Here I Go Again; an Atheist in the Hen House
Baylor University has a lot of things. A Baptist foundation. A great football team. And the only sociology of religion post-graduate program in the country.
One of the major considerations for me applying to Baylor, besides how it will affect my family for me to move so far away, is how does an atheist survive in such a religious environment? I previously attended Shorter University (formerly Shorter College) and it could be said that’s where irreligion began to take hold. In looking around Google for some insight into the secular student experience at Baylor, I found the article in the Baylor Lariat below, written by a professor of theology at the school.
I started to go through this article point by point and then I realized something. The entire premise of this article is based on atheism as its own religion or philosophy. But, we all know it is not. Atheists, just like Christians, Muslims and Jews, have varying opinions and degrees of empathy, intelligence and negative attitudes about a number of things. Why don’t atheists give as a whole? Well, we do, but one reason we wouldn’t might be because there isn’t some huge atheist “church” we all rally behind. We give of our time and volunteer hours to the number of causes we believe in that are available for us to give to. My family gave to Toys for Tots this year, last year I gave to an individual friend in desperate need in conjunction with a group of friends, before that I gave to a cause that helps find adoptive families for special needs children. Sometimes when we give as a group, we are rejected outright.
Atheism does not have answers to why we should be kind, though biology does a pretty good job with that or what the meaning of life is, because atheism only says one thing much in the same way that theism says but one thing. There is no god. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Theism says but one thing, there is/are god(s). Secular humanism, atheistic Buddhism, Catholicism, Jainism…these are philosophies and theologies that might answer these questions asked by the professor. Atheism does not.
So, the strawman argument here fails miserably. I’d be happy to answer any questions asked of me about why I think empathy and giving and kindness are a good idea or what I think the purpose of my life is, but those things are not informed by atheism, because atheism does not inform. It only explains one aspect of a person and that is they do not believe in a god. That’s all. No matter how hard the religious try, they cannot force us to adopt theology, even one without god. I don’t want to be informed by a philosophy and I don’t want to be forced to turn one belief I have into a whole dogma…and I don’t know any other atheists that do either, frankly.
Maybe before spouting the horrors of an “atheist worldview” one might choose to understand what “atheism” means, that it actually lacks a worldview, especially a professor of theology at a renowned university, no?