Sunday, September 27, 2015

I'm no longer an atheist

Don't be silly: I still think the idea of god is utter bollocks.

I'm no longer an atheist because I no longer believe that religion, as a social, cultural, political, and economic institution, has any special or unusual characteristics to distinguish it from non-religious institutions.

Again, I don't think that religions are especially good institutions. But I see all the negative characteristics in religion appearing in non-religious and anti-religious institutions. It's not just Richard Dawkins, a person I once admired (as much as I admire anyone), but has now become a pathetic buffoon. I see the dogmatism, stupidity, hatefulness, and assholery — qualities that religion, while not quite having a monopoly, seemed to have adopted as its peculiar niche — have become entrenched far outside the sphere of religion: MRAs, gamergate, the Republican presidential primary campaign (where religion seems surprisingly low-key), zombie economics, etc. ad nauseam.

In a world where the Catholic Church is looking more progressive than the Clinton faction of the Democratic party (and while I'd love to be proven wrong, I can see no chance for Sanders as a Democrat), I can no longer believe that religion per se is a particular problem in our society: it's lost its dominance on the worst of human ideas. Religion is now just one place among many where we stick our stupid ideas.

I've long argued that atheism is a political label, and I no longer share the political view associated with that label. I understand those who do still hold that view, and of course I do not think religion should be exempt from criticism, but I no longer believe that religion is anywhere close to the most important problem in society.

The most important problem, of course, is capitalism.


  1. Does being an atheist have to mean that I find the religion to be the biggest problem in society? Can't I be a communist first and an atheist second(or seventh) provided I do think that religion is a social nuisance and still retain the political distinction?

  2. Well, atheism doesn't have to mean anything; it can mean whatever you want. I'm just applying my own particular meaning as it applies to how I label myself. I make no claims to semantic authority.

    To be more clear: I don't believe religion per se is an important enough problem for me to spend any of my time working on it. If you think religion is an important enough problem to spend time on, even if it's not the most important problem, then you could legitimately use the term in the sense that I mean it. (And, to repeat, if you want to use a different sense of the word, that's OK too, so long as you don't try to use a meaning intending to fool anyone.)

  3. I would agree for the most part but consider what the religious dimwits are doing all over the country that PUSHES capitalism to the Nth degree! Most atheists I know are mostly liberals that lean toward socialism and individual freedom. The religious are pushing the rePUKEian party which is an advocate for unbridled capitalism and government control of all social ideas and no capitalism ideas.
    So my atheism is a part of my change of direct toward socialism.

  4. I don't think religion is pushing capitalism; I think capitalism is pushing (among other things) religion. And I don't think religion is being pushed any harder than anything else.

    Most atheists I know are mostly liberals that lean toward socialism and individual freedom.

    As a communist, I'm very unimpressed by the difference between "liberals" and "conservatives": mostly a little more lube when fucking the working class, and a few more crocodile tears over the poor brown people killed by drones.

    So my atheism is a part of my change of direct toward socialism.

    Good news indeed. But I see as many atheists pushing towards hyper-capitalism, and religious people pushing towards socialism.

  5. Epistemologically, atheism has nothing to do with the provincial politics of this planet. Evidence supports atheism in the same manner that it supports science. This is the essence of what science has done, without the intention of making claims about any particular religion, but refuting so many of them nonetheless.

    There are no fields or particles or constituent of the cosmos that suggest the existence of something transcendent. To call oneself anything but an atheist is to suggest that the propositions of any religion are potentially equally valid to those of science.

    On a more practical point, science and technology, not religion or politics, will determine in the long run how we ultimately shed our transient need for capitalism.

  6. The "provincial politics of this planet" are matters of some importance, if you care at all just about eating every day, and more so about justice. I personally care much more about things like prosperity, justice, and human well-being than I care about abstract matters of philosophical epistemology.

    YMMV, but I don't have a trust fund, nor am I blind to my own various privileges.

  7. Seems like some of the commenter's are caught up in semantics here. I think its pretty clear that you were using a definition of atheism not be found in dictionaries or the philosophical encyclopedia [used by Austin at atheism.about]**. Its an instance of using a "personal dictionary". I'm not criticizing. The worst that could be said about your usage is that it is "improper"; not wrong. Your meaning of atheism as a political label is clear (at least I think so) and having a clear meaning is the point of "proper" definitions anyway imo.

    As to the message of your entry (hope I'm inferring the implication correctly)...

    I think I would agree that religions aren't especially bad institutions. I think religion (or some variants or religion) are special or unique when it comes to their effect on people though. Sometimes, people think whether or not others have their ontology or metaphysically privileged position supersedes others usage of deductive or abductive reasoning. I suspect that its fairly common to think that ones ontology is necessary for reason. For better or worse religion seems to have a lot of power in pushing and conserving social, political, and ethical ideas; maybe the privilege and built-in insulation [from contrary perspectives] is part of that.

    Maybe the insular (I really hope I'm coherent here) aspect of [some] religions isn't so special or unique. Like you say; dogmatism has been and can be entrenched in sphere's well outside of religion.

    ***I couldn't find the source listed on the cite by the way. I guess I could but I'm kind of lazy.

    1. Recently realized semantics pertains to "meaning" and not "terminology"/"usage". I should have said "proper/standard/common definition" instead of "semantics".


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