Guess what?! Atheists do not have a good understanding of their own identity and “inner selves.” At least that’s what the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights says. Now tell me, if a group makes the claim that there are a great many non-religious people who are actually religious, they just don’t know it, is that group actually capable of protecting religious and civil rights? (If you read the “about us” page, you will learn that they only protect the rights of Catholics. Is now a good time to point out that nonbelievers generally fight the rights of everyone? Even people we really dislike?)
I find the CLRCR’s idea pretentious, condescending and insulting. It goes along with the idea that those who have not “found Jesus” are lost. The problem with that is that we’re not. In fact, the majority of atheists and nonbelievers I know are not aimlessly wandering on a spiritual or mental level. They are grounded, well-adjusted people with a solid grip on reality (and morality, for that matter), and most ill adjustment that they suffer from actually stems from family members being pretentious and condescending about religious belief. Apparently not relying on a 2000-year-old book written by men in a frighteningly patriarchal society and silly dogma is a good idea. Who knew? (Ooooh, me!)
I am not a lost lamb that needs to return to the fold. I am just plain not a lamb. My mother knew she wasn’t a lamb or a sheep, but rather an intelligent, two-legged human. She went on to raise children who also realized they were not sheep, but humans equipped with high-functioning mental capacity to make their own decisions and determine right from wrong without arbitrary rules. I would appreciate if the people who still think they are lambs would stop trying to convince me that I, too, am a lamb.
Unless convincing evidence to the contrary comes to light, I will not believe in god or gods or higher powers. The concepts are too ridiculous to reconcile with my observations of the universe around me. I celebrate Christmas because I like pretty Christmas trees, pretty lights, giving and receiving gifts, holiday desserts, cinnamon rolls and spending time with my family. If I were to become a Christian, there is no way I would be willing to celebrate Christmas on December 25th. I’d be annoyingly detailed and accurate about what I celebrated and when, and since Jesus was definitely not born in December, I wouldn’t celebrate his birthday in December. Of course, that’s a pretty silly “what if” because if there is a god, it seems unlikely to me for various reasons that it is the Christian god.
Back to my original topic. What would happen if American Atheists tried to “adopt” a Catholic group to make them realize they are actually atheists? Should we even go there?
I hope any chapters of the American Atheists that get a message from CLRCR tell them exactly what is wrong with what they’re doing.
To finish, here’s a humorous hypothetical e-mail conversation:
“Hello, I’m a Catholic, and I think you are too ignorant to realize you are actually a Christian and not an atheist. You clearly don’t have any clue that you believe in god. I’m here to make you realize that you don’t know anything about your inner self and personal identity. Let’s be friends.”
”Hello Catholic crazy person, you are a condescending jerk. I’ll talk to you about my lack of belief, but I can assure you that I am not a Christian. In fact, I find the book you follow to be woefully out of date. I do enjoy pretty lights and nice-smelling trees, though. I’ll be sure to thank the next Pagan I run into for coming up with that whole tree tradition thing.”
Don’t you feel all this talk about “bringing back” atheists to god that has erupted near Christmas is just a way of keeping atheists on the defensive? Atheistic belief in called into question much more often than any religious belief would ever be, and that seems like an attempt to keep atheists on the backfoot, so to speak.
I think a decent number of religious individuals actually think they need to convert atheists. On the other hand, it is quite possible that things like “adopt an atheist” are meant as you said, to keep us on the defensive. Nevertheless, this particular thing is insulting.