Two Approaches to Atheism

I’ve been watching videos on Youtube the last few days and found some interesting views on Atheism.

One of the most relevant for me is Neil Carter of the Godless in Dixie blog on Patheos.  I personally identify with many of the things he has said and written about.  We both live in the south.  We both come from fundamentalist/ evangelical backgrounds. We are both teachers.  We are both trying to find our place in this new world of rejecting the norms of the society we find ourselves in.  I really like Neil’s advice in the video below.  I think this is pretty much where I find myself right now.

Another view that I am starting to identify with is David Silverman of American Atheists.  He has been an atheist since he was a kid, and is the president of a major Atheist organization.  He has a different perspective.  I aspire to be this open about my beliefs (or lack thereof) someday.

That being said, I see the value of both of these views.  Both have a relevant place, but It seems to me as a continuum, with Neil’s position being a great starting point, and David’s being a great fulfillment.  That’s an oversimplification, but hopefully you’ll get my point.

In a conversation with my wife last night, who still goes to church and identifies as a Christian, she asked me why I have to obsess with “this stuff” so much.  “When will you just make this who you are and get on with your life?”  As a response, I showed her Neil’s above video.  Neil does a great job of explaining the difficulties of openly identifying as an atheist where I live.  In addition, all of my immediate family are deeply spiritual people who base their entire worldview on the Bible.  So in order to not sour my relationship with them, I am trying to ease them into who I have become.  But that’s just my personal journey.  It’s probably similar to some others’ journeys, and completely different that another others’ journeys.  Either way, I see both of these views as important, viable ways to address where I am.  It’s not an argument, it’s just different ways of addressing the situation.  As David Silverman says at the end of the video, “Avoid attacking intramovement” (other views on atheism).  We’re all out there doing what we can, where we are.

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