1 of 7
1
What good is Atheism anyways?
Posted: 11 January 2009 11:41 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1783
Joined  2008-08-09

............................
May I ask: what good is Atheism anyways?
                Is it merely another exclusive club or does it have something to offer “others”?


So far an evolutionary view of society
    & humanity’s interaction with its biosphere.
    {where we have been ~ where we are going}...

What does Atheism have to offer?

Especially, considering the incredible amount of American’s who continue
to hold a personal God as a real presence!

People who still hold an evolutionary… biologically informed view of our Earth in contempt!

>>>

What has the Atheism state of mind have to offer the struggle to inform the populace?
      ...so far as furthering attempts at communication
        with those who cling to a totally different paradigm?

[ Edited: 12 January 2009 12:13 AM by citizenschallenge ]
 Signature 

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 January 2009 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  633
Joined  2007-12-10

Belief in god is irrational, atheism is rational. Plenty of good reasons to be rational.

 Signature 

Dan

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 January 2009 12:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

As a chemist I had a variety of projects I could pursue.  One of them would be to search for or synthesize the “Philosophers’ Stone”.  Then I could have turned anything it touched to gold, and I could be wealthy.  However, I decided that not only was there no evidence of such a thing, in spite of many people looking for it in earlier centuries, but that there was a great deal of evidence against its existence or even its possibility.  Part of the meaning I try to build into my life is working to try to get closer to reality, or at least, truth.  As such, I don’t want to contaminate my mind with falsehoods such as the Philosophers’ Stone or a god even if a great many other people do so.

I know that many of the vast number of Americans who believe in a god derive a great deal of comfort from that belief.  Why is it so incomprehensible to you and them that my belief in a naturally caused universe without any supernatural being gives me equally, a great deal of comfort and satisfaction?

I would not care if others believe in a wide variety of or version of gods if they didn’t impinge negatively on both me and on society in general.  I get quite distressed when I see the horrors that those who believe in a particular god inflict on all those with any different set of beliefs.  The only people I don’t see inflicting those horrors on others are atheists and agnostics. (Don’t waste your time bringing up Stalinist Russia.  Atheism had nothing to do with that insanity.)

And I’m sorry, but the argument that the majority of Americans believe in a personal god as a reason for me to believe in one, is just plain irrational.  It indicates a lack of either abililty or understanding of thinking logically.

Occam
Wordpad

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 January 2009 12:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

A note to Brennen:  I’m eternally in your debt for telling me about the use of wordpad as a safety backup some time ago. smile

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 January 2009 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1995
Joined  2008-09-18

I like the question you ask; it’s good to challenge yourself, if only to prepare yourself for challenges from others. I would agree that atheism itself is difficult to justify in pragmatic terms. However, I would argue that atheism is a symptom of rationalism, and rationalism does have great pragmatic value. Rational people make better decisions than irrational people. But rationalism is not a black-or-white trait; there are degrees of rationalism within all of us. Even I, who style myself a highly rational person, have real difficult choosing between my rational desire to lose a few more pounds and my utterly irrational desire to have that piece of chocolate. Fortunately, nobody dies if I’m irrational—I’m not overweight, just five pounds above my ideal weight.

Rationalism is even more important at a political level. If we as a society cannot handle our problems rationally, we will fail to solve them, and then people really will die. So we are all in a constant struggle to improve our rationalism. And a big step in that direction is dumping religion for atheism.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 January 2009 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4108
Joined  2006-11-28

You’re welcome! grin

 Signature 

The SkeptVet Blog
You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place. 
Johnathan Swift

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 January 2009 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  475
Joined  2008-03-08

Atheism in itself is merely a position on the lack of belief in a god and has no positive or negative effect on one’s behavior IMO.

It may seem strange that one needs to identify himself on what he is not, but with the popularity of religious dogma and indoctrination it becomes pretty practical.

The skeptical process and even more impprtantly, the willingness to admit one is wrong in the light of convincing evidence seems to be some positive features that are seen more in atheists than in theists.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 January 2009 03:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  252
Joined  2007-07-12
citizenschallenge - 11 January 2009 11:41 PM

............................
May I ask: what good is Atheism anyways?
             

Atheism is a negative answer to the question “does god exist”. As such, the issue is whether it is a true answer or not, not whether it is “good” or “bad”.  You can’t criticize truth for being “good or bad”, just for it being true or false.

You can ask however “Why do we need truth? What good is truth anyway?”, but I am sure that if you reflect for a moment, what is the service that truth does in all the areas of our lives, and what is the service that not knowing the truth does, you will find out for yourself.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 January 2009 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  403
Joined  2007-08-26
wandering - 13 January 2009 03:05 AM
citizenschallenge - 11 January 2009 11:41 PM

............................
May I ask: what good is Atheism anyways?
             

Atheism is a negative answer to the question “does god exist”. As such, the issue is whether it is a true answer or not, not whether it is “good” or “bad”.  You can’t criticize truth for being “good or bad”, just for it being true or false.

You can ask however “Why do we need truth? What good is truth anyway?”, but I am sure that if you reflect for a moment, what is the service that truth does in all the areas of our lives, and what is the service that not knowing the truth does, you will find out for yourself.

Not so fast. In the interest of playing Devil’s Advocate, I’d invite everyone to give a read to some of Nietzsche’s work on
“the value of truth for life.” The idea that the plain, unvarnished truth is always the best thing in terms of it’s value
for preserving and enhancing life is a bit problematic, in Nietzsche’s view.  Think about it: how would most people’s lives
be enhanced by confronting the truth that we’re born, live and die in an absurd world? That when we die, our brain is
extinguished and our body rots, and we’ll never see all those people we love ever again? For every one of us who would
say a joyous Yes to this truth (in line with Sartre’s dictum that life begins on the other side of despair), there would be ten,
a hundred, hell a thousand, for whom this truth would suck every ounce of joy and savor out of life, and render it a grey and mournful thing.

Note to self: make it a project to dust off my old copies of Nietzsche in 2009 and give them a fresh read, it’s been nearly
20 years for most of them.

 Signature 

—————————————————
http://www.StephenJGallagher.com
http://StephenJGallagher.blogspot.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 January 2009 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2011
Joined  2007-08-09

As some of the answers here have already suggested, it may do a lot of good or virtually none. I believe it depends on which of the dozens if not hundreds or thousands of definitions one chooses to apply.

 Signature 

I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 January 2009 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1995
Joined  2008-09-18

Steve, my variation on your point is to ask my interlocutor, “You call yourself a writer? How many writers do you think are better than you? A few million, maybe? That makes you pretty low on the totem pole, doesn’t it? Or how about your morals? You don’t think yourself the most moral person on the planet, do you? How does it make you feel to know that there are, say, 3 billion people on this planet who are morally superior to you? Or let’s get really personal: how good are you in bed? Truthfully, how would you rank yourself compared to the other 6 billion people on this planet? Somewhere around 1 billionth, maybe? If so, think about it: there are a billion people who are better in bed than you…  and have nice day!”  grin

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 January 2009 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  475
Joined  2008-03-08
steveg144 - 13 January 2009 10:41 AM
wandering - 13 January 2009 03:05 AM
citizenschallenge - 11 January 2009 11:41 PM

............................
May I ask: what good is Atheism anyways?
             

Atheism is a negative answer to the question “does god exist”. As such, the issue is whether it is a true answer or not, not whether it is “good” or “bad”.  You can’t criticize truth for being “good or bad”, just for it being true or false.

You can ask however “Why do we need truth? What good is truth anyway?”, but I am sure that if you reflect for a moment, what is the service that truth does in all the areas of our lives, and what is the service that not knowing the truth does, you will find out for yourself.

Not so fast. In the interest of playing Devil’s Advocate, I’d invite everyone to give a read to some of Nietzsche’s work on
“the value of truth for life.” The idea that the plain, unvarnished truth is always the best thing in terms of it’s value
for preserving and enhancing life is a bit problematic, in Nietzsche’s view.  Think about it: how would most people’s lives
be enhanced by confronting the truth that we’re born, live and die in an absurd world? That when we die, our brain is
extinguished and our body rots, and we’ll never see all those people we love ever again? For every one of us who would
say a joyous Yes to this truth (in line with Sartre’s dictum that life begins on the other side of despair), there would be ten,
a hundred, hell a thousand, for whom this truth would suck every ounce of joy and savor out of life, and render it a grey and mournful thing.

Note to self: make it a project to dust off my old copies of Nietzsche in 2009 and give them a fresh read, it’s been nearly
20 years for most of them.

It’s going to depend on how one frames their view. I’m certainly not ignorant of what you point out and yet I’m not bothered by it. There are plenty of truths that one can focus on or give value to to increase his happiness. This can also be done with falsehoods. The problem that arises with relying on falshoods for achieving specific emotional states is that reality can slap you in the face and leave you with nothing to fall back on.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 January 2009 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1783
Joined  2008-08-09
danlhinz - 12 January 2009 12:23 AM

Belief in god is irrational, atheism is rational. Plenty of good reasons to be rational.

You know Spock was my favor Enterprise crew member, but he still ain’t human.
Our entire economic system is based on an irrational perspective of what this earth and the future holds.
so what of it?   

guess I just miss your point

 Signature 

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 January 2009 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1783
Joined  2008-08-09
Occam - 12 January 2009 12:42 AM

Why is it so incomprehensible to you and them that my belief in a naturally caused universe without any supernatural being gives me equally, a great deal of comfort and satisfaction?

That wasn’t my question, nor implication!

Occam - 12 January 2009 12:42 AM

And I’m sorry, but the argument that the majority of Americans believe in a personal god as a reason for me to believe in one, is just plain irrational.  It indicates a lack of either abililty or understanding of thinking logically.

My questions have nothing to do with expecting you to believe anything!
I think I’ve gone to great lengths to spell that out in other posts. 

Stop tossing that dead fish in my face.

 Signature 

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 January 2009 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1783
Joined  2008-08-09
Chris Crawford - 12 January 2009 09:57 AM

I like the question you ask; it’s good to challenge yourself, if only to prepare yourself for challenges from others. I would agree that atheism itself is difficult to justify in pragmatic terms. However, I would argue that atheism is a symptom of rationalism, and rationalism does have great pragmatic value. Rational people make better decisions than irrational people. But rationalism is not a black-or-white trait; there are degrees of rationalism within all of us. Even I, who style myself a highly rational person, have real difficult choosing between my rational desire to lose a few more pounds and my utterly irrational desire to have that piece of chocolate. Fortunately, nobody dies if I’m irrational—I’m not overweight, just five pounds above my ideal weight.

Rationalism is even more important at a political level. If we as a society cannot handle our problems rationally, we will fail to solve them, and then people really will die. So we are all in a constant struggle to improve our rationalism. And a big step in that direction is dumping religion for atheism.

This I really like.
What I’m needling you guys/gals about is how might you be able to better convey rationalism, with it’s important ramification to those who hold a totally different mind set.  I keep seeing some metaphor of cracking a shell of fear.

Where I keep getting hug up with some of you folks is that silly God question.
To me it is a non-question and non-issue….....
There are many other much more important issues to focus on NOW.
therein lie the roots of our, CFI/me, disagreements…. in my humble opinion wink

 Signature 

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 January 2009 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1783
Joined  2008-08-09
Kaizen - 12 January 2009 05:06 PM

The skeptical process and even more importantly, the willingness to admit one is wrong in the light of convincing evidence seems to be some positive features that are seen more in atheists than in theists.

well put and I fully agree.

Also, thanks for getting me to think about my basic questions.

I guess I’m looking at the question from an evangelical sort of light.
That is,  how might one help effect evolution in the thinking of others.

 Signature 

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 7
1