Are atheists morally perfect
religion: Atheists also need a worldview
Under articles about the atrocities of IS fighters, I read many comments that see religion in general or Islam in particular as the cause of the evil. Religion is obviously nonsense and should be abolished, then the world will be better, say some. Others, however, argue that Islam is only being used by the IS killers for their own purposes. Actually, Islamist terror has nothing to do with Islam.
As an atheist, I tend to join the first group. I am convinced that there is no God who gives me rules that I can refer to even when I act cruelly. Voltaire says: "Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can also make you commit atrocities." In this sense, the world would actually be better without religion, just as it would be better without such absurdities as nationalism and racial ideology.
But the forum atheists make it too easy for themselves when they propagate the renunciation of faith as a simple and sufficient solution. It is easy to reject religion as a nonsensical construct that is motivated by the fear of death and sustained through targeted manipulation in childhood. But every person, including every atheist, "believes" something in the sense that they consider something to be true (I would prefer to avoid the word "believe" here because it suggests a belief regardless of any argument). And no one can stop believing their worldview to be true without adopting an alternative worldview.
Many atheists are meek here and do not really want to commit themselves to what their worldview looks like. They do not want to make themselves vulnerable to the popular accusation from believers that the atheistic view of things is also not verifiable and therefore cannot claim absolute truth either. But we atheists shouldn't be afraid of that. Just because we can't know everything doesn't mean everything is equally likely.
Instead of just criticizing the beliefs of others, we atheists should rather force ourselves to make positive statements about our worldview. I don't want to deny that there are many differences among atheists too. And, of course, I cannot pretend to speak for all atheists. But don't we agree on some key points?
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Every atheist will probably agree that we are only born as human beings and not as Muslims, Jews or Christians. And also the statement that our conscious selves as a function of our nervous system will just as little exist after our death as they did before we were born. So that you don't have to be afraid of hellfire, but you can't expect a kingdom of heaven or virgins either. And that this knowledge is liberating because it allows us to develop an ethic that aims at justice in this world instead of the good pleasure of gods from old books.
Anyone who wants believers to become more resistant to extremist brainwashing could perhaps be more successful with such positive statements than with the mere denigration of the faith.
This post is part of our Who Believes series? We are still looking forward to your submissions - please send an email to [email protected], subject "Faith". We bundle our social media activities on this topic under the hashtag #wersglaubt.
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