Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Prince_James, Oct 27, 2006.
So, quite simply, what have proponents of Atheism given to us in this world of ours?
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They are of course at a disadvantage due to the head start theism had Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
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Is there a point to this question?
It's an odd sort of question. Notable contributors aren't usually identified by their religious leanings or dis-leanings.
Like... Alexander Fleming. Was he religious? I have no idea.
To answer the question, you'd have to pick contributors more or less at random, then try do discover whether they were proponents of atheism or not.
It is a question to see whether the supposed supremacy of Atheism (which I align myself with) has produced tangible results.
Quite, simply, there is not much point in this, but asssuming you don't mean there to be one...
Newton was a theist, Einstein was not (Not an atheist either, okay, an agnositic)
Hitler was a theist, Stalin was not
No point, Rosnet? There would seem to definitey be a point, if Atheism is considered superior in all senses.
Choosing a dogma (theist or atheist) should not be about wanting to be superior. It should be about wanting to be right.
Most atheists here are not even willing to say that God does not exist, only that there is no evidence. It is hard to claim they think they are "right" in this regard...
They do indeed think that God does not exist, and they think that they are right. That's what atheism is. (Note that it doesn't mean certainty that God doesn't exist).
If they didn't think that atheism was the right position, then they wouldn't be atheists, right?
You'd be surprised. Many do not claim a belief that God does not exist based on anything but the lack of evidence. Sciforums is populated basically by Weak Atheists/Agnostics. Not even (Q) seemingly affirms, positively, that God does not exist.
They certainly do not -believe- in God, mind you, but they aren't willing to say that God doesn't exist.
It's an odd question to answer for the very reason that for the majority of Western history there has been a lack of any real freedom of religion - and most especially freedom FROM religion. Atheism as a more wide-spread acceptable stance is only really a modern position.
Most scientists today are atheists, so the answer to your question is conceivably a lot.
The difference between atheism and theism with regard to doing positive deeds for the world is that seldom do atheists do these deeds because their atheists. Theists, on the other hand, do so quite frequently in their missionary work help people abroad or just the homeless and shut-ins of their own communities.
That's not to say that atheists don't give to charity, volunteer, or do the work equivalent to missionary in various places. We do. We simply don't do it because we're atheists, but because we're human and our fellow humans are in need, a reason far more noble than the theist who believes his charitable work is a ticket to some afterlife.
Having said that, there are some very notable atheists and non-theists that have giving a considerable amount to humanity:
Arthur C. Clarke
Thomas Paine (deist)
Thomas Jefferson (deist)
Susan B. Anthony
Stephen J. Gould
All these people have given to the world in varied degrees, but not because they were atheists or perhaps deists, but rather because they recognized that they can make a difference by doing what they're good at or by doing what's necessary.
Western history, yes.
Atheism itself is one of the highest achievements of mankind.
I concur with spidergoat
In what sense? The greatest harm to society today is from politicians and scientists who invest in destruction either through demagogy or weaponry. Both groups are more likely to be atheist.
I would imagine it is things like the following:
abortion being legalised
sex outside marriage becoming acceptable/norm
homosexuality - more out of the closet, more
breakdown of family unit
lot's of sex stuff Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
basically were we all religious, these things would have carried on, as they always did, but would have remained 'hidden' where as now society is more open to discuss these matters publically and the shame brought by religion is not so relevant especially as increasing amounts of people are adopting more relaxed views or no view at all towards religion and its practices. The church for example has been forced by decreasing 'membership' to modernise and relax it's views on certain things, in order to retain interest.
No doubt if we traced the path back to these things (named above) becoming legal and asked those actively seeking those changes what their perspective on god was, we may find a high majority of atheists.
Though this is not to say that theists do not enjoy the freedoms brought about by atheism. But I doubt ardent theists would have been brave enough to campain for abortion to be legal, but I could be wrong?
Atheism is a double edged sword for theists, as theists do not understand atheists yet they do embrace the changes their disbelief affords them.
We have all this in India without atheism. In fact, even though our laws (based on the British system) outlaw homosexuality, I don't believe anyone has ever been prosecuted for it.Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
see my edit Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
meanwhile, Atheism originated in India
Everyone is born atheist : it is indeed as old as mankind. Some men have always disbelived in gods or supreme powers. The only problem is that the phenomenon of atheism could not be easily described early on, as primitive languages had no way to symbolize negation, or existence. Hence saying "gods don't exist" would be a daunting task indeed. The arrival of phonetic language changes that. Atheistic views started to emerge in India, then Greece.
India : Probably the first sign of skeptic thought comes from the Rig-Veda, a text which is thought to have been written around 1000 BC. The philosophy promoted in it could be said to be atheistic by omission, as shows us this creation hymn :
"Who knows for certain? Who shall here declare it? Whence was it born and whence came this creation? The gods were born after this world's creation. Then, who can know from whence it has arisen? None know whence creation has arisen and whether he has or has not produced it. He who surveys it in the highest heaven, he only knows, or happily, he may know not".
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