Friday, June 11, 2010

Atheism, Qualified

I agree with this statement except where I don't. It says I am not an atheist because

... it's cool. -- Agreed. Cool is a matter of opinion, opinions vary, and it's at best unimportant.

... of religious extremism or oppression in some depraved corners of the world. -- Not so much. The excesses of religious fanaticism, past and present, near and far, has had no small role in shaping my views of whether god exists. I realize these do not bear directly on the strict validity of belief / non-belief in god -- in principle, it could be that god exists and demands extremism and oppression -- but my self-classification as an atheist ranges beyond the strict question of belief / non-belief and concerns the observable effects of really-existing religious beliefs and practices.

... I don't think evil can exist in a world with a god. This is a little too mind-bendy so to put it more plainly: opinions and definitions vary, but it's safe to say evil exists. Some hypothetical gods are perfectly compatible with the evil we observe; other hypothetical gods are not. The versions of the Christian god in which he is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent are not compatible with the suffering and evil we observe, so the problem of evil does count strongly against some prevalent and non-trivial forms of theism.

... I think science can disprove god. Science has disproved god quite adequately -- if you want to get pedantic about it, it has disproved the existence of god in the same way and degree as it has disproved the existence of leprechauns, unicorns, and orbiting teapots.

Finally, the statement's takeaway:

... the burden of proof lies on religion. Well, yes, and it needs to add: that burden has not been met. Many so-called testimonies and proofs have been offered over time, and none of them succeed.

(via Pharyngula)

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