New atheists and morality

Godless Cranium has written a post, which I will read after I finish writing mine for fear that should I read his first, I may find it so good I will be unable to go ahead. It is a response to Lyle who has written the amazing new atheists.

In his brief essay, The Necessity of Atheism, Percy Bysshe Shelley writes, and I paraphrase that ignorance of nature created the gods, its knowledge will be the death of gods. If this has not been true at any time in our history, then it is more so now.

Lyle starts his post thus

I am truly amazed at people that claim they are atheist and then spent a great deal of their time talking about or even arguing about transcendental concepts like love, justices and truth.

and one wonders if these are not human terms? Anyone, as long as they are human, can use them. Or does Lyle intend to tell us there is only a special class of persons to whom love, justice and truth should matter?

He goes on

If there is no God, are these concept not just empty expressions? Why spent the time and effort to try to convince the theist or for that matter anyone that there is no God?  If there is no God, is not truth just a subjective term that has no real content?

I don’t speak for other atheists, but I am not busy trying to convince a theist there is no god. I already know and that is enough for me. What does god have to do with justice? Is Lyle telling us without his belief in a phantom, he will be robbing his neighbour, killing their pets? What does he mean by betting justice on a god? And while he keeps throwing truth around, what does he mean by truth?

I don’t know how gods non-existence

would necessitate the complete remaking of everything, our language, our culture, values, civilization and in essences the very way we think about everything.

Is culture so dependent on god that if men stopped believing in some ghost, it would collapse? Hasn’t humanity progressed in spite of culture, religion and not because of it?

And he represents Nietzsche when he writes

We are talking about the world of Nietzsche, a world, which has gone beyond good and evil, a world of a mad man

for he( Nietzsche) dreamt of a higher man. He writes for the free spirit. Not held back by custom, by religion or dogma.

He asks

can mankind survive as man without the idea of God?

and I say a resounding yes. I hope also he recognizes, god is just an idea and one which hasn’t even been coherently defined. It means whatever the believer wants it to mean.

Someone said, and I paraphrase, all great ideas start as heresy and I find these words

For this reason I believe that atheism is the most dangers and destructive ideology in the world

by Lyle to capture the spirit of that quote. Yes, any idea that leads to a revolution in the way of thought is dangerous. It can’t be any other way. And Lyle has every reason to be scared. Religion cannot stand the assault of reason without transforming itself into something entirely different.

When he writes

Some may respond by saying that they feel religion is evil and that they are simply trying to do away with evil and replace it with something better. Well I would have to agree that some religion is evil but not because religion itself is evil but rather because there are evil men in religion.

I have to disagree. Religion is inherently harmful. No man is evil. It is judgement that makes it so, and this judgement is not on the person but on their actions rather consequences of their actions.

It is odd that the person berating atheists as being relativist[s] says

You might reply, because religion hurts people. My answer is, it has not hurt me,

Is a god necessary for one to know genocide is harmful or that war is? Is the believer so handicapped? Who ties their shoelaces?

That the Nazis thought exterminating the Jews reasonable doesn’t make it so. I don’t want to be exterminated. In the words of John Donne,

Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee

I must think theists very ignorant of the church history. When the church had divine guidance, witches were burnt, men and women burnt at the stake and religious differences settled by crusades. As Arch would say, religion is trying to bring peace to a world torn apart by religion.

Anytime a theist brings up the reign of Stalin as a counterpoint to atheistic society, I am convinced the fellow has an IQ less than that of my shirt, and I mean no insult here. Stalin was for lack of a better word psycho. The religious represent about 58% of the Chinese population. The government is authoritarian. Nobody denies that the ruling party is atheistic. It’s faults are not, in my view, because it is atheistic but because it is authoritarian.

It is a fact that

The truth is that belief in God is as much a matter of the will as the intelligent.

and this explains why there are those who regardless of anything reason can show them, they would still believe in god.

I don’t want to go beyond here. It is no argument for the truth of religion that some intelligent person believed.