Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A story of an atheist's final days

This is a fascinating account of the end of a well-known atheist's life, as well as a Catholic testimony, from  R. J. Stove, the son of David Stove, an Australian philosopher.

Is atheism the answer to our existential anxieties? No this time.

HT : Eric

38 comments:

Cole said...

Dr. Reppert,

What is wrong with gaining a true sense of your own worth and value and loving others from a position of love and power instead of insecurity? I'm not saying become an island. I'm saying love each other from a secure position. Instead of having this fear of eternal suffering or death hanging over your head. I've already explained to you the solution. You didn't respond. And of all people you had to pick a Catholic :) From where I come from (Calvinism) Catholics don't have the correct view on salvation anyway. I hope they are wrong.

Cole said...

Also Dr. Reppert,

I don't even know what an atheist is. There's so many different definitions that I'm confused. I've decided not to commit to any side or cause but myself. As Baltasar Gracian puts it:

Do not commit yourself to anybody or anything, for that is to be a slave, a slave to every man....Above all, keep yourself free of commitments and obligations - they are the device of another to get you in his power.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic, Suicide was around during the great ages of faith. One large biography of Luther mentioned that Luther suffered from depression, and several people close to Luther suffered from it even more, and committed suicide. Suicide was not uncommon even in Protestant parts of Europe, in fact it was more common there than in Catholic parts of Europe--as Catholic historians like to boast. But perhaps the fact that southern Europe was brighter and warmer than northern Europe where the Protestants lived also had something to do with the disparity.

Several people in Geneva during Calvin's era of leadership chose to commit suicide rather than face the Consistory--the religious admonishing group led by Calvin that could also insist you be put before the city council.

And as we know from Michael Patton's story told at Parchment and Pen, deep physiological depression strikes modern day apologists as well.

There's also the case of George R. Price, recounted in a fairly recent biography, The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness. He was an accomplished scientist whose work encompassed several fields, including an evolutionary hypothesis to account for altruism. At age 48 he had a religious experience, converted to Christianity, and tried to help the homeless and alcoholics, until he grew increasingly frustrated, depressed and five years later committed suicide.

Being a member of a group that is despised or taken advantage of can also lead to suicide. Gays for instance.

In early Christianity, suicide was sometimes regarded as a virtuous act. Eusebius, in his account of martyrs at Antioch (Ecclesiastical History, Book 8, chapter 12), tells of a mother who taught her two beautiful unmarried daughters to regard rape as the most dreadful thing that could happen to them. Eventually the mother and daughters were captured by a band of lustful soldiers. On realizing their plight, they modestly requested to be excused for a minute. They then threw themselves into a nearby river and drowned.

Some early Christians as well as modern Christians appear to have leapt at the chance of martyrdom, engaging in evangelical activities in such a thoughtless unprepared fashion as to endanger their own lives and those of their family. Such as moving themselves and their whole families into areas of disease or danger, sometimes with near suicidal negligence, and depending all the while on the Lord to provide.

Speaking of early Christian martyrs, the Donatists as they were called, formed their own church in North Africa that they were convinced was more orthodox than Catholicism because none of their bishops had ever denied the faith under Roman threat of death/martyrdom. And they fought against Catholic bishops being appointed in their region, daring to commit crimes and be martyred for them in defense of their one true church. (They were not unorthodox in other beliefs, except for their belief in adult baptism which was considered unorthodox by Catholics, and their belief that bishops ought never to have offered sacrifice to Caesar. They offered Catholics the chance to become "true Christians" by being baptized into the Donatist church.)

Crude said...

And we have Babinski rolling in, waving his arms wildly until you can basically say that anyone who volunteers for military service in the US can be classified as suicidal, because they're actively putting themselves in harm's way.

Wonderful.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Crude, You display a crude understanding of what I wrote. An intellectually suicidal understanding. A better analogy to what I wrote would be to compare missionaries rushing into places of natural and man-made dangers with as little understanding and preparation as a soldier rushing into battle without a helmet. Kind of like you just did.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Crude, I didn't even mention the great lies told by Christians over the ages concerning the painful horror-filled deaths of infidels and atheists. Including the fairly modern lie which is only starting to die out concerning Darwin's deathbed recantation. (Which was finally debunked and disowned even by young-earth creationists in CRSQ and I think at Answers in Genesis.)

Here's the book, Infidel Death Beds, http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/george_foote/infidel_deathbeds.html

Crude said...

You display a crude understanding of what I wrote.

No, I pointed out your freaking absurdity. If you stretch the meaning of words anymore in this thread people will think you're making taffy.

A better analogy to what I wrote would be to compare missionaries rushing into places of natural and man-made dangers with as little understanding and preparation as a soldier rushing into battle without a helmet.

Carelessness != 'committing suicide'. Do you think a guy who rides a motorcycle without a helmet is, literally, 'committing suicide' every time he gets on the freaking bike?

What gets me about you, Ed, isn't your bullshit. It's that you're so bad at it. How can you be at this game for so long, yet be so awful?

I didn't even mention the great lies told by Christians over the ages concerning the painful horror-filled deaths of infidels and atheists

You may have neglected to mention it since it's got nothing to do with anything here, but apparently you forgot why 'total irrelevancy' matters.

Quick Ed, fling anything you can! SOMEthing has to stick! Right?

BenYachov said...

I respect the despair and nihilism of the old guard Atheists. If only because as I grow older I become more of a realist & that just suits my Thomism just fine. Both nihilism and despair make more sense in a godless universe to me. Have what fun you can. Grab some swag & die.

I have no respect for the Gnus who for the most part try to make Atheism in the image of Christianity without God or Christ.

Atheist can me moral, happy, fulfilled, at peace, etc...

Who gives a crap?

It's like "gay marriage". One Bisexual Housewife whose political blog I read on the net once quipped that by perusing "marriage" gays where really saying (I paraphrase from memory) "You straights are really the norm and unless we can be like you as much as possible except with a little difference then we won't truly be normal."

Gnus are the same & I am reminded of it every time Loftus swings in here ranting about how we are all deluded and we need to take the OTF to save ourselves from delusion.

You stopped believing in God & you are still preaching and trying to get people saved?

Waste of time that could be spend getting swag.

But it's your time to waste.

unkleE said...

A riveting, but in many ways terrible, story. Of course it doesn't prove Catholicism or christianity right and atheism wrong. But you would expect that, whether we are here by the grace of God or by natural selection, or both, that we would be fit for the life we are given, and not a misfit.

This story may also show why modern atheism appears to be taking on some of the trappings of a religion in its sense of social solidarity, its development of a priestly class and the development of dogma in the form of shared beliefs that are not supported by evidence. It can be lonely otherwise, as many atheists, especially in the US, say, and perhaps especially so in times of crisis or bereavement. I am not being critical here - after all christians do exactly the same - but rather musing about the common human impulses that lead to these behaviours.

Matt DeStefano said...

Dr. Reppert, these kinds of stories seem inevitably at odds with your definition of faith. The emotional despair that R.J. Stove conveys at the witness of his father's suicide "dealt a mortal blow to the atheistic house of cards which constituted [his own] outlook". While this is no doubt a traumatic experience, why should it come to bear on the metaphysical presence of a deity?

Imagine an oncologist who balks at the mortality rate of pancreatic cancer simply because a loved one contracts it. While I understand R.J.'s insistence on answering questions about his own role in his father's death (and the corresponding guilt, etc.), his adoption of Catholicism seems so tangled and wrought with emotional despair that I find it hard to believe he satisfied any reasonable amount of epistemic objectivity in his search. The promise of eternal life to lost loved ones is enticing, but it is an intellectual sin to adopt a position on the extent to which it eases your yearning for cosmic justice.

This is why McCormick, Loftus, et al define faith in the way that they do. Despite your cries to the contrary, the overwhelming majority of conversion stories sound like emotional bouts with human struggles and emotional remedies through the adopt of doctrines which ease the pain. While such struggles are unavoidable, I don't think the correct prescription for getting through them is to adopt a metaphysical framework in which they cease to be problems.

Victor Reppert said...

Even if it is a correct description of faith, it cannot be a definition of it. No one seems to get the describing/defining distinction.

Papalinton said...

Another piece of 'evidence' from personal revelation, Victor?

If this is representative of the very best evidence or proofs for the truth of christian theism, then I guess the issue of significant declines in church membership, dramatically lower church attendance, the sizeable reduction in religious affiliation, applications to seminaries, and the lessening influence of religious nonsense in the military, legal, medical, scientific and civil society, etc. comes as no surprise or mystery to historians and social scientists on the dissolute and specious premises of the christian mythos.

Equally, if this narrative is solicited as genuine catholic testimony, is it any wonder that communities today are increasingly unafraid in rejecting such unchecked and immoderate appeals to emotion and melodrama as apposite models of civil society.

The context of this unfortunate story is symptomatic of the insubstantial an unconvincing nature of the void that masquerades as christian theism.

Cole said...

Dr. Reppert,

I was always told that faith was a confident assurance or trust. As John Calvin states it:

“A firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence towards us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

This is why I believe the arguments for God don't get you there because the probabilities aren't strong enough. Different people will come to different conclusions when multiplying the probabilities because of the biases and other psychological issues. This is why I say the probabilities involved are either inscrutable (we simply cannot tell what they are) or non-existent (there just aren't any relevant probabilities).

I still have faith. But it's faith in myself. I believe in myself and I have a solution to the existential anxiety of death. I'm not perfect but I accept that and love myself unconditionally and take care of myself and help others. What I recommend is to learn to be yourself. Learn to be secure with yourself and gain a proper understanding of your own value and worth so that you can love others from a position of power, love, and security instead of insecurity. This doesn't mean that we become an island and isolate from others. Only that we love each other from a position of power. I just don't like to love others out of fear and insecurity. I'm not an Atheist or a Christian. I don't even know what an Atheist or Christian is. There's so many different definitions that I'm confused. I've decided not to commit to any side or cause but myself.

Ryan Anderson said...

Does having an answer to existential anxieties have anything to do with theism being true?

Cole said...

Dr. Reppert,

Here's why I can use the OTF against religious faith and not my own. I'm not an atheist, theist, or deist and I've decided to place my faith in myself and believe in myself. So, if I was to take the OTF against my faith I would have to doubt my own existence which is self-refuting. This is why I can use the OTF against religious faith but not my own. Christians want you to doubt yourself and turn your will over to the Bible. They are afraid if you don't then you will suffer forever under God's wrath.

cl said...

Babinski, what is your point in all those words, and how does it relate to the story Vic posted?

cl said...

Cole,

I'm not an Atheist or a Christian. I don't even know what an Atheist or Christian is. There's so many different definitions that I'm confused. I've decided not to commit to any side or cause but myself.

Do you believe in at least one God? If no, you're an atheist.

Are you trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation of your sins? If no, you're not a Christian.

It doesn't get any simpler, though I agree some people try to make it difficult.

Victor Reppert said...

Ryan: It might provide a pragmatic reason for some people to believe.

cl said...

Victor:

It might provide a pragmatic reason for some people to believe.

Of course, an atheist could turn around and spout some variant of, "but having a reason to believe isn't necessarily good, we need *TRUE* beliefs..." Aside from the fact that this assumption ironically cannot be proven true, it's quite easily flipped. For, if one is an atheist, they seem committed to something like Strawson's basic argument, the conclusion of which is that we cannot be ultimately responsible for our actions.

Yet, how many of these same atheists will advocate abolition of the criminal justice system which is founded upon this false belief?

So, atheists, which is it? Do we need true beliefs? Or beliefs that serve pragmatic purpose?

Cole said...

cl,

An atheist will tell you that they don't have faith. I do have faith and belief. It's in me. I believe in myself. As I stated above, this is why I can use the OTF against religious faith but not my own. If I were to take the OTF against my own faith I would have to doubt my own existence which is self- refuting.

Victor Reppert said...

An atheist has faith in all sorts of things, just not God. Of course this is true only if you don't define faith as irrational.

Cole said...

Dr. Reppert,

They obviously don't have faith in themselves or they would say so. My faith is in me. If I take the OTF against my faith I doubt my own existence and my own ability to choose. This is self-refuting. That's what I mean by faith anyway.

Matt DeStefano said...

Even if it is a correct description of faith, it cannot be a definition of it. No one seems to get the describing/defining distinction.

If this is referring to your post a few days ago about the definition of 'faith' and OTF (swans, etc.), I think your distinction there relies upon a fallacy of equivocation. Loftus is using two different senses of the word 'faith' and you're arguing it fails under the banner of one definition.

For instance, from Loftus's introduction post: "The Outsider Test for Faith is just one of several arguments I use in my books to demonstrate that when examining the evidence for a religious set of beliefs the predisposition of skepticism is warranted."

It seems clear to me that when Loftus refers to the OTF, it's the Outsider Test for Faith in that it is a test designed to weigh evidence for a set of religious claims. Faith here is not a verb, but a noun referring to one's religious ideology.

On the other hand, you are objecting to the definition of faith that relates to an action that the believer participates in. When McCormick or Loftus define faith as an "irrational leap over the probabilities" or similar terms, they are arguing for a definition of the action/"relationship" the believer is participating in between themselves and the set of religious propositions.

So when you say: "Now it seems to me a requirement to take the OTF that the person has faith. That means we need some way of deciding who has faith and who does not have faith, and this way has to be available to people of all persuasions. That is what a definition does. "

We can ask people: Are you religious? Do you subscribe to a religious ideology? Do you identify as Christian/Muslim/Jewish, etc.? These are all reasonable ways of discerning whether or not someone has faith in a way necessary to take the OTF.

As far as defining whether or not a person is acting on 'faith' in the second sense, that's another issue entirely. Of course, you can exempt yourself from this definition by saying "My faith isn't like that", but my point in my original comment was that most of the empirical evidence we have regarding conversion stories seems to support the opposite claim. Indeed, most conversions seem not to happen after years of careful deliberation, but in moments of severe emotional distress or jubilation.

Cole said...

Matt,

The way faith was explained to me is that it includes believing but it also includes trusting. It's a confident assurance in something or someone. I have placed my faith in myself. If I were to take the OTF then I would doubt my own existence as well as my ability to choose. This is self-defeating. This is why I can take the OTF against religious faith but not my own faith.

Cole said...

Dr. Reppert,

I think if the OTF leads me to doubt my own existence and abilities to choose then I should reject it. What do you think?

Cole said...

Why I Must Reject The Outsider Test For Faith

I'm not an atheist, theist, or deist and I've decided to place my faith in myself and believe in myself. So, if I was to take the OTF against my own faith I would have to doubt my own existence and ability to choose which is self-refuting. This is why I reject the OTF because it causes me to doubt my own existence as well as my own abilities to choose.

Victor Reppert said...

Matt: Whether you think highly of C. S. Lewis or not, it seems to me that his conversion seems to have been of the intellectual sort.

BenYachov said...

>Indeed, most conversions seem not to happen after years of careful deliberation, but in moments of severe emotional distress or jubilation.

Where do you get your data for this claim?

Plus how is it possible to study all conversions from one faith to another or no faith to some faith?

Matt DeStefano said...

@ Dr. Reppert

It's been years since I have thought about and/or read any C.S. Lewis, but I take you to be a sort of expert on his thought and work. Although, I'm also wary of the first-person testimony of any single individual on how emotions may have afflicted any particular decision. We have ample evidence to suggest human beings are relatively poor at introspection, especially regarding even the most subtle influences on decision making.

Of course, my point wasn't that ALL conversions were emotional experiences, but that there was an observable trend that most conversion experiences were not careful measurements of probabilities (and arguments for/against) like we might expect in evaluating other metaphysical and epistemological claims.


@ BenYachov

There's quite a bit of research in the field of psychology on trends in religious conversion. Arguably, the start began with Starbuck's papers (you can find this on Wikipedia's "religious conversion" page), and there's been a wealth of research done since. It's impossible to study "all" conversions from faith to faith or faith to non-faith, but of course we know that that's not how science works.

I'm also looking at this from my own personal experience reading (a lot, especially during my own deconversion) testimony, the data on religious conversion to faiths like Evangelical Protestantism, the charismatic faiths, and the success of church conversion in places like prisons, rehabilitation (AA, etc.) and those who have experienced severe emotional trauma.

BenYachov said...

>It's impossible to study "all" conversions from faith to faith or faith to non-faith, but of course we know that that's not how science works.


Thus it is not prudent for you to claim "most conversions seem not to happen after years of careful deliberation,". That is not a scientific statement.

Just saying.

Better to say "Those I'm personally familiar with".

Cheers.

Matt DeStefano said...

"Thus it is not prudent for you to claim 'most conversions seem not to happen after years of careful deliberation,'. That is not a scientific statement."

Sure it is. We can do a psychological survey of religious adherents (or better yet, a meta-survey of relevant research) who had not been raised in a religion (which is obviously not an intellectual conversion), and draw conclusions based off of that data.

If there is something to the papers I mentioned from Starbuck, most of the primary reasons for switching religions are not epistemological agreement with a set of propositions, but rather strong emotional pulls.

BenYachov said...

>Sure it is.

I disagree. First you are relying on one psychologist who has been dead since 1947. There may have been a wealth of research done since then but have you truly surveyed all of it and correlated all the data?

I don't want to sound condescending but that seems unlikely from a mere student. I have my BA in Psychology and I haven't even done it.

Plus what are Starbucks' methodologies and assumptions? What school of psychology are we talking about? Is he really the last word on the subject?

I believe skepticism is in order.

>We can do a psychological survey of religious adherents (or better yet, a meta-survey of relevant research) who had not been raised in a religion (which is obviously not an intellectual conversion), and draw conclusions based off of that data.

We would have to break it down into categories least we have fallacies of equivocation all over the place.

Would this meta-survey take the education of converts into account?

What of age Starbuck seemed to only deal with conversions among young people?

This is too simplistic an evaluation IMHO.

Besides can we show all conversions to Atheism are adult ones? In my experience most people become Atheists at a young age too or as a result of some emotional crisis. Would William Lobdell have become an Atheist where it not for the Church Sex Scandal & the death of his daughter. What of Darwin & the death of his daughter? Considering many of his contemporaries who co-discovered Evolution with him where early Theistic Evolutionists?

Sorry but I take anecdotal evidence (in refer to science) even my own with many grains of salt.

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

@Matt

Also we must guard against the correlation equal causation fallacy.

Ever hear of the "Ice Cream causes rape!" fallacy? Statistic tell us higher number of rapes are reported to the police on Hot days. More ice cream is eaten on hot days then cool days. There is a correlation between Ice Cream consumption and the reporting of rape. Ergo Ice Cream causes rape.

Silly isn't it?

OTOH if most conversions are emotional is it because religion in general is emotion based or because young people tend to be less mature and more emotional when making choices in life?

Matt DeStefano said...

"I disagree. First you are relying on one psychologist who has been dead since 1947. There may have been a wealth of research done since then but have you truly surveyed all of it and correlated all the data?"

You seem to have an obsession with "all" as if one must survey ALL of it or correlate ALL the data in order to properly form a conclusion. This isn't how science operates, and especially not how one ought to form conclusions (we'd have to be skeptics on everything, even causality!).

I've actually read a fair amount of studies about this (Dr. McCormick was a professor of mine and had tons of interesting studies to present). I can e-mail you a list, if you are truly interested. Here's one such study I remember clearly: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/43/1/183/

From the abstract: "Emotional factors were more closely associated with religious conversion. Converts' perceptions of their parents were markedly more negative, and incidence of father absence was higher in the convert sample. Converts reported more traumatic events during childhood and described their childhood and adolescence as unhappy. In the interview with converts, personal stress was also reported more often than cognitive quest as characterizing the 2-yr period preceding conversion and as involved in the immediate consequences of conversion. "

This is only one study, but if you do a simple search on any journal database (esp. Psychology & Psychiatry), there are many like it.

"We would have to break it down into categories least we have fallacies of equivocation all over the place. "

I'm not sure how it would be a "fallacy of equivocation", but of course we would have to utilize proper methodology (which, hopefully, peer-reviewed papers do).

"Besides can we show all conversions to Atheism are adult ones? In my experience most people become Atheists at a young age too or as a result of some emotional crisis. Would William Lobdell have become an Atheist where it not for the Church Sex Scandal & the death of his daughter. What of Darwin & the death of his daughter? Considering many of his contemporaries who co-discovered Evolution with him where early Theistic Evolutionists?"

I think these individual examples are moot points. I'm not interested in making absolute claims about ALL conversions, I'm interested in large trends among populations. A single counterexample for either side does little to disparage the overall point. (

I admittedly haven't done much in the way of research about the psychology behind deconversion, as there isn't nearly as much psychological research being done (the psychology of atheism is far less sexy and lucrative than the psychology of religion).

"OTOH if most conversions are emotional is it because religion in general is emotion based or because young people tend to be less mature and more emotional when making choices in life?"

I'm arguing against the idea that people truly weigh the evidence and accurately consider the probabilities involved (as Reppert seems to argue to the contrary) when converting to a religious faith due to emotional involvement. If religious conversions are marked by emotional events (as research indicates), it seems disingenuous to suggest they were soberly weighing the evidence of each religious proposition.

Cole said...

Well, I didn't have any traumatic events in my childhood. I didn't have a real scary experience until I got out of High School and started college. I went to church when I was 15 and got saved. Throughout high school I've had experiences with beauty off and on that I took to be experiences with God. I have questioned their validity until recently when I read C.S. Lewis' argument from beauty. Lewis argues that we possess an instinct for transcendence, stimulated by beauty. For Lewis, beauty evokes an ideal that is more real than anything we encounter in this transitory world. It stirs up a sense of longing. I know exactly what Lewis is talking about here. I've experienced the exact same thing. I just recently found this existential argument combined with evidential reasoning for God. It's one that I like:

1.We need cosmic security. We need to know that we will live beyond the grave in a state that is free from the defects of this life, a state that is full of goodness and justice. We need a more expansive life, one in which we love and are loved. We need meaning, and we need to know that we are forgiven for going astray. We also need to experience awe and wonder, to delight in goodness and to be present with those we love.

2. The best explanation for the presence of these needs in humans is that there is a God who has put them into humans.

3. Faith in God satisfies these needs.

4. Therefore, we are justified in believing there is a God in whom we can have faith

BenYachov said...

>You seem to have an obsession with "all" as if one must survey ALL of it or correlate ALL the data in order to properly form a conclusion.

Actually it was a mere quibble over your claim "most conversions seem not to happen after years of careful deliberation,". I objected to the generalization & I don't see any justification for it.

As for the abstract of your article again there is the whole "Ice Cream causes rape" thing-correlation doesn't always equal causation.

So a sample population which have a superficial unifying behavior (changing from one religion to another) displaying a certain range of behaviors doesn't automatically demonstrate a causal relationship.

>I'm not sure how it would be a "fallacy of equivocation", but of course we would have to utilize proper methodology (which, hopefully, peer-reviewed papers do).

I don't believe it's valid to treat all religions or all belief systems in general as if they where one thing or completely equivalent to one another. Nor is it valid to fail to recognize there is a great deal of diversity within specific religions.

For example there is a difference between the popular Judaism of poor orthodox Jews vs that of Talmudic students.

I believe that is a fallacy of the New Atheist movement which constructs a Procrustean bed for religion in general & studies it superfically.

>I think these individual examples are moot points. I'm not interested in making absolute claims about ALL conversions, I'm interested in large trends among populations.

Then we have no dispute & I've misjudged you. My apologizes.

>'m arguing against the idea that people truly weigh the evidence and accurately consider the probabilities involved (as Reppert seems to argue to the contrary) when converting to a religious faith due to emotional involvement.

Why stop at religion? We could say the same about political ideology?

But that would depend on your education and educational content. For example if you learn about philosophy I submit either your Atheism or Theism would be more rationally based and less emotion based. Since philosophy teaches you to formally think.

>If religious conversions are marked by emotional events (as research indicates), it seems disingenuous to suggest they were soberly weighing the evidence of each religious proposition.

But that assumes a psychology questionnaire can cover a person's deepest held experience.

I rather doubt that but you are free to disagree.

Matt DeStefano said...

"I don't believe it's valid to treat all religions or all belief systems in general as if they where one thing or completely equivalent to one another. Nor is it valid to fail to recognize there is a great deal of diversity within specific religions."

I don't think I've done that, but religious conversions have a lot of qualities in common, and psychological research is bringing to light many of these components.One of them, I'm arguing (and I think it's largely supported by evidence) is that most conversions have a significantly elevated element of emotionality among them.

"But that would depend on your education and educational content. For example if you learn about philosophy I submit either your Atheism or Theism would be more rationally based and less emotion based. Since philosophy teaches you to formally think."

Interestingly, I would argue something similar - especially when it comes to philosophers and scientists (I would argue both disciplines foster objectivity). Of course, we know about the incredibly high rate of atheism in the sciences compared to the general population.

We also know that philosophers (which is my own field, I'm a grad student) largely "accept or lean toward" atheism. (http://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl)

BenYachov said...

>We also know that philosophers (which is my own field, I'm a grad student) largely "accept or lean toward" atheism. (http://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl)

But I remember Quintin Smith noting Theistic Philosophers are on the rise while Atheist Philosophers are in decline since the 60's.

http://blog.epsociety.org/2009/01/byrne-on-theistic-philosophers.asp

Pretty much all the so called New Atheists reject philosophy.

Indeed there was the weird spectacle of Swinburne a Theistic Philosopher with Atheist Philosopher Stephen Law both defending the validity of philosophy to New Atheists Atkins and Dawkins.

http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2012/02/magadalen-college-last-night-think-week.html

You are an Atheist Philosopher? Well good on you lad.

That earns mad respects from me.

Cheers.

I have holidays to celebrate so I will catch you on the flip side.