Here is Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, on Fox Business.
First - go watch this video, then come back and read the rest of this entry.
So - What did you think? Personally, I had quite a few feelings arise while watching. I wish Silverman would have been given more of an opportunity to speak his mind, but as is common on Fox, the wingnuts completely took over.
I understand how Silverman's comments could have been seen as offensive to Christians, especially when he says that the others were delusional. However, what do you call someone when they believe something false? Are people delusional when they believe that fairies, vampires, elves, etc. truly exist? How is the belief in an deity any different?
I do understand that Christians believe that they have a personal relationship with their god, but I have to question whether this is a real relationship, or is it just perceived to be real. As an atheist, I know that I am not talking to any god when I try and think things through in my mind. As a thinker, I have these conversations with myself all the time. They're almost identical to my prayers that I said as a believer, only now I know that the entire discussion is occurring only in my mind. The thoughts are only my own. It's something that we all do when we have something that is bothering us, or when we are trying to make our mind up about something. We all reflect inward.
Anyway, back to the video - Silverman was outright attacked for not believing like any of the others in the discussion. He was talked over and the overall tone of the other people, especially the main interviewer (didn't catch his name) was filled with derision.
Atheists do not live a less meaningful life. There is no hole that we're trying to fill. We're simply looking to get through this life the best way we know how - just as everyone else is doing.
When it comes to a crisis, we simply get a move-on. We may stop to rant about our situation. As we're working to prepare, or fix our situation, we may hope that the situation improves, but we understand that simply standing back and hoping is utterly useless. In fact, there have been more times than I can count that I wished for not having hope.
I'm sure that this may sound odd, but I truly wish that I could just accept that the worst case scenario IS going to happen. If it doesn't, who cares?? I'll just end up happily surprised at the outcome -but to have hope just leaves me devastated when the worst-case scenario becomes reality.
Belief can be comforting - so can hope. I see the similarities between the two and believe that they are one and the same. Christians believe in their god because it's comforting. It's comforting to think that something/someone is out there listening to you, understanding you. It's comforting to think that you have something more to look forward to when you die. Death is scary.. For any of us!
But it doesn't have to be. It's simply a state of non-existence. I didn't exist before I was conceived, and I won't exist after I die. I will lose my memories, but I will live on through the memories other people have of me. Hopefully, I will be missed, but hopefully I'll leave this earth knowing that I did the best I could for my friends, family and the world.
And I am okay with this. Truthfully, I don't think I'd want to live forever in a state of bliss. Wouldn't it get boring? Wouldn't it be like people living in San Diego and seeing gorgeous weather day in an day out - just wishing for something to break up the monotony? Would it be like the elderly just wishing that they could die because they feel they have lived long enough?
I don't want that. As painful as this life has been for me I couldn't imagine a place without conflict. It is the pain that makes you realize the good when it happens!
How can someone look down at an atheist as if their life is worth less because they don't believe in something that requires faith because there just isn't any real evidence of it actually existing?
So, we will go on, gathering candles and matches for hurricane Irene. We will shutter our windows and bring in the patio furniture. We will huddle together with the ones we love as the storm rages outside. We will do this, just as Christians do this. The only difference being that we won't be praying to an unprovable deity.