I don’t care what you say Benedict Cumberbatch is the best Sherlock after Wishbone. Robert Downey Junior is fine, he just doesn’t do anything for me on a physical level…did I say physical, I meant sexual, emotional! Crap. With what little credibility I have left, I just wanted to discuss to you a program I saw recently and hoped that you got the chance to view as well. On March 24, CNN broadcasted a special hour long program entitled Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers. Did I watch it. Of course. As an Atheist I am compelled to ingest any and all material that deals with atheism and then immediately blog about it because my professed lack of faith is not an attempt to prove to the world that I matter. That was sarcasm at my own expense. I should stop trying to be funny and actually address the issue that concerns me about this program. While I am unashamed to call myself an atheist openly to anyone who asks, I am uncomfortable to wave my atheism like a flag. To gather in groups with other atheists and discuss my lack of faith and complain about believers. I don’t believe atheists should “come out” or wear pins that somehow express a component of my belief systems. I don’t believe in these behaviors because in my mind these are not a fundamental component of being an atheist. CNN’s broadcast was a good honest attempt to demonstrate that atheists are just human beings trying to live a life without god, however as the program continued I began to grow a little concerned.
One of the men being interviewed in the latter half of the program was, and I swear to you this was his title, an Atheist minister named Jerry DeWitt. While the man’s story did touch me, his practice bothered me. My discomfort would only be exacerbated when I became aware of the second interviewer David Silverman. This man has felt so compelled to demonstrate his loathing of religion that he funded billboards protesting Christmas and has actually formed an entire television channel called, Atheist T.V. Oh, and Richard Dawkins was there.
This is going to be a short letter B—-, graduate school is wearing me thin at the moment, but I felt this letter was important to express my position on these matters and determine if you felt the same. I have never in my life approached atheism as a kind of medal. Many of the critics of atheism have argued that the ideology is just that, a man made belief system that is just as bad as religion. Watching this program it becomes clear that is what many new atheists are actually treating it as such, and I think it’s bullshit. Atheism is not about declaring alternative view points as shit. It’s not about protesting religion in a bullying asinine manner, it’s not about congregating and treating the mindset as a kind of pseudo-worship service, and it’s definitely not something that deserves its own fucking goddamn T.V. channel. All of these practices are rooted in a kind of belief and atheism by definition is the lack of a belief. The program left me concerned that the critics may actually be right, and that atheism is becoming a new ideological movement that leaves many with a smug sense of entitlement. As I stated before in the previous letter, atheism is simply the lack of a belief in a creative deity and that’s all it really is. To call oneself an atheist, at least in my mind, is not to enter into some sort of privileged social club, it’s merely a rejection of the supernatural as it pertains to reality. I was glad the program was made, for despite these two characters there was an important point made.
Atheists are one of the most feared and despised human beings in this country, if not the world. It’s important for those who are cautious doubters and non-believers to express their opinion, but atheism, is just one component of their lives. I’ll end with this and let you reflect: Are you an atheist because you simply don’t believe in god, or because you think it’s important to make more atheists? Food for thought.
Sincerely yours in the best of confidence and support,
Joshua Jammer Smith
P.S. As for you question as to who is the better front man of Van Halen, the answer is obvious to anyone who has a brain. Anyone who is NOT Gary Cherone. Yeeech.