At the invitation of Professor Robert, I'm starting a new thread.
Dr Bob, you are continually trying to draw clear distinctions between Catholicism and other (especially Christian) religions. I grant that Catholics are (a little) different, but, as they still fundamentally believe in the magic, invisible daddy in the sky, there is really NO difference.
Two points: The Bible (whether or not you take it literally) is the foundation of your (and all Christian) religions. A cursory examination of the Bible reveals a SMALL handful of usable tenets along with pages and chapters FULL of utter nonsense. The fact that any religion would base itself upon such a holey book, makes that religion as creditable as Joseph's golden tablets from God which he, unfortunately, misplaced.
God: I will be heartily disagreed with here, but I find the idea of God to be completely understandable. Here we have, at the dawn of civilization, various groups of totally ignorant people trying to put words, meanings, and causes to all manner of things which they couldn't possible understand. Combine this with a clever but ruthless set who have come to realize that, if they ascribed words, meanings, and causes to the world around them, people would actually BELIEVE them (as they no other source of information). These priests could and did use this power to govern the people - insisting that everyone in the tribe bow before them.
Then came the age of knowledge. We could start to actually understand all these things that the priests had, up till then, kept to themselves. As the power base for all civilized people rested with these priests, they were (and, of course, still are) wildly defensive of their position.
There is, however, NO CONCEIVABLE REASON for any educated person to believe in the supernatural - aside from these historic pressures.,
What an interesting statement.
Why would an atheist believe in a completely religious concept like "evil"?
I can't believe you think "good" and "evil" are religious concepts. I'm so amazed that one minute you are busy expressing how in depth and detailed your knowledge is, and then you apparently struggle to understand the meaning of a four-letter word.
Religion says that evil comes from the Devil.
How does science explain it?
We are all novices at something, @Strega. I alas, struggle with many things.
Please be kind to me and tell me what you feel as an atheist amounts to "good" and "evil". Those for me are terms which only make sense in a religious context.
@ Professor Robert - if you click the little blue "Here" word at the end of my previous posting, it will take you to a full definition, including synonyms. Those synonyms are not nested in religion.
As a HUMAN, I think of good and evil in a natural context. Pain and suffering is evil, joy and happiness, good. Of course there are exceptions and ways to contrast them, because they are natural sensations, most likely evolved with society to protect and enhance its continuance.
Are we wandering towards the "atheists have no morals" zone? Because I don't really have the patience for that kind of debate. I'll just dig up a load of links to videos, and you most likely won't bother watching them, and I don't have enough years left on my biological clock to be able to afford investing that kind of time.
Angela - science doesn't have a ready answer. It has a lot of ideas. We need an exact definition of good, and then we can define evil as some kind of violation of good, and think about the reasons why it happens. The Devil on your Shoulder is a good analogy I think. The Devil above a crowd, a group or an organisation, also.
I also think "intention" comes into it. If we violate good by accident, this is different to when we deliberately choose to do wrong.
@Simon, you and the professor expect that a "disbelief in the supernatural" somehow has "ideals" or social purpose in of itself. This is not the case. It does allow for "free thinking" that the religious fight to suppress. The benefits of free thinking are already being realized in the science communities. The percentages of non-believers is higher in the science and math world. The average "god fearing person" with limited educational opportunity may seem to benefit from the religious fallacy until you start thinking on a grand scale. How great the world could be if we just get the monkey off our backs?
If one believes "Atheist" N. Korea or Nazi Germany is or was "free-thinking", well then "there you go". They just traded god in for their dictators...they are pretty much interchangeable actually.
"Atheism as a social theory is largely a failure." - <blah, blah, equivalences to competing religions, blah, blah>
"Atheism is a religion like 'Off' is a TV channel." -.. Monicks
"So it stays a relatively small fringe cult"
For the first time in history, the masses are becoming truly educated. Knowledge of the real world cannot be unlearned. It will take a while but religion is irretrievably on its way out.
My personal favorite is "atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color."
But baldness is like some kind of disability. Follically challenged. Slap-head.
I'll work that ~
Atheism is becoming a religion like baldness is becoming a hair style...