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Several POLLS indicate that the term “ godlessness ” has acquired such an extraordinary stigma in the United States that being an atheist is now a perfect hindrance to a calling in political relations ( in a manner that being black, Muslim or homosexual is non ) . Harmonizing to a recent Newsweek canvass, merely 37 % of Americans would vote for an otherwise qualified atheist for president.

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Atheists are frequently imagined to be intolerant, immoral, down, blind to the beauty of nature and dogmatically closed to grounds of the supernatural.

Even John Locke, one of the great patriarchs of the Enlightenment, believed that godlessness was “ non at all to be tolerated ” because, he said, “ promises, compacts and curses, which are the bonds of human societies, can hold no clasp upon an atheist. ”

That was more than 300 old ages ago. But in the United States today, little seems to hold changed. A singular 87 % of the population claims “ ne’er to doubt ” the being of God ; fewer than 10 % identify themselves as atheists & # 8212 ; and their repute appears to be deteriorating.

Given that we know that atheists are frequently among the most intelligent and scientifically literate people in any society, it seems of import to deflate the myths that prevent them from playing a larger function in our national discourse.

1 ) Atheists believe that life is nonmeaningful.

On the contrary, spiritual people frequently worry that life is nonmeaningful and imagine that it can merely be redeemed by the promise of ageless felicity beyond the grave. Atheists tend to be rather certain that life is cherished. Life is imbued with significance by being truly and to the full lived. Our relationships with those we love are meaningful now ; they need non last forever to be made so. Atheists tend to happen this fright of nonsense & # 8230 ; good & # 8230 ; meaningless.

2 ) Atheism is responsible for the greatest offenses in human history.

Peoples of faith frequently claim that the offenses of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were the inevitable merchandise of unbelief. The job with fascism and communism, nevertheless, is non that they are excessively critical of faith ; the job is that they are excessively much like faiths. Such governments are dogmatic to the nucleus and by and large give rise to personality cults that are identical from cults of spiritual hero worship. Auschwitz, the gulag and the violent death Fieldss were non illustrations of what happens when human existences reject spiritual tenet ; they are illustrations of political, racial and chauvinistic tenet run amuck. There is no society in human history that of all time suffered because its people became excessively sensible.

3 ) Atheism is dogmatic.

Hebrews, Christians and Muslims claim that their Bibles are so prescient of humanity ‘s demands that they could merely hold been written under the way of an all-knowing divinity. An atheist is merely a individual who has considered this claim, read the books and found the claim to be pathetic. One does n’t hold to take anything on religion, or be otherwise dogmatic, to reject undue spiritual beliefs. As the historian Stephen Henry Roberts ( 1901-71 ) one time said: “ I contend that we are both atheists. I merely believe in one fewer God than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible Gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. ”

4 ) Atheists think everything in the existence arose by opportunity.

No 1 knows why the existence came into being. In fact, it is non wholly clear that we can coherently talk about the “ beginning ” or “ creative activity ” of the existence at all, as these thoughts invoke the construct of clip, and here we are speaking about the beginning of space-time itself.

The impression that atheists believe that everything was created by opportunity is besides on a regular basis thrown up as a unfavorable judgment of Darwinian development. As Richard Dawkins explains in his fantastic book, “ The God Delusion, ” this represents an arrant misinterpretation of evolutionary theory. Although we do n’t cognize exactly how the Earth ‘s early chemical science begat biological science, we know that the diverseness and complexness we see in the life universe is non a merchandise of mere opportunity. Evolution is a combination of opportunity mutant and natural choice. Darwin arrived at the phrase “ natural choice ” by analogy to the “ unreal choice ” performed by breeders of farm animal. In both instances, choice exerts a extremely non-random consequence on the development of any species.

5 ) Atheism has no connexion to scientific discipline.

Although it is possible to be a scientist and still believe in God & # 8212 ; as some scientists seem to pull off it & # 8212 ; there is no inquiry that an battle with scientific believing tends to gnaw, instead than support, spiritual religion. Taking the U.S. population as an illustration: Most polls show that approximately 90 % of the general public believes in a personal God ; yet 93 % of the members of the National Academy of S

ciences do non. This suggests that there are few manners of believing less congenial to religious religion than scientific discipline is.

6 ) Atheists are chesty.

When scientists do n’t cognize something & # 8212 ; like why the existence came into being or how the first self-replicating molecules formed & # 8212 ; they admit it. Feigning to cognize things one does n’t cognize is a profound liability in scientific discipline. And yet it is the life-blood of faith-based faith. One of the monumental sarcasms of spiritual discourse can be found in the frequence with which people of faith congratulations themselves for their humbleness, while claiming to cognize facts about cosmology, chemical science and biological science that no scientist knows. When sing inquiries about the nature of the universe and our topographic point within it, atheists tend to pull their sentiments from scientific discipline. This is n’t arrogance ; it is rational honestness.

7 ) Atheists are closed to religious experience.

There is nil that prevents an atheist from sing love, rapture, ecstasy and awe ; atheists can value these experiences and seek them on a regular basis. What atheists do n’t be given to make is do undue ( and indefensible ) claims about the nature of world on the footing of such experiences. There is no inquiry that some Christians have transformed their lives for the better by reading the Bible and praying to Jesus. What does this turn out? It proves that certain subjects of attending and codifications of behavior can hold a profound consequence upon the human head. Make the positive experiences of Christians suggest that Jesus is the exclusive Jesus of humanity? Not even remotely & # 8212 ; because Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and even atheists on a regular basis have similar experiences.

There is, in fact, non a Christian on this Earth who can be certain that Jesus even wore a face fungus, much less that he was born of a virgin or rose from the dead. These are merely non the kind of claims that religious experience can authenticate.

8 ) Atheists believe that there is nil beyond human life and human apprehension.

There is, in fact, non a Christian on this Earth who can be certain that Jesus even wore a face fungus, much less that he was born of a virgin or rose from the dead. These are merely non the kind of claims that religious experience can authenticate.

Atheists are free to acknowledge the bounds of human apprehension in a manner that spiritual people are non. It is obvious that we do non to the full understand the existence ; but it is even more obvious that neither the Bible nor the Koran reflects our best apprehension of it. We do non cognize whether there is complex life elsewhere in the universe, but there might be. If there is, such existences could hold developed an apprehension of nature ‘s Torahs that immensely exceeds our ain. Atheists can freely entertain such possibilities. They besides can acknowledge that if superb aliens exist, the contents of the Bible and the Koran will be even less impressive to them than they are to human atheists.

From the atheist point of position, the universe ‘s faiths absolutely trivialize the existent beauty and enormousness of the existence. One does n’t hold to accept anything on deficient grounds to do such an observation.

9 ) Atheists ignore the fact that faith is highly good to society.

Those who emphasize the good effects of faith ne’er seem to recognize that such effects fail to show the truth of any spiritual philosophy. This is why we have footings such as “ desirous thought ” and “ self-deceit. ” There is a profound differentiation between a comforting psychotic belief and the truth.

In any instance, the good effects of faith can certainly be disputed. In most instances, it seems that faith gives people bad grounds to act good, when good grounds are really available. Ask yourself, which is more moral, assisting the hapless out of concern for their agony, or making so because you think the Godhead of the existence wants you to make it, will honor you for making it or will penalize you for non making it?

10 ) Atheism provides no footing for morality.

If a individual does n’t already understand that inhuman treatment is incorrect, he wo n’t detect this by reading the Bible or the Koran & # 8212 ; as these books are spliting with jubilations of inhuman treatment, both human and Godhead. We do non acquire our morality from faith. We decide what is good in our good books by resort to moral intuitions that are ( at some degree ) hard-wired in us and that have been refined by 1000s of old ages of believing about the causes and possibilities of human felicity.

We have made considerable moral advancement over the old ages, and we did n’t do this advancement by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely. Both books condone the pattern of bondage & # 8212 ; and yet every civilised human being now recognizes that bondage is an abomination. Whatever is good in Bible & # 8212 ; like the aureate regulation & # 8212 ; can be valued for its ethical wisdom without our believing that it was handed down to us by the Godhead of the existence.

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