Materialist atheism as a fringe movement?
Brights (materialist atheists) don’t shine so bright?
A group of friends was trying to figure out who the world’s top twenty atheists are. This turned out to be more difficult than we had at first realized, because garnering a bunch of headlines doesn’t make a person or group influential, as such. That can be sheer “What next?” value.
Whatever is next obliterates what went before.
Anyway, one friend, Laszlo Bencze, who has reason to think much on these things, wrote thoughtfully,
What is most interesting to me about the names being presented as the top 20 atheists is how unrecognizable they all are. They are all people buried deep in academic obscurity. Even the name of Christopher Hitchens which is famous in our microworld is unlikely to draw a nod of recognition from even one person in a hundred at your typical shopping mall.Yes, unless he attributes a healing from cancer to a miracle. My friend goes on:
What I make of this fact is that atheists don't really appear to have much influence in society. They are fringe players who attract the attention of bright college kids, journalists, and movie directors but there's not one of them who gets noticed as much as even a second tier Hollywood star.Indeed, he thinks that the movers and shakers (“a large swath of actors, columnists, TV producers, ad agency types, and screen writers” and other schmoozers and shakers?) of this world in fact believe approximately as follows:
I believe in a god that is not a person but kind of like some sort of force that fills up the universe and makes sure that nice things sometimes happen to nice people like maybe a great sunset every so often. This is not the sort of god who goes around telling people what they can and can't do and sometimes it makes mistakes that it's real sorry about which is why it sent Jesus who was a real good man although you can't really live the way he said you should because it's impossible except it's a good thing to try.Hmm. Not a creed I’d like to take into a total whiteout. I could almost stand the Brights, except for their self-righteousness.
I believe god helps us be true to ourselves. The point of life is to be true to yourself always and never do anything that anyone else wants you to do unless you're also being true to yourself when you do it. If you're not true to yourself that's what causes most of the trouble in the world.
I believe that god created the world except he didn't do it by pointing at things with his hands like that famous picture shows. He used evolution to make everything and it worked out pretty well except that there's too much violence in nature and way too much in humans, which is one of god's mistakes.
I believe that god is so sorry he screwed up the world the way he did that when you die you will go to heaven which will be like kind of a fun party with all the people hugging and bouncing around in a really bright, pretty place with flowers and friendly bees and a perpetually blue sky with some fluffy clouds. When anyone dies they go up there and get to look down on what's going on back on earth so they can enjoy little league games and cheer for the Superbowl. And shoot even if it's not like that at least it's a quiet place with soothing music and gentle touching like massage therapy. Basically I guess heaven is whatever you want it to be.
I believe that the only people who don't make it to heaven are the really mean ones like Adolf Hitler and serial killers and a couple of people I know who used to be friends of mine but screwed me over royally. They're the ones that get back what they dished out. I guess you could call the place where they get theirs hell but I don't know how long it lasts; maybe it's a billion years or so and then they all disappear.