The Folly of Atheism

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by usfan, Jan 20, 2017.

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  1. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I am always intrigued at the attention given to philosophical beliefs, and the dogmatic confidence many have in those beliefs Many religious beliefs are examined, criticised, & psychoanalyzed in this forum but not much is given to atheism The title may put some off, but since the 'folly of religion' is a constant topic here on the forum, i thought it only fair to consider the folly of atheism. :D

    Why & how does someone become an atheist? Many atheists grew up in a religious home. What made them change from the societal norm of believing in a Greater Power, to total disbelief? I suppose i need to define my terms, & lay the foundation for my observations. There are 3 basic worldviews, regarding the universe.

    1. The universe exists & originated from only natural processes. This i have defined as 'Naturalism'.
    2. The universe exists & originated by supernatural processes, from an unseen, powerful Entity. 'Supernaturalism'
    3. Nothing is real, the universe does not exist, & knowledge is unknowable. 'Absurdism'
    4. I don't know. 'Agnosticism'

    I added a 4th, but don't really consider it a 'worldview' in its own right, because it is merely admitting ignorance. But there is an element of dogmatism in that view, too. Many not only claim 'agnosticism', but they claim that view is absolute. It is similar to #3 in that it claims that knowledge about these things are unknowable. So for that reason, i usually combine 3 & 4, as being the same basic worldview. It is reflected in Greek skepticism,
    "Nothing can be known, not even this". Carneades (c. 214 - 129 B.C.)

    So, the 3 main worldviews can be summarized like this:

    Skepticism
    Relativism
    Empiricism

    Skepticism has its roots in the Greek philosophers who basically claimed that knowledge is unknowable. Life is an illusion, has no meaning, & is absurd. There are, of course, blends of this belief system in the others, but there is a logical disconnect. But for the skeptic, & even the relativist, logic really has no purpose, as Absolute Truth is a meaningless concept.

    Relativism is the basic worldview of the progressive left. It is based in naturalism, which concludes there are no rules for human behavior, other than what man decides. Morality is relative. Law is relative. Even Truth, as a concept, is relative.

    Empiricism is the worldview that sprang from the age of Reason, the Enlightenment, & scientific methodology. It presumes that knowledge can be known, & that humanity was tasked with discovering 'what God hath wrought'. It is rooted in Natural Law, & the belief in a Creative Force in the universe.. a supernatural explanation.

    I would also like to point out that all of these worldviews are mere beliefs. There is no empirical evidence to compel a conclusion of one over the others. More on that, later.

    As a culture, we have been morphing from empiricism to relativism, so there is some overlap. Some scientific methodology is still esteemed, or at least given lip service to, but the trend is toward dogmatism. Science is mandated, & is no longer up for discussion or debate. Inquiry is discouraged, & trust in the elite is expected. Most students now are not rooted in the empirical sciences, or critical thinking, but are grilled in dogma, & told what to believe. No leeway is given for alternate views, or criticism of the elite's mandates. Conformity is the norm, & any outliers are attacked with religious intolerance. This morphing process has given birth to hybrid worldviews, that combine factors from all of them, but there is usually a core belief in one, as the central part of the worldview.

    Ok, i've gone the long way around in examining how an atheist comes to be, but the root ideals are part of that. Nobody exists in a vacuum, but are the product of many factors, in their worldview. Here are the driving factors for becoming atheistic in one's belief system:

    Redefine Science. Among atheists, especially the militant ones, the common theme is, 'Theists are religious, atheists follow science'. This is fundamentally flawed on many levels.

    1. Science is indifferent to worldviews, & only provides facts or evidence for a belief system.
    2. There are NO scientific facts or evidence that compels an atheistic worldview. Naturalism is a belief, & is not a proven concept, scientifically. It is not even a good theory of origins, but is filled with assumptions, flaws, & logical fallacies.
    3. The scientific method is one of discovery, & is not dependent on one's religious beliefs.
    4. Atheism is every much a belief system.. a 'religion'.. as any theistic based one.
    5. This is merely an argument by definition, or using circular reasoning. It is merely a definitional dodge, not a logical conclusion.
    6. It is false by observation, as many brilliant scientists have been theists, & have made astounding discoveries. There is no conflict in using the scientific method & personal beliefs.
    7. Many atheists are not scientists, nor have the tools for critical thinking & inquiry, and do not know the scientific basis for their beliefs. Theirs is a religious belief, based on trust for an indoctrinating elite.

    There are more factors in molding one's worldview, but this is enough for now. I welcome any discussion or rebuttal to these points.
     
  2. Questerr

    Questerr Well-Known Member

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    So if naturalism is only a belief and doesn't have supporting evidence, then clearly you should be able to provide empirical evidence for the supernatural as a counter point.
     
  3. atheiststories

    atheiststories Active Member

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    You put a lot of work into this. Good job. I think atheism is simply the belief that god doesn't exist. Some people may think god probably doesn't exist. Others are just non-religious and can't see how any of the gods written about exist. Some try to rationalize their beliefs by explaining the world, but other than the rejection of god, there is no unified atheistic theory.
     
  4. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    You are making a 'comparative religion' argument. I am examining the objective reasoning of the 2 (or 3) possibilities for the universe.. from a philosophical perspective. My point is clear, & simple. All of the 'beliefs' about origins of the universe, or even life, are beliefs.. none have any empirical evidence.

    I am not making a 'creation vs evolution' thread. There are plenty of those, for any who like that kind of comparison. This is about atheism, & the basis for the beliefs.
     
  5. Ole Ole

    Ole Ole Banned

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    Well. Nobody of Gods will my believes and I am reality human and hopefully over future is clear or will God end this 1.02 life time. I remember this day last time we lived.
     
  6. tkolter

    tkolter Well-Known Member

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    I would also add the pragmatic Agnostic-Atheist stance that unless these supernatural forces called deities or a deity does things for us in a clear way why bother considering it as important and spend so much human capital and resources on it over thing we know are of benefit such as medical research and the creation of new healing options for humans? Its a simple this position of faith and religion isn't important to bettering the human species and seems to be harmful to the human condition wasting manpower, material resources and is divisive so its very much a sum loss for the species from my perspective. So why shouldn't we oppose it just on these grounds I noted its better for the species to eliminate faith belief and religion which is largely why I am so active.
     
  7. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this perception. But the same goes for theists.. there is obviously no unified theistic theory, either.

    My goal here is to present plausible explanations for the atheistic belief system. Nobody exists in a vacuum, & there are influences for any ideological belief. The same can be done with theistic beliefs, also, but that is not my goal, here.

    The one thing i am constantly reminded of, is that there is nothing absolute, from an empirical view, about any of these beliefs/opinions/ideologies/worldviews. Whether one believes in a naturalistic explanation of the universe, or a supernatural, or even absurdism, they are all merely beliefs & opinions.

    I could have titled the thread, 'The Folly of Dogmatism', & said much the same thing. But too may atheists would feel left out, since they do not consider themselves to be dogmatic. But as many are VERY much so, dogmatic, i wanted them to feel included in the discussion, & not ignored or left out. I'm just trying to be inclusive, as even atheists have a hard time doing that. :D

    The secularizing West is full of white men. The general U.S. population is 46 percent male and 66 percent white, but about 68 percent of atheists are men, and 78 percent are white. Atheist Alliance International has called the gender imbalance in its ranks “a significant and urgent issue.”
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-atheism-agnostic-secular-nones-rising-religion/

    So since this is a 'significant & urgent issue', it is appropriate for me to single atheism out for examination.

    :D
     
  8. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    'Bettering the human species'? Isn't that a religious goal?
    :)

    I think you illustrate some of the biases & assumptions of the atheistic worldview. I do not see another 'pragmatic' worldview, but the same naturalistic worldview, with different goals or emphases. I also find your bias against other worldviews to be unfounded & irrational, driven by bigotry and/or indoctrination, not empirical reality. Human beings have forever been inhuman to other human beings.. this is not a theistic trait, by any estimate. Even recent history shows plenty of atheistic oppression, genocide, & man's inhumanity to man, from the Marxist ideologues. So trying to blame all the evils in the world (which is hard to define, from a naturalistic view) on theists is not a logical or historical reality.

    Many of the discoveries & enlightened thinking that has made the world a better place, have come from theists, both in philosophy & science. So trying to paint them all as evil murderers of humanity, while atheists are peace loving hippies, is an absurd caricature.
     
  9. atheiststories

    atheiststories Active Member

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    You can examine it, sure. But arguing naturalism is like arguing Catholicism. The debate on atheism starts at "there is no god" and from there it's all dogma. There may be folly to atheism, but I think there's less folly than theism, and I certainly think there is more folly to religion.
     
  10. Electron

    Electron Well-Known Member Donor

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    My atheism rests on the absence of evidence that gods exist. End of story.
     
  11. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    Ah, but arguing over 'levels of folly' seems to be folly itself! I do not know how you can quantify folly.. except on an individual level. But this examination of ideology is not over individual anecdotes, but on the general themes & ideals of the belief system.

    By what measure is theism more folly than atheism? Belief? Opinion? You have no empirical evidence for your beliefs, any more than anyone else. So it seems to me that human folly is pretty evenly distributed.

    [​IMG]

    I know. Therefore you CONCLUDE that there is no god. From your individual perceptions, you can make a dogmatic statement of belief. IMO, this belief that you have omniscience & have all knowledge, is pretty dogmatic, & is obviously a fantastic belief, not anything empirical or logical. How could you possibly KNOW all the mysteries of the universe, know the source of all things, have an overview of eternity & infinity.. that sounds pretty godlike to me, so what you claim is insight into all the mysteries of the universe, by which you conclude: 'There is no god'.

    Like it or not, it is a belief system. It is only definitional dodges that say otherwise. You are no more the bearer of Absolute Truth than any wild eyed theist. You claim complete knowledge about the universe, that you cannot possibly know.
     
  12. RiaRaeb

    RiaRaeb Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    All atheists have only one thing in common, they lack a belief in god/gods that's it, full stop. There are no other common denominators. There is no belief system.
     
  13. Hawkins

    Hawkins Member

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    It is by the brainwashing process called "modern secular education". Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that modern education is bad. I am saying that its secular aspect drives to atheism by enforcing the prerequisite of "no God exists".

    To put it another way, "secular" means everyone without exception, possibly starting from 5 years old, will have to go through more than 10 years of forced education which bears the big assumption that "no God exists" or "no God is needed".

    Through this system, everyone is given the mark of beast.
     
  14. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    That is just a definitional dodge. Of course you have a belief system. Everyone does, even if it is ignorance. You seem to believe in naturalism, & nothing else. That is fine. It is your belief. But you have no reason to elevate YOUR opinions about the universe over anyone else's, as they are all beliefs.

    You don't believe in the supernatural. That is a belief. It is not, 'nothing'. Pure nothing would be ignorance, & no beliefs about anything. But if you do believe in naturalistic origins, or disbelieve in other possibilities, your beliefs are clearly stated.
     
  15. atheiststories

    atheiststories Active Member

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    lol of course there are levels of folly.
     
  16. Questerr

    Questerr Well-Known Member

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    All evidence we have is for natural things. Why would we even consider the possibility of a supernatural thing that we have zero empirical evidence for?
     
  17. RiaRaeb

    RiaRaeb Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I said the only common denominator was a lack of belief in god/gods, that is it. So the only thing you can say about atheists is they lack a belief in god/gods after that it is all open to the individual interpretation. How do you know I do not believe in the supernatural?
     
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  18. dadoalex

    dadoalex Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Not really an atheist. I guess, to people for whom these things matter you'd call me "agnostic."

    I choose not to believe that some old guy sitting in a cloud waved his magic finger and the universe came into existence. I choose not to believe in that or any other creation myth. And, virtually every belief system has their creation myth. They are all nonsensical.

    The core of my doubt comes from my reading of the Bible and the teachings of any number of religious "experts" from Sunday school on. The "God" of the Old Testament is a cruel, egomaniacal, sadist who took pleasure in torturing believers and murdering non-believers. Definitely not a being worthy of worship no matter how powerful.

    But, let's assume "God" exists and created all of this. Why? We can assume "God" is a rational being and had reasons for his actions. What were those reasons? Why create humans and then demand they worship you? Psychologically "God" is a megalomaniac and, as such, needs people to acknowledge his power. Given this, the best we can do for "God" is ignore him. This will help "God" come to terms with his illness.

    But, where is "God." A few thousand years ago he was everywhere. Hanging out in gardens, burning bushes, banging virgins, turning people to salt, destroying whole civilizations, explaining what a cubit is. Today? I mean surely we have had enough unbelieving and all the rest to justify another flood. Maybe some fire and brimstone raining down on San Francisco.

    So, we come to the reasoned conclusion. Science, the great enemy of religion, shows that the actions of "God" described in the Bible are impossible and, therefore, simply myths made up to frighten the ignorant.

    Religion as a whole and mono-theism specifically was created to control the masses and protect the powerful from the weak. As each of the "great" religions evolved it recruited followers by promising an ever greater version of "heaven" than their predecessors. Dead forever to dead till the resurrection, to heaven at death, to lots of virgins, to demi-god. All of them can't be right but, it is reasonable to conclude that ALL of them are wrong.

    I do not fear "God." I am "good" because it's the right thing to do. I care for my family because it is the right thing to do. I help the poor and protect the weak because it is the right thing to do. If any "God" exists and that is not enough that that is no "God" worthy of my time.
     
  19. Ole Ole

    Ole Ole Banned

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    Well. There is many Gods in worlds. Asa Oden are well a high God.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Or outside world are many Gods.

    Maybe heaven.
     
  20. tkolter

    tkolter Well-Known Member

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    That's BS seriously these fine men and some women of science would have done this work if religious or not, just say live in 1700 England and openly be an Agnostic-Atheist they would look at you like your insane and so everyone was attached to a faith. But what about the grave loss of knowledge how many pagan works of science were destroyed or hidden by the Christian Roman Catholic Church and others brought before the authorities in the simple pursuit of knowledge. Add in human labor wasted praying and building churches, materials building buildings to the deities unproven, wars over faith wasting human life and materials and more of the same we could be colonizing space by now possibly by now if religion was marginalized over the last two millennia.
     
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