Are you an actual Atheist or are you playing devils advocate? Let's take Christianity on,. because I am a former Christian,. currently an Atheist. There is a form of Christianity that will allow you to do anything that you wish. Want to rape kids? Become a Catholic priest. They will spend a fortune protecting you. Want death? Become a pro-capital punishment hard nosed hard core Fundamentalist Christian. Anything you can think of that is immoral is a part of some Christian belief somewhere and they give it an alibi. They just say that they are the true belief and the other guy got it wrong. I have known preachers say they didn't believe in something and then turn around and do the same thing. And I have seen it over and over and over again. The so called Christians of today believe less that Atheists do. Because belief is what you do. Not how many things you can memorize. Christian churches are to a large extent places of lies. The deny the people that they hate that have been Christians like Hitler and claim people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. acted Christ-like in their peaceful ways. But they both got their ideas about non-violence from the Sikh religion. Yet the Christian faith acts like they are following the examples of Christ when they got their ideas to never ever ever be violent from another belief. True they did a better at being like Christians than 99.99999% of the Christians out there.
Then again as I said I don't know where you stand. From the point of view of a religious apologist or as an Atheist who is playing devils advocate.
We won't needlessly brutalize others until provoked, partially because we may need their assistance in the future
As a rule of thumb, yes. But there are some acts of brutality that are unprovoked and unfortunately these are common enough to question this logic. What we might need to consider is that if provocation is the prerequisite for brutality, then it the source of provocation may be displaced from the target of brutality. It's the old "taking it out on someone else who doesn't deserve it" phenomena.
When remarkable phenomena are attributed to a mythological being we have little (no) control over, doesn't it make that phenomena mundane?
I tend to agree with that. "God did it!" Yeah, and then so what? But some people get a kick out of the possibility that on the other side of the rainbow, there's a unicorn. I'm not saying that wouldn't be very very cool if it were true, but...why isn't the rainbow awesome on it's own....
Alternately, when researchers and scientists are able to figure out what makes things happen (or haven't even decided out how to "discover" it), you go "WOW, that's frickin' AMAZING. What else is going on that we haven't figured out yet???"
Yeah, this another reason why rainbows are awesome on their own. "Prismatic effects" and then going into the "what is light" question and "wave particle duality" and then a whole bunch of other stuff about quantum mechanics and astrophysics just to say "this is where rainbows come from, and not to mention everything else" and it's definitely, woah, man this universe is some seriously tripped out stuff....awesome.
/rant *thinks about googling some astronomy stuff*