Observations on Atheism

CyclopsSo the question has been raised to atheists: if life is the product of random chance and there is no divine authority and life is ultimately what you make it, then why do you care what people believe one way or another? Specifically in regard to a belief in God.

One response to the question is commentary on monotheism’s Apocalyptic “literalists” — people who sincerely want to see the world end and are actively trying to bring about its destruction.

Atheists see it as their moral duty to attack the root of such beliefs — which just happens to be belief in God. And it’s fair to say this is all part of the Atheistic consensus.

So atheists are literally trying to save the world … delusions of grandeur, anyone?

Time and time again I can’t help but notice the parallels between atheists and religious types: the bitter hostility towards anyone who doesn’t just choke down their ideology; the inconsistent belief system and subsequent rationalizations that sidestep the issue by exploiting our human emotions.

Let’s examine the so-called ‘facts.’ The [atheist] argument totally hinges on morality, principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior, that life has intrinsic value. But considering Science, that yardstick by which atheists tell us measures truth, has not provided meaning for the universe — logically, this must also apply to our very existence. So again, if life ends when you die, and the universe itself is going to ‘starve to death’ from entropy, or collapse in on itself from the big crunch, then what are you clinging on to? What does it matter if we all die in a fiery Armageddon? Why do you care that people disagree with you? Atheists have yet to answer such a question in terms of: materialism, logic and objectivity. Because when you get down to it, respect for life (the foundation of morality) has no objective basis — its all rooted in subjective emotionalism.*

* What I find fascinating is that this is such a source of contention for nearly everybody (again I’m referring to atheists and religious types). No one wants to believe morality is essentially irrational. But why should that be a problem? Why can’t we be content with morality as self-validating; its own reward? What I find ‘illogical’ is the fear of being illogical. Everyone wants to believe in the objective supremacy of their beliefs — from their taste in fashion & entertainment to their ideas about God, the universe and everything. Everyone wants to be perfect. And isn’t it so much harder to feel perfect when you know someone out there thinks you’re 100% wrong about everything. The tacit assumption is that we can only have world peace when everyone believes the same thing. However, I would argue our behavior has more empirical consequence than belief itself; actions speak louder than ideas. IF people would acknowledge their feelings of empathy and act accordingly — then all the differing opinions in the world could never kill anyone.

Theologically speaking I can relate to atheism, theism & agnosticism. I can relate to the atheistic belief that self-accountability and autonomy are our most noble goals; I can relate to theism because I believe an intelligent force surrounds us, and I can relate to agnosticism because this intelligent force must have aspects that are beyond my current comprehension … so why bother having opinions about it? I consider myself a Pantheist and it doesn’t bother me I’m a minority — it’s not my mission in life to make you believe I’m right — because I believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant. However, I do believe in morality, and it doesn’t bother me my beliefs are inconsistent; I’m not concerned with being perfect.

** As far as those Apocalyptic “literalists” go — you might worry about ‘what to do with all those ‘CRAZIES,’ but I say there is no revolution; ***because you can’t change people with force, intimidation or name-calling. . . all that can ever accomplish is make them more fanatical. DALE CARNAGIE. VINDICATED! lol — what/ev,

EPILOGUE: Post Observations.

If you sincerely want to show people the error of their ways, specifically in regard to the Apocalyptic “literalist,” you’re not going to do it by calling them “EVIL” — all name-calling will ever accomplish is make them more fanatical. The best you can do is espouse an alternate interpretation of the Apocalypse and hope for the best. Like maybe start by pointing out the original Greek translation of “Apocalypse” LITERALLY means “lifting of the veil”; a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind. Far from being a horrible experience, Apocalypse represents the revealing of the true nature of things. It ushers in an era of forgotten freedoms and unprecedented clarity. This “lifting of the veil” will set us free from the misery that has been a result of our ignorance in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception.

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  • Anonymous

    It is not my duty to attack anything. People may believe whatever they want.

  • Redacted

    It is not my duty to attack anything. People may believe whatever they want.

  • http://www.bytehead.org/blog/ Bryan “bytehead” Price

    I really don’t care what anybody believes.  The only issue is when other people of belief start pushing their agenda on me.  And if I were to see an atheist proselytizing, I would be just as apt to tell them to shut up.

  • http://www.bytehead.org/blog/ Bryan “bytehead” Price

    I really don’t care what anybody believes.  The only issue is when other people of belief start pushing their agenda on me.  And if I were to see an atheist proselytizing, I would be just as apt to tell them to shut up.

    • StillAtMyMoms

      Ditto.  I agree that a staunch atheist arrogantly inflicting their views onto Christians and other religious followers is no different than the fundies.  I used to devoutly read Richard Dawkins and dabbled into deep science (i.e. Quantum Physics) which lead me to an epiphany of sorts: Are we just supposedly random collisions in the cosmos? A byproduct of pure chance?  And once we’re dead–that’s it?  Move along.  I mean, seriously; that’s all?  Then I got all philosophical and considered the unfortunate people who endured misery in their lives.  Are they just “in the ground” too?  If life is treated like a win at a casino, then I feel no different towards atheism.  It’s not that I am regressing back to religion, but wanting to be more open about something else out there.  And I don’t care if it’s an superior alien race or not–just as long as innocent people who endured suffering get another chance at life in some other dimension, realm, manifestation, etc..  In conclusion I guess it comes across as really Buddhist like, but oh well.  It tackles questions that every human being should be concerned about.

      • FilthyPazuzu

        As far as I’m concerned, one of the greatest gifts of atheism is taking away belief in an afterlife, making you focus on improving THIS life. Belief in an afterlife is an excellent tool of oppression: “be meek and suffer in this life, and you will be rewarded when you die.”

        • Andrew

          Both of your arguments are ad consequentiam.

          • StillAtMyMoms

            *rolls eyes*  Sorry Mr. Pseudo Intellectual. 

          • Firehat

            Yes, Andrew is the stereotypical psuedo intellectual snob. He found a legal dictionary and he uses it to attack everyone arguments in the vaguest senses of it definitions. He has no idea of the irony that almost all of his attacks are ad hominem. I’d love to see the sad bastard actually argue a case without google and 30 minutes to respond to each questions. 

          • Andrew

            I think one has to claim to be an intellectual to be a pseudo-intellectual. Just using logic (not legal) terms doesn’t amount to such a claim.  Most of my comments are neither attacks nor pseudo-intellectualism but jokes.  Too bad you didn’t get any of them.  Most of the time I avoid ad hominem, but if the other person goes first, I feel it’s fair game and not hypocritical.

          • Tuna Ghost

            So basically, it sucks that he has access to information resources to prove your arguments are invalid?  Are we supposed to handicap ourselves so that we’ll be on equal ground? 

          • Firehat

            Yes, Andrew is the stereotypical psuedo intellectual snob. He found a legal dictionary and he uses it to attack everyone arguments in the vaguest senses of it definitions. He has no idea of the irony that almost all of his attacks are ad hominem. I’d love to see the sad bastard actually argue a case without google and 30 minutes to respond to each questions. 

          • Firehat

            Yes, Andrew is the stereotypical psuedo intellectual snob. He found a legal dictionary and he uses it to attack everyone arguments in the vaguest senses of it definitions. He has no idea of the irony that almost all of his attacks are ad hominem. I’d love to see the sad bastard actually argue a case without google and 30 minutes to respond to each questions. 

          • StillAtMyMoms

            Wait.  Before you retort, I already know my reply is an ad hominem attack.  Just googled it.

          • Andrew

            I wonder what Filthy Pazuzu is going to call me.

          • FilthyPazuzu

            Andrew?

          • senorchupacabra

            Of course they are. But I’m using the exact consequences that the reductionists/materialists DEPEND on for their arguments. Both of my arguments, just like the arguments of the materialist scientist, are assuming the consequences for reductionist logic are valid and sound. In short, I’m deferring home court advantage to the reductionist and challenging her/him on her/his own grounds.

            So what’s your point?

          • Andrew

            My point was regarding StillAtMyMoms’ and Filthy Pazuzu’s arguments, not yours, which I agreed with and hit the Like button for.

        • StillAtMyMoms

          What if you’re financially fucked, victim of a drunk driver, incapacitated in some sort of way, impaired, murdered, etc?  That’s it?  Game over?  It’s not that I am a pessimist.  I am pointing out some worst-case scenarios to illustrate a point.  “Hey your conscious cannot live without your mind–and your mind cannot live without your body.  So sorry about the fatality you experienced.  You’re kind of fucked for eternity since you’re existence was based upon mere probability.  Peace out, I think?  *sarcastic laugh*”

          • Venus in Furs.

            Any evidence to the contrary would be groundbreaking. Unfortunately, there is no such evidence.

          • Edubus

            Perhaps it’s the nature of spirituality that such evidence must be empirical. I was once a church-going atheist as a boy and then had out-of-body experiences the like of which cannot be explained. It is proof to me of ‘something else’, although everybody I related my experiences to readily dismissed them as dreams or some other delusion. I cannot prove otherwise. Still, it affected my personal philosophy profoundly.

        • SF2K01

          That’s a gift of not believing in Christianity, which pretty much invented the ridiculous idea of living for the afterlife in the first place. It’s actually an exception rather than the rule as religions go, it just happens to be one big selling point they push.

          • FilthyPazuzu
          • SF2K01

            You completely misunderstood. I didn’t say other religions don’t believe in AN afterlife, but that Christianity invented the idea of LIVING for the afterlife. No hindu is blowing himself up or going on a holy war because he’ll be reincarnated better. Additionally, reincarnation isn’t an “afterlife” in the sense we’re talking about; it’s just more of the same. It’s nothing like “heaven.”

  • chinagreenelvis

    How can you attack the belief system of a person who does not subscribe to beliefs? Caring about life, the world around you, and what other people think and do is intrinsic. It isn’t based on any kind of philosophy; it’s simple human nature. Nihilists can talk themselves out of it, sure, but for most of us it’s just there. It’s not the burden of the atheist to justify it, it’s the burden of the religion to convince people to believe in something there is absolutely no evidence for. In all arguments concerning deities, god becomes arbitrary.

    I believe in the existence of my house because I can see the house, I can feel the house. I believe in the existence of Abraham Lincoln because I can see his face in photographs. While in some Matrix-like thought experiment it’s perfectly valid that these things may still wind up specifically fabricated to suit my existence, at the very least there is something from which the concept of the existence of my house or the concept of Abraham Lincoln can be derived. There is absolutely nothing in the natural world that would ever directly produce the idea of God to someone who had never been previously exposed to it. Those of us who can even imagine such a thing as God are able to do so because the people who lived before us did it and wrote it down in books. The idea of God in and of itself is an evolution, and was produced by those of us who no longer had to spend all our time trying to gather food and instead began to devote time to trying to think of reasons for the very existence of things. God is the product of human imagination and not the product of reality or experience.

    Unless, of course, you really believe that God stepped in at one point and said “Hey, look at me! You can see me right? Is this thing on? By the way, I’m God and I made everything in the world and I suggest you write that in a book because this is the last anyone is ever going to see of me.” But what evidence is there to back up the claim that such a thing ever happened?

    Your assertion that atheists see the destruction of religion as some kind of moral duty seems to be based on the words of one guy. I hardly find that reason enough to justify such a claim. Atheism isn’t a construct based on a set of principles; it is the absence of adherence to that which is built upon a faulty foundation. Disbelief, by it’s very nature, cannot be suitably challenged. 

  • chinagreenelvis

    How can you attack the belief system of a person who does not subscribe to beliefs? Caring about life, the world around you, and what other people think and do is intrinsic. It isn’t based on any kind of philosophy; it’s simple human nature. Nihilists can talk themselves out of it, sure, but for most of us it’s just there. It’s not the burden of the atheist to justify it, it’s the burden of the religion to convince people to believe in something there is absolutely no evidence for. In all arguments concerning deities, god becomes arbitrary.

    I believe in the existence of my house because I can see the house, I can feel the house. I believe in the existence of Abraham Lincoln because I can see his face in photographs. While in some Matrix-like thought experiment it’s perfectly valid that these things may still wind up specifically fabricated to suit my existence, at the very least there is something from which the concept of the existence of my house or the concept of Abraham Lincoln can be derived. There is absolutely nothing in the natural world that would ever directly produce the idea of God to someone who had never been previously exposed to it. Those of us who can even imagine such a thing as God are able to do so because the people who lived before us did it and wrote it down in books. The idea of God in and of itself is an evolution, and was produced by those of us who no longer had to spend all our time trying to gather food and instead began to devote time to trying to think of reasons for the very existence of things. God is the product of human imagination and not the product of reality or experience.

    Unless, of course, you really believe that God stepped in at one point and said “Hey, look at me! You can see me right? Is this thing on? By the way, I’m God and I made everything in the world and I suggest you write that in a book because this is the last anyone is ever going to see of me.” But what evidence is there to back up the claim that such a thing ever happened?

    Your assertion that atheists see the destruction of religion as some kind of moral duty seems to be based on the words of one guy. I hardly find that reason enough to justify such a claim. Atheism isn’t a construct based on a set of principles; it is the absence of adherence to that which is built upon a faulty foundation. Disbelief, by it’s very nature, cannot be suitably challenged. 

    • Earaches

      Every one subscribes to beliefs. Science is, for the most part, based on beliefs and suspicions.

      • Ronniedobbs

        which have been rigorously tested through the scientific method, minor point i know….

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      Its a little more complicated than you put it forth. You push a perspective that is so deeply entrenched in materialism. In its most basic form atheists deny the existence of any sort of subtle dimensions that are beyond our perception (or at least theirs). Some people have reason to believe that more subtle parts of reality do exist, and do so to the same extent that you believe that your house exists.

      The problem lies in the fact that to see it you have let yourself believe it, and not the other way around, which is antithetical to the materialistic approach. Its an intellectually closed perspective that could be analogized to a racist that believed in the superiority of their own race, while the only people of other races they’ve met they degraded and excluded.

      The world uses buzzwords such as “scientists” and “experts” to convince people of materialistic “truth” while at the same time its sometimes as faulty as a faith-based beliefs.

      Now don’t get me wrong though… there are still people with stupid and wrong perspectives but atheists are closed to ALL of them aside from their own.

      • Perspicacious13

        …”stupid and wrong perspectives but atheists are closed to ALL of them aside from their own” reeks of essentialism.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          I’m sorry I thought it was common practice to accept the existence of different perspectives yet have the ability to disagree with some and agree with others.

          Is that essentialism? I don’t even get what you’re trying to say…. would you prefer the nonessentialist “nothing is true, everything is subjective” view instead? It all seems like a bunch of silly semantics to me.

          maybe i worded it unclearly. …”there are still people with stupid and wrong perspectives, but atheists take that to deny all perspectives (including the not so wrong) other than their own….”

      • chinagreenelvis

        This argument would be equally weak were I to flip it around and suggest that all people who believe can be lumped into a single category that presupposes to defined them in some sort of dogmatic way.

        Again, I reiterate, atheism is the absence of belief in God. Those who would describe themselves as people who specifically believe that there is no God are still called atheists but there have been good cases made for the position that some other terminology should be used for those who adhere to such a belief and religiously so. Or perhaps the other way around, that those of us who simply see a world full of unknowns would be referred to as “non-theists.”

        I think this may be the fundamental issue with which I take offense, for it would be silly of me to refuse to acknowledge that there are indeed atheists out there who trumpet just as loudly as any preacher and among some it has become a school of thought that is specifically “anti-theist.” I certainly do not feel comfortable being thrown in with that company simply because I refuse to believe in something which makes no sense to believe in. Differentiating among classes of atheists is important in any criticism.

      • Nathaniell Mccune

        This deeply entrenched “materialism”, and the study of it (science), has brought us technology. Is there any aspect of your life that has not been improved through technology? Computers, transportation, air conditioning, heating, food production, medical technology.

         Just because we haven’t yet studied the ‘subtle parts of reality’ doesn’t mean that we will never be able to.
        It also does not support anything talked about in the holy books today. 

        Science is open to the possibility of an “intelligent creator” (all it would take is this little thing called evidence), but that does not necessarily point to God, or Allah, or Hindu, or Zeus. And so far, from what we know of the universe, everything makes more sense without an “intelligent creator”.

      • Nathaniell Mccune

        This deeply entrenched “materialism”, and the study of it (science), has brought us technology. Is there any aspect of your life that has not been improved through technology? Computers, transportation, air conditioning, heating, food production, medical technology.

         Just because we haven’t yet studied the ‘subtle parts of reality’ doesn’t mean that we will never be able to.
        It also does not support anything talked about in the holy books today. 

        Science is open to the possibility of an “intelligent creator” (all it would take is this little thing called evidence), but that does not necessarily point to God, or Allah, or Hindu, or Zeus. And so far, from what we know of the universe, everything makes more sense without an “intelligent creator”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Schaffer/100001978551906 Bill Schaffer

      I’m sorry by your standards your house does not exist because I can’t see it. It does not matter what anyone else believes why do atheist care crawl into your little hole of disbelief. I believe in a higher power not the biblical one, but they may be one in the same.If others choose not to believe that’s fine. It does seem to me that although atheist try to take the high road you do seem to believe an something even if you say it’s nothing. Not making a decision is in fact making a decision. Your choice to attack those of opposing beliefs is where you blow your cover if you really had no beliefs none of this would be.

  • DeepCough

    Fuck this article; this guy just likes to attack atheism while comfortably sitting on the fenceposts, which are deeply implanted in his anus.

  • DeepCough

    Fuck this article; this guy just likes to attack atheism while comfortably sitting on the fenceposts, which are deeply implanted in his anus.

    • Redacted

      I’m enjoying the little slap debates springing up.

  • Anonymous

    Ditto.  I agree that a staunch atheist arrogantly inflicting their views onto Christians and other religious followers are no different than the fundies.  I used to devoutly read Richard Dawkins and dabbled into deep science (i.e. Quantum Physics) and had an epiphany of sorts: We’re just supposedly random collisions in the cosmos?  And once we’re dead–that’s it?  Move along.  I mean, seriously?  That’s all?  Then I got all philosophical and considered the unfortunate people who endured misery their lives.  Are they just “in the ground” too?  If life is treated like a win at a casino, then I feel no different towards atheism.  It’s not that I am regressing back to religion, but wanting to be more open about something else out there.  And I don’t care if it’s an superior alien race or not–just as long as innocent people who endured suffering get another chance at life in some other dimension, realm, manifestation, etc..  In conclusion I guess it comes across as really Buddhist like, but oh well.  It tackles questions that every human being should be concerned about.

  • Nunzio X

    The great Robert Anton Wilson said something to the effect that “It’s no coincidence the abbreviation for “Belief System” is BS.”

  • Nunzio X

    The great Robert Anton Wilson said something to the effect that “It’s no coincidence the abbreviation for “Belief System” is BS.”

  • Nunzio X

    The great Robert Anton Wilson said something to the effect that “It’s no coincidence the abbreviation for “Belief System” is BS.”

  • Tj.Medicinehat

    Atheism the Lack of a theology, that absence of a belief is
    not replaced by a belief in something else. I think this authors points of
    reference or friends who may call themselves atheists or wherever he is getting
    his information are not really atheists at all. they sure don’t speak for me I don’t have a theology to defend.
     

  • Tj.Medicinehat

    Atheism the Lack of a theology, that absence of a belief is
    not replaced by a belief in something else. I think this authors points of
    reference or friends who may call themselves atheists or wherever he is getting
    his information are not really atheists at all. they sure don’t speak for me I don’t have a theology to defend.
     

  • FilthyPazuzu

    Stereotyping will get you nowhere, but you sure do quite a bit of it in this article.

    “Time and time again I can’t help but notice the parallels between
    atheists and religious types: the bitter hostility towards anyone who
    doesn’t just choke down their ideology”

    Many of my friends and famliy members are religious, and while we often have passionate debates concerning the matter, they could hardly be called hostile and bitter. I’m occasionally hostile toward religious beliefs, especially when they have or attempt to have an effect on the way our country functions. But that doesn’t mean I’m hostile to the people holding those beliefs. I was raised Catholic, but I was also raised to respect people, even if – no, make that especially if I disagree with their beliefs. I may not be Catholic anymore, but I certainly try to be as respectful as possible. Similarly, most people I know are not proselytizers; whether religious or atheist, they mostly go by maxim “live and let live”. Discussions on the Internet can quickly devolve into bitter, hostile name-calling, but that’s not how most people act in real life (except maybe for complete loonies like the Westboro Baptist Church, but they’re the exception, not the rule.)

    “Everyone wants to believe in the objective supremacy of their beliefs”

    I don’t care what other people believe, unless and until they’re trying to force those beliefs upon me or anyone else who doesn’t believe. Neither do I want to be ‘perfect’. Is such a thing is even possible?

    “The tacit assumption is that we can only have world peace when everyone believes the same thing”

    I know there are people who actually believe this to be true, they use it justify whatever actions – no matter how depraved – in order to inflict their beliefs upon others. I think the belief that there could ever be such a thing as ‘world peace’ is toxic, because if you believe it is possible, and you believe that your worldview is the way toward it, then you really have no choice but to try and make it happen. Besides that, if everyone believed the same thing our world would be painfully dull.

    “But considering Science, that yardstick by which atheists tell us
    measures truth, has not provided meaning for the universe”

    What does
    that even mean? Who ever thought science was supposed to provide meaning
    for the universe? The idea of some meaning or purpose for the universe
    is itself a religious one.

    “I believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant”

    Do you really believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant? That sounds like one of those statements meant to sound ‘deep’ & ‘thought-provoking’ but are actually pure horseshit. It’s absurd. That’s how sociopaths think. So it’s irrelevant whether or not your sexual partners are telling the truth when they say they have no STDs? It’s irrelevant whether or not a pregnant woman tells the truth when she tells some guy he’s the father? It’s irrelevant whether or not someone is telling the truth when they express their love for another?

    “However, I do believe in morality, and it doesn’t bother me my beliefs are inconsistent; I’m not concerned with being perfect”

    You say this like it’s a grand idea you just came up with; but if questioned, I’d say that’s what many people actually believe – including me.

    • Reasor

      The article contains so many broad, sweeping generalizations that it’s impossible to tell exactly who the author is attacking.

    • DeepCough

      “Agnostic: isn’t that just an atheist without any balls?” ~Stephen Colbert

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I think the distinction between a “bad atheist” and a “good atheist” for lack of better terms needs to be made… its brought a lot of confusion. What he is talking about is very real. However, he is only intending to degrade “bad atheists”. you see the word atheist, and being a “good atheist” you defend atheism from that perspective.

      He’s not insulting you. However, bad atheists do exist; he didn’t make the distinction, but they do exist, I’ve met them. This guy has probably just been stung by a few too many of them, and is confused.

      This is however the same problem and confusion that there is between bad christians and good christians and the same for other religions. The typical response is that good christians should speak out against bad christians… but its harder for a good atheist to do such a thing since atheists do not work in cohesive collusion like mainstream religions do…

      (I do however agree with you on the whole truth and lies thing… that was crap)

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        After reading comments I’m starting to realize bad atheists all really just seem to be “christian haters” their non-belief in god or spirituality is restricted to the understanding of reality in christian terms. There are christian terms, and not-christian terms, which they define as atheism. All of their defenses of atheism are arguments that christians and their beliefs are stupid.

        • FilthyPazuzu

          That seems like selection bias due to language, I think. A great many English speakers are Christian; therefore, many English-speaking atheists come from a Christian background or grew up in a Christian community and thus are accustomed to discussing religion in Christian terms. I’m not quite sure what you mean by “non-Christrian terms” being defined as atheism. Gods are central to all religions. The belief in an afterlife is very common too, same with miracles. None of these can be proved.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            I think i was tired when i wrote that last bit, doesn’t make as much sense as I intended.

            I think what I meant is that the “bad” ones are the ones that had an emotional reaction to the christian definition of God, as opposed to a logical argument against the existence of any god. They get spurned and angry when they realize bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people etc. so they renounce the christian god.

            However in their mind the christian god and all of its attributes are still their only alternative to atheism, as opposed to all of the other cosmologies, or even definitions of a monotheistic god.

            In other words they are not atheists the way I would think it, but they are “non-christians” or even “anti-christians” using emotional arguments such as “I just cant believe in a god that allows for suffering” rather than logical arguments such as “there really isn’t any sufficient evidence”.

            I hope that’s more clear, essentially the bad atheists in my mind tend to be more small minded, less likely to think things out for their own (like all atheists should), and more likely to accept secular dogma, which can be just as bad as religious dogma in some cases.

          • Jin The Ninja

            absolutely. especially the last paragraph.

          • Jin The Ninja

            absolutely. especially the last paragraph.

          • FilthyPazuzu

            There’s definitely something there. I think those initial anti-Christian ideas (or anti-whatever religious ideas) you were raised with are a first step, clues to open your mind toward objectively examining your religion. For some people, these objections to the religious traditions in which they were raised lead them to conversion to another religion, for others, it leads to atheism.

            Growing up Catholic, my initial objections to religion were specifically anti-Catholic, then generally anti-Christian, and finally anti-religious. I saw much suffering, and for as long as I can remember, whenever anyone has uttered the phrase ‘god works in mysterious ways’ I’ve had to desperately restrain myself so that person didn’t end up wondering why god mysteriously allowed me to curb-stomp them. If the suffering of the world is part of some god’s plan, he/she/it/them can go fuck themselves silly.

            After reading this article for the first time, I tried to lay out my intellectual & logical reasons for being unable to believe in a deity or follow a religion without evidence. But when I start thinking about my initial reasons for disavowing religion, I get all emotional, since it was my emotional objections to the existence of a just god that led me to atheism in the first place. (I’ll admit that a little bit o’ violent imagery pops in my head too, but it’s just the expression of the frustration and rage I experienced while younger. I’ve never laid a hand to anyone.)

            I agree with the foundation of your argument, but I say take it further: there’s a lot of grey area & overlap in the collection generally referred to as ‘atheists’, just like there’s many shades of religious believers. Many atheists see the religious as one giant unified block, which is just as much of an error as the religious seeing atheists the same way.

            This comes back to my principal objection to the original article, concerning the error of making broad generalizations about groups of people.

            Full circle! Boosh!

      • FilthyPazuzu

        You say the author is only denigrating ‘bad atheists’, but he only said ‘atheists’, just as he also only said ‘religious types’. If I wrote an article denigrating badgers, you would think I had a problem with ALL badgers. At no point does he say he’s talking about certain groups within those two very broad categories,which  is why I took exception to his article; it is just a pile of generalizations that have not been well thought out.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          I actually agree with you on this, he is making generalizations; he should know better to specify. Nonetheless my point was he is most likely speaking from experience and not knowing that he should differentiate is simply ignorance.

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    Stereotyping will get you nowhere, but you sure do quite a bit of it in this article.

    “Time and time again I can’t help but notice the parallels between
    atheists and religious types: the bitter hostility towards anyone who
    doesn’t just choke down their ideology”

    Many of my friends and famliy members are religious, and while we often have passionate debates concerning the matter, they could hardly be called hostile and bitter. I’m occasionally hostile toward religious beliefs, especially when they have or attempt to have an effect on the way our country functions. But that doesn’t mean I’m hostile to the people holding those beliefs. I was raised Catholic, but I was also raised to respect people, even if – no, make that especially if I disagree with their beliefs. I may not be Catholic anymore, but I certainly try to be as respectful as possible. Similarly, most people I know are not proselytizers; whether religious or atheist, they mostly go by maxim “live and let live”. Discussions on the Internet can quickly devolve into bitter, hostile name-calling, but that’s not how most people act in real life (except maybe for complete loonies like the Westboro Baptist Church, but they’re the exception, not the rule.)

    “Everyone wants to believe in the objective supremacy of their beliefs”

    I don’t care what other people believe, unless and until they’re trying to force those beliefs upon me or anyone else who doesn’t believe. Neither do I want to be ‘perfect’. Is such a thing is even possible?

    “The tacit assumption is that we can only have world peace when everyone believes the same thing”

    I know there are people who actually believe this to be true, they use it justify whatever actions – no matter how depraved – in order to inflict their beliefs upon others. I think the belief that there could ever be such a thing as ‘world peace’ is toxic, because if you believe it is possible, and you believe that your worldview is the way toward it, then you really have no choice but to try and make it happen. Besides that, if everyone believed the same thing our world would be painfully dull.

    “But considering Science, that yardstick by which atheists tell us
    measures truth, has not provided meaning for the universe”

    What does
    that even mean? Who ever thought science was supposed to provide meaning
    for the universe? The idea of some meaning or purpose for the universe
    is itself a religious one.

    “I believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant”

    Do you really believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant? That sounds like one of those statements meant to sound ‘deep’ & ‘thought-provoking’ but are actually pure horseshit. It’s absurd. That’s how sociopaths think. So it’s irrelevant whether or not your sexual partners are telling the truth when they say they have no STDs? It’s irrelevant whether or not a pregnant woman tells the truth when she tells some guy he’s the father? It’s irrelevant whether or not someone is telling the truth when they express their love for another?

    “However, I do believe in morality, and it doesn’t bother me my beliefs are inconsistent; I’m not concerned with being perfect”

    You say this like it’s a grand idea you just came up with; but if questioned, I’d say that’s what many people actually believe – including me.

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    As far as I’m concerned, one of the greatest gifts of atheism is taking away belief in an afterlife, making you focus on improving THIS life. Belief in an afterlife is an excellent tool of oppression: “be meek and suffer in this life, and you will be rewarded when you die.”

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    As far as I’m concerned, one of the greatest gifts of atheism is taking away belief in an afterlife, making you focus on improving THIS life. Belief in an afterlife is an excellent tool of oppression: “be meek and suffer in this life, and you will be rewarded when you die.”

  • Anonymous

    The article contains so many broad, sweeping generalizations that it’s impossible to tell exactly who the author is attacking.

  • Anonymous

    The article contains so many broad, sweeping generalizations that it’s impossible to tell exactly who the author is attacking.

  • Nunya Bidness

    This article is written on a false premise. Atheism is not a belief in something, it is not believing in god. It seems to me that a lot of religious people think atheism is the opposite of religion in the way that satanism is the opposite of christianity. It is not. The main problem I have with religious people, and I don’t care what religion it is, is that they feel compelled to make everyone else do as they do. At it’s mildest form it’s social pressure. At it’s worst you get things like the Inquisition.

    P.S. yes, when you die, that’s it. Life is not fair. Grow up. Bad people sometimes get away with it and good people sometimes suffer for no reason. Think of it like this: does the ocean care if you are drowning? That’s existence. There is no magic man in the sky that’s gonna save you. The only goodness and fairness you get is what you create and you only get one chance.

    • StillAtMyMoms

      So apathy seems like a core tenet in the atheism ethos.

      • DeepCough

        I say it’s more apathetic to wait ’til you die in order for good things to happen, but that’s just lil’ ol’ atheist me.

        • StillAtMyMoms

          It’s not like I’m anti-living your life to the fullest. I’m a self-described egalitarian and shit. But you cannot avoid fate.  You don’t know when things are going to happen.  I guess that’s why Hawking is partial to parallel universes then.

      • Venus in Furs.

        There is no ethos central to atheism, and I don’t see how the previous comment could be considered apathetic.

      • FilthyPazuzu

        1) I didn’t know Nunya Bidness was the world’s official spokesperson for Atheism, Inc.2) I agree with Venus in Furs, where’s the apathy in that statement? I’d say there’s a fair amount of concern in a statement such as this:

        “The only goodness and fairness you get is what you create and you only get one chance.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

      There’s no such thing as nonbelief in itself. Every belief implies multiple nonbeliefs, and all nonbeliefs arise from sets of beliefs. In reality, not believing x is just a byproduct of believing y (whatever x and y may mean)

      The atheist claim that “atheism is nonbelief” is really just a cop out, an attempt to avoid being held to account for the premises that lead to this nonbelief. Granted, there are atheists who are Buddhists or animists (even some Christian atheists, apparently), and come to their beliefs from those paradigms, but let’s not play games. Most atheists in America are atheists because they believe that all things that exist are material. This belief excludes a belief in a nonmaterial entity (such as God). If one attacks this premise, then one is attacking the logical foundation of the materialist kind of atheism.

      The “atheism is nonbelief” argument attempts to remove atheism from the realm of question. This argument states that it is the religious person who must answer all the questions, and if his answers cannot satisfy the listener, the listener has no reason to believe in God’s existence. And while this is a perfectly valid way of setting things up, it is still a belief system, based on the idea that one is compelled to weigh the evidence for something, and that if said evidence does not measure up, then one is compelled to reject (or simply to doubt, depending on the specific formulation of this criterion) the premise in question.

      The point being, the author kind of addressed both of these, and while it is limited to a specific kind of atheism, this cop out still does not work.

      • Nathaniell

        What is the cop out? There is a huge difference between believing in something without evidence, and NOT believing in it. There is no prerequisite “beliefs” for non belief.

        • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

          You completely missed my point.

          You don’t believe or disbelieve something in a vacuum. What you believe and what you disbelieve are informed and determined by other things you believe and disbelieve. For any given premise one regards as false, there must be one premise that a person regards as true, in order to justify the dsibelief of the first premise.

          I’m saying that attempting to identify atheism as simply disbelief (that is, to identify atheism as not something but a lack of something) is an attempt to move it beyond the realm of criticism, and to remove any burden of proof from the atheist. Your comment about evidence shows this to be true of your position–you demand evidence from the theist for his position without offering any in support of your own.

          Now I’m not saying atheists should prove God’s nonexistence. If you think that’s what I’m saying, you are misreading my meaning. To simplify–perhaps oversimplify–my point, I’m saying that atheists should prove their ideological premises. Western atheists tend to hold to materialism, which ultimately comes from their evidentialism (wikipedia it if you don’t know what it is). Your aforementioned comment about “evidence” is an example of this. These beliefs, and a slew of other beliefs and subjective experiences, have convinced you to be an atheist. You are ideologically accountable for them, and as a result you have your own burden of proof for atheism. Attempting to say that atheism is not a belief at all is the cop out, because even if that is technically and linguistically true, it is not actually true; things aren’t separated into clearly defined boxes, despite how language makes them seem. Atheism arises out of multiple other premises–which count as beliefs of their own.

          • Jake

            I understand your point about the enthymemes in atheistic beliefs. I think though, that you help to show why there is at least substantially less burden of proof on the atheist than the theist, and if cleverly articulated well enough, at most virtually no burden of proof.    I bet most theists are evidentialists to some large extent in their day-to-day lives; its essentially impossible to function in life without having good reasons to support the beliefs which bring about actions.  So, i’d say that both parties have common ground there.  But the theist loses his consistency when he abandons those epistemic principles by having (i’ll say strong) faith while the atheist remains consistent with their fundamental beliefs.  The principles of knowledge by which virtually all people operate under in essentially all aspects of life are cast aside for one aspect (i’d say that suggests its a question of morality). So, i don’t think that the kind of burden of proof you say the atheist is responsible for is actually in question, as it is accepted by both parties and inconsistently so by theists.

            The atheism that i espouse is one which says, “there is no direct causal relation between a God and my belief of a God, so i can’t accept it on those grounds.  I have no evidence besides philosophers’ book-long rationalizations of such a concept and our world being compatible with it, but something being possible because its rational (to a fault!) is no justification.  I can’t subscribe on those grounds.  I don’t need a God concept to help me through existential crises, so i can’t believe on moral grounds.  Why do you suggest i believe in God?”   In which case, i believe the burden of proof is legitimately lifted from me and placed onto the theist.  I think it takes away from the substance of the question of God’s existence by claiming that the atheist, and even the theist, has to prove every auxiliary hypothesis implicitly supporting their belief/non-belief.  Especially when the large majority of the aux. hypos. are held as true between the opposition.  

          • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

            That’s a fair point about the evidentialism, although I have always thought that people are evidentialists when talking ideology, and usually either internalists, externalists, or coherentists (or probably more often, don’t even think about justification in the loosest sense and are just socially controlled), depending on upbringing and local culture. However, still, theists do tend to be evidentialists ideologically when talking about some things, but not when talking about other things (like God).

            Thus, I would accept that the evidentialist theist, when compared to the evidentialist atheist, does have a greater burden of proof within that theory of justification (burden of proof doesn’t actually mean a whole lot outside of evidentialism anyways), and that any theist who holds to evidentialism and something like fideism (i.e., “you just gotta have faith”) at the same time is being self-contradictory.

            However, your last statement is where I disagree. I don’t hold evidentialism ideologically, and I’m pretty sure I don’t hold it in the everyday circumstances either (I’ll actually have to think about that more, but I think that in everyday circumstance, we’re more controlled by society than anything rational). Instead, I’m usually a skeptic epistemologically, though i realize that it is a self defeating theory. All of them are, when you get right down to it. Evidentialism cannot bear its own burden of proof, you can never link the fundamental axioms required for foundationalism to any greater proposition, coherentism allows for contradictory, yet justified, systems, and infinitism is basically just a statement that the other theories of justification don’t work. Thus, I do demand that the evidentialist plays his own game with regards to his evidentialism, to see how fundamentally irrational his system is. This applies to evidentialist atheists as well, who use evidence as the “objective standard” by which they determine the truth or falsehood of something.

            However, if you are debating with another evidentialist about God’s existence, then I won’t pick on it.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        its okay you just have to take it on faith that non belief exists

        oh crap………….

      • FilthyPazuzu

        You got some impressive semantic gymnastics in that there statement o’ yours.

        First of all, when talking about ‘belief’ in religious terms, we are talking of agreeing something is true despite lack of evidence. Faith. Therefore non-believers, in this context, disagree with that same thing because of the lack in evidence. Understand?

        In the real world, when people make claims, they’re asked to provide proof or evidence of some sort.

        With me so far?

        So a logical person says: okay, you’re claiming the existence of a being who has the power to create the entire universe, and depending on your religious views either is or isn’t involved in its daily functioning. Right, how does that work?

        Now, here is where your mistaken. You’re somehow saying that it’s the atheists who are copping out by saying “show me”, meanwhile it is at this exact point the religious cop out: How exactly does your invisible being affect the world? By what mechanism did your imaginary friend create the universe?

        Religious people, from religions everywhere, have no mechanism with which to explain any religious concept, other than “it just happens” or “god does it”, which is no different from saying “it’s magic”.

        Throughout human history, all misunderstood phenomena were ascribed to one deity or another. As science has discovered more and more about the universe we live in, a great many of these magical, religious concepts that helped people cope in a mysterious world have been banished to the past. We know about viruses, bacteria, infection, mental illness, so we no longer need to believe in demonic possession (except for some truly batshit crazy people out there.) We understand celestial mechanics, so the thousands of different reasons man invented for the sun & moon rising and setting and the planets whirling about the night sky can all be put away.

        No, the real cop-out comes when religious people are asked to describe how a deity performs any of the acts they supposedly perform.

        • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

          If you guys have been talking about belief as “agreeing something is true despite lack of evidence,” then we’re on completely different pages here. I’m talking about belief in the philosophical sense, because that is the only legitimate way to talk about belief. Your definition, and your attribution of this definition to “religious” forms of belief is not an attempt at any sort of objective understanding of the topic. It is a ideological declaration.

          Indeed, I find your post as a whole to be an ideological declaration. I don’t get the condescension in your post either. Yeah, I get what you’re saying. The question is, do you understand what I have already said? I’m not saying that theism is right or that atheism is wrong. I am saying that, for any proposition that an individual negates, there is at least one proposition that he/she affirms which is necessary to negate the former proposition. This isn’t semantic gymnastics, it’s philosophy, and there is no easier way of explaining it. And unless you are some anti-intellectual loon, or one of those idiots who thinks that we don’t need philosophy, just science, you should have no problem with the appearance of a philosophical argument (the argument itself, but not its appearance).

          When this principle is applied, it implies that the atheist has his own “belief(s)” (that is, a proposition that one holds as true, not that biased bullshit definition you used), and that he is just as responsible for upholding those beliefs as the theist is for upholding his own.

          Let me provide a concrete example. The Christian theist affirms the proposition that there is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, non-material God (whether those words mean anything is up for debate, but not in response to this post of mine). The atheist, specifically the western atheist, holds that only material entities exist, and that, for any proposition, if there is not enough evidence to support it, it should not be accepted (this is evidentialism). These two propositions are interrelated (the latter supports the former) and, taken together, they are contrary to the Christian theist’s proposition. Thus, the pair of opposing propositions are:

          There is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, non-material God
          VS
          Only material entities exist AND For any proposition, if there
          is not enough evidence to support it, it should not be accepted

          The contrary propositions are NOT

          There is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, non-material God
          VS
          There is not an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, non-material God.

          That seems to be what you think I am saying. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be making the argument that the theist is the one copping out (he is only if he too accepts evidentialism, which is not universally true).

      • GaryB

        the depressing thing, to me, is that there has to be such debates over terminology that only exists because religion was ever conceived in the first place.  I’ll never push whatever agenda you’re telling me I have on anyone, I just dare to dream of a human race that never conceived the notion of ‘god’.  I have no desire to understand what my beliefs then supposedly are. can someone not just want to be good to those one loves, and good/neutral to anyone else one interacts with, but never what one believes is ‘evil’ to anyone?

        • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

          I was not saying you have an agenda, I was simply responding to one statement about one kind of atheism. I’m a theist, but I don’t push it. I’m chill with most atheism. I just hate the kind of atheism that tries to procure some objective standard for itself, just as I hate theism that makes up a god that it can fit to any agenda, thereby providing itself with a self-justifying objective standard. People need to grow some balls and admit that all stances are equally irrational (including the ones I just stated).

    • Joseph

      What?  No sky-daddy?  Bummer….

  • Nunya Bidness

    This article is written on a false premise. Atheism is not a belief in something, it is not believing in god. It seems to me that a lot of religious people think atheism is the opposite of religion in the way that satanism is the opposite of christianity. It is not. The main problem I have with religious people, and I don’t care what religion it is, is that they feel compelled to make everyone else do as they do. At it’s mildest form it’s social pressure. At it’s worst you get things like the Inquisition.

    P.S. yes, when you die, that’s it. Life is not fair. Grow up. Bad people sometimes get away with it and good people sometimes suffer for no reason. Think of it like this: does the ocean care if you are drowning? That’s existence. There is no magic man in the sky that’s gonna save you. The only goodness and fairness you get is what you create and you only get one chance.

  • Nunya Bidness

    This article is written on a false premise. Atheism is not a belief in something, it is not believing in god. It seems to me that a lot of religious people think atheism is the opposite of religion in the way that satanism is the opposite of christianity. It is not. The main problem I have with religious people, and I don’t care what religion it is, is that they feel compelled to make everyone else do as they do. At it’s mildest form it’s social pressure. At it’s worst you get things like the Inquisition.

    P.S. yes, when you die, that’s it. Life is not fair. Grow up. Bad people sometimes get away with it and good people sometimes suffer for no reason. Think of it like this: does the ocean care if you are drowning? That’s existence. There is no magic man in the sky that’s gonna save you. The only goodness and fairness you get is what you create and you only get one chance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Dale/100001162947374 John Dale

    Was this “article” written for a fifth grade assignment ? If so I don’t imagine it will get any more than a C.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Dale/100001162947374 John Dale

    Was this “article” written for a fifth grade assignment ? If so I don’t imagine it will get any more than a C.

  • DeepCough

    “Agnostic: isn’t that just an atheist without any balls?” ~Stephen Colbert

  • Andrew

    BE WRONG.

  • Andrew

    BE WRONG.

  • bobbiethejean

    R. Talmage Lacy is a straight up, unmitigated idiot and he should be deeply ashamed of himself. *sigh* Should I bother showing this ignorant dillweed the rather serious error of his ways? …….nah. Not worth the effort.

    • Tuna Ghost

      Well I can’t disagree that he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I can’t really see any harm in his writing down the bullshit that pops into his head aside from annoying anyone who reads it.

  • Andrew

    Both of your arguments are ad consequentiam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobbie-Jean-Pentecost/100000391760333 Bobbie Jean Pentecost

    R. Talmage Lacy is a straight up, unmitigated idiot and he should be deeply ashamed of himself. *sigh* Should I bother showing this ignorant dillweed the rather serious error of his ways? …….nah. Not worth the effort.

  • Anonymous

    *rolls eyes*  Sorry Mr. Pseudo Intellectual. 

  • Anonymous

    What if you’re financially fucked, victim of a drunk driver, incapacitated in some sort of way, impaired, murdered, etc?  That’s it?  Game over?  It’s not that I am a pessimist.  I am pointing out some worst-case scenarios to illustrate a point.  “Hey your conscious cannot live without your mind–and your mind cannot live without your body.  So sorry about the fatality you endured.  You’re kind of fucked for eternity since you’re existence was based upon mere probability.  Peace out, I think?  *sarcastic laugh*”

  • Anonymous

    What if you’re financially fucked, victim of a drunk driver, incapacitated in some sort of way, impaired, murdered, etc?  That’s it?  Game over?  It’s not that I am a pessimist.  I am pointing out some worst-case scenarios to illustrate a point.  “Hey your conscious cannot live without your mind–and your mind cannot live without your body.  So sorry about the fatality you endured.  You’re kind of fucked for eternity since you’re existence was based upon mere probability.  Peace out, I think?  *sarcastic laugh*”

  • Anonymous

    Wait.  Before you retort, I already know my reply is an ad hominem attack.  Just googled it.

  • Anonymous

    So apathy seems like a core tenet in the atheism ethos.

  • Venus in Furs.

    Any evidence to the contrary would be groundbreaking. Unfortunately, there is no such evidence.

  • DeepCough

    I say it’s more apathetic to wait ’til you die in order for good things to happen, but that’s just lil’ ol’ atheist me.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not like I’m anti-living your life to the fullest. I’m a self-described egalitarian and shit. But you cannot avoid fate.  You don’t know when things are going to happen.  I guess that’s why Hawking is partial to parallel universes then.

  • Venus in Furs.

    There is no ethos central to atheism, and I don’t see how the previous comment could be considered apathetic.

  • justagirl

    hey i know that cyclops but it’s shiny.  i have a problem with what people believe when they try to mold my surroundings with a bunch of bs.

  • justagirl

    hey i know that cyclops but it’s shiny.  i have a problem with what people believe when they try to mold my surroundings with a bunch of bs.

  • Chris Mounce

    How about long-term view of self interest instead of divine reward & punishment as the basis for morality? How come religious types always equate atheism with some sort of Road Warrior-esque hellscape? The Romans had a saying in the law “mala in se” things that were wrong in itself – murder & rape. There was also mala prohibita or wrong because it is forbidden – say you can’t buy beer after 9pm. I think we all can agree on the mala in se and we will still be fighting over the mala prohibita. Morality is a social contract and we as a society define what is good and what is bad.

  • Chris Mounce

    How about long-term view of self interest instead of divine reward & punishment as the basis for morality? How come religious types always equate atheism with some sort of Road Warrior-esque hellscape? The Romans had a saying in the law “mala in se” things that were wrong in itself – murder & rape. There was also mala prohibita or wrong because it is forbidden – say you can’t buy beer after 9pm. I think we all can agree on the mala in se and we will still be fighting over the mala prohibita. Morality is a social contract and we as a society define what is good and what is bad.

  • Durandal93

    Trolololololololo

  • Durandal93

    Trolololololololo

  • http://strictlyapathy.comoj.com/ SoulArbiter

    This is a sort of pointless rant. The fact of the matter is that people are going to believe and live their lives accordingly, adhering to whatever philosophy and beliefs they choose to. Nothing will change that.

  • http://strictlyapathy.comoj.com SoulArbiter

    This is a sort of pointless rant. The fact of the matter is that people are going to believe and live their lives accordingly, adhering to whatever philosophy and beliefs they choose to. Nothing will change that.

  • Haystack

    “So the question has been raised to atheists: if life is the product of random chance and there is no divine authority and life is ultimately what you make it, then why do you care what people believe one way or another? Specifically in regard to a belief in God.”

    I don’t. 

    “So atheists are literally trying to save the world … delusions of grandeur, anyone?…Time and time again I can’t help but notice the parallels between atheists and religious types: the bitter hostility towards anyone who doesn’t just choke down their ideology…”

    Has it occurred to you that we might not like being stereotyped? 

  • Haystack

    “So the question has been raised to atheists: if life is the product of random chance and there is no divine authority and life is ultimately what you make it, then why do you care what people believe one way or another? Specifically in regard to a belief in God.”

    I don’t. 

    “So atheists are literally trying to save the world … delusions of grandeur, anyone?…Time and time again I can’t help but notice the parallels between atheists and religious types: the bitter hostility towards anyone who doesn’t just choke down their ideology…”

    Has it occurred to you that we might not like being stereotyped? 

  • Andrew

    I wonder what Filthy Pazuzu is going to call me.

  • Kevin

    Sorry, I quit reading after two sentences when it became obvious that you were just cranking out the same tired religious falsehoods that have been addressed again and again. Evolution IS NOT, I repeat, IS NOT RANDOM CHANCE. If you can’t even get the simple things correct, it’s a waste of time to even listen to your ideas on the more complicated issues.

    • Tuna Ghost

      I don’t think he’s saying evolution is random chance, but the origins of life itself are considered random and without meaning by the scientific community.

  • Kevin

    Sorry, I quit reading after two sentences when it became obvious that you were just cranking out the same tired religious falsehoods that have been addressed again and again. Evolution IS NOT, I repeat, IS NOT RANDOM CHANCE. If you can’t even get the simple things correct, it’s a waste of time to even listen to your ideas on the more complicated issues.

  • Kevin

    Sorry, I quit reading after two sentences when it became obvious that you were just cranking out the same tired religious falsehoods that have been addressed again and again. Evolution IS NOT, I repeat, IS NOT RANDOM CHANCE. If you can’t even get the simple things correct, it’s a waste of time to even listen to your ideas on the more complicated issues.

  • JoiquimCouteau

    There’s no such thing as atheism

    • Kevin

      Says the genius who thinks he knows everything…

  • Anonymous

    There’s no such thing as atheism

  • Earaches

    Every one subscribes to beliefs. Science is, for the most part, based on beliefs and suspicions.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Wow I guess that’s why I’ve both wanted something like an “apocalypse” without identifying in any way with apocalyptic literalists

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Wow I guess that’s why I’ve both wanted something like an “apocalypse” without identifying in any way with apocalyptic literalists

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Wow I guess that’s why I’ve both wanted something like an “apocalypse” without identifying in any way with apocalyptic literalists

  • Kevin

    Says the genius who thinks he knows everything…

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Its a little more complicated than you put it forth. You push a perspective that is so deeply entrenched in materialism. In its most basic form atheists deny the existence of any sort of subtle dimensions that are beyond our perception (or at least theirs). Some people have reason to believe that more subtle parts of reality do exist, and do so to the same extent that you believe that your house exists.

    The problem lies in the fact that to see it you have let yourself believe it, and not the other way around, which is antithetical to the materialistic approach. Its an intellectually closed perspective that could be analogized to a racist that believed in the superiority of their own race, while the only people of other races they’ve met they degraded and excluded.

    The world uses buzzwords such as “scientists” and “experts” to convince people of materialistic “truth” while at the same time its sometimes as faulty as a faith-based beliefs.

    Now don’t get me wrong though… there are still people with stupid and wrong perspectives but atheists are closed to ALL of them aside from their own.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I think the distinction between a “bad atheist” and a “good atheist” for lack of better terms needs to be made… its brought a lot of confusion. What he is talking about is very real. However, he is only intending to degrade “bad atheists”. you see the word atheist, and being a “good atheist” you defend atheism from that perspective.

    He’s not insulting you. However, bad atheists do exist; he didn’t make the distinction, but they do exist, I’ve met them. This guy has probably just been stung by a few too many of them, and is confused.

    This is however the same problem and confusion that there is between bad christians and good christians and the same for other religions. The typical response is that good christians should speak out against bad christians… but its harder for a good atheist to do such a thing since atheists do not work in cohesive collusion like mainstream religions do…

    (I do however agree with you on the whole truth and lies thing… that was crap)

  • BuzzCoastin

    The tao that can be told
    is not the eternal Tao
    The name that can be named
    is not the eternal Name.

    The unnamable is the eternally real.
    Naming is the origin
    of all particular things.

    Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
    Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

    Yet mystery and manifestations
    arise from the same source.
    This source is called darkness.

    Darkness within darkness.
    The gateway to all understanding.

    Tao Te Ching #1

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    The tao that can be told
    is not the eternal Tao
    The name that can be named
    is not the eternal Name.

    The unnamable is the eternally real.
    Naming is the origin
    of all particular things.

    Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
    Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

    Yet mystery and manifestations
    arise from the same source.
    This source is called darkness.

    Darkness within darkness.
    The gateway to all understanding.

    Tao Te Ching #1

  • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

    There’s no such thing as nonbelief in itself. Every belief implies multiple nonbeliefs, and all nonbeliefs arise from sets of beliefs. In reality, not believing x is just a byproduct of believing y (whatever x and y may mean)

    The atheist claim that “atheism is nonbelief” is really just a cop out, an attempt to avoid being held to account for the premises that lead to this nonbelief. Granted, there are atheists who are Buddhists or animists (even some Christian atheists, apparently), and come to their beliefs from those paradigms, but let’s not play games. Most atheists in America are atheists because they believe that all things that exist are material. This belief excludes a belief in a nonmaterial entity (such as God). If one attacks this premise, then one is attacking the logical foundation of the materialist kind of atheism.

    The “atheism is nonbelief” argument attempts to remove atheism from the realm of question. This argument states that it is the religious person who must answer all the questions, and if his answers cannot satisfy the listener, the listener has no reason to believe in God’s existence. And while this is a perfectly valid way of setting things up, it is still a belief system, based on the idea that one is compelled to weigh the evidence for something, and that if said evidence does not measure up, then one is compelled to reject (or simply to doubt, depending on the specific formulation of this criterion) the premise in question.

    The point being, the author kind of addressed both of these, and while it is limited to a specific kind of atheism, this cop out still does not work.

  • Nathaniell

    “because I believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant.” You see, that’s where you are wrong. If the difference between truth and lies are irrelevant, then what is your purpose in life? Science is dedicated to finding the truth, no matter what it means to what we “believe” to be true. Because what we “believe” is what is actually irrelevant in light of hard scientific evidence.

  • Nathaniell

    “because I believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant.” You see, that’s where you are wrong. If the difference between truth and lies are irrelevant, then what is your purpose in life? Science is dedicated to finding the truth, no matter what it means to what we “believe” to be true. Because what we “believe” is what is actually irrelevant in light of hard scientific evidence.

  • Nathaniell

    What is the cop out? There is a huge difference between believing in something without evidence, and NOT believing in it. There is no prerequisite “beliefs” for non belief.

  • Nathaniell Mccune

    Oh yeah, that reminds me, as I saw in a later comment, evolution is NOT random chance, open up a biology book and learn something. I get so tired of seeing that misrepresentation of facts.

  • Nathaniell Mccune

    “because I believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant.” (ignorance is bliss)I had a longer comment, but something didn’t work.
    Oh yeah, that reminds me, as I saw in a later comment, evolution is NOT random chance, open up a biology book and learn something. I get so tired of seeing that misrepresentation of facts.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    After reading comments I’m starting to realize bad atheists all really just seem to be “christian haters” their non-belief in god or spirituality is restricted to the understanding of reality in christian terms. There are christian terms, and not-christian terms, which they define as atheism. All of their defenses of atheism are arguments that christians and their beliefs are stupid.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    its okay you just have to take it on faith that non belief exists

    oh crap………….

  • Perspicacious13

    …”stupid and wrong perspectives but atheists are closed to ALL of them aside from their own” reeks of essentialism.

  • Joseph

    What?  No sky-daddy?  Bummer….

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I’m sorry I thought it was common practice to accept the existence of different perspectives yet have the ability to disagree with some and agree with others.

    Is that essentialism? I don’t even get what you’re trying to say…. would you prefer the nonessentialist “nothing is true, everything is subjective” view instead? It all seems like a bunch of silly semantics to me.

    maybe i worded it unclearly. …”there are still people with stupid and wrong perspectives, but atheists take that to deny all perspectives (including the not so wrong) other than their own….”

  • Mysophobe

    Your premise is whack from the giddy-up, and your understanding of atheism is quaint at best.

  • Mysophobe

    Your premise is whack from the giddy-up, and your understanding of atheism is quaint at best.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Schaffer/100001978551906 Bill Schaffer

    I’m sorry by your standards your house does not exist because I can’t see it. It does not matter what anyone else believes why do atheist care crawl into your little hole of disbelief. I believe in a higher power not the biblical one, but they may be one in the same.If others choose not to believe that’s fine. It does seem to me that although atheist try to take the high road you do seem to believe an something even if you say it’s nothing. Not making a decision is in fact making a decision. Your choice to attack those of opposing beliefs is where you blow your cover if you really had no beliefs none of this would be.

  • Monkey See Monkey Do

    Nice Article  R. Talmadge Lacy.
    This sort of approach gets the mind working much more than the usual atheist dogma lectured on this site. I do believe you sold yourself short by labelling yourself a ‘pantheist’. Introducing a label for your belief system is inherently dangerous to the minds development. I refuse to label or categorize myself, i’ve found its best to treat every experience as a phenomenon that has the potential to change your world view.

  • Monkey See Monkey Do

    Nice Article  R. Talmadge Lacy.
    This sort of approach gets the mind working much more than the usual atheist dogma lectured on this site. I do believe you sold yourself short by labelling yourself a ‘pantheist’. Introducing a label for your belief system is inherently dangerous to the minds development. I refuse to label or categorize myself, i’ve found its best to treat every experience as a phenomenon that has the potential to change your world view.

    • FilthyPazuzu

      Yes, when we assign names to describe phenomena, the universe loses all meaning.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E2YKNJBKUJEL7IN6HROUXSNCAY david

    That’s right.  The Book of Revelation is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, the Son of God, paid the penalty for mans sin before a Righteous and Just God, so that all who come to Him would be forgiven and receive eternal life.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ lets us know how Jesus will deal with those who have submitted to Him, and how He will deal with those who have rejected such a great salvation from judgement.  http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E2YKNJBKUJEL7IN6HROUXSNCAY david

    That’s right.  The Book of Revelation is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, the Son of God, paid the penalty for mans sin before a Righteous and Just God, so that all who come to Him would be forgiven and receive eternal life.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ lets us know how Jesus will deal with those who have submitted to Him, and how He will deal with those who have rejected such a great salvation from judgement.  http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

    • Tuna Ghost

      It’s actually The Revelation of St. John, fella.  Written on the island of Patmos, known for its abundance of psychedelic mushrooms.  

      There are several interpretations of the book of Revelation, but very very few are making an argument for a literal interpretation because there are quite a few points of contention in such an interpretation.  What are the merits you see for such an interpretation?

  • Trinket Diskrupt

    Lacy, your problem lies with proselytes.  I don’t like proselytes of any belief system.  Few do.  I could care less what anyone believes so long as it doesn’t radically add to entropy through mechanisms of death.  Should someone come to my door and start spouting their beliefs (and all the prejudices behind it) I’ll gladly tell them to piss off or show them the holes in their logic. 

    But I must disagree with the concept of belief, such that all practice some belief, said belief being synonymous with worship..  Obviously, belief in anything is a logical pitfall.  While experience might teach us to take gravity as a given, it differs from a belief; rather, gravity’s effect is an operating system.  Should gravity fail one day, we’ll know pretty quick.  Those able to suspend their belief will adapt more quickly (as we’re all spun towards the vacuum). 

    Capitalism and theism are sort of the same.  For many it’s nothing more than the inherited OS – outdated, bloated, full of malicious memes.  Most patch over the bad code and try a reboot, but it’s the same story all over again.  At some point you will find yourself spinning away into a vacuum without any grounding reference. 

  • Trinket Diskrupt

    Lacy, your problem lies with proselytes.  I don’t like proselytes of any belief system.  Few do.  I could care less what anyone believes so long as it doesn’t radically add to entropy through mechanisms of death.  Should someone come to my door and start spouting their beliefs (and all the prejudices behind it) I’ll gladly tell them to piss off or show them the holes in their logic. 

    But I must disagree with the concept of belief, such that all practice some belief, said belief being synonymous with worship..  Obviously, belief in anything is a logical pitfall.  While experience might teach us to take gravity as a given, it differs from a belief; rather, gravity’s effect is an operating system.  Should gravity fail one day, we’ll know pretty quick.  Those able to suspend their belief will adapt more quickly (as we’re all spun towards the vacuum). 

    Capitalism and theism are sort of the same.  For many it’s nothing more than the inherited OS – outdated, bloated, full of malicious memes.  Most patch over the bad code and try a reboot, but it’s the same story all over again.  At some point you will find yourself spinning away into a vacuum without any grounding reference. 

  • eveieve

    ‘why do you care what people believe one way or another?’

    why do you care?

  • eveieve

    ‘why do you care what people believe one way or another?’

    why do you care?

  • chinagreenelvis

    This argument would be equally weak were I to flip it around and suggest that all people who believe can be lumped into a single category that presupposes to defined them in some sort of dogmatic way.

    Again, I reiterate, atheism is the absence of belief in God. Those who would describe themselves as people who specifically believe that there is no God are still called atheists but there have been good cases made for the position that some other terminology should be used for those who adhere to such a belief and religiously so. Or perhaps the other way around, that those of us who simply see a world full of unknowns would be referred to as “non-theists.”

    I think this may be the fundamental issue with which I take offense, for it would be silly of me to refuse to acknowledge that there are indeed atheists out there who trumpet just as loudly as any preacher and among some it has become a school of thought that is specifically “anti-theist.” I certainly do not feel comfortable being thrown in with that company simply because I refuse to believe in something which makes no sense to believe in. Differentiating among classes of atheists is important in any criticism.

  • Ronniedobbs

    which have been rigorously tested through the scientific method, minor point i know….

  • Ronniedobbs

    which have been rigorously tested through the scientific method, minor point i know….

  • Spaghetti Monster

    This is one atheist who doesn’t have a care what fantastical critters anyone believes in. Though I will admit to being perplexed how those who believe in the super natural draw their lines. They speak of faith in a devine omnipotent being, many will insit vehemently the thing exists yet when one member of society claims to have heard it’s voice telling him the young man on the Greyhound Bus with him is a minion of evil,and proceeds to save the world from said minion by stabbing him repeatedly and decapitating him, well they say he must be mad. To any atheist the only difference between Vince Le and many believers is that Vince at least had the gumption to act on his beliefs.

    No my problem is not that you believe in the unlikely and the fantastic. My problem lies with the way these beliefs have been interwoven into the very fabric of culture and societies.

    I don’t care whether a particular church or group exsists, but I do believe that they should not have the tax status that they do. I do not believe that there should be days when commerce is all but shut down in recognition of “Holy” days, and I most certainly do not believe that ” religion ” should be excluded from the scrutiny that every idea comes to in today’s information age. More and more religion is forced to exsist only in the dark holes and crevices still left in the ever expanding collection of knowledge that science is gathering. Soon,I hope, it will be forced to exist in the only place it has a right to be. In the individual minds and homes and family lives of the delusional.

  • Spaghetti Monster

    This is one atheist who doesn’t have a care what fantastical critters anyone believes in. Though I will admit to being perplexed how those who believe in the super natural draw their lines. They speak of faith in a devine omnipotent being, many will insit vehemently the thing exists yet when one member of society claims to have heard it’s voice telling him the young man on the Greyhound Bus with him is a minion of evil,and proceeds to save the world from said minion by stabbing him repeatedly and decapitating him, well they say he must be mad. To any atheist the only difference between Vince Le and many believers is that Vince at least had the gumption to act on his beliefs.

    No my problem is not that you believe in the unlikely and the fantastic. My problem lies with the way these beliefs have been interwoven into the very fabric of culture and societies.

    I don’t care whether a particular church or group exsists, but I do believe that they should not have the tax status that they do. I do not believe that there should be days when commerce is all but shut down in recognition of “Holy” days, and I most certainly do not believe that ” religion ” should be excluded from the scrutiny that every idea comes to in today’s information age. More and more religion is forced to exsist only in the dark holes and crevices still left in the ever expanding collection of knowledge that science is gathering. Soon,I hope, it will be forced to exist in the only place it has a right to be. In the individual minds and homes and family lives of the delusional.

  • Dominionist

    “But considering Science, that yardstick by which atheists tell us measures truth, has not provided meaning for the universe”

    Can you link to an atheist saying science is supposed to provide “meaning for the Universe”? Finding out how things work isn’t the same as finding meaning. I know how an engine works, but that doesn’t give my car “meaning.”

    “If you sincerely want to show people the error of their ways,
    specifically in regard to the Apocalyptic “literalist,” you’re not going
    to do it by calling them ‘EVIL’”

    Again, source please? Show me an atheist who calls Apocalypse literalism evil.

  • Dominionist

    “But considering Science, that yardstick by which atheists tell us measures truth, has not provided meaning for the universe”

    Can you link to an atheist saying science is supposed to provide “meaning for the Universe”? Finding out how things work isn’t the same as finding meaning. I know how an engine works, but that doesn’t give my car “meaning.”

    “If you sincerely want to show people the error of their ways,
    specifically in regard to the Apocalyptic “literalist,” you’re not going
    to do it by calling them ‘EVIL’”

    Again, source please? Show me an atheist who calls Apocalypse literalism evil.

  • Anonymous

    That’s a gift of not believing in Christianity, which pretty much invented the ridiculous idea of living for the afterlife in the first place. It’s actually an exception rather than the rule as religions go, it just happens to be one big selling point they push.

  • DeepBreath

    “But I know that you know that I know that we all know that we don’t know…” ~ Amon Duul II

    Dear Atheists: Please take a deep breath and try to calm down, lest you become indistinguishable from all of the other frothing fundies :-)

    Dear Frothing Fundies: You choose to send yourselves to hell every day. It is your choice to leave whenever you want…you just have to forgive yourselves and walk away from the madness.  

  • DeepBreath

    “But I know that you know that I know that we all know that we don’t know…” ~ Amon Duul II

    Dear Atheists: Please take a deep breath and try to calm down, lest you become indistinguishable from all of the other frothing fundies :-)

    Dear Frothing Fundies: You choose to send yourselves to hell every day. It is your choice to leave whenever you want…you just have to forgive yourselves and walk away from the madness.  

  • DeepBreath

    “But I know that you know that I know that we all know that we don’t know…” ~ Amon Duul II

    Dear Atheists: Please take a deep breath and try to calm down, lest you become indistinguishable from all of the other frothing fundies :-)

    Dear Frothing Fundies: You choose to send yourselves to hell every day. It is your choice to leave whenever you want…you just have to forgive yourselves and walk away from the madness.  

    • Andrew

      Fundamentalist: “Deep in your heart, you know I’m right.”
      Atheist: “Deep in your heart, you know I’m right.”
      Agnostic: “Liars.”

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    That seems like selection bias due to language, I think. A great many English speakers are Christian; therefore, many English-speaking atheists come from a Christian background or grew up in a Christian community and thus are accustomed to discussing religion in Christian terms. I’m not quite sure what you mean by “non-Christrian terms” being defined as atheism. Gods are central to all religions. The belief in an afterlife is very common too, same with miracles. None of these can be proved.

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    You say the author is only denigrating ‘bad atheists’, but he only said ‘atheists’, just as he also only said ‘religious types’. If I wrote an article denigrating badgers, you would think I had a problem with ALL badgers. At no point does he say he’s talking about certain groups within those two very broad categories,which  is why I took exception to his article; it is just a pile of generalizations that have not been well thought out.

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu
  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    Andrew?

  • Andrew

    Fundamentalist: “Deep in your heart, you know I’m right.”
    Atheist: “Deep in your heart, you know I’m right.”
    Agnostic: “Liars.”

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I actually agree with you on this, he is making generalizations; he should know better to specify. Nonetheless my point was he is most likely speaking from experience and not knowing that he should differentiate is simply ignorance.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I think i was tired when i wrote that last bit, doesn’t make as much sense as I intended.

    I think what I meant is that the “bad” ones are the ones that had an emotional reaction to the christian definition of God, as opposed to a logical argument against the existence of any god. They get spurned and angry when they realize bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people etc. so they renounce the christian god.

    However in their mind the christian god and all of its attributes are still their only alternative to atheism, as opposed to all of the other cosmologies, or even definitions of a monotheistic god.

    In other words they are not atheists the way I would think it, but they are “non-christians” or even “anti-christians” using emotional arguments such as “I just cant believe in a god that allows for suffering” rather than logical arguments such as “there really isn’t any sufficient evidence”.

    I hope that’s more clear, essentially the bad atheists in my mind tend to be more small minded, less likely to think things out for their own (like all atheists should), and more likely to accept secular dogma, which can be just as bad as religious dogma in some cases.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I think i was tired when i wrote that last bit, doesn’t make as much sense as I intended.

    I think what I meant is that the “bad” ones are the ones that had an emotional reaction to the christian definition of God, as opposed to a logical argument against the existence of any god. They get spurned and angry when they realize bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people etc. so they renounce the christian god.

    However in their mind the christian god and all of its attributes are still their only alternative to atheism, as opposed to all of the other cosmologies, or even definitions of a monotheistic god.

    In other words they are not atheists the way I would think it, but they are “non-christians” or even “anti-christians” using emotional arguments such as “I just cant believe in a god that allows for suffering” rather than logical arguments such as “there really isn’t any sufficient evidence”.

    I hope that’s more clear, essentially the bad atheists in my mind tend to be more small minded, less likely to think things out for their own (like all atheists should), and more likely to accept secular dogma, which can be just as bad as religious dogma in some cases.

  • Tuna Ghost

    It’s actually The Revelation of St. John, fella.  Written on the island of Patmos, known for its abundance of psychedelic mushrooms.  

    There are several interpretations of the book of Revelation, but very very few are making an argument for a literal interpretation because there are quite a few points of contention in such an interpretation.  What are the merits you see for such an interpretation?

  • Tuna Ghost

    Well I can’t disagree that he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I can’t really see any harm in his writing down the bullshit that pops into his head aside from annoying anyone who reads it.

  • Tuna Ghost

    I don’t think he’s saying evolution is random chance, but the origins of life itself are considered random and without meaning by the scientific community.

  • Tuna Ghost

    …because I believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant.

    Pretty great way to not have to commit yourself to anything ever, right there.  

    So atheists are literally trying to save the world … delusions of grandeur, anyone?

    I imagine they’re just trying to keep their lives free from the influence of people who believe an all-father in the sky has authority over the things they do and say.  

    You make a great deal of assumptions in this article that are not born out of reality, which makes me wonder about where your observations are coming from.  

  • Tuna Ghost

    …because I believe the distinction between truth and lies is irrelevant.

    Pretty great way to not have to commit yourself to anything ever, right there.  

    So atheists are literally trying to save the world … delusions of grandeur, anyone?

    I imagine they’re just trying to keep their lives free from the influence of people who believe an all-father in the sky has authority over the things they do and say.  

    You make a great deal of assumptions in this article that are not born out of reality, which makes me wonder about where your observations are coming from.  

  • Anonymous

    absolutely. especially the last paragraph.

  • Nathaniell Mccune

    This deeply entrenched “materialism”, and the study of it (science), has brought us technology. Is there any aspect of your life that has not been improved through technology? Computers, transportation, air conditioning, heating, food production, medical technology.

     Just because we haven’t yet studied the ‘subtle parts of reality’ doesn’t mean that we will never be able to.
    It also does not support anything talked about in the holy books today. 

    Science is open to the possibility of an “intelligent creator” (all it would take is this little thing called evidence), but that does not necessarily point to God, or Allah, or Hindu, or Zeus. And so far, from what we know of the universe, everything makes more sense without an “intelligent creator”.

  • http://my.firedoglake.com/members/oneouter/profile/ one.outer

    If religious people were capable of understanding, they wouldn’t be religious. I can’t think of a better reason for all the stupid canards and misunderstandings about science that they carry around. And this piece is chock full of them.  

    - Life as product of chance – This is wrong. Unplanned is not the same as random. 

    - Atheists are dogmatic and insist that there is no god – BS. Whether there is a god is a completely different question from the Abrahamic god. The Abrahamic god is philosophically absurd, but a deist god is a negative that cannot be proven incorrect without direct data. Reasonable people can disagree about the latter; the former is for retards. 

    - Inconsistent belief system – You not being able to understand something doesn’t make it inconsistent. Argument from ignorance, FTW. 

    - Meaning for the universe – Consciousness creates meaning. The universe has no meaning on it’s own. Sorry that your mind is too small to accept that. Reality is indifferent to what you choose to believe – the truth isn’t a choice, it exists independently of your opinions.

    - Atheism is nihilistic – Again, meaning and morality are direct unavoidable consequences of consciousness. We cling to life, because we value it, and because we believe it is good. No greater explanation is necessary. And atheists do not believe that morality is irrational. That’s a strawman argument, and a shitty one at that.

    - Atheist morals are rooted in subjectivity – So what? That doesn’t make it wrong – you just don’t like it. Again, reality is indifferent to your fee fees. 

    And this is just pure comedy gold: 

    However, I do believe in morality, and it doesn’t bother me my beliefs are inconsistent; I’m not concerned with being perfect.

    If you’re happy being an ignorant twit, if truth is less important to you than what comforts you regarding the aspects of reality that you don’t like, than why are you even writing about this? Can’t you see that you just disqualified yourself from having an opinion that anyone should take seriously? Of course you can’t, because if you could see it you wouldn’t believe these things.  

  • http://my.firedoglake.com/members/oneouter/profile/ one.outer

    If religious people were capable of understanding, they wouldn’t be religious. I can’t think of a better reason for all the stupid canards and misunderstandings about science that they carry around. And this piece is chock full of them.  

    - Life as product of chance – This is wrong. Unplanned is not the same as random. 

    - Atheists are dogmatic and insist that there is no god – BS. Whether there is a god is a completely different question from the Abrahamic god. The Abrahamic god is philosophically absurd, but a deist god is a negative that cannot be proven incorrect without direct data. Reasonable people can disagree about the latter; the former is for retards. 

    - Inconsistent belief system – You not being able to understand something doesn’t make it inconsistent. Argument from ignorance, FTW. 

    - Meaning for the universe – Consciousness creates meaning. The universe has no meaning on it’s own. Sorry that your mind is too small to accept that. Reality is indifferent to what you choose to believe – the truth isn’t a choice, it exists independently of your opinions.

    - Atheism is nihilistic – Again, meaning and morality are direct unavoidable consequences of consciousness. We cling to life, because we value it, and because we believe it is good. No greater explanation is necessary. And atheists do not believe that morality is irrational. That’s a strawman argument, and a shitty one at that.

    - Atheist morals are rooted in subjectivity – So what? That doesn’t make it wrong – you just don’t like it. Again, reality is indifferent to your fee fees. 

    And this is just pure comedy gold: 

    However, I do believe in morality, and it doesn’t bother me my beliefs are inconsistent; I’m not concerned with being perfect.

    If you’re happy being an ignorant twit, if truth is less important to you than what comforts you regarding the aspects of reality that you don’t like, than why are you even writing about this? Can’t you see that you just disqualified yourself from having an opinion that anyone should take seriously? Of course you can’t, because if you could see it you wouldn’t believe these things.  

    • http://my.firedoglake.com/members/oneouter/profile/ one.outer

      Oh, and this website has the most appropriate name for a website I’ve ever seen. Disinformation, indeed.

    • http://my.firedoglake.com/members/oneouter/profile/ one.outer

      Oh, and this website has the most appropriate name for a website I’ve ever seen. Disinformation, indeed.

    • Krttikas

      I feel like one.outer has completely missed the point of this article and I just felt the need to type that feeling in text form on the internet.

      The author never said atheists believed that morality was irrational, I believe that was the authors own position.

      I personally believe that all ‘morality’ is rooted in religion, or at least in the belief of an afterlife or some larger universal purpose. I find atheistic moralists to be very funny creatures, almost neutered really, and certainly disconnected from the ‘objective reality’ they claim to believe in. The fantastically fanciful idea of some noble, upright and moral species ‘evolving’ in an “unplanned” fashion is made even funnier by the notion that this natural evolutionary morality has even a ghost of a chance of surviving without some god or design or salvation or purpose to believe in which extends itself beyond life as we know it.

      Also, unplanned in a universe that was not designed and is not watched over or guided seems a lot like chance to me. Of course, you’ve left it open that there may be a deist god or supreme being of some sort. Which then makes me wonder why bother at all? If you don’t know, just admit that you don’t know and stop making up titles to affix to the front your ignorance, like a feathered crown will distract anyone from the fact that you’re a giant slug (not that one.outer is a slug, just saying).

      Atheists are, as a collective *wink, wink*, pretty damned dogmatic though. I make this observation based on the majority of comments and discussions and interviews I have observed involving atheists, though I readily acknowledge that not all people who call themselves atheists share these traits. “There is no need or proof for god,” they chant, while others insist that it is their methods that prevent them from observing the proof and not that the proof is missing. “Religious people are incapable of understanding, otherwise they would not be religious,” they chant, apparently oblivious to the blatant dogma they espouse.

      Also, you not being able to explain how a ‘belief system’ is not inconsistent doesn’t magically make it consistent. Of course, the fact that belief systems cannot be consistent with all the data as all the data hasn’t been collected doesn’t phase you at all. In fact, you attempt to use one of the most lucid statements in the article as evidence of the authors ignorance, and all you do is prove your own most remarkably.

  • http://my.firedoglake.com/members/oneouter/profile/ one.outer

    If religious people were capable of understanding, they wouldn’t be religious. I can’t think of a better reason for all the stupid canards and misunderstandings about science that they carry around. And this piece is chock full of them.  

    - Life as product of chance – This is wrong. Unplanned is not the same as random. 

    - Atheists are dogmatic and insist that there is no god – BS. Whether there is a god is a completely different question from the Abrahamic god. The Abrahamic god is philosophically absurd, but a deist god is a negative that cannot be proven incorrect without direct data. Reasonable people can disagree about the latter; the former is for retards. 

    - Inconsistent belief system – You not being able to understand something doesn’t make it inconsistent. Argument from ignorance, FTW. 

    - Meaning for the universe – Consciousness creates meaning. The universe has no meaning on it’s own. Sorry that your mind is too small to accept that. Reality is indifferent to what you choose to believe – the truth isn’t a choice, it exists independently of your opinions.

    - Atheism is nihilistic – Again, meaning and morality are direct unavoidable consequences of consciousness. We cling to life, because we value it, and because we believe it is good. No greater explanation is necessary. And atheists do not believe that morality is irrational. That’s a strawman argument, and a shitty one at that.

    - Atheist morals are rooted in subjectivity – So what? That doesn’t make it wrong – you just don’t like it. Again, reality is indifferent to your fee fees. 

    And this is just pure comedy gold: 

    However, I do believe in morality, and it doesn’t bother me my beliefs are inconsistent; I’m not concerned with being perfect.

    If you’re happy being an ignorant twit, if truth is less important to you than what comforts you regarding the aspects of reality that you don’t like, than why are you even writing about this? Can’t you see that you just disqualified yourself from having an opinion that anyone should take seriously? Of course you can’t, because if you could see it you wouldn’t believe these things.  

  • http://my.firedoglake.com/members/oneouter/profile/ one.outer

    Oh, and this website has the most appropriate name for a website I’ve ever seen. Disinformation, indeed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WSPVLVNHHKSBPPXD3KSNJWTTFY kommi

    a lot of atheists have a problem with religion and it’s adherents because somehow it got rammed down our throats for about a couple thousand years. Maybe tolerance seems desirable but the rise of rabid, right wing dominionists  as possible frontrunners for the presidential office is somewhat alarming, don’t you think? And take a look at zionist orthodox jews vs. palestinians or radical islamists and their impact on policies in mostly muslim countries. It’s not what people believe or not believe that matters, but what they DO with it … to others, who don’t believe in the same fairy tale. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WSPVLVNHHKSBPPXD3KSNJWTTFY kommi

    a lot of atheists have a problem with religion and it’s adherents because somehow it got rammed down our throats for about a couple thousand years. Maybe tolerance seems desirable but the rise of rabid, right wing dominionists  as possible frontrunners for the presidential office is somewhat alarming, don’t you think? And take a look at zionist orthodox jews vs. palestinians or radical islamists and their impact on policies in mostly muslim countries. It’s not what people believe or not believe that matters, but what they DO with it … to others, who don’t believe in the same fairy tale. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WSPVLVNHHKSBPPXD3KSNJWTTFY kommi

    a lot of atheists have a problem with religion and it’s adherents because somehow it got rammed down our throats for about a couple thousand years. Maybe tolerance seems desirable but the rise of rabid, right wing dominionists  as possible frontrunners for the presidential office is somewhat alarming, don’t you think? And take a look at zionist orthodox jews vs. palestinians or radical islamists and their impact on policies in mostly muslim countries. It’s not what people believe or not believe that matters, but what they DO with it … to others, who don’t believe in the same fairy tale. 

  • Mysophobe

    That blog you link to is precisely the type of material that gives some atheists reason to be vocally antireligious. The threat of eternal damnation as a means of influencing behavior only works on children and the weak-minded, and serves to create ill will towards your cause. Asserting that your soul and your life are more valuable that someone else’s can only end in trouble.

  • Mysophobe

    That blog you link to is precisely the type of material that gives some atheists reason to be vocally antireligious. The threat of eternal damnation as a means of influencing behavior only works on children and the weak-minded, and serves to create ill will towards your cause. Asserting that your soul and your life are more valuable that someone else’s can only end in trouble.

  • Mysophobe

    That blog you link to is precisely the type of material that gives some atheists reason to be vocally antireligious. The threat of eternal damnation as a means of influencing behavior only works on children and the weak-minded, and serves to create ill will towards your cause. Asserting that your soul and your life are more valuable that someone else’s can only end in trouble.

  • Sickofgaythiests

    Nothing better than sociopathic self serving atheists like Hitler who blame everyone else (including agnostics) for all the problems in the world. They are afraid of a universe with accountability and rock themselves to sleep at night saying no one can punish them… thieves, murderers and rapists that make even the most bloody crusaders look sane. They abuse the legal system like OJ and walk without guilt away from their crimes… Fuck you self serving pricks.. even if their isn’t a God there is no reason to be an asshole like you.

    • Draculoid

      haha,,,what?! hitler was catholic..in fact he said “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance
      with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself
      against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” And the vast majority of thieves, rapists and murderers are religious. In fact, according to the federal bureau of prisons 39% are catholic and 35% are protestant. but even if all atheists were evil bastards…that alone is not an argument against the claims of atheism. Arguing otherwise is a strawman.

    • FilthyPazuzu

      Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of name-calling. But sometimes you just have to be like George Takei and say:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeKfMNlQTho

      • http://www.bytehead.org/blog/ Bryan “bytehead” Price

        My wife gave me both the shirt and the coffee cup.

  • Sickofgaythiests

    Nothing better than sociopathic self serving atheists like Hitler who blame everyone else (including agnostics) for all the problems in the world. They are afraid of a universe with accountability and rock themselves to sleep at night saying no one can punish them… thieves, murderers and rapists that make even the most bloody crusaders look sane. They abuse the legal system like OJ and walk without guilt away from their crimes… Fuck you self serving pricks.. even if their isn’t a God there is no reason to be an asshole like you.

  • Sickofgaythiests

    Nothing better than sociopathic self serving atheists like Hitler who blame everyone else (including agnostics) for all the problems in the world. They are afraid of a universe with accountability and rock themselves to sleep at night saying no one can punish them… thieves, murderers and rapists that make even the most bloody crusaders look sane. They abuse the legal system like OJ and walk without guilt away from their crimes… Fuck you self serving pricks.. even if their isn’t a God there is no reason to be an asshole like you.

  • Sickofgaythiests

    Nothing better than sociopathic self serving atheists like Hitler who blame everyone else (including agnostics) for all the problems in the world. They are afraid of a universe with accountability and rock themselves to sleep at night saying no one can punish them… thieves, murderers and rapists that make even the most bloody crusaders look sane. They abuse the legal system like OJ and walk without guilt away from their crimes… Fuck you self serving pricks.. even if their isn’t a God there is no reason to be an asshole like you.

  • Firehat

    Yes, Andrew is the stereotypical psuedo intellectual snob. He found a legal dictionary and he uses it to attack everyone arguments in the vaguest senses of it definitions. He has no idea of the irony that almost all of his attacks are ad hominem. I’d love to see the sad bastard actually argue a case without google and 30 minutes to respond to each questions. 

  • Wehateyou

    pseudo-intellectual1055 up, 161 down1. One who attempts to flex intellect that does not exist within his or her own mind. 

    2. Can probably be found with a thesaurus in hand, while in a chat room, looking up new insults that are synonymous with “stupid” in order to boost his or her own undeserved ego. 

    3. Typical cases of pseudo-intellectualism involve pre-pubescent 15 year olds that think they have everything figured out, including, but not limited to: life, religion, politics, education, and sex. Ironically, they have never quite experienced either of the aforementioned. 

    4. Pretends he or she has an opinion. 

    5. Posseses a severe tendency to blindly and wholeheartedly believe any bullshit they hear, only to subsequently regurgitate the misinformation to anyone they see in an asinine attempt to appear more intelligent than a used, broken condom. 

    6. Should the victim of the verbal onslaught happen to have a differing opinion, the pseudo-intellectual will revert to his or her thesaurus and insult the opposition with words he or she never knew existed, and probably cannot even pronounce. 

    7. Annoyingly and constantly refers to the word antidisestablishmentarianism, as if knowledge of said word defined his or her illegitimately high intelligence quotient. 

    8. Typically a hypocrite; creates many, many contradictions. Most online grammar/spelling Nazis can relate. 

    9. Always ends a bullshit “argument” with, “I win, so stfu.” Win what, dipshits? Your opinions weren’t fact in the first place.10. Douche bag child rapist Andrew on Disinfo.com.

  • Johnnyuser

    You created a straw man only to tear it down.  Well done.  Begin the slow clap…

  • Johnnyuser

    You created a straw man only to tear it down.  Well done.  Begin the slow clap…

  • Anonymous

    I’m enjoying the little slap debates springing up.

  • Edubus

    Perhaps it’s the nature of spirituality that such evidence must be empirical. I was once a church-going atheist as a boy and then had out-of-body experiences the like of which cannot be explained. It is proof to me of ‘something else’, although everybody I related my experiences to readily dismissed them as dreams or some other delusion. I cannot prove otherwise. Still, it affected my personal philosophy profoundly.

  • Alturn

    Seeing whatever belief system you hold as a type of conditioning that is essential for experimentation and growth helps free the self from believing they are their thoughts, emotions or body.  Then one can begin to perceive who you are.

    Or as the World Teacher Maitreya has said:
    “Preaching at people will not work. If you approach a prostitute and you lecture her, she will reject your words as ideology. But if you say: “Whatever you are doing, be yourself, be honest, sincere and detached”, this will create an experience in that individual which will dissolve the ‘isms’ in mind, spirit and body. The same applies to a thief. It is the experience which will free
    mind, spirit and body from ‘isms’, from conditioning. When the person experiences himself as he is, he can feel the ‘observer’ within. The observer within is not a limited, finite person. It is infinite, and many call it “divinity”. The observer is divine. This is the connection between the Self and the Divine.”
    - World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported by Share International

  • Alturn

    Seeing whatever belief system you hold as a type of conditioning that is essential for experimentation and growth helps free the self from believing they are their thoughts, emotions or body.  Then one can begin to perceive who you are.

    Or as the World Teacher Maitreya has said:
    “Preaching at people will not work. If you approach a prostitute and you lecture her, she will reject your words as ideology. But if you say: “Whatever you are doing, be yourself, be honest, sincere and detached”, this will create an experience in that individual which will dissolve the ‘isms’ in mind, spirit and body. The same applies to a thief. It is the experience which will free
    mind, spirit and body from ‘isms’, from conditioning. When the person experiences himself as he is, he can feel the ‘observer’ within. The observer within is not a limited, finite person. It is infinite, and many call it “divinity”. The observer is divine. This is the connection between the Self and the Divine.”
    - World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported by Share International

  • Draculoid

    haha,,,what?! hitler was catholic..in fact he said “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance
    with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself
    against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” And the vast majority of thieves, rapists and murderers are religious. In fact, according to the federal bureau of prisons 39% are catholic and 35% are protestant. but even if all atheists were evil bastards…that alone is not an argument against the claims of atheism. Arguing otherwise is a strawman.

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    There’s definitely something there. I think those initial anti-Christian ideas (or anti-whatever religious ideas) you were raised with are a first step, clues to open your mind toward objectively examining your religion. For some people, these objections to the religious traditions in which they were raised lead them to conversion to another religion, for others, it leads to atheism.

    Growing up Catholic, my initial objections to religion were specifically anti-Catholic, then generally anti-Christian, and finally anti-religious. I saw much suffering, and for as long as I can remember, whenever anyone has uttered the phrase ‘god works in mysterious ways’ I’ve had to desperately restrain myself so that person didn’t end up wondering why god mysteriously allowed me to curb-stomp them. If the suffering of the world is part of some god’s plan, he/she/it/them can go fuck themselves silly.

    After reading this article for the first time, I tried to lay out my intellectual & logical reasons for being unable to believe in a deity or follow a religion without evidence. But when I start thinking about my initial reasons for disavowing religion, I get all emotional, since it was my emotional objections to the existence of a just god that led me to atheism in the first place. (I’ll admit that a little bit o’ violent imagery pops in my head too, but it’s just the expression of the frustration and rage I experienced while younger. I’ve never laid a hand to anyone.)

    I agree with the foundation of your argument, but I say take it further: there’s a lot of grey area & overlap in the collection generally referred to as ‘atheists’, just like there’s many shades of religious believers. Many atheists see the religious as one giant unified block, which is just as much of an error as the religious seeing atheists the same way.

    This comes back to my principal objection to the original article, concerning the error of making broad generalizations about groups of people.

    Full circle! Boosh!

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    1) I didn’t know Nunya Bidness was the world’s official spokesperson for Atheism, Inc.2) I agree with Venus in Furs, where’s the apathy in that statement? I’d say there’s a fair amount of concern in a statement such as this:

    “The only goodness and fairness you get is what you create and you only get one chance.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

    You completely missed my point.

    You don’t believe or disbelieve something in a vacuum. What you believe and what you disbelieve are informed and determined by other things you believe and disbelieve. For any given premise one regards as false, there must be one premise that a person regards as true, in order to justify the dsibelief of the first premise.

    I’m saying that attempting to identify atheism as simply disbelief (that is, to identify atheism as not something but a lack of something) is an attempt to move it beyond the realm of criticism, and to remove any burden of proof from the atheist. Your comment about evidence shows this to be true of your position–you demand evidence from the theist for his position without offering any in support of your own.

    Now I’m not saying atheists should prove God’s nonexistence. If you think that’s what I’m saying, you are misreading my meaning. To simplify–perhaps oversimplify–my point, I’m saying that atheists should prove their ideological premises. Western atheists tend to hold to materialism, which ultimately comes from their evidentialism (wikipedia it if you don’t know what it is). Your aforementioned comment about “evidence” is an example of this. These beliefs, and a slew of other beliefs and subjective experiences, have convinced you to be an atheist. You are ideologically accountable for them, and as a result you have your own burden of proof for atheism. Attempting to say that atheism is not a belief at all is the cop out, because even if that is technically and linguistically true, it is not actually true; things aren’t separated into clearly defined boxes, despite how language makes them seem. Atheism arises out of multiple other premises–which count as beliefs of their own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

    You completely missed my point.

    You don’t believe or disbelieve something in a vacuum. What you believe and what you disbelieve are informed and determined by other things you believe and disbelieve. For any given premise one regards as false, there must be one premise that a person regards as true, in order to justify the dsibelief of the first premise.

    I’m saying that attempting to identify atheism as simply disbelief (that is, to identify atheism as not something but a lack of something) is an attempt to move it beyond the realm of criticism, and to remove any burden of proof from the atheist. Your comment about evidence shows this to be true of your position–you demand evidence from the theist for his position without offering any in support of your own.

    Now I’m not saying atheists should prove God’s nonexistence. If you think that’s what I’m saying, you are misreading my meaning. To simplify–perhaps oversimplify–my point, I’m saying that atheists should prove their ideological premises. Western atheists tend to hold to materialism, which ultimately comes from their evidentialism (wikipedia it if you don’t know what it is). Your aforementioned comment about “evidence” is an example of this. These beliefs, and a slew of other beliefs and subjective experiences, have convinced you to be an atheist. You are ideologically accountable for them, and as a result you have your own burden of proof for atheism. Attempting to say that atheism is not a belief at all is the cop out, because even if that is technically and linguistically true, it is not actually true; things aren’t separated into clearly defined boxes, despite how language makes them seem. Atheism arises out of multiple other premises–which count as beliefs of their own.

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    You got some impressive semantic gymnastics in that there statement o’ yours.

    First of all, when talking about ‘belief’ in religious terms, we are talking of agreeing something is true despite lack of evidence. Faith. Therefore non-believers, in this context, disagree with that same thing because of the lack in evidence. Understand?

    In the real world, when people make claims, they’re asked to provide proof or evidence of some sort.

    With me so far?

    So a logical person says: okay, you’re claiming the existence of a being who has the power to create the entire universe, and depending on your religious views either is or isn’t involved in its daily functioning. Right, how does that work?

    Now, here is where your mistaken. You’re somehow saying that it’s the atheists who are copping out by saying “show me”, meanwhile it is at this exact point the religious cop out: How exactly does your invisible being affect the world? By what mechanism did your imaginary friend create the universe?

    Religious people, from religions everywhere, have no mechanism with which to explain any religious concept, other than “it just happens” or “god does it”, which is no different from saying “it’s magic”.

    Throughout human history, all misunderstood phenomena were ascribed to one deity or another. As science has discovered more and more about the universe we live in, a great many of these magical, religious concepts that helped people cope in a mysterious world have been banished to the past. We know about viruses, bacteria, infection, mental illness, so we no longer need to believe in demonic possession (except for some truly batshit crazy people out there.) We understand celestial mechanics, so the thousands of different reasons man invented for the sun & moon rising and setting and the planets whirling about the night sky can all be put away.

    No, the real cop-out comes when religious people are asked to describe how a deity performs any of the acts they supposedly perform.

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    Yes, when we assign names to describe phenomena, the universe loses all meaning.

  • AngryBlueCollarWorker

    Please stop confusing atheism with humanism.

  • AngryBlueCollarWorker

    Please stop confusing atheism with humanism.

  • AngryBlueCollarWorker

    Please stop confusing atheism with humanism.

  • senorchupacabra

    I’m an atheist to my religious friends, a theist to my atheist friends and an agnostic to my agnostic friends. Why is it so difficult to admit we don’t know shit? Here’s the thing. All of the scientific evidence tells us the universe most likely wasn’t created by some grey-bearded white dude somewhere “out there.” I get that. To argue that would be irrational and irresponsible. However, science tells us that the whole of existence began with an event we refer to as the “big bang,” which wasn’t really a bang, but more just a sudden and inexplicable expansion of a little-somthing-that-was-so-little-it-was-almost-nothing. This “little-something” wasn’t quite a singularity but it was close–so for the sake of brevity we’ll refer to it as a singularity. Anyhow, where did this singularity come from? Science sometimes tells us that it was “always there” outside of space and time. But this is a metaphysical statement, because reductionism/materialism depends on causality. If something was “always there,” then it’s beyond the realm of causality and therefore beyond the realm of reductionism/materialism. Therefore, it’s a reductio ad absurdum.

    Some of the smarter, more honest scientists recognized this and decided that maybe there was a cause to the big bang. One of the better guesses is that there are these “membranes” that exist outside of our universe (time/space) that occasionally smack against each other and create radioactive expansions, like the big bang. However, the question then becomes, where did these membranes come from?

    Thus, to follow the reductionist/materialist model, we either find ourselves in a reductio ad absurdum (in this case, a reduction that nullifies itself), or a reductio ad infinitum. Both of which, by the very model of reductionism, must be rejected.

    The point is that WE JUST DON’T KNOW. And we probably never will know. One way or the other. And both sides should just get the fuck over themselves.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I think i’m going to steal that first sentence in the future, I love it.

    • Dan Muench

      One could certainly add to this, but essentially, yeah. I do find it funny, though, that the fundamentalists and atheists are always the ones screaming into the wind about what we should all think about ‘God’. Any decent occultist/spiritualist would notice that these groups are precisely the ones you’d expect to know the least about the subject – atheists obviously, but fundamentalists are almost universally so about the exoteric version of their pet religion, almost never initiated into deeper mysteries. Kind of like going into an automotive forum and repeating some company’s ad slogan in lieu of any actual engineering knowledge about the car being discussed. (Which, by the way, happens all the time.) 

      Cue Denzel Washington: “The loudest man in the room is the weakest man in the room.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ELVARQAQTCKOSF4KL736MX4NN4 Joseph

    I’m an atheist to my religious friends, a theist to my atheist friends and an agnostic to my agnostic friends. Why is it so difficult to admit we don’t know shit? Here’s the thing. All of the scientific evidence tells us the universe most likely wasn’t created by some grey-bearded white dude somewhere “out there.” I get that. To argue that would be irrational and irresponsible. However, science tells us that the whole of existence began with an event we refer to as the “big bang,” which wasn’t really a bang, but more just a sudden and inexplicable expansion of a little-somthing-that-was-so-little-it-was-almost-nothing. This “little-something” wasn’t quite a singularity but it was close–so for the sake of brevity we’ll refer to it as a singularity. Anyhow, where did this singularity come from? Science sometimes tells us that it was “always there” outside of space and time. But this is a metaphysical statement, because reductionism/materialism depends on causality. If something was “always there,” then it’s beyond the realm of causality and therefore beyond the realm of reductionism/materialism. Therefore, it’s a reductio ad absurdum.

    Some of the smarter, more honest scientists recognized this and decided that maybe there was a cause to the big bang. One of the better guesses is that there are these “membranes” that exist outside of our universe (time/space) that occasionally smack against each other and create radioactive expansions, like the big bang. However, the question then becomes, where did these membranes come from?

    Thus, to follow the reductionist/materialist model, we either find ourselves in a reductio ad absurdum (in this case, a reduction that nullifies itself), or a reductio ad infinitum. Both of which, by the very model of reductionism, must be rejected.

    The point is that WE JUST DON’T KNOW. And we probably never will know. One way or the other. And both sides should just get the fuck over themselves.

  • Andrew

    Liar.

  • Andrew

    Liar.

  • Andrew

    Liar.

  • http://twitter.com/FilthyPazuzu Filthy Pazuzu

    Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of name-calling. But sometimes you just have to be like George Takei and say:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeKfMNlQTho

  • Jake

    I understand your point about the enthymemes in atheistic beliefs. I think though, that you help to show why there is at least substantially less burden of proof on the atheist than the theist, and if cleverly articulated well enough, at most virtually no burden of proof.    I bet most theists are evidentialists to some large extent in their day-to-day lives; its essentially impossible to function in life without having good reasons to support the beliefs which bring about actions.  So, i’d say that both parties have common ground there.  But the theist loses his consistency when he abandons those epistemic principles by having (i’ll say strong) faith while the atheist remains consistent with their fundamental beliefs.  The principles of knowledge by which virtually all people operate under in essentially all aspects of life are cast aside for one aspect (i’d say that suggests its a question of morality). So, i don’t think that the kind of burden of proof you say the atheist is responsible for is actually in question, as it is accepted by both parties and inconsistently so by theists.

    The atheism that i espouse is one which says, “there is no direct causal relation between a God and my belief of a God, so i can’t accept it on those grounds.  I have no evidence besides philosophers’ book-long rationalizations of such a concept and our world being compatible with it, but something being possible because its rational (to a fault!) is no justification.  I can’t subscribe on those grounds.  I don’t need a God concept to help me through existential crises, so i can’t believe on moral grounds.  Why do you suggest i believe in God?”   In which case, i believe the burden of proof is legitimately lifted from me and placed onto the theist.  I think it takes away from the substance of the question of God’s existence by claiming that the atheist, and even the theist, has to prove every auxiliary hypothesis implicitly supporting their belief/non-belief.  Especially when the large majority of the aux. hypos. are held as true between the opposition.  

  • http://www.bytehead.org/blog/ Bryan “bytehead” Price

    My wife gave me both the shirt and the coffee cup.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    I think i’m going to steal that first sentence in the future, I love it.

  • Elizabethcaffey

    You can’t prove something does not exist, only prove it does. So, if you believe it DOESN”T exist with out proof you are doing so with faith. Same as someone who believes something exists without any proof. The whole atheism vs theism thing is like two opposing teams playing the same game.

  • Elizabethcaffey

    You can’t prove something does not exist, only prove it does. So, if you believe it DOESN”T exist with out proof you are doing so with faith. Same as someone who believes something exists without any proof. The whole atheism vs theism thing is like two opposing teams playing the same game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1180747740 Dan Muench

    One could certainly add to this, but essentially, yeah. I do find it funny, though, that the fundamentalists and atheists are always the ones screaming into the wind about what we should all think about ‘God’. Any decent occultist/spiritualist would notice that these groups are precisely the ones you’d expect to know the least about the subject – atheists obviously, but fundamentalists are almost universally so about the exoteric version of their pet religion, almost never initiated into deeper mysteries. Kind of like going into an automotive forum and repeating some company’s ad slogan in lieu of any actual engineering knowledge about the car being discussed. (Which, by the way, happens all the time.) 

    Cue Denzel Washington: “The loudest man in the room is the weakest man in the room.”

  • Andrew

    I think one has to claim to be an intellectual to be a pseudo-intellectual. Just using logic (not legal) terms doesn’t amount to such a claim.  Most of my comments are neither attacks nor pseudo-intellectualism but jokes.  Too bad you didn’t get any of them.  Most of the time I avoid ad hominem, but if the other person goes first, I feel it’s fair game and not hypocritical.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ELVARQAQTCKOSF4KL736MX4NN4 Joseph

    Of course they are. But I’m using the exact consequences that the reductionists/materialists DEPEND on for their arguments. Both of my arguments, just like the arguments of the materialist scientist, are assuming the consequences for reductionist logic are valid and sound. In short, I’m deferring home court advantage to the reductionist and challenging her/him on her/his own grounds.

    So what’s your point?

  • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

    If you guys have been talking about belief as “agreeing something is true despite lack of evidence,” then we’re on completely different pages here. I’m talking about belief in the philosophical sense, because that is the only legitimate way to talk about belief. Your definition, and your attribution of this definition to “religious” forms of belief is not an attempt at any sort of objective understanding of the topic. It is a ideological declaration.

    Indeed, I find your post as a whole to be an ideological declaration. I don’t get the condescension in your post either. Yeah, I get what you’re saying. The question is, do you understand what I have already said? I’m not saying that theism is right or that atheism is wrong. I am saying that, for any proposition that an individual negates, there is at least one proposition that he/she affirms which is necessary to negate the former proposition. This isn’t semantic gymnastics, it’s philosophy, and there is no easier way of explaining it. And unless you are some anti-intellectual loon, or one of those idiots who thinks that we don’t need philosophy, just science, you should have no problem with the appearance of a philosophical argument (the argument itself, but not its appearance).

    When this principle is applied, it implies that the atheist has his own “belief(s)” (that is, a proposition that one holds as true, not that biased bullshit definition you used), and that he is just as responsible for upholding those beliefs as the theist is for upholding his own.

    Let me provide a concrete example. The Christian theist affirms the proposition that there is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, non-material God (whether those words mean anything is up for debate, but not in response to this post of mine). The atheist, specifically the western atheist, holds that only material entities exist, and that, for any proposition, if there is not enough evidence to support it, it should not be accepted (this is evidentialism). These two propositions are interrelated (the latter supports the former) and, taken together, they are contrary to the Christian theist’s proposition. Thus, the pair of opposing propositions are:

    There is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, non-material God
    VS
    Only material entities exist AND For any proposition, if there
    is not enough evidence to support it, it should not be accepted

    The contrary propositions are NOT

    There is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, non-material God
    VS
    There is not an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, non-material God.

    That seems to be what you think I am saying. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be making the argument that the theist is the one copping out (he is only if he too accepts evidentialism, which is not universally true).

  • Andrew

    My point was regarding StillAtMyMoms’ and Filthy Pazuzu’s arguments, not yours, which I agreed with and hit the Like button for.

  • Andrew

    My point was regarding StillAtMyMoms’ and Filthy Pazuzu’s arguments, not yours, which I agreed with and hit the Like button for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

    That’s a fair point about the evidentialism, although I have always thought that people are evidentialists when talking ideology, and usually either internalists, externalists, or coherentists (or probably more often, don’t even think about justification in the loosest sense and are just socially controlled), depending on upbringing and local culture. However, still, theists do tend to be evidentialists ideologically when talking about some things, but not when talking about other things (like God).

    Thus, I would accept that the evidentialist theist, when compared to the evidentialist atheist, does have a greater burden of proof within that theory of justification (burden of proof doesn’t actually mean a whole lot outside of evidentialism anyways), and that any theist who holds to evidentialism and something like fideism (i.e., “you just gotta have faith”) at the same time is being self-contradictory.

    However, your last statement is where I disagree. I don’t hold evidentialism ideologically, and I’m pretty sure I don’t hold it in the everyday circumstances either (I’ll actually have to think about that more, but I think that in everyday circumstance, we’re more controlled by society than anything rational). Instead, I’m usually a skeptic epistemologically, though i realize that it is a self defeating theory. All of them are, when you get right down to it. Evidentialism cannot bear its own burden of proof, you can never link the fundamental axioms required for foundationalism to any greater proposition, coherentism allows for contradictory, yet justified, systems, and infinitism is basically just a statement that the other theories of justification don’t work. Thus, I do demand that the evidentialist plays his own game with regards to his evidentialism, to see how fundamentally irrational his system is. This applies to evidentialist atheists as well, who use evidence as the “objective standard” by which they determine the truth or falsehood of something.

    However, if you are debating with another evidentialist about God’s existence, then I won’t pick on it.

  • GaryB

    the depressing thing, to me, is that there has to be such debates over terminology that only exists because religion was ever conceived in the first place.  I’ll never push whatever agenda you’re telling me I have on anyone, I just dare to dream of a human race that never conceived the notion of ‘god’.  I have no desire to understand what my beliefs then supposedly are. can someone not just want to be good to those one loves, and good/neutral to anyone else one interacts with, but never what one believes is ‘evil’ to anyone?

  • http://www.facebook.com/elpolloloco52 Josh Adkisson

    I was not saying you have an agenda, I was simply responding to one statement about one kind of atheism. I’m a theist, but I don’t push it. I’m chill with most atheism. I just hate the kind of atheism that tries to procure some objective standard for itself, just as I hate theism that makes up a god that it can fit to any agenda, thereby providing itself with a self-justifying objective standard. People need to grow some balls and admit that all stances are equally irrational (including the ones I just stated).

  • Guest

    Yea its logic but no one but lawyers and posers use it like that.

  • Andrew

    So what’s the right way to use it?

  • Tuna Ghost

    Or anyone who has ever used formal logic, for instance anyone who has ever studied logic or done serious debating.  

  • Tuna Ghost

    So basically, it sucks that he has access to information resources to prove your arguments are invalid?  Are we supposed to handicap ourselves so that we’ll be on equal ground? 

  • Anonymous

    You completely misunderstood. I didn’t say other religions don’t believe in AN afterlife, but that Christianity invented the idea of LIVING for the afterlife. No hindu is blowing himself up or going on a holy war because he’ll be reincarnated better. Additionally, reincarnation isn’t an “afterlife” in the sense we’re talking about; it’s just more of the same. It’s nothing like “heaven.”

  • Krttikas

    I feel like one.outer has completely missed the point of this article and I just felt the need to type that feeling in text form on the internet.

    The author never said atheists believed that morality was irrational, I believe that was the authors own position.

    I personally believe that all ‘morality’ is rooted in religion, or at least in the belief of an afterlife or some larger universal purpose. I find atheistic moralists to be very funny creatures, almost neutered really, and certainly disconnected from the ‘objective reality’ they claim to believe in. The fantastically fanciful idea of some noble, upright and moral species ‘evolving’ in an “unplanned” fashion is made even funnier by the notion that this natural evolutionary morality has even a ghost of a chance of surviving without some god or design or salvation or purpose to believe in which extends itself beyond life as we know it.

    Also, unplanned in a universe that was not designed and is not watched over or guided seems a lot like chance to me. Of course, you’ve left it open that there may be a deist god or supreme being of some sort. Which then makes me wonder why bother at all? If you don’t know, just admit that you don’t know and stop making up titles to affix to the front your ignorance, like a feathered crown will distract anyone from the fact that you’re a giant slug (not that one.outer is a slug, just saying).

    Atheists are, as a collective *wink, wink*, pretty damned dogmatic though. I make this observation based on the majority of comments and discussions and interviews I have observed involving atheists, though I readily acknowledge that not all people who call themselves atheists share these traits. “There is no need or proof for god,” they chant, while others insist that it is their methods that prevent them from observing the proof and not that the proof is missing. “Religious people are incapable of understanding, otherwise they would not be religious,” they chant, apparently oblivious to the blatant dogma they espouse.

    Also, you not being able to explain how a ‘belief system’ is not inconsistent doesn’t magically make it consistent. Of course, the fact that belief systems cannot be consistent with all the data as all the data hasn’t been collected doesn’t phase you at all. In fact, you attempt to use one of the most lucid statements in the article as evidence of the authors ignorance, and all you do is prove your own most remarkably.

  • Andrew

    So what’s the right way to use it?

  • Tuna Ghost

    Or anyone who has ever used formal logic, for instance anyone who has ever studied logic or done serious debating.  

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