Re: [atheists-488] My response to Ellen Johnson's response to the Sam Harris essay

From: Marcia
Sent on: Saturday, October 13, 2007 3:05 PM
steve, nice, I enjoyed reading your response

Steve <[address removed]> wrote:
My respone to Will Davidson's perspective:

It seems to me that there is a lot of pressure in some of the ideas put forth below.  If someone declares themselves to be an Atheist, I see no reason to go down the path of "Does he believe in Pixies and free will?"  To check on the value of a statement, I like to turn it around and examine its components.  If someone told you he was a Christian, would you feel a compulsion to know whether he believes in abortion rights?  I view these as different issues altogether.  Hence, when I say I am an Atheist, it should suffice to be known that I do not agree with the concept of an all-powerful being overseeing our existence.  Anything more is a matter of personal perspective for each individual, and in my mind, a different issue.

Yes, I am an Atheist.  I base this on my own logical conculsions, of which I can elaborate upon at another time.
But beyond one's belief in an all-powerful ever-present being... Isn't this world a wonderful place?  I just showed my grandson two Grey Treefrogs.  We watched them on the window sill.  I have always enjoyed critters, and it is becoming even more enjoyable to bring up a grandson to see how full our world is when we take a look around us.  I wish everyone could enjoy what is around us, and not feel a need for dominance over nature, nor to see ourselves as the only real being worthy of some obscure ill-defined "heaven".  This is not a testing ground.  Enjoy the world for what it is, and leave something for our grandkids to enjoy.

Steve Ogg

-----Original Message-----
From: Will Davidson <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thu, 4 Oct[masked]:32 pm
Subject: [atheists-488] My response to Ellen Johnson's response to the Sam Harris essay

Sam Harris essay:
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/sam_harris/2007/10/the_problem_with_atheism.html

Ellen Johnson Response:
http://humaniststudies.org/enews/?id=317&article=1

My response:
Ellen Johnson quotes Chapman Cohen as saying ?[atheism] is really a thoroughly, honest, unambiguous term??
But is it?  In my mind, it is a thoroughly ambiguous term because it tells me nearly nothing about the person who self-identifies as an atheist.
The only thing that the name tells me about the person is that they do not believe in the existence of gods.
How do they come by their atheism?  Are they atheists because they subscribe to the rationality of metaphysical and methodological naturalism or are they atheists because they are rebelling against their parents?
We know they do not believe in gods but do they believe in pixies? No?
Do they believe in Free Will? Many atheists do believe in Free Will which in my opinion is a supernatural belief.
Do they believe that Reason exists in a plane of reality above and separate from nature? Objectivism is also a supernatural belief.
Are they concerned for the future of the human species?
Are they dedicated to living a moral and ethical life?
Is it their mission to become the best possible person they can be?
Do they recognize the value of reverence and awe of nature?
When a person tells us she is an atheist we do not know the answer to any of these questions.
To me, the name Naturalist encompasses all of these questions.
To me, Naturalism is positive, expansive and life-affirming.
I do not choose the name Naturalist because I want to be liked by theists, I choose it because I want to like myself.
Will Davidson


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