You can be skeptical and friendly at the same time.
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(The cartoon was drawn by Jessica Hagy, author of the just-released How to Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps). Read more about the book here!)
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.
I’m sorry – i don’t get that at all… What am I missing?
Lack of faith = sadness, and exposure to differing views = certainty?
Fear brings certainty and strength of faith… Sadness allows for uncertainty and openness to differing views
Don’t feel bad. Her Venn diagram didn’t make much sense, either.
@Anon…Dude, I don’t know how you got that from that diagram. I may be with you on the 1st point, but I have no idea what you’re saying with the 2nd or 3rd.
Ya’ll aren’t very good at reading graphs! Actually, I’m not sure this graph necessarily does what Mr. Mehta wants it to do, as it implies that if one has been exposed to a number of different views and has a high degree of faith, than they are justified in being “certain” of their beliefs.
Schizophrenics agree…What is a “high-degree-of-faith”? Schizophrenia? Religion=Mental illness.
Substitute “secular humanism” and its multitude of unspoken, unprovable assumptions and your formula remains consistent. The difference is that one system acknowledges the unprovable, the other does not.
You act like acknowledging the “unprovable” is required for…Well, anything. It’s not. It doesn’t make you a better person…In fact a lot of the time, it just makes you worse.
Your conception of “worse” is grounded in nothing provable and therefore, by your own standards, is meaningless. You have no recourse to make moral judgments with any teeth. The only rational path for you is nihilism. Your secular humanism or whatever you call your baseless, contrived worldview is your version of the sky fairy. An atheist who doesn’t embrace Nietzsche is nothing but a coward.
Morals are the consensus attitudes of a society where altruism is a value for success. If you are only good because you are afraid of what the spy in the sky will do to you; like deny you Heaven and instead torture you eternally, then I do not think you are very moral.
I get to define my own purpose, not you. I’m going to go with help others and try to leave a better place when I’m gone.
I’ve faced the fact that there will be no infinity of existence after death for me or anyone else. I will value the time here all the more. That makes me a coward, compared to someone who holds tight to the assurance they will be with their loved ones after death? Throw the crutch away. They lied when they said you needed it.
It may seem terrifying to you now, but really you can let go of that blankie anytime you are ready. Be brave, it’s worth it.
“An atheist who doesn’t embrace Nietzsche is nothing but a coward.”
Try telling that to Epicurus.
While Nietzsche was influential in bringing a nihilistic understanding to the world, he did not espouse a position of permanent nihilism. In fact, he wrote on how to embrace nihilism as a transitional phase to something greater and looked poorly on those who remained a nihilist.
All creatures have an determined outlook on the world. Humans no less than any others. More so because of our enhanced ability to reason. When a worldview is shaken, nihilism can (and according to Nietzsche, should) occur. We discover our entire belief system is false. That shakes anyone.
Finding a new worldview is inevitable. If you are of an atheist mindset with an understanding that the world is a wholly natural process, then a humanistic worldview is not baseless. In fact it has a greater base of facts that support it than any theist or other similar mythological base.
To insult someone just because you are scared makes me both sad and happy for you. Sad because only an insecure person uses personal attacks to condemn a worldview they don’t subscribe to. Happy because your insecurity shows you are not without hope for a world shattering awakening to reality.
May you have a long and happy life JL.
Please go back and take some 300 level or better philosophy before you start spouting about nihilism and Nietzsche. I bet you can’t even pronounce either correctly.
Moral judgments based on rational help/harm ratios are infinitely preferable to religious “Because I said so” arguments. It’s really unsurprising that someone desperately, stupidly trotting out the long- and easily-debunked “Atheism is a religion” canard would also be ignorant of that, or of what Nihilism is.
It’s weird how it always turns out that people who cite Nietzsche are not actually familiar with his work, but only with a couple of quote mines.
Either Jessica Hagy or I does not understand graphs and Venn diagrams. Or words. I’m pretty sure it’s not me.
I agree, Gus. I haven’t read her book, but just based on the two cryptic diagrams posted on this site, I do not feel compelled to do so. Such diagrams are supposed to simply and clarify an issue, not obfuscate.
It’s art. I’d probably avoid assuming it has a fixed or predetermined meaning.
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