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

12 comments:

  1. I'm reading How to wind friends by Mr Carnegie at the moment but i will hit that up right after :)

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  2. Thanks for the words. Richard Dawkins is definitely a favorite author/scientist of mine. I agree with his scientific rationale, but I care as much about his militant atheism as the militant theism found in other religions; that is to say, I feel the divisive attitude that each side instigates towards each other is the true detriment. Reason and compassion are the two best ideals to follow.

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  3. Really nice blog do you own!

    Following!

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  4. I must say that I have to disagree with your position on being respectful to other religions. You are right in saying that there is no proof that God does not exist, but that does not mean that it is irrational to argue against religion. The position of Richard Dawkins and others like him is based on applying a scientific model to debate about the so-called 'supernatural' and is simply that in order to state categorically that something does exist, one has to offer proof of this. On the other hand, it is impossible to prove that something does not exist. For example, it is impossible for me to prove that the Tooth Fairy does not exist, but that does not mean that when someone argues that there is a Tooth Fairy, I should accept that as a valid point of view because I cannot prove otherwise. The onus of proof lies on those who would posit the existence of an entity.

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  5. I would also argue that homosexuality should not be considered a 'stigma'. Sexual activity between men was a normal part of life in Classical Greece. It is only the introduction of Christian morality, with its prejudices against homosexuality, that has turned it into something undesirable in our culture.

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  6. I need to purchase this book. It's right up my alley.

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  7. Dawkins actually reminds me of Hawkins, which in turn reminds me of Steven Hawking, and incredible Physicist.

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  8. Great post, I did not read the book, however I do think that we should learn to live with each other, instead of trying to take down religion. If we do this, we are no better then the religious fanatics.

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