Friday, June 12, 2009

The Dogma Debate

faith, fail, christianity, christian, makarios, religion, dogma, atheism, atheist, stupid,
I'm not sure why, but a lot of fundys like to accuse atheists of adhering to atheist dogma. (Considering how dogmatic fundys themselves are, it's like the pot calling the rainbow black.) Why, I'm not sure. Even if atheists were dogmatic in our beliefs, what would that prove?

Keep in mind, I was involved in a discussion of atheist symbols, like the Out Campaign's scarlet "A" above. Out of 10 atheists participating in the discussion, I think 6 of us agreed a symbol was a good idea, and 3 agreed that the scarlet "A" was the best one. At one point, we ended up debating symbols v. nonsymbol symbols. (No, I cannot explain a nonsymbol symbol to you.) My point is, after the whole "no supernatural beings" thing, you can't get atheists to agree on anything as a group. You just can't push dogma on a group of people who can't agree if symbols or nonsymbol symbols are better.

Makarios is the latest to offer up this odd view of the atheist community, and he even provides the dogma for us.

1)“Better by far to embrace the hard truth . . .” Here Carl Sagan is instructing younger atheists what their attitude should be in the face of atheism’s hopelessness. (a) we don't view Sagan or Dawkins or Hitchens the way you view your prophets. Sure, we respect them, but in the same way you respect anyone of accomplishment, education and intelligence. (b) atheists don't find atheism hopeless. In fact, we find it to be the only true hope. (c) I'm not sure what Makarios' point is. People should embrace lies if they're more palatable than the truth?

2)“We must develop expressions of awe and wonder regarding the workings of the Universe.” Carolyn Porco, Richard Dawkins.This is now standard and expected fair when atheists are describing, to who ever will listen, what awesome individuals they are and how they will turn the next generation in to wonderful individuals as well. again, way to miss the point, buddy. of course we should regard the workings of the universe with awe and wonder. it is awesome and wonderful.

3) All atheists must get out there and begin doing good works.We’ve heard the now familiar call to all atheists to become good citizens. An example of this tenet can be found in the instruction for all atheists to donate blood during the World Day of Prayer. This demand that you become a good person is in contrast to the standard atheist attitude that was clearly sounded in a recent atheist blog when a young man, lamented, “Can’t I just fuck around and watch tv in the evening if I want to?” first of all, link? i can't find that quote anywhere, so (a) i have no idea if anyone actually said that, (b) i have no idea what the context is, he could have been snarking, and (c) so what if one guy did say that in all seriousness? should we assume all christians are like the man who shot Dr. Tiller in church? and why the assumption that atheists are uninterested in charity and good works? we don't give money to churches, but there are lots of other charities that receive our help.

4) No religion tells us what to do.Only slaves feel enslaved and no one reacts negatively to rules, guidelines and authority more strongly than the immature, self-centred atheist. Simply hearing the word “God” used in a non negative manner makes atheists like Michael Newdow react like cockroaches scurrying from a freshly lit light bulb. Atheists feel stifled and imprisoned by the mere existence of religion. Well, duh. How could a religion control a nonbeliever? Well, unless that religion becomes politicized and then, well you end up with Prop 8, and . . . yeah. "Only slaves feel enslaved". Only Makarios can tell you if you are a slave, apparently. And the cockroach comparison? Way to stay classy, Makarios.

5) Nothing positive regarding God can be mentioned in the presence of children. why yes, Makarios, I frequently proselytize to other people's children . . . oh, no, that would be the christians who do that. btw, wrong on every level to mess with other peoples' children like that.

6) Teaching Christianity is harmful, even abusive to children. meh. this isn't dogma, though i've certainly heard it said. i think it's silly in general. some people do use religion as an excuse to abuse their children, but i think they'd be abusing their kids anyway. and i don't see how you could possibly not communicate what you believe to your children.

7) Christian Children are not the property of their parents. that's just stupid, Makarios.

8) Atheists know best what children need to learn. I can't decide what he's referencing here. i've never heard an atheist say that. is he referencing 5-7, or is he talking about actual science being taught in schools. either way, no, that's not something atheists would agree on.

9) Christian parents have no right to teach their children about Jesus. isn't this really just a repeat of 6? see number 7 for my response.

10) Children must be taught a reverence for science.Well, respect - yes, but reverence? where'd you get that one from, Makarios? oh, right, your ass. children must be taught science.

11) The universe is the single exception to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. and this is why children need to learn science. the second law of thermodynamics states entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium Makarios fails by assuming that the universe is an isolated system not in equilibrium. but he does flog this decaying equine on a regular basis.

12) No Miracles! this isn't dogma, this is logic. if you don't believe in the supernatural, you don't believe in the supernatural. miracles are, by definition, supernatural.

13) It is a given that humans would eventually evolve in conditions present on primordial earth. it's a theory. it could change. again, why we need to teach people science.

14) Evolution is such a powerful force that life is now, even as we speak, coming into being on other planets and/or in other universes. wtf?! i mean, in the vastness of the universe, i would find it odd that ours was the only planet with life on it, but i'm not sure what Makarios is getting at here.

15) Material and natural reality is all that exists. see 12

16) Science has proven that God cannot exist. i'm not aware of anyone who has said this. now, i've certainly heard, and said myself, that god has never been proven using the scientific method, but that's different, now isn't it?

17) Because God cannot be discovered through scientific inquiry, God does not exist. again, you're twisting it, makarios. because god cannot be discovered through scientific inquiry, we cannot say that god exists.

18) Any knowledge that does not conform to materialism and naturalism will not be allowed into the discussion. no, makarios, i'm not taking your "feelings" as proof of anything.

19) Reason and scientific inquiry can tell us all that we need to know and all that we can know. and?

20) Atheists are smarter than anyone who believes in God. christians keep saying this. atheists don't.

21) There is no “I” to the human animal. We are a mass of cells and neurons that operate according to the Laws of Nature. i think he means "spirit" or "soul". i think we're pretty much meat, but that's hardly dogma.

22) Death is the end. well, yeah.

23) There is no cosmic purpose. yup.

24) There is no Divine justice or reward. mm-hmmm

25) Free will is an illusion. uh, wait, what? that's calvinism, dude.

26) Evil and suffering prove that God does not exist. or that god doesn't give a shit, or is a nasty little sadist we shouldn't worship.

27) Living by these Beliefs, Tenets and Dogma of the atheist faith is emancipating. THERE. IS. NO. ATHEIST. FAITH.

yeesh. talk about projection.


  1. "Out of 10 atheists participating in the discussion, I think 6 of us agreed a symbol was a good idea, and 3 agreed that the scarlet "A" was the best one. At one point, we ended up debating symbols v. nonsymbol symbols. (No, I cannot explain a nonsymbol symbol to you.) My point is, after the whole "no supernatural beings" thing, you can't get atheists to agree on anything as a group."

    There you atheists go, thinking for yourselves again.

  2. Wow just wow.

    Actually a little correction, the universe is an isolated system, as far as we can tell, and it is not in equilibrium. The point of equilibrium for the entire universe is called heat death. The earth is not an isolated system and energy given off by the same can be used to offset entropy on earth but it creates entropy at the sun. The overall effect of this for the universe is added entropy, thus affirming the second law of thermodynamics.

  3. I've never understood the need for fundies to claim that atheism is a religion.

    Dan crosscrosscross once actual went so far as to say that 'not collecting stamps' was a hobby, I mean; what do you say to that?!

    Perhaps we'll get an explanation...

  4. Umm, wow. That's a whole big old mix of twisted stuff there. I am kind of sad that there are people out there who actually believe that crap.
    Sometimes I think that is what they wish to believe, but can't because they feel trapped by their faith. And that makes me sad in another way.
    These people make religious people look bad.

  5. i need that physics guy from the SMRT board.

    fannie: it was the most hilarious discussion i've ever seen. and the best example i can think of to disprove this whole idea of a monolithic atheist community.

  6. Well, see, he's talking about those damned Main Street Atheists. I'm a member of the 12th Street Congregation of the Ungodly, so none of this applies to me.

  7. so, ya know, most of that was just silly.

    but the crap about children?

    wtf? children are NOT property - doesn't matter WHO says that are not property, the POINT is that they are not property, and just because atheists say that they are not property doesn't mean that they are suddenly NOW property because everyone who isn't an atheist *must* do exactly the opposite of what atheists say.

    religions, the teaching of: i believe that children should be offered the basics of all religions (with a few exceptions - i know people who worship Cthulu, i really do, and that shouldn't be offered, and i don't think either Satanism or devil worship - two totally different things - should be taught to young children. Satanism is all about selfishness taken to a pathological level, and should be taught until a person is old enough to know that not everything is about him/her. Devil worship, the inverse of Catholism, should be covered as stupidity, along with "cults" as things that one should strive to avoid.)
    i guess i am saying, children should all be taught a basic UU sort of way - these are the major religions today (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, etc) and just given a basic overview of each major religion, then each year go into more detail on religion as child grows up.

    Children should *NEVERNEVERNEVER* take ANY sort of vow to a religion until they are, at BARE minimum, old enough to actually make a contract! i agree that a child can be Christined, or Sained, or the equivilent (all that really does is allow for LATER taking of vows for the religion) but baptising a 10 year old? forcing said ten year old to swear to forever in that church? nonoNONONOWRONG.

    yeesh. i like atheists, because they get that children are people, not property. (yeah, yeah, painting with a large brush, but in my defense Marikos started it lol). children are miniature people whom we have an obligation to protect and educate - and educate means teach them HOW TO BE ADULTS AND MAKE DECISIONS AND CARE FOR AND PROTECT THEMSELVES. not "teach them how to turn all their decisions over to a husband/priest/government/etc".

  8. I recently read The God Delusion and realised why theists would come to the conclusion that atheists are dogmatic; because Dawkins is dogmatic in his approach to atheism.

    As an atheist, I disagree with the scarlet A and all that other shite. Everything related to Dawkins way of doing things naturally disgusts me.

  9. Written Word;
    i have never heard anyone who wasnt' a fundy express *disgust* at Dawkins.
    can you explain why? you don't have to, i am just intrigued.

    i (shamefully) admit that i have never read "The God Delusion" - i have a religion i happy with, for one, and for two, i have never met an atheist who wants me killed, or imprisioned, or forcebly converted to atheist, just because i'm not an atheist (not to say that that hasn't happened - but please note every documentable case happened in a so-called "Communist" country...). i read the works of Christians, because Christians do actually attack me and my faith. i stated not too long ago that if the Far Right ever takes over, the fight isn't going to be *if* i am killed - it's what am i going to be killed *for*? paganism? adultry because i am divorced but in a new long-term-eventually-we-will-get-married relationship? miscongeneation, because Pete is white? for the non-prostitution sex work i did? there are a LOT of reasons "Christians" (the people who were told "let he who is without sin cast the first stone", because EVERYONE has sinned and no one has the right to condemn another if they are not themselves free from sin) could find to kill me. so i read about Christians. on the day i hear some legitimate source tell me atheism has somehow evolved into a functioning group AND that that group is now going to try and start forcebily converting non-athesists to atheists, in the manner tha Christians now try and forcebly convert non-Christians to Christianity, then that's the day i start paying real attention to Atheism, as something other than "many of my friends are and whatever"

  10. i can't type and just noticed.
    that should have read "miscongeniation because Pete *ISN'T* white". because Pete is black and i am cherokee.

    but hey, all our friends say Pete is the whitest guy we know, so funny.

    Written Word, i was seriously asking about your viewpoint, not trying to mock or snark. just so you know.

  11. Hi, Atheist symbol?
    Well I thought may be a apple in a circular design would be cool and ironic. Eve and the apple from the tree of knowledge? Obviously the serpent was a Liberian, Could even incorporate the serpent in the design?..might be cool? God threw adam and eve out because of this. Obviously god is threatened by Knowledge (Science)making god redundant e.g floods, decease, earthquakes.... science has better explanations. Science is like a stake in the hart to god as it is to a vampire. Apple a day, keeps god(Death)at bay..Apple for the teacher "knowledge" Newtons apple "Gravity"... "Jesus??" red bull gives you wings?.. Blah Blah Blah.....
    Just throwing ideas out their. Stumble across this page and thought Id jump in, It was Just an idea? Anyway...

    Atheist Farewell, Live Long And Prosper.

  12. I don't know why you waste your time reading Makarios' blog. That guy is a broken record. In three weeks, he's going to post the same exact thing again, sidestepping any logical arguments against his point of view.

    Dawkins is not just an atheist. He is an anti-theist. He teaches that silly superstition has no place in the rational world-view, and does not deserve respect.

    When creationists pull their kids out of public school to home-school them into distrusting science and reason, we have a social problem. Because if this behavior gets out of hand, we are going to fall behind China and Russia, and every other country that teaches science in the classroom.

    You want your kids to worship the Lord instead of learning mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, etc? Better start brushing up on your mandarin and get used to the idea of bowing down do your Chinese overlords.

    So no, I don't think Dawkins is out of line, he is totally right in his attitude. Atheism is essential to national security.


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