I’m looking for writing
That’s cool, or exciting,
Or just has a nice turn of phrase
That’s calm, or frenetic,
Or even poetic
There’s so many wonderful ways
Your favorites, selected,
Compiled and collected
For use, any way you see fit
So it’s time to get cooking–
Keep writing! Keep looking!
Go find all the best, and submit!
The background: Cuttlefish University does not have an atheist student organization. There are half a dozen Christian orgs, two Jewish orgs, and some sort of multi-faith thingie (no Muslim orgs, which my Muslim students have certainly noticed). I don’t feel it is my place to start a student organization, when I am not a student, but it certainly would be my place to offer to meet with any of the believers’ organizations as a “meet an atheist” day sort of thing.
Which brings me to the present, and to this post. I can certainly represent myself. But atheists have no central authority, no binding principles; we are privatively defined by our lack of belief in a god or gods. Someone could give the Catholic party line, but no one person can give the atheist perspective. I’m more than happy to share my own beliefs, but to really show these groups the breadth of atheist belief (because, of course, we do believe in stuff… just not in gods), I would like to be able to share other people’s beliefs as well.
In that context–an atheist, invited to address a group of believers–what would you propose should be read? I would like to develop a database of relatively short pieces (there are some wonderful books out there, but they are clearly too long a form for the current situation) that anyone could have access to, to augment their own experience in representing atheists while addressing religious groups.
So I ask–what essays have moved you? What stories would you want to share? Don’t limit this to well-known writers (but don’t neglect them!); don’t limit this to positive stories (or to negative!); don’t limit this to whitewashed or bowdlerized stories, if the unvarnished truth is what moved you; the whole point is to have a collection of real atheist voices, that anyone could draw upon to demonstrate “what atheists believe” or “who atheists are”. Be specific–not just “X is always worth reading”, but rather “this particular essay by X is perfect.”
I did a quick search before posting this–there are a few sites that seem somewhat related to my question, but frankly, none that fit what I am looking for. Certainly, I might have missed the perfect source–if so, please correct me! But if I am right, this could be a very useful resource. It will be available for anyone to pick and choose from, for their own “get to know an atheist” talks.
Please pass this on to others–nominate links in the comments. I will contact the authors for their permission, and will maintain the list to the best of my abilities. (I have no real ego, so if there is someone better qualified or better able to do so, let me know.)
And, for the record, anyone can use any of my verses in such a situation–consider this my explicit consent. I’ll likely look through and put just one or two verses into this collection, though.