Jennifer Fulwiler offers another excellent article, this time on Atheist Pride week that is worth reading about the dangers of embracing an identity involved with being what you are against.
Pride events seem to me as odd considering pride comes before the fall. Whether it is Gay Pride or Atheist Pride embracing pride is rather strange since no one lists it when it comes to virtues. Though generally atheism leads to pride – or at least how I lived atheism. A group that likes to be known as Brights or Free-thinkers doesn’t place humility high on the list.
In my case I felt a superiority over those masses of people who believed in a sky-father and needed to look beyond science for answers. I rather pitied such people who were still living in the Dark Ages intellectually and needed a wake-up call to an age that had put man on the Moon. I was not shy about my atheism and had no problem identifying myself as such. When the Navy asked me my religion to mark down on the forms once I joined I was happy to say Atheist and have it marked as such. I would love to engage believers and argue about their belief if given an opportunity. Growing up in Portland, Or I wasn’t given much opportunity to do so. Really most of my life I was surrounded by atheists or practical-atheists. The fact that there are quite a lot of people who say they believe in God yet lived as if he didn’t exist certainly added to my pride. If I drank as much as them and fornicated as much as them I was still smarter than them because there was no hypocrisy in my actions – so I believed.
Now as a Catholic I can hardly feel pride for being a Catholic in that it was not of my doing and certainly not a directed choice. There is a humility in recognizing that faith is pure gift and that while you must cooperate with it, grace led to even that cooperation. Though during the initial part of my conversion I had some pride in it being an intellectual conversion in that I had read myself into the Church. Later though I saw the foolishness of that and once again trying to take pride in what was a gift. Thankfully God keeps sending me plenty of ways of becoming humble when I try to take pride in intellectual ability.
I also find the need for Atheist Pride week interesting. Changing your Facebook profile to one where you wear a shirt with a big “A” on it or take pictures of yourself with a sign saying you are an atheist is a strange turn in the atheist movement. It seems more and more atheist want to be given acceptance and they are increasingly playing the victim card. Being offended right and left over reminders on government property that belief in God exists seems to me contrary to atheist pride. A happy atheist should be able to have self-esteem in their philosophy without getting upset when you see signs of other people’s belief. If you are really a truth seeker and accept atheism because you find it to be true, what is the point at getting upset when others don’t do the same? After all whether you are an atheist or a believer when you die you both just stop existing regardless. The so-called “New Atheists” that act this way I would adapt H.L. Menken’s famous quote.
“Atheism – the haunting fear that someplace, somewhere, there might be a cross on a City seal.”
One atheist didn’t get the memo about Atheist Pride Week.
Atheist activist Dr. Michael Newdow announced on his website that after 6 years of litigation in federal courts, his constitutional challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance in California public schools is over.
I was once proud to be an atheist, now I take some pleasure in being an ex-atheist and the Joy I have come to find. So if you have a profile picture with a shirt with an ‘A’ on it or a sign identifying yourself as an atheist I would be happy to pray that you come to the same joy that I have. That joy that another ex-atheist C.S. Lewis described in his book “Surprised by Joy.”
In part two I take a more humorous take on this.