Never Before Saw
Atheism As An Option
I just had a question, one that is probably answered somewhere in your site. What is 'C.E.' (in the context of a date, spec. year)?
Past that, I found your site by doing a Yahoo! search for 'atheism' then clicking on the category. (Basically, blind luck.) I must say, I enjoyed every page I've read so far on this site.
Personal condensed story (trans. you can skip the next two paragraphs): I was laxly raised Mormon, and came to question the religion. I went 'church-searching' and did personal Bible study classes with my best friend, to no avail. I lapsed into agnosticism, simply from residual guilt over not believing. I, for some reason, never thought of atheism as an option.
I read an Ayn Rand book one day (Atlas Shrugged, and it was actually 3 days), and it 'changed my life', or rather my view of it. I felt free, as if I had somehow given myself permission to believe there isn't a god. Recently, I've been reading up on atheism every chance I get.
I especially enjoy your letters site, since I get to see good debates happening occasionally. (I say occasionally, only because the letters that aren't coherent and/or aren't laudatory barely reach the level of reasonal thought.) I just wanted to pass on my appreciation of the hard work that went into creating and maintaining this wonderful website. You have my support. (Whee. :>)
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Christina Schelin"
Subject: Re: your atheism site - esp. the letters section
Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2000 2:34 PM
I, for some reason, never thought of atheism as an option.
Since theism must, by definition, be taught to you after you have learned how to speak (the tendency toward credulity is natural but the specific belief system is not), then atheism (the lack of theism) is the default. Theists know this, and try their darndest to try to paint atheism in a negative light -- and they start by stigmatizing the word atheism and making it synonymous with wickedness (look it up in a Mirriam-Webster's).
This is really their only crack at credibility because they cannot make a clear, positive case for the existence of gods and the supernatural.
By calling yourself an atheist, you are inviting trouble from a culture
dominated by theists of the bigoted variety. More Americans think it is
okay to discriminate against atheists (in hiring, by silencing us, etc.)
than think it's okay to discriminate against homosexuals. When enough of
us have come out of the closet, it will stop being considered proper to
discriminate against us -- except among the fringe groups.
What is 'C.E.' (in the context of a date, spec. year)?
To say A.D. (Anno Domini, in the year of Our Lord) seems, to some, to be a backhanded way of forcing us non-Christians to confess Christ. (I have seen Christians point to this language on official documents in their attempts to "prove" that America is a Christian nation.) If nothing else, many of us non-Christians feel uncomfortable with it (as we do with "IN GOD WE TRUST" on our money, etc.). Some Christians, particularly the Jehovah's Witnesses, oppose it because it assumes, to them, an incorrect date for Christ's birth.
Thus, rather than lobbying to change the calendar, it is much easier to call it the Common Era (C.E.) or Before Common Era (B.C.E.).
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
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