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Atheist in America
by Kevin Joffre
2006-11-08 09:33:55
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Richard Dawkins is an atheist pulverized between two schools of thought. The people who run organized religion decry his attacks on faith, or if not decry then they congratulate him on providing the role of evil scientist that is needed to gain more recruits to the flock (I find it strange that a noble institution would freely confess to such a ruthless tactic, it makes them sound like super villains).

The scientific community, by turn, gives the scientific version of the "embarrassed brow rub" when someone hands them Dawkin's latest work: "The God Delusion". Here's your venerable geneticist! You see? He's a no good atheist who is out to crush faith! No, no, Science and Faith are two different things…trust us, don't listen to this Dawkins guy. Etc., etc.

Not unlike an intellectual Rambo, Dawkins is thrashing forward where few Darwinists have dared plunged into, the rainy dark tropics of Religion. Witness his breathtaking entry on the Huffington Post here:

"It is spectacularly unparsimonious. Not only do we need no God to explain the universe and life. God stands out in the universe as the most glaring of all superfluous sore thumbs. We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can't disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, like those other fantasies that we can't disprove, we can say that God is very very improbable."

Dawkins is not a man wanting to court controversy, despite what a cynic might say, but he is a man of reason. He brought us the concept of ideas spread as genes (memes) and his book The Selfish Gene has proven to be the most eloquent account on evolution besides the original On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (usually abbreviated to The Origin of Species).

It is no mystery that America suffers from an abundance of crazy religious extremist who have no problem fighting the war on Muslims as a War on Terror, and I am as like-minded as Dawkins in his hardheaded attempts at having people rethink faith and give reason a try.

After all, if you read Dawkins closely, he isn't an old school blasphemer who blasts religion while peeing on a nun and shouting demonic phrases, Dawkin's atheism is a tempered and calm approach to the wild claims of religion. His treatment of God is no better or worse than his doubts about the Tooth Fairy or Thor…

I was asked to write for Ovi, the editors knowing full well that I knew nothing of Finland, and I am, in fact, the COMPLETE biological opposite of a Finnish person (this is a scientific fact). I looked up Finnish Mythology and sure enough there is a mention of Thor and Ukko, the God of Sky and Thunder, albeit the brief mention of Thor in that Wikipedia entry leaves much to be desired. I found that Marvel Comics filled in the holes quite nicely.

At any rate, my point is this: The Finnish seemed to have gotten over the whole Thor thing, so why can't we Americans give up our own version of Thor? Would life be better if we came to our senses? Therefore, any tips on how to expel the almighty God of Thunder Thor from our puny faith-based lives?

Also, my apologies if Thor has nothing to do with Finland, but speaking as an American, I am deathly afraid and ignorant of any cultures outside of my own. Do not take offence to this, as I'm also deathly afraid of New Jersey and that's just a state next to me.

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Sand2006-11-07 10:08:37
As a confirmed atheist American living in Finland for many years I must assure you that I have yet to meet anyone advocating th worship of Thor. The subway system station in the center of Helsinki regularly gives shelter to purveyors of The Watchtower and Awake who seem gentle older people of no aggressive intent and can be waived away easily. Also there are there rather talented musicians vying for attention and loose coins. Occasinally a few rosy cheeked Mormon kids come to my door and I give them a cup of hot cocoa and ineffectual atheist arguments to compete with their crazy fantasies but they are all nice demented people.

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