Monday, January 30, 2012

Atheism in the Mainstream

Hi again, I've been really busy with school lately and have not been able to write much new information on here. This is yet another copout of work for me, but nonetheless it's very interesting and inspiring. The video is long (~30 mins for part 1), but to me it is always pleasant to hear the viewpoints of the more artistically inclined. More philosophy will follow in the coming week (or two), I promise!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Outreach to my readers

Hello folks! I made this to see what the readers want/to give me ideas for future posts. Have a favorite philosopher? Heard a name but aren't sure who or what they did? Let me know in the comments! Anything pertaining to secular philosophy is welcomed. Thank you guys!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This video makes sure you don't accidentally show something impure to your children, circa 1980. Wish this was satirical...

Friday, January 13, 2012

George Holyoake

Dear bloggers... I must apologize to you right now. I started my blog about secular belief without even mentioning the man who started it. So sorry. I am crying... moving on, without further ado: George Holyoake
Holyoake was born in 1817 in England, and became someone worth mentioning around 1842, when he was sent to jail. Okay, let me backtrack... Holyoake began contributing to a journal named the "Oracle of Reason" which was extremely critical (by the standards of his time) of the English Church. This did not bode well with the Anglical church (which was taken much more seriously than it is today) and he was charged with "condemning Christianity".
...6 months later...
Holyoake gets out of prison, and is understandably not pleased with what had happened. Apparently he did not consult his lawyer, because he was soon writing his own journal named "The Movement" about political and social issues. This journal eventually became "The Reasoner" and was the medium by which he gained his fame and also the reason why you are reading about him right now. Early in the 1850's he began further criticizing the church and claiming that it should be replaced by something more reasonable (like science and reason). What is this movement away from religion called? Secularism. That's right, without this great man, there would be no blog. Or perhaps this blog would exist, but it would probably be called something like "A Beginner's Guide to Ethics That Deal With Reason and Science as Opposed to Religious Belief". Somehow, it just doesn't roll off of the tongue as well.

This is the main reason why you need to know about him. The last noteworthy accomplishment Holyoake made was a book called "A History of Co-operation In England" which dealt with making business more democratic and less authoritative. That lies well beyond the reach of this blog and the tired fingers of this blogger.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You can't talk about modern secular belief without...

... Christopher Hitchens!
This is a short post, fitting because he recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. Here's a compilation of this brave and offensive man, he's in a better place now he's dead.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Essential Reading for Atheists: Dawkins

In today's society, there is no denying the strong influence of religion in almost all of our daily interactions. Do not get me wrong, this is not a post to bash those who believe in X or Y, but rather further reading for the oft-ignored minority of atheists. If you are someone who is very active in the atheist community, you may as well skip this reading since you already know about Richard Dawkins. If you do not know him, or merely want to know more, please continue!

The handsome man gazing into the distance seen above is none other than Richard Dawkins himself. He has authored many books on various subjects that all fall into the spectra of science-over-traditional beliefs. Unfortunately, summarizing all of his written works would be impractical because:
a) The subjects vary a great deal
b) I've only fully read one of his books...

The good news is as follows: the one book that I did read by Dawkins has shaped the way I look at my own absence of religion. The book in question is The God Delusion and one can extrapolate what the subject matter of the book is.
Dawkins takes the stance that few atheists, including myself, are reluctant to take. He claims that the "respectful" stance that we take towards other religions is actually detrimental to the progression of society. Atheists, Dawkins goes on to say, should not stand by and allow the world to continue on a strongly-religious course. Instead, atheists should stand up for their beliefs and not take indecision as an answer. This book is a MUST READ if you are an atheist, or are a theologian open to an interesting viewpoint. 

I have an internal debate when I think about Dawkin's advice to be vocal about my beliefs. Granted, I do think the world would be a better and more rational place if we lived in a secular society. I also think that a lot of the social stigmas we have in this day and age (drug use, homosexuality) are only issues because of their inherent religious conflicts. However, the one thing I hate in life is when other people impress their beliefs onto me rudely. Sure, you can tell me you are Catholic, Wiccan, Muslim, whatever, I have no problem with that. But if you tell me I'm going to Hell because I don't believe in your God, I f*cking hate you!!!!!!! This goes the other way too; we all know that annoying atheist that picks arguments with every religious person in their vicinity. There is no proof of God, they claim, therefore religious beliefs are irrational. There is no proof of an absence of God either, so arguing rationality when there is NO evidence in either direction is absurd. A society based on religion does not function fairly, but denying the right to believe in something that is inherently a guess is also wrong. Ultimately, this is what you need to get out of this post:

Read the book, make your own decision and act according to what you believe is right

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nietzsche: Questions everyone moustache themselves

Secular, as you probably already know from reading the other posts, means without God. Nothing reminds me of Nietzsche than the words "without God". Frederick Nietzsche was born in the year 1844 in a small German town. His father was a Lutheran priest and he himself studied theology in university. By the end of his life, Nietzsche found himself a full 180 degrees from his Christian roots.

Nietzsche was extremely opposed to the mainstream forms of morality in his time, especially Christian morality and Kantism. The opus of Nietzsche's work in philosophy is known as the master-slave morality. His theory was that society was separated into two different classes of people, Master and Slave, and with them their own schools of morality. The people in the class of master are people in the position of power, above the rest of society. That means the slave in this dynamic is the rest of society; subject to a different set of moral rules. The slave morality is what we all have learned about morality; sympathy and empathy are good, being superior and independent is bad. The master morality, conversely, does not have a definitive right or wrong, but rather the values are made by the independent master for his/herself.

With the master-slave dynamic in mind, Nietzsche argued that true moral actions cannot exist while both schools of morality coexist. In other words, the true path is nihilism. Nihilism is a dirty word to most philosophers because it simply deciding that life has no meaning, right, wrong, good, bad etc. Nihilism and philosophy are essentially matter and anti-matter in the sense that when they combine, there's just catastrophic explosions and no progress is made.