July 28, 2011

"And if atheists could put a symbol in the museum, what would it be?"

"Perhaps an atom, Mr. Silverman suggested, 'because we’re all made out of atoms,' or maybe a depiction of a firefighter carrying a victim. 'It would be about helping,” he said. 'It would not be derogatory against any religion or anybody.'"

Or maybe a legal complaint, because they're always filing lawsuits like this.

108 comments:

Chip S. said...

If their symbol is an atom, then I'm pretty sure they're already fully represented.

Chip S. said...

Maybe this.

MarkG said...

Something that represents evolution. Like the beak of the finch

Lucien said...

Since there is no reason to believe that atheists share any view other than the lack of belief in a deity it's sort of pointless to think that they would agree on what to put in a museum display.

YoungHegelian said...

@Chip,

Do you have in mind the bag or the rectal nozzle?

pst314 said...

"It would not be derogatory against any religion or anybody."

That would be a first.

timmaguire42 said...

Chip, I think that is also the case if the symbol is a firefighter carrying a victim. 'Cause there was plenty of helping that day.

Chip S. said...

YoungHegelian, I suppose I should say a synthesis of the two.

Chip S. said...

tim, Yes. How could anyone be sure it was an atheist firefighter? He'd have to be wearing some kind of symbol, and we're back at square one.

Carol_Herman said...

Pastafarians! You take a colander you have at home to drain spaghetti. And, you wear it on your head.

Or? They can use feathers. And, chant like indians.

It ain't a movement until you have a call that's recognized by others.

And, a book.

Though anything written by Mark Twain works for me.

You know? I just wouldn't believe a group that called themselves atheists.

bagoh20 said...

Simply a mirror. They worship every morning by turning toward their symbol and performing the ritual of the floss.

What about us agnostics? We want a large gold question mark.

edutcher said...

What's the symbol for nothing?

Zero?

No, that's our Barry.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I'm a dyslexic agnostic insomniac. I lie awake at night wondering if there is a dog.

chickenlittle said...

Silverman's religion has many symbols: just take the symbol of any theist religion, put it in a circle, and draw a line through it.

There's really not much more to it than that, except perhaps that they hate flags too.

God and flags.

Big Mike said...

And if atheists could put a symbol in the museum, what would it be?

An ACLU membership card?

I'd bet the contents of my wallet if the steel girders left standing formed a magen david or a crescent it would be okay with those guys.

But they aren't true atheists.

True atheists take no more offense at innocent expressions of religion than they take at people going through any other social ritual.

These people are anti-Christians, and that's a bit different.

Big Mike said...

'Course since tomorrow's payday there really isn't very much in my wallet just now.

William said...

Atheists are too parochial. They only disbelieve in Christianity. Atheists need to broaden their outlook and become intolerant of other faiths.

John Scotus said...

No doubt the atheist symbol would be this one, from the Diego Rivera mural, "Man, Controller of the Universe": http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Palacio_de_Bellas_Artes_-_Mural_El_Hombre_in_cruce_de_caminos_Rivera_3.jpg
It shows man on the cross of science.

Chef Mojo said...

But they aren't true atheists.

True atheists take no more offense at innocent expressions of religion than they take at people going through any other social ritual.

These people are anti-Christians, and that's a bit different.


Bingo!

These assclowns wouldn't know an atheist if it kicked their ass.

By their very nature, they have established a religion, with all the trappings, rituals, congregating and symbology of any other religion. In doing so, they show an amazing lack of imagination and intelligence.

In no time at all they have advanced from Atheist to Atheist/Believer to Cultist to Uber-Douche. I'm sure most of them joined as Uber-Douche, thus negating the previous stages.

Real American said...

so a Cross is derogatory? Atheists are such fucking babies! How about a picture of a guy with his nuts cut off. That's a great symbol for Atheists! Grow a fucking sack and stop dying to be offended. losers.

Heart_Collector said...

How about someone sittin on a fence.

Chef Mojo said...

Atheists are too parochial. They only disbelieve in Christianity. Atheists need to broaden their outlook and become intolerant of other faiths.

I only disbelieve. I am intolerant of no faith, except those that show a tendency to want to destroy me and mine.

Yeah. I'm looking at you, Islam.

SteveR said...

Has Mr. Silverman ever seen an atom or does he just have faith that they exist?

Seven Machos said...

I argue that atheists must have some kind of jealousy against the moral claims that religion makes. They feel (and are right in so feeling) that their own view of the world has no moral force whatsoever, as it is by definition bereft of meaning and order.

So, like the junior high nerds who spend all their time talking about how the popular kids really aren't that cool, the atheists sit around all day long attacking religion.

Enough already. It doesn't really matter if there is a God. What matters -- what brings people to religion -- is that there is meaning and prescription. Atheists should shut the fuck up about religion and do the heavy philosophical lifting that their position requires.

TWM said...

The atheist symbol for gravestones in Arlington is an atom with an A in the middle - looks like a nuclear symbol which is what this group is about - blowing up religious tradition.

Crimso said...

Which model of the atom would they use? The model most people think of is wrong. Of course, all models are. Some are just more wrong than others.

Revenant said...

Or maybe a legal complaint, because they're always filing lawsuits like this.

I would have thought bigoted comments like that were beneath you.

Seven Machos said...

Rev -- Does it bother you that there is a cross at a museum?

Revenant said...

I argue that atheists must have some kind of jealousy against the moral claims that religion makes.

The word you're looking for is "claim", not "argue". All you did was describe how you imagine we think and feel.

You were wrong, in case you were wondering.

Seven Machos said...

Rev -- Once you get into semantics, you've lost the argument. That was sure quick.

On the topic, are you really arguing that atheists are some group of people? Like you are united together under some banner? Really?

Do you meet on some day each week for a short course on atheism followed up with a sermon? Or perhaps you stop what you are doing five times a day en masse and ritualistically bow in some direction? Or maybe you make annual pilgrimages up a mountain for a rite of catharsis? Is that it?

mtrobertsattorney said...

"A fireman carrying a victim'? I would find that highly offensve.

You can't fool me. This is just a subtle way to brainwash people into believing all that "love thy neighbor" stuff promoted by the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Revenant said...

Rev -- Does it bother you that there is a cross at a museum?

It bothers me that a piece of rubble from the site of a religious mass murder to is being used to promote religion. I think it is in incredibly poor taste. I also dislike the sentiment -- sometimes implicit, sometimes openly stated -- that the murders were an attack on Christians instead of an attack on America.

Will I be penciling it in on my list of Stuff to Worry About? No, but I won't be visiting the museum either. If I wanted to pay money to see things I find crass and offensive I would resubscribe to basic cable. :)

sargon37 said...

a burning cross because they hate crosses

Tim said...

As "atheism" is as much a faith-based religion as any other, I'd suggest the First Amendment, as an admonishment against them imposing their own religious views.

Revenant said...

On the topic, are you really arguing that atheists are some group of people? Like you are united together under some banner? Really?

You are claiming that atheists are a group of people with a common mentality. Since I am an atheist and your claim does not describe me, your claim is wrong. That's how it goes with blanket claims about groups of people.

If you want to rephrase that as "some atheists must have some kind of jealousy etc etc" then I won't argue. That claim, along with claims such as "some Christians enjoy child molestation" and "some Muslims enjoy murdering people", is entirely accurate.

Seven Machos said...

I argue that this wrecked piece of architecture is the most important tactile, real historical symbol from the event. It would be truly stupid not to include it.

I certainly won't be going to this museum, either.

Donn said...

Althouse:
Or maybe a legal complaint, because they're always filing lawsuits like this.

Rev:
I would have thought bigoted comments like that were beneath you.

Bigoted? Hardly. It's simply the truth!

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"Or maybe a legal complaint, because they're always filing lawsuits like this."

That's perfect.

My vote would be an "I Hate Daddy" placard.

Seriously, though- they should protest museums because they are named after ancient Greek goddesses.

...oh, wait- the Muses weren't Christian so they get a pass!

veni vidi vici said...

A big cock with a baseball cap on it, since they frequently come across as complete dickheads.


wv: "untli" -- My, that's mighty untli of you, sis.

Seven Machos said...

But Rev, my argument does kind of describe you, because you are the kind of person who will get on a thread about atheism and act all offended and shocked -- shocked -- because of your atheism any time atheism is brought up.

An actual atheist that fits the image you want to be would read this and say, "Oh man, the dumb ass cross section of atheists are being dumb asses again. Those jerks! They are an embarrassment."

n.n said...

Pictures of the Muslim terrorists.

A lot of America's atheists maintain a faith in a selective reality. The American secular cult is quite different than the realization of secularism than say in the Soviet Union.

Then again, under the Soviet communists it was about defeating competing interests and ensuring uniformity in the population. So, in that respect, these American atheists are actually very much like their counterparts.

Oh well, just another interest group vying for the pole position.

I wonder what they think of their faith's failure to increase the fitness of our species. Why people go out of their way to retain and maintain their heritage.

I think when fundamental truth evades our grasp, it is best to judge any faith by the principles it engenders, which makes judging atheism so difficult, since it does not present a consistent set of principles adhered to by its followers.

Revenant said...

As "atheism" is as much a faith-based religion as any other

That is objectively false.

Oh, it is certainly true that in a strictly logical sense the atheist belief that all the gods humans have ever believed in are fake requires just as much faith as the Christian belief that all the gods humans have ever believed in are fake except for one. No argument there.

The thing is, that's the sine qua non of atheism. There are no other beliefs, faith-based or otherwise, which are required in order to qualify as an atheist. There are quite a lot of additional faith-based beliefs required to qualify as a Christian -- e.g., the divinity of Jesus, his resurrection, the accuracy of his teachings as recorded by his followers, the existence of heaven, and so on.

n.n said...

Setting aside this atheist's need for attention, I would like to see a resurrection of the twin towers. There is no greater memorial to honor those people who were murdered on that day and to thoroughly mock the people who would pray for our downfall.

Seven Machos said...

There are quite a lot of additional faith-based beliefs required to qualify as a Christian -- e.g., the divinity of Jesus, his resurrection, the accuracy of his teachings as recorded by his followers, the existence of heaven, and so on

Exactly none of these things is required for Christianity. Any historical-critical course on the New Testament will disabuse you of your shameful ignorance about Christianity.

Sad.

Seven Machos said...

n.n. -- The Twin Towers were awful architecture and such a plan would not be economically feasible. Here in Chicago, nobody even wants to be in the Sears Tower still today. They had to change the name to Willis, actually.

A beautiful Old European-style plaza is the answer down there.

Revenant said...

Bigoted? Hardly. It's simply the truth

If the question "what should the symbol of Judaism be" and Althouse had said "a lawsuit, because they're always filing lawsuits", would anyone have questioned that that statement was bigoted? Besides Cedarford, I mean.

Well, there are a hell of a lot more Jews filing lawsuits in American than there are atheists. Heck, most of the lawsuits bitching about Christian symbols in public are filed by Jews.

This one included, might I point out.

Steven said...

What I'm most annoyed about, I think, is that the group calls itself American Atheists, which makes it too easy for people to just call them "atheists".

It's the same annoyance, I think, that would happen if the Westboro Baptist Church people instead called their group "American Christians", and as a result people talking about them called them "Christians", and accordingly criticized Christians for picketing funerals with "GOD HATES FAGS" signs.

Tim said...

"That is objectively false."

Except, as you note immediately, it is objectively true

"Oh, it is certainly true that in a strictly logical sense the atheist belief that all the gods humans have ever believed in are fake requires just as much faith as the Christian belief that all the gods humans have ever believed in are fake except for one. No argument there."

Right. It requires faith, the basis of any and all religions, to believe there is no God, or gods. What then follows is a quibble that because atheism has no other requirements other than believing there is no God, or gods, that somehow the fundamental, necessary faith, that there is no God, or gods, is somehow not a faith-based religion, because, don't you see, once you believe that, you need not believe anything else...like many fundamentalist protestant sects:

"The thing is, that's the sine qua non of atheism. There are no other beliefs, faith-based or otherwise, which are required in order to qualify as an atheist. There are quite a lot of additional faith-based beliefs required to qualify as a Christian -- e.g., the divinity of Jesus, his resurrection, the accuracy of his teachings as recorded by his followers, the existence of heaven, and so on."

Like I said: you gotta believe. It's fundamental.

Revenant said...

An actual atheist that fits the image you want to be would read this and say, "Oh man, the dumb ass cross section of atheists are being dumb asses again. Those jerks! They are an embarrassment."

My first comment on this subject was a criticism of American Atheists' filing of frivolous lawsuits for self-promotion.

But don't let that get in the way of the straw Revenant you're building.

n.n said...

A suggestion to Mr. Silverman: Perhaps a resonant string, since we may all be composed of such a primitive structure. Unless he's referring to an a-tom, then I suppose that could be representative of any primitive structure (imagined or real) that constitutes our physical realm. Why stop at a high level structure such as the atom?

Revenant:

You are an atheist, right?

To what extent do you place your faith in science? Do you know what science is, when it is valid and why?

Do you believe in origin (i.e., brain) or expression (e.g., soul) to characterize human consciousness? How would you prove either to be true?

Also, since slavery was an economically viable institution, why was slavery rejected by Western civilization?

I'm curious about your objective perspective.

Seven Machos said...

Rev -- Was that under your sock puppet?

Alex said...

The Establishment Clause is proof the founding Fathers were atheists.

God is dead, long live Pasta.

Seven Machos said...

The Establishment Clause forbids the federal government from holding one religion above all others, not the states. So, no. Not at all.

n.n said...

The Establishment Clause is proof that America's founding Fathers were tolerant individuals.

Revenant said...

Exactly none of these things is required for Christianity.

Well, I invite you to point me to a Christian faith which believes Jesus was an ordinary mortal guy who preached a bunch of inaccurate nonsense before getting killed and then rotting in the ground because there's no afterlife. I'm always willing to learn.

But even if your claim that Christianity doesn't require any of those things wasn't hilariously wrong, it is still true that *most* Christian religions do require belief in some or all of those things -- and, therefore, the original claim that atheism requires as much faith as any religion is wrong.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seven Machos said...

Rev -- Your knowledge of early Christianity is obviously less than zero, crippled as it is with all manner of quaint beliefs.

Do you have faith in those quaint beliefs? Do they help you to sleep better at night?

Revenant said...

Rev -- Was that under your sock puppet?

I have never posted here under any alias but this one.

Seven Machos said...

Then, Rev, I don't think your first post means what you think it means.

Carol_Herman said...

How about a smear of cum. And, some vaginal blood.

A wall decoration. But you have to be careful not to create a cross.

And, you can't do a circle, either. Because that was taken by the Masons. Who'd draw a circle in the dirt. And, someone would stand guard at the door. And, they'd have "meetings."

Nothing was advertised.

You only got to be a Mason if you were male. IF you could keep secrets. And, IF you got an invitation to join.

Much later on ... men began wearing Masonic rings.

But then the Masons were a mere shadow of themselves.

But atheists? It must be a very small section on the wall of a bookstore ... where you can look to read anything about this.

Though Mark Twain sure had a great sense of humor.

Remember when people said "gesundheit," when you sneezed? Do you know they believed your soul could leave your body during a sneeze?

Sometimes, religious beliefs leave tendrils behind.

Revenant said...

Seven, I try to take the time to correct fellow atheists when they make incorrect claims about Christianity. I don't want them making us look bad.

I do not, however, care how bad you look, and thus will leave it to Christians to correct you. :)

n.n -- I'll answer your questions a little later, I have an errand to run.

Carol_Herman said...

Alex, @ 11:43 PM. As a Pastafarian myself, doesn't that mean I need to revere Marco Polo?

I first learned of Marco Polo when I was a kid. And, was taken to a swimming club. Where "Marco Polo" was a game we played in the pool.

Oh, yeah. Not being Catholic, I envied the little girls who got to wear wedding dresses, and veils, when they were 7 years old.

Seven Machos said...

I would hope that Christians know something about their religion, and know how radically different various Christian sects were pre-orthodoxy. I am very pessimistic.

Speaking of orthodoxy, though, does anybody have a lamer, philosophically sorrier, more depressing, more poetically bereft orthodoxy than atheists?

Seven Machos said...

I envied the little girls who got to wear wedding dresses, and veils, when they were 7 years old.

That's not Catholics. That's some sect of Mormons in rural Colorado. It's very sad. We shouldn't joke about it.

Tim said...

"...it is still true that *most* Christian religions do require belief in some or all of those things -- and, therefore, the original claim that atheism requires as much faith as any religion is wrong."

Sure. But there are other religions besides Christianity which are quite simpler; some as simple as atheism.

And, just to be clear, as I believe in freedom of conscience, I believe in freedom of, and from, religion. And so I celebrate your freedom of conscience.

But as atheists mock other religions, Christianity in particular, it is a noble exercise to remind atheists of their own faith-based religion, if only to compel some self-awareness and humility.

Yes, a futile task, I know...

Andrea said...

Considering how humorless, dull, and obsessive most atheists involved in this are, I suggest a their symbol should be an old tennis shoe.

bagoh20 said...

"Heck, most of the lawsuits bitching about Christian symbols in public are filed by Jews."

Nobody is arguing that ONLY atheists can be assholes. It's a big tent and atheists often like camaraderie there.

36fsfiend said...

Seven Machos said...

"The Establishment Clause forbids the federal government from holding one religion above all others, not the states. So, no. Not at all."

Doesn't the incorporation doctrine hold that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment applies to the states?

Justin said...

The atheists would obviously introduce a statue of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Seven Machos said...

36 -- That's certainly a legitimate and widely accepted argument.

But please read carefully! Then think about what you have read. Alex very specifically "Founding Fathers." The Incorporation Doctrine is an invention of the early 1900s at the very earliest, and could not possibly have been a glimmer in anyone's eye until the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War.

Fen said...

And if atheists could put a symbol in the museum, what would it be?

A statue of a metrosexual converting to Islam at the point of a sword.

Atop the bodies of dead Christians.

Fucking cowards.

Lin W said...

But this is an exhibit in a *museum*.

Should everything that any human being, ever, may have used for religious purposes be banished from all publicly funded museums?

Statues of Egyptian, Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, gone from the Metropolitan Museum?

Trinkets from the neolithic that *may* have been used as "ritual objects" -- out in the trash?

If these folks are not objecting to any of those being exhibited in museums, then they are obviously not being truthful. They're not atheists -- they're anti-Christians. They're not even anti-theists, because other deities get a total pass.

Sad little minds.

36fsfiend said...

Seven Machos said...

"But please read carefully! Then think about what you have read. Alex very specifically "Founding Fathers." The Incorporation Doctrine is an invention of the early 1900s at the very earliest, and could not possibly have been a glimmer in anyone's eye until the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War."

I concur. I read "The Establishment Clause forbids" in your reply to Alex as present tense.

Revenant said...

Sure. But there are other religions besides Christianity which are quite simpler; some as simple as atheism.

Are there? I can't think of any religions with only one faith-based belief, but that doesn't mean none exist.

Anyway, your claim was "'atheism' is as much a faith-based religion as any other". The accurate statement would be that atheism requires less faith than the vast majority of religions, as much faith as the remainder, and slightly more than agnosticism.

But as atheists mock other religions, Christianity in particular, it is a noble exercise to remind atheists of their own faith-based religion, if only to compel some self-awareness and humility.

Which is a bit like saying that since there are black folks who make racist comments about white guys, we should take the opportunity to sling around the n-word now and then just to show 'em we mean business. Why deliberately offend innocent members of a group just because a different member of that group offended you? I mean, I'm as guilty of that sin as the next guy, but you won't catch me trying to spin it as a noble endeavor. :)

As to the notion of atheism being a "faith-based religion", it is a faith based religion in the sense that parents follow the faith-based religion that the crayon scribbles on the wall were NOT put there by their child's invisible friend but were, in fact, put there by the child himself. Calling it a "religion" dumbs down the word "religion" to the point of meaninglessness.

Seven Machos said...

36 -- Very well then. I for one would argue that a halfway thoughtful reading of the Constitution of 1787 as it stands (i.e., with the Amendments) did, does, and will continue to blatantly suggest a federalism wherein state governments and the federal government differ.

The Fourteenth Amendment is a brilliant, vital piece of legislation. At the same time, it's too vague and, as such, has been piss-poor for actually governing. It can mean whatever you want it to mean in so many ways.

Seven Machos said...

Calling it a "religion" dumbs down the word "religion" to the point of meaninglessness.

I agree. Religious people and other sensible souls shouldn't allow themselves to be pulled into or grouped into the sad, cold void, meaningless, nihilist void of atheism.

Steven said...

It would be quite easy to get me to stop being an atheist. Just show me someone calling on his deity to reproduce the results Elijah got in the contest with the priests of Baal.

Me, I fully expect that an attempt to do so, no matter what deity was invoked, would give me an opportunity to devastatingly quote Elijah's words to the priests of Baal to the person making the attempt.

Now, you can call my expectation faith, if you like. But deep in your heart of hearts—do you believe your deity would pass the test set by Elijah? Or are objections already leaping to your throat? Are you already thinking of ways to explain the failure away, making excuses that would have worked just as well for the priests of Baal?

Seven Machos said...

Steven's quest in life is to prove to you Christians the nonexistence of a Canaanite god who last mattered some 4,000 years ago.

Pathetic, defined.

Revenant said...

n.n,

You are an atheist, right?

That would be a yes. Bear in mind that none of the follow-up questions have anything to do with atheism per se, and are merely my own beliefs. Other atheists have different ideas (although many do share mine, especially within the scientific community).

To what extent do you place your faith in science?

Depends on what "science" is supposed to mean. I would define it as the process of acquiring knowledge by constantly comparing what you think you know to observable reality. The alternatives are either to not bother checking your beliefs, or to disregard the fact that they don't match reality. Those both seem sort of silly, so I guess you could say I have quite a lot of faith in science.

If you mean science as a body of knowledge, that would depend upon which part of the body of knowledge we're talking about. Some theories have been tested to within an inch of their lives and have passed with flying colors (e.g. quantum mechanics, Newtonian mechanics at non-relativistic speeds, the law of supply and demand, and the theory of evolution). Others areas are a lot weaker, like climatology or psychology, and I wouldn't trust any given claim they made.

Do you believe in origin (i.e., brain) or expression (e.g., soul) to characterize human consciousness? How would you prove either to be true?

If souls exist and interact with the body -- which is required by the "soul" theory -- then we will eventually detect their existence by noting the effects on the body. Thus far, however, everything we know about the brain is consistent with the theory that it is the source of consciousness -- especially since you can alter consciousness by altering the brain. In short, I see no need for the "soul" hypothesis at this time.

Also, since slavery was an economically viable institution, why was slavery rejected by Western civilization?

The first half of that sentence has nothing to do with the second half; it is like asking "since nectarines are delicious, why do they grow on trees?"

But as for why western civilization came to view slavery as wrong -- because that is the logical result from the philosophy of individual freedom that had been gradually spreading and developing since the Renaissance repopularized Greek philosophy and later philosophers built on it. That's the simple view, of course -- there were countless other influences. Nothing that took thousands of years to accomplish has a single cause. :)

Fred4Pres said...

Why would they need a symbol?

If they are Objectivists, I would assume they would exhault the human spirit. That is done in works, not symbols.

Nora said...

Why atheists would want a symbol? This would only show that they want to belong to the club, where everyubody wears their religion on their sleeves. Do they want to be accepted, methink.

Writ Small said...

The ideal of rationality and cool logic: a picture of Spock.

Paco Wové said...

As an atheist, I'm sure that whatever 'symbol' they came up with, I would be offended by it.

Well, maybe I'm not really that much of an atheist. Deep down, I don't really care what they do.

traditionalguy said...

The Drug industry has started running commercials over and over showing severely depressed, half dead, gray bruised, hopeless people to sell their latest drug.

They have to run a half again as long warning list about organ failures causing death and suicides.

That IS the perfect Atheist image.

Just change the Product's name and run it as fast acting Atheism In Action, and be sure to include the same warning list.

Eleanor said...

Not collecting stamps is not a hobby. A "symbol for atheism" meant to compete with religious symbols would be nothing. Which would be fine with this atheist. I would like an acknowledgement occasionally that not everyone believes in a supernatural being or beings and that one can have a strong moral code absent religious beliefs. That is the only argument that I would ever engage in with people who have chosen a supernatural being to guide them. Whatever beliefs and rituals they need to get through life is really none of my business unless they make it so.

Lezer said...

It's "atheists" like FZ Myers who give people who are not, among many other things, theists, a bad name. I am not a theist, is all. Not-being-a-theist is not any kind of faith or belief. There's nothing there which needs expressing by means of a symbol. If you think you can infer from my not being a theist anything about what I do believe in, you're logically challenged.

LarsPorsena said...

Since atheists believe there is no cosmic plan or order, just randomness, how about a big pair of fuzzy dice as their symbol?

Hagar said...

How about a screaming baby with a big brown stain in his diapers?

The Crack Emcee said...

A statue of someone, staring blankly into space, believing.

Penny said...

Could we use the infinity symbol?

Infinity is the idea of BOUNDLESSNESS in mathematics, philosophy, and theology.

Curious George said...

Since they believe in nothing, how about nothing. I guess you would just need a small plaque or something so they would know where to go.

X said...

if atoms can spontaneously assemble themselves into a living being, why couldn't they assemble themselves into a god?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

And if atheists could put a symbol in the museum, what would it be?

I'd go with the * symbol from Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, as long as it was understood to refer to the members of American Athiests, and not athiests in general.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

if atoms can spontaneously assemble themselves into a living being, why couldn't they assemble themselves into a god?

If you define a god as someone that can act outside the laws of physics, than the answer seems pretty obvious.

Otherwise you'll have to supply a definition of god before I could answer.

Andrea said...

"It would be quite easy to get me to stop being an atheist. Just show me someone calling on his deity to reproduce the results Elijah got in the contest with the priests of Baal."

Funny, all it took for me to stop being an atheist was to grow up and realize I didn't know every damn thing in the universe, and that it was no crime to say so.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

That does sound like a good argument for switching from atheism to agnositicism.

bagoh20 said...

If you define a god as someone that can act outside the laws of physics, than the answer seems pretty obvious.

Laws are made by men. The laws of physics could be nothing more than what God allows us to see. You are overestimating man and underestimating God.

Do ants even know of the existence of magnifying glasses. Of course not, we aren't gonna tell them, because they would never understand them or why we like to use them.

bagoh20 said...

... I didn't know every damn thing in the universe, and that it was no crime to say so."

The understanding that I'm not that smart doesn't prove much to me about religion - I could still trust the understanding of someone else more educated on the subject, but I just never met, heard or read anyone who seemed smart enough to know such things. That's where faith comes in and I just don't have it in men.

What I personally see in nature is astounding, but it gives me little understanding of why it is, unless it is for the sake of complexity and beauty alone, and that's not much of a basis for religion. I'm still here though, so I have time to learn.

Lovernios said...

I'm reminded of a great Gahan Wilson cartoon that depicted a group of people gathered in some type of sanctuary. Up on the dias were several clergy type individuals performing some kind of religious ritual. On the lectern was a large capital "N". In the back one guy is turned to another and asks, "Is nothing sacred?"

I found this hilarious.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

bagoh20-

I'm not sure how what you said applies.

Say I have a set of Legos with a large number and variety of pieces. I could assemble them into a toy car that could roll downhill. I'm pretty sure that I could not assemble them into a flying saucer that actually flew.

I can conceive of the idea that some arrangement of them might interact in a way that tweaks some crease in the fabric of space-time such that it flies. And I could imagine that there are other things besides Legos that such a flying sauce could be made from.
But if someone asked If Legos can be assembled into a car that rolls downhill, why can't they be assembled into a flying saucer that flies?, I would think the answer was pretty obvious.

Tim said...

"Calling it a "religion" dumbs down the word "religion" to the point of meaninglessness."

Except, of course, atheists cling to their faith as a aggressively (or as assertively, if you prefer) as do any fundamentalists of Christianity, Islam or Judaism, and proselytize their faith with no less appreciable effort than traditional efforts.

So how about a little mutual respect for your counterparts in other faith-based communities, recognizing it's man's nature to wrestle with this question, regardless of the conclusion one reaches?

Lezer said...

Except, of course, atheists cling to their faith as a aggressively (or as assertively, if you prefer) as do any fundamentalists of Christianity, Islam or Judaism, and proselytize their faith with no less appreciable effort than traditional efforts.

Some do (Myers, Dawkins), most don't. Most are apatheists, who don't see the problem or don't care about it. A silent majority of unbelievers, occasionally smeared by religionists for no good reason at all.

Oligonicella said...

Trad, Seven, Fen and others are the Althouse religious equivalent of the AA.

Anyone not believing my statement the other day need only start at the top of each post on religion and read down, tallying the abuse and its origin.

Put bigger checkmarks next to the names of the owners of truly odious comments.

When you're done, read aloud the names of those spewing intolerance and hatred.

Note the ones missing.

bagoh20 said...

"I can conceive of the idea that some arrangement of them might interact in a way that tweaks some crease in the fabric of space-time such that it flies."

There was a time when the things you just wrote were inconceivable to anyone - plastic, cars planes.

But now you can, and that's just the mind of a man who can't keep himself alive for even a century with all the help of his entire species. Imagine what ideas a god could conceive of, but of course we can't. We can't even understand what is, how can we understand what is beyond us. People have always thought they understood more than they did. I don't see anything about out time that should be any different.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

bagoh20-

If someone asked you If Legos can be assembled into a car that rolls downhill, why can't they be assembled into a flying saucer that flies?, would you really have trouble answering that?

Tibore said...

"'It would not be derogatory against any religion or anybody.'"

The central fallacy here is the presumption that the cross is derogatory to begin with.

Seven Machos said...

Oligoncella -- Tell us about IQ. That ought to get us some odious comments from you.

Revenant said...

if atoms can spontaneously assemble themselves into a living being, why couldn't they assemble themselves into a god?

What.