As I have repeatedly emphasized, I am an atheist.
I lack belief in the supernatural, in deities, in religion. I reject it.
Therefore, many people have accused me and other atheists of being overly negative. I'd like to analyze this sentiment.
On one hand, of course atheism is negative. That's the basic definition of atheism -- we don't believe in certain things. So sure, technically one would be correct to say that atheism is essentially negative.
However, I'd like to look at atheism another way.
Sometimes, not accepting a belief is ultimately positive. For example, I could say that Jainism is often positive because it doesn't condone violence. I also believe that my parents taught me a positive lesson by teaching me not to steal.
So what does atheism offer?
Atheism doesn't teach us that we are fundamentally bad people. Atheism doesn't teach us that believing something without evidence is virtuous. Atheism doesn't teach us that we are incapable of being rational moral agents - that we are incapable of behaving decently without the supernatural intervention of a deity. Atheism doesn't teach us that some humans will be condemned to eternal torture for offenses committed over a limited amount of time -- that morality by fiat is unacceptable except when condoned by divine scripture. Atheism doesn't teach us that some basic human instincts are reprehensible or should be avoided (humor, sexual urges, etc.). Atheism doesn't blame us for our own genetic predispositions and then condemn us for "sin" -- by saying that we have "free will" even though many critical elements of our lives have been pre-determined by genetics or circumstance.
Yes, atheism is negative. And I sincerely appreciate atheism for what it isn't.
Finally, I hope you all have a very Merry [Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Humanlight, Eid, New Year]!
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