Thursday, December 11, 2008

More on Being a Non-believer

MORE ON BEING AN UNBELIEVER
Sometimes someone says to an atheist, "You are always talking about what you don't believe. I never hear just what it is that you do believe."

First, a comment. Everyone is an unbeliever (atheist). Some don't believe in Ra, Isis or Zeus; some don't believe in Krishna; some don't believe in Buddha; some don't believe in Allah; some don't believe in Jesus or God. Those who are willing to be known as non-believers (atheists) simply don't believe in any of the above.
Here are some things I do believe:
(1) There is much that we don't know, e.g. the origin of the universe and of life. Time itself may be an illusion.
(2) We are all in this (our existence) together. What affects one affects all. My morality and ethical standards are based on this understanding.
(3) Life is difficult and challenging in many ways, and we live happier when we can feel that we are a part of a community of kindred hearts and when we can find a place of love and respect.

(4) The ideal of every person having the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the glue that binds us together and keeps us from abusing one another. This right is the only thing worth defending at all cost (I'm with Patrick Henry on this). The rest are only frills.

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3 Comments:

At Friday, January 09, 2009 , Anonymous Rick said...

An atheist is one who does not believe in God, gods or supreme beings. Because I don't believe in Isis does not make me an atheist. It only means I don't believe in the existence of Isis. If I believe in any god and not others then I'm a "believer" in one and an unbeliever in others. Also, am I not a "believer" if I "believe" atheism to be true and gods to be false? I think you are using the terms too loosely.

Here are some things I do believe:
I certainly mean no offense, but I'm often reminded that simply believing something to be true does not make it true.

2) We are all in this (our existence) together. What affects one affects all. My morality and ethical standards are based on this understanding.
As an atheist what is the basis for your view on morality and ethics? Where do ethics and morality come from?

(4) The ideal of every person having the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the glue that binds us together and keeps us from abusing one another.
Where does this ideal (the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) come from? Ideals have to come from somewhere. Are they innate to man or learned through living together in a social environment? And whose liberty and whose happiness? What makes me happy is different from what makes you happy. If everyone should be able to pursue happiness does this include the pedophiles and/or rapists?

I like what you have to say, I just wanted to push this a little further and find the reasoning behind these statements.

Thanks for your time.

 
At Friday, January 09, 2009 , Anonymous Frank said...

To Rick:

Thanks for your comments. This type of dialogue is what I use to analyze my own thinking and refine my ideas. You are helping me to do that.

First, I don't disagree with your challenge to my remarks about everyone being an un-believer (atheist). Maybe calling every non-believer an atheist goes too far.

The point is that nearly everyone does not believe in one or another of the forms of a deity. This may not make them "atheists", but it demonstrates a kindred spirit with atheists.

Concerning what I do believe, I do not hold that what I believe is all necessarily "truth". Some of it is ideals or principles which I choose to use to guide my decisions and life style.

As for where these principles come from, as far as I can tell they are a product of man's mind as a result of experience and reason. I have chosen my ethics based on my desire to live in a world of peace and harmony, and I see ethics as the means to foster such a world. Also, I cherish my individual freedom as much as life itself. At the same time, I know that we can't have a world of peace, harmony and liberty without limiting our behavior to the extent that it infringes on anyone else's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That should answer your question about pedophiles and rapists.

I don't think that any scientist thus far has proved that man has any innate sense of morality; but they have demonstrated that our social environment has a lot to do with who we are. This is why I want to discuss such things with those who are interested, because I believe that doing so will help us all to improve on our ability to get along with one another. Pretty idealistic, I know, but, for whatever reason, it is what seems important to me for us to try to accomplish.

 
At Wednesday, January 28, 2009 , Anonymous Philip Bitar said...

"As for where these principles come from, as far as I can tell they are a product of man's mind as a result of experience and reason."

Frank, you're absolutely right. You hit the nail on the head.

In the opening note of my book, I prove that knowledge is the result of reason applied to experience. Then in chapter 1 on knowledge, I go on to characterize knowledge precisely as the simplest, most accurate predictor model for our observations.

Having established what knowledge is, I cover the following topics in chapters 2-7: reality, religion, ethics, commerce, government, and meaning -- the meaning of life.

In short, on the basis of reason applied to experience, I develop a comprehensive theory of human life, covering the entire gamut of fundamental theoretical issues. This illustrates how all problems are understood and solved using reason applied to experience.

Philip

 

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