And Now for a Brief Period of Furious Typing

In case you haven’t already noticed, I am an Atheist, and that particular religious belief or lack thereof (it’s obviously a lack, but whatever) carries some dirty connotations… Based on the looks I get, these connotations range from a simple feeling of oddity at not believing in God, to thinking that I’m about the next best thing to a neo-Nazi. I don’t even know why people think Atheists must be neo-Nazis… All that is involved in being an Atheist is not believing in a Supreme Being. It does not involve believing that women are responsible for man’s original sin (Judeo-Christian), nor does it involve believing that Lamanites were punished for turning away from God by being given dark skin (Mormon), and I’ll stop pointing out fundamental immorality in religious beliefs here because I’ve done it enough on this blog and it’s besides the point.

The point is, Atheists are no more likely to be moral than a religious person (well, you could argue that they are more likely to be moral because they don’t blindly follow doctrines from x amount of centuries ago and are instead influenced by today’s moral zeitgeist), and yet the stereotype is much harsher.

I’d like to point out an example of an incident of discrimination that I went through today because of my open Atheism.

See, in my Speech & Debate class, there are two doors into the class. One from the outside is more direct and easily accessible, provided a person from the inside is willing to open it. Or you could go around a corner of the building, go inside, walk down the hall a bit, and then enter through the other door. Again, if you choose the direct path, you have to have somebody open it from the inside…

Today, when my friend and I knocked on the door, I visibly saw a girl (and out of respect for her privacy, I will not name names), look at us, smile, then turn around and refuse to open the door for us. When we finally got inside, I asked her why she let other people in but kept us out. She said that she just didn’t want to let us in. I pointed out that I don’t discriminate and always let people in and said “I’m just philanthropic like that.”

Guess what she said, that got several other members of the class to give her kudos and compliments?

“You don’t believe in God because you think you’re smarter than all of us. That’s not being philanthropic. That’s being selfish.”

I think that’s outrageous enough that it’s worth quoting again.

“You don’t believe in God because you think you’re smarter than all of us. That’s not being philanthropic. That’s being selfish.”

Wrong.

She’s entitled to her opinion, but she’s wrong. I tried to explain this to her, but she childishly clasped her hand over her ears said “I don’t want to talk to you, I really don’t want to talk to you,” and I gave up (not the first time a theist had done this to me). I don’t believe in God because I have no reason to believe in God (granted, I’m agnostic on a technicality, being that you can’t disprove the existence of the deist God, even though there’s no reason to believe in the deist God either…). Where does immorality and selfishness follow from that?

I have openly said to some of my theist friends that I think they’re smart (they can vouch for me). I know some very intelligent people who believe in God for what I personally think are fallacious reasons, but that does not lower my opinion of their intelligence. I suppose that I think I’m less ignorant of certain scientific facts, but that’s knowledge, not intelligence.

And the issue of philanthropy. When Noel Cunningham, founder of the Cunningham Foundation and Quarters for Kid project, came to our school to talk about how one quarter can feed a kid, another quarter can educate them, another quarter can give them new clothes, I literally emptied my pockets of my money to give to them. I wonder if she can say that.

I have hundreds of hours logged at the museum for my volunteer work. Time which most people spend in church, probably making themselves more ignorant of science, instead of making a difference in the world by educating others about science. I wonder if she can say that.

But most of all, I don’t keep people out of a classroom in the cold because they don’t believe in my God. She most certainly can not say that.

Besides the lack of connection between being egotistic and being selfish, imagine if instead she had said “You don’t believe in Ra because you think you’re smarter than everyone else. That’s not being philanthropic. That’s being selfish.” Imagine if she had said “You don’t believe that L. Ron Hubbard was a prophet because you think you’re smarter than everyone else. That’s not being philanthropic. That’s being selfish.” Imagine if she had said “Your skin color is dark because you turned away from God because you think you’re smarter than everyone else.”

Would she have received such a warm applause by my fellow classmates then?

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bobington on December 12, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Your classmates suck yo!!

  2. Posted by Dysentery on December 12, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    Ah yes. Another Christian proving their moral superiority over us ungodly atheists.

  3. Posted by Anali on December 13, 2007 at 1:32 am

    Would you all get over the notion that selfishness is a bad thing? Honestly, any truly selfish thing that you do is good; any truly good thing that you do is selfish. I dare you to argue that.

  4. Nice post, and nice blog. I feel you there bud. I have had many similar experiences myself.

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