If you want to see how an atheist rationally (and I may say, restrained at times) responds to an organised attempts by religious students to hi-jack the Q&A session, read this post and watch part 2 of the video. It is rather long, 69 minutes, but it is well worth your time I promise!
(For some reason, Vox's YouTube search does not find the video even though I can find it easily on YouTube site. Here is a short clip below.)
After the Stern Review was released last week (more analysis here), BBC News message board is asking readers whether they are willing to pay green taxes. After reading a fair amount of the comments (~5 pages worth) I was dismayed that many BBC readers either think the review is just another British government way to tax the population, or climax changes are not scientifically proven, or worse still, admitted defeat because the small nation of Britain can't change the global climate so let's carry on as normal.
For the sceptics, why do they constantly asking for proofs? Does the IPCC reports proof enough? No. Do all the thousands of scientific papers on the subject enough? Apparently not either. I think it is because climate science (just like any science, really) is complex and the answers to any complex questions will inherently complex. But yet, most people are looking for the simple answer to ever more complex questions, in life or in anything.
As for those who don't want to pay the green taxes. They are the very same group of people that make me leave that country without regret. They want the best of both worlds, they want the cake and eat it. They complain about how bad the NHS is but yet don't want to pay the tax increase needed to modernize and reorganize the NHS. They just want their free health care. They complain about the state of the education system but yet do not want to pay tax that would raise teachers salaries or increase number of teachers. And with the green tax, apparently taxing the people who drive SUV/4×4 to deliver their kids to school is not right because their big car is 'essential' to their life.
Does having a conscious play no part in their decision making? Do we need the intervention of the Vatican church (or any religions for that matter) before the majority of the Earth's population will take notice? As much as I dislike religion as an organized movement, if that's what it will take to avert the upcoming climate crisis I am all for it.
Most Americans appear to believe that without faith in God, we would
have no durable reasons to treat one another well. The political
version of this morality claim is that our country was founded on
"Judeo-Christian principles,” the implication being that without these
principles we would have no way to write just laws.
Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I don't get insult/stress/windup easily. Mainly because I believe in that the insult only works if one believes in it. For example, if you were to call me stupid, why should I get angry at you? Is it because I am not stupid? To me, it is preciously because I know it is not true that I have no cause to get angry.
So whenever 'faithful'
people tell me that not believing in God will mean I will burn in hell,
my reply always is, "I don't believe in Hell, so why would it bother
Anyway, I don't wear my religious belief (or there lack of) on my sleeve.
As a science graduate, I obviously have no religion yearning but I have
no issue with other people's religions/believes. They can practice whatever belief system they want. But like a portion of the American population, I have been alarmed with the increasing swing to religion for answer in almost everything. The moderates sugarcoats it as 'faith' while the hardcore fundamentalists (i.e. evangelicals) just plain called it 'religion'.
But being an Atheist is not easy, even with thick skin like me. Newsweek has an article about being an Atheist in America isn't easy. Good read and it raises good point about both camps.
I found this to be particularly alarming:
In a recent NEWSWEEK Poll, Americans said they believed in God by a
margin of 92 to 6—only 2 percent answered "don't know"—and only 37
percent said they'd be willing to vote for an atheist for president.
(That's down from 49 percent in a 1999 Gallup poll—which also found
that more Americans would vote for a homosexual than an atheist.)
Best quote from the article:
"Tell a devout Christian … that frozen yogurt can make a man
invisible," Harris writes, "and he is likely to require as much
evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that
you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by
an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he
fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he
seems to require no evidence whatsoever."
Anyhow, if someone with 'faith' can answer these following questions (not the full list of course, just some that pop into my mind right now) without invoking the Almighty God, aliens from Andromeda, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then I'll even spend some of my brain time chunk it over.
- Why do people need religion to explain (justify in my opinion) their action?
- Why is moral teaching the sole domain of religion in this country (or any other predominantly Christian countries)?
- Why does someone must believe in something/someone because otherwise that person would not ever be happy?
- Why only people with 'faith' can do good?