I was supposed to be much further along tonight, but I made the mistake of deciding to go back and bung in the list of famous atheists, with little thumbnail bios. Sounds simple, right?
Not when you have to sort through some rather extensive lists, which you whittle down by well-known names, further contemplating whether that name is well-known because Christians already know and despise that atheist, and then trying to phrase the bio so that you're not plagiarizing Wikipedia... I should've given it a miss and waited to add it in the revision stage.
Heh heh heh whoops.
And I'm not even close to done with it. Ah, well.
I spent the last bit of the night revising Rule #9. I didn't hit on the Constitutional question - I might do that elsewhere in the book, but it really doesn't belong here - but I did find your suggestions useful, and I hope this works:
9. Absolutely under any circumstances never ever bring up that old "atheism is a religion too" chestnut. Atheism is a philosophical stance, a way of thinking about the world that is profoundly irreligious, or simply a lack of belief in anything supernatural. In the immortal words of my friend Howard, "Atheism is a religion the way bald is a hair color." Atheism is different from religion in many ways, but perhaps the most important is this: if empirical proof of God were presented to us and verified by science, we'd become immediate theists, just as you would become a "unicornist" if unicorns were discovered living in some remote forest. You may find it impossible to comprehend a life without religion and thus think of atheism as a religion, but your thinking it doesn't make it so, no more than if I were to call your Christianity a form of atheism because I can't comprehend a life with religion. Besides, people who say things like "atheism is a religion, too" are just trying to discredit atheists, and showing that they have no good argument in the process. You don't want to look ridiculous, so don't make that mistake.
I can already think of a few minor changes to words that would make that clearer, but damn it, I'm tired.
As for the famous atheists, I have a lot of names, including of all people Allan Pinkerton of Pinkerton Agency fame. Whod'a thunkit? I'm thinking of sticking Ron Reagan in there just to twist a few conservative noses. The fact that the son of their hero is a ballet dancer and a liberal has got to kill them - the fact that he's an atheist, too, is just the insult to injury.
Yes, I'm an evil atheist. Why do you ask?
I'm also a very tired atheist. And I have got nearly 7,000 words to go. Argh.
If anyone has a good argument as to why theology isn't philosophy, and knows of groups where atheists and Christians are working together in harmony to stop fuckwits from destroying the world, now is the time to say so. I could surely use your help.