Is attacking religion as bad really the best argument for being atheist?

I hear a lot of arguments on here about the evils of religion and it always makes me think. 

Wouldn't the evils of religion be the weakest argument for being atheist?  Going on the assumption that most atheists are people of reason, shouldn't the existence or non-existence of a God be your major and almost sole purpose for being atheist?  If it is because of the evils of religion, isn't your position just a position of anger and leave you in a very vulnerable place?


As a atheist I always look at what I see as the things that show me there can't be a God.  That is the proofs or lack of.  Yes I do see the inconsistencies of many religious texts and that goes to the proof or not of their positions.  Having said that, the evils of religion is not my reason for being atheist.  To be that doesn't prove the existence of God one way or another, that proves the evil of the people that profess to believe in a religion and how they use it.


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I see it quite the opposite, proofs for or against gods are in my opinion unnecessary. Look at it like this, let's say a group of people believed in god but had never written a book on the subject yet simply felt he was of the character of a good person and as a result lived their lives doing their best to aid man in only positive ways. Without doctrine, I doubt we would be having this discussion about them, I doubt we would be looking for way to discredit their beliefs since their beliefs presumably would be of no negative effect hence the reality of their god would not be worthy of discussion (to me). Also if you believe god is not responsible for negative actions in this world since to you he does not exist and that people are, then why shoot for the god topic and not respond to the human actions which are a result of dogma, doctrine etc? The evils of religion at the hands of people are not the reason for my lack of faith in god either any more than they are they justification of my lack of faith in unicorns but to me a serious discussion of unicorns is rather pointless until people start killing one another as a result and even then the existence of the unicorn would not merit a discussion.

I do agree with you to a point.  The belief in this God you speak of will soon come up.  The mere existence of a person who influence our life does make a difference. 

Looking at this hypothetical group.  There will be a conversation at some point that they say, "Joe thinks this way and because of that, we act this way because of what we learned from him."  Then you ask where is Joe?  Where does that leave you with that group that supposedly does not know where Joe is.  They say, "He just exists". Then they ask you, "You don't see or feel him?".  Now what do you do?  Do you say yes because they are good people?


A good example if people who believe in the horoscope.  There is no way to avoid that discussion even if their belief is benign.  So in the end I can't agree with you.  Your using the unicorns as an example isn't good because the discussion never comes up because you know no one who believe they exist.


In the end, someone's belief in the existence of something good or not will affect their lives and become part of the discussion even if there isn't a underlying doctrine.

I'm not an atheist because I dislike religion.  For the most part I'm indifferent about religion itself in the most general sense.  As a non-believer, though, I'm appalled by the depravity of many religious people.  If I believed in a god then I suppose I would have to look at the WBC and say, "Well, maybe that is the way god speaks to them," or some such shit.  As an atheist, however, I am certain that there is no divine inspiration behind folks like the WBC, only their own hatred.  The WBC isn't, for me, proof that god does not exist - it's proof that such belief is harmful and detrimental to society.  I feel that this is why religion is condemned so openly here, and that such condemnations are not intended as affirmations of non-belief.

Heather I agree with you.   It is never the trappings of the hate of any group, i.e. religion, it is the hate within the people.  The religion is the convenient excuse to use to defend their hate. 


We have to realize people can use atheism to do the same sort of things.  You can use science, like Darwinism to drive your hate.   Example, if you use Social Darwinism, you can justify discrimination of all sorts.  Would it be a perversion of it, yes, but it can be used.  So in the end is religion the root of all this evil or is it the use of religion to justify this hate, these abuses?  My view is not that religion is inherently evil.  Religion is just another tool of the powerful and the hateful to go about doing their business.  I never argue against the existence of religion, I argue against the convenient use of it by ones who otherwise use another avenue to justify their injustices.  Used to get others on their side.


So I am appalled by the depravity of people.  I never look at the religion as the cause of it.

They do claim a 'divine' justification for it - at least with people claiming to use logic there is an avenue to discussion.
so the enemy isn't religion, it's irrationality.
True - if there were a religion out there that devoted itself to rational evaluations, I would likely be quite ok with it, although hoping the basis of any particular rational evaluation was open for further discussion if I didn't happen to make the same evaluation.

"Wouldn't the evils of religion be the weakest argument for being atheist?"


that's not a reason to be an atheist at all.  so i agree with you. it's weak. (btw, i don't anyone who uses this claim as their reason for being an atheist.)


"shouldn't the existence or non-existence of a God be your major and almost sole purpose for being atheist?"


sort of, it's more about the lack of ANY evidence one way or another to support the hypothesis that there is a god, or anything like a god, any god.

It is a related topic, in that arguing about the existence of gods eventually leads to moral discussions on how you treat people. But yes, I think getting into minutia about religious fetishes is really playing into the believer's hands, in the long run. I find it best to leave that aside and concentrate on the basic claims upon which the religion rests: there are gods.
The non-existence of God IS the reason for being an atheist.  The other arguments are merely in support of atheism.

God is a pervasive and persistent meme that seduces by denial.  Belief in God or anything else supernatural is an inducement to believe impossible things and, therefore, deny real things.  Death is final?  No it's not.  The laws of physics are immutable?  Only God is immutable.  The Bible reveals ancient ignorance?  No, the Bible is God's perfect word.  Believing in impossible things IS bad for mankind . . . just watch CNN, any day, for confirmation.  But that's not the point of atheism.  It's just one argument for it.
The bad and evil parts of religion aren't the reasons that I'm an atheist, they're just the reasons why I talk about it. When it comes to the question of why I don't believe, I will always go with science and reason. But when it comes to why I hate religion (all religion), I will always go with their dangerous and corrosive nature.


. . . right, it's up to an atheist to find good reasons for rejecting belief claims. One way of doing so is by understanding that there are philosophies of life which are coherent, rational, require no allegiance to faith. Do a search on 'Epicurus'. You'll see immediately why xians have always hated his views, have sought to demean his life, and destroy his works. Epicurus' thoughts survived as an underground presence despite xian persecution for 2,000 years.

one ancient (and one modern) antidote to irrationality and hatred

Xianity has hated rational thought (philosophy) ever since Stoics and Epicureans laughed at P/Saul of Tarsus (fl 50-65 CE). While preaching to Athenian philosophers about a minor jewish doctrine of bodily resurrection turned into insane mythology (Acts17:18 NIV), he had to stop and retreat from the the Agora, traditional space for free and open debates.


The demands of faith -- obedience, submission to authority, violation of rationality -- are inconsistent with ancient and modern democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience.

Whatever xians hate deserves a closer look as something likely to be good.

Three hundred years before the earliest xian cults, the Greek philosopher Epicurus (340-270 BCE) devised and openly shared a philosophy of nature based on atomism and a philosophy of life (an ethic) based on a rational pleasure principle. like a god among ordinary people.

Epicurus' conclusions drawn from his atomism and ethic are distilled into four statements. The tetrapharmakos = 4-fold cure for anxiety: what about gods, suffering, death?

Don`t fear god,
Don`t worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure.
-- Philodemus from a Herculaneum scroll (100 BCE)

What's the best life to lead?

Epicurus' own advice to a follower:
"Think about these things [in my texts]...yourself, and with a companion like yourself, and you will never be disturbed while awake or asleep. But you will live like a god among ordinary people. For those who live among immortal blessings are not like mortal beings."

The modern French philosopher Michel Onfray presents an a-theology worthy of intellectual respect which updates Epicurus given 200 years of textual scrutiny of xian texts, of middle-eastern history, of modern psychology and sociology. Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

the anti-supernaturalist


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