I get email

These people do exist.

I am a fellow atheist from Germany. I have to say I enjoy reading your blog Pharyngula. I study molecular biology and strongly believe in evolution.

I am, however, rather conservative in my views. That’s what troubles me with atheism lately, it seems that atheists are generally on the left side of the political spectrum. Esp. your last post about how atheists should have progressive views in terms of “racism”, “gender equality” and “disability rights” made me thinking.

I feel like I agree with Conservative Chirstians on most political and social issues. For example, I think that abortion is wrong, that homosexuality is wrong and that feminism is one of the biggest threats to society. I furthermore believe that reverese racism (things like affirmative action) against Whites is actually worse than White-on-Black racism. I think that the state has no right to impose taxes on citizens. I think that everything should be privatized in order to increase individual freedom.

In recent times I considered the question if it’s not better for me to just start believing in God and the bible since I have so much in common with Conservative christians. On the other hand, evolution is a pretty strong argument against the literal interpretation of the bible and I already understand to much about this stuff.

Now my question to you is: Can one be a conservative and atheist at the same time? It seems to me that atheism goes hand in hand with progressivism, which is not my thing…

Oh. Well.

It is entirely true that one can be an atheist, in the very narrowest sense of the word as someone who does not believe in gods, and a conservative.

However, one cannot be a rational, intelligent human being and contributing member of society and hold the conservative views you do. When you say you favor increasing individual freedom, you actually mean increasing the individual freedom of healthy white male heterosexuals who have skills that corporate interests find profitable, which, I’m sorry to say, is an extremely narrow slice of our culture, and not necessarily the best element of our society. Whatever shall we do with diabetic black lesbian poets in your world?

I also note that the maximum freedom for a molecular biologist and advocate for evolution will not be found in private industry, so your ideals don’t even match up with your profession. Unless you define freedom as “making the most money.” I have a sneaking suspicion that you probably do.

But, since you seem to find it so easy to switch on god-belief (how, I do not understand), I suggest that you do so…and there are many Christian sects that do not insist on Biblical literalism, including the Catholic and Lutheran churches. You’ll fit right in, as long as you avoid those radical subgroups, the progressive Christians. They’re easy to spot, though: they tend to be infested with women and gays.