The phantom menace of militant atheism

Sep 8, 2014

By Nick Cohen

 

My family went into central London last week. After they’d gone, I found myself checking the web for reports of bomb blasts. Absurd and paranoid of me, of course. Rationally, I know that a motorist is more likely to kill you than a terrorist. Ever since Iraq, I have also known that the intelligence services’ “threats” can be imaginary. But I know this, too, and so does everyone else: if a bomb explodes, no one will think that a “militant atheist” has attacked his or her country. No one will mutter: “I wonder if someone has taken this god delusion argument too far.” Or: “Atheists should have known that violent words lead to violent deeds.”

The police don’t send undercover agents into sceptic societies and parliament doesn’t pass emergency laws to combat atheist violence. Fanatics threaten European Muslims if they abandon their faith but no atheist will attack them if they keep it. No one thinks that atheists threaten the lives of their fellow citizens anywhere in the west.

And yet across what passes for the intelligentsia, moral equivalence holds sway. There is militant religion on one side and militant atheism on the other. We’ve no obligation to make a choice between them. Indeed, we should devote our energies to attacking atheism rather than religion. You’d never guess it from the way believers and conventional intellectuals throw the term around, but “militant atheism” has a specific meaning. Marxist-Leninists, who persecuted all faiths whenever they assumed dictatorial power, were authentic militants. If you want to see militant atheism today, look at China, which sends supporters of Falun Gong to its black jails and bulldozes Catholic churches.

If you were foolish enough to take the west’s religious apologists at their word, you’d think that atheists were proposing the same pogroms here. Their victimhood takes two malign forms. First and most prominently, the Christian right is rallying opposition to equality with the cry that the “intolerance of aggressive secularism”, in the words of the communities secretary, Eric Pickles, is threatening faith. You get a taste of the hysteria on the right when you discover that the cause of the anger was a court ruling that a local council could not include Church of England prayers in its formal meetings. (As a public body, it had to respect the views of councillors and voters of other faiths or none.)

 

Read more here.

49 comments on “The phantom menace of militant atheism

  • Oh dear!
    Those militant atheists keep upsetting the poor helpless brain-addled “faith-thinkers”, by using science to refute the notions their god-delusions and their preachers feed to them! Arrrrhh!
    What do you mean “there’s no Santa Claus”? – You’ll get no presents!



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  • 2
    justasec says:

    Good points — but still not quite there!

    Atheists are usually NOT dogmatists. That is, they don’t hold faith in ideological thinking (religious or otherwise).

    Marxists ARE dogmatists, and in the cases cited, heresy and/or apostasy from the dogma had the same penalties as any deviation from repressive religions throughout history.

    Bottom line: militant Marxists are militant Marxists — not militant atheists!



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  • justasec:

    Bottom line: militant Marxists are militant Marxists — not militant atheists!

    When you consider that some 85 individuals own some 50% of the world’s wealth, the other half being owned by some 7 odd billion people, Marxists have every right to be “militant”. Of course even in his own lifetime, Marx was reported as saying: “If those people are marxists, then I am not a marxist”. Those types of “marxists” have indeed carried out many atrocities, but where in Marx’s writings are to be found the encouragement of the monstrosities occurring in the state capitalist dictatorships such as Russia , China, Cuba, N. Korea etc. ? I would suggest nowhere.

    Of course atheism is a direct product of the materialist viewpoint, of which Marx was such a strong proponent.



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  • 6
    NMLevesque says:

    If we’re going to attribute behavior to things people don’t believe in, we might as well point the finger at their lack of real values like secularism (which contradicts sectarianism), or just basic compassion, and not which unsubstantiated belief in magic they don’t hold.



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  • 7
    aquilacane says:

    We don’t call militant Muslims militant theists. Calling atheism bad because of militant Communists is like calling theism bad because of militant Muslims. Theism isn’t bad because of militant Muslims, it is bad because it’s dishonest bulls.



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  • 8
    aquilacane says:

    Of course atheism is a direct product of the materialist viewpoint, of which Marx was such a strong proponent.

    Not sure about that. We are all born not accepting any argument for any god (atheism) but we are not born Marxist. I have never read any of his stuff though it would appear we share many similar notions, so I would call much of it obvious.

    Not sure how a default position can be the product of a contrived position. There is a great deal of ideology surrounding Marxism but none surrounding atheism; in fact, atheism has only one common denominator that can be assumed shared among all atheists. Atheists don’t accept any arguments in favour of the existence of a god or gods. It is the product of a mind that has not been brainwashed.



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  • The thing about serial oxygen thieves like Eric Pickles, is on the one hand they make the job of a voter quite simple. anyone using this argument that somehow the atheists are coming to…. um… to… (what exactly is it they’ll do again..?), helps us because we instantly know they are a lying sack of shit. this is important in politics since the most common strategy to getting into power is to pretend not to be a lying sack of shit. on the other they remind us what a frighteningly ignorant world we still live in.

    often secularism is thrown into an argument about religious wrong-doing (stuff like murder and child rape) and there seems to be such an air of relief among commenters to get let off the hook in describing the big fat robe wearing elephant in the room and pretend that there’s something so much more subtle at work. It’s so bloody british, the cowardice isn’t even to do with not wanting to be murdered, it’s not wanting to be labeled as an anti something or something-aphobe (take recent events in britain showing it’s better to be a protector of child prostitution than get called racist)

    The problem with this menace is its very lack of substance makes it a safe target. violent threats or not, people wouldn’t chatter about “millitant atheists” if they lived in a “millitant atheist” community. They (we) are the perfect bogeyman; too nebulous a concept to ever stick to an individual (unless it’s someone who’s made a stink by daring to write a bestseller) so it’s fine to keep blaming the athesits and their evil plans to do something uncertain but bloody well probably awful. We’re basically what happens when you can no longer blame jews for your poverty, women for being “bra-burners” if they take offence to your objectification, homosexuals “converting” your children and anyone who’s a bit different from you for not trying to be more like you.

    The trouble with creating a stereotype is it will come back to bite you. so while the likes of Pickles are feeding lies to keep credulous people scared enough to vote conservative, they’re also creating a rod for their own back. eventually protecting values agaisnt those who don’t hold them creates an underclass, a minority group. a group those same scaremongers might have to protect in law one day.



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  • Apart from on this site, I keep my views to myself, and outside of here I’ve never yet had my ear bent by a like minded individual.

    The only raised voices I ever hear are those of the religious and their apologists, and I long ago gave up trying to reason with them.

    If I am asked by one of their number what my views are, I usually say that they’re confidential; of course, that’s not what I’m thinking when I say it, but I see no point in being rude to them.



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  • Hi DArcy,

    When you consider that some 85 individuals own some 50% of the world’s wealth, the other half being owned by some 7 odd billion people, Marxists have every right to be “militant”.

    Most people would agree that treating others as you would like them to treat you is Golden Rule Number 1.

    I have long considered; two wrongs don’t make a right as Golden Rule Number 2 (and one which is curiously absent from the rhetoric of power-seeking, organised, dogmatic, parties).

    If, as the OP suggests, militant means using confrontational or violent methods to achieve a political or social end, and dogma means a set of beliefs laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true and which therefore guide methods then I couldn’t give a flying fig for how the statistics might be interpretted – no-one has the right to be militant.

    Of course even in his own lifetime, Marx was reported as saying: “If those people are marxists, then I am not a marxist”.

    I didn’t know that. It does sound an awful lot like: Yes I’m a Christian – there are 2 billion of us Worldwide you know. Nasty business about the children. Ah, yes … well … I’m not a Catholic – if they’re Christains, I’m not a Christian.

    Those types of “marxists” have indeed carried out many atrocities, but where in Marx’s writings are to be found the encouragement of the monstrosities occurring in the state capitalist dictatorships such as Russia, China, Cuba, N. Korea etc. ? I would suggest nowhere.

    Violence is an integral part of Communist dogma. It’s in Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto in plain language. Anyone who knows anything about the Russian Soviet Gulag (I recommend Anne Applebaum’s brief history) can tell you that violent revolution is only the beginning – and that the end of Stalin was a very long way from being the end of violent oppression in that sorry country.

    Of course atheism is a direct product of the materialist viewpoint, of which Marx was such a strong proponent.

    Oh no. You were being ironic, right.

    Drat!



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  • When I am asked by theists questions about my views, I answer them candidly and pleasantly (non-rudely). Works well for me almost always, and on rare occasions when theists become testy I simply smile and say something like, “Well, I see we see things differently, good luck with that” and bid them Good Day. If they press hard, I may (as pleasantly as I can) say something like “Well, how about this: you go Yahweh, and I’ll go mine — fair enough?” That is most successful for me; what I do NOT do is stand and try to wrestle them to the ground on anything. But I do try to answer their questions as candidly as I can, for as long as they seem genuinely receptive of my answers (even though they may not like or approve of my answers).



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  • aquilacane Sep 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Of course atheism is a direct product of the materialist viewpoint,

    Not sure about that.

    This is a common ploy by theists to confuse the two definitions of “materialism” in order to give science a negative twist!

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/materialist

    ma·te·ri·al·ism (m-tîr–lzm) n.

    Philosophy The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.
    The theory or attitude that physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life.

    Definition 1. is the material physics of the universe (as distinct from wooist theological “immaterial” supernatural delusions).

    Definition 2. is greed for material possessions.

    . . .

    of which Marx was such a strong proponent.

    We are all born not accepting any argument for any god (atheism) but we are not born Marxist.

    You are right about not being born with in built ideologies, but it should be clear that Marx was an anti-theist materialist – by definition 1.
    and an anti-materialist by definition 2. – clearly condemning the greed of elites seizing the bulk of material possessions for their own luxury life styles.

    In theistic assertions, “Materialist”, is commonly used as a disparaging term, for those who are their rational antithesis rejecting “immaterial supernaturalism”! The mention of Marxism is the usual attempt at the fallacy of “guilt by association”!



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  • Bottom line: militant Marxists are militant Marxists — not militant
    atheists!

    I find it very strange how “militant” always have a negative connotation in English. That’s certainly not the case in Portuguese, where “militante” simply means someone who isn’t just talks, but keeps his or her actions coherent with discourse. A “marxista militante” is nothing else than a Marxist, for it is completely contradictory to be a Marxist “in thoughts only”.

    What is the English word for people who keep their practice consistent with their discourse?



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  • Like.

    If someone is a dogmatist, then that someone is not a Marxist. If someone is a Marxist, then that someone cannot be a dogmatist. “Dogmatic Marxist” is like “dogmatic Darwinist”: they may exist, but they are walking contradictions.

    (And in 99.99% of the cases, they haven’t understood Marx’s criticism of Proudhon, and remain Proudhonists at heart.)



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  • a mind that has not been brainwashed

    The only “non-brainwashed minds” that I know of are feral children, and their fate is not to be envied.

    We are social animals, we don’t exist outside our relations to others. And our relations to others, well, they will impact our minds, for good or bad. Or both.



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  • As an American, I can only give you my opinion. I think the word “militant” arises from the civil rights era when black rights groups were referred to as militant.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon:

    Violence is an integral part of Communist dogma. It’s in Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto in plain language.

    Perhaps you could point me to the particular passages ? It’s true that Marx and Engels wanted the working class to force its political will upon the capitalist class, and then establish socialism / communism by stripping the capitalists of their ownership, but even as early as The Communist Manifesto (1848), they realised that the workers had to win the “battle of democracy”. As Engels put it later in The Class Struggles in France:

    For here, too, the conditions of the struggle had essentially changed. Rebellion in the old style, the street fight with barricades, which up to 1848 gave everywhere the final decision, was to a considerable extent obsolete.

    How anyone could consider the USSR and other countries as “socialist” / “communist” is beyond me, – apart from the fact that the twisters like Lenin and Stalin claimed it during and after their power grab ! The workers still worked for wages, there was still a privileged class of parasites to support in the form of the Communist Party and others whose object was to squash out all possible political opposition, including the Russian Orthodox Church. A task which Stalin showed himself to be well equipped for. The closer you got to him, the more in danger you were.

    Would Stephen of Wimbledon consider China to be a communist country ? I don’t. It’s capitalism personified.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon on Marx not being a “marxist”:

    I didn’t know that. It does sound an awful lot like: Yes I’m a Christian – there are 2 billion of us Worldwide you know. Nasty business about the children. Ah, yes … well … I’m not a Catholic – if they’re Christains, I’m not a Christian.

    Yes it does sound like that doesn’t it ! Could I suggest going to the source of “marxism” ? Unlike Jesus, we can be sure that Marx actually lived and wrote.



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  • 21
    justasec says:

    The point being missed in many of the comments is that Marxism is a dogma — while atheism is not. Stalin et al., may have perverted Marxism — but they didn’t oppress and murder in the name of atheism.

    Faith in ideology is the cause of much of the world’s mayhem. As Peter Boghossian has pointed out, faith is a failed epistemology. In contrast, the reason and rationality approach of most atheists leads to much better decision making!



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  • justasec :

    The point being missed in many of the comments is that Marxism is a dogma…

    Sorry. I have to disagree. Dogma is something you are told to accept without question. In the first Preface to Capital Marx wrote :

    I pre-suppose of course, a reader who is willing to learn something new and therefore to think for himself.

    It doesn’t look like the founder of “marxism” was very dogmatic, does it ?



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  • Agree,

    As yet I’m unaware of anywhere where it has actually been tried as Marx envisioned it. I remain sceptical that it would ever work. I think the closest we’ve ever gotten is movements somewhat to the side of our capitalist societies such as open source software. Probably about a third of us are walking around with android phones in our pockets which is Googles open derivative of the Linux (based on Unix) and under legal terms open to all hence its spread as a phone OS among all other brands.

    Obviously Google is not doing this because they just want to give the world a version of Linux that they can have on their phone. Linux gives them a platform that they could modify (saving many millions in developing an OS from scratch) while ensuring it works very nicely with google and hence making a profit, meanwhile making it free means their system gets picked up by every other phone manufacturer out there. It’s my understanding that most modems and routers use Linux also for similar reasons likewise most servers. All of it essential to our modern lives and all of it coded for free by those who just think it would be better to have this stuff out there. Possibly the closest we’ll ever get I suspect.



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  • 24
    justasec says:

    Maybe the founder wasn’t — but folks who questioned the various versions of it soon found that such heresy was risky.

    Anyway, do you agree with my main point about atheism?



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  • Hi DArcy,

    Violence is an integral part of Communist dogma. It’s in Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto in plain language.

    Perhaps you could point me to the particular passages?

    No.

    I have tried to read Das Kapital but find it even more monotonous, tedious, insipid and uninspiring than the Bible. I therefore have greater difficulty remembering where to find quotes than I do with the Bible – sorry. I do recall there being something along the lines of the merciless exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie only being capable of redress through revolution. Then there was: Rise up, the only thing you have to lose is your chains.

    I might be wrong, they may have been discussing knitting patterns?

    it’s true that Marx and Engels wanted the working class to force its political will upon the capitalist class, and then establish socialism / communism by stripping the capitalists of their ownership, but even as early as The Communist Manifesto (1848), they realised that the workers had to win the “battle of democracy”. As Engels put it later in The Class Struggles in France.

    Fair enough.

    I travelled extensively in Eastern Europe, then went to live in Russia in the early ’90s for 2 1/2 years. The locals were all in agreement; they had been living in a ‘Communist paradise’ – and were heartily glad not to be living in it any longer (even though great change, and trepidation over their ultimate fate, were daily concerns).

    How anyone could consider the USSR and other countries as “socialist” / “communist” is beyond me …

    You’re entitled to your opinion. From my perspective, as above, the evidence I have received in great abundance is exactly that … [shrug] …

    … apart from the fact that the twisters like Lenin and Stalin claimed it during and after their power grab !

    Forgive me DArcy, over the recent past we have seen eye-to-eye on many things (even if I didn’t comment every time). On this I must disagree, as above.

    The workers still worked for wages, there was still a privileged class of parasites to support in the form of the Communist Party …

    There is something in what you say, but it isn’t the whole story. Please note that I have too limited a time slot to cover the many misconceptions in that sentence in detail, but here are three salient points:

    Even senior Communist Party figures had relatively little ‘additional’ comforts, and most still lived in fear of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. Their apartments, in particular, struck me as very modest. Many of the most senior, of course, did have very nice country retreats too. But we have to remember that much of this was connected to a position that could vanish, literally, overnight

    The face value of wages was greatly distorted by multiple layers of ‘club’ (e.g enterprise or department) membership and access to retail outlets in buildings with restricted access, seniority or rank, and so forth.

    The most important aspect of these first two facts is that Communism was unable to find a substitute for money. They therefore did everything in their political power to undermine money. They succeeded only in ensuring the economy went backwards – to barter. Even Government employees with Party membership and seniority bartered.

    The Black Market thrived heartily as the State continuously failed to deliver even basic commodities. Many economists, I remember, reckoned it to be more than half of the overall economy.

    Black Market + Barter = Corruption. You trade what you can. Government positions give opportunities for some very creative trades.

    I can think of a a one word description that perfectly describes the extraordinary Russian levels of corruption ([cough] in the bad old days only, of course … ): Heroic.

    Of course Policemen are Government employees, and Black Market traders operate outside the law … messy, and sometimes innocents were dragged, unavoidably, into this mix …

    The impression that has remained with me until today is that Communism is truthful about one of its claims: People lived largely equal lives in terms of access to material goods. The price they paid for that equality was awful, and I’m sorry I don’t have time to list all of the appalling down sides but a key point is that the median level was, to Western eyes, noticeably close to abject poverty for everyone.

    My Wife is Russian. Her Mother grew up under Stalin. However, neither is inclined to draw a line between Stalin’s time and the long, relatively peaceful, period that followed – despite the Cold War. Both are crystal clear, even today, that they lived in a properly Communist state. My (over 20 years, and widely travelled) experience is that they are pretty normal Russians in this respect.

    Regarding what you have to say about Stalin and anti-Orthodox policies and activities: Russia has always lacked the vigorous civil society that is common in Western countries. Stalin was reacting against political rivals just as any self-respecting paranoid schizophrenic would do.

    But here’s the thing: The Communists had plenty of time to reveal the ‘true’ nature of Communism post-Stalin … if it’s really as different as you claim.

    Would Stephen of Wimbledon consider China to be a communist country ? I don’t. It’s capitalism personified.

    I am not competent to judge. My Daughter recently returned from a long trip to China, but I cannot claim to have learned enough to know. From the outside I would guess that China is a one-party state that keeps its people in check using some standard totalitarian techniques very similar to those employed by propagandists everywhere. To say more would only be to speculate.

    Before I sign off I feel it necessary to point out that the comment:

    How anyone could consider the USSR and other countries as “socialist” / “communist” is beyond me …

    … sounds almost exactly to me like:

    They say they’re Muslims, but if they’re Muslims then I’m not a Muslim.

    Peace.



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  • Would Stephen of Wimbledon consider China to be a communist country ? I don’t. It’s capitalism personified.

    Ahh China. 3000 years of unregulated capitalism interrupted by a few moment of madness. One of the reasons I think China is not the military threat as portrayed. Making money IS Chinese culture. They would lose money if they go to war.



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  • It must be said that the Modern Secular Democracy is the best of all systems to date even if not perfect in the actuality of day to day running. ( there are too many avenues for the influence of propaganda via sources like the Murdoch press, for that.) I suspect the top 87 asset holders would like it to be otherwise. It’s not in their interests to have diversity of opinion or questioning of the status quo. I think it’s in their interests to have an obedient, tractable population possessing just enough skills to keep the flow of capital going in their direction. This is probably best managed by having a god-fearing populace.
    Look at the pressure to keep religion in pride of place! By rights, these fanciful notions should have been discarded with The Enlightenment!



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  • Hi DArcy,

    Joshua 24:15 – And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

    John 8:32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    Doesn’t sound like a Work of dogma does it?

    Peace.



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  • I have tried to read Das Kapital but find it even more monotonous, tedious, insipid and uninspiring than the Bible.

    Too long, didn’t read, couldn’t understand it, therefore it is false…

    That’s the mindset of the religious.



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  • Violence is an integral part of Communist dogma.

    Violence is an integral part of liberal dogma.

    …or wasn’t Max Weber who told us that the State has the monopoly of legitimate violence?

    Violence, as long as we don’t wipe out its causes, is an integral part of the human experience. To that extent, the matter is not violence or not violence, but who exerts it, and against whom – and for what ends.



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  • Maybe the founder wasn’t — but folks who questioned the various
    versions of it soon found that such heresy was risky.

    As a heterodox Marxist for some thirty years, I must say that I always have faced much more risk from the (non-dogmatic?) anti-Marxists around me, than from dogmatic Marxists.

    And yes, that included the risk of being jailed and tortured, or simply being offed by some excessively zealous non-dogmatic agent of the State.



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  • About Joshua:

    He may have freely decided to serve the “lord”, but I am quite certain that “his house” – ie, his wives, children, journeymen, slaves – weren’t offered any option at all.

    About John:

    Yeah, the Gospels are much less dogmatic than modern Christians would believe.

    I particularly like the fact that the only character than can accurately quote scripture in these narratives is… the devil.

    (It quite obviously reads as a strong alert against fundamentalism, but for some reason that is not a popular interpretation among Christians. Maybe the have more in common with the devil than with their eponymous hero.)



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  • Anyway, do you agree with my main point about atheism?

    I suppose you mean this?

    That is, they don’t hold faith in ideological thinking (religious or
    otherwise).

    I doubt it very much.

    Don’t atheists use funny coloured little rectangles of paper to “buy” dairy? Doesn’t that mean that they are very much into the (quite ideological) belief that those scraps of paper somehow (and somewhat magically) embody something such as “value”(which, by the way, is another completely ideological notion)?

    I don’t think we can live in market societies without, in practice, holding faith is enormous amounts of purely ideological thinking…



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  • 36
    justasec says:

    I’m not quite sure how to label Luis’ approach to debate — maybe “epistemological relativism” fits?

    Anyway, the thread has strayed so far from the topic of militant atheism that I don’t see much point in continuing.

    😉



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  • I’m not quite sure how to label Luis’ approach to debate — maybe
    “epistemological relativism” fits?

    I would say “Marxism”, but that’s just me…

    Anyway, the thread has strayed so far from the topic of militant
    atheism that I don’t see much point in continuing.

    Well…..

    The problem is that there is an attempt to describe atheism as some “default position” (so that even the possibility of a “militant atheism” can be denied). This of course prompts those of us who reject the (very ideological – of the Lockean, I presume, kind of ideology of a “blank slate”/tabula rasa, ie, 17th century proto-enlightenment/early liberalism) to retort with a criticism of such ideas. The obvious point – for me at least – is that there is no such think as absence of ideology, no default position, no pre-theist atheism. We are social beings; if we aren’t “brainwashed” at the proper time we don’t become atheist saints, we become feral children unable to speak. “Ideology” isn’t a specific cult of more or less awkward ideas, it is what keeps society together in its present form. And atheism isn’t the position of some hipothetical person who hasn’t been introduced to the notion of gods, but the explicit, conscious rejection of all theist/deist/pantheist/agnostic notions about the “supernatural” and its relation to the “natural”. No human culture has been characterised by some “pre-theist” kind of atheism; the notion of gods is very ancient, and seems to be a quite obvious reaction to the several enigmas that must have faced people whose technology and knowledge about the world were very primitive.

    That’s how we get from discussing “militant atheism” into discussing what exactly is (or is not) atheism, and probably further into how exactly do we “know” (or would that simply be “believe”?) that gods don’t exist.

    It’s the fate of most internet threads, to evolve into something different from what they were originally intended to. Except perhaps for those threads that were entirely created, with all of their posts, 6,000 years ago…



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  • Hi Luis,

    I’m sorry this has to be so brief, but It’s my bedtime.

    How are you “certain” that Joshua’s house – ie, his wives, children, journeymen, slaves – weren’t offered any option at all [but to submit to YAHWEH]?

    Peace.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon:

    I have tried to read Das Kapital but find it even more monotonous, tedious, insipid and uninspiring than the Bible.

    That’s too bad, but it’s better than the late Prime Minister of Britain, Harold Wilson, who admitted to not getting past the first page because it had a long footnote on it ! And he was a “socialist ” ! Actually Marx’s analysis of how capitalism arose and how it works is unequalled. And yes, capitalism did arise, it hasn’t been with us forever, as some would have us believe.

    I won’t attempt to answer all of Stephen’s other points, as he obviously equates the USSR and other countries as examples of communism, – a view I disagree with, whatever the locals thought. Wherever there is a working class, there is capitalism.



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  • The description “Militant Atheists”, is quite difficult to distinguish from “assertive scientists”, – when challenging asserted supernatural mythology or claims that dogma trumps all.

    It is a term often used by “militant evangelists”, who want to create a “them and us” image with respective negative and positive spins.
    They also misleadingly use the term “religion”, to pretend there is some sort of unity of view among religions, or that their own particular cult represents all the world’s religions.

    Standard self-deluding wish-thinking, posing as reasoning!



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  • That’s too bad, but it’s better than the late Prime Minister of
    Britain, Harold Wilson, who admitted to not getting past the first
    page because it had a long footnote on it

    To notice, that is not an endorsement of finding Das Kapital monotonous, tedious, insipid or uninspiring…

    And if you think so, go and ask Professor Dawkins how to think properly…!



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  • Plus of course the deliberate use of “faith”, which has more than one meaning, to suit their purposes.

    Atheists might have “faith” that the train will run on time, based on previous experience, but they have no “faith” in gods or God. In my case no “faith” in the supernatural either.

    Now the speed of light has been measured so many times, and to such a large degree of accuracy, It’s hardly “faith” to believe that the next measurement will result in a speed of approx 186,000 mps / 300,000 kmps. The speed of light has become a fact and as far as we know, is very highly unlikely ever to have a vastly different value to that which science now assigns it.



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  • Hi DArcy,

    I am of course very disappointed that the evidence of my many of first-hand experiences and the political opinions of the many people I have met in formerly Communist countries is simply dismissed.

    They do say that parody, done properly, is impossible to separate from sincere extremism.

    I will agree to disagree.

    Peace.



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  • 47
    Light Wave says:

    In America you are more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist….do they tell you that on American news ?



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