Saturday, January 18, 2014

Forthright defence of atheism

I've a review in The Australian today, 'Forthright defence of atheism'. It's of 50 Great Myths About Atheism, by Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk.

This is less an attack on religion, and more a defence of atheism from unfair or misleading charges. In clear, straightforward prose, Blackford and Schuklenk have written a very helpful resource for weary atheists and curious theists. A sample:
As Blackford and Schuklenk note, prejudice against atheists still exists, including in the US, where some states prohibit non-believers from taking office, and more than a third of the population refuse to vote for atheists. There is also an emancipatory justification: helping religious readers who may be doubting their faith, but fearful of atheism's supposed gaffes and grief. 
The so-called "myths" are well-documented, the sources ranging from Fox News to broadsheet opinion and Christian apologetics. Some are relatively silly and fall apart quickly ("Atheists Have No Sense of Humour"), while others ask for more careful dismantling ("Atheism Robs Life of Meaning and Purpose"). 
And despite tetchiness here and there, the authors are patient, generous and sincere. For example, in "We Should Fear a 'Fundamentalist' or 'Militant' Atheism", Blackford and Schuklenk note that "fundamentalism" is often not defined, or else defined quite differently from its occurrences in 19th and 20th-century American Protestantism. "Fundamentalist", like "militant", is more vague slur than precise label. "There may be some people who could, by analogy, be described as 'fundamentalist' in the way they cling to a political ideology and its founding texts," the authors write, "but we cannot think of any significant figure who could meaningfully be described as a 'fundamentalist atheist'."
(Image: Zazzle)


Unknown said...

Atheism is merely a void of rejection. There are no principles attached to atheism; there is no common morality or logical process which is known as "Atheist". So there also is no possible way to compare an atheist's actions to his principles, which is the only manner in which trust can be generated.

And since trust cannot be conferred without testing the individual's consistency to his own principles, atheists cannot be trusted.

Atheists commonly coopt the principles of law, saying that these are moral and they are obedient and have not been incarcerated. But law is not moral and many nations have immoral legal requirements.

Atheists also commonly coopt the principles of Christianity, while rejecting the originating moral authority which makes the principles moral. This is an action of Consequentialism hiding behind Christian principles.

There are no principles in Atheism there is no "Atheist Morality". And there is no "Atheist Intellectual Process". Atheism provides the individual the "right" to create his own morals and his own "free thought".

For these reasons, atheists cannot be trusted; they have no coherent principles upon which to base the observations which are required in order to establish trust.


garwulf said...

Okay, I'm not an atheist (I'm a more or less practicing Jew), and even I think the above comment is BS.

The building of trust is based on one's actions. If one's actions reveal them to be consistently a good person, then trust can be conferred. It doesn't matter if that person is a Jew, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Atheist, or Satanist.