- Published on Friday, 27 August 2010 07:27
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 3034
As Sam Harris says, there is no word for not being an astrologer - so why is there a word for not being a theist? Labelling people who don't believe in something does not make them members of a religion. For atheism to be a religion, it would have to have some kind of philosophical position and some content - but it doesn't. And the word itself can be applied to almost everyone - all religious people are atheists about everyone else's god. I would go further than Harris and say that since almost everyone rejects parts of what their pastor, priest, imam says, then there are about as many religions and versions of god as there are people (see Custom religions).
Atheists are accused of being dogmatic and arrogant, just like religions are with their dogmas. But for an atheist to be accused of being dogmatic for calling the bible ridiculous is the pot calling the kettle black - any Christian would say Zeus is ridiculous . And "people of faith" claim humility while at the same time they claim to know more about cosmology, physics, chemistry and palaeontology than any scientist - talk about arrogance. I'd be more inclined to accept what people like Stephen Hawking say on Cosmology - he has never accepted creationism nor tried to reconcile his work with Genesis.
Atheists freely admit that we (the human race) don't know everything about the universe - we simply point out that neither the Bible nor the Qur'an provide answers.
In his talk (below), Harris segues into the thought that there is nothing to prevent an atheist from mystical experiences like transcendental love or meditation - but this just means that experiencing these things is not a result of a religion - it's just a human experience.
Sam Harris spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival in July 2009 with the topic "Believing the Unbelievable". This is a clip from that talk.