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NOT FOR THE MASS MEDIA by Kaz Dziamka
Re: "Confessions of a Lonely Atheist" by Natalie Angier
A few weeks ago, The New York Times Magazine published a remarkable essay by
Natalie Angier about her life as an atheist in the United States. The NYT
website encouraged readers to submit comments about the essay by responding
to the question "Is atheism dead?" Not a very intelligent question from the
editors and publishers of The New York Times, but some of us who read this
overrated publication have long found that the "best daily" in the USA is
sometimes not distinguishable from all other corporate media publications.
In some cases, as in the disrespectful, unfair treatment of Ralph Nader, The
New York Times is not much different from the conservative rantings of Rush
Limbaugh, that "dirigible of drivel," as he has aptly been called.
Be that as it may, I felt compelled to respond because the publication
of Angier¹s article is such a radical departure from the usual pandering to
Judeo-Christian superstitions that I felt it was a civic duty to respond.
Below is my letter, sent to NYT, but, of course, never posted or published.
It¹s clearly not for the mass media, even though the original version I sent
was more politically correct than the one below The questionIs atheism
dead?is preposterous and rhetorical. As long as people can think
independently, atheism will never be dead, even in such an embarrassingly
Christianized country like the United States.
For some reasons, it would be better to use the term "agnosticism," the best
intellectual stance of those who can think undogmatically. To know that one
will never know everything one would like to know about the nature of
reality is the beginning of all wisdom. In the United States, "atheism" is
so burdened with unfair, negative connotations that its denotation has been
lost to average Americans, who usually confuse it with "godless communism"
and have either forgotten or have never been taught that early Christians
were communists and that communism can be either religious or non-religious.
Many religions, but Christianity in particular, have caused so much pain and
evil in the world that were we to have an International Tribunal to
investigate religious crimes(an independent tribunal empowered to enforce
its laws and verdicts(then Christianity and its myriad institutions and
denominations would have long ago been legislated out of existence while
thousands of Christian ministers and Catholic priests would have been
imprisoned as ordinary (and extraordinary) thugs, rapists, child molesters,
thieves, murderers, and other perverts.
Just consider the Inquisition and the genocide of Native American nations by
Catholic and Protestant protonazis. Christianity is yet to be held
responsible for the horror the Christians have inflicted on the Tainos and
hundreds of other Native American nations, on the Jews, and on many Asian
and African nations. Unfortunately, nobody can bring to justice any more the
inhuman Christian monsters who tortured Galileo and burned to death Michael
Servetus, Giordano Bruno, and the little known Polish atheist Kazimierz
òyszczy_ski, as well as thousands of other "heretics" and "witches," long
ignored and forgotten.
And all this murder and mayhem in the name of "the only true god" and the
"only true religion," extremely arrogant and absurd claims, which must be
the most pernicious dogmas ever invented by religious bigots.
Perhaps some day Christianity and Christians will be finally exposed for
their extreme, unrelenting religious racismthe worst kind of racism in the
history of humankind.
How can anybody who knows the horrifying record of Christian worldwide
missions believe in the Christian god? Or, to respond directly to your
question, "Is atheism dead?" how can anyone not be an atheist if familiar
with the death and destruction Christianity has caused everywhere Christian
religious racists have forced their religious beliefs on non-Christians?
Of course, there are some good things in Christian morality, though none in
its viciousmisogynist, ecocidaltheology. The doctrine that the
incomprehensible large universe was created by a personal god who sacrificed
his only son for the sins of the very imperfect humanity he has created is
incomprehensibly naïve and silly. And so is the disastrous biblical
injunction that we should have dominion over animals and subdue the earth.
Some good aspects of Christian morality can all be found in earlier moral
and religious systems, from which they have been either appropriated or
simply stolen. No beneficial Christian moral guideline is original.
A major problem in the United States (and to a lesser degree in all other
Western democracies) is the Christians have long controlled the educational
system and have shut out the teaching of secular humanism in public schools.
And so a young mind, given no option, will typically atrophy and default to
some local Christian superstition: Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran,
It takes intelligence and uncommon civic courage to publicly state that one
is an atheist. This is why I would like to commend Natalie Angier for her
article "confessions of a Lonely Atheist." Kudos also to the New York Times
Magazine for publishing such a memorable article.
Kaz Dziamka, Editor
The American Rationalist
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