Atheism, Ethics and Tolerance

8/24/2012 3:18 AM GMT+0200


Atheists contend that the entire Universe, estimated to be 20 billion light years across (the distance light could travel in 20 billion years at the rate of 186,000 miles per second) accidentally derived from a submicroscopic particle of matter. As one writer expresses it: “Astonishingly, scientists now calculate that everything in this vast universe grew out of a region many billions of times smaller than a single proton, one of the atom’s basic particles” This is totally nonsensical. 
Atheism contends that the marvelously ordered Universe, designated as “Cosmos” by the Greeks because of its intricate design, is merely the result of an ancient explosion (the Big Bang). Does a contractor pile lumber, brick, wire, pipe, etc., on a building site, blast it with dynamite, and expect a fine dwelling to result? Is that the way atheists build their houses? To so argue is to reveal a truly senseless heart.
comment on the Washington Post
I am an atheist. Maybe some readers have gathered that fact about me while reading my blog. Every time I meet someone new, and I reveal my (lack of) beliefs, I can expect to hear something like this. Of course, there are fundamental logical flaws in this quote, which better men and women have explained at length. Do me a favour, and look for them yourselves if you want to know about them.
I am sick and tired of explaining to people why their attempts at reconverting me are futile. My soul, in which I don’t believe in the conventional fashion either, is perfectly safe as long as I act according to my nature. My nature, that would be sociable, benevolent, open minded, mostly truthful, inquisitive and curious, passionate and willful. I do subscribe to some ideological ideas lsuch as pacifism, which can be seen as pseudo religion. My ethical convictions are influenced by a culture that is very much christian, only we are very much post-enlightenment now, where logic and reason should triumph over ignorance and prejudice.
But I also know humanity better than that. Humans always follow what has served them best up to the present, which often includes ignorance and prejudice. Surprisingly, academics seem to be prone to this very often, or maybe it is the arrogance of the rich who predominantly populate the colleges and universities that fosters intolerance. Now don’t go and turn my words on me. I don’t believe rich people are inherently arrogant and intolerant. I also don’t believe that all politicians and bankers have lost touch with the troubles of the working class. I do get the impression, however, that many people are holding themselves back on account of their religion. Atheism and religion are not dangerous to each other. Humans, on the other hand, are intolerant by default, and it takes a lot of education to change that.

6 thoughts on “Atheism, Ethics and Tolerance

  1. I can’t help wondering what country you live in; I hope another article will bring an answer to this question.

    Living in France, reading about intolerance towards atheists is not something I’m used to. In fact I think we have the opposite problem here: many people are intolerant towards believers and associate religion with a number of flaws including stubbornness, narrow-mindedness and credulity.

    As an atheist myself, I must confess that I have on occasions had intolerant thoughts and words regarding religious people. I think I understand faith, why people convince themselves or let others convince them of certain things which can’t be proven, and I believe this happens to atheists as well on a regular basis. How many things have I accepted from the mouth of a parent or teacher without checking the validity of that information.

    What I don’t understand is why people need a set of rules, a code of conduct that prevents them from doing things (some accepted as being morally reprehensible, others still in debate), objects, stories, songs, religious buildings, religious leaders and preachers, etc. to believe or justify their faith.

    By the way, atheists don’t usually build their houses using dynamite, but then, I don’t think Christians and co. build theirs by praying, so I guess that makes us even?

    1. I am your neighbour to the east 😉 thanks for the insight on how thing are in France. Everybody has intolerant thoughts, but only those who know it can fight that intolerance effectively. That just sounded so cliché… but the truth doesn’t care about cliché… there, I did it again.

      1. Yes, it’s easy to say you don’t have anything against a certain belief or lifestyle, but the moment you realize you do, you can start wondering why and try to change that or find justification for your intolerance. Because intolerance is OK sometimes. Like I’m intolerant regarding one of my neighbours who’s currently yelling at his crying baby to ‘shut the hell up’. Seriously, man? It’s a baby! (OK, this is not exactly intolerance…Hm…)

      2. Ok, this time my reply didn’t come through. Was about how the word tolerance has been warped in recent history, usually referring to prejudice-based intolerance, not missbehaviour, which shouldn’t be tolerated.

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