The Unintelligent Atheists

Dear restaurant-owner,

As always, I spent the first ten minutes of my day deep in prayer. But today my thoughts wouldn’t focus. I was thinking about my eyes, you see. What you said to me yesterday over coffee made my eyeballs shrivel up until they were withered like raisins, and now I can’t get on with my day until I say my piece.

“There’s obviously a God,” you said, stirring your mug of Americano. I shrugged. Obvious is such a subjective word. “The evidence is all around,” you continued, and I nodded with an eyebrow slightly raised. Evidence is pretty subjective too. “Atheists must be unintelligent,” you concluded, and I snorted into my hot java, burning my eyeballs from the scolding splash-back.

You’d been droning on about religious freedom for the last half an hour, about your right to refuse service to gays (though you didn’t mention your right to refuse service to shrimp-eaters, the tattooed or those who wear polyester, all as detestable as gay love in the often-misquoted Leviticus), and I’d run out of etiquette.

The ‘unintelligent’ atheists. This is the group of people who first had the courage to challenge patriarchal convention and put question marks around the limited, pre-scientific understanding of the universe. Their reluctance to accept “because it says so in this book” as a satisfactory answer to the mysteries of the most high was pivotal in driving the scientific understanding that we rely on.

Oh, but their blasphemy is deplorable to you? That’s ok. You don’t have to change your beliefs. In the same way, the fact that your daughter is allowed to read is deplorable to our Taliban friends. The axiom “One Nation, Under God” is deplorable to many atheists. My use of the “argument by shrimp” above may be deplorable to Jews, and your remorseless violation of certain sections of your own scripture in the attempt to uphold arbitrarily chosen prejudices is certainly deplorable to me. Or does religious freedom only apply to Judeo-Christian faiths?

If you, like me, have faith in the higher power and the intelligent design, and you believe that God is infallible, that unconditional love is the essence, the very construct of everything, then you’ll agree that we’re all here looking for the Light. I see it in the flowers, I see it in the clouds, I see it shining the eyes of the faithful—whether their faith is in God, nature, science, themselves, or in all of us. I’m in awe of my atheist brothers and sisters, who stand courageous in the face of their own mortality and drive humanity towards the Light despite having no crumbling papyrus scripture threatening them with pits of belching sulfur.

And in the contrast of our faiths we can refine our understanding of the Truth, whatever form it takes. We’re truth-seekers, after all.

Just had to get that off my chest.

Love and light,

E. A. A. Wilson

E. A. A. Wilson is an ordained minister, metaphysician and writer. Visit her site here.

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9 thoughts on “The Unintelligent Atheists

  1. Your compassion for another view is admirable. It is refreshing to see someone so committed to one side of a story be so understanding of the other side. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, John! Every incredible person has something unique to contribute, and we’ll never know what it is unless we give them space to find it, explore it and share it. Keep shining! 🙂

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  2. “If you, like me, have faith in the higher power and the intelligent design, and you believe that God is infallible, that unconditional love is the essence, the very construct of everything, then you’ll agree that we’re all here looking for the Light. I see it in the flowers, I see it in the clouds, I see it shining the eyes of the faithful—whether their faith is in God, nature, science, themselves, or in all of us. I’m in awe of my atheist brothers and sisters, who stand courageous in the face of their own mortality and drive humanity towards the Light despite having no crumbling papyrus scripture threatening them with pits of belching sulfur.

    And in the contrast of our faiths we can refine our understanding of the Truth, whatever form it takes. We’re truth-seekers, after all.”

    Yes! Beautifully said! I am not an atheist, but I am also not a follower of religion either. I once was, but something led me away from it, and I have never missed it or looked back.

    I believe that we are not here by accident, and as you stated above, I see a beauty and power that cannot easily be explained away. Einstein understood this, a few of his quotes are a rebuke of those who have lost the ability to be in awe of the earth and the universe.

    Yes, we are all truth seekers. And we need to give each other the freedom, the room, to seek that truth in our INDIVIDUAL way!

    Great letter!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your feisty writing.
    How many of us were atheists, before we were believers?
    Now,… how many of us who are now believers, want to go back to being an atheist?
    This is just my opinion,…take it for what it is worth.
    I can’t say that I disliked being in grades 1-8 (although I must have been fond of grade 9, since I stayed there so long!). So there was nothing wrong with any of them,….they were a part of the process. Just because they were part of the process, does not mean that I want to linger there. There are other, higher, more exciting educational places to be, and classes to attend. Life, and the development of our consciousness and personality, is a life long process.
    If you want to stay at any one level of the process for a while, then that is your choice. The decision to move onward, and upward is another choice that many of us make.
    Should we “attack” or reject those who want to stay at their current level, or attack those who want to move on? No,….it’s a free choice environment,….as long as your actions don’t impinge on my freedoms.
    Ah,….but there is the trap.
    Who is more loving, who has better values, and who lives those values to the fullest? Personal liberty is an easy thing to talk about, but it is not so easy to live, when your value system starts conflicting with the value system of other people.
    Free will is meant to be applied to ourselves, and not meant to be foisted upon others, so that we can extract an outcome favourable to us alone. So it is about having and living a value system, that will allow us to live harmoniously with one another.
    Well, if you don’t believe in God, then who is your model for behaviour? Are we inherently good? I believe we are, until we start absorbing the value system of the limited thinking that drives social consciousness. Trying to be the one good apple in a bushel of fruit that is on the way out, is tough. You have to “know” what is right, and be tough enough to hold to that, otherwise you succumb to the continual pressure of living among a society of people who are still looking for themselves!
    There is nothing wrong with being an atheist, of course, it is nothing to brag about either. It’ is simply a choice to limit your exploration of life, to certain parameters that you have arbitrarily set up for yourself,….for whatever reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, although you put forward a very good point, I can’t say I agree that atheists have limited their exploration of life. We all set up parameters, it’s quite rational to or we’d never get done with anything. And as a believer in God I think it’s important to note that an atheist’s reluctance to accept the notion of an infinite consciousness doesn’t change the fact that it’s there – working with said atheist, guiding, loving and helping that person to grow. Let’s consider Carl Sagan, for example. Although he rejected the term atheist because of its finality and arrogance, his views were akin to those of someone who rejects the idea of an all-that-is. Yet his contributions to our understanding of the world, the cosmos, ourselves and therefore also God were simply staggering!!! 🙂 I think our marvelous Life can be explored with or without a commitment to spirituality – because Spirit doesn’t need our commitment.

    All my love and light!

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  5. Your reply mad me smile. Thanks,
    As I said, I did have to “repeat” a few grades! so i may have been gone to the wash room when they were talking about something important. I probably missed the part that you picked up on.
    I like what I’ve read of your writing so far. You have a lot happening.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! I suspect, from what I’ve read of your blog posts at least, that you did a grand job of picking up what matters – after all, school isn’t where we learn! 😉

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