Q1. How would you define “atheism”?
I was originally going to say the word 'atheism' means "without theism" where "theism" is belief in God. However, I went over to answers.com to help with the answer and it said the following:Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?
I'm sorry answers.com, but I disagree. The first suggestion seems to imply that God exists, but that the atheist chooses not to believe. The second says atheism is a doctrine. Is it? Can you have a doctrine of disbelief? If belief is a positive step (and none of us are born with leanings towards one religion or another) then the atheist is in a default state of nothing, as far as religion is concerned. An analogy would be darkness being the absence of light, not an entity (or doctrine) of it's own. I think my definition of "without theism" (darkness being without light in the analogy) stands up very well, if I may say so myself.
- Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
- The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
Mixed. Up until the age of 7 or so, I had a strong Jewish identity but wasn't religious. Around this age my parents decided to become more religious, and we started the upward climb from Reform Judaism to Orthodox Judaism to Ultra Orthodoxy. This last step was completed when I was about 12 or so and was cemented as I went through Ultra-Orthodox education.Q3. How would you describe “Intelligent Design”, using only one word?
Delusional.Q4. What scientific endeavor really excites you?
General human advancement in all sciences really excites me. However, I have to say Space exploration, robotics and genetics take the cake.Q5. If you could change one thing about the “atheist community”, what would it be and why?
Add a sense of identity to it, so that there really could be an 'atheist community.'
Q6. If your child came up to you and said “I’m joining the clergy”, what would be your first response?
Ask which clergy. After that, if the statement was sudden, I'd probably have a stiff drink: orange juice with ice. No alcohol, obviously. If they'd been showing religious tendencies and this didn't come as a complete shock, I'd make sure they weren't being forced/bribed/conned/emotionally black mailed into it, and if it was a normal clergy (i.e. not a cult or fanatical Christian/Muslim/Jewish sect) I'd accept that they can make their choices just as I've made mine. If it was one of these wacko places, I'd attempt to intellectually dissuade them from their endeavours.Q7. What’s your favorite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?
"People who disbelieve just want an easier life."Q8. What’s your most “controversial” (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?
I've heard that so many times. A rabbi came to my college and said that and I asked if he honestly believed, out of the millions and millions of people,* that there wasn't one person on the entire globe who was intellectually honest with themselves?
The answer was "I do." I said "that's incredible" and he said "That's why I get invited here: I come to tell you the incredible." Quite ironic that the word 'incredible' means "without credit."
Other times I disprove it by pointing out that it's not at all easy to leave the Jewish community or stop believing in one's beliefs they've held so close to the hearts for so long. How is that easier to just forgetting about intellectual woes, or being orthoprax?
*Atheism is more common in Europe than America, it seems.
Like Lubab No More, I'm surprised that many atheists wish for the destruction of religion. Like LNM, I posit what seems to be the controversial view of "live and let live"Q9. Of the “Four Horsemen” (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favorite, and why?
I haven't read the last two and only read a small part of Dennett's work, which I recall disagreeing with. I think Dawkins has grown intellectually arrogrant over the years and I dislike him because of that. So I'd have to answer: none.Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?
My child in question 6 - otherwise no-one. As I said in question 8, live and let live.Now name three other atheist blogs that you’d like to see take up the Atheist Thirteen gauntlet:
Abandoning Eden (who was one of the inspirations of this blog), Baal Devarim (whose blog I immensely enjoy) and Frum Heretic (who's bound to offer up something interesting).