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December,1995

Can Atheism Be Positive?
by Cliff Walker

Atheism seems to really be happening -- at least in India. Lavanam* visited recently and now is asking us to be non-participating delegates to the World Atheist Conference January 4-6, in Vijayawada. The theme is, "Positive Atheism For A Positive Future."

In India, Atheism is a very constructive force in a nation that has been ravaged by the destructive effects of superstition and religious classism. It was the Atheists, for example, who organized the burial of the victims of the big flood. In India, the Atheists seem clearly to be the good guys. What about in the United States? What is our image? What have we done since Paine, Franklin, and Jefferson managed to keep religion out of our government?

Jerry and I bicker back and fourth about the role Madalyn Murray O'Hair has played. Jerry reluctantly insists that we would not know each other had it not been for the work of Ms. O'Hair. I agree, but she may have taken the public's image of Atheism back to the stone age with her attitude. But would a more congenial O'Hair have been as effective?

We're both probably right. The question is, where do we go from here? And what should our next tack be?

Sure, we can attract attention by "editing" a Gideon's** or picketing a Chaplains' convention -- but is that all we are about? Is that the image we want? Is Atheism only "anti"? And does being "anti" bring good?

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    • Notes:

    • Footnote: *See also: Lavanam Speaks at CRT
    • Footnote: **See also: Jerry 'Edits' a Gideons

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Copyright ©1995 Cliff Walker; Portland, Oregon