January 29, 2005
"Atheism and children" --A Talk by Natalie Angier
Natalie Angier addressed the Ethical Culture Society thus:
I’m here to talk about why my husband and I are raising our daughter as an atheist. The short, snappy answer is, We don’t believe in god. The longer, self-exculpating answer that is the theme du noir is, We believe it is the right thing to do. First, let me talk a little bit about why I use the term atheist rather than a more pastel-inflected phrase like agnostic or secular humanist, or the latest offering, Bright. Now when it comes to any of the mainstream deities proposed to date, I am absolutely atheistic. I can understand the literary and metaphoric value of any number of characters from mythology and religion. During this last election, we all felt like Sisyphus, we pushed that boulder and pushed and pushed, and we were just about at the top of the mountain, well, you know the rest. Or maybe we were Prometheus, with the vulture forever pecking away at our liver, or Job, or the dry run for the Lazarus bit. Yet however legitimate it may be to view any of our religious books as we would the works of Shakespeare or Henry James , I don’t take them seriously as descriptions of how the universe came to be or how any of us will re-be in some posthumous setting, or what god is or wants or whines about. So I am an unalloyed atheist by the standards of the mainstream sects.
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