Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Do We Really Need Religion?

Reading Theology for Atheists, article in the The Guardian by Nathan Schneider, it struck me that Atheism is being portrayed as without a philosophy of its own. The article talks about how theology is relevant to those who do not believe, and even suggests it is required for social harmony;

"Theology, perhaps, provides a point of access to these ambivalent powers in human nature and the chance to carefully, thoughtfully mobilize them anew."

The article seems to portray atheism as being mostly without passion, or at least, unable to express its morality with conviction. But do Atheists really need religion?

I haven't been to any atheist meetings (not counting Nine Lessons...), not am I part of an atheist group or organization, however I know that they exist. I also read the thoughts of my fellow atheist bloggers and can vouch for their "ambivalence". The National Secular Society, the British Humanist Association and the Rational Association all have many campaigns for the good of society in general. You will find few societies that are more vocal in freedom of speech and human rights causes than the aforementioned.

However, is it a niche area, a clique, if you will, that is too closed to general society? I had never heard of any of them before I strengthened my convictions and came "out" as an Atheist. But why would that be, with such avid supporters in the science world and comedy scene? The philosopher Colin McGinn in The Atheism Tapes documentary talked of a post-Atheistic society, in which the question of God doesn't even arise, except for in contemplation of the past. Are we moving closer to this, hence the lack of "campaign", so to speak?

The answer is, I feel, censorship. The reason we don't hear of Atheist groups, is that all attempts to advertise get banned. (My outrage at this is stoked further by the fact that in my town there are billboards advertising the local lap-dancing club, but at least the atheists aren't plastered across buses anymore!!) It would provoke outrage for anyone to question another's religion in public, unless it is theist to theist, at least, and even then, all bets are off when it comes to Islam!

So I say NO! We don't need theology, religion or god to be good and be passionate about being so. All we need is the freedom to speak up!

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