Situation Normalized:
Atheism Fades to Unimportance

Mark Sigalis

From: "Mark Silgalis"
To: "Positive Atheism"
Sent: May 16, 2004
Subject: Just checking in

Dear Cliff,

It's been about two-and-a-half-years since I wrote you last. Where does the time go? I'm not expecting you to remember me, but I just want to say that you helped me through a difficult time in reawakening my atheism. Man, was I one rabid, newly out-of-the-closet atheist! Time and life events sure do mellow things though. I got married, I lost my career (I was a naïve bystander of the tech bubble), and I just got older.

When I first began reading your site, there was one point on your view of atheism that I just couldn't fathom (and I'm paraphrasing here): I seldom think about the fact that I'm an atheist unless I'm trying to distinguish myself from theists. Well, I get it now. In dealing with those other life events, I began visiting Positive Atheism less and less. Your site was extremely helpful in helping me establish my own personal philosophy. After a while, I guess I just didn't need that much reinforcement. I wasn't thinking about my atheism any more. I didn't have to! Life just went on.

Occasionally, when I'd read some scientific book or article, the thought would come through my head: "Just another explanation for something attributed to religion or superstition." I wasn't constantly looking for a philosophical fight with any religious takers any more. I just was an atheist. I just am (an atheist). I just am.

I checked back in with Positive Atheism, just to see how things are going. It has been a long time. I cook a lot (my wife isn't allowed in the kitchen; oh, the frightening possibilities) so my best analogy is that the knife had to meet the steel again, just to maintain sharpness. It wasn't because of nostalgia that I visited again. Your site is an invaluable tool. Logic, teamed with unbending relentlessness in your activism, is inspiring.

I've gotten fired up a few times during the period since I last wrote. The unbelievable pseudo-theocracy of "W," the runaway success of The Da Vinci Code, and so much of this rampant, blind "If-you-don't-believe-in-God,-then-you're-not-an-American!" talk has driven me back here. I reviewed your brilliant explanations on the rules of logical argument in the FAQ section (see links, below). I've read many of your new responses to letters and I'm relieved that you've finally gotten some help with putting the site together and keeping it online. I feel as sharp as ever. Thank you.

I wish I could help out, it will be another couple of years until I get through school (a new career in the medical field), so, I guess food is the priority right now for me. It's good to see that you are getting help with the site so it will hopefully live on in perpetuity.

Many Thanks,
Mark A. Silgalis

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From: "Positive Atheism"
To: "Mark Silgalis"
Date: May 29, 2004
Subject: Just checking in

Thanks for writing!

It's good to see you so freely question the ideas of a so-called expert and then, thinking for yourself, come to your own conclusions. This is why I inwardly rejoice (yes I can use that word) whenever a fellow atheist strongly disagrees with my approach -- despite the posturing that exudes in defending what I still think, after much consideration, is the best way.

But I will admit that I'm jazzed on hearing that one of my more "out-there" propositions (now) makes sense to at least two people (me and thee)! Ah, but to see that position expressed with such fresh lucidity: thanks for that, most of all!

Oh, you rattled off this very common attitude:

  
If you don't believe in God, you're not an American!
  

For a peek at some profound progress, check our latest entry into the regular section of the Big List of Quotations.

  
My job is to make sure that, as President, people understand that in this country you can worship any way you choose. And I'll take that a step further. You can be a patriot if you don't believe in the Almighty. You can honor your country and be as patriotic as your neighbor.
      -- George W. Bush (2004)
  

His wife's appearance on Larry King a few Christmas seasons ago has a lot to do with this, to be sure. (Well, even lip service is better than a kick in the head, eh?) I like to wonder how much needling he's fielded from various elements amongst the World's activistic atheists. However, I suspect that the needling Laura got from the long-out-of-the-closet Larry King would have been enough, and, in fact, probably was all it took to effect this particular change in his rhetoric.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Eight-and-two-thirds of service to
    people with no reason to believe

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