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Why I Write about Atheism

The other day, my wife asked me why I write so much about my atheism on my blog. What am I trying to accomplish? Aren't I concerned about the possible negative consequences considering how prejudiced people can be towards atheists down here in the south?

One reason why I write so much about it is that writing things down helps me to organize my thoughts. When I'm simply thinking about things, I can have dozens of thoughts bouncing around in my head, and I may dwell on some of those thoughts, without following others to their logical conclusions. Writing those thoughts with an idea that someone else is going to read them forces me to present them coherently and to try to see the thoughts all the way through. Still, there wouldn't be any reason to publicize such writings if that was the only reason I did it.

There are actually several audiences I have in mind when I write my blog entries. One is the group of people who are very religious and have an open mind. I don't expect to 'convert' those people to atheism, but perhaps they will begin to question certain aspects of their religion and be a little less dogmatic (for example - the Christians who use the Old Testament to condemn homosexuality, but have no problem doing chores on Sunday, eating shrimp, or wearing a polyester/cotton blend shirt).

Then, there are the people who have already started to question things. I would hope that they find my essays informative and helpful. I would also hope that one more voice on the web helps them to see that they're not alone in having doubts.

The final audience is the group that's prejudiced towards atheists. The term, atheist, carries such a negative connotation in our society - many people even take it as a personal insult to be called an atheist. A recent study found atheists to be the most distrusted group out of all the options in the survey (which included other groups such as Muslims, homosexuals, Hispanics, conservative Christians, recent immigrants, Jews, Whites, and African-Americans). There really isn't any reason that it should be that way (or frankly why any of those groups should be distrusted). It's a term that simply describes one aspect of your view of the universe, and says nothing about your nature or what type of person you are. So, I would hope that those people who are prejudiced towards atheists would read my blog entries, and even if it changes nothing about how they view religion for themselves, that they will at least realize that most atheists aren't evil, amoral, hedonistic, or any of the other stereotypes that many believe. We're just normal people who happen to believe in one less thing than most.

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