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Absence Of Dogma

First of all, given that there are some sore egos abound at the moment, this is not a prescriptive post; as always this is an exploration and also as always, I offer only an opinion; my view of atheism and atheism activism.

Atheism is... Absence of belief in god(s)
And that's all, you can sit on your couch, dunking biscuits in your tea, just not believing in nonsense, never communicate it to anyone and you are a bone fide atheist, a fully fledged non believer in god(s).

Atheism activism is... Promoting the evidence or reasoning against the belief in god(s).
That's when, incensed at some religious statement, dictate or atrocity, you get off your couch, brush off the biscuit crumbs and open your mouth in opposition to the belief in god(s)

I personally think that that psychological step away from the passivity of a private conclusion to personal activism, automatically engenders, immediately or eventually, activism against the causes, support systems, contributing factors of theistic belief.
In the process of professing against the god(s), one encounters many religious arguments, the necessity to find solutions to their objections brings the extra understanding; it's the books humans' are taught to believe that cause the irrational disconnect.
After much debate with the dream believers of all walks of life, over decades, I have reached a point where I consider even 'making a wish' as a stone in the pile from which those who still stone people select their vile projectile. I am no longer willing to silently tolerate the injustices suffered by my fellow humans because people are unaware of the butterfly effect of their selfish need to pretend. For me, all wish-thinking should be discouraged as unacceptable.
While I am Atheist, as an atheism activist I'm also consequentially anti-theism / deism but I'm also anti-wiccanism, anti-wishing, anti-tarot, anti-paranormal, anti-psychics etc.
I'm, tentatively, "Prove it or Lose it" but, as I said earlier, that's my opinion; the position at which I have arrived after much thought. You may arrive, or have arrived, at the same conclusion but that's irrelevant to any atheism activism you choose to undertake. The core observation for which we both fight, the objective we're striving toward is a greater proportion of the population professing an absence of belief in god(s).
We atheists may perceive, and maybe rightly so, that a more rational society is our goal but, as the great majority of us come from an imposed code of conduct and life script to the freedom of thought granted by atheism, I suspect that that 'more rational society' cannot be achieved by replacing an enforced irrational doctrine with a forced rational doctrine. I feel the key must be in example rather than rote text; debate with the faithful that is at all times rational is the best example. People listening just hear a rational person making rational sense about rational codes of human practise.
It's important that children are taught to think critically and the earlier the better. Preferably, for me, before they are polluted with the magical & spooky-spooky. If we consider the process of 'thinking rationally' as a skill or hobby etc, then, if "it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert" as Malcolm Gladwell claims, one would come sooner to a position of 'expert rational thinker'. The question I think I'm trying to ask here is, wouldn't a population widely versed in and using critical thinking become a more rational society as a consequence? I think it would and in support I'd point toward the more atheistic democracies; is their citizens apparent 'level headedness' and the national level of atheism in these societies really only coincidence?
However, teaching kids to 'fink proper' is a goal that's outside atheism activism's inherent remit. As I see it the only defensible goal of atheism activism, for some time yet, maybe the next century or more, is not construction but deconstruction. To not notice that atheism activism, at it's core, is necrotising fasciitus, a wrecking ball, or TNT, is to misunderstand its nature; we the atheism activists are the carrion eaters, clearing away the putrid refuse of rotting religion - that's the gig. The role of atheism activism is demolition; We may not want to be 'defined by what we don't believe' but wishing is irrelevant.
And there is nothing wrong with demolition, it is fine and honourable profession - for those in the UK I offer Fred Dibnah.

For the rest of the world, I'd suggest each of you has a similarly necessary character who has rid your land of failures of construction, sites that have outlived their usefulness or those characters who blast tunnels for our travelling pleasure. This is a job without which it is impossible to progress to any brave new build, change of route or shiny new tomorrow.
While progress can be made, a better society can be built from the extra rationality of serving no god(s), atheism activism is about breaking down the barriers to rationality, using rationality to tear down the remaining traces of its antithesis. When it comes down to it, our message is...
"People die, that's it, get over it; we can be compassionate and add in your own time but pretending you'll see them again as succour for the loss is the folly dominion of religion, it is their attempt to be a soothing pacifier for that particularly emotional human condition. It is wrong; false hope is no hope, it's branding breeds social decohesion and people just have to get used to the idea that it was, is, and always will be pretend."
But this is not a palatable message, as realists first and foremost we, the activists, must accept that our goal is not going to be quick to achieve. None wish to give up a shiny post-death fantasy with no hope of something in its stead. The kind of change for which we're campaigning cannot be dynamic or sweeping, we have a hundred thousand years of pretending to roll back and far too many still cling to those clearly very false hopes. No, atheism activists have to patient, we are the constant drip of water on a stone that eventually will get through, one stone at a time, or at best, as a mountain stream's gentle trickle undermines a cliff edge until the giant edifice crashes down.

The questions many think are so important "Who am I?", "Why am I here?", "How, then do I live?" are, I suspect, not best answered by those focused on demolition but I think great progress has being made since 1948 and is still being made by those who continue to work for human rights issues.
I applaud their efforts for a more socially just future as I hope they would appreciate the contribution I am able to make toward a more rational tomorrow.


If you are interested @AtheistEarth has had a look at #FreeAtheism recently in his blog and, whilst it wasn't a clarification that was necessary until the recent Atheism+ flame wars, in the glow from those fires it may just be a term that's a useful depiction of the classic atheist position for those who require it.

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If you enjoy what you read here
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