Atheists like to point out that Atheism's conceptual formulation is humanistic in that it attempts to liberate or unshackle Homo Sapiens from all sorts of religious fervour, fantasies and mythologies. In the process of doing so, however, Atheism have gone so far as to deny man's inate dignity by degrading him into a mere object that could be reduced to its individual physical parts (objectivism and reductionism); deny his intrinsic integrity by devaluing him into an mere empirical model (empiricism); deny his spiritual verity by discarding his soulful essence (materialism) that makes him unique in all of earths 'sentient creatures.
That to me is the mother of all Ironies.
I guess some people just don't need superstitions to actually have dignity, and self worth...apparently. Most atheist I know seem to be happy. How do you explain that?
Most people are generally happy... now are you perhaps saying that atheists are happier than most folks? If absolutely true, from your perspective as an atheist, then you will have to tell why. It could be enlightening.
Atheism has no formulation, it's the negation of theism.
Theists believe in a god or gods, atheists do not believe.
Anything else is ADDITIONAL.
When I say atheists, I am specifically referring to the more analytical and less reflexive members of that group... folks who became atheists not because it "feels good" to deny the existence of a Deity, but because they have analyzed the philosophic underpinning of such a negation of theism, and found it jibes neatly with their fundamental understanding of what it is to be human, and what importance (if there is in fact any) humans have in the grander scheme of the cosmos,
Most atheists I've met, including myself, became atheists because we began to see theism as more and more improbable. In my case this was due to a critical reexamination of the Bible and what I was taught as a child, followed by drifting in and out of belief in various alternatives.
As for your claim that atheism robs man of his integrity by making just another piece of reality I don't think you're seeing the whole picture there. Human life has value because we value each other. Mankind may or may not have some grand purpose on a cosmic scale, it's hardly a question anyone knows the answer to, but most people find other human beings valuable REGARDLESS of whether they believe in any grand scheme at all.
You don't love your family members and friends and find them valuable and cherish the time you spend with them based on their place in some divine plan you do it because you love them. And you care about the rest of humanity because of basic things like empathy all of which are helpful to a social species like ours managing to bond with each other and thus survive and overcome obstacles.
We ALREADY have meaning TO EACH OTHER. You can break down love, you can explain it, you can figure out what it looks like in a brain, what neurons are firing and what chemicals are involved in producing it but in the end people will still EXPERIENCE love and empathy and a sense of right and wrong. It's still something we value, even when we understand it in detail, and human life is no exception. If you want to descend into some dark nihilistic place, where it's all just meaningless anyway so why bother, be my guest, but I see no reason why atheism necessitates such a thing.
I could also argue that to give MAN a soul, while denying a soul to other animals, is a childish anthropocentric fantasy. As I said, we are already important to one another with no supernatural elements required.
I am of course coming from a completely different narrative and prespective.
I was born into a christian family, but whose religiosity, (if by that one means, following and observing, religious tenets to its utmost), was minimal. My parents did send me to a catholic High School run by Jesuits, but my religiosity, at least to the degree that it should have peaked while in that catholic High School, remained minimalist.... and even now, my religious beliefs, although colored by christian tenets, remain so.
My idea of religion and its role in my personal, social,family, and societal affairs is now totally anchored on its evocation of a material world that is suffussed and cocooned by a much bigger spiritual realm. That spiritual reality include a Divine entity, that has given part of His divine energy to all sentient beings, be they on earth or in another place out there.
So my conception of humans and of the human family of which you and I are members, are not the same as the formulation as conceived by atheists.... specifically, the part about humans having a soul.... what I would also call as a conscientious consciousness.... as opposed to the licentious consciousness that the human brain imparts on all of us.
You are correct of course in saying that the value one human places on or applies to another human is not dependent upon the other human's philosophic musings, but on the other human applying the same or even more value to another human... the concept of 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch your back" or "you have my back covered, and I'll cover yours in return" . A wise man once said that gratitude is the most sublime of all virtues because from it, flows all other virtues. I'd say that gratitude is also the simplest form of emotion because it harks back to early human's attempts at dealing with perplexities and complexities of a perceived hostile world. What do you think would have happened to early Homo Sapiens if they , when interacting with each other in the environment of a hostile world, did not express gratitude to each other by covering each other's back?
To reductionists, there is nothing degrading about being a sentient object.
And there is no need to be 'special' (unique etc) in order to have high ethical value.
Finally, an irony is a reversal of expectations. I have no idea how that concept applies here.
I suppose the reason why you did not find any irony was because you did not agree with the premise of both statements. Entirely understandable coming from a scientist who may not necessarily find any validity to the idea that science and religion could "mix it up " so to speak to come to a fuller understanding of man--- the material, and man--- the spiritual.
It's called reality. We are what we are, no sense pretending we are something that we are not.
I can respect this ideal of you being tho you are and not pretending. But you also used the term "reality". I'm understanding this statement to mean that you are implying that the way you are choosing to live is the real way and as such true and a Christian's isn't. Is that what you are saying?
If yes, Then what makes the way you choose to live better if a Christian is happy with the life they choose and it is reality to them?
If my understanding is incorrect, can you clarify it for me?
Not trying to sound angry or argumentative, just curious
May I answer?
I get this argument from believers a lot. "If my personal faith is personal, then what's the harm"?
Personal faith does cause harm because no one lives in a vacuum. Your behavior, your beliefs and your choices impact other people because we live in a society. For example - a lot of christians base their beliefs on biblical teachings. To them, that means voting for people that share their beliefs and values.
In today's society that means that a lot of christians will vote against gay marriage, which keeps certain people from having equal rights. It also means that a lot of them oppose pro-choice positions in favor of pro-life ones. Your personal faith is therefore causing harm to others, and it's imposing your beliefs on those that may not share them. When laws are based on religious ideals, you are minimizing the fact that other people may not share those religious ideals and forcing them to comply, regardless of their own beliefs. You're therefore putting your religious beliefs above the beliefs (or non-beliefs) of others. That's how personal faith causes harm.
I appreciate your answer. And I agree with the points that you made. Those points, however, more point to the ideas presented by the more Organized idea of what religion instead of the personalized idea. It is extremely harmful to force your beliefs onto others who do not share the same.
I'm glad that not all who claim that they are Christians believe the same thing.
Reality is reality. I don't think atheist are choosing one reality, and believers are choosing another. No. There is reality...and there is distortion.
Objective reality is what can actually be observed...you know...something REAL.
Good answer getitrite. That is why I was asking.
Sorry Deeps, I'm getting to this a little late but it looks like others have done a great job in answering your question. Reality is a thing that is actually experienced or seen. Given the choice between reality and a fantasy I choose reality even when the fantasy includes life after death. It's actually difficult to come to grips with when you have been told about heaven since you were a child, but you realize it's just a fantasy and reality doesn't offer heaven. Once you get over the whole dying thing reality is a pretty great place because you see the world for what it is.
What a well written post! I call it "Treatise in a Paragraph".
I believe I will win the lottery. I don't believe I will win the lottery. Which is the happier?
How does Atheism deny human dignity and integrity?
'By degrading him into a mere object that could be reduced to its individual physical parts'?
'By devaluing him into an mere empirical model'?
'By discarding his soulful essence'?
I'm an agnostic and I'm bewildered.
We are what we are.
Some may suggest that we are 'mere objects', others may say that we are living creatures, who value life and the companionship of those with whom they share the Earth.
I don't feel devalued by atheists.
As for soulful essence. Who knows? I would say that it may exist, but I don't know.
If it does exist, then that still does not mean that it is in the manner suggested by Christians.
why are you so obsessed with atheism when you don't even seem to understand that it means?
Since you know so much about atheism and I don't, perhaps you could give me a coherent , and cogent tutorial on what I am so totally missing about your un-belief mind set.
There isn't a mindset. The definition of atheism is a lack of a belief in a god. That's it. You do not have to be a humanist, you do not have to be a materialist. Atheists are all different, and atheism has nothing to do with a worldview. Its just a lack if a belief. An atheist MAY also be a secular humanist, etc, but that is separate from atheism itself.
I disagree... lack of belief is a mind set because it was derived from your inherent ability to chose (free will) and because it has a trajectory that involves objectifying, reducing, empiricizing and materializing humans and their existence. If you do not believe in a Deity/Creator and the spiritual realm that He inhabits, a spiritual realm that by the way suffuses and envelopes the whole material universe, then you will by rational extension objectify, reduce, empiricise, and materialize human existence. Those I totally reject.
I recognize of course that what I just said about the spiritual realm is total fantasy to you.... and therein lies the conundrum.
How are you going to tell an atheist what they do or do not think or believe when you aren't one? The ONLY thing that all atheists have in common with each other is a lack of a belief in a deity. I don't know why you have to make baseless additional assumptions. No offense, dude - but you don't know what you're talking about. Whatever makes you sleep at night, man.
Additionally, if the spiritual realm is such a point of contention, simplify it by proving that it exists. Problem solved
Baseless you say?... when atheists of all stripes tell me that man's existence is not anymore purposeful and or meaningful and or utilitarian than the common slug or the rat that goes scampering in the public dump... that riles me no end because that kind of conceptualization can only come from an objectivist, reductionist and materialist view of humanity.
No offense dudette, but I sure know what I am talking about.
The spiritual realm can never be proven until and unless science start shedding its reductionist, objectivist and materialist approach to scientific methodologies. Thus problem is not solved.
Oh I see a way out of this conundrum...for us to leave our earthly existence in some manner, and to actually experience the spiritual world. But then again atheists are so tethered to the material and physical, that even if God is staring straight into their faces, they will continue to deny His existence. Not that would be a shame.
You have no way of proving that there is any higher purpose for humans, yet you, through wishful thinking, believe that there is. Perhaps it's your conceited view of your fellow creatures here on earth? Why would you conclude that the purpose of the slug or rat is inferior to the humans purpose? Look at the grand scheme, and not your subjective reality.
What should be used to replace them?
But that never happens, except for psychotics like Dr. Eben Alexander, for some odd reason...I wonder why?
And just which God should we be expecting, as there are way too many Gods to be sure if we are staring into the face of the real God?
I thought ranting is not your style...... until now.
From existentialism to nihilism... you just bridged the two belief systems that drink from the fountain of atheism.
As opposed to the egotism you display from the fountain of theism.
Egotism and theism....I could not find any two words that are more diametrically opposed to each other. So your trying the tie these two words togather is just a manifestation of the narcissism that infuses and suffuses the atheistic world.
But your behavior demonstrates quite the opposite. You are the bond that ties them together.
how is it NOT egotistic to claim that you have the ultimate, sole truth to eternity, a divine power and the afterlife - and additionally make the assertion that all other such claims that do not line up with yours are wrong? that's the definition of egotism.
I have never philosophically claimed that the SOLE Truth to eternity is divine power and the afterlife. What I have argued is that theres is another truth to human existence and experience, not just the physica//material, but also the spiritual, and to DENY that is to deny half of what makes us human.
On earth, if one says that I know the absolute TRUTH, but without experiencing part if not all of that spiritual reality, then you could say that that is pure EGO.... the EGO to deny that spiritual reality, as what atheism does.
What spiritual reality is this exactly? An empty claim. How is this what makes us human? You are more human than an atheist? lol
So you never said the SOLE truth to eternity is divine power and the afterlife, but you did claim that if one doesn't believe in God then they are only half human?
that is what you want to think atheism does. Not what atheism actually does. I'm sure it makes you feel better to believe that everyone rejects your outlandish claims is just narcissistic and egotistical, but it's simply not true.
additionally - your spiritual "reality" is just another claim. You can't back that up with any kind of evidence whatsoever. So the one making these sweeping claims, not only about their own beliefs but about the beliefs and positions of those who oppose them as well is truly narcissistic. Not the ones that simply don't believe in your reality.
You believe what you chose to believe.. and i will do the same. As with all the accessory stuff... I don't think we will ever be able to come to any sensible conclusion... except to say we agree to disagree.
Now THIS I can definitely agree with. There is a level of egotism that goes with theism when theists state that their way is the best way. Just the same for atheists that state that there being no God is the realistic way. Two sides of a coin, both convinced that they are correct.
How is "best," the opposite of "reality." exactly? Two sides of what coin? I have evidence of reality - what does a theist have that makes it equivalent?
You have evidence of what someone else interprets as reality based on their conclusions drawn from information presented to them. It may seem more logical than what a lot of theists have presented, but still the same premise.. Did you do the research for yourself? or did you read books that were written on the subject? Same difference as a theist reading the bible.. I'm going to leave this conversation at that because I'm pretty sure your response will entail a denial of any similarities with theists
But Atheists do not claim (as theists do) that their way is the best way. Most of us will acknowledge that for some a believe is God is helpful (they need someone watching to keep them in line). What is more egotistical, to think we were made in the image of a God or to think we are just another mammal?
You are correct. Most theists are very egotistical with their claims that their way is the only way to salvation. I could point out the things that I see as egotistical on your part, But since you don't see the problem in it for yourself then it will be easy for you to dismiss. Two things I will never do: 1)keep arguing the same points because it will then turn into me feeling like I'm trying to beat you over the head with my ideals and you continuing to claim superiority be the way you mock my beliefs as ridiculous, outlandish, and as such invalid (thus proving your egotism by sunning down my beliefs instead of simply disagreeing).. So this is another conversation I am leaving where it is
Oh yeah and 2) I will never threaten with eternal torment or condemn you to a place that doesn't exist (hell) just because you think differently in a lot of ways than I do. Live and let live. I have a ton of respect for you three (JM, Rad, and Mark) for the way you three challenge thought. I just wish that sometimes the sharing of ideas between myself and you all doesn't include the three of you mocking my beliefs as ridiculous and stupid. How about simply giving your ideals without attacking mine. In other posts, I've agreed with a lot of what you have to say although I share a different fundamental ideal
Point taken. Please remember that from an Atheists perspective the belief in God is similar to the belief in a fairy tale. It can get frustrating when someone tells you that you can choose to believe in Santa and all you have to do is start writing letters. It's never the person that I am opposed to, it's the belief system. In other words it the belief system that is ridiculous and not the person.
But point taken.
I gathered that it's the belief system that you take issue with. That's why I try to defend atheists in a lot of forums when they are attacked and threatened with damnation (for the record that irks me because I end up being lumped in with them). It's sometimes a matter of simply stating your point instead of attacking a belief..
P.S- I still believe in Santa Claus (well the concept, not the actual fat guy in a red suit that breaks the law just to leave presents) lol
Ha ha ha. The odd B&E to leave a present can't be all bad?
You are not being lumped up with the burn in hell bunch. We see the difference or at the very least I do. It's fair to say that we will sometimes agree and others we will not. That's okay and that's part of the fun, for the most part respect is shown. If I fall short call me on it, you'll get an apology.
No no, please point out where you think I'm being egotistical.
Egotistical - excessively conceited or absorbed in oneself; self-centered: he's selfish, egotistical, and arrogant.
No, that's not it at all. If god was sitting there face-to-face with me, i couldn't possibly deny his existence. However, that doesn't mean that I would choose to worship him. It is possible to have free will and still go against god. Satan did - if you believe that angels have free will that is (which doesn't make sense, because the majority of christians claim that free will is what sets mankind apart from the angels, which makes me wonder how Satan became Satan at all).
There's a difference between having evidence that is JUSTIFIED and having faith in something that is not. It comes down to a simple question. Do you care if what you believe is true? If not, then no conversation is necessary. You're free to believe whatever you want, but since you do not exist in a vacuum, your belief potentially causes harm to other people. If you DO care if what you believe is true (and I did, when I was a christian) then I looked for things that backed those beliefs up and figure out whether I had a justification for those beliefs or not. I didn't.
I know it may be comfortable for you to make sweeping assumptions about "all atheists" but that doesn't make those assumptions true. I'm an atheist, but I'm not a materialist. And I really can't believe that there's a world wide, gigantic science conspiracy going on beneath the surface. It think that the world is growing by leaps and bounds in terms of scientific discovery, technology and knowledge and as we turn towards those concepts, the need for mythical god beings is decreasing.
Wait... Dudette - are you the same person as the good "brother" who also likes to make sweeping assumptions and insults with no good reason?
Typical atheist... likes to hurl insulting aspersions i.e. dude etc, and when insulting aspersions are thrown back i.e dudette, cries fowl. I'm telling you the narcissism in the atheistic world is just too stunning to contemplate.
Having said the above, I must tell you that I do enjoy your discoursive abilities... if that is any consolation.
I didn't say (or imply) that "dudette" was insulting. I was recently called that exact same term by someone who seemed to go out of their way to insult me - and due to your response immediately following that discourse, I wondered if you were the same person. Again, you're making assumptions about me that are based on your own perception. Next time why don't you just ask?
"Wait... Dudette - are you the same person as the good "brother" who also likes to make sweeping assumptions and insults with no good reason?"
That was a question. What about that was "crying foul" or calling it an insult?
So it is the BELIEF in a deity, but not God himself that is your issue? And are you just livid at atheist because we have the psychological strength to boldly reject the dictates of authority.
You seem to be upset that we have the fortitude to do that, which you lack the courage to do.
How do you think this guy is upset? He seems calm enough in his dissertation. I believe you hope to upset someone and are projecting your expectations.
Get real! Are you also angry that you don't possess the courage to think for yourself?
This conclusion is completely.........Absurd!
Btw, which sock puppet are you?
Once you see the unexplainable with your very eyes it really blends what's considered reality and fantasy.
that depends on what you consider "unexplainable"
Which of course makes a lot of stuff both subjective and objective and easily able to dismiss depending on bias (generally speaking of course)
I've seen magicians perform things that I couldn't explain, does that mean others couldn't explain them?
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