Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Still Faith

Another rally pushing an agenda on the National Mall
Thousands of atheists are expected to attend the Reason Rally next month in Washington, D.C., an event that organizers hope will unify a large part of the secular community.
Personally, I think a movement that starts with the premise "Y'all are stupid" isn't likely to garner much support from those outside their lawn camp's perimeter.

I was mostly an atheist-agnostic throughout high school, transitioning to deism by the time I was 21. So, I'd like to think that I do kind of understand where they are coming from, if only a little bit.
One drawback to the concept was the need to always think about it... why atheism was 'reasonable'... and why the other guys were not.
Everytime I looked in the mirror, ate dinner, drank a beer, scratched an itch, I was bumping up against the work of a creator who existence I was denying.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it was unreasonable to deny the existence of a creator when the evidence all pointed in the opposite direction.

Me, and everything around me, and everything that was a part of it was here. It had been created by something or someone, right?
Certainly that something must have had a reason for it. Maybe 'it' was lacking an ulterior motive... but even a whim is a reason.
A greater leap of faith would be to deny what was obvious to me. I didn't find this reasonable at all.

Anyway, if these guys want to take a 'Live and let live' approach, but feel insecure enough in their lack of faith and need to feel a part of a larger lack of faith to gain meaning, more power to them. I wish them no ill and every happiness this life can offer.

Just don't call me stupid for coming to a different conclusion. That would be unreasonable.


Brian said...

One of the big problems I have with "movement atheists" is that they give credence to this idea of yours (and others) that atheism is just another faith. It isn't. It is an absence of belief. Or as Bill Maher recently put it, atheism is a religion the same way abstinence is a sexual position.

(There is an old joke about Unitarians that it is church for people who don't believe in god...but who really need to talk about not believing in god every Sunday.)

I actually don't even like to use the word "atheism", because the "-ism" implies positive belief.

As far as this rally itself, I really don't get what it is they hope to accomplish. I'm all for atheists being out of the closet, as it were, living ethical and otherwise unremarkable lives, simply to dispel the notion that we are some sort of amoral monsters. I don't feel like I need to go to a meeting to do that.

Gino said...

there are atheists, and then there are non-theists.
and still others who just dont care.

i try not lump them all together.

Mr. D said...

I'm all for atheists being out of the closet, as it were, living ethical and otherwise unremarkable lives, simply to dispel the notion that we are some sort of amoral monsters. I don't feel like I need to go to a meeting to do that.

I've known too many atheists to draw the conclusion that atheists are amoral monsters. There are some atheists who like to throw turds in the punchbowl, so to speak, but in my experience they only speak for themselves. Which is why this sort of thing probably won't work anyway.

Bike Bubba said...

Brian, the word for someone who doesn't have a faith is "agnostic", "not knowing." Atheism declares, on the other hand, that the material is all there is. And that is a faith.

My favorite part of this march is when someone referred to this assembly of "freethinkers" or "brights" as another Woodstock, apparently without realizing that Woodstock and thinking were mutually exclusive ideas. Oops. There goes the "brights" label. :^)

Gino said...

i thought woodstock was about music and pharmacology.

but seriously... anything that borrows the lable 'woodstock' usually falls far short of its comparison.
real 'woodstocks' are only recognizable after the fact.

Brian said...

Not believing in something of which there is no material evidence requires no faith.

Brian said...

If not believing in capital-G God is a faith, then so is not believing in Zeus, Baal, Xenu, the Tooth Fairy, ghosts, or Mitt Romney's humanity.

I apologize if that sentiment comes across as insulting or condescending to your own dearly-held beliefs, but objectively, they are in the same category.

Bike Bubba said...

Yer missin' the point, Brian. No faith would be "I don't know," which is agnosticism. Atheism affirms something, hence it is a faith.

And yes, my faith does happen to say something about Zeus, Baal, and Zenu--specifically that they're false gods. Kinda like yours.

I'm agnostic about Romney, though. :^)

Brian said...

Surely your working definition of "faith" is not any belief that merely affirms something?

I don't "not know". I do not believe that there is any sort of supernatural force responsible for the creation or supervision of the universe--much less for determining any sort of moral order for humans--because there exists no material evidence for that. Show me the evidence that clearly indicates otherwise, and I will seriously consider changing my mind. That isn't faith, at least as I understand it.

Bike Bubba said...

Well, then, what material evidence can one present for an immaterial God? Seems to me--from the intelligent design debate--that the philosophical materialists are more or less stacking the deck in their favor by saying (a) the only evidence you can provide is material evidence (b) the only conclusion you can come to is a material conclusion, and then they act like it's not a predetermined conclusion to find that if you exclude any non-material conclusion, you arrive at a material conclusion.

Looks like an awful lot of the "brights" aren't willing to use much logic, to put it mildly.