Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Group 3: The Coming of Disbelief

Smart's essay, that I imagine was written on a cocktail napkin, describes how the scientific method and the solace found in evidence slowly replaced the warm fuzzy feelings that religious belief once provided. I think this road to disbelief is well travelled by atheists in our society. Many people simply don't want to rock the boat when it comes to family relationships, friends in their religious communities, and generally want to avoid an argument that would be better received by a brick wall then those people that they would be debating. How many atheists fill seats in mega churches and perhaps the pulpits? I would guess that's it's higher than we think. We aren't THAT much smarter than most believers....I doubt that the majority of college educated believers REALLY believe in a god of miracles. It's just easier not to think about it and go along with everyone else.....if only they knew that they weren't the only one in that pew with the same heretical thoughts. Perhaps a "church" for atheists could be a useful transition for skeptical believers. Like rehab for unreason. Spend 28 days with people struggling to kick their god habit.

Fact Q: Clifford's "Ethics of Belief" and the wrongness of believing without evidence is now being popularized by what evolutionary biologist?
A: Richard Dawkins


  1. Atheist church as halfway-house: that's not a bad way to think about it. Many nonbelievers long habituated to religious ritual probably do need to be eased into secular society, and given something to do with themselves on Sunday mornings.

    A Sunday morning diversion I sometimes enjoy: watch CBS Sunday morning (with its little "moment of nature"), then walk the dogs over to Brook Hollow Baptist Church and circle the worshippers a couple of times (they've thoughtfully provided a walking trail on their grounds for neighborhood use).

  2. I have made a similar argument for transitioning away from faith. It's unreasonable to think that humanity can collectively put down religion and walk away, cold turkey. Too many people are simply not ready. So I sometimes take a more pragmatic approach that recognizes the comparatively benign nature of "disarmed" religions. By transitioning people to less harmful versions of their own faith, we end up having much of our work already done for us. Then it's a short step from there to more secular worldviews.

    An obvious example is Jamie. If I could snap my fingers and make every "believer" like him, much of the impetus for this class (and New Atheism, for that matter) would simply disappear. Unfortunately, the only route we have towards that happier future is considerably slower.