This stands for Atheism Through Philosophical Ignorance, it is my title for a phenomena, and I would like to highlight it by the following conversation I snipped from an exchange over at Strange Notions.
The first comment is from a character named, kraker jak, the answering comments are from my favorite fighting Thomist, Ye Olde Statistician (also known as science fiction author Michael Flynn. If you are familiar with Aristotelean/Thomistic philosophy, the following exchange is pretty funny!
His first sentence is a quote from someone else:
why there is evil in the world.
Evil is just a word used to describe activities, actions or ideas that people use to describe that which is contrary to their own religious, cultural, ideological, political ,or tribalistic thinking. There is no global understanding or definition of the term or word. I don’t think that there is any such thing as a substance or force of evil per se. be it satanic, spiritual or otherwise.
Then Statistician’s response and the rest of the discussion:
I have seen this pattern on that site and others for some time now and, in general, everywhere. Notice that kraker jak is so lacking in philosophical acumen, to say nothing of having not having taken Phil 101, that he thinks Statistician is playing a childish game and not simply applying well known (until recently) philosophical arguments. Statistician’s argument was the general way that the Greeks, and Aristotle in particular, viewed virtue and vice, Good and Evil.
It is not a word game or any kind of game, but, I believe, a very good model or explanation of virtue (vice being the lack of virtue).
When I was an atheist I thought it incumbent upon me to be versed in philosophy (a skill I’ve let grow dull over the years) not only as a general rule, but in particularly because I was an atheist and would have to forge my own answers or find someone with some good arguments.
Not so now. And here is the catch. Theology and philosophy share a similar nature whereby doing one is an imitation of doing the other. One who throws out one, usually theology, will be pressed to see value in the other, philosophy.
So to the modern atheist theology and philosophy are the same batch of hot air.
And here is the crux of my ATPI theory. Old fashioned atheism used to be buttressed by philosophical knowledge and practice, it is now buttressed on philosophical ignorance. If you are arguing Good and Evil, in a discussion about religion, you are in a theological/philosophical discussion no matter how many concrete points are brought up. You should know your subject matter at least enough to recognize that your “opponent” is referring to the Ancient Greek notion of Virtue.
Now, it is perfectly justifiable (to a certain extent) to say, “I’m an atheist in that I simply don’t believe and the question doesn’t interest me one way or the other.” Some people don’t have the time or the interest for the subject matter. I think time should be made if you are intelligent enough not to drool on yourself half the time to at least have a working knowledge of the subject matter. At least enough to be able to say, “hold it, are you referring to the Greek notion of Virtue or Good here?” Instead of immersing one’s self in a subject matter of which one is, by one’s own statement and behavior, ill-equipped to have.
Atheism can be just the state of a man without belief. But what I find all around me now are crusading atheists armed only with a vacuum. If all you have is “show me your God!” in your arsenal, you haven’t lost any debate, you are not participating in one at all.
Another article over at Strange Notions was Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?
Here is a smattering from one poster in only a few posts (note: the person is very sensitive about the subject).
I don’t care what the Bible has to say about gay marriage.
I begin with certain moral premises that I’m no longer willing to argue publicly (because I think arguing about them gives the opposite position too much credit):
I like that one. Here is my translation:
“I declare that your premises are (too stupid, too evil, too whatever I want them to be) not worthy of consideration while mine are to be treated as special pieces of Infallibility giving me the right to merely make assertions while you still have to defend your entire structure through reasoning and logic. I do this by fiat and on no recognizable philosophical grounds ever accepted by humankind ever in its history. I am also the King of England establishing, once again, the dominance of the British people over the civilized world, and this I do with no perceivable military might to possibly back it up.”
Say that quote above in your head but with John Cleese’s voice and its pretty funny, IMHO.
Either way, I don’t care what the Bible has to say about killing children because I already know it’s wrong.
Either way, I don’t care what the Bible has to say about gay sex because I already know gay sex can be a good thing.
I don’t care what the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Indians, Chinese, Germans, Slavs or Native Americans had to say about gay sex. I already know gay sex can be a good thing.