Posts tagged The Guardian
This evening I stumbled across a pretty interesting read from our pals across the pond at The Guardian, an article entitled “Atheists, Please Read My Heathen Manifesto” by Julian Baggini.
While I appreciate his effort to give most sensible nonbelievers one common constitution to operate under, I don’t much agree with his arguments. For one, and it’s a trivial matter, he claims that we need to all unite under the label “heathen.” Because, according to him, that label doesn’t have as negative connotation as “atheist.” I think it does. I think the phrase “heathen” is on a lot of people’s mind when they start killing in the name of their god. It’s synonymous with “infidel” in a lot of ways.
Anyhow, Baggini also goes on to claim that “heathens,” as he’s calling us all now, have “belief in Naturalism” and pursue Truth with a capital T and that heathens can actually be religious in some degrees. The bit about naturalism reads like a rancid pile of mumbo-jumbo to me, but his talk about Truth with a capital T and toned-down religious belief doesn’t sit with me at all.
I don’t think nonbelievers/atheists/etc. should be concerned with Truth, I think they should be more concerned with Fact. Indiana Jones taught me the difference between Fact and Truth a long time ago, and it’s been a guiding principle ever since. The “Truth” can waiver, but facts remain firm. I acknowledge that when he’s talk about “Truth” he means something on a emotional level that can’t be qualified by facts, but my point still remains. People live and die for something they think is a truth, and often that truth get muddled over the course of history or it even ends up fading away.
I appreciate Baggini’s attempt to give the nonbeliever culture a few central points to rally around, because I think most of us can agree we need it. We need to become organized and more involved and unashamed. That’s what last weekend’s Reason Rally in D.C. was all about. However, I think he missed the mark here.