Lack of conservative atheists?

I know it’s not this black and white, but you’d think that with God not around to judge you for not possessing an altruistic morality, you would be prone to thinking that nobody else is entitled to your success. It’s even weirder to think that the typical American atheist is economically liberal. Men can be their own gods in this country with little to no government regulation over the economy. I know our founding documents say that the right of men to be free comes from God and not from the state, but that can be interpreted poetically instead of literally. Men are their own gods. Why is there a lack of this mentality among atheists? You should be jubilant that there’s no celestial entity breathing down your neck to judge you for not feeding the poor. You could think more like Nazis, too. You can form your own society of god-men to rule the planet. You can cleanse the human race by breeding a Master Race of humans with superior genes who will enslave or kill the rest of humanity. A theory I have is that if more atheists had backbone, they would be extreme racist-sexists. The idea that everyone is equal is very much a religious mindset. You have to admit that it’s kind of weird that atheists would rather bow to Obama than celebrate economic freedom and the right to bear arms.

Posted: July 13th 2012

George Locke

What you describe as “conservatism” seems closer to social Darwinism, in which the weak suffer and the strong survive. I’m surprised that you seem to think that conservatism is on a slippery slope to fascism. American conservatives would surely find your characterization offensive; certainly it is inaccurate. The debate between conservatives and liberals isn’t about whether we should care for our neighbors, as you would have it, but the role of government. I’m an American atheist with a social democratic bent (the kind you seem to hate the most), but you’ve managed to offend me too.

If you’re really concerned with why atheists aren’t more conservative, you should ask another, more focussed question because what you’ve written here looks more like a thinly veiled attack on the moral fiber of atheists. If this wasn’t your intention, then slurs like “if more atheists had backbone, they would be extreme racist-sexists” would have been better left out.

If you want to know why atheists care for others despite knowing there is no divine inquisitor, you can find lots of answers here on this site (use the site search at top right to find more).

Christopher Hitchens, a well known atheist who held many conservative views (real conservatism, now, not the degraded egoism you describe), famously argued that the God of the Bible was one of the most detestable tyrants in all of fiction. The wonder isn’t that atheists can be moral without religion. The wonder is that theists are moral despite religion.

Posted: July 16th 2012

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donsevers www

>Men are their own gods. Why is there a lack of this mentality among atheists?

This is a false choice: “If there is no God, then men are their own gods.” This ignores other possibilities.

I am subject to countless rules I did not devise: nature, my wife, my family, my employer, biology, physics, etc. A rational view of my situation excludes the possibility that I am in control. It seems we are conscious animals embedded in social, emotional and physical interdependencies with the biosphere and our tribes. There are many constraints on my behavior. Living comfortably means living in the reality that I am insignificant and expendable to nature, but loved and valued by my tribe, but only if I behave in certain ways.

Many people seem to need additional rules to be comfortable. They welcome odd strictures that have nothing to do with human well-being or morality. They seem to actually want an arbitrary ruler to try to please. Such tyrants scare me because we can never please them for long. They can do whatever they want because they have all the power. And even if we obtain their favor, we can never be sure that our loved ones will join us in the Dear Leader’s inner circle.

It is a very good thing that this world was not set up this way on purpose. It it had been, we would all be living in a ghastly petri dish.

Posted: July 16th 2012

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Galen Rose www

You wrote, “You should be jubilant that there‚Äôs no celestial entity breathing down your neck to judge you for not feeding the poor. “

I am jubilant, but not for that reason. You see, I will judge me for not feeding the poor, and more generally for not being a decent person. Not only will I judge me, but my family and others will judge me, too. I care what others think about me because it affects how I think of myself, my self-image. In fact, my personal honor is more important to me than anything except the lives of those I love.

This idea that atheists have no good reasons to be moral is simply false, and I hope the answers you get here will cause you to discredit that notion. If you are good only because you fear god’s wrath, then you truly need religion, and I hope you never lose it.

Posted: July 15th 2012

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brian thomson www

I see yet more unwarranted “American Exceptionalism” here, so I’ll let an American answer this one …

Posted: July 15th 2012

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Atheism is just a lack of god-belief. It’s nothing more than than that, but we do still have a source of morals, something other than a set of rules that somebody says came from god.

The label “conservative” doesn’t really mean much any more. I consider myself to be fiscally conservative – a viewpoint that used to be considered the “conservative” viewpoint – but such conservatives started disappearing when Reagan was president, and now they just don’t exist, which is why we spent a few trillion dollars on wars in the middle east while at the same time cutting taxes to the rich people. How this is considered “conservative” is beyond me.

I’m going to ignore the rest, since it’s just another version of the “atheists have no morals” argument, which is very obviously not the case.

Posted: July 15th 2012

See all questions answered by Eric_PK


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