Saturday, May 16, 2015

Counting the indifferent

May I point out one other basic issue. Of course atheists are going to come out better if they claim all the people who are religiously indifferent. And I think those people constitute the vast majority of the "nones" in our society. It's like claiming all the babies as atheists, which is what I have seen done. Next thing you know they'll be claiming my cats. Even Hemant Mehta spoke out against that one. Most people who are nonreligious are not nonreligious as a result of critical reflection. In fact, a lot of them have some godish belief like the belief in a "force out there." (May the Force be with you).

12 comments:

B. Prokop said...

Since it's relevant to this new thread, I'll re-post a (slightly edited) portion of my comment from below:

The contemporary collapse of denominational religion (and yes, it is collapsing) has little or nothing to do with any loss of religious faith, but is rather part and parcel of the atomization of our entire culture that we've been witnessing over the past 50 years or so (as spelled out in such studies as Bowling Alone). Labor unions have collapsed, knowing one's next door neighbors is a thing of the past, everyone watching Walter Cronkite is ancient history, and (sadly) identifying with a church is fading. The atheists can take no credit for the rise of the "nones" unless they wish to credit themselves with the disappearance of workplace bowling leagues as well!

Jezu ufam tobie!

Crude said...

While Loftus spins madly, going from "Victor you have to ban people from your blog, they RIDICULE me" to "I totally defend ridicule, ridicule is great!!!" in the blink of an eye, there's another happening I think you'd find relevant.

Massimo Pigliucci pretty much announced his withdrawl from the skeptic and atheist movement - despite remaining a skeptic and an atheist - for a number of reasons. Here's a choice quote:

My goal isn’t to damn Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris or whoever for being wrong (or simply in disagreement with me!) about this or that. We can all disagree, and we are all wrong at least some of the time. My dismay is at the celebrity culture and degree of groupthink that now permeates SAM — both of which, you would think, are exactly antithetical to what skepticism and atheism are supposed to be about.

Also, Feser recently had a lot to say about CS Lewis, which I think would be right up your alley.

B. Prokop said...

"celebrity culture and degree of groupthink"

Hah! Reminds me of a former poster to this site, who would bend his mind into a pretzel in his increasingly desperate attempts to defend every last word ever uttered by either Dawkins or Harris, never admitting to a molecule's breadth of distance between his own (non)thoughts and those of his heroes.

But why should Pigliucci's comments surprise anyone? Keep in mind the Great Purges in Moscow during the last century of those who deviated in the slightest from the Party Line. As they say, a leopard can't change his spots...

Jezu ufam tobie!

Ilíon said...

In the present day, most people who “believe in God” are in truth indifferent to God. So long as God – and his people – don’t say anything to remind them that they are sinners who are deliberately choosing death rather than life, they’ll focus their hatred at ‘atheists’. And they really do hate ‘atheists’ passionately. But, remind them that, “Thus sayeth the Lord …” and you’ll find that they hate you even more than they hate ‘atheists’.

How to explain this seeming paradox? It’s that they hate anyone who may cause them to *think* about God. They want a god who is a pocket-monster who answers to them, not the Sovereign Lord.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

I think it's stupid to assume that the "nones" are atheists. The burden of proof should be on the person who claims that the "nones" are atheists.

oozzielionel said...

I am willing to count the nones as atheists. I agree with the theory that there was no real exodus from Christianity, but revelation of those who were Christian in name only (hence pretenders).

Walter said...

I am willing to count the nones as atheists.

Why count us as atheists? Do you count all non-christian theists as atheists? An unbeliever in the Christian religion is not necessarily an unbeliever in theism or deism.

jdhuey said...


Most people who are nonreligious are not nonreligious as a result of critical reflection.


Is this based on some actual survey or study? Or is this simply your guess?

Now my guess is that most people who are religious are not religious as the result of critical reflection. I suspect that most religious people are that way simply out of inertia - their parents took them to church as children and so they continue to go out of habit. But that is just my guess.

Victor Reppert said...

For a long time when I was teaching introductory philosophy classes I found relatively few out and out atheists, but a lot more people whose main complaint about religion wasn't that there was a lack of evidence for God or anything like that, but rather that religious believers were hypocrites.

jdhuey said...

I can't say that I have run into many of those types of people at atheist groups but I have encountered them elsewhere. Some of the confusion is the ambiguity in the phrase 'believe in'. An atheist says 'I don't believe in God' meaning not believing in the existence of God. While others says 'I don't believe in God' meaning I don't believe that God is effective or benevolent or looking out for my best interests, etc. He still exists in those peoples mind, He simply is feckless.

Ilíon said...

VR: "For a long time when I was teaching introductory philosophy classes I found relatively few out and out atheists, but a lot more people whose main complaint about religion wasn't that there was a lack of evidence for God or anything like that, but rather that religious believers were hypocrites."

In other words, you encountered God-haters too hypocritical to openly admit that they hate God. Like he's not going to know, or something.

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