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March 27, 2006

Denominations of Disbelief? 1. Shelleyans

shelley.jpgholbach.jpg Do atheists, to put this in the most negative possible way, have their own sects? What might those sects be?

Here's one possible denomination: The Shelleyans.

-- They subscribe to a Romantic version of atheism, which is seen as a higher, more Christian-than-Christian, Nature-given morality. (The religious just do good because they believe God, with his promise of higher reward, is watching. The irreligious do good for its own sake, because it is the law of nature.)

-- Their prophet? Baron d'Holbach

-- Slovoj Zizek has just been elected (by the New York Times) their pope. E. C. Stanton.jpgRussell.jpg

-- Their saints? Possibly Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Bertrand Russell? (The evidence is weak on Gandhi.)

-- Their holy text: Queen Mab.

-- Words to live by: "Time is it to arrest our speculations respecting unseen worlds and inconceivable mysteries, and to address our inquiries to the improvement of our human condition" -- Frances Wright

-- Related denominations? Secular Humanists.

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at March 27, 2006 11:35 AM


I wouldn't be a member of any atheist sect that would have me...

Posted by: No More Mr. Nice Guy! at March 27, 2006 4:54 PM

Let us not forget: strong atheism, weak atheism, evangelical atheism, militant atheism, metaphysical naturalism, cognitivism, agnostic atheism, ignosticism, antitheism, nihilism, materialism, etc. Once one believes or disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, one must ask "What does that mean?" By the very nature of humanity, questions of meaning will give rise to many answers and thus, many "sects" as human beings are always prone to believe that they (and perhaps they alone) are right and to seek association with others who believe as they do that they are, in fact, right.

Posted by: Melinda Barton at September 12, 2006 9:49 AM

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