Atheism

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Categories: Atheism

55 replies

  1. Takes a very narrow interpretation of atheism to arrive at such a conclusion.

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    • darthtimon,
      If I am correct, you are an Atheist, right? If so…..then.

      What more do you have to say to the victims of Aushwitz?

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    • No, I’m not an atheist. At this stage of my life, I would say I’m an agnostic. As for what I would say… I would say that what happened to them was an act of great evil – and that it must never happen again. That we should never as a society permit such evil.

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    • I agree with your statement on Aushwitz, and that is what I expected you to say.

      But the point is that no matter what nice platitudes the kindly Atheist utters, ultimately, he can not offer any truly comforting words on ultimate justice and redemption, which might ease the suffering of the soul, spirit, heart and mind. The Atheist Hypothesis, renders any words of comfort meaningless and hollow in the end, because, accordingly, in the end……..there is nothing.

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    • I rather believe the opposite – if this is our only life, our only chance, then we have an obligation to make it a good one, which means treating each other with good grace and respect, with dignity and fairness. It means opposing hatred, injustice and oppression, and it means striving to leave the world a better place for our children.

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    • Damn brother that was deep.

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    • darth,
      I think you are missing the point.

      Everyone can agree with what you said, “treating each other with good grace and respect, with dignity and fairness….opposing hatred, injustice and oppression…. striving to leave the world a better place.” That is all well and good, sounds nice, and even many Nazi’s might have agreed on that. But when things go horribly wrong, (as they did with the Nazi’s) what comfort, aid, and succour can the Atheist hypothesis offer to a suffering soul?

      Nice platitudes, ring hollow without a divinely revealed mandate which motivates one to do the good things you mentioned, and which, in the face of evil, provides reassurance of ultimate justice, redemption, and salvation in the end analysis.

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    • Why does one need a divine inspiration or mandate to do good things, or seek justice for the living? It should be done simply because it is a good thing to do, the right thing to do, and because justice for atrocities – past or present – will bring relief to people and relatives. The offer of real, genuine aid (as opposed to the gesture of prayer, which hasn’t prevented atrocities or disasters, nor has it provided meaningful relief to those experiencing those disasters) is more important than hollow niceties.

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    • Darth,
      I think you are conflating issues in an intentional effort to confuse the issue. The issue of justice in this life, vs. ultimate and eternal Justice.

      What if after seeking justice for the living it cannot be obtained. Can the atheist offer justice in the afterlife?

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    • An atheist doesn’t concern themselves with such things. They concentrate on the tangible, the right here and now, what’s known to be real. If there is an afterlife then one hopes what justice and peace is on offer gets apportioned correctly – if there isn’t… well, either way, seek to help and comfort the living, and the relatives of the dead, through tangible actions first, before anything else.

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  2. Wow. Talk about a softball…
    Tell me: How do you redeem such things? Price it out; I’ll wait.
    Meanwhile, I’ll tell those people that we are here. We are here because of them. And we remember.
    Come what may there is continuity.
    No God will pluck you from the earth and proclaim, “The whole of your experience was only a test.”

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    • How does anything you’ve said negate this soul crushingl and depressing conclusion about atheism?

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    • “talk about a softball…” LOL!

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    • The worst thing an Atheist can say about the comfort of believing in a God who will see to justice is that we’re giving a placebo which gives victims some sort of coping mechanism.

      That’s the absolute worst we can offer.

      Now compare the worst believers can offer with what, if any, consolation a cold and indifferent philosophy Atheism offers: There’s nothing more to life than survival and reproduction.

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    • What’s worse – a philosophy handed to you that dictates your morality, that you follow because you were told to, or one that Regards life as a rare and precious thing?

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    • Let me get this straight: A Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest world view is better than a philosophy which dictates morality?!

      Can you run this by me again?
      Seen from an evolutionary perspective what the Nazis did to the Jews is simply the mechanism of natural selection at work.

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    • Just as Christians and Muslims and Jews are not monolithic, nor are atheists. There are plenty who regard life as precious, because we only get one shot at it, so it shouldn’t be wasted. The process of being told what to believe about morality by a being with arbitrary standards, that doesn’t even follow those standards, seems strange.

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    • To me the process of being told what do by a society with relative morality seems strange.

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    • You prefer being told what to do by a being that claims to love you yet would send you to eternal torment if you don’t love him in precisely the right way?

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    • Those are his terms and I accept them.
      I’m not a Christian and I don’t believe in God-loves-me-unconditionally line of thinking.

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    • So do you accept God’s terms in respect of God permitting widespread suffering?

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    • That’s what Islam means : Submitting to God on his own terms.
      If I didn’t accept God on his own terms I wouldn’t be a Muslim.

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    • So you allow your morality to be dictated to you by a being that doesn’t lift a finger to prevent atrocities and disasters?

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    • I think I’ve already answered this question.

      I believe God on his own terms.

      If this was not the case you’d be justified in accusing me of creating my own god.

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    • With respect, you haven’t really answered the question, but that aside, consider this. We are being asked to place our faith in a being that apparently loves us unconditionally yet permits (or causes, if we are to take God as an omnipotent, omnipresent being) natural disasters on a horrific scale, to name but one area where God goes missing. The only answer I’ve ever seen to that is ‘God works in mysterious ways’. To bring this back around to the main point of this thread, I wonder if that ‘mysterious ways’ morality of God is of any comfort to people caught up in war, disasters or poverty?

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    • I’ve answered your question more than once: I accept and submit to God on his own terms.

      As for God unconditionally loving us, I think I told you that I don’t hold to this idea. It’s Christians who say God’s love is unconditional not Muslims.

      Do you have a better and more comforting solution for people caught in wars, disasters and poverty?

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    • How about material aid for the people caught up in these problems, instead of empty gestures?

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    • First, Muslims are among the group who give the most charity ( thanks to the morality dictated by the God we believe in).

      Second, following the logic of natural selection which atheist subscribe to why interfere with nature?
      Why keep people who can’t survive on their own alive ?
      Wouldn’t you only prolong their suffering by helping them stay alive and continue to breed?
      Just let nature take it’s cause and reestablish a level of
      sustainable population .

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    • Who says atheists subscribe to natural selection? Offering help and support to people in need is not unique to the religious. It is hardly in the interests of anyone to permit or justify murder, violence and poverty.

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    • Who says atheists subscribe to natural selection?
      Evolution is the ace atheists play ad nauseum my friend. I don’t see how anyone can miss out on this. Atheist will tell you that life is the result of natural causes and not the creation of a god.

      The question I asked is why interfere with nature’s mechanism of natural selection?
      Why prolong the suffering of those unfit for survival and perpetuate their genes by keeping them alive?

      Now, don’t get me wrong, I want the less fortunate to get every help from every quarter… I don’t care if it’s from Muslims, atheists, vegans or ludites.

      What I wanted to show is how Atheist materialism will mess you up (I know that you’re an agnostic and not an atheist) and cause you, at the very least to suffer from cognitive dissonance, and at worst turn you into a psychopath.

      For my part, there is no conflict in what I believe and how I live my life. I am, thanks to Islam, in a state of equilibrium.

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    • You conflate evolution with Darwinism *and* with atheism. Believe it or not, they are not all one gigantic entity. You can believe in evolution, and *not* believe in God, and still be a good person, despite the near-constant barrage of attempts to convince people otherwise.

      I know plenty of atheists, many of whom I dare say conduct themselves in a more reasonable manner than some of the more prominent posters on here. The default assumptions about atheism on this site are framed by people with little or no desire to actually educate themselves.

      After all, the religious don’t hold the monopoly on morality. You can believe in evolution and still have clear definitions of right and wrong – how? Because some things are instinctively wrong. Mass-shooters in the America come from all walks of life, as do people who become murderers or violent offenders, all over the world – the likes of the KKK and IS self-identify (whether they’re right or not is a different question entirely) as the most devout of their faith, and yet commit violence. They certainly seem to have loose morals, in spite of their religious upbringings (or maybe, just maybe, because of them, at least in part). What’s happening to the Rohingyas right now is religiously motivated ethnic cleansing.

      So the onus is very much on you to show why atheists are more likely to suffer mental health issues, and to show that all atheists all subscribe to exactly the same trains of thought RE natural selection, evolution.

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    • I’m not conflating Darwinianism with evolution. I used it because it is the most prominent evolutionary model in public perception.
      You can replace Darwinianism with any other evolutionary model and what I’m saying would still stand.

      You claim that not all atheists subscribe to evolution.
      Can you point to a single atheist who doesn’t subscribe to evolution and how this atheist explains the origin of life on earth?( I’m not ignoring the other points you raised and I’ll address them but claiming that atheists don’t hold to evolution is an outrageous claim )

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    • I didn’t claim that atheists don’t subscribe to evolution. I said (and I repeat) ‘show that all atheists all subscribe to exactly the same trains of thought RE natural selection, evolution.’ There are differing theories on evolution, each with evidence of some degree to support them. http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/biology/4-main-theories-of-evolution-explained-with-diagram-and-tables-biology/27220/

      So not only are you conflating Darwinism with evolution, but you are attacking an argument I did not actually make.

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    • Of course not all atheists subscribe to one model of evolution.
      However, all atheists subscribe to evolution. And evolution – just like gravity or electromagnetism – is an impersonal and amoral natural process .

      I’m fine with atheists as long as they stay within the strictly defined boundaries of the naturalistic and materialistic box which they have put themselves into.
      But once they step out of this paradigm and start getting all preachy about good, evil, justice and the sanctity of human life then I’m going to point out their hypocrisy and double standards.

      They can’t have their cake and eat it.

      They can’t say on the one hand:
      “evolution therefore your imaginary flying spaghetti monster sky-god doesn’t exist so quit following this and that arbitrary set of morals rules”
      And on the other hand talk about good, evil, fairness, human dignity etc.

      Good and evil are arbitrary value judgments my friend- why are your arbitrary values better than my arbitrary values.
      Why is your lack of belief in a “sky-god” better than my belief in a “sky-god?

      To recap.
      Atheists staying within their materialistic naturalistic confines;no problemo amigo.
      Atheists getting into metaphysical arguments about good and evil; we will literally blow them out of the waters.

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    • Just because evolution might be classed as ‘amoral’ doesn’t mean atheists are amoral. The concepts of right and wrong, good and evil are not unique to religion – indeed, some of the acts that God might command could be considered evil (one interpretation of Islamic rules on apostasy suggests that anyone who renounces Islam can be put to death – https://islamqa.info/en/20327 – and please note, I am not saying I share that interpretation and I am not saying anyone here shares it either). God, through actions or inactions, permits great suffering, unless we worship God in a very precise way – but of course there is no consensus on what is the ‘right’ way, even within specific religions (the Catholic/Protestant divide in Christianity, the Sunni/Shia divide in Islam).

      Good and evil are not arbitrary judgements – no one is going to suggest that committing murder is good. That isn’t arbitrary, regardless of where that judgement comes from. Atheists do not go around randomly murdering people because they lack morals – https://www.thoughtco.com/atheists-have-no-basis-for-morality-248301

      Do you refrain from killing only because you are told to by God? If so, your hold on your morals is fragile.

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    • If good and evil are not arbitrary could you give me objective evidence that they exist independently of any human social construct?

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    • Within our own species it takes a lot of conditioning to pull the trigger and kill another person, unless there is an inherent instability to begin with (which is not to suggest that anyone with a mental illness will become violent or a killer). We are not naturally drawn toward acts of cruelty; it takes what amounts to programming to encourage people to do that, be it via brainwashing or by societal problems (like for example, what happens when the Israeli government repeatedly abuses the Palestinians).

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    • I didn’t ask you for your views on human nature.
      I asked for objective and independently variable proof of good and evil.
      Demonstrate to me how your values are on par with laws of physics like gravity which are independent of what you and I think.

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    • My values aren’t affected by the laws of physics – they are the result of our evolution as social animals and the empathy that our intelligence has given us.

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    • Are you saying that your moral values are not results of the laws of physics?

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    • They’re the result of evolution and the intelligence that has given us.

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    • Evolution has nothing to say about morality my friend.
      As far as I’m aware, there’s no evolutionary scientists of prominence who make such a claim.
      Evolution is only geared towards survival and reproduction and it is indifferent to morality.

      I’m sorry but you’re just making things up as you go along : In other words you’re acting arbitrarily.

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    • I beg to differ – we evolved as social animals and this has influenced our development as we have become more intelligent. We have then proceeded to learn from previous generations. Compare this to the ‘morality’ from God, that can be interpreted as permitting all sorts of killing.

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    • I’m sorry, but you have a lop sided view of evolution.

      If you’re using evolution to explain morality, what explanation do you have for mankind’s disturbing capacity for evil?
      What explanation do you have for tribal wars, cannibalism, head hunting and genocide ?
      According to evolutionary anthropology we wiped out other humanoids we came across and cooperation was only within the tribal group.
      I can use evolution to come to the opposite conclusion and say we evolved to be aggressive and intelligence is nothing more than an arms race to give us better than deadlier weapons than our rivals and my argument would be equally valid.

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    • You actually make an interesting point – but then again, rivalry with other species (some of which in fact we cooperated with, which as the Neanderthals, where interbreeding was said to take place) is hardly comparable to the tendency of human beings to behave favourably toward one another. Contrast this with wars and violence carried out in God’s name – some of which is even enshrined by religion. Is that moral simply because religion condones it or even encourages it?

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    • Wars and violence in the name of any ideological whether political, economical, racial or religious, has to be explained within the framework of human evolution my friend. You cannot isolate religion and put it in a category of it’s own.

      You used evolution to explain human morality. What explanation do you have for our capacity for evil?
      A theory which can be used at the same time to explain something and the opposite that thing is worthless.

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    • It can be argued that religion is an artificial construct – or it can be argued that God imbued the qualities that you list – that God is in fact responsible for all wars and all violence, for God created us and our nature, and the settings and frameworks for society.

      So your own argument cuts both ways. If we are good because of God we are also capable of being evil because of God (and different religions have different interpretations of what constitutes good and evil, just to further muddy the waters).

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    • My argument doesn’t cut both ways my friend. I have been consistent throughout our discussion.
      When you repetedly me if I based my moral values from what you judged to be the teachings of an arbitrary being I told you straight up I did. I didn’t try to sugarcoat or explain away or excuse my position.

      You’re the one who took the high ground and made the claim that your values are part of the natural order.

      As it stands now it’s you whose values are arbitrary because they are built on the very shaky grounds(i.e morality is a product of evolution ).

      My values transcends historical , geographical, cultural and political parameters.
      Yours, on the other hand is contingent on evolution. If society evolves into some kind of dystopian nightmare you’ll flow with the stream because your definition of morality is tied to what you define as evolution.

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    • @musegele: An analysis that flawed speaks for itself. Tossing out “soul-crushing” and “depressing” don’t buff that turd substantially either.
      Try something easier (I should think) and explain justice as a moral subject – and what price redeems the holocaust. And how that price might be paid.
      That pertains to everything claimed in the meme. Give it some substance, if you can.

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  3. Keithnoback

    We can talk about justice, morality and redeeming the holocaust, Ihave no problem with that.

    But before that, do you agree that the universe is an indifferent and amoral place which is governed by impersonal laws?
    Do you agree that what the Nazis did to the Jews is simply the mechanism which ensures that the fittest and strongest survive?

    Once we’ve established this, we can then move on to discussing the points you raised.

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    • Well, that’s the rub.
      Sentences 2 and 3 are so off base that, to borrow from Nagel, they are not even wrong.

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    • I asked you a straightforward question and I’d appreciate a straight answer.

      A) The universe and the laws that govern it doesn’t give a damn about what some primates on some insignificant speck of a planet think about justice and morality or anything else.
      B) There are things which go beyond pure materialism like good, evil and justice.

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    • Well, I guess we’re even, then. Except that the subtext of my question was a little less hostile and insistently misrepresentative.
      Look, you’ve made it clear that you haven’t the background or the inclination to understand what I will say. I have seen this dog and pony show before.
      If you want to know what I think about these subjects, I have quite a bit on my blog.
      “Curse You Peter Higgs” is a good place to start.

      Buena suerte.

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    • ” _Well, I guess we’re even even, then_ ….”

      I beg to differ.

      You’ve been deflecting and giving a wide berth to the cold logic of an impersonal and amoral universe .
      There’s nothing “even” by any stretch of the imagination between how we view existence .

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