ANSWERS: 29
  • You needn't be an atheist, but you must be open-minded, and that pretty much rules out a pre-existing commitment to belief in God. Anybody who defines their identity in terms of beliefs will automatically distort any information related to those beliefs. That is how the human mind is wired: ego protection comes first, everything else is secondary.
  • Nope, just an open mind
  • I'd say definitely not. Many athiests are as militant about there being no God, as religious people are about there being a God. I think research is research and so let there be a big body of work from everyone so that we can study from many perspectives.
  • No - It may help because to be neutral, you have to set aside your preconceived notions. But some atheists could have some strong preconceived notions and some believers can be incredibly scholarly in their research, so it would depend totally on the person.
  • Depends on the person. If they're the type of person who can calmly say "My beliefs could be wrong, I just don't think they are" without being nervous, they could compare and research without bias.
  • not necessary...the person must not be biased or a bigot. +5
  • No. My wife (atheist) is studying for an MA in a Theology department. One of her Professors is a Pagan, another is a Christian studying Hinduism. You need open mindedness, but you can study other people's beliefs without sharing them. Capitalist historians can study Communist history.
  • It's doubtful many atheists would qualify. Only those who are not anti-God and/or anti-religion. The ones who speak irreverently about God and religion obviously have a negative bias and no objectivity.
  • No. My wife is studying humanities. She's a preacher's kid. Once you start down that path, you're going to have a whole different perspective on the issue no matter what religion you started with. No one who thoroughly researches religions and their origins comes away from it with the same beliefs they started with. You gain a more neutral perspective through knowledge and understanding.
  • Not at all! I think most folks can separate their feelings from objective reality, no? ;-)
  • Not necessary, no.
  • No, and being an atheist is not a guarantee that you will be neutral either. "Neutrality is the absence of declared bias. In an argument, a neutral person will not choose a side. A Neutral country maintains political neutrality, a related but distinct concept. - What neutrality is not: Neutrality is not synonymous with indifference or ignorance. One can be actively engaged in a dispute, yet not publicly choose a side. The moderator of a debate is expected to remain neutral. Neutrality is not synonymous with silence. A mediator facilitates dialog between parties. Doublethink implies defending two or more ideas, whereas neutrality implies not defending any. Neutrality is not synonymous with objectivity. In a controversy, an objective person will not remain neutral but will chose the side supported by the most objective arguments. Objectivity therefore requires a choice, which is often difficult, whereas neutrality requires no choice. Note that in journalism objectivity is considered synonymous with neutrality." Source and further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrality_(philosophy%29
  • There is no such thing as a neutral perspective.
  • Atheism believe that deities do not exist. How would being biased against religion establish a neutral perspective?
  • No but it helps. All religions think theirs is the only real one and the rest are just fake.
  • It might be best to be an agnostic --one who admits the possibility of a God, or Gods, but remains so far unconvinced of the evidence one way or the other. But that alone doesn't make the person fair-minded or unprejudiced regarding any particular belief.
  • I think that agnosticism is a more neutral perspective. Atheism takes on characteristics of a faith for some of its adherents. +5
  • One would hope that if you are going to embark upon a research exercise that you are open minded enough to consider all that you uncover about all religions. To start with a neutral perspective may make it easier as you would have no preconceived ideas but then many of us are ignorant about the deeper meanings in religious ritual etc anyway so, in short, no being an atheist is not necessary.
  • Atheists can be as bigoted as any believer in god, so atheism alone can't guarantee a neutral perspective. Perhaps an agnostic would suit your needs better.
  • It helps. As all too often a non-neutral stance has a way of coloring one's perceptions.
  • I suppose in theory that anyone that researches anything should should not have an opinion on the subject - in which case next to nothing would ever. The idea, again at least in theory is to suspend ones personal beliefs, run blind tests, check and cross check and recheck. As to research into religions I have no idea what is to be researched unless one is looking into the history - the validity of any will never be proven or disproven; they are all about persoanl beliefs. +5
  • I certainly think it would help overcome any chance of bias.
  • research indecates logic.. atheism indicates logic.
  • I think it would probably help to be at least agnostic. After all, how can you be neutral if you honestly believe in something for which there is no supporting evidence? +5
  • Speaking as a shill, I'd say its very helpful not to have someone employed by or for a religion.
  • Not necessary, although it would certainly help. There are believers who can study and/or consider other perspectives objectively.
  • No, I don't. I think any open minded person from any religion or belief can do this.

Copyright 2020, Wired Ivy, LLC

Answerbag | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy