what are the foundations of your atheism?

whoa!  5 june only and i have already beaten the entire month of february for hits on my blog.  may brought with it the widest variety of countries on my map of hits and my hope is that readership will increase.

it is really exciting to think that people are reading bits and pieces from my ridiculously over-active mind.  that is no joke, i have incredible difficulty switching off.  for instance, i am meant to be writing reports and yet i could not avoid writing this while my mind was reeling.

anyway, thanks to those that keep checking back.  i would be so grateful for commentary which is honest, whether favourable or critical.  i welcome any ideas from others.  i started this blog to create some kind of dialogue and work on my fiction writing.  i never really expected to be writing so many opinion pieces in place of short stories.

today i was inspired:

what are the foundations of your atheism?

a student asked me this question today.  i replied that i did not recall ever having stated that i am an atheist.  he thought about it for a moment.  i added that nigeria is a country boasting of godly links and charms [aside: i think it has the most prophets per capita than any other country]; that i make a concerted effort not to discuss my religious beliefs to ensure i do not offend any of the children i teach; or their parents.

he was still thinking.  i asked if perhaps he inferred that i was an atheist from other things that i had said throughout the year.  he agreed that it was possible.

he asked if i would discuss with him my approach to religion and give evidence as to my reasoning.  the boy was looking for empirical data.  that, i could not give.

i told him a number of stories including: the reason for my not having been christened; my inability to accept jesus into my heart at age 5 or 6 after being told to do so by an adult i do not remember the face or name of; a youth group leader whom informed me that to be a homosexual was a sin [something i wholeheartedly disagree with because i believe sin is about choice] and the existence of god debate i attended at university.

i told him that my belief is that we should be nice to others and recognise when we have done wrong, working to correct it.  if we are kind to one another and are aware of our behaviour, it will be difficult to stray from knowing right from wrong.

he listened attentively to my explanation and told me he planned to change my mind.

i asked what his interest was in my beliefs, or lack thereof.  he stated that my beliefs were both stupid and wrong.  he added that he wasn’t strong enough to prove me wrong at the moment, but that he would come back to me after thinking on it for some time.  here i was, thinking he wanted to save my soul.

i offered to loan him a book, leibniz’s discourse on metaphysics, and told him he should take some philosophy courses since he is such a deep thinker.  he laughed, said philosophy was a joke.  i defined the word as ‘love of knowledge’ from the latin philos and logos.  he said nothing but the gears were turning in his mind.

he has taken the short but dense book and i asked that he write his thoughts down for extra credit.  he asked what length it should be.  i said it depended upon whether he wanted to write a sentence or 1000 words; that he would have full creative control over the length, something which made him uneasy.

i thanked him for making me think today.

one thought that is on my mind after all of this from leibniz is:

‘for the mind always expresses all its future thoughts and already thinks confusedly about everything it will ever think about distinctly.’

i love a good mind to mind chat, especially with the raw ideas of a fresh teen mind, uncorrupted by the burden of experience.


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