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Wed May 24, 2017, 08:14 AM

10 myths and 10 Truths About Atheism...

Posted for discussion and comment, since SH and his observations are not necessarily the "End All" and "Be All" of Atheism, or anything else for that matter, but a good starting point...

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/10-myths-and-10-truths-about-atheism


10 myths—and 10 Truths—About Atheism

1) Atheists believe that life is meaningless.
On the contrary, religious people often worry that life is meaningless and imagine that it can only be redeemed by the promise of eternal happiness beyond the grave. Atheists tend to be quite sure that life is precious. Life is imbued with meaning by being really and fully lived. Our relationships with those we love are meaningful now; they need not last forever to be made so. Atheists tend to find this fear of meaninglessness … well … meaningless.

2) Atheism is responsible for the greatest crimes in human history.
People of faith often claim that the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were the inevitable product of unbelief. The problem with fascism and communism, however, is not that they are too critical of religion; the problem is that they are too much like religions. Such regimes are dogmatic to the core and generally give rise to personality cults that are indistinguishable from cults of religious hero worship. Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields were not examples of what happens when human beings reject religious dogma; they are examples of political, racial and nationalistic dogma run amok. There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.

3) Atheism is dogmatic.
Jews, Christians and Muslims claim that their scriptures are so prescient of humanity’s needs that they could only have been written under the direction of an omniscient deity. An atheist is simply a person who has considered this claim, read the books and found the claim to be ridiculous. One doesn’t have to take anything on faith, or be otherwise dogmatic, to reject unjustified religious beliefs. As the programmer Stephen F. Roberts* once said: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”


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Reply 10 myths and 10 Truths About Atheism... (Original post)
NeoGreen May 2017 OP
DetlefK May 2017 #1

Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 10:04 AM

1. Just some remarks:

1)
Atheists do think that life has meaning. Except that meaning is not to serve God but to serve other people. ("Love thy neighbor..."

2)
Nobody has ever said: "There is no God, therefore it's okay to kill people."

3)
Atheism is not monolithic. Their largest chunk is actually "soft atheists" who simply don't care about religion.

4)
What did the universe come from? Even atheists will tell you: "We don't know."
Where did life come from? AHA!!! That is question where we are getting closer to. Theoreticists have recently made advances in describing the physical property "being alive" thermodynamically. (They are calling it "life-force", but that sounds too esoteric for my taste.) And scientists are currently running experiments to prove that the creation of life were situations of thermodynamic non-equilibrium. (Because you can break the laws of thermodynamics if you aren't in thermodynamic equilibrium.)

5)
Culturally, the modern atheism is based on materialism. And that materialism is based on the scientific progress of the 18th/19th century, when non-religious ideas turned out to be much more suitable for explaining phenomena than religious explanations.

6)
Yeah, some atheists are assholes, purely to spite believers. For example: Bill Maher. But the vast majority just doesn't care enough.

7)
That depends on the definition of "spiritual". Unlocking the keys to the universe, understanding the deeper connections that bind everything together, gently scratching across the fabric of reality... Oh, science and mathematics can be deeply spiritual.

8)
I don't know where that misunderstanding comes from. Sure, an atheist dedicates his life to other humans, not God. But that does not mean that we regard the human as the highest being of all.
I guess the misunderstanding comes from the mistake that the believers can't shed the concept that you are supposed to serve a higher power. And they think that "the human" is this higher power to the atheists.

9)
Oh, religion is useful! Religion is perfect to establish an ordered civilization from an uneducated population. It's a great fallback in times of societal/political crisis.
But as a means to explore the universe... No. Science is a way better method for that.

10)
Actually, atheism provides a stronger basis for morality than religion.
Why?
Because if we exclude the possibility of an after-life, all conflicts must be settled here and now. And for that we need a moral code.
Religion postpones the resolution of injustice to the after-life, thereby wiggling out of having to set certain moral laws. ("Don't worry. He will go to hell."

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