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Atheists Overreach ... Why do they do that?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by 2PhiloVoid, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    Ok. Yes, yes, I know! Everyone hates long, elaborate media representations, and in recognizing this, I realize that the following video is well over an hour long. You can just ignore most of the video if you want to since all that probably needs to be heard is what (Christian) sociologist Christian Smith states to (Atheist) Michael Shermer within the first 10-15 minutes. This leaves things open for further discussion and exploration ...

    Cheers! :cool:



    ...and below is the "short" of it. The very short of it.

    Nonfiction Book Review: Atheist Overreach: What Atheism Can’t Deliver, by Christian Smith.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
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  2. Nithavela

    Nithavela confused

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    The confusion stems from an attempt of equating atheism to religion. When you expect atheism to deliver things like a moral compass or a bulletproof scientific worldview with no gaps, of course it falls short.

    But that's not what atheism is. Atheism is only an answer to a single question. That question being "Is there a god or are there gods" and the answer being no.

    I'll happily admit that they might have beautifull and strong arguments, but they're just fighting strawmen.
     
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  3. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Did you watch the video, or at least the first 15 minutes? It is between an atheist and a sociologist, and that is one of the first questions that they address. At the 10:00 mark the atheist specifically asks that question.
     
  4. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    So, in line with what Christian Smith asserts to Shermer in the video, do you think that atheists haven't thought out well enough what the moral and ethical social implications are for the human world if atheism is true?
     
  5. Nithavela

    Nithavela confused

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    No, I only read the "very short of it" book summary.
     
  6. Nithavela

    Nithavela confused

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    Didn't watch the video.
     
  7. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    No problem. You said you read the summary, so I'll tentatively assume that you understand the gist of what Shermer and Christian are discussing. ;)
     
  8. Nithavela

    Nithavela confused

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    If I don't appear to do so, you can make the argument in your own words.

    Now where were we? Ah yes. The social and ethical implications of atheism. There aren't any.
     
  9. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Okay.

    I guess the relevant question is whether atheists can provide a moral compass. ...Or, to what extent can they?
     
  10. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    So, you think Christian Smith is wrong?
     
  11. Nithavela

    Nithavela confused

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    They can't in their function as atheists.

    If they are so inclined, they can offer a moral compass as philosophers, though.
     
  12. Nithavela

    Nithavela confused

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    I think that Christian Smith is willfully demanding something that atheism can't offer because it's outside of the scope of atheism.
     
  13. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    I watched the first 20 minutes. Good points. I have been thinking about this topic myself of late. Atheists overreach, especially when it comes to morality.

    Why do they do that? Because they are human. :) Everyone has a tendency to overreach, overreact, and over-correct.

    Yet perhaps a more interesting reason is that they see the value of strong moral values and desire to produce a system that upholds them while avoiding theism.
     
  14. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    Actually, it sounds already as if your position coincides on some level with that of Christian Smith. Smith is asserting that atheists don't have the explanatory power at their disposal to assert or enact any kind of universally binding morality--let alone truly defend Human Rights--upon those who dissent with them.
     
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  15. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    He's not demanding anything. He's just pointing out that atheism can't do what so many atheists say it can.

    Er... I don't think anyone is saying that atheism qua atheism is the basis for a moral compass. No one is claiming that they can in their function as atheists. That's not what the conversation is about. It is essentially about whether atheism limits the formulation of a moral compass.
     
  16. Nithavela

    Nithavela confused

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    I don't think that unversally binding morality exists.

    I think that one can hold to a sense of morality and philosophy that is well thought-out and reasoned and that can be logically defended and take that as a basis for his decisions and the defense of moral rights without involving any dieties.

    But that's not part of atheism, and even theists can think of reasons why holding to certain morals is a good idea without resorting to a supernatural reason.
     
  17. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid A Crash Test Dummy's work is never done! Supporter

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    Yes, that's certainly true. We Christians can, and at times do, overreach as well.

    Yet, from what Christian Smith seems to think, atheists don't have a sufficiently robust infrastructure by which to support their own commonly held morally inclined intuitions, intuitions similar to many Christians, about a desire to enable human flourishing. I agree with Smith that it seems atheists do overreach in that sense. More can and should be said ... and I'm sure you have some other thoughts on all of this as well. ;)
     
  18. Nithavela

    Nithavela confused

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    It doesn't. It just requires that the moral compass is based on something else than an ancient text with rules, some of which are ignored and some of which are re-interpreted to fit current society.
     
  19. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Just to help steer the conversation towards the OP:

    "As far as I can tell, human beings who are atheists have reason to be modestly good, but not stupendously good. That's all I'm saying" -Christian Smith, 25:28.
     
  20. Nithavela

    Nithavela confused

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    Modestly good? Stupendously good?

    Weasel words.
     
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