Give Me That Good Old Fashioned Old Timey Atheism

I am fairly immersed in the atheist movement. When you’re constantly in interactions with other outspoken atheists, it is easy on a day to day basis to start to take other atheists who share your values and basic viewpoints for granted. One regularly gets disabused of whatever naive hopes and illusions you may have had that just being an atheist would make people inherently more rational or ethical. From within a movement it is easy sometimes to get focused on all the imperfections of the whole endeavor.

On Thanksgiving I spent some hours listening to Seth Andrews’s estimable podcast The Thinking Atheist. And let me say, wow, Seth has some incredible broadcasting talent. One episode I listened to was an old one on closeted atheists, which blew me away. A few of the letters he read from atheists who cannot be open about their atheism were extremely affecting to me. They reminded me why I do what I do and re-inspired me to want to be an atheist blogger. Fortunately, I already am one, so carrying through on that inspiration should be easy. If you have an hour and 18 minutes, or even just 15 or 30, I really recommend spending some time with the stories of conscience told in the podcast below:

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Nathan

    “When you’re constantly in interactions with other outspoken atheists…for granted.”

    Thank you. You’re absolutely right. It’s great to bring back, from time to time, that invigorating feeling of first breaking free and being an atheist in this culture. As powerful as it feels, sometimes it’s equally lonesome when one’s dogmatic family has no hope of discussing it with you.

    For me, it also caused awareness that I was no longer quite as connected with some friends–and years later, they haven’t changed.

  • Pofarmer

    I can tell you, from experience, that coming out as an Atheist is hard. It’s amazing the amount of rejection and vitriol and hate that can come from those closest to you. And what is sad, is my wife would divorce me, right now, today, for no other reason than no longer being a “believer” if she weren’t a Catholic. Schadenfreude.

  • Little_Magpie

    That caller (Drew) at about 30, 31 minutes, saying he’s noticed it’s more accepted to say “meh, I’m not really religious” than saying you’re an atheist, people are like whoa there! I’ve noticed this too, wtf is that about?
    And Seth’s discussion about the Pledge of Allegiance (with the added “under God”) reminds me of my constant befuddlement at what I see as flag-and-Pledge fetishism – even aside from the under God thing – in the US. Granted I’ve never been in a city council meeting, so I don’t know if we have something comparable here. (….. And lately, if I were, it would certainly be amusing… I live in Toronto and if you’ve been lucky enough to miss what I’m talking about, go ask Google about Mayor Rob Ford…. but I digress.) AFAIK, here in Canada, you have to pledge allegiance to the Queen if you are becoming a new citizen, but you’d expect that. Maybe if you’re been sworn in to a political office, but not, you know, all the damn time. Again, wtf is that about? I get love of country; I don’t get this, frankly, paraphilia about national symbols.


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