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November 05, 2010

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"Humility. We agnostics and atheists don't consider ourselves to be the center of the cosmos, as believers do."

-- http://quotes.iskcondesiretree.info/

"Courage. We agnostics and believers face life head on. We don't sidestep problems by pretending they're something other than what they are: challenges."

-- http://quotes.iskcondesiretree.info/

"Faith. We agnostics and atheists don't worry about whether the cosmos is going to treat us fairly. We don't feel a need to petition or pray to whatever/whoever is running the show of this universe. We accept that what the laws of nature bring about (which naturally includes our own efforts) is what is supposed to happen."

-- http://quotes.iskcondesiretree.info/

"Compassion. We agnostics and atheists don't see ourselves as separate from our fellow human beings. Since we don't consider that anyone is headed to a special heaven after death, we're committed to making this world the most livable place possible, for as many people as possible."

-- http://quotes.iskcondesiretree.info/

"No matter what moral quality religious believers espouse as their special province"

-- http://quotes.iskcondesiretree.info/

"I might have undercut my humility credentials by being so outspoken about why churchless people like me are so cool. Well, if you've got it, there's no reason not to flaunt it."

-- http://quotes.iskcondesiretree.info/

"there's no desirable human quality that agnostics and atheists don't manifest more fully than true believers"

-- http://quotes.iskcondesiretree.info/


re: "there's no desirable human quality that agnostics and atheists don't manifest more fully than true believers" ...First of all, "desirable human quality": according to who's standard? wouldn't it vary with each culture and belief system? Isn't this the kind of absolute statement religious people make? Wouldn't a truly agnostic/atheist more likely have said: I believe anyone (religious or not), given an opportunity to do so, can potentially demonstrate awesome(in the true sense of the word) human qualities.

Paule, I sort of agree with your last statement, but not with your contention that "desirable human quality" varies with culture and belief systems.

Sam Harris talks about this in his new book, "The Moral Landscape." He argues, correctly in my view, that what improves human wellbeing is desirable, and what doesn't isn't. It's difficult, but we can find out which is which -- desirable and not desirable -- through scientific investigation and self-observation.

For example, some cultures might keep slaves and subjugate women. Cultural relativism would say, that's up to them. A broader view would say, let's examine if slavery and sexism really is good both for the individuals involved, and for the society as a whole.

Likewise, I argued that religiosity adds some extras to "desirable human qualities" that make them less desirable. Religions are self-centered and exclusive. They almost always have individual salvation, enlightenment, or whatever as a focus, not general wellbeing.

Yes, religious people can be marvelous human beings. It seems, though, that they would be even more marvelous if they could leave aside the negative religiosity that dilutes their positive qualities.

For example, I've run into a lot of religious people who are positively, astoundingly proud of their humility. They act humble, because their religion expects this of them. But it's easy to see that their humility isn't natural and genuine. It's more like a role they've put on in order to look like a good Christian, Buddhist, or whatever.

The stance "I am an atheist or agnostic" as opposed to "I am a believer" simply reinforces the "I am an entity, separate from other entities, have volition and ability to act independently in the world and cause things to happen" is the very illusion you are interested in apperceiving is it not?

People forget that our time in the day is divided into segments of a time.
Time is indifferent to our individual needs.

Isn't this entire article a clinging onto something much like a religous person clings onto their religous belief? Or so this blog paints a religous person.

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