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Atheist's Vow

What you say when you are ready to become an avowed atheist.
  (+7, -8)
(+7, -8)
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against]

An example: I hereby vow that I hold no belief in any god, goddess, or like deity. I vow to rely not on ritual and baseless superstition, but on my skills, and those of my fellow humans, as well as my luck, good and bad, and the laws of nature for my lot in life. The events of the past and future, even those I and others cannot now explain otherwise, are not a result of any supernatural events, but of human psychology and the laws of physics. I hereby resolve to believe only those aspects of existence which I can personally experience or which I find mathematically reasonably. If I cannot rationalize any theory or opinion I hold, I will discard it in favor of a more rational one.
centauri, Nov 28 2000

Atheist Homeland http://www.halfbake.../Atheist_20Homeland
After you take the vow, you get to move here. [centauri, Nov 28 2000, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Landover Baptist http://www.landoverbaptist.org
a hilarious view of religion (I think the web master is a card-carrying aethiest). [danrue, Nov 28 2000, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Some very rational arguments for the supernatural http://www.Christian-thinktank.com/
Pro-Christian website, answers a lot of questions from athiests and others with very well thought out, in-depth, and reasoned answers. [PotatoStew, Nov 28 2000, last modified Oct 05 2004]

American Atheists: FAQs http://www.atheists...rive.thru/faqs.html
Are Atheists Anti-Theists? Do they define themselves as that? Should they? This set of questions and non-answers is old, but still valid. [ping, Nov 28 2000, last modified Oct 05 2004]

CSICOP http://www.csicop.org
Committee for the Scientific Investigations into Claims Of the Paranormal [Qualiall, Nov 28 2000, last modified Oct 05 2004]

the brights http://the-brights.net/
[mrthingy, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

An investigation into the mathematics of the monkey issue http://www.nutters.org/docs/monkeys
[hugesmile]'s link as a link [zen_tom, Oct 29 2005]

[link]






       Atheist homeland, Atheist vow, agnostic commandments... does anyone else get the feeling that these religious rituals just don't translate well?   

       I'm as rabidly atheist as they come, but what attracts me to atheism is precisely the absence of such rituals, and I feel no need to replace them with artificial ones.   

       Unrelatedly, you're going into dangerous territory with the "I will only believe what I can personally experience" bit. There's no shortage of religious people who experience the presence of their deities as a very strong feeling that is quite real to them.   

       Scientists rely on double blind tests and peer review, but somehow that doesn't sound good in a festive context. (And I like it like that.)   

       [Sorry -- the above sounded as if all atheists are also scientists, which isn't what I meant to say; what I meant is that I think that science is better than personal conviction at settling questions about what is and isn't real.]
ping, Nov 28 2000
  

       "So help me, I believe in myself."
Now there's a vow that fits the bill.
thumbwax, Nov 28 2000
  

       ping, I don't know any personally, but I imagined that there must be some non-scientist atheists out there, so I avoided too much scientific language in my eaxample vow. I wouldn't take any kind of vow as an atheist either. The whole thing is a joke, like saying you speak Esperanto like a native.   

       Now that I've said that, I guess it's not that much of a joke any more. Perhaps I'll just delete this in a day or two and try to come up with some actual ideas. You know. Ideas?
centauri, Nov 28 2000
  

       Centauri, I'm a representative of the type you imagined. Come by and run some tests on me sometime if you like.   

       You could try something snappier next time, like thumbwax's vow. Maybe something that will fit on a bracelet (W.S.I.D. -- What Should I Do?).
Monkfish, Nov 28 2000
  

       WSID -- I like that a lot! In fact, that's an idea that really, really needs to be baked.   

       Regarding the original oath, would it be appropriate for aethiests to profess an acknowledgement of luck? I suppose it can be divorced from Fate... hm.
danrue, Nov 28 2000
  

       instead of "What Should I Do" = WSID one more fitting will be ODIW = "One Day I Will" ,Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
rsum, Nov 28 2000
  

       I rest my case.
ping, Nov 28 2000
  

       Just to add some balance to the deluge of athiestic postings as of late:   

       There are plenty of religious beliefs which are perfectly rational if one does not automatically rule out anything "supernatural." And often, when looking at a series of events as a whole, a supernatural explanation can be the most rational explanation. I suppose Christianity, for instance probably does seem to be pretty ridiculous if no supernatural explanation for any events are allowed (which seems to be what you are saying). But what makes you think that there couldn't be forces that aren't explained by our current understanding of physics?   

       <ducking for cover>
PotatoStew, Nov 29 2000
  

       PotatoStew: I am, in fact, *positive* that there are forces and events that we can't explain through our current understanding of physics. It has always been thus. In fact, this is one of the things that drove me to atheism, because I saw modern day humans falling for the same fallacies as their forbears. The ancients believed that the gods caused the sun to rise and granted (punished with) the weather. We now know that is not the case. We think it's quaint that those people put faith in imaginary versions of themselves, albeit much more powerful, rather than demand to know what was really going on. I couldn't stand that I would ask a question of my catechism teachers and that they would tell me "God wants it that way." There lies the death of free-will.   

       I realize that science and religion aren't mutually exclusive, but when religion stifles science and investigation rather than inspiring it, it's time to question whether if religion is for you. For me, it wasn't.
centauri, Nov 29 2000
  

       PotatoStew, do you also want a couple of insane postings to "balance" the sane ones? A few badly spelled ones to "balance" the orthographically correct?   

       "Supernatural" explanations are ones that don't explain anything. If you can't build a chain of reason from what you already understand to an event, you don't understand the event. For all of us, there are things that we don't understand. The question is what we do when that happens.   

       In some situations, some people think they make their lives easier by giving up the search for explanations and pretending to have found something that explains everything. Humans are emotional creatures and like to get something for nothing; the impulse is certainly natural. But that doesn't give them, or their silly litanies, significance, or rationality, or any of the trappings of respectability they would like to steal from the research project they've abandoned.
ping, Nov 29 2000
  

       centauri: I completely agree with you that it would be ridiculous to go in for the same kinds of fallacies as our ancestors (ie: gods causing the sun to rise, etc), and I can see why you would want to guard against that. I am completely against just throwing up your arms and saying "because God wants it that way" as an alternative to trying to figure out why or how things are the way they are. Religion should not -- and need not -- stifle science and investigation.   

       Without going into a lot of detail, an example of what I'm saying would be the resurrection of Jesus. When you look at all the evidence that we have, the most rational conclusion is that he really rose from the dead (reasoning for this is better left to the link I included in the links section... I'd only waste a lot of space and botch it up if I tried to explain it). Just because we don't know *how* that could happen doesn't mean that it then *couldn't* have happened.   

       I will grant you that organized religion has caused a lot of hurt and stifling at times, but that doesn't mean that there's no God... it just means that we humans can be awfully messed up sometimes.   

       Ping: That's a biased and unfair comment... i could just as easily say that I want a couple of sane postings to "balance" the insane ones, or a few orthographically correct ones to "balance" the badly spelled ones.   

       Also, ping, I would say it's possible that you may be guilty of what you accuse others of: pretending to have found something that explains everything. The difference is that your something is physics and naturalistic explanations. I don't pretend to have found something that explains everything.   

       I'm not advocating that anything we don't understand we just label as "God made it that way." If you can run experiments on something to try to figure it out, then go for it. But to discount the possibility that God might exist (when there is in fact at least some evidence that he may) just because you can't run tests on him seems to be its own particular brand of intellectual self-stifling.
PotatoStew, Nov 29 2000
  

       Wouldn't it be equally simple to have all the Christians ditch their assorted creeds and just believe in Astrology? New-agers are considerably less difficult than, say, Christians, and are only about equally irritating. Belief in divination remains widespread and predates Christianity -- I don't see any obstacle to considering ideas of the Christian god(s) as substitutes for it. Or the lot of you could become Jainists or Manicheans.   

       I think I'd like you all best as Jainists. The only trouble is that maintaining orthodoxy always takes so much effort and is so darn messy.
Monkfish, Dec 13 2000
  

       Ravenswood: Which God would you have everyone believe in? One mans God is another man's God Lite.   

       I am reminded of a quote from the begining of the book 'The Pilgrim' "My God's OK, sorry about yours."   

       I would rename this idea the "Anti-Theist's Vow", since there is a lot of implied criticism of people with religious beliefs.
blahginger, Dec 14 2000
  

       Dang, there was a whole routine that Mike Neun did about an agnostic crusade ("We don't know, and we're willing to die for it!"), but I can't find much of anything that's Mike Neun related on the net!   

       Anyone else here know what I'm talking about?
mwburden, Dec 27 2000
  

       On science and religion being mutually exclusive: The assumtion made on both sides of this is that if one believes in God, one must abandon science. In science we discover laws of the universe. God should never be used as an explanation for something that science does not yet understand. Science is about discovering how things work. But no amount of science can ever adaquately explain the true cause for the laws we find. Thats where religion *should* be.Why quantum mechanics? Why relativity? We can find out the way things work until we're blue in the face, but someone had to invent those laws. There is to much order in the universe for us to write it off as random processes.In the milliseconds before the big bang, who decided the laws that would govern the universe for the billions of years to come?
Malakh, Dec 27 2000
  

       Just happened.
centauri, Dec 27 2000
  

       Malakh: Exactly. Furthermore, the laws themselves never cause anything, they simply dictate how things will react once a cause initiates a series of events. Which, if this logic is followed backwards, to the begining of time, implies that there must be something outside of what we see that brought it all into being. To anyone who thinks that Nature is a closed system, and there is nothing beyond it, I would highly recommend that you read "Miracles" by C.S. Lewis for a logical, well-reasoned argument why this is most likely not the case.
PotatoStew, Dec 27 2000
  

       waugsqueke: the more I learn about the universe, the more I realize how little we know about god.
coaster, Feb 11 2001
  

       My 2 cents worth comes from Richard Dawkins who once said:   

       "We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further."
sirrobin, Feb 11 2001
  

       You're right, UnaBubba. Many people do indeed adopt viewpoints that make a religion of science. These people believe science disproves Christianity and other religions because the traditional religions don't have empirical evidence (btw, I disagree that Christianity does not have evidence, but I know what you mean). This view _requires faith_ that empirical evidence describes everything there is. Christianity requires faith that empirical evidence does not tell the whole tale.
beauxeault, Feb 11 2001
  

       Oh, dear. Now I have the urge to rant, too. I acknowledge that there's no point in doing so, but I also don't see any particular harm; so here is my unnecessary and scatter-shot response:   

       Beauxeault, UnaBubba: Making sense of sensation without religion does not require faith that everything is described by what is currently known; it requires a willingness to live honestly with fundamental uncertainty. (This situation was sensed and acknowledged by Kierkegaard, UnaBubba, but he -- like Descartes before him -- couldn't bring himself to give Christianity the old heave-ho.) Not "being able to tie it all together" is precisely the point.   

       It's possible to rewrite any system of religious belief (insofar as religious belief is _ever_ systematic) to survive new information. Many scientists are comfortable doing this, in order to retain the beliefs which are common among the people they know and which may have been instilled in them as children. Science (reason) and religion (faith), though, are fundamentally different for any widely accepted definitions of those two things; even theologians (at least as far back as Thomas Aquinas) acknowledge as much. And satisfactorily reconciling the two in the modern world is an exercise that even an intellectual contortionist of Kierkegaard's calibre is bound to fail at.   

       Reading both Kierkegaard and Nietzsche is unlikely to settle much by itself. But those writers (with Hegel) will direct your attention to the process by which Christianity was finally and thankfully more or less excised from Western thought.   

       The surest route to atheism is not through science, but through the study of history and religion itself. To anyone prepared to be critical, science will then confirm what history makes obvious.   

       Since not even I am indulgent enough to listen to myself rave at any greater length, I will now shut up.
Monkfish, Feb 11 2001
  

       Science doesn't claim to explain everything...it claims that everything has an explanation that doesn't amount to 'Because'. Theories are tested, if they turn out to be incorrect, they are changed. This is the nature of theories.
StarChaser, Feb 11 2001
  

       I mis-stated when I said the religious view of science requires faith that emipirical evidence "describes" everthing. I should have said, and meant to say, "can describe."   

       Starchaser, I have no disagreements with your definition. But science has not yet found the explanation for everything. Perhaps it can, and if so, it should. But where did we get the idea that it must? My point is that there is no empirical evidence for science's claim that all can be explained by reason, so belief in that claim amounts to faith.   

       Monkfish, I for one appreciated your rant. My point was not that science IS a religion, but that some invest religious faith in it. I agree that the two are separate and should remain so. I think "a willingness to live honestly with fundamental uncertainty" is the proper approach to both science and religion.   

       And I definitely do not intend to belittle science. My degrees are in engineering and chemistry, and I make my living as the head of a research organization. I know the value of the scientific method and the necessity that it must triumph over superstition and guesswork.   

       I guess it's the nature of HB that annotations begin to address other annotations instead of the original idea (a vow for atheists), but I admit I have not read Kierkegaard nor Hegel, and only a little Nietzsche, so there's not much more I can add to this discussion anyway.
beauxeault, Feb 12 2001
  

       *Asterisk to Monk's 2/11 post*   

       It should be noted that St. Thomas Aquinas made the distinction between faith and reason to show that faith depends ON reason in the same way the supernatural depends on the natural. Indeed, he took great pains to make the case that they are not opposed to one another (which was the popularly held belief at the time and, for some, to this day). In other words, it should be known that by "different", one should understand Aquinas to mean "distinct" and NOT "opposed".   

       I insert this asterisk because, between this idea and the "God Debate", there seems to be a widely accepted view that faith and reason are opposed, and I don't think that is the case.
iuvare, Feb 12 2001
  

       Iuvare, here is what I said: "[Science and religion are fundamentally different]; even theologians (at least as far back as Thomas Aquinas) acknowledge as much".   

       (Your clarification is valid; I just want to point out that I didn't claim otherwise.)   

       The point is that Aquinas acknowledged the problem, in the wake of new information (the rediscovery of classical knowledge) which threatened orthodox church doctrine in his day. He didn't think that one must kill the other (under the circumstances, he needed both).   

       His approach, as you say, was to incorporate the new information into an expanded philosophical scheme, as the early church had absorbed Plato (through Neoplatonism) and later Aristotle. (A large part of Kierkegaard's struggle was similar, in a way: An attempt at one more plausible synthesis which would place the Christian god at the centre of things. Hegel's ideas on history fall into this category too, to some extent.)   

       (The process of creeping doctrinal change in even so stolid a religious organization as the Roman church should, incidentally, be of interest to those among the religious who believe in immutable, eternal religious wisdom.)
Monkfish, Feb 12 2001
  

       Faith and reason come into conflict only when reason asks "Why?" and faith says "Because, that's why."
centauri, Feb 12 2001
  

       But faith must be faith in something, and when that something is the First Cause or the Creator it has the potential to stifle questions of reason, at least on the child/parent level if not the national or governmental level.
centauri, Feb 12 2001
  

       Beauxeault, science has a lot more evidence for its POV than a two thousand year old book that has several things demonstrably wrong...If religion can show me half as much evidence for any of its claims I might be willing to listen, but as is, it's out of the running.
StarChaser, Feb 12 2001
  

       Monkfish, why it is you always seem to think I'm out to get you I'll never know...   

       ::yawn::   

       I wasn't in disagreement, just merely commenting on something that sparked my interest...which happened to come from your post. That's why I purposely put my annotation under the heading *asterisk* and not *sed contra*.
iuvare, Feb 12 2001
  

       waugsqueke, I agree. It's not religion I have a problem with, just some of the people who follow it. Scientific fields have people like this as well, but at least I don't have to take their word for it.
centauri, Feb 12 2001
  

       Don't worry, Iuvare, I don't feel persecuted by you. I knew your response wasn't meant as a correction -- it didn't contradict what I'd said. It was relevant to what I'd said, though, and I wanted to argue with the other conclusions you drew -- sorry that it seemed defensive to you. Are all our intentions clear now?   

       Thanks for the, uh, clarification of intent (please accept this one in exchange) and of course for the yawn. I gather I grew a little sordid and tiresome for you, there? Thanks for fighting your ennui long enough to respond.
Monkfish, Feb 13 2001
  

       Monkfish: My bad. I misunderstood your intentions. Plain and simple.   

       [The yawn comes from me not being able to write as clearly as I would like to do. I depend on tone and inflection to convey my thought when I speak and haven't developed the best way to do the same via my writing. Consequently, I grow tired of attempting to clarify.]   

       ::oh boy, jutta's hovering and we're definitely way off topic now::   

       >>RUNNING FROM HALFBAKERY<< ....please, jutta ....don't....delete...my....most recent...off topic...post......aaaahh!!!!!!
iuvare, Feb 13 2001
  

       Thank God for making me an atheist.
rayfo, Apr 02 2001
  

       Danrue: do atheists in the US carry cards these days? Is that because atheists and communists are seen to be synonymous?
acb, Apr 02 2001
  

       Christian="Christ Like". Sad to say so few, if any-are. Other religions require bombing and/or casualties, so I'll leave them be. Nevertheless, Moral Codes, Dogmas and Guidelines have been handed down from generation to generation within a culture or continent, each with some discernible differences, others transparent. I've wrestled with my 'demons' and my 'god(s)', and I've emerged a human. Just as I was, I am-though older and with the Sabbath free to recuperate from the preceding week and to prepare for the next one.
Hell, when translated from its Greek root, means -for all intents and purposes - the hole you're buried in, hopefully you're dead when that time comes. Everybody goes to hell in the long run.
Religion is a feel-good proposition. It is also a feel bad and/or Morally Superior and/or quasi-conversion necessity for the Nonbeleivers in Your God. Buddha said this, Mohammed said that, Jesus said "It is finished".
There are billions of people who, throughout the course of History, are/were either tragically wrong in their worship or disdain of one belief or another. I believe in Myself - And I believe that just as the earth revolves in relation to the sun and our moon each and every day, I try to stay on an even keel and weather the storms, with a little help from my friends, big and small.
thumbwax, Apr 02 2001
  

       Centauri- Don't know if anyone has said this yet, but your imagined "ansestors believing God caused the sun to rise" is a myth, at least it has been for the last twenty three hundred years. Think Ptolemy, for heaven's sake, and keep in mind the Aristotle was practically _Canonical_ until Gallileo in what, the 16th-17th Century?   

       People believed in the god Appolo long after they knew that the sun was a sphere.
phallex, Sep 05 2001, last modified Sep 06 2001
  

       From the title, I thought this was an idea for an alternative to putting your hand on the Bible and suffixing the oath of truth with, "...so help me God."
friendlyfire, Dec 20 2002
  

       Two things I never discuss: politics and religion.
mailtosalonga, Jul 16 2004
  

       The answers to all of these questions lie in the abyss between reason and imagination.
yabba do yabba dabba, Jul 16 2004
  

       When I see those bumper stickers [ WWJCD ] I respond as I always have.....   

       What Would Jackie Chan Do ? It's a fun way to go through life, although I don't heal as fast as I used to.
normzone, Jul 16 2004
  

       Science is cool for what you can see, smell or touch. Belief in God is cool for what you cant
tasman, Jul 16 2004
  

       Rationality, I'm afraid, is just as prone to fault as belief, it's just takes a longer route to get to the same place. Some might say that the rational journey makes a person more whole, and I'd be inclined to agree with them. However, taking a vow that included the phrase 'If I cannot rationalize any theory or opinion I hold, I will discard it in favor of a more rational one.' would today make me feel uncomfortable.   

       Following a purely rational (algorhythmic) model of thought would either drive a person mad, or leave them with the realisation that rationale is no more than a human abstraction of reality, and as such, is just as belief-ridden as anything else.
zen_tom, Jul 17 2004
  

       This idea is just dumb.
zigness, Jul 17 2004
  

       I am amazed to see that this thread has been going on for four years! (or was it resurrected, pun intended.)   

       I always liked the M*A*S*H line... a guy was asked the Question: "Are you really an athiest?", Answer: "Swear to God!"   

       I read on the net just the other day something that approached a mathematical "proof" that a greater intelligence exists.... http://www.nutters.org/docs/monkeys (actually it's a discussion on the probabilities of something MUCH simpler than creation of the world...) I never thought of it that way... check it out.
hugesmile, Jul 18 2004
  

       What about an imperialistic anarchist, who just happen to be athiest.
Antegrity, Nov 02 2005
  

       What ever happened to good-old, indifferent, anostics? No sides, no opinions, no unrepresable urge to argue their point, or hurt anyone who doesn't share the same non-view.
daaisy, Nov 02 2005
  

       Agnostics accept their own ignorance in the matter, something few are willing to do.
hidden truths, Nov 02 2005
  

       why search for an answer that's impossible to find?
daaisy, Nov 02 2005
  

       That's a good point daaisy. But in the same vein, why get up in the morning? I'm not being facetious (well ok, let's be honest, yes I am, even if only a bit) but to be serious for a moment, "Why bother?" is one of those questions that crosses my mind more often than I'd care for - I'd really like to find a satisfying answer.   

       Right now, I guess my motivation (the reason I do bother getting out of bed) is so I can continue trying to work out the answer to the question.   

       Yes, it's scarily recursive, but life seems pretty much like that, recursive I mean. So it kind of makes sense to have a recursive purpose in life. i.e. one that you don't get to figure out, but *need* to keep trying to understand in order for it to remain in existence.   

       The alternative is that you actually might as well not bother, and everyone should just stay in bed till we all die off of despondent starvation.
zen_tom, Nov 02 2005
  

       "why seek an to find an unobtainable definitive explanation of the universe?"   

       "why get up in the morning?"   

       I'm sorry, but that's a ridiculous comparison.   

       i don't need an explanation of the universe to enjoy it. i get up in the morning to do exactly that.   

       is that too sickly?
daaisy, Nov 02 2005
  

       Nope not sickly at all.   

       Perhaps this is just me, but curiosity would appear to have been, and continues to be my primary motivation in life. I take decisions that will allow me to further satisfy my curiosity.   

       In doing so, it gets me out of bed (to see what's going to happen elsewhere) and it also leads, inevitably to wondering what it's all about.   

       Why do you get out of bed? To further your enjoyment?   

       - and what is this enjoyment anyway? You don't need to know how it works to feel it, but aren't you tempted to want to find out?   

       Isn't the process of finding out what enjoyment is, enjoyable in itself?   

       And mightn't it lead to a more fulfilling appreciation of the state of joyfulness when it comes?
zen_tom, Nov 02 2005
  

       no, they don't boil down to the same thing.   

       "i'm not going to sainsburys to buy a car, because they don't sell cars. it would be pointless."   

       "therefore, i'm never going to bother going to sainsburys."
daaisy, Nov 02 2005
  

       *oh, ok, change your post so mine doesn't make sense now why don't you! :)*   

       guess we just have different mindsets then.
daaisy, Nov 02 2005
  

       [longshot] I don't even think finding an answer is important, just as long as you've looked for one, and recognised that those who've passed away looked for an answer too.   

       [daaisy] sorry, when I said "Why bother?" I didn't mean to imply that it's pointless, just that I'd like to know what the point is. My theory is, that's the point.   

       I love going to Sainsburys. I have no idea why, but every time I go, I'm a step closer to finding out.   

       Why do you get out of bed/go to Sainsburys?
zen_tom, Nov 02 2005
  

       i can't relate to what you're saying.   

       i guess i'll just go back to Hidden Truths and acknowledge that i'm quite happy to accept my ignorance.
daaisy, Nov 02 2005
  

       * don't worry daaisy, I'm not entirely sure I know what I'm talking about either. If we were face to face, I would have blushed and changed the subject long before now - but I thank you for sticking with me this long :)
zen_tom, Nov 02 2005
  

       Once they invent replicators and faster than light space ships, I really dont see the need to get up in the morning.
Antegrity, Nov 03 2005
  
      
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