Friday, January 25, 2013

is atheism a religion? (first post for comment)

take a look at this interesting discussion from the n y times debate section.

the news is that atheists now have a church (figure, if theists have then, why not the other side?).

let's frame the issue: atheists are on the rise (theists too, but that has always been the norm through the ages). also, we shouldn't presuppose that philosophers are atheists.

here is gary gutting writes from the philosopher's agnostic corner:
On the one hand, religions express perennial human impulses and aspirations that cannot plausibly be rejected out of hand as foolish or delusional.  The idea that there is simply nothing worthwhile in religion is as unlikely as the idea that there is nothing worthwhile in poetry, art, philosophy or science.  On the other hand, taken at their literal word, many religious claims are at best unjustified and at worst absurd or repugnant.  There may be deep truths in religions, but these may well not be the truths that the religions themselves officially proclaim.
to problematize the issue, then he adds:
Atheism may be intellectually viable, but it requires its own arguments and can’t merely cite the lack of decisive evidence for religion.  Further, unless atheists themselves have a clearly superior case for their denial of theistic religion, then agnosticism (doubting both religion and atheism) remains a viable alternative.  The no-arguments argument for atheism fails.
this moving paragraph comes from an atheist:
The atheist is free to concentrate on the fate of this world — whether that means visiting a friend in a hospital or advocating for tougher gun control laws — without trying to square things with an unseen overlord in the next. Atheists do not want to deny religious believers the comfort of their faith. We do want our fellow citizens to respect our deeply held conviction that the absence of an afterlife lends a greater, not a lesser, moral importance to our actions on earth.
assignment: read the nytimes discussion (there are 6 different takes).

what is your idea? elaborate a minimum 150-word comment and post it with your name at the bottom. this is the first post/comment assignment of the semester. the deadline for posting your comment is friday february 1 @ 11pm.