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Down with the supernatural! But why?

So the supernatural is bunk, and god is beyond proof. That's what I believe, and my position is shared by other (but not all) Gnus. What now? What's the point of all this?

For me it's political. Of course truth matters, and being a hard materialist I would like to try and persuade everyone else that materialism, or physicalism (or whatever is the best word) is true. That's not going to make many people's lives better though, it's just a matter of a philosophical exchange of views. No, for me the main point is political.

I think we political atheists should have a clear purpose, which is to wreck theology. Theology is the respectable side of ignorant faith. It's a shelter for the God concept when it's attacked by nasty atheists and secularists. The Pope is considered, it seems, to be a first-rate theologian. How he gets from that to telling people that rubber can't be put on todgers and bottoms are no-go is beyond my simple brain, I'm afraid. But if he didn't have the cover of theology within which he could brew up his poisonous beliefs the world would be a better place. He would just be an old man with strange views.

How do we achieve this? I believe we could help this happen if the consensus atheist position on religion moved even more towards hard atheism by switching from debating the claims of religion to attacking the supernatural basis for religion; from asking where the gods are to insisting that the supernatural is removed from discussion as a fraudulent concept, designed to evade investigation.

Sam Harris has shown wonderfully how being provocative can get important debates going. His position on morality in his book "The Moral Landscape" has brought philosophers into the public eye to (usually) disagree with him. We need more of that kind of public discussion on the subject of the basis of faith: not just a declaration of caution about the idea of God, but firm declarations by those who feel able that the supernatural has become a joke. Theology is nonsense. It's playing silly games with dangerous ideas. It's a crackpot basis for morality, and the time to indulge its political influence and aims is over. That's a main motive for me trying to persuade others of my opinions on the God/supernatural evidence question.

Saying no to the supernatural is, I believe, both a strong and true philosophical position and also a vital political statement. Religion has been considered respectable for too long.

TAGGED: COMMENTARY, CRITICAL THINKING, RELIGION


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