I recently posted about faith in which I suggested that the unknown is a precursor to theological belief, and that reason is epistemologically unsound. That is to say, we have certain imperatives we conveniently take for granted including knowledge of ourselves which have more akin to faith than truth.
A certain confluence of ideas has lead me to look more closely at atheism and its apparent expanding influence as a form of activism if the recent article “Why Atheists Have Become a Kick-Ass Movement You Want on Your Side” posted in Network for Church Monitoring is to be taken at face value and there is no reason it shouldn’t. It is an interesting thread weaved through possibly more loosely connected circumstance that indicates a movement of atheists – a collective action.
I am not trying to criticize the article however I am looking for leadership, and that’s one of the pitfalls of the atheist edict. It has luminaries, Dawkins and the late Hitchens, and even charitable organizations such as The Foundation Beyond Belief. I am just looking for an institution. Perhaps this is science itself. Maybe it is reason. But these don’t collect dues and encourage piety on their own. Even ethics play only a small part. Who do we look for in leadership if the greatest claim to discovery and understanding is peer reviewed? Perhaps we can stand behind the periodic table.
What I am going to suggest – borrowing from science – is that atheism is itself emerging as part of a complex system involving the sharing of ideas through technological advancement. There are at least two reasons for this: The article indicates that the response of atheism to societal issues is based not on an unwavering dogma, but on the flexibility and timeliness of information through channels. Citing several examples of internet-based outcries, atheists are able to combine to produce effective results in a spontaneous network alliance. The second reason I am suggesting is that effective mobilization is greater and more impactful than its actions. There is the potential for a tipping point: the language of atheism is more recognized, there are more organizations forming, and lessons are being learned. Put it this way: perhaps it’s ‘an idea whose time has come.’
One such idea is that there can never be an institution of atheism. Atheism has therefore an uphill struggle against those that have staked out territory. Atheism – the absence of deity is imperfect. It raises no buildings to itself, it raises only more questions. It is limited in its creativity and tied to our time and experience. It debunks mythology and soul searching. It cleanly erases faith. Why then should we be enthusiastic about this movement at all?
In my mind it is balance. I observe balance when one side has been too powerful and exhibits the out of control ideological patterns of dominance and gain. It’s a collective evil of group think to allow continuous advancement without caution in global change. The need for a new balance comes from experiencing conflict and desperation in humanity. It comes from pain and suffering, neglect and isolation which need to be eradicated – if possible. I can only hope that I am right to see the opportunity for balance with such a system as atheism. I want a strong counterweight if I am not allowed to have faith.