About our atheism and conservatism 9

We are atheists and we are conservatives.

We are often accused of holding contradictory opinions on the grounds that conservatism in the West must involve the Christian faith, but that is not true.

Conservatism involves the principles of individual freedom, the rule of law, small government, patriotism, strong defense. It is dependent on the existence of the nation-state. It reveres time-tested tradition, adheres to custom and preserves historical gains while being always open to improvement. Though it actively encourages progress and innovation, it does not believe in the possibility of political or individual perfection. It does not forbid individual choice as to which inherited tradition you intellectually accept or reject. Nothing about it requires a belief in the supernatural. You can be a conservative without being a Christian.

We are also accused of being illogical in that atheism requires so thoroughgoing a skepticism, so radical a re-examination of settled principles and long accepted ideas, that conservatism, with its respect for custom and convention, must logically be insupportable. But to hold that position is to claim that nothing established qualifies as acceptable – simply because it is established. It is a position that reason rejects.

No political views, no moral principles, no actions are logically entailed by atheism.

Our skeptical reasoning – but obviously not others’ – excludes belief in any irrational doctrine, creed, or ideology. We class Communism, racism, climate alarmism as secular religious beliefs because they are irrational and doctrinaire; they proselytize, they punish heresy, they claim a monopoly on “truth”. For that, in addition to other critical objections, we reject them.

Not even humanism results logically from atheism. You can reject gods without having to love human beings for no better reason than that they are human. But while there is no morality that logically belongs to atheism, atheists are not logically amoral. We think it a sound principle not to do harm. We understand that beyond infancy no one can achieve so impossibly high an aim, but it is good to try.

Posted under Philosophy by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 8, 2022

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