A friendly atheist is someone who is skeptical and doesn’t believe in the existence of gods or deities, but is also friendly towards other theists. Even though theists are an atheist’s principle opposition in religious and political debates, a friendly atheist still expects to have a healthy conversation with them. There are many reasons why friendly atheism should be encouraged amongst disbelievers; one of the most important benefits is the improvement in theistic-atheistic relations.
In the strictest sense, atheism is the rejection of belief in gods and deities. However, it is often very closely associated with humanism too. Since humanism and humanitarianism are also closely related, one would expect atheists to be friendly. Nevertheless, you should note that there is no connection between atheism and humanism, and humanitarianism and friendliness. Being a friendly atheist is a personal choice that reflects more on the person’s intrinsic moral values than it does of his or her atheistic stance.
Historically, atheists have been discriminated against and persecuted for their irreligious stance. The atmosphere today is also very hostile towards atheists; however, it is far better than what it used to be in olden times. Nonetheless, in spite of the background history and the ongoing discrimination, an atheist has to show true resolve and courage to be friendly to his opponents. A friendly atheist holds the opinion that a theist is justified to believe in a supreme being, even though it contracts with his own rational arguments.
The concept of god or a creator is borne out of a need to explain many natural phenomena; it is also an answer to why and how we came into existence on this planet. Many cultures and civilizations all around the world have come up with their own versions of gods and deities, and each one of them hold many similar elements. In short, god or a creator is just an idea. Those who believe in this idea are called theists, while those who do not are called atheists. Hence, it is very important that you make a distinction between an idea and the person believing in that idea.
A friendly atheist is someone who is staunchly against the idea of theism, but still remains favorable with those believe in it. To give an analogy, it is similar to disliking a book or a movie, but still remaining in friendly terms with the fans of that particular book or movie. Another analogy is to like a mentally unstable person, who might have a complete wrong view of the world in spite of all the evidence.
According to the dictionary, the word “friendly” means acting like a friend, or being kind and helpful. However, the definition of a friendly atheist has very little to do with the regular meaning of the word ‘friendly.’ Here, it means being open and social to other theists and their arguments, and understanding that theists are justified in their belief of god.
However, many atheists face opposition within their own communities when they are open to theists and their ideas. While even this behavior may be justified, it is a completely false position to assume every atheist to be the same. Indeed, no two atheists hold the same beliefs, and are only united in their disbelief of a supreme being. As a result, being friendly would strengthen help the relationship between atheists and the rest of the society, whether it is largely based of theists or not.
Also, it would help remove the stereotype narcissistic and self-important image that atheists are associated with. Since the world is majorly compromised of theists, atheists inadvertently find themselves forced to live in a theist-centric society; that can explain the aggressive and persistent stance of many atheists when it comes to human rights. However, it does harm the image of the atheists. Thus, more friendly atheists may help improve the image of atheists in the society.
It is worth noting that many theists and theist-centric media label aggressive disbelievers as “militant atheists.” This is a completely blatant use of the word “militant,” considering the fact that atheists are only aggressive in claiming the rights they’ve been denied, as opposed to some theists who resort to violence and real militant behavior. Having a sane voice in the atheism camp would help initiate a debate on the intermingling of state and religion, which is nothing but a disaster waiting to happen.
Furthermore, a friendly atheist position is desirable to “convert” theists to atheism. While this may seem like a deplorable activity if pursued relentlessly – just like the missionaries do – it is still very much desirable. Changing the stance of theists is just a side-effect of friendly atheism, and not an end goal. In this day and age where religious zealots are trying everything in their power to assert their religious morality on everyone else, it becomes extremely important that one combats them from within.
However, if you are wondering whether friendly atheists are required to be open to hostile theists, then you’ve imagined it wrong. Sometimes, even a friend has to go against his emotions to do the right thing. A friendly atheist sees most of the theists as deeply confused people who need help and counseling. Being friendly to these people is the only way to convince them that they are living a lie. <br><br>However, it is advised that you adapt an experimental attitude towards all the theists. Be friendly with them in the beginning and treat them with respect. However, if they ever try to be hostile with you, or use bigoted logic in their arguments, then you have every right to go ballistic against them. After all, a good friend is always your worst enemy.
In conclusion, friendly atheism is a very plausible view that every atheist should give serious consideration to. However, the friendly nature shouldn’t just be mimicked to appear warm and welcoming; it should be genuine and frank. Since a majority of the modern atheistic movements are centered on the principles of humanism, a friendly atheist is perhaps the need of the hour to improve atheistic-theistic relations.