Posts tagged ‘atheism’
Ray Comfort has been aptly dubbed “The Grandmaster of Christian Ignorance”. Here are a few choice samples of his utter idocy.
If you would like to see the expanded version, go to his blog, Atheist Central, and look on the right side of the page a little ways down.
• If God didn’t exist, the atheist wouldn’t have something to not believe in.
• An atheist is someone who believes that nothing made everything.
• An atheist is someone who pretends that there is no God.
• The human propensity to gullibility is evidenced by evolution’s many believers.
• It is impossible for a Christian to convert to atheism because a Christian is someone who knows God.
• We have men who call themselves scientists, when they should have instead got a job with Disney as “imagineers.”
• School children should have evolution explained to them, so that they can see how unscientific and crazy it is.
Much ink has been spilled in the skeptical community over the issue of labels. What should we call ourselves: atheists, or agnostics? Which term is more “justified”? Here, I toss my own hat into the ring on this question… and then I will argue that this issue is unimportant, distracting, and, potentially, divisive.
There is at least a small upside to this issue, which is why I’m including my own reasoning. The only potentially serious function it has, in my view, is that it provides a convenient arena in which to explore some epistemology. “Epistemology” is that branch of philosophy that deals with knowledge – how do we know what we know? Hashing out the atheist vs. agnostic question can be an entry way into how we approach questions of knowledge. We can sharpen our critical thinking skills and learn some philosophy to boot. To the degree that they serve that purpose, such debates can be informative, maybe even useful. There’s a serious downside, though, but I’ll save that for the end. So, for what intellectual exercise it’s worth, here’s my take on this question:
I start by defining terms: theism, of course, refers to belief in god(s). Atheism, then, obviously refers to a lack of belief in god(s). Agnosticism is the assertion that it is not possible to know the answer, and thus a refusal to opine (with any confidence) on the existence of god(s).
Now, some atheists define atheism broadly. They suggest it can mean one who asserts, “there is no god”, but also one who simply lacks (by choice or happenstance) any belief in god. This is a rather fine distinction, but real enough, I think. The former position is sometimes called “hard” atheism, the latter, “soft” atheism. However, since a “soft” atheist (a) does not assert “there is no god”, and also (b) does not assert “there is a god”, for my part I do not see any difference between this position, and agnosticism. So, for my usage of these terms below, I will restrict the word “atheism” to the “hard” variety: an atheist is one who asserts “there is no god.”…
Discussions between religious believers and nonbelievers frequently come to a point at which one participant asks the other(s), “What would it take to convince you that there is/is not a god?”
My current answer to that question is this:
All I’d need to believe in to believe in god would be a direct, unequivocal, simultaneous revelation of him/her/itself to all humankind.
Sacred writings are insufficient – we already have plenty of those; they are only persuasive to those who, for psychological, emotional and sociological reasons are predisposed to believe them. Moreover, many of them contradict each other and there are no standardized criteria by which humanity can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Personal testimonies are insufficient – we already have plenty of those; they are totally subjective events, which can be described to, but not experienced by, others. Therefore, differing interpretations of the events are not easily resolved.
Traditions and creeds are insufficient – we already have plenty of those; many of them continue to be useful at the current time, and others have been discarded for more effective or humane alternatives.
Miracles are insufficient – we already have plenty of purported miracles that have, eventually, been explained as natural phenomena. Even if one grants that some events have not been explained – yet – as natural phenomena, the odds are that natural explanations for these events will be discovered eventually. Moreover, even if an event could only be explained as miraculous, then that explanation would raise a plethora of questions about the being that performed the miraculous act: its identity; its character; its intentions toward humankind…
theBEattitude recently posted a post on his blog entitled “Losing my religion. Why I recently walked away from Christianity.” For the past few days the post has been one of WordPress’ top posts. According to the author on his Twitter account, he’s had over 50,000 hits in a two day period. The post has generated over 900 comments as of this writing.
Our humble blog has seen over 1,000,000 hits in our first 2 years of existence and almost 30,000 hits in the past week alone. We’ve had almost 25,000 comments since our inception. Other similar sites such as Debunking Christianity and ExChristianDotNet continue to also be very popular sites.
Due to this phenomenon, we are in the process of relaunching our community site to be more of a social networking site where we can in essence build a community of apostates, de-converts, ex-Christians, or whatever label you wish to wear.
Here’s to this new trend! Why do you think this is becoming such a popular decision?
- The de-Convert
My friend Eric Maisel has written a new book about atheism, The Atheist’s Way: Living Well Without Gods. Instead of being a tirade against religion, or an anti-apologetics polemic to try to disprove the existence of God, Eric has written a book about how those of us who already are unbelievers can live meaningful and productive lives without belief in gods. Here’s a short guest post by Eric. Enjoy!
The Atheist’s Way: Living Well Without Gods
By Eric Maisel, Ph.D.
I see my new book The Atheist’s Way: Living Well Without Gods as primarily providing a roadmap for non-believers who are looking for an answer to the question, “How can I invest my life with meaning if the universe takes no interest in me or in human affairs?” At the same time, I think it will serve the many believers who have questions about their belief system and who harbor a lurking doubt that believing in gods makes good sense. For both groups, I see The Atheist’s Way as providing real answers and a vision of an “atheist lifestyle” characterized by personal responsibility, meaning adventures, and joy.
In writing the book, I thought it wise to skip the arguments for the non-existence of gods. Those arguments have been presented many times already, sometimes thoughtfully, sometimes thunderously. From my point of view is made better sense simply to state that there are no gods and to proceed on to the really important next questions. For the non-existence of gods is a starting point, not an end point, and merely sets the stage for the play…
…. According to a New Survey
This is being reported in numerous news agencies. Here is a link for the report itself: http://www.americanreligionsurvey-aris.org/
This survey had 54,461 respondents and was conducted over 10 months. So it’s not one of those worthless, “barely 1000 surveyed with one afternoon’s phone calling” polls.
- Summing up those who said of the existence of God “There is no such thing”, “There is no way to know”, “I’m not sure”, & “There is a higher power but not a personal god” gives as 24.4% of all respondents! Of course there is the downside that there are still 69.5% who said, “There is definitely a personal God”. But that first number is a vast improvement over what was seen 15+ years ago.
- Those who identify themselves religiously as “none” amounted to 15% of respondents. Up from 8.2% in 1990!
- 27% do not expect a religious funeral at their death.
There’s still a long way to go, but this is great progress. I would like to hope that it’s a sign of increasing sense and honesty among people, but I’m NOT that optimistic (naïve?).
:D – LeoPardus
To celebrate our 2nd Anniversary, 1,000,000 page views, and 22,000+ comments, I’d like to highlight a few of the images posted on this blog by our contributors. These images give a great summary of the general topics of our posts for the past 2 years:
[Art by Jim Huger from Dead To Rights, a parody of Jack T. Chick's tract]