Thursday, November 6, 2008

No Country for Smart Men?

Congratulations to Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House of Representatives! So now we can add Muslims to the list of Blacks, Women, Gays, Latinos, Jews, and Immigrants.

It seems there's only one group that has yet to taste the "tolerance" of the electorate: Atheists. I guess you can be anything you want in America, as long as you're not too rational. Apparently, believing the holocaust never happened (despite overwhelming proof to the contrary) doesn't bar entry, but believing that god doesn't exist (despite no proof to the contrary) does.

In a senate race, Elizabeth Dole sought to demonize (literally) her opponent by "informing" the public in a campaign ad that Kay Hagen (the opponent in question) had attended a meeting sponsored by "Godless people" (atheists). Hagen defended herself not by repudiating the nature of the attack, but by "proving" her Christian bona fides. Had she simply attacked the idea of anti-atheism in campaign ads, she would have certainly lost.

Funny how our scientists (you know, the men and women who explain our universe and whose research leads to every bit of the modern life we enjoy?) are overwhelmingly atheistic. Of course, this just might explain why our civilization seems to lag so far behind our technology...


D.A.A. Price (aka Elgin) said...

I have two comments on this, the first being my theory (stop me if you've heard this before), that most atheists actually do believe in some form of higher power, but that belief doesn't necessarily conform to the traditional definition mankind has given to God. Traditional religion is so much more about justification for our actions and the need for people to belong to a like minded community than it is about a belief system that centers around faith as a way of explaining that which doesn't make sense. The purported belief system is actually just the shield surrounding the core of what those organizations are truly all about.

My second comment is simply an observation that man has an inherent, possibly biological need, to feel there's something else in the universe that's responsible for all that we don't understand. The big question therefore is: where does this biological need come from?

T. Johnson (aka "24") said...

Sorry to be so disagreeable, but your first idea is dead-wrong David! This theory is promulgated primarily because those who do believe in God can't fathom that others, at least "civilized" others, or others like them, could possibly be completely free from that need of God that they so keenly feel.

As for where the biological need comes from, I wrote a short piece on that very subject, which I shall post, post haste...

encina1 said...

An atheist who believes in a higher power is not an atheist.

I am an atheist who does not believe or ever felt the need to believe in a higher power. Even science or physics is not a higher power, but either a tool we use (science) or the state of things as they are (physics).

Why do people have religion? Not a biological imperative. It is more for the sense of belonging. Read Durkheim who postulated that the reason people celebrate mass (or whatever they call their gatherings) is not to celebrate god/God, but to celebrate themselves. There you have hundreds or thousands of like-minded people all glorifying the idea that they belong to each other, to the same beliefs, to the same group. They take comfort in knowing they are not alone.

For all this talk by people who try so desperately to distinguish themselves from animals, the most basic needs of all people are the same needs by animals: food, shelter, water. Throw into the mix the sense of belonging that all pack animals share (cows, lions, penguins, humans), and we can begin to understand we are not as different as we like to think.

P Bryant (aka JerryMacicKobe) said...

Religion is insurance. "Give me money and do what I tell you, and when you die, I'll give you something really cool. If not, you'll burn in Hell".

Gods were the explanation for the unknown universe. These explanations became stories and fables. Man discovered that these stories and fables could actually influence the behavior of individuals, so they were used for profit and control and called religion. Competing religions would rob and kill each other for power and control over large groups of people.

If you believe that there is a part of the Universe that is unknown, whether you call it "God" or "unknown" or "undiscovered" or the "Final Frontier" is just semantics. Unknown is unknown is unknown no matter what you call it. And I don't mean unknown as in "there may be a God" I mean unknown as in we are unable to comprehend anything so vast based on the tiny little speck of knowledge that we have.