It seems to me quite morally-telling that well-read atheists, those who have learned just how easy it is to become a huckster, create a new religion, and cash in on the seemingly endless searchers of knowledge of the great unknown; the creation of a simple series of psychological tricks, and a quick wit could elevate such a person to religious stardom and secure a lucrative retirement nest egg, yet we (atheists) don't do that (at least not that I've heard, except perhaps for L. Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith) because it is morally reprehensible.
Am I justified in thinking that atheists are morally superior to the evangelicals preachers who appear on TV and radio and rake in the dough year after year until they get caught?
This is one of my most effective points of argument when I speak with my religious friends. I have chosen the path of moral superiority, which is why I'm an Atheist and not a Christian. I could write a book on the examples that we've discussed.
Here's a recent example: The average church in America spends 97% of it's income within its four walls, meaning only 3% is used to help others who aren't church members or attenders. An average of 35% of church revenue is used for mortgage interest, alone!
After I point this out, I tell my Christian friends that much of the church finances is spent just on keeping the lights and air conditioning on in the building, a building which no one sleeps in during the night, and in which no one gets to fed during the day. Then I say, "To me, this is immoral. To you, it's called 'church.'"
'Claiming' and 'being' could be very different things. If 'evidence' is important, should it be expected under every condition where practical?
If I claim the 'higher moral ground', does it not make demands on 'proof'?
Title and position do not directly equate to the 'moral' state. I actually would like to suggest that 'title', 'position', and 'economic power' could indicate a compromise of any attempt at a moral state. Acting 'justly' as just a human being, without some pretense, could be considered the beginning.
This could have nothing to do with a theist or atheist metaphysical commitment, but comes from something else, which I would suggest as our 'common humanity'.
We attempt to do the 'right thing', because we can not bare the thought that another is mis-treated, that slavery is monsterous, that life is cheapened, and our own humanity is debased.
I want to create a new philosophy to mend the Abrahemic divide between man and nature, with the goal or getting us to behave rationally within the limits of natural resources and ecological tolerances. I don't want to use the suppernatural or faith or deference to authority to carry the philosophy. I do think it would be necessary that people took to it as strongly as they take to religion.
It's all very vague, idealistic, and probably impossible. Honestly, I only think about it when mentally impaired because I know it's a bit of a tall order. (No I'm not high or drunk right now...I am just suuuuper sleepy)
I don't think it would be immoral to do create such a philosophy, but what do you all think?
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson returns for this episode of Rationally Speaking, with a particular question to discuss: Should he call himself an atheist? The impetus is a recent dust-up over Neil's appearance on Big Think, in which he explained that he avoids the label "atheist" because it causes people to make all sorts of unflattering (and often untrue) assumptions. Julia and Massimo reply with some counterarguments, and along the way delve into the philosophy of language
So, it's up to the rest of us to "face the music" when it comes to taking a stand. Thanks a lot, Neil!
when it comes to taking a stand
He's actually taking a stand against dogmatism, which could have been the headline as well. (I think it's a good podcast, which that article links to if anyone's interested.)