Don’t Define Me Because I’m an Atheist

So, I’ve been a bit busy lately and unable to post here. It’s not that I didn’t have anything I wanted to write about though. Lately, in fact for a few weeks I’ve been thinking about how atheists view each other.

A post from a friend today clarified my thoughts. Foremost I’m an atheist. Beyond that is no ones business, but I have received recriminations from other atheists for not following what they think. It’s known as groupthink and I refuse to participate.

Why is it that some think that all atheists must adhere to a certain ideology? I’m not against having a discussion and even being persuaded to a different view. What I object to is that, as an atheist, I must believe and become active in what I’m told is important for atheists.

To me, this constitutes nothing more than religion. It’s okay for other atheists to have opinions I don’t personally hold. It bothers me that there seems to be a considerable number of atheists that are all ideologically synchronized.

Is this because most atheists are liberal/progressive? Possibly, but I think it has to do with being accepted within a group. If I don’t adhere to certain principles as most others in a group, I cannot be a part of that group.

I didn’t become an atheist to be a member of a group. Atheism is an individual decision. What other atheists think about any other topic is irrelevant to me.

People often ask me if I’m for some social or political point of view. I wryly smile. I’m told I cannot be a humanist if I don’t represent what they ascertain as the correct view. I’ve been told in the past that being an atheist means that I should stand for positions beyond not believing in god and the separation of church and state.

This is not to say I do not care about others, I absolutely do, but I refuse to be made to feel guilty because I don’t follow the script so many others think I should.

In the future, I may write about something I am very passionate about: the care of our veterans. Having spent more time in a combat zone than I ever imagined I would, this is very important to me. It’s not so much to others and I can understand their view. But please respect mine. Please don’t insist I must hold certain ideals in order to be an atheist.

I left religion because of that attitude. Let’s not make atheism into just another religion based on anything other than what it is: a non-belief in god.


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5 thoughts on “Don’t Define Me Because I’m an Atheist

  1. As an Atheist on what basis do you “care about others.” Why should you? Do you have to? Should everyone care about others? Is it WRONG to NOT care about others? What is wrong and what is care?

    • I probably should have used the word “compassion”. I do have compassion for others but I refuse to have others instruct me as to whom I should, or should not, have compassion for. There’s no WRONG or RIGHT in my mind. It’s what the individual wants to do. Having others dictate to me is anathema.

    • Well duh, he cares because he’s human and he’s not a sociopath. It’s what we do. Empathy and compassion are basic drives most social animals ─including us apes─ have, and he’s no different just because he doesn’t have any imaginary friends.

      Being atheist only means that there is one thing he isn’t wrong about. It doesn’t mean anything else.

  2. Interesting. You write a blog giving advice to people to stop giving advise. It reminds me of self-help books that tell us not to read self-help books. However, your point is taken and valid. But you make one other point and that is atheists do not agree on much more than one thing. And even that leads to arguments/discussion. I just watched an atheist video “As a Christian” — maybe we should not say “as an atheist.” You are also right when you say that we sound like them. And thank you for your service.

    • Heh. The post was not an attempt to give advice to anyone, but I can understand how it might be perceived that way. It was borne out of frustration with those that want to inject some sort of social/political belief system into atheism. That sounds a lot like religion to me and lends credence to those that contend that atheism is just another religion.

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