I'm in the midst of a religious debate with a Christian who claims that the following phrase is NOT religious:

I claimed that opposition to birth control is PURELY religious.  He claimed that he could conceive of an atheist who believed that "every possible human being had a right to exist and we had no right to block the chance" and would therefore oppose birth control for reasons that are NOT religious.


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" He claimed that he could conceive of an atheist who...."

Yeah, I can conceive of lots of weird stuff too. Being able to imagine something doesn't make it real.

No, I know of no atheist who opposes birth control. However, there remains the chance that there's at least one out there somewhere.

I can conceive of an atheist opposed to abortion, but not necessarily one who would seek to impose his or her view on others regarding that issue.  But opposed to birth control?  That would be...anathema!

I can readily conceive of an atheist opposed to abortion, and contrary to Boothby, want to ban it.  If an atheist has concluded that abortion is tantamount to murder the only logical thing to do would be for him to try to ban it.

Some forms of birth control happen after the egg is fertilized, and so I could see an atheist opposing those, if he accepts the idea that a fertilized egg is deserving of protection.  It would be rare though

But condoms, diaphragms, spermicides, etc?  Nope, I can't see that.

Thanks, Steve....you've covered the domain I expected to find on this topic.  Much appreciated.

I have a close atheist friend who believes exactly that. It drives me nuts because when put that way, it can be a dilemma of should potential be "blocked or not".

But, in that case, you could infer that each sperm should be treated as a potential life and that's where it gets ridiculous. You could point out to your Christian friend,  it is merely a question of where does it begin, where to draw the line?

Otherwise it could be viewed as being wrong for men to wear underwear that is too tight because it reduces sperm count or for them to work as chefs or cooks because having their mid section at the heat source a lot of the time (the stoves) causes reduced sperm count.

Of course we did not have this knowledge until relatively recently which also makes a point for changing attitudes of what is right and wrong as science answer questions and why right and wrong set in stone, no matter what the circumstances, is always a bad idea.

In any sufficiently large statistical sample will be found all the variation in the general population. 

Atheists tend to be creatures of logic. Birth control is a logical answer to a lot of problems, chiefly unplanned pregnancy, and overpopulation. I'm not saying atheists are robots, but they sure do recognize the value of cooly making calculated decisions.

My thoughts, too.  Thanks.

That's easy. While I don't know one, I can certainly imagine a Hinayana Buddhist (atheist religion) who opposes birth control.

Some would term Theravada Buddhism as a form of Hinayana. The key is that Hinayana is the Buddhism of the Gautama, which didn't concern itself with gods and was as much a prescription for happiness and contentment as it was a way of escaping the cycle of birth and death and attaining the permanent extinction of the individual soul, the absolute opposite of the goal of Western religions. Mahayana tended to spread by adapting itself to local theistic religions, so you end up with, for example, Tibetan Buddhism with its multiplicity of deities, demideities, and demons.


He claimed that he could conceive of an atheist who believed that "

Of course he does, which is why he can conceive of a talking snake a condominium fish a secret garden with magic trees and enchanted fruit, food that falls from the sky and flying zombie carpenters.

I suspect there is nothing he could not conceive of nor embrace

There is some question whether one can conceive of self contradictions. Just because you can form a sentence embodying a contradiction doesn't mean you can conceive of it beyond the mere words. Take "the spherical cube which is sitting on that table." You can imagine a table but what do you see in your mind as to the object sitting on it. Chances are, if you can picture anything in your mind it is an object that oscillates between being a discrete sphere and a discrete cube. It might be argued that with additional dimensions something like a spherical cube might be possible, but you still have the problem of picturing it in your mind.


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