Atheist Mythology

June 19, 2013

Atheists are an interesting group of people. They have little in common, in general. A finer bunch of reasonable people couldn't be wished for. But maybe I'm just saying that because they are my "tribe." 
 
Like any "tribe," they differ about how they express their disbelief in god and religion. Yet you definitely know that you’ve encountered a staunch atheist upon hearing one of them piously proclaiming doctrines of a mythological nature.
 
Atheism cannot be a mythology, but atheists sometime say the most intriguing things, things that appear fictionally composed in an organized fashion in order to recount a cosmology, an origin story, a moral code, a special role for the chosen, and a destiny for the world, all according to atheists. “Atheist mythology” could happen, in a way that “atheism mythology” couldn’t, precisely because individual atheists are free to generate and informally transmit all manner of stories. 

This is a familiar situation for the cultural anthropology of mythic narrative. Much in the way that a mythology generated by religious intellectual leadership, especially any mythology reaching written form, can sound quite different from the many oral narratives passed among religious laypeople, local atheist myth cannot be traced to any single author or definitive book. Also of interest to historians of religion is the way that a novel mythology can imitate the core mythic structure of a rival mythology. 

Contemporary atheist mythology, to repeat, has no scripture, no authoritative leadership, and no official propaganda outlet, yet plenty of atheists can be heard repeating the same sorts of things over and over. Only by collecting sayings from many different sources makes it possible to assemble something like the “doctrines” of this “atheist mythology.” Here, presented for the first time, is one (incomplete and unauthorized) version of this mythology. 

There is Truth about the One Reality, a Truth supremely valid over anything else people believe.

This Truth arises from Reason, and failure to acknowledge this Truth signals lack of Reason.

Atheists acknowledge this Truth, while religious people are bereft of this Truth, lost in Error, mired in Evil, and unable to know Reality.

Atheists acknowledge Truth and know Reality because they have been the sole possessors of Reason.

Witnessing to this Truth is necessary for the Ethical advancement of humanity, its liberation from irrationality, and its reconciliation with Reality.

Witnessing to this Truth is all atheists can and need do, since the religious lack Reason to understand explanations of the Truth.

Confronting the religious with the Truth is an effective means of converting them, because the Truth has its own Power to arouse Reason.

Attempting to explain this Truth to the religious on their own terms only compromises the Purity of the Truth.

Atheists encouraging the religious to come to the Truth by approximation or accommodation only betrays the Purity of the Truth.

Atheists doing anything other than Witnessing to the Truth to the religious are heretical and false atheists, who are compromising with Evil and should be Shunned.

Witnessing to the Truth is the Path towards the inevitable world enlightenment, when complete adherence to Truth and the elimination of religion’s Evils will bring about Human Utopia. 

Any Atheist activity looking anything like religion must be avoided, to keep Atheists from Evils and preserve the Destiny of the Path.

Since the religious in their lack of Reason admire communal group-think, Atheists shall witness to the Truth and be Ethical from their own individual convictions.

Since the religious in their lack of Reason admire dogmas, no Atheist shall offer the Truth in the form of dogmas.

If confronted by the unworthy for preaching dogmas, Atheists must reply that there are no atheist dogmas and that anything could be Error.

Atheists cannot be blamed for confusing the religious by demanding submission to the one Truth that yet might be Error, since the religious lack Reason anyways.

Atheists cannot be blamed by appearing to behave like the religious by demanding group-think and fidelity to the True Path, since the religious can only perceive Error anyways.

Atheists must continually proclaim that there is no Atheist mythology or faith-based dogma.

... and anthropologists would be able to add more dogmas with many nuances, but this suffices. 
 
As fascinating as this oddly assembled mythology may be, it surely couldn’t be controlling much of atheism. No respected Atheist of any serious stature has endorsed these views. And if any Atheist ever appeared to endorse some of these views, that is only erroneous misinterpretation. After all, as the final dogma says, atheists cannot have a mythology.
 

Comments:

#1 nondescript on Thursday June 20, 2013 at 7:37am

“There is Truth about the One Reality, a Truth supremely valid over anything else people believe.”
This is a weak one. Atheists don’t generally agree on what necessarily constitutes a Truth. While most will say there is a Truth, or a way things actually are, most will deny our ability to know what Truth is. There is a Ying and Yang between “The actual Truth” and “The Great Subjectivity”.

“This Truth arises from Reason, and failure to acknowledge this Truth signals lack of Reason.”
Atheists do tend to promote the use of Reason. There is even a list of fallacies that might serve as our Laws. We tend to promote Reason as a means of approaching Truth without actually attaining it.

“Atheists acknowledge this Truth, while religious people are bereft of this Truth, lost in Error, mired in Evil, and unable to know Reality.”
Again, I think it is more the method than the conclusion that we oppose. When we argue about religion, we tend to argue that the religious method of attaining conclusions is false. Most atheists will even acknowledge that any specific type of god might exist, but it will be Reason that demonstrates such.

“Atheists acknowledge Truth and know Reality because they have been the sole possessors of Reason.”
We acknowledge that there is a Truth out there that can only be approached by Reason. Most will admit that there are many religious people who have Reason to varying degrees. We do tend to think we have more of it.

“Witnessing to this Truth is necessary for the Ethical advancement of humanity, its liberation from irrationality, and its reconciliation with Reality.”
I think we witness to Reason more than Truth. However, we do tend to think that the Ethical advancement of humanity will depend on the use of Reason in moral situations. We tend to think of morality as inherently subjective, so I wouldn’t apply it to the realm of Truth.

“Witnessing to this Truth is all atheists can and need do, since the religious lack Reason to understand explanations of the Truth.”
Again, I would flip this. We tend to think that the teaching of Reason is all we can and need to do. When you read about atheist parenting, for example, it invariably promotes the teaching of Reason and the exposure to all other beliefs. Apparently, we think that Reason alone will be enough to lead the child towards Truth.

“Confronting the religious with the Truth is an effective means of converting them, because the Truth has its own Power to arouse Reason.”
Yes, we do believe that if we demonstrate Reason, people will eventually gravitate towards the Truth.

“Attempting to explain this Truth to the religious on their own terms only compromises the Purity of the Truth.”
Probably true, but something I push against constantly. Religion is emotionally based. Until we start using emotional arguments in addition to Reason, we won’t reach many.

“Atheists encouraging the religious to come to the Truth by approximation or accommodation only betrays the Purity of the Truth.”
There is debate about this. Some think that all religions are equally bad, and some see the more liberal versions of religions as stepping stones toward Truth. I think the trend is for approaching Truth by approximation. I think there is also a divide between accomodationalist and confrontationalists. Personally, I think both are effective in certain areas.

“Atheists doing anything other than Witnessing to the Truth to the religious are heretical and false atheists, who are compromising with Evil and should be Shunned.”
I see atheists dialoging with the religious more. I think we are starting to approach a degree of maturity where we attempt more honest discussion of the differences and similarities between our beliefs. There is a great push to “Love the sinner, but hate the sin”.

“Witnessing to the Truth is the Path towards the inevitable world enlightenment, when complete adherence to Truth and the elimination of religion’s Evils will bring about Human Utopia.”
I don’t know of any atheist that thinks the Reason or the Truth will cure all Evils. Part of the Truth is what we know of human nature. However, we do tend to think there will be less excuses for Evil.

“Any Atheist activity looking anything like religion must be avoided, to keep Atheists from Evils and preserve the Destiny of the Path.”
Atheists do tend to dislike rituals and rites, just from past experience. I do know many who attend church because they like the music or the non-supernatural part of the message. I do think we tend to oppose “group think” to the extent that it is hard to get us together on anything. My response, I suppose, is an example of us not wanting to be corraled into an ideology.

“Since the religious in their lack of Reason admire communal group-think, Atheists shall witness to the Truth and be Ethical from their own individual convictions.”
Yes, this tends to be true.

“Since the religious in their lack of Reason admire dogmas, no Atheist shall offer the Truth in the form of dogmas.”
Depending on the definition of dogmas. However, we do like our bumper stickers.

“If confronted by the unworthy for preaching dogmas, Atheists must reply that there are no atheist dogmas and that anything could be Error.”
As mentioned, we do tend to have the mantra of “anything could be Error”. Again, it depends on the definition of dogmas. You could, I suppose, consider the list of Laws we create in the form of “Fallacies to be avoided” as our dogma. In that case, we do tend do tend to cite it when opposing other dogma.

“Atheists cannot be blamed for confusing the religious by demanding submission to the one Truth that yet might be Error, since the religious lack Reason anyways.”
We do like to confuse the believers with Reason.

“Atheists cannot be blamed by appearing to behave like the religious by demanding group-think and fidelity to the True Path, since the religious can only perceive Error anyways.”
Perhaps true, if by “True Path” you mean the scientific method. Though, that does not wholly support group-think in other areas. For example, atheists tend to range widely in political affiliation.

“Atheists must continually proclaim that there is no Atheist mythology or faith-based dogma.”
Well, we do have our mythological creatures, such as the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Invisible Pink Unicorn.

#2 Maestro Pascal (Guest) on Thursday June 20, 2013 at 6:10pm

Nice post!!! Thanks for sharing.


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