I read in a philosophy forum post that…
“Atheism is a valid freedom of conscience position”
OK, so is ANYTHING else.
“Do not attack it as anything else”
“ANYTHING” else? What does that even mean? Does atheism has a special immunity privilege? Surely not.
“Although it has characteristics similar to those of religion (so does Rotary), it is not a religion”
So, I will not attack atheism as a religion. (and actually why not being a religion is something good? Civilization has evolved within a religious environment after all) I will attack it as a set of beliefs. (and this is indeed the characteristic of a religion) Which is exactly what it is.
In particular, atheism is a set of beliefs which are mostly based on the philosophical DOGMA of materialism and the mechanistic view of nature – without that limiting it’s set of beliefs of course in any way. Most (if not all) atheists BELIEVE that the brain is producing what we call “consciousness” and that we are all bound to the physical laws of matter (hence what we call “free will” is an illusion). Atheists do not believe in a Creator for the Universe. Because they BELIEVE in a universe which existed for ever. And as it is mentioned in another philosophy post (in the same forum where I found the first… diamond I presented in this article), they should provide evidence for this claim. Atheists do BELIEVE that physical death is the end. (even though there have been evidence of the consciousness not being bound to just the brain)
All in all atheists believe in many things, as all people do. (I would be pleased and surprised to find atheists who do not believe in the above)
These things they believe are according to my opinion obstacles for the spiritual elevation of human kind, since they reduce our existence to a mere “machine-like” random and with no purpose existence – not too different than super-computers which happened to exist. (but computers are designed by someone – oups! wrong metaphore… hehehe…)
Religion had for a long time been the cradle of science. And remember that science was not even separate from religion for thousands of years – not until the fake-hero story of Galileo (read Feyerabend for the true nature of this case). It is not accidental after all that all civilization was developed by societies holding some kind of religion – from ancient Greeks to the Christian Europe. (one could mention Chinese civilization as an exception, but one cannot discard the deep spirituality of Confucianism) The first universities were monasteries and the lust of people to understand the mind of God is what drove scientific progress for centuries. Dawkins himself teaches and speaks against religion in a College of… St Mary.
Surely the advancement of science can be based on mere curiosity.
But apes have curiosity as well.
Trying to reach apotheosis by understanding God is surely a greater motive…
As above so below as a great alchemist once said…
Science and religion are not compatible.
There is nothing sacred in science,everything is to be questioned.
Even things which seem counterintuitive to scientists will become a part of science if supported by experiment….(e.g. double slit experiment)
On the other hand,religious dogmas are sacred and absolutely NOT to be questioned.
That’s why I think the spiritual advancement of human beings should be based on philosophy more than religion,or at least on religions which are concerned with ethics more than with dogma (Confucianism or Zen).
Religious dogmas do more harm than good. I don’t say atheistic dogma doesn’t do harm,but at least it doesn’t add fuel to the fire with the promise of afterlife.
The promise of the afterlife creates men willing to go to the Crusades or Jihads to die as martyrs and mothers ready to send their seven year old with an explosive belt in a suicide bombing.
It’s even encouraged in the Bible (the disgusting story of Abraham and Isaac),not to mention Quran (Jihad and infidels).
They teach total,uncritical obedience to an angry,bloodthirsty being. Not something I would call God (a basis of everything, One eternal consciousness,to which we’ll all return,not all-powerful,not all-knowing,but knowing itself by us…).
So yes,atheist dogmas should of course be attacked. But don’t pretend religious dogmas are any better.
Man will never fathom the universe, The (mental) ability of a product cannot be greater than that of its source, same like that of a child cannot exeed the ability of its mother. However, based on reason and ratio which the human species has developed (and not instilled by a “holy spirit”) we can use science and logic to trace the cosmos back as far as it can provide prove. And this reason shows no “god”. You are playing games with terms and concepts.
The problem with your essay is, that you try to p r o v e something you cannot and elevate believe over epistemology. the atheist is just the other side of the same coin of the self-confessed believer. Like anything else in the “human world” – religion is a after all a human concept, rather more a social/cultural thing.
If you hold it with William James’ “Will to believe”, I can go with that. If it makes you feel good – it is real, it works. The same goes for the Atrheist and the gnostics.
Just don’t hook it up with reason. 🙂