SECOND UPDATE: The link is working again. You can finally read this post!
UPDATE: Sorry. Something went wrong with the Free Inquiry website since I scheduled this piece for posting, and the link to this piece is broken. I’m trying to find out what happened. I’ll post again here as soon as it’s fixed. Thanks for your patience.
Let’s talk about a pleasant topic for once. The most pleasant topic of all, in fact. Let’s talk about pleasure.
The atheist view of sensuality, of pure physical pleasure and joy in our bodies, is about eleven billion times better than any traditional religious view. Our view—or rather, our views—of physical pleasure are more coherent, more ethical, way the hell more appealing, and fun. We don’t believe in a supernatural soul that’s finer than our bodies, more important than our bodies, or superior to our bodies in every way. We don’t think that we have a soul separate from our bodies, period. We sure as heck don’t believe in an immaterial god who thinks that our bodies are icky—even though he, you know, created them—and who makes up endless, arbitrary, unfathomably nitpicky rules about what we may and may not do with them. We understand that the physical world is all there is. We understand that our bodies, and the lives we live in them, are all we have. And as a result, we are entirely free—within the constraints of basic ethics, obviously—to enjoy these bodies and these mortal, physical lives. As atheists, we’re free to celebrate our bodies and the pleasures they can bring us as thoroughly and exuberantly as we can.
So why don’t we?
Why isn’t atheist culture more physical? Why isn’t it more focused on sensuality and sensual joy? Why is it so cerebral so much of the time? As atheists, we’ve flatly rejected the idea that there’s a higher, finer world than the physical one. Why does it so often seem that we’ve bought into it instead?
Thus begins my latest piece for Free Inquiry, Atheism and Sensuality. To find out more about why I think atheist culture is commonly so cerebral — and what I think we should do about it — read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!