The Church of Atheism

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Viktor, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. Viktor
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    Viktor VIP Member

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    The Church of Atheism | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson

    "Its standard-bearers swarm across oceans and mountains, propagating a vitriolic doctrine of bigotry and intolerance like a biblical plague. It inculcates its devotees with a fanatical certainty in the verity of its dogma and the simultaneous disdain for all alternative dogma. Of the great religions, only Christianity and Islam can rival the enthusiasm of its proselytizing efforts.

    The name of this creed is evangelical atheism. Now, atheism is certainly not a religion, and the phrase “evangelical atheism” certainly appears oxymoronic. But we have witnessed in our time the rise of a virulent strain of atheism championed by Bill Maher, the comedian and star of Religulous, the secularist philosopher Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, and their often indignant ilk. For all its schooling and pretense of intellectualism, this godless vanguard unknowingly adopts the very aspects of religion its leaders passionately lambaste and turns atheism into the kind of evangelical ideology it opposes.

    The facets of evangelism most repellent to atheists are bigotry, proselytism, and an unquestioning certainty in the tenets of one’s faith. Secular atheism spurns all of these things, but the evangelical atheism of Maher and Dawkins has chosen to embrace them.

    During the height of conservative whispers about then-candidate Barack Obama’s secret adherence to Islam, Maher parried the smears with one of his own, saying, “…You can’t be president if you practice a violent, Middle-Eastern religion and worship a genocidal desert god, which is why [Alaska Governor] Sarah Palin can’t be president.”

    Maher may be right when he says that a candidate’s literal belief in scripture makes him or her ill-suited for high office due to the importance of having a rational hand on the levers of power. However, Maher then subverts his credibility by condescendingly condemning religious belief as fundamentally irrational, describing belief in God as maintaining that “…You’re in a long-term relationship with an all-powerful space-daddy, who will, after you die, party with your ghost forever.”

    But in reality belief in God does not require a divorce from science. It simply requires faith in something that cannot be proven. After all, the logic of religious apologists, though circular, is correct in insisting that God’s existence cannot be disproved, either. Atheism, as opposed to agnosticism, therefore, requires faith as well. By scorning faith in God, Maher is simply scorning beliefs that he does not share but cannot rebut. Surely this sounds familiar.

    Posing a challenge to biblical or Koranic literalism has some merits, for such a belief requires a significant rejection of empirical reality. But the ridicule of the beliefs of all religious people, literalist and otherwise, is bigotry, and bigotry reinforced by proselytism.

    One would be hard-pressed to find anything more explicitly religious than the use of the language of proselytism itself, exemplified by a page on Dawkins’ website, titled “Converts Corner.” Granted, if one were to ignore the comically narcissistic objective of this blog, whose sole purpose is to allow proselytes to stroke Dawkins’ capacious ego by recounting how his book “converted” them from their religious faith, one could defend such efforts by pointing to their foundation in logic rather than faith. But this contention would only hold true if Maher and Dawkins were proffering agnostic uncertainty in place of evangelical certainty.

    By insisting that God does not exist, rather than that we cannot know whether or not He does, and that everyone should believe as they do, Maher and Dawkins venture beyond the realm of skepticism and enter that realm of conviction—religious conviction. Atheism, like the Abrahamic troika with which it competes, requires faith, and when this faith is replaced by certainty, when doubt and healthy skepticism are jettisoned, atheism becomes a religion.

    Evangelical atheism is not the answer to evangelical religion, for the problem with the latter stems not from the irrationality of its beliefs, but from the absolute certainty with which those beliefs are held. Responding in kind is not the solution."






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  2. cnm
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    cnm Diamond Member

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    Rather, it requires faith in something for which there is no evidence.
     
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  3. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    There is plenty of evidence. All creation denotes a Creator.

    Just because you don't find the evidence persuasive doesn't mean it's not evidence
     
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  4. C_Clayton_Jones
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    C_Clayton_Jones Diamond Member

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    This opinion fails as a straw man fallacy.

    Being free from religion is not ‘religion.’

    Being free from religion requires no ‘faith.’

    Those free from religion belong to no ‘church.’

    And those free from religion do not seek to ‘proselytize,’ nor do they wish to compel conformity to religious doctrine and dogma – there is no ‘bigotry’ among those free from religion because they respect the right of all theists to practice their beliefs.

    Indeed, those free from religion are among the most active defenders of the First Amendment, the right to religious expression, and the right to religious liberty – the First Amendment that likewise acknowledges and protects the right of citizens to be free from religion.

    In fact, the OP manifests as bigotry against those free from religion, it’s an unwarranted attack on those free from religion, and it attempts to propagate lies about those free from religion.
     
  5. K9Buck
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    K9Buck Gold Member

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    Once upon a time there was no time. In fact, there was nothing, not even existence. Then, somehow, the universe came literally from out of nowhere. Obviously, the universe caused itself to come into existence just like you, the reader, caused yourself to come into existence.
     
  6. Meriweather
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    Meriweather Not all who wander are lost

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    An additional way of looking at this is to look at our own lives. When outside forces (of nature) cause hardship, isn't it other people who bring us support and encouragement--a sentient being? It is the people who love us, or the people who are kind to us, who do so much to make us who we are and life worth living.

    Many of us from the beginning of time, on down through the ages, have had experiences or recognized that love and kindness of an actual Being is also involved in encouraging us when our earthly life is hard.

    The beauty and awe we experience in nature can bring us peace, observing the vastness of the universe can put our own tragedies into perspective. Yet it is the love and kindness of beings who can actually love and be kind that is our true strength. That is our greatest evidence of God, the one who is there to help us through.
     
  7. MaryL
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    MaryL Gold Member

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    What about those, "we of little faith" that sit on the fence Agnostics? I pray too. It's like gambling You pray, you pay. Einstein said god doesn't gamble. The hell he doesn't. Statistics and my dear friend, Murphy's law and random chance will destroy you every time. That is God's will.
     
  8. Crepitus
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    Crepitus Gold Member

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    That is so desperate and wrong I am actually embarrassed for you.
     
  9. Meriweather
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    Meriweather Not all who wander are lost

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    Then while you are sitting on the fence, recall the faith the size of a mustard faith can work wonders. Get off the fence and go for it!
     
  10. cnm
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    cnm Diamond Member

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    You cannot show it is the work of a creator. You have no evidence. Evidence means that which can be seen.
     
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