My basic point here is that facts don’t lead to conversions to atheism or reality based thinking.
Humans have needs and they will compromise on facts in order to meet them.
Atheists therefore need to create communities and a culture that meets the needs of humans – all humans – not just young single humans who like living on the net – or ones that can type well – or intellectualise etc.. but children, computer illiterate people, busy people etc…
Christians have churches
We need community halls
Christians have festivals and rituals that meet the needs to share celebration with people of like minds – we need something similar that meeds our need to share with community and celebrate life. Let’s do what the christians did and take over their festivals with something atheistic.
I need suggestions but things like the Hubble take off anniversary or Darwin’s birth or other such celebrations of importance to the growth in our knowledge of the world based in science. Was Darwin born around December??? : )
We need to get away from the indoctrination of Christmas and Easter, but we need to replace it with something that is suitable to our world view.
I have an interest in converting others to atheism. I don’t really know why – but I suspect its something to do with the fact that I have needs – social needs – that aren’t being met – and perhaps the additional normal reaction that I would prefer it if more people shared my world view.
I live with a theist, all my friends have some form of supernatural believe – so why am I an island – my father is an atheist and he brought me up as such. Although it took me until I was 31 to actually let go of any supernatural belief from my mothers religion or supernatural thinking friends. Why? My theory is that because it didn’t meet me needs.
Now I have 3 children. I’ve managed to persuade the eldest who is 9 that there is not God. I suspect that this may stick. IF it continues to meet his needs to do so.
Since deciding that I was an atheist and encountering Naturalism on the net and gaining support on the internet from other atheists around the world, mainly in American and the UK – and since also reading lots of books on the matter of evolution, physicals, etc – I now have a good grounding in science and scientific understanding of the world.
BUT still my needs are not met.
I need real people to spend time with, a culture, social scene, connection. The local atheist group meet at 7 pm at a pub on a week night. They drink beer. How is this useful to my dinner, teeth, book and bed routine? How is this useful to my need for my children to socialise with others of a like minded world view?
We not all determined to have atheist friends and family – I have one – my father – who lives a very long way away.
It’s all very well shouting the facts from the roof tops – but that clearly doesn’t convert people. Harris states in The Moral Landscape that our beliefs and reasoning and faith is all mixed up in the frontal lobe (although yes, he puts it way more logically and eloquently than I do) – this relates to another article I’ve read http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney...
that basically tells us that facts don’t change minds – values change minds. That we all start with a bias and basically build on that bias – it takes ‘spiritual’ experience to change our bias or beliefs.
I think we need atheist halls – we need atheist culture – we need atheist community that is inclusive of all – old, young, poor, rich, able bodied, disabled, educated, low skilled, black, white, literate, illiterate – a community and place that is inclusive of all.
My basic take on it is that people have basic needs. They get their basic needs met through many avenues. Sometimes – in fact often it is more effective to get needs met if we submit to having supernatural beliefs or faith. This means that supernatural belief is more attractive to people in order to meet their basic needs – to have a religious faith.
I get a list of basic needs from Marshall B Rosenberg’s book – Nonviolent Communication –
Autonomy Interdependence Spiritual Communion
• to choose one’s • acceptance • beauty
dreams, goals • appreciation • harmony
values • closeness • inspiration
• to choose one’s • community • order
plan for fulfilling • consideration • peace
one’s dreams, • contribution to the
goals, values enrichment of life Physical Nurturance
(to exercise one’s • air
Celebration power by giving • food
• to celebrate the that which • movement, exercise
creation of life and contributes to life) • protection from life
dreams fulfilled • emotional safety threatening forms
• to celebrate losses: • empathy of life: viruses,
loved ones, dreams • honesty (the bacteria, insects,
(mourning) empowering predatory animals
honesty that • rest
Integrity enables us to learn • sexual expression
• authenticity from our limitations • shelter
• creativity • love • touch
• meaning • reassurance • water
• self-worth • respect
Play • trust
• fun • understanding
• laughter • warmth
What I’m proposing is that if an atheist culture or community – however it was created – covered meeting these basic needs then we would have a lot more chance of converting people to thinking of reality in terms of reality and not of supernatural thinking.
What incentive does someone have of changing their beliefs or letting go of theistic beliefs when it would mean that they would be letting go of their basic needs being met.
So if belief is needs based – how can we better change others to seeing the world more as it is – as opposed to through the lens that is obscuring the reality in order to meet basic needs?
We need then to provide the same services as the church does, in our atheism.
Right now, I have a family with kids and the local atheists meet at the local pub at nights late and drink beer. How is this conducive to supporting my needs to mix social with others of my world view? How is this meeting my need to have my children grow up with adults who can share a real view of the world with them? It’s not. It’s exclusive and un supportive.
IMO if atheists want to get with it – they need to create a culture that is inclusive of ALL parts of society – until then it will be confided to young single people or old professors who are lucky enough (determined) to have friends and family sharing their views.
We need to start buying buildings and creating community gardens and activities that include old people young people children, single people married people gay people disabled people and so on…
I know we have online communities – but these are for a narrow group of people who have time to sit on the internet and can read and can type – and even can intellectualise.
How can we increase that support base to include all aspects of our society and meet a much broader set of needs?