Your Morals:
Are Atheists Nihilists?
Cindy Maes

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Cindy Maes"
Subject: Re: Your Morals
Date: Tuesday, January 11, 2000 3:18 PM

Not very many atheists are nihilists. Some theists would have you believe otherwise, though.

I think the human tendencies toward cooperation and nurturing can be explained by natural selection. If this is so, then most people -- regardless of their philosophical outlook -- will tend toward cooperation and nurturing unless some dominant element within the culture (religious or political) whips the people into a loyalistic and competitive frenzy.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Cindy Maes"
Subject: Re: Your Morals
Date: Friday, January 14, 2000 3:00 PM

You use the term nihilism differently than most. Because the theists so often accuse all atheists of being nihilistic (in the traditional sense of the word), I avoid this word unless I specifically have the traditional meaning in mind (and usually only when I am pointing out that atheists are not necessarily nihilistic).

Although we atheists do not determine right from wrong by appealing to the notion of a sentient supernatural being, this does not mean we must eliminate the terms from our vocabulary. Madalyn Murray O'Hair and others became so picky about what terms they would and would not use that they eventually became way too difficult to speak with -- always correcting people as to the meanings of words. For this reason, I refuse to abandon perfectly useful words, and will use them as I see fit. I find it much easier to do this and offer explanations to the few who would misunderstand than to render my writings so tedious as to be unreadable.

My understanding of right and wrong is just that: my understanding of right and wrong.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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