Third Generation Atheist

(Via Tom)

My grandparents (on my mother's side) arrived from Poland through Ellis Island during World War One, and immediately upon arrival had their names changed (by others) and dropped their religion (by themselves). They were Communists with a capital C and lived their whole lives devoted to the ideal of everyone contributing what they could to the common good. On my father's side, my grandparents paid lip service to a form of Reform Judaism but didn't observe any rituals or holidays. My father dropped his religion when he entered World War Two at the age of 18. My mother was raised Atheist. All four of their children were raised Atheist from birth.

For me there has never been a question, and never been a problem. It's quite clear to me that religion stems from a massive failure of imagination - the inability to perceive the enormity of space and time or the tininess of individual creature-lives on any one particular spinning rock in space. I don't mind people believing what they like, as long as they don't force it on others, but of course, most of the monotheistic religions have evangelism as one of their core principles, so they do impose themselves on others. This is to me the evil of religion - the coercion of one group's madness on others. The same held true for Communists with a capital C, so this is not something inherent in religions. It's foolish to condemn religion for the weaknesses of humans.

Religion is not "bad". Atheism is not "good". "Each person only knows what they have seen and experienced for themselves, yet each imagines to have perceived the whole" (Empedocles).

I say, take it easy, and forgive all those who know not what they do :}

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