DIAL A GAY ATHEIST 30 May 1994 +quot;In Defense of Atheism+quot; Welcome to Dial A Gay Ath

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DIAL A GAY ATHEIST 30 May 1994 "In Defense of Atheism" Welcome to Dial A Gay Atheist, a communications service of American Gay and Lesbian Atheists. American Gay Atheists, Inc., is a non-profit, educational foundation dedicated to preserving and promoting freedom of thought and inquiry as well as being proponents for complete and total separation between state and church. All inquiries should be addressed, in writing, to AGLA, PO Box 66711, Houston, TX 77266. Dial A Gay Atheist is protected under the copyright laws of the United States and no part may be reproduced in any manner without first receiving written permission from American Gay Atheists, Inc. Comments are those of the commentator and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the organization. This is Don Sanders for Dial A Gay Atheist. Those members of the diverse lesbian and gay community calling from the Houston area are likely familiar with a weekly 1/4 page paid advertisement appearing in The Houston Voice, a community newspaper, for the Maranatha Fellowship MCC. The weekly quarter page ad may be more familiar to you as "Ask The Pastor." Frequently and commonly, "the pastor," Rev. Janet Parker, uses the promotional space advertising the business venture over which she presides as spokeswoman to answer questions sent in by questioning sheep. Many of the questions over the weeks and months I have been reading the column are downright insipid. I have observed, however, that most of the alleged inquirers tend to seek information from the all-knowing reverendess about competing religions, such as witchcraft, satanism, astrology, new ageism, etc., etc. This week, however, the question posited to Janet Parker is "What is the difference between, Atheism, Agnosticism, and Skepticism?" If Ms. Parker is typical of most Christians, her answers demonstrate that she is totally confused about the question upon which she purports to be an expert. Honestly, I am sick and tired of Christians -- of any stripe -- defining what Atheism is. This is the same as a blind, deaf and mute person giving a definition of and explanation for race car driving. Ms. "Ask the Pastor" Parker indeed shown her ignorance and bias in this week's ad. To the question, "What is an Atheist?" Ms. Parker responds, "An Atheist is one who believes there exists positive evidence that there is no God." Of course, God is capitalized to demonstrate she is talking about one particular god of the hundreds and thousands which humans have created over the centuries -- her own god. She goes on to say that an Atheist is convinced that all religious belief, evidence and faith are false. That's part is partially correct with the exception of the term "evidence." There isn't now nor has there ever been any incontrovertible evidence for the historicity of her chosen god, Jesus. It is, like all other gods before it, a fictional character not unlike Mickey Mouse or Yogi the Bear. But to get back to Ms. Parker's definition of an Atheist. "An Atheist is one who _believes_ that there exists positive evidence that there is no God." The position from which the Atheist comes is not one of belief, but of study, investigation and logic. According to my Franklin electronic dictionary, belief is defined in this way: "The act of assenting intellectually to something _proposed_ as true." Ah, the key word here is proposed -- Assenting to something _proposed_ as true. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, for a theist to understand that the Atheist in the pond of humanity does not sit on the same type of toadstool. The religionist accepts the tenets of their chosen belief system upon faith. The religionist never ceases to attempt to include the atheist in his/her brand of insanity. They think they everyone, regardless of their position in respect to religion, has must fit into their narrow view. They simply are not content to have someone outside their system because as long as just one person remains outside, that person represents living proof that their god has not conquered all. Atheists simply say "NO" to the notion of being included in the Christian mind- set. Belief is a religious concept which the Atheist finds grossly insulting and completely lacking of any intellectual substance. Such terms as belief and faith are grossly insulting to Atheists. Accepting the realities of human life is not faith. It is reality. It is the knowledge and acceptance that everyone must rely upon him or herself. By trying to define atheism in religious terms, Ms. Parker is doing what all religionists have done throughout the ages. Atheists accept none of the things of the religious person. Every religion, including that of Ms. Parker, has common traits. Perhaps that is why she and her comrades find it so difficult that there are persons who share none of the trapping with which she is so familiar. Simply, religion is a system of attitudes, practices, rites, ceremonies and beliefs by means of which individuals or a community place themselves in relation to a god or to a supernatural world and often to each other, and from which the religious person derives a set of values by which to judge events and others (like the Atheists) in the natural world. But, let's clear the air and correct Ms. Parker's religious definition of an Atheist. An Atheist is a person who has a lifestyle premised upon materialism. That is, we accept objective reality in living our lives and we reject any phantasmagoria of the imagination of theistic persons. We live, work and play in the real world, whereas theists, like Ms. Parker, live in a world of make-believe. An Atheist uses reason to resolve problems which may arise, not prayers, wishes and ritual ceremonial sacrifices to one or more deities or super-things outside of nature. We eschew the irrational idea of theism and refuse to be included in its multi-faceted insanities. Looking up the word, Atheism, we find it is a word of Greek or Latin derivation. At least Ms. Parker has her derivations correct. From thenceforth, however, she is wrong, wrong, wrong, for she writes that the prefix "A" means no or non, thus giving her the incorrect, and frankly, strained, very strained definition of Atheist. An "A" or an "In" used before any word simply take away the thrust of that word. For instance, the word "independent" simply means "free from dependency." Also, the word "Atheism" simply means "free from theism." Therefore, Atheism is simply and beautifully Freedom From Theism. An Atheist is NOT, as Ms. Parker and most other religionists assert, "one who believes there exists positive evidence that there is no God." It is Ms. Parker, the religionist, who asserts that there is. Therefore, it is not up to the Atheist to disprove her assertion. Rather it is up to Ms. Parker to be able to offer proof for the existence of her god. We are not picking on Janet Parker of the Maranatha MCC of Houston. It is that she, like most other religionists, has placed the Atheist inside her understanding of things. We do not wish to be a part of religion. We do not wish to be defined in terms of religion. By saying that an Atheist is a person who believes that there exists positive evidence that there is no God, Ms. Parker is presenting the premise that there is a god. It is up to her, the one who purports the existence of her god, to prove its existence. The truth is there simply is no evidence for the existence for her god, nor for any god. And all the religionist can offer is faith and belief, nothing more. By asking us if we believe if there is a tree outside our window is absurd. But the religionist asks us constantly if we believe in god. If there is a tree outside the window, what difference does it make if we say we do or do not believe there is a tree there? If you say there is a god and that we have a choice of believing or not believing in that god, that does not affect that you have already premised there is a god "out there" somewhere. We think that Ms. Parker owes the entire gay and lesbian Atheist community an apology for her skewed and religious definition of an Atheist. She and all other religionists are outside the realm of Atheism. When the religionist says, "Prove there is no god," he is asking us to prove a negative proposition. One can not prove a negative. Example, suppose we say that we believe in a tooth god, that we worship this god, communicate with it through the act of mastication, that we know this tooth god hears our prayers and that after we die, we know (we feel it in our hearts) that we will become lower bicuspid molars if we please this tooth god. Now, Ms. Parker, prove to us that this is not true. For a free sample copy of The American Gay & Lesbian Atheist newsletter, write to AGLA, PO Box 66711, Houston, TX 77266. The May/June issue is out and you'll want your own copy. At the tone, tell us from where you're calling and what's on your mind. Your comments may be selected for future playback over our Open Forum. Of course, call this American GAY Atheist again, anytime! *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************

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