On the internet today, someone that I know said that, even though she wasn’t an atheist, she thought we all deserved a better atheism than Richard Dawkins gives us. I am an atheist, and I’m inclined to agree — I think Dawkins (et all those guys — Hitchens, Harris, &c) did an important service by making atheism a reasonable subject of conversation in the national discourse. But they also did it in sort of the only way that you CAN do that in the national discourse in America, which was by being huge fucking pricks about it. This is kind of not their fault, I guess — Richard Dawkins didn’t decide that the way that we all ought to communicate our ideas is by having our individual platforms and then yelling at people from them. And it’s important that SOMEONE carved out the space, but it’s also misleading to let these guys define what atheism is for everyone.
This is especially because “atheism” isn’t really a tradition or a philosophy; it’s a broad category of many different traditions and philosophies, unified only by a single characteristic that they share in common. “Atheism” is as, or more, diverse than “theism”, and only some terrible prick would insist that all theists believe the same things.
Anyway, this got me thinking that maybe I ought to write down my own ideas about my own kind of atheism in a systematic way. I’ve had a lot of occasion to think really long and hard about what I believe and why. A lot of this is because of my challenges with depression and alcoholism — you know, I think a lot of us can get by pretty well without having thought rigorously about our (for lack of a better term) LIFE PHILOSOPHY (our own individual theories about “how we should be in the world”), but when you go through some of the emotional and psychological challenges that this kind of philosophy specifically provides a bulwark against, you end up putting a lot of work into it.
A lot of people find religion, or find a philosophy to help them get through rough times. I went through rough times, but I mostly just made mine up. This is it; I figure if I write it down, maybe someone else who’s having a rough time might find something useful in it. It’s what you might call Religious, but Not Spiritual. There isn’t a name for it so far as I know, but it technically breaks down as Atheistic Materialist Zen Mysticism.
I will not elaborate.