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A “BORN ATHEIST” EXPLAINS HIS PERSPECTIVE
The term “born atheist” is not new, but it is used increasingly by today’s atheist
activists. Tim Covell has chosen “Born Atheist” as the title of his new book.
“On one hand,” Covell explains, “the phrase ‘born atheist’ is fun because it enrages
religionists who want to deny the truth of the statement. However, ‘atheist’ means
without deities, so the argument can be won simply by pulling out a dictionary.”
“But on the other hand,” Covell continues, “‘born atheist’ includes the concept that
atheism is a natural state and religion is a social virus. To some degree,” he claims,
“the term refers to a worldview that is broader than religion. Atheism existed before
religion and will continue after religion fades.”
Covell relates that he wrote his book out of frustration with popular texts that you need
an advanced degree to understand. Covell says he would like to be the Michael
Moore of atheism. He points out that thousands of journalists wrote about the 9/11
attacks, but it took Moore’s common sense to ask for the videotape of George W. Bush’
s blank reaction to the news that the nation was under attack that Moore used so
effectively in Fahrenheit 9/11. Covell attempts to bring the same down-to-earth style
and common sense approach to atheism. For example, he obtains federal statistics to
show that atheists appear in prison at 1/20th of the expected rate. He demonstrates
that crime rates are significantly higher in religious states. Raising the question of
whether religion is bad for your health, he shows that the most religious states are also
the most obese.
Covell spends considerable time analyzing problems with religion. He builds
incrementally, starting with small “miracles” like the image of Jesus on a tortilla, and
building to more serious matters such as religion’s harmful prejudices against women
and gays. He ends his analysis with a look at murders committed in the name of
religion and the potential danger of religious end time myths.
In exploring how religion is used to justify illegal acts such as the 9/11 attacks, Covell
coins the term “superlegal,” to refer to supernaturally justified illegal acts and points to
the dangers of religious scriptures bringing ancient tribalism into the modern world.
“For example,” Covell says, “the Christian and Muslim scriptures condemn non-
believers to an eternity in hell. This makes it easier for religious zealots to kill “others,”
since the believers think the “others” will spend eternity in hell, and killing them now
only gives them a little head start. These beliefs are particularly dangerous in the
today’s world,” Covell says, “where ancient myths combined with modern weapons
may lead to mass destruction.”
With so much as stake, Covell concludes, it is essential that atheists step forward and
speak the truth to erode the power of religious lies.
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