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View Diary: Conversation With An Absent Atheist (25 comments)

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  •  There are many sorts of atheist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, txcatlin, gsenski

    But in my experience, the answer is No.

    There are many sorts of theist, also, professing belief in and various sorts of attachment to quite variously described supernatural agencies and other supposed entities. Atheists are quite right to reject them very generally on basic grounds of the silliness and gross immorality of those who propose these entities as the highest sources of meaning and virtue. As a nice Jewish boy once said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."

    We could discuss the virtues of Jewish development from genocidal barbarism to some of the highest expressions of human aspiration over a thousand years, as recounted in the legends in Tanakh, but that is a different question. (We could talk about the myth that humanity got so bad that G-d decided to wipe us all out, leaving only that stinking drunk Noah as the supposedly most virtuous man in the world.) We could discuss the V'ahavta prayer, Thou shalt love the Lord, as a counter to the mindless insistence on belief only. In that case, I would argue that many atheists love G-d better without believing in Her than most theists, in the same way that the Christian's Paul said that among the Gentiles are some who are a Torah to themselves. And as Karen Armstrong has been at pains to explain, it is quite orthodox Christian theology to say that G-d does not exist because of being better than that. But it doesn't matter what you call it. As Zen Buddhists explain,

    Separated do the sects become
    By setting up of doctrines, practices
    And these become the standards that we know
    Of all religious conduct.
    Calling natural law G-d is just silly. Accepting the rule of cause and effect as the starting point for taking responsibility and defining one's moral stance is essential, but attempting to rename somebody else's ontology (the two-dollar word for "What is real?") to no purpose is simply insulting.

    If that doesn't make sense to you, well, religion is hard. As the saying goes, as hard as possible, but no harder. As hard as loving everybody, even totally messed-up Republicans. Or, from their point of view, Democrats who are not merely messed up, but actively working for Shaitan. ^_^

    America—We built that!

    by Mokurai on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 10:32:08 AM PST

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