Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Question of the Day #56- "liberal atheists"

Why are there so many "liberal atheists", when liberalism encourages majority rule and therefore marginalizes atheists? Doesn't that make as little sense as "gay Christians"?

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At 8/02/2006 10:15 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

You're really going to make the most of this month, aren't you Franc?

I think this is a symptom of the close connection between religion and politics in society. Conservative theology is associated with conservative politics, and liberal theology is associated with liberal politics. Atheism is considered by most to be the far extreme of liberal theology, and so it's a natural transition to liberal politics as well.

I think another reason for this is the fact that conservative politics has so rejected atheism and embraced theism, that atheists tend to flock to the liberal side, since most of them aren't aware of any other options. I know that for me, my first political instinct was to investigate liberal politics once I was aware of my growing atheism, primarily because they had the most in common with my attitudes towards religion. The fit wasn't perfect, of course, because there was a lot of their idealogy with which I couldn't agree.

Fortunately, I was made aware of some good arguments with which I could reject both, and on the same basis that I reject theism!

At 8/02/2006 11:39 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"You're really going to make the most of this month, aren't you Franc?"

Pretty much, yea.

At 8/02/2006 1:41 PM, Blogger Mojoey declaimed...

I guess I would describe my self as a fiscally conservator and socially liberal libertarian atheists. I find the theistic policies of the conservative right disturbing and socialistic policies of the left confusing. I have a hard time understanding the core of liberal atheists in America, but feel it has a great deal to do with the lefts adoption of a secular world view and the rights adoption of a theistic world view. Atheist tends to align with the secular world view.

Small “L” libertarians tend to want open markets, financial conservatism, economic growth and stability, coupled to strong property rights and individual freedoms. I find the states attempt to limit my freedoms to be abhorrent, thus I align myself with liberal social issues like gay rights, and the right to choose.

At 8/02/2006 2:11 PM, Blogger Daniel declaimed...


Liberalism seems to be misconstrued here --
From Merriam-Webster:
Liberalism:2 a often capitalized : a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity b : a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard c : a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties d capitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party

Liberal:5 : BROAD-MINDED; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms
6 a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives

Wikipedia - Liberalism:Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value.[1] Liberalism has its roots in the Western Enlightenment, but the term now encompasses a diversity of political thought.

Broadly speaking, contemporary liberalism emphasizes individual rights as opposed to group rights. It seeks a society characterized by freedom of thought for individuals, limitations on power, especially of government and religion, the rule of law, free public education, and progressive taxation, the free exchange of ideas, a market economy that supports relatively free private enterprise, and a transparent system of government in which the rights of all citizens are protected. In modern society, liberals favor a liberal democracy with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law and an equal opportunity to succeed.

It appears that you refer to socialism or collectivism, rather than liberalism?

If I'm wrong, what particular aspects of the above definitions are you at odds with, and contend that atheists are dumb for supporting?

At 8/02/2006 2:46 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

1. My question does not pertain to libertarians.

2. I am explicitly using "liberal" in the American sense.

At 8/02/2006 4:25 PM, Blogger Brucker declaimed...

Dangit, Zachary beat me to it. Since there's such a large amount of conservative theism out there (at least in western society) it tends to drive liberals away from both the conservative politcal views and the conservative philosophical views.

Imagine some liberal guy named Rob. Rob has decided where he stands in regards to politics or philosophy, but not the other. So he looks around and says, "Those conservatives/Christians are a bunch of morons! Since I believe they are idiots about this one thing, they're probably wrong about everything." So Rob seeks out atheist liberals to tell him that he's right to be an atheist liberal, and so he is verified in his beliefs. Not that all atheist liberals followed such a path, but I suspect that's where a great deal of them come from in some manner.

At 8/02/2006 11:14 PM, Blogger Vic declaimed...

For the most part I think you can blame the piss-poor education system in the US for not teaching people to think critically or to teach much of anything about politics or political ideals (or much of anything else, but I digress...).

I think Zachary and mojoey touched on another factor here - in general, atheists everywhere tend to be more socially liberal, and thus would support a political ideology that promotes social liberty. In your question you state that (american) liberalism preaches majority rule and thus marginalizes atheists - but freedom to lack belief in gods is one of those social platforms that (american) liberalism protects - so while atheists might never 'take over the world' if the liberals were in power, they would be far friendlier to atheists than the christocrats on the right.

Also, in short, it's the right wingers and their constant fellating of god that drives atheists to the left.

At 8/03/2006 3:42 PM, Blogger Young Physicalist declaimed...

Most American Liberals I've met have encouraged democratic elections along side a charter of rights. Therefore, Tyranny of the majority does not occur.



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