"This is not an easy message. This is by no means an easy message, because, let's face it: acompared to religious beliefs atheism has not much to offer: no eternal happiness, no certainties that the good will prevail at the end, no escape from the consequence of disease, natural disasters and what have you."
You missed out 'instant busy social life' - a very strong reason for many people to join /stay in a church (it's what drew me into one back in the day).
Een klein lesje was het, vergeleken met de benodigde dosis die R. nodig zal hebben om logica een beetje te gaan snappen. Leuk te zien dat je je hebt aangemeld op .god.voor.dommen. Ik hoop je er vaker tegen te gaan komen, wanneer je dagelijkse werk dat niet zal verhinderen natuurlijk :)
Ik heb niet de filosofische, theologische achtergrond die jij blijkbaar wel hebt. Laat mij voorlopig het volgende zeggen: ik kan me goed voorstellen dat mensen volstrekt ongelovig gezamenlijk een religie belijden om de rituelen en om de wijsheid die er uit zgn. heilige teksten eventueel is te destilleren. Ik kan me een atheïstische preek die een bijbeltekst aanhaalt derhalve goed voorstellen. Er moet echter dan ook aandacht besteed worden aan de volstrekt perverse ideeën die ook in die "heilige" teksten worden gepropageerd.
Dat gezegd hebbende, dezelfde bindende functie die een "als kunstvorm" beleden religie ook zou kunnen hebben, zal ook altijd een splijtzwam zijn -- mensen verdelend in een "wij" en een "zij".
Ik ben er daarom toch voor religie aan de kaak te stellen, en als achterhaald te ontmaskeren. "Wijsheid" is overal te vinden.
I can see what irritates you in some of the things you read here, but I don't agree with you if you combine the words 'fundamentalism' and 'atheïsm' to label atheïsts which behave aggresive and irrational. Many of them are obsessed with the believers and feel some need to insult and hurt them. For some of them, this might be understandable. When you suffer from the consequences of being brought up in a severe religious family it might be the only way to free your mind of long years of violent brainwashing.
But a constructive atheistic discourse should, in my opinion, do something different from name calling. It should show, again and again, why it makes no sense at all to believe that there is something or somebody speaking to us from beyond the limits of time and space and telling us what to do in order to gain happiness in this or another life. This is not an easy message. This is by no means an easy message, because, let's face it: acompared to religious beliefs atheism has not much to offer: no eternal happiness, no certainties that the good will prevail at the end, no escape from the consequence of disease, natural disasters and what have you. Only the truth...and although I am quite sure that this truth makes us free, I am in no way convinced that it also makes us happy. Being an atheist therefor means nothing else than facing the uncomfortable truth about 'the human condition'. There is absolutely nothing outside ourselves that can save us from ourselves. If anything can, it's only you, me and everybody else that can save him or herself.
Now the difference between this line of thought and that of any line of thought in which room is left for the existence of something or somebody transcending the laws of nature, somebody or something not created by the human brain, but the creator of that very brain, is obvious: the first line of thought is rational and in line with the body of knowledge we call science, the second is not. And I challenge everybody who thinks otherwise, to show me where I am mistaken. And it won't suffice just to say that I hold an opinion, which is nothing more than just an opinion. I hold an opinion which is supported by an asthonishing amount of evidence. Another matter is, whether or not I am prepared to use some form of intellectual or corperal violence to silence other opinions. I most certainly will not because I strongly feel that the world is a much better place to live in when people are free to believe whatever they want: they have the perfect right to believe that there exists a God, magical healers, that studying the stars and the planets learns you something about your own destiny, that it is strictly forbidden to eat pigs, or cows, or beans or that it is absolutely necessary to now where the city of Mekka lies, in order to do some odd gymnastics with your face in the direction of that particular town. I only believe that I can show some evidence that all this people are making a mistake when they think that the motivations for their actions have something to do with reality as we now it.
So, the people which made airplanes flying into buildings are neither in heaven nor in hell at the moment, because there are no places like hell or heaven. People who think otherwise, are simply mistaken. Science leave no room for souls that exists separate from our bodies and brains, and as a consequence, it leaves no room for places of eternal punishment or reward.
Atheïsm, in my view, does not necessarily make people better or worse, nor does it make people less or more happy. It is just true, and it is this truth we have to deal with, whether we like it or not.