Understanding the isms Atheism On the first day, man created God. – Anonymous
Do Now What do you think ‘atheism’ is? What have you heard about atheists? Do you think atheism is a positive or negative thing?
What is atheism? Atheism is the absence of belief in any Gods or spiritual beings. The word Atheism comes from a, meaning without, and theism meaning belief in god or gods.
Discussion questions why do you think some people are atheists? what experiences in life might lead someone to reject the existence of God? What arguments might be made against the existence of God? Can atheists be moral?
Atheists… don't use God to explain the existence of the universe. say that human beings can devise suitable moral codes to live by without the aid of Gods or scriptures.
Watch Bill Maher explain his doubt about belief. Quotes about atheism: Read the quote. Answer: What is the author saying? What do you think has made them say this? Do you agree with the author’s point of view?
Quotes about Atheism Faith means not wanting to know what is true. – Friedrich Nietzsche
Quotes about atheism, cont’d I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. – Frank Lloyd Wright
Quotes about atheism, cont’d We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes. – Gene Roddenberry
Quotes about atheism, cont’d Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. – Seneca the Younger
The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.– Delos B. McKown
Brief history of atheism Western atheism has its roots in pre-SocraticGreek philosophy, but did not emerge as a distinct world-view until the late Enlightenment. The 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher Diagoras is known as the "first atheist” Critias viewed religion as a human invention used to frighten people into following moral order
Watch Ricky Gervais explain how he became an atheist. What do you think he means when he calls God an “unpaid babysitter”?
Reasons for non-belief… People are atheist for many reasons, among them: They find insufficient evidence to support any religion. They think that religion is nonsensical. They once had a religion and have lost faith in it. They live in a non-religious culture. Religion doesn't interest them. Religion doesn't seem relevant to their lives. Religions seem to have done a lot of harm in the world. The world is such a bad place that there can't be a God.
Good and evil… What is evil? Why might it be difficult to reconcile evil with the existence of God? If God is all-powerful, why does he allow evil in the world?
Many atheists are also secularist, and are hostile to any special treatment given to organised religion.
Atheist criticisms of religion Not all atheists are hostile to religion, but many do think that religion is bad. Here are some of their reasons: Religion gets people to believe something untrue. Religion makes people base the way they run their lives on a falsehood. Religion stops people thinking in a rational and objective way. Religion forces people to rely on outside authority, rather than becoming self-reliant. Religion imposes irrational rules of good and bad behaviour. Religion divides people, and is a cause of conflict and war. The hierarchical structure of most religions is anti-democratic, and thus offends basic human rights. Religion doesn't give equal treatment to women and gay people, and thus offends basic human rights. Religion obstructs scientific research. Religion wastes time and money.
Morality Atheists are as moral (or immoral) as religious people. In practical terms atheists often follow the same moral code as religious people, but they arrive at the decision of what is good or bad without any help from the idea of God.
Atheists like some things about religion, though… Most atheists willingly concede there are some good things about religion, such as: Religious art and music Religious charities and good works Much religious wisdom and scripture Human fellowship and togetherness
Discrimination against atheists There has been persecution and discrimination faced by atheists and those labelled as atheists in the past and in the current era In constitutional democracies, legal discrimination against atheists is uncommon, but some atheists and atheist groups, particularly those in the United States, have protested laws, regulations and institutions they view as being discriminatory. In some Islamic countries, atheists face discrimination including lack of legal status or even a death sentence
Examples of discrimination against atheists in Islamic countries According to popular interpretations of Islam, Muslims are not free to change religion or become an atheist: denying Islam and thus becoming an apostate is traditionally punished by death in men and by life imprisonment in women, though in only three Islamic countries is apostasy currently subject to capital punishment. In Iran, atheists do not have any recognized legal status, and must declare that they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Zoroastrian, in order to claim some legal rights, including applying for entrance to university, or becoming a lawyer. Similarly, Jordan requires atheists to associate themselves with a recognized religion for official identification purposes. In Egypt, intellectuals suspected of holding atheistic beliefs have been prosecuted by judicial and religious authorities. Novelist AlaaHamad was convicted of publishing a book that contained atheistic ideas and apostasy that were considered to threaten national unity and social peace. Compulsory religious instruction in Turkish schools is also considered discriminatory towards atheists.
Richard Dawkins ‘The God Delusion’
Atheists in NZ Are there ways that atheists are discriminated against? Can you think of examples of religion ingrained inour culture?