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Has atheism made the world a better place?

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New Bremerton
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Has atheism made the world a better place?

Postby New Bremerton » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:08 am

I used to believe very strongly that the elimination of religion and embrace of atheism would make the world a much kinder, gentler and happier place free from backward superstitions, delusions and irrationality, but given just how poorly some of my fellow atheists, especially members of the Chinese Communist Party and its supporters in China and abroad, have been behaving lately, I've been having second thoughts. The Chinese Communist Party is just as dangerous and immoral as radical Islamist ideology, both during the Mao era when China practiced true communism, and today when the prevailing ideology is one of money and power. These atheists, albeit belonging to the world's largest gang, have managed to screw the whole world over in so many ways, and they are giving the rest of us, together with overseas Chinese such as myself, a very bad name. China today is just as dysfunctional as the Muslim world. To make matters worse for people like me who belong to both groups, up to half of all atheists alone may be Chinese.

Abandoning religion hasn't made us inherently any more enlightened or morally superior than the religious adherents we frequently mock and rail against, and it would be the height of arrogance to think otherwise, although the more irreligious societies outside of China tend to fare much better in international rankings than those which are more devoutly religious.

Where once the online atheist community was rightly united in its opposition to religion in all its backwardness, intractable divisions have since emerged, ranging from Atheism+ to Elevatorgate, from Gamergate to the whole debate over whether it's "racist" to criticize Islam. We also have the legacy of communism and the chaos and destruction it has wrought upon the world, although atheism is regarded as a mere aspect of communism in the same sense that the Trinity is a key aspect of Christianity, or Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. We continue to suffer from many of the same kinds of problems that afflict the broader human population at large, and our collective footprint in the 20th century has been no less bloodstained than the sectarian, religious barbarism of millennia past and present. We are, perhaps, no less immune to lapses of morality, judgment and self-discipline than our more devout, religious peers.

Atheism, far from being the panacea that will save us from ourselves, is merely a Band-Aid masking deeper issues that stem from human nature itself and date back through millions of years of human evolution. Religion is only half the problem. It is not the root of literally all evil.

Rather than become more rational and thoughtful, all we have done is replace one form of delusional, ideological bullshit with another, at least for those of us who continue to adhere to some pretense of right and wrong to begin with. As for those of us who lack any kind of moral compass and operate purely out of naked self-interest, the only difference between a selfish theist and a selfish atheist is that the atheist's greed and selfishness are on full, naked display, whereas the theist has a religion they can hide behind to justify or minimize their misdeeds and mask their absence of morality and poor self-discipline.

That's why I find the vile, selfish, entitled, shallow, in-your-face behavior of Chinese Communist Party officials absolutely stomach-churning. The way they just held anti-CCP dissident Liu Xiaobo until his cancer was extremely advanced, before "generously" and "magnanimously" inviting foreign doctors to "save" his life only for him to pass on anyway, just to remind the whole world that we (the international community) are powerless to hold them accountable, is an act of spite so vile and vindictive that no words can justify how I feel about it.

"I'm better than you. I can have you all shot dead in broad daylight for challenging my authority. I can fuck you, your family, your friends and everything you love and care about, and there's absolutely NOTHING you can do about it because we have the big guns and you have NOTHING but your own filth and misery to wallow in. I can send you pictures of the buffet I just had while you and your family STARVE TO DEATH in an overcrowded "quarantine" facility in Wuhan where everyone has the coronavirus. I don't need to explain or justify myself to you because I'm richer and more powerful than you, have a high social credit score and have friends and relatives in high places willing to bail me out of any sticky situation. You, on the other hand, are worth NOTHING to me. You can't touch me. Sucks to be you." *Smirks in CCP and spits on the ground in front of poor, destitute, Chinese citizens*

No god is required to justify such an entitled, snobbish attitude toward one another, and not everyone attempts to do so. It should be noted, however, that the vast majority of the victims of these corrupt, atheistic Chinese officials are themselves good, conscientious atheists like myself who possess a real and developed sense of right and wrong, and we are the ones bearing the brunt of their bullshit in Hong Kong, China and elsewhere.

It's going to take much more than simply renouncing religion and the irrational belief in an imaginary deity to improve the state of our world. It's been said that morality and virtue can exist without a god or holy book, but unfortunately, the same seems to hold true of immorality and vice.

What do you think, NSG? Has atheism made the world better in any substantive way? Or do we need to do more, and if so, what must be done, to put an end to human greed, selfishness, bigotry and ideological extremism in the (more than welcome) absence of religion?

Beyond peacefully encouraging people to renounce their faith and become atheists or agnostics and forcefully combating religiously inspired violence, bigotry and discrimination, the overthrow of the Chinese Communist regime would be a good start.
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Postby Page » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:23 am

I have to think of South Park in which Cartman wakes up in a future where religion no longer exists and 3 atheist factions are at war with each other. It's often said that religion is the cause of all wars but in fact that's not true, wars are mainly fought for land, resources, and power. Even the Crusades, while being officially justified as campaigns to spread Christianity and secure the Holy Land for Christian pilgrims involved quite a lot of raping and pillaging. Same goes for the Islamic caliphates. Muhammad may or may not have had sincere intentions to spread what he considered the perfect religion but the fact remains that he was a warlord. The Sunni-Shi'a schism was not really about religion, it was about succession. A lot of terrible things we attribute to religion are really more so about wealth and power.

Atheism does not make someone inherently more virtuous, atheism is merely the lack of belief in gods. I am an atheist myself and when I was a teenager I thought it was an essential part of my identity, but these days I don't think about it very often and don't consider it to be important.
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Postby Alvecia » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:29 am

I would say the finger should be pointed at secularism rather than atheism. The latter being something of a subset of the former.

Secularism I would say has definitely made the world a better place.
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Postby Samudera Darussalam » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:10 am

I'm not really sure whether my input would be relevant given that I'm religious, but.....I don't really think that atheism has made the world a better place. With or without religion or faith, people will always find a way to justify their action. It's just something that always stay there.

To strip humans from the things that you listed above will be a real challenge. There is no way we can satisfy so many people, who have different needs, different wishes, and different dreams. Things like prejudices are not going to go for a long time.
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Postby True Refuge » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:12 am

This is an extremely odd take on the atheism of Maoist China for many reasons. Maoist China was shit, don’t get me wrong, but it’s important to get things right.

Mao’s China was not repressive because it was atheist. It was because the leadership was absolutely obsessed with outpacing Russian growth after the Sino-Soviet Split to the point of ignoring statistics and experts. Up until that split its primary source of advice for managing a command economy was Stalin’s USSR, a country shaped more by the Soviets’ fear of losing power than their atheism.

Mao’s China had the capability of being repressive because power to the degree afforded to the CCP’s leadership of either the theocratic or secularist kind corrupts, especially when political circumstances encourage the pursuit of results above all else. Authoritarianism and its potential for atrocities are independent of religion.

Mao’s China wasn’t true communism either. I know this comes up a lot, but communism has a very specific definition. Most importantly, a communist society is stateless. The CCP was a pretty monstrous state. The actual governing system was heavily authoritarian socialism drawing from Marxism-Leninism, same as the USSR.

I think you’re confusing atheism with humanity’s inclination to taking power and holding onto it at all costs, and letting yourself be influenced by a very unobjective view of the subject matter.
Last edited by True Refuge on Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Unstoppable Empire of Doom » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:16 am

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Postby Satuga » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:58 am

I'd say it's (atheism/secularism) further endorsed science which is beneficial to everyone. Specifically by opposing extremist religions and cult like religions(Mormons). However this likely could have been done without the involvement of the internet and social media allowing those confined within these extremist groups to gather information to make their own decisions. So overall yes Atheism/Secularism has been a beneficial thing for society as a whole. Even if it's only by giving a different viewpoint on belief.
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Postby Cameroi » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:00 am

the hatred of logic had made it a worse one, whatever anyone believes or doesn't.
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Postby Servilis » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:01 am

Alvecia wrote:I would say the finger should be pointed at secularism rather than atheism. The latter being something of a subset of the former.

Secularism I would say has definitely made the world a better place.

I agree.
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Postby Chessmistress » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:07 am

IMHO forced atheism is shitty just like forced religion.
What's very good within a balanced society it's that if you have a good portion of atheists (but not atheism forced by the state) then you're free from both forced religion and forced atheism.
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Postby True Refuge » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:10 am

Servilis wrote:
Alvecia wrote:I would say the finger should be pointed at secularism rather than atheism. The latter being something of a subset of the former.

Secularism I would say has definitely made the world a better place.

I agree.
As that one person on Twitter put it :
"Religion is like a penis, it's okay to have one, it's okay to be proud of one, but it's NEVER okay to take it out in public and shove it down my throat or my child's throat."


Proselytism is the real cause of conflict whether it comes from atheists or religious people.
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Postby Ifreann » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:21 am

Atheism is the default state of humanity. It can't have made the world a better place because that just doesn't make sense, it's how the world always was until we invented gods.
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Postby Nolo gap » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:21 am

whatever anyone believes or doesn't believe, has less to do with anything then how well we engineer infrastructure to respect the natural environment.

what life feels like is about how we treat each other.

belief can affect that, and we can experience things that aren't physical, but my point is, that while what is not known imposes no limits on what can exist,
nether does it owe anything to what people tell each other.

the problem with beliefs, isn't whether non-physical things can exist, its that what people tell each other to pretend they know about them,
all comes from people, not gods, making it up.

now the people who have started beliefs, or are credited with having started them, might well have been chosen by gods or a god to channel them,
and that's all well and good, but to cause harm and suffering to anyone for not believing the same things as each other,
that's just lacking in any demonstrable, observable, excuse for doing so.

in as much as beliefs encourage people to want to avoid hurting each other, that's a wonderful thing,
but when people stand that on its head, as too often they do, then yes, doing less harm then that, is doing less harm.

and when people do less harm, yes, that makes 'the world' a better place.

so yes, both CAN make 'the world' a better place.
it is the hatred of logic and consideration that make it a worse one.

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Postby Satuga » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:25 am

Ifreann wrote:Atheism is the default state of humanity. It can't have made the world a better place because that just doesn't make sense, it's how the world always was until we invented gods.

No... The default state of humanity had religion. It's why literally every civilization had some form of god or worshiped some sort of deity. Hell cavemen probably thought storms were some type angry god striking them down for not eating a fish right or something.
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Postby Hammer Britannia » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:27 am

Atheism has not made the world a better place. Secularism is what made the world a better place. It's not the lack of belief that made the world a better place, it's putting humanity first before someone's beliefs (or lack-there of).
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Postby Chan Island » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:27 am

But account for the fact that the rise in atheism has been associated with many good trends too. The west's transformation in attitudes towards the gay community couldn't have happened without the power of religion being broken. Less religion has generally been associated with more democracy in most of the world.

Also, don't underestimate the fact that religion, while not always a cause of conflict, was in the past a regular cause, and also the fact that wars of religion are usually the bitterest and longest running ones. When you believe that your eternal soul is on the line, you've surprisingly unwilling to negotiate to those agents of the blasphemous faith. Religion has often served too as a justification for the power and wealth of elites- and removing that excuse has only been good for those seeking to hold the powerful to account for their actions.

These are improvements, and just because there is much work to do and many unhappy developments doesn't mean that the progress already made was all bad.

Of course, the biggest aspect isn't the atheism itself, but secularism. Religion plays a positive role in the lives of many people- it just very, very rarely plays a positive role when holding the reigns of power.

China's main problem is Communism. A political ideology that strives for an unrealistic goal by abhorrent methods. And the CCP's interpretation of it has been worse than most, unsurprisingly leading to the mass deaths and horror stories. The fact that Communism is anti-religion is just a small part of an overall framework that is broken.
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Postby Ifreann » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:34 am

Satuga wrote:
Ifreann wrote:Atheism is the default state of humanity. It can't have made the world a better place because that just doesn't make sense, it's how the world always was until we invented gods.

No... The default state of humanity had religion. It's why literally every civilization had some form of god or worshiped some sort of deity. Hell cavemen probably thought storms were some type angry god striking them down for not eating a fish right or something.

Explain to me how humans had religion before they invented religion. Explain to me how the first humans were somehow born believing in god without anyone ever explaining the idea to them or them inventing the idea themselves.
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Postby Marxist Germany » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:36 am

Ifreann wrote:
Satuga wrote:No... The default state of humanity had religion. It's why literally every civilization had some form of god or worshiped some sort of deity. Hell cavemen probably thought storms were some type angry god striking them down for not eating a fish right or something.

Explain to me how humans had religion before they invented religion. Explain to me how the first humans were somehow born believing in god without anyone ever explaining the idea to them or them inventing the idea themselves.

Because God created Adam and Eve.
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Postby Satuga » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:40 am

Ifreann wrote:
Satuga wrote:No... The default state of humanity had religion. It's why literally every civilization had some form of god or worshiped some sort of deity. Hell cavemen probably thought storms were some type angry god striking them down for not eating a fish right or something.

Explain to me how humans had religion before they invented religion. Explain to me how the first humans were somehow born believing in god without anyone ever explaining the idea to them or them inventing the idea themselves.

It's hard to say considering we have no history of way back then. However we do have some evidence of possible superstitious acts performed during those times, specifically trepanning. So to say they were atheist or not is way more difficult. However using the evidence that every civilization formed has created their own form of religion it is at the very least logical to say humans are superstitious by nature.
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Postby Chan Island » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:40 am

Marxist Germany wrote:
Ifreann wrote:Explain to me how humans had religion before they invented religion. Explain to me how the first humans were somehow born believing in god without anyone ever explaining the idea to them or them inventing the idea themselves.

Because God created Adam and Eve.


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Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Postby Satuga » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:41 am

Marxist Germany wrote:Because God created Adam and Eve.

Suuuure. Ignore the mass amount of incest that would follow Adam and Eve but whatever.
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I much prefer uniforms, soldiers, clear lines of authority, order.
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Fartsniffage wrote:Can the pair of you go do it in one of the myriad American politics threads?

(Image)


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Postby Satuga » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:41 am

Chan Island wrote:
Marxist Germany wrote:Because God created Adam and Eve.


Profanity warning.
Image

Can't see the image :meh:
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Infected Mushroom wrote:I don’t like democracy. It’s messy, disorderly, unclean.

I much prefer uniforms, soldiers, clear lines of authority, order.
Tarsonis wrote:
Fartsniffage wrote:Can the pair of you go do it in one of the myriad American politics threads?

(Image)


So help me I will throw your tea into the harbor again

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Postby Alvecia » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:41 am

Marxist Germany wrote:
Ifreann wrote:Explain to me how humans had religion before they invented religion. Explain to me how the first humans were somehow born believing in god without anyone ever explaining the idea to them or them inventing the idea themselves.

Because God created Adam and Eve.

Ah, but oranges roll uphill when placed on an incline
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Postby Satuga » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:42 am

Alvecia wrote:Ah, but oranges roll uphill when placed on an incline

:eyebrow:
don't really get it tbh.
Last edited by Satuga on Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Funny quotes:
Infected Mushroom wrote:I don’t like democracy. It’s messy, disorderly, unclean.

I much prefer uniforms, soldiers, clear lines of authority, order.
Tarsonis wrote:
Fartsniffage wrote:Can the pair of you go do it in one of the myriad American politics threads?

(Image)


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Postby Alvecia » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:44 am

Satuga wrote:
Alvecia wrote:Ah, but oranges roll uphill when placed on an incline

:eyebrow:
don't really get it tbh.

One nonsensical non-sequitur deserves another
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Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll stop asking you to catch his fish.
That's not happening
That shouldn't be happening
Why is that happening?
That's why it's happening?
How has this ever worked?

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