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Atheists debate how scornful of religion they should be

October 20, 2010

Meeting recently at a conference sponsored by the Council for Secular Humanism, 370 American atheists explored the topic “How publicly scornful of religion should we be?” The conference attendees, reported The New York Times, were reminiscent of “a Star Trek convention, but older.”

Citing neuroscience, evolution, and philosophers such as Kant and Rawls, speakers also explored the potential sources of an atheist morality.


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  • Posted by: Tau - Oct. 22, 2010 1:16 PM ET USA

    When someone approached Bishop Sheen and said "There is no God" the bishop said to him "Why would you preach against someone who you don't believe exists." FrancisTau

  • Posted by: voxfem - Oct. 20, 2010 10:51 PM ET USA

    Any other group that is 'largely white and male' would be treated with scorn. It would be interesting to see what alternate ethical system they come up with. I wonder if it will be based on natural law. If so, we can live with that. But how does one develop an ethical system based on relativism?

  • Posted by: pcgondreau8983 - Oct. 20, 2010 10:16 PM ET USA

    Atheist morality? That's an oxymoron, folks. If goodness doesn't exist, it's non-sensical to speak of degrees of goodness (such as a good, or less-than good (evil) action). Who's to say what's good or bad if there's no summum bonum to measure any good action against?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2010 2:36 PM ET USA

    Do they stroke their chins and make tents with their fingers as they converse over this issue?

  • Posted by: garedawg - Oct. 20, 2010 10:40 AM ET USA

    Back when I was an atheist, I did not believe in the idea of right versus wrong or that life had any meaning. Therefore, it would have not occurred to me to spend time figuring out how to present an atheist viewpoint to the world; what would the point be? Not to pat myself too hard on the back for past mistakes, but I think that I was a much more devout atheist than any of the people at that conference.