Quote Originally Posted by Salt View Post
Honestly, I'm gonna put this novel on hold, there's a lot I need to think about and a lot of questions I need answers to. I don't want to change the character but Atheism is proving to be far more complicated than I thought.
While I would never try to talk anyone out of familiarizing themselves with the topic they are writing about, I do wonder if you aren't over complicating the subject through your preconceptions. Atheism is not equal to Protestantism or Catholicism or the beliefs of a Sunni Muslim--and it feels like you are trying to make it that.

Part of the reason for my cavalier response previously is that I found some of the implications of what I thought your question was...a bit unsettling. It seemed to me you were saying that you could easily write your "antagonistic/evil" atheist because clearly thatís the core of atheism:
Quote Originally Posted by Salt View Post
the World-Is-Screwed-So-Forget-Everyone-Else type...
Actually thatís psychopathy (or at least sociopathy). And has no more to do with atheism than it does with Hulkamania.

But you were having trouble writing your "good/peaceful" atheist because nothing in the tenets of atheism offered any encouragement to be good.

Hopefully one of the things youíll get from further investigation is that there are no tenets of atheism. There are, however, various schools of philosophical thought that provide all manner of rationale for being "good" and "peaceful". There are also legal and social encouragements aplenty.

Iím a big fan of Sam Harris. Even when I disagree with him, I find his arguments framed so eloquently that I enjoy hearing what he has to say. And so dreamy...oops, had to wipe the drool off my keyboard (I kid!). His book The Moral Landscape addresses your question quite directly and it isnít as pedantic as a lot of Dawkins (tho it isnít as funny as a lot of Hitchens).
Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
Another way to say this is that atheism is rarely the root of an atheist's world view and/or moral compass.
Iím totally with you except for that line...or more specifically the use of the word "rarely". Iíd say never. To employ any other word would require bringing the supernatural back into the equation (e.g., a personís worldview would be founded in his objection to or rejection of religion). Personally, my feelings about the supernatural and the existence (or not) of a supreme being figure not at all in my moral decisions. (And seriously, dude, fifteen hundred posts in 4 months?! Iíve been on here nearly 2 years and just broke a thousand! Again I kid!)