I got asked the question a few weeks ago. You know the question, right?
“Isn’t atheism just another form of religion?”
I gave the flippant answer right away: atheism is a religion in the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby.
Atheism is the absence of religion. I have no deity guiding what I do.
“Yeah, but isn’t science your religion?”
No. Because if new research shows conclusively that the prevailing scientific paradigm is wrong, I’ll change my view. If the existence of ghosts could actually be proven, I’d totally believe in ghosts.
I want to talk about Gabby Douglas and God. As you may or may not know, Gabby Douglas is an Olympic gymnast for the United States, and she won gold. She was amazing. Of course, people felt the need to bitch about her hair, but that’s not what I want to discuss. Gabby Douglas attributed all of her success to God.
Now, let me show you the image meme someone posted on Facebook that got me thinking about all of this:
The text that “For America” has provided with this image says that “some in the media are complaining” about Gabby Douglas’ Christianity. It then implores you to Like the image if you are “tired of liberal attacks on Christians.” One of the first comments I saw was from a man who said he had spent the last hour and a half scouring news sites, feeds, media aggregates, and search engines, yet he could not find a single instance of any person from the media lambasting her for or complaining about her remarks. He went on to say that these sorts of things are dangerously divisive, and I have to agree.
You might think that I, as an outspoken atheist and anti-theist, would have a problem with what Gabby has said. But I don’t. Because SHE did the work, and SHE won the medal, and if SHE wants to say that was her god working through her, that is her prerogative. What I can’t stand is when someone has heart surgery, or survives a car crash due to emergency responders, and then says that God saved them. No, a surgeon saved you. A paramedic saved you.
But see, Gabby Douglas did this on her own. This is her victory, her achievement. I can’t think of any reason anyone, atheist liberal godless heathen socialist or not, would deign to say she is in the wrong with her statement. If a neurosurgeon removes a tumor from your brain, and you say, “Thank you, doctor, you saved my life!” and the doctor’s response is, “No, I was merely the vessel through which God worked His miracle for you,” so be it. He did the surgery, he gets to say who deserves the credit.
But fuck you if you wake up from that surgery and give all the glory to your god and none to the surgical team or the scientists who came up with the medicine practices used.