As an atheist, I am doubting that atheism is the right answer...as Einstein considered, nobody knows the answer, and being an Agnostic is the only reasonable approach.

As a British atheist, I am also concerned that the USA is becoming increasing religious and towards an inevitable conflict with the Muslim world, and a modern day 'crusade'.

Views: 358

Comment by Robert Karp on March 6, 2012 at 8:03am

Kevin I think you are confusing the terms. Atheism is not a lack of knowledge. It is simply a lack of belief. Being an atheist does not mean you know all the answers. In fact far from it, it would mean you are more than likely to search for them. It just refers to one specific aspect of your life. You lack a belief in god. It's the same as if you were a vegetarian. It's a label. It means you do not eat meet, it has nothing to do with knowledge. So when you say atheism is not the right answer, answer to what? If you mean by the simplest definition the answer to belief in a god, I would say it is based on the available evidence we have. If you are saying it is not the right answer for our search for knowledge then again, you have mistaken the terms. Many atheists are agnostic.

As to your second comment, you are seeing a huge push-back from the religious in this country because religion is on the decline and secularism is on the rise. More people are leaving churches than ever before. The religious right is scared and that is why you see the push back. So modern day crusade may be a little over the top. If anything Bush felt the war in Iraq was more of a crusade, and he invoked god quit a bit when talking about it. Obama is more more pragmatic and if there is a new war coming, against Iran, it will be defined as one between Jewish people (Israel) and their supporters.

Comment by Kevin Barton on March 6, 2012 at 2:34pm

Perhaps have a look at this re Einstein's view  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein's_religious_views

which seem sensible...even though I have been an atheist for a  long time, and a huge fan of Christopher Hitchens, I do have concerns about anyone who claims to have a true grasp of whether this life is pre ordained or random.  Surely the sensible option is to have an open mind, but not choose any particular theism as none of them stand up to any kind of scrutiny.  

Whether, at the root of life there is a type of 'god' or we're part of a Sim City type scenario is as much of a possibility as a random 'accident'.

As for how the critically thinking parts of the world view the USA, I would suggest that the USA is currently advertising itself in pretty much the same vein as the more fanatical elements of the Islamic world.   Whether the President can hold onto power and perhaps maintain some credibility against the fanatical right who are currently espousing their extreme views, remains to be seen, but the alternatives are a worry to the rest of us. Hitch always defended America as a 'free' country, but it's currently giving fanatics of all religions a cause to defend or fight, as is currently happening in Afghanistan, and could ultimately spread to even the more reasonable parts of the world.

Comment by Colleen on March 6, 2012 at 6:07pm

Kevin, I have to disagree in terms of both the way you describe what possibilities there are and that all possibilities are created equal. 

First, I don't think the only two options are a god or complete randomness.  There is the alternative that natural interactions and patterns are at play (excuse the oversimplification to keep this response brief).  In this light, I find Einstein's idea of a god superfluous. 

Second, there is plenty of evidence that there are natural interactions and patterns at play AND evidence that humans event concepts of god and engage in ritualistic behaviors to explain events that they do not understand AND evidence that we can eventually come to understand these events through the scientific method AND absolutely zero objective evidence after hundreds and hundreds of years that a higher power exists.  With this in mind, I find the idea of a god or higher power perhaps still possible, but not plausible or necessary.  I do not claim to know an absolute truth (because hey the idea of god is not falsifiable), but I also don't pretend that I have nothing to sift through in forming an opinion.  In this way, I consider myself an agnostic atheist as so described by Robert.

I also have to agree with Robert, I don't think that America is giving these fanatical groups this cause to fight.  I have many christian and muslim friends, and none of them are as looney as the people we see on the news.  As the tides change, the religious right is getting desperate, and that is what you are seeing in the media.  There is still plenty of reason here in America, and it's growing particularly well in the younger generation.  But hey, if you're worried, help us out :).

Comment by Maria Allwine on March 6, 2012 at 6:07pm

I think of atheism as a belief in the certitude that there is no god.  I personally do not doubt that god does not exist, although I know some atheists are open to the possibility of a god. 

Comment by Hank Hell on March 6, 2012 at 6:39pm

I think to a degree your right, I don't entirely dismiss the possibility of the existence of a god. Although I do outright reject the Idea of a god who created man in his image, and I do feel pure certainty that all of mans religions are baseless lies.

As for how things are over here in the good ole' USA, you are only looking at a small facet of a much bigger issue. The wide eyed religious fervor is just there for the benefit of the proles, look also at the spree of privatization, especially among prisons and in the military. Examine the changes in presidential power that have taken place over the last two decades or so. All of these are textbook characterizations of a corporate oriented fascism.

   

Comment by Gary Mueller on March 7, 2012 at 12:37am

I think you need to define god before you consider the possibility it might exist.

Is a thing a god merely because it is capable of doing things beyond our own capabilities? If so my toaster is a god.

I am an atheist because I require proof of a divine being as imagined in the Hebrew, roman , Greek and Indian scriptures and lacking this evidence I can categorically state beings like these do not exist.

Should we postulate another definition of a god I would be willing to consider its merits but again would require proof before belief in its existence. As the non god said "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

Comment by Jerod on March 7, 2012 at 1:52am

Kevin, I think you're right in recognizing that we can't by any natural means know for certain whether an all powerful being set the physical universe into motion or not.

Agnosticism is always the reasonable approach in light of the fact that not only do we not know everything, but now everything is knowable.. For example:

imagine the vastness of time and space that we know and love. Imagine it all as a common X-Y-Z coordinate system that stretches out to infinity in all directions. Lets call this "everything", if that's fair.

What if there is another one; another everything? Ant the two are completely unaffected by one another. There is simply no way to know, and there will never be any way to know, right? What if God exists outside of our "everything" just as we exists outside of the imaginary 3-Space on our sheet of graphing paper?

Simply no way to know, right?

Comment by Diane on March 7, 2012 at 6:23am

I contend that I am both atheist and agnostic.  I do not believe that a god exists, and I believe that we cannot know whether or not one exists with our current level of knowledge.  

It is difficult for me to look at my country objectively, but I can see that many Americans seem to have lost their grasp on reality.  I didn't mean to be an underdog or a rebel, but I will continue to speak my mind and live by my conscience in resistance to Christian fanatacism here.  These are sad times in the U.S., but so far at least, I can still have a FSM decal on my car without fear of reprisal.  

Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on March 7, 2012 at 9:17am

Atheism is a simple lack of a belief in god. Most atheists are agnostics as well. It is a state of doubt not certainty. Atheism is skepticism. As for the US Christian fanaticism... I can tell you (as an American Atheist) that yes... the situation is alarming here. Groups like American Atheists, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation are working overtime to combat an increasingly hostile and increasingly powerful minority of religious fundamentalists known as "Dominionists" or alternately "Christian Nationalists." They have enough power to be taken seriously in the presidential race. Both Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann had connections to the Dominionist movement. 

They are what they sound like... Theocrats. They are unsatisfied with a pluralistic, democratic society and blame secularism for every societal ill. You are lucky not to live here. Atheists here are abused and harrassed on a regular basis. One young lady (Asia McGowen) was murdered by a fundamentalist christian for her atheism. Most atheists face less severe harrassment on a regular basis...

The stories repeat again and again. Young Atheists are rejected by their families and kicked out of the house, a school-aged child of a set of atheist parents was backed into a corner of the classroom by a crowd of shrieking christian children demanding he believe in Jesus while the child sobbed and the teacher did nothing. An atheist who went to a town hall meeting came out to find crosses slashed into all of her car's tires. An entire family of atheists was run out of town. A young lady who recently got an unconstitutional prayer banner removed from her public high school recieved death threats and other harrassment. On a facebook discussion about her... more than one christian suggested killing her... and one man suggested gang raping her. 

Yes... the situation is bad. And its getting worse. I fear that if Rick Santorum makes president then the theocrats will take another step forward toward toppling democracy - their ultimate goal - they seem to believe that Jesus will not return unless they can take this country and force it into submission as a theocracy under Biblical law.

Don't move here... it's really bad.

Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on March 7, 2012 at 9:27am

Typical Crazy Conservative Christians and Atheist Discrimination:

Boy tells his mother that he's an atheist:

Atheist family run out of town:

Girl harrassed for challenging prayer banner:

Welcome to America.

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