Sunday, April 19, 2015

Framing Atheism

Hi! Happy Sunday!

Hope everyone is doing well!

Openly Secular Day is coming up on April 23rd. I would come out as an anti-theist atheist if I could, but then everyone who knows me already knows.

CBS just ran a video about the discrimination against atheists in this country:
CBS Openly Secular Video
If the Supreme Court rules that gay marriage is the law of the land in all fifty states then question for Americans to contemplate with respect to civil rights is who's next? Black lives matter? Atheists?

While I applaud efforts by groups like Openly Secular fighting the discrimination against atheists like myself, I'm not sure if it is the right framing for promoting secularism.

Why is it that framing atheists as victims of discrimination may not the best  framing?
  1. Secularism is inevitable. Look at the UK and the Nordic countries.
  2. Gay marriage went from the majority against to the majority in favor just in two short decades. I call that a wave of secularism.
  3. Only 17% of scientists are religious. 
  4. Geeks such as myself are not religious and we dominate computers, programming and the Internet. Java, Python, Ruby, C, C++ and other computer languages are something the religious are not well versed on. Technology is in juxtaposition with religion and technology is expanding daily.
Discrimination albeit racism, homophobia or against atheists for sure needs to be exposed and ridiculed.  However, I question if we are best served by national campaigns educating about atheist discrimination?

The reason I bring this up is because I believe there is a better framing. This better framing strikes at the heart of why the religious discriminate against atheists. That better framing involves the lie and the myth that religion is the source of morality.  It is not.

All of the science of the day tells us that religion has no bearing on morality whatsoever. Dispel the myth that religion is the source of morality and  non-religious stigma is made irrelevant and we'll get more secularism.

Religion has no bearing on morality. None. Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. There is no evidence, none whatsoever, that religion is the source of morality. Name one religion that has proof of this. It is a lie like all other historical religious lies that has been perpetuated by tradition and dogma but in fact has no basis in science and reality.

What I'm arguing for then is rather than to spend public education dollars and energy denouncing discrimination against atheists that instead atheists spend public education dollars and energy dispelling the myth that religion is the source of morality.

Here is the science as I understand it:

  1. Social studies have been conducted to study religions and their morals. Even the Catholic church has commissioned studies to prove that Catholic cultures materially are superior morally over the non-Catholic. To the Vatican's credit the Vatican came up empty handed and admitted as such. 
  2. Religious cultures are not self-similar. In order to state that religion is the source of morality then once must first identify moral outcomes based upon moral tenets for religious cultures. If, for example, studies found Christian cultures had no divorce because divorce is prohibited as moral tenet then one could correlate at least Christianity is source of that morality. However, that is not the case. Pick any two Christian cultures and their divorce rate will vary greatly and will vary the same as any other non-Christian culture.
  3. The best indicator for any two cultures sharing values and morals is not religion, but time. Two cultures that exist at the same time in close proximity have more in common than two cultures based upon a religion with no time and space proximity. It would be ludicrous to claim that "time" is the source of morality.   It is equally ludicrous to claim that religion is as well. At least with time there is correlation.
It is rather obvious and common sense that if two Christian cultures have nothing morally in common then religion cannot be the source of morality.

But the evidence against religion being the source of morality is even more obvious and more compelling then comparing different cultures. Even within a single culture one will find that religious folks occupy both sides of great moral positions.

For example, let us ponder abortion in the United States:
  1. Republicans are against abortion.
  2. Liberals are for abortion.
  3. Republicans and Liberals consider themselves Christian in like percentage of population.
Christians in equal number are on both sides of the abortion debate. The conclusion from the above three statements is that Christianity as a source of morality doesn't determine an abortion moral standard. Republican Christians insist that Liberals cannot be "true" Christians. The problem with that statement though is that there is NO RECOGNIZED MORAL TEST for being a Christian. That's right. The challenge for any Christian to prove that their religion is a source of morality is to provide a concise, moral standard that anyone can judge any other Christian by instead of using self-affiliation used today. Given there are some 30,000 sects of Christianity in this country then it is a pretty safe bet that we will never see that moral standard. Self-affiliation as the only standard for religious identification reflects no moral standard and no source of morality.

But, the evidence against religion being the source of morality is even more obvious and more compelling then just comparing Liberals and Conservatives in this country. Let us just compare Conservatives.

  1. The birth-rate in the Bible belt and other more other conservative areas of the US is no higher than the Liberal coasts. 
  2. Pew polls have shown that conservative women get abortions only 4% less than liberal women. 
I actually did not have to reach into abortion statistics for this point,  I could've just used divorce. Christians are total hypocrites when espousing Christianity is the source of morality all the while ignoring that morality and getting divorce. The point here being is that if religion is the source of morality then it must pass scientific muster of claims matching evidence. Clearly religion fails when matching moral claims with real world evidence. The reason I'm pointing out the hypocrisy with conservatives on abortion is simply to show that the religious conservatives who point fingers and liberal Christians for not being true Christians are every bit the hypocrites when it comes to abortion.

Framing Atheism

Atheists are scapegoats for Christians. The Christians cast their sins on the atheist goat and send that goat out into the dessert to die so as to take away their sins. They do this rather than admit their opponent on the other side of the moral debate is in fact a Christian. This is why I think framing the debate about atheist discrimination will not be so effective because the root cause of cognitive dissonance about the contradictions found in Christian morality.

There is no evidence that the moral claims of the Christian religion, or any religion, actually manifest the morality claimed. Further there is no universal agreement what those morals are within any religious culture.

Pick any great moral debate like abortion, capital punishment, war, imprisonment, drugs, vaccination, climate change, birth control or eating pork and you will find that for any particular religion there will be people in that religion of opposing moral standards and then again religious adherents failing to live up to the moral standards the same as anyone else. Religion buys you nothing morally.

Religion is not the source of morality. This is the framing of atheism I think that should be made in the public square today as opposed to launching new public awareness campaigns regarding atheist discrimination.


Find your tribe!

Be sexy people!

The future is coming! 

Innovate at a rapid pace!

Slow speed ahead!

Well come! and well met!

No comments:

Post a Comment