This is our introductory blog post, so a few things out of the way;
- Who we are
This is the blog of Atheos, the non-theist/secular humanist/atheist/agnostic student group at the University of Guelph. But we’ll be having (hopefully!) posts from a lot of different members, so expect to see herein a wide variety of opinions. Generally of the heathen variety.
- Comment policy
Be nice. As of now we aren’t filtering comments. But we ask that posters respect the general ethos of the club; safe, accepted, worthy. Disagreement is fine, but our aim is to engage ideas, not denigrate persons.
- What you’ll find here
Topics of concern to the average atheist/agnostic/non-theist/secular humanist, including but not limited to book and movie reviews, debates on relevant topics, personal stories, links and resources of interest, and posts that flesh out topics we’re discussing in our weekly meetings.
It’s a work in progress, so your patience is much appreciated.
- And now… a post!
This week’s topic is “Why Atheism?” (agnosticism/non-theism/secular humanism… you get the idea).
Atheos, our club’s name, is a greek term that means “without god(s).” It’s a category most of us fit in to, but of itself, is simple lack of belief enough? Sitting at our table for club days last week I encountered several times the familiar question; “What do you do at your meetings?” I even got the atheist’s old (annoying) standby, the non-stamp-collector analogy. If all we did all day was sit around and talk about how we didn’t believe, this would be a boring club indeed.
But it isn’t. I would argue that Atheos the club, like the Atheism movement in general, is united by two things; the desire for a community of likeminded people to talk with and support us, and a system of thoughts and ideals that lead us to Atheism in the first place.
I can unpack the first idea easily enough, by imagining a world where atheism would be as boring as non-stamp collecting. In such a world, atheism would have to be as normal a position as not collecting stamps – not subject to suspicion, confusion, derision, and even persecution. Here in Canada we’re fairly lucky; atheism isn’t nearly as perilous or abnormal. But even here I’ve been told by a perfect stranger that I’m going to burn in hell, and, although I’m extremely lucky to have faced zero consequences for my lack of belief in my personal life, many of our members aren’t so lucky. So even if we’re not collecting stamps, we’re organizing because we live in a world where stamp collecting is the norm.
The second idea is more to do with what leads us to atheism than atheism itself. I’ll save the meat of my argument for this week’s meeting, but I’m going to spam a quick list of values here to start the conversation: Science. Truth. Prioritization of evidence for belief. Humanism. The desire to understand. Fairness. That small is not insignificant. That finite is not unimportant. That the universe is really, really cool.
I’m not going to argue that appreciation for science or the importance of evidence is unique to atheism. But I do think these are some of the core ideas that lead us towards atheism, and away from religion.