Aberingi's long-running topic entitled "Do we need a Universal Atheist Symbol?" leads me to ask "Do we need a Universal Atheist Motto?".

Well, perhaps we don't, or perhaps we could, but some theists might get deservedly irritated if we chose to use something like "In Darwin we trust" at appropriate moments.
These words, suitably translated into other languages, have a basic international atheist appeal with respect to truth and helpful anti-theist sabre-rattling and debating.
e.g. they might look good on the side of a bus/ coach.

Tags: Darwin, bus slogan

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Replies to This Discussion

What is truth, Ashish? (In reply to your post 8/28/2010)
II would want to account for truth as a totality, an interrelated system, timeless, universal, and supported by evidence. Modern understanding of religion looks for a "truth" that is absolutely personal. As I see it, it is the inevitable failure of the attempt to transmit a personal truth that drives varieties of agnosticism and, therefore, atheism.

Religion simply traps us within the bounds of an all-too-human image of God. There is no longer any reference to a truth beyond their minds - the believer's mind. God means what they want him to mean, since there is nothing outside their minds that constrains their mental concept. Imagination and other fantasies have taken aimless flight from its human source and we are left spinning fictions in the dark. Relativism and nihilism are at the door: everyone believes what they think "probably" in their own eyes.

However, setting up the problem in this way means we have already accepted the terms laid down by fundamentalists. I would suggest that the grasp of truth cannot be simply identified with our act of reasoning. This is not accidental. There is a "structural impossibility" at work here: if reason makes it possible to unify our grasp of truth at the same time makes it impossible for us to make the grasp complete. Something always remains "other" and this is the case if our power the reasoning is to connect with an objective truth. I am well aware of the paradox, and do not attempt to resolve it. Thinking and faith, both depend upon keeping this paradox alive, upon not coming down on one side or the other.
Congregational Churches in US have shown me the vanity of utilitarian reasoning. It is not longer a matter of proving the existence of God (impossible task!) but of utilizing the irrepressible desire of individuals to reduce everything to themselves. They cannot lay claim to “God” except by leaving the uniqueness of the Bible to one side.

Motto: There is nothing outside context.
Down With Solipsism!
I didn't notice any Nietzsche, looking quickly through the replies:

"It is a curious thing that God learned Greek when he wished to turn author- and that he did not learn it better."

I might add this from Robert Anton Wilson:

"Experts on the problem of evil were known as theologians. These were erudite primates, skilled in primate logic, who wrote long books trying to answer the question "Why did God create an imperfect universe?
"God" was their name for the hypothetical biggest-alpha-male-of-all. Being primates, they could not comprehend how anything could run if there weren't an alpha male in charge of it."


Not exactly on theme, but good nonetheless, the first two sentences from a favorite of mine, Adorno and Horkheimer’s classic ‘Dialectic of Enlightenment’:


“In the most general sense of progressive thought, the Enlightenment has always aimed at liberating men from fear and establishing their sovereignty. Yet the fully enlightened earth radiates disaster triumphant”.

The final entry from Wittgenstein's Tractatus seems poetically apropos:

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent."
Who says anybody is ignoring artists? Art and science are hardly mutually exclusive. Leonardo da Vinci comes to mind. Not to mention Carl Sagan, James Randi, Richard Feynman, etc. And of course Nietzsche and Wilson from the post immediately preceding yours, Gurmit.

If you're saying that art is "another way of knowing", another way of getting at truth besides science, I would have to disagree. To the extent that art gets at truth, I'd say it uses the scientific method of making deductions from observation. It certainly doesn't operate on the basis of faith.

Art may be better than science at putting individuals in touch with their feelings, but science isn't a cold, empty pursuit. It's quite exciting, ennobling, and awe-inspiring.
I think that trying to turn atheism into a movement with slogans would be like herding cats and would confirm the theist libel that atheism is as much about belief as religion, and is, in fact, itself a religion.

And if someone says 'gesundheit' or 'dog bless you' (dog, if not man's best friend, is at least amiable, unlike most gods) or even 'god bless you' I thank them politely. And my motto has always been, "In god we trust, all others pay cash"; so far I've managed to avoid the credit crunch ;-}
It would seem at times that theists have a harder time accepting the idea of a life without religion than they do accepting the idea of atheism. Which as far as I'm concerned are different subjects. Adherence to a dogma can be emotionally identical to religion and still have nothing to do with deity. I can think of many examples: Nationalism, adherence to veganism, those committed to strict athletic regimens, thinking about it a bit, I just realized how long the list might become. Humans seem to be very good at accepting things without a shred of evidence to support that belief. It is quite easy to see how atheism could be construed as a religion if not believing in something is an alien frame of mind.
I have 5 cats, and herding simply isn't in their repertoire of activities. They always seemed more like natural anarchists than atheists but your point about slogans is very well taken.

Your point about all the little social niceties that assume existence of god: god bless, god dammit, god this and that. To a certain extent we all do it. Don't tell me you've never shouted goddammit at least once in your life. I think that it's a topic worth some more consideration.
Considering all the nonsense in the news lately however, perhaps the new slogan should be:

"Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!!"

It might be time for atheists to become a bit more pro-active somehow, just in case.
Phrases like "goddamn" are part of our culture. I suppose that Vikings would have sworn by "Odin's ballocks" or some such. Now I think of it, that's quite catchy! Here's an idea, equal opportunity for blasphemy! Work your way through the lot, from Ahura to Allah by way of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, not forgetting Zeus and, of course, Yahweh (last but by no means least). :-)
Something simple like "reason before religion" or fact instead of faith". Yes I do think we need a motto. Maybe not right now but we got to get around to it sooner or later. The sooner we organize the better.
I don't believe we need - or should have - a motto.
It sounds a bit like "Boy Scouts" and Baden Powell in my ears, and the concept of "we trust" implies an element of belief, and belief is the foundation of religion.
For an atheist, there should be no hint or mention of "belief".
We rest our case on proven science or stated theory - the "theory of evolution" by all in the business of science long accepted as proven!
That might on second thought be an/the acceptable motto: "Time has proved evolution" or "Evolution - proved by time."
How about "In Reality We Trust" as all belief systems are not founded on any rock hard evidence. Since believers are stuck in candyland (and won't face reality until their last breath), I don't think that they can argue this or try and turn it around.

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