ulnevets wrote:in a sense, the athiest worldview is far more inspiring and productive. ...
I agree, and I'd add that an atheist who does something nice is doing it because they're a nice person. A Christian who does something nice is being entirely selfish, at least, he is for all I know. Not very inspiring.
I use Christian as an example purely because I know more about it than other religions and because a large number of them repeatedly equate Christianity (or religion) with morality. That outlook really annoys me, because I subscribe to the Kryten Philosophy:
I don't see how anyone can claim to be a moral person if they live their lives blindly and unquestioningly obeying a series of command(ment)s to get into heaven, silicon or otherwise. But from the Christian point of view, morality is absolute and defined by God, and so you can't behave morally unless you do exactly what God says.INQUISITOR: But surely your life is replete with good works. There can be few individuals who have lived a more selfless life.
KRYTEN: But I am programmed to live unselfishly. And therefore, any good works I do come not out of fine motives but as a result of a series of binary commands I am compelled to obey.
INQUISITOR: Well then, how can any mechanical justify himself?
KRYTEN: Perhaps only if he attempted to break his programming and conduct his life according to a set of values he arrived at independently.
I think that's a pretty stupid point of view. I mean, even if there is an all-powerful being that created the universe, what gives him that authority? Why should I even expect him to be a better person than I am? At least I didn't create a world full of suffering.
I'm going on a bit of a rant here, so I'll stop now. It just riles me when people make blind and unquestioning faith out to be a virtue. It's not. It's a failing. Grow up.
This is part of why I'm an atheist, though... It's not so much that I don't think there's a god as it is that I don't think the question of Is There A God is even reasonable. As Neil Gaiman asks in one of his books, "what is a god?" Is it a creator, a judge, or a powerful being? Is it two or all of those things? Does it have to be nice to qualify?
I have no answer to those questions, and I think it's the wrong way to go about things. Don't define words and then try to see if such objects exist. Look and see what things do exist and then name them. If I see a powerful being or a creator, I'll name it then, or ask it what it's name is. But I think all religions come from humans' need for a meaning, and maybe for a god. I'm pretty convinced they don't come from enlightened observation and deduction, so I don't believe them.