Atheism Quotation

What do you think of this quote I saw today:
“I contend that we are both atheists. I just 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.”
-Sir Stephen Henry Roberts

14 Responses to “Atheism Quotation”

By the same logic that makes one monotheistic instead of polytheistic, one should be an atheist?

I think a lot of people would reject that though… People think a single power is somehow justified and better to believe in than multiple ones, yet ruling out this one remaining omnipotent force is unthinkable. People like faith — they like something to believe in — no matter how “justified” it is in reality.

Teisha - October 15th, 2004 at 8:04 pm

Bottom line is that faith provides people with something they need. Regardless of whatever the tenets of their faiths are, as long as someone needs something and faith provides it, any statement, no matter how logical, will be lost. It’s like arguing against intelligent design in the Kansas educational system.
“We think evolution is bunk and if you teach evolutinary THEORY, then you should give equal time to other theories”
“Yes, but none of those theories you just suggested are actually scientifically testable in any way. We can draw support for evolutionary theory from any number of scientific fields, molecular biology, behavior, paleontology, etc.”
“I believe sir, that I said evolution is bunk. I don’t tell you what to believe, you don’t tell me what to believe. Now, let me tell your children what to believe.”

Jon - October 17th, 2004 at 1:20 am

Well by its very nature faith is not a logical process. If you could a claim up with evidence and reason, then you wouldn’t need have faith in it, you would know thats it is valid.

Gilvoro - October 17th, 2004 at 3:56 pm

But faith doesn’t come out of nowhere… you’ve got to look at it and see what purpose is it serving (hope?) and why this is so important for people to have. In that manner, there is a sense of logic to it… it is filling some void.

Teisha - October 17th, 2004 at 6:05 pm

Being an an atheist takes as much faith as believing in any higher being. There is no way to prove or disprove God(s), therefore in order to say with conviction that there is no God requires faith. If you really want to argue with me about this, then, as an atheist, I would love to chat with you.

stephen - October 17th, 2004 at 8:55 pm

I’m glad I presented this quotation without context or my own opinion. Personally, when I saw it, I saw a question about why one god vs many, a challenge for monotheists to defend why YHWH is somehow more believable than Hermes and Thor and Tezcatlipoca, and not as much as a criticism of faith in general. *shrugs*

Paradoxdruid - October 18th, 2004 at 10:58 am

So are you going to say anything about monotheism vs. polytheism vs. atheism vs. faith, or are you just going to watch us fight it out? Well? For presenting the topic, you sure haven’t said much about it. What a side-liner 😛
(You know you like being picked on — don’t deny it.)

Teisha - October 18th, 2004 at 11:09 am

I think you start having problems with beings (normal or supernatural) as soon as you start assigning ultimate traits to them, whether it’s assuming that a certain person is “the BEST leader in the world” (he may have an off day or be unprepared on some day) or a god that is “PERFECTLY kind” (which opens you up to instances where one can point and say “didn’t seem very kind there, did it?”) I’ve never seen anything with an ultimate trait that can withstand every argument you can rationally throw at it.

But– faith isn’t necessarily about being rational. I think humans crave mysticism at least as much as we crave reason. Whether that craving can be “justified” is an open question.

I’m not sure about multiple gods any more than I am one god, though I could ask some people who believe in a intangible creator, an avatar of that intangible force made human flesh (who has a different mind than the force, talking to and arguing with it), and a strange spirit that fills each of us, as well as “hosts” of fellow intangible beings, and in many cases another set of “hosts” of similar beings, but with horns. Okay, cheap shot against the trinity and Christianity.. but really, it’s pretty close to polytheism, especially when you start adding venerated Disciples and Saints into the mix. I’d be curious to see a hardcore monotheist who believes in just *one* supernatural being.

To keep rambling- I agree with Stephen that Atheism is as much a statement of faith as theism is, but I think there is a non-faith position, which isn’t well defined in the English language. Kind of like agnostic but more like apathetic. Some people just don’t feel the craving for Faith in the supernatural (or Faith against it), and neither have nor require any.

I, however, do require faith. Not in any gods, though I wouldn’t say I’m an atheist. I think a big problem is that faith and religion have so many permutations and are so complex that sometimes it’s difficult to pin them with simple, tractable terms.

Better, Teisha? 😛

Paradoxdruid - October 18th, 2004 at 11:51 am

I have a question bonding the two favorite subjects of these forum: Do you think there is a connection, if any, between religion and politics? I’m not talking about division of church and state sort of thing, I’m asking about how people react to both subjects.

mallorn - October 18th, 2004 at 11:55 am

I think there’s a difference between saying monotheism vs. polytheism and atheism vs. monotheism in that a theist of any variety can make the argument that something must exist, whereas the debate of monotheism vs. polytheism is just niggling details.

Owen - October 18th, 2004 at 11:56 am

Mallorn: The two tend to be intricately intertwined. What we judge as “good” is defined, more often than not, by what a religion has defined as good. Both seek to exercise power over the same body. Both are seen as unquestionable authorities (at least, by certain, um, er, Bastard Republicans (note that this is a qualification of “Republicans in General”)). And both are hated for their flaws by the same people who flock to their call and sing their praises out of the other side of their mouths. Both rely on divisions (religions, parties, whatever) to strengthen their own support.

Owen - October 18th, 2004 at 11:59 am

I agree with Owen in that religion and politics do intertwine themselves for many reasons. That is another thing I like about Kerry, is that he stated during the third debate that he votes differently than his religion tells him to vote since he understands the need to not push one religious viewpoint over another through laws. This tends to be the case for a lot of the Democrats, and some of the Republicans (the pure fiscal conservatives like McCain), but not for the new, powerful minority, branch of the Republicans, the neo-conservatives. This is coming to logger heads in this election.

Back to the faith issue. I think the viewpoint that can be self-consistant with no faith is Agnostisim. All other systems of belief require faith to be self-consistant. I also believe that there is a big difference between the jump from polytheism to monotheism and from theism to atheism. Seperation and consoldation of powers seem like there is a natural transition between the two (don’t get me wrong, still a big jump). The transition from these powers existing and not existing, I feel, is a much more drastic leap of faith since it requires the complete replacement of the answers to lifes questions rather than shuffling them around.

stephen - October 18th, 2004 at 12:48 pm

Speaking of Politics, thanks for mentioning that not all Republicans are spawn of the devil, stephen. Around election time, it’s an easy generalization to make, and one that makes liberal Democrats look just as closed-minded as the things they dislike.

Paradoxdruid - October 18th, 2004 at 3:20 pm

Where as I’m an agnostic cynic. I have faith in nothing. NOTHING!

Owen - October 18th, 2004 at 4:23 am

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