisions a person can make. I don't even like to be seen as a potential influence swaying theists in one direction or the other, although I am more than happy to answer anybody's questions (as long as they're respectful) and will give each question the attention to truth that any question deserves. Deconversion is, to me, a very crucial decision to make and I think the only proper way to make it is alone.

Now, once a person has decided, "I am not a theist any more," then am I available to help such a person adjust from a faith-based mind set to learning how to depend entirely on reason. Until that decision is made, though, it is my desire to stay as far away as possible from the process.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
    people with no reason to believe

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