Overwhelmingly, most self proclaimed atheists I know are really new agers (“religion is B.S. but the tarot works!”). They are just anti-Christian. They easily tolerate every faith except Christianity. My new pet peeve that only deepens my pessimism is this bogus litmus test of ‘evolution.’ Somehow if you believe in evolution, you are a reasonable, rational person. I have RARELY ever met ANYBODY who even understands evolution and if they do they will shockingly also believe in contradictory things like acupuncture, angels, esp, astrology, the ‘blank slate’ and other mystical concepts of human nature. We are really up against mysticism- all unfounded, fantastical beliefs based on zero evidence. We must take religion off the pedestal and put it in the same cess pool with witchcraft and voodoo and strip it of any shred of respect.
* NOTE: Artistic expression is the only human facet where I think anything goes. Imagination can be totally nonsensical and still communicate something about reality and at the very least, entertain. (Also, note lack of quote by a noted mystic here.)
This is interesting. I guess it depends on who you hang out with. Most of the atheists I know are not new agers. This has been in regular atheist groups that are bold enough to use the word atheist in their group names. I’ve lived in Salt Lake, Portland, and Austin. At “atheist” groups in these towns there weren’t many new agers that I met. But there is one big caveat I’ll note shortly.
It’s taken several years but I feel I have a pretty good understanding of evolution, cosmology, & natural selection.
The vagaries of the blank slate stuff do sneak in more because of it’s presence in the Ivory Tower so much. It’s not so much an atheist thing. It’s just that anyone who goes to college has been infected with the blank slate crap.
Sagan’s Demon Haunted World book was good.
The caveat: Now, one thing I will say is that if you frequent Unitarian churches, there are people there who are new agers, and believers in all manner of crap. There’s also liberal Christians & atheists/humanists who go to Unitarian meetings. But the rather big difference between being a new ager, a pagan, and a conservative Christian is what happens in people’s private lives. How they grow up. How they feel about life, being human, and about who they are. Conservative Christianity tends to be abusive on these fronts. The various flavors tend to abuse in both different and similar ways. But later experience has taught there can also be an abusive element that can come from the liberal side of Christianity - at the end of my post I note how this can occur.
Mysticism is a huge waste of time. But when adding up the costs, there’s forms of religion which are more damaging than others. There’s the mostly harmless forms. And gradations all the way along. Here’s a general flow as far as I can see, from most abusive to least:
Evangelical Protestant Christianity
The Conservative & middle flavors of Judaism that continues to genitally mutilate their children
Secular Jews who don’t circumcise.
Basically the arguments that state that we’re intolerant fundies - and arguments that start with anger while accusing us of it - such arguments are based out of fear and ignorance.
How many days have any of these people spent in the religions some of us grew up in?
Have you been an Islamic woman in Somalia, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali?
Have you been a woman in fundamentalist Mormonism?
Have you been a Mormon? A Scientologist? And so on.
I am intolerant of intolerance. I’m intolerant of people who would kill other people for drawing cartoons. I’m intolerant of idiots who have no concept of what life is really like in real hard core conservative religions, and I’m intolerant of the abusers in such religions.
My primary interest is the survival of humanity, and of as much of the beautiful garden that is this planet that can be kept alive. Long term survival. Not being nihilistic. Being concerned about legacy. Not being a bum. And so on.
I will say that there is value in coming up with a plan and not being completely chaotic, relative to living and child raising. And I say that as a thoughtful atheist and an observer of the lives of many people including my own.
Have fun, but do it in a smart way.
Be concerned about survival (short, long, and very long term).
Help the Age of Enlightenment continue - a key component of long term survival.
Don’t be a bum. Don’t watch too much TV, and don’t let the TV be your kid’s baby sitter. Don’t do too much texting on your phone, watch too much porn, or drink too much alcohol. Don’t let your kids be fat bastards who stay at home for too long. If kids come first then that means you may have to “sacrifice” by not hijacking their lives so that you can have them around on a co-dependent basis.
If we could have a system that teaches the good things without the human spirit destroying shaming that would be good.
Basically we should be accurate.
No, Johnny, not everything that pops into your head as something good to do will actually help you be happy. Teaching this key principle is hard these days I know. So maybe we can start up an atheist branch of the Quakers, or the “family values atheist” group that maintains that having children is actually a good, valuable, and essential thing. Maybe I’ll work on that. Just drop the mysticism and shaming, and maybe hold onto the good from the rest.
Am I an intolerant fundie atheist if I think that liberals who believe they themselves should not have kids are actually victims of an abusive meme set from the 60s and 70s that taught kids about the evils of population control? That such people have essentially been rendered a zero in the long term because of fearful crap they were taught as kids and young adults?
I also think there’s negative costs to people’s lives when they are taught “whatever you feel is best for you is best, and no one should question it.” This really is an abusive concept that comes directly from the blank slate ideology and liberalism (speaking as a socialist and liberal myself). Not everything that pops into a person’s head will help them survive and thrive. People have bone headed stupid ideas all the time, and their lives go down the hill because no one has the guts to tell them “you are a dumb S and that idea is going to screw up your life.” I have seen people’s lives messed up for the worst because people, including me, didn’t tell these other people about the stupidity of the other person’s bone headed ideas (one after another after another), and how their lives were screwed up as a result.
So labels are more complex apparently.