Aiding the Atheist Blogroll

Like any good atheist, I’ve been trying to keep myself in the loop by monitoring the Atheosphere. Unfortunately, due to the sheer quantity of such content (At the moment, the Atheist Blogroll is at more than 700 individual active blogs) it has always been a bit overwhelming.

I’ve tried using Planet Atheism, but I quickly realised that it is tracking only a limited amount of blogs (certainly not as many as the blogroll).

I then registered to the all the Atheist blogs through the OPML for a while but that was just overwhelming, not to mention time consuming (to update the folder each time a new blog was added). I then tried simply registering to the Google Reader tag that Larro is maintaining and that was a bit easier but I still had the problem that the quantity of the posts was overwhelming. With more than 1000 posts a month it is simply impossible to find the good ones. I even tried using other services like Reddit Atheism, and Atheism Spot but these have generally very low output and generaly partisan-y.

The Bashboard of AideRSS
The Bashboard of AideRSS

In the end I just decided to see how I could fix this and fortunately, I happened upon AideRSS. After a bit of struggling and some firefox restarts (simply because of the amount of ram all the scripting ended up consuming) I managed to get it organised and ready for the godless.

How does this help? Well instead of simply seeing each and every post people are making, many of which will be not be very relevant to your interests, you can choose to limit the items you see to only the ones that have been more “popular” or succesful.

‘Ah’, I hear you say, ‘Won’t that just mean that the popular bloggers out there like will hog all the spotlight, even more than they do now? Small blogs can rarely get 5 comments on a post where, Pharyngula would be hard pressed to get less than 20.’

Have no fear. This is where the beauty of this particular system is. The posts you see when you filter by popularity, are not the most popular posts compared to other blogs but compared to other posts in the same blog. Thus while I may, on average, get 1-2 comments per post, a post that gets 10 will be considered good and one that gets, say, 30 will be well on its way to “best”. Also, since it takes into consideration diggs, bookmarks, linkbacks etc, you may get “popular” even without any comments at all.

This way, even though my post got 10 posts while Pharyngula’s got 100, we are both simply “good” since, compared to ther of our own respective posts, these are simple “higher than average”.

This does not mean of course that you should stop using Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon etc. On the contrary, you should keep using them because the popularity of each post is using (Well, not at the moment, but very soon I’m being told) ratings on these services as well. The only difference is that this popularity does not stay in the respective service but it helps people who use AideRSS to see the more interesting posts.

So how can you get in into that action? There’s a few ways.

  1. You can grab either the Atheist Blogroll Good posts of the Best posts OPML files that I’ve created and import them into your feed reader of choice. The Good posts will give you more content as the bar is lower.
  2. You can simply subscribe to my own Top Stories that I’ve set up on my account. I will try to keep this updated with new additions to the Atheist Blogroll.
  3. If you’re using Google Reader, just grab the plugin and you’re done 😉
  4. If you’re using NewsGator, just set your Sort Order the AideRSS Postrank.
  5. You can create an account with AideRSS, grab the original Atheist Blogroll OPML [3. Will become outdated on the next blogroll update though] and the use the import function there. Once the feeds are insterted in your account (it won’t take long as they’ve already been analyzed with my import) you can change the filter settings to what you want and grab you own customised feed. You’ll have to update your blogroll manualy with this method however. However now you can select some on low filter and others on high.

So you’ve got quite a few capabilities to work with this already. If you are getting as overwhelmed with news and posts as I am, hopefully this will help you cut down on the clutter. Plus, if you join AideRSS you can get the stats for your own site and see with one look which of your posts are the more popular. You can see the Division by Zer0 here for example.

Hope y’all find this as useful as I did 😉

Help Drigg

Just for your information y’all, Drigg, the wonderful software that can give us the power of Digg not only in a way that anyone can use it but also more ethical, is having resource issues. Simply, the current (and only) developer is fastly approaching burnout and the development could reach a halt.

Honestly, I think that would abe a significant loss as the drigg software (and generally the digg idea) promises so much more capability and when paired with the Open Source model, we can make it so much better.

For example, I was just thinking how great an idea it would be to merge together the Atheist Blogroll, Planet Atheism and The Atheist Spot while also twisting the concept in a more interesting way. The ultimate goal would be to allow people to be able to read and vote on the best stories of the day from all atheist blogs without having to submit everything and hopefully without having to visit a specific place to vote (More on this in a future post).

To that end I was hoping that I could start off with Drigg but now that I see that the development might end, I am saddened.
Unfortunately, I also do not have any real programming skills so I can’t really take over that duty 🙁

So if you are a developer and want to help with a promising project, head over and volunteer some of your time and perhaps we can create the ultimate place for atheist content.

Nexus of activity

I’ve recently started taking a more active role in the Atheist Nexus (A|N for short from now on) which has recently reached 2200 members.

It all started when I decided to promote Get Satisfaction as a better place for support than the fora. Brother Richard picked it up and after some discussion and simple coding, we implemented it on the sidebar and started urging people to use it. I took the admin role in it and that was my trigger to take a more active role in the whole thing.

So currently there’s a few things going on. First of all, there is a new group for people who want to volunteer for the improvement of the Nexus. Currently they are just asking who wants to participate (in the various categories( but they’re not doing anything specific. My fear is that if they don’t step up and start asking for specific things to do, people are just going to lose interest. I’ve voiced my concerns and ideas on it but all I can do at the moment is wait for further news.

To tell the truth, I think it’s wrong to wait for instructions from “higher up”. We all know how disorganised and argumentative Atheists are so expecting them to take orders is a recipe for failure. We need to employ a way to use that to our advantage. My idea is that we should have a very decentralized concept of organization. People should be free to do what they wish to promote, help and expand the nexus. We should be promoting creativity unbound and ways to allow people to do absolutely what they want, how they want in order to build their networks or their projects. All that the nexus should be doing is serving as the hub and now and then giving the necessary sparks of activity to jump-start more of these.

At the moment unfortunately there’s only discussions in the fora going on, which is not very different than a regular message board like the Internet Infidels. While this is all well and good, it does not provide anything new or exciting and unless something more social or unique is created soon, people will stop bothering, especially since the forum engine is not the best I’ve seen.We need to start doing exciting stuff while iron is still hot!

I have an idea on what might make the Nexus stand out from all the other social networks and I’ve taken a first step by starting a group on it and I have had a moderate interest in it but I need more solid tools in order to make it work. The basic group options are just not sufficient.

Last thing I’ve been trying to have is to open the A|N to search crawlers and have it indexed in order to increase the SEO and discoverability. The others seem not to agree so much with my idea mostly because there is a general feeling of persecution going on (understandably in some cases). However having the A|N private does not provide any more security and it still stops people from linking to it. Anyone following a link to forum discussion or whatnot, will end up on a wall asking him to register and few would take the hassle, especially if they are not atheists. Thus, any interesting discussion outcomes or whatnot, are effectively closed off.

Another thing that I did manage to arrange from there is to discover more Atheists who use Twitter. I’ve started following most of the ones that I knew of and I’ve found that it is a good way to have some quick answers or conversations. I suggest that if you use twitter, add the rest of us and if you know other Atheists on it, tag them so that we can find them.

Anyway, currently there is still a lot of activity at the A|N but I have already noticed that most people who registered at the start don’t even bother logging in anymore. Hell, we’ve got 2k members and I can only ever see about a dozen or two online at any one time. I only hope that this will not die out before it even gets off the ground.

Political Orientation of the Freethinker

light spell
CC - photo credit: pbo31

Soon after I implemented the member pages in the ACP I noticed something interesting. It seems that most people who are irreligious, atheist or generally freethinkers have a tendency to orientate to the left libertarian quadrant of the political compass. This was further solidified when Waldheri, who noticing the same trend, inquired on it at the Atheist Nexus fora.

The results were impressive. From out of the 20 people who took the test, 80% were in the left-libertarian quadrant, with a lot of them being on the far left/libertarian end, three were in the right and just one firmly in the middle. All of them were in the libertarian quadrant.

To me this is quite…invigorating (for lack of a better word). It means that most atheists are indeed free spirits and have an intense dislike for authority. I cannot claim to know the reasons but it seems to me that this is quite probably because we are always at odds with the authority of organised religion and have realised that authority is always at odds with freethought.

Even though libertarianism was a bit to be expected, the amount of socialist-leaning freethinkers is the real news in this case. I am immensely happy that most of us realise the inherent superiority of socialistic principles over the “free market” and that contrary to the Objectivist claims of growing popularity, the economic leanings of most Atheists are to the left[1. This also explains why the Libertarian party of the US is so weak. Many Atheist must be turned off by the far-right political leanings it has, even though it is libertarian].

I guess that is another reason for U.S. Atheists to be disheartened, since they are living in a country where there is no left & right but rather right & extreme right. 😛

So I’ve been thinking. If so many of us are in that quadrant, shouldn’t we have an appropriate name? Unfortunately “libertarian” has been hijacked by the right-libertarians and generally when one hears that, they immediately imagine laisez-faire capitalism.

We have the other terms for our disposal of course: Libertarian Socialist, Anarcho-Communist etc, but due to the McCarthyist propaganda the immediate negative connotations (especially for US Americans) are too large. Furthermore, these are all two-word descriptions and I’d really like to see a description that is distinguishable and easily digestable.

Personally, I believe that Communist is the most appropriate term but due to people being in the habit of confusing Communism with Stalinism or Maoism, that would probably do more harm than good (I’m also curious to see how many of the people who took the test realised how close they are to true Communism – No that’s not a “True Scotsman” fallacy).

I’m afraid that at this point I don’t have any suggestion for a better name but I’ll keep you posted if I think of anything.

Most importantly however, this is the first actual common point a majority of atheists seem to have. If indeed there are many of us like this, this could be a way to deal with the “Herding Cats” problem that seems to be plaguing us. An actual political focal point that is absolutely different than all the other political movements out there could be what we need to start having a common voice heard.

In any case, I’d love to hear what the rest of you opine on this subject? Do you think/believe/agree that most of the Freethinkers are leftist libertarian? Do you have a good idea for a left libertarian political label that rolls of the tongue? Finally, can we use this as a way to organise and form the political muscle that is needed?

Definition of Agnosticism

So my recent verbal spar with the Socratic Gadfly moves on. It seems that due to the linkbacks I made to Austin Cline and Adrian Hayter, they were apparently curious enough to see what the post was about and ended up defending my position on Gadfly’s blog (appreciated).
This in turn triggered him to contact me via email and also write about it on his second blog.

During our email conversations, Gadfly did have a more amiable attitude (albeit a bit condescending occasionaly) and we managed to have some progress in finding out exactly what the gist of our disagreement is. In turns out that it is a simple definition issue on the word “Agnosticism” and I will attempt in this post to explain.

Now, I guess the secod post of his was written while tempers were still high and this is why the language is still a bit strong.  Since I have been unbanninated already, I think there’s no point in feeding the flames any more so I’ll keep a more respectful tone.

Gadfly maintains that Agnosticism cannot be logicaly combined with theism. Indeed, by looking at some of the analogies he made on email:

“Agnostic theism” is like “Democratic Republicanism” and “theistic agnosticism” is like “Republican Democratism.” (Allow the neologism for the noun parallel.)

It is obvious that for him an agnostic theist is an oxymoron.

As I mentioned in the previous post. The etymological meaning of the word is “Without Knowledge”. Agnosticism however does not define what you do not have any knowledge about but it is commonly understood that it is about deities. One could very well argue that he is agnostic about abiogenesis or the creation of the universe and that would be a perfectly acceptable phrase.

As pertaining to theism however, agnosticism can easily take one of two common definitions.

  • One can be agnostic about the existence of god(s). This classifies them as Agnostic Atheists. The defining quote would be “I don’t know if gods exist
  • One can be agnostic about the nature of god(s). This classifies them as Agnostic Theists and the defining quote would be “I don’t know what or which gods exist“.

The difference is small but significant. On both of these definitions, one could even apply various scales of knowledge. Thus an agnostic atheists can verge closer to atheism with “I don’t know if gods exist but there is no reason to believe that they do” and an agnostic theist can approach a religion “I believe the Christian god exists but I don’t know his exact nature (and thus follow no denomination)” – an Agnostic Christian (The group I think most liberal Christians really belong to).

Due to the open nature of the word “Agnostic”, many people default it to either of the two cases described above. In my personal experience, I’ve had far more people who thought of “Agnostic Theist” when hearing “Agnostic” – which is, incidentally, why I started calling myself simply Atheist in the end. This is also why in the article that triggered this approximately half the agnostics go either way.

And this is where I believe Gadfly is wrong. He defaults to “Agnostic Atheist” but he then takes it a step further and asserts that his take on it is the correct one (and gets annoyed that others use it differently).
This is what I have been trying to explain via email but we seem to have reached the “Agree to dissagree” point.

The thing is, at the end of the day, what matters is that we know what we are talking about. It does not matter a bit if we call someone as “Agnostic Atheist”, “Agnostic”, “Fideist” or even “Purple Banana” as long as we are understanding the same thing. It is a fact that just “Agnostic” can mean different things to different people. And by definition, these people are correct.

All we can do when uncertain is simply ask: “Theistic or Atheistic?”. It’s certainly no reason to get upset about.

Άθεοι του Nexus

Μία καινούργια σελίδα δημιουργήθηκε στο διαδίκτυο σαν ένα social group για τους άθεους και αγνωστικιστές. Το όνομα είναι Atheist Nexus. Δέν ξέρω κατά πόσο θα είναι χρήσιμο μετά το facebook αλλά τουλάχιστον θα μας δώσει ένα περιβάλλον με πιο θετικές αντιδράσεις και περιθώρια συζήτησης και συνδέσμων.

Αυτή τη στιγμή, τα μέλη της σελίδας αυξάνωνται ραγδαία αλλά προβλέπω οτί μετά το αρχικό burst δημοσιώτητας, η ταχύτητα θα πέσει. Προσωπικά αναμένα πάνω-κάτω 10.000 μέλη αλλά ελπίζω να βγώ πολύ λάθως.

Anyway, δημιούργησα ένα γρουπάκι για όποιον έλληνα αποφασίσει να έρθει στο πάρτυ και ήδη ειδοποίησα τον πιο “κραγμένο” Έλληνα Άθεο που ξέρω 🙂 Ελπίζω να δω τους περισσότερους σας εκεί.

Spread the word

On the decline of Theism and the effects of fear

I feel cold as razor blade
CC - photo credit: confusedvision

I just read this excellent article (hat tip: Pharyngula) about the last century’s trends in religiosy and, for a non-theist like me, it certainly perks up the ol’ optimism. Even though theists in the recent years have been claiming that theism is on the comeback while secularism and irreligiousness was just a passing fad, the cold hard data once again, forms the proverbial thorn in their soft underbelly of wishful thinking.

While this post is partly to advertise the article, I also wanted to comment on part of it that triggered a long standing wish of mine, which is to start talking about my own philosophy of life, but I’ll try to avoid getting into specific labels at this point.

In the article then, it is explained how religion’s drop in popularity is more closely related to socioeconomic reasons rather than being the result of proselytisation from the “New Atheists”. It is shown how most European countries see their religious population percentage drop with a positive correlation to socialism or socialistic policies. Indeed, some of the more socialistic Countries of Europe seem to have, for the first time, a majority or non-religious people.

I will not go into detail on this, as the article makes the case much better than I ever could, however it did raise a very interesting point. That US high religiosity has much to do with the lack of a social net for the population, and the easy way with which one can go bankrupt and never recover. Indeed this constant fear that the population lives with, is what drives so many people turn to religion or spiritualism for comfort. It is no wonder that the larger percentage of religious people resides in the poorer rural areas.

Of course this is a result of the rabid anti-socialism that is prevalent in the American society ever since the First Red Scare. Because of the huge negative emotions and reactions that being labeled “left” carries, socialist policies like universal health care, have failed to become reality which, among others, rightly earns U.S. their label as the aberrant example of a developed nation.

But what does this have to do with my own philosophy? Well, the correlation between non-theism and social safety reminded my of one of the building blocks for it, Epicurism.

As a philosophy, Epicurism was one of the first ((if not the first. Not absolutely certain on this)) who explicitly espoused materialism and a form of deism as a method to reduce fear and personal suffering. Especially because this kind of materialism instructed a radical reduction of human needs to the bare necessities, it allowed people to reduce their anxiety and fear which further chipped away at their theism.

It strikes me as brilliant then (( In a bad way)), that in the U.S., where the exact opposite of this materialism is promoted, (namely crass commercialism) the fear and anxiety increases and leads to even stronger theism. Indeed, theism itself quite often wraps itself around commercialism (or is it the other way around?) and takes away a sizable amount of money from the “flock” in exchange for blissful uncertainty. It’s like a drug who’s withdrawal symptom is fear.

I can’t help but wonder at the masterful mental construction this has created in the minds of U.S. Americans today.

  • Greed → Commercialism / Consumerism.
  • Consumerism → Fear. (“You have to buy more stuff, or the society will collapse“)
  • Commercialism → Fear. (Lack, or reduced, social security keeping people scared of sudden mishaps)
  • Fear → Greed. (“You have to have wealth or power to be happy“)
  • Fear ↔ Traditionalism / Conservatism. (“We must return to our old values to save our society“)
  • Fear ↔ Nationalism / Xenophobia. (“We must protect the homeland in order to survive and prosper“)
  • Fear ↔ Authoritarianism. (“We need to reduce freedom in order to prevent societal problems and terrorism“)
  • Fear ↔ Theism. (I don’t think I need to explain this.)

It’s a vicious cycle. It is no wonder that all these values and beliefs go together most of the time and generally, if someone has one, it is quite probable that he will have at least some of the others as well. All of them feed the fear, and fear feeds them all.

Does it surprise anyone that most Clergy have authority? Does it surprise anyone that most Clergy are conservative and most Conservatives crave authority? Does it surprise anyone that pure capitalists tend to be religious ((Even Objectivists who exhibit the most pure form of Capitalism display a certain religiousness)).

Finally, does it surprise anyone that fascism embodies all of these together in a nice round package?

Fear is the common denominator, and any philosophy that is designed to reduce fear is bound to reduce the person’s attachment to these values. This is why so many atheists seem confident, progressive, liberal and socialistic. They all lack the necessary levels of fear to be anything else ((I would also like to mention here that one can repel fear with anger as well, but only until his anger subsides. This is why atheism based on “anger at god” never lasts)).

What we need to do, is not attempt to convert people to atheism or non-theism. What we need to be doing is to change the society in ways that reduce fear. As that happens, slowly these values will start retreating due to lack of empowerment.

What if the god of Atheism was real?

This is directed to all my theist readers: What would you do if the god of atheism was real?
Imagine a God that provides no proof, or even hint, of his existence. He will only reward people who have lived their life believing that no gods existed, including him, and have reached this conclusion through critical and rational thinking.
If your life ends as an Atheist/Agnostic, you will be rewarded. If not…

How would you deal with this?

This is directed to all my theist readers: What would you do if the god of atheism was real?
Imagine a God that provides no proof, or even hint, of his existence. He will only reward people who have lived their life believing that no gods existed, including him, and have reached this conclusion through critical and rational thinking.
If your life ends as an Atheist/Agnostic, you will be rewarded. If not…

How would you deal with this?

This query was triggered by a recent question directed to Atheists by a Christian. It asked directly on how would we react if we ever discovered that the evangelical abrahamic deity existed, no matter how that happened.
What follows is some analysis and thoughts on the question posed. You can jump directly to my question details from here

Now, as others stated and is furthermore plainly obvious, this is a kind of a Pascal’s wager. The inquirer is simply attempting to make us think of the consequences of being wrong. This may sound like a scary concept for someone who is already a Christian or recently deconverted, and indeed it is one of the reasons why some people remain christians, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. The fate of eternal punishment is just too great of a threat to even contemplate switching. A powerful meme in its own right.

Unfortunately, this does not work the same way on atheists and agnostics who know the facts and are not cowed by threats. This is readily apparent from many of the replies where the answer given is one of defiance, even in the face of eternal torment.

However, what is interesting is the own author’s own reply when the question is switched (as indeed is easy to do with any Pascal’s wager) and directed back at him, in the form of the existence of Allah. Read for yourselves:

NZskep, if tomorrow I found out that Allah was true, I’d become a Muslim as fast as I could recite in Arabic “Allah hu akbar, bismillahi rahman hu rahim, la illa il allah, Mohammed rasul Allah”.

Why? Because if that is the truth then it’s the truth. I don’t really have a choice if I’m a truth seeker. I have to accept it.

That also goes for Hinduism, Buddhism or even African Animism and of course if there is no god then I’ll become an Atheist..tomorrow.

No questions, no if’s and’s or but’s.

This is unsurprising really. The author claims to be a truth seeker and would instantly convert to Allah, Hinduism, Dodecatheism or whatever, if only those deities made themselves undeniably real.

It is nothing more than the user displaying his Atheism/Agnosticism in regards to those other deities and then, like the rest of us, demanding proof that is not only undeniable, but also superior to the proof he has on his current god.

Surprisingly, he further claims that if there is no god, then he’ll become an atheist…tomorrow. Im not certain if this “…tomorrow” has some other meaning but what he is asking is again, undeniable proof for the non-existence of god. Barring the fact that you cannot prove a negative, this undeniable proof already exists in the many philosophical, scriptural and empirical problems all theistic religions face. The fact that he chooses not to consider them only shows that he is not really willing to look at it.

However, this apparent willingness to test his own beliefs leads me to the question I posted at the start of this post. I can even spicy it up a little to avoid some responses that might be directed to me.

  • Do you feel defiant that this God allows the problem of evil to exist? Then be aware that this god has no power over this world/reality/life but all power over your life-after-death.
  • You should not believe that life-after-death exists either.
  • Do you believe that it’s better to believe to your current god because his punishment is horrible and/or eternal? Then be aware that the God of Atheists torture is not simply burning in a lake of fire stuff (that’s for wussies anyway). Expect eternal torment that you cannot even imagine. If you can imagine it…it’s worse.
  • Do you feel that just because I assert this god exists that he is obviously not real? Well, think again. You cannot prove he does not exist any more that I can prove yours does not either. Personally, I don’t believe he exists…but he could.
  • He does not care if you’ve been good or bad, only that you don’t believe in any gods.
  • Btw, the cousin god of woo-woo will punish you appropriately if you should believe in any “alternative” stuff that have no proof either. No homeopathy, acupuncture, i-ching, ghosts etc or to the eternal suffering you go.

I think I’ve covered all the bases so lets hear it my theist readers (And I hope my atheist readers may help spread the question around): What would you do if the god of atheism was real?

Crimes of Atheism

Reading the comments on this story, I saw several people demonizing atheism, on the basis that people who declared themselves atheists – like many communist leaders – did so many atrocities. As examples of this, they usually mention Mao, Stalin and Hitler among others.

I will ignore the obvious error of Hitler being atheist, since Fascism and Nazism were not only movements with Religious roots but had also strong backing by the Church, even after their failure.
Here I will sidetrack a little to say this: Even if you compare Stalin’s and Mao’s to religious leaders like (this time correctly) Hitler, Mussolini, King Justinian and even Bush, you will see that were the first did what they did for the benefit of their country (albeit at a high cost of human lives within the same country they were benefiting) with tangible results (USSR become a superpower and China is on the same track right now), the later did their atrocities for no other specific reason than to follow demented (religious) ideals and/or satisfy their own (or, as in the case of Bush, the people that move their strings) lust for power.
But of course they base their whole argument on the opinions that have been spoon fed to them (Communism demonization) and hope the emotional baggage is enough to make a point.

Back on topic now. These people seem to ignore that with this kind of argument (“atheism is bad because Stalin was bad”) they open a whole new avenue of attack against religion.
I usually do not open this subject because I have come to realize that you should not attack an idea itself based on the actions that self-labeled “upholders” of that idea take. When I make an argument about a religion. I do not begin by enumerating all the bad things leaders of that religion has taken. All proponents will do to defend against this, is to just say that they (the religious leaders) were never true believers but liars instead.
However when that said proponent is the first to accuse atheism (of all things) of being one of the causes for, say, Stalin’s atrocities, I cannot help but wonder on how hypocritical that is coming from the mouth of a religious person.

Crusades, Inquisition, War, Fascism, Genocides, Destroyed woman rights ,Destroyed Human rights, Racism, War, Perpetuation of Epidemics, Anti-Knowledge, Terrorism, Abuse, Hatred and War-fucking-WAR!

These are the fruits of religion, if we take as examples the religious leaders of history.

Trust me Christian, you do not want to open this can of worms.

And just think, for every bad representative of atheism you can think of, it has hundreds of good examples. Scientists like Einstein, Philosophers like Marx, Spiritualists like Buddha and much more. Tell me how many good things religion has done? (And don’t bring examples like Mother Teresa or I will laugh bitterly)

Furthermore, just because a person is an atheist, it does not have anything to do with the way he acts in life. Unlike religion which tries to set moral guidelines (and such good guidelines they are), being an atheist is just that, the absence of belief in one or more supernatural beings and nothing more. It is not a religion as some would try to convince you (There is not Church of Atheism and no two atheists believe the same thing) and as such, it does not have a moral guideline that comes packaged.

However, as funny as it seems, as a rule, atheists tend to be quite more altruistic (or “good”) than most religious people, any way you look at it. The only immoral thing about an atheist is that he doesn’t follow the demented morality of other religions. He will not beat his wife because she was raped, he will not become a builder because he happened to be born as one and he will not sacrifice a human because “his god requires it”.

To paraphrase: Every religious person is immoral to the eyes of every other religion. An Atheist is just immoral for one more religion than everyone else.

If nothing else, he may actually take the best ideas from every religion and if after adequate criticism they stand up to his morality and further his way of life, he will absorb them, discarding any theological garbage.
I ask you, would a devout religious person do the same?

EDIT: Fixed Mother Teresa and Beating links

Interesting connections

Well, the last few days have been interesting. First of all I met a very nice girl and we went together to the theater (That’s a first time for me). It was actually a pretty good show. We has a very good time altogether this Saturday and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My interest is once again waning on [tag]WoW[/tag], I don’t want to abandon my guild but if my excitement doesn’t pick up soon…
Now for the interesting stuff. As I was searching for the Greek Scandals of the Church that happened lately, I stumbled onto a site of a [tag]book[/tag] on the bible, The Great Lie. The examples where quite an interesting read and I mailed the writer to congratulate him on his work. After some mail exchange I decided to call him at home (he lives in Thessaloniki as well) and after some talk we decided to meet in person today. Some friends might be coming with me and I’m pretty excited about this.
Also I stumbled into a great site on [tag]atheism[/tag] that makes for a great read while at work.
Work has also been full these days which is good since I don’t like to sit around doing nothing all day.

It’s goot to feel good. I think I’m going to watch some Babylon 5 while I wait for the time to come.

PS: Oh, I also discovered Sonata Arctica yesterday. These guys are pretty good.