Pastor Mike here again:
In the aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses I thought I’d take the opportunity to do a political post. And if this question doesn’t continue my trend of drawing hundreds of comments, I don’t know what will. Here’s what I want to know: as an atheist, do you consider yourself patriotic?
I know this question has a history. For most of the Cold War Era atheism was considered synonymous with Communism and un-Americanism; thus I could understand that many atheists would want to reject to this false stereotype by vehemently asserting their patriotism. However, I want to put a little spin on this question. See, most people who ask whether atheists are patriotic are probably assuming that being patriotic is a good thing. I do not. In my opinion (and this is based largely on my religious beliefs) patriotism is largely a negative and destructive force in the world. For instance, the last two centuries have been the ongoing story of how patriotic nationalism has led to imperialism, war, racial oppression, economic exploitation, and even genocide – and that’s just American patriotism! So when people accuse atheists of being “un-American”, to me that’s a good thing.
So my question is not “prove to me that you’re patriotic enough” but more along the lines of “explain to me how you justify being patriotic”. Given the common humanity of all people that I assume atheists would affirm, is it rational to favor one group of people over another? And since you don’t believe in tribal deities or in a God who would bless one particular nation, is there any reason to suppose that your own nation is still somehow more “blessed” than all the rest?
I’m not assuming that most atheists are patriotic, but if you are, I’d like to know why. Why does it seem rational (and not just pragmatic) to you to be so?