Subject: Re: atheists and mythology [ Wow, I'm flaming my own post. Not that I disagree w
From: email@example.com (Carl Johnson)
Subject: Re: atheists and mythology
[ Wow, I'm flaming my own post. Not that I disagree with it, but I didn't
keep within the spirit of the argument in the last half of it. I started
responding as an atheist and not as someone trying to show that those who
believed in myths had just as valid reasons as those who believe in their
religions today. There *is* a distinction to be made, so here's the rest
of that article as I should have written it. (The reason I started
faltering was that the computer room here was closing and I had to finish
it up. I ended up writing the first thoughts that came to me without
considering the spirit of the argument, as I have tried to do.) ]
Here's where I started getting away from the argument (my first comments
are preceded by a '#').
Charley Wingate writes:
>Carl Johnson writes:
>>And, of course, if Atheism is the True Religion? You admit that it meets
>>your criteria (longevity). Are all you guys the upstarts then?
>Maybe it is Truth. Of course, you object to my characterization of atheism
>as religion, but can you explain to me why you think it is not subject to
>the same criticism that you are trying to use against theistic religions?
#Yep. It didn't invent a god.
Also, why wouldn't Atheism hold as the longest lasting religion and, by your
reasoning, be more valid than yours?
>>Boy, I agree with the arguement, and I haven't avoided "confronting the
>>truth claims" of many religions. Besides, investigating every religion
>>would take forever. Have you confronted the truth claims of the Norse,
>>Greek, Amerind, Babylonian, Celtic, Buddhist, Moslem, etc., etc., etc.,
>>(LONG list of 'etc.'s) religions? You yourself admit that they may be
>>True and deserve faith. You have shown no difference in your belief and
>No. I am certain that polytheism is wrong. It has severe philosophical
>problems, I find no evidence of it (and hardly anyone else does, either),
>and historically, polytheisms have fallen to monotheism. The choice is
>clearly between monotheism, pantheism, or atheism.
#"Your certainty has no truth value."
#Your religion shares similar philosophical problems and lack of evidence.
#Surely you can't condemn polytheism for reasons you could condemn your own
#religion. (And before you ask me, you better tell me what philosophical
#problems you see polytheisms as having.)
Yep. I was really silly there. But not wrong.
I should have responded something like:
First, you didn't answer the question of your searching of all other
religions. Second, not all the religions I listed were polytheistic, so you
can't just claim them to wrong. Third, you still haven't shown why you
believe any different than the mythbeliever. I'm certain that they would
have said there is no evidence for any other religion, but theirs, and that
all others have philosophical problems.
The point of polytheisms falling to monotheisms is interesting, since this
was generally accomplished by force (which you had mentioned earlier as
why some religions die out, regardless of their truth).
You include pantheism as one of the choices. I suspect that this is to quell
further objections from pantheists on the net. Or do you a) actually have
evidence that they are true (all of them?), b) have no philosophical
problems, and c) they have never fallen to monotheism?
Finally, in the style of argument Charley loves to see:
I'm certain that monotheism is wrong. It has severe philosophical problems,
I find no evidence for it (and hardly anyone else does either), and
historically, monotheisms have destroyed many other civilizations for purely
religious reasons. The choice is clearly atheism.
See? (I'll explain it this time.) Your certainty is no more valid than
mine. (Though my reasons are, at least, accurate.)
>And I am afraid I am going to hold the deadness of a religion against it.
>The Truth is not going to die out.
#But you said it didn't matter how long it lasted whether it be true or not.
#Please try to be consistent.
And, the mythbeliever thought the same thing. Their Truth wasn't dead
>It seems to me, Carl, that your "method" for avoiding the work of examining
>other religions is simply to assert dogmatically that it is true, since all
>of your arguments here have been apologia. That's hardly a solution; by
>your own arguments you need to confront all these religions one by one.
#Gee, you still haven't said that you aren't guilty of the same thing.
Also, you didn't read my post obviously. I said I haven't avoided
"confronting the truth claims" of many religions, probably even yours (or
something *very* similar). And they've all fallen for reasons of lack of
evidence, "unnecessariness", and just plain silliness.
>>Isn't that what makes them surviving religions? And I would say that your
>>objection to the argument is what smacks of chronological snobbery (?),
>>not the argument itself. "Religions have lasted longer, so aren't myths."
>The problem here is that one would expect the Truth, if any religion have
>it, to survive. And you keep presenting this history of religion which is
>quite false. For example, you say
What I meant by 'Ha' was: You keep using your assumption as fact, keep
failing to include Atheism in your reasoning, and contradicting yourself.
>>You have said nothing that the myth-believers wouldn't have said
>YOU DON'T HAVE EVIDENCE FOR THIS, SO DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME ANYMORE
>DEMANDING EVIDENCE FROM ME!
#I've given evidence. You just don't see it as such.
Better: Remember the original post? Remember the reason for asking all this
in the first place? You (believers in monotheisms) were asks to say why
your belief is different (more valid) from the belief of a myth. *You* have
to give evidence why yours is more valid, not I. And, being the swell guy I
am, I even gave you my evidence.
And I'm not sure how my saying 'You have said nothing that the mythbelievers
wouldn't have said themselves' is an example of my presenting a false
history of religion. Non sequitor, or am I just unenlightened?
>The evidence we DO have is *wildly* different. The fact is that the
>polytheistic religions of Europe collapsed *exceedingly* easily in the face
>of christianity, simply because people decided that it offered a fuller
>view of the world. Peoples around the world have come to the conclusion
>that polytheism is not as good a description of supernature as monotheism
>or pantheism is. If you include the Jains, we seem to have "at most Two
>Gods" as a statement on which all religions agree.
#Tell me, what is your *wildly* different evidence? And you seem to think
#Christianity is the only cause of the decay of polytheistic religions in
#Europe. Wrong. I also claim that people around the world, and even in its
#past, have claimed that monotheism is not a good desciption of
#"supernature." So why should you be any more right then they?
Also, as I pointed out earlier, it wasn't 'simply because people decided that
it offered a fuller view of the world' that polytheisms died out. Can you
say Crusades? Holy Wars? Inquisitions? Might makes right? Let's not
try to beautify the bloody past by saying those people "chose" to convert.
It was either that or die. Many chose death, though, so I guess it was by
choice after all. You're so wise!
>Also, your assertion here has the flaw that revivals of dead religions are
>exceedingly rare. (Most so-called revivals are really new "inventions"
>that largely borrow names and symbolism.) People seem to accept the
>principle that the Truth must survive. The principle seems to be that
>religions which live *may* be right; religions which are dead are *surely*
#Your principle was it didn't matter how long it lasted. Remember? Your
Ha. (With the same meaning as before.)
- Carl Johnson
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank