Our New Home

We have a new home, come join us at WeAreSMRT (We Are Skeptical Minds & Rational Thinkers)

The Forum

Monday, September 22, 2008

We don't do things in the name of atheism.

I felt this should be brought up because without a doubt Ray's latest post about the possibility of stopping his blog will bring out the people raising this issue. I can feel the swelling of the masses who post there preparing to say the things that were done, were done in the name of atheism.

By definition, things can not be done in the name of atheism. People do not act on things in which they do not believe. The place most people get confused is the difference between atheism and anti-theism. Atheism is the disbelief in a God or gods whereas anti-theism is active opposition to theism.

Now it is typically an atheist who practices anti-theism, though a theist who practices anti-theism would indeed be a rare and self-hating individual. It is in my own opinion (and there may be others who disagree with me on this point) that anti-theism is something which can be acted upon. For me, anti-theism is the belief that theism is a destructive and harmful system. Just like other positive beliefs (by positive I mean belief in something and not the disbelief of something) there may or may not be evidence to back up this belief. And also like other positive beliefs, there can be varying degrees of zeal.

When theists attack atheism and cite Communist China or Communist Russia as examples of the evils of atheism, they are attacking a straw man. It was not atheism that caused the problems there, but rather it was severely radical anti-theism that was used by the Communist system.

What happened on Ray's blog wasn't motivated by atheism in the slightest sense. At the worst, it was childish anti-theism and most likely not even that. The parties involved probably did what they did for the same reason I sometimes post on Ray's blog.

None of what I do over at Ray's is inspired by being an atheist and probably not even from being anti-theism. I post what I post because Ray attacks some of my own personal positive beliefs. My belief that truth is objective and that truth does not vary from person to person. My belief that humans can choose right and wrong independently. My belief that science can find the answers to all questions. My belief that not knowing something or admitting when you're wrong is a good thing. All of those beliefs are supported by evidence; all of those beliefs are attacked on Ray's blog weekly, if not daily. That is why I post there, not atheism.

Edit: I don't want it to seem like I'm chastising nonmagic for what was done. I'm just saying that the actions taken weren't done because of atheism, but rather because of Ray's outrage over Maragon's unoffensive profile picture. Rock on!


  1. Yaeger-

    I agree. I am not an atheist. I believe, as did Einstein, that the order in our universe is, at least, at this time not understandable by human minds.

    Hell, the human mind is so limited that it can not even picture a 4 dimentional object, only when that object is pictured three dimentionally (see tesseracts).

    But just the fact that we can not yet conceive of it, shouldn't force us to accept the first, and worst explanation of our universe as portrayed in the bible.

    Why should we abandon all learning and knowledge to accept such nonsense as:

    -A personal God, for which no evidence exists

    -Inerrancy of the bible, for which more and more evidence daily shows errancy, inaccuracy, and unreality.

    -Authority of scripture, which speaks factually of talking snakes, fanciful creation of humans, original sin and eternal salvation, existance of ephemerous souls, self contradicting morality, condoning of slavery, genocide, and sexism, in childish stories.

    All this without evidence, but must be blindly adhered to through "faith".

    Benjamin Franklin said-

    "The way to see by Faith, is to shut the Eye of Reason"

    I prefer to open my eyes to reason.

    The only use I have for Blind Faith is when I have the desire to listen to some classic performances by Eric Clapton.

  2. Something I have seen recently is the confusion of anti-theism and anti-religious. There's a difference between the two. Broadly speaking, I think nontheism and antitheism can be specific terms for weak and strong atheism respectively.

    Belief in a god by itself is not harmful. What of deism? What of the belief that simply a god exists or that a god created the universe and is wholly unconcerned with it? It's not theism that is considered destructive; it's religion.

    But even still, I don't think what happened in Russia or China was the result of radicalized anti-religion. I think it's best described as the result of authoritarianism.

    That isn't to say that anti-religion can't be the cause of violence, as it most certainly can. Any time someone is opposed to something that can serve as the motivation to attack it.

    What was done on Ray's blog wasn't anti-religion, either. It was opposition to stupidity, censorship, and modesty.

  3. Yeager,

    I realize you aren't chastising me, but I am going to write a post about this. I think I need to clear the air on a few things.

  4. "We don't do things in the name of atheism.""

    WE?? So, you all act as one big group, huh? Thought you were "freethinkers"? Hilarious!!

    Can't wait to see the responses this gets from "the group". God Bless.

  5. Scmike: do you wish for us to attempt a responce at your content-less rhetorical statement, or are you more interested in simply heaping scorn on your opposition to satisfy your religously motivated superiority complex?

  6. Mike, you missed my point.

    The "we" I refer to means people who are atheists. The pronoun does not mean everyone under the same veil holds the same values.

    My other point is that a person doesn't act on non-belief. There is nothing about not believing in unicorns that would lead any other action.

  7. Silly atheists.
    We theists don't believe anything.
    Theism is just the lack of belief in metaphysical naturalism.(I defined it that way so I won't have to take any burden of proof.)
    No-one can do anything in the name of theism because as i just defined theism it was a lack of a belief.


Unlike Ray we don't censor our comments, so as long as it's on topic and not spam, fire away.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.