It’s disappointing, yet almost unsurprising to note that the very same behaviour atheists accuse theists of, they’re guilty of themselves. I was recently invited into a closed group on Facebook with the assurance that it was a mature environment in which constructive and objective debates are held to test the various views of either side in order to seek to understand each other better. Again, unsurprisingly, the kind of attacks and arrogance that I encountered on other blog sites prevailed there as well.
There are few, and I mean few that actually do try to present a well considered view of various issues and despite how lengthy the debates can be at times, they stick to the point, and don’t turn it into a mud slinging match in their efforts to try to bully the theist into agreement or submission. It appears that the lack of maturity that atheists are quick to criticise in theists is just as common place amongst their own ranks. Their insistence on not subscribing to a formal structure or singular view of their atheistic philosophy is starting to appear as extremely convenient because it allows the perpetual graceful exit that suggests that they’re not organised religion, and they have no dogma.
Engage with any number of atheists and the dogma disguised as science is quick to show through. The assumed arrogance and selective qualifications of their statements is forced as the only reasonable approach to the subject when issues like infinite regression and impossible-to-prove theories are highlighted. There’s a stubborn claim that science is all that matters, but a quick deflection when questioned about how science deals with spirituality, or the spiritual needs of their communities. Blatant assumptions are made about the ideology of the first man/woman that set foot on this earth despite there being no proof to confirm it either way. So claims that we are inherently atheistic are supposed to be believed and accepted without question by theists, although atheist have no way of proving this. We’re supposed to accept blindly that infinite regression questions based on their own theories of causality do not apply beyond the current time and universe constructs, even though there is no objective authoritative source to confirm this, which makes it just another theory.
Authoritative source is dismissed when asked to present one, since such a thing does not exist. The absence of this resulting in personal biases and theories being the order of the day appear to be accepted as factually accurate amongst their ranks, although there are very few that are willing to acknowledge that this glaring gap in their rationale does suggest that there must be a cause that set the creation of this universe in motion. What that cause is, or what form it takes, is entirely open to conjecture for obvious reasons.
So the sum total of my experiences to date is that the very same extremism, rigidity, blind faith and dogma that atheists claim plagues religion is very much rampant in their own circles. Trying to find a middle ground, at this point, appears to be a pointless endeavour. But I am the anal optimist, so I will persevere for a while longer before I decide if throwing in the towel is as inconsequential as persevering in my efforts to understand the rationale of the atheistic mind set. In fact, I don’t think it’s an attempt to understand the rationale, because I’m already quite convinced that that is as flawed as any argument a theist can present to prove the existence of God. If it was possible to prove the existence of God, we would not need faith to believe in God because the proof would render faith irrelevant. Unfortunately this is a point that many theists and atheists alike fail to understand.
The fact remains that atheists cannot, with hard evidence, disprove the existence of God, and theists cannot prove it either. But until they get past this blatantly obvious fact, and set aside the arrogance that accompanies such a debate, not much progress will be made in finding mutual understanding, respect or common ground between the two.
12 responses to “Atheists and Me”
What an odd position to take.
As you repeatedly failed to realize is that not all ideas garner or deserve respect. You seem to think that in a civil debate one should respect all positions no matter how absurd they are.
More importantly you expected us to entertain your ( representative) views on paedophilia, where you tried to make of our disgust as our “western” mindset, where the correct thing to do would have been to simply condemn it. Our disgust was(is) not a western or atheistic or cultural or an ant-religious one, but a humane one. The ferver with which you defended paedophilia is so absurd, I am hoping that even you realized the extent of this.
The rest was addressed by Shaun
Not sure what is odd about my position, but nonetheless it is obvious that we simply don’t get each other. Incidentally Shaun was the only one that identified that the issue relating to that debate about supposed paedophilia was a problem with language usage, and not as you would like to believe it to be. I clearly stated that paedophilia is abhorrent. So once again, my comments and views are being maligned because it doesn’t fit in with the atheistic world view. And again, your comment confirms what I stated so many times before, and that is that atheists are just as guilty of the intolerance and extremism that they accuse theists of.
Please dont make quote from your original words, as I still have it. You did not condem paedophilia, you simply tried to justify it, and your words here indicates that you either still don’t know the difference, or is simply dishonest about it, or even worse, you honestly believe that paedophilia is simply a matter of context
Unfortunately, once again, you’re wrong. I was asked directly by Charles (I think) what my views were on paedophilia at which point I confirmed exactly what I said below. Fortunately your opinion of me doesn’t sway me at all.
Plus,(I keep on repeating myself) it has nothing to do with an “atheistic” world view, or any other, whether I am a atheist or a christian or a jew or hindu or an eastern mysticist, or a pagan or ANY other denomination of any belief system, makes no difference. It is inhumane. FULLSTOP. You keep on adding the, but yes…..or one has to……etc (and don’t even get me started on the consent)
I do not wish to rekindle the debate here, but few have left me with the level of disgust that our debate on paedophilia did, and trying to blame it on language or perspective or context or anything else is simply absurd. You are a mildly intelligent and educated individual and language is not a barrier, especially in the clear terms that we expressed ourselves.
I suddenly get the idea that your blog here is some attempt at redemption, I might be wrong
Correct. You’re wrong. I don’t need any attempt at redemption because I have nothing that I feel guilty about, or that I feel I need to atone for within this context. You and too many others in that group refuse to consider context, or to have well informed opinions based on actual research rather than trying force your view on others regardless of the facts being presented in return. The level of disgust that you felt is a reflection of your intolerance and your inability to consider an alternate viewpoint and has nothing to do with my confirmed position against paedophilia.
Anyway, I too do not wish to rekindle that debate, but unlike you and many others in that group that petitioned for my removal from the group when they had no meaningful response to the points that I raised, I am still, and probably always will be willing to engage with you or anyone else that puts forward a sincere and informed opinion about any conversation-worthy point. Whether or not you take up that offer remains to be seen. Take care.
I wrote this not intending to post it here, but I think it is decent to reply to this as directly as I can. Some of the wording then is a bit harsh, but, then again, so is some of the wording in the authors post.
It would seem that he has misunderstood quite a lot – but then, who’s fault is that really? So perhaps one problem is in a failure of explaining the ‘atheist position’ better?
That we are like religious extremists is silly, and an abuse of language. I am quite stern in my views, I think religion is a perversion, and even evil, but I am not soon going to kill someone because of this perspective. While I am happy to – and find it necessary to – condemn certain things in words, writing and public interactions with others, I won’t be violent about it (and I know of no atheist that would be). The opposite is true when it comes to religious extremism.
There is the sticking point about ‘atheist dogma’ – and while the truth is that atheism is both the original position of all human beings, and also need be nothing more than an absence of belief in God – we must admit that we, who happen to be atheist, do have certain ‘dogmas’ (if that word must be used).
There is nothing amiss, I think, in admitting to having certain moral/political beliefs, or in having certain beliefs about the nature of the world based on evidence and reason. Only a few of these things are properly dogmatic (I am, perhaps, dogmatic about the use of reason), but that isn’t really the point – none of these ‘beliefs’ we have are dogmatic in that sense – we can be swayed, generally, by better reasons and more substantial evidence. Religious people often fail in this and do hold beliefs dogmatically – this is a distinction between us.
As to questions on ‘infinite regression’. It can be admitted that, if such ‘causal arguments’ work then they establish the existence of a thing that might be totally unlike what religions would have us think. Causal arguments are not arguments for religion. But I don’t think they are conclusive, and I go further to say I don’t think they even make sense. Not everyone shares this view, but this is one way to meet the problem head on – as opposed to evading it as he accused us of. There is no infinite regression problem, and I think a proper analysis of those arguments can show this to be true. If this is false, and perhaps it is, then whatever else may be concluded, religious belief is not one of them (not in any sense at all).
He is right to say that religious belief is based on faith, but wrong to assume that it is therefore acceptable. Faith, typically, is not accepted – and when there is no clear answer to a question most sensible people reserve their judgment on the matter. Religious debates should, I think, boil down to a question of whether or not faith is a good source of knowledge. Clearly the answer is no.
As to authority. If something cannot be shown to be an authority then it cannot be said to be an authority. Hence, if he cannot show that his holy book is authoritative (he couldn’t), then there is no reason for either him or us to believe it to be so. That he continues to see it as authoritative shows that he does not understand what that word means. Him and I disagreed about this, but he took that to be the basis of all other understanding without realizing that a good edifice of knowledge can be derived simply by thinking reasonably about things and following the evidence. We have no reason to respect such a bad foundation of knowledge – it is rather shameful actually.
I also think that its not clear, and on stronger days I think even false, to say that it cannot be proved that God does not exist. Many arguments, philosophically and scientifically, have whittled away at the concept of God for a long time until now it is a shell of its former self. The God about which we should still reserve judgment is so alien to religious belief that only a very pointless and empty religion can cling onto ‘God’. To continue to believe in the God of religion does require not only a suspension of critical thought, but in fact an active denial of reason and of what has become fact.
I would agree with him that we are engaged in a zero-sum game. Either the forces of faith will win out and our understanding of the world, of ourselves and of how we should behave toward one another shall be informed by nothing more than subjective interpretations of ancient books. Or the forces of reason will win out, and our discourse about the world, ourselves and our behavior will be informed by the powers of science and modern thought. It will, of course, be unstable (we cannot offer the absolute), but that is really for the better anyway.
But (although I could go on) it is these things which we have failed to impress upon him, and we should reflect upon that and work toward better strategies of explanation.
It’s always amusing to see that any disagreement is attributed to my supposed misunderstanding of what is being said. It’s not just about explaining the atheist position better because that in itself smacks of arrogance. Arrogance in the sense that it is supposed to be a foregone conclusion that atheists are right and everyone else is wrong and if everyone else doesn’t agree with the atheists, then they don’t understand or atheists didn’t explain themselves well enough, but never will we consider that perhaps the atheists have an incomplete argument?
The comparison with religious extremists is entirely relevant and not an abuse of language, unless you wish to deliberately ignore the juvenile and intolerant attitude of most in the FB group that I referred to. If anything, your constant lumping of me with religious extremists is an abuse of language, and a further abuse of logic and reason when I have presented numerous sources that confirm that the extremists are very definitely the minority and not the majority or main stream view of religion.
You keep making this statement that the original position of human beings is that of atheism, yet have provided not a single shred of hard evidence to back up this claim. This is yet another unprovable theory of atheists that is supposedly supported by the scientific community and should therefore be taken as authoritative without question or doubt.
Which brings me to your claims about me not understanding the concept of authoritative source. That is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. I opened many discussions, and even confirmed in previous posts on this blog that the issue of not having a single common authoritative source between atheists and theists is what will always prevent us from finding middle ground because atheists insist that their scientific theories are authoritative, which it’s not, while theists insist that their religious scriptures are authoritative, which for obvious reasons cannot be accepted by atheists. So perhaps you’re misunderstanding my position regarding authoritative sources rather than me not understanding what it’s all about to begin with.
Again, a spurious claim about my supposed inability to demonstrate my ‘holy book’ as authoritative. If you and others were not so blinded by your prejudices founded in your distaste for Christianity, you would possibly have noticed many challenges I presented to the group that requested them to point out scientific inaccuracies in my ‘holy book’. But not inaccuracies based on your theories, but inaccuracies based on established facts proven with hard evidence. That challenge was taken up by one or two members of the group who both failed dismally because of their insistence on quoting verses out of context. So the only shameful thing in all this is that you would be so disingenuous about the debates that I engaged in with you with sincerity and (what I thought to be ) mutual respect. Clearly I was mistaken.
Again you go on to state your opinions about god as if it is established fact, yet accuse theists of hanging on to faith when reason is all that is called for. If atheists have been so successful at disproving god’s existence, then why are they incapable of answering the questions of creation or origin? Or is it more convenient to suggest that (again in your opinion) the two are unrelated?
It seems that atheists are in denial about the fact that in the absence of absolute proof, or at least conclusive answers to the greater questions about creation, its origins and its purpose, they also rely on faith in their theories to be the truth that they hope will one day be proven to be true. Until then, they continue to disguise their theories as scientific accuracies because apparently if scientists say so (regardless of the absence of hard evidence) then it must be so.
Thank you for your comment. It simply reaffirms my decision to disengage from that group, although admittedly, it is disappointing to note these views from you specifically, since you were one of the ‘very few’ that I often referred to as being capable of maintaining the focus on the issues being debated rather than turning it into a mud slinging match where opinions are presented as fact, and logic and reason only applies if in favour of the atheistic position.
Why is your blog post only loading half way and then not going any further? I’ve tried reloading the page several times but I still can’t view the entire post. SwOu71er.
Not sure why it’s doing that. It loads fine on my side. I’m using Chrome. Perhaps try Ctrl+F5. If that doesn’t work, then I’m really not sure what would be causing it. Sorry.
Agreed. Regarding dogma, I think if applied in the traditional sense as it applies to theists, then yes. But if we extrapolate the principles of it, you’ll find much similarities in atheistic discussions.
Ignoring that I cannot think of a single dogmatic belief that atheists necessarily hold, your post could be summarised as “people just aren’t that bright, and trying to divide intelligence-based groups based on religious positions is just stupid”.