It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

10 myths and 10 truths about atheism

page: 1
0
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 10:25 PM
link   
LINK goes to the original article



SEVERAL POLLS indicate that the term “atheism” has acquired such an extraordinary stigma in the United States that being an atheist is now a perfect impediment to a career in politics (in a way that being black, Muslim or homosexual is not). According to a recent Newsweek poll, only 37% of Americans would vote for an otherwise qualified atheist for president.




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 historian Stephen Henry Roberts (1901-71) 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.”

4) Atheists think everything in the universe arose by chance.

No one knows why the universe came into being. In fact, it is not entirely clear that we can coherently speak about the “beginning” or “creation” of the universe at all, as these ideas invoke the concept of time, and here we are talking about the origin of space-time itself.

The notion that atheists believe that everything was created by chance is also regularly thrown up as a criticism of Darwinian evolution. As Richard Dawkins explains in his marvelous book, “The God Delusion,” this represents an utter misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. Although we don’t know precisely how the Earth’s early chemistry begat biology, we know that the diversity and complexity we see in the living world is not a product of mere chance. Evolution is a combination of chance mutation and natural selection. Darwin arrived at the phrase “natural selection” by analogy to the “artificial selection” performed by breeders of livestock. In both cases, selection exerts a highly non-random effect on the development of any species.




5) Atheism has no connection to science.

Although it is possible to be a scientist and still believe in God — as some scientists seem to manage it — there is no question that an engagement with scientific thinking tends to erode, rather than support, religious faith. Taking the U.S. population as an example: Most polls show that about 90% of the general public believes in a personal God; yet 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not. This suggests that there are few modes of thinking less congenial to religious faith than science is.

6) Atheists are arrogant.

When scientists don’t know something — like why the universe came into being or how the first self-replicating molecules formed — they admit it. Pretending to know things one doesn’t know is a profound liability in science. And yet it is the life-blood of faith-based religion. One of the monumental ironies of religious discourse can be found in the frequency with which people of faith praise themselves for their humility, while claiming to know facts about cosmology, chemistry and biology that no scientist knows. When considering questions about the nature of the cosmos and our place within it, atheists tend to draw their opinions from science. This isn’t arrogance; it is intellectual honesty.




7) Atheists are closed to spiritual experience.

There is nothing that prevents an atheist from experiencing love, ecstasy, rapture and awe; atheists can value these experiences and seek them regularly. What atheists don’t tend to do is make unjustified (and unjustifiable) claims about the nature of reality on the basis of such experiences. There is no question that some Christians have transformed their lives for the better by reading the Bible and praying to Jesus. What does this prove? It proves that certain disciplines of attention and codes of conduct can have a profound effect upon the human mind. Do the positive experiences of Christians suggest that Jesus is the sole savior of humanity? Not even remotely — because Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and even atheists regularly have similar experiences.

There is, in fact, not a Christian on this Earth who can be certain that Jesus even wore a beard, much less that he was born of a virgin or rose from the dead. These are just not the sort of claims that spiritual experience can authenticate.

8) Atheists believe that there is nothing beyond human life and human understanding.

Atheists are free to admit the limits of human understanding in a way that religious people are not. It is obvious that we do not fully understand the universe; but it is even more obvious that neither the Bible nor the Koran reflects our best understanding of it. We do not know whether there is complex life elsewhere in the cosmos, but there might be. If there is, such beings could have developed an understanding of nature’s laws that vastly exceeds our own. Atheists can freely entertain such possibilities. They also can admit that if brilliant extraterrestrials exist, the contents of the Bible and the Koran will be even less impressive to them than they are to human atheists.

From the atheist point of view, the world’s religions utterly trivialize the real beauty and immensity of the universe. One doesn’t have to accept anything on insufficient evidence to make such an observation.




9) Atheists ignore the fact that religion is extremely beneficial to society.

Those who emphasize the good effects of religion never seem to realize that such effects fail to demonstrate the truth of any religious doctrine. This is why we have terms such as “wishful thinking” and “self-deception.” There is a profound distinction between a consoling delusion and the truth.

In any case, the good effects of religion can surely be disputed. In most cases, it seems that religion gives people bad reasons to behave well, when good reasons are actually available. Ask yourself, which is more moral, helping the poor out of concern for their suffering, or doing so because you think the creator of the universe wants you to do it, will reward you for doing it or will punish you for not doing it?

10) Atheism provides no basis for morality.

If a person doesn’t already understand that cruelty is wrong, he won’t discover this by reading the Bible or the Koran — as these books are bursting with celebrations of cruelty, both human and divine. We do not get our morality from religion. We decide what is good in our good books by recourse to moral intuitions that are (at some level) hard-wired in us and that have been refined by thousands of years of thinking about the causes and possibilities of human happiness.

We have made considerable moral progress over the years, and we didn’t make this progress by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely. Both books condone the practice of slavery — and yet every civilized human being now recognizes that slavery is an abomination. Whatever is good in scripture — like the golden rule — can be valued for its ethical wisdom without our believing that it was handed down to us by the creator of the universe.


article by sam harris

i know this is similar to an earlier thread i started, but it was based around a different article

also, i want to bring more awareness to the both covert and overt bigotry towards people who lack faith

[edit on 12/27/06 by madnessinmysoul]




posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 10:43 PM
link   
I cant speak for any other Athiests but I just want to be left left alone. The last thing I want is a bunch of Bible Bashing , weak willed people coming to me and claiming that I need to be saved. I'm not an activist if I see a cross in public Im not bothered . Some of my friends are Christians our different beliefs aren't mentioned and we get along just fine.

Its true that the existence of a higher power falls on the wrong side of logic and proven fact but you cant tell that to people who think otherwise.



posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 09:30 AM
link   

Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
also, i want to bring more awareness to the both covert and overt bigotry towards people who lack faith


I'd like to point out that atheists don't "lack faith", they just have faith in different things than non-atheists do. I mean, a true atheist has faith that there is no God. He can't prove it (certainly), any more than believers can prove that there IS a God, but it's what he believes.

He may also have faith in life after death, he may have faith that everything is as it should be, he may have faith in Karma. He may have faith in a LOT of things. It's just that God isn't one of them.

I'm thankful that people in this forum are talking more about other theological and spiritual beliefs. Religion is only one form of belief. There are many others.



posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 11:14 AM
link   

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
also, i want to bring more awareness to the both covert and overt bigotry towards people who lack faith


I'd like to point out that atheists don't "lack faith", they just have faith in different things than non-atheists do. I mean, a true atheist has faith that there is no God. He can't prove it (certainly), any more than believers can prove that there IS a God, but it's what he believes.

He may also have faith in life after death, he may have faith that everything is as it should be, he may have faith in Karma. He may have faith in a LOT of things. It's just that God isn't one of them.

I'm thankful that people in this forum are talking more about other theological and spiritual beliefs. Religion is only one form of belief. There are many others.
Well, I will say that most of us don't put our faith in things that lack an evidentiary or logical basis. Anything within those two categories is fair game.

Also, many of us--myself included--believe that the evidence for God or any other deity is severely lacking, and so we lack a faith in those deities, but we won't go so far as to proclaim that they don't exist. If push comes to shove, we might say that God doesn't exist, but we'll start fidgeting in our seat because that puts us into a logically awkward position as you have mentioned.

I like debating the religious as long as there is some formality. Forums like this have enough formality that I don't mind it. Setting up a real debate wherein I present my side for a specified amount of time, and a religious person presents his side for the same amount of time is something I really enjoy. I do not, however, have the patience for someone coming up to me on the street to proselytize. Such informality usually leads to a shouting match, and I have no patience for those.



posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 04:00 PM
link   
benev, i was using faith as a synonym for religion...

anyway, there is a bigotry against NON-religious folk

just look at the boy scouts of america, they put forth that belief in a diety is necassary to the formation of a good individual

[edit on 12/28/06 by madnessinmysoul]



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 05:28 PM
link   

by supercheetah
I like debating the religious as long as there is some formality. Forums like this have enough formality that I don't mind it. Setting up a real debate wherein I present my side for a specified amount of time, and a religious person presents his side for the same amount of time is something I really enjoy. I do not, however, have the patience for someone coming up to me on the street to proselytize. Such informality usually leads to a shouting match, and I have no patience for those.


I agree with your statement 100%. If someone doesn't want to discuss it, that's fine. But if someone in a forum like this does........Then I also enjoy the chance to grow.

I do agree with Benevolent Heretic that belief in nothing is still belief, which is the same as faith. I guess one would say 'faith in nothing'. Maybe that's wrong. Faith in oneself maybe?



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 05:39 PM
link   

Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
I do agree with Benevolent Heretic that belief in nothing is still belief, which is the same as faith. I guess one would say 'faith in nothing'. Maybe that's wrong. Faith in oneself maybe?


i disagree with that point
there is no faith, because atheists tend to voice one singular opinion, it has yet to be proven
just because we see that there is a lack of evidence doesn't mean we're believing in nothing

and again with the myth that atheists are people that only have faith in themselves



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 05:56 PM
link   
It depends on what you mean by "faith". Let's not argue semantics (unless that's what you're here to do). What I meant by "faith" is to have a belief in something that I don't know for sure, that I can't prove.

(I didn't say that "belief in nothing is still faith") I said that atheists (and other non-believers in God) have faith in other things. One being that there isn't a God.

I have faith
- that the sun is going to come up tomorrow.
- that there's life after death
- that my dogs (your kids?) are going to turn out ok
- that my husband is 'faithful' to me

We have FAITH in things, just not the existence of God. In fact, atheists have faith that there isn't a God. They can't prove it (it's a negative) but that's what they believe.

That's all I meant.

Now, on with the semantics thing.



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 06:57 PM
link   

by madnessinmysoul
doesn't mean we're believing in nothing






by Benevolent Heretic
(it's a negative)




OK, so what I'm hearing is that belief, or faith, can only be placed in a positive? So, what I'm wandering is, do most Atheist's believe in Evolution? It seems logical to me that one would question where we came from. Evolution, being something, rather than nothing, might fit the bill, yes?



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 07:10 PM
link   

Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
OK, so what I'm hearing is that belief, or faith, can only be placed in a positive? So, what I'm wandering is, do most Atheist's believe in Evolution? It seems logical to me that one would question where we came from. Evolution, being something, rather than nothing, might fit the bill, yes?



well, i don't really need to just believe or rely on faith
there is evidence to prove that it exists
sure, as benev pointed out, there is the problem of deduction
the only way to be 100% sure something is true if through an infinite number of observations

but it isn't really that much faith to rely on a set number of observations as proof that something is true

honestly, the only time i really feel i have faith in something is when i rely on a person
i have faith that they will be reliable for a certain thing



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 07:17 PM
link   
Thanks Madnessinmysoul, very interesting and how i would explain my belief.
I particularly liked this part

In any case, the good effects of religion can surely be disputed. In most cases, it seems that religion gives people bad reasons to behave well, when good reasons are actually available. Ask yourself, which is more moral, helping the poor out of concern for their suffering, or doing so because you think the creator of the universe wants you to do it, will reward you for doing it or will punish you for not doing it?


Ive had this very same debate with christian friends who like to let every one know how many "good works" they have done. Whereas most of the non religious people i know who do volunteer work and charitable acts do so without the need to trumpet it loudly for all to hear.

As to the argument about atheism and Faith/Belief i'm with BH here, Atheism is my belief but i also have faith in many things that are non-religious in nature.



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 08:05 PM
link   

by mojo4sale
Ask yourself, which is more moral, helping the poor out of concern for their suffering, or doing so because you think the creator of the universe wants you to do it, will reward you for doing it or will punish you for not doing it?


From what I understand, all things are to be done in Love. Above statement is a misrepresentation of what the Bible says. If there is a God, don't you think he could rule through Fear in a second. The entire theology of Christianity is based on the fact that God GAVE out of Love. God does not punish or reward, He gives freely. All we have to do is accept freely.

For instance, if I'm standing in front of you, and I decide I want to give you my Rolex, cause I appreciate your company. I take it off and hold it out. What do you have to do to receive it? Just take it, that's all! If, then you want to fish around in your pocket and offer me your loose change, I would consider it childish, but whatever makes you feel good.

Christian's who act like you stated are offering loose change. The worst part about it is that it gives others reason not to freely accept the Gift. Sorry if that doesn't make sense. I try to articulate my thoughts the best I can. But I am greatful for the conversation!



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 08:37 PM
link   
93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not believe in God? The NAS must not be very prestigious for true leadership. These scientists need a lot of help.

I am afraid that if a scientist became President the nukes would fly.

May God reach ALL!!!



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 08:47 PM
link   

Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar

If there is a God, don't you think he could rule through Fear in a second. The entire theology of Christianity is based on the fact that God GAVE out of Love. God does not punish or reward, He gives freely. All we have to do is accept freely.


According to the bible he did rule through fear and love, there are many instances, isnt the threat of eternal damnation using fear? Isnt the promise of Heaven/Hell punishment or reward?


Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
For instance, if I'm standing in front of you, and I decide I want to give you my Rolex, cause I appreciate your company.


I'd thank you very much and go to the pawn brokers, that there rolex would pay the kids school fee's. lol


Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
Christian's who act like you stated are offering loose change. The worst part about it is that it gives others reason not to freely accept the Gift. Sorry if that doesn't make sense. I try to articulate my thoughts the best I can. But I am greatful for the conversation!


It did make sense and i agree with your analogy, for some though charitable acts are used to measure their worth before God, where do they get this view from if not from the church. Thanks.

Sorry madnessinmysoul if i headed off topic, my bad!



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 08:53 PM
link   

Originally posted by GreatTech
93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not believe in God? The NAS must not be very prestigious for true leadership. These scientists need a lot of help.

I am afraid that if a scientist became President the nukes would fly.

May God reach ALL!!!


Was it a scientist that unleashed nuclear weapons to help end ww2. Nope, politicians and military leaders who were christians.

I'd be more concerned with the people that have their fingers near the trigger now than some notion that a scientist would want to destroy the world if they were president.



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 08:56 PM
link   

Originally posted by GreatTech
93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not believe in God? The NAS must not be very prestigious for true leadership. These scientists need a lot of help.

I am afraid that if a scientist became President the nukes would fly.

May God reach ALL!!!


Of course they don't. The higher we climb the academic ladder the less likely we are to believe in fairy tales and use incredulity to form beliefs.

Maybe such an approach might have helped bush realise the error in his reasons for invading Iraq. I guess a hotline to a 'higher father' gave no real insight into anything useful.

[edit on 30-12-2006 by melatonin]



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 09:10 PM
link   

by mojo4sale
According to the bible he did rule through fear and love, there are many instances, isnt the threat of eternal damnation using fear? Isnt the promise of Heaven/Hell punishment or reward?


I would appreciate something a little more specific on that. It's hard to recall every possible situation that you might be referring to. The only thing that pops into my mind is that separation from the Love of the one who created you (hell), is a choice, made freely, and honored by God. There is a quote attributed to Einstein, where he states, There is no Cold, only absence of Heat. There is no Dark, only the absence of Light. I personally think hell is a place removed from the One who created you, as per your own wishes.




for some though charitable acts are used to measure their worth before God, where do they get this view from if not from the church


I would posit that it comes from within themselves. I'm sure you know Atheist's that lord themselves over others as well. Not limited to Christian's in any way shape or form.



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 09:20 PM
link   

Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar

The only thing that pops into my mind is that separation from the Love of the one who created you (hell), is a choice, made freely, and honored by God. There is a quote attributed to Einstein, where he states, There is no Cold, only absence of Heat. There is no Dark, only the absence of Light. I personally think hell is a place removed from the One who created you, as per your own wishes.


Not the view shared by a majority of christians i'm sure but i do prefer your slant on it even if i dont agree.



Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
I'm sure you know Atheist's that lord themselves over others as well. Not limited to Christian's in any way shape or form.


Without doubt, though i dont get too many atheists knocking on my door spreading their gospel.
Just a reminder really that charitable acts are not the province only of those who believe in God but more those that believe in Humanity. Good discussion though. Thanks.



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 09:24 PM
link   

Originally posted by melatonin

Originally posted by GreatTech
93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not believe in God? The NAS must not be very prestigious for true leadership. These scientists need a lot of help.

I am afraid that if a scientist became President the nukes would fly.

May God reach ALL!!!


Of course they don't. The higher we climb the academic ladder the less likely we are to believe in fairy tales and use incredulity to form beliefs.

Maybe such an approach might have helped bush realise the error in his reasons for invading Iraq. I guess a hotline to a 'higher father' gave no real insight into anything useful.

[edit on 30-12-2006 by melatonin]


melatonin, Christians Love the Power Source, scientists love hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. Christians Love Heaven, scientists love the earth.



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 09:35 PM
link   

Originally posted by GreatTech
scientists love hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen.Christians Love Heaven, scientists love the earth.


If scientists love the earth why would they want to destroy it.


Btw i love oxygen too even though i'm not a scientist. Breathing is a great way to pass the time.



new topics

top topics



 
0
<<   2 >>

log in

join