To be an atheist means to not believe in God. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I just saved you $15.
David G. McAfee’s Hi, I’m an Atheist!: What That Means and How to Talk About It with Others caught my eye as I was wandering my favorite bookstore a couple of weeks ago. I had never heard of the book or of McAfee, so for only $15, I gave it a try. I hoped that this pocket-sized guide might fill a gap in atheist literature on how to come out to others.
I love to seek out science history books that tell the stories of unsung heroes. Anything that doesn’t begin and end with Newton, that doesn’t praise Darwin’s work of genius, that doesn’t repeat the somber myth of Galileo’s persecution, is what I want. Clifford Conner’s 2005 book A People’s History of Science: Miners, Midwives, and “Low Mechanicks” exemplifies this worthy retelling of the story of science better than anything I’ve ever read.
Last week I wrote a surprisingly critical review of David Hutchings and James C. Ungureanu’s 2022 book Of Popes and Unicorns: Science, Christianity, and How the Conflict Thesis Fooled the World. It was unfortunate that my opinion of the book ended up being so negative, because I really enjoyed about 70% of it.
Before I wrote that post, I had actually wanted to include a whole deep dive on my own opinions about the conflict between science and religion. After writing it, however, I realized that after tackling the book in so much detail, my own conclusion about this perceived contradiction warranted its own separate post. This is that post.
There is no question more tempting to the historian of science than the age-old “When did science begin?” The most popular answer to this question has to be “Ancient Greece!” It was Carl Sagan’s answer, and it was Simon Singh’s. This week, I found that it was also Andrew Gregory’s answer.
All his life, Carl Sagan was troubled by grand dichotomies—between reason and irrationalism, between wonder and skepticism. The dichotomies clashed within him.
. . . In the final analysis, he was the dichotomy: the prophet and the hard-boiled skeptic, the boyish fantasist and the ultrarigorous analyst, the warm companion and the brusque colleague, the oracle whose smooth exterior concealed inner fissures, which, in the end, only one woman would heal.
One of the most notable traits of the white evangelical church today is the rampant, toxic patriarchal sexism. It is one of the many reasons that so many people, including women, are leaving the church. Notably, many women who leave their toxic churches stay religious or spiritual, but I’m not talking about them today. I’m talking about women, men, and atheism.
I have always felt most at home in communities of nonbelievers. In my very first-ever blog post in 2016, I said this for the first time.
The only problem is that I only know one atheist other than myself. I have almost no outlet for my discoveries or my questions. I hope that this blog acts as a way for me to go from being a rogue atheist to a member of a community of individuals who are either in a situation similar to my own or who were brave enough to be able to come out. I intend to share my experiences and discoveries with you as I make my way through works of atheistic literature, learn more about natural science, and form my own opinions and lifestyle choices based on my beliefs.
For the past few years, I have been inching closer to Progressive Christianity. Before you ask, I’m not going to become a Christian. However, since exiting my Angry Atheist phase, I’ve felt confident and curious enough to explore who Progressive Christians are and what they believe.
How many times have you heard an atheist say, “My nonbelief doesn’t hinder my values but rather it makes me fight even harder against injustice”? This is one of the things I love most about atheism. Most atheists know that since they only get this one life, they ought to use it for good.