the remarkable faith of atheists

Hanne Nabintu insists there are no atheists whatsoever. Whatever is most important to the human being, she says, is their religion. To do this, she has redefined religion, following Heidegger, as being whatever is essential, whatever one desperately believes in and advocates for and clings onto in times of trouble. She adds that religion can be further said to be man’s ultimate goal. In this view then, one can say, with Thomas Paine, that doing good is their religion.

She says, and I will let her speak.

 It takes a remarkable amount of faith to be an atheist, as he describes the afterlife as empty space, although he has not in any possible way been there to examine it. He is as religious as anybody else and believes without any shred of evidence that life after death is non-existent.

which is an interesting accusation to label at atheists. Speaking for myself, I will say that the arguments that have been made for an afterlife are all unconvincing and further, given no one has provided any evidence for life beyond the grave, I am comfortable in asserting there is likely no afterlife. As they say elsewhere, when we die, we shall either know the truth or stop asking. Having said this, it would be interesting to have Hanne present the evidence she seems to be so convinced she has of the afterlife.

Going by what she writes, almost any strong belief can be called a religion: Materialism is the religion of people who put the acquiring of wealth above all else desirable (this is a narrow view of materialism. She excludes philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental aspects and consciousness, are results of material interactions).

Where she loses it completely is when she defines atheism. She writes

Atheism is the all absorbing faith in that there is no God or spiritual beings, none above us to whom he will be held accountable. This forms his passionate ideology, strong conviction and worldview.

and while there are atheists who simply state there is no god, many are comfortable with the position that evidence for deities has not been provided to warrant a belief in their existence. But this would not do, if one wants to create and defeat a strawman.

If religion is stripped of its relationship with the supernatural, worship, priests and all, then indeed, in a secular world, we may indeed be much more religious than we think.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

44 thoughts on “the remarkable faith of atheists

  1. rautakyy says:

    Strange, how the religious demand to drag the atheist to the same level of religiosity. As if they on some level actually understood, that faith is indeed a poor method to determine truth.

    Indeed I have met people who have a religious relationship to a number of things, values and even hobbies that have absolutely nothing to do with religions per se. However being religious about a piece of information, or some issue does not mean that this thing is actually a religion. That is like saying that collecting stamps is a religion. What am I then by being the non-stamp-collector?

    If everything that is “essential” to an individual is to be called a religion, then what do we call the religions that are specifically built around a belief in some supernatural entities? Should we, then to specify them separate from the rest of “essential” issues, start to call them superstitious religions? Or what? If there are no atheists, then what do we call a person who does not believe in the claims of supernatural by those religions build around assumptions about the supernatural? If we make up some other name than an atheist (because supposedly there are no atheists) then perhaps I am one of those people. However, as long as nobody represents an alternative term to describe a person who does not belive in any of the many contradictionary claims about the supernatural, then I remain an atheist and the religious person who does not believe there are atheists is wellcome to see me to be convinced, that I do exist indeed.

    As to the claim, that the atheist “describes the afterlife as empty space”, I wonder where did she draw that one up. I myself, coming from an atheist family in three generations on both sides and almost all of my closest friends being atheists, find this exeptionally odd, as no atheist I know of has ever claimed that they believe there is an afterlife to be described as an “empty space”, or any space at all, for that matter. It is a strange notion, that some atheist may indeed hold, as I do not know all atheists, but a contradictory one to what we do know about death, cell decomposition and the end of electromagnetic activity in the brain where we as personas exist.


    • makagutu says:

      It must have been Thomas Paine, I think, who wrote doing good was his religion. And I don’t think there are any associated rituals to this or even a meeting place or some ordained ministers.
      I think this guy was just rambling for a few clicks. Blogosphere can be lonely, you know


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