Preaching Atheism : A Contradiction In Terms

Recently read and heard a lot about Richard Dawkins and it made me ask myself, “Why is it that despite not being a ‘believer’, I don’t really enjoy the sermons of these atheists?”

I concluded, after some introspection and analysis, that atheism is a belief that cannot be preached. As Richard Bach explains in his book One, if you preach any belief, it ends up becoming a religion.

The question of god is a primary one. But that does not mean that it essentially has an answer. Before one embarks upon constructing a set of values, a philosophy on which to live by, this question, however, needs to be settled in one’s mind for one to move further. And therefore, one has to go by a device known as presumption.

One may presume there is no god, based on his logic, rationale, or other experiences. However, after having presumed so, one cannot go ahead and start preaching it in seminars and classrooms. I strongly believe that faith in god, or it’s absence is essentially a personal choice. There is neither enough arguments nor proof on either side to conclusively prove or disprove the possibility of god’s existence. Therefore, the question must be left to personal belief, reasoning, and choice.

I am an atheist, and I don’t think there is anything to be proud or ashamed of about it. It is a belief, a deduction, an answer that I have derived for myself. But if I start calling names to those who believe in god, or religion, I am fostering another religion – a religion without god. Atheist fundamentalism is precisely what the world does not need today. Let’s stick to our basic premises.

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7 responses to “Preaching Atheism : A Contradiction In Terms

  1. I think Dawkins and others would be content to live quietly with their atheism if the theists would do likewise. We live in times where religion and politics are almost indivisible and in these circumstanstances atheists are forced to speak out. If this is perceived as preaching then so be it.

    Whilst there is a danger that atheism can become a rigid orthodoxy I don’t buy your contention that atheism is religion without god anymore than I think that silence is music without sound.

  2. Hey hey, how was your exams? Haha, managed to steal time to read the God delusion book? Do tell me how was the book. I once did a post based on the blurb, but i think the book has more then juz that. Very interesting book nevertheless. Looking forward to buy it, then again, i have many books still on my reading list. Haha…

    All the best for your studies anyway!

  3. Pingback: Time to Shed the Atheist Tag « Book Crazy

  4. “I concluded, after some introspection and analysis, that atheism is a belief that cannot be preached. As Richard Bach explains in his book One, if you preach any belief, it ends up becoming a religion.”

    This is an example of the fallacy of equivocation. There is more than one sense of the word “preach” – it can be used in a religious or a non-religious sense and this argument conflates the two.

    Some atheists do try to persuade others to adopt their positions while others don’t. As to the ones that do, why shouldn’t they? People use arguments and persuasive techniques to get others to adopt their viewpoints all the time and the fact that they do so doesn’t make those beliefs religious any more than an attempt to persuade someone to adopt Keynesian economics is preaching a religion.

    It’s not attempts to persuade others about a given idea or proposition that makes that idea or proposition a religion.

    As someone else posted here recently, religious theists in many societies are demanding economic, social, and political privileges. In many cases, these would come at the expense of the rights of those who do not have beliefs in God or any other religious beliefs. It is perfectly understandable under such circumstances that some atheists would speak out in defense and promotion of their own ideas.

  5. 1. “There is neither enough arguments nor proof on either side to conclusively prove or disprove the possibility of god’s existence.”

    2. “I am fostering another religion – a religion without god”

    Either:

    A. You did not really read anything from Richard Dawkins.
    B. You are not an athiest.
    C. A and B

    If you answered A, you would not have said statement 1.
    If you answered B, you would not have said statement 2.
    If you answered C, you could be the least knowledgable theist I know.

  6. I have no objections to bookcrazy bashings by you or the one on about.com. My defence is my post. You may disagree or shrug and dismiss, entirely your choice.

    However, just to clarify that when I talk of proof, I am not talking of physical proof. Neither do I believe that argumentation / dialectic can ever be a proof of a question like this. I believe that if Einstien’s theory is true and if science can keep growing, at any time, human knowledge is as grown as limited. I doubt capacity of human knowledge and consider the concept of god a psychological invention, propagated for political reasons and in any case irrelevant for my life. If, that is theism, I am one. I have no problems with the terminology.

    Secondly, the second statement is a misquote, very much in lines of the about.com post on my views, rather misgivings, about the groupism amongs atheists. That sentence in my post begins with an ‘if’ and has no meaning in the form you have quoted.
    Given an option, I chose C, thats most choices.

  7. “Some atheists do try to persuade others to adopt their positions while others don’t. As to the ones that do, why shouldn’t they?”

    For any reason they come up with that anyone else shouldn’t. Other than that, no reason at all! A person shouldn’t condemn persuasion in others if one employs it, though.

    “People use arguments and persuasive techniques to get others to adopt their viewpoints all the time and the fact that they do so doesn’t make those beliefs religious any more than an attempt to persuade someone to adopt Keynesian economics is preaching a religion.”

    The beliefs may not become a religion per se, but the faith, belief, employment of persuasion, conviction, sharing of those beliefs etc. are all religious tools of some sort.

    The question for me is, should anything be preached whether it’s religion or not? Just because a belief isn’t a religion, does that mean it’s ok to preach it or try to persuade others to live according to it or believe in it? This happens millions of times daily from the visual blight of billboards to all sorts of advertising to people sharing their ideas and wanting your approval, your money, your validation and so on. It doesn’t need to be religion to be preached, but if it’s “bad” to preach a religion why isn’t it “bad” to preach everything else?

    finally, it’s a bit of a cop out to simply say, “the theists are trying to persuade so we will too, in order to defend ourselves!” Well you can’t employ tactics you say you don’t agree with, and it’s pretty silly to practice an atheism which is directly based on “answering” theism. Shouldn’t atheism simply exist and not ape theism with the little subtraction of God?

    That’s like saying that theism is actually dictating how you practice your own belief in atheism. You see or hear theists, you get upset and feel you need to be represented or something, and you start employing theist ideas and tactics in response to them. If theists need to preach, why do atheists feel they must also preach, lest the theists have a louder voice? If theists have a directive to become “fishers of men”, then atheists see this and in their jealousy or anger or something they say hey wait a minute how dare you preach and not represent meee? I’m going to preach too, only I’m not going to call it that because preaching only belongs to religion and since I’m not religious, I can’t possibly be preaching! (Which is an idea I think Eric shot to hell in his post.)

    I am completely fascinated how much atheists react to theists instead of just BEING who they are. I don’t think atheists would even exist without theists, they seem to rely on us to tell them what to think and how to act, and when to get upset. It’s funny to me.

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