Without theism, atheism is like Garfunkel without Simon

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
The worldwide percentage of those claiming to be atheists is estimated at 7%. Just for fun let's imagine a world in which it were near 100%. Would people gather to discuss their atheism? Are there currently gatherings of people discussing their agreement that the earth is not flat? Are we spheroid earthers as a general rule angry enough at the <.001% of flat earthers to spend hours a day vehemently railing against their beliefs?

I guess my thoughts may have once again gone misleading, but it seems to me that you atheists need us theists to spark any conversation about your lack of belief. Your philosophy is essentially negative in nature. Even if in one of these "atheist clubs"of which Gus was a member (though he may have been kidding), the members were to discuss the atheist philosophy of Nietzsche versus that of Voltaire, devoid of those two guys' rabid polemics against theism, there would be little to discuss.

Atheists: Sadly, your philosophy of life needs theism in order to have any meat on its bones. It is a scavenger philosophy eating away at that meat, but with a couple of exceptions I am quite fond of y'all and constantly pray that even the exceptions may ultimately find the Peace that will never come with what is little more than lack of belief.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
The worldwide percentage of those claiming to be atheists is estimated at 7%. Just for fun let's imagine a world in which it were near 100%. Would people gather to discuss their atheism? Are there currently gatherings of people discussing their agreement that the earth is not flat? Are we spheroid earthers as a general rule angry enough at the <.001% of flat earthers to spend hours a day vehemently railing against their beliefs?

I guess my thoughts may have once again gone misleading, but it seems to me that you atheists need us theists to spark any conversation about your lack of belief. Your philosophy is essentially negative in nature. Even if in one of these "atheist clubs"of which Gus was a member (though he may have been kidding), the members were to discuss the atheist philosophy of Nietzsche versus that of Voltaire, devoid of those two guys' rabid polemics against theism, there would be little to discuss.

Atheists: Sadly, your philosophy of life needs theism in order to have any meat on its bones. It is a scavenger philosophy eating away at that meat, but with a couple of exceptions I am quite fond of y'all and constantly pray that even the exceptions may ultimately find the Peace that will never come with what is little more than lack of belief.
A-theists and religious fundamentalists justify their respective positions based upon the irrational position of the other. When actually there exists a fair rational position in the middle somewhere.

A-theists convince themselves that they are better off than those who believe in myths and superstitions, and fundamentalists convince themselves that they are better off than denying the existence of God. Each position is actually the extreme opposite of the other, dragging both into irrationality.

It is why you guys need each other.

The fair position neither believes in superstitions nor denies a cause of Good in the universe.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
Nah, when it comes to my belief in God, the atheist supplies no need. Nor as a spheroid earther, do I NEED the beliefs of flat earthers.
It is not your belief in God that is superstitious, but your belief in superman Jesus who flies through the air and walks on water and turns it into wine that is irrational. You justify your position by convincing yourself that it is better than being an a-theist.

Believe it or not, you see things as they do when you literalize scripture. For they also read scripture literally, but come to the opposite conclusion: that mythical stories are unworthy of belief. Understood as intended scripture actually pertains to the soul and its struggle to bring order to this world, —God supplying the means to do so through right reason and virtues, represented by “Jesus”. For example, If the water represents soul, and wine represents the spirit, then it is “Jesus” as reason and virtue who transforms us (our souls) into a new creation, by bringing order to our lives.

This is not rocket science.
 
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Dizerner

Well-known member
I would just caution Christians against pride and a lack of compassion. We didn't realize Jesus is the Savior because we are smarter and better people.

Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Mat 16:17 NKJ)

If you saw a drunken blind person staggering on the edge of a cliff yelling obscenities at you, it might be tempting to just get fed up with this person.

But we were all that person once.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Just for fun let's imagine a world in which it were near 100%. Would people gather to discuss their atheism?
No. Once free of religion we'd all be free to spend our time more productively.

Your philosophy is essentially negative in nature.
Of course it is. That's because theism is without merit and deserves to be opposed.

Sadly, your philosophy of life needs theism in order to have any meat on its bones.
Yes, just as anti-alchemy relied upon alchemy. That doesn't mean alchemy had any real merit. We're all now a-alchemists by default. It's just now so obvious that it doesn't require discussion. If we can get to the same place with atheism then that would be great.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
I would just caution Christians against pride and a lack of compassion. We didn't realize Jesus is the Savior because we are smarter and better people.

Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Mat 16:17 NKJ)

If you saw a drunken blind person staggering on the edge of a cliff yelling obscenities at you, it might be tempting to just get fed up with this person.
Yes it would be easier to ignore the drunk heading for a cliff…but the better neighbor would yell even louder that he is heading for a cliff. Maybe it might wake him enough to see the danger.

But we were all that person once.
Yes, we were.
 

bigthinker

Well-known member
Yes it would be easier to ignore the drunk heading for a cliff…but the better neighbor would yell even louder that he is heading for a cliff. Maybe it might wake him enough to see the danger.


Yes, we were.
Many Christians, "yell" at the atheist -who they believe are heading for the cliff. The problem is not that they aren't yelling loudly enough, the problem is that they yell in the wrong language. But not only that, they also blame the atheist -who is the one "headed for the cliff" -from the Christian's perspective- for not understanding the language.
If a Christian is actually interested in making a difference -as opposed to merely pretending or using their humble position as license to judge others, then they ought to consider learning the language.

We atheists see Christians as being drunk on belief, headed for a flat, open field where there is little danger. The problem is that there is a street full of people between the Christian and the field and the car is out of control. The street is populated with all kinds of people. Many of us atheists "yell" not necessarily to save the drunk Christian headed for the open field but to minimize the damage to other people.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
You justify your position by convincing yourself that it is better than being an a-theist.

Rubbish. It's not a position, but rather a belief, and I feel no need to justify my belief to any anyone, especially not to you.


For example, If the water represents soul, and wine represents the spirit, then it is “Jesus” as reason and virtue who transforms us (our souls) into a new creation, by bringing order to our lives.

Got it all mapped out, eh? Jesus needs quotes around His Name. And let me guess: "God" represents the ego, and "Moses" the id, and "Peter's mother-in-law" represents inner angst.
 

Tiburon

Well-known member
The worldwide percentage of those claiming to be atheists is estimated at 7%. Just for fun let's imagine a world in which it were near 100%. Would people gather to discuss their atheism? Are there currently gatherings of people discussing their agreement that the earth is not flat? Are we spheroid earthers as a general rule angry enough at the <.001% of flat earthers to spend hours a day vehemently railing against their beliefs?

I guess my thoughts may have once again gone misleading, but it seems to me that you atheists need us theists to spark any conversation about your lack of belief. Your philosophy is essentially negative in nature. Even if in one of these "atheist clubs"of which Gus was a member (though he may have been kidding), the members were to discuss the atheist philosophy of Nietzsche versus that of Voltaire, devoid of those two guys' rabid polemics against theism, there would be little to discuss.

Atheists: Sadly, your philosophy of life needs theism in order to have any meat on its bones. It is a scavenger philosophy eating away at that meat, but with a couple of exceptions I am quite fond of y'all and constantly pray that even the exceptions may ultimately find the Peace that will never come with what is little more than lack of belief.
Except Atheism isn't a philosophy of life.
I'm against racism. Would my life become meaningless without racists?
I might miss these 'discussions' but without theists my life would go on pretty much as it is.
 
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Whatsisface

Well-known member
Atheists: Sadly, your philosophy of life needs theism in order to have any meat on its bones.
Why sadly?

If there were no theists, would the philosophy of any atheist be any different?
It is a scavenger philosophy eating away at that meat, but with a couple of exceptions I am quite fond of y'all and constantly pray that even the exceptions may ultimately find the Peace that will never come with what is little more than lack of belief.
That's a very emotive discription with negative conotations, so I'm wondering why you chose it.

There are parts of the world where being an atheist will get you killed, and even in America there is demonstrable prejudice against atheists for eg children can be disowned by their parents. Scavenger harldy describes this when people find they just can't believe what the majority believe because it honestly doesn't make sense to them and they are persecuted because of it.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Why sadly?

If there were no theists, would the philosophy of any atheist be any different?

Yes. That was the gist of the OP.

That's a very emotive discription with negative conotations, so I'm wondering why you chose it.

There are parts of the world where being an atheist will get you killed, and even in America there is demonstrable prejudice against atheists for eg children can be disowned by their parents.

Not if there were no theists. You missed my point.
 

Algor

Well-known member
The worldwide percentage of those claiming to be atheists is estimated at 7%. Just for fun let's imagine a world in which it were near 100%. Would people gather to discuss their atheism? Are there currently gatherings of people discussing their agreement that the earth is not flat? Are we spheroid earthers as a general rule angry enough at the <.001% of flat earthers to spend hours a day vehemently railing against their beliefs?

I guess my thoughts may have once again gone misleading, but it seems to me that you atheists need us theists to spark any conversation about your lack of belief. Your philosophy is essentially negative in nature. Even if in one of these "atheist clubs"of which Gus was a member (though he may have been kidding), the members were to discuss the atheist philosophy of Nietzsche versus that of Voltaire, devoid of those two guys' rabid polemics against theism, there would be little to discuss.

Atheists: Sadly, your philosophy of life needs theism in order to have any meat on its bones. It is a scavenger philosophy eating away at that meat, but with a couple of exceptions I am quite fond of y'all and constantly pray that even the exceptions may ultimately find the Peace that will never come with what is little more than lack of belief.

I live in a bit of a professional bubble, where I think most people in my peer group are atheists (I haven't done any sort of survey, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't the case). I regularly have to explain to intelligent adult professionals what a painting of the annunciation illustrates (I have a great whack of art as screen savers, and I have two large computer screens at my office, so when I talk to people these pictures come up. This one:

and this one:


are my faves, but there's a medieval one where it looks like Mary is thinking "Oh no. This is bad......." And I should say, I genuinely love these paintings, and the story itself without a trace of irony. There's no mockery intended at all.) All of that is just to say that I think I do have a bit of a taste as to what it is like inside a majority atheist population. I'm probably the most religious person in it. Anyhow, we do OK. We don't talk about atheism; I'll give you that. It's boring.
 
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docphin5

Well-known member
Many Christians, "yell" at the atheist -who they believe are heading for the cliff. The problem is not that they aren't yelling loudly enough, the problem is that they yell in the wrong language. But not only that, they also blame the atheist -who is the one "headed for the cliff" -from the Christian's perspective- for not understanding the language.
If a Christian is actually interested in making a difference -as opposed to merely pretending or using their humble position as license to judge others, then they ought to consider learning the language.

We atheists see Christians as being drunk on belief, headed for a flat, open field where there is little danger. The problem is that there is a street full of people between the Christian and the field and the car is out of control. The street is populated with all kinds of people. Many of us atheists "yell" not necessarily to save the drunk Christian headed for the open field but to minimize the damage to other people.
Apparently the metaphor can be applied to different groups depending upon one’s perspective.

You took the drunk person heading off the cliff as a-theists and Christians are yelling at you incoherently.

I took the drunk person heading off a cliff to be religious fundamentalists and I yell at them rationally to see the danger in believing myths as historical fact (being drunk equals holding irrational beliefs).

I see A-theists just reacting to the drunk, irrational Christians, but in a self-destructive way, replacing one irrational extreme with another, that is, denying a cause of Good in the universe.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
A-theists convince themselves that they are better off than those who believe in myths and superstitions, and fundamentalists convince themselves that they are better off than denying the existence of God. Each position is actually the extreme opposite of the other, dragging both into irrationality.
No. Atheism is based entirely on rationality.

Just because atheism and theism are opposites doesn't apportion the excesses equally across both sides.

It is why you guys need each other.
On the face of it, I don't need theists. At all. They're welcome to exist, and the extent to which they treat me with respect is the extent to which I'll return the civility.

Atheism wouldn't exist without theism, but that doesn't then create any "need" for theism to exist. Cold doesn't need heat, negative doesn't need positive, up doesn't need down, etc ad nauseum.

Opposites don't in any reasonable sense need each other. They're consequential, not symbiotic.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
No. Atheism is based entirely on rationality.
Not really. A-theism denies the existence of a Cause of Good in the universe despite the the universe having a cause of good.

Agnosticism would be more rational than a-theism. But I don’t want to argue about it since it has been argued ad nauseam elsewhere,
Just because atheism and theism are opposites doesn't apportion the excesses equally across both sides.
It is not theism in general that grows a-theism, but religious fundamentalism that grows a-theism. I am not surprised you cannot see the distinction. A-theism grows because fundamentalists hold irrational ideas like denying evolution, and believing superman Jesus flies in the clouds, etc. There is a rational theism which is a minority and contributes nothing to the growth of a-theism.
On the face of it, I don't need theists. At all. They're welcome to exist, and the extent to which they treat me with respect is the extent to which I'll return the civility.

Atheism wouldn't exist without theism, but that doesn't then create any "need" for theism to exist. Cold doesn't need heat, negative doesn't need positive, up doesn't need down, etc ad nauseum.

Opposites don't in any reasonable sense need each other. They're consequential, not symbiotic.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
Atheism is based entirely on rationality.
Not really. A-theism denies the existence of a Cause of Good in the universe
That's entirely false, and a mischaracterization which is beneath you. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods, and where it is a denial, it is nothing more than a denial of the existence of gods. It has no position on Good or Evil or anything other than gods.

It is not theism in general that grows a-theism, but religious fundamentalism that grows a-theism. I am not surprised you cannot see the distinction. A-theism grows because fundamentalists hold irrational ideas like denying evolution, and believing superman Jesus flies in the clouds, etc. There is a rational theism which is a minority and contributes nothing to the growth of a-theism.
I became an atheist because of theists. Some of them were fundamentalists, but others were just garden-variety believers. Sure, religious fundamentalism creates more atheists, but you're dismissing the obvious: some people come to reject the claim that gods exist simply by testing the claims of religion and its adherents.

Fundamentalism throws fuel on the atheism fire, but it was never needed to start that fire.
 
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