Atheism ≠ Racism

It’s sad that I even have to point this out, but for the benefit of those who are misinformed enough to believe that my being an atheist means that I am a racist, I am here to put your troubles aside.
Religions are beliefs in all-powerful supernatural being(s), especially a personal god or gods.
Race is your ethnic background or the colour of your skin.
See the difference?
Atheism means not believing in the existence of a god or gods.
Racism is discrimination against someone for their ethnic background or colour of skin.
Again, see the difference?
I am an atheist. I don’t believe that any religions are correct or hold an “ultimate truth”. This does not make me a racist.
I don’t believe in a god or gods. I’m not infringing on your right to practise your religion with my atheism.
I don’t have the same religious beliefs as you, just like you don’t believe other religions, but I’m not discriminating against you because of it.
Now, I hope this has cleared the matter up for you. If not, feel free to post a comment and I will try to answer your concerns as best as I can.
I want to leave you with a quote – “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” – Richard Dawkins

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52 Responses to “Atheism ≠ Racism”

  1. NotAProphet February 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Wow, this makes scary reading; Ben seems to be saying that the only reason he doesn’t kill people is because god told him not to (ok ok, because he loves god, because god told him to love him). This really makes him no different in ideology to jihadists, who kill people because they believe their god has told them to. The only difference really is that I certainly do not want Ben to stop believing in his imaginary friend, if that’s the only reason he doesn’t kill people. I would very much like jihadists to stop believing in their fairy tales, and using them as an excuse to rob others of the one life they have.

    • B Lozier March 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

      The reason I haven’t replied, ( well actually it was because the original post was deleted, and that annoyed and deflated me, but) , the reason I haven’t replied is because I realized, when I first posted here, I was coming with the intent NOT to become entangled in a debate about morals in the Bible. Trust me, it would take too long. Suffice to say, as an atheist, no one can honestly say “I live my life based on reason, science, and logic, which leads me to believe in the non-existence of God”, and still say “we have some sort of immaterial being. It’s irrational.

      And, of course, as expected, there is no argument given for logical basis for morals, given.

      And to the last post: I don’t kill people because that is wrong. Killing people is wrong because God made it that way. I just have a logical basis for my morals, that’s all — most of you will say

      “I don’t murder because it’s wrong”

      but no one can logically say

      ” it is wrong to murder because…”

      at least, unless they change the definition of the word “wrong”, which SHOULD be objective. ( wrong, or evil, that is.)

      • B Lozier March 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

        Wait, wait, edit: NotaProphet, the “ideology”, if you will, isn’t different, but here’s what is: that murder is wrong, and they say it isn’t, and God says it is.

        I think that makes all the difference.

        • Rod Diaz March 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

          Except for, you know, all the instances that the bible god says it’s actually ok to murder… So, either you’re picking and choosing which parts to follow, or you’re transgressing on the commands of your god:

          – Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

          – You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

          – “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

          – A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB) [I guess they should have seen that coming, though :P]

          – Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

          – All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

          – If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

          – A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

          – They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

          – If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, “You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.” When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

          Or, my absolute favourite – razing an entire town for one person’s “fault”. ‘Let God sort them out’ seems a bit older than what I thought:

          Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy ALL its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19)

          You’d be surprised at how much murder and violence is encouraged by the Bible if you use it to guide your moral choices. I say “existentialism is humanism” – only humans will judge you.

      • Anton Sherwood March 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

        Eh? Did some atheist say “we have some sort of immaterial being”? Or do you think such an assertion is necessarily implied by “murder is bad”?

  2. Anton Sherwood December 18, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    It eventually hit me that Lozier is playing a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” game, perhaps inadvertently, in challenging atheists to cite a non-transcendent source of morals.

  3. Anton Sherwood December 7, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    Ahoy, Lozier. To restrain the exponential explosion, I’ll respond only to the remarks addressed to me.

    You ask, “what is ‘ugly’ atheistically?” I might as well ask you, what is “love” for an unknowable invisible pseudo-person?

    It’s common to hear a statement such as “life and mind can, in principle, be explained by chemistry” and misunderstand it as “we are nothing but atoms,” which offends our dignity. The second statement is indeed false (it ignores the essential role of complex organization) but rejecting it does not require us to reject the first.

    I say ugliness and injustice offend me because of how my brain is made. You sneer at this, perhaps because it’s not a consequence of a choice on my part to obey something transcendent. Unfortunately, I can’t turn it back on you to ask what was the moral foundation for your choice to love your invisible friend, because I know you’ll say it was God’s miraculous and inconceivable Grace, which is immune to logic.

    So I say: Well, sunny boy, luckily I don’t live for your approval.

    And if your concern is that you can’t trust atheists to be moral, because tomorrow I might decide that what passes for a code of ethics requires me to slaughter your children, I’ll remind you that atrocities in the name of the greater good are not an exclusive specialty of atheists. At least you have a better chance of arguing me out of my evil intentions if I do not believe they are God’s inexplicable commands.

    Consider a remark of Adam Smith:

    “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow citizens.”

    In other words, self-interest may not be as warm and cuddly as divine grace, but it’s more reliable.

  4. Tycho December 6, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    Hi Ben,

    First, the requested reference:

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 different working in different versions, but in all the “sell” verb is maintained)

    So there… The bible even has a form of consumer protection program for slaves that underperform!

    But the mere fact that the bible allows a human to be the property of another should be sufficient to debunk the book as a moral compass. Without counting the slaughtering of children, razing of lands, raping of women.

    There might be some issues interpreting what is an innocent and what is not, but maybe we can cite these as god killing / commanding to kill / allowing the death of someone innocent:

    a) The burn-offering of Jeptah’s daughter (Judges 11:29 – heck, she even died a virgin, must have pleased the lord that he kept his promise).

    b) kill the whole village if there is a non-believer in there (Deuteronomy 13:13) – so now you Ben, are condemned to die because there is an atheist/muslim/wiccan in your town?

    c) “Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21)”- I sure hope that none of our relatives have worked on a Saturday/Sunday.

    d) My favourite, the Egyptian firstborn sons (Exodus 12:29-30). This was done in revenge. Is that a proper Christian moral teaching?

    Does this still seem like a proper moral guide to you? Or if you mean that the lord killed anyone directly… well, then maybe we can agree it didn’t, because there is not evidence it exists.

    One more thing – yes, you cite other examples where love and respect are preached. But it is not a consistent message; there are plenty where bloodthirst, vengeance and violence are presented as a command. How do you choose which one? You claim to follow the ten commandments 0- how are those more “holy” than those commands to kill the sons of sinners? Who and how makes the choice? And if we’re inherently wicked and unworthy, maybe the bible places even less value on human life than humanists. At least we don’t place guilt of crimes on the sons of the criminals.

  5. Ben Lozier December 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Oh, and also, regarding the actual content of this post: Morgan did a rather poor job of defending Atheism morally. (Concerning racism, yes, but the subject is really concerning morals.)

    That is, what Morgan said was basically true, but he didn’t address the actual problem, which is unfixable.

    Here’s what I mean: while Atheism does not NECESSARILY result in racism, there is no basis for disliking racism if you are an Atheist.

    I’ll leave it at that; perhaps some brave genius will come up with a plausible atheistic basis for morality.

    • Tycho December 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

      Another ridiculous claim – are you only doing the “right” thing because Santa Clause will put you in the naughty list if not, and will reward you if you do? If that is the case, your morality is no different than animal conditioning. Are you only doing “good” because you will go to hell otherwise, or because you’ll get a determinate number of virgins in the afterlife as a reward?

      Do you only do the right thing when you are being observed?

      The ethical basis of disliking racism (as an atheist, or as a theist with a spine that doesn’t believe that they are the “chosen of god”) is because it is in general in the best interest of our interest to live well and happily with other human beings. I can recommend Savater, a Spanish philosopher. He puts it in very simple terms in a book for his son.

      • Ben Lozier December 6, 2011 at 1:06 am #

        Hello Tycho,

        I’m going to answer your rather frail arguments one point at a time, condescension aside.

        1.)

        A. Coming from a Christian, and also one who is knowledgeable in the Bible, I say this: It is clearly emphasized in God’s word that obedience is done in love and not through fear of pain.

        I don’t want to bore you with long references, so I’ll just quote this:

        “Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”

        ( Psalm 32:9 )

        B. Your other claim is also null and void; Christians (I’m speaking for Christians here, not theists in general,) do not obey God because they will inherit eternal glory, they obey him out of love — the greatest commandment, “you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.”

        In conclusion, you slaughtered a straw man.

        Secondly: You say:

        “The ethical basis of disliking racism… is because it is in general in the best interest of our interest to live well and happily with other human beings.”

        I’m sorry that you’ve gone so long holding yourself up on this strand of nonsense. Read this definition of “ethical” — :

        pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.

        You, my friend, are not describing “ethical” when you say that the reason you do not enslave men is for your own good: that’s called selfishness, root-word self, meaning you think only of your self.

        By your own words, the only reason you do not enslave other men is because it profits you best : This is my question: what happens when it becomes to your benefit to enslave, murder, rape, or otherwise “sin”?

        LASTLY: I would like to point out something very interesting. Throughout your paragraph, you continually used phrases like,

        ‘the right thing,” ” good,” “the right thing.”

        Clearly you believe that there is a “right thing” : I do as well. However, you did not even broach on the topic concerning what basis you have for your morals.

        Thank you for your time, I hope this disagreement can stay fairly civil.

        • Anton Sherwood December 6, 2011 at 3:01 am #

          Ben, you moved the goalposts: first you said there’s no reason for atheists to hate racism, and when one was provided you sneered that it’s not pure enough.

          Do you really think I can’t have compassion for my neighbor (whose existence I don’t have to take on faith) without loving your imaginary friend first?

          If enlightened self-interest — the preference for living in a just world because it’s healthier for oneself (see also: economic analysis of law) — won’t do, how about aesthetics? That is, what if I love justice because injustice is ugly?

          • Tycho December 6, 2011 at 3:38 am #

            Anton – love that, ” enlightened self interest”

            I am an engineer, but with a high interest in human and economic decision-making (and therefore, ethics). I have the view that most of the bad stuff we do is due to a myopic stance – if we look far enough, we would stop famines/impoverishment/pollution/etc. because it is more “expensive”, in human and economic terms, if we look far ahead enough.

        • Tycho December 6, 2011 at 3:20 am #

          No reason to stop being civil, Ben 🙂

          I grew up in a Christian community, and went to a Jesuit university. So I have been fortunate to have read pretty much the whole bible. One of my teacher’s research involved Jesus’ failings as a messiah (he was a very devout Catholic, but a Jesuit – no wonder these guys have been excommunicated many times!)

          Sorry for the confusion RE:the straw man. The intention of that argument was the opposite – to show that most people are “good” not because of a God or reward or punishment – but because we are human, and it enhances our relationships with the rest of our equals. This is the interpretation of ethics that does not depend on religion.

          To further that argument, I will postulate that there are inconsistencies in the religious duties and how they affect human relationships. As an example, a Muslim is required to further their beliefs “by word, by deed, and by the sword”. So there is an inherent element of violence in that interpretation.

          The bible is not devoid of those instances. You rightly cite a couple of fragments where love of the christian god, and imply (though you don’t cite specifics) that this book also regulates ethics and morals. The problem is that it is full of ambiguities and contradictions. It says “Love one another with brotherly affection” (Romans 12:10 – note, mine is in Spanish so the translation is not great). Yet it also encourages killing others for different “transgressions” – Leviticus says kill adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals. Deuteronomy says kill villages that don’t follow your god, and women that are not virgins when they marry.

          Oh, and if you work on the Sabbath, your life shall be forfeit, too (Exodus 31:12-15). Heck, God even commands the killing of the innocent children (Ezekiel 9:5-7), or the more famous killing of all the Egyptian first born. So he’s vengeful, too?!

          Now explain to me, in all this maremagnum of behaviour dictates, who follows them? You might argue that some of these things apply or not – but I would counter that that is cherry picking. Are we allowed to pick and choose from the “holy” commandments in the sacred book?

          I have a humanist basis for my morals – again, better explained by Savater. Unfortunately most of his writings are in Spanish (he’s Basque). But the main “tool” (for he describes ethics as a tool to decide) is to treat the others as valuable persons, as opposed to things. And therefore, to put yourself in their shoes.

          In this context, it is rarely beneficial, in the general/long run (as humanity goes, not for personal profit) to take advantage of others and enslave/pillage/rape/kill. And I don’t need to mention that the bible allows slavery of foreigners (Leviticus 25:44), and even how Hebrew slaves “expire” and become free after 6 years of service. And you may even sell your daughter as an indentured sex employee (she’s not “free” at the end of 6 years, though). And if you kill one of your slaves, it’s ok as long as they don’t die right away. Is this the superior guidance for the morality we should adopt? (Exodus 21:20)

          We are humans. We should treat each others as such. We don’t need Santa Claus to bring us presents or a piece of charcoal to guide our decisions. Our attempts to use the supernatural to guide our behaviour have been atrocious. Maybe it’s time to regard each other as a fellow man, irrespective of the stories they prefer to tell their kids, their skin colour, or the size of their bank account.

        • EveryZig December 6, 2011 at 3:43 am #

          @Ben Lozier
          You claim atheists have no basis for their morality.
          What is YOUR basis for your morality?
          You claim it is your god and your bible, but your own words have demonstrated that this is not the case. Slavery is not evil because the bible says so. This is provably the case because the bible never actually condemns slavery, and at numerous points actually condones it in both old and new testaments (Exodus 21:7-11, Ephesians 6:5, etc). And don’t try to argue that those things were just part of the cultural climate, unless you would care to explain why an eternal omnipotent being panders to evil for any amount of time.

          So why do you as a christian recognize the evil of slavery, when your bible, allegedly the source of your morality, does no such thing?

          • Ben Lozier December 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

            Hm, I hope that the number of posts don’t quadruple every time I post something — that might get strenuous.

            Well, on to the answers:

            1.) Hello, Anton Sherwood.

            I’d like to start off by saying this: I’m sorry that you misunderstood me. I must not have made myself entirely clear, though looking back on my original post I notice that I did emphasis the fact that the issue was ethical and moral — that is, I know that there are certain things you may believe that have moral follow-ups, but those moral followups have no MORAL basis, so they are not moral at all: rather, the “morality” is a side effect of some intellectual agreement.

            Let me say that more clearly with an example:

            When you say “I’m not going to kill a man today because I would go to jail,” this is not making a moral decision. Do you see the difference? I’m not asking for a reason to not kill men; I’m asking for MORAL reason not to kill men. Don’t you see the vital difference? Atheistically, I can see why you wouldn’t want to go to jail. Morally, I can see no reason not to kill that man, simply because there is no such thing as “right” or “wrong” if there is no God.

            This is where you’re going wrong, Sherwood: I would like an ethical atheistic basis for morals, and not an intellectual decision that has moral implications. Just because a decision you make has moral IMPLICATIONS, ( e.g., I don’t enslave because it’s better for me,) doesn’t mean you have a moral basis, or that you have “morals” at all.

            Now, (Still addressing you, Sherwood) : your argument really makes no sense: what is “ugly” atheistically? You’re already starting out with a moral basis and assumption when you ASSUME that injustice is “ugly,” and that “ugly,” is something more than a few chemicals and electrons in your brain.

            Here’s what I’m saying: if we’re highly evolved animals in a godless world, what is beauty, and what is ugliness? The answer is, NOTHING! When you see a flower, atheistically, you are seeing nothing beautiful — there are just chemicals inside your brain, and electrons, that react differently.

            I hope I answered your objections clearly.

            Hello, Tycho.

            No, there is no reason — you are correct. 🙂

            Well, when I read your argument, I get confused: I’m not saying primarily (atheistically,) “you have no basis for being good,” (though certainly you don’t: if God does not exist, all things are permissible;) I’m saying (atheistically,) “you have no basis for good.” (the concept and existence of good, that is.)

            Again, if you are “good” because it enhances your relationship with others, that’s little more than an intellectual self-centred decision that has “moral” implications. No moral basis, again.

            So again, my whole point comes down to this: I need a moral basis. “moral” being the focus. Not an intellectual reason for “morality,” as in “it helps me;” because, again, that is merely an intellectual decision with “moral” implications.

            The next thing: biblical “inconsistencies” .

            First of all, I want to say I’m very reluctant answering this: biblical debates can go on for a long time; can be very complicated (to an extent,) and the article was originally on atheism and morals, not “The Bible and morals” —

            however, I will tackle the problem.

            So here’s your objection: ( tell me if you disagree with my re-wording.)

            ” The Bible says that God is love (loving) in some places, and yet in others appears to display unloving characteristics.”

            To understand this answer, you need to assume hypothetically that God exists. Once you assume that, it should be easier.

            1.) God does not love just humans; God loves justice. (think about that one.)

            2.) God is an infinitely holy God. Assume with me that God exists: now, read what he says in the Bible: that all men are desperately wicked, and are deserving of hell.

            I cannot stress this point enough: that God , far from being cruel, is pouring out mercy and blessings every time he allows us to live another day: and we have no right to the privilege of life, because we have rebelled against an infinitely holy God! Do the math – rebellion against an infinite God calls for infinite punishment. Only the death of his infinite Son could save us from his infinite wrath.

            So, in conclusion, I say this: that his punishment of the sexually immoral, of murderers, etc., was just and good; and that this punishment can go hand in hand with a loving God; but also a very holy God, who loves justice, purity, and goodness.

            Side note: God never killed anyone innocent.

            We do not pick and choose: the rules of God are clear. However, there were certain biblical political commandments given — on capital punishment — that were not as the ten commandments were: they were not set in stone, for all to follow. Certainly, “murder is wrong,” is a biblical mandate, as is “a murder is deserving of death.” Something that is not commanded clearly for all times in the Bible, though, is ” you shall kill every murderer.” Certainly God has said that; however, they were not, again, as the ten commandments were.

            Also:

            “But the main “tool” … is to treat the others as valuable persons.”

            1. Why? What moral basis is there to treat others in a godless world?

            Note: again, don’t give me an intellectual reason that has “moral ” implications — give me a moral basis.

            2. What is “valuable” in an atheistic world? What determines value? ( The answer to this question is, each person: in a godless world, I could logically value the life of my dog over that of my mother.)

            And, concerning slavery: Biblical Israelites did not enslave people according to skin colour. There are two reasons enslavery would happen:

            1.) A fellow Israelite, or otherwise, would steal or otherwise illegally offend another Israelite. There was a certain amount of money, that, if reached, would result in so many years of slavery.

            2.) In war, when enslavery was commanded by God.

            In first Timothy, the Apostle Paul clearly preaches against enslavery — (first chapter.) Also, you were to treat slaves kindly in the OT, (and NT, for that matter,) as is demonstrated in Paul’s kind treatment of a runaway slave who had been caught.

            I’d rather like to see the part about selling your daughters, biblically, please.

            Also, it doesn’t seem to me that that verse is saying it’s alright to beat your slave as long as they don’t die: what it’s saying is, PUNISH the one who beats his slave so badly that they die. You’re drawing incorrect conclusions.

            “We are humans. We should treat each others as such. ”

            What basis do you have for that? It sounds like you’re assuming that there is a “way” that humans should be treated. There is! You know that, I don’t deny that — what you can’t explain is the moral basis for that — you cannot explain the inherent value of life, human life especially.

            Let me ask you: if, as an atheist, (I’m not) it would give me greater pleasure to rape than it would to treat fellow women with love and respect, and also a love for virginity, what basis do I have for not carrying this out? And you can’t call me wrong for doing that; I would just be doing what I thought was best; there are no rules against that in a Godless world.

            Hey, EveryZig.

            My basis for morality is a holy and infinite God, whom I obey because I love him. I also fear him– but I do not obey through fear of hell or punishment; I don’t fear hell.

            I believe I already answered some of your objections in my response to Tycho. Again, these were not slaves because of skin colour, but because of past evil deeds.

            The Bible also preaches a love and kindness towards slaves. I find it interesting to note, that, while you quoted Ephesians 6:5, you did not include this:

            “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

            9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.”

            That obviously shows that God loves slaves just as much, and that slaves are to be treated well.

            So now tell me: how is it unjust to punish someone for their evil deeds? ( i.e., biblical slavery.)

          • EveryZig December 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

            @Ben Lozier
            Actually, biblical slavery did have a racial basis. In (Leviticus 25:44-46), it states that you can in fact buy permanent slaves as long as they are non-Israelites. This is hardly an instance of slavery from war (which is in itself dubious POW treatment) in that it explicitly includes non-Israelite migrants living in your country. It mentions nothing of their criminal status, but does state that they will be yours forever, including being inherited by your descendants.
            With the part about treating slaves kindly, does that suddenly make things alright? To be bought and sold for money, with no right to control your life or chance to progress in it, but its ok if your master isn’t too harsh?

            @”Side note: God never killed anyone innocent.”
            Seriously? Newborn (firstborn or not) babies are guilty of what crime, exactly? I recall the bible saying that the sons are not guilty for the crimes of their fathers.

  6. Marx December 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”-Dawkins
    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen Roberts

    Wrong. Atheism is the position that no God exists; this is the definition you’ll find outside the new atheist circle of groupthinkers, such philosophical or etymological dictionaries. It has nothing to do with believing in 1 less or more God(s), etc. It is the complete rejection of the existence of any and all God(s). Roberts claims, “When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” Most theists and deistic believe in their concept of God because they find the evidence for it is more plausible than others. Thus atheists like Roberts must provide evidence why they believe in the nonexistence of God(s); most atheists today, however, merely claim a lack of evidence, which not a rational basis to reject God. At most, a rational person would be agnostic. Before any atheist claims you can’t prove a negative, read a basic philosophy textbook and you’ll realize this is false. In fact, science is used to prove negatives all the time; for example, testing water samples for specific bacteria. If said bacteria is not found, you have proven a negative. Further, those like Roberts would expect us to understand why they reject God. Well, no, since for theists/deists the evidence points to God and thus probably interpret the evidence in the same way as these atheists do, much like atheists do not interpret the evidence the way believers do. We could also simplify this and turn these quotes on their heads; a believer can contend that we are all theists or deists, they just believe in at least 1 more God than the atheist.

  7. Ben Lozier December 4, 2011 at 1:43 am #

    Just a comment: I think that John Lennox made an excellent point concerning quote you listed.

    “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” – Richard Dawkins

    In response to this, (in a public debate,) Lennox said, basically, ” That’s not true at all. Would you say that the married man is no different from the unmarried man, it’s just that the unmarried man goes “one wife further”? ”
    ( This demonstration makes sense — polygamy = pantheism , etc. )

    The difference between one wife and two wives is enormous. The difference between three wives and four, not so significant. But the difference between one God and no God, or one wife and no wife, is too vastly different to quantitatively state — just like the difference between 0 and 1. It’s not going “one God further,” it’s more than that. “One God further” might be a good phrase for two pantheists, arguing for and against the existence of a specific God, but it doesn’t work well here.

  8. Lino Silva December 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Good thing atheism and rationalism is finally spreading, ending the religion non-sense. Cheers man.

  9. Larian LeQuella November 29, 2011 at 4:58 am #

    Glad to hear of a young,smart, and level-headed skeptic and atheist out there. Keep up the good work.

  10. Steve Edwards November 28, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Rhys, I concur completely, given a couple of replies, you might at sometime wish to explore religion and bigotry. Theists would have you belive they are nothing but bastions of purity.

    More power to your elbow. keep up the good work

  11. Micha Sass November 23, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Racism is making a claim that one race is superior to another. Atheism makes a claim that one way of thinking is superior to another. The atheist would like to believe that disbelief is superior to belief. Although race and religion are different, they are thoroughly intertwined. Whenever someone says things that suggest someone else is in some way inferior, upset will be caused. So really Atheism is not Racism, but Atheism is a way of saying you are superior to others.

    OffTopic :: I wonder if disbelief is easier to sustain than belief, or do atheists constantly battle with the urge to believe in something supernatural?

    • latsot November 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

      “Atheism makes a claim that one way of thinking is superior to another”

      It’s entirely legitimate to look down on people who make extraordinary claims without evidence. Really, it’s just fine because a certain (rational) way of thinking is vindicated precisely because it requires claims be tested whereas the other (broadly religious) approach celebrates any old shit we simply make up.

    • J.R. LeMar November 28, 2011 at 11:18 am #

      “Atheism makes a claim that one way of thinking is superior to another”

      No it doesn’t. No it doesn’t, some individuals who are atheists may claim that one way of thinking is superior, but atheism itself is simply a lack of believe in a Supreme Being or Beings.

      If anything, Religion is the claim that one way of thinking is superior, since all the majority religions, especially Christianity, is based on the belief that is the one and only true religion in the world, and that believing in it is the only way to salvation.

    • Shelby November 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

      No, atheism is simply the lack of a belief in a god or gods.

      Some atheists feel that disbelief is superior to belief, but not all. It is the same with theists: some of them (I’m being generous, here) feel that belief is superior to disbelief. You cannot judge one group solely on the opinions of some of its adherents.

    • Kate November 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

      “Atheism makes a claim that one way of thinking is superior to another.”
      Yes, it does. If you believe anything, ever, then you are believing it based on the fact that you think it is superior to another way of thinking. Otherwise… why would you believe it? The difference lies in whether you believe the way of thinking is superior, or you believe yourself to be superior because you think this way, and, by extension, people thinking otherwise are inherently inferior. I don’t think that Atheists are superior to Theists. I think Atheists are more correct in one aspect of their personal beliefs. It’s different. And not comparable to racism. At all. It’s like calling me a racist if I believe in heaven rather than reincarnation. Do you see the issue?

      In fact, by assuming, based on my beliefs (or lack thereof), that I make such judgements, or hold am a less accepting person because of it is a lot more comparable to racism. What’s the actual term… sectarianism? I’m not sure. What I am doing is no different, really, from you choosing, for example (as I do not know your religion), that Christianity is more worthy of your belief than Hinduism. You are making a choice about your personal beliefs, based on your own rationality and/or innate sense of spirituality, or perhaps cultural background. Please do not attempt to deny me that same right by accusing me of automatic snobbery.

      Some atheists believe themselves superior. Throughout history, many religions (such as Christianity) have believed themselves to be superior. Please do not make offensive generalisations, of any religion or lack of it.

      And I apologise in general for the continued use of Christianity as an example. It is simply the religion of the majority of internet users (in my experience) and the religion that I have most knowledge of.

    • Al November 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

      The believers are the ones who’ve consistently claimed superiority over the “heathens” for centuries upon centuries. I simply disagree with the beliefs of all religions, some more so than others (I loathe the Judeo-Christian belief system, and its fetishizing of violence and outright bigotry, even genocide.) I don’t wish upon them an eternity of nothing but pain, though that is what they consistently wish upon me, simply because I don’t take them at their word.

      And as for me, no, I don’t battle that urge. There’s no need, there are plenty of things in the natural realm that I don’t understand yet, and therefor no need to to turn to the supernatural for mystery.

    • MW November 29, 2011 at 2:01 am #

      Anti-racism also makes a claim that one way of thinking is superior to another. Your logic implies that anti-racism is racist.

    • Anton Sherwood November 29, 2011 at 6:50 am #

      Can’t you say of every opinion that it “makes a claim that one way of thinking is superior to another”?

    • Micha Sass November 29, 2011 at 11:57 am #

      I accept my claims about atheism are not universal to all atheists, and are not directly part of the definition of atheism. Some atheists are happy to not believe in god without actually claiming believers are in some way inferior.

      Thanks for all your replies 🙂

      p.s. Many religions DO claim non-believers are a lower class of human. Atheists generally seem more balanced. Not sure I can say the same thing for Secular Humanists, they seem a bit cranky, almost as pushy as a typical ‘bible-basher’.

    • Tycho November 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

      Nope, that is a false statement. Atheism does not imply superiority, anywhere. Unless you mean any belief automatically creates on its wielder a belief of superiority – then Christians>Muslims>Judaists>Hindus>Voodans>Satanists>Christians. And all over again.

      Are you superior to others because of your faith, whatever that is? Are you a “chosen one” like the Jehova’s Witnesses tried to sell me last year?

      If you think about it, for all the evidence of religion there is, there is not much more in favour of “god” as opposed to Santa Claus – it’s omniscient, rewards and punishes you, and can violate the laws of physics (miracles).

      With regard to your question – I don’t find it difficult to “resist” the urge to believe in something supernatural. I would argue the opposite – since you clearly believe in the supernatural, do you find it hard to “stop” at some point? God is ok? What about Nymphs and spirits inhabiting our nature? What about Raganrok? What about sorceror’s academies like in Rawling’s books? What about HPL’s eldritch horrors? Or what about the Bermuda Triangle mysteries? Do you believe in all of those, or you pick and choose?

    • Becca December 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

      A good definition of racism but I think it would maybe be more accurate to say racism is a claim that one race is inferior to others, if you see what I mean? As for the atheism bit, replace “superior” with “more accurate based on available facts”. I think some of it is a liguistic issue- I am an atheist but I don’t really like the term. It’s the “ist” bit at the end which suggests being against the thing- racist, sexist, etc- which doesn’t really match how I think most people feel on the matter. I am not opposed to god or to the existance of any higher being, I simply cannot come to the conclusion that any such being exists. Based on facts, not feelings. I’m sure that some atheists do feel superior, just as some people of faith do, but that’s people, not “isms” that are at fault. I don’t think that any group can be labelled under one term, there is far too much backgroud to cover and too much variation within people.
      To address your “offtopic” point (a good question by the way)- when I was younger I attended some Christian Union meetings at school and then later became interested in witchcraft and became Wiccan (albeit rather lazily). After a year or two I met some very interesting people who inspired me to read more scientific material, an influence I will always treasure because I am still reading such things and learning constantly with a devotion and fascination which my religious endeavours never brought out in me. Some of my family are deeply religious and I also have Christian friends; I admire their belief, the strength of their faith and the assurance and certainty it must bring them, however when I see pictures of distant galaxies whose light we see was emitted hundreds of millions of years ago; when I think of coal being the compressed remains of plants growing so many thousands of years ago; when fossils are unearthed showing another evolutionary step such as Ida in Germany and when I watch documentaries about the elements, volcanoes or the astounding beauty of fractals, it amazes me so much more that these things are the result of a billion tiny influences, processes and so many years of development, rather than they just are because God made them like that. Knowing that the Earth is here due to the Big Bang, which started in motion the movement of matter, swirling into planets which were bombarded into line by asteroid showers, one process in turn effecting another until the first organisms evolve in the primordial soup to grow more and more complex, to eventually stand up on four, on two legs, and through all this to survive and be affected by meteors, continental splits, ice ages and lava flows blows my mind on a regular basis and I don’t even need to praise anyone for it.

      • Anton Sherwood December 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

        Becca, thanks for writing that.

        There seems to be a deep temperamental split in people: some say that to know how something works, ‘reducing’ it to simple rules, takes all the wonder out of it; while for you and me that understanding makes whatever-it-is all the more wonderful.

    • Bryan January 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

      Which of these sounds like the person thinks they are superior to the other:
      1) “You are wrong. Because you don’t believe what I believe and worship the way I worship, when we die God will burn you in hell for all eternity while he rewards me with unending bliss.”
      2) “I don’t see any evidence that makes me believe what you believe. As far as I know, when we die, we’ll be dead and that’s all there is to it.”

      Thinking that you are right and someone else is wrong doesn’t mean that you think you are better than them. On the other hand, thinking you are right and someone else is wrong and because of that you deserve eternal reward and they deserve eternal damnation…

  12. latsot November 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Atheists aren’t the ones connecting or confusing religion with race.

    There are historical, cultural and often abusive reasons why children are compelled into one religion or another, Most atheists are *against* all of that that. We’re *against* religion being propagated down family lines because parents decide to tell their children want to think. We’re *for* children deciding to believe whatever they want, whether we like it or not.

    So it’s hard to understand how atheism can be racist. We tend to delight equally in picking apart any and every misconception.

    • latsot November 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

      *what* to think, not *want*. Dear me.

  13. Not a fan of the morgan clan October 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    you dont really need a god seeing that your dad thinks he is one and i would be so worried if my child was as arrogant and opinionated as you

    • Paul Morgan October 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      Why is this comment anonymous? It seems you are prepared to be abusive to someone yet provide no details of what your issues are or even who you are. Are you a homeopath or an MMS advocate/quack? At least have the guts to say what your problem is.

      • Barnaby Edwards October 23, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

        ‘i would be so worried if my child was as arrogant and opinionated as you’ – Yes, far better to have ignorant and subservient children who cannot think for themselves and inherit all the ignorant prejudices of their parents. That’s the way for a better future.

    • Amber S K. October 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

      Anonymous,

      I am the mother of a 9 year old boy, a skeptic and an atheist. I’ve been following Rhys’ advocacy for about a year now and I’ve always been sincerely impressed with him and his parents for raising such a great kid…who is growing into an incredible young man. I hope to raise my son to be such a brave, intelligent, and most importantly, empathetic and kind person. Your comment was not only mean-spirited but cowardly. Who cares what some anonymous idiot thinks? I don’t. If you don’t have the guts to sign your name to your little insults, don’t bother to write them.

  14. superhappyjen October 19, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    Thumbs up for atheism.

  15. Purplebint October 12, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    My favourite version of the quote is this one –

    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    Stephen Roberts – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Henry_Roberts

    I want to get it made up on business cards to give out to anyone who knocks on my door to sell me their religion.

    • Rhys Morgan October 12, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      That is indeed a superior version of the quote!
      Vistaprint are pretty damn good and you only pay for the shipping for your first 250 business cards. May be worth looking into!

      • Derek Hamer November 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

        A Christian is one who believes in THE God (not a god) and we believe God, the Father, sent His Son into the world to die on the cross at Calvary
        to bare the sin of the whole world Believe in Him and you will find He is
        true to His word. He can change your life Ask those who have experience
        of it.

        • Raymond Johnson November 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

          What does that have to do with the subject of this blog post?

        • Brian R November 29, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

          What evidence do you have to back up this claim?

        • Justin Zimmer November 30, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

          A Muslim is one who believes in THE God Allah (not a god) and they believe Allah, the Father, dictated through Muhammed the Holy Q’uran.
          Believe in Him and you will find He is
          true to His word. He can change your life Ask those who have experience of it.

          A pastafarian is one who believes in THE Flying Spaghetti Monster (not a god) and we believe FSM, the Creator, sent pirates into the world to bare the sin of the whole world Believe in Him and you will find He is
          true to His word. He can change your life Ask those who have experience
          of it. May ye be touched by his noodly appendage.

          A Hare Krishnan is one who believes in THE God Vishnu (not a god) and they believe Krishna…

          Shall I continue? Please explain which belief is less absurd and why. I don’t believe you can without resorting to ethnocentrism or personal religious bias based on your cultural upbringing. At best you might congeal “THE God (not a god)” into some deistic omnimpotent (intentional) being that might have catalyzed the formation of the universe, but this leads to a sort of divine apathy that soon becomes agnosticism, which makes atheism just as tenable. If you then, through the knowledge we have attained by actually studying the world and not ancient literature, gained a cosmic perspective, you could begin to take on a more pantheistic worldview. But distilling intention and personal intervention from such a source becomes impossible, and you lose your invisible friend. You might then become more willing to see all of humanity as your in-group rather than those who recite the same gibberish you seem to be enamored with, and you might suddenly realize the literal and incontrovertible connection of everything on our little sidereal ark, carrying this ephemeral phenomenon called life through a vast and awesome cosmos. So, yes, maybe I find that view a little superior to your little dead-guy-on-a-stick fairy-tale. I don’t feel I have to apologize for that, as you likely feel your belief superior to those who worship Allah, or meditate in the search of their Buddha nature. At least mine is based on reality, and serves to work some good in this world for the betterment of our species, for the advancement of life. If you find a paltry little book the better agent of Truth than the profound nature of reality, then I truly pity you, and hope your eyes will one day be opened to the wonderment of existence, as many more like you will as this century unfolds. Call me arrogant, I really don’t care. There is so much more to know, and I have little time to trouble with the opinions of stunted minds.

          • Pete Williams December 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

            I love being an atheist/skeptic. It’s the only way of looking at the world that makes any sense to me. Anyone claiming that it’s a racist viewpoint is clutching at their last straw, because that’s all they’ve got.

            But seriously, if I hear one more word about the f*cking Flying Spaghetti Monster I’m changing sides. It’s not funny, it’s just embarrassing. Stop it.

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