Just Wondering Aloud

Graphic Rule

Written while Cliff was still a member of Center for Rational Thought.

I don't know which editorial you are talking about. Did I write it? if so, perhaps I didn't make myself clear. Atheists, as a group, get lied about and misrepresented and subsequently are (sometimes) persecuted, discriminated against, etc., on the basis of those lies and misrepresentations.

Most people have no problem with the private religious beliefs of anyone. It is when certain religious people want the rest of us to live according to specific interpretations of specific ancient scrolls that everyone should turn white with fear. This is not really an atheist issue, because if gods are not real, then we lose ought but our dignity. But certain atheists have been jumping up and down about separationism during the past thirty years.

Nevertheless, atheism, being simply the lack of a god-belief, is certainly no guarantee against bigotry. Many atheists do lump all Christians into one group -- probably since we atheists, by definition, disagree with believing in superstition, magic, and the supernatural; to be a Christian, of just about any stripe, is to be a believer in superstition, magic, and the supernatural.

This is not the purpose of our organization -- or any atheistic organization, for that matter. We expose sleight-of-hand, and the like, yes. But most atheists who are atheists on philosophical grounds know better than to think that you can (or would even need to) prove a negative.

The main purpose of our organization -- the favorite reason given by the people who hang out in our building -- is to have one place where we can exist without anyone talking any superstitious nonsense or judging us on our lack of religious belief. As such, our center is seen by many as an oasis, of sorts, because at certain times, you must be a paid member to be there, and to be a member, you must declare your atheism.

Another important purpose is to try to restore the wall of separation between state and church in America. Our county was founded as a secular nation. If Ralph Reed and his allies and followers repeat, enough times, that "America was founded as a Christian nation," we fear that a critical mass of people will actually believe him. (Don't laugh: many, many people believe that Jesus died on a cross for their sins!)

The rest of it is to have some fun.


-- Cliff Walker

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.