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I Don't Believe in Atheists - Comments

quasarsphere's Avatar Comment 1 by quasarsphere

"This individualism—the belief that we can exist as distinct beings from the tribe, or the crowd, and that we are called on as individuals to make moral decisions that at times defy the clamor of the tribe or the nation—is a gift of the Abrahamic faiths."

I'm no Bible scholar, but I'm fairly certain that's bollocks.

Thu, 24 May 2007 09:48:00 UTC | #41522

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 2 by PrimeNumbers

You've got to call a spade a spade, and god is not this indescribable force or want for meaning - it is what it is and a universal creator who can know and can do everything and is worthy of worship, or at least that's what the definition says. You can't just play "the definition game" and define god away like that.

The problem probably isn't religion itself, but orginised religion for sure. Problem is not the odd individual believing the opposite of their senses and evidence, but of orginised groups who play definition games to try and hide the fact that it's utter bollocks from their own common sense.

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:07:00 UTC | #41524

Fedler's Avatar Comment 3 by Fedler

God is a human concept. God is the name we give to our belief that life has meaning, one that transcends the world's chaos, randomness and cruelty...God is that mysterious force—and you can give it many names as other religions...God is perhaps best understood as our ultimate concern...

So God is a human belief that is responsible for only good things, is a mysterious force and is our ultimate concern. So which is it?
In Exodus God says, by way of identification, "I am that I am."...

So this belief/force/concern can talk now?
God is better understood as verb rather than a noun. God is not an asserted existence but a process accomplishing itself.

Now he's a figure of speech and a process??? WTF!
And God is inescapable. It is the life force...

Which means what exactly?...

Typical doubletalk. The god of Harris is not MY god. What a horribly wishy washy god this god is alleged to be. Oh, wait, that means god can be anything you want it to be? Even - gee I don't know - MADE UP!!

I stopped reading after that bit. Sorry, couldn't tolerate it.

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:12:00 UTC | #41527

Stuart Paul Wood's Avatar Comment 4 by Stuart Paul Wood

"Faith is not in conflict with reason."

Oh yes it is.

"Faith does not conflict with scientific truth, unless faith claims to express a scientific truth."

It does and it does.

"Faith can neither be affirmed nor denied by scientific, historical or philosophical truth."

Yes it can.

"Sam confuses the irrational—which he sees as part of faith—with the non-rational."

A+ for stupidity. Distinction without a difference. Non-rational/irrational = devoid of rationality.

"There is a reality that is not a product of rational deduction. It is not accounted for by strict rational discourse. There is a spiritual dimension to human existence and the universe, but this is not irrational—it is non-rational."


"Faith allows us to transcend what Flaubert said was our "mania for conclusions," a mania he described as "one of humanity's most useless and sterile drives.""

Science, and all it has given us, is useless and sterile. Let us pray.

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:13:00 UTC | #41529

bitbutter's Avatar Comment 5 by bitbutter

God is a human concept. God is the name we give to our belief that life has meaning, one that transcends the world's chaos, randomness and cruelty.

no, most people think he's a being.

God is perhaps best understood as our ultimate concern, that in which we should place our highest hopes, confidence and trust.

'perhaps best understood' yes, perhaps it would be best if god was understood by the majority as something as vague as our 'ultimate concern'. The problem, that i'm confident Harris will patiently explain for the umpteenth time, is that this isn't the god that the vast majority worship. If it was, there'd be no problem.

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:18:00 UTC | #41531

Cato's Avatar Comment 6 by Cato

Religious institutions often sanctify genocide, but this says more about us, about the nature of human institutions and the darkest human yearnings, than it does about religion. This is the greatest failing of Sam's book. He externalizes evil.

The greatest failing of religious people is that they externalize religion.

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:18:00 UTC | #41532

FreeThink25's Avatar Comment 7 by FreeThink25

"This is not faith in magic, not faith in church doctrine or church hierarchy, but faith in simple human kindness."

Does anyone really need faith to believe in kindness? Or just eyes and ears, and compassion.....

"It is by the seriousness of our commitments to compassion, indeed our ability to sacrifice for the other, especially for the outcast and the stranger, our commitment to justice—the very core of the message of the prophets and the teachings of Jesus—that we alone can measure the quality of faith. This is the meaning of true faith. As Matthew wrote. "By their fruits shall you know them." Professed faith—what we say we believe—is not faith. It is an expression of loyalty to a community, to our tribe. Faith is what we do. This is real faith."

No, my friend, this is "works" one need believe in anything in the face of doubt to be compassionate. We're not the only mammals that do it.

This is a favorite tactic of most of my friends that I debate. Hijack the religious terminology, dilute it until all you are really defining is humanity, and then say "a ha!" DOES exist!

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:19:00 UTC | #41533

Fedler's Avatar Comment 8 by Fedler

This is a favorite tactic of most of my friends that I debate. Hijack the religious terminology, dilute it until all you are really defining is humanity, and then say "a ha!" DOES exist!

Very good point, FreeThink25.

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:23:00 UTC | #41535

military_atheist's Avatar Comment 9 by military_atheist

I would totally agree with this article in general principle. I think Chris Hedges is one of those people who, like a lot on my friends, are really atheists but refuse to give up the terminology. Perhaps, in the past, religion and faith were necessary as part of our evolutionary journey. But, I think the human race (some of them) have evolved and grown to a point where we don't need a imaginary force to tell us what we already know is good for our society and our species. We need to do the things Chris talks about without resorting to invoking the concept of "god" or "faith"

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:27:00 UTC | #41537

bruno_burned's Avatar Comment 10 by bruno_burned

Strange: Most of Chris Hedges's arguments are the same arguments I use *against* theism.

Namely, that many theists are actually using the word "God" for a variety of human experiences, such as awe, reverence, humility before the universe, respect for moral character, etc. They actually don't believe in God the entity, they believe in these human feelings; they 'believe in belief'.

These liberal Christians are slippery, deluded little kittens, aren't they?

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:38:00 UTC | #41540

arildno's Avatar Comment 11 by arildno

What a load of apologist horseshit.
And what arrogance!
Even the Europeans recognized the untypical degree of respect for individuality (even to the point of quirkiness) in many Native American cultures.

To monopolize the respect for individualism to the religions most responsible for trampling upon it is just morally perverse.

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:40:00 UTC | #41542

Stuart Paul Wood's Avatar Comment 12 by Stuart Paul Wood

arildno - well said!

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:43:00 UTC | #41545

reason-first's Avatar Comment 13 by reason-first

... runs in a direct line from the Christian Gospels. ... These religions set free the critical powers of humankind. They broke with the older Greek and Roman traditions that gods and destiny ruled human fate—a belief that when challenged by Socrates saw him condemned to death.

I did not know that Socrates (about 470–399 BCE) was a Christian. Did or did he not break with the older traditions? If anything, "these religions" stole from Sokrates!

It's quite obvious that Hedges cannot think clearly but will utter any nonsense just to "prove" his point. Disgraceful!

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:53:00 UTC | #41549

Skeptic Jim's Avatar Comment 14 by Skeptic Jim

*smiles and rubs hands together*

The theists are getting angrier and angrier. =)

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:55:00 UTC | #41551

newcomer's Avatar Comment 15 by newcomer

I'm dizzy from reading part of this article.I couldn't finish it. I used to think it was me that just could not comprehend what I was reading but now I know it wasn't.It's just incomprehensible!.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:00:00 UTC | #41552

arildno's Avatar Comment 16 by arildno

It isn really that incomprehensible as long as you understand that Hedges suffers from the main flaw of all religionists, namely the desire to sanctify his acts of mental masturbation even if that requires the sacrifice of his sanity, reason and humanity and anything else he might deem necessary to discard.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:07:00 UTC | #41553

willerror's Avatar Comment 17 by willerror

--I think Chris Hedges is one of those people who, like a lot on my friends, are really atheists but refuse to give up the terminology.--

I thought the same thing reading this. There is nothing particularly "religious" or "spiritual" in his descriptions of human behavior; it is just that, human behavior. No gods necessary, humans still behave the same way.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:08:00 UTC | #41555

MAS2007's Avatar Comment 18 by MAS2007

arildno - Sorry, but that is a slight on horse shit, which has useful applications and smells better than this nosense.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:08:00 UTC | #41556

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 19 by Peacebeuponme


This is a favorite tactic of most of my friends that I debate. Hijack the religious terminology, dilute it until all you are really defining is humanity, and then say "a ha!" DOES exist!

Quite. This guy is so far on the other side of the god spectrum he's almost an atheist, at least with regards what is written above. I bet he still goes to church and prays though, which is a bit inconsistent.

I hope Harris detroyed him. His word-arsenal has easily enough firepower.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:19:00 UTC | #41558

Bayle's Avatar Comment 20 by Bayle

I love Sam more and more for his willingness to debate such duplicitous charlatans.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:32:00 UTC | #41562

squinky's Avatar Comment 21 by squinky

"In Exodus God says, by way of
identification, "I am that I am."

Not as profound as:
"I am what I am" --Popeye, and
"It is what it is" --Tony Soprano

"Faith is what we do. This is real faith.
Faith is the sister of justice."

So killing others for a disbelief is God is justice? No, no--faith is not even a step-child of justice. Justice won't even adopt faith, that's why the legal system has no Biblical versus in it.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:38:00 UTC | #41563

Duff's Avatar Comment 22 by Duff

This theologian lost me when he claimed abrahamic religions freed mankind and allowed them to be individuals. In which one of the mulitiple universes did that happen? Certainly not this one. That's nearly the funniest thing any of these theists have said.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:40:00 UTC | #41565

Nick Brennan's Avatar Comment 23 by Nick Brennan

Rather ironically we have an atheist who thinks he is a theist who doesn't believe in atheists, debating against an atheist.

Confusion abounds.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:44:00 UTC | #41567

coretemprising's Avatar Comment 24 by coretemprising

Hedges said: "...It is why Freud avoided writing about the phenomenon of love."
Well, I don't know if Freud avoided writing about love, or for that reason, but we weren't exactly talking about love here, and Freud had a bit to say about the god question in a little volume called The Future of an ILLUSION (my emphasis).
Illusion/delusion. Close enough.
Also, I have to join the group who can't get all the way through something like this. Once you've determined it's a bunch of bs, why waste any more time with it? Downright depressing garbage.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:54:00 UTC | #41575

konquererz's Avatar Comment 25 by konquererz

This dude is nonsense in a bowl. First off, the faith Abraham passed down did not teach independence and individualism from the tribe. They were a chosen people, anyone who didn't do what god said was killed out right. Read the god damn bible before you open yer yap about it!

Second, if god is not really a god, then what is all the argument about? He is arguing for a theism that doesn't exist. I still know tons of Christians, and every single one of them would stone him for blasphemy, saying god is a human concept. He is making an argument for a god that doesn't exist, even in most theists minds. Not sure what his purpose was behind the entire argument.

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:55:00 UTC | #41577

squinky's Avatar Comment 26 by squinky

His last paragraph pisses me off.

I donated money to Katrina relief, Tsunami relief, and 9/11 victims (all God's fault). Do I know these people? Not one. Do I believe in God? F*** no! God doesn't feed people or clothe them or give them medicine--people do--including a lot of humanists like me (and secular organizations like Doctors Withour Borders, USAID, the Gates Foundation) who think you and your non-interventionalist God are assholes!

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:57:00 UTC | #41578

coretemprising's Avatar Comment 27 by coretemprising

Also, I'm with Duff about Abrahamic religions freeing mankind to be individuals. Huh? Ridiculous!

Thu, 24 May 2007 11:58:00 UTC | #41580

med1972's Avatar Comment 28 by med1972

Aside from his serious handwaving around the definition of god, I actually enjoyed his article. It doesn't reak of christian rhetoric. Sort of a 'breath of fresh air' relative to some of the other trash I've been reading bythe far-right lately. Not that I am shaking his hand or anything but, it is otherwise pretty honest. He clearly states that the problems we see today have more to do with organised religion and it's quest for power in the world. We all have a capacity for hate and violence. That is ultimately the root of our problems. Dogma of all sorts, including the dogma of Stalin or Pol Pot, can bring out the worst in us. Haven't read Sam's "End of Faith" yet but it is on my bookshelf. Have to finish 'Kingdom Coming' first.


Thu, 24 May 2007 12:06:00 UTC | #41583

PeterK's Avatar Comment 29 by PeterK

Blatherings such as this one are certainly becoming more creative as time passes. Rather than stopping to think about how their own belief system is just simply has nothing whatsover to do with reality, and admit that this is so--they invent new sides of their mouth from which they can speak, and perform some logical gymnastics and contortions that are becoming so convoluted,( now far exceeding the idea of 'being irrational') that I can only see the point where an invention of an entirely new language where even the speaker himself can no longer understand, let alone to whom he speaks, be the playing field of those who continue the attempts to support a theistic position.

Thu, 24 May 2007 12:09:00 UTC | #41584

lostpoet's Avatar Comment 30 by lostpoet

Despite a promising beginning (god is a rhetorical construction), Hedges pulls the sissy-switch and settles for the ever conventional "force" line of discussion. He notes that god " that mysterious force,and "...the life force." He finishes by claiming that "...the greatest force in life" So god, the verb, is now love -- "a process accomplishing itself."

Apparently, "faith" is also a force in our lives. So, the faith-force allows us to trust in the mysterious love-force process, accomplishing itself? According to Hedges, "...we alone can measure the quality of faith," however, "[F]aith can neither be affirmed nor denied by scientific, historical or philosophical truth."

Mind-numbing...staggeringly stupid.

My favorite quote from Hedges' "tool-of-bondage": "...all human institutions, including the church, are inherently demonic."

What a tool!

Thu, 24 May 2007 12:13:00 UTC | #41585