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tuxedobob
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sean Canavi wrote:
I apologize if I've offended anyone. But I felt I was being compelled to talk about my own beliefs, and so I did. I did also say I was reluctant to carry on the discussion. Let's just assume it never happened.


I'm not really blaming you, although you could have simply refused, but I've yet to see a forum where these sorts of threads end well. "Religion's okay but people who believe in it are stupid mindless sheep," is a fairly common refrain, and the Crusades are conclusive proof that Christianity, and all who believe in it, are inherently evil.

No progress is actually ever made in a religion thread; one side never convinces anyone on the other to change their belief system. Which is why I'm a fan of this article:

http://www.cracked.com/article_15759_10-things-christians-atheists-can-must-agree-on.html

Article may or may not be NSFW or NSFK.
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Caldazar
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well...I think it's interesting to discuss religion and I'm very open minded about it. I can see why some people want to believe in a higher power or set of rules because otherwise things wouldn't make sence. Whether that something is destiny, god or the path to Nirvana doesn't really matter to me. Personally I prefere to be on the sideline or in some cases act as a referee whenever there's a discussion about religion. I guess if you look at it I'm an atheist in the sence that I don't believe in god but on the other hand I'm not utterly convinced there isn't such a thing as a higher power. So I guess I'm more one for pointing out faults and good things in all believes (and yes lets face it atheism is a sort of belief as well. It isn't simply the lack of belief it's the belief that such a thing doesn't exist).

I liked the text btw tuxedobob it held a lot of interesting reflections and truths.
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TFBW
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tuxedobob,

You say you're a fan of that Cracked article, but you also say the following.

tuxedobob wrote:
...and the Crusades are conclusive proof that Christianity, and all who believe in it, are inherently evil.


Are you serious? This seems to fall afoul of the following observations in the Cracked article.
Cracked.com wrote:
4. There Are Good People on Both Sides
6. We Tend to Exaggerate About the Other Guy
8. Focusing on Negative Examples Makes You Stupid


You've made a thoroughly blanket statement about the evilness of one side, exaggerated in doing so, and focused on a negative example.

Please clarify. Do you disagree with that article on specific points, or did you not realise that you were clashing with it?
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ntoonz
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think he meant it thusly:

tuxedobob wrote:
"Religion's okay but people who believe in it are stupid mindless sheep," is a fairly common refrain, and "the Crusades are conclusive proof that Christianity, and all who believe in it, are inherently evil" is another.

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TFBW
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would make perfect sense. It would also highlight the vital importance of clarity in communication.
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TFBW
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My musings on the ten things on which Christians and atheists must agree.

1. You Can Do Terrible Things in the Name of Either One

You can do practically anything in the name of practically anything, so this comes as no surprise. Atheism, as a belief system, dictates nothing about a persons actions beyond an attitude towards the divine. Christianity dictates quite a number of things, being a scripture-based system, but it is possible to construct a scriptural case to defend absolutely any kind of behaviour so long as you are sufficiently selective about what you cite, what you omit, and how you interpret it. (Whether or not any particular set of actions is a reasonable interpretation of scripture is open to argument.)

2. Both Sides Really Do Believe What They're Saying

Most people on both sides haven't thought enough about their beliefs to be terribly clear on what it is that they actually believe. Both "I'm an atheist", and "I'm a Christian" are potentially quite vacuous claims. Most people on both sides are expressing an association with some kind of ideal or philosophy rather than specific beliefs. They will claim to have specific beliefs, but most of them will stumble over the details as to what those beliefs actually are. The association with the general ideal is more important than the specific beliefs. It's important to make this distinction, because specific beliefs can be subject to argument, whereas a wish to associate oneself in a certain way is not.

3. In Everyday Life, You're Not That Different

The actual argument that is discussed under this heading has to to with morality. The philosophy of morality is a very interesting and deep subject, posing entirely different problems for Physicalists (who are a kind of Atheist) than it does for Christians. A deep analysis of why we're not all that different in our moral attitudes can be very enlightening. I won't attempt to expound it here, though.

4. There Are Good People on Both Sides

This is the converse of point #1, and holds for much the same reasons.

5. Your Point of View is Legitimately Offensive to Them

Let me see if I can paraphrase this one. "In general, people are both touchy and insensitive, meaning that they take offense easily, and offend others carelessly." This is going to be particularly true when the subject matter relates to one's personal choices and preferences, precisely because of the personal nature of the subject matter. This is worsened by personal insecurity: where a party does not have a strong rational basis for their beliefs, they tend to compensate for it with strong feelings. After all, if they had neither a strong rational basis, nor strong feelings, they wouldn't have any strong association with the beliefs at all. Reason tends to meet its challengers with reasons, whereas feelings tend to meet their challengers with an emotional response. It's thus a corollary of point #2 that most people are going to get offended when someone acts as though their most cherished ideals are questionable: their beliefs are more emotionally than rationally grounded.

I should note that both Atheists and Christians tend to be really annoying about this, but for entirely different reasons. Most atheists think they are rational creatures, but they only think so because they've given the issue slightly more thought than the average Christian. The average Christian, on the other hand, has decided not to apply reason to the matter at all, and often claims that it's a matter of "faith", although they don't really have much of an explanation for that concept. Atheists thus get the idea that Christianity has its collective head in the sand (polite term), and toss it out whole-hog at the first sign of intellectual difficulty. At the same time, the Atheists haven't really considered the intellectual difficulty of their own position in any actual depth: they just saw problems on the other side and rejected it.

Please note that I'm talking about the average person on either side here. There have been great thinkers on both sides of the debate, but great thinkers are a rarity.

6. We Tend to Exaggerate About the Other Guy

Most people have a straw-man view that they oppose. It doesn't have to be about religion: it can be any kind of ideological issue. It's convenient and easy to be emotionally hateful towards an ugly straw man of one's own construction. It's also much easier to be ignorant of the views of others, especially when there are so many others out there, each with a unique blend of actual views. We tend to oversimplify this issue by constructing one simple, evil straw man, and then assuming that anyone who has a similarity to any of this straw man's views is the straw man.

Here's an example from an actual argument that I am engaged in elsewhere. Note that the speaker is constructing a straw man to represent his ideological opponents, rather than dealing with what they actually believe and say with specificity. He places words into their mouths, and casts aspersions on their motives. This is typical straw man stuff.

Quote:
Similarly, let's not be naive about the nature of the complaints; the Neut movement isn't composed of engineers with refined preferences for one form of traffic management over another, it's a group of people with a generally sour outlook on capitalism, markets, and corporations. Not that there's anything wrong with that outlook, but you're not going to appease them with technical niceties. They want a publicly owned Internet and won't stop until they get it.


As a matter of practicality, this is one of the reasons that I prefer to ask someone to explain their own beliefs, without bringing my own into the picture. It's not that I'm insecure in my own beliefs; it's just that when I bring my own beliefs into the picture, the other party will typically see some resemblance between my view and some ugly straw man, then proceed to tell me why the straw man is ugly. The straw man has far less resemblance to my actual views than the other party thinks, and so the conversation has taken a pointless turn: I'm not learning anything about his views or mine, and I don't care about the ugly straw man. So long as the conversation can remain focused on the other party's actual beliefs, the subject remains interesting.

7. We Tend to Exaggerate About Ourselves, Too

This is just another aspect of the emotional basis for belief. Exaggeration is an escalation of emotions. If you catch yourself exaggerating, then you are not being rational. Rational thought is, almost by definition, measured. Exaggeration is inaccuracy. Avoid it (except, perhaps, for rhetorical effect).

8. Focusing on Negative Examples Makes You Stupid

Clearly the "makes you stupid" part should be given a liberal interpretation, but this is essentially just another angle on the straw-man problem of point #6. People will cite extreme examples to lend substance to their straw man. That doesn't make the straw man any more relevant to the matter at hand.

9. Both Sides Have Brought Good to the Table

I'd agree with this if it were just a re-statement of point #4, but his actual example takes a somewhat different direction, and I must take exception to it.

Quote:
I'm talking about rationalism. I'm talking about the philosophy that started saying, centuries ago, that it's not demons that cause disease. It's microbes, and genetic defects, and chemistry. And that we can find those causes and we can find cures. Cures in the physical world, without consulting the priest, without going through a ceremony.


Rationalism is quite a different thing than reason. Rationalism is the view that reason is the supreme authority in matters of belief. It is an ideology. One does not have to be a rationalist in order to believe that one can take a reasoned approach to the study of nature. And if one goes looking for strongly rationalistic or atheistic foundations in the fields of microbiology or genetics, one is to be sorely disappointed. A quick scan of likely suspects gives us Gregor Mendel, "the father of genetics" and Augustinian priest; Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, "the Father of Microbiology", who "often referred with reverence to the wonders God designed in making creatures great and small"; and Louis Pasteur, "a French chemist and microbiologist best known for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of disease", who said, "The more I know, the more nearly is my faith that of the Breton peasant. Could I but know all I would have the faith of a Breton peasant's wife."

And so, with respect, the example cited fails to support the case. And as a technologist and Christian myself, I'm annoyed by the modern predisposition to lay the credit for all progress at the feet of rationalism. Blame Christianity for the crusades, but give it no credit for its vital contributions to scientific progress. Assume the crusades happened because of Christianity, but the genius of great Christian scientists happened in spite of it. This would be far less of a problem if people wouldn't swallow the idea of "Christianity implies superstition, and rationalism implies enlightenment" whole and without question.

10. You'll Never Harass the Other Side Out of Existence

Does anyone seriously believe otherwise? What's more disturbing is that many people lament the fact that they can't eliminate the other side.
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ssava
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are actually quite good Brett!
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tuxedobob
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ntoonz wrote:
I think he meant it thusly:

tuxedobob wrote:
"Religion's okay but people who believe in it are stupid mindless sheep," is a fairly common refrain, and "the Crusades are conclusive proof that Christianity, and all who believe in it, are inherently evil" is another.


Pretty much. I just worded it in such a way you were supposed to pick up on the sarcasm/irony/whatever you want to call it.
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TFBW
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tuxedobob wrote:
Pretty much. I just worded it in such a way you were supposed to pick up on the sarcasm/irony/whatever you want to call it.

It is probably best to leave out the sarcasm in a situation where it's already hard enough to figure out what people actually believe.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Religion... a fascinating topic.

I believe that: IF there is one or more supreme beings which are above the limits of our universe AND we go to them when we perish AND they are merciful, forgiving, and understanding THEN they will understand my lack of belief in them due to lack of personal evidence. Presently, I have personally seen no proof of any of those requirements.

I have no problem with religion (or lack thereof) by itself. It it when someone else's religion (or lack thereof) causes them to negatively interfere with my life that I have a problem.
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Kargoneth
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ugh... last post was mine
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Medron Pryde
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good article there.

And good points TBFW. Smile
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ntoonz
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think one good point TFBW makes is that reason works just as well inside the framework of faith as outside of it. A common attitude I notice amongst a lot of self-styled atheists is that theirs is the only stance that uses reason, and that the religious are somehow bereft of it because they have faith. I've not seen that in practice. I've seen God's existence or non-existence used as a jumping-off point, not a conclusion. Reason serves the premise, not the other way around.
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Caldazar
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think what the article writer might have been thinking about was the times when religion tried to stand in the way for science. Darwin is the most blown up example but also Copernicus and Gallileo comes to mind. As for scientists believing in God my favorite example (as I wrote in one of the other threads) is Einstein and his quote "God does not play dice"
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TFBW
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caldazar wrote:
...thinking about was the times when religion tried to stand in the way for science. Darwin is the most blown up example but also Copernicus and Gallileo comes to mind.

I think you have a slightly skewed view of history here. It's a popular view that science and religion are a clash of ideologies, much like "reason" versus "superstition". It's never that simple.

People seem to think that the Galileo story is one of religious dogma blocking scientific progress. Certainly that is the light in which it is cast by modern rationalists. This is a ridiculously skewed presentation of the facts. Scientific experts testified at the trial of Galileo that Copernicanism was unscientific. In addition, the inquisitors found that Copernicanism was formally heretical (it contradicted the official church interpretation of scripture). Galileo was a charlatan so far as the scientific mainstream of the day was concerned. {Reference: Against Method, Third Edition, Paul Feyerabend, ch. 13.}

The situation with Darwin is different. He was not put on trial for anything, for a start. The teaching of evolution has been outlawed in various places at various times, but then so has the teaching of creationism. To demand that the church should not oppose the doctrine of evolution is to appoint secular science as the new high priesthood, charged with the eradication of unscientific heresy in much the same way that the inquisition was. Galileo would fare just as badly against them, scientific heretic that he was.
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Bezman
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe EXREL may shed some light upon this question. I hope they can, although their findings will most likely have a strongly scientific point of view to it. But I am very interested in the psychological part of it.

Source: aftonbladet.se, TT, Sweden
Brief translation:

"EXPLANATION SOUGHT TO WHY WE BELIEVE
Why does religion exist? Why do people believe in the existence of invisible gods?
...
Behind the project, named "Explaining Religion" (Exrel), are scientists of nine European universities, under headmanship of Oxford University in England."

Förklaring söks till varför vi tror
Varför finns religion? Varför tror människor på existensen av osynliga gudar?

På senare år har allt fler forskare försökt ge svar på frågorna. Nu har ett internationellt projekt startats i avsikt att förklara fenomenet.

Bakom projektet, kallat Explaining Religion (Exrel), står forskare vid nio europeiska universitet under huvudmannaskap av Oxford University i England.
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Leorobin
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bow to thee TFBW. There are some of those considerations i've said and heard before. And they never lose their value.

It is true that sometimes science and religion seem to contradict, but as recent investigations have proved there are places where they have common points. I have to search for it but there was an article I read sometime ago that related the creationist with the evolutionist theory showing that both con coexist.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:11 am    Post subject: Atheism: What you mean? Reply with quote

TFBW, I think you need to reassess your idea of what atheism is because quite frankly I find your arguments are all hinged on the idea that atheism is some sort of belief structure.

The fact is that it is not.

Atheism is simply a word that should not technically exist because it advocates a NON-thing. To use an old metaphor, it's like calling bald a hair-colour.

You make huge leaps in logic in assuming that somehow atheism is a belief structure when there are no holidays, no religious clothing, no rites or customs, we don't use our lack of belief to oppress or dominate, start wars, genocides etc.

Personally, I don't find your arguments compelling because you operate from a very personal bias in that you can't see how atheists can operate without Yahweh, Allah, Thor, Odin, Marduk, Quetzalcoatl or whatever deity what have you.

I'm not trying to be snide, I'm just suggesting that you actually converse with some atheists with a more open mind. Most atheists will just ask: Prove it. That's it.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:16 am    Post subject: Re: Atheism: What you mean? Reply with quote

Dutch84 wrote:
TFBW, I think you need to reassess your idea of what atheism is because quite frankly I find your arguments are all hinged on the idea that atheism is some sort of belief structure.

The fact is that it is not.

Atheism is simply a word that should not technically exist because it advocates a NON-thing. To use an old metaphor, it's like calling bald a hair-colour.


First you may be interested in the end of the discussion in the Proof of God thread on this topic.

Secondly and more to the point, in my opinion atheism is a belief structure, because it is defined as believing that no God exists. It is "positive" because it does assert the inexistence of God.

There are not so many real atheists around, however. A more common stance is "Sceptical Agnosticism" - I don't believe that a God does exist, but I don't believe either that it is certain that no God exists. I just don't know and therefore do not follow the rules of any religion.
Agnosticism is definetly not a belief structure.

For most practical purposes, athists and agnostics live the same life - they basically don't go to church and otherwise behave as well or bad as religious people, because ethics does not require a religious foundation.
The difference is that agnostics (when they care) will try to learn more (when you don't know, you try to gain knowledge by asking questions; you may be picky, but are interested in evidence for or against the existence of a God).
Atheists - like religious people, they usually care because the actively believe that they are right - may try to "evangelize", i.e. persuade religious people that they are wrong and that they should not believe in God.
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TFBW
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Atheism: What you mean? Reply with quote

Dutch84 wrote:
...I find your arguments are all hinged on the idea that atheism is some sort of belief structure.

Just to clarify, I assume by "your arguments" you mean my commentary on "the ten things on which Christians and atheists must agree" -- particularly where I said, "atheism, as a belief system, dictates nothing about a persons actions beyond an attitude towards the divine."

Dutch84 wrote:
Atheism is simply a word that should not technically exist because it advocates a NON-thing. To use an old metaphor, it's like calling bald a hair-colour.

More like calling it a hair style, I think.

Dutch84 wrote:
You make huge leaps in logic in assuming that somehow atheism is a belief structure when there are no holidays, no religious clothing, no rites or customs, we don't use our lack of belief to oppress or dominate, start wars, genocides etc.

Well, you're clearly adopting a very particular definition of the word "belief" or "belief structure" when you put it that way. I did not intend to convey that meaning. I'm just using "atheism" in the straight-out-of-a-dictionary sense of "the doctrine that there is no God", and "believe" in the straight-out-of-a-dictionary sense of "to be persuaded of the truth of anything; accept a doctrine, principle, system, etc". The "belief system" that follows is just a larger framework which includes the notion "there is no God". This precludes the belief that the Ten Commandments were authored by God, obviously enough, but it doesn't imply anything about an atheist's attitude towards the commandment "you shall not steal", for example.

It's a funny thing, though, that you should point to all those other things when talking about belief. It's clear enough that you're taking a not-so-subtle swipe at Christendom, but the objection seems misplaced. Holidays, fancy dress, rites and customs aren't the sole domain of religions: you also find them in other institutions like universities and governments. Why raise them as an issue? Are they a problem? You also say, "we don't use our lack of belief to oppress or dominate, start wars, genocides etc." Maybe you don't but I recall that the USSR was an officially atheist state, and it had a hand in some of that stuff. It seems we should reiterate point #1: You Can Do Terrible Things in the Name of Either One.
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lacavin
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Atheism: What you mean? Reply with quote

TFBW wrote:
You also say, "we don't use our lack of belief to oppress or dominate, start wars, genocides etc." Maybe you don't but I recall that the USSR was an officially atheist state, and it had a hand in some of that stuff. It seems we should reiterate point #1: You Can Do Terrible Things in the Name of Either One.

As much as I agree with the beginning of your post, let me say that the ending is a bit cheap.

You can indeed be a good or bad man/organization/coutry both when atheist and religious, but indeed I never heared of somebody starting a war to "convert" people to atheism - there have been however many wars to "help the poor heathens to see the true light" (it was at least the "official" driver even if greed certainly helped).

The USSR was officially atheist, but they were also... communist and wanted a social revolution, under which - on the side - religion had no official place. They made "war" against america, no against Vatican. Even in China the aim of the repression of religions is less to impose an atheist view of things than to avoid an uncontrolled organisation where people can structure themselves out of reach of the party. If a religion would accept to have the bishops designed by the party, it would probably be allowed... (see the 3 registered legal christian organizations)

Now I said "I never heared...", and perhaps I am just ignorant - is there an actual example of a war motivated by atheism?
I guess not, and the reason why is probably that atheism is finally a much simpler doctrine than religions - besides denying the existence of God, it does not encourage e.g. to spread the word to save souls nor of any way you should live or any interdictions. A key difference is that (sorry to be over-simplifying and exaggerating):
- For religious people, people with another/no religions are sinners, i.e. BAD,
- For atheists, people with another opinion are WRONG.
It is easy to legitimate kicking bad guys, but not so easy with wrong guys, in short.

By the way, this not a critic of religion, but as TFBW mentioned, religion is usually motivated by feelings (while atheists see themselves as rational), and it is easy to misuse the feelings/emotions for unscrupulous leaders. Combine "emotions" with defining the others as sinners, and you have a fertile ground for violence. But this is not religion, it is misuse of religion, as starting a war is certainly NOT what religious phophets had in mind (Jesus's message of love is not very compatible with wars, for instance).
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TFBW
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Atheism: What you mean? Reply with quote

lacavin wrote:
...I never heared of somebody starting a war to "convert" people to atheism...

Neither have I, but that wasn't a criterion of the comment to which I was responding. Surely, picking on the USSR as an example of institutional atheism isn't any more of a cheap shot than picking on the Catholic church for the crusades?

I think I see the point you're trying to make, though. Is it that religious folks sometimes do bad things in the name of their religion, whereas when atheists do exactly the same kind of thing it's not done in the name of atheism?
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Rakesh
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey ya'll.
Just a random guess that's been following the forum every now and again. And I gotta say. Quite the interesting topic you've got going on here. Thought I could add my two cents.

I believe Lacavin was unconvinced about atheism starting wars, causing deaths, etc. I thought you could find this little history tidbid quite interesting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution#Destruction_of_antiques.2C_historical_sites_and_culture

And call it social revolution if you want. There where still a sh!tload of monks, temples, and invaluable artifacts burned and destroyed during those dark days.
An isolated case perhaps? If you look at the story of center to south west asia I'm affraid that isn't the case. Hell, you don't even have to go that far. In my country (Spain, by the way), we've had a little bit of both sides of the conflict over our history.

Call it liberation, call it conversion, call it wich ever way you want. It's still nothing more than a bunch of nasty people doing a bunch of nasty things to other people and using an excuse to sleep all safe and at peace with their conscience at night.

Nothing less, nothing more.

So. Who should we blame?
Religious people with all them fancy pants and crazy ideas that got people killed in the name of imaginary friends?
Or atheist and their eating unborn babies for breakfast and laughing about said imaginary friends while all the while they workship another human invented "god", reason.

And that's the problem. Who's to blame. We NEED to have someone to blame for all the crappy stuff we do. And it better be the other guys. Not us, not poor oppressed us.

Aren't we pointing fingers at the wrong culprit all along?
The real problem I see with these kind of debates is how we always love to shift the blame around when all along we know who's responsible.

Human nature.

That's the cause of all of our problems. Us. In general. Or what? Do you think that the crusaders where all devout christians? Hell, there where in it for the money, the fame and the land. You can do it in the name of god or in the name of steve, like that's gonna matter to all the people you've royally canoodled.

So is religion bad? Is it good?
What about atheism? Will atheist burn in the oh, so very hot, fires of danmation? Will they not?
I ask you this, does it matter?
When it REALLY gets down to it, does it?

The way I see it, it doesn't. The only thing that really matters is how you've lived your life, and the only heaven and hell I can imagine are within us. If at the end of the day you can look at yourself in the mirror, behind all the little lies we tell ourselfs every morning, and can still stand to that face in the mirror and smile, then I say you've lived a good life regardless of what you've believed in or haven't. (unless you enjoy killing people and that kind of thing for a living, then you're just a crazy person).

I'm a pretty religious person myself (not just your usual religion, I guess you could call me a pagan, or an animist, or a heathen, or just plain nuts, I've been called so many names and damned to so many different hells I'm not really sure where I'm gonna end at, probably some kind of limbo full of bureocrats or something) but you will not catch me EVER calling anyone a sinner (mainly because I really hope there's no such thing as sin or I'm really screwed) or trying to convert anyone. Why should I? Belief is about as personal as you can get. You can believe in the all mighty mutant turtle Zod, who is said to have invented such wondorous things as pizza and mini skirts. (wouldn't it be an awesome god to have around?). Or you can believe in nothing but that wich reason (another human construct, I may add) dictates.

Or we can stop being so darn childish about the matter, thinking they're both mutually exclusive, and realise that we're all blindmen poking at something greater than us with whatever tools we happen to find.
Some use faith, some reason, some people just smoke waaay too much pot. But we're all in the same quest together. The search for truth. Wherever that may leads us.

Now call me a hippie, but don't you think it would be awesome if for once we leave the past behind and try to start anew in this together? Who knows? Mabye a little of columb A and a little of columb B does the trick.


So, sorry about the long rant, just wanted to leave my 2 cents.

Keep on the great debate!
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Tempest_D
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rakesh wrote:
Or atheist and their eating unborn babies for breakfast and laughing about said imaginary friends while all the while they workship another human invented "god", reason.

It could be argued that Athiests are their own God. They act upon the rules that they proclaim upon themselves.

Quote:
So is religion bad? Is it good?
What about atheism? Will atheist burn in the oh, so very hot, fires of danmation? Will they not?
I ask you this, does it matter?
When it REALLY gets down to it, does it?

To a Christian, converting someone to believe in the Christ is like pulling someone from a burining building. And I it is in the scriptures that they are susposed to try and convert people, so, yes, it does matter.

Quote:
The only thing that really matters is how you've lived your life, and the only heaven and hell I can imagine are within us. If at the end of the day you can look at yourself in the mirror, behind all the little lies we tell ourselfs every morning, and can still stand to that face in the mirror and smile, then I say you've lived a good life regardless of what you've believed in or haven't. (unless you enjoy killing people and that kind of thing for a living, then you're just a crazy person).

You've contradicted your parahraph with the last sentence. It can't be the "only thing" that really matters if you exclude serial killers. You applied a second condition, so there's two things that, in your statement, really matter: 1)If you're happy with yourself at the end of the day. 2)You don't kill people for pleasure.



-TD
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:50 pm    Post subject: What? Reply with quote

Lacavin, you're using a positive to assert a negative. + & - still = - By that logic I could I say "I do believe that unicorns DON'T EXIST." Which is just the same as saying I don't believe in unicorns.

Secondly, to say that there is no real atheists around; care to back that up? Because the last time I checked, you could count countries like Sweden, Denmark and even Australia as having a majority. Here check the statistics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism
If Wikipedia's not to your liking, check the sources used.

Thirdly, if you're going to make assumptions about people who don't believe in God, don't put words in people's mouths. Many atheists don't use the word because of what Theists associate with it. They generally use things like 'secularism' or 'humanism' and even then they are different POLITICAL beliefs in and of themselves.

Fourthly, I am not the one pushing the idea that Atheists push an agenda. I simply put forward my opinion. As for trying to learn more, you call considering other gods in the equation as not trying to learn more? What about Allah, Thor, Odin, Marduk or any of the many denominations of Christian variant: the Mormon version, the Jehovah Witness version, the Adventist version etc?

Ok TFBW...
Firstly when I meant your arguments, I meant ALL of them, from your ideas in Pascal's Wager to the Proof of God. Just my opinion though.

Secondly Hair style, splitting hairs but ok Very Happy

Thirdly, you're twisting semantics and you're confusing atheism with godlessness; there's a difference.
As Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism, Wordnet: http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=atheistic and the Merriam Webster Dictionary point out: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism
Atheism is nothing more than a DISbelief in a deity nor deities. An default position until convinced otherwise. The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim that there is a deity.

As to how I came to the preconceived notion about 'Belief structure' when you use phrases like 'Atheist lifestyle' (like you did in the Pascals Wager argument) you're making an assertion that those who don't believe in god live according to a particular set standards and followed a codifed set of beliefs.
Those that don't believe in god have no set code. There is no holy book or scriptures for us to make our belief structure from. I can't speak nor would I speak for everyone, but I make my belief system from what yields the best results for me and the people around me because at the end of the day, my biggest judge is myself. Making the assumption that there is a larger framework involved is risky, because as an atheist myself, I'd like to know what that apparent framework is.

Making a swipe at Christendom? WHEN? I could have been talking about Islam, or Judaism. I could've been talking about Hinduism or Zoarastrianism. I could have been talking about Scientology or Branch Davidianism. But if for some reason I was (which I wasn't) maybe that's because I live in a country where Christendom is the majority religion; if I was living in Iran is would be Islam.

The reason I brought holidays and whatnot up is because they are associated with reverence to something religious. If Atheism is a belief system as you claim then that also means that people ACT on those beliefs, which means they pay homage to such beliefs. Christians celebrate a pagan holiday as the birth of Jesus, Muslims celebrate Ramadan in the same way. If Atheism works according to a larger framework as you claim, where are the Atheist holidays, the clothes, the rituals and rites etc?

As for the Atheist Russia argument....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRhczvtmbWE
As Hitchens points out here, Stalin took advantage of the religious reverence set into people through centuries of Tsarist oppression. He exploited their faith by creating a cult of personality around himself. You need only look at the propaganda they were distributing:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Poster01.jpg
Depicting Stalin as some kind of divine father figure (his nickname was Uncle Joe), he did this because religion was an opposing power. So what did he do, created his own psuedo-religion around himself.
This mentality can be applied to any regime where dictatorships happen: Mao and Cultural Revolution for example.

But let me just finish by saying that all this discussion is good. Its interesting to read what people have to say, and I like a bit of intellectual 'rough-housing' if you'll pardon silly expression. Keep it up.
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