It is said that atheism has no system.
But I think that “non religious freethinking” is directly related to atheism.
And thus this human freethinking became the base for systems like Capitalism, Communism, Buddha’s system, Confucius system, Secularism
Wow! This is just ignorant times ten. Communism and Capitalism are economic systems. The USA is a Representative Republic. China under Mao was a Dictatorship. Russia under Stalin was a Dictatorship. North Korea under Kim Jong Un is a dictatorship.
Under these dictatorships, the leader had absolute power. The Church challenged that power by placing their god and his authority higher than the dictator. The dictator removed the threat. This is not Atheism. This is the mandatory elimination of religion. Atheists are people who do not believe in God or gods. Dictators are people who eliminate the threats of God or gods, what people believe is completely unimportant to them.
Being an atheist is a choice. Being forced to be an atheist is no different than being indoctrinated into a religion. The religion of the communist or socialist party with the fearless leader as the Godhead.
No, you’re hopelessly oversimplyfying very complex topics, in an attempt to misrepresent atheism.
Atheism is the lack or absence of belief in any deity or deities, and nothing more.
Political and economic ideologies need not be mutually exclusive with either belief or the lack of it.
Atheism has no dogma or doctrine, so it doesn’t lead directly to anything. I’m a lifelong atheist, it hasn’t resulted in me being a communist, nor am I particularly a champion of capitalism, which has it’s own flaws.
Since communism is defined as a theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs. I see no reason why it should be.
Though as @Cognostic has already pointed out, this would make it incompatible with wealthy churches, whose interests were aligned with rulers who governed with the blessing of those churches of their authority as a divine right.
You are buying into the assumption that humans have a form of “freedom” in their thinking.
Humans are first exposed to “organized thoughts” via language. Various languages capture or disregard various ideas (take the word “love” for example: various ideas with one word - love a cup of coffee ; love my kids ).
Growing up, they absorb or develop qualities for survival and having their needs met.
Eventually, through various interactions with “others” these may be re-enforced or disregarded. Reasons are given for any “system of belief” - HOWEVER what is the “quality” of the reason?
Then - (all in all) we are just flesh-and-blood xerox machines, copying others throughout our lives, rarely imagining anything original.
Language defines the concepts about which we can think and express.
EG It is my understanding that none of the Chinese dialects traditionally have a word for ‘love’. Didn’t mean they did not experience love. However, it does seem to have been the case that they had no concept of romantic love. ‘Higher feelings’ were associated with loyalty [to the family above all] in Confucian thought.
What we call Judaeo-Christian ethics can be found centuries before those religions. Not only in the fertile crescent, but also in ancient Egypt, pre socratic Greece, and India.
Interesting to realise that Master Kong, Siddartha Gautama and the early greek philosophers lived in roughly the same era. The moral codes they taught have some interesting similarities ; Don’t steal, rape, or murder. ***
Those admonitions are found in cultures all over the world. Trying to claim a causal connection has so far proven to be impossible as far as I can tell. Attempts at making such connection so far are tenuous imo.
I’m fond of Occam’s Razor. A simpler way of explaining many similarities might be explained thus:
We humans are social animals and have lived in communities of ever increasing sizes since the neolithic. To live as a member of a community means one must get along with others. Perhaps it has been discovered over millennia, that the communities which survive tend to have the same basic rules, especially not committing rape or killing other members of your own group. Social evolution if you will.
The concepts of justice found everywhere today are I think relatively recent. Laws may have been originally based on the notion of compensation, rather than the abstract idea of justice. This can be seen in Hammurabi’s laws and in the 613 laws which make up Mosaic Law. Even today Sharia law permits the payment of blood money rather than say being publicly beheaded. [in some circumstances]
***Originally, laws referred only to the members of one’s own group. Hence it was not a crime to say rob , rape and kill strangers. I think early laws of hospitality may have been introduced to protect strangers.
PS: "we the people’’ are sheep, who wouldn’t recognise an independent thought if it bit them. most humans, including we here, act primarily from habit and instinct. To such an extent that concept of hard determinism has a lot of appeal. As I’ve grown older it has become increasingly clear to me that am who I am today because of who I was. Most of my behaviour is based on precedent. I’m convinced that free will is largely an illusion. Perhaps entirely so.
I have two problems with declaring myself a hard determinist; I can’t prove that claim…AND day to day, I usually have the sense of being a free agent making free choices. I tend to feel that way even when reason tells me it is not the case.
This kind of thinking may I think be aptly described as “playing with one’s poo”, which I consider a laudable past time.
I still fail to understand why anyone not in the top 10% or so of society, (the other 90%) do not demand more socialist like society. It would be of great benefit to this 90%, especially as inequality, already at extremes, at least in the USA, and now getting far worse with covid. If it was a true democracy where everyone had equal vote, why is it that socialism type benefits do not currently rule the day?
Is the fear machine and religion brainwashing, etc, THAT effective that most of the 90% are okay with the top 1% having more wealth then all of them combined?
I suspect there are several reasons at the root of this.
Very powerful capitalist free markets are economically at odds with the kind of public ownership that defines socialism. These systems are global and almost impossible to change unilaterally by one country’s government, even a very powerful country.
The tiny percentage of humans who control most of the wealth in capitalist economies wield a disproportionate amount of power because of that wealth, and again their interests would hardly align with an economic system like socialism.
Socialism is an ideal, rather than a sound or proven economic strategy, and though aspects of it might appeal to our moral worldview, this doesn’t mean it is a practical alternative to established capitalist economies.
Let’s assume for a moment we could unite all nations behind the idea at least in principle, who is in charge of redistributing global wealth, and creating laws that allow this and define how it should happen? A single government deciding to make it’s economic system a purely socialist one is going to be eaten alive by other capitalist economies, if they decide to isolate their economy then this again is a massively complex and costly undertaking.
Far easier and safer to try and improve global capitalism in line with some socialist principles. The American dream is not a fair economic system, where everyone lives happy contented lives, it’s the unbridled pursuit of riches. Anyone can make it in America is the idiom, which is palpably false by the way, but worse still, it doesn’t even try to suggest everyone will succeed, if people’s goals of success were to possess what they need, rather than for unbridled wealth, then I suspect America’s politics and economy would reflect that, or at least try. For a country as rich as America to have so many people in poverty is morally indefensible, and I’m only using them as one example.
According to a recent release by Oxfam, this encompasses anyone who’s net income is 50k annually.
The top 1% according to Oxfam are those who net 140k…
Globally, the richest 10% are those with incomes above about $35,000 (£27,000) a year, and the richest 1% are people earning more than about $100,000. (USD funds)
The only reason I pointed this out - not necessarily you - BUT the idea is usually the “corporate rich or celebrity rich or “money” families” come to mind when we read of the 10% or the 1%.
Myself? Since politics has come up, I personally don’t ascribe to any particular “ideology” but I go with what works. Co-operators, Trust co., Credit Unions work on membership ownership (as a customer you get a share in the business), the “stock” market (the original intention) is to open businesses to public shares of ownership risk/reward (turned into a gambling casino).
Politically, locally, there is more direct input by citizens - as you move into larger territories (town, district, province/state, country, global) your “personal voice gets lost and a “corporate” voice takes over influence.
No easy answers.
I will personally say this though - I am tired as a 10%er to be blamed and a burden of guilt (trying to shift to my shoulders) of economic woes, climate change, apparent “greed” on my part, mis-use of resources to keep “me” satisfied, pollution/excess garbage, etc etc…
I don’t know if the “world” that judges or would like to place “responsibility” on our shoulders would be “happier” if I was a single mom, making 25k or on welfare, raising the boys - maybe??? Less food, less goods, less resource use, less driving, no travelling, less pollution…
Interesting suggestion. Not exactly new. I have only read a few books and long ago on the specific topic of Christianity’s direct effect on the rise of capitalism. However I did find the following site, the Religion and Liberty e-magazine for the Acton Institute, which I have never heard of before but claims to be “a think-tank whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.”
ON the right of the page is a list of articles in the issue. I suggest you read “How Christianity Created Capitalism”. To set up a broad based capitalist system you need a great more co-operation at various levels that at least promotes a semblance of honesty and integrity before anything can get off the ground. Atheism with its single rejection of the belief in gods is not powerful enough to achieve this, but in Europe the Catholic Church was.
I do recall one German monk from the late Middle Ages, known as Brother Fuchs, who after taking vows took over the family trading business after the deaths of his two brothers, while still maintaining his post with the Church (following the tradition that the eldest brother was to manage the family fortune, the second to join the military and the third to enter the church). In the Vatican he held a prominent position entailing financial transactions. Brother Fuchs was commissioned to look after the receipt of indulgences paid for the remission of sins from all the German states. He arranged the currency exchanges between the German guilder and the Italian lire and for his service quietly took the difference between the two and over the years amassed a sizable fortune which he prudently invested in his family trading company. Brother Fuchs is remembered for the import and export of products and commodities all over Europe and is fondly regarded as the first “CEO of a multi national company.” No atheist could have done that.
Fuchs ,if I recall rightly is German for ‘fox’. The crafty old monk.
Significant social change, new ideas and even revolution seldom come from the 90%.
Nor do they usually come from the top 10% of obscene wealth. They use the ideas of others. politically, they are conservative and resit change to the status quo.
Significant social change and revolution usually comes from the middle. From an aggrieved or idealistic intelligentsia, usually bourgeoise intellectuals. In support of this idea, I refer to the
American, French and Russian revolutions The American civil rights movement and Gandhi’s Satygraha movement can be seen this way.
People like to refer to Magna Carta (1215) because it contains the concept of Habeas Corpus ; it protects the common man. That right is an accidental by product. The charter was designed by the English barons to protect them against King John (yep, Richard the Lionheart’s brother)
Yeah, agreed. One would think people would at least try to lean a bit more socialistic, like say the “Nordic” countries level of “socialism,” or even Canada vs USA. I have had one family member move from US to Canada simply to access life saving drugs she needed at an affordable socialized price. (It was also highly marked up in the US.) It did help her a lot that the workplace help facilitate the move.
This 90% does not have to hope for pure socialism, just the basics.
To me, the crux of the problem, wealth begets wealth, power begets power. The richer you and your family background is, the easier it is to get rich and stay rich.
This seems especially true considering the first point you made, that even a powerful country like USSR, going it alone, will get crushed by the much more “aggressive” systems like capitalism. It may well be that a strong majority of the world would have to go socialism ideals all at once. A likely impossible task. A point you further explain in the following paragraph.
Yeah, I have seen the statistics on that. True upward mobility is exceedingly rare in the US, something that has become especially true in the last 12 years or so. Some data shows some upward mobility, but once they factored in grand parents as well, it is a lot more static then the original data interpretation shows.
Yeah, I forget which documentary I watched, but it showed some of the conditions in the deep south, like Mississippi and Alabama, and the conditions were truly appalling 3rd world like conditions, no running water, broken sewage systems, spoty or non existent power, etc. Police and emergency systems near non existent with a high level of corruption and so on.
Yeah I am finding that axiom to be relevant in all to many cases when I can not understand why people do what they do.
Is this US numbers or global numbers?
Crazy to think about. There are quite a few places in the US, including where I live, where entry level, low skill jobs, pay about that much. Before covid, in my area, I seen fast food chains offering 16 dollars an hour starting, (32k a year) for the night shifts. That was an extreme example though. This area, like most cities + immediate surrounding area, is expensive to live in, which has to be considered.
And we are just talking income, if we talked about total wealth, it would be far more extreme.
Sheldon - agreed. To have what one needs when they need it. This to me is “abundance”. Wealth, in the other hand is “gathering or hoarding resources and/or things” - usually beyond what a person needs. This is societal- a structure of “knowing” where you fit in according to “status”.
Logic - the $$$ from Oxfam is global. And it is after tax (net). The first is CDN, the quote is USD.
Is this a fair Oxfam article? My opinion - nope . In “lower” income world areas, how much does it cost to rent, buy bread, fuel, etc. I’d like to see the ratios or relativity of income to cost of living - not just a straight out income comparison.
EDITED to add: the idea of ownership
My thoughts? Resources on land (or in land) should belong to the “people” and Socially Owned via government with a dividend to the people - sold or contracted to Private Corporations to be used as product and sold (this is where the companies make money) - a real “environmental impact” and balanced “clean up/or off set” (real life not $$$$ paid to offset). This needs to follow through down the chain:
sell resource (social)
refine resource (private)
The “consumer” is responsible to whom they financially support via product. Consumers are personally responsible for their “waste”.
This system exists in varying degrees throughout the world. Other areas are disadvantaged and taken advantage of via corporations others are strangled via government- ALL of it effects world economy and environment.
For example - if a third world country did not accept garbage (from a corporation) in exchange for a payment (usually pay-off to political party/politician) - THAT particular company would actually have to invest in its own clean up. The country they sell it to isn’t able to “clean” it (uh - no shit, eh?) BUT the corporation is driven by “greater profits” SO why invest in their own clean up (loss of money).
Oh well . It’s just easier to blame others!
So my question for discussion… DOES globalization “work”? How do you interpret or see its evolution OR do you see it dying?
Pays government (no citizen dividend $ - we’re “sold” the idea that this money is for our social benefit)…government is in full control of $$$ from resource. Economic benefit to people via $/resource $0
Oil company has had no accountability for clean up.
Local citizens are effected as is the environment.
“Groups” get involved for environment/living condition.
Pressure government (via votes) and local representatives.
Government regulates and puts on conditions.
Private company is held responsible for clean up locally.
“Group” raising issue? Pressured/publicized responsibility of private company, NOT responsible for planting “removed resource by corporation” to retrieve another resource.
HOWEVER private company now holds a public image (met responsibility) AND can “rub it in group’s face”.
Religion sustains capitalism, for sure. It divides the workers into numerous groups based on various faiths. So , they are unable to unite against the industrial feudal lords. Communism is nothing but democratizing the market. Is it even possible for the market to function without
the contributions of the general public and the working class? I think not. And, if everyone who nourishes the tree shall taste the fruit. ‘The invisible hand’ should be held accountable for all its conducts. Price determination should be a matter of public debate, not an whimsical decision of some elite.
We unanimously agree that religion impedes reasoning. And reasoning and free thinking are indispensable for democratic society. So, to build vibrant a social, economic and political democracy ,religion has to take a leave.
So, to your question , I say, religion is a means for capitalism to sustain itself. And, in a true people’s democracy religion has no place. In an enlightened society, religion has no part to play. But in an unjust society, religion plays the most important part to preserve such society and its hegemonic beliefs and values.
Indeed, people are also just plain bad at numbers, especially large numbers. For every rag to riches story like Oprah, there is literally a million or more people that would love to be as rich as oprah and tried to get there, but did not. Other rag to rich stories quite often are not really. Where they had parents or maybe grandparents that were already middle or upper class.
Religion is easier to spot once you know and accept what to look for, (total lack of evidence for the base idea behind it.) Where as with capitalism and wealth, we do occasionally see documented rag to riches, and hard work = additional wealth. The core idea is still somewhat true, just people do not realize the scale of it.
I believe this work has been done, adjusted cost of living or something like that, even heard the term “big mac” comparison, (okay my formal education on economics was a while ago now, and pretty badly outdated. )
I have seen the opposite, on some of the most toxic waste being done, with seemingly great effect. An example would be car batteries in my area, any place that sells car batteries will also accept used /waste car batteries of any type, any quantity and w/o question, as long as it is not dangerous. However every car battery sold has a ~8 dollar fee on top of the base price of the battery to cover disposal. The number of car batteries being discarded into landfill or dumped on the side of the road has been greatly reduced. There is talk to do the same with other hazardous waste that people normally have to “pay” to get rid of.
I would love to see some sort of law that forces companies to pay for the externalities of their product/service. Stuff like polluting the air of the population, that can sicken/harm the local population, the company that causes the pollution has to pay for fixing that externality, instead of the burden being born by the people in the area instead.
An example would be fracking in Colorado. There are some aggressive fracking companies that love to frack in and around high population areas. These high population density areas only cover 1-2% of total area of colorado, yet fracking companies will take on expensive litigation, increased risks, etc etc to frack right next to schools/neighborhoods even though 99% of everyone in the immediate area does not want them to frack there.
Why? Would this seemingly bad financial decision go forward? Because the fracking companies do not have to pay for the externalities, the local population does instead. The fracking company gets access to already in place infrastructure, paved roads, running water, power, nearby services (like medical) for the workers and so on, greatly reducing the cost of fracking. And of course the pollution does not effect the share holders of the fracking company, only the local population, an externality cost not borne by the people that profit from fracking.
So we see toxic fracking operations occur less then 1000 feet from school playgrounds/parks etc.