Hey atheists: Youíve got a friend

Feb 1, 2013 | Posted by: Hedonist | Full story: www.washingtonpost.com

While there is such a thing as atheists who prefer to antagonize the religious of every stripe-and thatís certainly their right-itís not the position of the bulk of people who donít believe in a god. This shouldn't be surprising because people who highly value freedom of and from religion are also likely to respect people of differing opinions and donít want to constantly offend those who otherwise share many values.

Comments
1 - 6 of 6 Comments Last updated Feb 2, 2013

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

#1 Feb 1, 2013
Good Humanistic article.
EdSed

Hamilton, UK

#2 Feb 2, 2013
Yes but:
Quote, "..today most people understand that being an atheist only means that oneís belief system doesnít include gods..." might seem to imply that atheists in general see themselves as having a 'belief system'. The idea or concept of a 'belief system' doesn't seem very rational to me. I don't have a belief system.

“I Am No One Else”

Since: Apr 12

Seattle

#3 Feb 2, 2013
EdSed wrote:
Yes but:
Quote, "..today most people understand that being an atheist only means that oneís belief system doesnít include gods..." might seem to imply that atheists in general see themselves as having a 'belief system'. The idea or concept of a 'belief system' doesn't seem very rational to me. I don't have a belief system.
At least it's accurate on that point though. Atheist is only a descriptive of a lack of belief in all gods, it is not a belief system so the quote is accurate, considering a lot of religious people still try to say that atheism is just like their religion.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#4 Feb 2, 2013
EdSed wrote:
Yes but:
Quote, "..today most people understand that being an atheist only means that oneís belief system doesnít include gods..." might seem to imply that atheists in general see themselves as having a 'belief system'. The idea or concept of a 'belief system' doesn't seem very rational to me. I don't have a belief system.
In some sense, everyone has a belief system. Reliance on the scientific method, for instance, would be an element of one, as would acceptance of the fundamental scientific findings of the past. Even belief in the rules of grammar are part of a system. The implicit fallacy is not that atheists have belief systems but that we share one in common. We don't, only one element of that system--the omission of faith in deities.

Skepticism is also a part of a belief system in that it's a decision about how to decide what to believe, i.e., not to believe based on faith alone but rather to demand or derive evidence for ideas and puzzling them out for ourselves when that is possible.

Often it isn't. Most don't have the resources to conduct advanced research, so we have to rely on those who do, and we can't deny that there is an element of faith in accepting the results of their work. I've never seen a molecule, for instance, but I believe that they exist, form the basis for all chemical reactions, and are structured the way that is taught in basic chemistry courses. I can't see sound waves, yet I believe that the physicists are right about the way they work--in this, at least I can confirm some of that by observing the way that my guitar strings behave as I play.

Atheism and skepticism are attempts to make our belief systems more rational. They don't eliminate them altogether.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#5 Feb 2, 2013
I have to laugh--I failed to match subject and verb in my sentence about grammar. I wish I could claim I did it on purpose...

“I see quantum effects”

Since: Jan 11

In the macro world.

#6 Feb 2, 2013
NightSerf wrote:
<quoted text>In some sense, everyone has a belief system. Reliance on the scientific method, for instance, would be an element of one, as would acceptance of the fundamental scientific findings of the past. Even belief in the rules of grammar are part of a system. The implicit fallacy is not that atheists have belief systems but that we share one in common. We don't, only one element of that system--the omission of faith in deities.

Skepticism is also a part of a belief system in that it's a decision about how to decide what to believe, i.e., not to believe based on faith alone but rather to demand or derive evidence for ideas and puzzling them out for ourselves when that is possible.

Often it isn't. Most don't have the resources to conduct advanced research, so we have to rely on those who do, and we can't deny that there is an element of faith in accepting the results of their work. I've never seen a molecule, for instance, but I believe that they exist, form the basis for all chemical reactions, and are structured the way that is taught in basic chemistry courses. I can't see sound waves, yet I believe that the physicists are right about the way they work--in this, at least I can confirm some of that by observing the way that my guitar strings behave as I play.

Atheism and skepticism are attempts to make our belief systems more rational. They don't eliminate them altogether.
Very well put.

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