Home Discussion Forum How do atheists rationally explain an irrational existence?

How do atheists rationally explain an irrational existence?

Disclaimer: I am interested in feedback on my stance with atheism and do not intend to prosthelytize, and in defense of that I would have to say that atheists or agnostics aren’t doing anything wrong in regard to what they believe, and they, along with all other beings, don’t need conversion. This is totally for the sake of argument, and to get feedback on my own arguments.
Atheism and agnosticism, in my opinion can be seen as transitions to pantheism and polytheism, and even henotheism. Personally, I believe that atheists and agnostics tend to have an increased interest in theology and philosophy because they still have a sense that there are spiritual aspects to the world and to them selves, which would inevitably lead to unanswered questions. Atheism, in my opinion, is only one descendant of language and communication because those forms of expression are the embodiment of logic and rationality, which have a useful place when considering theology, but are also the source of much confusion. Complex language and communication, and especially mass communication are where most ‘organized’ religions came from; prior to this it was oral tradition that usually had earth centered and nature based aspects. There were no institutions to mediate, and to manipulate knowledge, between peoples’ ecology and ideology. In that regard, I think it is a stretch to say that humans are completely rational beings. I take atheism to be an argument structure that implies that everything ‘could’ be explained rationally instead of religiously, including the belief that our bodies are only matter in motion and do not have a soul.
Rationalism and determinism are what caused organized religions and the atheistic reaction to them in the first place. If we were all completely rational beings the societies that hosted those religions would have operated in ways that would have ensured the vitality of our entire society and our species as a whole. That obviously didn’t happen, and not acting in benefit to ones own community is obviously not rational. How does an atheist confront people acting irrationally when atheism seems to purport that everything can be explained rationally? The process of natural selection does not seem to be an adequate argument because very irrational, and religious, people seem to be having the most children on the verge of a population crisis. I don’t think all irrationality can be explained rationally; it can be explained as psychosis or something similar, but that category can’t be ascribed to everyone adhering to an ‘organized’ religion or any religion at all. I think that humans live in less than rational circumstances because existence is more than what is rational (i.e. more than what can, will, or could be proven to be natural).
If we have ever lived without being a serious detriment to ourselves and and others it would have been sometime before 10,000 years ago when all humans were indigenous. That is not an argument for atheism because those people were primarily animistic; they had beliefs in spirits. Atheism cannot describe to the atheist everything about themselves because they are, probably admittedly, not completely rational even if they believe they are matter in motion and nothing else. Personally, I think that when rationality is considered along with the elements of passion, emotion and intellect, it works for a better understanding of how a human, with a spirit, operates.
Ok. hmm.
1. It wasn’t written as an essay; I never proofread it, and never revised it.
2. I can show you my college transcripts. Please don’t accuse me of plagiarizing; its insulting.
3. Representing Catholicism in that way would piss off Catholics.
*get a hold of yourself.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Advance apology for the wall of text.
    1) I take it that your question is: “How does an atheist confront people acting irrationally when atheism seems to purport that everything can be explained rationally?”
    I see no problem here. The fact that people are irrational can be rationally explained by evolution.
    2) “If we were all completely rational beings the societies that hosted those religions would have operated in ways that would have ensured the vitality of our entire society and our species as a whole.”
    Nobody’s claiming people are completely rational. That used to be the stance, about a 100 years ago. In fact, scientists today have found the opposite to be the case: That humans have been left only partly rational by evolution.
    3) “That obviously didn’t happen, and not acting in benefit to ones own community is obviously not rational.”
    I disagree. For some people, not acting in benefit to one’s own community is perfectly rational, if deplorable and punishable behaviour. Think of thieves, for example. They are making a perfectly rational decision to steal. They know it won’t benefit the community, quite the opposite. Yet they choose to do it anyway.
    4) “The process of natural selection does not seem to be an adequate argument because very irrational, and religious, people seem to be having the most children on the verge of a population crisis.”
    Non-sequitur. Can you be a bit more specific? Why is not evolution enough to explain human irrationality?
    5) “Atheism cannot describe to the atheist everything about themselves because they are, probably admittedly, not completely rational even if they believe they are matter in motion and nothing else.”
    You really should know what exactly you are arguing against before attempting to do so. Atheism is a stance of not believing in gods. Materialism is an another stance. Usually however, like in my case, atheists are materialists. They are still two different terms and can’t be substituted for one another like you frequently try to do. Atheism doesn’t even try to explain anything. It’s the de-facto logical position in the absence of evidence of the supernatural. Materialism, on the other hand, does explain things. In fact, every explanation modern science has is a materialistic one.
    But let’s ignore that for a bit and focus on the essential. Again, this is pure non-sequitur. Sure, we can’t yet explain all the intricacies of the Human body. Sure, we’re not completely rational beings. Your conclusion still doesn’t follow. That doesn’t mean the Human body and how it behaves can’t be explained from a materialist basis.
    6) “Personally, I think that when rationality is considered along with the elements of passion, emotion and intellect, it works for a better understanding of how a human, with a spirit, operates.”
    There’s a lot of “in my personal opinion”, “personally”, “Personally, I believe” and “in my opinion” in your text. Well here’s my personal opinion. I don’t think adding illl-defined, superfluous and ad-hoc adaptable concepts like “spirits” to the Human body helps us better understand it in any way. In fact, in the view of modern methodology of science, adding such concepts is the very opposite of understanding.

  2. A. This isn’t a question.
    B. I’m sure the person who wrote this essay wouldn’t be happy if they knew you were using it here.
    C. Even if you stole the essay, it still sucks. B-…

  3. Your error is the assumption that irrational things occur.
    They do not.
    For example:
    A mother drowns her five children, young children, seemingly for no reason. She calmly calls 911 and declares to the operator what she’s done.
    You might declare this completely irrational.
    But does it change your mind if you know that she has a neurological defect which results in paranoid schizophrenia and that the “demons in her head” were telling her that if she didn’t drown her children, they would suffer for all eternity?
    Suddenly her actions are perfectly rational — she was being a loving mother and trying to protect her children from an eternity of suffering.
    The inputs were flawed, but the processing and outcome are perfectly rational consequences of that.
    And can we declare the inputs to be irrational?
    Of course not — they resulted from a miswiring in the brain. If I miswire a microchip, I will likely still get outputs from the chip … but they will be perfectly reasonable results of the way the chip is actually wired, even if they’re not reasonable compared to the way the chip is SUPPOSED to be wired.
    Your assumption that irrationality occurs is fundamentally flawed.

  4. That’s something an artist would notice.
    Glad to see it.
    Doesn’t anyone realize that everyone on the planet considers themselves to be completely rational?
    Apparently, humans have a rather limited ability to recognize rationality.

  5. “How does an atheist confront people acting irrationally when atheism seems to purport that everything can be explained rationally?”
    I don’t think human behavior can always be explained rationally.
    I may add to that in the morn, I’m tired…

  6. In answer to the original question versus all the other questions your entire disclaimer brings up, I would say that we don’t necessarily need to explain our irrational existence, and in a way we would be foolish to try. There is only so much we can know, but that does not limit that which we can observe from where we are. We can be certain–or at least convince ourselves–that there isn’t a god, or that a god is improbable, and people tend to assume that we need to explain an alternative to this idea, when in fact we simply don’t know… no one can know 100 percent, which I think is okay. Every now and then we have to realize we aren’t as smart as we think we are, and that sometimes not knowing is perfectly fine; so long as we know what we don’t believe, and the things we can observe/test (and philosophizing doesn’t hurt).

  7. Look in the real world.
    Decode this lyrics ” You’ll see ”
    “The look of love”
    “An eye for an eye”
    “Love”
    “Love is love”
    “Love is blue”
    “Lost in love”
    “All out of love”
    “Candle in the wind”
    “Eternal Flame”
    “Dying inside”
    Luke 21.30-36
    Luke 6.39-40,41-45,46-49
    Luke 9.25,55-56,60
    Luke 8.5-8,10-17
    Luke 4.4
    Revelation 22.13-17
    Genesis 11.1,3-9
    Revelation 16.14
    Luke 24.44-45,47-48
    Luke 11.33-36,46-52
    Leviticus 4.13,22
    Exodus 20.1-7
    Exodus 20.12
    Exodus 20.1-18
    Matt 22.17-21,32
    Exodus 23.24,32
    What do you think?

  8. You’re thinking too hard, Pal. You’re trying to find complexity in something simple.
    An atheist is one who does not believe in god(s)…. for whatever reason or reasons or for no reason at all. I was born atheist and so were you.
    But to call atheism a “transitions to pantheism and polytheism” is a bit over the top.

  9. tl;dr
    “How do atheists rationally explain an irrational existence?”
    Accidents happen.
    We exist for the simple reason that we exist.
    There is NO purpose; there is NO ‘Grand Plan” or ‘meaning’ to our existence; there is NO invisible space chappie; we are just a very simple accident in Time and Space.
    We are, at best, an accidental collection of loosely combined waves and particles responding to our environment … no matter how sophisticated that environment may be or we imagine it to be.
    At the end of ‘life’ we ‘disperse’; we dissipate into the waves and particles of stardust.
    We may as well have some fun while we’re here without all that paranoia stuff – thinking there are invisible sky chappies watching and waiting for us to screw up.
    We are ALL, ALWAYS reacting to the circumstance-environment in which we find ourselves and EVERYTHING we EVER do is so that we can enjoy some ‘happy’ as a result.
    ~

  10. nice thesis
    “sometime before 10,000 years ago when all humans ”
    ~BUT THE EARTH WAS CREATED 4000 YEARS AGO… wait 6000 YEARS AGO!
    nah kidding :3
    “Personally, I think that when rationality is considered along with the elements of passion, emotion and intellect”
    part of a humans traits is irrational, superstitions, good luck, etc. passion and emotion are not always rational, they have a hint of human, if humans were purely rational go look at a computer and judge its responses. by nature, it cannot be helped that we have an air of arrogance. a self belief we can do something.
    although aheists may strive for rationality, we are still human, when it comes to betting with equal wins, we might bet on the person with a 40% chance of winning because you can feel their vibe, a little instinct inside of you telling that the midget would clear the floor with old fatso there. this isnt rational, its been run through the simulators and the little guy has a less then half chance of winning.
    this inate irrational behaviour is what makes us human, and a computer a computer. perhaps the computer program might make a more logical or rational decision, but a human one, albeit more likely to fail, is often irrational.

  11. get over it
    why spend so much time writing about this.. cant u just accept that some people honestly do not believe that some imaginary person in the sky created everything, just out of nothing.
    i am atheist because i dont believe in any god.. not zues.. not any of the hindu gods.. not the christian god… none of them.
    until someone can show me some proof, ANY proof, i will not change my mind.

  12. I think you are operating on the assumption that humans are in some way rational or that they are intelligent enough to know whether they are rational or not, neither of these assumptions can be proved only hypothesised as for the existence of a god one must follow the evidence so far found by our very limited ability to know anything and say there is no evidence to support the need for one.
    “I think therefore I am” enjoy the fact, there is nothing else you need to know, as one other person pointed out, even mad people are rational to their own thought processes

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