The Codex revolves around four principles: Education, Challenge, Respect and Support.
one of the primary purposes of the Codex is to educate people. Here, atheists can come to learn more about atheism and theism. People starting to question their religion can learn a bit more about what atheists believe, and even those who would seek to challenge atheists can learn more about the arguments here. Anyone who wants to learn more about atheism for any reason is welcome.
another primary purpose is to challenge theism. Notice I don’t say attack. While arguments are framed as attacks and defenses, the principle is to challenge both theists and ourselves to understand and improve our lives. No idea, this theistic or atheistic, should be above challenge. We here at the atheist Codex believe in challenging and testing all ideas.
it saddens me that this is the hardest one for many people. We must have respect – both for ourselves – and for the other side. Because I believe the atheist position to be the correct one, there is no need to engage in mockery, condescension, or sarcasm.
I believe strongly in the right of the KKK to hold rallies and speak freely. This is because it makes it easier to challenge their ideas. When I do, I always approach them with respect. It’s not easy, but it is the only way to engage. If you call them racist, call their ideas racist, all you do is strengthen their position, pardon their resolve. They don’t think they’re racist – after all, it’s not racist if it’s true (this is their line of reasoning). It’s not even wise to call them racist in private – it sets up a mindset of us versus them sets up labels and names.
Piaget said that all salient learning is painful. All education is a challenge, and requires respect. This is not to say that there aren’t some extraordinarily bad ideas out there (like human sacrifice, suicide bombing, torture, and rape) which must be the subject of Stern and rigorous challenge. And these ideas themselves do not need to be respected – I cannot respect a person’s belief that he can marry an eight-year-old girl. But all engagements must be done on a level playing field. If you are not given respect, the best solution continues to be to offer respect in return.
I want people who are questioning their faith to feel welcome here. To that end, we offer stories of what it was like for people who have lost their faith in the past.
It can be difficult for atheists to recognize (or respect) that the loss of faith can be one of the most traumatic experiences a human being can go. Here at the Codex we wish to respect that, and to offer support to people who are learning to do with their lack of faith… Asking questions like how can they go on, how do they tell their families, how do they know right from wrong, what happens between them and their friends now? These are all real problems, and we hope the Codex will serve as a place for people to explore solutions together.