Pseudo-Atheism, this one is for you...
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28-07-2014, 12:01 PM
Pseudo-Atheism, this one is for you...
As sure as the sky is blue, we could agree that being atheist is quite the extraordinary thought process. Atheism is not just a lack of belief but it should also be a well calculated and thought out thought process. Atheism should not be "I don't believe in God (gods)." Atheism is a schema and should always be "I don't believe in God (god's) because if-then." Atheism is not a product of its own, it is a product of skepticism, rational, and reason. Without these, what I would call, three pillars of atheism, atheism would cease to be.

Before I carry on as to why I see things this way, it's important to know what drives the idea. Yesterday, I went to church. I am predominantly an English speaker, but due to my family, I had attended a non-denominational Spanish speaking congregation. My intention was to go with them since Walmart was close by The Rock Church. My family continued to call the church "La Roca" which makes sense because The Rock Church has Spanish speaking services and it would make sense to use that translation. But little known to me, there is another church under the legal name La Roca, and before I knew it, we missed the exit to The Rock and traveled 15 minutes further to La Roca which was no where near a Walmart. So, consequently, I genuinely went to church.

As I entered La Roca, it was quickly apparent that the entire office building (which is what they utilized) was filled with loud joyful music. My heart was instantly filled with apprehension as my religious experiences of times past became to resurface with each new measure of music. We quickly continued to walk down the corridor and entered the assembly room where I was greeted by a kind man who welcomed us in.

It had immediately dawned on me, as we entered the large assembly room, that I had no idea what this congregation was all about. Were they apostolic? Lutheran? Pentecostal? Some strange congregation hellbent on baptism and faith healing? With each new speculation, and as the music became apparently louder, there was slight panic and I had the urge to quickly coerce my family to sit in the farthest rows possible so that it would be impossible, that, if by any unfortunate circumstance, I was called to the stage and required to play "I found god by the holy power of the preacher." Unfortunately, my efforts were in vain, and my family quickly rushed me to the center third row.

At this point, I sincerely regret going with my family. Anxiety was high and I could feel myself shaking and working up a sweat. I was sure that I was going to soon explode with a storm of angst and fury.

As I continued to stand among the crowd, who's majority had their hands raised as if to grasp the hand of God and save themselves from life's hardships, I looked to find a way to self soothe. Naturally, as a musician, I decided to concentrate on the music, no matter how nonsensical the lyrics were. At first, this was incredibly difficult, but as the drummer began his solo, I was now distracted. How beautifully talented this drummer was! His style and ambition for the beat was quite motivating and I was zoned in. Shortly after, the guitarist, who I had been disappointed with, started a wonderful solo of his own. Damn, was he finally sounding good! Finally I shifted to the pianist, the musician that I would identify most with, and was let down since most of his piece was harmonic and had to deal with rhythm, but that's pretty usual in a band setting.

Before long, I was forced to find myself focusing on the singers. The bright red and blue stage lights shined on them and a projector flashed glorious images of the earth and the captions to the words they were singing. The first thing I noticed was that the blue light had cast a shadow on one of the singers and it made it look like she pissed herself, I couldn't help but chuckle to myself. I then noticed that all the singers had their hands raised and their eyes closed, as if to treat their crowd pleasing music like the prayerful hymns of old. I thought this to be rather fake and pretentious and started to hate the way they looked on the stage and hate to think that they thought that their lyrics actually meant something literal. But my hostile attitude was quickly softened when the lead singer sang his solo. Regardless of the ridiculous lyrics, this guy was great! I thought this guy truly deserved to go mainstream, his voice was absolutely fantastic, perfect pitch and all.

As my angst, anxiety, and disgust started to dwindle, I forced myself to take a second look at the singers. Luckily, they were also aesthetically pleasing. The guy was handsome, the two girls in the middle were beautiful, and the woman on the end had a wonderful motherly look to her. Then I noticed the guitarist, who was in his youth, and reminded me of when I was younger, embarking on talents of my own. Then the pianist, who I noticed was also the lead for the whole production, and remembered how I had conducted music back when I was apart of the Mormon Church. The drummer also reminded me of a friend with the same style and rhythm-atic precision. Well, I must say, though their beliefs pain me, there anthropological resemblance did not. In fact, they were also pbviously human and I emphasize with them.

Once I had come to the terms with the extremely important characteristic of empathy, they then had three young ladies perform a dance on stage. Surprisingly, the music they interpreted was not so nauseating and they incorporated both modern and ballet dance into their choreography. It was a very good performance. I am no expert, but well versed in the classical arts to know that these girls were pretty brave to perform such techniques in front of so many people, especially when it was apparent that they were not prodigies. But nevertheless, the performance was pleasing and I hoped that they would hopefully pursue such talents, disregarding their technical mistakes.

The preacher soon came on stage, dressed stylish, and caring a youthful, charismatic personality with him. Good guy and great speaker! He was definitely a great story teller and conversationalist.

Though their belief system is silly, their guilt and fears superstitious, and their book inconclusive, two things was entirely certain: they were beautiful humans with very good talents, though they may be channeled through an unfortunate medium.

One may ask, what does this have to do with pseudo-atheism? What are you to tell me next, conversion?

No, I was certainly not converted, but this has everything to due with pseudo-atheism. In the light of "new atheism," many people flock towards the writings of public persons such as Hitchens, Dawkins, and Russel, and subsequently indulge in intellectual blindness and a false sense of rational. Unforgivably, these individuals often become who I call religious zealots incognito and atheist absolutists.

These individuals are those who claim religion and intellect correlation, degrade the religious communities, and blindly follow the four horsemen of atheism as the know-all-say-all of the generation.

Indeed, this is not atheism, but another form of intellectual laziness. Yes, it is my claim that these individuals are no better than the religious who blindly follow "prophets" and damn freethinkers and homosexuals to hell. These sort of atheists give atheism a bad name, and it is my confession that I have at few times resembled such snobbish and mundane, militant atheism.

As atheists, I will arrogantly proclaim that we have a moral obligation to avoid such zealotry and stand as an intelligent and reasonable example to those we would have convinced to the concepts our argument.

I stand with Neil deGrasse Tyson, who stood before the scientific community and scolded them for belligerently and unsympathetically attacking the general population of believers before understanding the scientists who also believe. Indeed, he asserts that seven percent of all elite scientists are religious. Are we to just claim the sloppy intelligence and religious belief correlation argument? Or are we to go one step further and agree with Tyson, that there may just simply be some sort of asymptote, meaning that although with education religious belief may decrease, religious belief may never approach 0 and that it is extremely important that we seek to understand the seven percent of the smartest individuals on the planet and why they insist on living with belief and reason simultaneously.

Another topic of consideration is absolutist atheism. For those of us who are avid Dawkins and Hitchens fans, and who have been hurt by religion on a personal level, this may be difficult to avoid. It may be difficult to favor black and white distortions as to what really is reality.

It is my assertion that religion is not 100% terrible, it may be 100% nonsense, but it is certainly not an entirely destructive entity, though some sects may actually be. It is also my assertion that not all religious individuals are completely delusional or lacking in cognitive ability and I compare those who do make the comparison with a new form of discrimination. I would beg you to read White Man's Burden if you disagree, for the mentality displayed in the poem is often found in many foolish atheists.

It is also my assertion that it is pure stupidity to take all the writings of Dawkins and Hitchens without speculation and skepticism. I think that completely undermines their whole ideology and defeats the purpose of their arguments. It is important not to mistake extreme knowledge and intellect for prophecy. Science and philosophy is constantly changing, or redefining itself, and in no way are they absolutist assertions. That is why we have debates within the community. That is why the atheist community is one of the most divided communities since we have all learned to think for ourselves, but then again have learned to admit to reason and rational when we are wrong.

As I sat in church yesterday for an awfully long hour, these are the things that rushed through my mind as I contemplated my disgust for religion, but my deeper disgust for pseudo-atheists. As atheists, our argument and goals are important and fervent, but it is more important and fervent to maintain level heads lest we become a religion.

Now I hope it is apparent that this essay is not meant for the entire atheist community, but for those who do not deserve to carry the title. It is for those who assert themselves as "free thinkers" by fallacious arguments. Yes, facts are facts, but those who are absolutist and assert that man's intelligence is in direct correlation with his beliefs is no a proven fact, but a foolish hope of ignorance.

"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."- Albert Einstein.

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special." Steven Hawking
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05-09-2014, 06:48 PM
RE: Pseudo-Atheism, this one is for you...
I kind of understand where you are coming from. Although, there is one thing I may point out.
Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Nothing more, nothing less. We do more, and all we do is No True Scotsman our way into meaningless semantics. The main problem is that theists, especially in debates, will try to equate "atheism" as a worldview rather than a position. I think it is more helpful to point out that atheism is a single position on a single issue, but not the only position that you take. You let them think it is a worldview and they take one strawman and claim to have refuted atheism. It just gets messy.
However, I agree that scepticism, rationality and reason are important, and their association with atheism is helpful to our cause.
As for when it comes to Dawkins and Hitchens, I completely agree. I have respect for both, but I disagree with them on multiple issues.
I also don't think that Hitch was that great in debates. He rambled on a bit too much for my taste. Sacrilege!
But somebody new to atheism is going to have a strong attachment to whoever or whatever brought them there. Give them time. Most fanboys grow out of it.
Of course religion isn't 100% terrible, and I would say that we need to learn from the best when it comes to captivating audiences and riling up the masses. We need more preachers. The problem is that rationalism doesn't have many easily digestible soundbites, as nuanced opinions are common.
But I am sure we agree that it would be better if religion didn't propagate its stuff and that people were exposed to reality.
I saw that thing about what Tyson said to Dawkins, and I actually disagree. Not once did Dawkins ever talk out of line in debates and he was always respectful. We need firebrand atheists like Dawkins and Hitch because otherwise nobody listens. Sometimes you need to shout at the opposition before they let you speak.
I think that religious or at least supernatural beliefs may never hit 0, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Also the reason really intelligent people can still believe is because rationality and intelligence are separate. They may correlate, but you don't have a perfect correlation. Also, intelligent people are very good at rationalising positions that they take. Hide the fallacies under enough layers and you may be able to overlook them.
I do agree with a lot of what you are saying, but redefining terms at this time isn't helpful. If we disagree on terms, then equivocation eventually happens, sometimes as a mistake of someone who doesn't yet realise what is going on, and sometimes for more dishonest means.
However, denouncing dogmatic people's assertions of freethought is another thing entirely.
I guess there is this issue that a lot of us are quite intelligent, and have been learning about reason and scepticism and rationality for a long time, and when we see a new atheist who tries a rookie argument it makes you fear the prestige of being an atheist. I have that issue too. I hear a dumb atheist argument and I die a bit inside. This is why we also have terms like rationalist and free thinker. Helps to differentiate.
Well that's my two cents on the issue.

If somebody points out a fallacy, and you call fallacy fallacy, that doesn't mean you are right. That just means you committed the very fallacy you accused your opponent of.
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05-09-2014, 06:52 PM
RE: Pseudo-Atheism, this one is for you...
Quote:It is also my assertion that it is pure stupidity to take all the writings of Dawkins and Hitchens without speculation and skepticism. I think that completely undermines their whole ideology and defeats the purpose of their arguments. It is important not to mistake extreme knowledge and intellect for prophecy. Science and philosophy is constantly changing, or redefining itself, and in no way are they absolutist assertions. That is why we have debates within the community. That is why the atheist community is one of the most divided communities since we have all learned to think for ourselves, but then again have learned to admit to reason and rational when we are wrong
I don't see much of this although it's constantly warned against


"Name me a moral statement made or moral action performed that could not have been made or done, by a non-believer..." - Christopher Hitchens



My youtube musings: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfFoxbz...UVi1pf4B5g
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05-09-2014, 06:58 PM
RE: Pseudo-Atheism, this one is for you...
Facepalm

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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05-09-2014, 07:04 PM
RE: Pseudo-Atheism, this one is for you...
All I see is you putting yourself in the same box you are disregarding people for being within.

Proudly Arrogantly saying atheists should have a moral obligation, even those who identify as free thinkers(If that was your target always, make that your target form the start) is putting too much on a non connected community. Your right there's large divergence between atheists in atheist communities, because its only 1 topic they generally agree to.

But overall you're arguing against a stance that rarely shows up by people in atheist communities. Even on this board, where constant extreme and disregarding ideas to other people appear, that is hardly seen by any poster.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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