Of all the words that can be attached to the word atheist, why do people nowadays use the word “proud”? Why can’t it be “understanding”, “thinking”, “enlightened”, “loving”, “honest”, etc.? According to Wikipedia,
“Pride is an inward directed emotion that exemplifies either an inflated sense of one’s personal status or the specific mostly positive emotion that is a product of praise or independent self-reflection. Philosophers and social psychologists have noted that pride is a complex secondary emotion which requires the development of a sense of self and the mastery of relevant conceptual distinctions (e.g., that pride is distinct from happiness and joy) through language-based interaction with others. Some social psychologists identify it as linked to a signal of high social status.”
I can’t help but question, what exactly is it with atheism that people should be proud of?One of our bloggers wrote,
“Atheism is just a lack of belief or non-belief on a deity or deities; a philosophical standpoint on a particular matter of debate. Atheism is neither a philosophy nor a religion. There is nothing to proselytize and preach about.” – Yahwah, My Atheism, Your Atheism
I am having difficulty justifying this “Atheist Pride”. It’s similar to the annoying “Filipino Pride” of the citizens of the Failippines; like becoming “proud of our blood” because a part-Filipina made it as a finalist in a beauty competition, even if she’s really representing another country. Filipinos are THAT hungry to boost insecure egos, trivialities become sources of “national pride.”
We really want change to happen, but conducting meet ups and evangelizing atheism will not create a revolution. There is nothing in atheism that is worth proselytizing and if one ever seeks to convert people, the intelligentsia should be the population target. Debating with a random person on the internet and in a park is just an exercise of wits and debating skills, not a world-changing act.
We must also remember, that education is key and what we must do is to teach people critical thinking so they can decide for themselves if they want to be an atheist, an agnostic, a deist, a liberal theist or whatever they want to be.
Instead of continuing to be the obnoxious people that most of us (I admit that I was one for some time) have become, our militancy should be defined as the active and positive use of technology and multimedia to reach out and educate the Filipino, especially the learned youth, about the fruits of critical thinking.
I refuse to say that “I’m a proud atheist” because it often entails bragging, which is just as annoying as the religious people’s “holier than thou” mindset. We should not forget that pride begets bigotry.
We are militant atheists because we want to do something about the ill-effects of religion: hate, discrimination and division. Many people fail to realize that our dream of a bullshit-free society won’t happen overnight, not even in a decade. It may not even happen in our lifetime and that it will take a LOT of hard work to accomplish this.
Instead of saying, we are proud atheists, we could say
I’m a generous and happy atheist.
I am happy because I know that there are no demons and gods to fear.
I am happy that I am no longer bound by the shackles of religion and superstition.
I am happy that I am making the most out of my life and
I am happy that I am part of a movement that promotes humanism and critical thinking for my fellow Filipinos.