kind atheism

The fact that some religious people still make this proposition tells me that they are openly admitting that the only reason they are “good” is because of religion (even though many of them are causing more harm because of their religious extremism). If your religion is the reason you’re “good”, I have some interesting news for you, you’re not actually a good person, you’re admitting that you’re only doing it because your religion tells you to and hence if not for your religion you’d be a horrible person

ladyoolong  asked:

The idea of atheist wizards begs another question, how likely are they to stay atheists? Not that the Powers care too much about worship, but holding to atheism in a fictional universe where the gods are explicitly manifest requires some mental gymnastics, and in one where wizardry requires being very specific about reality moreso. At least, I would think they would take after Granny Weatherwax: acknowledging gods exist, but "that's no call to go about believing in them."

Well, in situations where the Powers are being less otiose than usual, yeah, this is true. :) And as regards reality, well, there’s reality and there’s Reality, and the two aren’t always necessarily congruent. (Wow, that was a bit Zen. I need more caffeine.) But the Powers would find Granny’s approach entirely acceptable: her ironclad Get The Job Done practicality is never less than commendable.

There are a number of different factors in play here, but let’s never forget that very basic human gift: the ability to refuse to see (either concretely or intellectually) what you really don’t want to. Even nonwizards have this, and indeed it’s been stated a number of times in YW canon that wizards at work are sometimes saved from embarrassment in sevarfrith cultures by the unwillingness of the endlessly flexible human mind to really believe things like the sight of that teenage girl and boy apparently walking out over 42nd Street on empty air (for example).*

The issue here becomes, essentially, a personal one. If an atheistically inclined wizard (see just below for a touch more definition from my POV) in the course of errantry gets into a situation that features exceptionally powerful hypersomatic beings that look and walk and quack like — well, never mind the quacking, but you get the picture — like gods, then if that wizard feels inclined to start wondering whether some of the stories she’s heard from other wizards in the past might have something to them: fine. Once presented with proof that can be personally verified by the senses and personal experience, then the atheist has some concrete data with which to draw conclusions. But where the wizard in question goes with that data is their business. That acceptance — or not — is immaterial to their work. There is no particular advantage in believing in the Powers: they have loads of ways to get their job done that don’t require anyone’s belief. If the atheist wizard chooses to include the Powers into their personal worldview after that, that’s their affair. If the Powers need to engage with that wizard on their business, they’ll work out a way to do it without outraging her/his/whatever’s personal intellectual or emotional integrity — because that’s just polite.

I have a feeling that there are possibly a fair number of different kinds of atheism. The one that routinely comes to mind for me when I think of the word — specifically a refusal to believe in God without concrete proof in the existence of one — has an essential dignity to it, in my view: especially inasmuch as many adherents to this view are claiming the right to do the right things in life without the threat of some God’s displeasure making them do so. If I were God (and let me say very softly that in this particular universe, I pretty much am), I would value virtuous behavior from such people more highly, not less. And if I were running that universe, I would go to considerable lengths not to interfere with their worldview unless there was a really good reason, because they are plainly on My side. (At least I would if I was the kind of God who was confident enough about My relationship with My creation not to feel the need to have every single one of them telling Me how wonderful I was all the time! …Sheesh. Respect and affection are so much more valuable when they’re freely given and unforced.)

…And this goes to the core of the matter. There’s this quote from The Screwtape Letters in which the senior devil is trying to explain to his junior-tempter nephew some of the incomprehensible behavior of the Enemy (i.e. God) toward humans:

You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve.

This is more or less the paradigm in which I’ve been trying to suggest that the One and the Powers are operating. Entropy is running and we all have work to do. If we are all going to be fighting this intractable thing together to any useful effect, then a certain amount of common courtesy is going to be required of us all, from Deity on down (and even to the Power that caused this whole mess, whom we routinely greet politely even while preparing to kick Its sorry butt right down the road). Events will sometimes force individuals involved in this struggle to deal with large universal facts, but at all times all possible care will be taken to allow beings their freedom to choose — including, insofar as humanly and suprahumanly possible, the freedom to choose how they see those facts: because Choice is central to this entire business.

Hope this helps. :)

*Yeah, phonecams are more of a problem than they used to be, but it wouldn’t be beyond the Powers to (if it suited them) cause someone’s photo app to crash at just the wrong moment, or fail to save that picture. Just in the name of the greater Good, you understand. And you probably needed to update that app anyway.

End ableist atheism.

You know the kind I mean. The kind that compares religion unfavourably to psychosis, as if psychosis is some kind of awful, disgusting thing that’s only for the weak-willed. The kind that uses ableist slurs to refer to religious people. The kind that suggests religious people should be institutionalized (as if Muslim people haven’t?).

That kind of atheism. End it, destroy it.