Some time ago I stumbled across an Article attempting to address the issue of what Atheism got wrong, in which the author basically states that Atheism’s end game should be ultimately to replace Religion. Unfortunately, I joined the internet troll party way too late to get a response from the author regarding his post. I personally do not agree with his conclusion, but he does however raise an interesting question regarding the nature of Atheism and its relationship to theism or religion.
Many theists like quoting the fact that without religion atheism cannot exist. As if the acceptance of atheism somehow validates religion through some bazaar type of inference. The statement is never the less completely correct and in my personal opinion gives us some inkling to what atheism might be or what purpose it might serve if any. In the Article publish by The Humanist the author suggests that in order to “Turn” people from religion Atheism needs to offer the same securities that religion does, with no mention of how exactly this can be achieved. I imagine this would be incredibly hard to get right, no matter how diplomatic and understanding you try to be, theist often feel personally attacked when questioning or insinuating that the premise of their faith is fundamentally floored and downright false. For the most part Militant Atheism is only aggressive on social media platforms when you have the anonymity of memes and tweets. Although some Atheist might take this “aggression” to a one on one conversation with theist, the reality is that when dealing with actual people your tone generally defaults to something far from being Militant. I would almost go as far as to say, that Militant Atheism (as far as attacking and aggression is concerned) is a perception more than a reality. Most theist are simply just not interested in even entertaining the idea of a dialogue, this and the insecurity arising from the general inability or unwillingness to challenge their own ideas makes it almost impractical to offer a sense of community as suggested by The Humanist.
Atheism Is Inadequate
I don’t think that Atheism even qualifies as a suitable replacement for Religion, even if it were possible for theist and atheist to congregate in some type of weird communal harmony. Religion is fundamentally an inaccurate approximation of reality. As an atheist I am not qualified to make assertions regarding the nature of reality. Atheism is nothing more than a difference of opinion, and much like religion does not have the tools necessary for achieving this task. Science on the other hand is exceptionally good at defining reality, and so probably stands as the best Substitution for religion. So why the fuss, if atheism seems as pointless as faith.
What It Could Be
Religion is a serious matter, not to be taken lightly whether you believe in it or not. It affects core components of what constitutes modern society, and should rightly be held accountable to assert its merits. Perhaps this is where Atheism can find its relevance, as religion does not readily encourage the challenging of its own ideals. Its purpose might be as simple as to draw attention to deficits with in religion, a sort of immune response. Ideas by nature are infectious and societies overtime generally shake off constructs that they deem futile or inefficient, this usually happens shortly after being shown something different. We can already see this happening, as many atheists and the world at large at some point were mostly religious. Religion is doing a good enough job of killing itself, so perhaps Atheism as a movement can now broaden its dialogue with the establishment taking a more humanist approach. It could probably spend its efforts challenging wider aspects of Religion that Science doesn’t really care for. This change in focus has already taken place, as the debate now seems to go more along the lines of morality, human rights abuses, psychological issues, politics and radicalism arising from religion.