Sunday, June 29, 2008

Long Time No Post

Wow, it's been almost a week since my last post. I just haven't been able to get around to it, though I have been mulling some topics. I have not been completely idle in the atheist blogosphere though, as I have been participating vigorously in a back and forth with a couple of Christian commenters in the comments thread at this post on Vjack's Atheist Revolution site. I encourage you all to join in.

I do have a post in the works that I hope to put up soon inspired by my remarks there, particularly expanding on my point that the vast universe we live in makes the god of the Bible improbable.

I'm too tired to put it together tonight though, as I am still fatigued from last night's outing with my wife. Empire Kayaks in Island Park hosted a kayak trip to see the fireworks display at Point Lookout. I took some pictures, but unfortunately none of them came out well enough to make it worth putting them up here. The trip was decent and something different from the ordinary. My left arm is really sore though and in need of occasional applications of Ben Gay® ointment from all that paddling.

12 comments:

Jason H. Bowden said...

I read through the entire exchange; unfortunately, Ryan and Jones had the advantage over you guys and exploited it fully.

Modern atheism in its materialist variant is literally mindless -- we witness the absurdity of people believing they have no beliefs. Anything that isn't physical -- logic, colors, numbers, beauty, justice -- supposedly doesn't exist.

The proper reply is that hardline materialism isn't true, and that science is not our religion. Still, that we have a soul (or mind, consciousness, unity of apperception, spirit, whatever jargon we prefer to use) does not entail anything about Christian doctrine. If atheism entailed materialism and a lack of freedom, then atheist existentialism would be impossible. We cannot prove the doctrine of the trinity from the Legendre equations, just as DeMorgan's theorem will not refute Arianism. The reality or non-reality of the mind and its conceptual operations has no direct bearing on the truth or falsehood of atheism.

(BTW, the atheists that believe they don't have a mind do not need a refutation. They need help.)

I'm surprised the theists didn't press the issue of atheist regimes sacrificing human beings wholesale by the hundreds of millions in the 20th century. In light of this kind of revolutionary change, the bovine habits of traditional Christians who oppose human sacrifice do not seem harmful. Still, the matter proves nothing ontologically -- it may turn out that atheism is true, but the truth does not set us free. Perhaps it is better for everyone's safety if the masses believe a noble lie rather than the deadly truth.

BTW, I don't donate to non-profit charities, and am proud of it. I help others by working for a profitable company that meets the needs and expectations of its consumers. It seemed the atheists and the Christians were fighting over who had the bigger selfless loss-motive. A suicide bomber can easily win that contest.

tina FCD said...

I read all of the comments, damn there was a lot! I only posted one question.

What is so damn wrong in not believing in a god? That's my only question.

I realize people like to debate about the existence of a god, but man, it gets tiresome after awhile.

Who cares who does how much with a charity? If you can only donate time or a dollar, that's good, right?

It may surprise some people to find out that the people they think are christian/religious are really atheists that cannot let people know that they are, for varying reasons.

I'm not a debater, I admit it.:)

Tommy said...

Well, well, well, the master of the universe finally decided to grace my blog with his presence. I am truly humbled.

unfortunately, Ryan and Jones had the advantage over you guys and exploited it fully.

I don't see what advantage they had over me. I pointed out how the size of the universe makes the god of the Bible improbable. Their responses in short were "Well, that's just the way God did it, and who are you to question it?" Not terribly substantive.

I'm surprised the theists didn't press the issue of atheist regimes sacrificing human beings wholesale by the hundreds of millions in the 20th century.

As an atheist, I don't have a problem discussing what the Soviets and the Maoists did in the 20th century, because they were totalitarians and I am not. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in the existence of god or gods. Stalinism and Maoism were about using the apparatus of the State to control every aspect of the lives of its people and to liquidate or imprison those who stand in their way.

BTW, I don't donate to non-profit charities, and am proud of it. I help others by working for a profitable company that meets the needs and expectations of its consumers.

It's a free country, you don't have to donate to charities if you don't want to, though I don't see it as something to be proud of. I work for a large law firm that meets the needs of its clientele. But I believe I can contribute more than that, and so I do. I don't point it out as a way of saying "Hey, see what a wonderful guy I am!", but rather to try and inspire others to do the same. If they do, wonderful, if not, at least I tried.

I'm not a debater, I admit it.:)

That's okay Tina. I'm not that good a debater either, at least not in the formal sense where people's back and forths consist of "That's a logical fallacy", "You're just begging the question" and all those other terms they like to use.

Jason H. Bowden said...

Tommy--

An honest person cannot deny that what happened in Russia and China was an atheist revolution. Classical atheism, from the stoics to the epicureans, was conservative, an exercise in futility. Modern atheism unfortunately is drunk on revolutionary optimism.

The size of the universe neither proves or disproves the existence of God. I can feel what was being aimed at-- religion makes man feel important, while if men realized they were nothings, we'd all be better off. The desperate man with nothing to lose however is more of a danger to his peers than the complacent man.

Tommy said...

An honest person cannot deny that what happened in Russia and China was an atheist revolution.

Funny then that communism in Russia and China took on the aspects of religion, with its god-like rulers and its miracles (performed both by the rulers like Stalin and Mao, as well as the extraordinary feats of various factory workers and such).

Stalin evidently had no problem trotting out the Orthodox church to rally the populace during World War Two.

It should also be pointed out that Russia and China in particular had a centuries long (or in the case of China, millenia long) traditions of absolutist monarchies. Stalin himself was just another incarnation of Ivan the Terrible, albeit with 20th century killing technology.

The size of the universe neither proves or disproves the existence of God.

I don't argue that the size of the universe disproves the existence of a supreme being. What makes more sense, (1) that the Hebrews were really the "chosen people" of the creator of a virtually infinite universe, or (2) that Hebrew priests wanted the people to believe that so that they could maintain their identity in a world where they were constantly being invaded and conquered by their neighbors?

Who are these modern atheists who are drunk on revolutionary optimism? Hitchens? Dawkins? Sam Harris?

Jason H. Bowden said...

tommy--

I recently read an interesting interpretation of modernity by Eric Voegelin -- he argued that Christianity de-divinized the state, making a distinction between the city of man and the city of God. Most states before then had a pyramidal structure, with a leader being the vessel from which the divine enters our world.

Literal Christianity is too austere for most people in prosperous times. Voegelin, to be concise, argued that modernity presented a solution of re-divinizing society and by extension the state. Christian eschatology became immanentized. For centuries the tax man has been an object of suspicion, but today millions put their hopes and faith in the state, treating scumbag politicians as messiahs. So I agree with your conclusion, though I'm not certain it bodes well for our future as Christianity decays.

Modern atheism is definitely revolutionary and optimistic. Even the difference between Russell and Dawkins is dramatic. Russell was optimistic, but not revolutionary-- he wanted to reduce the influence of dogma because it stood in the way of human happiness. Dawkins and his peers believe religion is bad because it is a happy delusion, and hence "poisons everything" as Hitchens would describe it. The implication is clear: everything would not be poisoned following a revolutionary change in the way religion is tolerated. Here we have revolution plus optimism.

Tommy said...

Dawkins and his peers believe religion is bad because it is a happy delusion

I dunno 'bout that. It is my impression that Dawkins believes religion is bad because it simply is a delusion and that its manifestations are generally not happy in their nature.

he argued that Christianity de-divinized the state, making a distinction between the city of man and the city of God. Most states before then had a pyramidal structure, with a leader being the vessel from which the divine enters our world.

But what about the "divine right of kings" that monarchies in Christian states like England, France, and Spain employed, for instance?

The Founders, thankfully, certainly did de-divinize the State.

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