Another Kubrick reference this time. Spartacus is the epitome of a perfect Roman film. It has huge battles, villainous Romans and plenty of crucifixions. The youtube clip is the moment in the film where the slaves are offered their lives, in return for giving up Spartacus (the leader of the rebel army). It is a classic cinematic moment. But it also makes me think. 1984 struck me as a story where rebellion is futile. Spartacus is crucified at the end, along with his compatriots: his one and only life, extinguished by people who believed differently to him. But it makes me wonder. Is being an atheist a position to die for? If I lived in Spartacus' world or Orwell's world, would I still shout my atheism from the highest rooftop? And isn't the sacrifice that the slaves made as futile as the actions of Winston Smith? Once you are dead, you are dead and that is the end of your ability to choose and act. In 1984, people were liable to being erased from existence at any moment, by the Party. In Spartacus, the slavery and oppression is what forced the slaves to rebel in the first place, but it achieved nought.
For me, atheism is not about dying for my viewpoint regardless of the truth. It is that atheism is the truth of existence. I do not believe it because it is easy, or brings me joy, but because reality is reality is reality. I am not prepared to die for anyone or any belief, thank you very much. But I also don't think I could be happy knowing what I know in either Spartacus' or Orwell's world.
Perhaps rather than wait for the world to resemble either reality, atheists need to protect themselves by using the power of science and atheism to ensure that alternative memes do not wipe us out or turn us into their slaves!Go Top