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#55127 - 05/28/11 04:56 PM The "New Atheism" and it's Value
MattVanSickle84 Offline
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Registered: 05/23/11
Posts: 42
Loc: London, UK
I am very new to this forum but I have been studying Satanism for about 12 years and own just about every piece of Satanic literature/music/film available. I mention this not to pretentiously boast but because I see no reason why you should trust me so soon. But I assure you I am no time waster. I am not particularly fond of easy categorisations but labels can be useful (if only to filter out the stupid), so it is in this spirit, and by all relevant criteria that I call myself a Satanist. It's the only label I feel proud of self-applying.


That said, I am interested in gauging opinion of the phenomena dubbed "new-Atheism" and would very much appreciate some comments as to it's value or lack thereof. My contention is that it is a very welcome movement indeed and I support it's emergence and growth as a balancing force to monotheistic immorality and ignorance and it's application and championing of reason in the public sphere. This is merely because I am not a masochist and see these as also in my own political or social interests.

I am aware that the public sphere is not necessarily of much interest to many here and I acknowledge the general Satanic mistrust of ecumenicalism and collectives and share this distain, and am also aware that Satanism is not a social cause, nevertheless I am always interested in learning the views of the people who post here and I can see that I am in the presence, so to speak, of some very smart people.

I tend to think that the antitheism of someone like Christopher Hitchens (cancer is brave to challenge the man!) is only one step away from the views of many Satanists. He is in some ways a de facto Satanist, though in some ways not (Marxist, socialist activist etc.) Please discuss.

(There are many conversations I would be eager to start but a number of these have been addressed here long ago, so with respect to the regulations I shall have to think of more nuanced ways of addressing them! This is my first discussion subject so try not to brutalise me too much, tempting as that may be!)


Edited by MattVanSickle84 (05/28/11 04:58 PM)
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#55133 - 05/28/11 07:27 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: MattVanSickle84]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Being 'against Christianity' doesn't make you anything but against Christianity. I find most of these 'new atheists', hitchens included, are still very much engrossed in the touchy feely 'humanism' that is really just magian nazarene memetics minus the superstition.

Personally I could not give a fuck about christianity. Yank that out from under peoples feet and something else equally as tailored to keeping people enslaved would just replace it. In fact, consumer PC culture mostly already has.

Still, though, even the weak and watered down sorts of antinomian ideas forwarded by such as these serve a purpose.
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#55137 - 05/28/11 08:34 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: Dan_Dread]
MattVanSickle84 Offline
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Registered: 05/23/11
Posts: 42
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Well, I think that some of these writers are more focused on Christianity than others, like Dawkins. Whereas the main focus for Hitchens and also Sam Harris is usually Islam as well as theism more generally. I think Hitchens rejects almost all of the "love thy neighbour/enemy" Jesus stuff and condemns the New Testament unequivocally, though not all of them do.

I actually can see some value in defining oneself as counter to Christianity though, since it is such a morally corrupt a system that by taking such a stance you are bound to reach some kind of reasonable morality even by accident!

Satanism is obviously much more substantive than this.

I personally see Humanism as a less of an ideological enemy than the other two dominant strains of contemporary thought which seem to me to be Postmodernism (relativism and irrationality etc.) and theism.

I would refer to myself as a misanthropic humanist, but only in so far as that entails more respect for mankind and it's potential than any kind of deity or organised religion. Any humanism that I do possess is without illusions, like George Carlin I suppose. I feel, as he did, that expecting too much from Man is pretty futile. I would submit that Lucifer was arguably the first Humanist. I think Ayn Rand is coming from a similar position of regard for humanity and it's highest achievement: reason and rational thought.

I don't want to press the Humanist thing too much since it implies an egalitarianism or utilitarianism which is not something that I would reflexively support, because it's not realistic but utopian and therefore dangerous to the individual, or as Rand put it - the most important minority.
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#55140 - 05/29/11 12:55 AM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: MattVanSickle84]
Shea Offline
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Registered: 03/24/11
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Loc: Chicago
I actually appreciate the "New Atheists" quite a bit: Dawkins is incredibly entertaining as a writer (in both the social and biological sciences); Harris is a little too "New Agey" for my taste, but essentially correct in his assessments of Christianity and Islam; and I love the dry humor of Hitchens.

Ultimately, in my estimation, as that of LaVey, Humanists are essentially fellow travelers. I have no problem with them per se, but their advocacy for egalitarianism all but throws the baby out with the bath water. The whole idea that "we can be good without religion," comes across as very "we can be Christian without Christ/god/whatever." As a Satanist, one must be a misanthrope and be willing to attempt a revaluation of values. We must be the "Attempters" that Nietzsche spoke of.

I love Objectivism, and as Nemo has pointed out, Satanism (as laid out by LaVey) is only distinguished from Objectivism by its definition of the Universe as essentially neutral regarding humanity in contrast to Rand's claim that it is benevolent; and by its refusal to deny the importance (and occasional seniority) of subjective experience.

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#55141 - 05/29/11 02:18 AM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: Shea]
SkaffenAmtiskaw Moderator Offline
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Probably one of the more interesting threads I've seen here in a while. Thanks to everyone for chipping in. Interesting viewpoints, and well-expressed.

Personally, I can't add much except point out that Humanism and Anti-humanism aren't necessarily opposites. I consider myself a selective Humanist in that I can subscribe to most of the ideals, but, like Shea and Dan, cannot abide the egalitarianism.

Curiously enough, this is a hot topic in Secular Humanist circles. Nietzsche said Humanists were but a secular version of theists, out to enslave and suppress the strong. For some Humanists, this is true. For others, not so much. Hence the schism.

As to the new Atheism, I see it as a useful movement. However, due to mankind's overpowering tendency toward Weltschmerz, killing gods creates god-sized holes that need to be filled with some kind of god-substitute. Those people creep me out.

Post-theism is an interesting field of study. You'd see some interesting trends for sure.

While I appreciate both Hitch and Dawkins, I don't carry any deep-seated hatred for religion. Or religious people. Distrust, yes, but hating them would imply they had done something to hurt me. I distrust them in much the same way that I would distrust people talking angrily to themselves in public.

Secular Humanists are indeed our cousins. Some of them are what Nietzsche made of them. Others, not so much. But there is a big difference between just having your cup of Humanism without the egalitarianism on the one hand, and embracing Satanism on the other. That being said, I have a special fondness for them, since all the Humanists I know are good eggs.
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#55151 - 05/29/11 11:51 AM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Diavolo Offline
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The problem with most atheists and humanists is that even when abandoning god, their morality still seems stuck in the same patterns of thinking. It's no wonder they're about all situated in Leftism, an area who's idealism is so infected by religious ideas you wonder why they ever abandoned god.

By a lack of god and a desperate need to answer the consequential “no god, no morals” dilemma, they fanatically uphold all behavior in nature remotely resembling the idea of altruism, as evidence that therefor we humans must be moral beings, since it is defined by biology. What they forget is that we humans don't look upon all humans as our kind and in such, our morality becomes very flexible.

I personally don't have a very high opinion upon these blokes, even when preferring them above most religious nutters.

D.

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#55154 - 05/29/11 01:14 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: Diavolo]
MattVanSickle84 Offline
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Registered: 05/23/11
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What you say is true only only if you ignore the central argument and scientific theory of the leading figure of the movement, Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins' The Selfish Gene goes well beyond a mere philosophical treatise on the virtues of selfishness into a widely accepted theory that individual humans and their genes, and therefore the entire process of evolution, is absolutely selfish in nature. Obviously this completely does away with the idea of the evolution in terms of "the good of the species". The best it can say about altruism is that it only occurs ancestrally in humans only in relation to close kin. It basically expands upon the ideas of Darwin and Spencer.

Rand, Nietzsche and Stirner had some very important philosophical ideas about self-interest but none of them were ever as intellectually undeniable or far-reaching as this one.

There is scarcely a more Satanic idea than that of a gene-centred view of evolution. If we are at all interested in the animal nature of Man, we cannot ignore our evolutionary past and it's implications.

While Dawkins may prefer the idea of an altruist morality personally, and he certainly does profess this by urging us to defy this tendency towards self interest, his most important contribution to science literally explodes the idea. A perfect illustration of the objectivity of science: what we feel or would like to be true may be interesting, but that by no means bears upon the harsh realities of life, such as they are.

I have read all of the main contemporary Atheist texts and in none of them did I find the argument that if you do away with the idea of God you reach a crisis of morality. Rather, they all argue that what religion teaches is morally corrupt and debased and that can only arrive at any sort of decent morality in spite of theistic religious texts. They are constantly putting forward the argument that morality predates monotheism. I've also never once heard of any of them advocating true altruism: complete self-sacrifice for the good of others.

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#55155 - 05/29/11 01:25 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: Diavolo]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Atheism is only Atheism while the Atheist is atheistic in principle and practice. One one simply replaces theism with the GOD Atheism, they become simply another follower, albeit to a different form of god. Once you elevate Atheism to the highest of moral or dogmatic codes, it becomes equally as fragile and frail as any other herdism... walk lockstep with us or you're one of THEM.

In many ways, the strict demand of Atheistic adversarialism reminds me of the paradox of Anarchists, in which the first thing they do is impose rules that can be every bit as rigid and dogmatic as those that came before. Sure... they can come up with all kinds of reasons why THEIR rules are necessary, whereas the ones which caused their anarchism were OBVIOUSLY wrong... all religions and all philosophies do the same. It's inherent in the nature of the beast.

And like all religions and all philosophies, we see new saints of the standard rise and be recognized, and where the heroes of the past begin to fall into disfavor, we see the new icons of Nietzsche, Rand, Hitchens and Dawkins being chiseled out of stone for the new temples... a modern day Mount Rushmore of the new religion is being planned for a stone promontory somewhere. Pay them tribute and quote them well, lest ye be seen as heretics to the new world order of the mind.

But look... in our zeal to damn all gods and condemn the herdism and hero worship of others, let's not become simply like them in a world we create in our minds as somehow superior without REAL change. Granted, Hitchens and Dawkins are excellent articulators and can hold an appreciative audience captive with their rhetoric in rapt and attentive awe... well, so can Billy Graham, Tony Robbins and (for the old as dirt group) Zig Zigler. People come to hear them preach the gospel in their church of choice. Would you EXPECT dissent? Is swaying the masses in one's own banquet hall a feat or a floorshow? People are PAYING to get what they came to hear.

LaVey once wrote, "Never send to ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls because someone is being paid to pull the rope."

Doesn't really matter what "ist" is doing the pulling.
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#55156 - 05/29/11 01:29 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: MattVanSickle84]
Diavolo Offline
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The “no god, no morals” argument is one made by the other side; if there is no god, there is no good. Without god, the world goes to hell. The emphasis on altruism, reciprocal or not, is a counter argument to give credit to the idea there can be good without god. The “for the good of the species” is the theme heavily played upon, which to no surprise is also quite favored by Leftist ideologies.

I side with the Nietzschean perspective; cooperation as improvement for domination, a side taken by Wilson lately who calls his previous ideas upon kin selection simply wrong. Cooperators cooperate to out-compete non-cooperators.

D.

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#55157 - 05/29/11 01:31 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: Diavolo]
SkaffenAmtiskaw Moderator Offline
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Registered: 06/24/09
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I certainly understand - and to a certain degree agree with - your misgivings. Humanism, for all its vaunted Atheism, seems almost preternaturally concerned with utilitarianism. Guilt, shame and regret are bemoaned as the unavoidable price for living in a society. They do not advocate love of self, self-reliance, or anything that puts one person above another. Rather, faith is placed in Man, mankind and its potential for achievement, all measured in altruism and humanitarianism. That being said, they also work towards enlightenment, excellence, the right to be an individual and to hold one's own convictions. While the collectivist thinking is less apparent in the right-wing Humanists, they also work towards the same ends.

The tendency to make a priori ethical judgements defaulting to the RHP white light standards is not prevalent, but it occurs. I have in conversation made several less-than-altruistic statements and been met with agreement from Humanists, surprisingly. They're a curious bunch, but seem unwilling to make the acquaintance of their inner beast. All that religiously-instilled shame and guilt, I expect, worming its way into their collective subconscious like a racial memory.

Discussing memetics with them, however, makes many uncomfortable. It seems like a topic they're uncomfortable with, despite several Humanist tomes on the subject. I guess it's because of the genealogy of Humanism. To some extent, I contend Humanism is an early offshoot of proto-Satanism as espoused by the literary fathers of modern Satanism. The transparency of their ad-hoc inclusion of secularized xtian dogma is perhaps unsettling.
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#55160 - 05/29/11 01:53 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Diavolo Offline
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I admit that their goals are at least to be favored above those of our more theistic inclined but let's not kid ourselves with fairy tales about equal rights. The right to hold one's own convictions is limited to what they define as “good” convictions and does not allow sharing that which falls beyond. There are enough examples contradicting the basic rights they uphold. If I doubt the holocaust as a whole, or even a part of it, I'll get prosecuted. If I say in public negros are dumb, I'll get prosecuted. If I say Arabs should be killed, I'll get prosecuted. And this is a rather secular country but basic rights only imply all they consider right. Not that I feel inclined to give these speeches in public but it clearly shows “good” is still ruling. And knowing that, I realize the habitat I live in is as hostile as would it still be theistic in nature. Not that it hinders me mind you.

D.

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#55167 - 05/29/11 02:55 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: Diavolo]
SkaffenAmtiskaw Moderator Offline
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Boom-ching. Absolutely. These are the ethical judgements that permeate society, and which are considered to be so fundamental and obvious we become surprised when we see different judgements elsewhere. We try to ascribe the motivations for these judgements to each individual from an alien culture, when in reality we have just as many a priori ethical judgements running through our own culture.

I think one of the downsides to identifying these subconscious judgements is that you inevitably become disgusted with all righteous posturing. I mean, I only have so much disgust in me. Well, so far I haven't run out, but sometimes you realize that all that facepalming will flatten your face.

The challenge lies in identifying these judgements and learning them like a general learns his battlefield. Ignore them at your peril. But giving them credence per se is just prolonging the problem.

I'd like to address something Jake said above, about Atheism being just another religion. I disagree. It's as much of a religion as not playing chess is a hobby. I see his point, though, since so many traits are ascribed unjustly to Atheism. Atheism is an absence of faith in the divine, not necessarily the prolonged diatribes of Hitchens or Dawkins. Those are their own creations. It is true, however, that atheists have a higher-than-usual number of heroes, often mockingly referred to as prophets or saints. These are just clever people with some standing in scientific or skeptical circles. I find the hero worship to be a bit much, but I guess it's one of those weltschmerz things, or a thirst for the divine, the exalted.

To this extent I can understand the labelling of Atheism as a religion, but in its purest form, it's just an absence of faith in the divine.

Satanism, in my eyes, is the only philosophical/religious conviction that even attempts to examine the inner beast, to delve deeply and not flinch at what it sees. Secular Humanism just says "Try to be happy, but don't hurt anyone."
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#55170 - 05/29/11 03:33 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Diavolo Offline
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I agree Atheism fundamentally doesn't have much in common with religion. Not believing something is just that and usually that's as far as one can take it. But during the last decade Atheism became much more, caused by the interconnectedness of the Internet and the abandonment of the velvet gloves which avoided direct confrontation with the religious ideas. Ten years or so ago the argument exploded and became quite a nice conflict to observe.

These days many atheists are not only not believing in god but often vehemently opposing everything related to that god. Of course a figure like Dawkins who doesn't shy away from denigrating remarks is considered a hero in these circles. But I'd still not call it a religion and see it more as a movement which has evolved beyond the initial disbelief. That there are leading figures who are often mentioned, quoted or even admired is only logical. The same can be witnessed in every memetic environment; look at Satanism as an example.

D.

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#55195 - 05/29/11 10:23 PM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Ghostly1 Offline
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Registered: 04/10/11
Posts: 147
Loc: NY
 Originally Posted By: SkaffenAmtiskaw


Satanism, in my eyes, is the only philosophical/religious conviction that even attempts to examine the inner beast, to delve deeply and not flinch at what it sees. Secular Humanism just says "Try to be happy, but don't hurt anyone."


This is exactly one of the inner statements which drew me in. Accepting, and nurturing all the human desires and emotions. Just existing without a belief in even your own place in the world leaves a hole. They say you are what you do. It is more accurate to say you are the results of what you have done.

Thank you for saying this.
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#55201 - 05/30/11 12:48 AM Re: The "New Atheism" and it's Value [Re: Ghostly1]
Shea Offline
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Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 108
Loc: Chicago
There are always going to be those stray wanderers looking for the CAUSE by which they can define their existence; and certainly it's unsurprising that a good chunk of them have adopted the "new" Atheism. Does this take away from the valid points made by many of the more influential writers to be found in this group? Nope, not any more than having a bunch of followers makes one's ideas valid in the first place.

It seems to me that Jake was taking issue with these CAUSE Crusaders, while SkaffenAmtiskaw was making reference to the actual producers found within this particular memetic phenomenon. Not that I would presume to translate for either of them, and I'll wait for them to correct me if I'm missing their respective points.

Of course, being fellow travelers, I can see the value in some of these ideas (the very idea of the meme itself originating in Dawkins) while discarding less important missteps such as humanistic egalitarianism/utilitarianism. The LHP allows for such an adversarial and pragmatic approach when dealing with ideas.

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