Optimism in Atheism

I got watching The Four Horsemen to which Rich posted the link on the Atheist Society Facebook group which consists of a roundtable between Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett (how amazing is that!) which is well worth a watch to get an insight into the minds of these people.

One of the questions they asked I thought was particularly interesting, the issue of whether as atheists we actually can make a difference.

There is often a general feeling within the community that we can’t, that we are never going to manage to convince anyone to give up superstitious beliefs. I disagree with this attitude though, it has always felt to me like if that is what we honestly believe then we are really just wasting our time. Luckily, I don’t feel like this.

As Dawkins says, he runs into people all the time who have seen the light after having seen one of Dawkins’ lectures or reading one of his books. People who until this point fully believed their faith have it shaken and give it up to rationality and science.

Of course, at least for the moment, I don’t have the reach of someone like Dawkins and Hitchens but I’m sure this demonstrates the principles and indeed I see it working at the local level too. While I’ve yet to have one of the Christian Union come up to me and say “wow, you’re right, this whole faith thing is just silly” (to be clear we haven’t lost a member either ;)), I have a small list of people forming of reformed fence sitters now proclaiming the lack of a god thanks to my evangelism.

Dawkins puts it right when he says there is a huge pool of people who haven’t really made up your mind yet who can be shown the light. And I’m not just talking about people who describe themselves as agnostics, indeed I probably don’t include these people – I leave them for Gijsbert’s preaching. But people who describe themselves as beliving in god without really doing much about it – the 75% of whatever of people who put Christian down on their census form really are still up for grabs.

And just remember – it’s a million points if you convert Carl ;).



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2008 at 2:24 pm and is filed under Humanism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.