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Is Atheism Compatible with Capitalism.

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Turin Posted: Thu, Aug 9 2012 2:31 PM

So time back I read a similar thread in reverse is religion and libertarianism compatible. So I thought I would give the inverse. I believe the answer is no, but a qualified no. I mean one could be an atheist and live according to the NAP, but that is not the point I am making is the philosophical concept of athiesm is not compatible with capitalism. Philosophic atheism is esentially a species of marxism. Espcially the rabid kind that is always playing grand inquisitor trying to root out religion. In fact all of the anti-religious arguments I have read on the Mises forums are all pre-dated and argued for by Marxists such as Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin and socialists such as Baron Holbach and Julien La Mettrie. Atheism, at least in its modern form, is iteself a socialist/marxist idea.

Below are a list of communist/socialist statements about Atheism and Religion:

Baron Holbach

 

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/holbach/1750/on-revelation.htm

Read Entire Essay

 

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/holbach/1776/crawling.htm

Let them exalt after this the sacrifices religion imposes on those who want to gain heaven. Let them talk of the strength of soul of those haughty philosophers who claim to hold in contempt all that men esteem. Believers and sages could not defeat amour propre; pride seems to be compatible with devotion and philosophy. It is only reserved to the courtier to triumph over himself and to carry off a complete victory over the sentiments of his heart. A perfect courtier is without contradiction the most amazing of all men. Don’t talk to us about the abnegation of the pious; true abnegation is that of a courtier for his master: see how he obliterates himself in his presence. He becomes a pure machine, or rather he is nothing: he awaits his being from him; he seeks to find in his traits those he should have himself. He is like wax ready to receive all the impressions made on it.

 

Julien La Mettrie

 

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/la-mettrie/1748/man-machine.htm

 

But, some will say, read all such works as those of Fénelon, of Nieuwentyt, of Abadie, of Berham, of Rais, and the rest. Well! what will they teach me or rather what have they taught me? They are only tiresome repetitions of zealous writers, one of whom adds to the other only verbiage, more likely to strengthen than to undermine the foundations of atheism. The number of evidences drawn from the spectacle of nature does not give these evidences any more force. Either the mere structure of a finger, of an ear, of an eye, a single observation of Malpighi proves all, and doubtless much better than Descartes and Malebranche proved it, or all the other evidences prove nothing. Deists, and even Christians, should therefore be content to point out that throughout the animal kingdom the same aims are pursued and accomplished by an infinite number of different mechanisms, all of them however exactly geometrical. For what stronger weapons could there be with which to overthrow atheists? It is true that if my reason does not deceive me, man and the whole universe seem to have been designed for this unity of aim. The sun, air, water, the organism, the shape of bodies, – everything is brought to a focus in the eye as in a mirror that faithfully presents to the imagination all the objects reflected in it, in accordance with the laws required by the infinite variety of bodies which take part in vision. In ears we find everywhere a striking variety, and yet the difference of structure in men, animals, birds, and fishes, does not produce different uses. All ears are so mathematically made, that they tend equally to one and the same end, namely hearing. But would Chance, the deist asks, be a great enough geometrician to vary thus, at pleasure, the works of which she is supposed to be the author, without being hindered by so great a diversity from gaining the same end? Again, the deist will bring forward as a difficulty those parts of the animal that are clearly contained in it for future use, the butterfly in the caterpillar, man in the sperm, a whole polyp in each of its parts, the valvule in the oval orifice, the lungs in the foetus, the teeth in their sockets, the bones in the fluid from which they detach themselves and (in an incomprehensible manner) harden. And since the partisans of this theory, far from neglecting anything that would strengthen proof, never tire of piling up proof upon proof, they are willing to avail themselves of everything, even of the weakness of the mind in certain cases. Look, they say, at men like Spinoza, Vanini, Desbarreau, and Boindin, apostles who honor deism more than they harm it. The duration of their health was the measure of their unbelief, and one rarely fails, they add, to renounce atheism when the passions, with their instrument, the body, have grown weak.

 

 

 

Marx quotes on Atheism/Religion/Christianity

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm

 

This material, immediately perceptible private property is the material perceptible expression of estranged human life. Its movement – production and consumption – is the perceptible revelation of the movement of all production until now, i.e., the realisation or the reality of man. Religion, family, state, law, morality, science, art, etc., are only particular modes of production, and fall under its general law. The positive transcendence of private property as the appropriation of human life, is therefore the positive transcendence of all estrangement – that is to say, the return of man from religion, family, state, etc., to his human, i.e., social, existence. Religious estrangement as such occurs only in the realm of consciousness, of man’s inner life, but economic estrangement is that of real life; its transcendence therefore embraces both aspects. It is evident that the initial stage of the movement amongst the various peoples depends on whether the true recognised life of the people manifests itself more in consciousness or in the external world – is more ideal or real. Communism begins from the outset (Owen) with atheism; but atheism is at first far from being communism; indeed, that atheism is still mostly an abstraction.

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/df-jahrbucher/law-abs.htm

 

Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and also the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

--

The only liberation of Germany which is practically possible is liberation from the point of view of that theory which declares man to be the supreme being for man.

 

 

Lenin quotes on Atheism/Religion/Christianity

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/oct/02.htm

 

“In the sense given to it by the bourgeoisie, who based ethics on God's commandments. On this point we, of course, say that we do not believe in God, and that we know perfectly well that the clergy, the landowners and the bourgeoisie invoked the name of God so as to further their own interests as exploiters. Or, instead of basing ethics on the commandments of morality, on the commandments of God, they based it on idealist or semi-idealist phrases, which always amounted to something very similar to God's commandments.”

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1909/may/13.htm

 

It is the duty of a Marxist to place the success of the strike movement above everything else, vigorously to counteract the division of the workers in this struggle into atheists and Christians, vigorously to oppose any such division. Atheist propaganda in such circumstances may be both unnecessary and harmful—not from the philistine fear of scaring away the backward sections, of losing a seat in the elections, and so on, but out of consideration for the real progress of the class struggle, which in the conditions of modern capitalist society will convert Christian workers to Social-Democracy and to atheism a hundred times better than bald atheist propaganda. To preach atheism at such a moment and in such circumstances would only be playing into the hands of the priest and the priests, who desire nothing better than that the division of the workers according to their participation in the strike movement should be replaced by their division according to their belief in God. An anarchist who preached war against God at all costs would in effect be helping the priests and the bourgeoisie (as the anarchists always do help the bourgeoisie in practice). A Marxist must be a materialist, i. e., an enemy of religion, but a dialectical materialist, i. e., one who treats the struggle against religion not in an abstract way, not on the basis of remote, purely theoretical, never varying preaching, but in a concrete way, on the basis of the class struggle which is going on in practice and is educating the masses more and better than anything else could. A Marxist must be able to view the concrete situation as a whole, he must always be able to find the boundary between anarchism and opportunism (this boundary is relative, shifting and changeable, but it exists). And he must not succumb either to the abstract, verbal, but in reality empty “revolutionism’˜ of the anarchist, or to the philistinism and opportunism of the petty bourgeois or liberal intellectual, who boggles at the struggle against religion, forgets that this is his duty, reconciles himself to belief in God, and is guided not by the interests of the class struggle but by the petty and mean consideration of offending nobody, repelling nobody and scaring nobody—by the sage rule: “live and let live”, etc., etc.

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/oct/29.htm

 

He delivered quite an oration on the theme that “historical phenomena could not assume any other shape than they have done”. That is absolutely incontrovertible, and, of course, we have all learnt this from the ABC of communism, the ABC of historical materialism, and the ABC of Marxism.

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/dec/03.htm

Our Programme is based entirely on the scientific, and moreover the materialist, world-outlook. An explanation of our Programme, therefore, necessarily includes an explanation of the true historical and economic roots of the religious fog. Our propaganda necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism; the publication of the appropriate scientific literature, which the autocratic feudal government has hitherto strictly forbidden and persecuted, must now form one of the fields of our Party work. We shall now probably have to follow the advice Engels once gave to the German Socialists: to translate and widely disseminate the literature of the eighteenth-century French Enlighteners and atheists.

 

--

 

That is the reason why we do not and should not set forth our atheism in our Programme; that is why we do not and should not prohibit proletarians who still retain vestiges of their old prejudices from associating themselves with our Party. We shall always preach the scientific world-outlook, and it is essential for us to combat the inconsistency of various “Christians”. But that does not mean in the least that the religious question ought to be advanced to first place, where it does not belong at all; nor does it mean that we should allow the forces of the really revolutionary economic and political struggle to be split up on account of third-rate opinions or senseless ideas, rapidly losing all political importance, rapidly being swept out as rubbish by the very course of economic development.

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/12.htm

 

The keen, vivacious and talented writings of the old eighteenth-century atheists wittily and openly attacked the prevailing clericalism and will very often prove a thousand times more suitable for arousing people from their religious torpor than the dull and dry paraphrases of Marxism, almost completely unillustrated by skillfully selected facts, which predominate in our literature and which (it is no use hiding the fact) frequently distort Marxism. We have translations of all the major works of Marx and Engels. There are absolutely no grounds for fearing that the old atheism and old materialism will remain un-supplemented by the corrections introduced by Marx and Engels. The most important thing — and it is this that is most frequently overlooked by those of our Communists who are supposedly Marxists, but who in fact mutilate Marxism — is to know how to awaken in the still undeveloped masses an intelligent attitude towards religious questions and an intelligent criticism of religions.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1909/may/13.htm

 

Social-Democracy bases its whole world-outlook on scientific socialism, i. e., Marxism. The philosophical basis of Marxism, as Marx and Engels repeatedly declared, is dialectical materialism, which has fully taken over the historical traditions of eighteenth-century materialism in France and of Feuerbach (first half of the nineteenth century) in Germany—a materialism which is absolutely atheistic and positively hostile to all religion. Let us recall that the whole of Engels’s Anti-Dühring, which Marx read in manuscript, is an indictment of the materialist and atheist Dühring for not being a consistent materialist and for leaving loopholes for religion and religious philosophy. Let us recall that in his essay on Ludwig Feuerbach, Engels reproaches Feuerbach for combating religion not in order to destroy it, but in order to renovate it, to invent a new, “exalted” religion, and so forth. Religion is the opium of the people—this dictum by Marx is the corner-stone of the whole Marxist outlook on religion. Marxism has always regarded all modern religions and churches, and each and every religious organisation, as instruments of bourgeois reaction that serve to defend exploitation and to befuddle the working class.

 

---

 

Marxism is materialism. As such, it is as relentlessly hostile to religion as was the materialism of the eighteenth-century Encyclopaedists or the materialism of Feuerbach. This is beyond doubt. But the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels goes further than the Encyclopaedists and Feuerbach, for it applies the materialist philosophy to the domain of history, to the domain of the social sciences. We must combat religion—that is the ABC of all materialism, and consequently of Marxism.

 

Stalin

 

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1927/09/15.HTM

 

A DELEGATE: I often read of expulsions from the Party because of belief in God.

STALIN: I can only repeat the conditions of membership in our Party that I have just mentioned. We have no other condition.

Does that mean the Party is neutral towards religion? No, it does not. We carry on and will continue to carry on propaganda against religious prejudices. Our legislation guaranteed to citizens the right to adhere to any religion. This is a matter for the conscience of each individual. That is precisely why we carried out the separation of the Church from the State. But in separating the Church from the State and proclaiming religious liberty we at the same time guaranteed the right of every citizen to combat by argument, by propaganda and agitation any and all religion. The Party cannot be neutral towards religion and does conduct anti-religious propaganda against all and every religious prejudice because it stands for science, while religious prejudices run counter to science, because all religion is something opposite to science. Cases such as recently occurred in America in which Darwinists were prosecuted in court, cannot occur here because the Party carries out a policy of the general defense of science. The Party cannot be neutral towards religious prejudices and it will continue to carry on propaganda against these prejudices because this is one of the best means of undermining the influence of the reactionary clergy who support the exploiting classes and who preach submission to these classes. The Party cannot be neutral towards the bearers of religious prejudices, towards the reactionary clergy who poison the minds of the toiling masses. Have we suppressed the reactionary clergy? Yes, we have. The unfortunate thing is that it has not been completely liquidated. Anti-religious propaganda is a means by which the complete liquidation of the reactionary clergy must be brought about. Cases occur when certain members of the Party hamper the complete development of anti-religious propaganda. If such members are expelled it is a good thing because there is no room for such "Communists" in the ranks of our Party.

www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1924/foundations-leninism/ch03.htm

I have in mind the so-called "productive forces" theory as debased by the leaders of the Second International, which justifies everything and conciliates everybody, which records facts and explains them after everyone has become sick and tired of them, and, having recorded them, rests content.

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1938/09.htm

Dialectical materialism is the world outlook of the Marxist-Leninist party. It is called dialectical materialism because its approach to the phenomena of nature, its method of studying and apprehending them, is dialectical, while its interpretation of the phenomena of nature, its conception of these phenomena, its theory, is materialistic.

Historical materialism is the extension of the principles of dialectical materialism to the study of social life, an application of the principles of dialectical materialism to the phenomena of the life of society, to the study of society and of its history.

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1950/jun/20.htm

 

It is obvious that the quotation is inappropriate, because Engels here speaks not of "class languages" but chiefly of class thoughts, ideals, customs, moral principles, religion, politics. It is perfectly true that the thoughts, ideals, customs, moral principles, religion and politics of bourgeois and proletarians are directly antithetical.

 

Trotsky

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1940/xx/stalin/ch04.htm

 

Not without astonishment do we learn from these lines that Koba, who had repudiated religion at thirteen, was married to a naively and profoundly religious wife. That might seem quite an ordinary case in a stable bourgeois environment, in which the husband regards himself as an agnostic or amuses himself with Masonic rites, while his wife, having consummated her latest adultery, duly kneels in the confession box before her priest. But among Russian revolutionists such matters were immeasurably more important. There was no anemic agnosticism at the core of their revolutionary philosophy, but militant atheism. How could they have any personal tolerance toward religion, which was inextricably linked to everything against which they fought at constant risk to themselves? Among working people, who married early, one might find not a few instances of the husband turning revolutionist after marriage while his wife continued to cling stubbornly to the old faith. But even that usually led to dramatic collisions. The husband would keep his new life a secret from his wife and would grow further and further away from her. In other cases, the husband would win his wife over to his own views and away from her kinsfolk. Young workers would frequently complain that it was hard for them to find girls who were free of the old superstitions. Among the student youth the choice of mates was considerably easier. There were almost no cases of a revolutionary intellectual marrying a believer. Not that there were any rules to that effect. But such things were not in keeping with the customs, the views and the feelings of these people. Koba was undoubtedly a rare exception.

 

www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1922/youth/youth.htm

 

Religion is a sop and a leash. Religion is a poison precisely during a revolutionary epoch and in a period of the extreme hardships which are succeeding the conquest of power. This was understood by such a counter-revolutionary in political sympathies, but such a deep psychologist, as Dostoevsky. He said: ‘Atheism is inconceivable without socialism and socialism without atheism. Religion denies not only atheism but socialism also.’ He had understood that the heavenly paradise and the earthly paradise negate one another. If man is promised a hereafter, a kingdom without end then is it worth shedding his own and his brothers’ and his children’s blood for the establishment of a kingdom just like this here in this world? That is the question. We must deepen a revolutionary world-outlook, we must fight the religious prejudices in the youth and approach the youth, including those having religious prejudicies, with the maximum pedagogical attentiveness of the more educated towards the less educated. We must go to them with the propaganda of atheism, for only this propaganda defines the place of man in the universe and draws out for him a circle of conscious activity here on earth.

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/idom/dm/14-burnham.htm

Let us grant however that your more than presumptuous innuendo is correct. But this does not improve affairs to your advantage. Religion, as I hope you will agree, diverts attention away from real to fictitious knowledge, away from the struggle for a better life to false hopes for reward in the Hereafter. Religion is the opium of the people. Whoever fails to struggle against religion is unworthy of bearing the name of revolutionist. On what grounds then do you justify your refusal to fight against the dialectic if you deem it one of the varieties of religion?

You stopped bothering yourself long ago, as you say, about the question of religion. But you stopped only for yourself. In addition to you, there exist all the others. Quite a few of them. We revolutionists never “stop” bothering ourselves about religious questions, inasmuch as our task consists in emancipating from the influence of religion, not only ourselves but also the masses. If the dialectic is a religion, how is it possible to renounce the struggle against this opium within one’s own party?

Or perhaps you intended to imply that religion is of no political importance? That it is possible to be religious and at the same time a consistent communist and revolutionary fighter? You will hardly venture so rash an assertion. Naturally, we maintain the most considerate attitude toward the religious prejudices of a backward worker. Should he desire to fight for our program, we would accept him as a party member; but at the same time, our party would persistently educate him in the spirit of materialism and atheism. If you agree with this, how can you refuse to struggle against a “religion,” held, to my knowledge, by the overwhelming majority of those members of your own party who are interested in theoretical questions? You have obviously overlooked this most important aspect of the question.

Among the educated bourgeoisie there are not a few who have broken personally with religion, but whose atheism is solely for their own private consumption; they keep thoughts like these to themselves but in public often maintain that it is well the people have a religion. Is it possible that you hold such a point of view toward your own party? Is it possible that this explains your refusal to discuss with us the philosophic foundations of Marxism? If that is the case, under your scorn for the dialectic rings a note of contempt for the party.

Please do not make the objection that I have based myself on a phrase expressed by you in private conversation, and that you are not concerned with publicly refuting dialectic materialism. This is not true. Your winged phrase serves only as an illustration. Whenever there has been an occasion, for various reasons you have proclaimed your negative attitude toward the doctrine which constitutes the theoretical foundation of our program. This is well known to everyone in the party. In the article “Intellectuals in Retreat,” written by you in collaboration with Shachtman and published in the party’s theoretical organ, it is categorically affirmed that you reject dialectic materialism. Doesn’t the party have the right after all to know just why? Do you really assume that in the Fourth International an editor of a theoretical organ can confine himself to the bare declaration: “I decisively reject dialectical materialism” – as if it were a question of a proffered cigarette: “Thank you, I don’t smoke.” The question of a correct philosophical doctrine, that is, a correct method of thought, is of decisive significance to a revolutionary party just as a good machine shop is of decisive significance to production. It is still possible to defend the old society with the material and intellectual methods inherited from the past. It is absolutely unthinkable that this old society can be overthrown and a new one constructed without first critically analyzing the current methods. If the party errs in the very foundations of its thinking it is your elementary duty to point out the correct road. Otherwise your conduct will be interpreted inevitably as the cavalier attitude of an academician toward a proletarian organization which, after all, is incapable of grasping a real “scientific” doctrine. What could be worse than that?

 

We see in: An Open Letter to Comrade Burnham

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/idom/dm/14-burnham.htm

This morsel: You stopped bothering yourself long ago, as you say, about the question of religion. But you stopped only for yourself. In addition to you, there exist all the others. Quite a few of them. We revolutionists never “stop” bothering ourselves about religious questions, inasmuch as our task consists in emancipating from the influence of religion, not only ourselves but also the masses.  I have seen so many atheists like this on the mises forum it makes me wonder if we have secretly be infiltrated by Trotskites like the NeoCons did to the Republican Party?

One might say that if I argue like a marxists, that does not mean I am wrong. True, but that is not my point. If you argue against religion like a marxist that would indicate that you have certain marxist preconceptions that if were given form would contradict capitalist theory. In short if you argue against religion like a marxists than you must share some marxist ideology with the marxist and to whatever extent that ideology is shared you are not a capitalist.

This view of atheism can be corroberated by reference to: http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/a/t.htm#atheism

"Marxism is neither atheistic nor agnostic nor pantheist, but practical-critical. It does not counter the theist by dogmatically asserting that God does not exist, but rather, asks why it is necessary to believe in God and how it is possible to live without God."

Why are you helping them? Do you want a socialist utopia too? For only in a polity without religion/Christianity/Islam/Judism etc., according to  Marx, Lenin and Trostksy could a socialist state arise. So the very act of arguing for an atheist polity is a revolutionary act of socialism, you are laying down the first block of the new socialist state.

In closing the militant athiests on who claim to be capitalist (Randriods and liberterian anti-theists) are in fact cryto-communists who in their zeal to destroy religion are laying the foundation of the glorious soviet state. That of coures is not compatible with Capitalism.

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cab21 replied on Thu, Aug 9 2012 6:07 PM

yes.

there is no philosophy of athiesm.

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Bert replied on Thu, Aug 9 2012 6:09 PM

Mises was an atheist.  End of discussion.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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This post is a special kind of bizarre nonsense.

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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Fail, troll.  This is just idiotic poisoning the well fallacy.  It is the same old rhetoric used during the Cold War to glorify the religious states against the communist, and to grow the former indefinitely.

There were atheists before Marx.  And even socialist atheists are not all Marxists.  Either way, you are lying.

Atheists can either:

1)  Want all people to give up religion by force.  (which is almost no one).

2)  Don't really care if people are religious or not, as long as they respect the right to atheism also. 

3)  Expect others to eventually give up religion voluntarily over time.

4)  Combination of 2 and 3.

Only the first involves coercion.  The others do not.  And the same applies if you are religious, substituting 'religious' for 'atheist'.

 

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Nielsio replied on Thu, Aug 9 2012 6:22 PM

Libertarianism Is Not Based on Christianity

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Malachi replied on Thu, Aug 9 2012 6:29 PM
We will never know until we have a free market!
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
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"there is no philosophy of athiesm."

Not true, though there being 'no philosophy' is not much of a meaningful statement.

Any statement is a statement about truth value, and hence derives from some philosophy or analysis.  And atheism is a conclusion from one or more philosophical methodologies.  However, it is true that it itself is not necessarily apart of methodologies that share said conclusions.  Anymore than 2+3 is relevant to 10 - 5, except in a very abstract manner necessarily to derivision of truth itself.  However, as stated, it can be one of several conclusions from a particular philosophical system.  But 'atheism' it self is merely the conclusion about the existence of God.

I think theists arguments against atheism are based on their own right to exist, rather than the existence of God.  Which is interesting diversion.  This seems to be another way of saying that they have a right to any belief, because to say otherwise negates or aggresses against the mind that contains it.  But still they do not go further than to say that their mind contains it.  And so their belief remains a subjectivity.

Luckily, atheism is not arguing your right to exist.  Or God's right to exist.  If either exist, there is no disputing their rights. 

Hence, there is no incompatibility.

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Capitalism is probably a subset of atheism.

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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"Capitalism is probably a subset of atheism."

This is almost true. 

I think much of it has to do with the breakdown of Christian traditionalism after the rise of protestantism.  That is why many Catholics are socialists, while also holding socially conservative viewpoints:  the worst of both worlds.  They know that capitalism leads to more materialism.  Ironically protestants at first hated the church for being too worldly, but the modern world they built is if anything unprecedently 'worldly'.  Today protestants seem to hold to the idea that capitalism will save them from socialism, while most people in the West are turning away from religion because of modern media being more entertaining than church.   The market gives them TV and Xbox and unlimited amount of diversions formerly only available at church. But they think it is because 'socialism' pushing itself.  Christianity can only save itself if it abandons both socialism and capitalism.  Because capitalism and socialism are it's enemies, since they promote individualism and materialism and not common spiritual values.

Protestantism destroyed the old order and the Christian symbolism and hierarchy, and with it came the renaissance's naturalism, science, and then industrialism.  in some ways protestantism promoted individualism by being against hierarchy and for each man to have his own bible.  But this individualism has been used to promote capitalism now, and capitalism is putting Christianity to bed.  And now the individual serves himself, and either wants the state to promote his arbitrary interests or hates the state for restricting said interests.

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Acts 4:32-37

32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). 37He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts of the Apostles 5

5But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; 2with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3‘Ananias,’ Peter asked, ‘why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us* but to God!’ 5Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. 6The young men came and wrapped up his body,* then carried him out and buried him.

7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter said to her, ‘Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.’ And she said, ‘Yes, that was the price.’ 9Then Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.’ 10Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things.

Sounds pretty commie to me.

 

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@ John:

very good, that's what I was hinting at.   The geneology can be found in Max Weber among other thinkers.  

However, I am apt not to give intellectual movements too much credit - as much as how "obviousness" and "manipulation" becomes more easily manifested (for humans these would be "capitalistic imperatives").  I am more concerned with the expanding of trade routes, sail, the printing press, the growth of cosmopolitanism, and industrialization.  I tend to see "Protestantism" and "Enlightenment"as mere by-products of describing obvious reality as it was occuring, rather than the other way around.

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Turin replied on Thu, Aug 9 2012 7:39 PM

It's nice to now there are so many Trotskyites on the Mises forum mr1001nights would be proud. It is interesting that atheist trolls who start threads about God/Religion and atheism are never shut down or reprimanded. If they can why cannot I start, at least an attempt at rational discussion?

"Fail, troll.  This is just idiotic poisoning the well fallacy.  It is the same old rhetoric used during the Cold War to glorify the religious states against the communist, and to grow the former indefinitely.

There were atheists before Marx.  And even socialist atheists are not all Marxists.  Either way, you are lying."

Actually you are a troll and a liar. I know full well that ancient, and if it existed medieval atheism was not socialist,  if you read my article you would have seen this: "Atheism, at least in its modern form, is itself a socialist/Marxist idea." Second of all it is a fact that modern atheism developed in a social milieu of socialism and was often associated with atheism. I also distinguished between socialist atheists and Marxist atheists in the above quote. Read carefully, before responding. Do you even know what poisoning the well is? It would be poisoning the well to say that atheism is false because it is communist, or all atheists are communists, but what I said is that philosophically atheism is not compatible with capitalism.

Second of all I am not making the claim that: 1) all atheism is necessarily socialist, only that most modern atheism tends to be socialist/Marxist, 2) or that the Mises atheist’s are consciously Marxist, but that they have either imbibed certain Marxist values or are inadvertently aiding the triumph of Marxism a very different point indeed. Rather I am making the claim that the atheist objections to religion I hear are all Marxist in nature (corrupt deceitful priests, opium of the people, etc) these arguments are about as valid as the labor theory of value and worker exploitation.

Lastly you don’t even know what a troll is. A troll does not make arguments he calls people names something I did not do in my post and you did yours.

"This post is a special kind of bizarre nonsense."

I don't know ask the other atheists trolls who start the same kind of thread vis-a-vis religion/God and libertarianism.

"Libertarianism Is Not Based on Christianity" 

This is irrelevant since I did not claim it was only that atheism is not compatible with capitalism. That might imply the later, but it might not maybe it implies pantheism. Either way that is not the point the post and you have not refuted my objection.

 

Capitalist.

"Mises was an atheist."

It is possible for some to hold contradictory positions in one's head. For example one might argue for the existence of market axioms on the basis of a priori synthetic Kantian truth, but at the same time argue God/Religion does not exist or is meaningless based on the principle of verificationism. Yet these two epistemological assumptions are contradictory. If verificationism is true than a priori synthetic truth does not exist, if it does than verifcationism is false and the arguments against God/Religion that are justified by it.  Most Misean atheists fall into this trap.

“Capitalism is probably a subset of atheism.”

If it were it is funny that medieval Christendom invented it (see Spanish Scholastics). Read Rothbard’s Economic Thought Before Adam Smith An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, Volume I Chapter 4.

Why is it so hard for people to keep to the very narrow nature of the subject? The subject is not: 1) is capitalism Christian, 2) that the Cold War religious state (whatever that is) is good, or 3) that ancient and if they existed medieval atheists were socialist.

The claim I am making, and please keep to this argument, is that militant atheism is a by product of modern socialism/Marxism and in fact helps them more than capitalism and that the grand inquisitor zeal of militant atheists is rooted in Marxism and that this attempt to eradicate religion (I realize in the libertarian case by education) will still aid communism and harm capitalism. Most atheist states were/are Socialist/Marxist or State

As of yet no one has shown that eliminating religion (albeit by NAP means) would not help the Marxists, who vastly outnumber you and would like take advantage of the death of religion be fore you would, and hence harm capitalism. Instead of throwing names around, how about some arguments instead?

 

 

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Bert replied on Thu, Aug 9 2012 7:45 PM

I refer you to Karl Marx as a Religious Eschatalogist by Rothbard.

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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First of all, the original post was way tl/dr.  It looks like it is about a million pages of unnecessary text.  Or like you copied it from some Christian website.

I think that you are a type of religious person who is religious because of the anxiety of socialism/Marxism/etc.  Which is a bad reason to be religious, frankly, if there is any reason to be religious.  In this thinking, it is like the noble lie.  We must be religious in order 'not make way' for something or other.  On the other hand it could be your only argument against Marxism is that it is not religious.  Which gives a lot of credit to Marxism.

I say poisoning the well, because you are attacking atheism indirectly (or 'debunking' it) through your own absurd methodology of truth:  testing whether or not it can possibly lead to Marxism or come from a Marxist.  In which case all views to the affirmative, no matter how unrelated, become 'the same' and wrong (ie:  labor theory of value and the corruption of priests).   Which is no good methodology of truth at all.

It remains to be seen whether religious or atheists support the state more.  Socialism is another issue.  The main issue is the total growth of the state, which can come with or without commitment to socialism.  As we see with neocons.  On the other hand, not all religions are the same possible 'buffers' to such a state of affairs.  Muslims and Jews seem to be greater statists than Christians (Jews invented Marxism and Zionism, and promote every other brand of leftism).  IF the former disappeared (as religions) there would probably not be much harm to capitalism.  Hinduism didn't stop communists or anyone else from ruling them:  whether Muslims, British, or the socialists who now rule them.  The Chinese communists use buddhism and confucianism against the people.  Muslims usually support either Islamism or Arab socialism, both of which are anti-capitalist.  And different Christians vary either in belief about the state, or in how they can possibly combat the growth of the state.  Certainly socialism is compatible with their beliefs, and anti-capitalism is also compatible.  Somehow they've worked capitalism in, because of the incidence of protestantism which mostly dismantled Christianity.

 

 

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cab21 replied on Thu, Aug 9 2012 8:31 PM

by philosophy, saying the supernatural does not exist as a conclusion is not really the same as saying there is a supernatural being and it wants us to be capitalists or socialists or whatever or have some theocracy or anarchy or some other system of or lack of government. i guess the religios people can be anywhere on where they say the supernatural tells them to be, but a athiest does not have a supernatural power that the athiest must submit to or be punished and the supernatural power has certain things done on earth a certain way. perhaps there are theits that don't have that , but they would be rare and not a problem as they would say they have no need to get others to do anything nor does their god reward or punish based on what people do or have faith in.

maybe put it this way, a athiest can have any philosophy. simply not beleving in a god does not by neccesity put any authority on anyone else to govern a person.

apparently, people can read the bible and have any philosophy as well. spread it out to theism and people can have any philosophy they want as well.

by just making stuff up. people can come to any conclusion they want. the conclusion can be a personal one that effects noone else, or it can be one that affects others. the conclusion can be for or anti any doctrine out there. people can be compatable with anything they choose to be compatable with.

sure, anyone can choose any axium they want with personal beleifs. compatability is a choice. doctrine can be edited to be whatever someone wants it to be. any docrine you can find, you can find someone who says the doctrine is the opposite or in a new direction. life can be one big blank slate of fill in the blank at whim.

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all of the anti-religious arguments I have read on the Mises forums

ALL? Even Mises's question about the nature of God?

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The Chinese communists use buddhism and confucianism against the people.

Interesting.  I know next to nothing about these two schools of thought.  I just filed Buddhism under "pretentious Epicureanism" and Confucianism as a series of either laws and/or aphorisms.

Do you have a link how the Chinese use these things against it's populace?  If anything, I  thought these traditions would have been banned.

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

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Neodoxy replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 12:23 AM

"It's nice to now there are so many Trotskyites on the Mises forum mr1001nights would be proud."

Can you aprioristically verify the existence of god for me? You seem to make the claim that if one believes that capitalism can be verified a priori, that god can to, so can you do it? If not why is it a contradiction to believe in the market and not in god? And also it makes no sense to argue that you're not poisoning the well while calling everyone who's an atheist a communist, you've got enough fallacies right there. At any rate, please address the bolded, that's all I ask of you.

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RobinHood replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 2:30 AM

Summary of OP's argument

1. Marxists are the modern atheists.

2. Therefore atheism and capitalism are incompatible.

Does that merit serious response?

 

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MadMiser replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 4:56 AM

 

Vive la insurrection, modern Confucianism is essentially just extreme filial pietism: everyone in the family does what the father says, for a harmonious family, everyone in the country does what the Emperor/State says, for a harmonious society. Of course, the State has 'obligations' to its people too, but these can simply be discharged via propaganda, whereas an individual doesn't have the same recourse to propaganda in convincing the State of his/her loyalty. Chinese Buddhism is not like philosophical/esoteric Buddhism, rather it's worship your ancestors and your parents and do whatever you're told Buddhism; it is to philosophical Buddhism as Roman Catholicism is to Unitarian Universalism. Source: living here. An anecdotal example to put it in perspective, there are people here who've converted to Christianity because they found joy in the freedom from guilt it brought compared to Chinese Buddhism. Considering the undesirability of guilt in philosophical Buddhism (i.e. it's not a good thing to feel, along with fear, sadness, etc.), that should give you an idea of how warped Chinese Buddhism is compared to the more 'pure' form commonly encountered in the west. Essentially, the common form of Confucianism/Buddhism practiced here amounts to little more than a crude philosophical form of whatever your parents or teachers were thinking whenever they said "Do what I said, because I'm superior to you and I told you to!"
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MadMiser replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 5:06 AM

Aprioristic verification of God's existence (where God is defined as the creator of everything): 
Everything has a cause.
Each cause must have a cause.
A causal chain cannot continue backwards to infinity with no root.
There must be something at the start of the causal chain.
That something must be capable of causing itself.
That something caused everything (as everything followed from the first cause), hence fits the definition of God. 

The argument's over two millennia old; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument

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Turin replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 6:46 AM

John Ess

 

I am pleased to see a more sober response and retract the liar tag I attributed to you.

 

Whether I am religious or not is irrelevant to the question at hand. How could I have gotten these texts from a religious website if it was cited from Marxist.org, not known for its Christian views?

 

“I say poisoning the well, because you are attacking atheism indirectly (or 'debunking' it) through your own absurd methodology of truth:  testing whether or not it can possibly lead to Marxism or come from a Marxist.” 

 

Again that is not the point of my essay. The point was not “is atheism true?”, but is “atheism compatible with capitalism.”

 

I am pleased that you have made some arguments, but they miss the point. I am not claiming that Christianity, Judaism or Islam are more compatible with capitalism than atheism, only that atheism is not compatible with capitalism.

 

“ALL? Even Mises's question about the nature of God?”

 

Agreed all might have been to strong a word, but I should say many.

 

Can you aprioristically verify the existence of god for me? You seem to make the claim that if one believes that capitalism can be verified a priori, that god can to, so can you do it? If not why is it a contradiction to believe in the market and not in god? And also it makes no sense to argue that you're not poisoning the well while calling everyone who's an atheist a communist, you've got enough fallacies right there. At any rate, please address the bolded, that's all I ask of you.”

 

In my first essay I did not say that the Mises atheists were consciously communists, but rather argued that they were aiding communists or might have imbibed certain Marxist concepts. Second I called my respondents Trotskyites because they reacted without any sense of sobriety or reason. If they had I would not have done so. I even retracted the liar tag I laid at John Ess’ feet.

 

That is not the point. The point I was making was that verificationism and a priori synthetic knowledge are mutually exclusive epistemologies. Either one must believe in one or the other. If one does believe in apriori synthetic knowledge then he must at the very least use very different arguments than verificationists against God, which I have not seen as of yet. Most arguments against the existence or rationality of God/Religion are based on verificationism and Mises believed capitalism was based on a priori synthetic knowledge. The claim was not “is God justifiable by a priori reason,” but since you asked read: Descartes’ Meditations and Anselm’s Proslogion, but this is neither here nor their. I must stress again I am not claiming that if you are a priori you must believe in the monotheistic God of Christianity, you might be a Buddhist, a Neo-Pagan or a Confucian. I am claiming that verificationism would, if accepted, destroy the Misean a priori synthetic view of capitalism and hence capitalism.


Furthermore it is not necessarily ‘name calling’ to claim that someone might or might not be a Trotskyite only a testable accusation.

 

The Trotskyite line was just for fun. I’ve seen religious people called worse. As Rothbard said on his lecture on Keynes first destroy the argument than the person.

 

This is not an argument over the existence of God, but “is atheism compatible with Capitalism.” Your post is just a red herring.

 

 

 

To better declare my argument here are some syllogisms. Granted this is a new argument.

 

  1. If libertarian atheists support abortion and infanticide; than they diminish the human population.
  2. If they diminish the future pool of human population; then they are destroying human capital.
  3. If libertarian atheists support abortion and infanticide then they are destroying human capital.

 

Premise one is true:

Rothbard on children’s rights” https://mises.org/daily/2568/

Walter Block on Abortion and Infanticide: https://mises.org/media/1479/Abortion

 

If one is true than two is obviously true less children less future human population. If one and two are true than three is true. This is a kind of ludditte behavior. Atheist libertarians would hopefully never smash their own capital goods (i.e., sowing machine, computer, steel mill etc.,), but they seem perfectly happy to destroy vast swaths of human capital. Given that human capital is the formation of all capital and the economy why do Atheist libertarians hold to such a permissive view on its destruction?

 

  1. If militant atheist libertarians support the ideological elimination of religion, then they aid in creating a social system that is godless.
  2. If a godless social system is a necessary condition for the socialist state; then they are inadvertently supporting communism.
  3. If militant atheist libertarians support the ideological elimination of religion; then they are inadvertently supporting communism.

 

This is my initial argument restated. The communist citations were meant to support premises 1 and 2.

 

  1. If verficationism is true; then knowledge prior to existence that concerns the real world is false.
  2. If knowledge prior to existence that concerns the real world is false; than praxeology is false.
  3. If verficationism is true; than praxeology is false.

 

Conversely

 

  1. If praxeology is true, then a priori knowledge that concerns the real world is true.
  2. If a priori knowledge that concerns the real world is true; then verificationism is false.
  3. If praxeology is true, then verificationism is false.

 

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Autolykos replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 8:24 AM

I have my own philosophy of atheism that is compatible with capitalism and libertarianism.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

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There are SO many flaws in that attempt at logic.  It's actually tiring to think of responding to them all.  Let me focus only on one of them.  Atheism does not require that the atheist support the elimination of religion.  In fact, a number of religions are still open to the atheist, such as my own.  Religion and theism are not the same thing.  So the only thing you're saying in terms of atheism itself, is that an atheist who actually wants to get rid of all religions in the world would be lying if they called themselves a libertarian. 

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RobinHood replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 9:32 AM

That something must be capable of causing itself.

Anyone see a flaw there?

That something caused everything (as everything followed from the first cause), hence fits the definition of God.

Of course, it may be the Devil or Satan who did it all, or some unsentient being, or a Big Bang, or some physical thing. What if at the root of it all lies a gas. Should we all pray to ammonia molecules? In other words, the usual attributes of God don't follow.

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RobinHood replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 9:41 AM

Keep that helmet on, cause you are hereby challenged to a joust.

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What?

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Neodoxy replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 10:31 AM

The existence of god is an empirical fact. Praxeology is a science dealing with the necessary implications of human action. Mises never said that only a priori knowledge was correct, just under certain circumstances. Most athiests know only too well that you cannot disprove the existence of god in his apparent absence, but you can't disprove the existence of unicorns by their apparent absence, the belief in something for which there is no evidence, but merely no evidence refuting it, is nonsensical.

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Lady Saiga replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 11:40 AM

I distinctly thought I heard a "guard yourself for true" coming from RobinHood awhile back.  Nothing?

I can't say I agree with Neo about the nonsense thing.  Faith and hunches and so on move a lot of ground worldwide...if it does no harm and it creates happiness or inspires lines of thinking for art, literature, music, or even empirical research, it's not nonsense.  The whole realm of the imagination above and beyond the strictly true dimension of human life is what adds color to our experiences.

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RobinHood replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 1:29 PM

I distinctly thought I heard a "guard yourself for true" coming from RobinHood awhile back.

Thou didst, indeed.

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Hokay...out with it, then.  Where's the argument?  En garde!

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RobinHood replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 1:46 PM

First of all, how could you let "God exists is an empirical fact" just slip by unchallenged?

Aren't you supposed to send away the court jesters?

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So, you're criticizing me for not criticizing another member??

Empirical: information gathered by means of experimentation or observation.  Either God (presumably a monotheistic creator-god, based on the conversation) exists, or he doesn't.  Wouldn't that make it a matter that could be empirically verified?

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RobinHood replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 2:16 PM

Verily, I spoke too soon. Nothing against the honorable other member.

But to the heart of the idea being discussed, what experiment would verify the existence of God? What has been observed that shows His existence?

Full disclosure: I believe in God. But not because of a repeatable experiment.

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Neodoxy replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 2:19 PM

"I can't say I agree with Neo about the nonsense thing.  Faith and hunches and so on move a lot of ground worldwide...if it does no harm and it creates happiness or inspires lines of thinking for art, literature, music, or even empirical research, it's not nonsense.  The whole realm of the imagination above and beyond the strictly true dimension of human life is what adds color to our experiences."

I understand what you mean. Let me restate this: It makes no sense to believe in god and to call other people fools because they don't believe in him when you have no reason to believe he exists beyond a hunch. If we based all our beliefs in this way at least three fourths of the world's population would be dead. A personal belief, sure, but when it becomes a political belief it is nonesense.

Also, standards for empirical verification are more complex then you might think. Everything around us could be an empirical verification of god. What sucks from the standpoint of empirically verifying/disproving god is that the fact that in order to be effective a hypothesis must be disprovable. Because god is omnipotent, then if he doesn't want us to perceive him he is unperceivable and therefore his existence is impossible to prove while at the same time he is impossible to disprove because with this same knowledge we know that he could just not want to be perceived. Even if we drop the omnipotence claim, we still have no idea exactly what would verify or falsify our results, although your right that if we were ourselves omnipotent then we could verify or falsify the existence of god through experimentation and observation, but until we reach that state... Technically Impossible :(

All we can prove is that there's not an omnipotent god who's trying to be perceived by humankind.

 

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Well stated, Neo, thank you.  I didn't really want to write a novel on the subject.  I'm not all that versed in philosophy of religion, because most of the issues it deals with are specific to the All Powerful All Loving Monotheistic Creator God type of theology.  That worldview has too many contradictions to attract me. 

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MaikU replied on Fri, Aug 10 2012 6:24 PM

Atheism and anti-theism are not synonyms. Atheism is about the lack of particular belief, anti-theism is about fighting other beliefs, sometimes with force. Capitalism is MO of nature. It's not a system.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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