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Thread: Atheists are having it too easy.

  1. #1
    Gadjodilo
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    Default Atheists are having it too easy.

    Much has been written here and elsewhere about Pat Robinson and his comments on Haiti. He was pretty much universally condemned by other Christians and he has been been extensively (and gleefully) quoted on atheist websites as yet another example of Christian hypocrisy. And there's no shortage. From popes to born again US presidents, from Free Presbyterian ministers to Serbian patriarchs, hypocritical Christians are the gift that keep on giving to the non-believers.

    That's the problem with complex belief systems. There are so many injunctions with regard to behaviour, so many thou shalts and shalt nots that it's all too easy to find someone who espouses the religion in question yet is transgressing in some way. Errare humanum est. That's not in any way to imply that what Pat Robertson said was somehow accidental. It wasn't; he meant to say what he said. And yeah, he's a scumbag.

    However, to somehow imply that his views are typical is disingenuous. Christianity is about a lot more than a vengeful God. Yes, we’ve seen the abuses inflicted on children and vulnerable women by Christian run organisations – especially those of the Roman Catholic Church. However, bear in mind that in pre-Christian European societies, disabled newborn babies (and often able-bodied girls) were put to death or left to die of exposure. It was only when Christianity began to hold sway that these barbaric practises (and many others) were banned and that the whole concept of caring for the ill and people with disabilities came to be viewed as a norm.

    Christianity has made a huge contribution to western civilisation (and by this term I mean the process of civilising the peoples of Europe). Who knows whether the laudable humanism espoused by many modern day atheists would even have had a chance to develop were it not for the prior influence of Christianity?

    There will always be examples of Christians behaving hypocritically. It's like shooting fish in a barrel and it logically follows that if a Christian is infringing his/her own beliefs, they can't be of significant worth. By contrast, it's very difficult to accuse an atheist of being a hypocrite - unless you find evidence of him/her believing in a god or gods. Atheism doesn't condemn anything - apart from theism. You can be a thief, cruel to animals, a racist, a murderer, a rapist, a paedophile and Dawkins knows what else and still not infringe the sole tenet of atheism. That's not at all to say that atheists condone such crimes; it's merely to point out that they can engage in all of them and still not be calling into question in any way their adherence to atheism.

    On the rare occasions when atheists have assumed control of an entire state, the results have not been pretty. But I can't say that Stalin's starvation of the Ukrainian peasantry, the slaughters of Budapest, Prague or Warsaw, the awful legacies of Ceausescu or Hoxha, the eery techniques of societal control operated by the Stasi, the famines induced by Chairman Mao, the genocide of the Khmer Rouge etc. could all be attributed to the atheism of their instigates. I certainly can't accuse them of being inconsistent with their atheistic beliefs and thereby question the value of those beliefs because the above actions are not inconsistent with atheism.

    For an atheist to accuse a Christian of hypocrisy and thereby to question the whole basis of Christianity is a rather like a non-driver criticising the motoring techniques of someone who has been behind the wheel for years. You need to know what it's like to try and live your life according to a huge set of principles that are written down for all to see. And contrast and compare and criticise.

    That's not to say it's wrong for atheists to point out the hypocrisies mentioned above. But..... what's next? Is this all atheism will ever be - a bunch of people fulminating against religions? What does atheism have to say about the major issues confronting humanity today such as abortion, gay marriage, genetic engineering, cloning embryos, our (ab)use of the environment etc. Does it have a position on these issues? If so, what is it and if theists can find an atheist who doesn't behave consistently with these principles, then presumably they can use him/her to attack atheism?

    Because you see, that would finally make this endless argument more of a level playing field.
    Last edited by Gadjodilo; 31st January 2010 at 03:04 AM. Reason: Typo!

  2. #2
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    Yet another howl-at-the-moon plea for help from the asylum I see.

    Atheism isn't a religion you dolt. It is merely the absence of belief in supernatural sky fairies.

    It therefore has got nothing whatsoever to say on whatever social bogeyman is giving you the night sweats tonight, nor should it. It doesn't have a code of practice or a list of principles or a hierarchy or a common set of moral judgements on human social and sexual interaction.

    It doesn't have any of these things because it is not a religion. Atheism is life without the comfort blankie of sky fairies watching over you.....end of.

  3. #3
    Politics.ie Member staunch ff's Avatar
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    Jokingly tell most atheists that you have proof that god exists and their face lights up for just a moment !!

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    Politics.ie Member jcdf's Avatar
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    You cannot really attack a person that does not believe in anything because they do not stand for anything. You could say it is the ace up the Atheists sleeve.

    You say that Atheists are having it too easy. But they have no institutions or vested interests. This makes them powerless but also unassailable.
    Economic Left/Right: -0.50
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    Politics.ie Member Almanac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SideysGhost View Post
    Yet another howl-at-the-moon plea for help from the asylum I see.

    Atheism isn't a religion you dolt. It is merely the absence of belief in supernatural sky fairies.

    It therefore has got nothing whatsoever to say on whatever social bogeyman is giving you the night sweats tonight, nor should it. It doesn't have a code of practice or a list of principles or a hierarchy or a common set of moral judgements on human social and sexual interaction.

    It doesn't have any of these things because it is not a religion. Atheism is life without the comfort blankie of sky fairies watching over you.....end of.
    Er... he didn't claim that it was.

    Actually a very good OP.
    What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?

  6. #6
    Gadjodilo
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    Quote Originally Posted by SideysGhost View Post
    Yet another howl-at-the-moon plea for help from the asylum I see.

    Atheism isn't a religion you dolt. It is merely the absence of belief in supernatural sky fairies.

    It therefore has got nothing whatsoever to say on whatever social bogeyman is giving you the night sweats tonight, nor should it. It doesn't have a code of practice or a list of principles or a hierarchy or a common set of moral judgements on human social and sexual interaction.

    It doesn't have any of these things because it is not a religion. Atheism is life without the comfort blankie of sky fairies watching over you.....end of.
    Ah, the personal abuse starts already. I doubt that believing in a god would make you less insulting but it is interesting how many atheists jump into these debates spewing invective all around them. If (as some atheists say), intolerance is a hallmark of religions, then you could tick one of the atheism-as-religion boxes.

    Anyway, taking a moral stance on an issue would not turn it into a religion. Do you seriously think that only religions do that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Almanac View Post
    Er... he didn't claim that it was.
    Er, yes he did. What was all that waffle about "what do the nasty atheists have to say about abortion, gay marriage etc? How come you can be a child abuser and an atheist? Atheists are mass murderers, boo hoo"

    OP was a load of raving nonsense frankly.

    The sooner the primitives believing in sky fairies are ridiculed in public the better. If I went around saying I truly believed the world was drawn by the noodly appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and lobbying to have the laws of the land changed to reflect His teachings, I'd be laughed at and rightly so.

    But we have all these people wibbling on about how the demented ravings of zombie camel herders 2000+ years ago should be the basis for public policy in the 21st century. It's just insane.

    Look, if you want to believe in Yahweh or Allah or the Tooth Fairy or Thor or Bob Dobbs The Immortal Drilling Equipment Salesman go right ahead, but at least have the self-awareness and cop-on to keep quiet about your delusions in public!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by SideysGhost View Post
    Er, yes he did. What was all that waffle about "what do the nasty atheists have to say about abortion, gay marriage etc? How come you can be a child abuser and an atheist? Atheists are mass murderers, boo hoo"

    OP was a load of raving nonsense frankly.

    The sooner the primitives believing in sky fairies are ridiculed in public the better. If I went around saying I truly believed the world was drawn by the noodly appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and lobbying to have the laws of the land changed to reflect His teachings, I'd be laughed at and rightly so.

    But we have all these people wibbling on about how the demented ravings of zombie camel herders 2000+ years ago should be the basis for public policy in the 21st century. It's just insane.

    Look, if you want to believe in Yahweh or Allah or the Tooth Fairy or Thor or Bob Dobbs The Immortal Drilling Equipment Salesman go right ahead, but at least have the self-awareness and cop-on to keep quiet about your delusions in public!
    typical atheist. Using logic in order to win an argument. Have you no shame?

  9. #9
    Gadjodilo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcdf View Post
    You cannot really attack a person that does not believe in anything because they do not stand for anything. You could say it is the ace up the Atheists sleeve.
    Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm saying. Indeed, the one thing they stand for is unprovable. So, is the opposite, of course but pretty soon everyone gets bored with the "God exists. No, he doesn't" exchanges and it comes down to atheists picking on Christian, Jewish, Moslem etc. hypocrites. The theists can't do that for the reasons you mention. What's the relevance of doing this with regard to the main argument? Just because Pat Robinson is a pr**k doesn't mean God doesn't exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by jcdf View Post
    You say that Atheists are having it too easy. But they have no institutions or vested interests. This makes them powerless but also unassailable.
    I wouldn't say they have no vested interests....!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gadjodilo View Post
    ....

    For an atheist to accuse a Christian of hypocrisy and thereby to question the whole basis of Christianity is a rather like a non-driver criticising the motoring techniques of someone who has been behind the wheel for years. You need to know what it's like to try and live your life according to a huge set of principles that are written down for all to see. And contrast and compare and criticise.....
    Nonsense.

    Atheists sit behind the same wheel as Christians.

    And also, to be an atheist in this Country, requires more principles, not less.
    Redacted.

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