Friday, August 24, 2007
[Ayn Rand, atheist, preached the virtue of selfishness]
Not long ago I believed that atheism is a metaphysical philosophy, based on determinism and naturalism. I believed that it was basically a sort of religion in itself. I was even wondering if there might be some truth to it.
However, debating with atheists and doing research at the library and on the web has changed my mind.
First of all, atheists themselves emphatically assert that atheism is not a religion. Atheism just means not believing in any gods. The funny thing is, that when you ask for more details, atheists cannot define what they mean by “gods”. What is apparent is that atheists don’t seem to be bothered by the idea of an intelligent creator. They do seem to be bothered terribly specifically by the idea of a higher power who can monitor them, judge them and inevitably punish them, for example in an afterlife.
Secondly, atheists seem to be invariably highly selfish people. It is apparently impossible to find a well-documented case of an atheist who was kind, honest, sober and sexually responsible. It is impossible to find a case of a government that officially promoted atheism, which demonstrated any great concern for the welfare of its citizens.
Thirdly, the 19th century foundations of atheism have been abolished by 20th century science. Determinism has been contradicted by quantum mechanics. Naturalism has been contradicted by the Big Bang. We now have proof of what Jews always believed: we do not live in a cosmic perpetual motion machine, an eternally existing universe which keeps ticking away forever according to predetermined natural laws. Atheists seem to have barely noticed this scientific upheaval. They apparently don’t depend on any evidence.
Fourthly, there would appear to be a linkage between pornography and atheism. Communities having a high level of pornography seem to have a high level of atheism. The expansion of the Internet has made pornography more widely available and at the same time atheism seems to be becoming more popular.
I think what is happening is the following.
Many people, especially young males leading secure lives in developed countries, feel no need for the comfort of religion. Furthermore, they are attracted to a very selfish, self-indulgent way of life, an attraction perhaps encouraged by viewing pornography. Therefore, in order to remove any feelings of guilt, they simply deny the existence of any divine judgment or afterlife.
Atheism is not a philosophy; it is a symptom of narcissism and hedonism. Calling atheism a religion is like calling alcoholism a religion. It’s a bad choice, a moral failing, perhaps a disease. Until the 18th century “atheist” was usually simply an insult meaning “debauched libertine”. This may be close to the truth.
A disproportionate number of atheists pursue a career in science. Having decided that the supernatural does not exist, some bright, young atheists choose to devote their lives to intensively studying nature. This adds a great deal of prestige to atheism. Although atheists cannot even explain, let alone prove, their point of view, they can appeal to authority when challenged – claiming that many scientists are atheists so it must be true.
The criticisms, which atheists aim at religious people, seem to indicate their denial of reality. An atheist will claim that religion causes hatred and violence, however, has he ever bothered to compare the quiet streets and loving homes of an Orthodox Jewish community with the brutal violence going on in secular neighborhoods next door? An atheist will claim that religious people deny science, however is he aware that many religious people, this author included, are not young earth creationists and find continuous confirmation of religion in science? These are clearly just excuses atheists use to justify their own addictions.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 10:23 AM