the Dao of Atheism :jeffers' petroglyph, pre-dakota, minnesota : the Shaman Atheist 8/81


The objective
is to become
like water.
Water is the basis of life in all living beings,
yet it is consciousless
and flows away from all high places.
It lives underground
and in the swamps that people disdain.
Thus it is the best example
of the way.

In building a physical structure, build close to the earth.
In constructing an intellectual edifice, keep it close to the heart.
In affairs of the heart and mind, be deep.
In affairs of money and human need, be generous.
In friendship, be gentle.
In words, be true.
In leadership, be just.
In work, be effective.
In action, precise.

By not contending with anyone
there is no strife,
and with no strife,
no failure.

What is the purpose of exalting atheism over theism, or theism over atheism? Will the one with more followers win?
When one party controls the military, can it wipe the other one out?
Does it feel good to beat up on other people's ideas, to satirize and demean them?
To some people, yes.
In the West, Christianity and atheism have been both political minorities and majorities, and each has sought to eliminate the other.
That cannot happen.
Theism and atheism survive because both speak to the different experiences of individuals. When atheism and theism become institutions and build castles in the sky instead of homes in swamps, ghettos and barrios, they become jealous and spiteful. They become money-grubbers, cruel and lying. They lose their meaning and purpose, and engender only hostility between people.

Textual, social and psychological criticism of theistic belief has an important role in atheism, but it is not the ground of its existence. Atheistic criticism addresses the faith and belief aspects of theism, but adds nothing to understanding the atheist experience. Criticism helps the atheist to understand how human institutions work, but cannot teach the atheist how to go deeper into atheism.

back :: next
first :: middle :: last
cover :: endnotes