My knee-jerk reaction to a quote like that is to grab it and cherish it for awhile, giddily anticipating the day a can somehow sling it out again feeling very cocky and smart. How nice to have a shiny quip that can tidily sum up something complex for the attention-span impaired. But like most glib little sayings, it has tarnished really fast on me.
For many people, that statement is true. They live their lives and rarely thinking about religion. It seems like one of those things that happen to other people and they can, for the most part, ignore it.
For me, Atheism is a religion like not drinking is to a member of AA. That’s probably a badly worded parallel, but I hope I’m getting the idea across. I think about religion and atheism all the time. I’ve been trying to remove phrases like, "Thank god", "Oh my god", and "I swear to god" from my vocabulary. I’ve become acutely aware of the implicit acceptance of most people that most other “good” people believe in a god just like they do.
Every time there’s an interview with a person who’s either just achieved their goal or gone through a horrible event, I wait to see whether or not they’re going to credit their god for either getting them through it or allowing it to happen. I heard on NPR this morning that the headline in one Bulgarian newspaper, regarding the release of the medics from Libya, was, “There is a God.” It annoyed me.
I have a friend who refuses to accept that I’m an atheist. She tells people that I’ve become agnostic and looks at it like a fad I’m going through; eventually I’ll come around to being a believer again.
Hemet, The Friendly Atheist, had a post about "What should the focus be?" Creating new atheists or getting those who are already atheists to speak out as such?
Which led to me thinking how can I speak out as an atheist without being some un-born again evangelizer. I didn’t think there was a symbol for atheists, seeing how we’re not a religion. Then another commenter on blog pointed out that Arlington Cemetery has a recognized symbol for atheists: authorized emblems
I like the idea of a passive, non-confrontational symbol for my non-belief. And I do think there is more to being an atheist than just an absence of belief in the supernatural. While the American Heritage Dictionary defines religion as:
Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universean alternate definition is also listed:
A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.
You can’t pursue not collecting stamps with zeal or conscientious devotion. You wouldn’t want to blog about it either.