Happiness and Purpose Without God

by Luke Muehlhauser on September 26, 2009 in General Atheism

probably_no_god

Anyone who engages in the practice of psychotherapy confronts every day the devastation wrought by the teaching of religion.

Nathaniel Branden

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jello, and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.

Penn Jilette

When I was a Christian, I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like be an atheist. From what my parents and pastors told me, I imagined it would feel like an aching hole in my stomach, a purposeless sadness in my chest, and a taste of cardboard in my mouth. Of course, I was asking the wrong people. I should have asked some atheists what it felt like.

The truth is that atheists feel pretty much the same as everybody else. We feel happy and sad, excited and bored, nervous and peaceful, ashamed and proud, lonely and connected, horny and disgusted, transcendent and confused and small and breathless.

We do not carry around the thought “God does not exist.” You could not tell an atheist from a believer on the street, at the office, in the car, while shopping, while eating, or while making love.

An atheist might feel socially isolated in Alabama or a church, as a Christian might in San Francisco or a university faculty lounge. An atheist might feel suffocated by religion, or he might barely notice it. Sometimes, a miserable atheist will find purpose, comfort, and community in a religious conversion. But if Christianity is a fairy tale, I would hope we can find more honest solutions to our problems.

It is perfectly natural to be an atheist with happiness and purpose. Atheists can only chuckle when Christians ask them how they can find meaning in life without God.

In my case, converting from Christianity to rationalism made my life much better.

Now I can be more honest. I don’t have to accept some scientific facts and reject others. I don’t have to excuse God for commanding rape or torturing children with painful diseases. I don’t have to uphold some Bible verses and ignore others.

Now I can be more free. I don’t have to feel guilty about silly things, only when I’ve hurt someone. I can live whatever life I want, whatever life I think is good. I can discover morality with reason and compassion, not take it from an ancient and prejudiced book.

Now I can be more fulfilled. I don’t have to surrender my passions and plans to the will of a dictator. I don’t have to “empty myself” and take on somebody else’s personality. I can be me, and me to the fullest.

But those are not my reasons for being an atheist. The best reason to embrace atheism is because it’s almost certainly true.

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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Taranu September 27, 2009 at 4:00 am

“But those are not my reasons for being an atheist. The best reason to embrace atheism is because it’s almost certainly true.”

To be continued…. :) (I hope)

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Laughing Boy September 27, 2009 at 6:26 am

I don’t have to excuse God for commanding rape or torturing children with painful diseases.

Let’s say God, in lieu of his non-existence, is not responsible for these things. Yet the fact remains that they have happened and will likely continue. Now that God is off the hook, the responsibility for these evils (if we can label them as such) must rest elsewhere. Where do you now lay blame? How has your excuse problem been solved? If there were court hearings regarding these acts, would you be satisfied if the judge dismissed the jury, closed the case, and forbid any further investigation, because the prime suspect was determined to be imaginary, even though the crimes were not?

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lukeprog September 27, 2009 at 6:36 am

Laughing Boy,

I don’t understand what you mean. In the case you mention, it would be the leaders of the Israelites themselves who were responsible, but of course they are long dead…

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IntelligentDasein September 27, 2009 at 7:39 am

If you mean their existence these rape and disease naturally occur in nature. However, we can reason that these things are bad because they hurt people and make laws against them in our social contracts. When religions (their holy books and clergy) endorse rape, it comes into conflict with these contracts. (Ex: The Muslim man that raped the woman in Sweden and his defense was his religion endorsed it). :-)

Luke never said God personally was responsible for the existence of rape and it would not exist without him existing and if people knew this.

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Noel September 27, 2009 at 8:50 am

Laughing Boy,

I think, in the case of not having to excuse God for genocide and rape, the blame does not magically disintegrate. Instead, we can begin to place responsibility on the shoulders of those who actually carried out the heinous acts, rather than entertaining notions that maybe such-and-such a society’s actions were justified because God told them to do it. The rapist is responsible, regardless of his religious convictions. Or, the warmongering nation is responsible, rather than the “God” who that nation affirms. Human responsibility, rather than religious excuses.

Of course, I am not certain that the total abandonment of theism is the only way to “excuse” God for these biblical instances of evil. I think one way of doing so is by regarding the Bible honestly, as what it is: human words about religious experiences. Not written by God, but written about ancient human perceptions of the “big picture.”

My point is not to start an argument about the validity of the Bible. It is merely to point out that some people can admit the limited and human nature of the Bible while still entertaining the possibility that something greater (commonly labeled “God”) could exist.

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Reginald Selkirk September 27, 2009 at 10:12 am

Laughing Boy: Let’s say God, in lieu of his non-existence, is not responsible for these things

OK. By saying that, you agree that God cannot be omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. I.e. that God is not a god worthy of my worship.

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Reginald Selkirk September 27, 2009 at 10:14 am

Now I can be more fulfilled. I don’t have to surrender my passions and plans to the will of a dictator. I don’t have to “empty myself” and take on somebody else’s personality. I can be me, and me to the fullest.

This point is often overlooked. When theists say that God gives them purpose, they mean that He is giving them His purpose; i.e. they are having someone else’s purpose thrust upon them. I do not consider it a given that this would be superior to choosing one’s own purpose, or having no purpose at all.

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Bob September 27, 2009 at 10:35 am

@Luke

In my case, converting from Christianity to rationalism made my life much better.

I think it’s a little presumptuous to suggest that accepting atheism means that a person is rational. We all know that this is not the case.

Plus, where does Richard Dawkins get this idea that believers are always worrying and not enjoying their lives? That isn’t a rational claim. Most believers would laugh at that notion.

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lukeprog September 27, 2009 at 11:29 am

Bob,

I did not say that accepting atheism means a person is rational. In fact, I have specifically argued against that elsewhere.

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Noel September 27, 2009 at 11:42 am

@Bob

There is a distinct difference between saying “Atheism means a person is rational” and saying “I am a rationalist.” Luke has said the latter, that he converted from Christianity to rationalism. Rationalism is a way of approaching life, existence, etc. which appeals to reason as the source of knowledge and justification. It is a challenge to the religious claims that “revelation” or Scripture is the source of knowledge about the universe.

So, it is really not very presumptuous (on the part of Luke) to identify himself with a particular way of seeing the universe. It is merely his self-identification with a movement or ideology that precedes him. “I am a rationalist” is not the same as saying, “All other perspectives are irrational.” It is merely the name of a particular ideology.

Of course, I cannot speak for Luke. My point is simply that one should not read into the words of others things that are not there.

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Bob September 27, 2009 at 11:43 am

lukeprog: Bob,I did not say that accepting atheism means a person is rational. In fact, I have specifically argued against that elsewhere.

My bad! I guess we agree then.

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Reginald Selkirk September 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

Lukeprog: In my case, converting from Christianity to rationalism…

Bob: I think it’s a little presumptuous to suggest that accepting atheism means that a person is rational.

Since two people have already responded to this, I’ll just toss in a link for Bob: Rationalism explained at Wikipedia

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Bob September 27, 2009 at 11:50 am

Noel: @BobThere is a distinct difference between saying “Atheism means a person is rational” and saying “I am a rationalist.” Luke has said the latter, that he converted from Christianity to rationalism. Rationalism is a way of approaching life, existence, etc. which appeals to reason as the source of knowledge and justification.

I see. By that defnition one could believe in God and still be a rationalist.

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Noel September 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm

@Bob

Rationalism requires a shift in what one affirms and how one comes to conclusions about God, but I do not think they are incompatible. Obviously, rationalism requires a rejection of any “special status” affirmations about the Bible (and any source of revelation). God must be known through reason (in rationalist religion), through what we can observe, rather than simply relying on what an ancient text tells us.

I do not think biblical Christianity (or any traditional expression of religion) is compatible with rationalism. This is not to suggest that these movements are intrinsically irrational; it is simply that they rely on ideas and beliefs that are not inferred by reason. To come to the conclusions of orthodox Christianity, for example, one must rely on special revelation.

So, one can be a theistic rationalist; but chances are the atheists will find your conclusions to be too conservatively religious, and the traditional theist will think you’re a liberal heretic. :)

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Sue Fincham September 28, 2009 at 1:38 am

A belief in God is refusal to accept the responsibility for your own life. You don’t take ownership of your choices. I believe once you are mature enough to accept that there is no supernatural being ‘pulling your strings’ you have found the ultimate freedom. No true freedom is ever achieved without responsibility.
I believe it is up to each of us to supply meaning to our lives. It is our duty to ourselves to make a life that we enjoy and are proud to have lived.
I have been asked in the past what keeps me good if I don’t believe in God? Sadly, the idea of original sin is deeply ingrained in our culture. In fact, I am good because I choose to live in a world where good predominates.
I’m a great fan of common sense. Hence the title of my recent book ‘How to be Happy in the Real World.’ Happiness without unlimited wealth, health or reliance on irrational beliefs.

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ayer September 28, 2009 at 6:07 am

“We do not carry around the thought ‘God does not exist.’”

Dinesh D’Souza: “I don’t believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You’ll notice that I haven’t written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don’t spend my time obsessing about unicorns. What I’m getting at is that you have these people out there who don’t believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences. There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.”

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Noel September 28, 2009 at 7:57 am

@ayer

I agree with D’Souza that there is more going on than mere disbelief. In reality, there is disbelief in a society where such a position is unpopular and continuously challenged.

With the unicorn, no one writes books about their disbelief because no one cares. The unicorn is mythology that has been completely rejected by all branches of society. No one puts up billboards making claims in the unicorn’s name. No one broadcasts radio and television shows defending the unicorn or singing its praises. No one writes apologetic books in defense of belief in unicorns. The unicorn is socially and culturally irrelevant.

On the other hand, God is still an extremely contested and culturally prevalent topic. At least for those of us in the United States, the theists battle to pass legislature that is blatantly religious, trying to enforce religious morality on the society at large. Christians (and other religious groups) everywhere challenge the atheistic worldview on a daily basis. It only stands to reason that, when one’s disbelief is challenged so totally, and the culture at large is so saturated with “God-talk,” that the atheist would write books about their disbelief.

This does not mean that they are continuously haunted by thoughts of God. It simply means that we live in a world and a society where belief is the norm, and disbelief must be defended against its attackers. That is not the case with unicorns, because no one cares whether they exist or not. Everyone, it seems, has something to say about whether God exists.

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ildi September 28, 2009 at 8:00 am

You’ll notice that I haven’t written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don’t spend my time obsessing about unicorns.

I’ll bet you’d see that change in a Texas minute the moment that unicorn-belief started to regulate who people could marry or how they had sex, or when they could buy alcohol, or what what could be taught in school as science, just to give a few examples.

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ildi September 28, 2009 at 8:02 am

Noel beat me to it.

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Chris September 28, 2009 at 8:07 am

ayer: “We do not carry around the thought ‘God does not exist.’”Dinesh D’Souza: “I don’t believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You’ll notice that I haven’t written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don’t spend my time obsessing about unicorns. What I’m getting at is that you have these people out there who don’t believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences. There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.”

That may be because the cult of the Unicorn does not strive to deny gays the rights to marry and openly serve in the military, nor does it try to teach creationsim in public science classrooms, nor does it elect leaders with end-times beliefs that influence foriegn policy and climate policy decisions, nor does it indoctrinate its children with authoritarian and seuxually repressive dogma, nor does it terrorize with threats of eternal fire that can be so psychologically harmful that it keeps people trapped in said cult for their entite lives.

Or, to paraphrase Dinesh, it is because there is “more going on here than mere belief.”

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ildi September 28, 2009 at 8:08 am

From what my parents and pastors told me, I imagined it would feel like an aching hole in my stomach, a purposeless sadness in my chest, and a taste of cardboard in my mouth.

When my charismatic Catholic brother used to try to reconvert me, I’d try to end the discussion by telling him he didn’t need to worry, that I was truly happy. He’d get this sour look I never understood until someone explained to me that I was supposed to have a God-shaped hole that nothing else could fill…

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Chris September 28, 2009 at 8:09 am

ildi: Noel beat me to it.

And you beat me lol

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Chris September 28, 2009 at 8:24 am

Also, the new Family Guy last night summed it up well. Brian and Stewie traveled to a universe in which Christianity never existed and it was full of amazing scientific advances.

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ayer September 28, 2009 at 8:43 am

“At least for those of us in the United States, the theists battle to pass legislature that is blatantly religious, trying to enforce religious morality on the society at large.”

Then your argument is not with theism, but with those theists who believe in using government to impose sectarian beliefs on others. I presume, therefore, that you would not advocate campaigning against a Christianity that embraced strict church-state separation (e.g., Mennonite “oppositional” or Lutheran “two kingdoms” theology)?

See http://www.gregboyd.org/qa/christians-social-issues/christians-politics/christians-and-politics-what-are-the-different-views/

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ildi September 28, 2009 at 9:20 am

you would not advocate campaigning against a Christianity that embraced strict church-state separation

I guess it depends on what you mean by “campaigning against” Christianity. I firmly subscribe to anyone’s right to believe in any superstition, whether it’s theism, astrology, spiritualism, elves, etc., as long as they don’t expect me to buy into it also. I do try to discourage it, though, because superstitious thinking can make people gullible in other ways, and thus easier to be taken advantage of by the unscrupulous, whether it’s TV evangelists, or snake-oil salesmen, or the Madoffs of the world.

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Noel September 28, 2009 at 9:30 am

@ayer

I simply think that D’Souza’s analogy was ineffective because it failed to take into account cultural realities. There really is no comparison between disbelief in unicorns and disbelief in God, unless you remove both cases from actual historical reality. Personally, I do not argue for or against theism in general; my problem is with classical theism and fundamentalist religion.

Though my comment about American government was only intended to illustrate the fact that American society is completely inundated with God-talk, even in politics, I do prefer religion that is realistic about its place in modern society to those forms which try to create a theocracy.

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ayer September 28, 2009 at 9:39 am

ildi: I guess it depends on what you mean by “campaigning against” Christianity.

E.g., running a blog devoted to debunking it, continually posting blog comments devoted to debunking it, going to “skeptics” conferences devoted to debunking it, writing and purchasing books devoted to debunking it, etc. Such behavior would indicate that the atheist does not just have a general preference that people not be gullible, but is “God-obsessed” in a way that indicates, as Dsouza says, “there is something more going on here than mere unbelief.”

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ildi September 28, 2009 at 9:55 am

Such behavior would indicate that the atheist does not just have a general preference that people not be gullible, but is “God-obsessed” in a way that indicates, as Dsouza says, “there is something more going on here than mere unbelief.”

Guess what; blogs, seminars and books can be safely ignored. Laws and policies, not so much. Did you miss the posts explaining this, or do you just enjoy repeating yourself?

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Chris September 28, 2009 at 11:47 am

ayer: E.g., running a blog devoted to debunking it, continually posting blog comments devoted to debunking it, going to “skeptics” conferences devoted to debunking it, writing and purchasing books devoted to debunking it, etc. Such behavior would indicate that the atheist does not just have a general preference that people not be gullible, but is “God-obsessed” in a way that indicates, as Dsouza says, “there is something more going on here than mere unbelief.”

Well then what else is “going on here”? Some people care about truth. Some poeple think philosophy of religion is fun (Luke surely does). Some people like to gather in groups focused on a common interest. So what?

Oh wait. Thats not what Dinesh thinks is going on. Because atheists, in their hearts, really cannot sincerely doubt the truth of Christianity. No, we are rebels. We hate God. We are consciously choosing hell. And misery loves company, so we are trying to bring people down with us. On judgement day, we’ll know what is coming. There are no intellectual reasons for disbelief, as William Lane Craig says. It is voluntary rebellion.

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ildi September 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Well, Chris, ayer may have a point; I’m still mad at Santa Claus for not bringing me that Porsche I asked for last year, even though I was very, very nice…

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ayer September 28, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Chris: Some people care about truth. Some poeple think philosophy of religion is fun (Luke surely does). Some people like to gather in groups focused on a common interest. So what?

I understand that there are many people (especially in Iceland, for some reason) who believe in elves. I lack such a belief, and think their belief is silly. But as long as they do not seek to impose that belief on me, there would be something bizarre about me if I started a blog on which I spent large amounts of time criticizing and ridiculing that belief, instead of just getting on with my life. I would clearly have some other “issues” going on.

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Noel September 28, 2009 at 8:15 pm

@ayer

And that, I believe, is the overall point. There are many, many theists who do try to impose their belief on others. Whether it is through apologetic writing, door-to-door evangelism, or seeking to pass “religious” legislature, there are many examples of religious persons seeking to push their belief onto others.

And, again, given the culture many of us in the West live in, we are continuously bombarded with messages about God. Theism is still the norm, and is still the popular position, and it is very often the case that being an atheist creates a stigma on a person. Others’ belief in God, in American culture, affects the atheist; so, some choose to respond.

If Icelanders knocked on your door to share the good news about elves with you, published books calling your disbelief in elves “irrational” and worse, and tried to pass elf-based legislature that impacted how you could choose to live, would you not respond? That is precisely what the atheist faces in this modern culture.

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Chris September 28, 2009 at 8:40 pm

ayer: I understand that there are many people (especially in Iceland, for some reason) who believe in elves. I lack such a belief, and think their belief is silly. But as long as they do not seek to impose that belief on me, there would be something bizarre about me if I started a blog on which I spent large amounts of time criticizing and ridiculing that belief, instead of just getting on with my life. I would clearly have some other “issues” going on.

Well we have already explained that in the ol’ US of A religion is pushed on us, both politically and personally. But let’s imagine it isn’t. Take this blog for example. Luke is obviously fascinated with religion and philosophy. Why shouldn’t he be? Very interesting stuff. And like most humans, Luke has interesting opinions on interesting stuff. Does he necessarily have to have “issues” to motivate his study and blog?

Again, what do you think these “issues” are?

Let me take a wild guess- “omg u guyz just rly h8 god!!!!”

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Reginald Selkirk September 29, 2009 at 5:36 am

ayer: Then your argument is not with theism, but with those theists who believe in using government to impose sectarian beliefs on others. I presume, therefore, that you would not advocate campaigning against a Christianity that embraced strict church-state separation (e.g., Mennonite “oppositional” or Lutheran “two kingdoms” theology)?

How to get laughed at in one easy lesson: Show up on a blog and quote Dinesh D’Souza as though he ought to be taken seriously.

Certainly, if the prevailing religion did embrace strict separation of church and state, I would still disagree with it, but would not be as activist in speaking out against it, after all, there would be no need, as that religion would impose itself into my world less than the actual prevailing religions in the real world do. But we do not live in such a world. We live in a world where in recent history, muslim extremists have flown jetliners into skyscrapers, and the theocratic “religious right” has essentially taken over one of the two dominant political parties in my country. And every coin in my pocket testifies that the majority of people in my country (the USA), who claim to hold a less obnoxious, less dominating religion, will not stand up for strict separation of church and state.

But let’s suppose your fantasy world were true, there would still be some serious issues to think over: What effect would the beliefs and practices of said secular religion have on the greater society? I am thinking of sects which oppose vaccination (e.g. Church of Christ, Scientist). Individuals declining to vaccinate themselves can have an effect on the spread of pandemics, thus affecting others.

Another issue: what about the children? Right now there are sects with extreme views who deprive their children of proper health care. Court cases have resulted from this. Do children have a right to be free from the effects of extreme dogma held by their parents?

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 5:45 am

Noel: If Icelanders knocked on your door to share the good news about elves with you, published books calling your disbelief in elves “irrational” and worse, and tried to pass elf-based legislature that impacted how you could choose to live, would you not respond?

To passing elf-based legislation, I would respond by campaigning for “separation of elf and state” (and might find quite a few elf-believers who agreed with me on that issue). I would respond to someone knocking on my door by declining their literature and closing the door, and to someone publishing pro-elf books by not purchasing those books–not by starting an anti-elf blog, going to anti-elf conferences, etc., because their personal beliefs made me uncomfortable. That would be bizarre.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 5:54 am

Chris: Take this blog for example. Luke is obviously fascinated with religion and philosophy. Why shouldn’t he be? Very interesting stuff. And like most humans, Luke has interesting opinions on interesting stuff. Does he necessarily have to have “issues” to motivate his study and blog?

For a blog exploring issues in philosophy of religion, no. “Prosblogion” is a good example of such a blog. But this blog, and many other atheist blogs, spends much of its time ridiculing and campaigning against Christianity, and even giving advice on how atheists can “evangelize” for atheism by copying techniques used by religious believers. Such campaigning indicates a deep-seated fear that there just may be such a God who will hold humans morally accountable (e.g., for the “polyamory” advocated here–see http://commonsenseatheism.com/?page_id=3) and a desire to reassure oneself that such a God does not exist by attacking religious belief and converting believers to atheism.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 5:59 am

Reginald Selkirk: What effect would the beliefs and practices of said secular religion have on the greater society? I am thinking of sects which oppose vaccination (e.g. Church of Christ, Scientist). Individuals declining to vaccinate themselves can have an effect on the spread of pandemics, thus affecting others.

Another issue: what about the children? Right now there are sects with extreme views who deprive their children of proper health care.

Then campaign on this nexus between health care issues and church-state separation, advocating that all should be vaccinated and that all children must receive competent health care. Once you have prevailed on that issue, allow the Christian Scientists to otherwise go about their deluded lives (and the elf-believers to go about theirs), and you go about your enlightened life, without spending large amounts of your time ridiculing and/or attempting to convert them to atheism.

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Reginald Selkirk September 29, 2009 at 6:02 am

ayer: Then campaign on

As already pointed out to you multiple times by other people, you are zeroing in on the part of my response which addresses a hypothetical condition which is simply untrue, and ignoring the rest. So if the prevailing religion strictly respected separation of church and state, then perhaps I would pursue the path you suggest.

If you wish not to be ridiculed, then try to be less ridiculous.

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Reginald Selkirk September 29, 2009 at 6:05 am

ayer: and/or attempting to convert them to atheism.

Here’s the only case I know about in which an atheist has gone door to door in an attempt to convert people to atheism:
John Safran and the Mormons

P.S. For the particularly clueless: that video is intended to be humor, because it never happens in the real world.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 7:08 am

Reginald Selkirk: Here’s the only case I know about in which an atheist has gone door to door in an attempt to convert people to atheism:

Perhaps so, but I daresay the author of this blog (and the authors of other atheist blogs) spends as much time proselytizing for atheism as many believers do proselytizing for their religion. For something that defines itself as mere “lack of belief,” that is bizarre.

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lukeprog September 29, 2009 at 7:12 am

ayer: Such campaigning indicates a deep-seated fear that there just may be such a God who will hold humans morally accountable

Actually, such campaigning on my part reveals an evidence-based fear that religious dogma is comprehensively inhibiting and damaging the moral and epistemic fabric of our world.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 7:14 am

Reginald Selkirk: So if the prevailing religion strictly respected separation of church and state, then perhaps I would pursue the path you suggest.

Fine, so your goal should be to promote separation of church and state (a la the ACLU) and not to waste time ridiculing and campaigning against the substance of the “deluded beliefs” of Christians, elf-believers, etc. The ACLU does not continually issue bromides against the existence of God, etc. It actually focuses on what you say is the relevant issue, church-state separation. It even allies with believers who are committed to church-state separation in pursuit of that goal.

Reginald Selkirk: If you wish not to be ridiculed, then try to be less ridiculous.

Actually I couldn’t care less about your ridicule, except as it serves as an interesting indication of the deep-down psychological “issues” atheists have (as Dsouza points out).

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 7:40 am

lukeprog: Actually, such campaigning on my part reveals an evidence-based fear that religious dogma is comprehensively inhibiting and damaging the moral and epistemic fabric of our world.

As long as religious believers refrain from using government to impose their beliefs on others, then such “damage” involves nothing more than the exercise of their freedom of conscience and speech. As far as “damaging the epistemic fabric of our world,” a mature adult should be able to deal with the fact that other people hold differing beliefs without quaking in his boots about the “epistemic fabric of our world” (with the caveat, as I said, that government is not used to force those beliefs on others). I regard Icelandic elf-believers as epistemically deluded, but if I spent large amounts of my time campaigning against their belief (which is not governmentally imposed on me by them), that would be very strange.

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 7:43 am

Such campaigning indicates a deep-seated fear that there just may be such a God who will hold humans morally accountable

So, when Pat Condell posts videos decrying the influence of fundamentalist Islam in England, he’s really demonstrating a deep-seated fear that Allah will hold him morally accountable for not being Muslim?

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Noel September 29, 2009 at 7:54 am

@ayer

So, if I may get this straight: atheists ridiculing theists means that there is some deep-seated fear that theists may be right. But theists ridiculing atheists is just fine and dandy? I mean, neither you nor D’Souza seem to have anything to say about the theistic “campaign” against atheism. It’s fine for them to ridicule and try to convert because…?

And, again, it is not a matter of church-state separation. That is simply one facet of modern religious life that bothers some of us (one that I, regrettably, brought up as an example which has since taken on a life of its own). As Luke points out, there are some of us who believe religion can have a detrimental affect on individuals and society.

For my part, I am more concerned with the abuse of religion than religion in general. Theists using their faith to justify hatred and oppression (of homosexuals, women, minorities, the poor, etc), theists making exclusive and superior claims about their religion that are ungrounded in social and historical reality, and the use of guilt and fear as a way to manipulate people into believing superstitious ideas, to name just a few.

I am not afraid that theists may be right; I really don’t care if there is a god. I am simply unwilling to sit idly by and watch the abuses of ignorant and superstitious religion go unchallenged. Belief is not evil in itself; but it is sometimes used for great evil. I think someone should speak out against that. If that makes you believe that I am secretly wishing I could join God’s fan-club, that’s fine.

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Noel September 29, 2009 at 8:18 am

ayer: As long as religious believers refrain from using government to impose their beliefs on others, then such “damage” involves nothing more than the exercise of their freedom of conscience and speech.

The assumption being that only those things which are government endorsed have any power to impact others’ lives? Racism is not government endorsed, but it is a belief that still harms many people. Some religious beliefs (not all, by any means) are similarly used culturally and socially to cause great harm to “out-groups,” despite the fact that these beliefs are not government sanctioned.

Not having the government stamp of approval does not make a position or belief harmless.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 8:27 am

ildi: So, when Pat Condell posts videos decrying the influence of fundamentalist Islam in England, he’s really demonstrating a deep-seated fear that Allah will hold him morally accountable for not being Muslim?

Fundamentalist Islam is a tremendous threat to church-state separation, since it believes in theocracy.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 8:39 am

Noel: I mean, neither you nor D’Souza seem to have anything to say about the theistic “campaign” against atheism. It’s fine for them to ridicule and try to convert because…?

Christians believe they are commanded by the “Great Commission” to convert others; such campaigning flows from their belief system. Atheists claim to have a mere lack of belief. A mere lack of belief does not call for proselytizing.

Noel: For my part, I am more concerned with the abuse of religion than religion in general. Theists using their faith to justify hatred and oppression (of homosexuals, women, minorities, the poor, etc), theists making exclusive and superior claims about their religion that are ungrounded in social and historical reality, and the use of guilt and fear as a way to manipulate people into believing superstitious ideas, to name just a few.

Then it is hatred you are opposed to and should campaign against, not theism, because there are many theists who do not exhibit hatred, and who would join you in a campaign against hatred.

Regarding “exclusive and superior claims”–obviously theists believe their views are right and others are wrong, but so what? For that to bother someone so much that they spend large amounts of time campaigning against such deluded claims demonstrates the presence of the psychological “issues” Dsouza was referring to. (I assume elf-believers think I am totally wrong with my nonbelief in elves, but that does not bother me).

Regarding the use of “guilt” and “fear”–if no force is being used, such “manipulation” can be ignored. Advertisers use “guilt” and “fear” to try to sell products all the time–I simply disregard them. On the other hand, if someone decides that they should feel guilty before God because of their sin and thus convert to Christianity, that is their business. For an atheist to be obsessed with that phenomenon is, as I said, bizarre.

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 8:43 am

Way to avoid answering the actual question, ayer.

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Noel September 29, 2009 at 8:56 am

It is bizarre to be opposed to manipulation of others by so-called religious authorities? To be opposed to beliefs that lead to social and cultural discrimination? To speak out against blatantly religious abuse of others?

It is not in spite of their religious beliefs that some people are bigots, racists, manipulators, and otherwise awful human beings; for some, it is precisely because of their theistic beliefs–their way of imaging God–that they are such hateful and spiteful creatures. So, again, I do not find it necessary, personally, to combat “theism.” But I do find it appropriate to speak against those theistic systems which lead to societal, personal and cultural damage.

ayer: As long as religious believers refrain from using government to impose their beliefs on others, then such “damage” involves nothing more than the exercise of their freedom of conscience and speech.

How is the atheist speaking out against theism not exactly the same exercise of freedom of conscience and speech as the theist’s own public religious expressions? You have major problems with atheists using their freedoms to “debunk” theism, but when the tables are turned, it is completely appropriate for the theist to campaign against atheism? Expressing one’s opinions about faith and God is just freedom of speech and conscience, as long as your opinions are “I believe in God?”

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 8:59 am

ildi: So, when Pat Condell posts videos decrying the influence of fundamentalist Islam in England, he’s really demonstrating a deep-seated fear that Allah will hold him morally accountable for not being Muslim?

I’m not familiar with Pat Condrell, but as I noted above, if he is a Christian his belief system commands him to proselytize and to evangelize those of other religions. An atheist who claims a mere “lack of belief” is under no such obligation.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

Noel: How is the atheist speaking out against theism not exactly the same exercise of freedom of conscience and speech as the theist’s own public religious expressions? You have major problems with atheists using their freedoms to “debunk” theism, but when the tables are turned, it is completely appropriate for the theist to campaign against atheism? Expressing one’s opinions about faith and God is just freedom of speech and conscience, as long as your opinions are “I believe in God?”

Certainly the atheist has a right to campaign against religious belief. But to do so when claiming that atheism is a mere “lack of belief” indicates some psychological “issues” are present. Just as I have a right to campaign against elf-belief, but to spend my time doing so would indicate the presence of “issues” on my part.

As I mentioned above, the theist’s (Christian theist, anyway) campaign against atheism is one he believes is mandated by his beliefs. Atheists claim only to have a lack of belief.

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Noel September 29, 2009 at 9:07 am

ayer: An atheist who claims a mere “lack of belief” is under no such obligation.

You seem to suggest that atheists are only made up of their disbelief in God. I can have many beliefs that influence the way I live. I can believe the poor should be cared for, that truth is valuable, that intellectual stimulation is to be pursued. I can believe that superstition is bad. Atheists do not lack beliefs; they simply disbelieve in God.

The theist proselytizes because they believe it is commanded by God. Some atheists proselytize because they believe it is good for humankind to escape their theistic past. Both are simply functioning on the basis of what they believe to be true; what makes the first more legitimate?

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 9:47 am

Noel: The theist proselytizes because they believe it is commanded by God. Some atheists proselytize because they believe it is good for humankind to escape their theistic past. Both are simply functioning on the basis of what they believe to be true; what makes the first more legitimate?

The first is consistent with the requirements of the Christian worldview. Proselytizing on behalf of a “lack of belief” is a bizarre use of one’s time (as I hope you would see in the case of someone proselytizing on behalf of “non-belief in elves”). The same applies to lack of belief in God. Such proselytizing indicates some deep-seated psychological issues are at play. The atheist “doth protest too much” as Shakespeare might put it.

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 9:59 am

Atheists claim to have a mere lack of belief. A mere lack of belief does not call for proselytizing.

It appears that you’re not reading those atheist blogs very carefully, then. Deriding superstitious beliefs is merely a starting point. Some of the bloggers are philosophers, some are secular humanists, some are libertarians, some are scientists, some live in the bible belt, the list goes on. They blog about a lot more than Christianity or even theism. They blog in general about how supersititous thinking has a negative impact on the issues close to their hearts.

In the U.S. Christianity gets more blogspace because Christians impose themselves so much on the culture here, whether it’s firing teachers for being atheists (not talking about atheism in the classroom, mind you, just by being atheists), protesting bus signs, “teaching the controversy”, fomenting false news-bites like the “War on Christmas”, the examples are endless.

Pat Condell is an atheist who makes videos about Islam because he feels that it is currently Islam rather than Christianity that is having a potentially negative impact on English culture. So, I ask you again, if he is spending most of his time campaigning against Islam, does this mean that he is secretly fearful that Allah will punish him for not accepting Islam as the true faith?

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Noel September 29, 2009 at 9:59 am

ayer: Proselytizing on behalf of a “lack of belief” is a bizarre use of one’s time (as I hope you would see in the case of someone proselytizing on behalf of “non-belief in elves”). The same applies to lack of belief in God. Such proselytizing indicates some deep-seated psychological issues are at play.

Or, as I said, it could simply indicate that some other belief is motivating the action. My lack of belief in God does not motivate everything I do. I may disbelieve in God, but also have a firm conviction that theism is intellectually dishonest, socially dangerous, or otherwise unsavory. In this case, my convictions, my beliefs, about religion motivate my campaign, rather than my lack of belief.

Again, the concept that atheists campaigning against religion is indicative of a deep psychological issue fails to take into account the fact that atheists, while disbelieving in God, may still believe in many other things. Your assumption is that it is only disbelief in God that motivates atheistic behavior. And many have already provided copious examples of other beliefs or convictions that motivate their endeavors against theism. Atheists act out of a myriad of beliefs, just as everyone else does. And like everyone, they are motivated by their beliefs; not by their disbeliefs.

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Chris September 29, 2009 at 10:25 am

Thank you ayer, for admitting that you do not believe there are any real atheists. Deep down, everyone knows God is real! Trying to convince others that there is no God just makes us feel better. It’s a neat trick we play on ourselves.

Seriously though, I know this is may be hard for you to understand, but some people honestly don’t think your religion is true. Really. Yes, there are a lot of “I hate god so he doesn’t exist” atheists, but some of us are actually convinced that he is not real. I think you may “protest too much” in denying this. I understand your position. You have to justify God sending us to a lake of fire. That’s hard. You have to have us [i]choosing[/i] to [i]reject[/i] or [i]accept[/i] God, instead of [i]believing[/i] or [i]disbelieving[/i] in God, because the former is conscious decision and the latter is not (assuming conscious free will is not an illusion, which I would deny but for the sake of the argument I’ll give you). Hell, read Luke’s background again. He [i]wanted[/i] to believe. Call him a liar if you want but he seems sincere to me. Proselytizing does not necessitate a “deep-seated psychological issue.” We have given more than enough reasons to promote atheism, political reasons being the most obvious but they are not the only reasons. It’s fun, it’s fascinating, it helps society and thus helps ourselves.

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Chris September 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

I seem to have goofed the italics but that is not an indication of a deeped seated psychological issue fyi

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 10:40 am

BTW, I read about the Icelanders and their elf belief on an atheist web site. That must mean that particluar atheist secretly believes in and hates elves! Maybe they lost a loved one and they blame the elves? I think there are deep-seated psychological issues at play here!

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Chris September 29, 2009 at 10:51 am

Lets call ‘em DSPI (deep-seated psychological issues) from now on.

“Skeptical of supernatural claims? Oh thats a symptom of DSPI”

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 11:01 am

…eventually it will morph into dispies…

I’ve got the subterranean homesick dispies…

(My apologies to Bob Dylan.)

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lukeprog September 29, 2009 at 11:41 am

I must have DSPI with with fairies, as I am skeptical of their existence, too. Maybe I watched a scary fairy movie as a child but my unconscious is repressing that memory.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 12:00 pm

ildi: So, I ask you again, if he is spending most of his time campaigning against Islam, does this mean that he is secretly fearful that Allah will punish him for not accepting Islam as the true faith?

If he is campaigning against Islam’s desire to impose belief upon him by force, it is perfectly understandable. If it just bothers him that someone out there believes in Allah, then he has issues.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Chris: Proselytizing does not necessitate a “deep-seated psychological issue.” We have given more than enough reasons to promote atheism, political reasons being the most obvious but they are not the only reasons. It’s fun, it’s fascinating, it helps society and thus helps ourselves.

Political reasons I understand. Proselytizing for “fun” on behalf of a “non-belief”–bizarre.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 12:04 pm

lukeprog: I must have DSPI with with fairies, as I am skeptical of their existence, too. Maybe I watched a scary fairy movie as a child but my unconscious is repressing that memory.

When you start spending as much time proselytizing for your non-belief in fairies as you do for your non-belief in God, that will be evidence of issues in that area. One neurosis at a time.

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Chris September 29, 2009 at 12:28 pm

ayer: Political reasons I understand. Proselytizing for “fun” on behalf of a “non-belief”–bizarre.

Oh for Christ’s sake. Around and around we go. Your inability to see our point is bizarre. Yes, that’s ad hominem. Punt.

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm

ayer: If he is campaigning against Islam’s desire to impose belief upon him by force, it is perfectly understandable. If it just bothers him that someone out there believes in Allah, then he has issues.

Those are the only two reasons he would have? Really? How awesomely disingenuous of you! You still haven’t answered my question directly, but I wasn’t really expecting you to at this point; you seem incapable of that level of honesty, for some reason.

Related to this, and based on your previous comments, you support the legalization of gay marriage, then, I take it? After all, no one would be forcing Christians to marry someone of the same gender if it’s against their religious beliefs, nor would Christian churches be forced to preside over gay marriages if they chose not to, so Christians who advocate church/state separation would have no problem with this, right?

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Noel September 29, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Now we’re just going in circles. Ayer seems to believe that atheists function based on only a single motivating factor, rather than the interaction of a multitude of beliefs and convictions (like every other human being). If you argue against theism, it is only because you disbelieve in God (but secretly love/hate him); there can be no other reason or motivation.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 12:51 pm

ildi: Those are the only two reasons he would have? Really? How awesomely disingenuous of you!

What would those other reasons be?

ildi: Related to this, and based on your previous comments, you support the legalization of gay marriage, then, I take it? After all, no one would be forcing Christians to marry someone of the same gender if it’s against their religious beliefs, nor would Christian churches be forced to preside over gay marriages if they chose not to, so Christians who advocate church/state separation would have no problem with this, right?

I oppose gay marriage, not on sectarian or scriptural grounds, but based on secular natural law reasoning, which is consistent with church/state separation.

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm

I oppose gay marriage, not on sectarian or scriptural grounds, but based on secular natural law reasoning, which is consistent with church/state separation.

So, then you also oppose the marriage of anyone who is infertile or past childbearing age, or anyone who has a highly heritable genetic disorder? How eugenically-minded of you!

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm

ildi: So, then you also oppose the marriage of anyone who is infertile or past childbearing age, or anyone who has a highly heritable genetic disorder? How eugenically-minded of you!

Way to ascribe a view to someone and then refute it! Awesome powers of argumentation.

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 1:35 pm

ayer: Way to ascribe a view to someone and then refute it! Awesome powers of argumentation.

Another non-answer, I see. Those seem to be your specialty.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm

ildi: Another non-answer, I see. Those seem to be your specialty.

And you are way off-topic.

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Oh, I think I’m spot-on. Your basic premise has been that atheists blog incessantly about Christianity because they secretly still believe in and hate God. People have pointed out to you that atheists blog about Christianity much more than about, say, elves, because the evils of Christianity are foisted on us on a regular basis. One example of this is that it is illegal for gays to marry in this country (your specious “natural law” argument to the contrary).

A corollary to this is that atheists blog about any religion whose evils are being foisted on them in their country. Funny how you have no problem accepting that this doesn’t indicate a secret belief in, say, Allah, now don’t you?

I have this image of you, ayer, going back to your church-group friends saying: “Yeah, I went trolling on an atheist web site and told them they still secretly believe in God; you should have seen them descend on me like flies on shit!”

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm

ildi: People have pointed out to you that atheists blog about Christianity much more than about, say, elves, because the evils of Christianity are foisted on us on a regular basis. One example of this is that it is illegal for gays to marry in this country (your specious “natural law” argument to the contrary).

Are you saying that all atheists support gay marriage? Because I don’t believe that to be the case, just as not all Christians oppose gay marriage. That is a political issue about which people within both groups disagree.

“Evils being foisted”? The discussion above stipulated that campaigning against the use of force to impose beliefs is one thing; ranting about the simple fact that some people believe in God (or elves) is another. The latter indicates some sort of psychological hang-up.

Regarding Allah: atheists who rant against Islam not because of its desire to impose its beliefs by force, but just because its adherents believe in Allah, also have a psychological hang-up. After all, atheists want neither the Christian nor the Muslim God around to hold them morally accountable for their polyamory, etc.

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Noel September 29, 2009 at 5:15 pm

For the last time, ayer: is it not possible that individuals may be motivated by a variety of beliefs? There is no single reason why atheists choose to blog against religion. Some, like you say, have not worked through their rejection of God and are responding emotionally to a subject which still haunts them. Others blog because they find theism to be threatening for social and cultural reasons (rather than existential or spiritual). Some simply blog because they find theism to be intellectually dishonest or backwards thinking. There are, simply put, so many possible reasons why someone could choose to oppose something publicly that it is silly to generalize as you have done.

If I oppose gay marriage publicly, though their beliefs are not forced on me nor do they affect me negatively in any way, does that secretly mean that I’m battling my own homosexuality? And if a Christian chooses to become an apologist, does that mean that they secretly believe God is fake and simply want to convince themselves otherwise? Try applying your judgments across the board.

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm

It continues to amaze me that you’re unwilling to concede that atheists are doing more than just “ranting about the simple fact that some people believe in God” given that your last statement explicitly cedes the point:

After all, atheists want neither the Christian nor the Muslim God around to hold them morally accountable for their polyamory, etc.

What do you have against polyamory? What’s immoral about it? (Outside of your belief that your magic sky fairy disapproves, that is.) More importantly, why should there be laws against it, if the legal/fiscal difficulties of determining spousal benefits and the like are hashed out?

The discussion above stipulated that campaigning against the use of force to impose beliefs is one thing

You may have stipulated that. It doesn’t mean I agree. The point is that laws and standards based on those beliefs are being imposed on people independently of whether those beliefs are shared. Evil is being imposed on people even if the beliefs per se that generate the evil are not.

Are you really so dense that you can’t grasp the simple notion that the last thing atheists worry about is being held “morally accountable” by myths?

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Noel: For the last time, ayer: is it not possible that individuals may be motivated by a variety of beliefs?

Atheism is “lack of belief”; at least, that is how most atheists define it. And yes, campaigning against theism because of a “lack of belief” is completely implausible, as you seem to acknowledge; there is something else going on here.

Noel: Some, like you say, have not worked through their rejection of God and are responding emotionally to a subject which still haunts them. Others blog because they find theism to be threatening for social and cultural reasons (rather than existential or spiritual). Some simply blog because they find theism to be intellectually dishonest or backwards thinking.

Your first explanation is spot on and makes sense of the facts. But proselytizing for a non-belief because they find theism “threatening” for “social and cultural reasons”? What does that indicate except a mental complex regarding the fact that people exist in the culture who hold what I consider a silly belief in an “invisible friend”? It indicates extreme psychological insecurity, as if I found Icelandic elf belief “socially and culturally threatening”. I would be justifiably dismissed as a crank.

“Intellectually dishonest and backwards thinking”? So what? That is supposed to inspire a time-consuming campaign of vitriol, even if these people refrain from using the law to impose their views on you? I suppose in a sense the elf-believers are “backward”; but if this caused me to devote major amounts of time to a campaign against them it would demonstrate that I have, yes, “issues.”

Noel: If I oppose gay marriage publicly, though their beliefs are not forced on me nor do they affect me negatively in any way, does that secretly mean that I’m battling my own homosexuality? And if a Christian chooses to become an apologist, does that mean that they secretly believe God is fake and simply want to convince themselves otherwise? Try applying your judgments across the board.

The first involves taking a position on a political issue, not launching a campaign based on a “lack of belief.” The second involves, as I pointed out above, the Christian following through on what his belief system requires–i.e., to convert others in line with the Great Commission. A “lack of belief in God” has no implication regarding proselytizing for that “lack of belief.”

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 5:58 pm

ildi: It continues to amaze me that you’re unwilling to concede that atheists are doing more than just “ranting about the simple fact that some people believe in God” given that your last statement explicitly cedes the point:

After all, atheists want neither the Christian nor the Muslim God around to hold them morally accountable for their polyamory, etc.

That sounds like you are agreeing with me that the real reason atheists rant against theism is the fear of being held morally accountable by God; although I’m sure that was just confused writing on your part.

ildi: What do you have against polyamory? What’s immoral about it? (Outside of your belief that your magic sky fairy disapproves, that is.) More importantly, why should there be laws against it, if the legal/fiscal difficulties of determining spousal benefits and the like are hashed out?

I never said there should be law against it; but it is condemned in theistic traditions, and thus a good explanation for why an atheist advocate of polyamory would rant against theism is the fear that God may just exist and hold him morally accountable.

ildi: You may have stipulated that. It doesn’t mean I agree. The point is that laws and standards based on those beliefs are being imposed on people independently of whether those beliefs are shared. Evil is being imposed on people even if the beliefs per se that generate the evil are not.

Fine, a campaign (a la the ACLU) against the imposition of belief by force I can understand. If the elf-believers sought to impose their belief on me by force of law, I would rant against them. A campaign against a “myth” simply because one lacks a belief in that “myth” indicates a troubled mind. Someone who spends a major amount of time on an “anti elf-belief” blog–or an “anti God-belief” blog–should be dismissed as a crank.

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ildi September 29, 2009 at 6:24 pm

I agree; I’m dismissing you as a crank.

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ayer September 29, 2009 at 8:03 pm

ildi: I agree; I’m dismissing you as a crank.

Good point; I am in danger of sinking to the atheist level. Adios.

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Noel September 29, 2009 at 8:57 pm

This isn’t a war, ayer. It is not good versus evil. It was supposed to be a conversation. There is no reason to imply that we are somehow inferior to you.

This is why I hate debate… it never ends in civility.

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drj September 29, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Ayer,

I don’t see what’s so hard to grasp about the fact that a person of sound mental health might actually desire to dissuade others from believing in falsehoods.

You have stated yourself that Christians are compelled to take to the streets, to persuade, to preach, to convert, and to generally assault others with their dogma -relentlessly.

It should be no surprise that there are those who disagree with these beliefs, and want to openly express their opinion. Its only natural. Yet you claim this is a sign of mental illness….

Hopefully you see how absurd this is.

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ildi September 30, 2009 at 4:45 am

Noel: This isn’t a war, ayer.It is not good versus evil.It was supposed to be a conversation.There is no reason to imply that we are somehow inferior to you.This is why I hate debate… it never ends in civility.

In many Christians’ minds it is a war, though, the war to save teh soulz! I’m pretty sure someone like ayer who trolls atheist blogs feels that way. I try to give the benefit of the doubt and assume commenters are discussing in good faith; ayer proved several posts ago that this is not the case. It’s a good example of how tenuous religious faith really is that is is so easily threatened by the unbelief of others.

drj: ayer gets it perfectly well, and is just engaging in the game of “twist the atheist’s tail”. Very mature and Christian, I might add.

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Stephanie Saunders December 8, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I found this an interesting read…
http://www.doesgodexist.org/AboutClayton/PastLife.html

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Jay Dee June 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I’m not sure if I have a right to post here, being Taoist, not atheist, but I too grew up in a Christian home, and I never quite saw the light of God, like my mother did. I never liked the idea of a god, especially conservative views (Parents were Christian liberals) of god, how every other thing is a sin. Yeah it’s good to not steal or murder, but I don’t need people shoving their faith down my throat. Oh and let gays marry. Seriously, let them have some happiness. They deserve it. ;)

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Brian September 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

I think what were all missing most is why we don’t get to feel up hot girls in front of their mothers too. Are we not atheist enough??

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