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Positive(?) atheism
04-04-2009, 06:46 AM (This post was last modified: 04-04-2009 01:03 PM by Anglican.)
Post: #1
Positive(?) atheism
An atheist forum I occasionally drop in on has a special section entitled "positive atheism". In other words, even by their own estimation, there is nothing any too positive about the rest of it. Anybody who listens to Dawkins, Hitchens & Co could be left in any real doubt that they are right about that.

Furthermore, an invitation to atheists to justify their beliefs will not infrequently draw the response that atheism is lack of belief, so they have no beliefs to defend - that's for the theists.

What atheists perhaps fail to notice is that in the long term that is likely to be atheism's achilles heal. Imagine trying to market a washing powder on the basis that it won't burn holes in your clothes, or a political party trying to recruit members by listing the things it doesn't believe in.
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04-04-2009, 01:08 PM
Post: #2
RE: Positive(?) atheism
Atheists have a right and a justification for being vocal, in that although they lack belief in deities, they generally do espouse humanist ideals of equality, fairness and scientific progress, that are often frustrated by the more extremist manifestations of religious faith.

We are lucky enough to live in times when religion is allowed to be critiqued and even brutally savaged without anyone having to get hung, burnt at the stake or even lightly bruised.

Totally healthy in my view...
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04-04-2009, 04:54 PM (This post was last modified: 04-04-2009 04:59 PM by Anglican.)
Post: #3
RE: Positive(?) atheism
(04-04-2009 01:08 PM)clarence clutterbuck Wrote:  Atheists have a right and a justification for being vocal, in that although they lack belief in deities, they generally do espouse humanist ideals of equality, fairness and scientific progress, that are often frustrated by the more extremist manifestations of religious faith.

We are lucky enough to live in times when religion is allowed to be critiqued and even brutally savaged without anyone having to get hung, burnt at the stake or even lightly bruised.

Totally healthy in my view...

That doesn't really address the point I was making. For example, here is Richard Dawkins:

"If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down." (Sorry to disappoint him there.)

Other militant atheists don't bother to disguise the fact that they have similar ambitions. Well they have got a marketing problem there. Whereas religious evangelists, of whatever persuasion, can put forward a positive invitation to embrace a belief system, atheism per se only has the negative invitation to give up existing beliefs, without offering anything positive in their place. If equality, fairness, or scientific progress were offered by Dawkins (or whoever) as atheism's positive content, the theist would probably want to know how they were incompatible with his existing beliefs.
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04-05-2009, 04:50 PM
Post: #4
RE: Positive(?) atheism
Wait. You're saying Atheists aren't positive because of a FORUM heading?

The more you post, the less I respect you.

Now I make no effort to hide the fact that I am an Atheist, and that I find all religion to be either illogical or pointless (or both). And I've said before that I find this concept very empowering.

Theists talk a good talk, about how their God gives them some sort of moral bearing, but the fact is that religion is most often used for excuses. "The Devil made me do it." "I guess it just wasn't God's will." "If God wants this to happen, he will provide."

Atheism has a far more positive message. You are empowered. There is no deity hanging over your head with outdated ideals of fate and destiny, who will thwart your every attempt to deviate from their will. It is you alone. If you do not like your life, you can change it and make it better. Your fellow man is not an alien and heretic who is doomed to hellfire, but a man with another perspective to be embraced as a brother, because we are all that exists.

Plus, you know, atheism actually believes that scientific discovery illuminates truth about the universe, rather than proving an obstacle that must be explained away in order for myths to remain believed.
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04-05-2009, 08:08 PM (This post was last modified: 04-05-2009 08:14 PM by Anglican.)
Post: #5
RE: Positive(?) atheism
(04-05-2009 04:50 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Wait. You're saying Atheists aren't positive because of a FORUM heading?

The more you post, the less I respect you.

Likewise, I'm sure. As atheists themselves never tire of reminding us, when it suits them, atheists may hold beliefs individually, but a-theism itself means lack of belief. Something which lacks a creed is hardly in a position to sell that creed.


Quote:Atheism has a far more positive message. You are empowered. There is no deity hanging over your head with outdated ideals of fate and destiny, who will thwart your every attempt to deviate from their will.

I cannot say that I know too many theists who think of God in that way.


Quote:It is you alone. If you do not like your life, you can change it and make it better. Your fellow man is not an alien and heretic who is doomed to hellfire, but a man with another perspective to be embraced as a brother, because we are all that exists.

It puzzles me how Richard Dawkins and Robert Winston have managed to remain friends. Telling somebody that they are deluded, and presumably in need of psychiatric help, would, I imagine, break up most friendships. Still I suppose that's how an atheist goes about embracing his theistic "brother"


Quote:Plus, you know, atheism actually believes that scientific discovery illuminates truth about the universe, rather than proving an obstacle that must be explained away in order for myths to remain believed.

The only Christians I know of who try to explain away the findings of science are, pretty well by definition, fundamentalists. As much as the new atheists might like to nationalise science, and claim it as all thier own, they don't actually own it.
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04-05-2009, 09:26 PM
Post: #6
RE: Positive(?) atheism
Well, naturally we all hold to the philosophies of Richard Dawkins. There are no atheists who perhaps have a more tolerant perspective.

But still, better to agree with Richard Dawkins than with Pat Robertson, you hateful bigot.
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04-05-2009, 09:44 PM (This post was last modified: 04-05-2009 10:04 PM by Anglican.)
Post: #7
RE: Positive(?) atheism
(04-05-2009 09:26 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Well, naturally we all hold to the philosophies of Richard Dawkins. There are no atheists who perhaps have a more tolerant perspective.

No, I can't say I'm a positivist. In fact it is a philosophy which has gone out of fashion, except amongst the new atheists.

As for more tolerant atheists, I could name you a few. Mary Midgley, Iris Murdoch, John Gray, Michael Ruse, Terry Eagleton, Martin Rees..... They all have a much broader perspective than Mr Dawkins (or you). In fact Terry Eagleton wrote a now famous review of the God Delusion, in which he tore it apart:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/eagl01_.html
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04-06-2009, 10:11 AM (This post was last modified: 04-06-2009 10:17 AM by GTseng3.)
Post: #8
RE: Positive(?) atheism
I try to lighten the conversation up, and the humor goes right over your head. I can do nothing for you, my friend.
I just read that review on Dawkins. Now, I never finished "The God Delusion" myself (I tend to stop reading works filled with hate, even when they make decent points,) so perhaps he went absolutely insane later on in the book. But the review . . . is not calm, rational literary criticism. It is offended and flailing defense. Which is EXACTLY the problem that people like Dawkins have with Christians (other people too. People like me.)
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04-06-2009, 10:27 AM
Post: #9
RE: Positive(?) atheism
(04-06-2009 10:11 AM)GTseng3 Wrote:  I try to lighten the conversation up, and the humor goes right over your head. I can do nothing for you, my friend.

Quote: "you hateful bigot"

Pardon me if I failed to appreciate your sparkling sense of humour.
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04-06-2009, 10:47 AM
Post: #10
RE: Positive(?) atheism
Do you even know who Pat Robertson is? You used Richard Dawkins as the basis of all your attacks against Atheism. So I used Pat Robertson in my attacks against Christianity. And Pat Robertson is a hateful bigot. So clearly all Christians are as well.
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