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“Isn’t it enough to see that the garden is beautiful without having to believe there are fairies a the bottom of it” – Douglas Adams

imageFor sometime now I’ve been thinking on the obsession theists have that we should be interested and all knowing of everything their religion is, but they show an ignorance of Atheism. I mean if your going to debate with us you should maybe have an idea of the facts of Atheism right?

We are not a new phenomenon:-

There has been a long history of rational people who haven’t accepted superstition or magic as an explanation for natural phenomenon and as I often say as religion is man made, Atheism has always existed.

The Eastern Philosophy of Buddhism is broadly atheistic, explicitly debunking the creation myth.  Democritus, who originally conceived of the atom, agreed the world was not made by magic.  Critius, one of the thirty tyrants of Athens, preceded Karl Marx, when he called religion a tool to control the masses.

THE ANCIENT PLAYWRIGHTS WROTE ABOUT IT 

  • EURIPEDES (480-406 BCE)  – In his play Bellerophon , the main character says 

Doth someone say there be gods above?  There are not: no, there are not. Let no fool, led by the old false fable, thus deceive you”

  • ARISTOPHANES (448-380 BCE) – known for his satirical style

“Shrines! Shrines! Surely you don’t believe in the gods.  What’s your argument? Where’s your proof?”

The best example of an atheistic philosophy would be the Caravaka school of thought, which started in india in the 1st Millennium BCE.  The Caravakan’s rejected the idea of an afterlife and the aim was to live a prosperous, happy, productive life in this world.

Modern Atheism, however, can be traced to the Age of Enlightenment.  Famous free thinkers of the time include Baron D’Holbach and Denis Diderot.  The poet Percy Byshe Shelley got kicked out of Oxford in 1811, for expressing an atheistic opinion!

Early feminists in the U.S and Europe made it clear they considered religion a stumbling block in the way of women’s rights.

Darwin turned from being a Minister in training to an agnostic.  As Richard Dawkins once said “atheism might have been possible before Darwin, but Darwin made it possible to be a ‘intellectually fulfilled atheist'”  But for a while after Darwin’s death they tried to hide his loss of faith, including a false deathbed conversion story dream’t up by a British Evangelist.

Famous atheists that i love to study include:-

  • DEMOCRITUS – Ancient Greek philosopher, sometimes called “The Father of Modern Science”
  • EPICURUS     – Establlshed the school of philosophy know as Epicurianism.  “Attain peace of mind, have a happy life, freedom from fear and absence of pain
  • THEODORUS   – Taught the aim of human life was to obtain joy and avoid grief
  • ANDREW CARNEGIE – Noted Scottish American industrialist. He identified himself as a “positivist”.  In his autobiography he wrote ” not only have i got rid of theology and the supernatural but i have found the truth of evolution”
  • IVAN PAVLOV  – Russian physiologist, psychologist and physician
  • SIGMUND FREUD – Austrian psychiatrist
  • CLARENCE DARROW  – American lawyer. His most famous case the defence of the Tennessee teacher John Scopes, the state wanted to ban the teaching of evolution in schools
  • RICHARD STRAUSS  – Composer. He believed in the ‘Religion of Reason’
  • JAWAHARLAL NEHRU – Prime Minister of India 1947- 1964
  • AYN RAND – Russian born writer
  • KATHERINE HEPBURN – Actress. ‘ I am an atheist, and that’s it’
  • ALAN TURING – Mathematician and Computer Scientist
  • RICHARD FEYNMAN – Contributor to Quantum Mechanics
  • CARL SAGAN – American Astronomer and Astrochemist
  • DANIEL DENNETT – American Philosopher
  • STEPHEN HAWKING –Lucasian Professor of Mathematics

And now the misconceptions of Atheism:-

These usually include name calling and straw man arguments, especially on twitter. They seem to shout out irrational statements with no basis in fact….

  1. Atheism is a religion – Oh dear, not very smart.  So if I don’t collect stamps, is not collecting stamps my hobby?
  2. Atheists hate God – This makes no sense, so please stop saying it. Do you hate Santa Clause because he’s not real and doesn’t bring you presents?
  3. Atheists have no morals – Morality does not originate from religion. Having strong humanistic, cultural and genetic rationales are the foundations for the existence of moral and ethical behaviours.
  4. Atheists are communists – Although most Marxists are atheists ( Marxism treats religion as a false consciousness) the atrocities brought about by Stalin and others were on account of their being totalitarian and authoritarian. Also there have been many anti-communist atheists such s Ayn Rand and John Von Neumann

So in conclusion, you see we have been around a long time, you may see we pre date you. We simply don’t believe in a supernatural being, a deity, a sky fairy, Santa Claus or the tooth fairy.  Atheists as a rule view the religious texts you love so much as literature, fiction, mythology.  We find the writings primitive and inconsistent with your beliefs even.  Religion is man-made. That’s it!!!

Simple when you know how isn’t it?

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