Class Warfare Blog

January 15, 2018

What Kind of Atheists are These?

Filed under: Culture,History,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:00 am
Tags: , ,

After reading the following excerpts, I will ask you what kind of atheists are displayed based upon their words. Let us begin:

Atheist the First
This is in the form of a conversation between Samuel White Baker and Commoro, a non-believer. They communicated through interpreters:

Baker Have you no belief in a future existence after death?

Commoro Existence after death! How can that be? Can a dead man get out of his grave, unless we dig him out?

Baker Do you think man is like a beast that dies and is ended?

Commoro Certainly. . . .

Baker Then you believe in nothing; neither in a good nor evil spirit! And you believe that when you die it will be the end of body and spirit; that you are like other animals; and that there is no distinction between man and beast; both disappear, and end at death?

Commoro  Of course they do.

Baker (Some corn had been taken out of a sack for the horses and a few grains lying scattered on the ground. Making a small hole with my finger in the ground, I placed a grain within it.) That represents you when you die. (I covered it with earth) That grain will decay, but from it will rise the plant that will produce a reappearance of the original form.

Commoro  Exactly so; that I understand. But the original grain does not rise again; it rots like the dead man, and is ended; the fruit produced is not the same grain that we buried, but the production of that grain: so it is with man—I die, and decay, and am ended; but my children grow up like the fruit of the grain.

Is Commoro a new atheist, a militant atheist, angry atheist, or an agnostic?

Atheist the Second
This book, the Bible, has persecuted, even unto death, the wisest and the best. This book stayed and stopped the onward movement of the human race. This book poisoned the fountains of learning and misdirected the energies of man. This book is the enemy of freedom, the support of slavery. This book sowed the seeds of hatred in families and nations, fed the flames of war, and impoverished the world. This book is the breastwork of kings and tyrants – the enslaver of women and children. This book has corrupted parliaments and courts. This book has made colleges and universities the teachers of error and the haters of science. This book has filled Christendom with hateful, cruel, ignorant and warring sects. This book taught men to kill their fellows for religion’s sake. This book funded the Inquisition, invented the instruments of torture, built the dungeons in which the good and loving languished, forged the chains that rusted in their flesh, erected the scaffolds whereon they died. This book piled fagots about the feet of the just. This book drove reason from the minds of millions and filled the asylums with the insane.

This book has caused fathers and mothers to shed the blood of their babes. This book was the auction block on which the slave-mother stood when she was sold from her child. This book filled the sails of the slave-trader and made merchandise of human flesh. This book lighted the fires that burned “witches” and “wizards.” This book filled the darkness with ghouls and ghosts, and the bodies of men and women with devils. This book polluted the souls of men with the infamous dogma of eternal pain. This book made credulity the greatest of virtues, and investigation the greatest of crimes. This book filled nations with hermits, monks and nuns — with the pious and the useless. This book placed the ignorant and unclean saint above the philosopher and philanthropist. This book taught man to despise the joys of this life, that he might be happy in another – to waste this world for the sake of the next. I attack this book.

Is this author a new atheist, a militant atheist, angry atheist, or an agnostic?

So, what did you answer?

The correct answer is that these were old atheists.

The first example was from the 1860’s! Source: Stephens, Mitchell. Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World. St. Martin’s Press. Original source: Samuel White Baker, The Albert N’Yanza: Great Basin of the Nile and Explorations of the Nile Sources. Commoro was described as a chief of the Latooka tribe in East Africa, and as a barbarian.

The second example is Robert G. Ingersoll. Source: About the Holy Bible, first published in 1894! Ingersoll is the best example of an American freethinker as can be found.

My point is atheism is not “new.” It has been around since religion raised its ugly head. It is simply an expression of doubt when people are told tales that have no support in reality. The reason atheism is characterized as it is is due to the fact that it has been suppressed for so long that people are actually surprised when it rears its ugly head, and therefore think it is new.

Atheism is not new.

These examples show that you can be formally educated or not, black or white, all of those things don’t matter. All that matters is you cherish being able to think for yourself and do not want to be controlled by make believe principles.

 

 

19 Comments »

  1. Well said, Steve.

    Like

    Comment by Arkenaten — January 15, 2018 @ 10:35 am | Reply

  2. The second one reminds me of me. Do you know of anything like this prior to the 1840 range? I’ve been looking for a correlation to another idea. Great post again!

    Like

    Comment by jim- — January 15, 2018 @ 11:08 am | Reply

    • The book “Imagine There is No Heaven” (see the post) traces atheist statements back to Greece and India, several centuries BCE. It is available in an inexpensive Kindle version, which is how I got it.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 15, 2018 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

  3. The ‘new’ part of ‘New Atheism’ is to fight back against examples of religious privilege in the public domain whenever it is encountered, by publicly criticizing it when it is AND defending non belief from scurrilous charges of ethical impropriety and moral degeneracy. Non belief is not new and atheism has been around for as long as gods have been believed. But New Atheism is an active atheism vs not so much religion itself but from those who wish to quiet it down, to go along to get along, to make excuses for and tolerate ongoing religious privilege, to criticize the Butter crowd (the “I’m an atheist, but…” crowd), to fight against the rise of atheist, and especially agnostic, bigotry of low expectations regarding religious belief and practice, which is then excused and tolerated by otherwise reasonable people. New Atheism is an active atheism, and that’s what’s ‘New’ about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by tildeb — January 15, 2018 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  4. Commoro could be a New Atheist, a traditional atheist, or an agnostic; but, is regardless an empiricist.

    Atheist the Second is somewhat confused. The Bible is just a book. It did not perpetrate any of the atrocities cited, people did.

    No, atheism is not new; but, New Atheism is (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Atheism).

    Like

    Comment by Robert A. Vella — January 15, 2018 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

    • Isn’t that the same theory to “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”? Without The Book (of lies) and the other Book of Lies (the Quran) would people have killed people? Would humans have found “some” reason to embrace the narrow-mind and slough off rational thought? I suspect this would be so. Look at the bizarre religions that have sprung up (Mormonism, Adventists, Moonies) people crave simplistic, false solutions to the big deep questions of existence. I’m afraid, had it not been the Bible or the Quran, there would have been some other to take its place. (But, hey, I’m willing to go back, erase those useless tomes and try again!)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Anony Mole — January 15, 2018 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

      • Well, yes, mine is the same argument as used by gun nuts; however, I’m one of those bleeding-heart gun-control lefties they love to hate.

        Regardless, the argument has merit. Take away all guns from the citizenry, and violent crime would still exist – it just wouldn’t be as deadly. Likewise, remove all religious books from history, and malevolent people would still find other reasons and rationale to perpetrate atrocities.

        Power abhors a vacuum. Get rid of religious institutions, and other institutions will take their place. That might be a good thing, or it might not be. We just don’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Robert A. Vella — January 15, 2018 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

        • Oh, I think it would be a good thing because people would have to decide for themselves how they want to interact with others. Too many people now paly the God Card, claiming they are taken care of, and spend no further time on such important issues.

          On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 8:13 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — January 15, 2018 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

          • Yes Steve, I’m in favor of getting rid of religion too. I wonder though, if the psychology and circumstances of people who are drawn to religion might be drawn to some other ideology instead of becoming more individualistic.

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by Robert A. Vella — January 15, 2018 @ 10:34 pm | Reply

            • I do not think we need more individualism, we need more collectivism. Currently the oligarchs running this country are trying to undermine collectivism wherever they find it. They are disempowering unions, disenfranchising voters (at least those who vote against them), and eschewing any kind of bipartisan political activity, preferring to go it alone.

              We need to commit to collective action when it is appropriate and individualism when it is appropriate. This is the purpose of our founding political documents, to sort all of that out. But when a small group of immensely wealthy people want it otherwise, we are in trouble because of the propensity of our politicians to be bought off.

              On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 10:34 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Liked by 2 people

              Comment by Steve Ruis — January 16, 2018 @ 8:41 am | Reply

        • It’s this damn single experiment problem we’ve got. One world, one species. I’m sure, and I commiserate, many scientists would like to re-run the human experiment with different parameters.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Anony Mole — January 15, 2018 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  5. This is an awesome post! I particularly like Ingersoll. Why oh why are the masses so utterly incapable of thinking on their own and using reason and logic? Have there been studies about this concerning genetics or DNA? I feel there must be something different about these people and unfortunately it effects the majority. The Bible may be only a book that didn’t actually perpetuate the atrocities, but it certainly drove people to do these acts. What gets to me is people’s absolute refusal to question or use rational thinking be it religion, politics or the latest medical or food fad. Does it boil down to a skepticism gene that free thinkers have and extra one of?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mary — January 15, 2018 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

    • Many of Ingersoll’s written works are still available. In his time, he was a rock star. He got invited to the White House, spoke all over the country, etc. I have enjoyed reading many of them.

      On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 4:06 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 15, 2018 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

  6. I was going to answer “I’m not sure which sort of atheist these people are, but I like them.”

    Old atheist I wasn’t expecting. Never heard of Commoro, but I have read me some Ingersoll and he shoots pretty straight.

    Like

    Comment by shelldigger — January 16, 2018 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  7. “Is Commoro a new atheist, a militant atheist, angry atheist, or an agnostic?”

    He sounds like a completely reasonable person to me. None of the choices you suggested. Just atheist.

    “Is this author a new atheist, a militant atheist, angry atheist, or an agnostic?”

    Again, she sounds like a well-informed, reasonable person. But the quotation doesn’t mention whether she believes in God or not, so I don’t know whether she’s an atheist.

    ***

    (I intentionally answered the questions before reading your ending commentary, just so my honest answers would be on record. It’s no surprise to me that both have been around a while. I’ve been reading Bertrand Russell since my teen years.)

    Personally, I am an atheist = don’t believe in gods.
    I am an anti-theist = I actively advocate against religion.
    I am a humanist = I subscribe to the secular humanist ideals in the Humanist Manifesto III.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Anderson Connors — January 16, 2018 @ 4:01 pm | Reply


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