Question from Jai:
Given that theism has well documented goals and purported benefits. What do you see as the Purpose of opposing the premise on which these are based? This is aimed specifically at The Weak Atheist given that he allows for the possibility of in his view the lessor probable prevailing.
Answer by SmartLX:
Before I start, notice (here and in the other thread) how you capitalise “Atheist” and “Atheism” but not “theist” and “theism”? One is no more deserving than the other.
If the purported benefits of theism were all there was to consider, there’d be fewer reasons to oppose it. Religious faith has needlessly led many directly to misery and death, both through the actions of organised religions and through personal interpretations of the wishes of deities. Atheism has not done this; of course atheists have done horrible things too, but it has seldom if ever been their atheism which actually led them to it.
If there were good evidence that a particular god among the multitude of invented characters is in fact the real one, all the trouble caused on Earth by religious faith wouldn’t amount to much because there would clearly be a longer, better life after this one to prepare for. As it is, we have wildly contradicting instructions from different religions on how to prepare for the next life. Even if there is a real god, without indicative evidence the chances of it being a given believer’s own particular god are vanishingly small, and most if not all theists are worshipping false gods. Upon their death, they might well fare even worse than atheists if the real god is jealous. If there is any evidence out there, the best way to bring it into the open is to publicly advocate atheism. (The theist material unearthed so far has been lacklustre.)
There’s a personal reason for trying to advance atheism which you and I have already discussed, Jai: I am an atheist. I did not choose to be one, I realised I was one, and I have no wish to lie about it. That makes me a self-proclaimed atheist, and a visible member of a minority which in some places is hated, feared and disadvantaged due to misconceptions, stigma and of course society’s ingrained deference to religion. I haven’t suffered very badly myself, but many others have, do and will, and I want to help. Society as a whole I have no idea how to change, stigma will fade unassisted if not reinforced, but misconceptions I can confront directly, and hopefully dispel. Fortunately, inquisitive theists bring them straight to me at ATA.
Question from Jai: