i have adventures (sometimes)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Week 2013

18:27 Posted by Ali , 6 comments
It's A Week!

My friend Chris has blogged about it here, but here's the general gist, according to the Facebook page:
The idea of ‘A’ Week is simple - to raise awareness of how many people are ‘Good without God[s]’ and don’t need religion to influence their lives.
So that's it in a nutshell. All you have to do if you want to take part is change your profile picture to an A for the week of the 17th to the 23rd of March.

These days, I hardly meet anyone who believes in a god, at least in the traditional sense. That said, I know that when I was a Christian, I remember finding atheists... unsettling. "Atheist" seemed like such a strong and scary word. It was one thing to be kind of fuzzy about religion - it was quite another to be that sure that there wasn't a god.

Obviously, I know better now. As do most people. But I think there's still something to be said for standing up fairly quietly and reminding people that atheists are actually just quite ordinary people whom you know. We're not amoral baby-eating monsters. We're your friends and family. (Hello!)

As Chris pointed out in his post, there's also the advantage of reminding socially isolated atheists that they're not on their own. There really is a world outside religion, and we're doing ok out here. (Hello!)

So this is me, letting Facebook know that I'm good without gods. I'm not by any means perfect, but I'm always learning, and I'm living my life as best I can.


  1. I've never considered atheists to be "amoral baby-eating monsters", and I'm upset by the suggestion that I might.
    What is the purpose of "A week"? It looks as though it's an Atheist pride thing; but what comes across is that theists should be ashamed for clinging to their beliefs.

  2. I'm glad that you don't think so - it is an extreme stereotype, and obviously it's not something most people would believe to be literally true! But especially in more fundamentalist traditions, there's the notion that morality comes only from God - you really will find people sincerely arguing that atheists must all be murderers and rapists because we've "rejected morality". I see this sort of affirmation as a positive reminder that morality does not come from an external source. It isn't necessary to be religious to be a good person. I'm glad that you seem to believe that already, but there really are a lot of people who don't.

    I don't think it's an attack on religion per se, and certainly not on theists themselves. It's a critique of the notion that ONLY religion can make you a good person.

  3. I think that even in the less fundamentalist traditions, there's the notion that morality stems from God. But that rejecting God means rejecting morality? Well that's plainly absurd, and anyone who advocates such is a fool. It would be like saying that anyone who rejects the light of Bill and Ted must also reject their essential message: "Be excellent to each other!"

    "Good without gods" would seem to imply "Bad with gods". And that "A week" takes place the week preceding "Holy Week" makes the campaign appear a tad pointed.
    There's nothing wrong with being an atheist (though obviously you're all going to burn in hell ;)), but equally there's nothing intrinsically wrong with holding religious beliefs (though, again, obviously most of those beliefs are wrong and will land their holders in that same fiery pit in which the atheists will find themselves).

  4. '"Good without gods" would seem to imply "Bad with gods"'

    ...eh, it might seem to imply that if you're looking for conflict, but you actually need to phrase it "Only good without gods" to imply that.

    (For contrast, imagine how aggressive evangelicals are on the basis of John 14:6, and how much more reasonable it would seem if it read: 'Jesus said to him, "I am a way, and a truth, and a life; it is possible to come to the Father through Me.' - that would be the religious equivalent of "good without gods")

    This may be of use:

  5. "Well that's plainly absurd, and anyone who advocates such is a fool."

    I agree with you - but what this means is that you're not our target audience. I'm really glad you feel this way, but not everyone does (and I'm not just talking about people like Ray Comfort here). That many people think this is not a criticism of you. It's like if someone says "White feminists don't care about race!" - I don't need to say "I do!", because I'm not actually the target audience there (in theory - obviously I could think about race more, but that's not the point of this argument). In that case, that criticism just isn't about me.

    If people believe that morality stems ONLY from god, as opposed to the more liberal idea I believe you're implying that god is ONE source of morality, then by definition atheism does mean rejecting morality. It's not an unusually outlandish view to believe that atheists are amoral. Like I said, I'm glad that you and all sensible people don't believe that, but it's really no uncommon.

    I don't believe that this campaign at all implies that there's anything wrong with religious beliefs, and I don't agree with your reading, for the reasons Keith gave below. "I'm fine, I don't want ice cream", does not imply that I would NOT be fine if I DID have ice cream.

    I will agree with you that the positioning may be quite pointed.

  6. Thanks for the input, Keith!