Accused of imposing religion

Flying across my feeds this morning, I saw a little tidbit over at Right Wing News. Without fanfare, I’ll simply present the first paragraph.

Religions with limited appeal need to be spread by force. For example, atheism requires its adherents to believe there is no higher intelligence, and that all existence is a random, meaningless accident. This nihilistic view is both counterintuitive and unrewarding; consequently, its advocates prefer coercion to persuasion:

This ignorant writing is so dense with misinformation, it is hard to know where to start. First, the starting premise seems to be that atheism is a religion. Since atheism is by any practical sense an absence of religion, this is simply a non sequitor, usually employed by those who haven’t the faintest idea of what atheism is. Does atheism require its “followers” to believe in no higher intelligence? I certainly wouldn’t discount beings with higher intelligence somewhere else in the universe. But again, the writer seems determined to impose strict rules to “follow the religion of atheism”. We atheists don’t require anything. It is a simple matter of semantics. If you think there are (most likely) no gods, you are an atheist by definition. Neither are most atheists, contrary to what this Van Helsing says, trying to coerce anyone into atheism. We will participate in debates and discussion and if anyone becomes enlightened thereby, well and good. But I have no interest in coercion.

Next, apparently we are required to believe that “all existence is a random, meaningless accident.”. Dead wrong yet again. There is some randomness involved, yes, but not in total. Natural selection is not a random process and the universe, along with biological life, evolves in accordance with physical laws. Much more can be said on this point, but that’s for another time. That is a viewpoint informed by science, but it is not part of the definition of not believing in a god. Meaning and purpose, of course, is what we work out for ourselves. I find plenty of meaning in the work I do, my relationships with family and friends, and so on. If by Van Helsing’s viewpoint, the meaning of life is that we were created so we could sit around in an afterlife worshiping our creator for eternity, I’m not sure what the point of that would be. That seems just as meaningless as anything he wishes to prescribe to an atheistic viewpoint.

The main gist he is getting at is the Freedom from Religion Foundation is sueing to stop the inaugural prayer and take out the phrase “So help me God” from the presidential oath. Sounds good to me. Our country is composed not only of Christians, but I even personally know living here several Muslims, Hindus, and, of course, atheists. The inaugural prayer gives government sanction to one particular brand of religion, excluding the others, thus violating the secular nature of our government. Does this coerce anybody into atheism, Van Helsing? Are you going to be denied going to the church of your choice because there was no prayer at the inaugural? Are storm troopers going to raid your house and confiscate your bibles because the President didn’t say “So help me God”? Of course not. Quit the drama and let our government be religion free, as Jefferson, Madison, et al intended. Nobody’s trying to stop you from believing what you choose.

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