Ask an Atheist Day

The third Thursday of April is Ask an Atheist Day.

You may have heard it killed the cat, but the love of learning – human inquisitiveness and the search to understand the world around us – what we call “curiosity” – is essential to our being and to our freedom.  Curiosity is the basis for education, and a means to approach others from a perspective of genuine willingness to connect rather than from a perspective of judgement.

atheist-humor

Spearheaded by the national office of the Secular Student Alliance, Ask an Atheist Day falls on the third Thursday of April, promotes respectful conversation, and provides an opportunity for those who have questions … to ask them.

From the Secular Student Alliance: “National Ask An Atheist Day is an opportunity for secular groups across the country to work together to defeat stereotypes about atheism and encourage courteous dialogue between believers and nonbelievers alike. The event is intended to be an opportunity for the general public – particularly people of faith – to approach nontheists and ask questions about secular life.”

Today is a great day for those openly secular to provide opportunities for those around them to ask questions, and for everyone to approach someone who has a different worldview from yours and ask (respectfully) what you have been wondering.  Even if you are a person of non-faith, you may have questions for others who share your perspective.  Open a conversation that can build a bridge across differences, open yourself to understanding new perspectives, and potentially create or strengthen a beautiful friendship.

Common questions that Atheists receive are related to predication of moral and ethical decisions, acceptance of mortality, inspirations for positive and optimistic living, involvement in community and volunteerism, and living without the support of a church community.  Recently someone shared with me that they were asked “What is your favorite part about being an Atheist?”  That was an awesome question.  And probably quite hard to choose a favorite. 🙂

I received a question from someone who wondered how i know to wash my hands after going to the bathroom.  It was a Ring of Gyges question: If you are not taught that someone is watching you, how are you guided to do the right thing?  This is someone misled to believe that human reason and integrity are inadequate (we can go into the Kantian debate another time…) and that humans would be incapable of doing even the simplest things in the right way if we were not told there is someone watching us from outer space who will apply consequences (the Santa Claus theory).  Washing your hands has physical, health benefits both personally and as part of the greater community in the prevention of the spread of disease.

BE. Orlando is committed to promoting the ubiquity of human kindness and compassion, and that the potential for human goodness transcends faith or non-faith perspectives. Secular Americans are increasingly visible in our culture: secularism is the fastest growing faith demographic in the country.  There are nonbelievers among your friends, family, teammates, colleagues, and even faith communities.  You may not know who they are, but they are potentially facing challenges as a marginalized demographic including bullying, discrimination, misunderstanding based on cultural normalization of majority group assumptions, and more.  Take this this day as an opportunity to explore, learn, and grow – and you will be an active part of positive change toward equal inclusion and respect for all Humans.

What is YOUR question? 

You may find you have more in common with other human beings than you knew – even those who hold equally strong commitments to worldviews different from your own.

LINKS

 

goodwithoutgod

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Ask an Atheist Day

  1. Roger Browning

    Thanks for the opportunity to ask (respectful) questions. My question would be, does atheism have a creed that would suggest any answer I get from you is objectively true (whether I like it or not) or should I only expect to get your opinion and if you just offer an opinion why is it worth asking questions that have no objective truth?
    This question seems pointed, but I’m honestly asking respectfully because I see a lot of varying opinions about atheism that often find themselves in contradiction.
    Thanks again, hoping for honest discussion.

    Like

    Reply
    1. BE. Orlando Post author

      Hi, Roger. Thanks for the question. A “creed” is a statement of religious belief and doesn’t imply answers to questions are objective truth rather than opinion. In fact, a creed is a statement expressing one’s opinion on faith, not a basis for objective truth. That’s semantic stuff, though. 🙂 And it is true of non-faith, just as of faith, that there are varying personal interpretations, expressions, and opinions about those perspectives that can be contradictory. I think what you’re getting at is that you are coming from a perspective that objective truth is rooted in your concept of a god, and you are wondering how you can trust the truth of others who might have a different worldview, correct? Answers from a perspective of non-faith are based on scientific evidence. A secular individual may see faith perspectives as you perceive non-faith perspectives: as contradictory among or within themselves, as having varying opinions, and as having have no objective truth.

      What is an example of a question that you would think is worth asking someone of a different perspective if you felt you could expect truth?

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Roger Browning

        You’re partially right. Creeds don’t determine truth. I asked about Creed because without an external source, all that is left is opinion. Science would be in line with a creed / external source of objectivity but science isn’t a truth tool for non physical things like beauty. (Wasn’t trying to insinuate I don’t like science, I do. Just trying to build up to my answer to your question, what question do o expect truth :
        What is the meaning of life? If there isn’t one, why do we care about anyone else? If there is, how do we know beyond just “I think”?
        Respectfully written and thank you for your reply.

        Like

  2. BE. Orlando Post author

    Hi, Roger. Great question! First, by “external source” you mean “God”, is that correct? Because science is internal to all of the inclusive natural world, but can be used as a guiding principal, an external source, and objective basis. One might look outside of their own experience and understanding to science to help inform decisions and understanding.

    Regarding what gives life meaning, that is a personal question for each individual – so it is always going to be an “I think” answer. Even for those coming from a perspective of faith in a Christian God (or one of the other 3,000+ gods noted throughout human history), how that faith informs an interpretation of “the meaning of life” for each person is different.

    For me, life is precious and every moment is important because it is the only instance of that moment that we get. How we invest our moments, and the return on that investment, becomes part of us, and part of others whom we impact. The meaning of life, for me, is having a positive impact – making a difference for other humans, for animals, for the environment and the Earth.

    Consider, without referencing higher powers, God, or other external forces, what makes life meaningful to you? What brings you joy? That is the start of establishing genuine connections to those who have different perspectives, because at the heart of what gives us happiness, fulfillment, joy, and a sense of purpose in life are common ground that we all share. Elements of our worldview such as faith or non-faith perspective are additions to that. So my perspective as an Atheist is that this is my only life, someone else may believe that they will live again as another human, that their energy will become part of everything when they die, or that their God has an afterlife planned for them in a heaven. We each can find happiness and fulfillment in feeding hungry children, holding a squirmy-squiggly-fuzzy face-licking puppy, teaching someone to read, appreciating the beauty of a bird symphony at sunrise, personal accomplishments / achievements, or making someone smile in a grocery store.

    Some people of faith may say that life has no meaning without God; some people of non-faith may say that life can have no true meaning for those who believe in a God. Hmm. What do we mean by “meaning”?

    Does that help?

    Like

    Reply
  3. Roger Browning

    Sorry for the delayed response, I’m not sure why, but I didn’t receive a notice you replied.

    Your answer is fair (Except the science part I’ll address below) and I’m thankful you answered honestly.
    By external source I mean something that pertains to everyone equally. For me that can only be a god (my personal choice on which one aside for the moment). I say it must be otherwise there is no authority (community housing rules don’t apply outside the community, government rules only apply to those under the government, etc).
    That’s actually my major problem with atheism in general is the inability to hold others accountable. If someone (anyone) opted to lure women into a sex industry (even the legal variety) and because of emotional abuse or psychological reasons the women felt they needed to stay (even legal reasons like they’re making too much money to leave), there is no ground to help them. I hope you understand this isn’t a moral superiority or righteousness plea but an example of how the morality of some can influence the morality of others and without a standard and an authority to implement the standard, it can be very dangerous. In other words, even if I didn’t have such convictions about christianity, I would fear an atheistic framework of morality–especially if what made me happy was helping others as I could only help them in view of what helped me, which as shown above isn’t always good or right morally.
    Do you see the danger with your position (not with your morality…please hear I’m not saying you’re not moral, just painting the danger of what it could be–a fear I have which is why I reached out in the first place.

    My issue with science is asking the same lines. Science is not objective. Scientific data is, but not scientist interpretation. In the evolution debate (of which I’m not taking sides here, FYI) there are scientists who are for and against unguided random mutations. Neither scientist is rejecting data but both are providing rationale as to why that data still fits their conclusion. Another example of how this looks is the historicity of Jesus. There are some who say he never existed (this number is very few and almost never historical scholars by the way) and there are some who say he did. The ones who say he did not exist say the documents that claim his existence are fake. The others, obviously, interpret the data differently.

    With those reasons, I have a hard time accepting as reliable something so independent (like atheism).

    Did I make my point? I ask because the heart of my question is, can you speak to that. Where does comfort and security come from in claiming truth in atheism? How do you know it’s true? Why is it appealing?

    That’s what I don’t understand.

    Thank you for being honest and respectful, I hope you find me the same (even now that it’s not ask an atheist anything day).

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s