The Great Hippo wrote:
Bharrata wrote:The former, I'm under no illusions about that and I generally don't get into long conversations about this with strangers, but this is the internet which is conducive to long form debate.
But I also don't think that something like Spinoza's theology should be disregarded because most people aren't familiar with it. (Panentheism)
Now, if you don't care because you've made your mind up that you're an atheist, that's not a problem to me, but as it stands I haven't made my mind up on the matter and I may never, so I enjoy talking and thinking about it.
It isn't relevant to the topic. The thread asks the question: "Is Atheism a rational stance?" -- The answer is, for most values of atheism, 'probably'. Discussing how various philosophical models of highly academic and specialized theism could also satisfy the requirements for a rational stance doesn't add or subtract anything from this conclusion.
You're right, it doesn't alter the conclusion, I was trying to spark a more interesting debate and in the future I'll create a new thread if I get that urge.
However, I think the term "rational" can be deconstructed a bit more to help shine a light on what qubital was trying to say, and perhaps say more. Pedantry trigger: if we take the stance that atheism is rational than it is obvious that stance is being taken for a reason. That reason can be very different than the reason other atheists term themselves as such, or it can be compound. The type of reason determines whether or not we can classify it as rational and brings with it a result. Typically reason is a technique for solving a problem, if we take a reason as an attempt to solve a problem then we can evaluate whether it is rational, depending on how well it solves that problem. It seems to me that qubital is arguing for technological and scientific progress as the best reason for atheism:
If so-called "atheists" had any sort of merit then their focus would be solely on advocating the scientific method, logic, and ethics.
So then, is the reason for atheism that it promotes productivity and with it human leisure and happiness - more so than spending Sunday in church and donating a tithe? It's possible and I think it could probably be shown that a society that does not speculate about a divinity would be more productive. Turning away from strictly economic measures, on the other end of the spectrum, the humanist could argue that theism reinforces authoritarian power structures and thereby limits individual freedom to fulfill potential as well as stultifies human expression. That could be shown to be another good reason. An atheist could also give the reason that theists persecute them violently based on dogma and they in turn resist changing their identity as a response against coercion. An atheist can make the argument that their disbelief in an afterlife is what propels them to live each day as fully as possible because they know that is all they have and it can be gone in a heartbeat. That is also a good reason. But is wanting to shock your parents, wanting to be superior to believers or, as you've pointed out, the FBI microwaving your brain with AM radio frequencies sufficiently rational? I'd argue that those are not rational stances in that they do not solve a problem, or at the very least do not do so efficiently, or they create a problem which was not there at the start.
I would advise anyone who thinks any sort of faith is irrational to look into the economic approach to the sociology of religion, specifically Rodney Stark's work. The economic approach generally treats religion not as an aberration to be overcome but as a natural want or need of individuals. It's interesting to note that economics and religion have been intertwined since Adam Smith who made observations about the effect government regulations of religion had on the quality of churches. (the more contemporary work shows that pure competition models with the ability for small niche faiths are optimal, and that a lot of the atheism in Europe may be due to the centuries of state-sponsored religion.) Bear in mind that it is possible to have atheist religions and that as one moves up a religion's or society's hierarchy there is a tendency to find more atheists who still find a "spiritual economic benefit" from ritual.
I don't think we come into this world as explicitly theist or atheist or pantheist or whatever, but I do think there is a human need to connect with our surroundings in a deep way. If we never introduced the concept of God to the next generation, could we say with any certainty that they wouldn't begin to create metaphors for the things around them which developed into anthropomorphic conceptions with which they were able to more intimately connect?
I agree that atheism can be rational.
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:I see no good reason to assume that any of those people were correct.
Neither do I, it was an example of an attempt to create a rational argument for the existence of God.