I suppose that when I read the very positive article “Faces of Faith” (cover story, Dec. 17), my reaction as a fully fledged atheist (since age 21) was interesting. I sadly note that while the University clearly tolerates nonbelievers as well as believers of all types, the exclusion of recognition of atheists and agnostics as a growing majority by the general American culture still exists. While it always has been possible to be an open non-believer in educated circles, in past years it was always considered awkward in public and sometimes professional or other working environments. The liberal approach in supporting a myriad of beliefs in the Princeton Chapel system is highly commendable, and emphasizes the future pattern of those who would continue their faith.
This profound atheist finds that if deities are necessary to sustain the individual through life, returning to the deism of our early founding fathers is most potentially rewarding. Or the return to the worship of most of our ancestors, the deification of the sun, which after all is the ultimate creator and will be the Armageddon for humanity should it decide to blink out or blow up.
Perhaps the faculty of the Center for Human Values or others could reflect in PAW about the role of unorganized religion and especially atheism or agnosticism as answers for life in the context of earlier religious tradition. It does not upset most American atheists that religions exist, only that some choose to hate or vilify such positions as a threat to “good” living and an honest lifestyle. It is possible for atheists to accept the social contract with most societies around the world. So let us not step on each other’s toes too much, or proselytize each other too much, or send missionaries to challenge the working beliefs of other cultures, unless the culture welcomes them.