Monday, February 27, 2017

A Short Manifesto

Whether or not someone believes that God or gods exist is much less important to me today than before I met a lot of New Atheists who proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that atheism is no guarantee that a person is even a little bit bright. I'm pro-environment, pro-multi-culture, pro LGBT rights (which are just human rights, no more and no less), I'm in favor of universal health care and helping homeless people and refugees. Where people stand on issues like those is much more important to me than their religious beliefs. And despite what some New Atheists and some right-wing Christians will try to tell you, a person's religious beliefs or lack of them is no indicator of where they stand on any of those issues.

I'll admit that I tend to think of theology as worse than useless, but I've read enough philosophy to know that theology and philosophy aren't synonymous, even though many theologians and New Atheists seem to disagree. I think that studying history and philosophy is as important as studying science, and for similar reasons. (And history includes the history of religions, plural.) I like Nietzsche's statement (he was a philosopher, kiddies) that life without music would be a mistake. All the arts do is make life bearable. Many New Atheists are very strong in science, but they tend to cultivate the antagonism between science and the humanities, and that antagonism is very unfortunate -- and only a few centuries old, and much more pronounced in the US than in, for example, Germany. Milton wrote about science and Galileo wrote sonnets, and of course there was Leonardo da Vinci. You don't have to choose between science and the arts; in fact, it's very unfortunate when anyone is antagonistic toward one in the supposed name of the other.

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