Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Atheist Advantage

Let's say you have a population of Jewish, Muslim, Roman Catholic, and Evangelicals in a school and they wanted to be fair and not show favortism to one particular group. You could negotiate having Winter break to cover Christmas and Hanukkah. You could include Muslim holidays as vacations. Perhaps have clergy from each at the school for support.  For the sake of argument, what if our nations population consisted of only these four groups? As far as the laws of the land go, we wouldn't give preference to any particular religion's ideas, in order to be fair. Take for instance marriage. For Evangelicals, divorce is allowed only on 2 grounds - one of which is adultery. We would not enforce that particular rule on everyone else b/c it is Evangelical specific. In order to be fair, the four groups would have to come up with various compromises.

Now, let us consider the example of atheism/secular humanism/(radical) liberalism. This/These group(s) have their own specific philosophical ideologies, which I disagree with (obviously), however they have a benefit that the other aforementioned groups do not have and what I like to call "The Atheist Advantage." Though atheists have their own unique ideas, they can promote them in schools and government under the guise of "fairness" and "tolerance" b/c they are not a formal religion! Atheist's have their own creation story (evolution), own ethics (marriage), definition of life (abortion), and obviously their own metaphysic (materialism).

So using our previous example, let's add on Atheists to the Jewish, Muslim, Roman Catholic, and Evangelical bunch. In schools and government, the push for evolution, marriage ethics, contraception (to a lesser degree), and prayer all just happen to benefit atheists. There is no compromise that I see and they are certainly not compromising their own beliefs, yet they want the rest of us to submit under their personal beliefs when they detest the idea of having our ideas become law. I think they would be angry if one groups agenda was being pushed all the way in the name of "tolerance", but they have no problem pushing their ideas on the rest.

To make this clearer, let's take Christians vs Atheists beliefs:

Christian: Traditional Marriage vs Atheists: Homosexual Marriage

Christian: Intelligent Design vs Atheists: Evolution

Christian: Pro-Life vs Atheists: Pro-Choice

The big difference between these two groups is that Christians believe in absolute truth and that marriage is between man and woman (no exceptions) and that life begins at conception. That is why it is so hard for us to budge on these topics and we are not ashamed to do so. Atheists however do not tout absolute truth, but (from what I hear anyway) is to make laws based on "tolerance, equality, and fairness" for all groups. However, as someone who holds very different views from them, it looks like they are not wanting "equality and fairness:"rather total domination. I do believe there should be compromise, for instance, I believe that homosexuals should be allowed to have civil unions and that one's partner (homosexual or straight) should be able to make health care decisions. I also believe that evolution should be taught in schools, but not as dogmatic truth (I wouldn't necessarily push teaching intelligent design even!). As for the topic of abortion there should be contraception education in schools and not just abstinence education, but furthermore there is also room for more discussions (banning 3rd trimester abortions, abortions in the case of endangerment of the mother's life, etc.). The thing that bothers me the most and the main thrust of this entry, is to point out that although atheists are promoting their own personal ideology onto the public, they are not perceived as pushing their personal beliefs b/c they are not part of an organized religion. This is what I call "The Atheist Advantage,"a benefit that neither Jews, Muslims, Roman Catholics, or Evangelicals enjoy.

[Note: Not all atheists of course, as there are many civil and open minded ones and I personally have had many fruitful discussions. Besides, I'm sure there are a number of atheists who have been bothered by a couple of evangelicals (yes, I'm including myself - sorry!)]