2016-10-18

A “Richard Dawkins” Project to Help Atheists Talk to Believers

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by Neil Godfrey

By Alana Massey, on Alternet:

A new app called Atheos aims to help non-believers have friendly, thoughtful discussions with people of faith.

Tired of the shouting matches? Want to find a calmer way to try to tell believers they are mentally deficient idiots engage in a potentially fruitful, thought-provoking exchange with the faithful? Then this app could be just the place to start. Beware the condescension, though. (But at least condescension is a one grade improvement on direct insult, or is it?)

Here’s the site: http://www.atheos-app.com/

I’d go one step further and invite everyone to explore what the research in anthropology etc is learning about what religious beliefs actually are, why we have them, and even whether or not the world would be any better off without them. (One of my favourite quotables, Pataki, said something about it being a nice idea to get rid of all the garden pests in the world but then who knows what damage would be done in the end by doing so!)

And while we’re at it, how about an app for a more civil discourse with Muslims and about Islam …. or again, how about actually trying to inform ourselves about the whole shebang by taking a look behind the sound bytes of the mass media?

4 Comments

  • Den
    2016-10-18 19:45:34 UTC - 19:45 | Permalink

    I’d go one step further and invite everyone to explore what the research in anthropology etc is learning about what religious beliefs actually are, why we have them, and even whether or not the world would be any better off without them.

    It would be helpful if some day you let your readers know, what specific findings about religious beliefs led you to your conclusions, and what these conclusions are exactly.

    As to the topic, I don’t think talking to the believers matters that much, the point is to get to those who still can be reasoned with.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-10-18 20:11:44 UTC - 20:11 | Permalink

      One great place to start is with Religion Explained by Boyer. I’ve begun discussing what “specific findings” research has uncovered about religious beliefs “exactly”. But it’s all rather pointless, don’t you think, if one is already firmly convinced that it’s all about getting people to simply follow straight reasoning. Why bother trying to understand anything else about a person if you already “know” they are simply “not thinking straight” and need to “see reason” that is so clear to you?

  • Eliza
    2016-10-19 09:57:04 UTC - 09:57 | Permalink

    Neil, I understand your viewpoint on “new atheism” movement, I also think that their reasoning hate some flaws. Some ideas from anthropology or even modern philosophy of religion would serve them well. It’s not a polemic, it’s only few of my thoughts:

    From my point of view (I live in Poland where laws on abortion and bioethics are almost entirely taken from catechism ) new atheists have some good impact on society, speeding up secularization a bit. Despite that we have in our language atheist thinkers actually better suited for that than Dawkins or Harris, new atheists are better known and popular, the same way american films gather in Poland more people than european.

    Dawkins talking on Islam may seem rude and ignorant, but many of modern christians from eastern Europe are actually thinking about crusades. We close our borders to Syrian refugees because of fear of Islam. I only want to say that racism and stupidity mixed whit religion can be even worse than secular one. That’s my viewpoint from country, where church still holds it’s grounds in way unseen in the West from decades, or centuries.

    And last, but not least: thanks for the best blog on internet 🙂

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-10-20 00:57:02 UTC - 00:57 | Permalink

      I have no complaint about good effects. I do appreciate atheist authors who do not follow the blindly polemical, even hostile tone of some of the more well known NA’s and it sounds like you have some good examples of those in Poland.

      We have our own Christian apologists for the Crusades, too — e.g. Rodney Stark with “God’s Battalions”.

      And thanks for the blog compliment!

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