The Atheist Credo

March 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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I’ve just been listening to Alain de Botton on the radio, talking about his favourite music and his book Religion for Atheists. He argues — and he’s not the first to do so — that religion has some good ideas, if you strip out all that supernatural gunk. I paraphrase. Rather than dismissing it wholesale, atheists should therefore borrow the good bits.

(So it’s OK to love Bach, as de Botton does. Indeed, I never came across an atheist intellectual who doesn’t love Bach, though there may be some.)

Since statements of faith are an important part of religious practice, I’ve taken de Botton’s proposal one step further to come up with an atheist credo (an ‘I believe’ for non-believers). Since such apparent basics as prosody and rhythm have important effects on mood and atmosphere, and since it’s nearly Easter, I’ve modelled my attempt on the Christian equivalent. After all, they’ve had centuries to get it right.

The Atheist Credo

I believe in one method

of data, hypothesis, and experiment

which was conceived by ancient Greek thinkers,

born in the Age of Enlightenment,

suffered under superstition

is struggling under religion

is bound to make people’s lives better

and will one day bring about a perfect world.

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8 Comments »

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  1. I absolutely love this.

  2. One issue with this. Perfection is the enemy of the good. There can be no perfection…but striving in that direction can only lead to betterment.

  3. Well, its a bit clever to rewrite what theists have been using, but hardly says anything useful… not at all like http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/whatisscience_01

    There is nothing useful in religion that cannot be sourced elsewhere. The word atheism defines what you don’t believe, not what you support or know. Not all atheists believe that science is the right way or the best way.

  4. i’m glad you seem to be implying that the scientific method is a belief system – as indeed atheism is – because some scientists would say (after Popper) that the falsifiability criteria destinguishes it from being a belief system. Personally, as an agnostic, I think believing god doesnt exist is as much a belief system as believing he does. I also think there are limits to the usefulness of the scientific method and some truths may not be discernable no matter how well it is applied because they are outside its range.

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