Yes, life without God can be bleak. Atheism is about facing up to that
By JULIAN BAGGINI - THE GUARDIAN
Added: Sat, 10 Mar 2012 15:55:21 UTC
Attempts to brighten up atheism's image miss its unique selling point – life can be brutal, yet we live in recognition of that
Atheists have to live with the knowledge that there is no salvation, no redemption, no second chances.' Photograph: Frank Baron for the Guardian
The problem with the "atheist" moniker has been recognised for decades. It's too negative, too associated with amoral nihilism. It's understandable then that many would agree with Richard Dawkins that we need a word like "gay" which "should be positive, warm, cheerful, bright". So why not "bright"?
One reason, which I mentioned right at the start of this series, is that it sounds too smug. But there's an even more important reason why we should not choose a word that is "positive, warm, cheerful": although many atheists are all those things, atheism itself is none of them.
Atheists have seemed rather keen in recent years to stress their jolly side. As well as the whole "brights" movement, there's the "happy human" logo used by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the British Humanist Association and several other humanist groups. Then there were the atheist bus posters telling us that we should stop worrying and enjoy life.
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A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.
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A great article about Jerry DeWitt and the growing presence of atheist communities
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Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').
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Last weekend, the Atheist Film Festival showed more than a dozen films about separation of church and state, freedom of religion (and no religion), the conflict between science and religion in public schools.
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