Orson Scott Card is poorly informed
Personally I’m pretty sick and tired of religious individuals commenting on atheism when they have absolutely no idea what it means to dis-believe in God. Let me assure you, religious readers, I am not an atheist because of an abusive or absent father (an idea so insultingly wrong I usually choose not to dignify it with an answer). I am also not an atheist because of some secret hatred or spurning from your religion. I simply believe the world has no need for your services, and I’m tired of your logically unsound accusations atheism is a religion.
If your interested in hearing another baseless attack from a prominent religionist, here is science fiction writer Orson Scott Card making the common claim atheism is a faith based belief, just like Mormonism. What is obviously missing in his tirade is any form of proof concerning his own beliefs. Card claims atheism is somehow faith based, since we have ‘faith’ science will explain everything about the universe. Card’s somehow failed to realize science isn’t so much a belief as it is a process of learning about the natural world (I guess you can write science fiction without really ‘getting’ it). I trust the Earth revolves around the Sun, but this trust is only made possible because of the amount of scrutiny and work that has gone into understanding just how this is possible (see gravity if you’re confused). If I was to ever doubt the truthfulness of this claim, I can study it for myself.
Let me make this as clear as possible to avoid any further confusion: Religion makes claims that are demonstrably false. Human beings are not born of virgins. Horses do not fly up to heaven. Deceased persons cannot be resurrected. And of course, in the case of Mormonism, Native Americans are not descendants of Jews, men do not live on the moon, and do I even need to mention how stupid magic underwear really is?
Card makes the same annoying claim that an atheist cannot disprove God, and yet he has nothing to offer in the way of actual proof his religion has any idea what it’s talking about. At least when a person is making a scientific claim, the burden of proof is always on the person making that claim, not on others to disprove it. This may seem like a simple truth, but to believers, the concept of the burden of proof is reversed. They actually think we need to disprove their childish interpretation of the universe. The tenets of their religions were quite literally plucked from the imagination of their specific prophets, who had little if any regard for such trivial things as evidence. Why should I be surprised there are no requirements in religion to make proof a necessary part of belief?
I hate to rain on everyone’s parade here, but in terms of defensible cosmological positions, there are few as sound and reasonable as atheism. We simply refuse to believe in the personal Gods of religions simply because every single one of them is incapable of providing a single shred of evidence that suggests their claims are real. In fact, their very belief system requires human beings to abandon the natural instinct to demand for proof in favor of faith: believing in something despite evidence to the contrary. This speaks volumes as to the intellectual honesty of believers.
I know that there are many who think their theological positions are researched, intelligent, and logical. They are sadly mistaken. The simple fact is all religions discourage intellectual honesty. At their very core, they demand adherents surrender reason and logic in favor of mystical and supernatural interpretations of natural phenomenon. While some take a literal approach to this (like Christians think deadly storms are the result of an angry God), others have adopted the natural understanding of science while rejecting the inevitable conclusion that the processes of nature and the universe do not require a supernatural guardian to function. Their intellectually lazy conclusion is to include God in the gaps, which is the only way many of them can cope with the fact that as our understanding of the world improves, it becomes all the more obvious religious claims are basically primitive mythologies that are the moral homilies of ancient storytellers. Nothing more.
Orson also believes in the popular claim that histories greatest monsters have all been atheists, and the non belief in God must somehow make people evil. Although I won’t deny Stalin, Mao, and even Hitler had little respect for religion, believing in God does not make someone righteous, just as not believing in God does not make a person evil. There is no philosophy in the world that guarantees proper moral behavior, though there are some ideologies that are more susceptible to corruption than others. It is why, as a society, we have continued to refine our ethical and moral understanding far beyond the crude teachings of religion. We no longer tolerate stoning, slavery, rape, genocide, and cruelty; something that would be impossible if the texts of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are ever taken literally (which in some countries are). Our modern morality actually requires believers to create a practical, 21st century approach to their belief. It isn’t the other way around for obvious reasons.
Since I know I have quite a few believers that sometimes visit the site, I want to state the unpopular reality that the basic reason why all Western countries have separation of church and state is because of how scary religious people are. Seriously. When even a few of you get in power, you create frighteningly unjust laws; your followers would gladly incarcerate people who simply defame their religion in some way. Do you think that is an adequate response to something as basic as freedom of speech? For a long time now, we have understood the simple truth that, so long as societies were dictated by religiously motivated individuals, we would never be free to discuss radical ideas that would change the very fabric of society. We live in a world made possible only by wrestling power out of your hands.
The civilized and reasonable chose to do it in a bloodless way; the Declaration of Independence is so unique and wonderful specifically because it managed to lay out the creation of a state without making religion a crime, and where no persecution of those once in power is possible. They effectively managed to remove the ability of religions to interfere with government operations. The evidence for just how shitty the world is when you guys take control can be found in all theocratic countries. Would Orson like to live in a place where religion is mandatory and invasive? I highly doubt it.
You might still think religion is something valuable to human development, but there is no indication human beings are any more or less moral without it. What atheism says that scares you to your very core is not only do we not need your services to understand the natural world (which most of us have abandoned a while ago) or to govern our politics; we also don’t need you to raise functional, moral citizens. Can someone please explain to me what’s left?
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