And so, to me, atheism means what it says – without god or gods, living your life without recourse to a large chiaroscuro of a supreme being to credit or to explain or to excuse. Now I’ll be the proud mother and say that my daughter understands this. A couple of days ago, in preparation for this talk, I was interviewing her, asking her a few questions about how she viewed her heathen heritage. First I asked her if she believed in god. She crinkled up her nose at me like I had mentioned something distasteful, like spinach and liver, or kissing a boy, and said, No! I asked her if she was sorry she’d been raised as an atheist, and she said no, she liked it. I asked why. First, she said, you don’t have to waste Sundays going to pray. Also I’d rather do things myself than have somebody else do them for me. If somebody gets sick, I wouldn’t just pray to god he or she gets better, I would try to buy some medicine for them, to help them get better.
Oh, I liked that answer. I couldn’t help it. This sounded to me like, what do you call it, a value system. She also said that she likes to see things for herself before believing in them. If a friend told me, guess what, I’ve got a flying dog, I’d say, can I see it. Katherine said she has friends who claim they’ve seen god. One of her close friends told her she’s seen bright lights in the middle of the night that she knows were signs from Jesus. So Katherine asked her if she could do a sleepover, to check out the light for herself. Oh, you’d never see it, her friend replied. Only people who believe in god can see it.
As Richard Dawkins has said, “With religion, there’s always an escape clause.”
It’s a good read. Go check it out.