Thursday, March 8, 2012
Why I Am An Atheist Series On Pharyngula
If you have not already started reading Pharyngula for the excellent science posts - or for the searing commentary on current events, or for the feisty take-no-prisoners commentariat - then I hope you will start to read Pharyngula for posts like these:
"I am a religious agnostic because of science, an atheist because of probability, and an anti-theist because of religion." Matthew Cook. United States.
It's not going too far to say that Pharyngula - and the energetic commentariat there - was the connection to other people like me 'out there' that has given me the courage to come (mostly) out of the closet myself. PZ Myers is no-nonsense about supernatural woo of all kinds. His witty and often stinging posts pull no punches. The commentariat offers further bracing remarks on the topics discussed which nearly always echo what I have often thought but rarely have had the guts to say.
The challenge for the essays - some lengthy, some brief, all wonderful - was a stroke of genius. Myers was flooded with essays. He posts one daily and they underline for every reader just how various our stories are, yet how similar at the core. Some of those essays nearly brought me to tears. Many made me laugh. A few made me shudder. In a world so overwhelmingly dominated by religious power, it is an enormous comfort - and bracingly invigorating - to read the words of other atheist voices out there.
Atheism is about intellectual honesty. It is simply the result of honest thought about the evidence - or rather the lack of evidence - for the existence of gods. It is sometimes difficult to fight through the accumulated detritus of thousands of years of cultural god-belief in order to see that the presumed "evidence" does not exist, but a hallmark of the atheist mind is the ability and the determination to do just that. Even when there is enormous social pressure to conform, the honest mind cannot ignore the truth.
There are many other excellent blogs on Freethoughtblogs.com, too. I've provided links to some of my favorites on the sidebar here -->. I have also added links to other atheist and feminist blogs which I follow. Pharyngula is already a hugely popular blog, but if you are like me and have been slow to catch up with the world of internet communities, you may have missed it.
I think it is important to spread the word about these excellent blogs and the scores of atheist and agnostic people whom they represent. Too many atheists and freethinkers remain silently in the closet because they feel so alone, not to mention vastly outnumbered by theists who are often very hostile to unbelievers. These bloggers send up a signal that we are not alone in this religion-dominated world. There are brave, intelligent, honest and caring people out there who have carved out spaces to discuss ideas.
Yes, we are outnumbered but we have honesty, integrity and science on our side! It's just like David and Goliath. (Heh. See what I did there?) Unlike poor David, though, a horde of intelligent, fiercely frank, real people have my back. I'll take them over a fickle, vicious, fictitious deity any day.