March 9, 2012

Atheism: A Relationship With Reality

Atheism: A personal relationship with reality

I do not have a list of silly things evangelical Christians say. If I did, I am fairly confident that the thing about having a "personal relationship" with Jesus would be near the top. I have addressed this claim before, and I will not repeat myself here except to point out that I would much rather have a relationship with reality than one with someone who was either a fictional character or who has been dead for over 2,000 years. I mean, zombies were cool before The Walking Dead ruined them, but it seems like such a relationship would be awfully one-sided.

No Forbidden Questions recently tackled this absurd claim (update: link no longer active) in the sort of meaningful but concise manner that requires sharing, concluding:

John Hinckley, Jr. had more of a relationship with Jodie Foster than any Christian has with Jesus Christ.

Yep. That sums it up pretty well. In fact, it may be overly generous since both John Hinkley, Jr. and Jodie Foster were not only real people but contemporaries.

Although atheism refers only to a lack of god-belief, most atheists I have encountered - in real life and online - strive to engage in a relationship with reality. We aren't always successful, but that isn't the point. We expend effort to learn about reality and to make sure that what we believe and what we think we know coincides with reality. And here's the key: when what we believe does not coincide with reality, we change what we believe. It would be nice to see more religious believers give that a try. I bet they'd discover that fantasy is a poor substitute for reality.