AS34: Why I’m Not An Atheist, with Thomas Wells, Part 2

We continue the discussion with Thomas Wells. Wells has some concerns about the New Atheism movement. Are they too much like the religious? Are there better ways they should be going about getting their message out? Find out what this well-reasoned and well-spoken philosopher has to say!

His article can be found here:

And his blog is here:

Find him on Twitter @philos_beard


One thought on “AS34: Why I’m Not An Atheist, with Thomas Wells, Part 2”

  1. In regards to relating belief in the boogieman to belief in god, I think a lot of whether or not we should speak up about it relates to the idea of it being maladaptive. In counseling and psychology, beliefs are assessed based on whether or not they harm the quality of life of the person (e.g. OCD) When people hold the belief of the boogieman, it tends to be associated with a fear of your bed and the dark along with the distress and sleep deprivation that results. A similar case could be the belief that vaccination causes autism; that belief is a harm to the self as well as the society around the person. That’s why we speak out about it and create rules so that people can’t do things like attend public schools without receiving their vaccines.
    In both of those cases, we weren’t saying that you are not allowed to believe in those things, we’re only saying that those beliefs are harmful, unfounded, and run contrary to what we know. In the cases where they affect the society as a whole, we do things that block people acting out those beliefs.
    If someone has a belief in god that doesn’t affect how they live their life in a harmful way, I think they’re probably wrong and I am interested in talking to them, but I’m not going to confront them about it. If your belief in god terrifies you with images of hell for the reasonable doubts that you have, I will try to talk with you about why you think it’s real and possibly relieve your distress. My action is dependent on what the effect is.
    While some demean religion as a whole, there are plenty of atheists speaking out against specific destructive behavior that only arises from that belief, like exorcisms, witches, and circumcision. For me, speaking against religion as a whole is a shorthand, and I think that those who listen don’t recognize that. We don’t just try to “get along” with the religious in these situations because it is definitively harmful, and That is why I think it’s important that people continue to speak out as atheists.

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