I'm curious..Is there any atheist whose noble act has approached this?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Mind Over Matter, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

    Is there an example of an atheist who has given up his life in an act of sacrificial agape, ala Maximilian Kolbe?
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  3. Balerion Banned Banned

    I'm sure. I would imagine there were an atheist or two (dozen) among the firefighters who ran into those burning buildings on September 11th.

    There are doubtless many examples of selflessness and self-sacrifice made by atheists daily. The difference is that there's no one to grant them sainthood after the fact.
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  5. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

    If you just consider that most Chinese are atheists then all that they do to help each other or for that fact anyone would account for millions of atheists that do that daily. They just never ask for recognition as they are doing what they think is the best for the ones they are helping. I could also say that there are many others that aren't Chinese that do the same thing but never ask for recognition either.
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  7. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    There is a counter argument to that, which is that suicide bombers also sacrifice their lives for a cause due to belief in an afterlife. Not sure that's such a virtue.
  8. Balerion Banned Banned

    Yes, but we're reasonable people who can tell the difference between sacrificing oneself for the sake of another and for the sake of a delusion.
  9. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    What they believe in is odd. What God favors violence?

    Getting special treatment in Heaven for suicide, and murder?
  10. Balerion Banned Banned

    Says the guy who believes in Aries and Jesus?

    Don't know what that has to do with the topic at hand, but most gods favor violence.

    Why are you acting like this is some alien concept? Name me a deity that doesn't command some sort of ritualistic sacrifice, or war in their name?
  11. keith1 Guest

    It's about big dog running the roost, and not allowing minor issues to become global, and lifting big dog's feet off the grounded. Atheism and Theism are both such minor issues, and those who raise their ugly head up to defy big-dog's leadership, gets the hammer.
    In this way, Islam, Christianity, and Atheism are united against big dog's authority. Therefore, big dog cannot be from any of their ranks.
    Big dog wouldn't go there.
    The OP is deemed a goading response, a flame, a troll.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2012
  12. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Suicide bombers do believe it's for another as well as themselves.

    Was he good because he was a priest? Or was he a priest because he was fundamentally good?
  13. Balerion Banned Banned

    Do they? As far as I know, suicide bombing is a mode of dispensing Allah's justice. I don't see what this has to do with the preservation of others. It's a self-sacrifice, but not for what could be called noble reasons.

    But even if it were, say, because Muslims feel that other faiths and denominations attempt to block their entrance to paradise, we can say with objectivity that this is a false assumption and therefore morally repugnant. We are not obligated to call all forms of self-sacrifice--no matter their intention--good.

    He was good because he offered to die in the place of someone with more to lose. Can you really not see the goodness of that act? Please don't act so aloof.
  14. keith1 Guest

    You seem into your own private perspective here. Arab oil princes let western boots on the ground in the land of Mecca.
    Let's allow the Chinese army in, to police the U.S. borders....yeah, right.

    Again with your personal whims!

    The preacher's intent was to take the place of a man crying to get out of dying. No thought for the others there dying with him. It's sounds " me, me, me".
    I'm glad you are allowing me not be be "obligated to call all forms of self-sacrifice--no matter their intention--good"....your words.

    The man who "got out of dying" had no children to return to, as they were killed while he was interred. He remarried when his first wife died.
    Perhaps he was the "good" salesman, and the priest the gullible "customer". Or the priest was "me, me, me, canonize me".
    We can say the priest, as a public leader, may have comforted and saved countless more lives, as a "live" priest, in a dire situation, where a public leader would be a benefit.

    To make sound choices, one must pick the personal perspective that best fits the situation--especially our public leadership and crowd morale staffing.

    Aloof can mean "get up high enough to see the lay of the landscape...the big picture"--what is best for the whole, and not just one single me, me, me individual.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2012
  15. Balerion Banned Banned

    Supposing the Chinese army were let in to police our borders. Would you, as a "freedom fighter," walk into a Price Chopper and blow up your fellow Americans to show your distaste with the occupation? Probably not. The more important question: Would you call it moral, as you seem to imply it is when some Wahhabi moron does it in a crowded market in Baghdad?

    The "root cause" game is a dangerous one, because if you take the wrong view of it--such as you have here, in blaming Muslim fundamentalism on the west--you risk making yourself look like just one more of the loud and uninformed.

    This makes me think you don't know what a "whim" is...

    Attempting to slog through this grammatical nightmare has brought me no closer to your point. Are you saying that his act is somehow diminished because he didn't offer to take everyone's place? I mean, he was just one man.


    His sons were alive at the time, as was his wife, so what's your point? And what does remarrying after the death of one's spouse have to do with anything? Are you suggesting that means he loved her less?

    There's no reason to believe that he was trying to get someone else to bite the proverbial bullet for him, though I suppose that one could take a poor view of the priest's stated desire to be a martyr. But even supposing this desire was the basis for his act, he stepped in for a person who spoke of his wife and children and did him a kindness, even if there was some ulterior motive.

    I'm curious how you think he could have saved more lives. D

    And he saw a man delirious with grief over leaving his wife and children, and decided that this was where he could be of the most help. :shrug:

    Aloof means "at a distance." It certainly does not imply that someone is getting a better view of a situation--quite the opposite, in fact. And you still haven't demonstrated how this priest was selfish, only offering baseless assumptions of his character, as well as vague and dubious alternatives to the self-sacrifice he made. In other words, you've accomplished nothing other than making yourself look bad.
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The holy books of the Abrahamic religions are apparently so poorly written that they have been interpreted in myriad ways, and those interpretations have been reviewed and approved by several levels of scholars. In some of those approved interpretations, the god is indeed said to favor violence under certain circumstances.
    In that particular approved version, it is okay to kill. The bad people (not all bad people, but infidels and apostates) are considered so bad as to be unsalvageable, so it's okay to kill them without giving them a chance to repent. The good people who are caught in the crossfire or killed by mistake will simply get a head start on going to heaven, so there's no problem for them at all. Certainly you've seen the T-shirt that says, "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out." The bikers didn't invent that.

    As for suicide, since they're taking dozens of infidels and apostates with them, this is different only in pesky detail from charging into a battalion of enemy troops with your guns blazing, hoping to take out a dozen of them before you're cut down yourself. Of course the pesky detail is that in our ethical system it's frowned on to deliberately kill enemy civilians.
    The infidels and apostates they kill include false prophets and agents of Satan (or Jesus or Moses or Ras Tafari, etc., who are basically the same as Satan) who will proselytize against Islam, or against religion in general. These false prophets and agents of Satan are very slick communicators and statistically they will be successful in convincing some of the faithful Muslims to become apostates themselves. By killing all infidels and apostates, they are saving the souls of the faithful who might be wooed by them. That is indeed a noble reason, by their particular interpretation of the Holy Book of their particular branch of Abrahamism.

    There have been many eras and regions in which Christians felt basically the same way about infidels and apostates. Better to kill them off than to take a chance that their disease will spread.
  17. RoccoR Registered Senior Member

    Mind Over Matter, et al,

    So, I'm assuming what the look here is: Bravery and Facing Death!


    Is there a correlation here?

  18. Balerion Banned Banned

    Then I return to my original point, which is that as rational, reasonable people, we know that their belief is wrong.
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Sure, but we're a minority (albeit a rapidly growing one) so nobody's going to listen to us (today). There are plenty of people who are so rational and reasonable that their success is celebrated in occupations that require rationality and reasonableness, yet they are capable of such extensive cognitive dissonance that they still believe in the miracles and other supernatural aspects of Abrahamism. And they feel no conflict.
  20. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

    Yes, there are many noble atheists, and perhaps some of them are firefighters and some in the military who have risked their lives, who ran into those burning buildings, jumped on a grenade, for the sake of another.

    But, not to demean this heroic act, we can all admit that this type of duty is qualitatively different than the profound act of love that Maximilian Kolbe did, stepping up in front of Evil, declaring to all, "I will die in the place of this man!", knowing he would endure a slow, horrific torture.

    He died singing the Psalms.

    Again, Is there any atheist whose noble act has approached this?
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Who are you to say that this was a "profound act of love" rather than some risk/reward assessment by someone who sincerely believed that through their "altruism" they would gain reward in the after-life?

    I.e. what might appear from an external point of view as a "profound act of love" might be nothing more than a self-serving gesture of an ego-centric.

    "Noble" is rather a subjective viewpoint, and speaks more of the viewer than the one being viewed.

    I ask you this... which is more noble: someone offering their mortal life for another while sincerely believing that in doing so they will be rewarded in the afterlife; or someone laying down their mortal life while sincerely believing that there is no afterlife, that this is the one and only "life" that they get?

    Giving one's life for another is giving one's life for another, regardless of the form it takes, regardless of whether it is so openly on a one-for-one basis or whether it is in the heat of violent conflict.

    And as said, what one sees as "noble" speaks more to the viewer than the object viewed.
  22. Balerion Banned Banned

    I don't think that's true. It doesn't take a secular humanist to disagree with suicide bombing, and usually with no reference to the tenets of their faith. People know injustice in their water, so to speak.

    I don't begrudge people being of two minds. If one wants to twist themselves into pretzels attempting to reconcile their faith with their appreciation of and reliance on science, then that's their business. And I'm willing to bet that most of those people can properly define what an "innocent" person is, would agree that we've yet to be presented with a scenario that would excuse blowing them to pieces.
  23. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

    But a person can act in a truly altruistic manner even if, for example, they are not a professed Christian.

    He who knows Love, knows God ----Even if he worships God "as unknown".

    Let me add my response with two bible references:

    IMHO, it just that Christianity adds a level of knowledge, understanding and clarity that may not be available to the person who chooses to act lovingly but is not sure why or how. The teachings of the Church can help a person sort through the sometimes difficult and contradictory impulses and inputs and feelings that we have to deal with in discerning what actually IS the most Loving thing to do in a given situation.

    The best answer I can say on this is that "Love" and "expectation of reward", while not mutually exclusive, tend to be at opposite ends of the Spiritual journey. Often times one begins the journey in order to avoid punishment. This is more "fear" based, but then we are told in Scripture that "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom".
    As one moves along the journey, seeking to immerse oneself in Christ, to emulate Him and make Him Lord and center of our lives, this fear of punishment is replaced by a deeper and more truly formed Love. Love then drives out fear.
    Spiritual writers often refer to the relationship in nuptial terms. Jesus is the Bridegroom we are the bride. A husband and wife, truly and fully in Love, need not have expectation of reward from the other. This is because each one has, as their first priority, the best interests of the other. Their actions toward the other are not in the form of "labor for wages", or out of fear of punishment, but rather they are gifts freely given out of a desire for the other's highest good. The reciprocity of such a relationship might look like each being "fair" to the other, but in truth neither thinks of "fair" but only of the good of the other.

    Of course the above doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the relationship between God and man...Or how and why saintly people do things out of Love without thought to recompense....But it's the best I can say for now....
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012

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