The Spirited Atheist?

While clicking around the web this weekend, I ran across The Washington Post’s “On Faith” column and found something unexpected: the spirited atheist.

I bristled at the moniker—the person doesn’t know me from Adam but we share a moniker in very staunch, and very different, ways. I don’t lay claim to name exclusively (I even stylize it differently) but it really got under my skin: can one be spirited and a nonbeliever?

The Spirited Atheist, better known as Susan Jacoby, is a prolific writer and recipient of many grants and awards. The photos of her on her site give me the impression that she’s witty (a word that I have a love-hate relationship with) and a great conversationalist. Alas, can one be spirited and a nonbeliever?

By definition, yes. Being “spirited” has nothing to do with religiousity. And, maybe, atheism deserves its spirited champions just as much as God deserves His. This much I know for certain:

I’m considering contacting her and having a chat with her. It’s not to push an agenda or start a fight…I simply just don’t know anyone who has no belief in God. I wonder if there’s a spirited agnostic out there in the world? Eh, probably not. After all, they’re know-nothings.

~ Ashley


4 thoughts on “The Spirited Atheist?

  1. arthurthepanther

    It’s funny: I was doing the same (clicking around the internet) from the opposite direction (I stumbled onto the Spirited Atheist and the second result from my search on it was your article).
    I’m gratified, in all seriousness and with no ill intent, at your willingness to grant the possibility that atheists have the same right to a voice as the religious. It may well be a courageous statement from someone who has no experience with atheists.
    I have, however, a minor bone to pick with that contemptible waffle word ‘maybe.’
    In the United States of America, religious and speech freedoms extend to those of any faith, as well as those of no particular faith. Indeed, they extend to those who have no faith at all.
    Of course, given that religion is a topic of much debate in this country, those who hold the view that there is an alternative to religion entirely MUST be represented in the marketplace of ideas – to do otherwise would be to stifle the exchange of ideas which is the hallmark of a free society.
    As Joseph Joubert said, “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”

    I am, as you may have deduced, an atheist. I am not interested in converting you, or arguing the case for an atheist outlook on life. I am content in my lack of belief as I hope you are in your belief. I merely ask that my outlook be represented as well as yours, and that whether you agree with me or not, that you never doubt for one second my right to have and express an opinion.

    1. TheSpiritedNerd Post author

      THANK YOU so much for your comment and honesty! I truly appreciate it; and the right to a voice is open for everyone. Regardless of our religious (or non-religious) outlooks on the world around us, I’m quite certain we’ll share similarities. It’s the fabric of being human. I look forward to reading your writing and learning more about the world through your eyes.

  2. arthurthepanther

    Now if only we could get our respective extremists to see it the same way… *sighs*

    I’m glad you’re around – it seems like moderates on BOTH sides are a bit rare these days.

    Thanks for making my day ^^


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