From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

A fundental mistake of Communism is that religion is not a tool of oppression, but a self-help technique (and indeed Marx understood this). Prayer, meditation, donating to gods or monks: all these things came with the promise of easing suffering, and because of cultural acceptance they were effective remedies. With excess capital, though, came the ability to purchase the remedies of science, which were often perceived as more effective just because of their defined monetary value. One could avoid having to have a serious discussion with one's pastor, and instead purchase the non-judgmental help of a psychologist. In short, atheism rose out not out of freedom from tyranny but out of excess capital and selfishness.

Famous self-proclaimed atheists and their secret pet gods

Michael Shermer
"Folk economics caused us to disdain excessive wealth, label usury a sin and mistrust the invisible hand of the market." [1]
Sigmund Freud
"Civilization has little to fear from educated people and brainworkers ... such people are to a large extent themselves vehicles of civilization."

Other atheist bon mots

"Richard Dawkins is a learned mind of the highest order. In writing 'The God Delusion', he reduced his massive knowledge down to a lay level to make the concepts understandable to pretty much everyone. It is difficult to reduce high order knowledge to a lay level without introducing some inconsistency." (would you say it's kind of like receiving a ... revelation... from a... higher power?) [2]

"CNN had a story about a pastor's infant daughter left in a hot car during a 2+ hour church service in Florida. The Holiness Born Again Church. Very stupid and sad. Christians are so against abortion yet don't seem to care much at all for those living. Don't think his daughter is going to be born again." [3] (For more on this unfortunate phenomenon, read this WaPo story)

The total atheist: an unhappy confrontation

He alone is the true atheist to whom the predicates of the Divine Being, for instance, love, wisdom, justice, are nothing.
Ludwig Feuerbach. Das Wesen des Christentums.

Imagine you meet a psychopath. This person goes through the motions of altruism and kindness but only so other people will think he is normal, but he doesn't believe in any of it. So, you confront him. Belief is absolutely essential to being human, you say. What sort of response would he make?

"Just look at all the gods you don't believe in-- Allah, Vishnu, Brahman, Buddha, Ahura Mazda-- and add Kindness. I don't believe in that either."

This person is an atheist with regard to kindness. Maybe he will openly reject kindness and start an organization devoted to fighting kindness in our schools.

For all the civilized world before the 20th century, religion was considered so essential to human nature that to reject it was to reject an essential part of being human, and to declare oneself an atheist was to risk being killed as a threat to the natural order of society. We now realize intellectually that religion is not in fact essential. But for many people, it is still an integral part of their lives, and this is a good thing.

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