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Anish Mitra '10: Good without God? A response.

After reading Michael Fitzpatrick's column ("Good without God," Nov. 10), I was a bit puzzled. I saw one of those "Go, Atheism!" banners while I was in the city a few weeks ago for interviews, and I never realized that people actually took them seriously.  After all, if you saw a banner that said, "One million New Yorkers are good with God. Are you?," how would you react?

My column has little to do with proving the existence of God. As a matter of fact, if I could prove the existence of God with one column, I'd have to charge a fee. More importantly, my concerns lie with the irony, hypocrisy, and often times, peculiarity of the so called "atheism movement." Ultimately, these flaws make me question exactly what these atheists are trying to accomplish.

First off, how in the world are these atheism-promoting signs even helpful? Isn't atheism supposed to be a personal conclusion that is logically derived? Further, by embracing a recruitment strategy and establishing a community, aren't atheists bearing a striking resemblance to the organization they wish to discredit completely: the church? Humans have continually promoted religion due to the spread-the-Gospel-of-God nature of religion itself. Thus, an atheist-missionary campaign that seems rather counterintuitive.

If atheists are so disenchanted with the idea of organized religion, the methods and bureaucratic qualities of these religions, and the "groupthink" mentality that often exists among members, why are they conducting themselves in the same way? By taking the route that officials of the Church have traditionally taken (aggressively chasing young recruits), atheism just seems like another belief system vying for whomever they can convince, as opposed to the enlightened, intellectual aura which they strive to exude.   

This leads me to discuss another issue: the militant behavior of atheists.  Atheists do not believe in God. Yet, despite the fact that they have already arrived at an extremely valuable personal conclusion, many of them feel the additional, undying need to tell you about why they feel the way they do, and why you should agree. I doubt Fitzpatrick can disagree with that. If something does not exist, why would anyone feel the need to militantly preach about the entity's non-existence? I don't believe in the Loch Ness monster or unicorns. Subsequently, I don't waste my time writing columns, paying for advertising campaigns or actively "enlightening" my peers about my thoughts.

According to Fitzpatrick, it seems as if atheism has three main components: "a dedication to science, freedom of thought and a firm trust in humanity." Sadly, he goes on to claim that "Religions are essentially groups of people united by common beliefs," and additionally reveals how atheists too need to be involved in cohesive communities.

By his own logic, are atheists not some sort of religious group? It seems as if truly free-thinking individuals with conclusions rooted in science would probably not need much assurance and hand-holding from others, regardless of whether or not they find themselves within the minority. After all, Republicans are a huge minority here at Brown; if I needed a large group of like-minded students to reassure me of my beliefs from time to time, I probably would have abandoned ship long ago. Atheists who claim to arrive at their conclusions through completely logical and practical means should be the last organization that actually needs a support group or a community in order to help them digest their decision.

My last point of contention with this growing militant atheist movement has to do with the binary between science and God. Fitzpatrick mentioned that atheists are dedicated to science. Although this statement is rather ambiguous, is this indicating that religious individuals are not? Isaac Newton and Galileo happened to be very strong Christians.
Were they not also dedicated to science? 

From my general understanding, it seems as if both science and religion require sizable leaps of faith in order for the student to truly accept whatever it is that is being taught. Instead of separating them from each other, we should research both aggressively and hope to find ways in which both spheres can coexist. 

Once again, this column has nothing to do with why God exists and why atheists are wrong. As a matter of fact, my own religious beliefs are not too well-defined, and I know I have far more research to do on the matter before I can identify as anything. However, the clear contradictions, ironies and almost humorous peculiarities that exist within the modern day atheist movement certainly do not make me feel "good without God."  

Anish Mitra '10 is an economics concentrator from Queens, NY. He can be reached at anish_mitra (at)


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