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.
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.
- Ask BE – Humanist responses to Human questions.
- Genuine questions will be genuinely responded to. We commonly receive (and simply delete) preaching/proselytization, hate mail, and other inappropriate communications.
- Ask An Atheist in person – come by our tent at the Central Florida Earth Day festival on Saturday, April 23rd.
- Ask An Atheist weekly podcast
- Ask An Atheist Day (Secular Student Alliance)
- Local resources – Central Florida network of secular organizations with a range of focuses including political activism, social activities & networking, educational events, volunteerism, support, and more.