Atheism necessitating nihilism


The Dallas Atheist Examiner is addressing some email questions she’s getting from believers and recently addressed nihilism, specifically the issue of atheism necessitating nihilism. I felt compelled to add something to the discussion…

Nihilism isn’t the conclusion of atheism because THERE IS NO CONCLUSION OF ATHEISM.

Atheism is the conclusion, reached by individuals after considering the claims of the existence of gods. Likewise, any other conclusions reached after that such as nihilism, humanism, Buddhism, or any other kind of ism are also reached by individuals by very individual reasons. In other words, a conclusion of atheism doesn’t necessitate any other ism; therefore, the debate over nihilism being a conclusion of atheism doesn’t make sense.

On the question of nihilism, I’m not sure which nihilism you’re referring to. The nihilism which says that there’s no inherent purpose or meaning to life and no inherent morals or value is one thing. The nihilism which is despair and pointlessness in light of the above is another. Just as atheism doesn’t necessitate nihilism, that first nihilism doesn’t necessitate the other nihilism. One can easily find the realization that there’s no inherent meaning, purpose and value as empowering, for now it is for each of us to assign meaning, purpose and value to our lives and everything in it.

Importance is subjective. It is for each of us to assign meaning, purpose and value to our lives and everything else in them. There doesn’t appear to be any inherent meaning or purpose to life or reality and although we take as true inherent value of say the air we breathe, again, that too is subjective. I mention this in order to clarify your statements, Kacey, concerning the importance of church or worshipping a god. Such activities may not be inherently important, but individuals can decide to make them important, just as I make my Sundays watching football important.

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23 Responses to “Atheism necessitating nihilism”

  1. My conclusion is that technology will eventually make humankind into a human-robot hybrid, and then eventually humanity will make the transition to become completely robotic droids, abandoning the Earth eventually and taking over the universe in a dictatorial style whereby our robotic selves will be fighting other droids in the future.

  2. So is resistance futile? I want to know before getting a Defiant

  3. QF:

    Are we talking Borg or Cylon?

  4. Philly: “In other words, a conclusion of atheism doesn’t necessitate any other ism.

    If defined simply as the lack of belief in all gods and all supernatural phenomena – as I’ve heard many including yourself define atheism before – wouldn’t you say that atheism necessitates metaphysical naturalism?

    Although overlapping, I’m not so sure I’d say the two are synonymous. I disagree that pantheists are atheists. Further, pantheism is completely compatible with metaphysical naturalism, as both are essentially monist philosophies that reject anthropomorphic entities.

  5. I would think you have the wagon in front of the horse, but then some claim they’re atheists by way of interesting means, so who knows where they’d go from there.

    Pantheism is the Shirley Temple of religious thinking. You can pretend you’re drinking, but you’re really not. Also, the fact that Jediism falls under pantheism makes it silly enough.

  6. Then, are you saying metaphysical naturalism necessitates atheism?

  7. Still trying to figure all of that out, I’ve recently been watching a lot of Sci-Fi movies from the 1950′s (a story for another time is the intellectual 50′s followed by the Spy 60′s and then the braindead 70′s followed by the business 80′s and then the dotcom 90′s…. WTF!? the 00′s were literally a fundy decade followed by recessions, perhaps the 10′s will the the commie green movement?).

    Anyhow, there are many different forms that a robotic future can take, at least in terms of robotic Sci-Fi. With nanotechnology, it may be possible to quadruple the brain-capacity of humans, or any animal for that matter, give people superhuman strength and stamina, etc….How Technology Will Transform Us (see 15:30-17:15)Then there are the robo-aliens from Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers and from The Day the Earth Stood Still (Gort is somewhat of a Cylon) then on the other extreme there is Robbie the Robot whom acts as an egoless servant, kind of like C3PO.

    I would also like to see humankind evolve into Von Neuman Probes, perhaps even into Beserkers (aka Borgs) if necessary.

  8. I would say that metaphysical naturalism entails strong atheism.

  9. A good point.

    Most of the atheist writings I’ve read all say much the same thing: That lack of belief in a god and afterlife tends to empower one to ensure this current life has as much meaning and purpose as possible.

  10. Atheism is the answer to a single question: do you believe in a god? If you answer yes, you’re a theist, if you answer anything else including no, I don’t know, I don’t care, etc. you’re an atheist. That’s the sum total of what atheism is and it doesn’t necessarily lead anywhere. Theists, however, desperately want to link atheism to any potential social ills they can so they can point and say how evil atheism is, when on the face of it, atheism isn’t evil, it’s just answering a question.

  11. Yup, that about sums it up.

  12. Here is a prime nihilist for you:

    Mike Rowe

  13. Great link. It’s a great followup to having caught most of Office Space on tv yesterday.

  14. “Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”

    -Walter Sobchak

  15. I wonder why Christians would think that atheism leads to anything specific. After all, there are Christians who believe in living humbly minus the trappings of society while doing nothing but proselytizing via example. Others who live high on the hog and believe in publicly condemning everything they consider sinful, others who are willing to murder those who don’t believe, and Christians who believe everything in between and every combination therein.

    Oh, it’s because the Christians that act outside of the way chosen by the particular Christian in question aren’t the “real” Christians. Sorry. I forgot.

    Philly, I’ve never seen you use all caps in a full sentence before. What’s up with that?

  16. Marmot Nihilists Threatening Castration

  17. My patience is waning, Evo

  18. Be strong, my friend. You’re better than them.

  19. So Philly – you said atheism doesn’t necessitate any other ‘ism. I believe atheism – as defined as lack of belief in God and the supernatural – necessitates metaphysical naturalism, and I do not think atheism is synonymous with metaphysical naturalism. In other words, if one does not believe in God or the supernatural – if one is an atheist – that necessitates metaphysical naturalism. Don’t you think?

    NAL: “I would say that metaphysical naturalism entails strong atheism.

    Why? Would you also say that atheism necessitates metaphysical naturalism? If no, would you say atheism necessitates any other ‘ism(s)? I think it’s an interesting question.

    Cephus: “Theists, however, desperately want to link atheism to any potential social ills they can so they can point and say how evil atheism is, when on the face of it, atheism isn’t evil, it’s just answering a question.

    I agree. Theists who do so only expose their own fear, ignorance and cold hearts.

  20. There are atheists who pray to Thor (I’m not making that up, seriously, I wrote something about some loony “atheist” who said that with her friends finding nothing wrong with that). Buddhists are atheists. Jedi might be atheists (I don’t know if that Force thing is atheism or pantheism). Ancestor worship belief systems can be sans gods, yet they believe in the ability of those spirits living and affecting this world. So no, I don’t see atheism necessitating naturalism. Atheists aren’t immune to the woo, and I think a good number get wooed like alcoholics get caught up in cigs or coffee when they give up the sauce.

    So what was going to be your next move?

  21. “That lack of belief in a god and afterlife tends to empower one to ensure this current life has as much meaning and purpose as possible.”Well, you’re right about having only one life, there, bud. That’s all you’ll get, believing in Darwinism!

    Did you say “current” life? What, you expecting another?

    LOL!

  22. “(I don’t know if that Force thing is atheism or pantheism).”I can answer that one for you, Chief.

    It’s bullshit… like Atheism.

  23. “Theists, however, desperately want to link atheism to any potential social ills they can so they can point and say how evil atheism is, when on the face of it, atheism isn’t evil, it’s just answering a question.”Cephus: The question being; “Just how gullible am I?”

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