Atheism is not Intellectual?

6 Feb

My girlfriend made a comment the other day that Atheism just wasn’t that interesting. Now I probably misunderstood her, but I’ve heard someone else say that there isn’t much to Atheism, not much to talk about. Somebody once told me that they didn’t see much point to Atheist forums where Atheists could gather and talk about Atheism. He imagine forum would be limited to “Hey, I don’t believe in god(s)” “Really? Cool, me too!” <end conversation/> There is plenty to talk about in Atheist forums and blogs (just look how long mine is and I still haven’t run out of things to talk about)

But yes, there is nothing more to Atheism than a lack of belief in the supernatural. I believe this simplicity is one of Atheism’s greatest strengths. Keep It Simple, Stupid!. There are no great mysteries of Atheism, no “problem of evil”, no dogmatic disputes, no rival denominations.(And that’s just a few, and only withing Christianity!)

There are so many topics in religion that just don’t make sense and/or don’t fit with reality, so many “mysteries of god”. Religion has developed a long tradition of trying to reconcile these differences. People from St. Augustine, to Martin Luther, to Paul Tillich have spent their entire lives working like lawyers on these problems, trying to rationalize any explanation. Volumes and volumes have been written on mysteries of faith, the trinity, the virgin birth, creation, etc. There are entire universities devoted to turning out theologians to tackle these problems.

There is none of that in Atheism. Atheism doesn’t need it. If you take the supernatural out of the picture, everything just works.

Now some might point out the strong “intellectual” history of religion in trying to solve their problems and say that since Atheism does not have these problems, Atheism lacks an intellectual tradition. That it is this tradition that makes religion “interesting”. Well, yes and no. Unlike theists, Atheists don’t spend time trying to workout the intricacies of Atheism. (There are no intricacies) If you look at all the Atheist books ever publish, like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, etc, you will find that they deal with Atheist responses to theists.

While Atheism does not have an intellectual history of dealing with ultimately superfluous problems, it does have a history of intellectuals.  Here is something to think about. 93% of Scientists in the American National Academy of Sciences are Atheists. 97% of Royal Society fellows are Atheists. Now, is there a reason the vast majority of Ultra intelligent people are Atheists? Turns out there is a correlation. Dr. Richard Lynn, a researcher at the University of Ulster carried out an extensive study spanning 137 countries and found that the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be an Atheist. The reverse of that meaning the less intelligent you are the more likely you are religious.

Now I’m not saying religious people are all stupid or unintelligent. Many religious people are intelligent. (Just not as many as there are intelligent Atheists) People can find was to compartmentalize and rationalize anything. The intelligent religious are doing just that.

So yeah, Atheism might not have any “interesting” problems or internal debates, but it sure is interesting discussing how theists are affecting the world, and what Atheism’s response should be.

5 Responses to “Atheism is not Intellectual?”

  1. Shamelessly Atheist February 6, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Your girlfriend is correct to the extent that there isn’t much to atheism, but there are enough believers around doing dumb things as a result of their belief and forcing that belief on others to create that interest anyway. And that has created some debate within the atheist community, as evidenced by the arguments of accomodationists that more hard-lined atheists such as myself reject.

  2. Mr Hot Pants March 2, 2010 at 12:01 am #

    “There are no great mysteries of Atheism, no “problem of evil”, no dogmatic disputes, no rival denominations. . . If you take the supernatural out of the picture, everything just works.”

    Tell that to Stalin or Robespierre. Add to that matters of philosophy. Can an atheist believe in Confucianism? Taoism? Are you a Practical or Theoretical atheist? Hell, even Wikipedia realizes that there are different sorts of atheist.

    You argue from the standpoint of atheism in a total vacuum, as some compartmentalized aspect of a human being with no relation to anything else. If atheists write books in response to theism then that makes them part of a theological debate, “dealing with ultimately superfluous problems.” Coming to the conclusion that there is no God requires the same internal debate as coming to the opposite conclusion. My experience has been that atheists talk at GREAT length about religion — at least if you count the writings of those atheists pictured in your post and . . . well, this blog. Would you have this compulsion to talk about religion if you atheists didn’t have “dogmatic disputes.” For not having any rival denominations, you are certainly a willing antagonist.

    “no “problem of evil””

    Seriously? How does that work? Do you guys just sort of hang out in coffee shops and let the religious-types formulate opinions on law and criminal justice?

  3. godlesspaladin March 2, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    You really have a hard on for Communism and the French revolution don’t you? “Omg what horrible evils were done by these atheists!!! They killed millions of people! >.<" Look buddy, there is a pretty damn big difference between "Killing in the name of religion" and "Doing fucked up stuff and oh wait, you happen to be of X religious views."

    Yeah the the French rev. and Communsim were run by atheists, yeah some pretty bad shit happend, but the major difference is that they did not stop around killing people because of their lack of belief. And if you want to start keeping score of who killed more people, you don't want to play that game, religion has a head start on atheism and communism combined by a couple thousand years. Not to mention that if you start counting "murders done by those who were religious" against "murders done by those who happen to be atheist or communist" the outcome for religion is even worse.

    "You argue from the standpoint of atheism in a total vacuum, as some compartmentalized…" Oh yes, because those of no faith respond to people of faith who are pushing their faith on the rest of the world those of no faith suddenly somehow believe in the thing they are arguing about, or acknowledge it's existence or else they wouldn't be arguing about it! Bullshit. Just because I call the religious on their claims doesn't mean I acknowledge said beings exist and I secretly hate them. And no, there are not dogmatic disputes in Atheism because there IS NO DOGMA! There is no unifying creed, nothing in common except the definition. And it is just that, a definition.

    And yes, lately atheists have been talking a lot about religion…as a response to bullshit. Seriously, you want to stack all the religious writings throughout history up against all the atheist writings throughout history?

    “no “problem of evil””

    "Seriously? How does that work? Do you guys just sort of hang out in coffee shops and let the religious-types formulate opinions on law and criminal justice?"

    The more I hear from you the dumber I feel. There is no "problem of evil" for the Atheist because the whole "problem" is how can a loving god who is all powerful and all knowing allow such evil to happen. Without god that statement could not exist. The "problem" does not exist.

    Evil exists because of people's free will and what people perceive as evil. The criminal justice system exists to combat the evil as perceived by society. Simple as that. Nothing to debate.

  4. lawsinium May 9, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    Atheism is a much better choice than religion and science. Most atheists think about peace, global solutions and freedom.

    By the way, the world historical catastrophic events were triggered not only by the theory of god but also by the theory of evolution.

  5. Lelouch June 6, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    Can you tell me who are the two persons up to the foto,
    the one in the right up and the one in the laft up.
    Thank you if you answer me.!!!

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