Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nothing At All

I am not one of those kinds of atheists who believes. When theists claim atheism is a faith, I understand what they’re saying, because I have also witnessed religious non-believers.

I make a clear distinction between atheism and Atheism. Simple atheism is nothing: it is not a faith, it is not a religion, it is really not even a stance so much as a lack of one. As far as I know, everyone is born this way. So far, no one has popped out of the womb with their hands clasped, head bowed, muttering Hail Mary’s (maybe because no one has shoved a rosary up there since “The Exorcist” in 1973?).

While babies are born atheist, they are also igtheist: completely lacking any understanding of what gods are. Once the concept of gods is explained, one ceases to be an igtheist, but rejecting the idea as false is not what it takes to be an Atheist.

Atheism, also known as Atheism™ and Athei$m, is essentially a religion. There are books, t-shirts, mouse pads, coffee mugs, and inflatable Richard Dawkins sex dolls to purchase. There are weekly meetings one ought to attend in order to show support for those like you, and even special classes for your kids that will teach them how to be just like mommy and daddy.

However, atheists have no interest in that stuff. Personally, I was turned off by religions for doing those very same things. I can’t even say “there are no gods,” because I can’t prove that. I have simply never experienced anything divine, nor has anyone presented me convincing evidence that there are deities of any sort.

Like most atheists, I am as unimpressed by the idea of religion as I am by the idea of gods. I think religion is a fundamentally flawed system. I understand religions brought us this far, but there is no evidence it can take us much further. Religion was the cradle of philosophy, but we have long since out grown our crib.

I see no future in Atheism, only the forming of a new army to square off on the ideological battlefield. I prefer the idea of being a part of no group but the whole of humanity, the only group that really means anything. Sure, most of us are nuts and think we are talking to magical beings, but try getting dolphins to make you a sandwich or letting a dog proof-read your blog post.

Until my non-hominid society materializes, we must make due. And yes, I consider vegetarians to be traitors, and I feel I should legally be allowed to eat them because I am technically higher on the food chain.

15 comments:

  1. >>"However, atheists have no interest in that stuff. Personally, I was turned off by religions for doing those very same things."

    This, I think, is why you view the outspoken, assertive New Atheism as a religion. Although, I admit, I'm basing my resentment of your "atheism - Athei$m" distinction on an assumption.

    So I'll ask. Did you deconvert after being raised religious, or were you raised agnostic/atheist, viewing religion as nothing more than weekly meetings, Sunday School classes, and missionaries knocking on your door?

    I'm assuming you were raised without religion and found the dogma and proselytization irritating, and resent the Dawkins-style Atheists because they (superficially!) look the same. But again, I'm just assuming. It just seems like most people who would equate this supposedly New Atheism with religion don't really know what religion is in the first place.

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  2. I was raised Catholic. I know religion when I see it, and the principle feature of religion is its self-serving nature. I see plenty of people organizing as Atheists, which defeats the purpose.

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  3. you're a perfect example of when PHILOSOPHY becomes an ENEMY OF LIFE...

    http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2010/06/playing-mystery-card.html

    not quite samantha with her *supernatural spit*, eh?


    this isn't one of your little WORD GAMES...

    blasphemy is a DEATH SENTENCE

    you people actually BELIEVE the BS you preach!

    GOD 1 - atheists 0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQcNiD0Z3MU


    Atheists,
    you are ENEMIES OF GOD AND ARE GOING TO BE ANNIHILATED...

    Repent and turn to God or be destroyed...

    YOU HAVE NO CHOICE...

    my interpretation of the STATUE FIRE... it symbolizes the SPIRITUAL DEATH of atheism...

    http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/topofthetimes/national/la-naw-0616-jesus-statue-lightning-20100616,0,4295974.story

    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/6/16/1276680110544/The-King-of-Kings-statue--005.jpg

    http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2010-06/54332292.jpg


    http://friendlyatheist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/butterjesus-1.jpg

    PRINCESS DI IS WEARING A NEW DRESS!

    http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/speechesandarticles/a_speech_by_hrh_the_prince_of_wales_titled_islam_and_the_env_252516346.html
    ______________________________
    http://skepticblog.org/2010/04/06/would-i-ever-pray-for-a-miracle/

    Shermer, I WANT TO SEE YOU BEG FOR A MIRACLE...
    ___________________
    we do like your music Lady Gaga, but...

    The B**BQUAKE - 911

    Let me show you the FATE OF TRAITORS...

    http://www.loiterink.com/photos/products/182_3424_500x500.jpg

    they are incapable of telling the difference between SCIENTIFIC *FACT* AND
    RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL *TRUTH*... FATAL ERROR!

    they also preach a *VALUE FREE SCIENCE* called *POSITIVISM* that ignores the
    inequalities of wealth and power in capitalist civilization...

    for a sample taste of PZ Myers' GARBAGE...

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/06/sunday_sacrilege_imagine_no_he.php

    HIJACKING IN PROGRESS!!!

    http://hawaiiwebgroup.com/maui-design/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/website-hijacking.jpg

    HIJACKING IN PROGRESS!!!

    how can these HEADLESS IDIOTS BET AGAINST GOD!!!
    ________________________________________
    what happens when you LOSE Pascal's Wager...

    http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/pascals-wager.htm
    ____________
    you FIGHT PAPER MONSTERS...

    the blood and bodies of the atheist movement...

    you mofos killed MICKEY MOUSE!!!!

    this has more TRUTH then what Dawkins, Randi, Harris, Myers, and Shermer
    combined have said in their entire lives...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=5R2wE8Sduhs&playnext_from=TL&videos=hht1U_19anc&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_fresh%2Bdiv-1r-3-HM

    they tried to BULLDOZE the entire METAPHYSICAL DIMENSION...
    they LOST THE WAR......

    you have FORFEIT YOUR SOUL, shermer... you have become an object in the material world, as you WISHED...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUB4j0n2UDU

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/7/11792994_ffaaee87fa.jpg

    we're gonna smash that TV...

    They had become ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE AND OF GOD...

    you pushed too much and *CROSSED THE LINE*

    degenerates (PZ) or children (HEMANT) - ATHEISTS!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRRg2tWGDSY

    do you have anything to say, you STUPID LITTLE F*CKER?

    how about I tell you, Mr. Shermer, EVERYTHING YOU THINK ABOUT THE WORLD is
    *WRONG*

    THE BOOBQUAKE - 911!
    ****************************************************
    http://dissidentphilosophy.lifediscussion.net/philosophy-f1/the-boobquake-911-t1310.htm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx7XNb3Q9Ek

    RUN, ATHEISTS, RUN!!!
    -------------------
    http://www.4degreez.com/misc/dante-inferno-information.html

    the 9th and FINAL RING of Dante's Inferno is designed for little blaspheming traitors like you...

    but at least FREE AIR CONDITIONING is included!

    ReplyDelete
  4. DM, you're pretty good at copy-pasting, aren't you? One would think you would have made a rational point in all that text there, but unfortunately I was disappointed. Since you're such a fan of linking, I'll direct you to this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0

    As for the content of the post, I still wouldn't call "Atheism" (as you capitalize it) a religion. I see it as a more aggressive effort to broadcast a viewpoint or, at least, show the world that we do exist and should be listened to. (Even if many people would disagree with the latter). It isn't a religion in the same way a band having merchandice, concerts, and CDs isn't a religion.

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  5. @ Ginx:

    >>"I know religion when I see it, and the principle feature of religion is its self-serving nature."

    I'd argue that the principle feature of religion is the enslavement of people by both guilt and unquestionable authority. And if you've ever attended one of those weekly Atheism™ meetings, you'll know they're characterized by neither; we're arguing about stuff all the time.

    If being self-serving makes you a religion, then having a blog makes you a religious leader.

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  6. Christians bicker amongst themselves. I'm not sure I've ever seen any signficant number of them all agree on anything, besides there being a God (and the nature of this god is very much in dispute as well).

    Acting as a group in that group's self-interest, where the group's primary cohesive idea relates to the concept of Gods, is what makes a group religious. Acting as an individual in your self-interest makes you human. One can be part of many groups working for greater goals than merely religious ones.

    There's also a difference between an Atheist group and a secular group. They may do some of the same things (removing god from the pledge and money, for example), but a secular group would hopefully never take it upon themselves to promote Atheism or work to stop people from being religious.

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  7. @Drew: Some bands may as well be religions unto themselves. If the band celebrated special holidays in their honor, they'd be on their way.

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  8. "Christian" refers to a huge number of religions. Mormonism is a religion, Catholicism is a religion, but both are "Christian," and both certainly (I'll admit) bicker with each other.

    However, there's no bickering amongst Mormons or Catholics in their own respective groups (and if there is, those bickering are reprimanded or ostracized), so I think my argument about enslavement by guilt and dogmatic authority still stands.

    In regards to your comment:

    >>"Acting as a group in that group's self-interest, where the group's primary cohesive idea relates to the concept of Gods, is what makes a group religious."

    Do you mean something like this?

    1) Group A promotes belief X.
    2) Belief X primarily concerns god(s).
    3) Therefore, Group A is a religion.

    Am I reading you correctly?

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  9. atheism or Atheism, however you spell it, is the same. It's the lack of theistic belief. Adeism is the lack of belief in any sort of deity.

    Anti-theism, my brand of choice, is the conviction that theism is a threat to the survival of mankind, and that education and brainwashing of theistic masses is essential to save the planet and ensure world peace.

    There's a big difference between a religion and a conviction.

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  10. You must be crazy if you think there are no Mormons or Catholics who bicker amongst themselves. There are Catholics who lobby the Vatican to allow women to be priests and for priests to be allowed to marry. They are not excommunicated for asking or even for saying the church should do those things.

    If you formed a group of people whose common cause for gathering is a lack of belief in gods, I consider that a religious group. If you gather people together because they are skeptics or scientists or supporters of a secular society, that is not religious. There is a diversity in religious affiliation among skeptics and scientists, and many religious folks understand the need for a secular society. Religion is not the defining characteristic for groups of this nature.

    @HLTGTA: Anti-theism is most certainly a religion, and an iconoclastic one at that. Seems pretty much like monotheistic Christianity and Islam, wiping other faiths from the face of the Earth... you know, I think the world is a richer place for the mythologies and monuments of the ancient world that survived the monotheists and their destruction.

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  11. @Ginx: I see the logic of your reasoning, but I still disagree. Anti-theism is not any more of a religion than anti-republicanism or anti-apartheid. A religion, by definition, involves belief in supernatural crap. None of that here.

    I love mythology. I grew up wondering if Thor could out-thunder Zeus, or if Herakles could beat the shit out of Cuchulainn. And I've always wanted to visit the ruins of ancient Egypt. The difference between mythology and a religion, is that no one seriously believes in mythology anymore. It may have been religion hundreds (if not thousands) of years ago, but that is ancient history. Now, the myths and legend have transitioned into the realm of fantasy literature. This is where I want the Bible to go; in the bronze-age fantasy section of the library. I don't want to burn Bibles or burn down churches, because then I would be no better than the conquistadors who destroyed untold amounts of Maya and Aztec art and writing, or the Taliban that blew up these big statues of the Buddha. And that would be a terrible loss indeed. I just think that the world would be a more peaceful place if people kept their anti-science jingoistic theism out of sight of the public, and maybe someday, the Bible will find its place between the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter.

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  12. "I just think that the world would be a more peaceful place if people kept their anti-science jingoistic theism out of sight of the public..."

    I'm not antitheist by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd agree with you here: I'd like to see religions, and particularly American Christianity, show a lot more tolerance and a lot less tribalism. (To be fair, plenty of groups do, but they're easy to overlook precisely because they aren't out being obnoxious.)

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  13. "Our policy is we have no policy." Or worse, "Our policy is that those with policies are are wrong and we need to break people of their dependency on policies."

    The key to any religion is not belief in gods, but adherence to a paradox.

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  14. Sooo.. I think the word your looking for is agnostic no?

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  15. I tend to think of agnostics as atheists who don't care. I do care, I am just not of the opinion that atheism should become a religion.

    To me, someone who lacks a belief in gods and knows a great deal about theology, mythology, and religion is an atheist. Someone who lacks a belief in god while remaining largely ignorant is an agnostic. Agnostic literally means "Not knowing," and I do not identify as someone who is uncertain about the implausibility of standard god theories.

    I know this is not an academic definition, but it is my view of agnosticism. I feel "agnostic" is vaguely insulting, but I understand why people would like to use it or apply it.

    ReplyDelete

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