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Confessions of a Lonely Atheist by Natalie AngierAuthor of this text: Kaz Dziamka
Some time ago, The New York Times
Magazine published a remarkable essay
by Natalie Angier about her life as an atheist in the United States. The NYT
website encouraged readers to submit comments about the essay by responding to
the question „Is atheism dead?" Not a very intelligent question from
the editors and publishers of The New York
Times, but some of us who read this overrated publication have long found
that the „best daily" in the USA is sometimes not distinguishable from
all other corporate media publications. In some cases, as in the disrespectful,
unfair treatment of Ralph Nader, The New
York Times is not much different from the conservative rantings of Rush
Limbaugh, that "dirigible of drivel," as he has aptly been called.
Be that as it may, I felt compelled to respond because the publication
of Angier's article is such a radical departure from the usual pandering to
Judeo-Christian superstitions that I felt it was a civic duty to respond. Below
is my letter, sent to NYT, but, of
course, never posted or published. It's clearly not for the mass media,
even though the original version I sent was more politically correct than the
one below The question — Is
atheism dead? — is
preposterous. And rhetorical. As long as people can think independently, atheism
will never be dead, even in such an embarrassingly Christianized country like
the United States.
For some reasons, it would be better to use the term „agnosticism,"
the best intellectual stance of those who can think undogmatically. To know that
one will never know everything one would like to know about the nature of
reality is the beginning of all wisdom. In the United States, "atheism"
is so burdened with unfair, negative connotations that its denotation has been
lost to average Americans, who usually confuse it with „godless communism"
and have either forgotten or have never been taught that early Christians were
communists and that communism can be either religious or non-religious. Many
religions, but Christianity in particular, have caused so much pain and evil in
the world that were we to have an International Tribunal to investigate
religious crimes — an
independent tribunal empowered to enforce its laws and verdicts — then
Christianity and its myriad institutions and denominations would have long ago
been legislated out of existence while thousands of Christian ministers and
Catholic priests would have been imprisoned as ordinary (and extraordinary)
thugs, rapists, child molesters, thieves, murderers, and other perverts.
Just consider the Inquisition and the genocide of Native American
nations by Catholic and Protestant protonazis. Christianity is yet to be held
responsible for the horror the Christians have inflicted on the Tainos and
hundreds of other Native American nations, on the Jews, and on many Asian and
African nations. Unfortunately, nobody can bring to justice any more the inhuman
Christian monsters who tortured Galileo and burned to death Michael Servetus,
Giordano Bruno, and the little known Polish atheist Kazimierz òyszczyñski,
as well as thousands of other „heretics" and "witches," long
ignored and forgotten.
And all this murder and mayhem in the name of „the only true god"
and the "only true religion," extremely arrogant and absurd claims,
which must be the most pernicious dogmas ever invented by religious bigots.
Perhaps some day Christianity and Christians will be finally exposed for their
extreme, unrelenting religious racism — the
worst kind of racism in the history of humankind.
How can anybody who knows the horrifying record of Christian worldwide
missions believe in the Christian god? Or, to respond directly to your question,
„Is atheism dead?" how can anyone not be an atheist if familiar with
the death and destruction Christianity has caused everywhere Christian religious
racists have forced their religious beliefs on non-Christians?
Of course, there are some good things in Christian morality, though none
in its vicious — misogynist
and ecocidal — theology.
The doctrine that the incomprehensible large universe was created by a personal
god who sacrificed his only son for the sins of the very imperfect humanity he
has created is incomprehensibly naïve and silly. And so is the disastrous
biblical injunction that we should have dominion over animals and subdue the
earth. Some good aspects of Christian morality can all be found in earlier moral
and religious systems, from which they have been either appropriated or simply
stolen. No beneficial Christian moral guideline is original. A major problem in
the United States (and to a lesser degree in all other Western democracies) is
the Christians have long controlled the educational system and have shut out the
teaching of secular humanism in public schools. And so a young mind, given no
option, will typically atrophy and default to some local Christian superstition:
Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.
It takes intelligence and uncommon civic courage to publicly state that
one is an atheist. This is why I would like to commend Natalie Angier for her
article „confessions of a Lonely Atheist." Kudos also to the New
York Times Magazine for publishing such a memorable article.
« People, quotes (Published: 18-10-2003 )
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