Godless Intellectuals

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Godless Intellectual Values: Intellectual Values are Important, Godless, Secular

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Importance of Intellectual Values:

When people in America talk about “values,” they are usually talking about moral values — and moral values concentrated around controlling people’s sexuality, to boot. Neither moral values nor sexual morality are the only sorts of values that exist, however, and they certainly aren’t the only sort which should be emphasized. There also exist very important intellectual values which are necessary for human society. If religious theists won’t promote them, then irreligious, godless atheists must.

Skepticism & Critical Thinking:

Perhaps the most important intellectual value which godless atheists should promote is that of skepticism and critical thinking. Claims should not simply be accepted at face value; instead, they should be treated to a skeptical, critical evaluation that is commensurate with the nature of the claim. People should learn how to understand and identify arguments, how to recognize and avoid logical fallacies, how to reason coherently, and how to be skeptical of their own assumptions.

Curiosity & Wonder:

Lest skepticism become cynicism, godless atheists should also promote the values of curiosity and wonder — especially about the world we live in. All children are born curious; in fact, they sometimes act so curious that they become annoying and their curiosity may be discouraged. This may be the easiest course of action, but it’s also probably the worst. Curiosity and wonder should be encouraged as much as possible because without it, we won’t bother to learn anything new.

Reason & Rationality:

Far too often, people adopt positions based upon inappropriate emotional and psychological preferences. Skeptical evaluations will reveal these problems, but it would be preferable if we didn’t adopt such positions in the first place. Thus a fundamental intellectual value which godless atheists can promote is the need to use reason and rationality as broadly as possible in our lives. Becoming overly rational may be a concern, but being insufficiently rational is ultimately more dangerous.

Scientific Method:

Science has played a vital role in making modernity what it is, and the scientific method is what differentiates science from other human pursuits. The scientific method is precisely that, a method, and it is applied in a manner which emphasizes the importance of using the most reliable means to arrive at valid conclusions, regardless of what those conclusions are. Too many people care more about simply justifying the conclusions they prefer, which places things backwards.

Intellectual Honesty:

There can’t be intellectual values without intellectual honesty, which is the capacity for being consistent with one’s intellectual standards. Intellectual honesty means admitting when opponents have reasonable arguments (even if you don’t find them persuasive), it means admitting when data or logic lead in a different direction from what you had originally hoped and/or assumed, and it means not deliberately misrepresenting data or arguments in pursuit of an agenda.

Broad Study & Research:

An important intellectual value lies in not being intellectually narrow. There is no virtue in becoming so consumed by a topic that one never look around and the rest of the world. This isn’t an argument against specialization, but it is an argument against over-specialization that comes at the expense of being able to connect one’s favored topic with the rest of the human and intellectual world. Broad study and research can help develop broader perspectives on life.

Freethought & Questioning Authority:

An intellect isn’t being used very well if it isn’t allowed the freedom to follow reason to wherever it may lead. This means not allowing tradition or authority to absolutely determine one’s beliefs on a matter, thus a basic intellectual value lies in free thinking and questioning the conclusions of authorities. We cannot grow or improve if we aren’t able to move past what others before us have believed, and it’s unreasonable to think that growth or progress are impossible.

Evidence vs. Faith:

Generally speaking, “faith” is an intellectual cop-out. There is nothing that cannot be defended by relying on faith because if that’s all one uses, it’s impossible to distinguish between true and false beliefs. Faith ends conversation and investigation because faith doesn’t allow itself to be judged. Thus arguments and claims must be based upon the best available evidence and logic for only they can be evaluated, critiqued, and judged adequate or inadequate reasons for a position.

Intellectual Values in the Modern World:

None of the intellectual values described here need be unique to the irreligious, the godless, or atheists; indeed, there are any number of irreligious atheists who fail to appreciate them or who simply ignore them, while there are religious theists who try to emphasize them in their lives. It’s also a fact, though, that you don’t often find religious organizations or religious leaders making a point to emphasize these, whereas atheist and skeptical organizations promote them all the time. This is unfortunate because these intellectual values should be important to everyone. They are, in the end, vital foundations for our modern world.

For most, the above intellectual values will appear to be fairly obvious and cause one to wonder why anyone would feel the need to list and explain them. Surely no one argues against broad study, intellectual honesty, and skepticism do they? In fact, there is a strong anti-intellectual and anti-modern movement in the West, and especially America, which seeks to roll back just about every advance made in the wake of the Enlightenment. They oppose all of these things because they see these values as leading to questioning, doubting, and even rejecting traditional religion, traditional social values, traditional structures of power, and traditional theism.

To be fair, they have a point. Many of the changes in politics, society, and religion in the past several centuries have in large part been consequences of people adopting these intellectual values. The question is whether these changes are good or not. If critics were intellectually honest, they would be more open about what their real goals are and what they are really seeking to critique. It’s important to help identify where their arguments lead by explicitly laying out some of the intellectual values we rely upon and which their movement would undermine.

Live in the NOW!

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The greatest thing about not relying on sky daddies is that when things don’t go your way, you don’t end up cursing them for not coming through. Also, when they do nothing that proves their existence, you really don’t give a fuck! Life is just a series of events that if a god truly existed, then His performance evaluation would reflect incredible ineptitude and blatant disregard in sitting on His celestial ass and doing nothing to relieve the suffering of lesser beings. 

In my place of employment, God would be stripped of His I.D badge, asked to clean out His fucking desk, and escorted to his whatever the fuck deities drive nowadays! Security! Yeah, guys, could you please take this asshole OFF the premises, NOW?! I mean, this guy really kinda makes Jamie Dimon look competent and THAT, my friends, is truly a goddamned miracle, so don’t say that that sky fucker never did anything for us. He’s busy making Fortune 500 CEO’s look like they’re actually breaking a sweat! This, of course, is to say that if even Moammar Quaddaffi’s record of wins makes him look better than, you then you need a better PR guy! 

In short, the better choice is to believe in yourself, take charge of your own life, make the changes YOU want to make and DON’T FUCKING PRAY ON IT, just DO it as Nike says!! Why spend your life awaiting an eternity that most likely isn’t there? Spend your life living it as though it’s eventually gonna end! Make the best of it, have fun, get a fucking tattoo, drink a fucking jello shot or two, or three! A person can wear holes in the carpet down on his knees and NEVER get any answers, but one can also get up get resolved to make a difference and actually HELP people instead of uselessly praying for them. Praying is like speaking into a cell phone with a dead battery, no one is ever gonna answer because no one can fucking HEAR you! 

I know that this is one of my more acerbic posts, but I slog away doing my best in this life and roll with the events that occur that more ignorant people would say is ‘God’s Will,’ and don’t expect a sky daddy to alleviate them! I take the good with the bad and try to make the best of what comes my way. I get pissed, of course, but I don’t give up, or curse the empty sky, or pray that my problems go away because THAT shit never worked when I WAS a believer! Every day that I live shows me more of why self sufficiency is the answer. As the time goes on, I create my own successes and leave the absurd farther and farther behind, and this leaves me with a sense of personal satisfaction. A sense that, yes, I CAN effect my own destiny and that there will be things that no matter how hard I try, I just cannot effect the outcome. Some shit you juuust gotta let go of and accept that there will be some negative outcomes with the positive, but when you rely on yourself the positives seem to be a bit more abundant. 

Religion is a weird thing in that it enthralls so many while accomplishing so little in the miracle department. It is very demonstrative of the sheep-like nature of the average person who adheres to it and like the Kartrashians and Honey BooBoo, the pablum sucking idiots get down on their knees and humiliate themselves in front of their fellow lemmings. I, personally, find it highly embarrassing to actually get down on my knees and worship something with no more substance than fucking Santa Claus! If I’m gonna embarrass myself it’s gonna be by something I DIDN’T mean to do, like fart in a crowd of beautiful women, or get caught looking down the shirt of a co-worker,( that HAS happened a time or two ).

I am going to spend MY time on this Earth accomplishing things and NOT wishing for things. My fairy Godmother does NOT exist and neither do the myths of the various accepted religions. Remember; one pair of hands working does more tha a thousand clasped in prayer! 

Inspiring

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Julia Sweeney

Photo — Brent NicastroPhoto — Brent Nicastro

 

On this date in 1961, comedian and author Julia Sweeney was born in Spokane, Wash., into a devout Roman Catholic family. For much of her childhood, she wanted to be a nun. After majoring in economic studies at the University of Washington, Julia instead became an accountant for Columbia Pictures and United Artists. Having a knack for comedy and mimicry, Julia signed up for a class with the improvisational comedy troupe, “The Groundlings,” where she was discovered by “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels. She was on that show for four hit seasons, from 1990-1994, and introduced the popular character, “Androgynous Pat.” In 1994, Julia made the movie, “It’s Pat.” After her brother, Michael, then Julia, were both diagnosed with cancer, she wrote and starred in the play, “God Said, Ha!” The film version won the Golden Space Needle Award for best director and the recording was nominated for a Grammy. She has made frequent TV guest appearances, served as a creative consultant on “Sex and the City,” and has appeared in many movies, including “Clockstoppers” (2002), “Beethoven’s 4th” (2001), “Beethoven’s 3rd” (2000), “Stuart Little” (1999), “Pulp Fiction” (1994), “Coneheads” (1993), and “Honey, I Blew Up the Kids” (1992). Her very funny monolog about adopting her daughter from China, “In the Family Way,” debuted in 2003. In October 2004 she debuted her newest monolog, “Letting Go of God,” about her journey from Roman Catholic schoolgirl to atheist, and is working on a book of the same title for Henry Holt & Co. Her goal for the book is that it make it into the “inspirational” section in airport bookstores: “Why isn’t there a book about someone losing their faith and it being this beautiful experience?” she asked The Los Angeles Times (May 1, 2003). For information on booking tickets for this fabulous and scathingly brilliant play, go to her website.

“It took me years, but letting go of religion has been the most profound wake up of my life. I feel I now look at the world not as a child, but as an adult. I see what’s bad and it’s really bad. But I also see what is beautiful, what is wonderful. And I feel so deeply appreciative that I am alive. How dare the religious use the term ‘born again.’ That truly describes freethinkers who’ve thrown off the shackles of religion so much better!”

—Quote submitted by Julia Sweeney. For more about Julia Sweeney, go to ethought-comedienne-of-the-year-award/

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