I write a lot of these posts before I go to bed at night so if they seem disjointed it's because I'm sleepy and working on a beer buzz.  Just up front about that.

My mother is in a nursing home.  She came close to dying this past week, and may still die, but right now she's alert enough to make her own decisions so I'm out of the loop as far as deciding for her.  She still needs to be in a assisted care facility but it doesn't look much like I have much input into the placement.

My question for the night isn't about life and death.  Those 'big discussions' never seem to apply to the intimacy of my personal relationships and though they might be fun to toss around they really aren't applicable to the real world.

My question is:  How do you really do it?

How do you wake up in the morning and live your day and go to sleep at night as an atheist?

It's an obvious question and whether you are used to talking about it or not, everyone has a different answer.

How does atheism affect your day to day life?  How do you relate to the people you work for and with?  Do they know what you believe?  Or is it one of those myriad of subjects that are just not 'appropriate' for the workplace?

Does it bother you when the majority of your co-workers are Christian?  

Does it bother you when you can't talk to your family or friends about you beliefs?

Do you ever want to just scream at the top of you lungs:

"NO!!!"

even though you know you'd lose your job and any hopes of a career if you did?

How do you get through the day biting your tongue?

I remember a billboard I saw one that said:

"You have the right to live wherever you can afford to."

I was crazy that day, when I tried to work.  The outright, government sponsored prejudice was too much for me.  It's against the law to discriminate on an increasing list of subjects...but Civil Liberties aren't supposed to be about what special interest group you belong to.

Any other prejudice is disavowed except the prejudice of the rich against the poor.  

So I go to work and bite my tongue.

I'm tired of biting my tongue.

I have seen this country grow from prejudice against blacks to a sweeping prejudice against the Poor Class in general and no one has raised a voice in protest.

What does this have to do with atheism?

Everything.

Atheism just isn't a theological position, it is a turning away from the standards or bourgeois  society altogether.

The history of our peculiar way of thinking is a twisted and tormented subject only decipherable by the most committed and willing thinker.  

Atheism is not just about theology and the rejection of the concept of God.

Atheism is about the rejection of the whole class structure of our society.  To carry atheism to it's ultimate conclusion one must be ready to reject all forms of our normal assumptions of reality and to begin constructing a whole new vision of the world and how it works and what we can to do guide the path of history in a direction we find more comfortable.

Atheism is about putting yourself out on the very edge of modern philosophy and theology and then pushing the envelope one step forward than even the most comfortable Liberals would take it.

Atheism is declaring war against society.

If you want to be a dabbler and a wannabee that's just fine.  

But Atheism requires a deeper commitment, a rejection of all that is polite and normal, a willingness to die over the difference that other people...more practical people...would consider foolish.

 

Views: 223

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on April 18, 2014 at 7:03am

I have seen this country grow from prejudice against blacks to a sweeping prejudice against the Poor Class in general and no one has raised a voice in protest. What does this have to do with atheism? Everything. Atheism just isn't a theological position, it is a turning away from the standards or bourgeois society altogether. The history of our peculiar way of thinking is a twisted and tormented subject only decipherable by the most committed and willing thinker. Atheism is not just about theology and the rejection of the concept of God. Atheism is about the rejection of the whole class structure of our society.  To carry atheism to it's ultimate conclusion one must be ready to reject all forms of our normal assumptions of reality and to begin constructing a whole new vision of the world and how it works and what we can to do guide the path of history in a direction we find more comfortable.

At first I thought you were describing Humanism, a life stance which many atheists (including Sam Harris) ascribe to, but then your imagery took a turn for the dark, warlike and deathly, which doesn't jibe with Humanism very well.

Atheism is about putting yourself out on the very edge of modern philosophy and theology and then pushing the envelope one step forward than even the most comfortable Liberals would take it. Atheism is declaring war against society.

Atheism is disbelief or lack of belief in God or gods. That's all. Atheism is without content. You're describing your personal views, not atheism.

The bloodthirsty aspects ("war against society") remind me of the Reign of Terror and the civic religions (the Cult of Reason and Cult of the Supreme Being) that sprung up during the French Revolution.

I want the American aristocrats to pay taxes and stop buying government officials, although I understand the appeal of parading around with their heads and genitals on pikes.

If you want to be a dabbler and a wannabee that's just fine. But Atheism requires a deeper commitment, a rejection of all that is polite and normal, a willingness to die over the difference that other people...more practical people...would consider foolish.

I'm not sure what that means, but it comes off as rather disturbing, Phillip. Lack of belief in God no more requires a committed, impolite, abnormal willingness to die than lack of belief in leprechauns.

The irreligious are doing fairly well using reasonable persuasion and conservatives are dying a slow death, thanks to population demographics. Blood and guts revolutions are overrated.

Comment by Simon Paynton on April 18, 2014 at 7:04am

"Atheism is about putting yourself out on the very edge of modern philosophy and theology and then pushing the envelope one step forward than even the most comfortable Liberals would take it."  - I wish more people would do this. 

Comment by onyango makagutu on April 18, 2014 at 8:57am

How do you wake up in the morning and live your day and go to sleep at night as an atheist?

Many times I set an alarm clock since am not sure I will wake up on time. At night I just cover myself in my blanket and off to slumberland.

How does atheism affect your day to day life?

It shouldn't. Does non existence of fairies affect your daily life? I guess not. Or does not having football as a hobby affect your life? Atheism answers to one question only. Without gods.

How do you relate to the people you work for and with?  Do they know what you believe?  Or is it one of those myriad of subjects that are just not 'appropriate' for the workplace?

We laugh, we make jokes, we drink together and work together. Yes they know am an atheist and it is the least of our issues.

Does it bother you when the majority of your co-workers are Christian?  

This would be defeatist. I would talk to myself.

Does it bother you when you can't talk to your family or friends about you beliefs?

Fortunately for me, I can talk to anyone freely about my disbelief if they inquire.

Atheism just isn't a theological position, it is a turning away from the standards or bourgeois  society altogether.

Atheism is a theological/ philosophical position and only to some extent does it proceed beyond that when the atheist rejects any explanation that has as its starting point or conclusion divine agency. 

Am not sure atheism is to declare war against society. To the extent that atheism concerns itself with belief in deities I don't see how this is the case. There are however secondary things that the atheist embraces that asks the society to rethink its values. This include humanism, naturalism- both philosophical and methodological. If these are what you are referring to, if there is any war they declare against society, it is a war that seeks to end bigotry, that aspires to a reasonable populace, that seeks for change of the judicial systems and much more. 

Comment by Unseen on April 18, 2014 at 9:52am

Atheism is a personal decision about the existence of a deity. It can take leftish forms (e.g. Karl Marx) or rightish forms (e.g., Ayn Rand, ). It has no intrinsic political stance. 

Comment by Philip Jarrett on April 18, 2014 at 6:33pm

Interesting comments.  I am talking about the historical growth of Atheism and placing myself directly in line as opposed to Modern Atheism which is, by any standard, weak tea in comparison. BTW, Unseen, I had a graduate level training in Marxism in the Sixties with the Black Panthers teaching me about street demonstrations and guerrilla tactics...I burned the American flag at WVU in the madness following the Kent State killings in Ohio...my brother was a minister of the Church of Christ in Kent, Ohio at the time of the killings.  Up until then he had been rather hawkish until he realized that his back yard was in direct line of fire from the site of the killings and he or his family could have been killed...the prospect of imminent death certainly puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

I soured on Marxism as my understanding of the Communist Holocaust under Stalin that killed more than twice as many as the German Holocaust.  Kind of hard to reconcile that sort of behavior with Marx who believed the gradual victory of socialism would come without bloodshed.

I plunged into Atlas Shrugged as a way of 'cleansing my political palate' so to speak.  I read everything Rand wrote.  Soured on Libertarianism when I learned what a bloody she-prick Rand was.  Now, I'm still a bit of a Heinlein-ian Libertarian all mixed up with Marxism.  Don't get me started on the Rich Moochers using Libertarian dialog to do a Fabian end run around the truth.

OK, that's where I'm coming from.

All the things I asked those "Does it bother you..." I was speaking as a West Virginia atheist and every question was one I deal with on a daily basis.  I know Atheism looks all clean and neat for people in Blue States or college communities.  To speak bluntly, when Atheism doesn't change anything for you then you need a reality check.

Comment by Andy Hoke on April 18, 2014 at 7:07pm

Hey Phillip,

For me, being atheist is a matter f having overcome scary ghost stories and related fear-based indoctrination.

In my opinion, the world is much more mysterious than I was led to believe by religious institutions. 

Comment by Andy Hoke on April 18, 2014 at 7:10pm

How do you relate to the people you work for and with?

It turns out that most people I know don't like the religion they were brought up in. Most are very reluctant to raise the subject for fear of getting into trouble with the HR department. People usually have many stories of abuse and fear to share, the church being the cause of the abuse and fear.

That being said, finding out that my coworkers do not really believe in God is ordinarily a bonding exercise.

Also, for a guy who is tired, you sure can write.

Comment by Andy Hoke on April 18, 2014 at 7:14pm

Atheism is declaring war against society.

Phillip, unless you believe in all gods, you yourself are atheist. Do you believe in Zeus? Krishna?

Lastly in regards to your words I've italicized above, ask yourself; Why is it that every single day there is a brand new story of people dying and suffering as a direct result of religion?

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on April 18, 2014 at 8:00pm

I soured on Marxism as my understanding of the Communist Holocaust under Stalin that killed more than twice as many as the German Holocaust.  Kind of hard to reconcile that sort of behavior with Marx who believed the gradual victory of socialism would come without bloodshed.

Atheism is too often used interchangeably with words like Communism and Nazism and Stalinism by those eager to draw a negative association where none exists intrinsically.

This is easy to do because atheism, as I pointed out earlier, is without content. It'll ostensibly take on whatever attributes one wishes to mix it with. It's the vodka of isms.

Thus the religious apologist stabs a standard accusatory finger at the "atheist dictators" who are responsible for the worst mass murders in history. Lack of belief in God is cited prominently, but the similar causal relationship between mass murder and lack of belief in Bigfoot, leprechauns, and flying saucers is overlooked. If only Stalin had dedicated his life to finding Sasquatch, none of that bad stuff he did would ever have happened.

This ongoing, false association between disbelief in God and other (usually negative) things is rather tiresome. Nobody gets to claim atheism itself as some kind of ideology, not without stapling it to some other doctrine or positive claim. I'm not suggesting you're doing this deliberately Phillip, but you are doing it.

All the things I asked those "Does it bother you..." I was speaking as a West Virginia atheist and every question was one I deal with on a daily basis.  I know Atheism looks all clean and neat for people in Blue States or college communities.  To speak bluntly, when Atheism doesn't change anything for you then you need a reality check.

Atheism changes lots of things for me, but it's because I'm surrounded by religious loons who won't be happy in their lunacy until I believe it too. When asked (which is rare) I'm more apt to identify myself as a Humanist than an atheist, simply because the former term is a positive claim with less emotional baggage associated with it. No religious crackpot will ever start caterwauling at me about Stalin and Pol Pot because (regrettably) the are no Humanist states in history. And Humanists are atheists.

Comment by Philip Jarrett on April 18, 2014 at 10:49pm

My comment about Stalin and Hitler was simply a comparison of body counts.  I'm fully aware that neither ideology was patently atheist.  Just finished reading

Hitler: A Biography Paperback

 

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