Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
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13-09-2011, 06:04 PM
Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
I'm not sure if this ever happens in the USA, but I would assume it is pretty common in Northern Europe as well as in Britain where I live.
Basically these guys who proudly proclaim at every opurtunity that they don't believe in any religion, but they have no real reason why. For an example a guy I knew at the YMCA; his reason for being an atheist (a word I introduced him to because he'd never heard it before) "Religion doesn't buy my [cigarettes], all it does is tell you how to live"
Which might have been a good working class answer if he wasn't also one of the most bigoted and imoral people I've ever met.

Stretching it back out for the country though; a lot of these people exist who are in the band of being too ignorant to understand religion enough to believe in one, or just not caring enough to look into it. And the problem with this is that these people are far, far too ignorant on average to develope their own moral code and they're often a few generations into the problem. So there is this huge section of society who were not given the ability to form morals on their own, either through mediocre parenting or skipping out on education, but they also do not have any orginisation to force any sort of moral code.

I still think that a guy who says "homosexuals are going to hell, but I won't judge them because it's not my place" is better than someone who says "I hate homosexuals and want to harm them for no particular reason" for example.

Well if that post made sense, which it might not because I'm slightly knackered... Any thoughts? Is this a real problem or might it just sort itself out? etc

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13-09-2011, 06:21 PM
 
RE: Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
(13-09-2011 06:04 PM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  Basically these guys who proudly proclaim at every opurtunity that they don't believe in any religion, but they have no real reason why.

I may be too picky but you don't need a reason not to believe in some religion -- religions would need some (ANY) reason for us to believe in them and they haven't got any.

You also don't need religion in order to have morality -- it is hardwired in the human mind. The wiring can be scrambled, rewired, destroyed by social pressures of various kinds but, if you are treated nicely, you will become a pretty decent human being, without reason or religion.
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13-09-2011, 07:26 PM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2011 07:33 PM by Cetaceaphile.)
RE: Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
(13-09-2011 06:21 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  
(13-09-2011 06:04 PM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  Basically these guys who proudly proclaim at every opurtunity that they don't believe in any religion, but they have no real reason why.

I may be too picky but you don't need a reason not to believe in some religion -- religions would need some (ANY) reason for us to believe in them and they haven't got any.

You also don't need religion in order to have morality -- it is hardwired in the human mind. The wiring can be scrambled, rewired, destroyed by social pressures of various kinds but, if you are treated nicely, you will become a pretty decent human being, without reason or religion.

This isn't a 'religion = morality' thing, because we all know that decent, inteligent people are moral by nature. Unfortunately there is a growing number of people who are not inteligent and have not been treated well, and many are certainly not decent as they are now.
In some places the uninteligent and those of poor upbringing are given morals by some form of dogma, in others, where the person is willing to work for it, they are given the information and the basic skills needed to be decent.
People who don't get into either of those routes are prone to being imoral and indecent. Let me state the baseline of chav culture in Britain. People who have had awful upbringings usually, and are mostly of below average inteligence. They have no education, they have no moral sociology and they have no religion and they are on the whole imoral.

That said though, judging by African and Americas cultures; it would be safe to say that classic Abrahamic religion cannot be trusted to provide any morals to people who do not have a possitve comunity, but as I've seen the case in Britain among the uninteligent masses the bad community is entirely due to problems between older generations and younger generations, which is down to the imoral behavior of the youngers.

Edit: I'd also consider "I don't need a reason" to be a good reason Tongue

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13-09-2011, 08:39 PM
RE: Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
So, Britain has neglected, pissed-on and lost a whole lot of its people. Generations of its people. (One may conjecture as to why and how this happened.) Prenatal health, education, housing, social services, all shot to hell; no jobs, no protection, no prospects.
And the roadkill of capitalist progress owes you an explanation for his lack of belief?

Never mind. Socialist tremor.

Anyway, what should happen?
A religion - Christianity or Islam - could gather up this waif and give him a moral structure, a community, a purpose. They could harness his disillusionment, his smouldering resentment and, his low-grade, omnidirectional hatred. They could teach him discipline, esprit de corps - and how to strap on an exploding vest.

Or maybe a political faction - nazi or anarchist - could recruit this young thug and give him a moral structure, a community, a purpose. They could label his disillusionment, fan his smouldering resentment, focus his hatred. They could teach him rousing slogans and point him at the activists to rough up, the buildings to torch.

And he still won't know why.

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14-09-2011, 03:56 PM
RE: Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
(13-09-2011 06:04 PM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  Basically these guys who proudly proclaim at every opurtunity that they don't believe in any religion, but they have no real reason why. For an example a guy I knew at the YMCA; his reason for being an atheist (a word I introduced him to because he'd never heard it before) "Religion doesn't buy my [cigarettes], all it does is tell you how to live"

Which might have been a good working class answer if he wasn't also one of the most bigoted and imoral people I've ever met.

I'm working class and resent the implied condescension of that statement.

Are you suggesting that this person's immorality is caused by his lack of belief in god? I often think of the Christians in earlier times - those who worked for the Inquisition and tortured thousands of people to death - they believed in god and they were thoroughly immoral.



(13-09-2011 06:04 PM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  Stretching it back out for the country though; a lot of these people exist who are in the band of being too ignorant to understand religion enough to believe in one, or just not caring enough to look into it.

I looked into it and discovered:

Angels, devils, giants, talking snakes, virgin births, world wide floods, blindness cured with spit, sticks that turn into snakes, water changed into wine, the sun going backwards, old men killed for working on the sabbath, Lazarus raised from the dead, illness caused by demons, Jesus walking on water, resurrecting after death, and ascending into heaven, while dead people climbed out of their graves and walked around Jerusalem...

I decided I could do without it.



(13-09-2011 06:04 PM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  And the problem with this is that these people are far, far too ignorant on average to develope their own moral code and they're often a few generations into the problem. So there is this huge section of society who were not given the ability to form morals on their own, either through mediocre parenting or skipping out on education, but they also do not have any orginisation to force any sort of moral code.

They won't learn morality from the bible - check out Leviticus 26:14-39 where god says (among other things):

I will send dangerous animals among you, and they will kill your children
I will send incurable diseases among you
I will cut off your food supply
Your hunger will be so great that you will eat your own children.
I will turn your cities into ruins
I will bring war on you

...and in verse 39 He promises to punish future generations for sins committed by their ancestors.



(13-09-2011 06:04 PM)Cetaceaphile Wrote:  I still think that a guy who says "homosexuals are going to hell, but I won't judge them because it's not my place" is better than someone who says "I hate homosexuals and want to harm them for no particular reason" for example.

If a Christian knows a person is going to hell and refuses to lift a finger to help them "because it's not my place", then I would assume they are not as moral as they would like people to think they are.

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16-09-2011, 08:08 AM
RE: Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
We atheists have to fully realize that if we were to end religious dogma and get all the societies in the world based on rationalism; the Earth would still be a long way from paridise. It would be rid of a lot of problems and evils but there would still be irrational, immoral and decidedly ignorant people in it.

As atheism grows we are going to see all kinds of people in the movement including people who are along for the ride that we would not want to represent us.

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16-09-2011, 11:39 AM (This post was last modified: 16-09-2011 11:50 AM by 17thknight.)
RE: Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
I find it to be a huge problem, actually. I often confront other atheists on the myths THEY believe in. My favorite one, and probably the most commonly believed, is "religion causes most wars". Anyone with even a cursory background in history knows how absurd this, but I cannot tell you how many times I've had to correct people on it.

Being an atheist because you believe it to be a reasoned choice, and you can back that choice up with years of introspection, thought, and clear reasoning is good. Being an atheist because it's chic is, to me, very off-putting.

What I encounter all too often are very simple-minded atheists who just seem to not believe in god almost as a rebellion against mommy, daddy, or society. That irks me the most, because it isn't a decision being come at through wisdom, but through the lack of it. They reflect poorly on others.

(16-09-2011 08:08 AM)nontheocrat Wrote:  We atheists have to fully realize that if we were to end religious dogma and get all the societies in the world based on rationalism; the Earth would still be a long way from paridise. It would be rid of a lot of problems and evils but there would still be irrational, immoral and decidedly ignorant people in it.

As atheism grows we are going to see all kinds of people in the movement including people who are along for the ride that we would not want to represent us.

I think that's actually a very good point, and it plays right into what I was saying earlier in my post about atheist-believed myths. Many atheists seem to think the world would just suddenly be this magical place of brotherly love without religion, but that notion is patently absurd. People are, I believe, inherently selfish and self-serving, some might say evil. It is a struggle to behave in a manner that is considered moral. It is not an easy road to walk.

Evil has absolutely nothing, however, to do with religion. Religion is a pretext for many bad behaviors, but most of those behaviors would exist regardless. Religion is also a pretext for many good behaviors, which also might exist regardless. Making wide, sweeping statements about religion is as much a trap as making wide sweeping statements about atheists.

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18-09-2011, 04:45 AM
RE: Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
If people were "inherently selfish and self-serving, some might say evil." The planet's population would be in serious decline rather than increasing, as most of us would be busy slaughtering others rather than commuting with them to work and back every day and paying our taxes every year. People are inherently loving of their families and friends and protective of them. People sacrifice their own needs and desires to provide for the welfare and happiness of others on a daily basis. People congregate into groups of like-minded individuals willingly, driven by a need to belong to a larger community, for both emotional and physical support. People share their resources with others willingly. Are there selfish individuals among us? Are there people like the Billionaire Koch brothers, who would drive a million people into bankruptcy just to pad their overflowing bank accounts a little more this fiscal quarter? Certainly. But let's be aware, and thankful, that they are in the minority. Most of us are law-abiding, decent people who treat each other more or less fairly and with at least some kind of respect. Otherwise progress would not be possible, and we've come a long way from hitting each other over the heads with rocks and clubs to get at each other's women and to steal the food we hunted and gathered. And even then we did it in groups and shared what resources we had with the collective tribes we lived in, which is entirely the opposite of selfish. It's only the myths associated with free-market capitalism that teach us we are only interested in our own needs and wants. The evidence contradicts that. Of course I want an older, faster hot rod than the one I have now, but I have to house and feed my daughter until she's self-sufficient, so the car purchase goes on hold.

None of the above requires religion. Religion, rather than providing us with a structure of morality (which it tries to do in a rather ham-handed fashion) tends to be more successful at separating people into conflicting groups than it does at making them more thoughtful and caring about others. Lots of charitable works are done by religious people and organizations (usually with the ulterior motive of converting the people they are helping) but the 'us vs. them' message that is continually hammered into the heads of each sect of each religion does more harm than good in the long run. "Love thy neighbour' is too often tempered by "except for the gays and atheists and muslims and everyone else God really hates." Religious opposition has always held back progress, especially the kind that is beneficial to humanity, such as research into medicines that threaten to replace God as the thing you turn to for help in your time of desperate need. That's as amoral as it gets in my book, entire organizations of supposedly "moral" people who "love thy neighbour" and live by the mantra "what would Jesus do?" working to stall scientific and medical progress that would eliminate or allieviate the suffering of children and adults with curable diseases and other maladies, not to mention hindering education and enlightenment of the realities of the planet and the surrounding universe.

So if ignorant, disenfranchised, angry, bigoted people are going to live amongst us (as they always have and always will) I'd rather they be atheists than religious. Religion has never been a cure for immorality. In fact it often gives the immoral person the excuse they need to be vengeful and hateful towards others. How many times a day does some Islamic cleric declare a Jihad on western Christians? Even if the reasons for war are more economic than theological, it's the religious differences between the competing populations that is used as the dividing line between them. How many times a day does some neo-Nazi skinhead encourage his brethren to seek out a Jew or a homosexual for a beating? Where does the Christian hatred for Jews and homosexuals stem if not from the Bible? I think some ignorant thug would be less dangerous to society as an individual who rejects religion along with all the other authoritarian organizations that he views as keeping the boot on his neck than as part of a religion-based cult or organization that gives him a target and methodology as well as resources and support for acting on his rage and hatred. It doesn't matter to me that they don't know why they're atheists, or they make the claim out of spite rather than reason. Perhaps they aren't as ignorant as one supposes- perhaps they reject religion because even a cursory glance at the preposterous claims virtually any religion makes is worthy of contempt from even an uneducated person. We aren't in the dark ages anymore- the age of the planet and the universe isn't so much a mystery as it was, how we got here isn't something we need to be told by a shaman, stories like Adam and Eve and Noah's Ark and anything involving talking donkeys and parting seas is a whole lot less likely to be believable to even the most poorly educated among us. We should not be the least bit surprised that even a high-school drop out with homophobic and racist tendancies should reject religion out of hand; we should be surprised that anyone alive today with even a modicum of reason would accept any religion as plausible. In any case, I'd rather not have these folks bolstering the stupidity of religion and the harm it does by supporting it without knowing why they do so. There are quite enough people doing that already.

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18-09-2011, 05:51 AM
RE: Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
Well, I think you have to set atheism apart from lack-in-belief. In my ethics class (for all who aren't catholic/protestant) I was the only one who named himself "atheist". All others said things like: "I don't believe anything. That's it." (or had other religions). I don't think that these people are atheists. They are more agnostic, aren't they? I think to become atheistic it takes a lot more than to say that you don't believe in god. It's a deliberate decision to be an atheist...
otherwise I would feel cheap if I stand next to god and he asked me why I didn't believed in him and I can just: "dunno. heard of you, but found it boring." what the hell???
I'm proud that I can say: "I used the tools you gave us humans, countless times thought about our world. I really thought I was right, there was so much evidence for you not to be. Now I see that I'm wrong but I still don't understand. Where did I made a mistake? Where did you, god, made mistakes? Have you ever seen our world? It isn't divine. a.s.o." (I just noticed that I'm slightly off-topic)
If you can say something like that, THEN you're atheist. Not before.

And if you gave those people religion, they would become next fundi generation, cause silly people with religion are a lot more dangerous than average people with religion. The only way to give them moral is to resocializate them, educate them. Moral goes along with intelligence.
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18-09-2011, 06:49 AM
RE: Atheism of Ignorance; is it a problem?
As we debate the state of humanity with/without religion we (being atheists) must see that religion is an invention of man. Therefore while religion may exhibit some of the worst ideals in humanity it is not supernatural or more evil than mankind is on our own.

If religion is ever eliminated we will still have other dogmas and erroneous belief systems to combat such as racism. Our species has a lot of work to do before we reach perfection. I've always dreamt that we would someday grow into a Star Trek type existence. LOL

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