Let me say at the outset that I love the idea of promoting atheism. It is something I try to to regularly here at Atheist Revolution. The trouble is, those of us who understand the meaning of atheism (i.e., the lack of theistic belief) recognize that it is not anything that really can be promoted. Promoting atheism is promoting the absence (or at least reduced influence) of something. To promote atheism means little more than to advance the idea that religious belief is irrational and has tremendous destructive potential.
This is a viable starting point, but we need to have something besides just less religion to offer. We need to go beyond atheism. It is not enough to demonstrate the myriad problems associated with religious belief; we must help people find meaningful secular alternatives for meeting many of the needs currently met via religion. Just because we have managed to do this for ourselves does not mean that we will be effective promoters. Greater effort is needed.
This is why I am finding my excitement for The Humanist Symposium renewed. This blog carnival is not about critiquing religion or mocking the superstitious, although my regular readers will know that I occasionally indulge in both. No, this carnival is about promoting humanism. With humanism, we have something that can be celebrated and promoted. Think of it as the yin to atheism's yang. We need both.
To the atheists who oppose humanism (and I've encountered more than a few who are mildly hostile to the humanist philosophy), you may replace it with whatever you like. The point is that you have something real to promote.
I am happy to present, in no particular order, the posts from this edition of the carnival:
Restoring a Sense of Awe and Wonder
- Humanitarium (update: link no longer active) by VeryWide.Net
- Inside-out Jammies (update: link no longer active) by You Made Me Say It...
- Existence—What a Concept! by Towards a Rational America
- I'm an atheist, no matter what Beliefnet says (update: link no longer active) by DC Secularism Examiner
- Atheists lead philanthropic microfinancing in developing countries (update: link no longer active) by 2[Y]
- Correct Thanking by Effort Sisyphus
- We do not throw up our hands at confusion (update: link no longer active) by Bright Jots
- No God(s)ess(es) required (update: link no longer active) by Mississippi Atheists
- On Happiness, or, Positive Atheist Philosophy by Greta Christina's Blog
- The Dreadfulness of Death & The Unhealthy Expectation of An Afterlife by Atheist Haven
- What can humanists learn from religion? by This humanist
- Is Religion a Bad Thing? (update: link no longer active) by the evolving mind
- Irreligion on the Rise in the United States (update: link no longer active) by Mild-Mannered Musings
What these excellent posts demonstrate, at least to me, is that many atheists are already comfortable with the idea of going beyond atheism. They recognize that no gods are necessary and have stripped such superstitions away to find an amazing world. They are well on their way to crafting a meaningful secular identity. To be sure, atheism is a valuable part but it is not the whole.
If your submission was not included in this carnival, either I did not receive it or I determined that it was not a good fit with the guidelines provided by Daylight Atheism. I did not write these guidelines, but it is my job to enforce them as carnival host.
The next edition of The Humanist Symposium will be held on April 12, 2009, at Psychodiva's Mutterings FCD. To submit a post for consideration, please use the Blog Carnival submission form.