the Dao of Atheism :jeffers' petroglyph, pre-dakota, minnesota : the Shaman Atheist 31/81


Weapons, whether
material, textual, verbal or rational,
are still instruments of fear and violence,
and at times even good people bear them.
Still, the atheist never considers them as proper tools.

To consider weapons adequate tools
means to use them
and to use them
means to hurt and destroy.
The person who enjoys hurting and destroying
will never learn the meaning of life or pleasure.

If in winning, you hurt or destroy,
accept it without joy, as at a funeral
with grief and mourning.

In the Torah, the Jewish scriptures, is told the story of a man named Jonah who refused to act as a prophet for the god Yahweh and ran away to a ship and the sea, attempting to escape Yahweh's call. Jonah was what Herman Melville in Moby Dick called a "God-fugitive." Some people think that atheists know that a god exists, but don't want to acknowledge their subservience to a "Higher Power." Some people think that atheists are trying to escape from god in order not to be bound by god's demands for worship and moral righteousness. If people flee from the call of god or goddess, it would seem that they would have the same problem as Jonah had in escaping: what escape is there from a god? As it is written in the Psalms, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" The fool is one who believes that by saying something, it will be so; that by believing something, it will be so.
Words and feelings antagonistic to the existence of god or goddess cannot keep the reality of such a being from breaking through into an atheist's world. Saul was such a denier of the god Christ, for which he was struck from his mule, blinded, and given the real-life experience of the reality of Jesus as god. He was thereby converted from Jewish 'atheism' to Christianity.
Jonah and Saul/Paul are two example of god-fugitives whom God would not let run away ... two god-deniers who were given the experience of a god as proof of its existence and power ... two atheists who became theists. The possibility of a god's revelation is always here for we atheists. As the Jewish Torah and Christian New Testament stories testify, a god can erupt into an individual's reality and make its presence known without doubt. Like most atheists, neither Jonah nor Saul requested these experiences, it just happened.
Should atheists ask for the experience of god? According to theists, they should. But if god does not respond? Maybe it would be better to be antipathetic towards deity in hopes that it would respond as it did towards Jonah and Saul.

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