THE admirable Nullifidian has laid down a Friday the 13th challenge to other atheist bloggers.
At the heart of “the challenge to find out at least a little bit more about each other in the atheist blogging community” is a series of questions – each to be answered by individual bloggers.
If you’d like to take part, copy these questions – my responses are below each – and answer them in your own words on your own blog.
Q1. How would you define “atheism”?
A total absence of belief in all deities. Or commonsense, if you prefer.
Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?
I was raised by parents who were generally indifferent to religion, but my schooling was overlaid by a ghastly fire-and-brimstone, Christian fundamentalism in apartheid South Africa. This had the effect of turning me into a rampant atheist by the age of 13. The scars inflicted by “educators” enraged by my refusal to bend my knees to God and Country have since faded, but memories of the abuse have not.
Q3. How would you describe “Intelligent Design”, using only one word?
Q4. What scientific endeavour really excites you?
The development of the internet. Nothing else has ever given me the ability to learn and research so much, so quickly; and to forge alliances across the globe.
Q5. If you could change one thing about the “atheist community”, what would it be and why?
Shake it out of its bloody complacency. There’s no shutting up believers, but generally speaking atheists keep schtum, are often indifferent, and have an exasperating “don’t rock the religious boat” attitude. I say if you don’t rock the damn thing it will never capsize. And capsize it we must!
Q6. If your child came up to you and said “I’m joining the clergy”, what would be your first response?
“Son, how long have you had these paedophile tendencies?”
Q7. What’s your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?
God exists, and no atheist has proved otherwise. I always reply that “the onus is not on me to provide such proof. Can you not grasp the fact that, if you believe something which flies in the face of all logic, you alone have to provide evidence for its existence?”
Q8. What’s your most “controversial” (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?
I am intensely irritated that my loathing of religion is often equated with racism – not only by religionists, but by non-believers who regard themselves as being Left/Liberal. It seems that any criticism of Islam nowadays is automatically branded racist. This is patent nonsense, and has the effect of stifling legitimate debate.
Q9. Of the “Four Horsemen” (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why?
I admire them all, but Dawkins has a talent of crushing creationists better then anyone else I know. And no-one deserves a good crushing more than a dumb-ass creationist.
Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?
George W Bush – but I fear it would be too late. One suspects that he was a few bulbs short of a chandelier before he allowed Jeee-sus into his life. Religion has since played further havoc with his remaining intellect, and I doubt he would ever fully comprehend the extent of the damage he has inflicted on his own country and the world – no matter how hard you tried to educationify him.