Greta Christina, over at the other blog collective (which is starting to look better after Patheos 3.0), asks “Will Atheism Become Easier?”
I’m wondering if this struggle will be easier for the people who come into atheism after us. Or even if it will be a struggle at all. I’m wondering if they’ll look at atheism the way my friend Tim and I look at existentialism. “Sure, there’s no God, and my consciousness is a biological product of my brain, and my sense of a cohesive identity and selfhood is a somewhat illusory mental construction, and when I die I’ll just be gone forever. So what? That’s fine with me. I don’t see what the big deal is.”
It’s interesting to look back at the history of Western atheism. For centuries, atheism was an accusation that you threw at other people. There is little evidence that anyone was actually an atheist from the collapse of Rome until maybe the 17th century. Then, slowly, people began to express doubts in private correspondence and journals. Then people started embracing streamlined religions like deism and pantheism. Then you started to see people call themselves agnostics. Then, finally, atheists.
Read the whole thing, because I think she spells it out very well. It’s also a good follow-up to the flap that she sparked over at Slacktiverse.
It’s as if atheism was something we had to tip-toe up to. But now we’re here. So what’s next?
I’d like to think that Greta is right. Now that we’ve elbowed some cultural space for atheism, and shored it up with arguments and counter-apologetics, maybe atheism will soon become unremarkable.