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I am an atheist

A a libertarian, I don't not believe in false dogmatic fairy tales such as the pagan plagiarized Bible that attempts to run my life.

If you are an atheist too, then please upvote and comment below.

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So what?

I like grape soda.

If you like grape soda too, then please upvote and comment below.

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com


"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard

Me too.

We should start a

Grape soda fan club. We'll try to spread awareness to other soda drinkers that they are drinking the wrong soda and will suffer the consequences unless they switch to Grape. Yeah?

"I am Troll fighter, number one"

-Ernest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxWb-ViejPg

Never did buy that.....

omniscient,omnipotent, benevolent supreme being watching over us. But now that I know about Prism, I might have to rethink things.

http://i.imgur.com/VocvE99.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/xCYayLt.jpg

God is concept, not character

Check out this talk on the origins of Monotheism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s1t0hrl4pE

I actually only found this a few weeks ago, but someone passed on the search term Zoroaster after a discussion on the difference between God and religion.

I considered myself an Athiest for some time. It was until I read the Tao Teh Ching that I understood what God means.

Saying you don't believe in God is the same as saying you don't believe in Love, or in Anger. They are states. The are real reactions to conditions in your environment. The concept of God is simply that we enjoy a better state of being when we stop thinking about ourselves and appreciate our friends, family, nature and all that we have (instead of being mad about what you don't have).

That is what it means to live in God's Kingdom. It has nothing to do with parting a sea, walking on water, saying prayers, or drinking wine with a cracker in a building down the street.

A church is a community center. It should be a place to talk about Morality; not Religion.

Ritual is an avoidance of dealing with Morality.

Check out this article about Star Wars and "spirituality":
http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/89055/mono...

I actually worked on Star Wars products and use many quotes and concepts to explain Christian philosophy (as I do with Lord of the Rings), but the writer is right, there is nothing like "give to those you ask" in Star Wars.

Jack Wagner

Peter and the other Jewish trollers

In the Bible I've read about Peter and his other Jewish buddies who trolled for fish. Now they have another buddy, a Christian, posing as a former atheist trolling here. Does a fabrication count as an outright lie? What would a lie qualify as, a venial or a mortal sin?

It only takes one to KEEP AMERICANS FREE. Know your duties & rights as a juror. Stop the unconstitutional conviction of innocents in federal custody. The Fully Informed Jury CALL 1-800-TEL-JURY www.fija.org IMMEDIATELY if not sooner. It's that important.

Atheism vs Theism isn't the problem

At all.

I'm pro Christianity, although I'm an atheist.

The religion of statism is the real problem. And it's a hell of a lot more people who believe they are atheists that worship at the altar of the state.

I'm an atheist because I am a methodological skeptic. That doesn't mean I know god doesn't exist. It means I don't know he does exist. I'll become a theist the instant I see empirical or logical evidence. I have no bias either way. On the plus it would be really nice and comforting if there was a god, on the minus I'd want to ask him wtf'ing f, but hopefully when he was in a good mood after a few beers.

That said religion is the free market solution to morality and culture propagation as well as organized charity, and historically education. So long as the religion in question has no coercive powers it is, in my opinion, benign.

Christianity especially is benign and philosophically consonant with liberty. Look at all of the Christians in the liberty movement! Not to disparage other religions but I don't see them in such large numbers but it's likely because there just aren't as many in the US.

Ultimately I just look at it from an economic perspective. If it exists in a free society (which is the same thing as a free market) it must have value to people that they are willing to trade resources for.

Yes some of the claims seem dubious, and yes some actors like the Jim Bakers or worse the Jim Jones, are criminal. But there are criminals in all lines of work, and the vast majority of clergy are providing a service their flock is willing to pay for.

So long as I am neither forced to fund, forced to participate, nor forced to obey any particular organization, I am very much in favor of this activity.

Why that is

You're quite right that most "people who believe they are atheists worship at the altar of the state." (Sounds like you've been reading Larken Rose.) And I entirely agree with you that theistic religions are preferable to the religion of statism.

I'd like to offer an explanation as to why so many atheists do become devout statists.

There is a similarity between atheism and anarchism that bears some examination. Neither is a "positive" belief system. I don't believe in God, ergo atheism. I don't believe government is either necessary or moral, ergo anarchism.

But I'm content to leave theists to their fantasies. I don't quite respect their beliefs, but I entirely respect their right to hold them. People cannot function without some moral foundation, and if religion is what works for somebody, so be it. I am not even an argumentative atheist, let alone a crusading atheist. At least, until the point be reached where the zealots decide to start killing heretics.

My anarchism is not such a kindly beast. I do not see statism as a harmless, comforting sort of belief system. If I were a Christian, I would name it Satan. To me, government is the very embodiment of human evil.

Guess I need to distinguish some terms here. "Morality" is each person's code of values, by which he judges "good" and "bad." Religions define and justify their own moral systems by simply explaining, "It's good (or bad) Because God SAID so." This is just one step removed from a child's first notion of good and bad coming from "Because Mommy SAID so." The step from parental to divine authority as the foundation of morality is truly a "baby step."

Enter the Snake in the Garden. Once a kid learns the awful truth about Santa Claus, he may be bright enough to figure out that God is the same sort of critter, and God's moral authority is kaput.

So what does a bright kid like that do? He NEEDS some kind of morality to make the choices he faces every day; it's impossible to make ANY decisions without a standard of value by which to judge the desirability of different choices and their consequences. Contrary to what many theists believe, atheism is NOT a system of morality; it is merely the absence of one particular belief, not a positive belief, and it offers NO moral guidance. So the kid needs to find a way to distinguish "good or evil," "right or wrong," "better or worse" in order to make ALL the choices he faces every day. He needs to find a new system of morality.

So how does that work out for him? Does that kid decide to be his own judge of right and wrong, and rationally select values which will further his own well-being and allow him to get along with other people effectively? Does he stop relying on some "Authority," and turn into a rational, independent adult?

Nah. He just looks around for another Authority to take the place of Mommy and God. Since at that point in his life, he is being bossed around by Government teachers, he decides that the State is the REAL Authority in the world. No more fairy tales for him; everybody KNOWS that Government is real, and unlike prayers to God, asking favors from Government gets you real goodies! So he becomes a socialist and a statist. "The good" is whatever government decides is good for society.

The bottom line: atheism is not a moral code by which a person can make his life choices. Religion is. Take away religion, and a moral vacuum results, which is most often filled by statism.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

We are right there

I used to be on about theists, almost to the point of anti-theism but while I think it's sad, dehumanizing, and all to often dangerous to accept belief as a valid source of knowledge.. well theists just aren't much of a real threat, and also many are really great people.

As much as I could never quite get to actively opposing theism on my worst day, as most so-called 'atheists' do, I am definitely an anti-statist.

I definitely agree most people can only replace one religion with another, but this is what they are programmed to do. They are programmed to obey, never allowed to think.

Morality doesn't require religion, statism or otherwise, it requires thinking. I can explain my ethical philosophy and you would immediately understand I had thought about it, and being a thinking person, you might find something of use to your own thinking.

An analogy. Religious morality is like a set of workplace rules someone else provides you. Some people are happy just obeying, or trying to elude without getting caught, the rules.

Some other people eventually figure out the reason for the rules. They may improve them for their own use, whether more or less restrictive. They really do not need rules anymore. They are now a veteran in their environment, an invaluable employee and that value has nothing to do with knowing all the rules, it has to do with knowing the system so well they could write rules and better ones.

Similarly religion gives people a set of rules.

People that follow the rules, in most cases, behave morally. Sometimes the rules allow immoral behavior in a certain context and people can and do abuse this.

Some people try to understand the reason for the rules, and come up with a consistent framework for them. As they progress these people move beyond merely behaving morally, they become moral people.

A big problem is, people given rules will tend to just obey. Thinking is work. Religions have a tendency to abuse this and not encourage thinking whatsoever. They enjoy a monopoly on moral rules. Statism is far and away the worst offender. Other religions do occasionally encourage thought. Never statism.

Morality is just like any other discipline. It can be studied and refined. It's parameters and shape can be defined, even if it's exact behavior cannot always be determined in all cases. Because it a result of us and we are always evolving, perfect understanding is impossible.

But we don't need perfect understanding. The 'Schrodinger's cat' cases of morality are about as common as Schrodinger's cat. Most people will go through life and never once find a morally ambiguous case. They will find temptation to violate their morals, whether given or deduced, and may well fail. But a genuine 'trolley problem'? Fat chance.

And it's not just statistically unlikely for a 'trolley problem' like situation to occur. The reason is that people prefer not to have those situations. Sane people smell potential tragedy. Sane people smell BILL3's zombie apocalypse and skedadle, so they aren't faced with eating their neighbor.

I'd go into the actual specifics of my present understanding of morality but I've already type too much:)

The inescapable subjectivity of morality

You've said several things with which I disagree. Their common root is your evident belief in some ideal Morality, which all men aspire to attain. It's rather similar to the belief in "natural" rights, in that its adherents visualize one common moral vision which can be applied to all people by virtue of (pick one) God's endowment, man's nature as a rational being, common humanity, infatuation with the Bill of Rights, or an overdose of singing "Kumbaya" while under the influence of cool drugs.

Morality is NOT an ideal. It is the very practical tool by which every sentient individual makes the important choices in his life. It isn't all that complicated, in many cases: it can be as simple as hedonism, or obedience to some Authority. Morality is WHATEVER a person uses to establish his values and prioritize them to enable the choice-making on which his life, happiness and relationships with others all depend. Certainly a morality CAN be acquired by philosophical reflection, but that is not a necessary precondition.

Morality is inescapably subjective. How could it be otherwise? The only place moral decisions can be made is inside each individual's mind. What one man names "evil" may be another man's "good." That does NOT imply that all moral systems are equal, or that they all function equally well; only that any moral system CAN be adopted, if a person is willing to accept the consequences of adopting it and of acting by its guidance. Real-world consequences are very much NOT subjective or whimsically escapable. Fantasies and boneheaded moral systems generally yield unhappy or fatal results. Think of it as moral evolution in action.

You suggest a distinction between "behaving morally" and "being a moral person." I therefore disagree. It's a difference that makes no difference. A person who "behaves morally" does so for moral reasons, does he not? Every choice we make is guided by whatever it is we use for our moral system.

But here is what's really scary: Statism IS a moral system. People truly believe in it; they define "right and wrong" according to it; and they use it to guide their actions. They do NOT share our voluntaryist view of liberty as a moral good, or our fondness for "individual rights." They are not unaware of government abuses -- they accept them as religious folks might accept hurricanes as "the will of God." This is not good news for folks like ourselves, who prefer liberty to slavery. We are not merely engaged in a practical struggle for liberty against a gang of tyrants; we are up against a whole Statist Religion, in which every schoolchild receives a twelve-year indoctrination during his most formative years. As an atheist, can I say "God help us!"? Guess not.

You may also find this discussion of "natural rights" of interest, since I recall that you're writing a book on the subject. I've also posted that article here on the DP -- link below -- but the comments at Strike the Root are more interesting.

If you'd like to continue this discussion (please; I'm quite enjoying it), may I suggest that we change the venue, because I find this thread obnoxious? How about here?

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

Are you saying you don't draw

Are you saying you don't draw a distinction between a rule follower and someone with an ethical philosophy?

Yes the first behaves morally, a person who fears punishment can behave morally. They aren't a moral person. There is a difference.

Morality is NOT an ideal.

Here we very much agree.

It's a real definable thing, and it's not subjective. Maybe this will help, just like economics is not subjective. While elementally based on subjective preferences economics still follows analytically logical laws. Again with the physics analogy, in theory all the air could fly into a corner, individual molecule motion is not predictable. In theory you could inflate the money supply and not cause inflation, it would just take no one to ever notice. But in reality the results always go one way and must.

The Austrian contribution to economics is just this understanding. Personal choices are subjective, and must be. But due to the fact people do ALL have them we can deduce conclusions which are necessarily true.

What I'm suggesting, and what my work involves, is a similar understanding of ethics.

I have to head out to dinner but I'll try to not to leave you hanging too much about where this goes.

I don't believe in an ideal morality, that's a job for collectivists to tilt at and create ever more human misery.

I do know we can define the shape and parameters of an optimal morality. Part of that is minimizing conflict.

Why is minimizing conflict important? Isn't that assuming an a priori ideal?

No.

Minimizing conflict is important because when people behave co-cooperatively we know something necessarily true. That is that neither party found enough offense in the interaction to break the peace. That doesn't mean they were both happy, and one may harbor animosity. But objectively we know the offense was lower than their threshold for conflict. We also know most people seek out just such interactions.

Natural rights and law are similar. We can define them know their shape.

Ok gotta run, but just because human preference is subjective at an individual level doesn't mean we can't draw a lot of useful and necessarily true conclusions from a formal analysis.

Kinda makes your head hurt . . .

Rule followers DO possess an ethical philosophy: their philosophy asserts that "the good" consists of obedience to their chosen Authority's commands. Granted, that is a philosophy most characteristic of children and slaves, but it IS a philosophy by which many people choose to live. More rigorous thinkers may despise or pity them -- but who can say that such a choice is "wrong?" Wrong, by what standard? Everyone gets to choose their own standard, regardless of what anyone else may think of it, and according to THAT standard, they are clearly "right." One may try to persuade them to a more rational or rewarding philosophy, but in the final analysis, each person gets to make his own choice -- even those who try to shift the burden onto some "Authority!" That IS a choice, after all. Kinda makes your head hurt, doesn't it?

A person who alters his "preferred" behavior because of fear of punishment demonstrates a moral preference for avoiding pain and/or other negative consequences which result from annoying other people. That's called "rationality," and it's commonly believed to be a virtue. One need not treat other people decently because one loves them; one may treat them decently simply because one doesn't want to make enemies. So?

I believe I understand your analogy between morality and economics. Just as economic actions have costs and benefits, so do moral actions, and thus one might design a moral system that would optimize moral benefits while minimizing costs . . . the problem would be convincing people that such a system is preferable to the one they already use. Next time a Seventh Day Adventist or Hare Krishna acolyte rings your doorbell on a Sunday morning, try it out on them, see how it works. And good luck, Mr. Phelps!

I do sympathize with your intention here. Take a look at my "Personal Statement" for my take on the central problem of ethics. Clearly we're both interested in the same subject. But are we headed in the same direction, do you think?

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

Certainly we feel the same

And yes the rule followers have a rudimentary morality, but I disagree it's because they just want to avoid punishment for most of them. They can make complicated moral decisions when the need arises or when it has a high cost to them not to. Of course some people do just want to avoid punishment, ie criminals, but they aren't the rule. Most people have just internalized their programming to obey authority. They are convinced that legislative law is morality. They thus have an important part of their humanity anesthetized.

Though I submit that as legislative law diverges from natural law more people see that what the rulers call 'the law' has nothing to do with justice, and as they realize the whole thing is a sham and laws are just a really good tool at plundering your neighbor, more people will become actual criminals.

If the game is rigged and there is no justice you see in the system, it's not irrational to give up and become part of the corruption. This is in fact a common theme among criminals. They understand the government is just the biggest gang.

So anyway we know some things. We know the definitions of some things, and we see they exist. Lets look at rights, which are a type of moral entity.

We know that rights are universal and unalienable, because that is the definition. That tells us something about them. They must be negative because if they are not they can't be universal. They cannot apply to material objects directly because then they could not be unalienable. We know everyone has them, we can observe a universal trope that everyone does feel they have a right to life, liberty, and property. We can see analogs in the animal world, animals protect their life, resist the cage, and fight over their 'property', territory, food, mating privileges. They do seem to know the concept of theirs, of property. So these things seem to in fact be natural.

So what are they? I think rights are the universal and unalienable moral right to action. We know that outside pathological or otherwise tail cases everyone has a natural trope to act against being caged, killed, or robbed. You can try to condition them to accept domestication, and you may have greater or lesser success, and that success will depend on the scale of depredations you regularly inflict but ultimately even the bad guys do not accept the livestock will get on the cattle car willingly if they know what it is. Police expect people to want to run. Taxmen expect attempts to evade taxes.

We behave, and the bad guys certainly behave, as if everyone might at any moment decide to act on their moral authority to resist aggression.

Thus this is a morality which is not only apparently universal but also unalienable. I think the concept of natural rights is simply a recognition of this inherent fact about humanity. You can tell someone they don't have a right to resist you. But no matter what you do their natural morality to resist you may assert itself anyway.

This nature could be of divine origin, or from evolution, as I myself think. I think natural rights are evolutionary and can be mapped onto survival and mating behaviors, which would be a reason for their universality.

If evolution is false, they may be from god. But origin aside, we can see they exist.

Ok that's enough for now:)

But you're right, ultimately, even if we can show that natural rights, and natural law, are real things, in the sense math and logic and economics is real, and I think we can, it doesn't mean we still don't have to convince people that a moral code based on them, ie the NAP, is superior to an artificially imposed system of morality such as statism and rule following.

But I think part of that work of convincing is showing that they are natural and human. I think it can be shown that statist morality is conducive to slavery, murder, predation and human misery. Collectivist morality, viewed objectively is only of value to oppressors and predators.

I think that natural morality can be shown to optimize human co-operation and happiness. Natural morality is the morality of abundance and peace. And it's not accidentally so.

More later:)

Postscript to my previous reply

I've expanded my response to some of your points in this post, and started a new thread with them, here. Please join the party!

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

Invitation to a duel.

I was tracking you pretty well until you brought in natural law and natural rights. You REALLY should have read my article on rights, linked above and here.

You seem to be STARTING with the premise that universal and inalienable rights exist, rather than deducing it. This is different from the way theists conjure God out of nothing -- how, exactly?

You correctly note that rights are a moral concept. That is, they are derived from morality, rather than the other way around. Now you have a problem: there is no universal morality, nor can there ever be one, since every individual gets to choose his own. No matter how stupid, vicious, sociopathic or insane a person is -- he still gets to choose his own moral standard. What are "rights" in the mind of Charles Manson, do you imagine? Or in the mind of Barack Obama?

See, you're trying to work out a way for rights to be universal, or "natural," and BILLIONS of these stupid non-ideal human beings don't agree with you about what "right" is. Sure you can conceive a way for rights to be non-conflicting, but your conceptions impose no necessity on reality. Individuals ALL decide for themselves what is right, and from that basis they derive their ideas of what their "rights" are. But there are gazillions of different views on those subjects, and NONE has more claim than any of the others to be "natural." More popular, sure. Universal -- never.

Please comment on the "Rights Are Santa Claus" thread. That's where this discussion really belongs.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

Cyril's picture

^^^ Awesome comment I cannot but only BUMP. And can't resist...

^^^ Awesome comment I cannot but only BUMP.

(Don't get me wrong, I have no intent in preaching or turning anyone off, either way.)

But on this:

I'm an atheist because I am a methodological skeptic. That doesn't mean I know god doesn't exist. It means I don't know he does exist. I'll become a theist the instant I see empirical or logical evidence. I have no bias either way.

Knowing a bit about where your rational comments usually come from, I just can't resist, in case you missed it, and as you may enjoy the content:

http://www.dailypaul.com/283067

Nice presentation about great food for one's personal reflections/introspection, IMO.

Especially in part II.

;-)

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

here is what i dont get:

as an athiest, you have to believe beyond a doubt that God CANNOT EXIST. That YOU, YOURSELF have enough information and ability to make that assessment.

So, if human beings are capable of that determination, why are they incapable of creating systems that outdo the free market? Certainly of everyone who has ever been employed in government, there must have been ONE that could be that talented, right?

.....the answer, of course (as a libertarian) is NO.

i completely understand distrust towards religious systems. Ultimately, you have to have faith in a PERSON or PEOPLE who edited and assembled the various religious works. And people are inherently flawed.

the easiest way to get something done isnt to change the behavior; its to change the meaning of existing behavior. like a cut isnt a cut, torture isnt torture, its enhanced interrogation. war isnt war, its kinetic military action. declaring war now appare

As an atheist...

You certainly don't have to believe that god cannot exist. Atheism is, quite simply, the rejection of the claim that a god does exist. Atheism is the corresponding philosophical position, a default of such. Atheism may or may not be a position of faith, depending on the type of atheism (weak or strong, gnostic or agnostic), as atheism may or may not refer to a stance on the theistic question, depending on the individual in question and how the term 'atheism' is meant. Arguments over whether or not atheism constitutes a belief are often based on one side assuming that the term always does or always doesn’t constitute a positivist statement, and therefore, a belief.

A "weak" atheist is one who doesn't claim to know that there is no god, but instead simply lacks belief in a god. This form of atheism is the most common, and is sometimes called "agnostic atheism". Every newborn baby is (unknowingly) a weak atheist, and remains so until the concept of god is introduced to him or her.

Weak atheists often argue that theirs is the only rational position, as both theism and strong atheism make positivist claims. Weak atheism is also called non-positivist atheism.

"Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice." - John Adams

I too am one of those hated

I too am one of those hated Atheists. The most distrusted group in America.

I am a Deist, I don;'t hate you.

or distrust you.
how do you reconcile the fact that it is not possible to prove a negative?

Atheism is apathetic about the entire subject. you are sitting on the fence, so to speak...
that makes you vulnerable....

It is not for us to prove the

It is not for us to prove the negative, but the responsibility of the believer to prove the positive. We're all agnostic to a certain degree because none of us know where it all started. And thank you for the kind words. I was referring to some polls done in the past. I don't hate you either ;-)
And I love that track!

I like "pagans" they make a lot of sense to me.

unlike you.

argue with me that, that shiny thing that comes up each morning....
does not bring life?

please look up the meaning of both pagan and HVAC before giving me grief.

peace.

william burroughs

said:

"i believe in many gods, who are often in conflict"

on the afterlife:

"i never doubted the possibility of an afterlife"

I choose not to slap a label on it

I think it is just as silly to assert that there is no god as it is to assert that there is one.

Assertions

Most atheists don't assert there is no god, they simply reject the theist assertions that there is a god.

"Do right and risk the consequences”
― Sam Houston

no

Not true. Atheists, by definition, assert that there is no God. You misunderstand what atheism is, sir.

"No physical quantity explains it's own existence, and no amount of time can consume an infinite series of events to bring you to the present, which means all of these somewhere have to be explained by one self-existent cause which is not physical."

then they are not athiests

they are agnostic.

the easiest way to get something done isnt to change the behavior; its to change the meaning of existing behavior. like a cut isnt a cut, torture isnt torture, its enhanced interrogation. war isnt war, its kinetic military action. declaring war now appare

Need more humour

Two cannibals are eating an atheist, and one says to the other,
"Can you believe the way this guy tastes?"

Racism.

Racism.

Southern Agrarian

"I don't not believe in false

"I don't not believe in false dogmatic fairy tales such as the pagan plagiarized Bible that attempts to run my life."

So you do believe in false dogmatic fairy tales? Why would you believe if you know it is false?
And did pagans really plagiarize the Bible? That's a new one on me.. I didn't know that.

But seriously, I have a question....
If there is no God, what could possibly be wrong with tyrannies of various kinds running peoples lives?

We look forward to your reply.