Being Positive about Atheism
Some atheist bloggers (you know who you are) seem to be entreating us to speak positively about atheism on the Carnivals, to not attack Chrsitianity so much and look to the bright side.
That's fine, and I'd like to do that, but I don't really understand what it is that they want. For one thing, atheism is an inherently reactive position. Without a strong religious faction, there is no need at all for atheism, and it would stay in the cognitive rubbish bin along with aleprechaunism, aunicornism and aSantaism. To speak of atheism without attacking theistic religion, explicitly or implicitely, is to evade the topic altogether.
Is it possible to be positive about atheism ? Well, sure. One can talk, for example, of one's own positive experiences with the abandonment of religion. However this obviously still involves negative ideas - to say that abandoning religion is good implies that religion is bad. Nevertheless, in the spirit of the questioners, I submit my own answer to : Why be an Atheist ?
What are some of the things I lose if I abandon religion ?
* Material gains : No more time-wasting on church, no more tithing or giving to preachers, no more time wasted on preaching, praying, communing or other life-absorbing activities.
* Social problems that one stops contributing to : Religious doctrines commend evil and justify evil - war, crime, hypocrisy, hatred. Intolerence, repression and censorship are the first things to come with religion. In fundamentalist countries, the return to primitive principles means violence and death. Religion in society contributes to the opposition to science, reason, and hope (in the name of a fairy afterlife).
* Some risks of associating in religious circles : Higher crime rates, racism, dishonesty, divorce rates, inebriated driving, drug use, abortion rates, etc. (Religion's Devils)
* Mental gains : Personal identity is re-established. No longer need to kill one's mind for the "heart", no more abandoning our moral standards and rationality. Not having to uphold the immoral principles of the Bible also causes one to lose guilt, shame, suffering and self-destructive tendancies. The evil doctrines of Christianity, such as damnation and God's wrath, can cause insecurity about one's faith, extreme anxiety, child traumatism, and dull one's enjoyment of life.
* Life gains : No more self-sacrifice justified by "what God wants". No more associating and entering in relationships with people based of religion.
* If one was a fundamentalist, atheism is a whole new world of freedom, knowledge, science and wonders !
What are some of my gains after becoming an atheist ?
* Immediate liberation : Get to be different, rebellious, give oneself the physical and mental space necessary for freethinking.
* Intellectual benefits : Comprehensive and honest understanding of the universe based on facts instead of simple-minded mythology. A true spirituality based on reason and science. Not having to justify religious contradictions, immorality and absurdity anymore.
* Moral benefits : No more excuses for committing evil and sacrifice, one can finally be morally responsible, take control of one's life, effect one's values, help to improve one's self and environment. Finally acquire life purpose instead of intangible collectivist subjection.
* Rejecting evil tribal myths in favour of reality changes lives ! See for instance the testimonies on the Secular Web and on Ex-Christian.net.
Things that will not happen if you become an atheist :
* You will not start killing people
* You will not magically become a different person
* You will not become suddently unable to have a life