More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two months after the local atheist organization here put up a billboard saying “Don’t Believe in God? You Are Not Alone,” the group’s 13 board members met in Laura and Alex Kasman’s living room to grapple with the fallout.

The problem was not that the group, the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, had attracted an outpouring of hostility. It was the opposite. An overflow audience of more than 100 had showed up for their most recent public symposium, and the board members discussed whether it was time to find a larger place.

And now parents were coming out of the woodwork asking for family-oriented programs where they could meet like-minded nonbelievers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism* South Carolina

5 Comments
Posted April 27, 2009 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. miserable sinner wrote:

With terms like Non Prophet Organization and pastafarians  I at least admire their sense of humor.

Freedom of religion protects their beliefs as well as mine.  For that I say ‘God bless America’. grin

Peace,
-miserable sinner

April 27, 4:40 pm | [comment link]
2. art wrote:

I have a dear American friend who has coined the phrase FROGBA (= Folk Religion of God Bless America).  He’s a Lutheran Prof, by the way.

If these newly self discovered atheists do nothing else, it might be an occasion of great opportunity: for US Christians to finally proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ instead of what passes often as FROGBA.  That is, we should be thanking them and not knocking them, such are the dynamics of much civil religion on US soil.

April 27, 11:08 pm | [comment link]
3. palagious wrote:

I pose this questions to atheists:  Where do atheists derive their sense of goodness?  If one is to “be good for goodness sake” where does one find the rulebook?  Is “goodness” intrinsic to every human being and only environmental conditioning that drives us to “badness” or is goodness an acquired trait learned in the formative years from others?

If I am an atheist there is really no reason to be good (or bad) because there are no eternal repercussions for doing anything I desire (which is what we all secretly want).  Sure, there will be laws/imprisonment to encourage me not be egregiously bad—affectations of Society.  So, really all you are left with is an undefined and individual definition of goodness—which isn’t helpful to Society.  So, I’m eagerly awaiting that “Atheist Manifesto”.

I found the call for atheistically-led, “family-oriented programs” amusing as that will require atheists to define the components of goodness and then have families agree those are the values they want their children to learn—all without trying to appear too Judeo-Christian in its rhetoric (good luck with that).

April 28, 10:55 pm | [comment link]
4. Ross wrote:

#3: your question is a good one.  Different atheists have, of course, different answers to it.  Probably those answers would not satisfy you; but then, your answer doesn’t satisfy them, either.

But I wonder about this:

If I am an atheist there is really no reason to be good (or bad) because there are no eternal repercussions for doing anything I desire (which is what we all secretly want).

Are you really suggesting that there is no reason to be avoid evil other than fear of punishment?  That absent heaven and hell, we might as well do whatever we liked?

Surely goodness carries within it its own “oughtness”?  Good should be done simply because it is good and needs no other reason?

April 29, 1:32 am | [comment link]
5. palagious wrote:

#4.  It goes well beyond a fear of punishment.

I don’t believe in moral dualism, that somehow “good” and “evil” have always existed and are in constant tension one with the other.  That implies that we are either one or the other and doesn’t address how good/evil were created or if “good” can actually prevail over “evil” and for what ultimate purpose.

How does one acquire this sense of “oughtness” you speak of?  You either believe that a sense of right/wrong is in our genetic make-up or its acquired by training/observation of those who are responsible for forming us into adulthood.  Anecdotal evidence from most parents will tell you we are not born with a sense of right and wrong.  If one were to produce a literature review of occidental notions of good/evil what would be the major references?

Our system of laws are there to protect our lives and property.  Yet, those laws alone are insufficient to ensure that Society thrives or with a quality of life.  There are no secular laws that mandate “loving your neighbor as yourself” yet most of us would consider a variant of the Great Commandment to be one of the prime “oughtnesses”.  I am suggesting that if atheism is actually a theology that it stands alone in terms of its logic.

April 29, 9:52 pm | [comment link]
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