Thursday, April 30, 2009

Atheists Bloggers - Embracing the Scarlet A

There is a great book by Octavia Butler called Parable of the Sower. There is a section in the book where a faith based military platoon comes to overtake a peaceful colony and wreck havoc on the citizens. That passage in the book stirred up old and new feeling about the human application of religion, faith and the dark side of belief. Recent news reports about women being murdered or assaulted in the name of faith does not put my heart at ease.

What happens to faith when it is applied like a weapon to those that are different or have another view of how to conduct their lives? What good is faith if it allows for no questions, no inquiry or proof? Can we make a case that perhaps faith is “harmful” and there is a different way to exist?

These are just questions. The fact that I have typed these questions could provoke anger, fear and perhaps an unsolicited invitation to set me straight.  So to take it a step further; what if I not only questioned religious faith but also believed there is no God, Higher Power or Universal Consciousness?

How would that change relationships and the texture of a life? How would you find others who would listen with respect. How do I communicate with other people who might feel sorry for me. This video is by Micki Krimmel of Mickipedia talking about a co-worker who is concerned about her.

For me, and I hope for you, this is an exploration into a small section of the world of bloggers who are non-believers. To be honest, I don’t know anything more than what has been shoved into my head culturally balanced against the people I know and trust. I do know that when an organization focuses energies to target a group of people as the common enemy someone in power benefits financially.

I’m just saying, I mention no names.

Sifting Through The Minefield

Working on this post has taught me a few involuntary lessons. It seems to me that the most videos about Atheists are produced by Christians. Some of the videos are just class-A whacko. Some are fear based propaganda. Unfortunately a very small percentage even attempt to answer the questions put forth by Atheists, Humanists and Freethinkers. 

Another lesson is that some of the faith based blogs relate vivid fears and concerns about Atheists. I will leave them to Heaven because there is a huge difference between disagreement, passion and out and out vilification. Disagreement and passion I understand but we are talking WWJND in their responses. 

Non-Believers Blogs and Web Sites

These are blogs that have specific stated that they are non-believer blogs or indicated that they have a certain point of view. The majority of the non-believer blogs you will never know about because, like most of us, it is a part of their lives or they choose not to make public. If you had seen half the stuff I encountered during my research you would not blame them one bit.

I started out by reading An Introduction to Atheism circa 1997 by Mathew at the Library, I encourage you to read the entire article because it is clear and he does hit on the majority of the questions a person could have about the topic:

Atheism is characterized by an absence of belief in the existence of gods. This absence of belief generally comes about either through deliberate choice, or from an inherent inability to believe religious teachings which seem literally incredible. It is not a lack of belief born out of simple ignorance of religious teachings.

Sarah Trachtenberg’s Not My God is interviewing people about their lack of faith and documenting personal stories on her blog. Sarah is also displaying some of the contradictions she encounters on her journey.  You also might want to stop by The Jewmanist who has a neat post comparing coffee addiction, being an Atheist and God, The Sunny Skeptic and Greta Christina’s blog.

Black Women Thinks writes about topic through the lens of being a Black women and an Atheist.  There are posts about women and religion, hair and questions like if you are Black can you be an Atheist?

I have been pondering on this for a while. My conclusions are that I felt a moment of sadness that so many black people are indoctrinated into belief systems which are based on old written texts, inaccurate reports, political expedience and motives aimed at political and economic control of the masses - and yet at this point in human history, we not only believe it but partake in the further indoctrination of our children and adults.

I can honestly say that I have had questions and frustrations with all manor of faith based idiocy within the past three months alone. If I did a news search on the three major faiths I can pull up some head scratchers that have nothing to do with faith or reason. 

Secular Humanism & Humanists – from the Council for Secular Humanism the top items listed are:

  • A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighted and tested b each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
  • Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
  • A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.

Red Headed Wonder is a Secular Humanist who find that she has to grapple with responding to other people’s misfortunes.

I think the label that best describes me is secular humanist, though if you pressed me as to whether I believed in a deity, at this point I'd say no. While my heart goes out to people, my first instinct when these things happen is not to impose my presence if it's not needed or wanted, and then to see if there's anything I can help with (either directly or by making a donation, etc). Praying seems irrelevant to me, though I would not want to get into any kind of religious discussion with someone during a trying time - especially if their faith is helping them through.

The Coming Out Godless Project is an online meeting place where folks can step up and tell their stories about leaving a religion for a godless state of being. Rose Schwartz and Eric Broze  have created a spot where you can say what you think without repercussion from the opposing side.

From the Freedom From Religious Foundation the definition of a Freethinker is:

A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists.

No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.

Dale McGowan’s  Parenting Beyond Belief blog looks at how to raise his children as ethical people without religion. One of his posts dealt with how to raise children to be respectful of the person even when you don’t agree at all with the ideas that person has:

But eye-rolling arrogance toward those who support a given idea is not reasoned critique — and religious discourse is filled with examples of people on all sides who allow dismissive arrogance* to cloud their judgment. Start with arrogance, saying, “I can’t believe how stupid they are to believe xyz” and you have one foot on Ray Comfort’s banana peel. Start instead with a little humility, saying, “I may be wrong about this, but…” and you have a much better chance of actually getting things right.

As you can see there isn’t just one approach to disbelief, there is a range of opinion and thought.

This post originally appeared on BlogHer, where I am a Contributing Editor.


  1. I do like the color red! Thanks for including me in this important post.

  2. I'm also a bit partial to the color red... Having red hair and all. Thank you for including me, as well, much appreciated.

  3. Thanks ladies - the post has gotten a good reception on BlogHer.

    Don't know how long that will last but small steps.

  4. Good for you! I was raised to believe in God although we never practiced religion, except when my grandmother would take us to mass on holidays. That only lasted til I was around 8, because we moved. Then in high school my dad's family became "born-again Christians" and tried to convert us. My parents and my sister went for a while, but I rebelled. I didn't understand what God had against my music or my boyfriend's long hair?! Since then I have never been a fan of organized religion. I have had too many negative experiences with "Christians" to believe that God could possibly be more accepting of them than anyone else. I struggle with my faith for all the reasons you state in your video. I believe there is something bigger than us, something divine, but not necessarily in A god or the God that the Church would have us believe in.

    So you continue to believe as you do and don't let anyone make you feel bad about it. You are a beautiful, intelligent young woman, don't ever let anyone make you doubt yourself. And if, on the off chance, you do have some experience in the future that makes you change your mind about a higher being, so be it.

  5. Well, thanks...I think.

    I want to be honest here. I'm not an Atheist. The reason I wrote the post was that there was a murder of a young lady. The attacker was on YouTube, not only stalking her but venting misogynistic crap and hating on Atheists.

    It started me to thinking. I think a lot. Nothing was really said about those aspects of the story.

    All that I knew about the topic was by people of faith. It was scary how "mean" some people of faith by the concept. Straight up anger. It was icky.

    What did I know about being an Atheist? That started my journey. I do have friends who are Atheists but I didn't ask them. I wanted to find out for myself.

    I cannot know myself unless I make an effort to understand those people around me.

    Critical thinking skills is very important to me. I'd almost wish it was force fed before you could take your first legal drink but that is why I am not in charge.

    I am not a part of any organized faith. This insures that I maintain my heathen ways in peace.

    As for that young part, I owe it all to my hair color out of a bottle, Ebony Brown #28

  6. Thanks for all the great resources. And link love! :)