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jajdude
04-09-2011, 09:56 PM
Wasn't sure if things belongs in this forum or 'religious texts' - anyway.

There's that word 'atheist' again, stirring up trouble. haha. It's not an easy claim to make. I can make the claim yet I know I'm too heavily influenced, conditioned I suppose, by my background, to be completely that. Some of my morals, if I have any, rest on that background. I can sense that at times. Sure the claim is not solid I guess.

Confusing stuff; usually don't care to talk about it much but right now I'm feeling a bit doped up, on Tylenol, believe it or not. Had a cold, took a couple of pills yesterday, one last night before passing out, and this morning have a strange mindset. Odd.

YesNo
04-09-2011, 11:44 PM
Wasn't sure if things belongs in this forum or 'religious texts' - anyway.

There's that word 'atheist' again, stirring up trouble. haha. It's not an easy claim to make. I can make the claim yet I know I'm too heavily influenced, conditioned I suppose, by my background, to be completely that. Some of my morals, if I have any, rest on that background. I can sense that at times. Sure the claim is not solid I guess.

Confusing stuff; usually don't care to talk about it much but right now I'm feeling a bit doped up, on Tylenol, believe it or not. Had a cold, took a couple of pills yesterday, one last night before passing out, and this morning have a strange mindset. Odd.
I hope you're feeling better.

I don't know what theism or atheism is. Those who take a stand based on these words usually mean adhering to some religion or philosophy that they want others to accept as well. But there are so many of these philosophies and religions and they differ so much--how can one put all this diversity together into a choice between two words?

I don't think it is necessary to make the choice. Sometimes I'm an atheist. Sometimes, a theist. Sometimes, a pantheist with gods and devils and angels all over the place, a full universe of consciousness that popped space-time out of nothing filled with matter and energy that evolves churning out its delicious karma.

Who knows?

This is my guiding rule: The people who insist they have the answer that I must accept are the ones who know the least. Just my two cents worth.

Hope you feel better.

The Atheist
04-10-2011, 02:38 PM
Wasn't sure if things belongs in this forum or 'religious texts' - anyway.

It's been discussed in here several times, so you're in the right place.

I'm an atheist, by the way.


There's that word 'atheist' again, stirring up trouble. haha.

Isn't that a sad admission? That saying "I don't believe your dogma" is going to upset some people.


It's not an easy claim to make. I can make the claim yet I know I'm too heavily influenced, conditioned I suppose, by my background, to be completely that. Some of my morals, if I have any, rest on that background. I can sense that at times. Sure the claim is not solid I guess.

I hope you can expand on that a little, because I'm not sure what claim you're actually making.


I hope you're feeling better.

I don't know what theism or atheism is.

I'll gladly try to assist with that.


Those who take a stand based on these words usually mean adhering to some religion or philosophy that they want others to accept as well. But there are so many of these philosophies and religions and they differ so much--how can one put all this diversity together into a choice between two words?

I see the mistake you're making, and it's one I've tried to correct on many occasions. There's even a long thread about "What atheism actually is (http://www.online-literature.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54929&highlight=atheism)" right here, but the main point is short enough to note again.

Atheism isn't a doctrine, a philosophy or a movement.

There is nothing to adhere to, or "get others to accept".

Atheism is simply a lack of belief in god/s. That's all.



This is my guiding rule: The people who insist they have the answer that I must accept are the ones who know the least.

Given that that only applies to theists and a few anti-theists, I'd be inclined to agree with you.

JuniperWoolf
04-10-2011, 08:42 PM
*shrug* I think you're just feeling squirmy because of the negative public association with the word atheist. I remember feeling like that when I was fifteen-ish. Use/hear the word enough and that association goes away.

Armel P
04-11-2011, 07:31 PM
I don't label myself with any -ism. I define myself by what I think without a reductive, catch-all word.

jajdude
04-12-2011, 10:33 AM
I say nothing regarding it all (usually), though I know my background creeps.

Can you deny that? That bit which is there?

Who cares if there is a god anyway?

If there is, he is doing a lousy job.

Paulclem
04-12-2011, 11:12 AM
I say nothing regarding it all (usually), though I know my background creeps.

Can you deny that? That bit which is there?

Who cares if there is a god anyway?

If there is, he is doing a lousy job.

Yes I think some kind of repository that stays with you can be denied. Everyone can change their ideas, and in fact it's natural to do so. Who thinks the same when they are 10, 20, 30 etc. I'm only taling about ideas and influences.

JBI
04-12-2011, 11:13 AM
Meh, it's the fact that the internet took the free thinking mindset of atheism, and its rationality, and politicized it into a movement, which essentially made it just as bad as anything else.

The connotation one gets is not of someone who doesn't believe, but rather, doesn't respect, which is thanks to the violence in zeal people in society now show in preaching their atheism, this forum not exempt.

OrphanPip
04-12-2011, 11:32 AM
I think that's a bit of a double standard.

The Catholic Church endorses the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa, American Evangelical Protestants were closely tied to the push for the death penalty in Uganda, and it is undeniable that religion plays a major part in the restriction of rights of gays all around the world.

Then if I say I think their ideas are stupid and disagree with them, that is somehow an equivalent amount of disrespect? I have a hard time buying that.

JBI
04-12-2011, 12:09 PM
I think that's a bit of a double standard.

The Catholic Church endorses the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa, American Evangelical Protestants were closely tied to the push for the death penalty in Uganda, and it is undeniable that religion plays a major part in the restriction of rights of gays all around the world.

Then if I say I think their ideas are stupid and disagree with them, that is somehow an equivalent amount of disrespect? I have a hard time buying that.

True, but religion has also done a great deal of good in the world, and continues to be significant in creating communities and seeing people through hardship. You cannot only pick and choose the good and the bad based on a moral assertion of your own views, meanwhile claim a moral superiority. is that not what you are accusing of those religions of doing?

The real debate should have been on the possibility of belief, but it turned quickly, especially in the hands of Americans, to a debate on the good and the bad of religion, which is irrelevant for atheism - even if religion was all good, atheism still would be a logical outcome, and likewise militantness is irrelevant to the debate - even a debate is irrelevant.

If you want to "disrespect" or protest policy and specific religions, fine, but don't do it in the name of atheism, since atheism is not connected to moral decisions of individuals, it is amoral. There should not, and logically cannot, be any movements of morality based on atheist "dogma" as dogma is absent in atheism.

But no, we get the preachers who cannot leave anyone alone, and cannot let anybody enjoy being atheist without being associated with a bunch of punks and geeks who get off on hanging around forums and pretending they are somehow sophisticated since they don't believe in religion, and thereby justify this as somehow enlightened. I wouldn't want to be grouped with them either.

OrphanPip
04-12-2011, 12:33 PM
True, but religion has also done a great deal of good in the world, and continues to be significant in creating communities and seeing people through hardship. You cannot only pick and choose the good and the bad based on a moral assertion of your own views, meanwhile claim a moral superiority. is that not what you are accusing of those religions of doing?

More that I'm attacking them for having a general disrespect for the dignity of human life, and a danger to myself personally. It's not picking or choosing, the wrong is independent of the good. You don't get to kick the homeless for personal enjoyment just because you volunteer at a soup kitchen on Tuesdays.



The real debate should have been on the possibility of belief, but it turned quickly, especially in the hands of Americans, to a debate on the good and the bad of religion, which is irrelevant for atheism - even if religion was all good, atheism still would be a logical outcome, and likewise militantness is irrelevant to the debate - even a debate is irrelevant.

Certainly, but I'm defending anti-theism and anti-religiosity, which is not the same as atheism but connected. If religion were entirely benign, then there would be no reason to comment on it at all. It would be as pointless to discuss as whether or not one believes in aliens.



If you want to "disrespect" or protest policy and specific religions, fine, but don't do it in the name of atheism, since atheism is not connected to moral decisions of individuals, it is amoral. There should not, and logically cannot, be any movements of morality based on atheist "dogma" as dogma is absent in atheism.

However, if one takes a stance of anti-religiosity as an atheist, one gets accused of dogmatic atheism. Moreover, the morality of religious institutions is indeed a relevant critique if one takes the position that religion is a source of moral truth. Showing contradictions between conventional morality, or rather the moral opinions of a targeted audience, and the morality of religious institutions is a valid means of attacking that single religious institution. The best approach is not always to attack the concept of theism as a blanket concept. I care less if someone believes in a Spinozan God, the illiberal nature of organized religion is more socially relevant and thus will always draw more debate.

I have numerous reasons to associate myself with atheism. A scientific education and philosophical inclination towards materialism makes the concept of theism nonsensical to me. On the other hand, I've had friends personally hurt by religious dogma, I have been personally attacked for reasons of religious dogma, and I don't exactly have to look far to find religious groups harming people just like me.

What do you consider the alternative to criticizing religion? Allowing it to go on being oppressive? It's a no win situation, either you're being a dogmatic closeminded militant atheist by daring to criticize the institution of religion, or you have to keep your mouth shut and let them do their thing.

Armel P
04-12-2011, 01:12 PM
I agree with Pip. (not feeling very wordy right now.)

The Atheist
04-12-2011, 06:57 PM
Meh, it's the fact that the internet took the free thinking mindset of atheism, and its rationality, and politicized it into a movement, which essentially made it just as bad as anything else.

Utter nonsense.

Atheism was a movement long before computers were invented, let alone the internet.

May I suggest you familiarise yourself with some atheists from earlier days. Start with Bertrand Russell and work backwards.


The connotation one gets is not of someone who doesn't believe, but rather, doesn't respect, which is thanks to the violence in zeal people in society now show in preaching their atheism, this forum not exempt.

Respect is earned, not granted by right, and when religions become respectable, they will doubtless get the respect they have earned.

Prior to that happening, it will need a complete change in the doctrine that is presently trying to enforce teaching of creationism in schools.
(http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/03/9-bills-creationism-classroom)

I am continually disgusted by the attemped higher moral ground your anti-atheist polemic seems to have you striving for. You are always very keen to respect religion but not those who oppose teaching of archaic superstition to kids.

The sad part is, I suspect you'd be one of the first people complaining if atheists laid down and let religion have their way.

Then again, maybe you'd be happy with anti-gay discrimiation being legalised and the raft of "moral laws" religious groups would institute were they given the opportunity.

Drkshadow03
04-12-2011, 08:57 PM
Utter nonsense.

Atheism was a movement long before computers were invented, let alone the internet.

May I suggest you familiarise yourself with some atheists from earlier days. Start with Bertrand Russell and work backwards.



Respect is earned, not granted by right, and when religions become respectable, they will doubtless get the respect they have earned.

Prior to that happening, it will need a complete change in the doctrine that is presently trying to enforce teaching of creationism in schools.
(http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/03/9-bills-creationism-classroom)

I am continually disgusted by the attemped higher moral ground your anti-atheist polemic seems to have you striving for. You are always very keen to respect religion but not those who oppose teaching of archaic superstition to kids.

The sad part is, I suspect you'd be one of the first people complaining if atheists laid down and let religion have their way.

Then again, maybe you'd be happy with anti-gay discrimiation being legalised and the raft of "moral laws" religious groups would institute were they given the opportunity.

And yes, clearly ONLY atheists are standing as the bulwark against gays losing all their rights and Creationism being taught in schools.

No liberal religious practitioners, cultural Jews (who still have adherence to some of their religious practices, even if agnostic about God), pagans, or spiritual people would ever be found among the ranks of people who oppose such things.

Also, I'm dying to know how "atheism was a movement long before computers were invented" when you previously just told us "Atheism isn't a doctrine, a philosophy or a movement."

OrphanPip
04-12-2011, 09:24 PM
And yes, clearly ONLY atheists are standing as the bulwark against gays losing all their rights and Creationism being taught in schools.

Actually atheist and secularist have been at the bulwark of protecting those rights since the early days. When the Napoleonic Code was drafted it outlawed "crimes created by superstition," making France the first modern European nation to decriminalize homosexuality. Socialist groups have equally been heavily involved with the fight for gay rights in the early 20th century, and into the 50s and 60s.

Certainly there are religious people today who support these things, but they are a new breed that has grown out of the 60s New Left and increasing liberalism.



No liberal religious practitioners, cultural Jews (who still have adherence to some of their religious practices, even if agnostic about God), pagans, or spiritual people would ever be found among the ranks of people who oppose such things.

Like I said, when religion is benign it won't be worth discussing. It is impossible to attack the thought behind such beliefs without also attacking some of the thoughts and beliefs of those who are more moderate.

Edit: And let's think of what Liberal readings of religious text really mean. The implication is that the text really should be the source of where my rights as a human being comes from. Should I be happy that they think I'm OK by their book? Gee thanks. Stooping to that kind of debate makes a mockery of human dignity.

The Atheist
04-12-2011, 10:29 PM
And yes, clearly ONLY atheists are standing as the bulwark against gays losing all their rights and Creationism being taught in schools.

No, they aren't the only ones, but on many occasions atheist groups have funded and been at the forefront. Without active or militant atheism, religious groups would gain far more traction than they already have - especially in education.



Also, I'm dying to know how "atheism was a movement long before computers were invented" when you previously just told us "Atheism isn't a doctrine, a philosophy or a movement."

My bad writing.

Atheists have formed groups for centuries, but it isn't inherent in atheism to be part of any group, doctrine or movement.

I should have said "atheist activism was a movement long before computers".

jajdude
04-13-2011, 12:55 AM
ha

Knew that word alone was worth at least 2 pages.

The Atheist
04-13-2011, 01:22 AM
ha

Knew that word alone was worth at least 2 pages.

Predictable, eh?

Don't you find it funny that not believing in god/s is always so controversial?

Delta40
04-13-2011, 01:52 AM
Predictable, eh?

Don't you find it funny that not believing in god/s is always so controversial?

yeah like not eating meat!

Varenne Rodin
04-13-2011, 02:53 AM
I love not believing in God and not eating meat. It gives me the warm fuzzies. Call me militant. :D

jajdude
04-13-2011, 02:59 AM
Joseph R Atheist for prez!

haha

In he we trust.

The Atheist
04-13-2011, 03:14 AM
yeah like not eating meat!

And not collecting stamps. Those aphilatelists are scum I tell ya!

billl
04-13-2011, 03:36 AM
Worse than the theists!

Drkshadow03
04-13-2011, 06:52 AM
No, they aren't the only ones, but on many occasions atheist groups have funded and been at the forefront. Without active or militant atheism, religious groups would gain far more traction than they already have - especially in education.



My bad writing.

Atheists have formed groups for centuries, but it isn't inherent in atheism to be part of any group, doctrine or movement.

I should have said "atheist activism was a movement long before computers".

Reasonable enough response. I agree atheists have certainly been a major part of fighting against religious excess, particularly Creationism, in the classroom, and as a teacher I really appreciate that.

I think I get and others get annoyed when atheists present this solely as their issue, which it isn't. It's an issue for anyone who wants a decent education, religious or otherwise.

Delta40
04-13-2011, 07:48 AM
My children's school totally ban any so called religious study and yet, one must ask how this impacts on teaching and understanding history in its context. While children colour in pictures of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, they are missing out on historical facts, which despite what atheists think, include societies mandated by religious law. Nobody is asking people to like it but why deny our historical significance? Would we have burned witches otherwise? How explain such actions to a child without contextualizing the R word so they understand how embedded peoples were and to an extent, still are? In this respect, I feel education has diminished since religion is academically obsolete in the 21st century. It seems to me history must therefore be given an extreme makeover. I don't care what atheism is, which religion is righteous blah blah, but I think it is a shame to deprive ourselves of the truth about societal functions, which while partly predicated by progressive science, is still firmly entrenched in belief systems.

JBI
04-13-2011, 09:43 AM
More that I'm attacking them for having a general disrespect for the dignity of human life, and a danger to myself personally. It's not picking or choosing, the wrong is independent of the good. You don't get to kick the homeless for personal enjoyment just because you volunteer at a soup kitchen on Tuesdays.



Certainly, but I'm defending anti-theism and anti-religiosity, which is not the same as atheism but connected. If religion were entirely benign, then there would be no reason to comment on it at all. It would be as pointless to discuss as whether or not one believes in aliens.



However, if one takes a stance of anti-religiosity as an atheist, one gets accused of dogmatic atheism. Moreover, the morality of religious institutions is indeed a relevant critique if one takes the position that religion is a source of moral truth. Showing contradictions between conventional morality, or rather the moral opinions of a targeted audience, and the morality of religious institutions is a valid means of attacking that single religious institution. The best approach is not always to attack the concept of theism as a blanket concept. I care less if someone believes in a Spinozan God, the illiberal nature of organized religion is more socially relevant and thus will always draw more debate.

I have numerous reasons to associate myself with atheism. A scientific education and philosophical inclination towards materialism makes the concept of theism nonsensical to me. On the other hand, I've had friends personally hurt by religious dogma, I have been personally attacked for reasons of religious dogma, and I don't exactly have to look far to find religious groups harming people just like me.

What do you consider the alternative to criticizing religion? Allowing it to go on being oppressive? It's a no win situation, either you're being a dogmatic closeminded militant atheist by daring to criticize the institution of religion, or you have to keep your mouth shut and let them do their thing.

The attack or critique of religion has nothing to do with atheism, a fact easily ignored. Atheism as a "historic movement" (which means nothing as Drkshadow mentioned) has at times taken this position, while at other times not. The text of Laozi (Dao De Jing) for instance, is essentially an argument of nihilist philosophy against any ism itself - but it clearly goes the next step, and says, if you are going to deny religion as a construct, and religious morality as a construct, why not take that further and think of your counter morality as a construct, and your anti-religious, or even atheism as a construct, a labeled something which exists and is understood by its will to subjectively define itself. Moral values and whatnot have nothing to do with atheism, and they shouldn't.

That being said, on issues of morality, it is just as valid, from a logical perspective, to have a sense of right and wrong stemming from religious doctrine as to have one stemming from somewhere else. Both of them are highly subjective, and the values held by both parties are no more moral than the other, from an unbiased perspective.

That being said, atheism in truth has at times been militant, or in the extreme examples of philosophical Daoism, been the exact opposite of militant (do nothing is not go out and rally). To be atheist then does not connect logically to any other movement, and the label atheist itself is problematic, as it assumes too much (it assumes you need to be defined against the existence of a God, rather than not defined).

But no, you yourself are advocating politics and morality where there is no real necessity for politics or morality.

Though, now people use lines like "put atheism first," and "say no to religion" as if there is a conflict. Atheism has changed its meaning because of a bunch of loud mouthed brats on the internet, and other political-advocates whose moral promotion is somehow backed by the nonsense of it being unreligious, and therefore more "moral."

Dawkins himself stumbled on this predicament when asked about the amorality of some non-religious historical persons, to which he replied "it wasn't in the name of their atheism that they committed those crimes." I would take that question a step further and ask, "why then should atheism be mentioned at all within the context of morality, if not only to say that the rules of religious morality do not apply?" how can he, in short, advocate atheism, while accusing religions of advocating evil moral judgments and policies - is he not being a complete hypocrite?

That isn't to say an atheist cannot take moral stands - but religion or lack of religion no longer play a part, and therefore, from the atheists perspective, the use of atheism as an advocation for anything is really the use of subjective values as the advocation for a personalized, or, communal dogma - a social construct like religion, being used for promotion, and it isn't atheism, it is merely a movement that sees itself as somehow righteous, like all movements that advocate anything, it sees itself as right.

I do not mind that, per say, except when it becomes labeled as "atheist perspective" as if that is a source of opinion. People on the internet take it further, as they have started to do in the streets, and preach it, and make people who are religious feel bad, meanwhile clinging to the fact that they do not believe in god as somehow making them smarter, more educated, and superior to the rest. That's dangerous.

jajdude
04-13-2011, 10:41 AM
Worse than the theists!

haha

agreed

except for them darn thumpers

Varenne Rodin
04-13-2011, 10:58 AM
JBI, I'm not going to quote your last post, I'll just respond as simply as I can. I haven't witnessed the type of atheists who claim atheism cornered the market on morals, or that atheist people have any specific set of morals. If you can provide some literary evidence supporting that position, I would be interested in reading it. Individuals make their own morals. Reliquishing responsibility for behaviors or giving the credit for good behaviors to an invisible sky man is offensive and very often dangerous.

When a group takes a stance and says that their way is right and the one true good idea, and a person sees that group hindering society, education, science, and minority groups at varying times, what is the problem with saying there's something wrong with that? I'm puzzled as to what your actual position is. Is it peace, pacifism, or a sense of duty to defend traditional religious regimes? Genuinely curious so I can present clear debate. :)

Varenne Rodin
04-13-2011, 11:15 AM
More to the point...

The nature of science is to question. Science attempts to disprove theories. If a person believes religious theory is above criticism, that person is anti-science.

OrphanPip
04-13-2011, 12:40 PM
The attack or critique of religion has nothing to do with atheism, a fact easily ignored. Atheism as a "historic movement" (which means nothing as Drkshadow mentioned) has at times taken this position, while at other times not. The text of Laozi (Dao De Jing) for instance, is essentially an argument of nihilist philosophy against any ism itself - but it clearly goes the next step, and says, if you are going to deny religion as a construct, and religious morality as a construct, why not take that further and think of your counter morality as a construct, and your anti-religious, or even atheism as a construct, a labeled something which exists and is understood by its will to subjectively define itself. Moral values and whatnot have nothing to do with atheism, and they shouldn't.

I don't care about atheism as a historic movement. Neither does it follow that if you deny religious morality that the only other option is complete relativism. That's the same as Alyosha's complaint from BK, without God then everything is permitted. However, it doesn't follow that if I think religion is not a reliable source of moral argument within and of itself that nothing can have moral value. Especially, if I'm saying that religion is not reasonable because it makes no sense under the assumptions of philosophical materialism.

Saying morality has nothing to do with atheism is a cop-out, a cop-out often taken by people defending things done by atheist. It's nonsense to say that if religion has something to do with morals that the absence of religion has nothing to do with morals. Atheism would by necessity have to reject divine natural law as a moral system.



That being said, on issues of morality, it is just as valid, from a logical perspective, to have a sense of right and wrong stemming from religious doctrine as to have one stemming from somewhere else. Both of them are highly subjective, and the values held by both parties are no more moral than the other, from an unbiased perspective.

Perhaps in one's mind. We, however, live in a real world where we must make decisions and we must take a position. Diverting this to meta-ethics is pointless. We can begin from a starting point that is removed practically from the question of where morality derives from. If we instead begin on common principles then we can debate from there what is ethical. This is the only way to have effective ethical debates. Let's start with a basic principle that most of us can agree on, that it is wrong to cause harm to other human beings. With that principle we can go on to argue why certain religious impositions and attitudes are wrong. Religious morality is prescriptive rather than reasoned, which itself raises questions of relative value. Is it better to just assume something as truth than it is to reason? Cartesian skepticism would tell us that it is best to start with the minimum and most basic a priori assumptions. However, religious morality begins and ends with the a priori prescript. Except that itself is problematized by the issue of determining authorial intent, the morality derives from authority, but the authority can not be reliably accessed.



That being said, atheism in truth has at times been militant, or in the extreme examples of philosophical Daoism, been the exact opposite of militant (do nothing is not go out and rally). To be atheist then does not connect logically to any other movement, and the label atheist itself is problematic, as it assumes too much (it assumes you need to be defined against the existence of a God, rather than not defined).

Not all atheist are the same certainly, but it does not follow that because sometimes atheism does not connect to other movements that it never connects. Philosophical materialism follows inevitably into atheism. Materialism is also at the base of utilitarianism, and thus at the base of ethical liberalism. So, in general modern popular Western atheism did in large part follow out of Enlightenment era thought. The label is only a problem if you buy into wishy washy postmodernist discourse that insists on labels being perfect. Labels are only meant to be useful, in so far that it doesn't matter if atheism as commonly understood is always accurate as long as it is accurate enough that nuance can be added when necessary.



But no, you yourself are advocating politics and morality where there is no real necessity for politics or morality.

Though, now people use lines like "put atheism first," and "say no to religion" as if there is a conflict. Atheism has changed its meaning because of a bunch of loud mouthed brats on the internet, and other political-advocates whose moral promotion is somehow backed by the nonsense of it being unreligious, and therefore more "moral."

No, it is not because it is religious that it is immoral. I agree that moral prescriptions against murder are moral, but I don't agree with the reasoning behind why. I do not agree that stoning adulterers is moral. I also disagree that there is no need for politics or morality, there is only no need for those things when we divorce ourselves from the actual practical implications of these ideas.



Dawkins himself stumbled on this predicament when asked about the amorality of some non-religious historical persons, to which he replied "it wasn't in the name of their atheism that they committed those crimes." I would take that question a step further and ask, "why then should atheism be mentioned at all within the context of morality, if not only to say that the rules of religious morality do not apply?" how can he, in short, advocate atheism, while accusing religions of advocating evil moral judgments and policies - is he not being a complete hypocrite?

Here you're arguing against something I don't even agree with, so I don't care. I've never read Dawkins beyond his actual science books. It need not be necessary to show all atheist as moral to show that there are problems with religious morality anyway. Also, I do think it is a bit disingenuous to say that someone who is atheist who murders someone because of personal jealousy or Marxist authoritarian ideology is the same thing as countries which justify that the execution of homosexuals on the basis of religious doctrine. Here you have a comparison of doctrine against doctrine, both of which may be wrong. Like I said, just because some religious doctrine is wrong does not mean that every atheist or secular doctrine has to be right.

The Atheist
04-13-2011, 01:47 PM
I think I get and others get annoyed when atheists present this solely as their issue, which it isn't. It's an issue for anyone who wants a decent education, religious or otherwise.

I am a very frequent admirer of the work done by [Archbishop] Rowan Williams and other Anglican bishops in fighting fundamentalism, but I'll glaldy acknowledge any other groups that are involved as well.


Dawkins himself stumbled on this predicament when asked about the amorality of some non-religious historical persons, to which he replied "it wasn't in the name of their atheism that they committed those crimes." I would take that question a step further and ask, "why then should atheism be mentioned at all within the context of morality, if not only to say that the rules of religious morality do not apply?" how can he, in short, advocate atheism, while accusing religions of advocating evil moral judgments and policies - is he not being a complete hypocrite?

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s97/TheAtheist/funny.gif

Brilliant!

The question you ask has no bearing at all on Dawkins' statement - bolded. None. Not a smidgen. You don't take it a step further, you ask a nonsensical question for which you have pre-determined an answer, making Dawkins a hypocrite.

Tip: he isn't.

The answer to your question is even simpler: Why should atheists care about morality?

Some do, some don't, but it's pretty obvious to even the most beginning intellectual atheist that if our morality is based on texts which are complete cobblers - then what do you do if you throw that morality out?

See, atheists do that kind of thing, because many are quite rational and accept that in the real world, without the threat of hellfire and damnation and a moral guidebook to work by, the world would descend into anarchy pretty quickly - I'm very pleased Pip already brought up the French Revolution!

The more thoughtful kind of atheist - no doubt somewhat ironically from your perspective - are generally the more militant kind. They do actually realise that a world without cops, courts and laws would be a fairly unpleasant place, and accordingly apply their minds to the questions.

Since you hadn't noticed, this debate - which is at least 3000 years old - has not managed to come up with one set of moral guidelines!

Amazing, huh?

Some of the greatest brains that ever lived have tussled with just that question and not one of them has been able to solve it. These atheists continue debating it even today and so far, there isn't even a consensus on what forms a consensus, let alone a consensus on morality.

Your perspective on atheism and morality is fatally flawed.

In all of your anti-atheism posts, you still remain to present a single real-world case of this fundamental atheism you rail against.

Completely made up.

The Atheist
04-13-2011, 01:49 PM
More to the point...

The nature of science is to question. Science attempts to disprove theories. If a person believes religious theory is above criticism, that person is anti-science.

Sadly, that's an attraction for many people.

Varenne Rodin
04-13-2011, 02:01 PM
Sadly, that's an attraction for many people.

Happily, you are not one of those people. You say some pretty impressive stuff. :)

JBI
04-14-2011, 08:31 AM
I am a very frequent admirer of the work done by [Archbishop] Rowan Williams and other Anglican bishops in fighting fundamentalism, but I'll glaldy acknowledge any other groups that are involved as well.



http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s97/TheAtheist/funny.gif

Brilliant!

The question you ask has no bearing at all on Dawkins' statement - bolded. None. Not a smidgen. You don't take it a step further, you ask a nonsensical question for which you have pre-determined an answer, making Dawkins a hypocrite.

Tip: he isn't.

The answer to your question is even simpler: Why should atheists care about morality?

Some do, some don't, but it's pretty obvious to even the most beginning intellectual atheist that if our morality is based on texts which are complete cobblers - then what do you do if you throw that morality out?

See, atheists do that kind of thing, because many are quite rational and accept that in the real world, without the threat of hellfire and damnation and a moral guidebook to work by, the world would descend into anarchy pretty quickly - I'm very pleased Pip already brought up the French Revolution!

The more thoughtful kind of atheist - no doubt somewhat ironically from your perspective - are generally the more militant kind. They do actually realise that a world without cops, courts and laws would be a fairly unpleasant place, and accordingly apply their minds to the questions.

Since you hadn't noticed, this debate - which is at least 3000 years old - has not managed to come up with one set of moral guidelines!

Amazing, huh?

Some of the greatest brains that ever lived have tussled with just that question and not one of them has been able to solve it. These atheists continue debating it even today and so far, there isn't even a consensus on what forms a consensus, let alone a consensus on morality.

Your perspective on atheism and morality is fatally flawed.

In all of your anti-atheism posts, you still remain to present a single real-world case of this fundamental atheism you rail against.

Completely made up.
It's a simple question of advocation, which you do not understand. You self label yourself as The Atheist (the being a definite article, and in this context, an affirmation) and don't realize that you by doing so have taken a stand. Someone who does not believe in a deity need not concern themselves even with the notion of atheism, as atheism in itself stems from an understanding of the world within a dialectic question (atheism would be the anti-thesis to theism) but really non-believe predates belief. I do not believe in God, I just don't think people who pontificate with such a zealous anti-theism public should act as if they are somehow morally higher because of their lack of belief. Simply put, not believing in a deity in itself signifies nothing about the morality of character, and believing in God does not particularly either.

You seem to be a completely intolerant person of any perspective except your affirmation of you being right, and one must wonder, what would you be without those that believe? The Nothing? Even if you are right, what does it represent? I say this, if you don't believe, who cares? Why should I care that you are the atheist, why should you feel it is necessary to tell me? For all I know you are a big *** in your private life, and are just making up for the insignificances of being annoying by posting on a forum and acting like you are somehow smarter than people who came not to debate religion but to talk a little about literature, and enjoy friendly discussion - but for all I know you are also a saint - either way, how I judge you is based on my own subjective criteria, as is your judgement - there is no objective morality, and even if someone believes in God, it aught not to be of any concern. Simply put, it is your convictions against theirs, you are just as dogma-driven as anyone else.

That being said, I have moral preoccupations, and try to be a good person. I however don't see the need to preach it, nor do I see the need to advertise it, and call myself "The Do-Gooder(according to me)". I don't need to tell people they are wrong, since, if they are, am I even right? And what does it matter?

Varenne Rodin
04-14-2011, 01:38 PM
"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything." - Malcolm X

Someone who claims to be atheist, and bashes people with atheist views on a message board thread about atheism, is either a self-hater, or a dishonest theist. Whatever the case, it is obvious which posters are speaking out from a place of bitterness and negativity. I hope theists can peacefully come to terms with large numbers of people staying off of their bandwagons.

Varenne Rodin
04-14-2011, 02:18 PM
It's a simple question of advocation, which you do not understand. You self label yourself as The Atheist (the being a definite article, and in this context, an affirmation) and don't realize that you by doing so have taken a stand. Someone who does not believe in a deity need not concern themselves even with the notion of atheism, as atheism in itself stems from an understanding of the world within a dialectic question (atheism would be the anti-thesis to theism) but really non-believe predates belief. I do not believe in God, I just don't think people who pontificate with such a zealous anti-theism public should act as if they are somehow morally higher because of their lack of belief. Simply put, not believing in a deity in itself signifies nothing about the morality of character, and believing in God does not particularly either.

You seem to be a completely intolerant person of any perspective except your affirmation of you being right, and one must wonder, what would you be without those that believe? The Nothing? Even if you are right, what does it represent? I say this, if you don't believe, who cares? Why should I care that you are the atheist, why should you feel it is necessary to tell me? For all I know you are a big *** in your private life, and are just making up for the insignificances of being annoying by posting on a forum and acting like you are somehow smarter than people who came not to debate religion but to talk a little about literature, and enjoy friendly discussion - but for all I know you are also a saint - either way, how I judge you is based on my own subjective criteria, as is your judgement - there is no objective morality, and even if someone believes in God, it aught not to be of any concern. Simply put, it is your convictions against theirs, you are just as dogma-driven as anyone else.

That being said, I have moral preoccupations, and try to be a good person. I however don't see the need to preach it, nor do I see the need to advertise it, and call myself "The Do-Gooder(according to me)". I don't need to tell people they are wrong, since, if they are, am I even right? And what does it matter?

If you don't want people to talk about this, why are you talking about it? If you dislike theist/atheist debate, why are you here debating it? You seem to be opposed to people posting their views on message boards. Advice? Get over that and have fun talking with people on message boards, or try your hardest to get them shut down (good luck with that), or excuse yourself from activities you despise. I don't know if it's clear, but no one else is making personal attacks. Best wishes in resolving your conflicts.

Dodo25
04-14-2011, 03:09 PM
The word 'atheist' is misleading because it's defined by a negative: 'not believing in god(s)'. We hardly ever need such words. There's no word for 'not a racist' or 'not a stamp collector' or 'someone who doesn't believe in the tooth fairy'. By its very definition, 'atheist' has a hostile connotation because it singles something out as worthy of coining a word 'against' it. And because people who rationally argue against their views are a great threat to religious people, the word has acquired an even more negative connotation. Scientificially and historically illitarate theists have ranted again and again about the 'amorality' of atheism, and have started the moronic comparison of atheism and Stalinism, or come up with the stupid claim 'I don't have enough faith to be an atheist'.

This could have been predicted. The awkward labelling makes it easy for religious people to attack the philosophical point being made -- altough their attacks ultimately rest on a willful (or something else which I'm not writing here because it could be interpreted as being offensive) misunderstanding of the definition 'atheist'.

So it has to be stressed again and again: If someone doesn't think a god exists, he's an atheist. AND THAT'S IT, END OF THE STORY.

If someone thinks the question fundamentally can't be answered, he's an agnostic, and consequently also a relativist (because if God existed, it should in theory be able to find evidence for that; whoever denies that doesn't believe in objectivity and thus seems to be a postmodernist. Those are usually the ones saying 'why bother, no one can know anything, and the ones who claim to know things know the least, yeah ignorance rules!' Not a very wise position if you ask me, and definitely not a productive one.).

There's also a second generally accepted definition of agnosticism: Someone who just isn't sure, at all. Atheists don't have to be 'sure' either(!), so there's a fine line. Yet if you think god might very well exist, but you don't really BELIEVE it, but you still KINDA believe it, then that would qualify as 'agnostic' (though in a different non-relativistic sense).

So in short, agnosticism means either 'the answer is fundamentally unknowable' or 'I don't feel confident even making an educated guess about it'.

As soon as the 'educated guess' leans towards there being no god, this person turns into an atheist.

Some people might not want to label themselves as 'atheists' (because the word really is a bit awkward), but by definition, that's what they are. (Get over it.)

Regarding militant atheism and 'morality', most public atheist speakers not only advocate atheism, but also, in support, secular humanism and philosophy. Those frameworks DO provide values and morality (from a secular basis).

Something somewhat unrelated:


Since you hadn't noticed, this debate - which is at least 3000 years old - has not managed to come up with one set of moral guidelines!

Amazing, huh?

Some of the greatest brains that ever lived have tussled with just that question and not one of them has been able to solve it. These atheists continue debating it even today and so far, there isn't even a consensus on what forms a consensus, let alone a consensus on morality.


This isn't quite true. (Preference) utilitarianism has gained a lot of support recently and is now regarded by many philosophers as the ethical theory. Its flawlessly consistent, and the basic axioms are of a sort you can't sensibly disagree with. The standard objections to utilitarianism are almost as misguided as the standard objections to atheism. Some philosophers will never understand that, but as long as the arguments for utilitarianism crush any argument against it, who really needs an overall 'consensus'?

Armel P
04-14-2011, 04:40 PM
So in short, agnosticism means either 'the answer is fundamentally unknowable' or 'I don't feel confident even making an educated guess about it'.

As someone who, before eliminating a label altogether, considered himself an agnostic, I'd say that's true though only as consequence of the logical principles that actually define it.

The extension of the logic presented by Huxley is essentially the logic behind the scientific method. The important element behind agnosticism is the principle of how to discover what is probably true and merely concerning oneself with that information rather than concerning oneself with that which falls outside of the logical method of discovery. It then becomes a position that takes an issue with belief rather than stating disbelief. This is important so that it does not get misinterpretted as "fence-sitting."

It is my contention that todays atheists are actually agnostics because denial of the existence of God has become more of a rhetorical reaction rather than an actual statement of belief. In the God Delusion, Dawkins referred to a scale of belief from 1 - 10, 1 being the most pious and 10 being the most atheistic. He placed himself at 9.9999, etc. I think that's what agnosticism is. At some point in time in history, atheists were probably unafraid to place themselves at a 10. However, as people have become more versed in the logic involved in characterizing the nature of the universe, they have understood that a 10 is indefensible.

Dodo25
04-14-2011, 05:01 PM
It is my contention that todays atheists are actually agnostics because denial of the existence of God has become more of a rhetorical reaction rather than an actual statement of belief. In the God Delusion, Dawkins referred to a scale of belief from 1 - 10, 1 being the most pious and 10 being the most atheistic. He placed himself at 9.9999, etc. I think that's what agnosticism is. At some point in time in history, atheists were probably unafraid to place themselves at a 10. However, as people have become more versed in the logic involved in characterizing the nature of the universe, they have understood that a 10 is indefensible.

True, but IMO only about the adjective 'agnostic'. In a sense every atheist who's open-minded enough to consider even the slightest possibility of being wrong is technically an 'agnostic atheist', simply paying tribute to the fact that proving a negative is logically impossible. By the same token, we'd all be 'agnostic' about tooth faries, Narnia in the wardrobe, or leprechauns. But used this way, 'agnostic' is merely an adjective qualifying the non-dogmatic nature of disbelief. That's different from the nouns 'Agnosticism' or 'agnostic' (as in 'he's an agnostic'), which are actually labels for a position regarding the existence of god.

Thanks for pointing out this aspect, I hope it didn't make things even more complicated though.. Semantics can be really annoying.

Armel P
04-14-2011, 05:24 PM
True, but IMO only about the adjective 'agnostic'. In a sense every atheist who's open-minded enough to consider even the slightest possibility of being wrong is technically an 'agnostic atheist', simply paying tribute to the fact that proving a negative is logically impossible. By the same token, we'd all be 'agnostic' about tooth faries, Narnia in the wardrobe, or leprechauns. But used this way, 'agnostic' is merely an adjective qualifying the non-dogmatic nature of disbelief. That's different from the nouns 'Agnosticism' or 'agnostic' (as in 'he's an agnostic'), which are actually labels for a position regarding the existence of god.

Thanks for pointing out this aspect, I hope it didn't make things even more complicated though.. Semantics can be really annoying.

Yes, but your are referring to very recent manupulations of the terms. "Agnostic atheist" is a virtually meaningless idea in that it is an unnecessary distinction. People who label themselves as atheists necessarily accept the principles of agnosticism whether or not they are informed about agnosticism and whether or not they state the principles explicitly. For me "every atheist who's open-minded enough to consider even the slightest possibility of being wrong" is an agnostic. It's up to them to acknowledge this even if they are unsatisfied with the lack of rhetoric associated with agnosticism as a label. Stating that we are agnostic about fairies etc. is a derivative use that isn't really related to the fact that people who are advocates of atheism, particularly in a post-agnosticism era, base their world view on ideas represented fully under the label of agnosticism.

(This is part of the reason why I don't care to label myself anymore. I find it more satisfying to describe myself as placing my confidence in logic, reason and the scientific method.)

Dodo25
04-14-2011, 05:42 PM
I see your point, but I think it makes sense to distinguish between the following two positions though:

1) Someone who isn't confident enough to even make an educated guess on the issue

2) Someone to whom the existence of God is about as unreasonable as the existence of pink, flying unicorns

According to your definition, both represent Agnosticism. If it were suddenly universally accepted that atheism is a subcategory of agnosticism, I'd be happy too. The problem's just that some theists as well as agnostics accuse atheists of being dogmatic and 'having faith in the non-existence of God'. And in theory, it's possible to be a 'dogmatic/gnostic atheist', though this hardly ever happens.

Oh well, let's drop this. We agree on the actual parameters, the rest is just semantics. I'm more and more convinced that labelling people 'atheist' was a very bad strategy to begin with.

"I find it more satisfying to describe myself as placing my confidence in logic, reason and the scientific method."

-- Good point, I should start doing that too.

Armel P
04-14-2011, 05:54 PM
Well, it was nice to briefly revisit the topic so thanks for that.

The Atheist
04-14-2011, 07:44 PM
It's a simple question of advocation, which you do not understand. You self label yourself as The Atheist (the being a definite article, and in this context, an affirmation) and don't realize that you by doing so have taken a stand.

Fallacy upon fallacy.

I do know what I'm advocating, and my name, complete with the definite article was chosen very deliberately to make a statement and a stand. That's a stand by me personally, nothing to do with "atheism", or any other atheist.


Someone who does not believe in a deity need not concern themselves even with the notion of atheism, as atheism in itself stems from an understanding of the world within a dialectic question (atheism would be the anti-thesis to theism) but really non-believe predates belief.

Nonsense.

Atheism means what it has always meant and it's quite simple:

"a" without + "theism" belief in god/s.


I do not believe in God, I just don't think people who pontificate with such a zealous anti-theism public should act as if they are somehow morally higher because of their lack of belief.

Which people are these? I repeat that I have repeatedly asked you to identify these mythical anti-theists you're railing against, but I have yet to see evidence of them. I actually know a couple of strong anti-theists, but they generally keep it pretty quiet.

Where are these zealous anti-theists?


Simply put, not believing in a deity in itself signifies nothing about the morality of character, and believing in God does not particularly either.

Very good, we found something to agree on at least.

I have been labouring that very point.

The rest of your post appears to be no more than personal observations about me, and therefore irrelevant.


You seem to be opposed to people posting their views on message boards.

That's the strangest part. It appears that atheists shouldn't enter religious debates, but it's ok for non-theistic non-atheists to enter debates on atheism.

The Atheist
04-14-2011, 07:50 PM
This isn't quite true. (Preference) utilitarianism has gained a lot of support recently and is now regarded by many philosophers as the ethical theory. Its flawlessly consistent, and the basic axioms are of a sort you can't sensibly disagree with. The standard objections to utilitarianism are almost as misguided as the standard objections to atheism. Some philosophers will never understand that, but as long as the arguments for utilitarianism crush any argument against it, who really needs an overall 'consensus'?

No, you're putting the cart well before the horse here, because utilitarianism pre-supposes that value to a species, group or individual is somehow moral. Not to mention who decides what is "desirable".

It'll make a good subject for discussion elsewhere if you want to start a thread, but a bunch of philosophers agreeing on it being cool isn't anything like consensus.

JBI
04-14-2011, 07:55 PM
If you don't want people to talk about this, why are you talking about it? If you dislike theist/atheist debate, why are you here debating it? You seem to be opposed to people posting their views on message boards. Advice? Get over that and have fun talking with people on message boards, or try your hardest to get them shut down (good luck with that), or excuse yourself from activities you despise. I don't know if it's clear, but no one else is making personal attacks. Best wishes in resolving your conflicts.

I am not debating the existence of God, I told you, I do not believe in God. It is you who are forcing the debate, I never once have mentioned such a debate. I am talking about this obsession with confrontation people who call themselves atheists have, this obsession with promoting their non-belief. I didn't make any personal attacks, it is you who are making personal attacks.

OrphanPip
04-14-2011, 08:20 PM
All you're saying is that you object to people expressing opinions of anti-religiosity. I don't see why though, the opinion is as relevant and open to debate as any other.

My own anti-religiosity only extends so far as pushing towards secularism in the public sphere.

I suppose I interject occasionally in religion debates when people make false claims about evolution, which usually make me cringe as a biologist, or some other grossly inaccurate statement.

And the occasional jab when I'm feeling *****y.

I'm not sure any of that qualifies as promoting atheism though.

BibliophileTRJ
04-17-2011, 12:08 PM
My take on the issue in a nutshell...

http://media.fthink.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/morality.jpg

The Atheist
04-17-2011, 04:20 PM
I am not debating the existence of God, I told you, I do not believe in God. It is you who are forcing the debate, I never once have mentioned such a debate. I am talking about this obsession with confrontation people who call themselves atheists have, this obsession with promoting their non-belief. I didn't make any personal attacks, it is you who are making personal attacks.

So, calling people obsessed isn't a personal attack, but Varenne asking why you're debating it is.

Gotcha.


My take on the issue in a nutshell...

Always popular!

It's a bit like my old avatar: (you have to watch for a few seconds)

http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s97/TheAtheist/atheistavatar-1.gif