So who wins? Religion or Atheism?

2 May

So in the great debate who wins? Religion or Atheism? Which makes a stronger case? Well obviously I side with Atheism, but why, when many more people side with religion.

Religion has no evidence to back up its claim that god(s) exist. The religious argue that surely we must have come from somewhere (see Unmoved Mover), but then make a completely unwarranted exception for god when someone asks where he/she/it came from, thus making the logic ad hoc. (The above link has a list of just about every argument for the existence of god(s) and rebuttals)

The religious also argue that things look designed, and therefore they are designed, presumably by their choice god who then takes a keen interest in his creation’s daily lives. Yet science has consistently debunked this idea:

(The “Made Easy” series has a LOT of really great educational videos that explain all types of scientific things on youtube.com, just search for them)

Religion also relies on its position of authority. Many of the religious were raised by religious parents, who in turn were raised by their religious parents. To them belief in god(s) is just natural, something they were raised with, and few ever think to question it. This position of authority is reinforced with elaborate costumes and large, imposing structures:

The whole point of these structures is to overwhelm the visitor with their grandeur, to make them think “Surely, the people who reside in this place cannot be wrong!” Yet they can be, for they are exactly that, people. The believers are also comforted in their belief by the existence of a great many like believers. (See ad populum fallacy)

So, what about Atheism? Well personally, I feel Atheism is strengthened through the weakness of the religious arguments, their total lack of evidence. The thing that really does it for me is the fact that science has a steady track record of discoveries and breakthroughs, religion has a steady track record of being proved wrong. Science has consistently provided natural explanations that are testable, repeatable, and thus proveable, whereas religion just makes claims based off of authority.

For some people, religion’s weak arguments and heavy reliance on arbitrary authority are enough, but for me and a growing number of people they aren’t.

7 Responses to “So who wins? Religion or Atheism?”

  1. saradode May 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    I’m just curious–why does it bother you that some people believe in some kind of divine presence, even if you don’t? (It’s not meant to be a rude question; I would ask believers why it bothers them that some people DON’T believe.) Is it because you feel that religion is pushed down your throat? If so, I can certainly understand that–although I believe in God, I don’t ascribe to any religion because I feel that it’s unnecessary and often causes great harm. “Religion” and God, I believe, are two very separate things in many instances.

    Or is it something else? Does it just annoy you that people can perceive something without “scientific proof” to back it up? (I also don’t think that God and science are necessarily mutually exclusive–just that “the divine”, in itself, is something beyond science.) Seriously–I’m just curious.

    Sara

    http://saradode.blogspot.com

    Or is it something else?

  2. godlesspaladin May 2, 2009 at 10:12 pm #

    Hey, thanks for your comment. And yes, it bothers me because it’s pushed down my throat all the time. The believers in my country try to impose their views of morality and reality on me through laws. They also then deamonize me any way possible. I would agree with you that there is a difference between believing in god and religion.

    As for people “perceiving something without scientific proof”, it does irritate me a bit, considering they would never apply that logic to anything else in their daily lives other than religion. But as long as they keep it to themselves, in their homes and in their houses of worship, it’s fine. Unfortunately, not many do.

  3. saradode May 3, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    Thanks for the response.

    Again, I can easily understand your first reason; I don’t know which country you’re in (I’m in the U.S.), but I’m sure many people (myself included) can relate to feeling that there are some who feel that it’s their “mission” to force everyone to believe what they believe. It’s annoying as hell, and in some cases dangerous.

    On the scientific proof thing, my own personal feeling is that there’s a beauty in this world, and sometimes in ourselves, that is beyond scientific explanation (my standard line on this is that I can look at tropical fish and feel that there is proof that a very creative, artistic “mind” with a wonderful sense of humor, must exist to create such things). As I understand it, there are things that sometimes even confound scientists. But, again, that’s my personal feeling, and I wouldn’t feel right trying to “convince” someone, even if I thought that endless debate about it would even work.

    It seems to me that what’s important–what was taught by the original sources (Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, etc.) of various religions before some of them subsequently became twisted beyond recognition–is that we respect and treat well each other and the earth, help the less fortunate when we can, resist judging others, etc. I figure that, whether one believes in God or not, one can’t go wrong with that path. (I’ve also said on other blogs here that I think God would prefer an atheist or agnostic who lives like that to a hate-filled, judgmental “believer”.)

    Anyway, take care.

    Sara

  4. Shamelessly Atheist May 3, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    Actually, what we perceive as beauty is a by-product of mate selection. You are confusing our perception that something is beautiful with beauty as being an actual property of an object, which it is not. While in its infancy, the study of evolutionary behavior is a very fruitful area of research and has already given us workable frameworks within which to explain such phenomena.

    Yes, there are things that science has yet to explain. It keeps me off the unemployment line. But you make a serious logic fallacy by immediately jumping to a supernatural explanation. This is a common mistake and underscores the irrational part of the human brain. Just because we do not have an explanation for ‘X’ does not mean it must have had a supernatural explanation. Nor is a claim to a supernatural origin actually have any explanatory power, since it does not describe how ‘X’ came to be. Without a mechanism for the origin of ‘X’, there is no explanation.

    I also wonder why you feel it is necessary to be told the Golden Rule to act in accordance with it. Nor is religion necessary to its understanding. Behavioral science has demonstrated over and over that such morality is innate. It is an evolutionary behavior trait that developed as a result of living in groups. Most social mammalian species have at least some moral rules to ensure the smooth operation of the group. Such rules are based on reciprocation. Empathy is an emotion based directly on this (along with Theory of Mind – ascribing thoughts, intent, emotions to others). Just because somebody realized this and wrote it down does not mean that they invented it, or that it has a religious origin. This is simply not the case.

  5. godlesspaladin May 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    Sara, you are one of the nicer people I’ve encountered ^_^ While I might still disagree with some things I can only wish more believers were like you. (Oh yeah, and I’m in the US too) Thanks for your comments 🙂

  6. saradode May 3, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    Sheesh, godlesspaladin, what a nice thing to hear on a gloomy Sunday afternoon! Thank you.

    Shamelessly, I DON’T feel that it SHOULD, at least, be necessary for people to be told the “Golden Rule”, and my implication was that religion is NOT necessary to its understanding–and that in some instances it’s used in a way that is downright contrary to that “innate” morality (which may be innate, but clearly there are other influences that keep people from adhering to it–and no, I’m not talking about “Satan” or anything along those lines).

    I’m not a scientist (always sucked at it, in fact), but I respect science. On the other hand, if my ways of seeing the world are not always based on “logic”, as you define it, I can live with that. My original point, I guess, is that I can also live with the knowledge that there are people for whom everything must be proven using logic and science, and who therefore can’t accept the concept of the divine. More succinctly, in reference to the title of this post, I don’t think that it should matter who “wins”, as long as people respect each other.

    Sara

  7. stillhere4u November 24, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    wow…great pictures…esp the inside.
    Atheism may well be spurred on by the refusal of religions to engage in self-criticism. I’ve just read http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/263/ on how foreign self-criticism is to religion, and, moreover, how religion misunderstands itself. You might be interested in it.

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