Theist: Atheists, As Atheists,
Aren't 'Bad' People
For Cliff Walker,
I was just pointed to this web site this morning so have not had time to read a lot of it. I was first directed to the quotations section. Though I am a theist, I agree with many of the quotations I read.
I read a couple of your columns and again I agree with what you say. You make some very good points, especially about how a dictionary should define a word from an unbiased basis.
But most of all I looked at the kitten pictures and decided anyone who is owned by so many cats can't possibly be a 'bad' person (cats know).
I will continue to browse your website with interest.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Peggy Hoehne"
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 9:28 PM
Some people think that an atheist is de facto a wicked person -- simply for being an atheist. In fact, this view has been so popular over the centuries that Merriam-Webster's Tenth Collegiate Dictionary lists the word wickedness as a synonym for atheism! We are always happy when we hear from individuals who further show that M-W is correct when they list this usage as "archaic" (although you wouldn't know it to hear from some who write to us!).
Whenever any theist takes a stand against this obsolete thinking, we all may ceremonially pound yet another nail into the coffin containing that corpse called Bigotry.
It's one thing to disagree with our position or for us to remain unconvinced by yours. But the human mind is so feeble that we cannot afford to hold people accountable for not knowing everything there is to know, and for choosing, instead, to spend their time raising children, etc., rather than studying the deeper questions that are still being asked.
The stigma against atheism is slowly eroding over time, and occasionally our philosophical position is actually celebrated in an important way (though not very often, at least in America). We are proud to be among the first to comment on the most recent outright celebration of the atheistic outlook: the decision to name Liverpool's airport "Liverpool John Lennon Airport." Their logo shows the famous cartoon self-portrait of John with the words "Above Us Only Sky." This line is from the section of his most famous solo effort, "Imagine," which goes:
|Imagine there's no Heaven|
It's easy if you try
No Hell below us
Above us, only sky
In a song that expresses several philosophical viewpoints that John wished to share with the world, this verse describes John's atheism. To make sure that placing this message on an airport was not seen as some kind of oversight, John's widow, Yoko, announced during her dedication of the airport:
|"John always reminded us of the sense of fun in life. I hope the airport will send a great message to all corners of the world. As John said there is no hell below us, above us only skies."|
Kevin Courcey wrote:
|"This once again shows how secular Europe is becoming compared to the U.S., where we are forced to do battle just to keep our tax dollars from being used by fundamentalist Christian organizations to convert Jews under the mantle of performing drug treatment."|
We rejoice (is that the right word?) in the fact that we no longer need to fear repercussions for expressing our views; we don't have to scramble apologetically to justify holding those views. Positive Atheism suggests that the God question is really not very important when compared to all the grave problems that we face as humans. Thus we strongly urge our fellow-atheists to relax about the God question and join together with whoever we can in trying to address the serious problems that affect us all. True, we atheists still endure some of the fiercest bigotry, stigma, and indignity leveled against any innocent people group. But eventually we must overcome that hurt and begin to practice what we preach -- which is that we're all pretty much the same when it comes to basic, day-to-day living.
As for the kitties, the one called "Tiger" just snuck out, and he and his brother "Steely" (now called "Blue Steel") are out romping around in traffic. Though skinny as a rail, Steel now weighs over 16 pounds, and his tail is 14 inches long. Momma "Spot" (now called "Boop" or "Boopise" 'cause she's such an affection glut) survived the consequences of playing with cars, and the older cats are still alive. Interestingly, a neighbor moved in and I thought for sure that he had somehow managed to pick up "Tux" from somewhere (the cat was just the right age, and his resemblance in face and form to the others was remarkable, not to mention what appeared to be markings identical to those on Tux). I finally grabbed a photo of the real "Tux" and saw that the little spot on his chin is on the left, whereas this cat's spot is off to the right. But it at least feels like all the boys are still here!
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