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Sep 05 2013

A Further Note on Pat Condell and Syria

I wanted to add this onto the whole “Syria” lie that Pat Condell pushed. As I thought about I realised something rather important.

See, we as Atheists have no imperative to be nice. There is nothing in the rules of atheism that say I shouldn’t kidnap orphans to make them fight to the death to make me feel even a little in my jaded existence.

There is nothing to stop us being terrible human beings.

Religion however has rules. Rules that if one follows prevents them from being judged as terrible. Now most of the rules are “good”, it’s the few bad ones that give us trouble.

But we have no such system of rules. However, as many atheist authors have spoken from Philip Pullman to indeed myself, should we not hold ourselves to be morally better?

Terry Pratchett recognised that the world revolved around suffering and that all life is based on the suffering of others. For the deer to survive the lion must starve, for the lion to survive the deer must die. Such suffering is the way of nature.

But humans tamed nature. We turned the brutal struggle of the hunter gatherer into farming. We eliminated diseases and we have constantly moved to a fairer and more equal society.

Pat Condell’s take on Syrian refugees was a gross insult to me because I used to be a refugee. And I heard someone say the same thing as he did.

We lost our passports during the first Gulf War and were not allowed into Israel as refugees. But we were accepted into Jordan. We stayed in a Red Cross camp along with Palestinian refugees. It was the first taste of a lack of compassion along side a taste of compassion.

I have stated before, we do not live in a Kingdom of Heaven but in the Republic of Man. And it is in our best interest to be compassionate. Most of us do not struggle. We live comfortable lives which we are often rather thankless for. We regularly bemoan the evils of capitalism on our Mac Books and complain about the stresses of society while drinking water straight out of a tap (and not falling sick!). Our children grow up to be healthy and complain that they are bored in a world surrounded with entertainments.

There may be no rule in atheism that says you should show compassion for your fellow man but if you don’t then who else will? You cannot simply say that it’s not my job as you watch others do it.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Well, technically you could but it’d make you a douchebag if you do.

  2. 2
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    “.. were not allowed into Israel as refugees.”

    Why was that? Did they provide any reasons? Could you elaborate in more detail please?

  3. 3
    Avicenna

    I was 5 and raging a fever. I assume it was because “They Could”. I know it happened but I don’t exactly know the reasons why.

    No one really tells you why they do this.

  4. 4
    Raging Bee

    See, we as Atheists have no imperative to be nice.

    “We?” Excuse me, but I, for one, do indeed feel I have such a moral imperative, and it’s not based on any religious doctrine, it’s based on pretty much the same rational processes that lead me to reject nearly all religious doctrines, beliefs, and moral claims based solely on such beliefs.

    Many, if not most or all, atheists become atheists as a result of certain rational thought processes; and those same rational thought processes lead to certain conclusions as to how people should behave. So while “atheism” itself doesn’t lead to any moral imperatives, the thought processes that lead to and underlie it also lead to and underlie certain moral imperatives. And I, for one, have never heard an atheist say he/she had no moral imperative — except for the Randroid variety, and they’re nothing but untrustworthy pond-scum, just like the theists who use their religious identity-badge to justify the very same lack of morals.

    Your assertion, quoted above, is technically correct, but still dead wrong in a larger sense; and you really should stop saying it, because it reinforces a false and very negative stereotype of atheists that religious bigots love to parrot.

  5. 5
    left0ver1under

    Religion however has rules. Rules that if one follows prevents them from being judged as terrible. Now most of the rules are “good”, it’s the few bad ones that give us trouble.

    But we have no such system of rules. However, as many atheist authors have spoken from Philip Pullman to indeed myself, should we not hold ourselves to be morally better?

    I strongly disagree. The religious and atheists who behave ethically do so for the exact same reason: they benefit from it. One could call it “selfish altruism”. Animals exhibit the same behaviour, choosing when to cooperate and compete.

    When the religious do something ethical, it’s because they think they’re scoring brownie points with a non-existent “god”. They’re doing it for their own benefit after they die.

    When atheists do something ethical it’s because atheists want to live in a civilized society. By being unselfish, one gets the benefits of others not doing it as well (e.g. not stealing makes it easier to demand other not steal from you).

  6. 6
    elpayaso

    or, put another way, practicing the “Golden Rule” is usually functionally equivalent to enlightened self interest…?

  7. 7
    Al

    Look’s like Pat’s dumb fear-mongering is contagious

    http://www.skepticink.com/prussian/2013/09/05/sweden-commits-suicide/

  8. 8
    Ani J. Sharmin

    Pat Condell’s take on Syrian refugees was a gross insult to me because I used to be a refugee. And I heard someone say the same thing as he did.
    We lost our passports during the first Gulf War and were not allowed into Israel as refugees. But we were accepted into Jordan. We stayed in a Red Cross camp along with Palestinian refugees. It was the first taste of a lack of compassion along side a taste of compassion.

    Glad you found some compassion. One of the things that’s always bothered me about how some people (like Condell) talk about immigrants, or refugees, is how selfish their commentary is. They don’t try to put themselves in the position of the other person who needs a place to go or wants a better life, instead thinking only of themselves and how they can keep away the small percentage of immigrants who are criminals, regardless of how their views affect real people.

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