Please tell us about it!

There seems to be a general opinion amongst Atheists that they are the victims of severe abuse at the hands of Christians. I invite these who have experienced such abuse by Christians to tell us about it, the situation and the effect of the abuse, as well as the type of Christian(s) and their beliefs, if these facts are known.

Thanks in advance!
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Oops...An Upside-Down Analysis

A commenter from my first post mentioned an article from “Edge”, discussing the arguably growing world population of “disbelievers” (link here). The commenter was disputing my contentions that atheism, lived as fully as possible, has disastrous effects, rather than positive ones, and that consistent atheism is not compatible with human experience. The converse was a subtle contention of the linked article’s authors, but the more noteworthy point they made was accidental. In the midst of all the pseudo-intellectual psychobabble, Paul and Zuckerman manage to demonstrate just how unnatural irreligion – atheism in particular – really is to the human experience.+/-

The article doesn’t do much to dispel the notion that “hard” atheism is detrimental to society. That’s not their intent, though they repeatedly imply that progress and security are owed to secularization - a suggestion which is historically backwards. What the article does attempt to do is to show how freer, more prosperous societies tend to have lower rates of belief than less secure societies. The gradual spread of prosperity is followed by a general decline in religiosity.

Depending on your own views, this may or not may be controversial, but it’s an idea that Christianity, at least, has been well aware of for millennia. Jesus’ challenge to the rich young man, and His subsequent lament over the problem of wealth (Mark 10:21-23), demonstrates this idea clearly. Those with full stomachs and fat wallets tend (though not unavoidably) to falter into materialism of one stripe or another.

The article’s authors seem to miss the implications of their own data, though. The facts of history force a chronology into their assertion: a decline in religiosity follows an establishment of prosperity and security. They couldn’t rightly say that the decline comes first, since it doesn’t. This doesn’t say much about the societal value of overt irreligion. The article actually notes, quite blatantly, that non-belief struggles without a heavily supportive, pre-existing social structure:

“…secularism and disbelief do best in nations that are the most democratic, educated and prosperous…”

Note, please, that in the course of this article the authors surreptitiously define “democratic, educated, and prosperous” nations, ad hoc, as those with near total social welfare systems and a strong endorsement of evolution. The sophomoric equating of “belief in evolution” with “disbelief in religion”, as though the two were mutually exclusive strains of thought, is indicative of a shallow grasp of the topic at hand. The rest of the analysis does not disappoint.

Question: if secularism in general, and atheism in particular, have something positive to offer humanity, if they have something resonant to add to the human condition, why then do they thrive only in times of ease, and wither in times of hardship? The authors continually note that only nations with expansive social welfare have pronounced levels of non-belief, and then make hysterically dense statements such as:
“So much for the common belief that supernatural-based religiosity is the default mode inherent to the human condition.”

So, either we are to believe that the “default” condition of humanity is extensive state-run safety nets, or that Paul and Zuckerman need to pay more attention to their own line of thinking. Intentionally or not, they went to great lengths arguing that societies with more social “safety nets” are less spiritual, then suggest that this is a condition inherent to humanity.

Ironically, one of the major counter-points is the United States, still the freest and most prosperous nation on Earth, as well as one of the most religious. Of course, this fact doesn’t fit with the authors’ preconception that truly modern, educated people don’t believe in God. So, they do some silly rhetorical gymnastics to paint the US as an insecure, not-quite-so-free, not-quite-so-prosperous place. One of their complaints, apparently is that the barbaric Americans allow people to lose their jobs. All this really does, though, is highlight this notable flaw with secularism: it only survives where people feel their every need will ultimately be met by the state. Paul and Zuckerman seem to be saying, inadvertently, that a nation featuring anything less than total guarantees of material security won’t be particularly irreligious.

Atheism should feel a particular sting from this article’s analysis. The authors make a lot of mention of “irreligion”, or “nonreligion”, and relatively little of atheism proper. They note that atheists’ numbers are expanding, but their proportions are actually decreasing. Even in the most heralded “secular” European nations, sizable majorities still believe in some level of spirituality or religion. This should also be considered in light of the other means by which atheism spreads: naked force. Much of Europe is less than a generation removed from government-enforced irreligion, a phenomenon that requires time to heal.

The danger with this aspect of the relationship between social structures and irreligion is exactly in line with my contention about the dangers of atheism. Irreligion is only going to be common in places where the state exerts greater control over the lives of the citizens, one way or the other. Either the state provides for practically all material needs, so people follow the common inclination to brush aside a God they feel no need for; or, the state throttles religion out of the people with the heel of its boot.

As I’ve often noted, people tend to act out the fullness of their beliefs when faced with extreme hardship, and extreme authority. In either of the above cases, once God is truly rejected by moving from irreligion to actual atheism, the state moves from the ultimate civil authority to the ultimate authority, period. If that coincides with some real or imagined crisis…enter Stalin, Mao, and on and on and on.

So, if you haven’t already, read the complete article to get a useful, if accidental, perspective on just how disconnected atheism (and irreligion in general) actually are from natural human experience. If irreligion can’t survive without social security, and faith can exist both in prosperity and hardship, perhaps it’s not religion, but secularism, which is really on “life support”.

[also posted at Gladio Mentis]

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Challenge to Atheists

[Also posted at atheism analyzed].
Atheists are de facto Materialists. Materialism is a necessary consequence of denying the supernatural. As Materialists they tend to revere empiricism as a source of truth. And they are convicted of their own possession of the singular truth of the universe, that there is no first cause.

Since Atheists have possession of the truth, they should not be adverse to sharing it here with us. The truth, of course, would be material and in the form of empirical experimental data, replicated by separate disinterested scientific teams, unfalsified, yet falsifiable, peer reviewed and published in a major scientific journal. These are criteria frequently cited by Atheists, and should be agreeable to them.

Here is a partial list items requiring material, empirical proof (See Rules below):

Note: If you can prove #4 (abiogenesis), there is $1,000,000.00 waiting for you here.

more below:

1. Prove there is no God.

2. Prove Materialism is true.

3. Prove Monism is true.

4. Prove abiogenesis actually happened.

5. Prove macroevolution actually happened.

6. Prove Parsimony is a Law of Nature.

7. Prove Universal Uniformitarianism exists in all cases.

8. Prove wisdom does not exist.

9. Prove humans are perfectible.

10.Prove universal happiness is a moral imperative.

11.Prove information is identical to the media scaffold upon which it resides.

12.Prove the Multiverse exists.

1. Only empirical experimental data, replicated by separate disinterested scientific teams, unfalsified yet falsifiable, peer reviewed and published in a major scientific journal.

2. No generalities or philosophical meanderings will be accepted; only empirical (material) experimental proofs are allowed.

3. Truth by majority vote is not accepted; Truth by deferring to authority is not accepted.

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