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Negative Reflection

Last week, I got a nasty e-mail from a fellow atheist about one of my blogs. This atheist didn’t agree with my approach to religion and thinks that we ought not to offend the religious in any way. He claimed that my view of atheism reflects negatively on all atheists.

I wonder, does that mean that the greater atheist community can claim that certain Christians reflect negatively on all Christians? Hitler was a Christian, so therefore all Christians must be Hitler, right?

Seriously though, I don’t see why the actions and attitudes of some atheists have any reflection on the actions and attitudes of other atheists. We don’t even claim that the actions of some religious people reflect on the actions of others and yet atheism is not even a religion. This line of thinking is akin to claiming that a non-brown-eyed person’s actions and attitudes reflect negatively on all non-brown-eyed people.

At least with religious people, there is a common belief system that can be criticized. This common belief system can reflect on all those who subscribe to that common belief system. However, different people have different interpretations of that common belief system and follow different parts of that common belief system. In this way, we get radically different Christians.

So while I can’t say that all Christians are like James Dobson, I can say that all Christians claim to follow the Bible… in general (I do actually know a few Christians who claim that they don’t follow the Bible). My point here is that atheists don’t have a common belief system. While it is true that most atheists today in America tend to be Humanists, not all atheists are Humanists.

I don’t agree with all atheists on every issue nor would I expect all atheists to agree with me. I don’t think one person’s lack of belief reflects negatively on me or my lack of belief.

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