Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Review Show - Is Atheism the new Religion?


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April 9, 2010 on BBC Two
On this week's show we look at the explosion of literature challenging the traditional views and experiences of faith. We'll look at the backlash against the 'new atheists' provoked by Phillip Pullman's controversial new novel, the Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. We'll also look at another leading novelist's take on religion, Rebecca Goldstein's, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. We'll continue the religious debate with a review of Infidel, David Baddiel's new film comedy about mistaken Muslim/Jewish identity. We'll also feature Brian Eno's cultural highlights and get a new cool taste of jazz from the Polar Bears.
(via TreVelocita)

40 comments:

  1. I hate this assertion!  The ONLY reason for the need to define a rejection of supernatural concepts is the fervor with which fairy tale believers announce their superior access to the unknown.

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  2. I'm an atheist, so I'm not offended by the idea of this book, but Pullman is a terrible writer and very much overrated.

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  3. the title of the debate isn't in almost any way connected with they are actuallly talking about... This woman's interviews are really bad, the questions are completly out of nowehere. Seriously, it sucks. I want my 40 minutes back!
    Btw poor Christopher Hitchens, for having a brother like this.

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  4. Is atheism the new religion?
    Short answer: No.
    Long answer, No, you sensationalistic dishonest bitch. Atheism is a lack of a belief, not a positive assertion of knowing things that are not based on evidence , aka, not stating as fact things that are not grounded in reality. Now hand over your journalist credentials, and go suck cock for the remainder of your new career.

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  5. R€LIGION $TINKS OF MONE¥April 10, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    How can you invite only one atheist (and a castrated one at that) on your show when you are actually discussing atheism? :(  The questions were lazy and based on the assumption of religious offence.  Why are the BBC so obsessed with this? I found Peter Hitchens anti-secular rant particularly annoying, especially the child abuse part.

    My goodness though he really is a very poor reproduction of his brother;  stuffy, out of touch, conventional, conservative, humourless and boring. Perhaps a good long and hard pegging session with Anne Widdecombe would cure him from his self-imposed misery.
    I can only imagine that family reunions must be rare and kept to a minimum. 

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  6. Such stupid questions cause people into thinking that it's a reasonable one to discuss. It's like asking if non-stamp collecting is the new hobby.

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  7. Perfect @psybermonkey!  Good time to bring out the non-stamp collector hobby analogy.

    The only reason the atheist label even exists is become some moron decided to take the leap of 'faith' that there is something more than the natural world...

    What I hate about the atheist label is that it's a label to describe something you don't 'do', but why don't we have labels for people that don't collect stamps or don't listen to classical music?

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  8. "Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour" - Don Hirschberg

    "Calling Atheism a religion is like calling health a disease" - Clark Adams

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  9. "Calling Atheism a religion is like... being really stupid!" - Me

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  10. Excellent satire! ...Wait, what?

    Oh dear me.

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  11. Yes atheism is becoming a statist religion.  Too bad most atheists (I'm one) can't be honest enough with themselves to admit it.

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  12. I have no trouble admitting that there are some real stupid people among atheists too!

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  13. Any actual evidence for that?

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  14. No, I don't subcribe to any religion. The one I used to have I cancelled before I turned 11 and I don't seek anything to replace it with.

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  15. The problem is that "religion" is a specific term.  With each one comes a specific set of beliefs about the world, rituals and customs that adherents are expected to follow.

    Atheism is simply the generic term for one who is without belief in gods.  Whatever other views an atheist holds are entirely "extra-curricular" and likely to vary considerably from person to person.

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  16. How about Guest posters who ask for evidence regarding positions that are not scientific in nature and that comment is then liked by other 'guests' to back the group thought of "Secular Ideologies are different from religions because I really really WANT them to be!" ?  Is that good enough?

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  17. So would views like Marxism or Objectivism then qualtify as atheistic religions in the same manner that Islam would qualify as a theistic one?

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  18. No. And religion is not synonymous with ideology.

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  19. <span>Andrew, you made a claim which you still haven't backed up by anything other than your own opinions.</span>

    Guest posters..wow TWO. Maybe guest number one should start a new religion because that is quite a following. Watch out Vatican!

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  20. This is guest number one. Please send £42 (postal charges included worldwide) to the following adress to support our cause:

    Invisible street 0
    PO non-box 3.14...
    Atheismland

    Mark the envelope "Atheism über alles"

    As soon as the money is received the contributer shall receive the atheistic statist bible, plus tons of gifts and giveaways.
    Be sure to spread the visdom and don't be shy to contribute further for our cause. Amen.

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  21. I'm guest number two, and *LOL* Andrew Clunn liked my comment where I - I thought - very clearly indicated that HE is among the atheists that I consider not that overly smart! Either that was some weird sort of sarcasm, or... he really ISN'T overly smart :)

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  22. Amazingly, I get to say I don't believe you because I'm willing to actually name myself when I discuss this sort of thing, so I now get to deman that you provide evidence to prove that you are the guest you claim to be, or is that being an ass and demanding proof and evidence for a position rather than have a reasonable discussion?  If so it probablyt sayd a lot more about my comming with a forgone conclusion than actually wanting an honest discussion.

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  23. Watch this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

    Since when did belief in evolution and science mean that you also need to support nationalized health care?  I will gladly give more examples of Dawkins (as he does it most frequently) using atheism as a bait and switch for socialism.

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  24. Why is that?  Ideology based on assumed premises... I'm failing to see the difference, becsides the lack of God.

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  25. Amazingly, I am not that surprised that you don't believe me, because then you'd have to admit that you kind of misunderstood that comment completely. Which is okay, that happens. Can't say I haven't done the same thing a few times and looked really silly too. But yeah, it WAS me who made both comments, sorry. I guess it WAS in fact also really snarky of me, the whole thing, so I guess that it's kind of proven that I was an ass, as you put it, whether or not I reveal my real life identity, which I am not going to do.

    A reasonable discussion would maybe include such observations from me that, yes, ideologies and religion is not quite the same thing, though both can sure be detrimental to human kind, no doubt about it. But atheism IS nothing else than lack of a belief in gods, no matter how much YOU seem to want it to be something else. A marxist can be an atheist, yeah, but marxism is not an atheist ideology. If you really want a reasonable discussion then go read the others again up here where some good comments regarding this already was made, and stop assuming that we are wrong just because you seem to be convinced that we are all in this atheist religion and are deluding ourselves. And I will repeat my very simple one word answer from above (because that was me too) when you asked if that was enough as backing up your claim. No... it wasn't. You claimed it as true that many atheists deny that "secular ideologies are really atheist religion" just because we just don't want it to be like that. Now that is actually a claim that does need some backing up. That is what you could start that reasonable discussion you so want with, backing up your claims.

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  26. Ehhhh, Dawkins uses atheism as a baith and switch for socialism? Are we a wee bit paranoid here?

    - The same damn snarky guest commenter.

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  27. Uhhhh... this was a speech by Lawrence Krauss!

    Look! Atheism means lack of belief in god/gods! That is the only thing all atheists have in common. When it comes to all other opinions, political, ideological, and so on, it differs from individual to individual. You can see atheists argue and disagree about these things everywhere. What you seem to say here is that if an atheist has political views that you don't agree with then them expressing these views at any time it damn well pleases them to do so, they are wrongfully taking advantage of atheism when they do it - what  political views DOES atheism support then, according to you, since you claim it's possible to hijack it away from this and use it for evil purposes instead? I suppose that apart from not believing in a god, you too have a lot of opinions about a whole range of things in life? Aren't you also using atheism to spread your opinions then? It's pretty clear that you are not a socialist, you have also claimed you are an atheist. Does that mean that your political opinions are directly and inseparably connected with your atheism? Is atheism in itself supporting YOUR opinions, you mean?

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  28. Yes, it's a speech by Krauss...sigh.
    And you don't have to agree with either of them. They're not popes.

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  29. And yes Dawkins has said that he doesn't want an all too Darwinistic dog-eat-dog world which can be very very cruel. And here I would personally agree, because not only can we help those who are in need of help but we also need to invest in people early on so that their lives are not permanently down in the gutter. And as capitalistic as societies are, with always some percentages unemployed it is in my view better to asssist people during that time instead of having them committing crimes and ending up in much more costly jails...

    Penn Jillette is a libertarian. Feel free to agree with him instead, he spoke on his youtube channel about Ayn Rand and one of her books..

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  30. I was with you all the way until your scenario with Anne Widdecombe - now I think you owe me for counselling!

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  31. I am aware of who gave the presentation.  I'm not an idiot (I'm only continuing to respond here because 1984 at least seems to want to honestly discuss this unlike the other commenters.)  One of the big differences between Penn Jillette (who I don't agree with on everything by the way) and Dawkins and others like Harris, are that he is up front about what is science and what is opinion based on his own person logic.  It is the attempt by many economically left leaning prominant atheists to conflate science with political ideology that is scary.

    It is also disturbing to me that many atheists take atheism to mean defacto open-mindedness.  One of the most disturbing things about Ayn Rand is that she insisted that her views were logically true and to question them was a sign of mental weakness or flawed reasoning.  The insistence of certainty in an ideological view is scarey enough on its own.  Doing it without presenting anything even close to a difinitive proof is even worse.

    Ayn Rand, Richard Dawkins, and plenty of other high profile atheists have some good ideas then they get a munch of "yes men" followers and they start to believe they're not so fallible any more.  The fact that so many of us non-believers either don't see or don't want to see that we're getting dangerously close to forming atheistic cults (see religions) built around a few charismatic figures, is the most worrisome of all to me.

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  32. Huh?  If someone believes they have access to the supernatural, you MUST assert and define a counter argument?

    No, sorry, Atheism is just as annoying and just as brainwashing as any religion.

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  33. Unless I missed the scientific evidence somewhere, the antithesis of belief is still a belief... so atheism is simply a belief that God doesn't exist.  Seems pretty analogous to a religion if you ask me.  Sure there's no atheist pope, but there is also no end to the atheistic propaganda and tithing to all that is green.

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  34. As for stupid atheists, on a utube exchange a while back, a sweet old Sunday-school teacher-type Gramma expressed her very sincere concern for all those on the string who she figured would be damned for all eternity.
    The old girl was then savagely pummelled with the most repulsive, disgusting, vicious foul-mouthed adolescent diatribes you can imagine by at least a half-dozen of these intellectuals.
    I'm a life-long non-believer, but gimme 10 brainless grammas next door for any one of these empty-headed, uncompassionate fellow atheists any day.
    .

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  35. Ridiculous claim. Come back and tell that to us once some of us set fire on embassies because we didn't like what somebody said.

    And let us know when we torment kids with the possibility of eternal tornment in the fires of hell.

    Or when we tell gays that they cannot marry because God disapproves or that women should be silenced because they are all colletively guily for the theft on an apple...

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  36. Welcome to the internet, this is what being anonymous brings... but I have to agree with that criticism, name calling and things like that.. might be fully counterproductive and it certainly often lowers the standards of discussions.

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  37. http://www.jstor.org/pss/1956834

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