Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ellen Johnson Responds to "The End of Atheism"

"Mr. Harris cannot see why we need a name for a group of people who are "against" something, or who don't believe in something. Take racism he says. There isn't any term for people who are against racism. We give ourselves a name because we are proud of who we are. A group needs to be identified in some way. And we want to be a "group." We aren't just against something. We are something.
Is the American Cancer Society just "against" something because they fight against cancer? Are they a "negative" organization? Is Greenpeace a negative organization because they are against pollution? Sounds silly doesn't it? Yet we buy into this nonsense when it is said about us.


From my experience, Christian fundamentalists are more concerned about our "activism" than what we call ourselves. They will attack anyone, Atheist or Theist, who challenges their privileged position in society. Remember Lisa Herdahl in Mississippi? She challenged organized school prayers there and she was a Christian. She was viciously attacked by the religious community for her efforts. Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong has received sixteen death threats in the last 30 years because of his liberal religious views. Trying to distance ourselves from our Atheism is not the answer."

Ellen Johnson, (president of American Atheists),, Oct. 3, 2007

There was another article posted at Sam Harris' site (Caspar Melville, Guardian, October 5, 2007):
"Among the distinguished audience listening to Harris’ speech were all the A-list A-thiests including Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and Dawkins himself. Asked afterwards what he thought of the speech Dawkins replied: “I think he was making a very interesting point, and I’m still thinking about my reaction to it.” Perhaps he thinking it’s not too late to rebrand the Out project. He could say that the “A” doesn’t stand for “atheist” after all, but for something else entirely. Any suggestions?"
It would have to stand for Anonymous.

1 comment:

bbk said...

Atheism does stand for something. It stands for intellectual integrity regarding the meaning of life. That's something that no religion can buy at any price. While religions use layer on top of layer of pseudo-logical theology to guide its followers through life, at their core is always a lie. I don't see a greater endeavor in life than the quest for truth. Religions pride themselves on truth even though they're based on lies. In the end it's not about gods but about the truth. I'll take the truth over any god any day. What gives atheists their sense of identity and how they have always been able to relate to one another is not based on the negative belief in the absence of gods but the positive presence of truth.