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Author Topic:   Athiest Manifesto
Heathen
Member
Posts: 953
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 1 of 54 (657129)
03-26-2012 8:12 AM


Interesting piece (I thought)...

Main points:

1. Athiests are naturalists
2. First Commitment is to the truth
3. We respect Scence, Not Scientism
4. Reason is precious
5. Reject Dogma
6. Accept that Athieism will not have answers and are prepared for that
7. Are Secularists
8. Athiests can be religious(?)
9. Religion isn't all bad.
10. Are Critical of religion hen necessary

It's a fairly inoccuous piece but I'm interested to hear some folks views on this article... Are you in agreement? IS it a pile of Crap?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/...s-please-read-heathen-manifesto

Edited by Heathen, : formatting

Edited by Heathen, : link replaced with working one.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by nwr, posted 03-26-2012 9:33 AM Heathen has responded
 Message 10 by Modulous, posted 03-26-2012 1:46 PM Heathen has responded
 Message 11 by Rahvin, posted 03-26-2012 3:00 PM Heathen has responded
 Message 31 by Mr Jack, posted 03-27-2012 3:53 PM Heathen has responded
 Message 49 by Pressie, posted 03-29-2012 8:54 AM Heathen has not yet responded
 Message 53 by Modulous, posted 03-29-2012 1:58 PM Heathen has not yet responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5138
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.9


(2)
Message 2 of 54 (657134)
03-26-2012 9:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Heathen
03-26-2012 8:12 AM


It's from Julian Baggini, who seems to be a source of nutty ideas.

1. Athiests are naturalists

Naturalism is a metaphysical thesis. I prefer to eschew metaphysics altogether.

2. First Commitment is to the truth

Our notion of truth should itself be subject to examination and criticism. So it's a mistake to make such a commitment.

3. We respect Scence, Not Scientism

I'm never sure what scientism is, except that it is typically used as a derogatory term. It seems pointless to include this in a manifesto. It may be equally pointless to even have a manifesto.

4. Reason is precious

What does that even mean? The reason that comes from creationists is often worthless.

5. Reject Dogma

I don't have a problem with that. But I am puzzled as to what Baggini takes "atheism" to mean, if he wants to include that in the Baggini manifesto.

6. Accept that Athieism will not have answers and are prepared for that

That's yet another reason to wonder what Baggini takes "atheism" to mean.

7. Are Secularists

I am all for secularism. But you don't have to be an atheist to be a secularist.

8. Athiests can be religious(?)

That one is straight from the Baggini lunatic asylum.

9. Religion isn't all bad.

Why should I be expected to make sweeping generalizations?

10. Are Critical of religion hen necessary

I'll criticize individual acts of religious groups, when appropriate. But why does that require criticizing religion as a whole?

Jesus was a liberal hippie

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Heathen
Member
Posts: 953
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 3 of 54 (657136)
03-26-2012 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by nwr
03-26-2012 9:33 AM


Our notion of truth should itself be subject to examination and criticism. So it's a mistake to make such a commitment.

I don't see where he says it shouldn't. I think here he is saying that truth is paramount, rather than dogma, belief, wishful thinking etc.

What does that even mean? The reason that comes from creationists is often worthless

I think he agrees when he says Reason is precious, but also fragile.

That's yet another reason to wonder what Baggini takes "atheism" to mean

I took this to mean that Atheism doesn't provide big answers in the same way a belief system does. and that is accepted.

But you don't have to be an atheist to be a secularist.

I don't think that he suggested otherwise.

That one is straight from the Baggini lunatic asylum.

yeah, this struck me as a strange one. I guess it depends on what he defines "religious" as

Why should I be expected to make sweeping generalizations?

again I'm not sure where the article suggests you do this. Are you reading the same article?

But why does that require criticizing religion as a whole?

again, I think that's what he means by "when necessary"
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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1.61803
Member
Posts: 2246
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 4 of 54 (657141)
03-26-2012 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Heathen
03-26-2012 9:42 AM


It has been my experience that there are as many kooky atheist as there are theist. The bell curve distribution in effect. Some have a " I dont have a dog in this fight" attitude while others will froth at the mouth in need of a exorcism while in argument.
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5138
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 5 of 54 (657145)
03-26-2012 10:25 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Heathen
03-26-2012 9:42 AM


I commented point by point to help get the discussion going.

I really don't see the point in an atheist manifesto. One typically issues a manifesto to organize people into a movement. But there is very little in common between people who consider themselves atheists. The term "atheism" does not refer to a central principle, but to the lack of any central principle.

The one point where most atheists would agree, is on secularism. They oppose the attempts at encroachment on the public sphere by religious groups.

The idea of commitment to a central system of principles (such as a manifesto would be), seems to be what atheists don't want.


Jesus was a liberal hippie

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Heathen
Member
Posts: 953
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 6 of 54 (657146)
03-26-2012 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by nwr
03-26-2012 10:25 AM


The term "atheism" does not refer to a central principle, but to the lack of any central principle.

Surely one central principle would be: having no belief in a divine creator/god?
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Panda
Member (Idle past 88 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


(2)
Message 7 of 54 (657157)
03-26-2012 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Heathen
03-26-2012 10:34 AM


Heathen writes:

Surely one central principle would be: having no belief in a divine creator/god?


But that makes as much sense as a non-stamp collecting club for people that don't collect stamps.

"Having no belief" is not a "central principle" - it is not a principle at all.


Tradition and heritage are all dead people's baggage. Stop carrying it!

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Perdition
Member (Idle past 246 days)
Posts: 1592
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


(2)
Message 8 of 54 (657158)
03-26-2012 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Heathen
03-26-2012 10:34 AM


Surely one central principle would be: having no belief in a divine creator/god?

I wouldn't really call this a principle as much as a state of being.

Concrete doesn't have the central principle of being hard, it simply is hard.


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Taq
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Posts: 5138
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 2.9


(3)
Message 9 of 54 (657159)
03-26-2012 11:52 AM


Organizing a group that only shares a lack of belief is a bit like herding kittens. I think the mistake is burdening the movement with the term Atheism. You need to find some positive common belief that people can rally around, be it well reasoned and evidence based policies or secularism. It seems to be a waste of time to rally everyone one around a non-belief, one that is not necessarily tied to how we would like to see society change.

For example, I personally do not know of any atheist who believes that people should be prevented from holding religious beliefs. In fact, personal freedom is something we atheists hold very dear. This is not a war against the freedom of religious belief. Therefore, making atheism the center of the manifesto is a big mistake, IMHO. Secularism is the central tenet of the movement, and this is something that even some theists can agree with.


  
Modulous
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Posts: 6274
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


(1)
Message 10 of 54 (657171)
03-26-2012 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Heathen
03-26-2012 8:12 AM


heathen manifesto
Interesting piece (I thought)...

Main points:

1. Athiests are naturalists

Your summary is problematic. First you list the main points, but then list 10 out 12 of the points. You may as well have listed the other two

The first point you missed was actually the rejection of the term 'atheist' and the adoption of the term 'heathen'. He does not call it the atheist manifesto but the heathen manifesto - I would have thought you'd have liked this given your screen-name.

quote:
It has long been recognised that the term "atheist" has unhelpful connotations. It has too many dark associations and also defines itself negatively, against what it opposes, not what it stands for...
If we want an alternative, we should look to other groups who have reclaimed mocking nicknames, such as gays, Methodists and Quakers. We need a name that shows that we do not think too highly of ourselves...
"Heathen" fulfils this ambition.

Furthermore, you managed to spell 'atheists' wrong every time.

8. Athiests can be religious(?)

Well atheists can obviously be religious. Not all religious beliefs are about gods. Baggini wants to have us believe that there could be a religion that has no supernatural component. I suppose that might be true, but a loosening of the definition of religion sometimes ends us with including things that are not regarded as religion such as fandom.

quote:
There are a small minority of forms of religion that are entirely compatible with the heathen position. These are forms of religion that reject the real existence of supernatural entities and divinely authored texts, accept that science trumps dogma, and who see the essential core of religion in its values and practices. We have very little evidence that anything more than a small fraction of actual existent religion is like this, but when it does conform to this description, heathens have no reason to dismiss it as false.

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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 46 days)
Posts: 3943
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 11 of 54 (657181)
03-26-2012 3:00 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Heathen
03-26-2012 8:12 AM


I've seen multiple attempts to "define" the atheist position. Unfortunately, "atheism" is nearly as broad a term as "theist."

The author here seems to assume that all atheists arrive at their non-belief after serious introspection and rational, logical examination of evidence. That's simply not so. Just because one rejects the various god hypotheses does not mean that such an individual rejects all unevidenced claims, for example.

The "manifesto" is an attempt to merge the concepts of rationalism and atheism, but for those who really have a commitment to the truth, this should not be done. Atheism simply encompasses far too many individual belief systems, linked only by the lack of a belief in deities.

It's entertaining that some atheists feel such a strong need to mirror religion that they can simultaneously define themselves as having no dogma while publishing their own version of the Apostles Creed.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers


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Heathen
Member
Posts: 953
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 12 of 54 (657246)
03-27-2012 2:23 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Panda
03-26-2012 11:40 AM


I guess you're right except Stamp collectors aren't trying to exert influence in schools/governments, so perhaps there's not so much of a need for an opposing position.
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Heathen
Member
Posts: 953
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 13 of 54 (657247)
03-27-2012 2:28 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Modulous
03-26-2012 1:46 PM


Re: heathen manifesto
The first point you missed was actually the rejection of the term 'atheist' and the adoption of the term 'heathen'. He does not call it the atheist manifesto but the heathen manifesto - I would have thought you'd have liked this given your screen-name.

The naming didn't strike me as central to the article. Or at least not central to what I was interested in getting views on. Neither did the final point which talks about "Forging Links"

Furthermore, you managed to spell 'atheists' wrong every time.

hey ho... everyone seems to have understood anyway..

but a loosening of the definition of religion
I think that's key to this particular point.

Edited by Heathen, : No reason given.


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Heathen
Member
Posts: 953
From: Brizzle
Joined: 09-20-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 14 of 54 (657250)
03-27-2012 2:37 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Rahvin
03-26-2012 3:00 PM


It's entertaining that some atheists feel such a strong need to mirror religion that they can simultaneously define themselves as having no dogma while publishing their own version of the Apostles Creed.

I think it's more about being recognised as a section of society. A section who do not wish to give undue deference to religion, a section who does not wish to see crimes that would otherwise be considered hateful or bigoted being accepted as part of a persons faith. A section of society who do not wish to be absorbed into a default position of Christian, or CofE or whatever.
I don't think this article represents dogma, but rather an attempt to write down a series of principles which, the author thinks, represent a common thread in atheists/heathens or what ever you choose to be called.
It's far from perfect but, the idea that there is a part of society, not insignificant in number, who reject the "accepted" norms of religion is good, but as long as the members of that section of society just carry on, head down, allowing themselves to be counted as part of some other majority by virtue of their silence, the 'majority' are more likely to have a stronger, unopposed, mandate
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Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 12600
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.8


(4)
Message 15 of 54 (657253)
03-27-2012 3:26 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Heathen
03-27-2012 2:37 AM


Thing is, Heathen, there are already a large number of people who self-identify as atheists, given which it seems a bit arrogant to come along and retrospectively write a manifesto for them. "Oh, is that what we believe? Well thanks for telling us. We were in the dark up until now", one hears them cry.
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