'Positive' Atheism?
(Or, 'Truths Can Be
Found in Religions')

Please note that as of the posting of this letter on February 15, 2000, and the reformatting of this letter on August 29, 2000, we had not received a reply to the questions and objections we raised. This suggests that the motive for this letter was to cloak abusiveness within a shroud of open-mindedness.

Should we eventually receive a reply, we will post it below and indicate here that we have done so.

Graphic Rule

From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Aradia
Subject: Re: 'Positive' Atheism? (was: just another title?)
Date: Monday, November 15, 1999 8:00 PM

But then you proceed to weave arguments that have absolutely nothing to do with the simple statement being made here.

Please explain to us why you brought this up in the first place.

We tend to ignore the unintrusive religions, and counter only the ones that directly impact us against our will.

Also, we strongly discourage the use of the pejorative "fundie" on this forum. It's a dignity thing. We have, on several occasions, rejected a perfectly good letter simply because it contained such perjoratives.

You have a completely different understanding of the term "positive" than the way we use it here.

This is a pretty low blow, and justifies our asking you to specify which religion and also to specify how so.

Truths can be found in Grimm's Fairy Tales, too, but this does not justify teaching our children that the characters in Grimm's actually existed.

This is the essence of fundamentalist thinking: that the philosophy itself is without fault, and that all problems are caused by certain individuals who just aren't practicing the (faultless) religion properly.

"Positive Atheism" opposes such thinking, especially within atheism, and will issue a harsh statement against such tendencies within organized atheism in December, after the specific wording undergoes the scrutiny of a small group of atheistic leaders whose organizations could be impacted by our statement.

I go further than this: Ultimately, even these three truths do not matter.

Meanwhile, I am alive at this moment and choose to make something of what little I have -- which is my prerogative. Here is where our actual philosophy differs from your false caricature of our philosophy.

"Ultimately" is not the here and now. We humans, while alive, are very concerned with the here and now, even though "ultimately" nothing will matter. At one point, someone graciously (and patiently) showed this to me, thus helping me to stop being part of the problem.

Your question ignores one glaring fact: Historically, it has been the religious organizations that have not only crushed the thinking of those who see no gods, but also have crushed our thumbs, our legs, and our skulls; pulled our limbs out of joint, poured molten lead in our bodily orifices; cut off our ears and ripped out our tongues; tied us to a stake and set us aflame; confiscated our estates; sent our wives and children into slavery.

In addition to this, the religious organizations have retarded science and set us back by thousands of years because they enforced superstition upon us and killed those who would question the dominant myth (including members of minority religions, mind you). We would hope that some such minorities would join us in demanding that religion never again be used to determine public policy, and that all religion remain on a separate realm (in the interest of human progress as well as in the interest of freedom of individual religious choice, and of freedom from the dominant religious paradigm).

Finally, I do not think that it is wrong to hurt someone's sensibilities, or to offend them by criticizing their publicly proclaimed religious dogmas. I openly advocate that no idea is above criticism (including my ideas -- and especially those of the dominant paradigm). If anyone's religious beliefs are crushed by this open and public exchange of ideas, so be it. To protect someone's views from criticism simply because they hold those views to be "sacred" (or whatever) is the most vicious form of religious tyranny that is left -- now that they are not currently allowed to burn us at the stake.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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.