Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I swear I was going to leave this one alone...

But I can't! A student on another site posted this in her journal and I can't get this tripe out of my head. So I thought I would post this here and put in my comments and let all of you have a crack at it as well. If you have actual research to back your points up it would be helpful for my ultimate reply to her on the other website. Oh and if I'm wrong on something let me know would you?

1. Hitler and Stalin committed heinous crimes because they were atheists.

This statement assumes that (1) they were both atheists and (2) they committed mass murder and other horrible crimes BECAUSE they were atheists. Assumption 1 is false for Hitler; he was a Catholic who hated Jews!(Get it right, please) Since assumption 1 is false, then assumption 2 is false as well.
Assumption 1 is true for Stalin; however, assumption 2 is false for Stalin, so assumption 1 is irrelevant. What matters is not whether Hitler and Stalin were atheists, but whether atheism systematically INFLUENCES people to do bad things. There is not a slightest evidence that it does.

This one irritates me because she erroneously paints Hitler as a practicing Catholic which is false. I grew up Catholic and I know for sure that nowhere in their teachings did exterminating foes come into play. I find it fascinating that most of the mass murderers were atheists once they rose to power.

2. Founding Fathers were Christians. America is a Christian nation.
:| Lack of knowledge in history cannot reveal itself so blatantly in this statement.
The founding fathers were SECULARISTS/DEISTS, men of ENLIGHTENMENT. Thomas Jefferson would eat you for breakfast if you said such thing!
The 1796 treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was "in no sense founded on the Christian religion", This was not an idle statement, meant to satisfy Muslims-- they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.
"The priests of the different religious sects...dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight, and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subdivision of the duperies on which they live." - THOMAS JEFFERSON

Where to start with this one? Maybe that George Washington was the Chaplin for his troops for the French and Indian war and that he spent an 2 hours a day studying the Bible and praying to God. Of course the quote is taken out of context as well. It meant that there was no established state church in the USA, not that is was not a Christian nation. An odd statement considering that 99% of the people in the US were Christian. I also know that most of the founding fathers were either Christians or Diests and that even Thomas Jefferson attended church on a regular basis.

3. Many renowned scientists, like Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking, are religious.
Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking certainly do NOT believe in a personal god. Einstein was always irritated when people called him a theist or religious. He wrote a famous paper justifying his statements "I do not believe in a personal God." in 1940.

"I am a deeply religious nonbeliever. This is a somewhat of new kind of religion.
I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.
The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive."

This one I am going to leave alone although I find it hard to believe. I do know that until the last few decades most scientists had religious faith.

4. Atheism is a Denial of God That Requires Faith:
The most common misunderstanding about atheism is the definition. Many insist that atheism is really the denial of the existence of God, but there are two errors here. First, it pretends that atheism is exclusively about their god, the god common to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Second, it focuses on a narrow sub-set of atheism and atheists to the exclusion of all others. Standard dictionary definitions list "denial of God or gods" second; first comes "disbelief in god or Gods." Disbelief is not the same as denial, it's either the absence of belief or the presence of skepticism.

Well, Atheists sure act like it's their religion they way they not only attack people of faith but try to convert people to their secular view. Secular Humanism is a belief system that acts like religion but is Atheist in nature.

5. Atheists Worship Satan, Themselves, Money, or Some Other God:
The claim that atheists replace worship of God with worship of something else ranges over man possible objects for worship: Satan, themselves, humanity, etc. In addition to being wrong, these myths share the belief that worship is somehow fundamental to human existence such that it simply isn't possible for a person to live a decent life without worshipping something. This is false, though. No matter how important religion or theism is to someone, this isn't a good reason to conclude that they are also important to everyone else, even those who deny having any god or religion.

Everyone worships something, it's human nature...

6. Atheists hate God/Christians and that is why they claim not to believe.

It's not a myth, has she actually read any of the books written by athiests? If they love believers they have a funny way of showing it!

7. More People Have Been Killed in the Name of Atheism & Secularism than Religion:
A common criticism raised by atheists against religion is how violent religion and religious believers have been in the past. People have slaughtered each other in large numbers because of differences in religious beliefs or because of other differences which are justified and intensified through religious rhetoric. Either way, religion has a lot of blood on its hands. Can the same be said for atheists and atheism? Haven't atheists killed more people in the name of atheism than religious theists have killed in the name of their religion? No: atheism isn't a philosophy or ideology.
"Imagine, with John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as 'Christ-killers', no Northern Ireland 'troubles', no 'honor killings', no shiny-suited bouffant-haired televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money ('God wants you to give until it hurts';). Imagine no Taliban to blow up ancient statues, no public beheadings of blasphemers, no flogging of female skin for the crime of showing an inch of it." - RICHARD DAWKINS

Go look at how many people Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Stalin etc killed vs. how many died because of religion. It's not even close...

8. Atheism is a Product of Rebellion & Pride:
There are many myths about atheism and atheists which claim that people are atheists due to some sort of rebellion (against god, religion, church, families, fathers, etc.) or pride. These myths come primarily from Christians whose religious mythology gives an important place to rebellion against divine rules as the origin of evil in the world (Satan is depicted as having rebelled against God). At most, these myths might be true of some but not all or even most atheists; even if true, however, none of these myths would have any implications for the truth or reasonableness of atheism itself.

This one may actually be correct in some way. Everyone comes to faith in different ways so I would assume that Athiests come to thier non-faith in various ways.

9. You cannot prove that God doesn't exist; therefore, atheism is based on faith

Is the existence of "God" a subject which science cannot answer? That depends entirely on how "God" is defined by believers. Some can be proven or disproven empirically or logically and some cannot — but those which cannot are defined in ways which are too vague or incoherent to properly evaluate. In such cases, it also isn't very reasonable to believe in them, and religious theists are only fooling themselves if they think this is a way to avoid providing rational defenses of their claims.
Any alleged deity which is claimed to interact with the world we live in is a deity which should have empirical effects — and that constitutes potential evidence for or against the existence of said deity. Only gods without any impact on our world are beyond empirical investigation, but such gods are also without any real relevance for us. Even if they are somehow not unreasonable to believe in, they certainly aren't worth basing an entire life around.

I'm not sure this even makes sense so for now I will leave it be. I will say I have seen enough evidence in my life to make me a Christian and nothing to make me turn away from my faith.