Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chandra: The Good Atheist


[Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar 1910 – 1995]

Over eight months ago, I asked a question “Can anyone find an example of a single prominent atheistic leader who was kind, honest, and sober and had a stable family life?”

One fellow blogger offered the following answer: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. Fortunately, there is one biography of Professor Chandrasekhar in print and I bought a used copy (my library doesn’t have it).

Let me point out that first of all, Chandra, as he was often known, does not satisfy all of my criteria. He was not an atheistic leader in the sense of being a leader of the atheistic community or movement, which is what I meant. He never publicly advocated atheism. However, he is as close as anyone has come to answering my question. He was honest and sober and had a stable family life (one marriage, but no children). He may have been kind as well. Chandra seems to have been almost the ideal scientist: brilliant, hard working, devoted completely to discovering the secrets of the universe. And he did call himself an atheist.

There is an interesting postscript to this, however.

Between 1977 and 1991, the author of Chandra’s biography, Kameshwar C. Wali, recorded many conversations with him. Some of these conversations are published verbatim at the end of the biography.

On page 305, Chandra states “I don’t really have a sense of fulfillment. It does not seem to me that the pursuit of science results in feelings of contentment or peace. Would faith and simple beliefs bring inner peace and harmony? I’m not sure. However there is a marvelous story by Balzac called ‘The Atheist’. In this story, an atheistic doctor is seen attending church services twice a year with great devotion. Someone asks him why. He explains that he does it out of respect for a simple water carrier who was a pious man who had helped him when he was young. He, the doctor, wishes that he had the faith of that water carrier. Likewise, for myself, religion cannot save me because I don’t have faith.” [This has been slightly paraphrased for the sake of brevity and clarity.]

Indeed, in that story, Balzac has the atheistic doctor declare “I swear to you, I would give my whole fortune if faith such as Bourgeat's [the water carrier] could enter my brain.”

This was the attitude which one the greatest of scientists, a world famous Nobel Prize winning physicist, an atheist but an honest man, had in the last years of his life. Perhaps this helps us to understand why a pious Jew recites the prayer each morning “Blessed are you Lord who has not made me a gentile”.

50 comments:

natschuster said...

I'm wondering that maybe if he new then what we know now about life and the Anthropic principle, maybe he would have converted to belief like Anthony Flew did. Just a thought.

Uriel said...

JP. Your standards are absurd. Very few people, religious or otherwise meet your criteria. i seriously doubt you meet them yourself. But go ahead and cast some stones. Most prisoners claim to be religious. If your assertion have any value, then atheists should have at least the % of prison population as the general public.

Your claim that atheists are this and not that are also baseless, for the same reason it would be wrong for me to say that all Jewish people are greedy. Or that blacks are lazy and play basketball all day. All atheists have in common is being atheist. Aside from that, they are as individually good or bad as anyone else.

Ever heard of a strawman argument, or perhaps the No True Scotsman?

jewish philosopher said...

I would say that if every single prominent Orthodox rabbi was a convicted felon, an alcoholic or a known adulterer, for example, it would be reasonable to ask for some explanation. It would probably indicate something about the nature of Orthodox Judaism, wouldn’t it?

Within the Christian tradition, there are numerous saintly people. The same could be said perhaps of Buddhism (I am thinking of the Dalai Lama). Within Judaism, the same is true, although few are very famous since our religion is much smaller.

Why are ALL atheists about whom in depth documentation is available moral degenerates? Chandra seems to be the one exception, and he had deep regrets about atheism later in life.

The reason why is clearly because atheism promotes and encourages moral degeneracy. The desire to be free of all moral and ethical boundaries is the reason atheism exists.

natschuster said...

Uriel:

It is very possible thaty many of the now religious prisoners where atheists whenthey commitedthe crime. That is the important part. Any prison chaplain will tellyou that many prisoners find religion in prison

Cameron said...

JP: I would say that if every single prominent Orthodox rabbi was a convicted felon, an alcoholic or a known adulterer, for example, it would be reasonable to ask for some explanation.

CH: And what if every single Orthodox rabbi exhibited a denial of basic scientific facts? What would we conclude from that?

JP: Within the Christian tradition, there are numerous saintly people.
The same could be said perhaps of Buddhism (I am thinking of the Dalai Lama).

CH: Worth noting here that the Dalai Lama is an atheist.

JP: Within Judaism, the same is true, although few are very famous since our religion is much smaller.

CH: Less believable too.

JP: Why are ALL atheists about whom in depth documentation is available moral degenerates?

CH: Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, etc. etc. But I'm sure you'll continue to ignore them.

JP: Chandra seems to be the one exception,

CH: Ah, so it's actually not ALL atheists, just 'some'. I look forward to the adjustments in your language on the matter.

JP:... and he had deep regrets about atheism later in life.

CH: Poppycock. He did not have 'deep regrets' at all about his atheism. Rather he expressed a wistfulness for the kind of answers that religion provides but that atheism does not. No 'deep regrets' to be found as I see it. Nor do I see him recanting his atheism in favour of Gozer, witchcraft, or even Judaism.

JP: The reason why is clearly because atheism promotes and encourages moral degeneracy.

CH: Now you are putting words into his mouth. He makes no such claims about 'moral degeneracy' - that is all in your own head.

JP: The desire to be free of all moral and ethical boundaries is the reason atheism exist.

CH: Poppycock. The reason that atheism exists is because there are people sentient enough not to believe in fairy tales, be they Santa or Exodus. It's amazing how you can be so wrong about so many things all at the same time.

DrJ said...

I think the basic fallacy of JP's argument here stems from the fact that atheists are part of the non-religious population in general (including so-called "believing" non-religious) who are subject to all the same social ills as a secular western society. These ills include marital/family problems, white collar crime, prejudice, and so forth. So I can make a list of non-atheist politicians, public figures, actors, writers, and scientists all of whom have moral faults, but it doesn't prove anything about believers. Although it would be difficult to demonstrate this statistically either way, it would seem reasonable that atheists are neither more prone to, nor immune from, moral failings than anybody else in a secular western society.
Here in Israel we see among sefardi thugs, many black- kippah wearing, tzitzit bearing, goons who kiss mizuzahs and say be'ezrat hashem every other sentence. They truly believe in God. But what does this prove? Nothing.

Another point is that religious moralizers, when defining immorality, tend to place disproportionate emphasis on anything that is sexual in nature. Other kinds of immorality, such as prejudice, social injustice, honesty, cruelty to animals, business ethics, and community responsibility, tend to take back seat. Religionists big flag is sex. But I think if you use an inclusive definition of morality, then atheists are no different than anybody else, including religious people.

badrabbi said...

Can any one name a prominent rabbi, for whom an extensive biography is available, who is moral by JP standards?

jewish philosopher said...

My point is not to launch at ad hominem attack on atheism and claim that since atheists are bad people atheism must be false.

Rather, my point is that atheism is clearly not based on upon reason. Therefore, what is it based on? Since every atheist about whom we have detailed documentation seems to have been morally degenerate (again Chandra may be the solitary exception, and interestingly he regretted being an atheist), then it seems reasonable to assume that atheism is based on a tendency toward moral degeneracy. An atheist seems to be a person who wakes up one morning and says “You know, I like being dishonest, mean, selfish and so on however I don’t like feeling guilty about it. I’ll be an atheist.”

This would also explain why every atheistic government has a bad human rights record.

Anyhow, that’s my theory. Take it for what it’s worth.

There are plenty of books written about Orthodox rabbis however, because of the limited interest, they are all written by Orthodox Jews as far as I know. Call any Jewish book store for details.

Uriel said...

JP - Investigate "Correlation != Causation". Anyone calling themselves a philosopher should know about logical fallacies.

Also, why are you only interested in famous people atheists? What about the rest of us? Have you looked into the morality and behavioral patterns of famous people in general? If you did, you find that most famous people are a little bit crazy. Either because it takes a bit of crazy to become famous, or becoming famous can cause you to go a bit crazy.

Let's look at Britney Spears. 20 years ago, she might have been a relatively normal and well behaved girl. Wanting to be famous or wanting to be among the best in your field is not usual, i'd say it's probably normal. But a normal person doesn't have the gumption/obsessive drive to become one of the world's best. If everyone could do it, everyone would. You have to work very hard or be VERY lucky to make it in to the .00001% of the population worth an entry in wikipedia. Let's say that you've maintained your sanity and become famous. Well, now you have people fawning over you. No one will say no to you. No has said "no" to Britney yet. If she has an impulse, no one will stop her.

i bet if you look at people who are both religious AND famous, that about the same % of them will be unable to meet your absurd standards.

"It is very possible that many of the now religious prisoners where atheists when they committed the crime. That is the important part. Any prison chaplain will tell you that many prisoners find religion in prison"

Did you feel a twinge of intellectual dishonesty when you typed that?

Most prisoners are Xian when they commit their crimes. Why? Because most people (in the US) are Xian! Studies show that atheist tend to have higher IQs and more education than the average population. Most people of below average IQ are religious. Does that mean religion makes people stupid or that one has to be stupid to be religious. NO. Not at all, because we know that correlation != causation. Unless you also want to make the claim that blacks are predisposed to crime. If one of your friends made that comment, you'd call them a bigot. Well, the same thing applies making baseless assumptions about atheists. It's bigotry. It's stupid. It's wrong headed and morally wrong.

If you want to play it that way, how about prisons in Israel where virtually everyone identifies as Jewish? Did they suddenly find um... not jeebus, to please the parole board? Or were they Jewish folk who broke the law for whatever reason? Most crime is related to poverty.

Note that the more secular nations have far less violent crime than the US.

Hey, JP - Have you owned up to taking that poster yet? Something about theft, bearing false witness....

badrabbi said...

I have read the biography of degenerates such as Rabbi Akiva (at JP's behest, no less) and Rabbi Gamliel. These giants of Judaism are essentially morally bankrupt.

What I am asking is for the name of a prominent rabbi, new or old, with a credible (not propaganda) biography, who is moral and upstanding, using JP's criteria.

jewish philosopher said...

I wouldn’t be so sure about the “smart people are atheists” idea. I happened to belong to American Mensa, the national high IQ society. In a March, 2006 survey, only 4.06% identified themselves as atheists. And I’ve been shocked myself by how many fundamentalist Christian letters to the editor our bulletins get.

Bad, I'm curious, exactly where do you find fault with
Rabbi Akiva
or Rabban Gamliel? Were they drunks? Adulterers? Did they order any mass killings of political opponents? Just wondering.

natschuster said...

Uriel:

When there is a strong correlation, then causation can be assumed. This was the case with smoking and lung cancer, and many other medical issues. It appears to be the case with prominent atheists as well.

Cameron said...

JP: Rather, my point is that atheism is clearly not based on upon reason.

CH: How can that possibly be your point? Where does your supposed argument about reason raise its head when you discuss Chandra or other prominent atheists? It seems quite the opposite - you look for marital strife, past drug use etc. as a way of discrediting atheists as a whole. No arguments about how unreasonable they are, but instead a smear of all atheists based on what one atheist may have done in the past.

JP: Therefore, what is it based on?

CH: Unlike your beliefs based on scripture, atheists stake out their position based on reason.

JP:Since every atheist about whom we have detailed documentation seems to have been morally degenerate (again Chandra may be the solitary exception, and interestingly he regretted being an atheist),

CH: I note that Chandra both refutes your contention by being a prominent atheist who isn't morally degenerate - and as a bonus you have to lie about his 'regrets' in order to feel better. The JP double dribble.

JP: then it seems reasonable to assume that atheism is based on a tendency toward moral degeneracy.

CH: Another example of your failure to be even remotely familiar with logic. Discovering that atheists (except for; Chandra, Harris, Ali, Pratchett, Harrison, etc. that you continue to ignore) are occasionally 'morally degenerate' (i.e. have been 'gasp' divorced! - like yourself), does not logically equate atheism with moral degeneracy.

Why is the logic bad? Consider that 99.99% of all US criminals have a diet that includes tomatoes. That's a shocking correlation! Clearly tomatoes cause crime just as atheism causes moral degeneracy!

JP: An atheist seems to be a person who wakes up one morning and says “You know, I like being dishonest, mean, selfish and so on however I don’t like feeling guilty about it. I’ll be an atheist.”

CH: A classic pair of mistakes. Atheists (as I keep trying to point out) merely don't believe in supernatural beings - and we reach this conclusion not because we want to be free from their morality, but because we find them to be illogical, incoherent, and in most cases absurdly child-like.

The second mistake is in thinking that we atheists are somehow not moral because we aren't afraid of the sky god whenever we face a choice of right and wrong. We simply recognize that morality has its basis in natural reason, not in some forced angelic compulsion.

JP: This would also explain why every atheistic government has a bad human rights record.

CH: Sheer nonsense - but of exactly the odor typical for you.

Japan does not have a religious state and yet they don't possess a bad human rights record. Nor does the Czech Republic, or secular Canada. Not that you would even stop to think about who these atheist countries might be before you wrote what you did. It is simply too convenient for you to make the slur without bothering to know if it is true.

JP: Anyhow, that’s my theory. Take it for what it’s worth.

CH: I'd say it's worth being called retarded but I don't want to offend the developmentally disabled thinkers who might read this blog and occasionally make a thoughtful or interesting point.

jewish philosopher said...

I wish to make it clear that I do not believe that all atheists are sleazy scumbags. I merely believe that almost all are.

I don't believe that all Nazis were evil either. Oskar Schindler for example was an exception.

Anyone interested in experiencing atheistic goodness and morality at first hand is invited to emigrate to North Korea, today's great bastion of rational thinking and state atheism.

badrabbi said...

"Bad, I'm curious, exactly where do you find fault with
Rabbi Akiva or Rabban Gamliel? Were they drunks? Adulterers? Did they order any mass killings of political opponents? Just wondering."

A detailed biography of these people is very hard to come by, so I rely on the Talmud itself for judging these people's character.

Regarding Rabbi Gamaliel, apparently he was a bit of a control freak. There was an incident where he and his rabbi brother in law (Rabbi Eliazar ben Hycarus) were disagreeing about whether an oven is considered clean or not (I kid you not, this stuff is in the Talmud). Rabbi Eliazar stuck to his guns and defended his opinion. He even enlisted the help of God, and God himself came down to say that he agreed with rabbi Eliazar. But rabbi Gamaliel told God to mind his own business and butt out of the conversation (yes this stuff is in the 'oral Torah'), Then Rabbi Gamliel decided to make an example out of Rabbi Eliazar and cut off and banished this distinguished rabbi. The latter lived in exile until his death.

But don't worry about rabbi Eliazar because he too was a bit of a shit head. Upon hearing of his exile, he killed every one within his sight. He also set fire (with his penetrating eyes) to anything that he saw with his magical powers!

Never mind that the use of magic is not allowed. Never mind that the Rabbis told God to buzz off in their infinite arrogance. Is it really of good moral character to banish someone just because you do not agree with him? Is it nice to burn innocent people upon hearing of your exile?

Again, since there has been a challenge to name a ‘good’ atheist (by JP standards), I challenge any one to name one good rabbi for whom a good biography is available.

jewish philosopher said...

The Talmud relates that Rabbi Eliezer disagreed with the other rabbis regarding the oven of Aknai. Since he refused to change his opinion, he was shunned. Whatever he looked at that day burned.

So?

badrabbi said...

Shunned? No, excommunicated.

I neglected to mention that in the end, the good rabbi Eliazar assassinated rabbi gamliel with magic.


When in a glass house, do not throw stones at your neighbors.

jewish philosopher said...

In Judaism, we don’t really excommunicate, we shun.

The Talmud relates that Rabban Gamliel died as a result of having hurt the feelings of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus. This is intended to teach us the seriousness of insulting another person.

Is there any special reason why you feel a need to reinterpret Talmudic passages in a way which is as negative as possible for the rabbis mentioned? I would hate to falsely accuse anyone of anti-Semitism.

badrabbi said...

You have practically accused every body and everything, including your kitchen sink of antisemitism, so don't feel too bad about accusing me.

You accuse me of reinterpreting the Talmud? If you read the Talmud - read for example the one you linked to - then you would notice the following:

1. The Talmud uses the word 'excommunicate' not 'shun'. The word is "to cut off". It is mentioned several times in the Torah, and the punishment is usually reserved for serious offenses.

2. Rabban Gamliel, according to the Talmud, died because Rabban Eliezar "put his head down" presumably to pray for Rabbi Gamliel's death. It relates a story that Eliezar's wife kept preventing her husband from putting his down, until one day she lost track of time and forgot to prevent her husband from praying. Alas, she came to see her husband praying and at that point Gamilel was found dead.

Is this not an assassination? How am I reinterpreting this?

Is it not more likely that the story itself is not palatable to the likes of you so that it is re-interpreted to sound better?

badrabbi said...

One more point. The Talmud also explains that Rabban Eliezar had the power to destroy 1/3 of the world. Indeed, when he was excommunicated, the Rabbi destroyed (caused to be destroyed) 1/3 of the harvested crops of the world!

Once again, it is curious how nice these rabbis are. They have an argument over whether an oven is clean or not. As a result, one rabbi punishes another. The punished rabbi throws a temper tantrum and destroys a 1/3 of the crops in the world, as if the guilty parties are the farmers.

What kind of nonsense is that?

badrabbi said...

By the way, this smiting of innocent people by rabbinic 'glances' was not unique to Rabbi Eliezar. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai upon his return from exile, noticed Jewish people engaged in farming instead of Torah study. So he burned the people to death with his 'gaze".

Another fine example of moral an upstanding rabbis.

jewish philosopher said...

I think "shun" is a more accurate translation.

"Putting down the head" refers to a prayer all Jews say twice a day.

These rabbis did not deliberately harm anyone. The Talmud is illustrating the extreme danger involved in annoying a great rabbi in any way. They were extremely holy people who were beloved by God. This should help us to understand the sever danger involved even today if we God forbid transgress any rabbinical edict.

Cameron said...

badrabbi: By the way, this smiting of innocent people by rabbinic 'glances' was not unique to Rabbi Eliezar. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai upon his return from exile, noticed Jewish people engaged in farming instead of Torah study. So he burned the people to death with his 'gaze".

CH: Now I understand! The 'burning gaze' is actually heat-vision, and the Rabbi's are actually from KRYPTON! This explains everything!

badrabbi: Another fine example of moral an upstanding rabbis.

CH: Just more evidence that JP's great divine morality is not great, divine or moral.

badrabbi said...

Just curious;

If the rabbis had this magical gaze to harm people, if annoying rabbis is so utterly dangerous, why did not Rabbi Akiva defend himself with 'the gaze' when the Romans literally tore him from limb to limb?

Why didn't Rabbi Gamliel come to the aid of his father when he was cut down in the streets?

Why did Rabbi Yahanan Ben Zachai have to be literally smuggled in a couffin to go to meet with the Roman leader to beg for Vespasian to spare the rabbis' lives?

I do not mean to denegrade the rabbis, as I have some respect for them. But please stop ascribing magical powers to them. Please stop telling us how wonderful religious people are even as you are attacking atheists.

Good and bad people exist everywhere, with no regards to their beliefs in god.

In the end, if you can not see that, given all the evidence that has been supplied to you, then the ultimate conclusion is that you are stupid.

jewish philosopher said...

I don’t think that the rabbis had magical powers. That is your own obnoxious phrase. What happened was is that if you step on a landmine you blow up, if you annoy in some way a Talmudic sage, you burn up. That's all; it's nature basically.

Why couldn't Rabbi Akiva save himself, etc.? It was his time.

Sure there are good people everywhere. As I mentioned, Oskar Schindler was a good Nazi. But if I had a choice between having a Nazi or a Quaker, let’s say, living next door I think I would prefer the Quaker.

Cameron said...

JP: I don’t think that the rabbis had magical powers. That is your own obnoxious phrase.

CH: Given that we are discussing Rabbi's with death-ray vision, I think magical powers is in fair play.

JP: What happened was is that if you step on a landmine you blow up, if you annoy in some way a Talmudic sage, you burn up. That's all; it nature basically.

CH: So instead of being magical Rabbi guys with death ray vision, they are actually mutant rabbi guys with death ray vision. It's not the piety that gives them death ray vision (which really should be the name of a band), they were born with death ray abilities.

JP: Sure there are good people everywhere. As I mentioned, Oskar Schindler was a good Nazi. But if I had a choice between having a Nazi or a Quaker, let’s say, living next store I think I would prefer the Quaker.

CH: But if the Nazi next door commits adultery we can get together and have him stoned to death, right?

zdub said...

Get real - I challenge you to find an unbiased biography of a major Orthodox Jewish leader. We have hagiographies, not honest biographies. Any attempt at pointing out even a minor flaw in a "godol" will be met by an outright book ban (as happened with Making of a Godol). These books are - without exception - meant to inspire and not to convey accurate portrayals.

badrabbi said...

Zdub, I agree 100%.

You thus make my point.

jewish philosopher said...

How many in depth biographies have been published about Jainist leaders? So that proves they are all criminals?

On the other hand, a lot has been written about atheists and it doesn't look good.

badrabbi said...

Ya, but you can not say that the rabbis are off the hook because there are no biographies of them and in the same breath demand biographies of atheists who point to their leaders as good people.

For example, you keep saying that Sam Harris can not be considered an example of a good person because he does not have an authoritative biography. We point out that neither does any rabbi. You then say "so"?

Your circuitous logic is profound.

badrabbi said...

Consider also zdub's example of the book "Making of a Godol". The author is a heredi orthodox Jew, who compiled 1400 pages of information on rabbis of the 19th century. His commentary of them was by all means supportive, and his critique of them very mild. Nevertheless, his book ended up on the 'banned' list, not to be found on the bookshelves of heredi orthodox Jews.

1. Is this in any way decent to ban a book?

2. Are rabbis so fragile and holy that they can not withstand any criticism?

3. How can any one get to the bottom of their true character if any minor criticism or negative information is crushed with vehemence?

With such attitudes, as far as a reasonable person is concerned, the heredi orthodox jews forfit all rights to pass judgement on the character of others.

jewish philosopher said...

Anybody who wants to can write a book about me. I'm not forfeiting anything.

RaspK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RaspK said...

We won't bother, most probably; want to know why?

I, for one, won't try to debunk any arguments of yours, because you don't have a true argument: an argument starts off with a claim, provides some backing, and then the other refutes it.

The circularity of your comebacks, the insubstantiation of your statements, and your typically blind to reason theistic stance is so devoid of making any sort of logical argument regarding atheism that we might as well try to throw rocks to hurt the sky - not because it's so grand, but because those who are grounded to reality cannot do nothing to those that are so full of air!


Teach publicly how men are immoral if they have long hair, how Lot gave his two daughters to the men of Sodoma to do with them as they please, in order to let the angels go, or how the Jews should either burn and pillage, or literally rule those they "make piece with," all according to your scripture, and then come back at me and speak of immorality.


By the way, want to listen to the simplest logical argument against morality from God?

1. If good is good because God said so, then good is subjective; if God says what is good because it is good, then good is beyond just God. Thus, even if God exists, there is no need for him for any person to be moral - period.

2. If faith in divine agents is the only premise for morality, despite what that faith should be, then it doesn't matter if, say, we offer prayer to the universe for its grandeur any more than, say, being Christian or Muslim - you have oft times referred to faith, but not a specific one. But, as you very well know, these religions refuse to "save" "other believers."

3. Less than 1% in jails in the world are atheists - most of the inmates, on the other hand, are theists. Compare that and other statistics to the figures which show that 8% percent of the USA population are atheists. Additionally, Scandinavia, Japan, and other secular and mostly atheistic countries have the lowest crime rates worldwide. True, not an argument on its own, but a strong indication against what you suggest!



P.S.: Some of us did not leave anything out of anyone's reach either - from the very start, even! So don't show off how you do the same, if you please.

And, by the way, you still have not yet addressed any of my points.

jewish philosopher said...

I have never claimed that atheists are prone to petty crime. Atheists tend to be affluent and educated and are not from a class commonly involved in street crime.

I have said that atheists are selfish, dishonest, prone to addiction and sexually irresponsible and I stand by that. Also, when atheists are in complete control of the government, they invariably tend to commit mass atrocities because there is no reason for them not to.

RaspK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RaspK said...

Again, you did not answer any of my real arguments: only the example, the statistical report. The problem with subjectivity of good, or the apparent independence of good from gods, for example, you simply did not even reach for, did you? And prisons don't have just "petty/street" criminals, you know.

Selfishness refers to a person who only cares for oneself; prove that this is the truth, instead, of simply saying that they are so without a divine agent.

Dishonest? Without a divine agent? So every child not taught of a god is immediately dishonest?

Prone to addiction? Do you have evidence?

Sexually irresponsible? Laughable, and even slanderous to suggest!

Again, if the importance lies with faith in a divine agent, and not in faith in a specific divine agent, then it's a psychological factor, and you mean that you would immediately go and be any of the above?

How many atheists do you really know? Take my brother, for example: he sincerely believes in such things as a single and only partner in his life, does no drugs what so ever, is an important member in his leftist group, drinks with great care... Frankly, his only mistake is that he smokes quite regularly, and he is not only an atheist, he's even antireligious, yet not a chauvinist!

Stop being a hypocrite, or at least admit that you cannot answer these questions, for you did not answer them even once...


P.S.: Oh, by the way, scripture says that the antelope and the lion stood by each other, in peace and without the wish to eat each other...

Some Eden for the poor, voiceless, immobile plants, right? A Japanese proverb goes like this: "People cry for the nightningale, but nobody cries for the fish;" it means that nobody pays attention to those who are at least apparent. So, of course it was normal for scripture to suggest that no animal ate another (yes, including humans :P), but what about plants?

jewish philosopher said...

It's pretty obvious that atheists are generally sleazy scumbags. If you're not convinced, then keep reading my blog.

But I'm not saying every single one. There were good Nazis too, for example Oskar Schindler. I will give credit where credit is due.

RaspK said...

It's pretty obvious from your inability to deal with any logical argument presented to you that you are the sleazy scumbag (how come you never seem to have realised you are answering back at one?), you are not convincing anyone but those who wish to be convinced by such pitiful "arguments" such as yours, and you are not making sense with the example of Schindler (ever heard of aligning yourself with something you did not believe in just for the benefits?).

If there is one thing you've shown, is that you are a sophist, a bloody hypocrite, and, if we assume you are a philosopher, for pity's sake, you are probably one of the worst that has ever walked this Earth; if you sincerely believe all of the above, however, then you suffer from the delusion people must be extricated from in order to make the human society better.

Mind you, I don't hate religion per se; it's supposedly "expert at their field" demagogues with the time and fervor to poison other people's minds.

jewish philosopher said...

Are you sure you aren't a little sleazy?

And by the way, I don't filter my comments the way anti-religious blogs do, nor do I conceal my identity. I wonder why that is?

RaspK said...

slea·zy [slee-zee, sley-zee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective, -zi·er, -zi·est. 1. contemptibly low, mean, or disreputable: sleazy politics.

If by your comment you mean to say how I referred to your person, frankly, you deserve it - every single word. I may not have the best of reputations, but reputation != morality (you can ask those who know me, even fervent religiose people, about how moral I am; the problem lies with the fact that I am more vocal than they are, so I cannot demand that they contact you or whatever just so you can have your little perverse experiment of the morality of atheists. And, frankly, given the vast range of disbelief atheists profess, suggesting that all of them are equally sleazy scumbags is equally scandalous!

Furthermore, you really are an idiot, aren't you? The only comment I deleted in a blog of mine, THE ONLY ONE, was an advertisement of a libelous piece of yellow press as worthy of mentioning in polite company as are your excrement, along with my reply that I do not care for such things. By the way, my contact information are found in my profile.

RaspK said...

Oh, and you still did not answer a single argument; "sleazy" as I may be, yours don't hold any water.

natschuster said...

Raspk:

JP had a post not too long ago wherein he showed that just about every prominent atheist has a serious character flaw. By the way, where did you get your figures on crime rates?

natschuster said...

Raspk:

If your brother is a leftist, is it safe to assume that he is also an admirer of Stalin and Mao, the worst mass murderers in history? Many leftists are.

natschuster said...

Raspk:

I've read a number of studies that show that religious people have more stable lives, more stable marriages, less chemical addictions, etc. For every statistic you can sight I can sight others. Moreover, a book published in Nov 2006, says that Religious people give considerably, more money to charity, volunteer more, donate blood more often, etc. I've never once seen an atheist on this blog mention one good deed he is involved with.

RaspK said...

The figures I presented come from a report from the United Nations.

Another statistical report shows that more atheist doctors actually take care of poor and destitute patients than theist doctors.

My brother, as well as most serious leftists, abhore what Stalin and Mao did; note that their governments were corrupt and held little communist ideals at heart. Trying to attribute all of these places' problems to communist and athestic ideals is a false premise.

And since I and other seem to have to resort to some sort of bragging about our actions, let me tell you these things: I am a blood donor (despite the fact that my blood is of little use, since I'm type A+ and lack an enzyme - hence I give my blood for emergency operations in the appropriate hospital), give charity in money, clothes, and foodstuff, donate €15 every trimester (what I can easily afford) to Greenpeace, use ecological light-bulbs, regulate the heating in my home, recycle paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, etc. and help others whenever I can.

There: are you satisfied now that we are still playing the philanthropist Doctor? What does that prove, anyway?

natschuster said...

The statistic you sited above said that less than 1% percent of the people in prisons in the world are atheists. That may very well match the worldwide percewntage of atheists, though I'm not sure. The 8% of the population that are atheists was for the United States. Was this an error on your part?

Moreover prisone statistics are a tricky thing. Any prison cahplain will tell you that criminals often find religion after being convicted ans jailed. What is significant is the belief at the time the crime was commited.

RaspK said...

I don't think I said that: these numbers are all given by prison officials regarding the USA, not the world in general.

And how can you assume that these people were not theists when they were out of jail? Most of those that "find religion" are not atheists, in general, but what one might call "weak theists." You know, the kind that says they are whatever, but not really follow the principles? The sort of people who actually do not stand up for what they feel like? It's more reasonable to assume that any "converts" in jail are of the same variety.

natschuster said...

Your posting said 1% of prisoners in the world, I guess you meant the USA.

Have you done any studies on jailhouse coversions? Do ypu know of any? How do you know what the beliefs of the convicts were when they commited the crimes. Moreover, everyone knows that there are numerous other factors tah come into play, such as poverty, mental illness, race, that influence crime statistics. Where those things factored in as well?

Your charitable donations and activities are very nice. But that is just you. The believers on this blog who talk about religious charity are talking about entire communities of charitable givers. Many religious people tithe their incomes to charity. The book "Who Really Cares" says that Religious people give more to charity, are more likely to volunteer, and doante blood mor often. The numbers seem to favor the Reilgious.

natschuster said...

I know that in the Orthodox Jewish Community, young children hope one day, when they grow up to become voluteer abulance drivers. Is there any other community that came make this claim?