Monday, October 09, 2006

ATHEISM (From American Atheist website)

An Atheist loves his fellow man instead of god. An Atheist believes that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth for all men together to enjoy.

An Atheist believes that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction, and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and enjoy it.

An Atheist believes that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.

He seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man.

He wants an ethical way of life. He believes that we cannot rely on a god or channel action into prayer nor hope for an end of troubles in a hereafter.

He believes that we are our brother's keepers; and are keepers of our own lives; that we are responsible persons and the job is here and the time is now.”

14 comments:

JDHURF said...

I couldn’t agree more, my only complaint would be the patriarchal and paternalistic tone in which it was written. Rather than say “he” all the time it should either say “he or she” – not a method I prefer – or it should have been written in such a way that it was absolutely unnecessary to evoke such terms, the method I always implement. Instead of saying: “All of man would do well to rid itself of dogmatism” I opt out for writing the sentence: “All of humanity would do well to rid itself of dogmatism.” Instead of, impersonally, saying: “An Atheist loves his fellow man instead of god,” the site should have, personally, written it: “We as atheists love the entirety of humanity instead of god” thus when referring to the atheist there is now a more personal and all inclusive feel. It feels more vibrant and embracing.

I hope no one takes this as a strike against the actual piece, which I think was fantastic, but only my public expression of detest in the face of such paternalistic and singularly masculine writing. This isn’t the thirteenth century, women share a vast and important role in our society and I shouldn’t have to be reading modern articles on atheism with such a reckless abandon regarding writing style. It is usually not the fault of the author, for they are usually not even aware of the fact they are doing this, it is habit, and we all must make a concerted effort to raise the communal consciousness in this regard.

*gets off soapbox*

I’m sorry for the long tangent stardust, but, the atheist was referred to as “he” so many times I couldn’t help but vocalize my views of such a sexist writing style, we need to shake off the literary remnants of the dark ages and fully embrace the modern times.

I just might turn this subject into a blog post, Lol! I can’t stop myself.

Great peice on atheism all in all.

Krystalline Apostate said...

jdhurf:
I’m sorry for the long tangent stardust, but, the atheist was referred to as “he” so many times I couldn’t help but vocalize my views of such a sexist writing style, we need to shake off the literary remnants of the dark ages and fully embrace the modern times.
It was a great piece, but when I read something that addresses all of humanity (aka mankind), I automatically include women.
I think fussing over pronouns is overly silly & PC, but I'm a guy, what do I know?

Stardust said...

jdhurf - I understand your point to want to modernize this quote to make it sound more "inclusive, but as a woman, the use of "he" doesn't bother me and I was taught in school that when we see "he" to automatically think it to include everyone. While doing my Masters in English, we had the option of using he/she, or simply he, or simply she which were all acceptable. A couple of feminist professors, male and female, insisted that we write "he/she" or "he or she" or "he and she" and that really gets in the way of the flow of the writing and makes it appear awkward.

As a professional writer now, I adapt that little pronoun preference to whoever I am writing for. If it is for myself, I do it however I feel it should be for that certain article, story, etc. If writing for someone else I write it to the clients' specifications and style. I feel the pronoun in this piece is not very important as the message of the piece. We could replace "he" with "atheist" but that would sound really ridiculously redundant.

Anyway, I thought the message was a great one and that's why I posted it. :)

Toze said...

An atheist is someone with no belief in God.

There are good atheists and bad atheists, just like everyone else. There are atheists who still subscribe to religious dogmas (like Raelians) and to political dogmas (like communists).

Saying a person is an atheist is like saying he (or she) is black or white. It is a monosemic word which merely describes a state of absence of belief in God/gods.

Secular Humanism is a value system, atheism is not.

My opinion of course.

JDHURF said...

Ka:
I think fussing over pronouns is overly silly & PC, but I'm a guy, what do I know?

In your eyes it is “silly to fuss” over pronouns such as “one nation under god?

stardust:
I understand your point to want to modernize this quote to make it sound more "inclusive, but as a woman, the use of "he" doesn't bother me…

But that is precisely the basis of the problem. Many people, including women, don’t see it as a problem. You do realize that during the beginning of the feminist movement, back in the twenties, a very large population of women were against it; they believed they didn’t need the right to vote, they shouldn’t be anything other than housewives and mothers, the shouldn’t play sports, they shouldn’t get doctorates in theoretical physics, etc. The situation is even worse in the middle east, women have been conditioned by their sociocultural environment to not only accept their roles but to believe such roles are the only ones fit to have. This concept that “he” and “man” are terms which denote both men and women is an archaic remnant of our sexist and gender biased past. There is no doubt that I will soon be posting about this.

A couple of feminist professors, male and female, insisted that we write "he/she" or "he or she" or "he and she" and that really gets in the way of the flow of the writing and makes it appear awkward.

I agree, that is why my method – which I proposed in my post – is logically and stylistically more favorable. Don’t write “he/she” write the sentence in a manner which does not necessitate this.

We could replace "he" with "atheist" but that would sound really ridiculously redundant.

That is why, as I said in my response, it would be better to not write it impersonally, but, rather, should be writren in a more personal manner wherein “he” was not exchanged for “atheist” but “we.”

All in all I agree with you, it was a good piece and deserved posting. I am not taking anything away from the post, I am merely attempting to raise the communal consciousness with regards to the conditioned sociocultural gender bias which still permeates our society today. It is not without significance to point out that when there are gender biases our language reflects this, and when our language reflects gender bias so too is there usually gender bias in the culture. Language is actually a much more powerful tool than many realize. Language is crucial. I really hope you don’t take any of this personally, I was afraid that you might take my response to the atheist piece as a response towards you in general, it is not.

toze:
I completely agree with you, “atheist” is an epithet used to denote one disbelief in the supernatural, it is not a coherent metaphysics or worldview.

Stardust said...

I agree, that is why my method – which I proposed in my post – is logically and stylistically more favorable. Don’t write “he/she” write the sentence in a manner which does not necessitate this.

JD - That's what I usually try to do...word the sentence a way that does not necessitate a specific pronoun. As for what has been written in the past, past quotes...we just have to read around it. I don't know when this quote was written...I will have to go back to the website and look.

Stardust said...

toze and jd...good points about the word/meaning of "atheist" and secular humanism. I really don't like labeling myself as anything. We live in a society where everyone must be pigeon-holed into some kind of category. Something for me to think and study about more in-depth.

Krystalline Apostate said...

jdhurf:
In your eyes it is “silly to fuss” over pronouns such as “one nation under god?
Ummm...there's no pronouns in that phrase. The whole sentence's gotta go. Late insertion anyways.
Should we then change 'all men are created equal' to 'all humanity is created equal'?
When I write, I do try to avoid the genderification (is that a word?) as best I can, to be more inclusive, but when the words flow, I find it best not to interrupt the river, or divert it.
The English language has gender pronouns. The German language actually assigns genders to objects (male, female, neutered), the Chinese & Tagalog languages actually have NO such pronouns.
I understand the invidious nature of both gender-specification as well as religious verbiage, but sometimes it works, & sometimes it doesn't.
Sometimes, conciseness is required. More syllables breaks the rhythm as well.
For the record, I'm not a patriarchal guy: my gender's screwed up this world in more ways than 1.
Besides, guys tend to be more monosyllabic.
I am also curious as to who wrote this, & how long ago it was written, as that's also salient.

MomSquared said...

My husband is Filipino. They have no "he" or "she" in his native language. Too bad English isn't like that, we could have avoided the "he" discussion altogether.

;)

Stardust said...

My husband is Filipino. They have no "he" or "she" in his native language. Too bad English isn't like that, we could have avoided the "he" discussion altogether.


MomSquared - Yes, it's too bad that language gets in the way of the message all too often. When I read this I guess my focus was on everything else and the gender emphasis was unimportant to me. Most likely, emphasis on "he" was not intentional on the author's part.
He/she was probably from the "old school." I still need to look up and find the author and when it was written. I keep forgetting. I will do that now.

Krystalline Apostate said...

momsquared:
My husband is Filipino. They have no "he" or "she" in his native language. Too bad English isn't like that, we could have avoided the "he" discussion altogether.
My ex GF is from Manila. If she told a long story w/many people in it, I'd have to stop her occasionally: "Who? Her or him?" Very confusing.
Samuel R. Delaney wrote a novel where he intermixed the pronouns freely (he liked to experiment a lot). I had a devil of a time following it.
(can I still use the word 'devil'? How about impacto? hehehehe)

Krystalline Apostate said...

Here we go:
http://www.atheists.org/Atheism/

"The following definition of Atheism was given to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Murray v. Curlett, 374 U.S. 203, 83 S. Ct. 1560, 10 L.Ed.2d (MD, 1963), to remove reverential Bible reading and oral unison recitation of the Lord's Prayer in the public schools."
It was Madalyn Murray O’Hair herself that wrote that.

Stardust said...

Wow, KA - thanks for finding that for me. So, a woman wrote all those "hes"...and it was Madalyn Murray O’Hair herself!

Krystalline Apostate said...

stardust:
So, a woman wrote all those "hes"...and it was Madalyn Murray O’Hair herself!
Yep...so I guess we can infer the inclusion of the fairer sex.
Wait...is that PC anymore? (ducks his head).