The Atheist: A Second-Class Citizen?

What if God, the being created by man during the Bronze Age, didn’t exist? What if God, just like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, was a made up entity? What if Man created the concept of a God? Can you imagine your world and how different it might be if there was no God? Well, Richard Dawkins can.

In the wake of the release of his latest book, The God Delusion, Dawkins has been creating quite the stir. Dawkins was interviewed for the latest issue of Wired magazine about a “new atheism.” I found the article truly fascinating. And I can’t stop thinking about it.

I have often said, especially recently, that I wish it were possible for a scientist to disprove the existence of any God. It’s usually when I become frustrated by the crimes of religious fanatics. Sometimes, it’s just because I’m tired of people living their life based on a set of rules that were created by men who lived back in 2000 BC. I get tired of people preaching to me, telling me I’m living in sin. I think, “If only we could disprove the existence of your God! Perhaps then you’d stop killing and chiding people.”

“There’s an infinite number of things that we can’t disprove,” he said. “You might say that because science can explain just about everything but not quite, it’s wrong to say therefore we don’t need God. It is also, I suppose, wrong to say we don’t need the Flying Spaghetti Monster, unicorns, Thor, Wotan, Jupiter, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. There’s an infinite number of things that some people at one time or another have believed in, and an infinite number of things that nobody has believed in. If there’s not the slightest reason to believe in any of those things, why bother? The onus is on somebody who says, I want to believe in God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, fairies, or whatever it is. It is not up to us to disprove it.”

Seriously, what is the difference between the Christian God and the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

The “new atheists” want to stop simply disagreeing with a certain doctrine or sitting aside quietly while others practice. Instead, they want to stop tolerating religion at all. Their problem is with not a single religion, but religiosity itself.

Dawkins states in the God Delusion: “As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is hard to withhold respect from the faith of Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers.”

How does one safely set the boundaries of insanity? For some, talking in tongues might be considered totally out there, perhaps a little crazy. For some believers, though, such a practise is merely experiencing direct contact with God. How does a person determine the boundaries of acting in the name of religion?

Dawkins states: “I think we’re in the same position the gay movement was in a few decades ago. There was a need for people to come out. The more people who came out, the more people had the courage to come out. I think that’s the case with atheists. They are more numerous than anybody realizes.”

“Not a single member of either house of Congress admits to being an atheist. It just doesn’t add up. Either they’re stupid, or they’re lying. And have they got a motive for lying? Of course they’ve got a motive! Everybody knows that an atheist can’t get elected.”

Are atheists frightened to come out (so to speak)? Surely there must be one atheist in Congress. I think Dawkins must be right. As he stated about the gay movement, most of them probably are too afraid to say anything because of the stigma: God forbid (ha!) someone in the public eye chooses not to believe in a God. More importantly, and perhaps the strangest part to grasp is this: Are Atheists, in fact, viewed as second-class citizens in the United States? Are Atheists afraid to step forward and declare their beliefs, which is not to believe? Are Atheists living in silence? Are you an Atheist?

Last night, after I read the article, I lay awake trying to imagine a world without a God. I found it downright impossible. I found myself wondering if it were possible at all for a girl raised catholic to ever not believe in God, at least conceptually. Once you’re introduced to the concept it seems impossible, given we can’t disprove the existence of such, to give up belief. Even though I did give up on believing in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth-fairy, (had I not, surely people would think me a bit silly) giving up on the belief of God seems like something one gets blasted for. So why do it? Why put yourself out there if you’re going to get attacked?

Am I ready to say to all those in my life who are believers that what they believe in is something I totally dismiss? I’m not sure. That’s a powerful statement and one that might cause quite an argument. Am I starting to believe that there is no God, that God is actually made up just like the Easter Bunny, The Flying Spaghetti Man, and Santa Clause? Unfortunately, the older I get the more and more that I do.

37 Comments

  1. you might enjoy terry eagleton’s” take. i fully agree with dawkins about the stigma against public atheism. Do they mention the bright movement in that article? I think it’s a fantastic idea, with a terrible, terrible name.

    Eagleton’s review is fantastic though, there is a lot at stake that dawkins just doesn’t take into consideration and as a result he often comes off as having at best weak philosophy and at worst abysmal theology.

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  2. here’s a link to the bright movement site.

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  3. I’m not really sure about the definition of ‘atheist”, but here’s my take.

    I believe there is something out there… pardon the X-files sounding statement. I don’t believe it’s a man, I don’t believe it gives a shit about what we do, I don’t believe it reigns over all and has a comfy little cloud for us to sit on “up in heaven”, when we die.

    I believe in a reincarnation of sorts. I believe that there must be something other than what we can disprove with science. There’s just too much that cannot be explained (at this point in time). Perhaps it’s just me looking for something other than what I see here, I don’t know.

    All in all, I’m not quite sure how I feel about all of this. I was raised in an unreligious household, but now my mom attends a Lutheran church. My dad was raised Anglican, and now he just keeps to himeself and doesn’t really discuss religion much. Me? I’m just here to do my best and try not to piss too many nice folks off. The pissy folks? I’m quite content pissing them off.

    Anyhow, I’m rambling.

    I do believe, however, that if the concept of religion disappeared, there just might be a tad of chaos. I think a lot of people would lose their ‘faith’ in life and lose the point of life. I think it could get quite messy.

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  4. For the record, I think some of the most interesting and profound and moving points come from rambles (as you put it). Please feel free to say whatever you want on here.

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  5. Thanks.

    P.S. I think I should pick this one up! Sounds like a truly fascinating read, and right up my alley.

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  6. If religion disappeared right now, all at once, I am certain there would be chaos, if anything someone relied on were taken away – just like that – there would be a certain amount of chaos. But that won’t happen, thankfully.

    I think that if it were to eventually disappear, however, like if more and more people began to move away from teaching religion to their children there wouldn’t be chaos at all. I believe deep down inside that humans are inherently kind and compassionate, God or not, people would continue to be kind and giving and caring, well, as much as they tend to be now.

    Question, does anyone out there think that if there were no God people would be happier?

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  7. “Question, does anyone out there think that if there were no God people would be happier?”

    Standard TJ answer: some would, some wouldn’t.

    ;)

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  8. “I think that if it were to eventually disappear, however, like if more and more people began to move away from teaching religion to their children there wouldn’t be chaos at all.”

    I think religion is disappearing bit by bit. My personal belief (and I know I’m far from original on this one) is that religion was a means of controlling people. Now, it would seem, like there are other ways to do that.

    If religion is disappearing a bit, then radical religion is taking up a bit of that slack, in my opinion.

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  9. He makes some good points, but as an agnostic I dislike the hardline stance on the truth of atheism.

    The Bright stuff reminds me of deism.

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  10. i’m not religious at all.. essentially agnostic..

    …BUT the catholic guilt is probably the only think keeping me from becoming a truly horrible person :P

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  11. Keith, totally funny. Although, how many times have you found yourself becoming truly annoying because of that guilt? Ask Tobyjoe how freaking frustrating and seemingly crazy I can be because of that shit. :]

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  12. I know for a fact I have been unbearably annoying because of that guilt. I probably have ulcers because of that guilt!

    In general, I hate what religion makes people do – I hate how it separates people. But it’s funny that my first instinct, when I need something to happen, or when I have to get on a plane, or whatever, my first instinct, the thing that comforts me, is praying. I don’t even necessarily know to what or who I am praying to, I just do it. I think it’s hard-wired after being raised Catholic and going to Catholic school for 12 years.

    My husband was raised Catholic, became born-again, left the faith entirely, and is now staunchly atheist. My grandmother is a devout Catholic, but she is also one of the most open, liberal, accepting people I have ever known. Her faith is so personal to her, and it’s something I have a great deal of respect for, which is probably why I have a difficult time saying that the God she loves and believes in just flat out doesn’t exist, because for her, he is very real.

    As for me, I still haven’t reached any conclusions. I don’t know that I ever will.

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  13. “Are Atheists, in fact, viewed as second-class citizens in the United States?” I don’t think so. There may be a stigma in certain circles, but not second class status.

    “Are Atheists afraid to step forward and declare their beliefs, which is not to believe?” Not at all

    Are Atheists living in silence? No

    Are you an Atheist? Hells Yeah!

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  14. I haven’t read Dawkins yet, but I read a review in the NY Times this Sunday. It comes at an interesting time in my life.

    When I was a teenager I thought briefly about becoming a rabbi. Ultimately I abandoned the idea, and I have only been to temple a couple of times since high school.

    Then this summer a number of things happened to make me reevaluate my relationship with God. Over the past few years Kerry and I have discussed the fact that we were raising our children outside of any faith, and I think we both sensed a spiritual absence from our lives (she’s a recovering Catholic). So we started going to the church around the block from our house (in fact, you can see its steeple in the background of one of the pictures I emailed you of the storm we had here in Buffalo two weeks ago).

    Anyway, I find myself now standing not just closer to God than I have in years, but closer to Christianity than I have ever been in my life—and this gives me as much concern as it does comfort. Does this mean I’m suddenly adopting a faith in some silly magical and mystical entity and performer of miracles? Or that I’m adopting some judgemental perspective? Hardly. Quite the contrary, in fact.

    I don’t want to bore you and your readers with the doubts and questions that I’ve wrestled with over the years. I will say this, though. There are Christians out there who are not judgemental. There are churches out there that welcome one and all. There are intelligent, generous, articulate people who have faith in God but can also stand in a pulpit and observe that quite possibly more evil has been done in the world in the name of Christ than good.

    I’ll never become a scripture quoting, dogmatic fundamentalist. I will never be an evangelist. To be perfectly honest, I feel a little embarrassed “testifying” here.

    It’s wrong to condemn others, to make them feel bad for any reason, to raise oneself up by hurting people, to take from them in order to feel better. But recognizing, embracing, and celebrating God’s love does not require that we hurt others. Quite the contrary. A Christian church does not have to be a self-congratulatory, righteous mob of uptight and narrow-minded prudes. Some congregations are communities that come together in the name of God for love, hope and service, because they feel that the world can be a horrifying place for the unlucky, unforunate and unloved, and being part of such a community makes us hope that in some way one can help make the world a better place for all.

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  15. Man invented ‘God’. That’s not to say that a God doesn’t exist, or didn’t already exist, but the varying concepts of a superior being that people worship is pretty clearly rooted in man’s own thoughts.

    I think its pretty safe to say that man invented Christianity too. Jesus was a nice guy. He very well may have been the son of god, or he might not have been—but that doesn’t really matter: he offered a lot of amazing lessons that people would be smart to live by .

    Unfortunately, 2000 years of incredibly corrupt polticians and religious have tended to distort his stories and teachings- either re-interpreting, re-translating, and sometimes even re-writing as they see fit, for their own political and economic gains.

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  16. I agree with you 100%, Jonathan. The hypocrisy of the “devout” undermines the message. But it seems to me that to seek a proof for atheism so that we can find more reason to reassure ourselves that we’re not hypocrites feels like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Do we throw away God because many people who proclaim their belief are bad people, or do we do the harder work of facing the hypocrites or and making sure we’re not hypocrites ourselves?

    Regardless of where one stands on the divinity of Jesus, this is precisely what he was doing when he through the money-changers out of the Temple. The hypocrisy of the politicians and high priests threatened the very purpose of the Temple. It keeps people away from God and makes atheism look like the morally superior choice.

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  17. I was raised Catholic. Before I could even really think for myself, I was told and began to believe in a God and Jesus and the whole shebang. Then, sometime in my teenage years, I started to drift away from the church. (Hello “other things!” if you know what I mean). When I go to church now it’s usually on Christmas and it’s usually with my mother (whom I love dearly and have a huge amount of respect for). While there, I am usually filled with awesome feelings of nostalgia and peace but I attribute that mainly with the fact that I had the most spectacular upbringing and therefore have a lot of great feelings toward family, the Christmas season, and the smells and sights of church (especially around the holiday season). I’m not saying church, community, and a collective belief in God is necessarily something I want to do away with or frown upon. I’m just not sure I believe anymore that there’s a higher power who will eventually “work it all out for us.” Certain doctrines put too much in the afterlife and totally disregard this life and that really upsets me because this one could be and can be and should be something to cherish. I guess I figured that if there were less thought on what may eventually come, people might pay more attention to what is.

    It’s impossible for me to get rid of this notion of God altogether. Perhaps it was because my foundation is so much solidified with that idea. I don’t know. For the longest time I put a lot of thought and worth on this idea of fate. For a while I thought I was becoming a fatalist. But when someone would say, “So you think your life is already planned out for you? That you’re just following a predestined path to get there?” The answer to that was and always will be no way. I don’t believe that at all. But sometimes there are weird coincidences that make me hope there’s something more.

    In the back of my mind, I might even return to church after my parents die in order to feel closer to them. I get the feeling that I will miss them so greatly, I will look to something like mass to feel that they’re still with me.

    I can’t help but wonder sometimes if people created God because they’re terrified of dying.

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  18. Bob emailed me another very poignant article from the Washington Post about Sam Harris. Click me

    “Religion doesn’t make people bigots,” says Reza Aslan, author of “No God but God,” a history of Islam. “People are bigots and they use religion to justify their ideology.”

    Worth the read for those who still care to discuss this.

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  19. Wow, how did I miss this debate?! I can see the library from my work window. (Not for long!) I should have gone.

    “If the Koran were exactly the same,” he said, toward the end of the night, “and there were just one line added to it, and the line said, ‘If you see a red-haired woman on your lawn at sunset, kill her,’ I can tell you what kind of world we’d live in. We’d live in a world where red-haired women would be killed often. We’d live in a world where people like yourself” – and here Harris gestures to his opponent, Oliver McTernan – “would say, ‘That’s not the true Islam.’ Twenty women in Baghdad would have their heads cut off and someone would come forward and say, ‘This has nothing to do with Islam. Some of them were strawberry blond. Some of them were strangled.”

    Yikes.

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  20. I find that the discussion is lumping religion and beliefs. If you believe there is a god- do you follow a ‘religion’ or just say yeah there is something greater than me or there is no one and we just are?
    Discussion occurs when one is willing to say its your beliefs I might disagree with or your practice of your beliefs (dogma perhaps)rather than just saying go believe that a cat is better to worship than a big man on a cloud just don’t make me follow your beliefs or religion.

    fyi- its still early and perhaps this is pre-coffee rambling.

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  21. religion brings hope to those looking into the afterlife and the people are trying to follow the roadmap to get there. this is why religion is usually blamed for “controling” people….they know where they’re going and they are damn sure on how you’re supposed to get there. they think their maps is the best.

    politicians are spreading hope in the current life telling constituents that their roadmap is the best way to get to “X” while still on this planet, maybe even trying to corner the market on all hope…typically it’s just false hope and outdated maps.

    atheists have no hope and present no direction or maps. the maps apparently don’t exist and they’ve never heard of where you’re going and they can only tell you where you are.

    agnostics want to go everywhere but aren’t sure how to get there, but they’re optomistic and willing to look around.

    i’m 100% agnostic but i sure hope there’s a god……and every funeral i go to i have to remember not to laugh or tell how darwinists think that we are nothing more than worm food(minus the formaldahyde) ; )

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  22. Hi, I’m Dietsch, Jenblossom’s hubby, the ex-Catholic, ex-born again atheist.

    Wired usually sits unread in my apartment these days, although I used to read it cover to cover. But when this issue came in, I read the New Atheism article almost immediately and started thinking about it pretty seriously.

    For those who haven’t read it, it’s online here, by the way:

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/atheism.html

    Look back at the way the commenter Charlie describes himself and his faith. I knew a lot of people like than during my born-again years, and they’re the reason that I can’t go as far as Dawkins and Sam Harris do. (In fact, from what I’ve read of Harris’s books, I have a hard time taking him seriously at all. But I haven’t actually read him, so I can’t fully judge his ideas, obviously. I have read Dawkins, though not his new book.)

    I’m probably going to have to do some more serious thinking about this. On the one hand, I do agree with Dawkins that this is a “battle,” if you will between naturalism and supernaturalism, and I know what side I’m on.

    Another new book of interest, but again, one I’ve yet to read, is Ann Druyan’s new collection of her late husband’s speeches on the relationship between religion and science. Although I suspect everyone here knows who Druyan’s husband was, it was Carl Sagan.

    Druyan, by the way, will be talking up this book next month with Neil Tyson at AMNH. If I can get tix in time, I’m planning to see it. I think Sagan’s take on it is more conciliatory than either Dawkins or Harris and, in the end, more aligned with my own views.

    Chandler tried linking to Terry Eagleton, above, and I don’t think the link worked (at least, it doesn’t work on my screen). Eagleton’s remarks are here, if anyone’s interested:

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/eagl01_.html

    He raises good points, too, and in the end, I think the battle/war terminology is overblown. It’s certainly true that if Jen and I have a kid, we’ll have to discuss how to raise said child.

    But aside from that (major) issue, I’m happy to quietly be an atheist, to read up on cosmology and evolution, and to follow my own conscience, without worrying too much about how others live.

    Wow, this is all very muddled, but I’m glad you raised the issue, Mi.

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  23. Not muddled at all.

    And thank you for letting me know about Druyan’s future talk. I will try and get tickets as well. Sounds fascinating. Truly.

    While I think Harris sounds a bit more radical than I might relate to, I kind of appreciate the approach. Is it wrong for an Atheist to take his or her belief to such radical levels? Perhaps he is trying to prove a point? I don’t know. I’m willing to be that he is. And for some that’s probably a turn off. For others, it might just be the voice they were looking for.

    The irony it seems is that many are kind of idolizing him. That part made me giggle a little bit.

    In the end, everyone seems to need someone to worship. I think it’s the degrees that vary.

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  24. Oh, and I fixed chandler’s link. Thanks for pointing out my error. (I tried to fix it yesterday and screwed it up.)

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  25. Charlie-

    Personally, I don’t believe in a atheism. I’m a devout agnostic. I don’t think you can prove a god does or does not exist.

    But I do think you can prove that certain specific ‘God’ s do not exist.

    For instance: there’s no way that the Catholic God made man—men made him (very smart, devious, and evil men, in fact). One of the core concepts of the religion is the Papacy and the divine right ( i forget the exact term ). But to oversimplify things, if you’re ‘Catholic’ it means you believe that the Pope is infallible, and carrying out God’s wishes. That includes a long history of Pope’s who ascended to power by killing their predecssor or bribing their way in; far more who used the office to line their own pockets ( indulgences? come on! ); and launched wars / murderous rampages to quash opposition (Crudades, Inquisitions , etc ). I could go on, but I think that illustrates the point.

    That’s not to say that the Catholic God can’t be based on a real God… but saying that the Catholic God made man is like saying you’re a Vegetarian—but eat fish, and chicken, and sometimes red meat: you’re just redefining and reappropriating things into a context you want, and ignoring the obvious.

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  26. Jonathan, I think you’re above comment is guilty of what a lot of people are frustated with regarding Harris’s points.

    If you read that link I posted above, you’ll see what I mean.

    Harris has grossly oversimplified scripture, they say. He has drawn far-reaching conclusions based on the beliefs of radicals. As bad, his stand against organized religion is so unconditional that it’s akin to the intolerance he claims he is fighting. If there is such a thing as a secular fundamentalist, they contend, Harris is it. Even some who agree with his conclusions about the dangers of fanaticism find his argument ham-handed.

    Or I misunderstood your point entirely. It’s happened before. I tend to skim and then reread after I post a response. I’m a moron like that.

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  27. Harris makes his points based on radicals—i’m making my point based on the official doctrine.

    The RCC manadates the papacy is infallible and the will of ‘God’

    At the same time, the papacy is responsible for some of the most corrupt, amoral, and illicit acts ever committed – and directly correlated to the personal gain of the pope.

    I’m not saying that there is no god, I am saying that there is no RCC ‘God’—that figure was clearly devised by man. While he may have been based on a real god at one point, at some time the definition of ‘God’ that catholics worshipped was recontextualized from a spiritual entity into one that empowered and preserved church heads.

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  28. from the writer in Wired…..”We discuss what it might look like, this world without God. “There would be a religion of reason,” Harris says. “We would have realized the rational means to maximize human happiness. We may all agree that we want to have a Sabbath that we take really seriously – a lot more seriously than most religious people take it. But it would be a rational decision, and it would not be just because it’s in the Bible. We would be able to invoke the power of poetry and ritual and silent contemplation and all the variables of happiness so that we could exploit them. Call it prayer, but we would have prayer without bullshit.” ……..??

    geee sounds good to me, i can pray to nothing while expecting nothing in return and not have to pray to a guy /girl who might help me….i can work and be happy all the time except i get a day off, i was always pissed that the church could tell me not to work on sunday, who the hell do they think they are?????, now this guy can tell me when i don’t have to work, i hope he says tuesday, i hate working on tuesday!

    this guy’s insane, he has to believe that people inherently”know” that religion is the root of all evil but are living in denial. yes, look at all the violence commited in the name of religion. hmmmmmmm well, look at all the violence done “not” in the name of religion….will that stop when religion is eliminated? doubt it. this is silly utopia crap

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  29. not that he isn’t right! hehehehe

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  30. ending religion would end violence instigated by religion—it would obviously have no effect on violence not associated with religion.

    unless, of course, we decide that religion is the only source of moral/ethical values , and that violence would increase in the abscence of religion. I don’t think that would entirely happen – there are plenty of highly ethical/moral atheits/agnostics in the world, but to be honest, religion does a damn good job of keeping people in check. (“don’t do that, or you’ll BURN IN HELL!”)

    what irks me more and more about the article, is that he has an almost religious approach to non-religion. He keeps talking about reason and rationale, but you simply can’t reason or rationalize away the possibility of a higher power. In order to say “There is no God”, you need to suspend a lot of reasoning and jump to a conclusion based on belief. That’s religion, not science or fact.

    I think thats why I have trouble talking to atheists—they tend to build a religion around non-religion.

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  31. Jonathan,

    In the same way that Dawkins and Harris are mistaken, in lumping radical Christians and Muslims in with mainstream believers, I would argue that you’re mistaken if you lump all atheists in with Dawkins and Harris. My atheism is a deeply personal choice based on years of reading and thinking. It’s not something I’d ever bludgeon someone with or evangelize about. It’s simply one part of a broad world-view.

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  32. I’d argue that I’m not.

    If you’re an atheist, you believe that there is no god.

    You dont question, you don’t express disbelief, you don’t doubt—you express an actual belief. While that belief may stem from logically rationalized disbelief in god, in order for you to ‘believe’ it, you must make a leap of faith and suspend reason—exactly in the same manner that someone who believes in the existence of god does.

    It is impossible to prove the existence or unexistence of ‘god’. You can’t do it. If anyone could, then everyone would be under 1 relgion or non-religion – and that religion would be much less about beliefs, and entirely based on fact.

    Atheism and insert_religion_here are just 2 sides to the same coin. And thats why I have trouble talking to both.

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  33. You’re making a lot of assumptions about my atheism, but even though you’re having trouble talking to me, I will say this: I’m an atheist because I see no reason to believe in God. That’s it.

    I see no room for a god or gods in the universe or in my life, so I’m an atheist. Why does that make me unreasoning?

    I don’t know anyone who believes in Jupiter, Ra, Bres, Loki, or Itzpapalotl. Have they suspended reason or made a leap of faith?

    What about you? Do you believe in Jupiter, Ra, Bres, Loki, Itzpapalotl? If not, are you irrational? Unreasoning? Hard to talk to?

    I’m not dogmatic about my atheism. Hell, except for conversations like this, I seldom even mention it, let alone try to convince anyone else.

    I don’t know what I’ve done to lead you to believe that I’m as uncharitable as Falwell, as violent as bin Laden, or as shrill as Harris, but hey…

    If that’s what you choose to believe, you’re welcome to it. I’ve nothing else to say to you.

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  34. Atheism isn’t disbelief—that’s Agnosticism.

    Atheism is the belief that there is no god. In order to have a belief, you need to make a leap of faith beyond reason. That’s what a belief is—accepting something as true/actual without proof.

    You can reason away the existence of many religious ‘gods’ easily—most are clearly BS. But you simply can’t provide concrete proof that there is no good—just as you can’t provide contrete proof that there is a god.

    And that’s my point.

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  35. > Atheism isn’t disbelief—that’s
    > Agnosticism.

    Wrong. Atheism and agnosticism refer to two separate things.

    “Atheism” and “theism” indicate the presence or absence of god belief in a human being. (Please notice that I did not mention an actual deity at any time, simply the human belief in a deity.)

    “Gnosticism” and “agnosticism” indicate whether or not a person believes that knowledge of a god is possible or impossible.

    One deals with god belief, and the other deals with whether or not knowledge of a god is possible.

    It is entirely consistent to be both an agnostic (one who does not believe that god-knowledge is possible), and an atheist (one in whom god belief is not present).

    Theism, gnosticism, agnosticism, and atheism are NOT all points along the same line. They exist on different lines altogether.

    > Atheism is the belief that there
    > is no god. In order to have a
    > belief, you need to make a leap
    > of faith beyond reason. That’s
    > what a belief is—accepting
    > something as true/actual without
    > proof.

    Wrong. Please see above. Atheism indicates the absence of god belief in a human being. It does not suggest anything beyond that. People who steadfastly refuse to understand this very simple concept are the source of the confusion and perpetuate the incorrect, bigoted stereotype that atheism is “just another religion” – which it clearly is not.

    Is not collecting stamps a hobby? Is baldness a hair color? Your opinion seems to suggest that they are – which is ludicrous.

    > You can reason away the existence
    > of many religious ‘gods’ easily—
    > most are clearly BS. But you
    > simply can’t provide concrete
    > proof that there is no good—just
    > as you can’t provide contrete
    > proof that there is a god.

    Not one atheist that I know has ever made the claim that they could “provide concrete proof of no god”. Red herring.

    > And that’s my point.

    And a truly stunning example of reasoning from an incorrect premise it is.

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