Never Before Saw
Atheism As An Option
Christina Schelin

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Christina Schelin"
Subject: Re: your atheism site - esp. the letters section
Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2000 2:34 PM

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.
 

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.).

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.