Lamenting Present Day Atheism

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by pseudonymous, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. pseudonymous

    pseudonymous Obtuse Kineticist

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    0
    LAMENTING PRESENT DAY ATHEISM

    As far as the definition of atheism is concerned, I am described as being one. As far as the atheist community is concerned, I am embarrassed to be associated with many of its adherents. I arrived at my second realization of being an atheist in this lifetime from exploration and understanding of the religious & spiritual communities. Many of my fellow atheists arrive from a place of antagonism towards those who do not share their perceptions (mainly Christians), and parroting the concepts, ideas, and statements of those who have preceded them.

    The greater atheist community is seen by some religious and spiritual people as being combative, evil (you might peruse the chosen e-mail addresses of some of the adolescents who claim to be atheists, and yet use "666" or some other equally ironic religious component in their nicknames), dogmatic, and certainly inexperienced in the phenomena behind the faith of those they persecute. How many of those who claim to be atheists have ever experienced the "holy spirit"? Do you suppose that the religious & spiritual base their faith on fallible books alone?

    The holy spirit is real, if perhaps incorrectly labelled. Who amongst those that claim to be an atheist have ever entered a southern black Baptist church on a typical Sunday and have walked away saying the followers were delusional. The air is filled with electricity. Does this suppose a deity? No it does not, but it might give their dogmatic minds an understanding of why the religious believe as they do. They label it "God" because that is what they were told to label it. Before anyone scoffs at such a statement, I suggest they recognize that that is an entirely human condition. Who amongst humanity have not begun their lives, and for the most part have lived their lives, being told what to label objects & phenomena?

    In my life, and in my travels I have been helped by thousands upon thousands of religious & spiritual people in times of need. They have opened their arms in compassion, prayed for me and my wellbeing & safety, have fed me when I was hungry, and given me shelter when I needed a safe haven. I can count on my two hands how many times openly admitted atheists have done the same. The truth is that there is no atheist community. One of the primary reasons for a person to adopt a religion or faith is because of the support of the community embracing that faith. What is the atheist community offering humanity? The truth? Does anyone consider the pissing contests that sully these online forum's space as teaching? What are they teaching besides intolerance? What are they demonstrating besides their inability to see or hear beyond their own limited understanding?

    I lament that the atheist community cannot come to terms with its own beliefs. What I see is the same tired atheist vs "fundie" pissing contests everywhere I look on the internet. What exactly do they see as the difference between these fundies and their inherited dogma, and the opposite side of the coin with their inherited dogma? If a person has not explored the possibilities of religion & spirituality beyond the conditioned upbringing they were forced into, or the ideas and concepts they read in the atheist scriptures, then where is the difference between them and the fundies? The truth is that there is no difference. They are a dogmatist, and a fundamentalist in their own righteousness and prejudices. Contemplating one, or a few facets of a thousand faceted experiencial state such as religion or spirituality, and making blanket statements regarding their limited research, is intellectual laziness at its best.

    What are atheists attempting to give the world? What is the gift they are blessing humanity with? Again, if the answer is "truth", I suggest a person peruse the message boards of online communities and see how vacuous their "truth" is. What is it that atheists shall leave behind for humanity? Why are there no cited atheist holy people? I am an atheist holy person, and proud to label myself as such. I spend my hours serving humanity in any way I am able to, from energy healing, to counseling and consoling, and yes, even praying (a causal action) for others.

    Shall atheism go down in history as the unholy, prejudiced, cold & uncaring spectacle that it has been reduced to these last few decades? If we truly want to help others, then try teaching by example. Stop trying to knock people's faiths and beliefs down, and try to teach them by experiencing the phenomena of their beliefs, and contemplating the mechanics and meaning behind them. Have the testicular fortitude to think for yourself, and explore the world and ideas you find yourself in contact with. Find the commonality amongst the species, and stop waving your arms around like a child looking for attention, in your repetitive and laughable evidence of the non-existence of a deity. You have no more evidence of there not being a deity as the religious do in there being one. Have the wisdom to know this, and explore the possibilities of finding more expanded explanations for these people's experiences than your usual assinine "prove it" mentality.

    I lament that I am proud to be an atheist, but embarrassed to have no community to be a proud member of.

    pseudonymous
     
  2. emong

    emong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am proud of you for your insights to yourself, although I don't share your lack of faith.
    I strikes me though, that you have a belief system, and, although you have no diety, your selfless admission that there is something "electric" in the worship you have witnessed comes as a shock from someone using athiest as self description.
    Can I call that electricity "God" for a moment?" And state that "God" exists because you felt it?
    This might merely be naive on my part, but this collective energy I find in believers is the conduit with which my belief is convayed.
    I applaud you in your contempt for people whose atheism is a means only to put down several thousand years of faith. Faith has always been a choice and I really don't know many people who believe only because they happen to be brought up in a certain religion. In fact I know of many who weren't only to embrace one from a sense of incompleatness.
    Your approach to atheism, to me, sounds quite religious in nature.
    Please enlighten us as to how you came to it.
     
  3. Chronicles

    Chronicles Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm very surprised you call yourself "Atheist" - Agnostic would have ben the least ground I would have imagined for you.

    I share many of your frustrations with Atheism, though - especially US Atheism, which in many instances is nothing more than "anti-Christian Fundamentalism". Maybe it's simply the case of a few with the loudest voices trying to ruin it for Humanism in general.

    Overall, to myself, Atheism is a philosophy of there being no god or gods. There's nothing wrong with that. But all too often it is merely Christian-bashing.
     
  4. pseudonymous

    pseudonymous Obtuse Kineticist

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    0
    emong, i'm not sure why you would think a belief in the no-existence of a deity would produce a lack of faith. i am an odd duck as far as atheists go, because i do believe wholeheartedly in the continuation of our consciousness beyond the physical death of our body. i have much to look forward to in the implications of this alone. it means evolution will continue to.


    that is why i respect theists. it is a label given to something that is real and experiencial. i have simply explored this "presence" in both an eastern (transcendental meditation) and western (contemplation) way, and found for me it could be reduced to two principles - the active (creator) and passive (pre-formed substance). i was a theist up until three months ago when i realized i had experiencially reduced God to natural phenomena. this does not mean that there is no God...but it does mean my definition doesn't warrant an emotional label. i can produce this same "holy spirit" myself simply by being present (presence) and creative in directing my presence.



    it goes beyond that too. my contempt has a lot to do with their ability to dismiss the experiences of billions of people through time, without even the intellectual maturity to explore this phenomena for themselves. i find it immature to say that billions must be delusional because they themselves are unable or unwilling to experience metaphysical phenomena themselves. it is proven daily by billions, so it would be prudent to assume there was something behind the experiences.



    i would prefer the word "spiritual" rather than "religious" simply because it is more fitting. i would love to enlighten others to how i arrived at my awareness, but that would likely require a book's worth of explanation, and this isn't the forum for it. but i will try and speak of it a little here and there.

    thanks for the thoughtful response emong...you represent what is great about brian's little corner of the universe here.

    dcv-
     
  5. emong

    emong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Pseudonymous,

    Spiritualist may be a better label to define yourself...especially since you see yourself as an "odd duck" atheist. Perhaps atheism has not been well defined to me as I have a problem with the general "lack of faith" it implies.
    Since you state that you believe in a continuation after death, it follows that there must be a means to which this is achieved. Unless you see that all life continues.
    Let's call what continues a "soul" for lack of a better name for that entity.
    How do you percieve this soul continues, in what form? Does it continue it's self awareness, or does it meld with other souls?
    For myself, I see no distinction from fish to bird to wolf to bear to human.
    These are all labels that man has placed on beings and has created his own hierarchy as to which are above the other.
    And it may be that I have traversed this earth in one of these other forms, since I am drawn to some spiritually more than others. Can it be that these "souls" live on in some vast pool and are indiscriminately brought into the physical world at the fertilization of an egg?

    I ramble.....what I mean to say is that I believe that it's all much larger than any one religious belief can comprehend. That we can not "know"
    the answers to our questions. That we push and mold our own personal beliefs into what "does it" for us as individuals. That it's more than our individual minds can imagine. But collectively we have always known, that as a pool of "souls" there is no question to be answered.

    However, when in this physical form we are inexplicably seperated from the "pool".
     
  6. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    1
    Pseudonymous,

    I have serious doubts that you are or ever were an atheist.[Edited]

    To ask what good do atheists do for the world? What good did Edison, Einstein, Burbank, Shakespeare, Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain, Clarence Darrow, HL Mencken Simon Bolivar, Mary Wollstonecraft, Napolean. Marx, woody Allen, Marlon Brando, Christopher Reeves, Darwin, Freud, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Walt Whitman, George Elliot, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Ambrose Bierce, Nietzsche, Lenin, George Bernard Shaw, Pierre and Marie Curie, Frank LLoyd Wright, Marcel Proust, Robert Frost, W.C. Fields, James Joyce, Virginia Woolfe, Irving Berlin, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, HP Lovecraft, Authur C. Clarke, George Carlin, Isaac Asimov, Aldous Huxley, Hemingway, Noel Coward, Linus Pauling, George Orwell, Ayn Rand, Jean Paul Sarte, Joseph Campbell, Gene Roddenberry, Charles Schultz, Richard Burton, Carl Sagan, Frank Zappa, Douglas Adams, Andrew Carnegie Katherine Hepburn, Gore Vidal do for us?

    What atheist community did they all have? They were their own atheist community. Atheists lead. We are not the mindless sheep who follow.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2003
  7. pseudonymous

    pseudonymous Obtuse Kineticist

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nogodnomasters,

    your tone pretty much supports my original post. most people are but followers. they read, heard, were told, and drew conclusions...just as we all do. einstein is perhaps the most original thinker of the lot, and he was well known for tossing the word "god" around on occasion. i am not willing to call "holy spirit" "silly"...it is disrespectful of hundreds of millions of people, and if that makes me a bad atheist...well, so be it. i am not guided by my appearance, but by my explorations and experiences, and ability to co-exist peacefully.

    you know the problem with lists is that anyone with the time and knowledge could make a list ten times longer than your's of religious folks who were admirable leaders in their own right. they have a sense of community. i do not, mainly because of the negativity attached, and often demonstrated by atheists in general.

    dcv-
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    12
    Dropping namelists is hardly an argument - especially one so openly moot to various objections. For example, what is your source that Shakespeare was an Athiest actively promoting Atheism? Also, why is Napoleon ranked as doing "good"? Just for illustrative purposes.

    There is nothing wrong with the philosophical stance of Atheism, per se, but I can certainly say that from my own online experiences a lot of modern US Atheism has simply become rabid anti-Christian - a mirror of the very fundamentalism it aspires to combat.

    As mentioned elsewhere, though, perhaps that is more related to the aggressive paradigms of American society.

    Here in Britain, for the most part, belief or non-belief is an entirely non-issue.
     
  9. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    1
    The name list was to demonstrate atheists do not sit around and bash Christians, they have their own lives. Most atheists do not promote atheism as the list projects. I am not sure where you get that idea everyone on the list promoted atheism. Nor was this just a list of "good' atheists as atheists are like anyone else, moral an immoral. I could have included Stalin in that list too. A Christian list would have both Hitler and Mother Theresa.

    You are not familiar with atheism at all if all you do is look at on line forums and web pages. In Georgia there is a group called the Humanists of Georgia. They get together once a month, have meetings with humanist speakers. Then they plan their next picnic or hiking adventure, or something similar. Atheist get involved in community activities through the Unitarian Church which is now about 2% atheist.

    Larry Darby has founded the Atheist Law Center in Alabama. If you would like to meet him, he is normally at the freethinker's camp out in Lake Hypatia every fourth of July. There are seminars and speakers as well as camp activities, including the annual atheist vs. agnostic softball game. (Admittedly the agnostics are not very good.)

    There is also a freethinker's camp for children. They do not preach or teach atheism, but kids who go there do learn that it is okay to be an atheist.

    http://www.2think.org/shakespeare-atheist.shtml
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    12
    Certainly I know not all atheists sit around and bash Christians - and hopefully I've mentioned before that there's every possibility of my online experiences being simply that of hearing the loudest voices from the smallest minority.

    My first couple of years on the net were spent addicted to MSN groups. Used to admin a couple based on religious discussion. I've seen plenty of ugliness on both sides.

    What is disappointing is to see that even Atheism has its own fundementalist wing. The extreme of this is simply concerned with verbally beating up on Christians, often in a pretty sick way.

    To a Brit like myself a lot of the aggressive Christian-Secular tensions make little cultural sense outside of America.
     
  11. pseudonymous

    pseudonymous Obtuse Kineticist

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    0
    that hads to be my favorite line of the day...very good laugh. thanks for placing some resources as opposed to opinions. they go a lot further to changing people's perceptions...

    dcv-
     
  12. pseudonymous

    pseudonymous Obtuse Kineticist

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    0
    i have only been online a few months...and things are just as ugly as they were when i posted this essay...just curious if there is any followup from new members & old on the topic here...

    dcv
     
  13. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,437
    Likes Received:
    3
    *blinks*
     
  14. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    5,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Pseudo,

    First off I am loathe to label myself but if forced to do so I would call myself a spiritual atheist.

    Reading your OP, which I missed when first posted, I do see where you are coming from in regard to online communities. As I Brian pointed out above, here in the UK there is no debate nor conflict between atheist and Christian members of the community. Perhaps this is because there is next to no noise from fundamentalist Christians on an evangelical mission. Given that it could be that over the pond in the US the uprising of atheistic intolerance is part of a cause and effect scenario set in motion by the fundies? These extreme Christian groups have become ever more vociferous and influential to the point that they are now imposing their philosophies on those that do not share them. A backlash is entirely rational. And, I would argue, entirely justified.

    I have to admit that my beliefs are more than a little wishy-washy and incomplete. The best way for me to describe it would be that I believe with some certainty, close to 80%, that what is sometimes called Gaia Theory is a fact and to me it explains much of our collective sense of a spiritual realm. I also dont discount that what we see in Gaia is just one flower in a universe sized field of them and that they all have some rhizomous connection to each other. But I dont believe in a concious individual as an omni-presence. And I have a rather dim view of those that quote chapter and verse at me from some antiquated books. Not because I believe the books to be of zero value, but because they are to my mind of no value when used in this way to support a discussion on truths on a discussion forum. I find it a very poor substitute for what a person has arrived at with their own words. If I wanted the view of the bible, for example, I am perfectly capable of opening it for myself. So I am sometimes to be found posting what you seem to object to, heated and occasionally scathing remarks. And why should anybody be allowed a monologue, unchallenged when they call me, directly or implied, a sinner and damned etc?

    I am not intolerant of those that have religious beliefs by any means, though I may get into heated discourse over particular issues. That again is what this forum is all about. Would be rather dull if we all sat around agreeing with each other. Respect is the key issue here. On another thread someone posted that they expect to Judge me in some afterlife. I find this offensive because by presuming such a thing on their future they in fact presume it now. It's an arrogant superiority of one ego over others who dont share their beliefs. I believe I have the right to respond to such megalomania and call a spade a spade when I see a spade. To me such talk is precisely the kind of thing that led to Nazi death camps. And people have a duty to rail against it at the first glimpse of it.

    So I disagree with your idea that atheism is in an unhealthy state. I think it's in a reactive state online and in the US and in several other ways for several reasons too. But any given forum is not representative of wider society. You have to have some need to debate, discuss or to argue to find your way here. Most people simply have no such inclination. Atheists online and in the headlines are no more representative of most atheists than the Pope is of Christians. So I take the extremes with a pinch of salt and move on. There are good forums and bad. This is why I am here :)

    Regards

    TE
     
  15. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,836
    Likes Received:
    72
    ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    Pseudo and Tao,

    You have raised several issues. Let me address one here. It has been said that a lot of atheists in America are not truly atheists, they are merely people who are angry at Christians and the way Christians portray their religion to others. Is that an idea that agrees with you? (I am not a Christian, by the way.)
     
  16. ardenz

    ardenz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    ...but were you.?

    Yes I agree, much of the Atheism I come across is very angry and anti-Christian - mainly from online forums. Richard Dawkins and Hitchins (?) have been doing the circuit. I believe it is a reaction to a particular aspect of Evangelical Christianity, which is quite unique to the US.

    A
     
  17. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    5,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    I could believe that many atheists are luke-warm Christians that find what the more extreme Christian groups to be saying and doing deeply upsetting and troubling. Yes.

    TE
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,767
    Likes Received:
    2,492
    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    Are you saying this isn't worldwide...you know us Americans (first we think American only applies to the US and not to someone from Canada, Mexico, Central or South America...) and then we think the rest of the world is much like us, just poorer. Hence the reasons those Evangelicals are always raising funds for the starving overseas...funny how the starving here are often the ones that send money...so confusing it all is....
     
  19. ardenz

    ardenz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~


    The modern version of Evangelicism originated in the US, I believe, though it has spread worldwide. I think most internet activity is generated from the US (correct me if I'm wrong) and some of the athiests I've come across seem to be from there. Perhaps there are British also. Atheism does seem to mainly reacting against Christianity. I believe anti-Catholics are different, they rant about the Pope and feel guilty about everything (I was one).
     
  20. pseudonymous

    pseudonymous Obtuse Kineticist

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    i can't speak for others, of course, but for me becoming an atheist was a process of reason and logic. i think most atheists are simply people without the belief in deity, but there is likely a minority of them that are in the camp simply for the religion bashing part of it - again, i find an atheist using an e-mail address, or forum personal name, rife with "evil" symbology daft at best...and there are a lot of them - i always suspected most as being teens just needing an outlet for their angst
     

Share This Page