Friday, June 29, 2007

The Atheist's Bible: An Illustrious Collection of Irreverent Thoughts, edited by Joan Konner

Some one asked me what church I went to, and I told them I was an atheist. With a horrified look, he asked me, “So you think you know better than all the smart people in the world?” I did not want to insult him or anyone else, so my answer was a subdued, “No, but I know what is better for me.”
I have to admit, that my first few years of non-belief were secretive, and a little shy for fear of having to answer this exact question. Lately, I have been reading a TON of rational stuff about god(s) and religion, and they have all strengthened my resolve.
This little book, however, has gone all those others one (or two, or three) better. Konner has collected hundreds of quotes from scholars, scientists, philosophers, writers, activists, comedians, and even a few religious figures.
So many of these quotes were vaguely in my mind – sometimes without an exact source – but, now I have a handy little volume to carry around. I will give two (of dozens) of my favorites:
“The world is so exquisite, with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there is little good evidence. Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look Death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides” (Carl Sagan, p 169).
And, “Not one man in ten thousand has the goodness of heart or strength of mind to be an atheist” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, p 91).
So, if I was asked that question now, I would firmly and proudly say, “Yes!”
--Chiron, 6/29/07

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