Ideological Atheism Will Fall Pt.2

Now to why atheism, as an ideology, will fall.

(1) It’s narrow minded.

I have read many atheists comments over the past 5 years, and there are some very narrow world-views coming from this mindset.

Atheists do not know that a Catholic bishop secured the right for them in America to have the right to ‘no belief system’ (ie: John Hughes). But what will atheism give to religion. Well according to many atheists, nothing, it needs to dropped from human history.

(2) It’s unreasonable.

There seems to be no 2 ways with this ‘new atheism’, religion is bad and of no use to the discourse in this country (or countries). This is the premise they actually start with and defend it like the mason-dixon line. This type of reason wants war, not compromise.

(3) It’s lacks compassion (and sometimes ethics)

Most new atheists determine most everything by something they define as ‘factual’ (ie: stats or some take on history or scientific reasoning). But if this is the reasoning to be used, is it really empathetic to human conditions and needs?

What’s so good about statistics anyways? What if by statistical vote the country wanted to allow the poorest people in the country to die so they could save space for the population that matters (ie: to avoid over-crowding on this planet). Over population is not good, but there is no good solution of how to answer that one outside of un-ethical procedures. Statistics also has no concern for the human condition, it’s numbers and they can be read in a variety of ways and also may be mis-represented.

(4) It can be hateful

New atheism does have some attachements to it that seem outright absurd. They hate religion, and if you are attached to one, you just made their list of ‘idiots’, ‘dumb*sses’, ‘ignorant’…basically someone that can be dehumanized on some level as compared to their enlightnement. I have seen this before in countries that outlawed religion, many people were massacred before that country realized how stupid an idea that is.

(5) Thinks scienctific reasoning is the ‘saviour’

I have found science lacking in it’s ability to address moral needs probably because that’s of no concern to science (as admitted by almost any atheist). So how can it ever be reasoned that science will somehow provide the guidelines for a better ‘humanity’? There seems to be some kind of smokescreen happening here to make up for atheism’s lack of a ‘moral code’ within it’s ideology.

In fact tildeb just quoted to me biology as a moral guideline. But this is as absurd as saying astronomy will provide a moral guideline. They are sciences and are not concerned with guidlines for human behavior, only to define scientific reasoning to human processes or human knowlegde, No science really says anything about human solutions to problems or the implementation of the findings of science – as true as they are.

(6) Plays with the facts

Like any other ideology with some mission to accomplish new atheism has this small problem, they play with the facts in their subjective reasoning on history, statistics, and even science. Ever meet a atheist who could admit they were wrong when debating someone that was ‘religious’? Ever meet some religious that could admit they were wrong in a debate with an ‘atheist’? Truth is, most new atheists cannot afford to be wrong since they have an agenda to keep moving and alive. If this means a mis-representation of history or some statistical figure, so be it.

I cannot imagine living in a society where science was used as some moral code, it would be purely ‘subjective’ nonsense.

If science is not an ideology, which it may not be, then why the concern with the replacement of religion, which is an ideology, with something else? That argument in and of itself reveals the truth behind much atheism I have read; it’s an ideology and proposes philosophical positions or at least tries to partner with philosophical positions in defense of it’s own basic belief in ‘a-theism’.

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23 thoughts on “Ideological Atheism Will Fall Pt.2

  1. From your own comment:

    there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere” (atheism, Wikipedia)

    Atheism is not an ideology; it simply means non belief and it’s growing in prevalence… especially among the young. This is very good news indeed.

    New Atheist is a term used to describe atheists who criticize religious beliefs publicly. The arguments are not new, but the willingness to take on religious belief in the public domain and show why its insertion has no reasonable merit and deserves no special exemption is.

    I hope that clarification helps. You seemed to have missed it first time around.

  2. this post is perfect, it really encapsulates the ideology that tildeb and other “new atheists” run around with. the biggest blockbuster you lay down is “This type of reason wants war, not compromise.” wow dude. you ate your Wheaties today!

    • This post is delusional. Atheism is not an ideology no matter how much you believe it is.

      Non belief in woo is not narrow-minded, not unreasonable, has nothing to ‘say’ about compassion, couldn’t care less what others believe unless it promotes a deleterious effect in public policy and law. Atheist cohesion goes so far as to respect what’s true and upholds a consistent and shared epistemology of how to get our understanding to that point. If we can’t get there without making shit up, then that’s okay too. It’s the making shit up part that is the problem. Like this post.

  3. “Atheist cohesion goes so far as to respect what’s true and upholds a consistent and shared epistemology of how to get our understanding to that point.If we can’t get there without making shit up, then that’s okay too.” = ideology.

  4. “This post is delusional. Atheism is not an ideology no matter how much you believe it is” (tildeb)

    Do I have to explain in more plain letters what an ideology is?

    Atheism is a belief in ‘no gods’. So we can both agree if it stops there then this is not an ideology. Someone that is an atheist and does not believe in god for whatever variety of reasons is not promoting an ideology – I agree 100%.

    But this is not what most atheists are doing, including you tildeb. You are aligning that ‘idea’ with more ‘ideas’ to make an ideological position.

    It seems to me atheists are aligning the idea of being atheist with the idea there should be no religious interference in the political debates. If this is the case, atheism is being used as an ‘ideology’. I do believe this is a debate you had with Z1G a few posts back.

    Many atheists are also promoting scientific reasoning as the only and sole way to base their conclusions in many subject matters…and religion again has no room in that debate. This is also ideological positioning since it is suggesting one workable way to arrive at conclusions to the exclusion of other areas of study.

    “1. The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.
    2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.” (ideology – American Heritage Dictionary)

    Is not atheism reflecting ideas of a social group or culture? I mean, I read Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens, and Harris like everyone else, is this not what they are doing? It is also becoming more codified (mostly unspoken) amongst atheists, almost becoming a ‘set of beliefs that form the basis for being an atheist’.

    You may not agree tildeb but this is what is happening, atheism has become an ideology and it isn’t hard to see from most books an articles by atheists.

    • Ah, good point. Most people—potentially anyone, really—who are guided by a particular ideology will have a tendency to claim they are coming from a rational perspective.

      I hadn’t run into the Gloria Stienam quote before. I’m going to have to remember that one!

  5. “Non belief in woo is not narrow-minded, not unreasonable, has nothing to ‘say’ about compassion, couldn’t care less what others believe unless it promotes a deleterious effect in public policy and law” (tildeb)

    Part (a) of this sentence is ‘definition’ of being an atheist. Part (b) enters an ideological position (unless it promotes a deleterious effect in public policy and law).

    “Atheist cohesion goes so far as to respect what’s true and upholds a consistent and shared epistemology of how to get our understanding to that point. If we can’t get there without making shit up, then that’s okay too. It’s the making shit up part that is the problem. Like this post” (tildeb)

    Part (a) is a statement of what being an atheist is (defining a social group or individual). Part (b) is the add-on that suggests an ideological stance (ie: cannot have things that seem made-up as part of being a normal atheist).

    As for this being ‘made up’, well it was made up from my memories of what I have read of many atheists over the past 5 years. So in one sense it is ‘made up’. In another sense, it isn’t. I can actually find quotes from atheists that would back each point being made. Odd thing would be, the atheists are from a wide variety and spectrum in various societies, and yet they all are arriving at ‘similar conclusions’ (if not exactly the same at times)…I see a cohesion of a new cultural social group with an ideology to boot.

  6. Wow.
    Really guys?

    To an extent, some atheists are trying to pull together an ideology now because of the reactionary pressures they feel on them. In a very strange way, many atheists are simply asking for the change that many of the disillusioned religious folk are asking for as well.

    Please watch this video. http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=12134
    Then, let’s come to some sort of agreement on definitions of terms and what specifically we are making so much noise about.

    @SVS and the original post:
    (1) Good point. I think this suggests that narrow-mindedness is the problem here on both sides, yes? Ok, How do we resolve this then?

    (2) I slightly disagree but your point is important. Dan Dennett has made it clear that he would be quite happy with the benign elements of religion in society. He also is making a call for religious education in all schools (high school and elementary I think), but it must be fact-based, non-indoctrinating and comparative.
    But to your point, compromise isn’t necessarily truth. And compromise means both sides give. What is the religious world willing to give then? It’s authority? That would be a nice, worthy sacrifice to make.

    (3) Likely the ‘new atheist’ response to this would be that it is all about compassion. Since we’ve come into the age where we can destroy all life on earth, we need better reasons for our actions than “God’s will”.
    That being said, Sam Harris is now promoting his idea of The Moral Landscape. So attempts are being made to address this. Ideologies are forming just as they are falling.

    (4) Good point. It might be so ‘reactionary’ and ‘hateful’ because of the responses atheism has received from the institutionalized religions. See point (1) above and see video linked above, please.

    (5) Biology as a moral guideline is no more absurd than using literature, or psychology, or sociology, or theology. There are valuable lessons in each and we need them wherever we can find them. And some strange, unexpected conclusions are now being reached in terms of group evolution and neurological empathy. Please reserve judgment, ok.

    (6) Everything you bring up can be said about religious beliefs, so I agree with your point in a very guarded manner.

    [/rant] 🙂

  7. “I must admit, he’s pretty bang on with his critique.” (T4T)

    I would say he has a point, maybe he is not positioning his atheism with ideological positions – but from what I have read of his stuff – this is not the case.

    I agree being an atheist does not mean it has to be an ideology – that’s a plain and simple fact. However, reality is one’s belief system does effect their ideological positioning in society.

    For example, if I were to ask if prayer should be allowed in schools, which I don’t find offensive, how would one argue that? Would one’s own belief systems be left right out of the debate and can one’s atheism be left to the side as this debate occurs? I don’t think that is realistic.

  8. “I think this suggests that narrow-mindedness is the problem here on both sides, yes? Ok, How do we resolve this then?” (Andrew)

    I think this is simple, let’s let both sides have the rights to their reasoning and let the dialogue continue. If both sides cannot agree to even those basics, in my opinon, conversation ended because it’s like talking to a brick wall. We need, on both sides, to be more open about the exchange of ideas.

    “Dan Dennett has made it clear that he would be quite happy with the benign elements of religion in society” (Andrew)

    Perhaps, but even that statement doesn’t make we want to applaude his opinions about religion. Also when he says religion can be used in the school systems that are ‘fact-based, non-indoctrinating and comparative’ – who makes this subective decision? Right, even tildeb, Z1G and I cannot narrow down something as simple as atheists having ‘ideologies’…why? Cause of it’s subjectivity, which is the way with everything in society.

    “Likely the ‘new atheist’ response to this would be that it is all about compassion” (Andrew)

    I don’t think it is – and I am basing this completely and soley on the words of influential atheists themselves. Atheists brand religious folk as superstitious, illogical, as a ‘meme’ to be tapered out of society, one even called it a mental issue, other have used names to label religious folk, etc. To me, and this is just me, this is meant to ‘demean’ a group of people (ie: religious folk).

    Now what’s the real intent of the demeaning is what I would ask? Every time I have seen this behavior in the past it is to restrict the rights of the individuals being demeaned – to discredit them as ‘equals’. That my friend, is hateful. I should know, I am a minority in a country where this has happened a lot – and it’s always the same outcome.

    As for compassionate, to whom is the better question? It seems to me religionists are painted with targets on their back for the ‘new atheism’ to try take down (a lot of the times).

    “It might be so ‘reactionary’ and ‘hateful’ because of the responses atheism has received from the institutionalized religions” (Andrew)

    I agree, this is likely some of what is going on. It’s not like atheists haven’t been the brunt of religious persecution of sorts in some way or another for some 100’s of years (ie: like running for a political office).

    “Biology as a moral guideline is no more absurd than using literature, or psychology, or sociology, or theology” (Andrew)

    This is quite debateable, what do we mean by biology? What aspects within biology? I guess this is where the clarification would need to occur for me to agree. The natural kingdom is pretty inhumane at times for example where humans may not be on the same issues. Also social Darwinism has shown itself to be replete with morally questionable conduct.

    “Everything you bring up can be said about religious beliefs…” (Andrew)

    I agree, which is why I am not belew critiquing Christianity as well and asking those tough questions about my own faith and need for change and open-ness.

  9. All right! We might have a beginning of a dialogue! Now let’s hope it leads somewhere.

    “…both sides have the rights to their reasoning and let the dialogue continue.” (SVS)

    This might get difficult already. Would a third-party moderator be possible. Does such a thing exist?

    “…who makes this subjective decision?” (SVS)

    As far as Dan Dennett is concerned, his proposal is to “just teach the facts,” which yes, stirs up the subjectivity issue for sure. But just because it is subjective we shouldn’t throw our hands up in the air, right? Even tough curriculum choices have been made in the past and have been debated in the public sphere (or at least should have been). Would the religionists, in general (wide range of groups here so there are going to be problems), agree to a comparative world-religions course if they were to contribute to the creation of such a curriculum? Or would this just create more home-schoolers?

    “As for compassionate, to whom is the better question?”

    That is important, definitely. There is still a lot of ingroup/outgroup dynamics happening. And the fervor, regardless of ideology, is a warning signal of more sinister issues, as you suggest.

    “This is quite debatable, what do we mean by biology? I guess this is where the clarification would need to occur for me to agree.”

    Absolutely. And this is why I included literature, psychology, sociology and theology in the list. Moral understandings have changed dramatically in all these fields. The interpretation of every rational inquiry needs testing, debate and clarification. Otherwise you end up with things as potentially monstrous as Social Darwinism or unquestioned religious control. Unfortunately, people tend to latch onto only what confirms their own worldviews and justifications. Sometimes even after exposure to great amounts of education. If we allow any tradition or interpretation the status of authority then dialogue (and debate!) might as well be dead.

  10. “Would a third-party moderator be possible” (Andrew)

    I don’t see the need for that as long as both sides can play cordially in the dialogue…which is as simple as being respectful, even while disagreeing. I find this kind of connection with many people from a variety of backgrounds, and sometimes it needs coaching.

    “Would the religionists, in general (wide range of groups here so there are going to be problems), agree to a comparative world-religions course if they were to contribute to the creation of such a curriculum?” (Andrew)

    I actually lean towards religion not being taught in schools, but if it had to be it would be nice for a fair shake for all religions to be understood and atheism – so all students get a better global understanding.

    “If we allow any tradition or interpretation the status of authority then dialogue (and debate!) might as well be dead.” (Andrew)

    I think they have authority, just my opinion. I also think it is up to each person to select the stance they will adhere to and allow that authority to come from. There is no one way to select, yes you heard me right. But I think there is a right way to live and behave that can be found in all traditions and we need to accept these commonalities for matters of dialogue, respect, and understanding.

  11. Andrew,

    i waited a few days before reply’n to make sure i was clear in what i was thinking. what i see now, and what SVS has captured in this post, is Atheists, as a group, are going through their Nicene moment. Dawkins, Hitchens and the other two are laying down the hard-line complete with the ideology, insider terminology, and other such like stuff that go along with a “tribal mindset.” if you’re religious, you’re irrational and of the conservative variety (despite what your objections, and if you object, it’s your irrationality and not my ignorance that is the problem). if you’re an atheist who believes religion has a place in life (aside from small minded fairy tales), then you’re an accommodationist. this is “facts be damned” thinking and is only out for war, as SVS said.

    what i think is happening is that we’re seeing an atheist version of fundamentalism emerging. it is an unfortunate consequence of the successes of science and many are getting addicted to rationality. now i must admit that many aspects of human experience should be subjected to rigid rationality, as i have a great respect for it. but i also think of Ecclesiastes which states “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Pacal wrote “le caeus a ses raison que la raison ne connait point” or the heart has its reasons which reason doesn’t understand. that is the way those Enlightenment figures and visionaries understood the world, namely that it’s too complex for us to really rigidly put everything under the straitjacket of reason.

    now i’ve had many great conversations on this site as well as many other sites and even in my own life. i have many atheist and agnostic friends. however, these had mutual understanding, curiosity, and listening as a part of the dialog. it seems that this new breed/movement/emerging ideology only wants their way.

  12. @Z1G
    “Atheists, as a group, are going through their Nicene moment.”

    That’s a beautiful way of putting it, for sure, and all the more reason why it is time to worry. If the New Atheists are the only ‘bishops’ at the party then it will be an unrepresentative ideology and as flawed as the original fiasco (my opinion, of course…).

    Dawkins and Hitchens are leaning heavily towards fundamentalism (imo). Harris is getting over his rant-phase and is now trying to contribute something positive. I do appreciate his new efforts but I’m reserving judgment because there is a whole can of consequences he hasn’t addressed yet. Dennett tries to balance out the group, and is I think quite sincere in his wish to keep the benign elements of religion in place. But his calm voice is too easily drowned by the others. Sigh.

    I was hoping someone like Chris Hedges would have some influence on them. We shall see.

    @SVS
    I suppose the traditions do have authority already, indeed, as you suggest. We have given them such status. The anarchist in me wants to shred the the whole idea of authority from our psyches. 🙂
    But I was thinking globally — no single tradition should think they have a trump card that wins over any others. In terms of the dialogue, respect and understanding, that seems to be an agreeable thing for the moderates all around. As you suggest, it’s on each person.

    Something that recently crystallized the emotional issues for me was a story from PZ Meyers. Some fundamentalists would come onto his campus and preach that his lessons on biology were lies. So in a sense, for him at least, they brought the fight to his front yard and that got him riled. I can’t even imagine someone standing outside my place of work and telling people I was a liar not worth listening to. I would get emotional too.

    In the end of all this, I can’t help but feel like the moderates in the topic are going to find they are all going down similar paths, just using different vehicles. And most likely doing a lot of carpooling too (just to try and tie this in with your boil a frog post…) while the fundies on all sides just keep on over-reacting.

    Some behaviour brought on by religion can be wonderfully inspiring though, right? There are a lot of non-believers, I think, that want the same changes to faiths as believers.

    • Dawkins and Hitchens are leaning heavily towards fundamentalism (imo).

      If you honestly think that these authors well reasoned and articulated opinions about the fallacies and dangers of accepting the authority of religious faith as a way of knowing what’s true leans heavily towards the same kind of fundamentalism to the one that empowers the burning off of girl’s faces for wanting to learn to read, then your baseline of what constitutes a fundamentalist is beyond dialogue. Your brain has fallen out in the name of respecting and accommodating made up shit.

      It has entered the realm of delusion.

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  15. I know this an old conversation, and one I really enjoyed reading at that, but i want to offer some new information on atheism being an ideology. I recently saw a book about ‘Atheist Spirituality’. Other than the fact that people have based their life around the non-existence of god and have formulated hundreds of arguments about what is in their mind nothing, now there is such a thing as spirituality for not-god belief. And it’s selling very well. Atheists if not atheism as a whole are forming an ideology and the atheistic community likes it, a lot.

  16. “Atheists if not atheism as a whole are forming an ideology and the atheistic community likes it, a lot” (Carly Jo)

    I agree Carly Jo, and I don’t really see a problem with that – as long as it doesn’t trample another’s freedoms and rights.

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