Atheists, rather than a constant non-meeting of minds with theists

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humbersloop | 18:52 Sun 25th Mar 2012 | Religion & Spirituality
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Does this seem like a reasonable starting point for further discussion?


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will be fascinated to see the comments.
Can't imagine why anyone would think that further discussion is required.
I would suggest that the article is almost entirely pointless. Every point made is, for me at least, a given. The article simply seems to be defining what it is to be an atheist.

The one thing I don't agree with is the first point. Julian states, “... It has long been recognised that the term 'atheist' has unhelpful connotations...”. I would suggest that the only people who consider atheists and atheism to be 'unhelpful' are those people who wish to push a religious agenda. The term 'atheist' is well understood to mean a person who does not believe in god or gods. I'm happy to call myself an atheist; I do not believe in god(s) - the label 'atheist' seems to cover that pretty well.

If there is a point to the article, it is in the first few words where it is said, “... Atheists are too often portrayed as bishop-bashing extremists and any meaningful debate with the religious becomes impossible...”

I wonder who is portraying atheism in such a poor light? It wouldn't be the religious people by any chance would it? You know, those turn-the-other-cheek types?
Why should an atheist seek to be defined on religious terms, as heathens, simply because we do not subscribe to their dogma?

The term 'atheist' is itself meaningless except to differentiate the default status from those who choose to adopt and promote a belief in the existence of a divine creator and overseer of reality. Atheism tells us nothing, good or bad, right or wrong, about the atheist other than that they are not a theist.

There is only one thing that can unite us as human beings, that which distinguishes us and defines us as a distinct species, the rationality which arises from embracing our ability to reason, thereby recognising that we have similar needs determined by a common reality in which lies the potential to be beneficial to each other in ways that are in our mutual best interest.

Truth and reason are not gained nor achieved by abandoning logic in the face of an uncompromising reality through attempts to appease and pander to those who believe what they do, not because of but in spite of that reality.

Don't blame the atheist for the inability to reach agreement with what some choose to believe in spite of what is true. It is the religious who have departed from the quest for mutual understanding and who have abandoned themselves through the poisoning of their own minds with faith. We are simply exercising our right to choose not to be complicit with nor party to spiritual embezzlement and intellectual treason.

Did you guys even get doen to 9 and 10?

Exactly which religions reject supernatural entities? (I include the soul as such a supernatural entity)

And in what way is religion "Our Friend" Yes they do good works but they underpin and reinforce a superstitious irrational way of thinking that has hugely damaging consequences.

That notion says "religion is worthy of respect" and by implication that their beliefs are worthy of respect.

I would not challange their rights to hold their beliefs but I do not think those beliefs are worthy of our respect and I sure don't think religion is my friend!
I really resent this muppets hijacking of the word ' Heathen' to mean whatever it is the boring feck has decided in his own tiny little head it means when Heathenism is the adherance to a form of Norse / Germanic Neo-Paganism. I have plenty of Heathen friends and family who cetainly aren't atheists- so feck off and get your own bloody word:(
Can't disagree with what's already been said.
There are quite a few points in the article that I disagree with and quite a few baseless assumptions about what an atheist is. I believe the term 'naturalist' has alread been assigned a meaning and not the one that the author imposes on it. I really cannot see why their is a need for 'dialogue'. Atheists do not need to discuss belief with theists unless it is to avoid being crucified or decapitated for apostacy. Atheists are simply people who have no belief in a deity of any kind, the rest is politics.
I personally think the man needs to invest in a dictionary- or start making up his own words.
Pointless, tiresome, self promoting pulp.

Why suddenly is Atheism an "in thing" last week the description "Neo-Athest militant" was used, not exactly sure what is coming via the media, but this reeks of manipulation by religion.

My guess is they are attempting to rouse the pious in someway, in this case by the stupid.
It strikes me that people like him don’t realise that they come across as closet religionists – well, at least to me. Atheists are not a specific group and they don’t need a manifesto.
Yes, Men of this world are gifted with that faculty of consciousness which we call mind. Evidently they are not using their minds rightly. That must be why nothing they reason out and attempt is succeeding, but everything is breaking down, leaving them wondering, confused and nonplused. The whole system of things which worldly men are trying to bring into line with modern thought is fashioned according to wrong thinking, and the longer the system goes, the farther it angles away from the absolute truth of God’s word. (Isa. 55:8-11)
Anybody?? -o-

Naomi perhaps not closet but agent provocateur
<settles more comfortably in seat and starts on the popcorn>
There are a number of atheist accomodationists around at the moment - Chris Moody in the US (I think thats his name) , and this guy amongst others over here. There agenda, apart from self promotion, seems to be that the atheist movement has become to strident, too negative, and become too dogmatically entrenched.

Ones own reaction to this kind of accomodationist vew depends on your own attitudes toward faith, but what is certainly true is that such an agenda would be welcomed by those of faith, who complain bitterly of their faith being put under the microscope, largely to their disfavour.

Broadly speaking, I would agree with at least some of his points, but that it because there is little controversial about them. I would take issue with some of the points raised later in the list, especially 9 and 10. Nor would I agree with his first point, that being atheist is a kind of negative mindset. The only ones who define atheism as being negative are those who wish to attach a detrimental label to a diverse range of people, often with extremely different political and social views, whose only similarity is that they simply do not believe in fairy tales without empirical evidence - and are not afraid to say so, when asked, or to challenge those elements of our culture that are deemed sacrosanct by virtue of being part of religion.

Religion and belief should be challenged, critically assessed, like any other social structure, or ideological principle, and those who have faith should be willing to accept and even embrace that, rather than hiding behind blasphemy laws, or trying to suppress criticism through the vehicle of religious freedoms and tolerance. At worst, fanatical supporters will threaten to kill or bomb or maim non believers or critics into submission - cowardly, intolerant and weak minded individuals for the most part.

@Goodlife. One can make a quite convincing case that the history of man is a struggle and gradual removal of the chains of thoughtless superstition and the progression of intellect, science and rationalism. This idea that somehow we as a species are worse off for subjecting belief and religion to the same scientific scrutiny that we apply to anything else is, as usual, nonsense.
goodlife, you have a point in one respect.

Religious belief and observance acted as a cement, helping society to be more solidary, whereas today we have individuals very loosely bound together. I am thinking more in terms of the sociologist Durkheim rather than coming from a religious background. The Non Conformist Conscience led to great reform in society, some of which have, paradoxically aided this fragmentation.
I can not understand why one who doesn't believe in unfounded fairy tales is termed an atheist, rather than a realist. I do not believe in ghosts or flying dragons either, but there doesn't seem to be a word for that.
Is there such a thing as an "atheist movement".
To me that's half of the problem. Religious groups see atheism as another church, or branch of religion. That's simply not true. But then again, when did religious dogma ever allow for what is true?

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Atheists, rather than a constant non-meeting of minds with theists

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