Here’s why benevolent secular humanism (aka atheism) leads to genocide: If you don’t believe in anything other than this physical realm, then the only thing worth doing is trying to improve the one world you’ve got: this one.
You can improve this world in one of two ways: 1. by simply making yourself more comfortable or 2.(because nobody really wants to be that babyish and selfish), try to improve the whole world and make it a better place.
However, you’re not going to be here very long, and because it is hard to make the world a better place you’re going to have to be quick about it. It would be nice to take the time to convince everyone to help you make the world a better place, but people are pretty lazy and stubborn and they will probably not agree with you and your particular plans to make the world a better place.
So to get the job done, you’re going to have to use a bit of force to make the world a better place. Break some eggs to make an omelette, you know.
This is where the second part of being an atheist comes in handy. Because you don’t believe in God or an afterlife or such silly fairy tale stuff like the human soul, then you don’t have to worry about what might happen to your soul after you die. This means you can do whatever you like to whoever you like because you will never have to pay the price. (an aside: funny how atheists blame religious believers for devising a comfortable pie in the sky belief for themselves! Geesh! what could be more comfortable than atheism? You can do what you please and never have to be called to account)
Therefore, if you have to round a few stubborn people up, lock them up and eliminate them you’ll never have to answer for it.
Furthermore, if you don’t have a soul, neither does anyone else, so you don’t have to worry how many you bump off. After all, they don’t have souls either, so what does it matter if you kill them? It’s no worse than pulling weeds.
And once again we have a believer making the stupid moral argument. Here is a hint theist- it was refuted two and a half milenia ago by Plato himself- see the Euthyphro dilemma for the details.Also, you don’t really understand the differance between “make the world a better place” and “mad utopianism”.For starters, it is impossible to make a utopia. And the fact you have to force people to do what you think is best for them is a big clue.Which is why not all atheists are revolutionaries- a good number are reformists. They don’t care if it doesn’t get finished in their life time, as long as someone gets it done. Hey- it is called selflessness.It is more of a fairy tale not to believe that you will be rewarded and everyone will be punished after death? You do realize that this isn’t part of atheism- it is part of materialism.More to the point, “nonexistance” isn’t existly the sort of thing people would like… it is, literally the end. Fairy tale would be everyone goes to heaven!
Most atheists take the first option of making the world a better place: they just make their world a better place. That is, they opt for simple self interest.I say the belief in non existence after death is wishful thinking because it allows the atheist to do what he pleases. What could be more comfortable than that?
Everyone going to heaven would indeed be a fairy tale. And maybe if more people paid attention to fairy tales, fewer people would go to hell; the numbers which occupy such being a sad reality.If an atheist cares about “getting things done,” then they must, in a sense, care about “the good,” or at the very least, “a good.” This makes him merely a very ignorant theist; for the good viewed by the fettered in the cave, though dim shadows of reality, has the same principle source as the objects viewed by the true light outside.See the Republic “for the details.”
History is one long defeat – but with glimmers of victory. Tolkien. Note the battle term, victory. Battle, not “better”. Christianity recognizes that there is best and there is worst. And that if there is anything that is, thankfully, not hermetically sealed, it is the ongoing flux of the history of the world. Every person has an irrevocable conscience. Light is poured into the conscience. Atheists are as children. I don’t understand how atheists can go about without at some point being tripped up on free will.”Make the world a better place” can go to hell.In fact it is hell.When considering the total number of children murdered through abortion, the notion of there being some slow and eventual progress or “betterment” is so patently ridiculous, that it does not take long to see through the rather adolescent shell of atheists.Fear the utopianism that is apparently humble, modest, enlightened and well, atheistic.Better to be mad.Our intentions are as naught. Be assured that if St. Thomas Aquinas called his entire works “straw” after his heavenly vision, it is God who makes better.And atheists, please define better.
Morality is not dependent on Christianity, Islam, or any other religion. I am good not because I need god or satan to tell me to, but because my humanistic philosophy seeks to work for the advancement man kind; to end genocide, disease, and poverty as best I can. Humanism seeks to help mankind as it best can. I am moral because I know it is for the best for my species if I am. It will not only help me to be good, but it will help everyone I wish to help.I will not tell you which parts of the bible you believe, so do not paint my personal philosophy with your ignorance. Just because you fail to be able to understand how easy it is to have a philosophy better than god to help instruct morality does not mean that it cannot exist. I am a humanist, which means I respect and seek to better humanity. I do go beyond the quotidian and try to help others whom I don’t know. Yes, evolution would argue that for each of us their is a selfish reason behind it. I am good because I know it shall help me to procreate, and my genetics will have a better chance of continuing, but it is not the only reason I seek to act for the betterment of mankind.And what is the betterment of mankind? The alleviation of suffering from poverty, disease, ignorance, and other such ills. I do not do it for selfish reason like reaching paradise or avoiding damnation. I may not have to worry about where I go when I die, but I do have to worry about how I impact others, and how I want to impact others. Yes, I won’t be called into account in death, but I do want to live a positive life, and I don’t want to harm the chance at a positive life for anyone else. I do not have the right to.
Dwight Longnecker stated:”This means you can do whatever you like to whoever you like because you will never have to pay the price. (an aside: funny how atheists blame religious believers for devising a comfortable pie in the sky belief for themselves! Geesh! what could be more comfortable than atheism? You can do what you please and never have to be called to account)”What a crock of BS. The laws of the land will very quickly punish wrong doersand most of them are caught. We can all read about it in the newspapers and know they got they asses kicked.God’s punishments require that you have to die in order to get appropriate punishment for your evil deeds. Then fundies like you will say “take Jayzeus into your heart and ye shall be saved”. That’s a cop-out if I ever heard one. Problem is no one comes back to tell you if they made it to heaven or hell. This means you have been sold a pig in a poke,Reverend.
Niggle, why don’t you seek some help with your mental problem. Maybe Dwight could help you with both your problems. Better still stickwith your delusional ideas,we really don’t want you in our camp.
“Stupid moral argument.” Here again is an non-believer making the “stupid moral argument” that man, with his miniscule brain power–has all the answers. One who cannot see beyond what he himself can experience or feel–and if he–the simple man–can not understand the concept of God–he brushes it aside as if it were nothing.It reminds me of a small child who hiding his eyes, cannot see you, and therefore thinks you cannot see him.
Aspentroll, it’s a delight to see an atheist argue his case with such intelligence, wit, open mindedness and clarity…..The fact is a huge number of wrongdoers get away with it. The largest numbers are those who lie, cheat, swindle and rob others and do so legally. Then there are the huge numbers of people who abuse others, beat them and even kill and do so as police, prison officers etc.Try again.
person who exists, I laud your noble attempt to be a moral humanist.However, there is a fundamental philosophical problem with your position: how does one decide what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’?If the sole criteria is ‘the betterment of humanity” then (given their racial assumptions) the Nazis genocidal policy of eliminating the scum of humanity is clearly for ‘the betterment of humanity’.You wish to rid the human race of poverty, disease and ignorance. This was the aim of the genocidal French Revolution, the reign of Mao Tse Tung, the Russian Revolution and Nazi-ism. They all wanted to get rid of poverty, disease and ignorance.If this was their sole purpose, then it made sense for them to eliminate all those who blocked their plans. If, however what is ‘good’ is what is good for individual human beings, then each individual human being’s good will clash with those of others.There is one other option: that human life is a good in itself, and that what is ‘good’ is always simply the preservation and improvement of human life. If you believe this, then you will have to show us why, on it’s own, with no eternal value or destiny, human life is necessarily a good thing.
Fr Dwight, I laud your feeble attempt to say that it is impossible for people who don’t believe in god to be moral. There is a general consensus within human society as to what is moral and immoral. The Inquisition was seen as moral by its time, yet we now believe it not to be. We believe genocide to be wrong, the Bible lays out how to kill, who not to kill, and what to do with those not saved. The cultural meme of morality is not something that is capable of being over looked. We agree that it is wrong to kill, wrong to steal, wrong to lie, and wrong to cheat. It is not dependent on god to believe those things are wrong. In fact, it is arguable that belief in a deity is detrimental to saying that people are always good.The shifting zeitgeist is evident within the Bible, as well as within the believers. In the bible, slavery is fine and condoned as long as you aren’t too rough. Jesus doesn’t refute it. Yet still, the Rorschach test that the book is, abolitionists found verses to back up their stance. Slavery was wrong because it was subjugation of fellow humans and the shifting zeitgeist no longer held it to be moral, not because god said it was wrong. God never did if you’ve read the books attributed to him. Like any philosophy, the philosophies often attributed to atheism can be perverted. The same is true of christianity, the same is true of any idea. Mao and Stalin saw, through their paranoia, reasons to eliminate those who were evil. Hitler did as well, but he also believed himself justified by his Christianity. Morality is not absolute, it has changed and will continue to. Still, there are things humanity manages to agree upon, and those that break them we attempt to imprison. While it would be nice to believe they get an eternal punishment, this quaint idea is not representative of the world we live in. It may sound nice but so does the idea that we can fly independent of a machine. That’s not the world we live in.What the likes of Hitler, Stalin, the Old Testament Jews, and other genocidal groups or individuals have done is wrong, and is wrong because we agree it is. They saw their enemies as inhuman and educated their children as such. It is not until morality managed to shift that things changed. It is objectively wrong to commit genocide by our modern morals, yet your own god commends the action throughout the bible, leading to the great purge of his realm in Revelation.Morality evolves so that we can live in larger groups. It is wrong to hate based on differences, we can agree on this, no? Well, no, we can’t, you hold that people who believe differently then you on god are evil and genocidal. I don’t believe you are, I believe you have a bad idea, but I don’t believe you’re intrinsically genocidal for believing it. Its in your book, but its not in you. A rational human can determine whether something is right or wrong. They can determine that it is wrong to kill, that it is wrong to take anyone else’s rights to life, dignity, and speech. Religion, not a lack of it, clouds the idea that all humans are good, as you appear to believe that anyone who does not believe in god is not good. Humanism attempts show that all humans are good. Morality depends on the advancement of philosophy, not the existence of religion. Of course, like everything else, morality is not absolute, although their are some objective portions of it. For example murder, genocide, and theft. Of course, we have changed our belief in punishment. It used to be that it was just to have an eye for an eye, now we debate the level of suffering criminals should be forced into because of a respect for our fellow human, not because god made them respectable, but because they are equal to us. Just as I imagine you are going to disagree with slave owners who used the bible as justification, I would argue with those who ever try to justify genocide, regardless the reason. It is because they subjectively believed them inhuman, not because people ever objectively were.Current moral zeitgeist shifts to the notion that all humans are good. This is a recent development, and is not in the bible, quran, torah, or most other religious texts. In Acts 3:14, Peter blamed the Jews for Jesus’ death, does that make everyone good? Matthew 10:5-6, Jesus tells his apostles only to go to the Israelites, and avoid Gentiles and Samaritans. Does that make everyone good in his eyes? Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus condemns entire cities for not caring for his preaching. Does that make everyone good? Mark 7:26 and Matthew 15:22-26, Jesus refuses to heal a woman who is either a Greek or Caananite, depending on the book. Does that mean they’re equal in his eyes? No. Though Jesus contradicts this, that shows god is not the source of all people being good. Its a modern idea due to the shifting morality that we subscribe to as a society. Good and evil are societal memes. They change, they evolve, just as we do, though somethings do hold. When people go against this and begin genocide, it is the duty of humanity to go against that, just as it is the duty of humanity to help prevent and cure AIDS through prevention (condoms, we can’t expect people not to have sex). Genocide is a human problem we cannot expect god to stop, and we must stop it because those killed won’t get to live on in the afterlife. Your entire argument is spurious as it holds that morality comes from god. It does not, there is no good reason to believe it does. I could easily spout out statistics of religious people in prison (which is not equal to the number of religious people in society v. the number of non-religious, it is much more), but that’s correlation, not causation. It would be an unnecessary argument, just as the argument that atheists are evil is idiotic.
General consensus is good.Christians are evil because they call things evil.Atheistic humanists are good because they call things good.Hitler was ignorant.And while he and his crew rose to power, everyone else was simply ignorant. No one knew better.The modern idea to which society subscribes is the general consensus by which we can know when something is evil -er, ignorant and unevolved.The laws of the land will very quickly punish wrongdoers -er, unevolved people, and most of them are caught. We can all read about it in the papers and know they got they asses kicked.Hitler was wrong because we agree that he was wrong.The laws of the land will quickly punish wrongdoers. Morality is not absolute, it has changed and will continue to. There are some objective portions to it. Morality is not absolute. Absolutely sure about it.Mao was memed. That’s why it happened. Condoms are evolved solution to AIDS. We need more memes about stopping AIDS.Current moral zeitgeist shifts to the notion that all humans are good. This is a recent development.Of course it could shift the other way again, because morality is not absolute.A rational human can determine whether something is right or wrong. Except when he is being unrational. He is unrational because he has not evolved. We can know whether he is evolved or not by looking at general consensus. And the newspapers. Newspapers are always evolving.A person can know if he or she is rational by absolutely knowing that morality is not absolute, and is always changing.Morality evolves so that we can live in larger groups. Morality also holds biology conferences, and knows precisely when to break for coffee and tid-bits.It is duty to go against things. What things? Things like genocide and AIDS. Why duty? Because – and note that the “cause” in because is not absolute and is always changing – people need to live to know absolutely that they are evolving and that to absolutely know that the reason they should live is always changing.Unless of course you’re an unwanted baby, an inconvenient gerry, or say, a Christian.
Person who exists: Why should it necessarily be good to stop AIDS, poverty, ignorance etc?Saying this is a ‘societal meme’ or the result of evolution isn’t good enough, for it is just as arguable that genocide is a ‘societal meme’ that cleanses a society of it’s scum. It’s just as arguable that AIDS is an evolutionary development to rid society of it’s scum.If you are against poverty, genocide, ignorance and AIDS are you also against abortion on demand, which kills millions of innocent unborn human beings? If not, why not?How do we know which ‘societal meme’ is the correct one? What is this ‘general consensus’ which somehow mysteriously knows which things hold as good and which do not?Your theories sound very intellectual, but they leak.
Michael Shermer: And isn’t it a better principal that — of how you’d like to be treated, versus “Cause God said I shouldn’t do it.” Fascinating how this atheist, in a PBS special on Freud and CS Lewis, cites the Golden Rule as a fundamental moral principle. Not triple PhD philosophers, but an uneducated son of a carpenter supplying the framework for moral thinking. What a wonderful testimony to the divinity of Jesus!
The Golden Rule is easy for a person to come up with- do unto others as they do unto you isn’t particularly hard. Not surprisingly, it is independantly invented in multiple places.Or are you claiming the great sage was divine too?
I think this would be a good place for someone more learned than I to expound on the Catholic concept of Natural Law.
But Samuel Skinner, your Golden Rule could never do for Christians-‘do to others as they do to you’ is about conditional love, Christianity is about unconditional love, i.e. loving those who hate you and wish evil upon you.
But Shermer did not reference anyone else, nor did you. He referenced the carpenter’s son, just as you did. I wonder if anyone has ever pointed out to him the irony that screams from his comments.
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(Previous comment deleted because I wanted to stick to the historical angle rather than moral abstracts)Historically genocide or other crimes against humanity, have been perpetuated by Christians – such as the crusades or pogroms in Eastern Europe – and non-believers alike such as Stalin and PolPot). Trading examples of depravities committed in the name of any particular belief system is no substitute for engaging with the moral arguments.BUT just as a matter of historical record:The Terror under the French Revolution cannot by any definition be called ‘genocide’ – it was a particularly bloody instance of political repression.Similarly Hitler cannot under any circumstances be described as a ‘humanist’; he personally embraced a revived form of Aryan paganism.However the Nazis were not above using Christianity for the purposes of maintaining social cohesion and legitimacy. So ‘Gott mit uns’ was stamped on every German soldier’s belt buckle and their propaganda emphasized a crusade against atheistic Bolshevism.Inconveniently when arguing for the moral high ground, many Christians went along with this propaganda on the basis of the ends justifying the means. Notoriously including the Catholic Centre Party whose support enabled the Nazis coming to power.
miss bookWell, the reason that “unconditional love” is rare is because it is a rather unworkable concept- if you don’t follow it up with actions, it is all talk, but if you do follow it up with actions, people will rob you blind. That is why it is only truely practiced in small contained groups.obpertI just referanced Confucious. He is known as “The Great Sage”. Additionally it was stated by Thales, Pittacus, Sextus, Isocrates, Epictetus, Buddaha, Bahá’u’lláh, Acaranga Sutra, Saman Suttam, Sage Hillel, Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph, T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien. All these people stated their version before Jesus. Most people referance Jesus because most people don’t know much history- you are living proof of that.journeymanI’m pretty sure Hitler was a Christian- typing in Hitler’s religion gets ALOT of sites and quotes that support that.Also, Robspierre was a diest.As for the crusades… I like how people forget half of them. There was also the Cather Crusade and the Crusades into Lithuania. The Cather Crusade is where the phrase “Kill them all- God will recognize his own” came from.Looking at Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Other (every other commie) the crimes fit in the following categories:Crappy policy- nonfarmers make farm policy. People starve to death.Purges- party members and others in power are… dealt with.Collectivization- property belongs to the state. Anyone with wealth gets screwed over or killed.”Good of the State”- Homosexual? Want an abortion (Romania only)? Deviant? Say hello to the gulag!Treason- self explanatory.So far we have the population dying for not conforming, dissidence and communism itself. However, the state occasionally cracked down on the church itself to various degrees. In the early years of the USSR, Albania and several others. Why?It is illuminating to look at Revolutionary France. Although Robspierre was a diest and many of the previous revolutionaries were Catholic, they IMMEDIATELY attacked the church. Why? Because it supported the Old Regime!The other half was they wanted to form a “Republic of Virtue” in Robspierre’s case. Religion, like all other variables, was to be controlled or eliminated to achieve that end. Since it was a relic of the supersticious past that the people’s revolution was lifting the workers out of it was to be eliminated- either by education, or in the case of Albania who wanted to prove they were TRUE communists, force.Their actions were not based on atheism- if they were say… Christian Communists (that would be an interesting alternate scenario- Marx converts to Christianity) the only differance would be the symbols on the gulags.