Atheist cults

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The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg was turned into a Temple of Reason by the Cult of Reason.

Within the atheist religion, there are and have been a number of atheist cults and atheist groups which have had a cultish following. Some of these cults/groups still exist today. In 2015, FtBCon which is an online conference organized by the Freethought Blogs network, recognized that nonreligious/secular cults exist (for example, the atheist cult of objectivism).[1][2]

The atheist cults or atheist groups which have had a cultish following which have formed in history or exist today are often a result of factors such as: utopian thinking, fanatical devolution to various atheistic ideologies, a poor understanding of science/technology (or a penchant for materialist pseudoscientific thinking) and wishful thinking.

Also, although some of the groups listed below, which were founded by atheists/non-religious individuals are not entirely made up of atheists, they do have sizable atheist populations within them.

Cult of Reason

Cult of Reason during the French Revolution was partly atheistic. The French atheist Pierre Gaspard Chaumette encouraged the "worship of Reason".[3][4]

Creativity Movement

"I was an atheist even then, and at that funeral parlor they held me up to look at her, and when I got down, I was bitter." - Jim Jones [5]

The Creativity Movement, formerly known as the World Church Of The Creator, is an atheistic, white supremacist organization.[6][7][8] The movement has denounced Christianity,[7] and purports to promote love for all of mankind.[9] It denounces religion for bringing horror into the world by dividing the white race.[7] Adherents of the Creativity Movement are evolutionists.[10]

Ben Klassen, the founder of the Creativity Movement, described the organizational structure of the movement as "monolithic and... authoritarian".[11][12]

Jim Jones

Jim Jones - Marxist, atheist cult leader. Jim Jones' The Peoples Temple became a place where atheism was blended with seeing Jones as a Christ-like figure.[13] Under his direction, his followers committed mass suicide (see: Atheism and suicide).

"I was an atheist even then, and at that funeral parlor they held me up to look at her, and when I got down, I was bitter." - Jim Jones [14]

"So on down the road, I became even more alienated by that event. I decided, how can I demonstrate my Marxism? The thought was, infiltrate the church." - Jim Jones

Raelism

See: Raelism

Cults of personality following atheistic communist leaders

Cult of personality surrounding communist, atheist leaders or thought leaders such as Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, Joseph Stalin, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-un

Objectivism has a cult like following

Objectivism (Ayn Rand) - Has a cult like following of atheist narcissists who generally subscribe to the political ideology of libertarianism.[15]

Fervent, atheist evolutionists

As far as atheistic/naturalistic Darwinism, since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists and agnostics (see also: Causes of evolutionary belief)[16]

In his book Rivals: Conflict as the fuel of science, Michael White wrote: "Of course today, for biologists, Darwin is second only to God, and for many he may rank still higher." The atheist Michael Ruse, an evolutionist science philosopher, admitted, “Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”

Ardent followers of Charles Darwin have Darwin Day celebrations and repeatedly endeavor to get government imposed Charles Darwin holidays.

Evolutionists primarily spread their religion via public school indoctrination and via censorship of opposing views. They rarely engage in public debates and when they did more widely debate in the 1970s, they generally lost their debates (see: Creation vs. evolution debates).

Cultish following of Richard Dawkins

There is a small cultish following of the New Atheist Richard Dawkins (See: Richard Dawkins' cult of personality).

On August 16, 2014, Andrew Brown wrote an article for The Spectator entitled The bizarre – and costly – cult of Richard Dawkins which declared:

...the Richard Dawkins website offers followers the chance to join the ‘Reason Circle’, which, like Dante’s Hell, is arranged in concentric circles. For $85 a month, you get discounts on his merchandise, and the chance to meet ‘Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science personalities’. Obviously that’s not enough to meet the man himself. For that you pay $210 a month — or $5,000 a year — for the chance to attend an event where he will speak...

But the $85 a month just touches the hem of rationality. After the neophyte passes through the successively more expensive ‘Darwin Circle’ and then the ‘Evolution Circle’, he attains the innermost circle, where for $100,000 a year or more he gets to have a private breakfast or lunch with Richard Dawkins, and a reserved table at an invitation-only circle event with ‘Richard’ as well as ‘all the benefits listed above’, so he still gets a discount on his Richard Dawkins T-shirt saying ‘Religion — together we can find a cure.’

The website suggests that donations of up to $500,000 a year will be accepted for the privilege of eating with him once a year: at this level of contribution you become a member of something called ‘The Magic of Reality Circle’. I don’t think any irony is intended.

At this point it is obvious to everyone except the participants that what we have here is a religion without the good bits.[17]

According to The Richest, "Richard Dawkins..has an estimated net worth of $135 million ($100 euro) according to the Sunday Times in 2012."[18]

Vox Day noted that the Richard Dawkins cult has some similarity to the cult of Scientology.[19] Dawkins is a leading figure in the New Atheism movement. The New Atheism movement, which has waned in recent years, was called a cult by the agnostic, journalist Bryan Appleyard in a 2012 article in the New Statesman in which he describes the abusive behavior of New Atheists.[20] Although the New Atheism movement does not perfectly fit the various characteristics of a cult, it does fit some of the characteristics.[21]

The number of Dawkian atheists has significantly diminished post Elevatorgate and due to his generally abrasive manner. Dawkins does retain a small cult following though (See: Richard Dawkins' loss of influence). The Dawkian atheists have been able to retain Richard Dawkins being labeled as an atheist in his Wikipedia article despite Dawkins repeatedly and adamantly declaring that he is an agnostic and/or flip-flopping his public persona between atheism and agnosticism (See: Richard Dawkins and agnosticism).

Richard Dawkins wrote a book entitled The Selfish Gene and Dawkins' fans tend to be arrogant, socially challenged, naive men (see: Richard Dawkins and pseudoscience and Richard Dawkins and historical revisionism and Richard Dawkins and women).[22][23][24] In February 2010, the news organization The Telegraph reported Richard Dawkins was "embroiled in a bitter online battle over plans to rid his popular internet forum for atheists of foul language, insults and 'frivolous gossip'."[25] In 2013, Rebecca Watson said she still receives harassment from male fans of Richard Dawkins.[26]

Similar cult followings surrounding other atheist activists also exist, particularly on the internet, including the late Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss, PZ Myers, Phil Mason (Thunderf00t), "TheAmazingAtheist", etc.

Scientology

Scientology is an atheist religion/cult.[27]

Scientism and origins of secular humanism

Despite the repeated claim that atheism is "not a religion", most New Atheists and anti-theists subscribe to some form of Scientism - the belief that physical science is the sole or most authoritative source of human knowledge. This belief ties in with philosophical views such as the Positivism of Auguste Comte as well as naturalism, materialism, physicalism, etc. and is a de facto religious or philosophical belief, not merely a "lack of belief". Ironically this view is actually a minority view of actual scientists historically and currently, most of whom do not belief that "nothing exists" beyond what has been observed in physical sciences (ex. mathematics is a formal science and mathematical proofs can be said to exist despite not being physical evidence which is testable in a laboratory experiment). Philosophers historically also did not state that deductive reasoning is the only valid form of reasoning for individuals to use when forming conclusions about the world around them.

After the French Revolution Auguste Comte founded a "secular religion" based on the positivist philosophy that himself called the Religion of Humanity, with positivist "churches" still existing in France (and more "atheist and secular humanist churches" popping up in the present day). This religion was one of Karl Marx's inspirations, and is the precursor to modern secular humanism which atheists such as Dawkins follow - however today it has simply been rebranded as "atheism" to avoid admitting it's religious origins. Therefore, in reality New Atheists aren't even "atheists", they're members of a cult allegedly based on "science" founded by a "prophet" named Auguste Comte who's ideas are considered infallible to its members based on faith alone (meaning they essentially "worship" Auguste Comte as a replacement for "God") not much unlike Scientology.

Nihilism

Nihilism is an extreme form of skepticism which essentially argues that no moral truths exist at all or can be known to exist. The views of Frederich Nietzsche, Marquis de Sade, and some of the views of Ayn Rand are associated with nihilism. Some argue that nihilism is the "true" conclusion of atheism; according to some philosophers and theologians such as C.S. Lewis, if one believes that moral order exists at all then this also means that God exists. If a secular humanist therefore claims that killing children is wrong whether based on "evidence" or not, then they are tacitly admitting that they know there is a God, since if atheism is taken to its true conclusion, then even if killing children causes the children pain, there is no reason to believe that causing children pain is wrong to begin with, except based on faith.

Freudian psychoanalysis devotees

Sigmund Freud in his study

Sigmund Freud and the atheistic and pseudoscientific Freudian psychoanalysis has had a cultish following.[28][29]

Karl Popper indicated that psychoanalysis is merely a pseudoscience because its claims are not testable and therefore they cannot falsifiable.[30] See also: Psychology and pseudoscience

Freud maintained that belief in God fostered an unhealthy and dysfunctional frame of mind, but the social sciences now have an extensive collection of studies showing that theistic religion is a positive factor in relation to mental and physical well-being [31] (See: Atheism and depression and Atheism and health and Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism).

As far as Freud's and other anti-religious or non-religious individuals influence on the present day makeup of the present community of psychologists, in 2009 it was reported that psychologists are the least religious professors.[32]

LaVeyan Satanism

LaVeyan Satanism is a form of atheism which extolls the values of Satan which are described in the Bible. It is a very prideful and hedonistic worldview. Some specific characteristics of Leveyan Satanism is that it incorporates egoism, self-deification, the occult/magic, Social Darwinism and naturalism.

Atheists and the cryonics movement

See also: Atheism and cryonics

The adherents of cryonics put the deceased person in cryonic suspension via cooling and perfusing the corpse with cryoprotective solutions.[33][34]

Cryonics is a pseudoscience that tries to extend life or achieve immortality in a non-theistic way after a person is legally declared dead.[35][36] See also: Atheism and cryonics and Atheism and death

Robert Ettinger was an atheist and American academic who some consider to be "the father of cryonics" because of the impact of his 1962 book The Prospect of Immortality.[37][38] Evan Cooper was also a founding father of cryonics movement.[39] Cooper was a very private man and there may be no record of his worldview as far as it whether he was an atheist, agnostic or theist.[40] Evan Cooper abandoned the cryonics movement after he felt that the extension of life through cryonics would not be achievable in his lifetime.[41]

According to The Cryonics Society:

Ettinger's reflections on the work of Rostand and other scientists led him to collect his ideas on cryonics into a book. Doubleday, the publishers, sent a review copy to Mensan Isaac Asimov, who gave it a clean scientific bill of health. The book appeared in nine languages, four editions, and became the bible of the cryonics movement. Ettinger found himself appearing on Time and Newsweek and nationwide TV.[42]

Isaac Asimov was a popular American science fiction writer and a professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was also an atheist.[43] According to The Cryonics Society, Asimov said of cryonics, "Though no one can quantify the probability of cryonics working, I estimate it is at least 90%..."[44]

The atheist and American cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky was one of 63 scientists who signed an open letter endorsing the concept of cryonics.[45][46]

Larry King is an atheist.[47][48] In 2011, The Telegraph in an article entitled On Larry King and an atheist's fear of death reported about the atheist Larry King, "Larry King, the former CNN broadcaster, made the news this morning after saying he wants to be frozen after his death, so that he can be revived when medical technology improves.[49]

Today, the atheist/agnostic community is largely skeptical of the cryonics movement. For example, in 2001, the atheist/agnostic Michael Shermer said of cryonics, "Is it? That depends on how much time, effort and money ($120,000 for a full-body freeze or $50,000 for just the head) you are willing to invest for odds of success only slightly higher than zero... I want to believe the cryonicists. Really I do. I gave up on religion in college, but I often slip back into my former evangelical fervor, now directed toward the wonders of science and nature."[50]

Tranhumanism movement which seeks posthumanism and immortality through technology

See also: Atheism and transhumanism

According to the Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrum, transhumanism has its roots in an atheistic/secular humanism/evolutionary worldview.[51] The atheist, evolutionist and eugenicist Julian Huxley coined the term transhumanism.[52]

Ray Kurzweil is endeavoring to achieve an atheistic version of heaven.[53] (photo obtained from Wikimedia Commons, see license agreement)

Julian Huxley wrote:

The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself – not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way – but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.[54]

The pseudoscientific transhumanism movement which desires to transcend being human through technology and become posthuman in order achieve a type of non-theistic immortality is completely unrealistic and is engaging in wishful thinking.[55] See: Consciousness and barriers to mind uploading

The article Top 10 atheist inconsistencies declares:

Some atheists like Ray Kurzweil advocate transhumanist doctrines that prophesy of a near future - in as few as 20 years, according to him - in which a singularity event will occur. With the singularity event, humans will be able to use science to achieve immortality. Kurzweil speaks of this singularity event with the same fervor in which the proverbial Southern Baptist minister raves about the Rapture. Fantasizing about post-singularity humanity, Kurzweil proclaims that, being able to live for eternity, we will eventually be able to know everything that can possibly be known.

But does he believe it's possible that there just might be another being in this vast universe who has achieved all knowledge before he has? No, that is ludicrous.[56]

One of the segments of the population that is more prone to adopt transhumanism is computer geeks and the atheist population has a very sizable segment of geeks/nerds. See: Atheist nerds

Cults, social outcasts and atheism

People who join cults are prepared to be social outcasts.[57] Within theistic societies such as the United States, social outcasts are more likely to be the types of individuals who become atheists (see: Atheism and social outcasts). In addition, in the United States and other religious countries, atheists have a bad reputation and are often social outcasts (see: Views on atheists).

Dr. Sam Harris is one of the founders of the New Atheism movement. Sam Harris is quite aware of the stigma surrounding atheism and has even advocated that atheists no longer call themselves atheists.[58] In fact, Dr. Harris has said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."[58]

Atheism and state indoctrination

See also: Atheist indoctrination and State atheism and Causes of atheism and Atheism and communism

Jewish columnist Dennis Prager has stated that a causal factor of atheism is the "secular indoctrination of a generation."[59] Prager stated that "From elementary school through graduate school, only one way of looking at the world – the secular – is presented. The typical individual in the Western world receives as secular an indoctrination as the typical European received a religious one in the Middle Ages." [60] Dinesh D'Souza has pointed out that atheists have focused considerable efforts on the public schools in order to indoctrinate young people into atheistic beliefs.[61]

In the United States, due to: poor public school performance; increasing popularity of charter schools, vouchers for private schooling including private religious schools and homeschooling; and local government budget problems, the percentage of students being educated through public schools has been decreasing.

In addition, in communist countries (such as the former Soviet Union) atheistic indoctrination occurred in the educational system through such venues as schools, atheist museums, and clubs (see also: Militant atheism).[62][63]

Atheists and secularists rarely point out that universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, and many others were founded by Christians.[64][65]

Atheist cults and atheist denialism

Whenever bizarre, atheist cults are brought up within the secular religion of atheism, atheists commonly engage in denialism concerning atheism cultism using the logical fallacy of the No true Scotsman fallacy.[66] Yet, the historical record is clear that atheist cults have existed since at least the time of the French Revolution.

See also

External links

References

  1. Reminder: Secular Cults Panel at FtBCon Tonight!, January 24, 2015 by Adam Lee
  2. FtBCon3: Secular Cults
  3. Pierre Gaspard Chaumette was an atheist, see: The English Heiress, Book 1 By Roberta Gellis, page 211
  4. Pierre Gaspard Chaumette encouraged the "worship of Reason", see: Benjamin Rush's Lectures on the Mind, Volume 144 By Benjamin Rush. page 170
  5. An untitled collection of reminiscences by Jim Jones
  6. Contemporary voices of white nationalism in America. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on 2011–03–27. “World Church of the Creator, an organization that espouses an atheistic and white supremacist religious philosophy known as Creativity.” 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The new white nationalism in America: its challenge to integration. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on 2011–03–27. “For instance, Ben Klassen, founder of the atheistic World Church of the Creator and the author of The White Man's Bible, discusses Christianity extensively in his writings and denounces religion that has brought untold horror into the world and divided the white race.” 
  8. The World's Religions: Continuities and Transformations. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved on 2011–03–27. “A competing atheistic or panthestic white racist movement also appeared, which included the Church of the Creator/ Creativity (Gardell 2003: 129–134).” 
  9. Ludwig Feuerbach. The Essence of Christianity. John Chapman. Retrieved on 2011–03–27. “Christ loved men: he wished to bless and unite them all without distinction of sex, age, rank or nationality. Christ is the love of mankind to itself embodied in an image–in accordance with the nature of religion as we have developed it–or contemplated as a person, but a person who (we mean, of course, as a religious object) has only the significance of an image, who is only ideal. For this reason love is pronounced to be the characteristic mark of the disciples.” 
  10. What you should know about the Creativity Movement - Creativity Movement website
  11. Ben Klassen PM on Race & Reason - Part 2 of 3 - YouTube video
  12. Tom Metzger's Race & Reason with Ben Klassen PM
  13. Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman
  14. An untitled collection of reminiscences by Jim Jones
  15. The bizarre – and costly – cult of Richard Dawkins, The Spectator, Andrew Brown 16 August 2014
  16. Richard Dawkins Net Worth
  17. The Cult of Dicky Dawkins
  18. The God wars by Bryan Appleyard, New Statesman
  19. How cultish is the New Atheism?
  20. Richard Dawkins is in a bitter censorship row with fellow atheist - The Telegraph
  21. MailVox: The distribution of atheist intelligence
  22. Calling All Female Atheists - Huffington Post - video
  23. Richard Dawkins is in a bitter censorship row with fellow atheist - The Telegraph
  24. Calling All Female Atheists - Huffington Post - video
  25. Scientology is an Atheist Religion
  26. The Freudian psychoanalysis cult by Kevin MacDonald, Ph.D.
  27. The pretensions of the Freudian cult by Thomas Szasz, The Spectator, 4 OCTOBER 1985, Page 32
  28. Popper KR, "Science: Conjectures and Refutations", reprinted in Grim P (1990) Philosophy of Science and the Occult, Albany, 104–110
  29. The Twilight of Atheism by Alister McGrath, Christianity Today
  30. Psychologists are the least religious of American Professors
  31. Cryonic Suspension Protocol
  32. Cryogenesis: A Review, Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, In Winter 2012/ March 11, 2012
  33. Cold reality versus the wishful thinking of cryonics by David Gorski, August 2, 2014
  34. Heaven for atheists - TheHumanist.com
  35. "Robert Ettinger". The Telegraph. July 24, 2011. Retrieved May 1, 2013. "Despite his Jewish roots, he grew up a determined atheist."
  36. Klein, Bruce (August 13, 2004). "The Father of Cryonics, Robert C. W. Ettinger, Interview with Bruce Klein". Immortality Institute. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  37. Evan Cooper and the cryonics movement
  38. Evan Cooper and the cryonics movement
  39. Evan Cooper and the cryonics movement
  40. A Brain Is A Terrible Thing To Waste Mensans, Cryonics, and The Fight To Extend Human Life by David Pascal, Published in the November/December 2005 issue of Mensa Bulletin
  41. Isaac Asimov quote
  42. Cryonics and critics, The Cryonics Society
  43. Source that says he is an atheist: Leon M. Lederman, Judith A. Scheppler (2001). "Marvin Minsky: Mind Maker". Portraits of Great American Scientists. Prometheus Books. p. 74. ISBN 9781573929325. "Another area where he "goes against the flow" is in his spiritual beliefs. As far as religion is concerned, he's a confirmed atheist. "I think it [religion] is a contagious mental disease. . . . The brain has a need to believe it knows a reason for things."
  44. "Scientists Open Letter on Cryonics"
  45. Norm Macdonald & Larry King - Norm Macdonald Live - Video Podcast Network. YouTube (April 30, 2013).
  46. Howard Stern and Larry King on Atheism and Homosexuality by Michael Shoesmith, Wednesday, May 7, 2014
  47. On Larry King and an atheist's fear of death
  48. Nano Nonsense & Cryonics, Michael Shermer, published September 2001
  49. A HISTORY OF TRANSHUMANIST THOUGHT, Nick Bostrom, Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University
  50. A HISTORY OF TRANSHUMANIST THOUGHT, Nick Bostrom, Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University
  51. The 25 Most Influential Living Atheists
  52. A HISTORY OF TRANSHUMANIST THOUGHT, Nick Bostrom, Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University
  53. Top 10 atheist inconsistencies
  54. The Manipulated Mind: Brainwashing, Conditioning, and Indoctrination by Denise Winn, page 34
  55. 58.0 58.1 Roberts, Jessica, et al. (June 19, 2007). "Interview with an atheist". News21. Retrieved on July 30, 2014.
  56. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=43734
  57. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=4373
  58. The atheist indoctrination project
  59. Marxist-Leninist 'Scientific Atheism' and the Study of Religion and Atheism By James Thrower, page 325
  60. Communism's Struggle with Religion in Lithuania
  61. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n3/harvard-yale-princeton-oxford-once-christian
  62. http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/Educate/history_part3.htm
  63. Atheist cults