So It Is: March 23 is Atheist Day


Seen on reddit, in regard to Atheists’ Day:

Chef_Fats: Pineapple on pizza?

2skgody: That’s a religious question.

I still say Atheist Day should be Labour Day (September 1st), since it requires education and effort.  And easter should always be on April 1st, as it was in 2018.

I couldn’t think of anything special to say, so I borrowed a “ten questions for atheists” list and answered it.  I’m sure everyone will disagree with my answers below.

1) How Did You Become an Atheist?

Education.  Thinking.  Reading.  Learning.

But mostly because I observed religious hypocrisy, criminality, and immorality.

2) What happens when we die?

We rot and feed the worms.

Death is inevitable, nor is it scary.  Just put it off as long as possible.

3) What if you’re wrong and there is a heaven?

You might as well ask if I believe in teleportation, which is equally pointless and hypothetical.

Prove one exists before asking.

4) Without god, where do you get your morality from?

The same place anyone else does: I want to live in a moral society, so I work to make it one.  Morality is how you treat people. Religion is how you treat a mythical deity.

Whenever religions try to claim “morality”, they are making the unspoken and false asserting that those without religion are immoral and therefore criminal, which the religious then use to justify persecution, exile and murder.  If you don’t agree, look what catholics did in moorish Spain, what US christians did and are trying to do to LGBTQIA people.

Don’t falsely conflate belief with morality.  Martin Luther King Jr. was a christian, and a KKK grand wizard is a christian.

5) If there is no god, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?

It sounds like the asker has sick fantasies and desires.

Humans are evolved social animals that understand the advantages of cooperation over selfish individualism.  If we chose selfishness, we would gain in the short term but lose in the long term.  Whether gatherer-hunters 20,000 years ago or modern society, selfish people will eventually be exiled from (or punished by) the group and lose its protection and social contact.

By giving up small individual things and agreeing to social rules, we gain massively by cooperation.

6) If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?

The meaning of life is to survive and propagate, the one commonality of all life forms.  No, being Childfree doesn’t make that a contradiction; the resources not consumed because I don’t have kids mean other kids can have those resources.

Suppose I asked, “If god and heaven are better than being on Earth, why are you still alive and not trying to go there?”  That question has more validity than the one asked.

7) Where did the universe come from?

The Big Bang.  Try reading more than one book.

8) What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?

“Miracles will have their claimers.” – Neil Peart

Miracles are the gullible and ignorant seeing something happen once and then wrongly assuming it happens every time.  Usually listened to by other gullible and ignorant people.

Adults claiming they speak to or see supernatural beings are like children who claim to have invisible friends.  You claimed it, so you have to prove they exist.

And until you prove it, it’s false.  For example, let’s go to a hospital morgue, find someone killed in a car accident, and you bring them back to life.  If you can’t do it, your myth doesn’t exist.  If you won’t try, you know your myth doesn’t exist.

9) What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?

A bigot, a boor, and a racist.

Assuming all atheists read, listen to, or agree with those three (or listens to communist dictators) is like assuming all christians agree with the ku klux klan, fascists like Mussolini, or catholic priests who molest children.

10) If there is no god, then why does every society have a religion?

First, “every society”?  Nice false assumption and erasure of those that don’t.

Second, plenty of societies are polytheist, not monotheist.  Are you saying they are right and you are wrong?

Third, religion was likely invented when ignorant communities had no answer for a drought or an eclipse.  Someone made up an answer to calm people’s fears, and the society or group make the mistake of believing it.  Then someone realized this was a quick path to wealth, power, and sex, so they threatened everyone with “believe or else”.

Comments

  1. says

    on 10) I think it’s a real safe assumption the last common culture of all humans had a religion and was patriarchal. it’s a simple enough explanation for those two grim near-universals. doesn’t require a deity or justify religion at all.

    • Allison says

      it’s a real safe assumption the last common culture of all humans had a religion and was patriarchal.

      Nope.

      There are still cultures in the world that are not patriarchal and religions and religious beliefs and practices which are not patriarchal.

      However, most of the non-patriarchal cultures (and many of the patriarchal ones) have been supplanted by the most successful patriarchal ones. And at least for the Abrahamic religions, we know the history of how they supplanted non-patriarchal religions — much of the Old Testament is about the struggle of patriarchal Judaism (well, what became Judaism) against the influences of the non-patriarchal religions of their neighbors.

      And while the Abrahamic religions have conquered much of the world by now, there are still plenty of religions which aren’t patriarchal and indeed don’t have “gods” in the sense we’re used to. And even in the places that those religions and cultures have conquered, there are still remnants of older, distinctly non-patriarchal religious practices.

      I think it’s a safe assumption that to the extent there was ever a common culture for all humans, it wasn’t patriarchal, nor was whatever sort of religion they had.

      • says

        I’m going off the bottleneck theory – that homo sapiens went through a time where the global population was smaller than the city I live in. That would suggest a common ancestral culture or small group of cultures did exist. I understand that theory is contested at the moment and could be wrong.

        Confucian patriarchy owes nothing to Abraham. I’m not a cultural anthropology major, but I’ve heard of very few societies that were or are quasi-egalitarian and maybe one ever that skewed matriarchal out of every culture I’ve ever heard of. I’ve never heard of a society that didn’t have supernatural beliefs and taboos. To me it’s far, far easier to believe that any non-patriarchy and irreligion was developed as a reaction to roots (a “secondary” trait in evolution terms) than to believe one set of ideals infected almost every square inch of the world like that.

        I admit, you may know things I don’t on this subject and I may be wrong. But I also don’t think anything is gained by saying the colonizers are the only reason for these evils being nigh-universal, or by romanticizing our distant ancestors or pre-contact people. Why couldn’t every last person on the planet be the descendant of a mixed bag of OK people and utter bastards? It’s consistent with everything I’ve ever seen in human beings and in nature.

  2. flex says

    I was thinking the other day about the claim that religion is required for morality. I came to the conclusion that not only is religion not required for morality, religion requires a person to forfeit their personal beliefs about of morality to those of another.

    Religion makes a claim that it’s teachings are moral, and provides shelter for people who do not wish to think about moral problems for themselves. For someone who is uncertain, or who doesn’t want to think about difficult moral decisions, if they accept the morality taught by a religion they don’t have to. A religious person is surrendering their moral judgement to their religion. In many cases it’s even worse than that, they are accepting the morals of their religious leaders, even if what the leaders claim about morality isn’t supported by the doctrine of their religion.

    But since we know that all religious books are written by humans, and we know that all religious teachings are taught by humans, we know that to submit, to accept, the morality of a religion is really to accept, to submit to, the morality of the human’s who wrote the books or preach the sermons.

    Religion does not create moral people, it creates people who unthinkingly accept the morality of the religious leaders.

    That doesn’t make the moral teaching of religion good or bad, merely unexamined.
    But acceptance without understanding is an invitation to abuse.

    I doubt this thought it original to me. But it clarified my understanding of religious believers enormously.

  3. Bruce says

    Thanks for this post. Very refreshing. It’s nice to see someone refuse to pretend christians are interested in serious philosophical discussions. Almost none of them followed an intellectual path to their beliefs. They only grasp serious questions to try to use them as a weapon against those who think about stuff. They just want us to wrestle with their pigs of ideas.

  4. brucegee1962 says

    I agree that the question about morality is seriously annoying. My response to 4 and 5 would be “I believe that questions of morality are very important — far too important to be left up to religion. Name one single moral conflict in the last five hundred years of the Western world that did NOT have Christians on both sides. Christianity does an absolutely terrible terrible job of helping people decide what is moral.”

  5. jrkrideau says

    7) Where did the universe come from?

    The Big Bang. Try reading more than one book.

    Why are you assuming they have ever read a book? Some reports, both research based and anecdotal, suggest that the more fundamental Christians certainly in Canada and the USA have not read much of the bible.

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    7) Where did the universe come from?

    The Big Bang.

    Yes, the theory proposed by a Catholic priest, and opposed by some atheists because it looked too much like the biblical account of creation. The real world is complicated…

  7. says

    …I borrowed a “ten questions for atheists” list and answered it.

    Has such a list EVER been posted in a place where people can actually post answers that the rest of the world can then see?

  8. says

    9) What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?

    Neither was at all relevant to my own transition from Christianity to atheism. So why do CHRISTIANS keep on bringing those guys up? (And why do they leave out Dennett? Maybe he doesn’t discredit atheism enough?)

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