Friday, November 30, 2012

You cannot be a follower and an atheist

Vanitas II
Often criticism of atheists is that they simply "believe" there is no God with the corollary assumption they'll eventually come around to belief in the existence of a greater power in the end. Atheism though isn't a belief system along the lines of a religion. Because you are an atheist does not therefore mean you are searching for the right belief system with which to belong, to become a follower, just a believer who does not yet know it and have somehow lost their way to God. 

The point of difference is no quibble over the word belief. To state a belief is not to present a point of fact based upon evidence and reason. To argue atheism is just another form of belief is in part a distraction but in the main is used as a counter argument to maintain religion and atheism within some form of equivalence of position. It is a redundant argument but one the religious seem happy to consistently present as proof of atheism's flaw. 

If we agreed atheism was a 'system' comparable to religion then perhaps we'd have a foot hold for comparison, but atheism is not 'organised' or a 'system' to compare with religion/s. It is a position of thought but not a system of thought unless you determine that reason is a 'system' and therefore a format similar to 'religion'. Atheism can be a form of self determination like religion but this says only that an individual is characterised as being religious or not. An atheist does not simply not 'believe' in a god or god system they instead use reason (not necessarily scientific proofs) to determine the absence of deities of any type and to explain the world around them. 

Atheism is in my assessment the default human position before imagination turns or is turned into superstition. Religions manipulate superstition into indoctrination and pressure to conform and comply. Events man made or occurring in nature become evil portents, confirmations of doctrine, dogmatic distortion of human behaviour follow and a world better explained by reason, science and the imagination and not a holy spirit, shaman or prophet becomes a dangerous place from which to be saved by a greater power. Religions are out of control human obsessions, fears and doubts, not forms of human enlightenment.

Organised religions are systems striving to survive, grow and dominate. If necessary to survive some prop up, direct and at their worst inspire evil where it might otherwise have may remained obscured. 

Atheists can make no claim for absolution to their actions because of what is written or spoken by an unseen all powerful anthropomorphous entity. An Islamic suicide bomber calls upon Allah and the Koran as his guide and justification for what he does. Madness exists regardless but religion can be a vehicle for its physical realisation.

A much more complex set of external and internal events and characteristics of a society are at play than the presence or not of atheism to have brought about a Stalin, a Pol Pot or a Hitler. Totalitarianism and despotism do not require atheism to emerge. The process of transformation into a religious like entity with strict belief systems and controls is what makes these totalitarians successful. Characteristics of which atheism is the antithesis. Though religions can and often are used to inspire and direct mass control in the manner of Hitler; who as pointed out in this essay by Demetrios Vakras, was "the perfect Christian" and not as claimed an atheist or pagan. See:  

Religion, not atheism, is the effective way to galvanise a population, organise and justify oppression, and inspire the control and dominance of 'enemies' internal or external. It is outstandingly successful and effective especially when it additionally taps into tribalism, nationalism and racism. Cruel acts perpetrated upon those who are not of the "right" or endorsed religion and because a sacred text supports such acts expose that religion to valid criticism. It is why Christianity is so determined to disown Hitler. It is why Islam is so determined to deny the existence of such passages in the Koran that support violent acts by followers upon "unbelievers" instead claiming the entire text is a message of "peace". A peace which upon closer inspection though is not of co-existence, but one of submission to Islam. If you submit you will have peace. Simple.

Religion is a simple enough formula, you worship a god, you follow his rules, you will be rewarded somehow in death and punished, damned, overlooked if you transgress. To the faithful it becomes defensible to, as part of their aspirations to conform act in the defense of what and who they worship by doing harm to others. Religion is used compellingly to jell populations into war or reinforce tyrannical control over ones own people, neighbours or opponents.

Atheism cannot prevent madness but can and does seriously threaten religiously inspired domination and oppression by replacing belief with reason which introduces the conditions for producing more free thinkers rather than followers.  

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About Leeanneart

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
We are first and foremost human with a responsibility to the humanity within us and not to any faith, political, apolitical, social or societal group, union or faction. We are responsible for our own reputation, and for what deeds we do and what achievements or otherwise in life we enjoy. The rest is nonsense.