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Atheism and nihilism

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by Lord Vega, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. Yes

  2. No

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  1. Lord Vega

    Lord Vega King NES

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    Some religious people claim that atheism, which is defined as a lack of belief in deity or deities, is inherently nihilistic. Since atheists come from all nationalities, races, socio-economic backgrounds, and indeed all walks of life, it is reasonable to say that making such a sweeping generalization of all atheists isn’t fair.

    However, many atheists spend an inordinate amount of time criticizing religion. Visit any atheist blog on the internet, and there you won’t find one positive article on faith. It seems like everything they post is hostile towards religion. You’ll never see them post a link to a news story about Christians feeding the poor or being good people in general. The same can be said about atheist books: read any book from renowned atheists such as Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, and all they have to say about religion is bad. In fact, the world's most famous blasphemy advocate Christopher Hitchens even wrote a book called How Religion Poisons Everything.

    Since it seems like almost all atheists are hostile towards religion, particularly Christianity, which is an inherently peaceful faith that improves morals and provides eternal salvation for all believers, wouldn’t it make sense to think that atheism is inherently nihilistic? It’s not like you ever see atheists praising religion and talking about how good it is. If that is what they believed, they probably wouldn’t be atheists in the first place.
     
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  2. durangodawood

    durangodawood Dis Member

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    You make it sound like without religion, nihilism is the only alternative.

    Is that what you mean?
     
  3. Lord Vega

    Lord Vega King NES

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    To reiterate my point: because nearly all atheists are hostile towards religion, particularly Christianity, a faith that provides a good moral foundation and enables believers to avoid eternity in hell and inherit salvation, it therefore makes sense to think that atheism and nihilism go hand in hand.
     
  4. MehGuy

    MehGuy We are highly neotenous apes.. Supporter

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    I think most atheists are indifferent about religion, most of us have other things on our minds. As far as the focus on Christianity, its simply the dominate religious force in the Western world.
     
  5. Ophiolite

    Ophiolite Recalcitrant Procrastinating Ape

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    Executive Summary: You need to get out more.

    A select band of aggressive atheists, for a variety of reasons, do exactly that. Most atheists couldn't give a stuffed aardvark for religion, have no particular interest and have better things to do with their time.

    Yes. A sub-set of atheists that do not represent the majority - whose views are diverse.

    As above.

    I apologise for sounding like a broken record, but I am responding to a broken record. As an aside most atheists you seem to have encountered were likely raised in nominally Christian countries. Their principle experience of religion will be with Christianity. If they are going to be hostile to a religion that is the most probable target. Equally, as a Christian, you are likely to be more sensitive to attacks on Christian than on Islam, or Hinduism.

    There are many atheists who see value in aspects of religion and who readily recognise the contribution made to welfare of others by many Christians. If you haven't noticed them you just aren't looking properly.

    Most atheists are atheists either through disinterest/indifference, or because of lack of evidence, not because of the extensive list of atrocities and cruelty carried out by and in the name of religion.
     
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  6. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As Solomon said, if there is no God, life has no meaning. It means nothing if a person is a swindler or murderer or devotes their lives to the poor and needy. Try telling that to an atheist and they just blather about the legacy they leave behind, that their memory lives on in their descendants or something along those lines. So yes, atheism is a belief in nothing. It's a sad waste of a life, but Satan has blinded their eyes and only God can open them.
     
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  7. Zoness

    Zoness 667, neighbor of the beast Supporter

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    Atheism is only a position on the existence of god and does not automatically entail any other philosophical maxims. Heck there are even a number of religions that may have atheistic qualities. There are others you may adopt from an atheist position but none of them have to be nihilism. Additionally, nihilism comes in many forms including cultural, moral, existential and ethical. I'd argue that it is also not an all-encompassing worldview but rather a philosophical observation that then relies on the observer to make choices about their life.

    Also there's a selection bias at play here: Atheists writing about atheism often write about the abuses that religion causes because there's not really much to discuss about atheism (since its well you know, a position on only if divinity exists). I wouldn't go to Christian blogs and expect them to have a positive view of Pagans, in fact most Christians are extremely hostile, using this same method of sampling.
     
  8. Occams Barber

    Occams Barber Newbie Supporter

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    Atheists may be nihilistic? - maybe - I don't know.

    I'm having trouble understanding your argument.

    You've alleged that;

    1. Nearly all atheists are hostile towards religion; particularly Christianity

    2. Christianity "provides a good moral foundation and enables believers to avoid eternity in hell and inherit salvation"

    3. Therefore atheists are nihilists​

    Points 1 and 2 appear to be debatable personal opinions. Point 3 doesn't follow from points 1 or 2.

    OB
     
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  9. keith99

    keith99 sola dosis facit venenum

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    Does this mean that The Confessing Church and the Society of Friends are not Christians?

    After all I am a good godless atheist and harbor no ill will towards either of these. Quite the opposite in fact.
     
  10. Occams Barber

    Occams Barber Newbie Supporter

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    And yet...

    If you were to do a little survey of atheist posts in CF, I'm willing to bet that the majority would be on issues related to social justice or equality.

    It almost as if they actually care about things. :)

    OB
     
  11. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    Nearly all Christians are hostile against atheists as well. And as far as it being a faith that provides a good moral foundation, many believe the idea of eternal punishment and torture for a limited crime is wrong and immoral. Of course you agree with it because you are Christian, but if you were not, perhaps you might see such a punishment as unjust as well
    Also, just because some may disagree with what you consider to be good, does not mean they are nihilist.
     
  12. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    I admit I have had similar thoughts as the OP.

    Now I know it is not completely true. I know of certain atheists that are much more positive e.g. , of late I've gotten into Alain de Botton.




    But folks like Botton are the minority from what I can tell. I've talked at times about my faith in terms of utility, how it functions in terms of philosophical schools like Stoicism and Existentialism. And it seems like many atheists aren't really into that kind of topic (from what I've experienced 1st hand). They come across like some kind of Aspergers, Myers Briggs INTP that is only interested in deconstructing your faith in terms of (what they consider to be) logic , and don't really seem to care if the construct actually helps you in any practical way.
     
  13. Strathos

    Strathos No one important

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    Yeah, you care about things, but that's only because you have deluded yourselves into thinking anything matters without God.
     
  14. Occams Barber

    Occams Barber Newbie Supporter

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    While you need God to tell you what you should care about? :(

    OB
     
  15. Speedwell

    Speedwell Well-Known Member

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    And such hostility to religious groups which they express is almost always directed at those who do not care about such things, very often Christians I am sorry to have to say..
     
  16. Oompa Loompa

    Oompa Loompa Against both police brutality and cop killing.

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    If atheism is true, the best you can hope for is nothingness. So yes, it is nihilistic.
     
  17. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, indeed they do. Most of the atheists I've spoken to see it as a matter of pride. It makes zero sense to me. You supposedly get 70 or so years and then nothing. So live in whatever way makes you happy for right now. Is that not logical?
     
  18. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

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    They sure aren't indifferent on these forums.
     
  19. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

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    They would be presenting their views and disparaging mine. :mad:
     
  20. MehGuy

    MehGuy We are highly neotenous apes.. Supporter

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    Yeah, but this is just a small segment of the atheist population.

    From my own experience, atheists who left theism are riled up for a few years before they get bored and move on. The atheist communities I was once part of turned on each other because of feminism and whatnot.
     
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