History UsefulNotes / Atheism

8th Apr '16 8:11:18 PM Fireblood
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** The person who coined this term ''{{Absurdism}}'', Albert Camus, did a significant body of work writing about this idea. The term 'absurdism' comes from the idea that the conflict between the impermanence of life and human actions is a paradox and, well, absurd. To quote TheOtherWiki on this: ''We value our lives and existence so greatly, but at the same time we know we will eventually die, and ultimately our endeavors are meaningless. While we can live with a dualism (I can accept periods of unhappiness, because I know I will also experience happiness to come), we cannot live with the paradox (I think my life is of great importance, but I also think it is meaningless).'' Camus' writings were based around the theme that the paradox, the absurd, showed that the universe was meaningless-but that human endeavors could still create meaning. Basically, that we live in a CosmicHorrorStory, where the StrawNihilist is right…but that we still, despite that, create meaning.

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** The person who coined this the term ''{{Absurdism}}'', Albert Camus, Creator/AlbertCamus, did a significant body of work writing about this idea. The term 'absurdism' "absurdism" comes from the idea that the conflict between the impermanence of life and human actions is a paradox and, well, absurd. To quote TheOtherWiki on this: ''We value our lives and existence so greatly, but at the same time we know we will eventually die, and ultimately our endeavors are meaningless. While we can live with a dualism (I can accept periods of unhappiness, because I know I will also experience happiness to come), we cannot live with the paradox (I think my life is of great importance, but I also think it is meaningless).'' Camus' writings were based around the theme that the paradox, the absurd, showed that the universe was meaningless-but that human endeavors could still create meaning. Basically, that we live in a CosmicHorrorStory, where the StrawNihilist is right…but that we still, despite that, create meaning.
8th Apr '16 7:50:16 PM Fireblood
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* Actual bona-fide miracles occurring (e.g. raising the dead, "impossible" healing of sickness or injury, etc.) would not be automatic proof that the Christian god is "real" in the Biblical sense. Assuming for the moment that such miracles occur, it's also possible that they are unusual, yet natural happenings in our universe propelled by a mechanism we do not yet understand, or that the beings that style themselves as gods are another kind of life form that chooses to interact with us by posing as gods for some reason. There are also all those thousands of ''other gods'' people worship or have worshiped to consider.
** Interestingly, for a long period of history, the investigation of so called "miracles" and the discovery of naturalist explanations for the phenomena was considered an ''affirmation'' of faith (as in, "Hey, look how God made this amazing thing we thought was impossible actually happen without leaving any direct fingerprints")

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* Actual bona-fide miracles occurring (e.g. raising the dead, "impossible" healing of sickness or injury, etc.) would not be automatic proof that the Christian god is "real" in the Biblical sense. Assuming for the moment that such miracles occur, it's also possible that they are unusual, unusual yet natural happenings in our universe propelled by a mechanism we do not yet understand, or that the beings that style themselves as gods are another kind of life form that chooses to interact with us by posing as gods for some reason. There are also all those thousands of ''other gods'' people worship or have worshiped to consider.
** Interestingly, for a long period of history, the investigation of so called "miracles" and the discovery of naturalist natural explanations for the these phenomena was considered an ''affirmation'' of faith (as in, "Hey, look how God made this amazing thing we thought was impossible actually happen without leaving any direct fingerprints")fingerprints").



* Atheism does not prescribe a system of morality or code of behavior. There is no built-in system of reward for good acts and punishment for evil ones. While some religious people would expect this to lead atheists to become {{Straw Nihilist}}s, atheists form moral codes as they grow up, through their education, culture and personal reflection, like everyone else. That is not an explicitly self-imposed limitation, it is the natural way things happen in a normal, sane, developing human brain[[note]]Science has theories like ''kin selection'' and ''reciprocal altruism'' to explain how things like empathy, a sense of right and wrong, and self sacrificing behavior could have evolved.[[/note]]. And it's for their benefit too, of course, as GoodFeelsGood, and [[SanityHasAdvantages sanity is its own advantage]].

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* Atheism does not prescribe a system of morality or code of behavior. There is no built-in system of reward for good acts and punishment for evil ones. While some religious people would expect this to lead atheists to become {{Straw Nihilist}}s, atheists form moral codes as they grow up, up through their education, culture and personal reflection, reflection like everyone else. That is not an explicitly self-imposed limitation, it is the natural way things happen in a normal, sane, developing human brain[[note]]Science brain.[[note]]Science has theories like ''kin selection'' and ''reciprocal altruism'' to explain how things like empathy, a sense of right and wrong, and self sacrificing behavior could have evolved.[[/note]]. [[/note]] And it's for their benefit too, of course, as GoodFeelsGood, GoodFeelsGood and [[SanityHasAdvantages sanity is its own advantage]].



** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rule Golden Rule]] "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself" (a concept which has existed since at least as early as 1780 B.C.) usually comes up.

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** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rule Golden Rule]] Rule]], "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself" (a concept which has existed since at least as early as 1780 B.C.) ), usually comes up.



*** Contrasted with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kantianism Kantianism]]. Kantianism, unlike utilitarianism, justifies rights such as private property in spite of the happiness/suffering of others. Consider for example that you currently have two kidneys. Someone in the world is surely and currently in the need of one of the kidneys you can provide right now and will only suffer and be less happy without it. Under utilitarianism, ANY action that promotes happiness and limits suffering is morally good, therefore under some interpretations there is an obligation on your part to give up your kidney by a nominally painless surgical procedure[[note]] Most modern utilitarians reject such reasoning on the basis that, generally speaking, forcing people to give up organs makes them unhappy, and knowing a society has authorized such an invasive violation of the individual leads to less happiness overall. They would have far less problem with mandating that organs be harvested from people that have died (with allowances for those with religious objections, say) a policy countries like Australia have already[[/note]]. Under Kantianism, you're only obligated to act on a rule that you yourself would want to be generally applied to society. Because a society where people are forced to give up body parts isn't ideal, nor exercises good will, you are under no obligation to render your meat stuff to the sick (and therefore have a right to your private property). Kantianism is independent of the consequential suffering of others and thereby Negative Responsibility. For example, say an armed gunman takes you and five other people hostage. The gunman says he'll shoot all of the other hostages except if you kill one of them yourself. As a consequence, utilitarianism might dictate that you kill one of your fellow hostages else you'll be morally wrong for letting all of the hostages die (more suffering, less happiness). Kantianism considers that the decisions of your actions and the gunman's actions are two separate entities, i.e. you're only responsible for your own actions and the gunman for his/her own. Therefore, you're under no moral obligation to murder at gunpoint, and it is the gunman who's at fault if he therefore murders the other hostages when you refuse to accept this {{sadistic choice}}.

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*** Contrasted with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kantianism Kantianism]]. Kantianism above]]. Kantianism, unlike in contrast to utilitarianism, justifies rights such as private property in spite of the happiness/suffering of others. Consider for example that you currently have two kidneys. Someone in the world is surely and currently in the need of one of the kidneys you can provide right now and will only suffer and be less happy without it. Under utilitarianism, ANY action that promotes happiness and limits suffering is morally good, therefore under some interpretations there is an obligation on your part to give up your kidney by a nominally painless surgical procedure[[note]] procedure.[[note]] Most modern utilitarians reject such reasoning on the basis that, generally speaking, forcing people to give up organs makes them unhappy, and knowing a society has authorized such an invasive violation of the individual leads to less happiness overall. They would have far less problem with mandating that organs be harvested from people that have died (with allowances for those with religious objections, say) a policy countries like Australia have already[[/note]]. already.[[/note]] Under Kantianism, you're only obligated to act on a rule that you yourself would want to be generally applied to society. Because a society where people are forced to give up body parts isn't ideal, nor exercises good will, you are under no obligation to render your meat stuff to the sick (and therefore have a right to your private property). Kantianism is independent of the consequential suffering of others and thereby Negative Responsibility. For example, say an armed gunman takes you and five other people hostage. The gunman says he'll shoot all of the other hostages except if you kill one of them yourself. As a consequence, utilitarianism might dictate that you kill one of your fellow hostages else you'll be morally wrong for letting all of the hostages die (more suffering, less happiness). Kantianism considers that the decisions of your actions and the gunman's actions are two separate entities, i.e. you're only responsible for your own actions and the gunman for his/her own. Therefore, you're under no moral obligation to murder at gunpoint, and it is the gunman who's at fault if he therefore murders the other hostages when you refuse to accept this {{sadistic choice}}.
8th Apr '16 7:37:51 PM Fireblood
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* There's also a strain in atheism, what is regarded as being its secular strain, at least among some European writers, where it is a sentiment that doesn't come from opposition or hostility to religion. These writers will admit that religion has moments of beauty and truth, will admit that the negative aspects of Christianity can't be regarded as its core tenets. Their critique is simply, what can Christianity, even the beautiful nice kind, provide to people who live in the modern world.
** People with problems in modern society, even ones who call themselves believers, will necessarily consult therapists or psychologists, family and friends, they form communities on shared interests, charitable works and political causes, as well as human rights problems are the domain of government watch-dogs, rights group, UN and [=NGOs=]. Art and architecture are no longer patronized by the Church. This argument essentially sees religion in need of solving existential questions to justify its function rather than atheists having to do so. Its become possible in developed European nations, to go through life without really thinking deeply or meaningful about religion, to the point that citizens don't even feel the need to call themselves "atheist" since the word only has force in a context of inter-faith disputes, which have little value when the believers are so few.
** They also point out that it's liberals in religious circles who are trying to keep pace with the modern world, either by inter-faith dialogues, acknowledging criticism of the Bible's text, considering ordainment of women as priests, accepting homosexuality openly, and so on. Even if they become really liberal, pro-science and solve their conservative issues, the fundamental problem of a real meaningful role for religion in a modern society remains a main issue. It's important to note that this existential question has also been embraced by religious writers such as former nun Karen Armstrong, who argue that atheist and secular critiques are important for religious organizations to confront if they want to play a real meaningful role in the future.

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* There's also a strain in atheism, what is regarded as being its secular strain, at least among some European writers, where it is a sentiment that doesn't come from opposition or hostility to religion. These writers will admit that religion has moments of beauty and truth, will and admit that the negative aspects of Christianity can't be regarded as its core tenets. Their critique is simply, simply: what can Christianity, even the beautiful nice kind, provide to people who live in the modern world.
world?
** People with problems in modern society, even ones who call themselves believers, will necessarily consult therapists or psychologists, family and friends, they form communities based on shared interests, charitable interests. Charitable works and political causes, as well as human rights problems problems, are the domain of government watch-dogs, rights group, UN and [=NGOs=]. Art and architecture are no longer patronized by the Church. This argument essentially sees religion in need of solving existential questions to justify its function function, rather than atheists having to do so. Its become possible in developed European nations, nations to go through life without really thinking deeply or meaningful about religion, to the point that citizens don't even feel the need to call themselves "atheist" since the word only has force in a context of inter-faith disputes, which have little value when the believers are so few.
** They also point out that it's liberals in religious circles who are trying to keep pace with the modern world, either by inter-faith dialogues, acknowledging criticism of the Bible's text, considering ordainment ordination of women as priests, accepting open acceptance of homosexuality openly, and so on. Even if they become really liberal, pro-science and solve their conservative issues, the fundamental problem of a real meaningful role for religion in a modern society remains a main issue. It's important to note that this existential question has also been embraced by religious writers such as former nun Karen Armstrong, who argue that atheist and secular critiques are important for religious organizations to confront if they want to play a real meaningful role in the future.



* That said, some atheists take the opposite route and believe that religion is positive and enriching, but they are less likely to advertise their atheism-indeed, some atheists go so far as to pretend to be theists and become priests and suchlike because they still think that their chosen religion is a positive force, even if they don't believe that its central claims are true.

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* That said, some atheists take the opposite route and believe that religion is positive and enriching, but they are less likely to advertise their atheism-indeed, some atheists go so far as to pretend to be theists and become priests and suchlike because they still think that their chosen religion is a positive force, even if they don't believe that its central claims are true. Others more openly join nontheistic religions such as those listed above, or those who accept nontheists (for instance Unitarian Universalism).



* Most atheists believe that the scientific method is a valid and valuable means of learning about nature, and many are in line with the Science Is Good view. Many also feel that religious claims are contradicted by science in one sense or another, either because they lack proof, or they have been ''dis''proven, or they should be ruled out ''a priori'' for reasons of scientific philosophy. However, the question of whether science and religion are "incompatible" (and what that question means, exactly) is contentious, and is one of the things that separates "new atheists" and "accomodationists". Many theists and some atheists agree that religion deals with separate issues or questions than science (so that, e.g., it doesn't make sense to ask for scientific proof of a miracle) while some atheists argue that they do in fact deal with the same issues, and religions simply have it all wrong. Some theists argue, conversely, that science can give evidence ''for'' miracles.

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* Most atheists believe that the scientific method is a valid and valuable means of learning about nature, and many are in line with the Science Is Good ScienceIsGood view. Many also feel that religious claims are contradicted by science in one sense or another, either because they lack proof, or they have been ''dis''proven, or they should be ruled out ''a priori'' for reasons of scientific philosophy. However, the question of whether science and religion are "incompatible" (and what that question means, exactly) is contentious, and is one of the things that separates "new atheists" and "accomodationists". Many theists and some atheists agree that religion deals with separate issues or questions than science (so that, e.g., it doesn't make sense to ask for scientific proof of a miracle) while some atheists argue that they do in fact deal with the same issues, and religions simply have it all wrong. Some theists argue, conversely, that science can give evidence ''for'' miracles.
8th Apr '16 7:21:13 PM Fireblood
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It's also important to note that such skepticism of religion was by no means a Western phenomenon. Buddhism and Jainism, for instance, are philosophies without a deity figure, though other sects approached something resembling monotheism later on. Hinduism had materialist schools such as the Carvaka, Samkhya and Mimamsa. In China, Confucius developed a philosophy of education, curiosity, and learning that explicitly distanced itself from metaphysical and spiritual questions, noting that such concepts, even if true, were generally available and valuable to the very few, and that society as a whole should be considered with materially improving TheNeedsOfTheMany. Likewise, Charles Darwin, in describing his voyages to South America, stated that some native tribes did not even have a word for god and organized their society without any identifiable religion (and therefore cannot strictly be labelled atheists, since they never believed in god to start with), noting that it refuted the idea that religion or belief was intrinsic or heritable, rather than cultural and acquired. During the golden age of the Arab world, several writers such as Omar Khayyam, Averroes, Ibn al-Rawandi, Abu Bakr al-Razi expressed ideas that stressed education, materialism, criticized infallibility of religious truths, and expressed a naturalistic worldview that would supersede religious explanations. The freethinker Al-Maʿarri likewise regarded religion as a "fable invented by the ancients". Even in the Catholic Church, Saint Augustine, a former Manichaen (an African heretical sect), stated that he considered the Bible's fantastic stories to be largely embellished to be accessible to the common man. He dismissed literal interpretations of the Bible's account for creation, noting that as and when science advanced with superior explanations, it should supplant existing Biblical interpretations. This was the defense which Galileo (who was a religious man) used—unsuccessfully—in his trial argument for Heliocentrism.

Modern atheism first found voice in the course of UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment and UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution, largely as a consequence on the debate about separation between church and state. It was accompanied by UsefulNotes/{{Deism}} at first. Philosophers such as Spinoza, Voltaire, and Rousseau advocated belief in a distant, immaterial, non-human deity who governed by natural—''i.e.'', scientific—laws. Deism attacked Christian intolerance and superstition and advocated science and democracy. The deists argued that religion should have no place in politics and that society should be free to discuss different ideas and should have total religious tolerance. In the Revolution, graffiti stating "Death is an Eternal Sleep" often defaced churches and cemeteries. Cathedrals and altar pieces were subject to petty and creative vandalism, giving free public expression to atheist ideas for the first time in Western history. Inspired by the Revolution, romantic poets like Percy Shelley wrote a pamphlet titled "The Necessity of Atheism", and the idea was common in Romantic, Revolutionary and Decadent circles. Politically and philosophically, UsefulNotes/FriedrichNietzsche noted that with the Revolution, "God is Dead"—''i.e.'', the all-powerful ideal of God, even among liberal believers, was not the same in an age gradually supplanted by scientific, philosophical and political changes. He noted that the end of Christianity (or any other single belief as dominating Western culture) would lead to a period of nihilism from which people would then be free to create their own values and moral code. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution sparked a major change in Victorian England and, much later, America, since it provided a scientific explanation for human origins that no longer required an anthropomorphic deity to shape it for human purpose.

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It's also important to note that such skepticism of religion was by no means a Western phenomenon. Buddhism and Jainism, for instance, are philosophies without a deity figure, though other sects approached something resembling monotheism later on. Hinduism had materialist schools such as the Carvaka, Samkhya and Mimamsa. In China, Confucius developed a philosophy of education, curiosity, and learning that explicitly distanced itself from metaphysical and spiritual questions, noting that such concepts, even if true, were generally available and valuable to the very few, and that society as a whole should be considered with materially improving TheNeedsOfTheMany. Likewise, Charles Darwin, in describing his voyages to South America, stated that some native tribes did not even have a word for god and organized their society without any identifiable religion (and therefore cannot strictly explicitly be labelled called atheists, since they never believed in god to start with), noting that it refuted the idea that religion or belief was intrinsic or heritable, rather than cultural and acquired. During the golden age of the Arab world, several writers such as Omar Khayyam, Averroes, Ibn al-Rawandi, al-Rawandi and Abu Bakr al-Razi expressed ideas that stressed education, materialism, criticized infallibility of religious truths, and expressed expressing a naturalistic worldview that would supersede religious explanations. The freethinker Al-Maʿarri likewise regarded religion as a "fable invented by the ancients". Even in the Catholic Church, Saint Augustine, a former Manichaen Manichaean (an African heretical sect), stated that he considered the Bible's fantastic stories to be largely embellished to be accessible to the common man. He dismissed literal interpretations of the Bible's account for creation, noting that as and when science advanced with superior explanations, it should supplant existing Biblical interpretations. This was the defense which Galileo (who was a religious man) used—unsuccessfully—in his trial argument for Heliocentrism.heliocentrism (the dispute there being over whether heliocentrism ''was'' a better explanation-most scientists at the time didn't think so).

Modern atheism first found voice in the course of UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment and UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution, largely as a consequence on of the debate about separation between church and state. It was accompanied by UsefulNotes/{{Deism}} at first. Philosophers such as Spinoza, Voltaire, and Rousseau advocated belief in a distant, immaterial, non-human deity who governed by natural—''i.natural—i.e.'', scientific—laws. ''scientific''—laws. Deism attacked Christian intolerance and superstition and advocated science and democracy. The deists argued that religion should have no place in politics and that society should be free to discuss different ideas and should have total religious tolerance. In the Revolution, graffiti stating "Death is an Eternal Sleep" often defaced churches and cemeteries. Cathedrals and altar pieces were subject to petty and creative vandalism, giving free public expression to atheist ideas for the first time in Western history. During the ReignOfTerror, atheist and deist revolutionaries briefly dechristianized France entirely. Inspired by the Revolution, romantic poets like Percy Shelley wrote a pamphlet titled "The Necessity of Atheism", and the idea was common in Romantic, Revolutionary and Decadent circles. Politically and philosophically, UsefulNotes/FriedrichNietzsche noted that with the Revolution, "God is Dead"—''i.e.'', the all-powerful ideal of God, even among liberal believers, was not the same in an age gradually supplanted by scientific, philosophical and political changes. He noted argued that the end of Christianity (or any other single belief as dominating Western culture) would lead to a period of nihilism from which people would then be free to create their own values and moral code. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution sparked a major change in Victorian England and, much later, America, since it provided a scientific explanation for human origins that no longer required an anthropomorphic deity to shape it for human purpose.
30th Mar '16 8:22:01 AM ObsidianFire
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** Some atheists use the "political religion" ideal to argue that totalitarian systems of government are simply another form of the irrationality they see and reject in religion. Indeed, empiricism, humanism and skepticism are concepts frequently associated with atheism (or that atheists frequently associate themselves with) but are hardly the values any GenreSavvy dictator wants his people to be familiar with. To use the words of Sam Harris: "The problem with Nazism and Communism is not that they are not religions, but that they are ''too much like'' religions!" albeit particularly cruel and inhuman ones. Regardless of whether one believes this to be true or not, no serious historian cites atheism as a significant factor in the rise or actions of Hitlerism or Stalinism.

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** Some atheists use the "political religion" ideal to argue that totalitarian systems of government are simply another form of the irrationality they see and reject in religion. Indeed, empiricism, humanism and skepticism are concepts frequently associated with atheism (or that atheists frequently associate themselves with) but are hardly the values any GenreSavvy smart dictator wants his people to be familiar with. To use the words of Sam Harris: "The problem with Nazism and Communism is not that they are not religions, but that they are ''too much like'' religions!" albeit particularly cruel and inhuman ones. Regardless of whether one believes this to be true or not, no serious historian cites atheism as a significant factor in the rise or actions of Hitlerism or Stalinism.
25th Mar '16 2:45:03 PM Eagal
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* Recently, atheism has gained some mainstream traction, though even before this happened, there were many people in the entertainment industry who were atheists. Noted examples include Creator/GeneRoddenberry, Creator/JMichaelStraczynski, Creator/JossWhedon, and Creator/RussellTDavies. Atheistic themes tend to show up primarily in science fiction and its sub-genres, often alongside religious themes.

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* Recently, atheism Atheism has gained some mainstream traction, though even before this happened, there were many people in the entertainment industry who were atheists. Noted examples include Creator/GeneRoddenberry, Creator/JMichaelStraczynski, Creator/JossWhedon, and Creator/RussellTDavies. Atheistic themes tend to show up primarily in science fiction and its sub-genres, often alongside religious themes.
25th Mar '16 2:42:13 PM Eagal
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* During the cold war period most of Eastern Europe was under Soviet rule. Comsidering that socialism harshly shuns organized religion for propagating class differences (not entirely untrue in Marx's time), the depiction of religion in media was minuscule at best. Most works simply didn't aknowledge its existence to spare themselves from the claws of state censorship.

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* During the cold war period most of Eastern Europe was under Soviet rule. Comsidering Considering that socialism harshly shuns organized religion for propagating class differences (not entirely untrue in Marx's time), the depiction of religion in media was minuscule at best. Most works simply didn't aknowledge acknowledge its existence to spare themselves from the claws of state censorship.
25th Mar '16 2:41:52 PM Eagal
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* During the cold war period most of Eastern Europe was under Soviet rule. Comsidering that socialism harshly shuns organized religion for propagating class differences (not entirely untrue in Marxes time), the depiction of religion in media was minuscule at best. Most works simply didn't aknowledge its existence to spare themselves from the claws of state censorship.

to:

* During the cold war period most of Eastern Europe was under Soviet rule. Comsidering that socialism harshly shuns organized religion for propagating class differences (not entirely untrue in Marxes Marx's time), the depiction of religion in media was minuscule at best. Most works simply didn't aknowledge its existence to spare themselves from the claws of state censorship.
25th Mar '16 1:24:44 PM Gorthaff
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Added DiffLines:

*During the cold war period most of Eastern Europe was under Soviet rule. Comsidering that socialism harshly shuns organized religion for propagating class differences (not entirely untrue in Marxes time), the depiction of religion in media was minuscule at best. Most works simply didn't aknowledge its existence to spare themselves from the claws of state censorship.
30th Nov '15 10:13:18 AM FF32
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* '''[[MachineWorship Worship Science]], Creator/RichardDawkins, [[TheSocialDarwinist Darwin's]] Theory of Natural Selection, Galileo (for [[UsefulNotes/HeresiesAndHeretics being persecuted by the Church]]), and <insert anything science-y here>''': Atheists do not worship, venerate, idolize or serve (in the religious sense) ''anything'' or ''anyone'', regardless of their stature, existence or whatever. They may ''respect'' or even admire scientists for their achievements, but they do so without thinking he or anyone else was infallible or had all the answers -- or was even necessarily a nice person. It's not as if claiming "[[AdHominem Darwin was racist]]" disproves evolutionary biology, for example.

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* '''[[MachineWorship Worship Science]], Creator/RichardDawkins, UsefulNotes/RichardDawkins, [[TheSocialDarwinist Darwin's]] Theory of Natural Selection, Galileo (for [[UsefulNotes/HeresiesAndHeretics being persecuted by the Church]]), and <insert anything science-y here>''': Atheists do not worship, venerate, idolize or serve (in the religious sense) ''anything'' or ''anyone'', regardless of their stature, existence or whatever. They may ''respect'' or even admire scientists for their achievements, but they do so without thinking he or anyone else was infallible or had all the answers -- or was even necessarily a nice person. It's not as if claiming "[[AdHominem Darwin was racist]]" disproves evolutionary biology, for example.



* Although they are sometimes implicitly ascribed this status, unlike the clergy of organized religions well-known atheists like Richard Dawkins and Creator/ChristopherHitchens do not actually represent other atheists in any official capacity. This is something that non-atheists sometimes have trouble with, because they are used to the idea that (for example) a Baptist minister represents a Baptist ministry, but atheists don't have ministries because atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief system.

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* Although they are sometimes implicitly ascribed this status, unlike the clergy of organized religions well-known atheists like Richard Dawkins UsefulNotes/RichardDawkins and Creator/ChristopherHitchens do not actually represent other atheists in any official capacity. This is something that non-atheists sometimes have trouble with, because they are used to the idea that (for example) a Baptist minister represents a Baptist ministry, but atheists don't have ministries because atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief system.
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