March 9, 2011

Atheists Do Not Spend Time on Gods Because They are Popular

Bernard Schweizer, Associate Professor of English at Long Island University, wrote an odd piece for CNN's Belief Blog about theists who hate "God." He deserves credit for correctly pointing out that atheists do not hate god(s). However, he omits the main reason that atheists spend time on the god construct at all.
For atheists, God is in the same category as these fictional villains. Except that since God is the most popular of all fictional villains, New Atheists – those evangelizing ones such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins - spend a considerable amount of energy enumerating his flaws.
Let me say for the umpteenth time that there is no such thing as "New Atheists" - there is nothing new about "new" atheism. But that isn't really the problem. See how Schweizer says that atheists spend time on god(s) because of their popularity? He's missing something far more important: atheists spend time on god(s) because our very survival often depends on doing so.

It isn't just that we are surrounded by persons suffering from religious delusions; it is that our governments have so thoroughly cloaked themselves in this delusion that we are oppressed by it at every step. So many of our neighbors are determined to have a Christian theocracy (or convinced that we already do) that we must confront them and their fictional gods again and again.

I would like to have the luxury of never having to think about gods or religion, but this would require an end to the overwhelming influence of religion on virtually every aspect of life. It isn't a question of popularity.

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