Welcome to Daylight Atheism

Welcome, one and all, to Daylight Atheism! This will be the official weblog and annex of my other website, Ebon Musings, and will contain discussion threads for the articles posted there as well as original essays and writings.

In this inaugural post, it seems fitting to explain what led to the creation of this site. For the longest time I resisted the temptation to create a weblog, fearing it would demand of me a degree of productivity I did not think myself able to supply. However, there were three factors that ultimately persuaded me to change my mind. The first one was the steady accumulation of subjects that I wanted to comment on, but that were either too topical or too brief to merit a full-length essay on Ebon Musings.

The second factor, more important, has to do with the climate in which we live. Over the past several years, I have observed to my dismay the forces of militant religious fundamentalism gaining in strength, both in my home country, the United States of America, and worldwide. This ominous development, driven by those who are dedicated enemies of all the progress and enlightenment that has been achieved over the past several centuries, threatens the liberty and happiness of all people everywhere. As a result, I have been compelled to grow more involved in political causes to help oppose it, and to defend the human rights that once more need defending. This process of awakening led to my writing the essay “Unapologetic“, but did not stop there. We need as many voices as possible calling attention to the evil of the religious right and shining the light of scrutiny on their true goals. Only by doing so can we hope to stop them, and I hope to play some small part in that.

The final motivating factor is the fact that there are not nearly as many good atheist weblogs as there should be. There are many blogs written by atheists, but relatively few that are about atheism, relatively few that are well-written and address the subject frequently and knowledgeably. Granted, there are some, and I read most of these regularly; but the Internet is a wonderful invention – a truly global and democratic forum for speech where we can support each other, exchange our ideas, disseminate our message and organize for activism – and we atheists need as strong a presence on it as possible, paralleling the need for a strong atheist voice in public discourse generally. Considering our numbers, there are not nearly as many of us speaking out as there should be, and I intend to do what I can to counteract that trend. I neither expect nor desire to become an atheist leader in any sense, but I hope to contribute to a groundswell of freethought which I already see emerging, and perhaps even to reach a few individuals who have begun to question their religious beliefs but have not yet heard a message that would give them the courage to walk away.

Now more than ever, as the power of the religious right waxes and grows, society needs our presence, needs our message. We need to present the strong, clear light of atheism as a positive and desirable alternative to the murky darkness of religious intolerance and superstition. I know that there are many people of conscience who would be our allies if they understood who we truly are and what we want; I know, furthermore, that there are many others who are struggling with doubt, unaware that there are others who feel the same way as they do and that they are not alone. As with Ebon Musings, if I can reach and speak to even one person (a goal I can happily say I have achieved many times over with my other site), I will be well-satisfied.

For the present, I will continue to write new articles for Ebon Musings, and I will update this site as time permits. I will aim for an initial update schedule of at least twice per week, more often as I become accustomed to writing for this weblog, less often as other obligations take me away.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://www.elitistindifference.com Kevin

    Let me be the first to express my support for this project. It will be interesting to see how this develops. I hope your blog will grow to attract many readers from every viewpoint.

  • http://dominicself.co.uk Dominic Self

    You have my support as well – I hope you enjoy blogging too :)

    I’d only have one word of warning, and that is that Atheism should never be a club, group or collective with any kind of political or even philosophical voice. Because of course then anyone who disagrees with that viewpoint will be excluded. So let’s steer clear of ‘An Atheist should do x and believe y because…’

    Oh and on a lighter note, consider implementing Gravatars on the blog too!

  • http://www.3dobesblog.blogspot.com Ron

    Adam,
    Good choice, great name. Enjoy the blogging, and I’ll be back often to read!

  • http://spinpsychle.livejournal.com Mike

    You’re right about there not being enough quality websites out there. Most of what I’ve seen is childish ranting, expressing their anger towards God for lack of a better dummy.

  • http://www.DiscsForDogs.org Bill

    Thanks for Email about your blog Adam. I have it bookmarked and look forward to reading and contributing as time allows. I really enjoy your writing on Ebon Musings.

    Good luck with the blog!

    -Bill

  • Ebonmuse

    Thank you, all! I’m glad to see every one of you here, and I’ll do my best to make this blog worth your while to read. I’ve got a backlog of posts to put up already, so let’s release a few of them and get this show on the road…

  • Archi Medez

    Adam,

    Great work. I look forward to reading your blog.

    I particularly enjoyed the articles on your site about the morality of atheists. Given that many in the general public, especially in the U.S., still believe that religion is required for morality, it is important to emphasize that this is most definitely not the case. One need only list to any sane individual the atrocities in the Old and New Testaments, and the Quran, to show that the world’s predominant religions contain little in the way of a viable basis for morality and, indeed, that they contain great immorality. This seems to me the most common prejudice against atheists: That they lack morality because they lack religion.

    Maybe it might be useful to have a concise summary of the usual arguments against atheism, perhaps about a page in length, with links for each topic going to more indepth discussions, such as to those on ebon musings.

    All the best,

    Archi Medes

  • Jeffrey Tidwell

    Adam,
    I am very glad that you are willing to carry the torch of truth and reason in a time when society seems determined to regress back to the dark ages. Your essay “Unapologetic” speaks volumes and should be required reading for all. I certainly will be recommending it to my children.
    The recent controversy concerning the mass violence associated with the publishing of religious cartoons is just one more indication that everything you say is extremely accurate. I just hope that it is not too late, or too futile to do anything. The closet seems safe to me and peering outside the cracked door, I have to struggle with myself to prevent screaming, ranting and raving at the obviously duped masses. Fortunately for me, there are those such as you who have a bright mind and a fluent pen to lead the way. I will continue studying, learning and reading from you as well as getting involved. In fact, I will join the American Atheist Society this week and begin to be as active as I can in preventing the loss of civil and personal freedoms to those that are blind at best or manipulative as I suspect.

  • Superoso

    I might have posted this twice as I think made some mistake or other during registration.

    Adam,
    Thank you for notifying me of this site. I too am concerned at the resurgence of ignorance and cruelty in the form of religious fundamentalism. Bronowski saw it coming as long ago as the sixties, and wrote about the extreme danger of embracing certainty without reason, about the futility of addressing complex ethical issues by dipping into what he called a “rag-bag of morals based on past beliefs.” Religion is not the only destructive force in the society I live in. Each day I see an increasing number of memetic stupidities directing everyday behaviour patterns. Cruelty and indifference to suffering through blind obedience to competitive monetarism is one, but there are many more. The utterly ridiculous legitimacy given to nonsense such as fortune telling, demons, angels and so on would have been laughed out of existence when I was a kid. Collectively, we have regressed, no doubt about it. These notions all have this property of spurious certainty, of unquestioning adherence to some principle, either stated or implicit. Little wonder then, that they are all so readily assimilated by the religious right.

    I am not particularly good at highly consistent philosophical debate, but I am very keen to play a part, at least locally, in getting rid of all this mumbo-jumbo, preferably without the use of a blunt instrument, the use of which at times seems a most attractive course.

  • Landis Schmitt

    Adam,

    Good luck on this new adventure. I will check in often. I agree we can no longer be passive in confronting the evangelical attacks on individual freedom. You have my complete support.

  • andrea

    Ah, even more goodies to read. Love the blog, love the intial site too.

    Here’s to *not* becoming Father Neimoller’s last one to speak.

    Andrea

  • Mike K

    Adam,

    Congratulations on the launch of your new weblog. I have used Ebon Musings as a valuable resource for a few years now and enjoy your thoughtful and informative essays and well considered approach to atheism that is free from the vitriol one can encounter at many other atheist sites. I’m sure you will continue with this site in your usual thoughtful and courteous manner.

    Good Blogging! Mike.

  • Steve P

    Hearty congratulations on the launch of daylightatheism — typically elegant writing and inspiring thoughts as ever! I’m very glad to have seen, and enjoyed so thoroughly and deeply, your new venture. I look forward to coming back often!

  • Scott Foster

    I found your blog tonight and it was like a breath of fresh air (and fresh reason).

    Please keep up the fine blogging, I will be reading from now on!

    Scott F

  • dantep

    Thank you sir,
    It was more than a year ago that I stambled on your site(ebonmusings.org) and read on your essays, now “reflections on th milky way etc.. ” that I realized and was convinced that I am an atheist. Now I am a proud atheist and fully agree with all you says. Keep up the good work.

  • James Bradbury

    I’ve called myself a humanist for a couple of years now, although this is what I unknowingly was for a while beforehand.

    I congratulate you on your simple, well-reasoned arguments and thorough research. I hope to use your website and blog as a resource to help me argue convincingly against the (thankfully moderate) Christians I regularly encounter.

    Thank you!

  • Deamon

    Greetings to all of you nonbelivers.
    I wuold like to make a killer statement to all of you:
    If a beliver bugs you with his “god stuff”, just tell him that:

    1) You will only speak to his god in person, or to a person authorized to speak of god, and who has a documnt (which must be signed by goh himsel) to prove it.
    2) You will only convert if this so called “god” shows you a miracle, which cannot be explained by the probability theory or other physical laws, and more people would witness it.

    This should be enough for everyone who says, that there were no dinosaurs, and world was made in seven days…

    P.S. Great job on doing this site. First non-satanic atheist site i’v ever seen. Cheers.

  • bassmanpete

    How can anyone be a Satanist AND an atheist?

  • Nick

    “…society needs our presence, needs our message. We need to present the strong, clear light of atheism as a positive and desirable alternative to the murky darkness of religious intolerance and superstition.”

    I’m sorry how does society need your message? Surely the message of an atheist can never be positive: “There is no God. Why bother?”

    Unfortunately the message of many religions has been twisted by politicians and extremists, yet the real message that they deliver IS a positive and desirable one that teaches tolerance. If you were to look further than the image the media gives them then I would hope you would find this to be true.

    And to whoever wrote:

    “1) You will only speak to his god in person, or to a person authorized to speak of god, and who has a documnt (which must be signed by goh himsel) to prove it.
    2) You will only convert if this so called “god” shows you a miracle, which cannot be explained by the probability theory or other physical laws, and more people would witness it.”

    I think you are missing a little something required within all religion, including atheism. Faith.

  • http://nesoo.wordpress.com/ Nes

    I’m sorry how does society need your message? Surely the message of an atheist can never be positive: “There is no God. Why bother?”

    How about, “This is your only life, and the only life for those around you. Cherish it, enjoy it, and make the world even better for those who come next,” or, “You may not have any great purpose behind your life, but this gives you the freedom to create your own,” or, one of my favorites, “Smile! There is no Hell.”

    I think you are missing a little something required within all religion, including atheism. Faith.

    1) Unless you use one of the looser definitions of “religion” (which would probably include, for example, book clubs), atheism isn’t a religion. Atheism is merely a lack of belief in deities. Come to think of it, I don’t even think it would qualify under a loose definition, since religions are generally defined as a set of beliefs. I don’t actively believe, for example, that there are no deities, I merely reject the claims of others that believe there are.

    2) There is no faith required in atheism. Atheism isn’t (or, at least, shouldn’t be, though I’m sure some atheists get there this way as well) faith/belief that there are no deities, but, as I stated above, just the rejection of the claims of those who posit deities. I also don’t think that faith is a virtue, like so many religious seem to. Why should I believe something without any good and credible evidence for it?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Hello Nick,

    I’m sorry how does society need your message? Surely the message of an atheist can never be positive: “There is no God. Why bother?”

    I assure you that you are mistaken. Atheism is a positive, hopeful and life-affirming message: it tells us that we are in charge of our own destiny, that this life is our one chance and so we had better make the most of it and live it to the fullest, and that living morally consists of being kind toward our fellow human beings and not flattering the arbitrary whims of jealous, petulant gods. For more on the positive message of atheism, I suggest my essays “Life Without Superstition” here on Daylight Atheism, and the longer “Life of Wonder” on Ebon Musings.

    Unfortunately the message of many religions has been twisted by politicians and extremists, yet the real message that they deliver IS a positive and desirable one that teaches tolerance.

    The “real” message? According to whom? Even a glance at history would show you that people have been fighting, killing, dying, oppressing and enslaving each other by the millions for millennia, all because they had different religious beliefs. And this faith-based violence is not some derangement of religion that came out of nowhere: most holy books and scriptures contain verses explicitly endorsing such activities. You cannot decide what “true” religion is by arbitrarily disregarding all the parts of each religion that run contrary to what you believe.

    I think you are missing a little something required within all religion, including atheism. Faith.

    On the contrary: I don’t “miss” faith, I have scrutinized the concept and decided it deserves to be rejected. Faith is an illogical and unsupportable belief in the absence of evidence, and no one should ever let faith alone be the basis for any of their beliefs or actions. I reject the assumption that faith is an intrinsic good, which most religious people make without questioning. Faith is not an intrinsic good. At best it is pointless, and at worst it is dangerous. That is why I am an atheist, a position which, unlike all religions, asks us to believe nothing but what the facts support.

  • Polly

    Atheism is NOT a faith and requires none. Only if god showed up, or even produced a BONA-FIDE miracle (spare me your blurry image on a taco shell) would it then require faith not to believe in a supernatural being.
    BTW – What makes rational inquisitiveness less praiseworthy than belief for belief’s sake? In fact, Why is it considered a virtue at all to believe things wihtout evidential support? Riddle me that!

    I agree with Dominic Self. I’ve seen some presumptions about political belief’s as if not believing in god means you have to think the OPPOSITE of those who do, on Every issue. Certainly there will be many differences but this attitude just sets up another creed or dogma. And those atheists who make those assumptions are really no better than the theists who insist atheism must be amoral…read that “immoral.” You don’t have to be a Fundie to be pro-life. I believe in respect for ALL human life from the very beginning to the very end. I consider this philosophy to be for the highest benefit of all of society.

    You may begin the verbal assault…3…2…1…now.

  • Madison Arnold

    Hello Adam,
    Read your letter today in “Freethought Today” and have just browsed your web site. Very impressive. I’ll be continually checking in here.Thank you for setting it up.
    Sincerely,
    Madison Arnold FFRF lifer

  • Dick

    What I read on your blog is pretty much the same positions and arguments I have heard from other self-proclaimed atheists. Your arguments seem to reflect a shallow understanding of the Chrisitan world view, a strong desire to belittle Christians, to generalize any instance of Christian hypocricy to all who profess the Christian faith, and generally discredit Christianity in any way you can. I sincerely wonder what your real motivation is. Are you envious of those with faith? Do you really believe people will live better and moral lives if Chrisitan influence is diminished?

    As a Christian, I pray that you like the Apostle Paul may truly find Christ on your journey to Damascus.

  • James Bradbury

    Dick,

    I can assure you that Ebonmuse is very well informed about Christianity and has probably spent more time reading the Bible than many Christians.

    If you have a particular complaint or diagreement, please voice it as he and others who frequent this website, including a few Christians, will be happy to respond.

    All the best, James

    ps: I suggest starting here: Let your love be genuine

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    Hello Dick,

    What I read on your blog is pretty much the same positions and arguments I have heard from other self-proclaimed atheists.

    I’d certainly hope so. Most of the arguments against religious belief are fairly obvious to anyone who takes the time to think about it rationally, and atheists have been pointing these out for quite a long time. The problem isn’t that our arguments are incorrect, but that most religious people aren’t listening.

    Your arguments seem to reflect a shallow understanding of the Chrisitan world view, a strong desire to belittle Christians…

    I’m going to stop you right there and ask for some evidence. Unfortunately, like many religious proselytizers, you’ve chosen to take the low road and try to smear me and my work with insulting generalizations. If you think I display a “shallow understanding” of Christianity, I invite you to point to specific errors I’ve made regarding it. If you think I “belittle” Christians, I invite you to point to specific examples where you feel I’ve unfairly maligned individual believers. If you cannot or will not do these things, then I’ll consider your accusations motivated solely by personal animus and anger at me.

    …generalize any instance of Christian hypocricy to all who profess the Christian faith…

    Again, if you think I’ve ever done this, then let’s see you cite some examples.

    I sincerely wonder what your real motivation is.

    You don’t have to wonder. I have numerous posts on this site where I explain in detail what my motivation is: for example, this one, which is prominently linked to in the “Must-Read Posts” section of my sidebar:

    Why Do We Care?

    or even this one:

    Why Daylight Atheism?

    Again, you’re clearly not very familiar with my writings if you haven’t seen any of these, which leads me to believe that you’re hurling accusations at random without having first taking the time to find evidence supporting them. I wonder why you choose to act in such an angry and hostile manner toward someone who’s a complete stranger to you.

  • Edward

    Hello, and thank you for your writings and thoughts. I had been searching for a place on the web to read well written opinions on atheistic/humanistic topics and I was very much delighted to stumble upon your’s. I look forward to exploring your essays.
    I agree that organized superstition is a major factor standing in the way of true morality and human accomplishment. It would also appear that fundamental religous sects have increased in influence and destrcutiveness over recent years. I would, however, like to suggest that this has created a backlash that seems to have increased the ranks of the unbelievers. This for me would prove to be good news.
    To respond to Dick, I have indeed met Paul, through an entire grade school and high school career in catholic instruction. What I have come to realize on my own is that I do not need him, his teachings, nor the church he helped to build in order to consider myself a moral human being. My deep and personal experience with the chritsian worldview is the reason why I refuse to hold it any longer.

  • believer

    Thanks to God you are an atheist!! LMAO

  • Alex Weaver

    Thanks to God you are an atheist!! LMAO

    Thanks to the lack of evidence for God, I am an atheist. Thanks to you and your ilk, I am proud of it.

    PS: Isn’t the “A” in “LMAO” an “unclean” word? Aren’t Christians supposed to avoid those?

  • James Bradbury

    Surely he means “ass” as in donkey? Laughing My Donkey Off? I think actually that sounds more unclean…

    According to the bibble you can kill people with their jawbones.

  • http://www.voiceofhawaii.org LD Reynolds

    Aloha Adam!

    I quite agree with the quantity/quality issue and the fact that atheists need to work on their public image. I am also becoming quite a fan of your blog.

    I am a broadcaster with 40 years on the air in Maui County and an atheist since I was 12 years old. (Long story) I am particularly interested in your comments about how we can best put the media to use in an effort to prevent the possibility of another Dark Ages.

    At your service.

    LD

  • http://thejewishatheist.com Alan Perlman

    Just writing to let you know how much I appreciate the depth and breadth of thought you bring to this project. I agree with you that

    “We need as many voices as possible calling attention to the evil of the religious right and shining the light of scrutiny on their true goals. Only by doing so can we hope to stop them, and I hope to play some small part in that.”

    I’m with you. The emphasis of my secular humanism (which I prefer over “atheism”) is on activism and outreach. It’s great to connect with like-minded others, but once we’ve found each other, when do we do with our intelligence and numbers? What would it take to elect openly secular people to high national office? What would it take to reduce the esteem in which religion is held (three of 10 Republican candidates said they believed in the truth of Genesis)? What would it take to get John Stossel and ABC to do one hour on “the new humanism”? And don’t get me started on the dangers of Islam.

    BTW, I’ve tagged your site…for info., please visit mine and see the post on “Meme-ery.”

    shalom,

    Alan

  • hereigns

    Ebonmuse and other atheists,
    I am a Christian and clearly see why it is so easy to target “Christians”, many, like all other humanoids (lol), tend to shoot off with their mouths without first checking with their heart. As you are undoubtedly aware Christians are called to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself. Some fail at loving the Lord, others fail at loving their neighbor while others fail at both.

    Ashamedly I must readily admit I fail at loving the Lord or my neighbor at times too but that is where grace comes in. There are several postings on this page in regards to faith but none that I could on grace. Calvary does point to forgiveness but just as importantly it reveals love and grace! Without His grace I would not have spent 2 seconds on this site but because of His everlasting grace I’m drawn here. Anyway, enough rambling…when a person who professes to be a Christian attacks you or others please keep in mind they have lost the vision/call. Not all Christians act in this matter.

    Grace to you!
    Rob

  • Camile

    I am Christian, and your message seems to be positive. I don’t think you can go wrong with trying to be a good person and spreading awareness, but some of the comments on this site are so hateful and mocking towards people who believe in God, or to God. If you really care about people and freedom of thought why does it matter what a person believes? Can’t a person who is a Christian still be a half way intelligent and a good person. Just becasue someone believes in something that you don’t doens’t mean they are bad or stupid. It seems like people on this website feel as though they are persecuted in some way becasue of thier beliefs, but it goes both ways. Poeple who live in China get abused and severely tourtured for thier religious beliefs. You think it is religion that causes bad things to happen, but it is not. Take away all religion and belief in God and people will still do horrible things to each other. This is why I have to believe in God. I have to believe that there is something somewhere better than us.

  • James Bradbury

    Camile,
    The author has addressed your question. Please read this for an answer.

    Can’t a person who is a Christian still be a half way intelligent and a good person. Just becasue someone believes in something that you don’t doens’t mean they are bad or stupid.

    You’re right, there are many good and intelligent people who have religious beliefs. However they must be switching their brains off when it comes to religion, because as you’ll see from these links, theism doesn’t make much sense if you really think about it.

    I think few of us would have any problem with other people’s religions if they kept themselves to themselves. However, they don’t tend to. You might not notice it much when you’re a member of the local majority religion, but as atheists we are acutely aware of it. Freedom of belief is a human right, but there’s a tendency for the religious to think it applies only to their beliefs, especially when they’re in the majority. The fact is that especially in America, atheists are discriminated against by the religious authorities.

    However, I think those who suffer most from religion are often the believers themselves. Surely stories like this one are tragic to hear whatever your beliefs?

    You seem like a decent and open minded person, so please stick around and ask if the links I’ve provided don’t answer your questions. If you’re polite and listen to what people say, they should be polite back to you.

  • James Bradbury

    Camile,
    The author has addressed your question. Please read this for an answer.

    Can’t a person who is a Christian still be a half way intelligent and a good person. Just becasue someone believes in something that you don’t doens’t mean they are bad or stupid.

    You’re right, there are many good and intelligent people who have religious beliefs. However they must be switching their brains off when it comes to religion, because as you’ll see from these links, theism doesn’t make much sense if you really think about it.

    I think few of us would have any problem with other people’s religions if they kept themselves to themselves. However, they don’t tend to. You might not notice it much when you’re a member of the local majority religion, but as atheists we are acutely aware of it. Freedom of belief is a human right, but there’s a tendency for the religious to think it applies only to their beliefs, especially when they’re in the majority. The fact is that especially in America, atheists are discriminated against by the religious authorities.

    However, I think those who suffer most from religion are often the believers themselves. Surely stories like this one are tragic to hear whatever your beliefs?

    You seem like a decent and open minded person, so please stick around and ask if the links I’ve provided don’t answer your questions. If you’re polite and listen to what people say, they should be polite back to you.

  • Camile

    James,

    Thank you so much for talking to me like I am a rational being. I have read the links and they have answered my quetions, and made me feel better about why people who don’t believe in God can become so angry at religion and at religious people. All the issues that atheists seem to have with religion I have too, but I will always believe in God because of reasons already stated.

    Thanks for your objective and fair comments,
    Camile

  • Bill Reinhart

    Ebonmuse

    I was just passed this site by a buddy. It is brilliant. Most of the comments are so cogent and thoughtfully expressed with a minimum of antagonism. I’m envious! Thank goodness there are people out there who can provide the rest of us some hope. There is a strong evangelical movement here in Canada not unlike that apparent in the US but, for some reason, it is largely kept out of our politics. In fact, a politician here who advocated such beliefs would not be elected. However, an evangelical leader here has publicly stated that he can have the Prime Minister on the phone in minutes – and I believe that he is right.

    I did agree with the comment by Dominic Self who pleaded that ‘Atheism not be a club, group or movement” because then it will just be another lobby group to ‘lobby’ or be attacked. Increasingly numerous vehicles to exchange ideas and to let people know there are like minds out there, such as this site, is the better way – although I will be joining the Canadian Humanist Association, or something similar, to assist in meeting others.

  • KShep

    Camile—-I think you’ll find most atheists are very open-minded and tolerant of others’ beliefs. That tolerance is rarely extended back to us by believers, and as James pointed out, we probably wouldn’t make much of an issue of atheism if it weren’t for the continual attempts by the devout to force their beliefs on everyone else.

    One reason I spend so much time here is the civility of the regulars. There are arguments, to be sure, but they are overwhelmingly civil. This is typical of atheists, as a general rule, but if you listen to the lunatic religious fringe, you’d think we are all a bunch of puppy-grinders. Please hang around, your thoughts are very welcome.

    I couldn’t let this pass:

    Poeple who live in China get abused and severely tourtured for thier religious beliefs

    By atheists?

  • Camile

    KShep,

    I have got to quit coming on this site, it is so distracting. Yes, they are tourtured by the government of China (a communist nation which is atheist). Religoius people will be set free from slave labor and extrememly brutal torture if they renounce thier religious beliefs, but a lot of them don’t. Google it. My point is you can’t blame a belief system that gets corrupted by people for the wrong done by the people who profess a belief in it.

  • KShep

    That’s my point, too.

  • Camile

    Thank you it is so nice to meet an objective person.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/ Ebonmuse

    John’s comment and subsequent replies have been split to a separate thread here.

  • M.M.DAYANAND

    Dear Adam,
    I am an atheist. But a liberal atheist. This is to say, that while I have my views, I do not grudge the beliefs of those who cannot do without their beliefs and dependability on their Faith. I do not wish to see them without their Crutches. One has to be enlightened to be like us.
    I enjoyed your daylight atheism. I hope to visit ebon musings.
    I have two issues on which I seek your comments.
    1.I have grown up studying Moral Science as a subject in our school curriculum. In all the teachings, there was God brought in to convey to the young minds what is right and what is wrong.(Now in hind sight we know that the Morality could have been put across differently) What is disturbing is that today there is no such subjects as Moral Science in a number of Schools. How will the young be taught what is right and what is wrong?
    2.Should we try to educate the believers on the Atheistic view? or should we let them find out for themselves as i did at the age of 14 ?

    I would be obliged if your comments are sent to my email.

    Regards,

    Dayanand

  • Randall

    Adam,

    First of all, thank you for posting your beliefs in a clear and non-vitriolic manner. Clear and reasoned discussion of the points of contention that exist between atheism, or humanism, and religion, or faith, will hopefully be fruitful. I am a devoted Catholic, and I, too, believe that the upswell of fundamentalism, in all its forms, must be halted. I look forward to discussing, as much as possible, the topics on this site, if you do not mind input from an alternate viewpoint.

    God’s blessings, and best wishes for continued, intelligent, and fruitful communication,

    Randall

  • theistscientist

    MR.Ebon, I wanted to thank you for the very intellectual and professionally run blog you have here.People here are very smart, well informed and polite. You should be running IIDB, they could learn from you. I learn from other posters here on every thread so far.

  • http://creationistsbanatheism.blogspot.com/ Ateizm.org

    Hi,

    Ateizm.org, the most prominent Turkish web site on atheism was closed to its Turkish audience for the second time in December 2007 based on a legal action taken by a Turkish creationist named Harun Yahya.

    The ban on ateizm.org in Turkey is yet another example of fundamentalist Islam gaining ground in a country survived as a secular democracy for well over half a century.

    Ateizm.org needs your help.

    Please help us spread the word to get this ban removed.

    You may read the full story in the following blog:
    http://creationistsbanatheism.blogspot.com/

    Ateizm.org is still accessible outside Turkey at:
    http://www.ateizm.org

    Aragon
    Ateizm.org member

  • tubular_trekkie

    Congratulations on an interesting and well reasoned site. I found my way here via the Black Sun Journal website and I shall certainly visit again.

    As a long-time (British) atheist it’s nice to know that there are like-minded individuals across the pond who are not prepared to forgo logic and common sense in the face of irrational superstitious nonsense.

    Quite frankly I find discussions of ancient religious stories or personages akin to discussing the events in, say, The Lord of The Rings. With the obvious, depressing difference being that some folks seem to think the improbable events are actual history! Am I allowed to say that I find it all rather embarrassing? Quoting bits of some 2,000 year old document of dubious provenance in order to ‘prove’ some moral or philosophical edict just strikes me as a huge waste of everyone’s time.

  • Mike

    Love your site and your articulately delivered ethical and philosophical positions.
    The intellectual flailing about of far too many religious leaders struggling to justify their beliefs would be mildly amusing did it not carry so much risk if left unchallenged.
    I’ve enjoyed more than a few laughs observing the far right Christian front men vehemently deny the theories presented in The Origin of Species while at the same moment enthusiastically embrace the most aggressive “survival of the fittest” economic policies and proposals.
    Please continue this important work!

  • Allan

    Hi – Fascinating site. I am a Christian, and I agree that many Christians do not treat the atheist position with proper respect.
    He is a thought to drop in to discussion. When I was a teenager, I had total unmanageable hair – I could not find a hairstyle that worked. Eventually, I thought, ‘Stuff this’ (UK expression) ‘I won’t have a hairstyle, and I shaved all my hair off. My mum said, ‘Why have you had a crew cut?’ I said, ‘NO, this is no hairstyle!’ My friends said, ‘So now you’re a skin head?’ I said, ‘NO – NO HAIRSTYLE.’ The point was, no hair style IS a hairstyle. The point is, no faith IS a faith. Richard DAwkins said in his interview with the NY Times following the publishing of The God Delusion, ‘I think it very improbable that God exists, and so I live my life on the assumption that He is not there.’ His position is a faith position, like that of any atheist.
    THe key question for any atheist is ‘Did Jesus Christ rise from the dead.’

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Hi Allan,

    THe key question for any atheist is ‘Did Jesus Christ rise from the dead.’

    No, it’s not. The whole world does not revolve around Christianity. To an atheist, the question “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” is no more important than than “Did Allah reveal the Qur’an to Mohammed?”, “Was Hercules the son of Zeus?”, or “Can L. Ron Hubbard’s auditing techniques rid us of harmful body thetans?” We treat all religions alike, and disbelieve in them all equally.

  • OMGF

    The point was, no hair style IS a hairstyle.

    Bald is not the same as having no hairstyle. You made a choice to cut your hair a certain way, thus you believe that you had a style. Atheism is not the same.

    You assert that god exists, I ask you to prove it before I accept your assertion. How is this a positive belief? It, quite frankly, is not. Non-acceptance of your position is not the same as saying that I believe in something else.

  • Allan

    I’m not fully with you here. Surely you believe that there is not a god? And so I can ask you to prove your assertion?

  • OMGF

    No Allan. I believe that theists have no met their burden of proof. It is not up to me to disprove your god, it is up to you to prove that your god is there, since it is you that is making the positive assertion. Since that burden of proof has not been met, there is no need for me to accept your assertion and believe that there is a god.

  • Allan

    I don’t agree, but I’ll give way. There are various evidences of God which no doubt you know well, being a contributer to a site such as this – design, conscience, etc. What convinces me is Jesus Christ, hence my comment earlier (May 12th). I find the evidence for His resurrection compelling, (unlike the evidence for the existence and deity of Hercules, quote Ebonmuse), convincing enough to put my faith in Him. If He didn’t rise from the dead, then the whole of Christianity is nonsense. If He did, then His claims are validated and I’m going to stick with Him (I am going to die one day, and He is the only one who claims to meet my need and proved he was up to it.) Since putting my faith in Him, and taking Him at His word, I have found Him real, faithful and worthy of my trust.

  • goyo

    Since putting my faith in Him, and taking Him at His word, I have found Him real, faithful and worthy of my trust.

    Please tell me how you have found him real? I have plenty of friends who I can talk to, they talk back; if I need their help they help me, etc…
    How does a god help you? You don’t hear their voice…if you are in an emergency they won’t help…if you get cancer, or some other illness, you will die…
    Just how real is he?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    What is it that you don’t agree with Allan? That you have a burden of proof to demonstrate your assetions are valid, or that merely not accepting your assertions somehow means that I am putting forth a positive assertion of my own? What part of, “You haven’t proven your assertion” makes a positive assertion on my part?

    Further, there are no evidences of god that don’t involve begging the question. If you assume god beforehand, it’s trivial to post hoc rationalize some reason that the evidence at hand somehow supports your assumptions, but this is logically fallacious. Design and conscience are both bad arguments as evolution and science show that we have no need for god to explain those things. In other words, the gaps that god was hiding in have been filled.

    As to your comment on May 12 about the key question for any atheist, you’ve drawn a false dichotomy, where there is only atheism or Xianity. The truth is, however, that there are many options available – as Ebon was getting at. And, if you want to talk about evidence for Jesus’s resurrection, you might want to first provide evidence that Jesus existed. Then, explain to me how the Bible qualifies as evidence of anything, since that is the only “evidence” that you have of the resurrection.

    Lastly, I too would like to hear the answers to goyo’s questions.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Allan, neither this site nor this thread are the place for preaching. Please observe the comment policy.

  • I.P.

    Hey has anyone seen the movie Outpost? I think Prior said something like – “If I pull this trigger will your god help you?” And the quote in imdb “See, the bright light… it ain’t heaven, son. It’s just a muzzle flare.” I am begining to like this sie more and more with every passed seceond but English is not my native language and it’s kinda hard for me to consume all of the info posted here :(

  • Tom

    [b]The point is, no faith IS a faith.[/b]

    That may satisfy a set theorist, but in practical terms it’s nonsense. Try telling a starving man that the empty space in his larder still counts as food, and you’ll see what I mean.

  • http://sites.google.com/site/skepticalpoetry/ Ian Mason

    Great site! I will be back soon. One of the best suprises was a poetry page. I thought I was the only one writing in this field.
    Atheists bo have “soul”.

  • http://sites.google.com/site/skepticalpoetry/ Ian Mason

    Ooooops! Of course that should be “do have “soul”‘. It’s very early in the morning here.

  • Cassandra

    To Whom It May Concern,

    Hey, stumbled across this blog from a search engine, and have added its feed. I’ve read only a couple of posts, but am encouraged to see a site like this that isn’t childish in its argumentation.

    I will say that I am a follower of Christ, but in reading this blog I hope that my ideas will be challenged and faith eventually strengthened.

    Thanks for looking at issues of religion level-headedly, and inviting all faiths to participate.

    Cassandra

  • Ziddina

    Great site! Glad I stumbled onto it and I’m going to visit it regularly as time allows. One thing that always amuses me when I read Christians’ responses or comments – they always assume that GOD means only their deity… What about Zeus/Thor/Odin/Loki/Osiris/Pan/Dionysus/Apollo/Ba’al/El/Horus/Mithra (or Mithras?)/Mercury/Hermes/Poseidon/Mars… and so on?? Every one of these deities was as real to his followers as this Greco-Romanized Middle Eastern god is to Christians…

  • Mark

    An interesting experiment,

    set up a website at which prayers may be directed to an omniscient being(not omnipresent or omnipotent, think about it.) All aetheists may apply(people who have a religion won’t, strange how many rules there are for not worshiping other god’s, jealousy or a practical motivation?)and direct prayers (ie wish lists) to this being, then arrange a random response from the site derived from the inputs. Discussion on this if you think it’s worthwhile.

  • Peter

    My biggest complaint to atheism is that it is a belief devoted to the “unbelief” in theism. A belief solely based on disproving God and religion but you have nothing to say about what you do exactly believe in. You atheist list millions of reasons why you don’t believe in God and millions of reasons why religion is a sham. Fine! I got it! But even atheists must believe in something. Your entire meaning of life, purpose and what is morally good or evil cannot be based on what you don’t believe. I can easily give you millions of reasons why I don’t believe in Santa Clause, Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy. But that alone does not explain or justify what I actually do believe in. The reasons for the hope and love I have for life. What then does an atheist believe? I know what atheists don’t believe in. Can you please tell me what you do believe in for a change instead of what you don’t believe in? Also tell me why your belief on life and what you believe is not a myth or delusion created by you? Just as religion is as you claim to be?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Hello Peter,

    You can find a detailed, positive account of what one atheist does believe in my post “An Atheist’s Creed“. You commented in that thread as well, so you’re obviously aware of it.

  • Joe S.

    Ebonmuse,

    You have a new fan among your ranks. I appreciate the manner in which you present your thoughts. Most of the comments and post by others are quite civil. I’m glad I happened upon your site. Thanks for the insight!

    On a deeper level, in the posts that I have read, you have answered many of the questions I have asked myself while I was growing up as a Christian. These pockets of doubt made me realize “being a Christian” never really sunk in because of my own thought processes. As it turns out, I’m most certainly not alone in how I think.

    Thanks

  • John Nernoff

    The “Gish Gallop” is also known as “stacking” (such as is effectively used by William Lane Craig) which is listing a large number of complex claims at the beginning of a debate that the opponent can never hope to manage to answer all effectively

  • Harold Ennulat

    If God has broken into the history of man would this be the “dark ages”, or the “enlightenment”?
    What I believe is being noted in so many of the comments here, is that man (all of humanity) and man made institutions (including religious institutions) are very imperfect.
    If religion is about man reaching up to God, what hope is there of getting to the real God even if he did exist?
    And even if God reached down to man as the Bible claims (saying that Jesus is equal to God), the resulting institution of the church, filled with imperfect people are almost certainly going to get a lot of things wrong, perhaps even loose the message they were originally given from God. This does indeed make it hard to find God when the institution of the church has such a spotted history. Is there anyone who thinks that any religion or sect is perfect? Is reasonable to think this is even possible?
    So much of the discussion is about the actions of man, either Theist or Atheist. This doesn’t advance the argument for or against God, except perhaps to point out that we are all “lost” as the bible suggests and in need of a “savior”.
    I’ll try to look for attempts to get past this to understand the claims of God himself.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    This doesn’t advance the argument for or against God, except perhaps to point out that we are all “lost” as the bible suggests and in need of a “savior”.

    You just got done telling us that since we are imperfect we may have garbled the message…I presume that you meant except this message?

    If religion is about man reaching up to God, what hope is there of getting to the real God even if he did exist?

    I’ll try to look for attempts to get past this to understand the claims of God himself.

    Um…OK.

  • Peter N

    Harold,

    It’s really quite simple. Before you ask if one of the thousands of religions and sects has a perfect concept of God, ask this: why take it as given that there is a god in the first place? Considering Judaism and Christianity, for example, the historical evidence is terrible — anonymous holy books collected from lost folk traditions, packaged centuries later by groups of people with conflicting political motives, and all the original sources long gone. Huge chunks of it are flatly contradicted by science, like Genesis and Exodus, to name two books we can safely reshelve as “folktales”. There is no solid evidence that anyone even vaguely similar to the character of Jesus ever lived on earth, or that the earliest Christians even thought this.

    Another huge hurdle for god-belief is that countless religions exist today, and have existed in the past, with no relationship to each other. You would think, wouldn’t you, that if there were some kind of universal truth, to which we could have some kind of access, humans would have been drawing closer to it, our beliefs having more and more in common?

    On the other hand, consider the alternative: there is no god, and there are no supernatural forces directing us or trying to communicate with us. There’s a vast, cold, nearly empty universe, and us on this tiny planet, only beginning to make sense of it after a hundred thousand years of having no clue. We made up lots of stories in the past, when human-like deities with super-powers seemed plausible. Conveniently, these stories also made for an easy way for an elite to keep control of the masses. Billions of us still find comfort in the stories. Some of us are looking for the facts.

  • Thumpalumapcus

    This does indeed make it hard to find God when the institution of the church has such a spotted history. Is there anyone who thinks that any religion or sect is perfect? Is reasonable to think this is even possible?

    Exactly what is wrong with holding an institution which claims divine guidance to a higher standard?

  • Polly

    But even atheists must believe in something. Your entire meaning of life, purpose and what is morally good or evil cannot be based on what you don’t believe.

    Life has no “meaning” in the sense you are using the word. There is no grand scheme or 3rd person that will witness life. There’s no objective reason to prefer life over its absence. There are a million subjective reasons however. The joy of love, sex, family, curiosity, challenges, applying your skills and talents, and on and on.

    I have no purpose other than that/those I choose for myself. Purpose arises from the interface of my values(below) and my preferences(above).

    Whether you’re a theist or atheist opinions about good or evil are just that, opinions. Depending on what you take as axiomatic you’ll wind up at different places.

    If you think human happiness is the cat’s pajamas, then you’ll see anything curtailing that as evil and anything promoting it as good.

    If, on the other hand you think freedom is the end-all be-all of existence, then you’ll tend to accept some misery in order to preserve the freedom to make self-harming or even, indirectly, other-harming choices.

    If equality floats youe boat, then a applying the brakes on the efficiency of the economic system may not be such a bad idea, and maybe the fat cats could stand to lose a few pounds in your neck of the woods.

    If you believe in a personal god, then you probably view doing whatever he commands as the basis for good and disobedience as bad. Indeed, human happiness doesn’t figure too largely in that scheme – depending on the god and which humans’ happiness we’re talking about. If that god throws people into Hell, by definition that is a good act, because the deity makes the rules – HIS opinions are the only ones that ultimately matter. As for Plato and Euthyphro, they’re burning in Hell so pay them no mind.

    If technological advancement is aces in your book, then screw the humans (and animals). Just support whatever will get you the most advancement the fastest – arms races, space races, missile gap theories, funding technology, pitting superpowers against each other, etc. If a fascist government produces superior technology then that’s the form of government to support. If capitalism, then support that. If something else, then that. All regardless of how many people suffer under the system, because they are orthogonal to your values.

    OTOH, if you love animals and think they’re just the cutest, cuddliest things, then maybe human technology isn’t for you as it tends to eviscerate the critters’ environs. Or, some kind of preservation at the cost of feeding the homeless or all those poor bastards starving in Africa would be viewed by you as a morally acceptable or superior choice.

    There are tons of other foundational values, and combinations of such, upon which to build an ethical system. And they aren’t mutually exclusive. But, at some point all values clash and you’ll have to choose which you prefer. What you end up choosing depends on weighing the factors, assessing the impact on others, rooting out self-conflicting propositions, and most of all, your mood and whether you’ve had lunch, yet.

  • Harold Ennulat

    Peter N. wrote:
    <blockquote cite="why take it as given that there is a god in the first place?".
    The question I'm asking is "if God exists and he wanted to communicate with us how might he do it"?
    The avenue I've been exploring is to look at the Bible. The difficulty in this examination in a Theist/Atheist debate is that the Christian Theist places the Bible in a role that is a judgment or the result of an investigation. This has resulted in the Bible and the stories in them being placed on a level that may not be supported by the available evidence. For the atheist it seems that all the questions by themselves cause them to dismiss the entire document. It seems that we need to be asking both the right questions and then look for answers, perhaps in several different ways comparing and weighing the evidence to see how it balances out.
    In the end it is a matter of faith, either faith that God exists and that he wants to have a relationship with man, or faith that no God could possibly exist.
    I admit that I am still trying to understand if the evidence that God could not exist is more compelling then the evidence in a God that does exist. I’m also interested in the topic of evidence for and against the reliability of the Bible for matters of faith and practice.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    The avenue I’ve been exploring is to look at the Bible.

    Why the Bible instead of any other book?

    In the end it is a matter of faith, either faith that God exists and that he wants to have a relationship with man, or faith that no God could possibly exist.

    False dichotomy and incorrect on the application of faith.

    First, on the false dichotomy, disbelieve in a god or all proposed gods is not the same as saying that no god could possibly exist. Most atheists will freely admit that a god could exist, but will recognize that we have no evidence for the existence of any proposed god. Therefore the rational position is to not believe that such a god exists.

    Secondly, it is not a faith position to reject the faith of the theist. It is the rejection of faith.

    I admit that I am still trying to understand if the evidence that God could not exist is more compelling then the evidence in a God that does exist.

    There is no evidence that any god does exist, while many of the proposed gods are logically impossible, such as the omni-max god depicted by many Xians. The atheist position wins, hands down, in terms of rationality.

  • http://www.TheYogs.com micko

    Hi and thanks for the website full of fascinating and insightful articles, keep up the good work. I have in the period of the last 5 years become completely an atheist having previously been happy to describe myself as Agnostic..Having reflected on this I have always felt uncomfortable being antagonistic to religious christian friends and family which i know are undeniably good humanists in their actions, warmth and charity to other humans. In discussion now with friends I state freely that my beliefs are those of an atheist but have more respect for good humanists whether they do so as a result of a religious belief or not. I really believe that most of these people who sacrifice much time and energy to clearly good works are no where near convinced about heavenly rewards and really harbour a true kindly spirit(not all but most)..
    Certainly we all need to attack and advertise the wholescale evil perpetrated by many churches but we should also look at churches and cooperate on clearly good humanist projects and keep one eye on what we may have in common with many of these people. I also believe we should encourage the churches to look at good works done by atheists and give credit where credit is due…of which their are countless examples. An atmosphere of some mutual respect can only help bring the atheist viewpoint into greater focus and wider consideration ….thanks again

  • Harold Ennulat

    HE>The avenue I’ve been exploring is to look at the Bible.

    OMGF> Why the Bible instead of any other book?

    Other books are fine. The Bible is the one that makes special claims about itself, so that book merits close examination I would think.

    HE> In the end it is a matter of faith, either faith that God exists and that he wants to have a relationship with man, or faith that no God could possibly exist.

    OMGF> False dichotomy and incorrect on the application of faith.

    OMGF> First, on the false dichotomy, disbelieve in a god or all proposed gods is not the same as saying that no god could possibly exist. Most atheists will freely admit that a god could exist, but will recognize that we have no evidence for the existence of any proposed god.

    It does not seem rational to say there is “no evidence”. The Bible is evidence, so is the fact that we exist.. or at least it is presented by Christians as evidence.

    OMGF> Secondly, it is not a faith position to reject the faith of the theist. It is the rejection of faith.

    On what basis is faith being rejected? Also, how is this possible? Faith in God can be rejected, I can see that. But faith itself would be impossible to reject.. you’d never believe an employer would pay you or that a chair would hold you up.

    HE> I admit that I am still trying to understand if the evidence that God could not exist is more compelling then the evidence in a God that does exist.

    OMGF> There is no evidence that any god does exist, while many of the proposed gods are logically impossible, such as the omni-max god depicted by many Xians. The atheist position wins, hands down, in terms of rationality.

    As mentioned, the Bible and the fact that we exist at all is evidence that something created us. We are just to complicated to have evolved from nothing or so it would seem. Actually it has only not seemed so for some for perhaps 200 years from what I can tell.

  • Rollingforest

    Back after 6 months Harold? What caused you to think of our website again?

    You said, “The Bible is the one that makes special claims about itself, so that book merits close examination I would think.”

    Actually all religious books make the special claim that they are the word of God. Have you tried reading the Quran? According to Muslims it came directly to us via Muhammad, just as the Bible’s books supposedly came to use via the early disciples. The claims are the same.

    You say, “The Bible is evidence, so is the fact that we exist”

    But evidence of what? How do we know that Bible is the word of God and not just a collection of religious writings from 2000 years ago? You can’t claim that the Bible counts as evidence for Christianity but not count the Quran as evidence for Muslims. If you claim that we need God to exist, then what does God need to exist? Doesn’t it seem far fetched that such a powerful being would just happen to exist?

    You said, “faith itself would be impossible to reject”

    Descartes rejected all faith. He said the only thing that we can know is “I think therefore I am” He tried to build off of that, but most modern philosophers reject the rest of his work as unsupported.

    Yes Science has faith. Faith that the world exists. Faith that causes create effects. But the point is that Science has so much less faith than any other philosophy and that’s what makes it superior.

    You said, “We are just to complicated to have evolved from nothing or so it would seem.”

    But we’ve had 3.8 billion years to do it, most of which was spent perfecting our cells before going multicellular. Our bodies are complicated, but they are made of simple parts, each of which could have evolved in tandem.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Arguing the Bible as evidence for god is no different than arguing for the exoneration of a murderer based on his protestations of innocence.

    Circular reasoning.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    I find it funny that Harold commented here about how the Bible is evidence for god, while also claiming at my blog that god never said he wrote the Bible.

    Harold,

    Other books are fine. The Bible is the one that makes special claims about itself, so that book merits close examination I would think.

    What Rollingforest said. Also, just because it makes some special claims doesn’t mean that it is correct, worthy of special attention, or should be taken seriously. The claims that it does make are rather odd and don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    It does not seem rational to say there is “no evidence”. The Bible is evidence, so is the fact that we exist.. or at least it is presented by Christians as evidence.

    Just because someone says, “This is evidence” doesn’t make it so. There is no evidence for god(s). In order to actually count as evidence there needs to be a causal and rational link that establishes (or helps to establish at least) the claim in question. We have a book that purports to tell the tale of god, and you want to consider that to be evidence, but I’d be willing to bet that you don’t think the Harry Potter books are evidence of sorcery and the existence of Hogwarts. Why is that?

    Also, your god of the gaps fallacious reasoning is duly noted. Simply because we don’t know exactly why we exist or how we got here in vivid detail does not give you license to simply make up an entity that does no good at explaining it all and claiming that it is responsible.

    On what basis is faith being rejected?

    You completely missed the point. It is not a faith position to say that your faith is untenable. I am not asserting a positive faith to reject your faith. The basis for rejecting your faith is the fact that you have not made your case and met your burden of proof.

    But faith itself would be impossible to reject.. you’d never believe an employer would pay you or that a chair would hold you up.

    You’re conflating that which we can rationally believe in with that which we must believe despite the lack of evidence or to the contradiction of what we do know. I believe that the chair will hold me up due to a rational examination of how chairs work and empirical example. You have faith in god despite the lack of evidence and despite the fact that your god is untenable, contradictory, and defies the empirical knowledge we do have.

    As mentioned, the Bible and the fact that we exist at all is evidence that something created us.

    Because the Bible says is not a compelling reason to accept anything. And simply claiming that our existence necessitates that we were created is not a compelling argument. We already know that evolution is true, and that we evolved over billions of years to become what we are now. We have tons of evidence to attest to this. Trying to appeal to ignorance (god of the gaps) is simply fallacious reasoning and wouldn’t work even if we weren’t as sure as can be that evolution is true.

    We are just to complicated to have evolved from nothing or so it would seem.

    This is a strawman. No one is saying that we evolved from nothing.

    Actually it has only not seemed so for some for perhaps 200 years from what I can tell.

    The discovery of the explanation for the variation is species on our planet is relatively new compared to the history of civilization, but so what? Are you going to claim that quantum mechanics must be wrong because it’s less than 100 years old? Antiquity does not make something correct.

    Rollingforest,

    Yes Science has faith. Faith that the world exists. Faith that causes create effects. But the point is that Science has so much less faith than any other philosophy and that’s what makes it superior.

    Sorry, but no, it does not, and it is not a philosophy either. Science is a process/tool for examining truth claims about the world, and the only one that actually works it seems.

  • Rollingforest

    @OMGF- Okay, I’ll agree with you that science is a tool and not a philosophy. But Materialism (and thus atheism) IS a philosophy and thus requires some faith.

    (Descartes did a good job at the beginning of his Meditations on First Philosophy describing this. He makes a mistake in Meditations 3, however, (in argument 1 part 4 and argument 2 part 5 as they are listed on Wikipedia) and so everything after this falls apart. The first two Meditations are golden, though.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditations_on_First_Philosophy#Meditation_I:_Concerning_Those_Things_That_Can_Be_Called_into_Doubt

    Suppose a person is a soft atheist and admits that there is a small chance God exists but that the lack of evidence for Him means that we shouldn’t waste time on such an unlikely prospect. EVEN then that person still has faith because they show that there is no evidence for God by pointing to the material world. But what if the material world is a dream or an illusion caused by an evil genius or God or the Matrix? You can’t absolutely prove that the material world exists or absolutely disprove that the material world is a dream. Many people say “That’s stupid” or “Nobody believes that”, but these are not good arguments against this fact.

    Thus while Materialism and atheism does require some faith, its advantage is that it requires very little.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    If your definition of faith is that inclusive, then you may as well not even use the word, because it loses all meaning. Even so:

    Suppose a person is a soft atheist and admits that there is a small chance God exists but that the lack of evidence for Him means that we shouldn’t waste time on such an unlikely prospect. EVEN then that person still has faith because they show that there is no evidence for God by pointing to the material world.

    No. I can cite a lack of evidence without having to point to anything positive.

    But what if the material world is a dream or an illusion caused by an evil genius or God or the Matrix?

    What if it is? So what? It doesn’t mean that I’m professing a faith position by rejecting the faith claims of supernaturalists.

    You can’t absolutely prove that the material world exists or absolutely disprove that the material world is a dream. Many people say “That’s stupid” or “Nobody believes that”, but these are not good arguments against this fact.

    So, do you have “faith” that unicorns don’t exist? According to you, you do. But, once again, if that’s what you mean by “faith” then it really holds no meaning. There’s a difference between rationally held ideas and faith. We rationally hold that the universe is real because we have good reason to do so – evidence. If we were to believe that this universe was all just a dream of some other alien or god or something, we would be doing so despite the available evidence. That would be faith.

  • Rollingforest

    OMGF said “If your definition of faith is that inclusive, then you may as well not even use the word, because it loses all meaning.”

    I would disagree. One of the definitions for ‘faith’ in my dictionary is “complete confidence in a person or plan, ect”. So by that definition, I feel somewhat justified in rephrasing that to say that faith is “belief in something for reasons other than deductive logic.” Deduction needs no confidence outside of logic because it can be proven by the rules of logic alone.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deductive_reasoning

    OMGF said “No. I can cite a lack of evidence without having to point to anything positive.”

    Maybe for the Christian God you can. But not for all the different types of God that could theoretically exist.

    OMGF said, “What if [we are dreaming or under an illusion created by geniuses or God]? So what? It doesn’t mean that I’m professing a faith position by rejecting the faith claims of supernaturalists.”

    Maybe you could be agnostic on the existence of God (as long as you say “I don’t know if there is a God” and never say “There probably isn’t a God). But in your everyday life, I would guess that you are not agnostic about the existence of the chair in front of you. If you say “this chair exists” or even “this chair probably exists” you are professing a faith because you can’t prove that deductively. You could be dreaming about the chair.

    OMGF said “So, do you have “faith” that unicorns don’t exist?”

    If you say “I don’t know if unicorns exist” then no. But if you say, “unicorns probably don’t exist” then yes. You can’t prove a negative, as atheists often point out. You’d have to be able to watch the entire universe all at once, something humans can’t do. You’d also have to be sure you weren’t dreaming and that you weren’t being fooled by an optical illusion, something only a God can be completely sure of. Rather, you bite the bullet and say “Believing in unicorns is silly because there is no evidence. But being agnostic about unicorns and everything else isn’t practical for everyday life. Therefore I will accept a little faith that unicorns probably don’t exist in order to live my life with as little faith as I can while
    still being practical.”

    OMGF said “ If we were to believe that this universe was all just a dream of some other alien or god or something, we would be doing so despite the available evidence.”

    There is no available evidence to disprove that claim because living in a dream could seem EXACTLY THE SAME as living in the real world. Most of the time when you dream, you don’t say, “Wow, I must be dreaming.” No, you accept whatever happens in the dream as real. It isn’t until after you wake up that you realize it was a dream. The same could be happening to you right now. So you can’t prove the material world exists deductively. You can’t even prove it inductively since you can’t differentiate between dreaming and being awake (at least not while you are asleep). You just have to assume (aka have faith) that the material world is real.

    The problem with intelligent design is not that it is based on faith. The problem of intelligent design is that it is based on TOO much faith. A good God wouldn’t try to trick people into believing in evolution when it wasn’t true, so that’s out. Even if you believe in a trickster God that would try to fool people into believing in evolution by leaving false evidence, you are still adding too much faith because you have to explain how this all powerful being that has the time, energy, power, and motivation to set up all this fake evidence could exist. It is much simpler to believe in evolution because it makes sense according to physical laws and all you have to have faith in are simple things like the material world existing and causes creating effects. Giving weight to beliefs that require the least assumptions (aka least faith) is called Occum’s razor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occum%27s_Razor

    To give another example, let’s say that you found the dead body of a man called George on a small island. The police analyze the body and find a bullet in the body. They search the house of the only neighbor on the island, whose name is Tom, and find a gun that would produce the same firing patterns that you see on the bullet. Tom’s fingerprints are the only ones on the gun. Tom swears up and down that someone stole his gun and shot George with gloves on so that it wouldn’t leave any finger prints and then snuck it back into Tom’s house to frame him. But Tom and George are the only ones living on this island and satellite photography of the area shows no boats coming within a week of the incident. Tom also keeps changing his story, but claims this is because of forgetfulness. When presented with the satellite evidence, he suggests that maybe the murderer could have come on a submarine and thus avoided detection.

    By Occum’s Razor most juries would assume Tom killed George. But it is theoretically possible that someone did sneak in and frame Tom. If we are confident enough to put Tom to death (or if you are from Europe, in jail for decades) for killing George even though we can’t be 100% sure he did it, then that means we do take some level of faith into our lives as simply a practicality.

  • Rollingforest

    To clarify, in the example with George and Tom, what you have faith in is not “Tom killed George” (deduction) or rather “Tom probably killed George” (induction). The faith you have is that “Framing people is much less likely than the obvious answer of who did it.” It could be that there is an organization out there (such as the CIA or KGB) that does frame people to avoid revealing the work of the group. You take on faith that there isn’t because that makes life easier and less paranoid.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    One of the definitions for ‘faith’ in my dictionary is “complete confidence in a person or plan, ect”.

    Complete certainty. That’s the key point that you missed there. If we take your examples, definitions, and thoughts, then everything is faith. Thus, the word loses all meaning.

    Maybe for the Christian God you can. But not for all the different types of God that could theoretically exist.

    Wrong. I lack faith in all gods, because no god has evidence for it.

    Maybe you could be agnostic on the existence of God (as long as you say “I don’t know if there is a God” and never say “There probably isn’t a God).

    Wrong again. There probably isn’t a god. It’s not a faith position. We are justified in saying this because we have no evidence for god, just as I’m justified in saying that there probably are no such things as unicorns. I lack faith in both gods and unicorns.

    If you say “this chair exists” or even “this chair probably exists” you are professing a faith because you can’t prove that deductively. You could be dreaming about the chair.

    Once again, if we go by this, then everything becomes a faith position and the word loses all meaning. Yeah, the universe could have begun last Tuesday also, and invisible pigs could be flying out of my ass right now without me detecting them because they are magical, but so what? I have no evidence of these things, so I lack faith in them. I have evidence of the existence of chairs and the universe, so I have a reasoned acceptance of these things that is as close to 100% as it gets, but this is not the same as faith. Sure, chairs may not exist, but so what? The chance that one could be wrong doesn’t mean that one must operate on faith.

    You just have to assume (aka have faith) that the material world is real.

    Sorry, but assumption is not the same thing as faith.

    It is much simpler to believe in evolution because it makes sense according to physical laws and all you have to have faith in are simple things like the material world existing and causes creating effects.

    No, that is not correct. Science does not operate on faith, not even on less faith than the other systems. Science operates on empirical data and verifiability. We provisionally hold that evolution is the best explanation of the empirical data we have until a better explanation comes along, in which case evolution is modified to incorporate the new data or the new explanation supplants evolution and becomes the new best explanation. This, however, is not a faith position.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Solipsism violates Occam’s Razor. Is it more reasonable to assume a material world exists separate from our minds, or is it more reasonable that we all maintain a shared illusion?

    Celestial mechanics didn’t snap into place the day Newton finalized his equations. Atoms didn’t begin existing when Democritus posited their existence.

  • Rollingforest

    OMFG said “Complete certainty. That’s the key point that you missed there.”

    Okay, you make a good point here (how often do you hear politicians on TV tell each other that in debates?). It is true that there are many Christians who have complete certainty in God and many secular people who merely say that God is highly unlikely, so there is that distinction.

    However, it is interesting to note that brain studies have shown that people hold religious positions in the same fashion that they hold political positions, so while they say that they hold onto faith completely, there is no neurological difference between this belief and assumptions that they hold without certainty. Similarly, there are people who believe political statements so strongly that it becomes like a faith to them. No amount of evidence will persuade them otherwise. But you are right that faith requires certainty and assumptions do not.

    But when people use arguments like intelligent design to argue for the existence of God, they are attempting to provide the same level of certainty as science does, no more, no less. In that case, it should be said that Intelligent Design is less likely because it isn’t falsifiable (you can shift the theory to fit any experimental result) whereas evolution is theoretically falsifiable if wrong (it makes real predictions as to what the experimental results will be). Since evolution is like that and still passes the tests, it is the better theory. I guess that was my point and I might have just misused the word ‘faith’ when I meant ‘assumption’ as you rightfully pointed out.

    OMFG said, “Wrong. I lack faith in all gods, because no god has evidence for it.”

    Oh, sorry, I misread what you wrote when I wrote the line that you respond to here.

    Thumpalumpacus said, “Solipsism violates Occam’s Razor. Is it more reasonable to assume a material world exists separate from our minds, or is it more reasonable that we all maintain a shared illusion?”

    I actually agree with you here, but I just wanted to point out that Solipsism does not require the belief that anyone else exists (I, and everyone else, might just be a figment of your dream and not actually exist), so it wouldn’t be a shared illusion. However, I do agree that Solipsism violates Occam’s Razor because it assumes that there is something greater that can create this dream without leaving any evidence of itself.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    The problem with intelligent design isn’t that they are trying to do science, because they aren’t. They’re trying to do apologetics, and that’s the problem. Science doesn’t use faith, whereas ID is dependent on it.

    But you are right that faith requires certainty and assumptions do not.

    I’d also say that faith is belief in things despite the lack of evidence or despite the evidence contradicting the belief.

  • Steve Bowen

    To quote AC Grayling intelligent design is like saying:

    Suppose it was once believed that flowers are coloured because fairies paint them while we sleep. Once we understand the natural processes by which flowers come to be coloured, it would not merely be redundant but contradictory to claim that in addition to the biological process that causes floral colouration, it is also painted (in the very same colours) by fairies. For if the fairy tale account is false (and vice versa): one cannot hold both to be true together

    He goes on to say that in order to continue to have faith in fairies you then have to posit a less hands on role. e.g that fairies decided before hand what colour flowers were supposed to be. This is exactly the retreat that theists are forced into as science negates the intervention of their gods.
    Faith, insofar as it exists in science, is only the faith that previously tested principles will continue to be principles the next time they are tested (or assumed for the purpose of a subsequent experiment). It is faith with reason and precedent.

  • Rollingforest

    I’m sure most Intelligent Design theorists are lead by faith, believing that “my belief has to be true.” But they are claiming to be led by science, “my belief is not necessarily true, but is by far the most likely”. If there are any of them that actually believe this second claim, then they would be doing bad science or bad philosophy.

  • http://www.croonersunlimited.com Jim Speiser

    @Steve Bowen: “It is faith with reason and precedent.” Which is, of course, not faith. The Bible clearly tells us (I love turning that phrase around!) that Faith is “belief in things unseen; knowledge of things hoped for.” Science does not blindly cling to its principles; it does not simply hope that the laws guiding the universe will stay uniform from observation to observation; it perceives that they have stayed uniform throughout the past. Thus the Biblical definition of faith does not apply to science, nor to most trivial bestowals of confidence such as the belief that a chair will hold us up or that existence has an objective (non-solipsistic) component. Since our argument is primarily with Bible-believers, it helps our case to use their vocabulary to our advantage.

    Perhaps we should stake a claim to our own turf and decide to use a different word; I think “confidence” fits the bill. We have confidence the chair will hold us up. This emphasizes the fact that it is based on informed belief, and more clearly isolates “faith” as having no basis in rationality whatsoever.

  • DNTMEE

    From what I read in your opening statement, you are just as narrow in your thoughts and universal outlook as the religious people you mock. Not to mention very paranoid. Many of the things I find here are very interesting to read, so I do. Still, it seems to me calling it all “atheism” simply narrows it’s scope and is needlessly selective. You’re not nearly as “enlightened”, nor as “open” as you claim. Like the religious, you are deliberately closing yourself, and your site, off from thoughts with which you disagree, simply by using that title. This is, of course, your prerogative as the owner, but, at least, try not to be a hypocrite in the process.

  • Rollingforest

    DNTMEE, he’s putting forward his personal views. If you want to debate him, then do so, but don’t complain that he isn’t writing about views he disagrees with. That’s your job.

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com/ Mathew Wilder

    Yes, DNTMEE, how about a specific criticism? On what grounds do you accuse Ebon of narrow-mindedness? Offer a valid criticism, or gtfo.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Of course, if Ebon called this site Daylight Agnosticism and then wrote of his atheism, he would be lambasted for dishonesty.

    DNTMEE, of course, would never do that. He’s obviously fair, and unbiased.

    So yeah, do you have anything besides ad homs?

  • Alex Weaver

    From what I read in your opening statement, you are just as narrow in your thoughts and universal outlook as the religious people you mock. Not to mention very paranoid. Many of the things I find here are very interesting to read, so I do. Still, it seems to me calling it all “atheism” simply narrows it’s scope and is needlessly selective. You’re not nearly as “enlightened”, nor as “open” as you claim. Like the religious, you are deliberately closing yourself, and your site, off from thoughts with which you disagree, simply by using that title. This is, of course, your prerogative as the owner, but, at least, try not to be a hypocrite in the process.

    *Googles “New Atheism Troll Bingo”*

  • Alex Weaver

    Huh, there doesn’t actually seem to be a card for that.

    Someone with time should make one.

  • Roger

    Hi. I just found your blog. It looks great. I hope to return here often

  • freepepe

    When one is an Atheist (like me)one uses logic and reason. When one is “born again” religious (like I used to be for a very long time)one uses the emotions and feelings through “faith” which is believing in something that can not be vertified as fact. It’s the same “faith” our parents used on us to make us believe in Santa Claus. If any “belief” that can not be vertified as being real or a fact, it is then a false “belief”. It is a fictional belief. It is a Myth. I realize now, that “believers” of their “faith”, are people who NEED “something or “somebody”, outside of their being, to give them “a purpose” for their life. Worst of all, they “say”, they can’t wait to die, so that they can have “eternal life”. The reason I say they “say”, is because I never met a “believer” who was dying to get to heaven!

  • Janet Masters

    Stumbled across this web site, via AlterNet, after reading your most recent article. I am a life time atheist 70 years old. I was a closet atheist until about 10 years ago. The present trend is in it’s infancy. It’s great to see so many contributors to reason and logic.

  • http://coffeelovingskeptic.com Tony Ryan – Coffee Loving Skeptic

    Only found this site today. It’s fantastic. I’ll be referencing it in the future, so thanks in advance! (I will, of course, credit all sources :D )

  • http://Www.kevinstarrart.com Kevin Starr

    I just found your website and would like to join. Is that possible?

  • Les Walc

    Great blog. I agree with other commenters that the term *atheist* is poorly understood and lacks the scope of what we the atheists understand. That being said, there is not really any other term that sums it up quite as well. Maybe *enlightened* is not bad. In medicine we use the term *evidence based*. This refers to any therapy or treatment that has some evidence behind its use. i.e. we know that colonoscopies detect early colon cancers and that people who have screening scopes done have a significantly lower chance of dying of colon dance than those who do not have screening done. I would say atheists like to hear the evidence behind any statement.
    Thanks for your time.