Where are the petitions from all those homophobic Christian groups?!
(via god and son)
Love the idea, but the text needs a little tweaking, imo…….the way it reads now, it kind of suggests that the people making jokes, (like ‘the only way to stop gay menace is for straight people to stop having sex’) are the “idiots”.
You know the main difference I see between atheist blogs and theist blogs? The theists talk about their beliefs. The atheists criticise and make fun of theists. If that’s all you got, you’re a sorry lot. And boring as well…
What else would you expect? Atheism isn’t a belief, so there’s nothing so specific to talk about. Atheists do talk about beliefs like humanism, which while not an atheist belief is one widely held by atheists. But mostly, atheists who blog are those who see the harm that theism and religion cause the world, and therefore discussion commonly centers around diminishing their influence. Some atheists criticize and make fun of theists, but far more do that to theism, which is very different.
Do you honestly think that there isn’t an awful lot of criticism of threatening ideas going on amongst theist bloggers?
Actually atheism is as much of a belief system or world view that tries to answer the big existential questions and which involves a measure of faith as much any theist religion. Looks like a religion to me.
Why are you on Patheos if you don’t see it as a religion?
If you believe atheism is a belief system, you don’t understand it at all.
Is not believing in Santa Claus a belief system, too?
I have a personal philosophical approach that I use for dealing with those big existential questions. It involves lots of components- humanism, science, formal logic. It in no way involves atheism.
An atheist believes that humans are an accident of evolution (or whatever). When you start from that belief it leads to an entire system of beliefs that necessarily reject a god or higher intelligence having anything to do with what you see around you. So yes, it is a system that leads you down a path of inter-related beliefs or assumptions even if not every atheist comes to the same assumptions. Not every theist, even within the same religion has the same beliefs either.
It answers the existential question of “why am I here?” Answer: there is no reason beyond being the result of a single act of intercourse.
Atheism, since it cannot disprove the existence of a higher intelligence as creator, is a belief based on faith – faith in your ability to correctly discern that this higher intelligence does not exist.
All the above are hallmarks of religious belief or faith. Don’t get sidetracked by thinking that it can’t be a religion if it doesn’t involve a god. Religion has a broader meaning than that. Your atheism very much guides your world view and how you interact in and with the world around you as much as any theist’s religion does.
Believing evolution and science are correct are not tennets of atheism, neither are the only ways people get to atheism although having a reasonable logical mind sure helps to not believe in a magical sky daddy.
Apart form not believing in god, you don’t need any other belief to be an atheist, you don’t even need to be a sceptic and there are buddhist atheist, there are atheist who believe in unscientific stuff like homeopathy or the crazy and dangerous antivax stuff and there are plenty of other people who I would prefer that weren’t atheist because they don’t share any of the same beliefs Í¨do but that are also atheist because THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD.
I don’t care what anyone’s personal beliefs are within their atheistic world view. Aside from their lack of belief in a god none of it makes a difference to me and the point I was making. I don’t care if they arrive at atheism through science or total b.s. It doesn’t change the fact that atheism has all the hallmarks of a religion.
Just like the religion of not believing in Santa Claus. Or the religion of not believing in leprechauns.
“An atheist believes that humans are an accident of evolution”
Nope. I’m an atheist, because I have accepted that I don’t think anyone knows 100% why/how we came about including myself. I am an atheist, because I haven’t stopped searching for that answer. I do not have 100% faith that there isn’t a higher power. I just find it very VERY unlikely (about as likely as Santa Claus being real).
It’s clear you don’t understand atheists.
You call yourself an atheist but you are describing agnosticism. This is one of the communication problems between non-believers and believers. There is no consistent definition of atheist and agnostic so there is no good basis from which to start to have a logical discussion.
I understand atheism just fine. When you say I don’t understand atheism what you mean is I don’t understand your personal definition which really isn’t atheism at all.
Agnosticism and atheism are actually worlds apart, not just different spots on the same spectrum of unbelief.
He is not describing himself as an agnostic. An agnostic believes the question of the existence of a god is fundamentally unknowable- a position that can be held by either an atheist or a theist.
A person who thinks the way he does is called a skeptic– which allows him to have a very strong opinion, while remaining open to the (remote) possibility that he could be wrong.
It appears that you not only fail to understand atheism, but you also fail to understand agnosticism.
Rennie should check out Dawkins’ Theist-Atheist Scale. It might help him out. I, personally, find ranks 1 and 7 equally arrogant, and believe those in those ranks have lost the ability to think logically by any means. I consider myself a 6.
There is atheism and there is the agnostic spectrum which includes skeptics. If it helps you to break out agnosticism in those terms OK, but why don’t people just do so in the first place if the distinction is so important?
Agnosticism is unrelated to either theism or atheism. An agnostic may be either. There is no “spectrum”.
At the risk of boring people… “An atheist believes that humans are an accident of evolution (or whatever).” Not all atheists believe this
“When you start from that belief it leads to an entire system of beliefs that necessarily reject a god or higher intelligence having anything to do with what you see around you.” No, not necessarily. You could believe that humans are an accident of evolution and still believe in a creator god. Just not one that specifically created humans
“So yes, it is a system that leads you down a path of inter-related beliefs or assumptions even if not every atheist comes to the same assumptions.” Not necessarily, though probably generally true
“Not every theist, even within the same religion has the same beliefs either.” Irrelevant
“It answers the existential question of “why am I here?” Answer: there is no reason beyond being the result of a single act of intercourse.” True, but irrelevant. And you are at grave risk of confusing the meaning of reason as “mechanistic cause” with the meaning of reason as “purpose”, which could be self-generated
“Atheism, since it cannot disprove the existence of a higher intelligence as creator, is a belief based on faith – faith in your ability to correctly discern that this higher intelligence does not exist.” No, it is a belief based on evidence. Atheists generally (though not all) believe in things based on evidence. As there is no evidence for a god, there is no belief in one (or more). And there is a massive difference between saying “I see no evidence for god, therefore I do not believe there is a god” and “I see no evidence for god, therefore I believe there is no god”. And an even bigger difference from “I see no evidence for god, but I will believe there is one anyway”
“All the above are hallmarks of religious belief or faith.” Not so
“Don’t get sidetracked by thinking that it can’t be a religion if it doesn’t involve a god. Religion has a broader meaning than that. ” True, Buddhism is a great example, though some Buddhist sects do have gods
“Your atheism very much guides your world view and how you interact in and with the world around you as much as any theist’s religion does.” Not really, certainly not on a daily basis.
I’m going to respond to your post and try to cover the other responses as well at the same time.
First off let me state that I am talking about purest atheism – the 100% conviction there is no god. I’m not talking to agnostics who prefer to call themselves atheists but are not 100% sure. If you are some other flavor than 100% pure atheist I’m not addressing you.
Point 1 – I said “or whatever” meaning it’s not important how you think humans got here. The point is that you don’t believe a god created them.
Point 2 – “no, not necessarily. You could believe that humans are an accident of evolution and still believe in a creator god. Just not one that specifically created humans”
If you hold this position you are not the ‘atheist’ I’m addressing. I don’t know what you would be called – a deist maybe.
Point 5 – “True, but irrelevant. And you are at grave risk of confusing the meaning of reason as “mechanistic cause” with the meaning of reason as “purpose”, which could be self-generated”
No, not irrelevant at all. You are posing a bit of a straw man argument that deflects from what we both know I mean when I talk about why we’re here. Why is anyone here? Your self-generated purpose is irrelevant since you didn’t will yourself into existence. There is either no reason at all why humans exist, just an accident of circumstances, or you have a purpose given by an intelligent creator. Either way, it answers the existential question which all religions seek to do which was my point.
Point 6 – “No, it is a belief based on evidence. Atheists generally (though not all) believe in things based on evidence. As there is no evidence for a god, there is no belief in one (or more).”
Atheist belief is very much based on faith and tends to hold the inconsistent position that belief requires evidence while ignoring the complete lack of evidence which disproves god. Faith in science and scientific method to have all the answers, faith that you have the ability to gather evidence for anything that exists, faith that our 5 senses are the only reality necessary for discerning what exists. By that criteria DNA and bacteria didn’t really exist until someone could see them with a microscope. Claiming that because there is no evidence of a creator one doesn’t exist is a very poor and frankly illogical conclusion and is held by faith alone.
Last point – “Not really, certainly not on a daily basis”
A completely disingenuous answer or you have given it very little thought. An atheist will reject any answer or conclusion that requires belief in a god and which, of necessity, if there is a creator will have a profound effect on just about every aspect of daily life, whether you are aware of it or not.
Again, you demonstrate a failure to understand atheism.
To the extent there is such a thing as a “purest” form, it is very simple: a lack of belief in a god or gods. That’s all. This is the one characteristic that all atheists share.
Certainly, there are some atheists who claim to be 100% certain that there are no gods. But those represent a small minority of all atheists, who tend to be skeptics, and therefore are open to the possibility- however small- that some deity exists. They simply consider the likelihood of that to be very small, given the complete lack of objective evidence supporting the proposition.
No, I really don’t misunderstand true atheism.
Yes, I understand true atheists are a much smaller group than those who are agnostic to any degree. That’s why I clarified who I was addressing.
I think the term atheist is largely misused and it has muddied the definition for everyone. I can’t figure out why an agnostic or a skeptic wouldn’t simply use those terms so their meaning is clear unless it’s lazyness or somehow more cool to be an atheist.
True atheism is a religious belief that informs the atheist’s world view, requires a high degree of faith and has an answer for the existential question of “Why am I here?”.
No doubt some of you think true atheists are as misguided and illogical as theists.
Fine. You don’t understand atheism, you don’t understand agnosticism, and you don’t understand skepticism. If fact, you don’t even understand what religion is.
Or perhaps it is you who doesn’t understand. Modern atheism is like modern christianity. There are thousands of different interpretations (the Hitchens church, the Dawkins church, the church of My Lord Myself, etc.) all claiming to be the same thing, whereas atheism and christianity each have only one true doctrine.
No there is exactly one interpretation of atheism, modern or otherwise… no belief in a god or gods. Atheists, of course, have many different personal beliefs. You are confusing those with atheism in general.
If your message is only supposed to address gnostic atheists, then go talk to some gnostic atheists. Obviously, the people who hang out here are not typically gnostic atheists. The first rule of communication is to know your audience.
Rennie your logic is that of a moron, which if you can believe in a zombie lord that would explain it. By your logic we could define any opinion/belief that does not thoroughly disprove it’s opposition as faith or religious belief. I believe that Kroger has better dairy products than Publix, I can’t scientifically prove that Publix’s dairy products are inferior to Kroger’s so I am having faith in my ability to correctly discern that my senses are discerning what really exists. In the end it is opinion based on my own preference which may or may not be based on true sensory experience but that does not make it a religion. By your own logic you should not disbelieve any other “religion” because you have not disproved the existence of say Zeus, evolution, or even atheism. What is your scientific proof that atheism is a false “religion?” Also, if religion and faith is so good why are you defaming it as though it is bad? Everything you are identifying as criteria for religion and imposing onto atheism you are referring to it as a negative. You are trying to diminish atheism by turning it into a faith but by doing so you diminish faith which diminishes your own religious argument. I love how you immediately dismiss the faith in the senses and the scientific method then use a scientific discovery like DNA and bacteria to prove your idiotic point. Your point actually works in our favor because religious people believed that sickness was caused by demon possession, witch craft, or a test/curse by god. All things some still believe today and no one can “disprove” that they are wrong. People also believed it was gods will that made us unique that he created us and knew us before we were born. Our DNA is completely formed by CHANCE from the 23 chromosomes of our fathers sperm to the 23 chromosomes of our mothers egg. If our birth comes from a biological game of chance, it is not to difficult to see that chance can and did play an important part in the creation of life and the universe.
You don’t understand atheism at all. Or a lot of other things, I think.
You have it completely backwards. My beliefs are not formed the way they are because I’m an atheist. I’m an atheist as a consequence of my beliefs. I didn’t start with the premise that “humans are an accident of evolution”. I started with the premise that the Universe is understandable, and that we can understand it by rational analysis (in particular, scientific methods). That led me to the conclusion that any sort of god or gods is very unlikely. If it had led me to believe a god is necessary, I’d be a theist… and all the rest of my views would be unchanged.
This is completely different than the way your typical theist thinks: they start with an unsupported and largely unsupportable opinion, based on nothing but hearsay, that the Universe is the product of some sort of God. They then base everything else they believe on that.
How you personally arrived at atheism isn’t pertinent to my point. My point is what that conclusion does to inform your world view thereafter, how your atheism answers those big religious questions, even if you held many of those views prior to calling yourself an atheist, and how your atheist belief system relies on faith as well as reason despite most atheists being unwilling to admit faith has anything to do with it. I usually find people telling me I don’t understand atheism and throwing out straw man arguments whenever I raise a point that offends their world view such as calling it a religion.
I’m not sure there is a typical theist. There are those born into a faith tradition that never leave it. There are those who reject it and choose another path, or numerous paths. There are those who reject organized religion but not a belief in a higher power. There are those who go from atheist to theist.
As I said, how someone arrives at their belief is not my point.
Atheism doesn’t have any impact on my world view at all. It answers no questions, and I don’t make any effort to use it to answer any questions (I don’t even know how I could).
Because you obviously haven’t thought it through and/or you aren’t very serious about your atheism.
Atheism=lack of belief in any god or gods. How exactly does that lead to other beliefs? Can you put it in the form of a logical argument with atheism as the premise? Maybe then we would get your point. Of course, you already stated above that your message is not intended for most of us, because we are not gnostic atheists. Why are you here again?
1.Not believing in something is not in itself a belief.
2. Atheism is not a world view and it doesn’t attempt to answer anything.
3. Patheos is a platform for topics related to religion. Not believing in religion is a topic related to religion. (Just like cancer treatment is related to cancer without being cancer.)
Those poor theist blogs being made fun of for holding bigotted and demonstrably ridiculous beliefs. Atheists meany pants!
You know the main difference I see between atheist blogs and theist blogs? The theists talk about their beliefs. The atheists criticise and make fun of theists.
Are you saying that you’re oblivious to the fact that much of ‘theist-belief’ is inherently critical/mocking of non-believers?
Are you going to claim, for example, that you’ve never heard “The fool says in his heart ‘There is no God'”?
Plus, didn’t you read/scan the bit about Rick Warren that Hemant posted today? where Warren advises his staff to not follow atheists on Twitter? Are you going to tell us that that blog post isn’t critical of atheists? And that was posted right here, in this very same blog in which you posted yours.
So, come on.
Any criticism or mocking on the theist blogs, like it is done routinely here, is a fraction of the total content and is totally incidental to the purpose of the theist blogs. Here it seems to be the prime driver.
It’s akin to engaging in nasty gossip because one has nothing of value to say. If an atheist blog can’t stand on it’s own merits and attract people through persuasive ideas and discussion rather than put downs and immature mocking it ought to be something to ponder. Maybe you’re wasting your time and brain cells.
Atheist blogs are attempting to attract people who are not already atheists. A particularly effective way of doing that is by demonstrating just how absurd most religious ideas are- through a mixture of humor, ridicule, and reasoned argument. And not surprisingly, that’s just what you find in most atheist forums.
The whole point is to make a mockery of religion and theistic ideas!
I don’t think mockery is an effective strategy for changing minds and winning hearts. Humor is good but mockery, ridicule, sarcasm, etc. ultimately makes the person using it look weak and mean beyond the first laugh or two. Who wants to hang out with mean people or take anything they say seriously?
There is a reason the saying ‘Sarcasm is the recourse of a weak mind’ has been often quoted.
Mocking religious ideas is extremely effective- they are, after all, intrinsically absurd. Mocking individuals generally is not- although at some point people demonstrate that they aren’t interested in learning anything, and are simply trolling… at which point, personal mockery seems appropriate.
Well, when mockery and denigration of others is all you have going for you I guess you have to use what you’ve got. Good luck with that.
Mocking an idea is not equal to mocking a person. Ideas or beliefs do not automatically deserve respect just because a person really really believes it to be true.
“Any criticism or mocking on the theist blogs, like it is done routinely here, is a fraction of the total content and is totally incidental to the purpose of the theist blogs.”
Uh huh. They’re far too busy reveling in the “fact” that we’re all going to hell.
Well… I’m going to nitpick the math.
Straight sex is not 100% more likely to produce gay children, it is infinitely more likely.
Or undefined if you think about it as division by zero:
gay offspring from straight sex / gay offspring from gay sex * 100
that depends on whether you are using addition, probability or multiplication to define “more likely”. If addition, 100% would be right. If probability, then it is whatever is the chance of any child being gay, if multiplication, then you are right
Let’s see. Jesus encouraged his followers to become eunuchs for the kingdom of Heaven. Paul discouraged heterosexual marriage, though he grudgingly allowed it as a concession to people who couldn’t control themselves. I’m afraid the Christians beat you to this insight, Hemant.
Reply to C Peterson: Atheism = “no belief in a god or gods.”
See, this is where you go wrong with your definition. True/classic atheism is DENIAL that a god or gods exist. It is a position of absolute faith belief, not based on evidence. Of necessity, it claims that since there is no supernatural intelligence, humanity cannot be anything but an accident of circumstance and therefore has no ultimate reason or purpose. It is a religious belief in the most basic sense of the word – Religion- noun: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.
Quit making yourself look like an uneducated fool. It might work in some forums, but around here people know what an atheist is, and it isn’t what you are claiming.
Rennie, you are here talking to actual atheists. I think we would know what the word means. Stop trying to tell us what we do or don’t “actually” believe, and listen to us tell you what we do or don’t believe.
YEAH! Ban straight sex! Oh. Wait. Let’s be fair; BAN SEX! Oh. Wait. CRAP! Maybe we should just mind our own business and quit worrying about others’ sex.