Squashed Asks: Do you consider atheism as a rejection of essentially all elements of all other religions? Does the categorical rejection of beliefs shared (to one extent or another) by the vast majority of the world bother you?
Atheism really is simply the belief that there is no god or gods. Inasmuch as any religion is based upon the belief in a god and that belief is a basis for inclusion in that religion, then yes, atheism is a rejection of that. As far as a rejection of general spiritual beliefs, specific points of doctrine, moral rules, and even religious traditions, I would say that every atheist is a little different.
For example, I reject all religious arguments in favor of persecuting LGBTQ people and oppressing women because those are bad things. However, I continue to celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday and I rather like Easter because of bunnies and eggs. Also, since my family is moderately religious, refusing to participate in family celebrations of major holidays would mean largely cutting myself (and my daughter) off from people I love.
It’s complicated, but I would guess that most atheists (like most everyone) pick and choose practices that fit into and enrich their life, and this can sometime include practices that have their roots in religious tradition. Since atheism is not itself a philosophy or religion, the broader beliefs of atheists are highly diverse.
Does it bother me that most people disagree with me, and vice versa? Yes and no.
I am not bothered to be in a minority–I’d rather be right than popular.
At the same time, I worry constantly about the consequences of so many people being wrong. I worry about wars, economic policies, oppression, and environmental destruction all being justified using religious rhetoric or being supported because they agree with some religious ideal. I worry that there are religious people who are running the country and making decisions based on irrational nonsense rather than facts and reason.
I worry about more personal things as well. I worry about being discriminated against in the workplace because I am an atheist. I worry about my child being taught bigotry by her extended family. It bothers me every time some asshole asks “well, if you’re an atheist why don’t you rape and murder people?” It bothers me that there are people who would force me to have a child against my will if they could–because of their religious beliefs.
It bothers me to know that even in a time of rampant Islamophobia, US voters would sooner vote for a Muslim than an atheist. It bothers me to know that atheists are the least trusted minority in America. It bothers me that we are the people that folks don’t want their children to marry.
Ignorance, hatred, and bigotry all bother me, but even if I can’t beat them, I certainly don’t feel compelled to join them.