Mon 5 Apr, 2010 04:53 pm
This thread is to discuss to the type of Atheism that has the following beliefs.
1) There is no God.
2) Accepting that there is no god gives an exclusive understanding of absolute truth (as grasped by reason logic and science).
3) People who don't accept this truth are inferior.
This is different from a belief that there is no God that isn't accompanied with the claim of an exclusive ownership of universal truth. I don't believe in any deity. I avoid the term "atheism" because of the other implications.
The Myth of Meaning Without Religion
Atheists say correctly that it is possible to have a meaningful and moral life without God. I don't question that this is true.
However, it is not possible to have meaning or morality based on science, evidence or logic. To arrive at either meaning or morality, you have to start with assertions that simply can't be proven.
Atheists want to believe that they can come up with a system of morality based on proveable facts. And so, they wish to distinguish themselves from "religionists". The real difference is self-honesty, Baptists themselves will tell you their sense of morality is based on unprovable facts.
Many things have to be accepted without proof. We all put value in human life, we believe rape shouldn't be tolerated, we believe in democracy, and equality. But, nothing in the Universe cares about human life outside of human society (and maybe dogs). There is no proof in any set of morality. Values have to be accepted without proof, There is simply nothing in our cold , caring Universe to back them up.
Atheists develop strong beliefs on many questions about what it means to be good or human. Baptists do to-- there really is no difference. Developing a world view, based on things we must accept without proof, is part of being human. Whether you believe in one God, or many gods or no gods does not change this fact.
Atheism as Anti-Religion
Several years ago, I taught an Earth Science class in a public high school in an area (north of Boston) that had a sizable population of Evangelical Christian students. Some of the subject matter we were covering is culturally sensitive, and the issue came up. Most teachers handle this the same way, focusing on the scientific story-- the evidence the discoveries-- it is not our job to attack a students cultural perspective.
Ironically, it was an Atheist student who was a real problem. When I talked about using quasars to measure the age of the Universe, she said-- that is why there is no God. I would have to say (correctly) that no, this had nothing to do with the question of God. This went on with stars and geology-- everything for her was a battle against religion until she dropped the class.
The Evangelical Christian students did quite well. At the end of class, they were able to express a real understanding of the science (how that affected their ideas on the religious aspects is their own business).
I have seen this again and again, Atheists using science, psychology, history-- whatever they can find-- to attack religion. Rather than questioning their own assertions, they focus on attacking others.
The demonization of religion really gets out of hand. Religion is blamed for wars (as if wars wouldn't have happened without religion). Religion is painted as a source of strife and a corrupter of values. Where religion does something that even they think is right, for example the civil rights movement, they minimize it; as if the Reverend Martin Luther King, as a baptist minister preaching sacrifice and non-violence in Christian churches had nothing to do with religion.
Atheist Sacred Cows
Atheism (just like many religions) doesn't like to questioned.
It amuses me how much hostility and anger anything that that challenges evokes. The mere suggestion that atheism is a religion (a rather meaningless and harmless claim without any definitions of "religion and "atheism") is usually met with personal insults.
But these are questions that should be asked.
Religion is about our search for meaning, and meaning does not come from evidence or science or hard observation. Whether or not you call it religion, you do hold things to be true that are unprovable.
Stating that there is no god is one starting point, but it doesn't avoid the search for meaning that is beyond science and a part of human experience. And, it doesn't mean that your conclusions are any better then someone who starts with a different set of assumptions.
I find this thread to be very condescending, but I will be back with a response later on, perhaps tomorrow.
You are one of those atheism is belief there is no god people, rather like spendius.
You are off on your own scripture, and understand not much.
1) There is no God.
this is a statement of atheism, your other 2 statements are bogus/bullshit and have nothing to do with atheism.
Some atheists go that way.
I, and a zillion other people, are simply without belief in a god or gods.
Religionists seem to have no room for void, even in terminology.
Sorry, but as an atheist this fails to make sense because I merely have an absence
of "belief", and that absence extends both to deities and the concept of "absolute truth".
There is a difference between Atheism (which encompasses all three statements) and atheism (the simple non-obtrusive belief there is no god).
There is clearly an Anti-Religious form Atheism. You can see this on A2K threads that have the slightest connection to religion.
This thread is about Atheism, not atheism.
Oh, look, I agree with fresco.
ebrown - I am going to guess that the anti-religon atheists are so aligned as a defense mechanism - we get a little testy at people who belittle us, pitty us, and or claim we're all going to hell.
What lallapalalooza dictionary are you using, ebrown? You don't even get your first sentence right. It isn't a matter that they believe against something. Many people simply do not believe. Probably most people on earth.
Tell us all about the use of the capital A. Did you learn this in school?
Reactionary atheism is not aimed at the "beliefs" of religionists per se
, it is targetted on the social restrictions religionists attempt to place on those who fail to agree with them, or on their attempts to indoctrinate others. Further problems arise when groups cite "divine authority" as a basis for political or military action.
So then, Atheists and Christians have a little us vs. them thing going on. Each side feels belittled, pitied and testy.
There is a big difference between being non-religious and anti-religious. I am not even sure if you can be both of these things.
Ok, sure, but there's way more religious people to belittle atheists then the other way around.
Reactionary atheism is not aimed at the "beliefs" of religionists per se, it is targetted on the social restrictions religionists attempt to place on those who fail to agree with them, or on their attempts to indoctrinate others.
Further problems arise when groups cite "divine authority" as a basis for political or military action.
Any society puts social restrictions on you based on whatever social values the society develops. This has nothing to do with religion.
I have heard many appeals to scientific or logical "truth" for moral or social questions (where there is no absolute truth to be found). And, of course there are many examples of Atheist "indoctrination".
Of course, I don't think "indoctrination" (which to me has a negative connotation) is a useful term in a society that cherishes free speech. I don't think there is anything wrong with promoting your version of truth-- in fact our society depends on it.
I am not even sure that is true (if you take into account the relative numbers). There are some religious groups that seem to seek (and readily find) conflict with Atheists-- there are others that couldn't be bothered.
But even if it is true, it is certainly irrelevant.
If you are anti-religious and what to fight the good fight, then I suppose it matters. If you are non-religious, then why bother?
ebrown - this is a very silly conversation for you, it seems to me. You're usually more logical than this.
You are too simplistic. Many of us with unhappiness re religion have lived through antagonism..
I am not completely anti religion, although mostly, and strongly in some cases.
Why do we bother? Are you kidding? Religion permeates our national politics.
Is that a compliment... or a slap? I am not quite sure.