When I wrote this post a few days ago, I was a little surprised by the response I received. There were a few comments here but I also receive some comments via Twitter. Something that surprised me was how those that read the post said yes, that their atheism influenced their politics. There were others though that said no to the same. All in all? I would say it was 50/50 at least from the overall comments.
I was a conservative aa long time before I was an atheist; and I’ve been an atheist for a long time as well. I’ve never met an atheist whose politics changed when they became an atheist. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, I’ve just never met anyone who has changed their political ideology based on their atheism. If they were a conservative before, they still are; If they were a liberal/progressive? Yep, still are.
I will admit that atheism has opened my world quite a bit. 90% of atheists in America identify as liberal/progressive. So, having any discussion for me inevitably becomes one of ideology when its discovered that I’m conservative.
Some are curious as to how a conservative could be an atheist. I always say I probably went through a similar process as they did. I questioned my belief, I asked questions that I never received a sufficient answer to, and when all else failed, I was told to just have faith.
Faith is nothing more than believing something without proof. That’s the definition I use anyway. I never use that word anymore because it presupposes something that is basically non-existent. I’m not just referring to theism here. When someone tells me to have faith in anything, I usually take it as the person speaking doesn’t understand what faith actually refers to, or they’re trying to fool me.
I’m not a ready-believer in anything political or social. As a skeptic, I need to see the proof in the pudding. I’m willing to have an open mind to some extent, but I need to actually see proof of what I’m being told before I believe.
I think that’s a good idea for everyone, not just atheists. We’ve all heard about Drinking the Kool-Aid, a reference to Jim Jones and Guyana where his followers (over 900 men, women, and children) died from drinking poison).
We need to avoid that. If we, as atheists are reason oriented and as skeptical as we declare, we need to be to apply those characteristics in every facet of our lives.