Humanism and theism

Many Atheists, including myself, accept that the only true and fair way of leading an ethical life is through a secular society and Humanism. Many Theists believe that Humanism is evil, and think that it promotes homosexuality, abortion and transgender, and secularism is trying to destroy the church and take away alleged ‘Christian values‘. It irritates me when theists claim that secularism is anti-religion. What they fail to realise, or acknowledge is that secularism is a separation of church from politics. Religion, or lack of isn’t discriminated against, but also isn’t allowed to dominate. No one in society should have an advantage or disadvantage depending on their faith, belief or views and it actually protects religious freedom contrary to theists claiming it as an opposition. Imagine a world where Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Christians and Atheists could all live side by side, all equal with no one any more superior or inferior in society – well that is secularism.

The problem society faces though is selfishness, the selfishness of theism. They don’t want a secular society where everyone is equal, as they want their religion to be dominant; and many desire a theocracy. Christians, especially American Christians, are brainwashed into thinking that their country was founded by Christian standards, which is absolutely nonsensical. There’s much evidence to suggest that a large number of the founders that created the Constitution were Deists, and whilst they believe in a God, they don’t accept that he’s involved in anything since the creation. Muslims wish for countries to adopt Sharia Law, and there’s no way any Christian would agree to that. Could you imagine if the United States turned into a Muslim dominated country, how quickly would the Christians change direction about secularism?

Because of this, Humanism is the fairest, and most logical philosophy mankind can adhere to. Humanism puts humanity as paramount, and accept that this is the only life we have, and whilst we are here we should be compassionate and use empathy towards everyone. I’ve read many theists object to the philosophical stance of Humanism because it accepts that everyone should have a voice, and be free to be an individual. They don’t like the idea that people can live moral and ethical lives despite being in a same-sex relationship. They can’t accept that if you don’t put a god before humanity you’re unable to live a life with standards or morals. They misinterpret Humanist’s general position on abortion, and assisted dying, as they believe it’s about promotion, whereas in reality it’s giving an individual freedom of choice.

The main issue in my opinion is the contempt towards the idea of liberalism, as for some unknown reason it makes them foam at the mouth, and many loathe the concept of equality. Liberalism includes the promotion of civil rights, human rights, democracy, secularism, gender and sexual equality, racial equality, freedom of speech, and finally freedom of religion. I fail to understand why theists object to liberalism, and suggest that it’s a mental disorder. Liberalism is responsible for the creation of trial by jury, an adversarial system of justice where someone standing trial is entitled to a defence and the prosecutor is required to provide evidence, the civil rights movement, same-sex marriage, freedom of speech, right to education, and common suffrage.

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Jesus

The above sentence is perhaps one of the most well known Biblical quotes, and sums up perfectly what a Christian should be. But this isn’t always the case, and bigotry is extremely rampant in the modern Christian world. They don’t like the fact that homosexuality and transgender have gained equality, they are still your neighbour though, regardless of what they do in the privacy of their homes. Everything regarding gender is so black and white with many theists who claim there are only two genders; male and female. They wilfully choose to ignore intersex (born with both reproductive organs, or a combination of various sexual organs), and claim that transsexual people suffer from mental illness, which is a disgusting, ignorant opinion to have, yet the theist society think they understand ethics and morality. Instead of being embarrassed about their wilful ignorance, they are proud and content thinking their outlook on life is acceptable in the modern world we live in.

The atheism fallacies compendium: Part II

I don’t accept the existence of God, and at almost 47years of age, I’ve not once in my life ever genuinely considered any religion being more than just fables, yet I’m told frequently that there’s no such thing as an atheist. This is the pompous, arrogant stance that many theists have developed in thinking that everyone really believes in God, and the claim of atheism is a person being rebellious as they’re angry with God, and what do they offer? They offer prayer, as obviously that’s been proven to work.

How brainwashed must someone be to believe that everyone believes in what they believe in, as it’s not just about people lacking belief in God, but people having faith in other religions, and deities. Below are a few perfect examples of someone who’s so indoctrinated that they can only see the world through God goggles.

Take Jim Jenning’s comments. He really believes that all atheists are really agnostic, but by his standards, so are theists. I can’t prove God doesn’t exist, and he can’t prove that he does. Agnosticism is a belief that nothing can be known about the existence of God, whereas atheism can either mean lack of belief due to insufficient evidence, or the harder approach of saying there is absolutely no God.

Whilst agnosticism and atheism appear similar, agnosticism is a claim, as it’s a belief that nothing can be known, whereas the most common definition of atheism isn’t a claim, as it’s disbelief due to insufficient evidence. There’s a difference, albeit a subtle one, that Jim Jennings clearly doesn’t understand.

People like David Foster Wallace don’t help matters when they claim that there’s no such thing as atheism, as everyone worships something. But this is absolute nonsense, as the definition of worship is very clear, as can be found in the highly respectable Cambridge dictionary:

“to have or show a strong feeling of respect and admiration for God or a God”

Yet, either Wallace is purposely ignorant, or is using his position as a successful author to promote the ‘atheism is a religion’ fallacy.

“In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles.”

As I’ve already stated, and provided evidence for, worship is linked to adoring God/s, and atheism is essentially the rejection of God/s. The four Noble truths are the directions against preventing suffering in the Buddhist spirituality, and ethical principles are about doing what’s right, and also trying to prevent suffering. This is not, however you look at it, a form of worship. Some theologians are convinced that humanity are naturally homo adorans, (worshipping beings), but I couldn’t disagree more, as in my opinion, the need to worship is a sign of weakness, and it says to me that there’s something wrong with you if you need to adore a God to give your life meaning.

The religion of atheism

This is one of the most ridiculous and ignorant projections that I keep reading on social media, and it’s becoming more frequent. For something to qualify as a religion, it must meet certain criteria. Oxford dictionary has the following definitions.

“The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or Gods; a particular system of faith and worship; or a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion”

So let’s analyse this, and come to a logical conclusion. Atheism is derived from the Greek word Atheos (ἄθεος), which means without God, that I’ve covered in this article titled Atheism: The Idiot’s Guide. Atheism is the rejection of God/s, so the first definition is now redundant.

The majority of atheists say that they won’t blindly accept something, especially the existence of God/s, until sufficient evidence is supplied, so they are without any doubt that they exist. With this in mind, there’s no faith involved, as faith is about accepting something in the following way, also taken from Oxford dictionary.

“The strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.”

Considering atheists require evidence, faith is now redundant. I’m sure you’ve all encountered a theist that claims that atheists worship science. I know I have, and it’s one of those ‘eye roll’ moments. Atheists don’t worship science, and the following is also taken from Oxford dictionary:

“The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”

Not only is science NOT a deity, but it isn’t something that can be worshipped, as it’s not about setting or creating an atheist world view, which I covered in this article titled Is Atheism a Worldview? , it’s about scientists devoting their life to study, research and experiment, and the following is once again taken from Oxford dictionary:

“The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”

With this in mind, and acknowledging that science is an intellectual study, it makes worship redundant. So now we are left with a pursuit, or interest followed with great devotion.

Theist: God exists

Atheist: Prove it

Theist: I can’t, I just know it

Atheist: Until you can prove it, I will continue with my disbelief.”

Can any of you explain how lacking belief in God/s, or a deity, could become a pursuit or interest? It’s absolute nonsense to suggest that atheism is a religion, and anyone who thinks so is a complete buffoon.

Is atheism harmful?

As most of you are already aware, I’m atheist, and a humanist. I’m writing this as a response to what someone said on Twitter.

“Because atheism is harmful to health, life, society, & civilization”

I’m going to defend this comment without retaliation, as it makes me just as harmful as the person who wrote this if I do. Whilst atheists have no tenets, that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of being moral, and because theists have tenets doesn’t mean that they are incapable of being immoral.

Morality is about respect, and caring about other people’s welfare.

Morality is about doing the right thing, maximising happiness and trying to prevent misery.

Morality is about showing compassion, humility and empathy.

• Morality is about adopting the golden rule, which is about treating others as you want to be treated.

I will start by discussing ‘harmful to health’. What do atheists do that is harmful to health that theists don’t do? Muslims don’t drink alcohol, but many smoke, and some take drugs. Many Christians drink alcohol and smoke. Atheists can be promiscuous, but that doesn’t mean they have to be, or we all are. I’m 46 years old, and I’ve been in a relationship with all my previous sexual partners, and I’m currently in a monogamous marriage. Some atheists seek medical help for mental health, but many theists leave their religions due to mental abuse and are left mentally scarred. Many of my Twitter followers can admit to this, and this is why they became atheists. So the ‘harmful to health’ comment is nonsensical.

‘Harmful to life, society and civilisation’.

Humans are harmful to society and civilisation, and history proves this. It doesn’t matter whether we are with faith, or without faith, humanity has done horrible things. The slave trade, the Holocaust, the Ku Klux Klan, terrorism, war, the Inquisitions, the Crusades, Communist dictators. The list is endless and not restricted to any particular group or society.

As I’ve already said, I’m 46 years old, and I’m married. I have a job, as does my atheist wife. We both pay our taxes, and neither of us has a criminal record. We both support several animals charities, and have fostered dogs. And, I support Humanists UK, which is a registered charity with many campaigns. I’m a very compassionate person who tends to see good in people, and to my detriment, it’s sometimes too late when I realise there’s often more bad than good.

I come from a really small family of atheists, who all work hard, love animals and enjoy their lives to the full. I think the ignorance that engulfs theists with preconceptions about atheism is without excuse. Every religion claims to be about peace and love, but it seems that atheism is the one area of society where it seems perfectly acceptable to discriminate against, and in 2019 we shouldn’t even be discussing faith or lack of. Religion will be something humanity will look back to with regret that we were so gullible, as humanism and secularism is the only way we as a species can be equal, without discrimination or prejudice. Religion will die out eventually, as humanity gains wisdom, but I will never encourage anyone to take away the right to their religion, so why do so many want to impose their beliefs on others?

Is secularism an atheist ideology?

We live in extremely diverse communities where beliefs, and ideologies vary, and many people’s way of life differ. State secularism is about protecting everyone, being neutral, maximising equality, and attempting to prevent specific communities being either privileged, or disadvantaged by separating religious institutions from government affairs. State secularism’s key focus is human rights, and minimising prejudice and discrimination to minority groups who’s voice is seldom heard. Whilst most atheists support the ideology of secularism, it isn’t about removing religion, as it’s the exact opposite, it’s protecting the freedom of practising all religions regardless of what the majority faith is in society. Secularism is freedom of religion, as well as freedom from religion.

“Secularism is categorically not saying that the religious may not speak out publicly or have a say in public life. It is about saying that religion alone should not confer a privileged say in public life, or greater influence on it. It really is as simple as that.” – Richard Dawkins

• Separation of religious institutions from state institutions and a public sphere where religion may participate, but not dominate.

• Freedom to practice one’s faith or belief without harming others, or to change it or not have one, according to one’s own conscience.

• Equality so that our religious beliefs or lack of them doesn’t put any of us at an advantage or a disadvantage. – National Secularist Society.

Whilst secularism ensures that religions don’t interfere with government affairs, it also protects religions from government interference. The problem is religions are often selfish, and so long as their religion has priority, then fuck everyone else. Abrahamic religions especially wish for their country of residence to be theocratic states, where the emphasis is put on their god as the divine authority, and religious leaders are the god’s representatives. This will obviously benefit them, but any other religious minority is denied freedom of rights, justice, equality and value in society.

“But the West is trying to weaken Islam from outside and inside. They attack our people and invade our countries from outside, and they weaken us from within with ideas like secularism, liberalism and democracy. This is all designed to contaminate our pure Islam.” – Abu Bakar Bashir

The above quote is exactly why I’m confident that religion, especially Islam is oppressive, and is designed to remove equality, human rights and freedom from society, and viewing liberalism, secularism, and democracy as a threat proves how brainwashed they are, and how they believe that mental slavery is the best way to live. I’m quite extreme in my antitheism, but I know that if every country adopted secularism then my distaste for religion would be significantly reduced, as it wouldn’t have as much of an influence over society in regards to education and politics.

Is atheism a cult?

I’ve seen this claim floating around social media for some time now, but is it just another ignorant copy and paste claim, or does it have any legitimacy? Oxford dictionary defines a cult as a ‘system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object; or, a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society’. A cult is more often that not a sect of a religious, philosophical or political group, that’s outlandish by appearance, and unusual in its beliefs, and displays an excessive devotion.

The word cult’s origin comes from the Latin ‘cultus’, which essentially means ‘worship’, but in modern times it’s become a derogatory ad hominem attack to imply some belief that’s considered beyond the norm. A cult is often related to some form of ritualistic practise involving a deity, a monument and/or sacrificial offerings, which perfectly sums up early Judaism. Whilst not exclusive, cults can lead to studying the occult, which is the study and practise of the supernatural, witchcraft, alchemy, which all attempt to manipulate natural law, and studying the occult can lead to the creation of cults.

Cults are often groups which centre around extreme ideologies, and brain controlling leaders like Charles Manson, or David Koresh. Atheism lacks a direction, a purpose, a criteria, an agenda or a doctrine. Most cult members are drawn in because they are vulnerable, but atheists tend to reach their conclusion of disbelief due to insufficient evidence, and very often leave a religion that has a cult like mentality that they needed to break free from.

Cults, like most religions, trap people through indoctrination, and the tactic of shaming if someone dares to leave. Atheism isn’t a organisation, a sect or a cult, it’s just people who used reason and scepticism to reach a conclusion independently. There are no cult leaders, no communes or dogma. When theists claim that atheism is a cult, or more frequently a religion it’s a failed attempt to drag it down to their level, as in how can we make a claim that religion is ignorant, when atheism is just another religion. But this is a miserable attempt to accuse atheists of being hypocrites, and I know first hand from speaking to many atheists that most lack belief as the evidence doesn’t match their sceptical scrutiny, and until it does they’ll take the stand that gods probably don’t exist, whereas religious people have faith, and are confident that their gods exist, and usually aren’t prepared to consider otherwise. Atheism is as much of a cult, or a religion as not believing in fairies is a political ideology.

Atheism and what constitutes a religion

Religion has been observed for thousands of years across all cultures and continents, but what actually is a religion? As usual I will refer to the Oxford dictionary regarding the various definitions of a religion. Firstly, a religion is the belief in, and/or worship of a superhuman power, especially god or gods. Secondly it’s also defined as a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion. Religions differ depending on regions, cultural differences and belief, but most have set rules and standards that must be adhered to; ie praying, dietary guidelines, standards of behaviour that must be strictly followed with devotion. Most religions that worship a god (monotheistic), or several gods or versions of gods (polytheistic) share a worldview that everything is created by, and ruled over by the creator. This is often a deity that has presented a list of moral expectations that has been written down by their representatives and prayer, worship or disciplines that vary on extremes depending on the religion.

Many theists claim that atheism is also a religion because it takes more faith to reject the belief in a god than it takes to embrace the idea of a supernatural, all knowing, all powerful supreme being. Atheism is however in direct contrast to theism, and is either the outright rejection and inability to accept the existence of any god as the empirical evidence just simply isn’t there to warrant it being taken seriously, or simply they don’t believe any gods exist or have ever existed as it’s a ridiculous concept. Many atheists are extremely vocal about their opposition to deity fuelled organised religions, but how can the rejection of gods, and the need to live without religious doctrines, dogma, scripture and lifestyle be classified as a religion? There’s no ideology, worldview or code of conduct. Each atheist is free to live their life as they see fit without any constraints other than the law of the land, but innatism, which is belief that people are born with knowledge, is claimed that theistic innatism is what atheists are in denial about as they know god exists but refuses to admit it. If anything this is a strong argument in favour of atheism not being a religion as they are really Christians living non-Christian lifestyles.

‘Evil men do evil on their own accord. For good men to do evil requires religion.” – H.L. Mencken