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Christian Howardson

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Religion and Atheism

Here's my take on an "Atheism 2.0" - all quotes are for emphasis:

Imagine a continuum; on the left side is a 100% conviction that a god(s)/afterlife do not exist, and on the right is a 100% conviction that a god(s)/afterlife is real. In the middle of this continuum, 0%, is a conviction that a lack OR presence of a god(s)/afterlife are on equal terms.

-100%--------------------------0%---------------------------100%

Believe in a god(s)/afterlife? If so, where do you think he (it?) resides on the above mentioned continuum? Why? As a point of reference, where do you think the existance of the toothfairy falls on this continuum?

Now, while my own personal opinion might be that the existence of a god(s) and/or afterlife (especially the one depicted in any of the three desert dogmas) are of extremely low odds (say, 99% for does not exist) and are not worth adopting as real, the important thing is that I am not absolutist in my point of view, because it is unprovable, even if only technically unprovable (ya can't bring back evidence of nothingness, can you?).

In my opinion, the "thoughtform" of the future is one were people do not claim an absolutist stance on impossible to prove concepts such as these. Arguing whether a god does or does not exist is pointless. Fighting over which god is or isn't a true god only leads to war. It's possible that the most humble and honest position is one of uncertainty. Imagine if everyone would just concede that they really just didn't know...might be a lot more peaceful world.

Also, the terms "atheist" and "believer" should probably be removed from our vocabulary. Not only have these terms been evacuated of any substantive meaning, but they've become words regularly used to express contempt or ridicule, which makes people defensive, and basically blocks any hope for open communication regarding the greatest mysteries of the universe.

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    Jan 30 2012: Addressing a few points scattered around this thread:

    Which god: All of them. And not only gods but all variations of rebirth, godheads and life after death promises. Big fancy church religions or prostrating oneself before a volcano and avoiding black cats, it's all the same. It is superstition.

    Convincing those (at least, adults) of faith: This isn't going to happen, but I would say that this thread is primarily a discussion between people with no religious beliefs. The contradictions inherent in belief in the supernatural are plain to see if one is willing to see. Therefore I have nothing to offer the religiously inclined.

    Why discuss it then?: Well, our entire history has been accompanied by religious belief. It is everywhere we look. The need to establish a strong body of opposition to superstition in education, governance and public life in general is paramount.

    Atheism's "bad" track record: Hardly. With increased knowledge has come a reduction in the proportion of people able to hold the beliefs of those who explained the world in primitive terms derived from a primitive existence. Detailed knowledge of the world around us is, historically speaking, a new phenomenon. Knowledge has an excellent track record.

    Atheism as offensive term: I address myself here to those who have no religious beliefs and therefore feel no need to look for placative terms. However, I do not wish to offend those who are religious. I'm not even sure that I'm doing someone a favour by undermining their beliefs. Doesn't change the facts, though, does it?

    Agnostic/atheist/whatever: We do not need to waste our time and energy playing with these words. The concept of gods and ghosts was made up by primitive peoples. I will happily explain to someone who doesn't understand that there is no need to prove the nonexistence of fairy tale x, but among ourselves let us not mess around with 99.99% anything. Those of faith will misunderstand it and many will abuse it.

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