Saturday, August 1, 2009

Atheism is boring

Wait, what? Mark pointed this new Post Secret entry to me:
I had to pause for a moment to consider what this person meant. Atheism, boring? My best guess is that they mean since there's no preordained meaning to life, no grand scheme, no "end goal" of eternal paradise, no supernatural occurrences...that that's boring. Of course, I'm going to have to disagree. I think knowing that the world was formed naturally and that we're lucky enough to be sentient in it is pretty damn amazing.

Is this any more boring because I know the chemistry and physics of stars, not that they are angels in heaven?Is this any more boring because I know basic principles of geology formed it, not God?Is this any more boring because I know it evolved, not that it was created?I know I'm preaching to the choir (ha), but I don't need an invisible man in the sky telling me what I should find meaningful. I find plenty of things beautiful and inspiring all on their own. Maybe that's just because I evolved to have certain images and events trigger certain chemicals in my brain to make me feel good, but isn't that in itself amazing?

But maybe I could be off. Maybe it's the real world consequences of atheism that they find boring. Not going to church, not having holidays, not having local events. Even there, I think I'd disagree. I think even most theists find church boring, so that's no great loss. Many holidays have totally lost their original religious connotations and can be celebrated even though you're an atheist (I look forward to Christmas every year!). And the loss of community problem is shrinking with the more active atheist organizations we see popping up around the country.

Or, knowing the demographics of Post Secret, maybe this is some young person who called him or herself "atheist" because it's "cool." I'd like to pretend this isn't happening, but there are more and more "atheists" who can't give you a single logical argument why they don't believe in God - not because those arguments don't exist, but because they haven't given it any thought. I can imagine some punk atheist kid (hell, how old am I, 80?) suddenly finding "atheism" boring and going back to angels and miracles and dudes rising from the dead.

Of course, this is all just utter speculation and could be complete BS. I probably shouldn't try to interpret Post Secret cards so deeply. What do you guys think?

24 comments:

  1. I wouldn't put it past a large percentage--or dare I say most--of religious followers to have joined it because it made them *feel* something. Excitement? Emotion? The comfort of ritual and plans? Having made-to-fit friends? Dunno.

    Clearly, this individual was not an atheist because of the joy found in rational thought and individuality.

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  2. I dunno – the picture to which the "Atheism was boring" text is attached might indicate one should not take it at face value. I for one have no idea what that is or what it means, but perhaps it's a sort of joke or something. I wouldn't know, being the uncultured twit that I am ... but eh.

    But if the point of the pic is indeed to represent the artist's thoughts that atheism is boring, well boo to him for not knowing much about atheism in the first place. (A universal theme concerning atheism critics, as far as I can tell.)

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  3. Oh, wait – scratch my last. I checked out the source site. It's honest (and dumb) after all.

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  4. I agree with everything you've said here.

    I've met a frightening number of surprisingly unthoughtful atheists (my own family included), who are more than willing to concede that religious belief is unfounded; however, these people tend not to want to discuss it and most of them are strong believers in belief.

    I've tried to explain what I think of as the "Unweaving the Rainbow viewpoint" (as Dawkins discussed in his book of the same name, and as you've echoed in this post) to these sort of people and they never seem to get it, and keep regurgitating something like "well, if religion makes people happy, who are you to tell them they're wrong?". Saying "but there are many more uplifting ways to look at the world without religion than with it" doesn't seem to cut it, as they just stop listening.

    I'm also somewhat familiar with the "rebellious teenager atheist" archetype, although I don't think I've personally met any of them. I won't go so far as to say that I think these people are a problem, but I do think they run a serious risk of giving more thoughtful atheists a bad name (and these type of people are much easier for the religious to criticise).

    I honestly can't tell which of these two types would have been more likely to have made that drawing, though. On a certain level I also find myself suspecting it could be a religious person saying atheism is boring, which wouldn't really surprise me at all.

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  5. This says it better than I could:
    http://www.jhuger.com/tdwl

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  6. There is the occasional atheist who converts to a religion following a personal tragedy or landmark event. This could be that style of person as well, as much as it might be distasteful to me. The concept of atheism being boring is utterly foreign to me - I revel in the natural universe's seemingly endless wonders, from the magnificently large to the microscopically sized.

    This person culd have been part of the "rebellious teen" group of atheists, or perhaps someone who misidentified. I don't know. I wonder if this website owner would post one that said, "My pastor lied to me. God is a lie designed to establish the Church's brand of social control."

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  7. I think there are a small number of atheists who, as you say, "can't give you a single logical argument why they don't believe in God - not because those arguments don't exist, but because they haven't given it any thought". I wonder if it is more than an issue of not giving it thought or marshaling the arguments and reaching a conclusion. I think for some atheists, the question of god is so utterly resolved that even having the argument becomes somewhat pointless. It's as if you met someone who was very insistent that the world was flat, and simply would not stop trying to convince you. The world being flat is so self-evidently untrue that after the nth hundred repetition of the conversation, you don't really engage the brain - just responding, in effect, "you're an idiot - stop wasting my time".

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  8. I haven't met many atheists who congregate and sing together with strangers every weekend. That's something.

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  9. I know a few atheists who really don't care to talk about it, and I can see good logical reason to that.

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  10. I'm an atheist and I'm boring.

    I'm not really. You can tell from my blog about collecting Tipp-Ex bottles.

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  11. Atheism makes life more interesting, not less. I don't attribute rainbows, famine, black holes, genocide, life, death, or anything else in this universe to one entity and stop searching for answers.

    Instead, atheists are forced to confront human nature (at its best and worst), physics, biology, astronomy, psychology, and everything else head on and try to make sense of it.

    I'll never truly understand something like String Theory, but I can continue to be fascinated by it and continue to seek more information about it.

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  12. The Jules, being boring in social life and looking goofy in any picture taken of me are my superpowers.

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  13. Hey Jen,

    I saw ur comment on PZ's site, and I just wanted to assure u, there is no need for paranoia when it comes to my husband. He truly does enjoy blogging with u as well as other civil atheists. Since we live so close to the museum, he just saw it as an opportunity to put faces to names. That's all.
    I get tired of comments accusing him of being dishonest why he gets on these atheist sites. He really just likes getting to know a person's logic and challenging their thought process...just like many sincere atheists try to do on his site.

    P.S. I don't think u'll need to worry about any scary dark figures lurking around the corner waiting for u at the museum. LOL

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  14. By the way, I'm on twitter too, @tommiesqt
    (sorry for double post)

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  15. Why do people think atheism is boring.
    People like fiction better than non-fiction. People like comic books better than text books.
    People like concise and easy answers instead of thinking for themselves.
    People cannot accept there is not a reason for an unjust world so they make it just with silly rules, superstition and a big sky daddy.
    People are lazy.

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  16. It would be hard for me to believe that Mark was ever an atheist. I've never been religious in my life, but there are many things that create awe in me. Some are man made some are natural. Seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time and standing on the North Rim looking down to the water. Touching a White Mountain Bristlecone Pine tree and thinking about the time that passed since it was a seed. Reading a well written book. Taking a train ride from Skagway to the canadian border that follows the walking trail the gold diggers took in search of fortune. Boredom is all a creation of the mind.

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  17. Hey, I like comics and fiction and I'm an atheist (I'm also an artist). It takes quite a creative brain to make up good shit.

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  18. I don't miss religion at ALL. Well, the potlucks, but only because I grew up in the south and people took potlucks as a very serious culinary competition so it was yummy and there was usually a swing set. But I don't miss adult religion. That crap was boring and emotionally manipulative.

    Regarding "young punk atheists" (it feels like I was a young punk just yesterday, but no, high school was ten years ago): I wouldn't worry too much about uninformed younger 'atheists' making the whole look bad. After all, we don't judge any group (Christians, Canadians, cartoonists) on the behavior or logic of their teen members. Or at least, that's not our only consideration. Besides, young people have a passion for causes that can be harnessed. Think about the 60s. Or whenever you were in high school. I know I started getting really involved in social issues when I hit high school. If teen atheists wanna get involved in the cause, I say great. Let's just make sure they get educated on the finer points along the way. (And teach me while you're teaching them cause I just make it up as I go.)

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  19. "Beauty" "Love" and "Joy" are pretty much just programmed thoughts, evolutionary residue. Whatever I think is beautiful is just a result of my chemicals telling me that it's beautiful...

    Whenever my mind arrives at those questions, I always tell myself "It would be nice if souls actually existed"

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  20. I think Atheism is boring. But not because of "no end goal." But simply because  all they can talk about reason and logic. The most defining characteristics of human is Emotion. Not Logic and Reason.  Most people are religious for emotional and spiritual needs. It might not be logical. But who said human where. Love is not a rational emotion. If people where logical they would probably would give there kids up for adoption. The second that got the chance. I find Atheism or Rationalism boring. Because there more to life then Just Reason and Logic. Most of what it is to be human is not Logical. But also because theirs more Unknown then what we known. To stop questioning what might be out their. Frankly bores me. I don't find Atheism boring because they don't believe in god. Im agnostic. I'm just bored with there limited worldview.

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  21.  I think Atheist don't see the whole picture . they only believe in the big bang  theory .

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  22. I think Atheist are boring because all they talk about how they dont like religion. Change the subject already. Get a Hobby. Jesus H Christ.

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  23. I totally think atheism is SO BO-RING because of the lack of willingness to even speculate on the divine or supernatural. I think the idea of religion (all world religions) and even the possibility of a supernatural world is very interesting. However interesting the natural world may be, and however it was formed...a lack of interest in the supernatural world is boring. If you are open minded about at least the possible existence of the supernatural, you can be intrigued by both the natural and supernatural world. If you deny the possibility of the supernatural world, you are limited to the natural world. If you find it endlessly fascinating so be it, but I'd be bored without at least some speculation about the supernatural. So to me, it seems you severely misunderstand the motives of people who find atheism boring.

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  24. I am a member of an atheist meetup group and I am getting bored of the constant bashing of religion. Honestly I have heard more about Jesus and religion at atheist meetups than I here from co-workers, family, friends, etc. It gets to be a broken record after awhile.

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