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Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.
As I observed earlier this is an anti-Christian and pro-Obama site! Anyone who hopes to find a case for no god cannot find it here. Hopefully, the site will come out with arguments to justify the belief that there is no God. As an agnostic, I’m open to being swayed one way or the other. I would also like to find out why atheism does not think of itself as a religion.
No dogma, no ritual, no supernatural belief requiring faith.
Easy man, the cartoon isn’t “anti-Christian”, it’s just funny (and only half-funny, at that). And it didn’t really say anything about Obama, now, did it? Lighten up.
Atheism is not a religion because religions have specific dogma and tenets, usually based on a scripture. Religions have organized belief systems. Religions have a heirarchy structure of authority figures. Religions typically worship an even higher authority figure who is supernatural. All these qualities usually pivot on a supernatural element.
An atheist is simply a person who hasn’t been convinced by any such supernatural suggestions, and doesn’t hold any as a belief. You may surprised to learn that many atheists consider themselves agnostic, as well. We are open to many possibilities, though there needs to be some respectable evidence before we are “swayed”.
This site isn’t really for proposing arguments and making cases. It’s just a blog which covers news items, current events, the occasional cartoon, and anything that highlights the atheist movement, or the over-reach of theism. If the site seems “pro-Obama”, that’s probably because Democrats tend to be a little more open to the rights of people of various faiths (and of no faith), while Republicans tend to push more for the rights of Christianity only.
There are plenty of good arguments against the existence of gods, but this is a bad place for an extended conversation about the subject. You can post your argument, but each reply is indented a little from the one above, and soon they’re narrowed down to an impractical margin of letters. I’m not sure where to suggest for you to go to find a good site that gives arguments against the existence of gods, and where you can discuss it at length with atheists. But, I’m sure the phrasing of your post will draw others to reply to you, and they’ll be happy to tell you where to go.
There’s this thing called Google…You should try it. It’s specifically designed for you to ask it questions and do research!
Also, what’s wrong with being anti-christian? Christians are anti-pretty much everything normal ponies appreciate/believe nowadays, but apparently anypony against that is committing some kind of crime. Our freedoms don’t matter, apparently.
Not even touching “pro-Obama”…That’s just bait for a conservative troll to start shit.
The pro-Obama or anti-Romney arguements came from another posting. As someone who discovered the site only a couple of days back, it is my conclusion so far. From what I have gathered so far, the definition of an atheist is one who does not believe there is a god and agnostic is one who is uncertain one way or the other.
As to why I think atheism is a religion, I would say that believing in no god takes as much faith as believing in god or gods. As for creations, my understanding is that they see wonder in everything and believe that some higher being created such marvels. Atheists sees that randomness brought about everything and science and logic can eventually reason out everything. So the higher power is intellect.
If this is not an anti-Christian site why don’t I see digs against other religions?
’ I would say that believing in no god takes as much faith as believing in god or gods.’
And you would be wrong. It requires no faith…to not believe. There’s no faith necessary in using intellect to find evidence and solutions. Curiosity and reason, yes. Faith? No.
‘If this is not an anti-Christian site why don’t I see digs against other religions?’
It’s aimed at Americans. In America, christianity is the most present religion and the most aggressive and the one everyone is most familiar with. Especially since most atheists in the U.S. came from the background of being raised in an Abrahamic religion.
No offense, but what you “would say” has nothing to do with whether or not Atheism is a religion, or how actual Atheists do and don’t have faith. When you make statements like that, you’re projecting your thoughts on people and completely ignoring what those of us who actually don’t believe in any gods experience. It’s projecting, it’s rude and it devalues the people you claim you’re trying to communicate with.
Also, I never said this was or wasn’t an anti christian site. I asked what’s wrong with anti-christian sites in general.
Lastly, there ARE digs at fanatics of other religions here. A couple weeks ago, there was an article about a Muslim stallion victim blaming mares who have been raped, and saying that there should be laws about how mares can dress in public. But Amareica is largely christian, and the christians are the ones continually causing issues in this country. So the majority of the posts are going to be about christians.
Sorry but I was not having an exchange. As someone observed I am lazy and just want people to answer my question so I can try to digest the answers. I alepstein never have exchanges about religion with people I meet as it always turn ugly.
Well, when start the discussion off ugly you really can’t complain.
It can be but as simply as this: I am an atheist because I do not believe god exists based on a complete lack of evidence after a mere 13.9 billion years of opportunities.
When considering the absolute existence or non-existence of a supreme deity I am agnostic. I can not prove a supreme deity doesn’t exist, and if any conclusive data were presented to me I would change my atheistic view. I have the same view toward the easter bunny, buck rogers, and Neo.
Your gnosticism or agnosticism on a subject is a stance of knowledge–not belief. Atheism and theism are stances of belief. So an atheist is defined as “not a theist”–lack of belief in a god or gods. An atheist can also be an agnostic, and a theist can also be an agnostic. It looks like you’re confused about the definitions. If you have no belief in a god or gods, then you are by definition an atheist. It’s fine if you don’t want to use the label personally, but that’s what the definition is.
You don’t see much coverage of the dangers of other religions here because none of the other religions poses the constant threat to American freedom that Christianity does.
You could try putting a little effort in, if you really wanted to be swayed, Agnostic. Instead of expecting other people to do the work for you…
And there’s nothing wrong with being anti-christian. It’s a pretty negative religion that’s anti-all-the-good-stuff.
I agree with Baby Raptor about the pro-Obama thing. ‘That’s just bait for a conservative troll to start shit. ‘
As mentioned, the Obama thing was from another posting. Maybe I am not as intelligent as you so after going through arguments and debates on the Internet As I still cannot decide on whether there is a god, and by that I don’t mean god of the bible.
’As mentioned, ‘
It was not mentioned at the time I wrote my comment.
‘ Maybe I am not as intelligent as you’
Probably not, and I suspect you’re also trolling. And lazy…and rude.
Anyway, whether you’ve decided or not, you’ve apparently started from the ‘god is true’ position and are looking for arguments to knock that assumption down. That’s the problem. You don’t start from a position of believing in ridiculous things that have no evidence.
We have dismissed the idea of gods based on lack of evidence. We don’t have to come up with reasons why. The people asserting there is a magical sky santa (or whatever) have to do that. That doesn’t mean we’ve created a god called ‘Intellect’ as you tried to tell us.
Agnostic: You cannot say you believe in something if you cannot decide whether or not it exists, therefore you are an atheist (by definition, ie lack of a belief in gods)
No way you are Agnostic, lying again huh.
According to your definition how do you categorize someone who is unsure whether there is a God or not. The comment about license to sin from another posting was the exact words I used when my Christian friends tried to convert me when I was in school and they were spoken in anger. I have to figure out why I do not need faith to believe that something or someone does not exist when I have only a very limited scope.
If you have a “very limited scope”, why would you be persuaded by observation that exists outside that scope?
Christians do this all the time. God doesn’t manifest in any “real” way, so they just “feel” his presence in their hearts. They “know” there is something greater out there…because it wouldn’t be supernatural if they could see it, right?
Your assumption that agnosticism is a “wait and see” proposition is childish and naive. If you sincerely think that walking through a graveyard means that there MIGHT be ghosts even if you can’t see them, speak to them, or observe them in any way is baffling and silly.
How much time to you spend worrying about whether or not Zeus or Thor or Allah exists? None, I bet.
See, you are buying into the whole concept of there being “something greater” out there (but you don’t currently have the ability/knowledge/wherewithal to see it or whatever) ALREADY and have retrofitted your idea of agnosticism around it.
Atheism is a religion in the same way not playing golf is a sport.
Also, the fact that you interjected Obama into an article that didn’t even feature politics suggests it is you that has the axe to grind.
After a day of researching the site I only see articles digging at Christianity and anti-Romney so what am I expected to think? What axe do you think I am grinding? I cannot even vote!
Now, now, romney is not a sane person and no one (except fundies) would want to have someone like him as a president.
I don’t understand how it would be possible to be pro-Romney. Yeesh. As you say, there’s something clearly very wrong with him.
Well for starters he’s a mormon, magical underwear doesn’t add much to the sanity factor already so if we take his ideas and behavior, i’m quite surprised the people in white haven’t offered him a cushioned room of his own.
Look a bit harder and you’ll find any number of articles that have already clearly explained why Christianity tends to get the lion’s share of English-speaking atheists’ attention.
“I would also like to find out why atheism does not think of itself as a religion.”
Because it’s not.
“Hopefully, the site will come out with arguments to justify the belief that there is no God.”
First off that isn’t the definition for atheist that most atheist go by. So it’s a bit of a strawman. More importantly We don’t need to present arguments for why there is no god. As Hitchens said, “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” I dismiss claims of fairies, neverland, and the bog of eternal stench without any proof whatsoever. I apply this same standard to all deities.
Hitch gave us so much to use in the fight. If we were not atheists, we would have a new god. Who would slap us silly at the thought of it.
Besides, I think it’s a given that people follow only one “religion” at a time. If not believing in the Christian god is a religion, and not believing in Zeus is another one, and not believing in Odin is yet another–then I “follow” thousands of religions. Which is my true faith?
You’re not an agnostic.
The giveaway is that (he? She?) refers to christianity as the default choice and anything that goes against belief in god requires faith and conscious effort to believe. Nothing agnostic in that. That there is a christian, regardless of what it chooses to call itself.
Most definitely a “he”, women are generally more intelligent in these things I think.
I can’t imagine why gender would matter in how intelligent you are in regards to religion, or anything else.
I should have used ‘zhe’, I suppose. But it still seems stiff and unnatural to me.
I use: xe, and for the possessive forms: hir/xir
Have you ever been to a New Age conference? If you haven’t, you might find it educational, to see the sex breakdown, if for no other reason.
If I do not see ghosts, does it mean it is not there? I may be doubtful but I will not walk in a graveyard in the middle of the night. What I do not see does not mean it is not there. I need faith to believe it is not there as much as I need faith to believe it is there. So the only thing I can say is I don’t know. I have gone through all the anti-Christian arguments before when friends try to convert me and it really is quite stale. Maybe I am just too dumb to figure out. I do not believe in fire fairies but can I be absolutely sure it is not there..?
Well if you don’t have proof that ghosts exist then you don’t need to prove that they don’t exist, which is kind of logical. You’re not an agnostic, you’re a confused christian.
Agnostic: I think you are trying to grasp for absolutes. Most atheists typically are not saying that – with the evidence we have for god(s), there is absolutely no god(s). What, I think, most of us are trying to say is - with the evidence we have for god(s), the probability that god(s) exist is slim to none. For me, saying that god(s) absolutely do not exist is too close to faith. So, I would be inclined to agree with you on that point; I just don’t think that most atheists (especially those frequenting this site) would leave absolutely no room for any skepticism on the non-existence of god(s). I think that it is completely heathy for rational thinkers to leave some room for doubt. However, my doubt of the existence of any god(s) isn’t strong enough for me to label myself agnostic anymore than I would take a stance of “maybe” to the question of whether or not any other supernatural being exist (such as ghosts, angels, bridge trolls, faeries, dragons, the boogie man, Chupacabra, etc.)
If you don’t see the Invisible Pink Unicorn, and the Troll in the toilet bowl, and the monster under your bed, and the stork bringing babies, and the boogeyman… yeah, it means they don’t exist. Most of us stopped believing in them as children.
You’re making an assumption that ridiculous things without evidence are true as your default. You’re either five years old still (which would be understandable, I guess) or a very superstitious thiest who is asking us to give you reasons why you don’t have to believe.
That’s not the purpose of this blog.
‘Maybe I am just too dumb to figure out.’
Maybe. You keep saying that as if I’ve supposed to assure you and give you a hug. Not happening.
If I do not see ghosts, does it mean it is not there? No, but the fact that no one else does either in any way that can be corroborated, that no evidence has been found for them almost certainly does. I will not walk through a graveyard in the middle of the night because most are officially closed at night, but I run past one every night and the only thing I’m afraid of is stray dogs. Nothing is absolute, but we can be reasonably certain. I am as sure there are no ghosts, faeries, or gods as I am that the Starbucks on the corner is still there even though I can’t see it from my office and that there is not a dog standing at the counter ordering a latte.
”I do not believe in fire fairies…” (belief) That makes you an atheist. “…but can I be absolutely sure it is not there?” (knowledge) That makes an agnostic. Put the two of them together, and presto! you’re an agnostic atheist. As are the vast majority of atheists.
In life, unlike mathematics, there is no such thing as 100% proof of anything, but there is no need to act as though every single belief is as likely as every other. That’s the basis of Pascal’s Wager, and it’s wrong.
Don’t feed the troll! This is the most generic, trite comment. If its author won’t even research “why atheism does not think of itself as a religion” before saying it, why would he/she listen to you?
You seem very proud to be an agnostic saying you can be “swayed one way or the other.” Clearly, you don’t know what the word means. Agnosticism and atheism (or theism) are not mutually exclusive. For example: I’m an agnostic atheist.
“I would also like to find out why atheism does not think of itself as a religion.”
You are arguing belief in disbelief. The letter ‘a’ in atheism means ‘without’, as in without theism, it speaks of absence of belief, not disbelief or denial. The distinction being, one does not ‘disbelieve’ (withhold or reject belief ) in Santa, belief in Santa is simply absent.
Because bald is not a hair color, collecting stamps is not a hobby and abstinence is not a sexual position. So not believing in a skyfairy is not religion.
+1 though I think you meant: ”NOT collecting stamps…
Whoopsie, my bad
Wait, this is an anti-Christian site? Do you mean the site, or this blog in particular? If you mean the site, well I guess you could be right, I don’t read anything else here, but I don’t think so. If you mean this blog, then you’re just being too specific, it’s fairly anti-religion in general, not just anti-Christian. But you’re not really telling us anything here. As for pro-Obama – well, maybe a little. What it is is pro gay rights, pro religious freedom, and pro science and it’s pretty hard not to come down in favor of Democrats in general when the Republican party has been entirely taken over by anti-science, religious right nuts.
As for arguments justifying the belief that there is no God, that’s not really the purpose of this blog. The arguments exist, they’re everywhere, but this blog doesn’t exist to argue the basics, it exists to point out what’s wrong with religiosity and why we can’t let it take over our government and to provide a community for atheists and raise issues important to us, as well as to point out positive aspects of atheists in a world saturated with negative media coverage and false accusations from religious leaders about atheists.
If you’ve come looking for something else, you’ve come to the wrong place.
And judging from your opening statement, I don’t think you’re all that agnostic.
When someone provides any evidence at all for the existence of a god without an appeal to antiquity or authority, that is, contemporary evidence that a god exists, rather than ancient texts and personal accounts of people hundreds and thousands of years old, yet still written decades to centuries after the supposed events described, that stands up to some modest level of rigorous scrutiny, then I will feel the need to justify my disbelief. As such, I feel no more need to provide a case for no god(s) than I do to provide a case for no unicorns, no dragons, no faeries, or no cosmic teapots.
I also noticed your language implies a single, likely Christian God, rather than any other notion of gods. Where is your case that there is no Hindu pantheon? What about the Norse gods? Roman? What about Xenu?
How much fun it must be to communicate only in cliches.
I prefer to define agnosticism as a stance that you don’t trust anything others have written down about the supernatural. I think of agnostics as those who consider all scripture as merely invented by man. Besides that, you can have a personal feeling or belief either for or against the existence of God or the supernatural. Agnostics just don’t think that anyone can have actual knowledge about the supernatural. Therefore scripture, for the agnostic, is not considered evidence.
Atheism is merely the agnostic viewpoint without having the feeling or belief that there is “something supernatural out there”.
Personally, I consider myself both agnostics and atheistic. Most agnostics who never-the-less feel there is something out there would probably classify themselves as Deists. Deists are those that believe a god started it all but then left the world to run itself. Theists, though, believe that an active God is busy running the day-to-day occurrences in the world and this theistic God may be able to manipulated – thus theists pray, seeking favor and future reward.
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