It has been awhile since I have broached this topic. For a reason. Though this debate was once my forte, it since has become quite stale. With regards atheist being just another of a whole laundry list of labels that people like to crowd themselves under.
As one can imagine, it’s a boring life. It’s not much fun to be seated on the fringes of any number of debates that you were once fairly active participant in.
I seeing much participation, but often very partisan participation. Though there is lots of interest in debate and dialogue, often one finds little more than the promotion of obviously well engrained ideas (at least in the context of sharing them). Promoting ideas is fine (don’t get me wrong), but there has to be a willingness to actually criticize personal stances, to self reflect. But I don’t often see this anymore (was I blind to it before? Possibly. Probably. May as well be honest). It’s mostly just, 2 or more sides citing why each are wrong. And though people call it healthy debate, I’ve come to disagree.
For example, the Ken Ham Vs Bill Nye debate. Though many watched, few minds were changed. One side was already in agreement, and the other was not really interested in entertaining anything else. So if anything, it was becoming of more harm than good. Not only did few (but for some that were likley already on the fence) get much out of it besides confirmation, the debate also brought a previously rightfully unknown charleten into the limelight. Yeah, he had a cameo in Religulous back in the day. But his real infamy didn’t come until the debate. And after, when social media atheists overstated and further propagated his rediculous statements to mock him. All the while forgeting about the persecution complex of the faithful. The more they mock, the more the delusional flock to these charlatans.
Thus illustrates another of my critiqes of the atheist community. They often turn unknown shysters into well known hero’s. Thus doing far more harm than good.
But all that said, it’s been awhile since I’ve confronted anything on the topic. Having come across these 30 questions in a blog post, I figured it be intresting to explore from my new prospective. Though some of the questions may be silly or irrelevant now, it will be interesting to explore none the less.
So, let’s begin.
1.) How would you define Atheism?
Though I would have previously given the same answer as the blog post author did (a lack of belief in any God or gods), that has changed of late.
Though the lack of belief definition is the most popular, I prefer it’s older (proper?) definition which is the rejection of belief in any God or gods. Actually, saying that I prefer it is not really a good way of putting it. Its just, more fitting to the context, particularly if it’s the dichotomy most paint it to be. Theism is belief, so atheism is the opposite. It’s also one that seems to be utilized in academia
How you choose to arrange your various secular adjectives is up to you (agnostic atheist, apistevist agnostic atheist). But let’s start with atheism as the positive position that it is.
One argument against this mindset that I have heard is the natural slipage of word definitions over time. Which can be taken into consideration. But if that is the case, one should also consider the word agnostic. There is a lot of resistance in the atheist community to accepting the modern middle of the road definition (at times to the point of intolerance). If one claims acceptance of a modern definition of one word, you can’t move the goalposts for another.
2.) Do you act according to what you believe (there is no god) in or what you don’t believe in (lack belief in God)?
The deity equation has no relevance on my day to day life whatsoever. Absolutly none.
I suppose that has always been so. But certainly more so since I dropped out of epistemological discussions.
3.) Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who “lacks belief” in God to work against God’s existence by attempting to show that God dosen’t exist?
First off, the question is a bit loaded. Though not unusual from a theistic standpoint of belief, it’s a question that assumes a position as correct to begin with (in this case, that there IS a god). Though its automatic for believers, it’s still an intellectually dishonest position in a debate context. Just as my friend makes the same error in asking “Do you deny the holy spirit?”.
For me, this type of question tends to steer me clear of interaction with said person, since it tends to signal a person unwilling to be challenged. Anyone that promotes their ideological stance as a rule of thumb (“If you do not believe in any God(s), you are an atheist! Period!” , “If you are not a feminist, you are a bigot!”, “You can only have pure free speech, or no free speech at all. There is no middle ground!”) illicites such a reaction from me.
But more to the meat of the question, no. It’s no more inconsistent than a person attempting to show that pink elephants, the loch ness monster or any other creatures of mythology, do not exist.
Not to mention that we come back to the loaded nature of the question. Very few (rightfully) will try to prove (if prove is what “show” is defined as in the question) that there is no god, since its impossible. But they can certainly highlight many things that make the concept of a sky deity seem less necessary, or plausible.
4.) How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?
Another loaded question.
I was never sure of anything. I am not sure of anything. As I figure would be the case for most everyone in the secular community. You can’t be secular unless you have doubts.
For me personally, atheism as commonly used by many begun not to fit on an intellectual level. The labels (Agnostic Atheist) leaned me quite far in one direction, when in reality, I was far more less convinced.
5.) How sure are you that your Atheism is correct?
No atheist is sure. Again, doubt is the seed that sprouts any form of secularism. At least, no atheist should ever be SURE of their claim. Because that’s not any better than its reverse, fundamentalism on the theist side.
Most atheists would likley go on to demonstrate how a lack of belief does not make such positive claims. But again, I don’t feel that the current status quo definition of atheism is really correct. But even so, you just combine terms, like my former agnostic atheist.
I later realized that I didn’t even need that description, because a simple “I don’t know” suffices. I don’t put a label on it, because it’s really not all that important. Not to mention that it just causes friction (particularly when dealing with ideologues).
6.) How do you define what truth is?
The dictionary (well, Google) says:
the quality or state of being true.
“he had to accept the truth of her accusation”
synonyms: veracity, truthfulness, verity, sincerity, candor, honesty; More
that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
noun: the truth
“tell me the truth”
synonyms: what actually happened, the case, so; More
a fact or belief that is accepted as true.
plural noun: truths
“the emergence of scientific truths”
synonyms: fact, verity, certainty, certitude; More
- While I do not disagree with the definitions of the word, I do not like seeing the word used in the context of ANY debate due to it being to easily moulded around any ideological stance. I don’t care what the truth means to you. I deal in facts.
- And if we’re talking about something outside the context of physical reality, then the word does not fit anyway. Thus, this is a term best abandoned in debate and dialogue.
- 7.) Why do you believe your Atheism is a justifiable position to hold?
- Again, I do not really go by that label. But none the less, like everyone else that falls under the secular umbrella, I (long ago) found no reason to continue acknowledging the existence of some sky daddy. Because reality (both on a micro AND a macro scale, from the context of my perspective) stopped justifying the necessity.
- Basically, it all began to fall apart in high school. A rough experience shook my personal life to the core, and classes like social studies and current events opened my eyes to the world at large. So what started as disbelief (“How could God do this?!”) gradually faded into non-belief (“Maybe it’s not so much an EVIL entity, as it is none at all”).
- It’s a rough way to enter the secular world. But none the less, I got there. Which is all that matters.
8.) Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. This concerns material that goes above my head.
9.) Do you affirm or deny that Atheism is a world view?
This one has a 2 part answer.
First off, the concept of Atheism itself (lacking\rejecting belief in a God or Gods) is indeed NOT a worldview. It is a form of belief (confidence in a stance), but it is not in itself a world view. Though many atheists would claim otherwise.
Now comes part 2.
Though the concept and\or philosophy of Atheism itself is unencumbered by any baggage that would make it a world view, the stance can take a world view type status in the context of groups made up of many different atheists (social media is terrible for this). I call the distinctions in the groups learned and found Atheism.
Found atheists tend to be like me. They at some point came to the conclusion that there was likely no God. You do not even need to know the term to grasp the concept (I only learned the term Atheism after 6 or more months of acceptance of the philosophy).
Learned atheists on the the other hand, tend to adopt Atheism just as the label suggests . . . they learn it. These days typically from various sources of social media. Typically they start somewhere on the faithful spectrum, and end up being convinced otherwise. Typically convinced by people that came to reason in the same way that they did.
Which wouldn’t be much of an issue, but for when a lack of philosophical education (thanks to the typical western school system!) causes these simple positions to be dragged WAY further than they actually allow.
Enter, the Atheist babies\animals\isolated tribes\inanimate objects argument. Even though the definition simply states the lacking of belief in\rejection of a god or gods, this is expanded to consider, everything. I am guessing this more of an issue of the new definition, being that babies\animals\isolated tribes\inanimate objects do not explicitly REJECT belief in anything.
Proponents of so called Shoe Atheism (a Reddit term coined for the phenomenon) unfortunately make up the vast majority of the community now (or so it seems). And as the community grows over time (as is the trend), so to will the number of Shoe Atheists. Though it is on one hand great to have such growth in the secular community, it’s NOT good when it’s so partisan.
It’s NOT good when influential secular voices like American Atheists president David Silverman spend more time labeling the whole secular community as atheist than they do trying to unite the group for the common good. Many atheists claim these actions to be attempts to unite everyone under one umbrella.
BULLSHIT. Everyone is ALREADY under one secular umbrella.
The so called unification happening now is more akin to how many forms of religious ideologically spread. It is less reason and critical thinking than it is dogma and intolerance.
In closing, though atheism is indeed it’s own stand alone philosophy (which leaves room for a vast variation of personal belief in its subscribers), it CAN become something more, in some contexts. I would not call it a world view, persay. But certainly a form of ideology.
10.) Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?
This one is rather specific for my liking, but all’s well . Like everything else, you tend to shape many things around local cultural environments. In the West it’s Christianity, elsewhere it’s something else.
I would think (hope anyway) that all the antagonism would not just be just aimed at Christianity. I can see WHY a majority of it would be, however.The growth of the internet, and by extension Atheism, happened predominantly in the mostly Christian leaning Western world.
As for “Why the hostility?”, simple. Because religion is not benign.
At best, it wastes people’s finite lives in preparation for a lie. At worst, it is the ultimate antagonism for mankind. A species that developed the ability to wipe itself from the universe long before it came to its senses on the ancient population control methods that we now call religion.
I do not pester people that hold religion on a personal level. As they say, to each his own. But on a macro scale, religion is dangerous. It’s a mental scourge on the population that has caused nothing but trouble, and will lead to nothing but trouble down the road (if not annihilation). Even considering the potential positive aspects (ethics and mortality?), it’s not worth the drawbacks.
11.) If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God , what caused you to deny his existence?
I was never a firm believer in Christianity, fortunately. That is likley why it was so easy to abandon the concept.God and\or religion was not really brought up in our house, and the family didn’t ever attend Church.
At some point in my early teens, I got a picture Bible from my grandmother for Christmas. I remember that I put it on my bookshelf with my other books, at the time unread. Sometime down the road when it peeked my interest enough to pick it up, I remember only making it to the pillar of salt part at the beginning before thinking “What the fuck is this shit?!”. I put it down, never to read it (or any other Bible) again. And I haven’t a clue what happened to that book since. With some luck it was thrown out of recycled, never to pollute an impressionable mind again.
Though I obviously had doubts, I didn’t disregard god and\or religion entirely until turmoil in my freshman year turned my whole world upside down. It was the kind of turmoil that in all honesty, has followed me (in various ways) to this day. Though these last few years have seen a fair bit of improvement in this regard, I would be denying the truth if I said I wasn’t still adversely bothered by said events, of the in the weirdest ways.
But more to the question, it started really as selfish anger (“How could God do this to me!?”). Then as I absorbed more worldly knowledge, my prospective got larger (“How could God let this happen?!”). And eventually it settled on a more reasoned stance (“Maybe it just looks like God accepts horror in the world, because there is no God”).
I don’t recall the exact timeframe of events. But I’m certain it was over at least a year.
12.) Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?
Indeed I do. But religion is not the only set of ideological values that tends to be caustic towards unity. There are many personal, political and activistic (among others) labels that cause strife.
That is not to say that I am advocating for everyone to drop their identifiers and just act as one. All I am saying is that there is no need to be so partisan.
13.) Do you believe the world would better off without Christianity?
Yes. Of course.
Whatever necessity that it and all its companions have ever provided has long since gone away. So time to take out the trash.
14.) Do you believe that faith in God is a mental disorder?
I have heard Bill Maher make this claim numerous times, as has atheist YouTuber Dusty Smith. But I have made my own disagreements on this here .
15.) Must God be known though the scientific method?
I have heard people use the “If he appeared before me right now, I would concede proof, even if I couldn’t prove it it anyone else ” logic before. But that is stupid. Your not being rational if you’re leaving your mind open to the brains irrational imagination and mind games.
The scientific method gets rid of that bias of the individual brain. To borrow from a past question, the scientific method takes your anecdotal truth and turns it into universally accepted fact.
16.) If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?
There is no mistake or confusion in categories. Right now God and deities are in the realm of the supernatural. But if science were to solve the enigma one day by proving the\a God hypothesis correct, than the deity would no longer be supernatural. It would become a part of nature, like everything else.
I highly doubt that this day will ever come (you can’t prove OR disprove something that was never there). But regardless of that, there is no error in categorization.
17.) Do we have any purpose as human beings?
The Bible is quite explicit in its stance on that, unfortunately for the planet (and those that have to share it with the often religious spawn of these past Bible worshipers).
Evolution has a part in this to. The human sex drive has its purpose in the grand scheme of things. Though we have now reached numbers that have virtually eliminated the need for more births, there is little need for the abstinence that many would think is the answer (also a big part of religion).
First off, when you try and go to war against nature, you will lose, whether it’s against your inner nature or nature itself. Telling people that they need to stop fucking will not eliminate hormone driven desires. Note that the same applies to conversation therapy (if you like cock, no amount of re-education will make you like cunt).
Really, there is no need for such ultimately futile (and potentially unhealthy) measures. With the excellent quality of modern profolactics and an education on barriers, respect and moderation , one can live a life of hormone driven prowess without much harm done.
Now that the birds and the bees is out of the way, on to the real intent of the question.
In all honesty, the answer to the question “Do humans have a purpose?” would be no. We have a biological purpose, like the rest of the life we share this rock with. But unlike them, we have both the mental faculties and time to reflect on these questions.
Though having no purpose seems like a bitter and depressing pill to swallow, it’s not all bad. You do not need to have a prescribed purpose, you cut your own path.
Some follow various forms of religion, or an increasingly large subset of that cohort, non-religion. Others have careers. Children. Art. Hobbies. All sorts of options.
I myself, have been grappling with this of late as well. Trying to figure out what to do with myself. Though not an easy process, I have no doubt that it will eventually sort itself out given enough time.
Unless I step out the door tommorow and get struck by a falling Egyptian Airbus .
18.) If we do have a purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?
As explained previously, it is determined by you. Always.
Some may think they are guided by some higher power or principal. But they none the less, you are always holding the reigns.
19.) Where does morality come from?
In order for anything reminiscent of a civilization to function (let alone flourish), you need peace and stability within it. Though I have no idea where the idea of morality originated, it seems apparent that we would have gotten there anyway. No matter what the cultural or religious environment, civilizations can’t exist in anarchy.
I am sure that religion was at one time a big part of the communication of these morals. But rather than a source, I suspect it was more of a vehicle. Moral teachings were just a part of a bigger package of goodies, meant to keep the peasants fearful and in line with royal doctrine.
20.) Are there moral absolutes?
21.) If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?
Though many seem easily able to rattle off a whole laundry list of items, I find it hard to think of even one. Because with even the worst of them, one could still find justification for the moral failing. For example, if a mass murderer of innocent people gets killed by a vigilante, is it wrong NOT to feel bad?
How about a serial rapist that gets raped himself, in jail?
Feel free to share your thoughts (and\or possible examples) in the comment section.
22.) Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so , what is it?
There is no such thing as evil, because (like how Truth is often used), it is a subjective term. Though most people likley utilize the term, they are not uniform in exactly HOW they use it. Hell, someone could theoretically call ME evil, considering some of the things I’ve said in this entry alone. A challenge I would counter by simply saying that I am no more evil than the late George Carlin. A man that regularly blew past the line in pursuit of a laugh. Or more, sending a point home.
In fact, one bit from his last HBO special (exploring the notion of dead people looking down on us whilst in heaven) involved an explosion during Thanksgiving dinner.
Because the world needs more George Carlin.
23.) If you believe that the God of the old testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?
First off, if one is to take the Bible as a serious text, the question of whether or not God is morally bad is less belief than it is knowledge. If all you need to know is in the book, then you can safely say that you KNOW that God is bad. And not just old testament God either. The whole book is rife with evil (that’s right! I think the Bible is an evil book!).
By what standard do I come to this conclusion. . .
How about. . . Any?!
Do an experiment. Grab a Bible and select a few sample stories of the type that typical thumpers like to gloss over. Change the names of places and characters, and rework some plotlines. Try and keep the structure, but try not to make it apparent what the story is based on.
After the rewrite is complete, distribute the story to a variety of people. After they read the story, make up a few questions, one of them being “Is the main character of the tale morally reprehensible?”. And just for the hell of it, throw in “Would you say that the main character is evil?”.
Throw out any responses from people that recognize the source material. What you have left should be a good mix of reactions based on various standards of morality.
Double the cookies for Christians with negative reactions.
24.) What would it take for you to believe in God?
It’s more than that though. I dislike questions like “Do you believe in *****”, because it is essentially a statement of faith. Or on the flip side, it’s a positive claim which can not be backed.
What would satisfy me, would be if the concept were taken out of the realm of belief to begin with (as stated previously). To have the concept not a matter of faith, but a part of knowledge.
I have high standards.
25.) What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?
See previous answers.
26.) Must this evidence be rationally based, archeological, testable in lab, etc., Or what?
Obviously. Again, see previous answers.
27.) Do you think that a society run by Christians or Atheists would be safer? Why?
Though I would lean towards the atheists in the context of necessity, I would think that either is perfectly capable, so long as they keep their ideological baggage to themselves. Unfortunately, humans are not known for that sort of thing. If you give any group (however marginalised in the past!) a good amount of power, I can almost guarantee that special interests pertaining to said group will eventually begin to take priority. Usually at their discretion as well.
We all know what it looks like when the theists do it. But Atheists? Non-ideological atheists turned oppressors?
Lets look at Atheism (the wider atheist community) today. It has ALREADY become a self interest group of sorts, more concerned with making people into Atheists than in unifying the secular community as a whole. What could this become?
Right now, churches are essentially domestic tax haven’s. It’s not right, but with atheists in power, it won’t last long.
But what if the atheists decided that it’s time that THEY had their share of the religious exemption, and thus create a non-religion tax exemption for atheist oriented groups. And to build on current trends, what if the exemption is only available to strictly atheist groups.
Secular coalition of ****, ****** society of agnostics. . . DENIED!
United atheists of ******, Society of ****** atheists. . . APPROVED!
Some people (particularly atheists, of course) may find that whole experiment ridiculous. And I can see why. I once held the atheist community on a very high pedestal as well. But life experience has taught me that not only can ridiculousness be found in any cohort (including amoug the most brilliant, a group that is NOT inclusive of much of the atheist community), but also that human nature can easily override even the most well intentioned of persons or groups.
As such, though I would prefer a society run\governed mostly by atheists over what we have now in most places, my utopia would be a place where no group or ideological banner has to much of a foothold. A society where all are fairly evenly represented, and thus all are kept in check by one another.
28.) Do you believe in free will (free will being the ability to make choices without coercion)?
Yes. And no.
Note that the deity aspect has nothing to do with either answer here. As stated before, the God or Gods enigma has no relevance to my life whatsoever. It’s more, to do with the society in which I live.
I do have the free will to do whatever I want, generally. My choices are my own, as are the consequences of those choices. But in the bigger picture, there comes a point where that rule of thumb fades away due mainly to how our society is built, how we function within it. Everything revolves around money and currency. You don’t get anywhere and can not do anything without it. So you have to get a job. Which is where the whole freedom of choice thing tends to die.
It’s alright if you find a job you love, and can thus be contented throughout your career. But for I would suspect the vast majority, it’s hardly that glorious. The bind I find myself in now, in all honesty.
There are seemingly lots of options, both internally and externally to my current gig. But despite the quantity, there is little substance. Though there is seemingly lots to choose from, it’s all crap. Positions great for the extroverted person that loves customer service and interaction. But positions that repel the introverted person sick and tired after dealing with years of bullshit from all levels in customer service.
Then there is on the job itself. Sure, you have the option of telling the boss to fuck off, and you can refuse to do this job or that. But that would mean your out the door. And thus you have to go though the whole bullshit process of looking, interviewing , and getting on at another place that is likely no better.
Though it is mostly anecdotal material from an extremely fed up source, you can likely not only relate to it, but also expand it generally. Though we do have a choice, the path is largely prefabricated if you want any status quo comforts.
29.) If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?
No. This question is a bit bewildering.
No matter the limitations imposed by our physical dimensions of all measurements, were still capable of making our own decisions.
Either I am misinterpreting the question, or it is utterly ridiculous and irrelevant.
30.) If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become “deity” and not be restricted by space and time? If not, why not? Why does one lead to the other?
Besides the fact that we do not have the timeline required available, that is not how evolution works. It’s a process of adaptation. What the question is proposing seems akin to something out of a sci Fi film, or a history channel documentary (ancient aliens!).
31.) If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren’t you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?
Though I didn’t answer in the affirmative, I have to take a stab at this one anyway. Even if someone did say it was possible, you still run into the problem of first cause.
And by answering yes, one is not saying that it is probable that some sort of deity is out there. They are just saying that, sure, brains could someday be powerful to the point of God-like. Nice try with slipping that in though.
The source blogger (at a later date) answered 10 more questions for atheists in a diferent post. In fact, it was these 10 questions (found on Twitter) that turned me onto the 31 to begin with. I was going to just skip them, but since there are some new questions, I will take them on.
In fact, there are many more questions to be had (spread out over at least 2 posts). I will go through them all (albeit without the repeats).
1.) What happens when we die?
To quote Sherlock Holmes (from the modern BBC adaptation that I love), “When you die, you are taken into a room and burned”.
All in all, fuck if I know. If your burried, your meat rots away and eventually reverts to the nature from whence you came. A process that may take longer if you have a typical American trans fat laden diet. If plastic lasts forever, will you as well?
And if your cremated, then I guess you are put in a jar and possibly scattered around someplace that you gave a fuck about for some reason.
Or thrown in the trash and replaced with sand.Who’s gonna know?
2.) What if your wrong? And there is a heaven? And there is a HELL!
If I am wrong, then I guess I will save on gas and propane for eternity! To quote George Carlin, “Imagine grandma in hell! Baking pies, without an oven”.
A.) One could be wrong, but the trade off (waste of a finite existence) is to high a price to pay. To many people (me included!) already waste hours of time just getting by in a cash driven econamy tilted out of their favor.
B.) I don’t know about heaven, but hell is a late addition to the good book (if memory serves). Rather than a place of eternal pain and consequences, it was more, a garbage dump of ancient times. Knowing the conditions of the time period, I can see why it would earn such a designation. Even a modern landfill’s stench is hard for many to stomach.
3.) Without God, where do you get your morality from?
My parents, teachers and other role models that I have come across throughout my formative year’s.
First of all, if the morality eluded to by the theists comes from anywhere, it’s from the minds that placed it within the various religions themselves. The believers like to say “Same thing! It’s the word of God breathed though human”. But it really isn’t.
Religion was originally (obviously) a human construct , and has since been passed down and altered by humans for ages. God (or more accurately, “Deity”) on the other hand, is a concept that has not (can not?) be proven or denied. 2 different balls of wax.
As said before, I suspect that civilisations were of more importance to the creation of morality than any religion. Because you can’t have a civilization in an environment of immoral anarchy. Though religion is a great vehicle for delivering morality, it’s not a source.
No matter the vehicle of delivery, morality started with us.
4.) If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?
Uh . . .
If the difference between this anarchy and current morality is REALLY only God and religion for some, that is fucking scary.
B.) Though the good deeds going unrewarded thing is a bit hard to swallow (likely why so many people like to believe in Karma), it’s funny that the alternative is Christ (the source of the questions was an angry Christian going after an atheist mother).
If memory serves, worship and honor of God and Christ is far more important than earthly good deeds. Thus (in theory) an extremely humanistic and humanitarian minded secularist could be dropped straight in the oven, whilst Hitler the Christian could walk right in the pearly gates and begin his harp lesson.
No good deed goes unpunished. Is that where that saying comes from?
5.) Where did the universe come from?
That is a question that stumps far brighter minds than this one. I could not even guess where to begin on this question.
So I won’t.
6.) What about miracles? What about all the people that claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those that claim to have seen saints or angels?
A.) “Miracles” is a very broad term. Like “Truth” or “Evil”, it’s meaning could change with the person.
And besides, indeed, what about miracles?! They equate nothing more than conjecture at this point.
B) There are many possible reasons why people may claim to have a connection with Jesus (Mohammed? Buddha?), claim to have seen saints and \or angels, claim to have been to been to heaven\hell and various other claims involving the supernatural.
An over active imagination (often times based on an expectation of what you think your going to find)? Mental illness? Fatigue?
The list is expansive.
7.) What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?
As a full blown atheist, I had a lot of respect for them. Seeing them as promoters of something I deemed as good (Atheism), I had few (if any) criticisms. I even own at least 1 book by the trio (God is not great (Hitchens), possibility something by Harris), though I have not read it yet. I have a fair amount of books, but being I don’t have a bookshelf to store them for easy accessibility, they sit in my closet in boxes.
Excuses. . .
Either way, with luck I will have more usable space (and a book shelf of some sort!) soon. So those books on the back burner may well get some attention. Though possibility will not garner the reaction they would have gotten even 2 years ago.
I try not to say to much on topics I don’t know much about. These 3 fall into that paradigm for the most part. That said however, though I am still largely a layman in term of all things philosophical, I have learned enough passively to spot flaws in various claims and arguments utilized by each of the 3.
The collective minds of Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris are well known in the secular world as the 4 horsemen of nu Atheism\Reason. I have little experience with Dennett’s work (or with him period), hence why I left him out previously. I believe I once came across the name in a Big Think video about Brights, but I could be mistaking him with James Randi (also a prominent Bright).
If you look through the comments on any of the videos of past debates involving the 4 horsemen, you will find a lot of atheist fanboys. But you will also spot the odd philosopher (or at least a genuine free thinker. Another label that annoys me in its misuse), which is a treat. They are obvious in their counteraction to the flood of fanboy love, often by simply pointing out that their (atheist’s) heroes arguments are not really all THAT great. It’s just easy to win an argument if the opponent is barely more cogent than a baboon.
Even Bill Nye didn’t do all that great of a job in his fray into debate with Ken Ham. But it didn’t matter, because he was debating . . . Ken Ham. A man that defeated HIMSELF with the “Were you there? Did you see it yourself?” tactics.
Even intelligent or well educated people can get things wrong. Particularly if they become (voluntarily or not) spokespersons for topics outside their expertise. Hell, people can be well within their expertise and not have a fucking clue (like Ken ham!).
Ken Ham is an example that anyone can point to. But I have even heard well regarded works by people like Lawrence Krause, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins torn to shreds. And I’m not talking by some glorified baboon of religious background either. We’re talking well educated, well versed people (usually philosophers).
These counter arguments are often disregarded by the secular proponents BECAUSE they are from philosophers (so called “navel gazers”, to quote a friend of mine that I’ve come to disagree with on this). But that is a weak retort, frankly, akin to what one hears often presented to them in debate.
Speaking of debate, I have to wonder how many of these people could actually hold their ground in a debate that with wasn’t filled with alike minds, or intellectual novices (in comparison). Like with a philosopher. Noam Chomsky gave us a bit of a taste when he took on Sam Harris. Or I suppose, the reverse.
Long story short, anyone can be wrong. Even if you respect them, do not keep them beyond reproach.
8.) If there is no God, why does every society have a religion?
I would imagine it was partially because before science had progressed enough to make sense of many mysterious (and possibly scary) natural phenomena, people made their own rationalizations. No doubt that promoters of early forms of modern day religion either rationalized (or exploited) the said explanations, easily fitting them into an already ambiguous story line.
I also mentioned population control previously. Religion is a great way to keep hordes of uneducated peasants in line, whilst also serving as a vehicle for other means. Maybe the people at the top fully bought into the scriptural explanations of natural phenomena (and other religious filler), or maybe they at least somewhat knew better. Who knows. We just know that it worked.
Still does, since I’m answering these questions.
9.) How do Atheists name their children, if most names have some sort of religious background?
With a book of baby names?
When you’re an atheist (or any form of secular), none of the religious (or other supernatural) stuff means anything. Which is why I could name my child Mohammed, or Paul. It does not affect me for the same reason that burning any scripture book would not affect me. Hell, for the same reason burning a flag would not affect me!
Once you divorce yourself from the ideology, the sacraments don’t matter.
10.) Is Atheism a form of Satanism?
Though there is a form of Satanism that is non-theistic (if it’s anything, it’s a philosophy), Atheism is NOT a form of Satanism. The opposite in fact. To be a genuine Satanist would make one a theist, a believer in a deity.
I was thinking about just leaving the answer as “Yes” and moving on, explaining only after I’ve covered everything else. But though the reaction would have been hilarious, I decided against it.
I’ve already pissed in enough atheist cornflakes.
11.) Why has Atheism become so popular in the 21st century?
It was around before, but mostly concentrated in places of higher education or higher intellect. Though not exactly forbidden (accepted is another matter . . ), it was not openly available to all. To be exposed to it would usually be a privilege, since higher education costs money.
Technological advances in mass communication would completely change this however. Being that computers and technology were both more ubiquitous and affordable for the average citizen by the 2000’s, more and more people not only had access to information far beyond their geographical confines, but also access to each other. Idea’s could be found, exchanged and discussed, at times in total secrecy.Atheism had finally found its way out of higher education and into the rest of society. Though it’s spread would be (and to a degree, still is) hidden, largely out of fear of reprisal. Peters dad smacking Brian with a Bible comes to mind.
Now technology has become even more engrained into society. And a whole generation has been born and raised in its footprint.
These days, the young do not have to solely rely on the potentially hostile shared family computer anymore. It’s now common for everyone in the family to have some device (or devices) of their own. And even if it’s still to risky to browse blasphemy on the home connection, there are increasingly reliable 3g\4g\lte networks and ubiquitous wifi access everywhere. Many more options than one had even 5 years ago.
Ease of access has made Atheism more popular. And will more than likely continue to do so since the technology is not going away.
12.) Why do Atheists choose Atheism?
Some people eventually find their way to the conclusion, like me. Others arrive at the conclusion after putting their previous understandings to the test (or having other people do it for them), and having them collapse in the light of criticism.
Yes, I do call Atheism a conclusion. It is a choice to call yourself an atheist. But the philosophy itself, is a conclusion. And no, it’s not a default either (bugger off with that idiotic Shoe Atheism already!).
It’s a conclusion.
13.) Are atheists a threat to the United States?
Nietzsche would have something to say in answer to this question. If I am grasping the break downs of his work correctly, then he would have been against construction of a society based around a central tenant. But I am a layman dabbling in academic material far beyond my comprehension, so I may well be WAY off.
As for the more simplified answer, no, atheists and Atheism are not an explicit threat. Any group with to much power can become a problem. But remember, I said ANY group.
14.) How do Atheists keep a positive outlook on life?
The atheist cohort is as diverse as any other large non-physical identity cohort. So, many ways.
Probably many of the same ways that you theists keep yourselves busy. Your not that different from one another.
15.) Why do some atheists insist that Atheism is not a group?
Because they are idiots.
To be fair, the philosophy is indeed stand alone. You can be an atheist without being part of the group of groups collectively known as the atheist community.
That said, there is a fairly large number that participates in conversation with like minded group’s of atheists. Though they almost universally deny ANY presence of ideological dogmatism, prolonged observation over any sample size of the cohort dispels this.
To be an atheist does not automatically mean participation (or agreement) with the more vocal subscribers of the philosophy. And of those subscribers, not all are dogmatic.
But the non-conformists are certainly not easy to find.
16.) Why do many atheists fail to understand that belief does not require proof?
I doubt they fail to comprehend that. I suspect it’s more a matter of you interpreting their criticisms and rebuttals as failure to comprehend your argument.
You fail, in this case. Not the atheists.
17.) What is paramount for most atheists?
Again, the atheist cohort is incredibly diverse, so you will find much variation to this question depending on the person.
18.) Is it difficult being an atheist?
Though I do not utilize the label, I can still answer this question. Being I was in the shoe for a good decade.
Was it difficult?
Initially, yes. Being to shy to express myself was a big part of it. As was not knowing how people (particularly family) would react. And so I sat on that bombshell for probably 5 or 6 years . That was until an unfortunate comment on a hilarious photo on Facebook (Jesus fucking Christ, literally) was spread though the Facebook feeds of friends (fucking privacy settings). Like a slap in the face, I woke up to find I was dragged out of the Atheist closet, and one of my aunt’s was PISSED. Not so much about my blasphemy. More, because my then under aged cousin (to young for Facebook) may have seen it.
Note to parents: Facebook has an age limit for a reason. Because sometimes assholes like me share offensive material that may result in awkward questions from children like “mommy, what is Jesus doing to that other Jesus?”
On a similar but off topic note . . . Why the fuck do parents make Facebook accounts for their babies (literally!)?! Not only is it a security risk, it’s also a potential invasion of privacy. If the child were to grow up and for some reason not want exposure online. . . To late! Mommy and\or Daddy have already shared and tagged you permanently into the public record!
But to get back on track. . . though the first couple years out of the atheist closet were a bit awkward (being around family at gatherings), it went away after awhile. Acceptance I suppose.
If there ever was a time of persecution and strife due to a change in views, it would be the resistance I ran into whilst trying to advance beyond my then obsolete label of Agnostic Atheist. A period of bitterness chronicled in various posts in the Atheism Criticisms category. Though the first post made quite a splash (telling atheists to go fuck themselves and renouncing my usage of the term), my views have evolved, as I calm returned in subsequent months. It all eventually leading to this. My first exploration of anything Atheism related for a long time.
Last dabble into all things Atheism? I guess we will see.