Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why atheism? Why now?

The mass media is paying more and more attention to the coming out of atheists and non-believers (a more palatable term for the time being). Why? What's different now?

One big difference is that, for the last several years, atheists have been coming out of the closet in larger and larger numbers. Perhaps it's a backlash to how far out on the fringe the new age movement has probed. Perhaps it's also a response to louder and louder voices of fundamentalists of all faiths, including those holding the ludicrous position of creationism.

I believe that, in addition to these motivating factors, we're just tired of being ignored; tired of not rocking the boat. Tired of pretending, so that we fit in with our community, whatever its overriding persuasion.

Yesterday I was enjoying Ladies' Night at a local hot springs. I was talking about a pre-melanoma mole I recently had removed, and the events leading up to its removal. My doctor had insisted I get it checked by a dermatologist, even though I hadn't noticed a change in the mole in at least ten years.

A woman enjoying the waters with me said "Well, God was watching out for you, wasn't he!" I replied "No, I'll give all the credit to my doctor". Her eyes widened and she had no idea how to respond. In that one sentence I made it clear that I not only did NOT credit god, I didn't even believe in god. I gave credit where it was due: to my doctor, whose insistence at seeing a dermatologist goosed me to go, resulting in the pre-cancerous diagnosis and preemptive surgery.

I'm tired of god getting all the credit for human actions. People work hard to perform, work hard to get where they are in life, work hard to do for others. People are rescuing the survivors of the earthquake in Italy, not god. People perform life-saving surgeries, not god. God is nowhere to be found in natural disasters, nor the myriad and entirely too many tragic murders and kidnappings that have been daily filling the news. It is people who do the investigative work, provide comfort to the grieving and suffering, and do what they can to better humankind.

Atheists are tired of people not getting credit where credit is due, where credit all too often goes to god (who always seems to "show up" after the fact).

We're coming out and we're loud and clear: god doesn't run this show. People do. Stop telling me what god does or doesn't do for me. I give people all the credit. They deserve it.


  1. Right on Jessica! Powerful and expressive way you have of "telling it like it is"! You go girl!

  2. As one who is now living in the Bible Belt and recently "outed" myself as an atheist, I know how Jessica feels.

    I've become more active in our local atheist community as a response to the encroachment of the religious community on every aspect of our lives. My daughter, for example, learned the story of Easter from her second grade school teacher.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Jessica.