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Tough times for atheists January 31, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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This is no good time to be an atheist. I feel awfully unfashionable when I declare these days that I don’t believe in god. Maybe, as with many things that one puts down to being a sign of the times, it’s actually to do with age, and the older I get, the more the people I meet are likely to have undergone the non-believer-believer transition. Which is, of course, fine. My own transition has been religion-hater-religion-respecter. I remember reading an article by I can’t remember whom in The Spectator some time ago, written by an atheist, who said that he would still have his children christened as Christianity had so much to offer on a cultural and moral level. I agree wholly, while still wanting to point out that one does not have to have faith to be a moral being.

And yet what if this really is also something of a sign of the times? Is religion in? Has faith grown? Is atheism dead? Are we discredited? Are we just simply too dim to see the error of our non-believing ways? I do not agree, as I have seen argued – probably, as bloody always, in The Spectator! – that atheism has been discredited because the Soviet Union was its bastion and look what a hellhole that was. Bollocks. I certainly don’t give my own atheism any political tinge and see no need for politics and religion to have to be linked. Yes, officially atheist regimes may have been crap, but that doesn’t make me dash headlong from the Big Bang.

In any case, I now have, as I have said, far more respect for religion than I used to. I admire people’s faith, as long as it’s genuine. I think I could even cope with a structured religious type of life as long as I didn’t have to pretend to believe in god. Are there atheist monks? Did Durkheim talk of something along these lines? A sort of secular religion? That sounds like my cup of tea…