Jason, sadly, I agree with you; religion, has been a means of control; science has been a process of questions. Living in the answer or living in the question? To me, living in the question creates a realm for wonder.
Leveni, astronomy started as a means to predict crop cycles and aid in navigation. We don't know whether the religious claptrap was grafted onto that from the beginning or added later. If I had to guess, I'd say it was there from the beginning, but astronomy has always had practical uses from the get-go. In any case, I don't think you can state for sure that astronomy got going because of religion.
Yep, I can't state for sure. It is pure conjecture. This isn't the thread to discuss astronomy and its origins. Maybe we can start a new thread, later on, and go from there.
Likewise, math and architecture were practical and necessary. They would have been developed with or without religion, and it's dubious at best to claim that these things arose because of religion. You are in bad company with the likes ofStanley Jaki if you try to claim that science itself is the result of religion. This is patent nonsense. Religion has certainly tolerated and co-opted science, math, architecture, etc, over the centuries, but it has never been responsible for them in a creative way, except as a powerful and wealthy patron.
Again, the origins of architecture and maths can never be know. We can know the people who first wrote them down on paper. But how or why we developed them is going to be pure conjecture.
The bottom line is that god-belief is a severely debilitating delusion. You are extremely fortunate to have never been so afflicted, so perhaps you can't see how much damage it does.
American Atheists often say things like this. I guess we, in Australia, are just more secular than you guys.
Simple non-belief in gods frees up the mind to better engage reality. This is enormously important personally and societally. It really is disappointing that anybody on an atheist forum would discount this.
I often use an anecdote very similar to this when the subject of atheism comes up and when the person I am talking with is a religious person, who has shown an interest in morality and ethics.
Sorry for my berating style, I guess for me, 'engaging in reality' and 'atheism' are two separate issues. (I could make a lot of jokes about myself with that statement.)
I haven't even disputed your definition of atheism, though you seem to think that I have.
Again, sorry for my berating style.
My point all along has been that simple disbelief in god is intrinsically highly valuable. You think it offers nothing, and yet you hang out here at Atheist Nexus. Can't think why that would be.
I come here to question other atheists. To push them and to be pushed, about what we think. I mostly stay on this particular thread because it is about atheism.
After reading your lost souls and McShrine, I'm guessing you come here to get some peace and quiet, time-out for a relaxing chat with your fellow atheists, whilst sipping on a nice hot cup of coffee and with your feet up. And then this Leveni comes along and spoils it all. What can I say?
You've guessed more or less correctly about why I visit Atheist Nexus. It is a place where I don't have to pretend quite so much.
I wouldn't say you spoil my visits here, but I do find your statements rather baffling. More below.
Jason, you wrote, “astronomy started as a means to predict crop cycles and aid in navigation.”
I agree. Astronomy was studied and used to build and plant by pre-christian cultures as demonstrated by the astronomical nature of buildings, monuments, and farming such as:
*Çatalhöyük, Turkey, 6400 BC, Neolithic period, domesticated plants and animals, used astronomy;
*Egypt, 6000 BC, Neolithic period, built rudimentary ships with single-sail, used astronomy for navigation;
*Sumerians, 3500 BC developed astronomical sciences, intense religious beliefs, and tightly organized city-states.
*Newgrange, Ireland, built in about 3200 BC, faced so the sun would reach into the interior once a year;
*Stonehenge, UK, built in about 3100 BC, designed by astronomical discipline;
“The Archaeology of Measurement: Comprehending Heaven, Earth and Time in ancient societies. Measurement in navigation: Conceiving distance and time in the Neolithic.” By Helen Farr. Page 25, described navigation and spirituality:
Neolithic seafarers, engaged in dynamic relationships with currents, winds, weather, tides, stars and seasonal rhythms, "constructed beliefs and rituals as a means of ordering and defining knowledge of the world."
The bottom line is that god-belief is a necessary but not sufficient delusion when faced with such powerful challenges. In these circumstances, the “god of the gaps” prevail. One can set aside such delusions as testable knowledge grows.
Jason, You so insigtfully wrote, “Simple non-belief in gods frees up the mind to better engage reality. This is enormously important personally and societally. … My point all along has been that … simple disbelief in god is intrinsically highly valuable. You think it offers nothing, and yet you hang out here at Atheist Nexus. Can't think why that would be.”
Thought I'd repost after thinking about your post for a while.
The bottom line is that god-belief is a severely debilitating delusion.
Simple non-belief in gods frees up the mind to better engage reality. This is enormously important personally and societally.
I haven't even disputed your definition of atheism,
My point all along has been that simple disbelief in god is intrinsically highly valuable.
I basically agree with you.
But, I don't think Atheism came first. I think it is our ability to think for ourselves that comes first and from that we become atheists.
I think you already had it in you to realise the "consequences and results of the debilitating delusion of God". And from this you decided not to believe in God and were therefore an Atheist. In don't think you became an atheist and then after becoming an Atheist you realised God was a delusion.
I think you were already able to think freely and engage in reality. And because of this ability you became an atheist.
I agree "that simple disbelief in god is intrinsically highly valuable", but you do not think the way you think because of your disbelief. Your brain allowed you to think for yourself and from that brain of yours you gained disbelief.
There is certainly a chicken-or-egg debate to be had about the role of supernatural beliefs in the development of human society. And you may well be correct that I always had it in me to divest myself of religious delusion. But it took me the better part of two decades to finally be rid of it, and there are still some lingering aftereffects that annoy me from time to time. On the whole, I resent what religion has done to me personally, to my family, and to my society.
Moreover, as has been pointed out in this thread, while atheism is an inevitable conclusion, given the evidence and reason, many atheists do not arrive at atheism via critical thinking skills. Even so, it is one fewer nonsensical belief they are burdened with.
The bottom line is that I have seen too many examples of otherwise intelligent people rejecting reality in favor of god-belief when reality has intruded too closely. Many creationists are otherwise highly capable people, but for emotional reasons, they reject the evidence in favor of fantasy. It really is a damaging trait that can dominate a person otherwise capable of dealing with reality.
This is probably more a semantic argument than anything, but atheism, whether hard-won or casually acquired, frees people. Even if they do most of the freeing themselves, the mental liberation is breathtaking.
Rejecting our history of variegated and baseless superstition requires rationalism and encourages more of the same. For most adherents it is the notion of faith as an unassailable philosophical world view whereas atheists recognize that faith is anathema to reason and ethics. Implications aplenty.
Glad we got that cleared up. Many atheists do somehow seem to believe that atheism is automatically packaged with attendant beliefs and even political ideals, which isn't the case at all.
"Rejecting god(s) does not require rationalism. Fortunately, most atheists have come to this position through critical thinking but it's not required."
This is actually something I wanted to bring up. If someone becomes atheist without it being the result of critical investigation - if they just 'feel' that atheism is right; if they just 'feel' that god doesn't exist, does that make them as guilty of 'faith' as religious people?
In many ways I believe so. Atheism is not an untested position; it's the result of an active rational investigation.
Aaron, I find your statement fits my experiences. To hold onto an idea that god does not exist, nor the safety net, nor the community leaves a big, huge hole. Thinking things through, experimenting, exploring, discussing are processes that move one from faith to reason. The reality is, there are people with whom one can share atheistic thinking and build community.
I do wonder, however, if the great works of art and music and books could have been created without the financial support of churches. Art is a luxury that hungry people often don't/can/t produce. Would wealthy atheists be motivated to support a hungry artist?
Yes, Aaron you are correct. I was however examining atheism as a bowel movement, not a case of constipation.
Isn't it all obvious, there are no gods. I mean no one is treated better than others religious or not. Everybody dies. Every atom in your body will disintegrate. Why does this discussion go on?
Because many atheists on this thread are suggesting that there is a possibility, albeit a small one, that god does, in fact, exist.