Guest article contributed by Jillian Becker, Editor-in-Chief of well known website The Atheist Conservative.
Why do we call ourselves “atheist conservatives”?
It is generally believed that most conservatives in the United States of America are religious Christians, and that is probably true. It is not the case, however, in western Europe, where only a minority of the indigenous peoples are religious.
It is also generally believed that most atheists everywhere are on the Left, and that is probably true too.
So we atheist conservatives are a minority among American conservatives, and a minority among the world’s atheists. We seems so anomalous to many of those who come upon our website or our Facebook page, they complain we must be making some weird mistake out of sheer ignorance. Some say that the expression “atheist conservative” is an oxymoron; some that we must be hypocrites hiding either our secret leftism or our secret religiousness.
Of course we deny that those criticisms are true or just, though we understand why they are leveled at us.
So why do we call ourselves conservatives? In what does our conservatism consist?
Our principles are these: individual freedom; rule of law; small government; low taxes; a free-market economy; strong defense; loyalty to the Constitution of the United States. Those are conservative principles in America, and minus the last, everywhere in the western world. (Or at least they used to be, before the European “conservative” parties became socialist in all but name.) There is nothing about them that requires belief in the supernatural.
And there is nothing about atheism that logically entails any particular political beliefs. Atheism is very simple. It is non-belief in a god or gods. Non-belief in the existence of any sort of divine being. Non-belief in divinity as such. No other belief necessarily follows from it.
Atheism in itself is neither moral nor immoral. But in some environments it is viewed as a dangerous challenge to orthodoxy. In theocratic states, atheists risk punishment, even execution.
One misapprehension we often find it necessary to debunk is the notion – bruited about in order to discredit atheism – that because Communism is an atheist creed, the evils committed by Communist regimes prove atheism itself to be immoral. But that is complete nonsense! Those evils were done in the name of Communism, not atheism. The wars of Communism were fought to spread Communism, not atheism.
There are also many who are under the illusion that Nazism was an atheist creed, and Adolf Hitler himself an atheist, and this is another misunderstanding used to make atheism seem morally evil by association. It would at least be more accurate, if no less foolish, to say that Hitler was a vegetarian and therefore vegetarianism is evil.
We started our Website [The Atheist Conservative] ten years ago. It has been visited nearly 700,000 times. Our Facebook page came later. Assailed though we are now and then by mocking and angry critics, our followers vastly outnumber them. On Facebook we have a following of 10,215 and 10,636 “likes” at the time of this writing. Atheist conservatives discover us and comment that they thought they were “the only one” and are delighted to find us. We also have a good many broad-minded Christians and religious Jews who say they appreciate our political posts enough not to mind our occasional denunciations of religion.
We are confident of our position, state our opinions plainly, and express doubts when we have them. The discussions in our comments sections are lively, intelligent, sometimes extraordinarily well-informed, and always good fun.