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What It’s Like To Be An Atheist

Smoke had a great line last night on what it’s like being in a world where not only is religion dominant but where even most of the secularists (in Smoke’s specific case, this means his secular wife) cling to vague “spiritual” notions:

I feel like Jimmy Stewart’s character in Harvey, in reverse; everyone but me sees the giant rabbit.  

He then quoted Sam Harris getting the issue we face exactly right:

“Reason is bigger than atheism.  We have a problem of good ideas versus bad ideas.  The real double standard we suffer from is religious bad ideas can’t be criticized with any energy.”

I connect differently with each of the so-called “New Atheists’s” emphases, but it’s Harris whose book articulated what I had been saying for 5 years prior—that what it comes down to is what is justifiable to believe and what sorts of beliefs deserve intellectual respect and which sorts simply do not.  Just a couple weeks ago he made the case excellently as always:

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://irandomosity-veggiecrocker.blogspot.com/ Athena Holter-Mehren

    I love Sam Harris! And I feel the same way you do. I’ve been thinking the same thing all my life, but could not really put words to the feelings until recently. Come check out my website!


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