Hiding Atheism's Contributions To Progress

At the Canadian universities I attended there was a noticeable scarcity of Atheist, Enlightenment writers on reading lists. There were plenty of writers from the romantic conservative reaction, such as Rousseau. After exposure to teachers from France and the United States I was introduced the the writings of French Encyclopedists such as Condorcet and Diderot and their American counterparts Thomas Paine and Jefferson. They still weren't on the reading lists but I had been pointed in the right direction by closet Atheists.

Religious authorities have succeeded in hiding the fact much of the progress we enjoy is due to the influence of Atheists. There is a similar act of plagiarism in the representation of the establishment of the state of Israel. Religious jews, especially the haredi, did little to help establish the country. It was Atheists like Ben-Gurion, Meir, Dayan and Rabin who created the state and its infrastructure. Their being influenced by the Enlightenment was expressed in their love of Atheism, science, technology and democracy. They applied these influences to turn malarial swamps and deserts into farms and cities. None of this is expressed in advertisements to come visit the holy land!

The deeper you dig, the more you will find Atheism has been at the heart of progress. Often this progress was opposed by religious authorities. Atheists need to reclaim credit. Americans need to know Paine and Jefferson were instrumental to the creation of their democratic republic. Misinformed social activists need to know Israel is not a jewish version of Pakistan. There are about three times as many Atheists in Israel as religious jewish fundamentalists. We should publicize Israel's Atheist heritage. We should publicize all Atheism's contributions to progress. Atheism deserves credit. We don't deserve the vilification and exclusion we have been experiencing.

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Comment by Glen Rosenberg on December 8, 2013 at 11:57pm

Rationalism enables atheism and it is also source of progress....inextricably linked. So why is it a problem to claim credit? Theists never seem to mind arrogating what is not there's to take.

Comment by David Jensen on December 8, 2013 at 11:45pm
I think we need to be careful to make it clear that the great things these people have done weren't brought about because they were atheist, or in some cases non-religious deists. Rather that it was the same rational, sceptical, enlightened thinking that enabled them to make the contributions the did that also, almost inevitably, led to their disbelief in any traditional idea of a god.
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on December 4, 2013 at 10:39pm

I dont think fundamentalists wanted to see creation of a jewish state at that time under those conditions. 

And the negative connotations associated with zionism speak to the disparate treatment and double standard jews are held to. Nobody seems to bad mouth manifest destiny or a thousand other aggressive actions in which there is utterly no justification or exigent circumstances.

As for publication of the contributions of atheists I am all for it.

Comment by Grinning Cat on December 4, 2013 at 10:28am

Israeli Jews run the gamut from haredim to more progressive and relaxed believers to apatheists to outright atheists. (How apropos that as I'm typing, the Society for Humanistic Judaism ad is flashing to the right!)

You're right, it can't be stressed enough that the Zionists who established the modern state of Israel WERE SECULARISTS. The majority religious opinion was that it was up to God to bring the Messiah, sometime... and only then establish the state.  Of course, once the state was there, religious Jews were eager to give thanks to God (tiny anti-Zionist minorities like Neturei Karta excepted).

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