How Atheist Values Help Correct Religion’s Mistakes | Rob Bell


The beautiful things about a thinking atheist
which I think most atheists are thinking – I should say that again. The beautiful thing about atheism is just
the refusal to believe in something that’s destructive or misguided or bad for the world. And some gods should be rejected. What I find so fascinating is how many people
I know or how many of my friends who are atheists when we talk about the god that they don’t
believe in, I don’t believe in that god either. And some people who when you will ask them
so you’re an atheist. Tell me about the god you don’t believe
it. And they tell you about the image of god they
were handed perhaps growing up. You think the only healthy response to that
image of the divine would be atheism. Rejection of that. So religion has done horrible things in the
world. A lot of violence has been done in the name
of god. And the atheist says I refuse to participate
in something that brings destruction and chaos to the world. Now the really interesting thing to me is
what do you do with wonder, mystery and awe? What do you do with all of the fascinating
cosmology, quantum physics? What do you do with all of the fascinating
things where we keep learning new things or human consciousness? Who is the me that stands of observation of
me? What does it mean to be a self? Where is personhood located? So I begin with our great mysteries and the
idea of a divine being who is somehow guiding the whole thing takes a leap. Of course it takes a leap. But what I find fascinating is none of us
have slaves. And a generation ago we did. So a couple of generations ago in America
people did. So what is it about something that was a standard
cultural practice that we now say that is wrong and unjust. Or you think about women’s rights or the
rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters. How many people do you know offer their children
as sacrifice? None. And yet that was a normative practice in the
ancient world. So what is it about the human story – we’ve
been here what – 13.8 billion years? What is it about the human story that things
that people used to consider normal standard cultural practices we now look back on and
say how primitive, how barbaric, how wrong, how unjust, how violent. And so the moment we say that look how far
we’ve come. We all go yeah, but we also have a long way
to go. We also have a care for the environment. We also have all sorts of things where we
still have a long, long way to go. So when I affirm both movement from the past
forward but the need to keep going what is that arc? Like that trajectory? Why do we all have a sense that the whole
thing is being pulled forward not quickly enough we probably would also agree. Where does that come from? Where does an expanding universe in which
we keep moving forward in our understanding of what it means for human beings to live
in proper relationship with each other? What do you call that? And that’s the really interesting thing. I’m fine if somebody doesn’t want to use
the word god because that word can be all loaded down but you at least have to acknowledge
something’s going on here. And when somebody says nothing’s happening
here. We’re all just a collection of ourselves
and synapses and biology. Really? Really? I think there’s something going on here.




Comments
  1. What a ramble …………..
    So many wrong things on 20 diffrent subject lol.

    ""Ateism good cuuz rejects some awful gods ""

  2. "What god don't you believe in?" What an odd question to ask an atheist. If you're atheist, you don't believe in ANY god. Otherwise you're not an atheist.

  3. as a believer in God and science, the fact that this channel has become a anti-religion propaganda channel is making me unsubscribe

  4. I kinda like how they really do not care about dislikes. They are like "go ahead and dislike and be mad. IDGAF." Hahahahahh

  5. i can't stand these apologists. i bet that he never asked an atheist to "talk about the god he doesn't believe in".
    furthermore, the atheist doesn't "refuse to believe". at least not in my case. i have philosophical reasons, i'm not stubborn.
    about these awe-inspiring things he lists: i bet he hasn't studied them in any detail. why would he care? he already knows his answer: god.

  6. I recently read that Joseph Stalin was an adamant atheist and that he fought very hard for churches to be shut down in the 30's before world war 2. He's probably the biggest monster who is part of the anti-theist ideology. Atheism has always been just a lack of belief, but without some sense of ethics and mores it just seems sick.

  7. I love how far the religious have fallen. They are now on their knees, kissing atheism's ass in order to seem good enough to be able to recruit. Lovely.

  8. There are no "atheist values". An atheist can believe in anything and adhere to any number of value systems. The only requirement to be an atheist is to not believe in any gods.

  9. The human experience is short on the universal timeline. maybe even shorter on the multi-universal timeline, maybe longer. approximately 10 billion years go by before our solar system is even created. almost 4 billion years go by after that before man is even intelligent. how long is this plan? man makes great strides in a few hundred years in a timeline of 14 billion and this is evidence of some master plan? if we didn't make those strides would there then be no master plan? And who's to say that we made the right decisions? Maybe we look back in a 1000 years and wonder why we stopped sacrificing babies to the gods if such beings existed.

  10. "What's going on here?" I don't know maybe we're just learning from our mistakes, evolving as a society, and understanding more about the universe we live in? Yeah, I think that's what's happening. We don't need a higher being to have morals and grow as a species.

  11. To those who would disagree with this video I would say the following. You don't have to be an atheist to see the harm done by the holy crusades. Equally it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that many were wrongly accused of being witches for political or social gains. it is my understanding that the point of this video is to point out the zealotry on any front is a danger to society and atheism has had a large propensity to point that out. Clicking the thumbs down just because your not an atheist only shows ignorance…

  12. What a meandering ramble. There was like 3 minutes of pointless wandering through things which are obviously true before sort of connecting them together into the hint of a point at the end. Ultimately, his point boils down to: "There exists things in the universe that I don't understand but am awestruck by. Because no one has yet explained all of these things, there must also be some driving force unexplainable by science."

    Again, I don't see how the title accurately describes the content of the video. Come on Big Think. More than 2/3 of the video was a wandering argument that some kind of higher power exists, the first part was how he rejects many ideas of god in the same way as atheists. He never describes how any atheist values have modified the values of religions or religious people, only says that he shares some values with atheists. Literally none of the video is about what the title is.

    Before someone jumps down my ass: I'm not value judging religion or atheism here. I saying the way the author tries to make his point is bad and ineffective, and the content of the video has nothing to do with the title.

  13. "What is it about human culture that make things that people used to consider normal, we now look back on and say – how primitive!"
    Religion

  14. Dude thinks progression is a sign of divinity.
    He seems amazed that we got rid of slavery.
    I would argue that if you have a race of intelligent people around for a long time it would be more amazing it they DIDN'T progress, than if they did.
    Sooner or later progression becomes the most reasonable event.
    I'm more amazed that it took us so long to get rid of slavery than he is that we did…

  15. There is nothing good or evil about atheism, for it is only the lack of belief in God. The beauty is in Secular Humanism, which puts the well-being of humankind first, and doesn't require mythological beliefs to tell us what is right.

  16. So your refutation of people who say there is no spiritual being behind the universe is "Really?" That's your argument? That you think there is something going on here? Where is your evidence? Other than "Surely it can't all be meaningless!" Because all of the evidence I've seen points to it being meaningless. (Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. You can't fail at achieving meaning if there is none, or if you create the meaning yourself, like Sartre says)

  17. "Religion has done a lot of horrible things in the world, a lot of violence has been done in the name of god." Far and away the most genocidal practitioners in the world have been atheists. Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Phol Phot, shall I continue? People of faith, especially Christians, don't even make the list. Sorry atheist's-who-want-to-blame-religion-for-their-own-decision-to-not-believe. Kings and political leaders who leveraged people's faith to get them to fight and die for the kings political aim (the Crusades, for example) are still political actions, what ever the ruse that was used to get the people to fight. The Crusades were largely about trying to squash the source of Muslim and Arab slavers and raiders who basically owned the North shore of the Mediterranean Sea for most of the the middle ages and raided very deep into Europe. Entire sections of the European coast were abandoned during this time because the Muslim slavers stole all the people. The dark ages are said to have been significantly prolonged by the depredations of the Muslims. I don't blame the rulers of Europe for sending out the Crusaders. Something obviously had to be done if Europe was to survive! Anyway, I don't care one way or another if or what you believe in, just do yourself (and us if you choose to talk about it) the courtesy and be honest with yourself. You don't believe because you don't want to believe. That's fine. No additional explanation required. All the convoluted explanations in the world only serve to convince your listeners you are not settled and comfortable with your decision. Peace…out.

  18. "People owned slaves a couple generations ago??!! A generation is 20 years. Slavery was still legal in the US in 1976? How did I not know this?

  19. Wrong.
    You tell me what god you believe in and I'll tell you why that's dumb.
    I couldn't possibly list all the gods I don't believe in. That's ridiculous.

  20. everything you know about good and evil, right and wrong, was taught to us by religion (where did atheists learn their values from? isn't it religious societies?) how the world became civilized through the centuries was thanks to religion. truly some atrocities took place in the name of god but don't you dare deny all the good that came from religion. a world with no religion would be catastrophic, clearly u play the peaceful guy but deep down u hate god and religion. what about the atrocities that took place in the name of atheism?

  21. We aren't barbaric? We don't sacrifice children? Biggest idiot of the week in social media. We are barbaric because we do kill children. Thanks to the government and the media these killings are called reproductive freedom.

  22. this is pure bullshit… yet another religious quack who can't understand that atheists just don't belive in stuff that an obviously man made story says about reality…

  23. This is a terribly weak argument in a myriad of different ways. Suppose we accepted this persons base argument, why are the most culturally regressive groups also the most religious? Why do religious texts advocate slavery and castigate homosexuality?

  24. So is he saying that he doesn't subscribe to either Atheism or Religion, but rather something in the middle? I kind of feel that way too… sounds confusing, but it's all just theory at the end of the day anyway right? There is no way to empirically prove it either way, atm. I believe that there is a spiritual and ethereal component that science simply can't quantify because science is based on the rules that exist in the physical realm. When you get into the metaphysical or ethereal realms/dimension then things get tricky.

    I do think that science holds more answers for us, and religion is simply the old ways of trying to explain what we couldn't understand. Religion is also a tool to herd the sheep as it were. I prefer to live by philosophies and scientific findings but also spiritual enlightenment like that of the Buddhists.

    Is there anyone else out there that feels as I do?

  25. If one were to properly evaluate Mr. Bell's body of work and THEN come to the conclusion of "idiot" or "disgusting", well. That would appear to be a rational response, even if an arguable one.

    Having followed him for some time I believe his teachings have more to impart than what a 4:00 minute video can encapsulate. Anyway, his whole ethos tries to move away from any pat sense of the spiritual (the "wonder" and "awe" nature inspires, even as we still can't confidently use science to explain WHY, in the truest sense, we feel that way about certain things, in addition to the universe). It is that essentially Human search for meaning (one which exists even if meaning is absent) in the interstices between science and art and religious experience and everything else that Mr. Bell chooses to INVOKE God – one more along the lines of an elusive Hebraic ruach-spirit, or a Tillichian Ground of Being. And what matters to him is not how many people you can convince to evacuate this dirtball to the Pearly Gates, but what are you doing right here, right now, with whatever schema, to improve the human condition around the world, or next door.

    "God" gives Mr. Bell and millions like him who have rejected Fundamentalism of all stripes to do just that. Will our atheism, agnosticism, pragmatism, intellectualism, etc. allow us the same? I believe they can, if we try. Even Einstein, pretty much an atheist, used "God" as a metaphor to describe the infinite wonder of the universe. A metaphor, to be sure, but that's closer to what the Bell's and Rohr's and Tillich's and McLaren's and Rollins's and Spong's are about than the Billy Graham's or John Piper's. If the universe is indeed infinite and wondrous then perhaps it would behoove us not to ridicule people utilizing ancient spiritual language foundational to mankind's development to consider that final ? which under-girds all modes of thought.

    Saying, "Oh, science will take care of it, eventually" is not an absurd statement, but one of substantive faith, in itself. And look, in the end, we're all going to be caught with our pants down before a yawning stretch of ???!! so I do not fault individuals who make efforts to merge the objective good that can be salvaged from a tarnished religious legacy and a burgeoning but relatively newborn scientific revolution into something that can deepen the human experience, and open it, and build it, and deconstruct it, and widen it, and focus it, to better prepare us for whatever we may feel at that obscure point of no return.

  26. Rob Bell: "So you're Atheist?" , "Can you tell me about the god that you don't believe in."
    Me: "Ask me a question that makes sense dipshit."

    Was this mistakenly posted to the wrong channel? Pretty sure this belongs on "Little Think"

  27. Oh there's something going on? Our local galactic group, consisting mainly of the milky way and andromeda galaxies, accounts for .00000000001% of the observable universe. That's not considering the enormity of our own solar system let alone our own galaxy. There are so many flaws in his argument it gives me aids.

  28. Did he really just say, "The human story…we've been here, what, 13.8 billion years?…"? Holy shit, this channel is Big Think, not Big Assumption Based On Misunderstood Information. The human species of Homo Sapiens has been here 100,000-200,000 years. Second, atheism isn't about not wanting to participate in worshiping an evil god or refusing to believe in just an evil god; atheism simply means not believing in the existence of a god due to zero evidence of that being's existence. Whether a loving god or a vengeful god, atheists don't believe in any of them.

    Of course "something's going on here": the universe started, grew, evolved, and is evolving; life started, grew, evolved, and is evolving; and the human experience and its collective information started, grew, evolved, and is evolving. That's existence, and it doesn't require an imaginary supreme being to make it happen. The change over time of society and its norms and practices has nothing to do with atheism; the only way they're even slightly similar is that in the past, atheism was rejected as practically being satan worship, while now there's much greater freedom to express one's nonbelief in a deity. This guy is really only stating drivel.

  29. first pseudo science and now a theist insists that the bible and other books dont describe the god(s) that the atheist wholly rejects.
    I just unsubscribed to you big think, you no longer think big and Im ready to accept that now.
    all I have now is Ted Talks 🙁

  30. Sorry Rob. You left behind the God of the bible(as you should) but now you're just pulling another one out of your ass.

  31. can someone explain what he was saying at the very end there. Like what is he trying to say by "there's something going on here"?

  32. I am not sure if this guy knows what atheism means. If he believes that there is "something out there" doesn't that make him more of an agnostic? In my opinion this "need" to feel that there is "something out there" is dangerous because it creates incentive for delusion.

  33. I disagree. no I really do not think there is anything going on here. you talk about the cosmos and how much of it is unknown and unexplored. compared to the rest of our infinite universe we are insignificant. but that shouldn't stop us from exploring. the only thing that Will stop us is religion. but I'll stop ranting now

  34. The fucking universe is something in awe about. The universe jizzed itself so you can be born.

    Another thing. Most atheists I talked to don't believe in God or gods because they're not strongly founded in reality.

  35. Your vision of god is due to cultural indoctrination. You cannot prove a negative. You still presume an invisible force exists woot any supporting evidence.

  36. Atheism didnt give anyone values. One thing is forever certain, the cult of atheism is as much attention seeking children as any other religion.

  37. Why does this video have a single like? It's the logic of a 10-year-old, just really long-winded and pseudo-analytical.

    And to the last question, yes really.

  38. Oh, there's definitely something fishy going on in this world. Definitely. The world can't possibly be an accident shaped by natural selection. I mean, really, does anyone believe wind blowing through a junk yard could even begin to assemble a Boeing 747 let alone complete the job? How 'bout a Lockheed Martin F-35? Or a even a Cessna 501? Of course not! Therefore, all progress must be intelligently guided.

    I follow the Big Think. I so smart.

  39. The very first sentence of this shows this guy doesn't know what he is talking about. Atheism is the lack of belief not the refusal of belief…

  40. That should be a video that belongs to a channel called mediocre think. What I also don't understand is why people insist on believing that there is some kind of sense of their own existence and life in general.

  41. … Atheism isn't an ideology and doesn't have values. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in whatever god of the week the crazies are putting forth. Beyond that it doesn't mean or have anything. No values, no beliefs, no morals, nothing. You religious tards need to stop assigning the same values to atheism that you hold for your religion. It's not a belief system. It doesn't pertain to cultural morals. Atheism doesn't have anything to do with a belief or disbelief in climate change. It doesn't have anything to do with the practice of slavery or the belief that slavery is abhorrent. It doesn't have anything to do with any political system. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in fairy tales. That's it.

  42. powerful message weakened by a misguided ending. to paraphrase Daniel Dennett, we do have souls and those souls are comprised of physical matter in the brain. don't be so quick to belittle 'mere' synapses and cells, as these are among the components that make a meaningful experience of the universe possible to begin with.

  43. Yes, really, we are just a biological organism, there is no such thing as magic. By the way we have not been here 13.8 billion years, that is the age figured for the universe, the earth is 4.5 billion years old and we have not been here through it's entirety.

  44. Yes, but your whole believe is based on the bible. The bible is quite horrible. Without the bible where is the connection to god?

  45. Every time I hear Rob Bell speak I'm reminded of when C.S. Lewis says in The Screwtape Letters that hell's greatest creation would be a materialist magician

  46. its and Islam and Christianity that have brought destruction to the world… so the Muslim and Christian atheists want us to reject all religion. that's stupid.

  47. Atheism is being destroyed by the dumb American atheists who see everything in black and white.. so I no longer associate myself with them.

    I prefer to call myself a free thinker and/or atheist and/or a follower certain schools of thought and philosophies.. but most importantly I don't give anybody the right to label me as one thing or the other.

  48. Only thing I disagree with: I'm sure people a few generations ago knew slavery was wrong, it's just that the Industrial Revolution was getting to the point where slavery wasn't the most effective method of production anymore. That's why the Union won the civil war, because their factories were more efficient. But yes, people like Jefferson Davis used the Bible to condone slavery.

  49. Big Think should not assume. It should think. Just because we do not know something does not mean there is a supernatural explanation. We are becoming more moral, probably, because we are considering ourselves to be one big clan instead of rivaling clans. There is no them. There is only US. In this mental frame of mind, the golden rule is all we need.

  50. 1:55 "a generation ago we [had slaves]". A generation is the amount of time it takes to go from being a baby to having babies of your own, which is about 30 years. Americans did not own slaves in 1986.

  51. this is really the height of arrogance.
    according to 99% of all atheism on tv it seems like: an atheist cant get through a sentence describing religion without being insulting.
    why is that ? i guess because all the popular thinkers and/or leaders of atheism insult religion all the time. so what else can you do when thats what you learned.
    its all insults ..

  52. Does he really think slavery ended here just a COUPLE generations ago?

    This is such a bad video that it should be removed.

  53. Wow. Often I'm on the other side of the argument as Rob Bell. Here he gets at the straw man approach by atheist especially new atheist. These new atheist attack a God that no one believes in.

    Bell refers to cosmological and fine-tuning arguments indirectly. The transcendent arguments for God from beauty. And and argument from dualism or the existence of minds/consciousness that is inexplicable on materialism.

  54. Atheists preach that magic is dumb but they believe in alchemy: life from non-life. Pseudo-intellectuals. You guys are a joke. I hated being forced to listen to your propaganda in the public indoctrination centers in the US. I'm glad I'm free from that shit.

  55. I read some of the comments written by "in your face atheists" (not all atheists of course) and they are just as ignorant as far right wing evangelicals that take everything in the bible literally. What happened to education in this country???? We need religious/historical scholars teaching courses in high school and college. Unbelievable how ignorant people are. The video went right over so many commenters heads. SMH really is sad. Most of them don't even know who Rob Bell is but are commenting. Do some research. Critical thinking. Geez

  56. 1:55 Slavery existing a generations ago in Amerca? Then he corrects himself to saying it's a couple of generations. Um, does he not know history? Of course this is the same guy who thinks humans have been around for 13.8 billion years. I think the slavery slip-up was the current regressive left SJW phenomenon of white guilt. Definitely a down vote. Big Think needs to screen its talks better.

  57. You are very positive. I like that. Everyone has a god. It could be money, alcohol, image or just about anything. Thank-you

  58. Christians always go to this point that the God that atheists don't believe in is not the one they believe in as if you get to just make up your own God and forget all the rest. If you don't believe in the full spectrum and written biblical version then I don't think you believe in the Christian God. You've made up your own God and grafted it onto someone else's god.

  59. Rob doing his best to bridge the gap between Atheist and theist.  Noble attempt, but any atheists find it offensive?

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