Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What? Another Atheist Blog?

Why, yes. But, if for some reason this bothers you, you'll be happy to know that this particular blog replaces two others which the authors were writing separately. So, you have a net loss of one atheist blog. However, we have also added a third voice to our own, because -- as the bible teaches us -- a "cord of three strands cannot be easily broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12), and so we feel that our joint efforts will reap a greater "reward for their labor" (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Far be it for us to challenge the infallibility of holy scriptures!

Did I say "far be it for us"? What I meant was "it's a moral imperative" to challenge the infallibility of holy scriptures. And not just scriptures, but theistic apologetics, theology, philosophy, ethics, etc. We feel that such topics are generally dismissed out of hand by most atheistic bloggers who, understandably, have no interest in scripture or theology. This is not a bad thing, but it does leave something of a void in the atheist blogosphere which we aspire to fill. So, our primary aim will be to draw critical attention to these aspects of religion which are often sheltered from criticism.

And who are we to presume such authority? The authors have an inside perspective on the matters addressed because each of us was once personally invested and educated in Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestant Evangelicalism. We've attended bible schools and seminaries, we've studied our scriptures, our apologetics and our catechism. And we have come to realize, each for his/her own reason, that god is a fiction and religion is a lie.

We are not evangelists for atheism. Atheism is not a belief system like religion, so it cannot be proselytized. Atheism is the absence of belief, and atheists have nothing to prove because we make no propositions. Rather, we examine the propositions put forth by faith and discard all that is untenable. In this way, we are "disevangelists"; that is, we do not preach atheism, we decry faith. How the reader responds to our "disevangelization" is a matter of his/her own conscience.

17 comments:

  1. disclaimer: I am not willing to commit myself completely to the "atheist" title. perhaps my self-classifications have not caught up with my thoughts but for now "agnostic" will do just fine. Stay tuned for my first official blog post (which is sure to take on a much more emotive and subjective tone than the theoretical/scientific swing of my fellow blogsters).

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  2. My central problem with Evangelists is not that they push their ideology forward. I think it's healthy to converse and argue your tenants, no matter what they are.

    My problem is that they seem unfathomably certain that other ideologies are wrong, and that they can somehow know this.

    My problem is not with someone showing what they have found, it is with others arrogantly disregarding what others have found.

    So, call yourself a "disevanglist," whatever, it's the same trap.

    From one ex-bible student to another: if you let that reactionary pendulum swing far enough, you're right back where you started.

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  3. Hello Samm,

    I appreciate your thoughts. One of my personal pet peeves is cultural imperialism be it in the form of aggressive Occidental occupation of other countries or, as I commonly experience, in the form of religious imperialism. I find it particularly offensive how missionary Christianity promotes such an imperialism with the assumption that the non-believer is ignorant and fuel for hell.

    We chose the name "disevangelists" and not "antievangelists" because we are not seeking to be the other end of the pendulum's swing. The Latin prefix "dis" carries the meanings of "apart" or "away from." It does not suggest that we are attempting to be the non-theistic equivalent of Christian evangelists but that, instead, we are interested in providing a perspective that is "apart" from theistic structures and hence encourages a person to move away from non-critical, theistic epistemologies. We are not trying to make atheists of our readers. We are trying to break the yokes of dogma and unanchored ways of knowing.

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  4. I like the last paragraph of your post.

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  5. Hi Tina:

    It's good to hear from you again! Thanks for the comment; we feel that that last paragraph is a crucial point that many people either don't understand or don't believe.

    Kind Regards,
    Eric

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  6. I would be cautious to put all " missionary Christianity" in a group or even all Christians in a group for that matter. Despite what some Christian churches may preach about Christian Unity I think that religious views whether Christian, atheist, or agnostic are a very personal thing unique to each individual.

    That said, so far from what I have read I don't think you group people like that just a few comments by others imply it.

    Fuel for hell... thats cute. I'll be the first to admit that I should be fuel for hell but I have no opinion on anyone else. Its not my place, its enough of a struggle for me as it is dealing with my own flamability.

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  7. "we do not preach atheism, we decry faith"

    I'm saying I'd rather someone preach to someone than to decry their beliefs, especially the auspicious certainty with which this blog appears to be setting out.

    Being someone very influenced by Derrida, I find it difficult to swallow when anyone claims that they have such an exclusive claim on truth... to the point when they can decry something as diverse and potentially beautiful as religion as "a lie."

    the self-righteousness seems thick. forgive my forthrightness.

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  8. to be more precise, it appears that you view yourselves as enlightened and those who do not believe god to be "a fiction" (even if they are uncertain about the existence of the supernatural) are somehow deluded, and in need of your insight. I sure this is not how you mean to come across, who would, but I find it suprising how much the tone of these atheist blogs tends to resemble my much dreaded systematic theology classes.

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  9. I don't understand. In one paragraph you say that God is fiction and religion is a lie, and then in the next paragraph you say that you make no propositions. ?

    You know it is interesting to me (an ex bible school student myself) that you would ask the question "who are we to presume such authority?" and you would answer that with went to college and learned about this stuff. If a pastor told me that whilst arguing his view I would laugh in his face. He went to school so he now has a commanding grasp on all that is true and all that is not? Of course not. No education of any kind delivers the kind of authority it takes to decry with certainty that God is fiction and religion is a lie. Clearly this is not an epiphany delivered by the universe to your privileged minds, it is a belief which you are entitled to, but please, call it what it is.

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  10. "we do not preach atheism, we decry faith"

    This statement can be taken two very different ways. One way to take "decry faith" would be the act of openly condeming the faith of others. The other way to take "decry faith" would be explaining why one views faith as worthless in their own personal life.

    I am not an atheist yet I have read nothing in the blogs that I feel is an attack on me in any means. I do feel there is content that challenges me to think about what I believe and why I believe it but I think that is a good thing.

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  11. Hello Sam Hodges and fools and coffee:

    Thank you for your respective comments.

    Instead of "god is a fiction", perhaps it would have been wiser on our part to adopt the more qualified phraseology of the so-called atheist bus: "There probably is no god".

    Either way, we still claim an absence of belief, as opposed to a belief in something-other-than. By way of analogy, consider how "cold" is nothing more than a lack of "heat", or "darkness" a lack of "light". If we were to stand outside on frigid winter's day in Chicago, I should hope I wouldn't have to prove to you that the weather's not hot.

    As to our alleged snobbery, I'm sorry if you feel that way. We certainly didn't intend to flaunt our (meager) credentials in people's faces. We simply wanted to say that a lack of faith is not necessarily the result of a lack of exposure.

    I hope this clarifies things a little. I would invite the two of you to engage us in reasoned debate on future posts.

    Sincerely,
    Eric

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  12. The engineer in me just wrote a few paragraphs on Thermodynamics but my geek alarm went off so I deleted it. In your analogy God is cold? Cold (God) is only there in theory even though scientifically cold (God) does not exist?

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  13. cold:heat::lack of belief:belief
    :)

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  14. Why bother explaining cold [lack of belief]? Some people standing outside on a frigid winter's day in Chicago knows they want to get someplace warm and others stay outside because they don't want to make an effort to get their life together. Why post a blog about it? I've never had a bum try to explain to me why they do it.

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  15. Eric,

    I don't mean to claim you're personally arrogant. Certainly, everyone probably views their perspective as superior. I have a lot of respect for a lot of atheists, but there's this over-arching arrogance, this "who could ever believe THAT," this "purple-flying-spaghetti-monster" laugh-in-their-faces kind of smugness that is all too common.

    It smacks of fundamentalism. Well, that kind of rhetoric actually IS fundamentalism.

    I look forward to any kind of open-minded debate, but if either party assumes that the other is "deluded," needs enlightenment or is believing in something that is clearly a "fiction," than I doubt that true, honest dialogue is possible.

    I don't think you're in that camp. But please, please don't go there. All anyone has is their interpretation of their experience of their limited perceptions. This doesn't make dialogue impossible, but it makes ontological certainty of any kind, positive or negative, ridiculous.

    I'm no apologist. I'm not interested in making converts, and I don't even know what I'll be calling myself in ten years, but I know this: respect for other religions, philosophies and belief systems (and, well, I'm sorry but I think you have one) is essential to any meaningful dialogue.

    Sincerely,

    Samm Hodges

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  16. Hello Samm,

    Thank you for your conciliatory note. You offer a lot to discuss about the nature of knowledge and belief systems. I hope that we can go further with what you propose.

    Additionally, to clarify, there is more than one Eric here. One Eric is Philosobot--an admin contributor to this blog. The other Eric is a poster who is in an intelligent dialogue with the authors of this blog about points of disagreement. It might help if this second Eric uses his other name that he uses when he posts and that we address him as such.

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  17. Yeah, I think its set to Zee now... really didn't mean to use anything besides that.

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