Observations

Saying, “Nothing can be caused by atheism because there is nothing within atheism TO cause anything.” is like saying that cutting the breaks on a car won’t cause it to crash because brakes don’t cause cars to move, accelerators do.

It may be true that atheism didn’t cause Maoists, and Stalinists, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Ill and Fidel Castro to kill, torture and imprison tens of millions of people; however it was certainly atheism that allowed them the freedom to completely disregard human rights and human worth and reduce entire populations down to political chattel. This isn’t a matter of conjecture, but history and fact.

Of course, New Atheism, being primarily an emotional response, is not concerned with either history or facts.

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12 Responses to Observations

  1. jackhudson says:

    One more thought, just because I like to completely suss out inane arguements – if “there is nothing within atheism to cause anything”, then athesim really has nothing to contribute to science, philosophy, systems of morality, culture, or civilization in general.

    So why bother with it?

  2. Grant Dexter says:

    Atheists are morons.

  3. jackhudson says:

    You know, I have to say I don’t think this invariably true – for example I had quite a reasonable exchange with ‘John Gault’, that despite our differences, remained quite civil.

    I think it is just the case that the more outspoken New Atheists, such as in the recent posts here by NewEnglandBob, (who came here at the command of another blogger to whom he is enamored) are merely louder than the more reasonable folk. Of course he ran away as soon as he was challenged, as they often do, demonstrating how little intellectual substance there is to this sort of argument.

    As such folk wallow in what never amounts to more than a series of weak ad hominem attacks, they appear to represent the movement by sheer volume. I don’t think however this is indicative of all who hold such views, and I think civil dialogue can happen.

    Of course I have been called overly optimistic on this point before. 🙂

  4. Amytheist says:

    no, you ignorant fool.
    that is a completely incorrect analogy.
    it is more like saying that, until you put wheels on a car, it won’t go anywhere to begin with. cutting line brakes requires that there be brakes to begin with to be severed – atheism does not require someone have knowledge of any gods. all infants are atheists due to their lack of belief in gods. nothing has been taken from them. they simply haven’t been fed the information yet, and therefore, by default, disbelieve in gods.

    atheism doesn’t ‘allow’ people to do things. people are capable of understanding good (beneficial, productive, successful) from bad (malicious, harmful, failure) without any influence of an invisible sky man. all people, from all walks of life, commit crimes against others. the problem is that many religious movements, rather than simply allowing people to do bad things, actually actively ENCOURAGE people to do bad things – from judging those outside their own culture, to killing those who don’t believe what they do, to repressing scientific educations of our society, hindering our ability to improve upon medicine, climate, and technology.

    not all religions or religious groups participate in this oppression, but many do encourage it. atheism (the lack of belief in a god) encourages NOTHING.

    educate yourself.

  5. jackhudson says:

    Well I guess that is one more example of , “atheists arguing by ad hom”. I will try not to respond in kind.

    Whether you realize it or not (obviously ‘not’ I guess) you have proven my point, insomuch as you realize that to have something – a culture, a system of beliefs, a car – one must have the capability of producing its components in the first place.

    Atheism, as you admit, has no such capability – it can’t ‘produce’ anything. That is why all human cultures that ever existed originated as the products of systems of religious belief. Whether we talk about the Egyptians, or the Mayans, or Greeks, or Romans, they all were cultures that were based on beliefs in ideas which emanated from whom they believed God or the gods to be. This is true of Western culture as well – modern societies are merely constructs that exist because of the beliefs that came before – in the case of our culture, the Reformation and the Enlightenment, both informed by distinctly Christian beliefs. It was Christians who put the wheels on the car of our culture – as well as the engine, the brakes, and the fuel to power it. Atheism, as you acknowledge, can do none of this.

    That is why atheism is always derivative – it acts as a parasitic belief system feeding off cultures that others have produced. It does so especially true in cultures originated by Christians because unlike Moslems, Christians tolerate atheists, often to their own detriment.

    The problem of course is when atheists come to power, as happened in the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions – then the brakes get cut, and millions suffer in ways that never occurred before in human history.

    That is the reality of history (for a more in-depth exploration of this I highly recommend Alister McGrath’s The Twilight of Atheism) for those who are truly educated on such subjects.

  6. Amytheist says:

    again, it is not a belief system, and it is not a derivative of anything. to have a derivative, you must first have something to derive from – i.e., mormonism is a derivative of christianity. atheism does not derive from a belief. it is a lack of belief.

    yes, you are correct – atheism cannot produce anything. atheists don’t claim that it does, because it isn’t a structure or concept or idea. it is nothing more than the definition of someone who does not have a belief in gods.

    atheists do not claim, as a collective, to *add* to society via their atheism. many do claim that reducing the control of theism in our society will improve the world – not by adding atheism to it – atheism has existed since the dawn of time – theism has not – but by reducing the hold of theism – which has been used as a tool to sponsor hate, generate fear, and hinder education and progress since its invention.

    improvements do not require someone add something to the world – you can greatly improve your health by removing bad habits – that is the ‘contribution’, if any, atheism ‘offers’ – the elimination of many concepts which inspire malicious behaviour.

    poor leaders and rulers world wide have been malicious regardless of their beliefs in or against gods. but the lack of a belief in a god has never inspired war – only the support for gods and opposition to gods – which is NOT the same thing as atheism. opposition to society worshiping gods is called anti-theism or anti-religion. it is not the same thing as atheism, which is NOTHING more than disbelief in a god. disbelief in a god cannot inspire anything.

  7. jackhudson says:

    It would seem there are a number of internal contradictions in this response. Obviously if atheism is “the definition of someone who does not have a belief in gods.” then it is at least responsive to a set of beliefs that already exist. Obviously if no theistic belief system existed, then there would be no need to define the lack of such a belief. Indeed it’s a bit nonsensical to say, “atheism has existed since the dawn of time” since to be defined by not believing in an idea requires that the idea exists first to be to not be believed in.

    And of course, as long as there have been human cultures, there seems to have been some sort of religious belief. Indeed that is the one true human universal, and the one aspect of humanity that is truly unique among living creatures. So as far as humans are concerned, there is no evidence that atheism somehow came before a belief in God or gods.

    As far as a reduction in theism improving societies, we have many cultural laboratories which plainly prove this wrong. Take North and South Korea. Same land mass, common history, language, social issues.

    In the case of North Korea, the ‘hold of theism’ has been reduced to approximately zero. South Korea on the other hand is perhaps one of the most Christian nations in all of Asia. Which one if more free? Prosperous? Which one would you rather travel in if given a choice? The answers to these questions demonstrate how ludicrous the notion is that atheism somehow improves a society – it plainly doesn’t, as has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout history. Now a society can withstand the slow acceptance of atheism for a time, like much of Western Europe. But eventually the result is always the same – human life loses its worth, the state becomes dictatorial, freedom is reduced.

    Do poor leaders of all sorts of beliefs exist? Certainly – humans have an aspect of their natures that is inherently selfish and corruptible. But that problem is only dealt with when we recognize it, and atheism, not being being an actual system of belief fails to do so. Of course, it undermine those belief systems which do recognize it, and so expedites and enhances this inherent human trait. That is one of the dangers of atheism.

    I appreciate the comments.

  8. jackhudson says:

    Another thought on how the lack of belief can inspire a behavior. If one believes for example there is a police car with a radar gun on the other side of a bridge, it may very well affect one’s propensity to speed. If one doesn’t believe he is there, one may speed with impunity. And if one doesn’t believe a police force exists at all then one may speed whenever one desires to do so.

    In much the same way one might act one way if one believes in the ability of gravity to pull one earthward – if one doesn’t believe gravity exists, then jumping off a high building isn’t problematic. A belief in something, or lack thereof, can certainly change our behavior for good or ill.

  9. Amytheist says:

    wow, you really don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

    i am going to steal an analogy from a friend of mine, because he chose a very good one to use. atheism is a silly word to begin with – the only reason the word exists is because millions of people across the world happen to believe in gods – but it is pretty much the same thing as having a word to describe people who don’t believe in fairies. do people have to be told stories about fairies to not believe in them? of course not. everyone is born not believing in fairies. they are fairy atheists, regardless of whether or not anyone has told them about fairies. you don’t have to be introduced to an idea to not believe it. what a simple minded concept.

    next, what information lacking source told you that north korea has any major atheistic influence? the region is heavily populated by buddhists, confucians, and even christians. the government is not secular, but protects the right to freedom of and from religion…. to top it off, the government practically turns their deceased leaders into gods – that is NOT atheism. that is worship of men – again, not a characteristic of atheism. 62% of north korea is buddhist. now, lets go to south korea, where 46% of the population is, what’s that? atheist. followed by 22% buddhist.

    how deluded are you?

  10. jackhudson says:

    I am just curious – we have never met, we don’t know each other, and you are posting on my blog, at my leisure – is there a particular reason why you as an atheist feel the need to insult me? Have I personally insulted you? If you really want to demonstrate that unrestrained atheism is capable of being civil, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to demonstrate it in your responses? Just a thought.

    As to your response, you seem to be missing the point. While not everyone believes in a particular entity, the lack of belief at birth (or in history) has nothing to do with whether the entity exists, or whether the choice to not believe in the entity is a belief system. No one is born ‘believing’ in gravity or even able to understand or define it – but if one hears about gravity, one chooses to either accept it as a reality or choose to act as if it doesn’t exist, to one’s own detriment. If one persists in not believing in gravity, and telling others not to believe in it, and claims that a belief in gravity is delusional and simple minded, then one has the makings of some sort of belief, even if that belief is merely a reaction to an extant concept. And that belief, if widely accepted as truth, is obviously going to have effects on behavior. This is a plain, reasonable, and thus far uncontroverted assertion.

    As far as atheism’s influence on North Korea, here is a bit from the wiki on State Atheism, pertaining to North Korea – if that isn’t sufficient, more resources can be found:

    North Korea’s government exercises virtual total control over society and imposes state sanctioned atheism, and the cult of personality of Kim Jung Il and Kim Il Sung have been described as a political religion.

  11. Amytheist says:

    state atheism is an abuse of the word atheism.
    you are using people who are ANTI-THEISTS and ANTI-RELIGIONISTS as examples of atheists (as did the authors who contributed to that wiki article).

    atheism is not something which someone can be told to believe, because it is not a belief.

    i have not attacked your beliefs in a god – i have attacked your flawed arguments. if you want to argue that atheism is unhealthy to the spiritual wellbeing of men, you are better off doing so by claiming that without god, their souls will rot – you could say ‘if we don’t give a seed water, it will never grow’, and i would say ‘i don’t believe there is any reason to need to grow, because i do not believe i am a seed’. and we would part ways.
    instead, you are claiming that i am a living growing plant, and that if someone takes my water away i will die. it is not your belief i have a problem with. it is your misrepresentation of the definition of a word.

  12. jackhudson says:

    state atheism is an abuse of the word atheism.
    you are using people who are ANTI-THEISTS and ANTI-RELIGIONISTS as examples of atheists (as did the authors who contributed to that wiki article).

    You seem to arbitrarily define terms based on your attempt to prove a point. You can certainly dispute findings, but you don’t get to define reality to suit your view of it. North Korea has state imposed atheism, like a number of other countries; that is simply the way it is. The question to be answered here is why are officially atheistic countries so inherently oppressive?

    atheism is not something which someone can be told to believe, because it is not a belief.

    Well obviously North Korea thinks it is. As does China, as did the old Soviet Union, the Vietnamese government, and the Cuban government.

    i have not attacked your beliefs in a god – i have attacked your flawed arguments. if you want to argue that atheism is unhealthy to the spiritual wellbeing of men, you are better off doing so by claiming that without god, their souls will rot – you could say ‘if we don’t give a seed water, it will never grow’, and i would say ‘i don’t believe there is any reason to need to grow, because i do not believe i am a seed’. and we would part ways.
    instead, you are claiming that i am a living growing plant, and that if someone takes my water away i will die. it is not your belief i have a problem with. it is your misrepresentation of the definition of a word.

    Well no, saying someone is clueless, deluded, and an ignorant fool isn’t an attack on an argument, it is an attack on a person – an ad hominem argument, which is inherently fallacious. Now personally I don’t care, because I don’t know you from Adam, and ad homs display the inherent weakness of a person’s arguments. I am just pointing out you are defeating the notion that atheism is essentially civil with every such statement. Feel free to prove me wrong on this count by attempting to be civil.

    As far as atheism being spiritually unhealthy, well yes it’s obviously that too.

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