Religion! (or atheism/agnosticism/non-religion/whatever)

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Religion! (or atheism/agnosticism/non-religion/whatever)

Postby Schu » 09 Mar 2009 10:51

I figured this belonged here, since it's the kind of "touchy subjects" forum.

I am thinking of religion partly because I am wearing my "smile, there is no hell" tshirt and partly because tomorrow I'll be trying my hardest to make sure a certain someone doesn't get voted president for my university's atheist club.

Y'see, this guy is your antagonistic, chip-on-the-shoulder type atheist. His attitude is all wrong, and he would be the face of atheism at my uni if he got elected, which I really don't want to happen. For example, he is planning to have a series of talks on "why religion is wrong".

Now, I'm all for talking about religion and atheism and their relative merits, but holding such a talk achieves nothing because it's preaching to the choir, is a big circle-jerk and makes us look like rabid, arrogant, antagonistic people, which we aren't.

So I was going to run for it myself, purely so there was an alternative. Instead, I found out my friend had the same feelings, but also wanted to run for her own sake, so I've offered to support her and go for vice-president.

I like the club, it's got a nice social atmosphere, and several religious people come along to our things, because they get along with us. I'd hate to see that marred.

I have a lot of different arguments for the fact that I don't think god exists, but whenever I explain, it boils down to this:

there are basically two possibilities- there is a god who created the universe, and he came to exist because of non-causal/obscure/unfathomable reasons OR the universe was not created, but cam into existence because of some similarly non-causal/obscure/unfathomable reason.

In science and logic, one tends to apply occam's razor often, and my interpretation of that in this situation is that adding god into the equation is an unnecessary part: there was an unfathomable-coming-into-existence of *something*, so that something might as well be the universe.

I do like the idea of "ignosticism", which basically say that the question "does god exist" doesn't make sense. Either they say that "god" isn't defined well enough or that most religious language doesn't make sense. I like that it calls into question what a god could be: does god have to be supernatural? Could got be a powerful alien? Could we all be in the matrix?

I also think that if one is in any way reasonable, that some degree of agnosticism is unescapable: one level of agnosticism is saying that god's existence is neither proven nor disproven. My own opinion is that god's existence can't ever be proven or disproven, but that I don't think "he" exists. Even Richard Dawkins admits to some level of agnosticism. That says a lot.

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Postby Crysknife » 09 Mar 2009 11:28

I think you should run. I'm all for letting people believe what they want. I don't like religions telling me that I'm wrong so why would I like an atheist telling someone else that they are wrong.

But that doesn't mean I don't like me a good debate! There's a difference between civil debate and outright dislike for something. I think even Dawkins understands this. The more we can keep the debate civil, the more we can convince people on the fence the reality of the situation.
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Postby GamePlayer » 09 Mar 2009 11:55

Why is modern atheism always defined by how it's bad to be christian? I mean, aren't we past that stage by now? Why don't atheists define themselves by what they are rather than what they aren't. I mean, anyone else see the irony inherent in this particular type of atheist thinking?

For example, you know how it is with some christians that relate EVERYTHING to gawd. Bush got elected; it was gawd's will. A terrible tsunami hit Asia; it was gawd's will. My last choad fell with a splash upon my ass; it was gawd's will. You get the idea.

Some atheists are labouring under the same mental hang ups. Why religion is wrong. Why christians are bad. Why gawd doesn't exist. They are preaching to the converted. Same fucked up behaviour, different belief system. These militant atheists haven't changed or grown themselves, they have not progressed humanity or society; they have simply substituted atheism for what was once deism.

When it comes down to it, religion is just faith placed in a book. But you can place your faith in anything; humanity, democracy, music, love, whatever. Hell, people have placed their faith in the green movement; I've always said environmentalism is the new fundamentalism. Only human arrogance (and a good PR campaign) proclaims "faith" as a religious exclusive.

Digressing, religion needs to be rationalized not substituted. People just need to cease obsessing over the damn thing. If everyone would just get over the fact that humanity isn't defined by whether or not gawd exists but rather by who we are and what we do, we'd all be much better off.
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Postby SwordMaster » 09 Mar 2009 12:45

GamePlayer wrote:Digressing, religion needs to be rationalized not substituted. People just need to cease obsessing over the damn thing. If everyone would just get over the fact that humanity isn't defined by whether or not gawd exists but rather by who we are and what we do, we'd all be much better off.


Dude, you need to stop saying the shit in my own head, its getting to a point where I have nothing left to post cause you nail it so exactly.

I have a lot of experience with the "Militant Atheist" and I find them a frustrating type to deal with. On the one hand, I am also atheist, but its very personal. I would not ever say to another person, atheist or not, the idea of a god, or belief in a gods existence is something that needs to be brought up in a way that it often is. Agree with me, or you’re an idiot! If you believe in any kind of god, your an idiot.

That is really weak minded and to me it is anti atheist. We all have a version of atheism that is unique to our own perspective. Just like a religion is to the religious. I like to think of mine as a belief in Humanity, and therefore, religion being a big piece of humanity; you cannot just discount it and call all people who believe in it "stupid" as many militant atheists do.

I hope your friend wins this election and you can spread a more inclusive branch of atheism and contribute to the ongoing discussion.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 09 Mar 2009 13:04

GamePlayer wrote:Why is modern atheism always defined by how it's bad to be christian? I mean, aren't we past that stage by now? Why don't atheists define themselves by what they are rather than what they aren't. I mean, anyone else see the irony inherent in this particular type of atheist thinking?


Amen. :wink: We need to spend a lot more time talking about the merits of atheism than slandering religion. I think that's a big part of why many religious people think we're a bunch of downers, and why we're listed as the number one most mistrusted minority in the US (not sure about up here).

That said, we still need to fight fundamentalist religion hard IMO. Not by being antagonistic, that's just childish and doesn't accomplish much, but by having actual intelligent debates with people and moving those who are religious towards inclusivism, then pluralism, then agnosticism. Like SwordMaster said, we don't need to be always calling people who believe in a higher power idiots, because they're not. They've managed to turn off logic in relation to one aspect of their lives yes, but everyone does that to one extent or another.

I would call myself a "militant" atheist (sorry SM...), but I have a really weird relationship with religion, I find it beautiful and inspiring at the same time as finding it hideous and defeating. The more I learn about it the less I find I'm able to outright attack anyone other than the fundamentalists.(taking religion courses in school right now, and planning to focus on it throughout my education) I'd much rather talk with religious people about improving their own religions than trying to convince them that they're wrong entirely. I think more gets accomplished that way, I'd rather work alongside the religious than against them (seeing as they outnumber me by a wee bit...).

If we could get most people to agnosticism I would be happy, I don't think it's that important to try and get them one step further to actual atheism, that will happen naturally or it won't, I don't think you can ever argue a theist into an atheist, but you can argue them into an agnostic (or at the very least a pluralist or inclusivist).




P.s. Sorry about the inclusivist pluralist ranting, I just wrote my term paper yesterday on exclusionism inclusivism and pluralism in Christianity... kinda fresh in my mind right now.
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Postby Schu » 09 Mar 2009 13:27

I'm glad to see similar sentiments here :)

Crys - Exactly. I'm really glad that there are religious people that will go along to our events and be happy to have a friendly discussion with us. I like that almost every atheist has a slightly different set of ideas.

Gameplayer - great post. I was really glad on joining the club 2 years ago that it isn't a "let's all hate the religious peeps" and it was genuinely just a social group of atheists (generally, reasonable ones). I'd hate for one of the minority of antagonistic types to be the one that "represents" us.

Swordmaster - that's what bugs me about people that say "there's no evidence for the existence of any deity". Clearly they don't know the meaning of the word "evidence". You can say that all the evidence is circumstantial and better explained by naturalistic arguments, and that will get me agreeing, but you can't discount off-hand.

A Thing of Eternity - personally, I have a huge amount of sympathy for religious views. I considered myself atheist only when I turned about 16 or 17, it would have been much earlier than that other than for the fact that considering my personal fate to be oblivion is almost impossible to escape without a god, and for me, that was a terrifying thought.

I would be extremely happy if parents, religious, atheist, whatever, would not force/pressure their beliefs on their children and give them a broader perspective of the matter. Religion being shoved down my throat by my mother was the primary reason for the aforementioned fear.

So while I do think that religion does do harm, I certainly don't in a Richard Dawkins way (not to imply that I think you do, because I don't) and I don't really feel the need to "fight" for atheism. That's partly for the reasons I've mentioned, and partly because here in australia it's pretty well accepted - it's not like america, where I think by law you can't hold a government office as an atheist (which I understand would be held to be unconstitutional if ever questioned by anyone, but it's still disturbing). I would certainly feel more need to "fight" for atheism if my rights were threatened like that.

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Postby SwordMaster » 09 Mar 2009 13:45

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:Why is modern atheism always defined by how it's bad to be christian? I mean, aren't we past that stage by now? Why don't atheists define themselves by what they are rather than what they aren't. I mean, anyone else see the irony inherent in this particular type of atheist thinking?


Amen. :wink: We need to spend a lot more time talking about the merits of atheism than slandering religion. I think that's a big part of why many religious people think we're a bunch of downers, and why we're listed as the number one most mistrusted minority in the US (not sure about up here).

That said, we still need to fight fundamentalist religion hard IMO. Not by being antagonistic, that's just childish and doesn't accomplish much, but by having actual intelligent debates with people and moving those who are religious towards inclusivism, then pluralism, then agnosticism. Like SwordMaster said, we don't need to be always calling people who believe in a higher power idiots, because they're not. They've managed to turn off logic in relation to one aspect of their lives yes, but everyone does that to one extent or another.

I would call myself a "militant" atheist (sorry SM...), but I have a really weird relationship with religion, I find it beautiful and inspiring at the same time as finding it hideous and defeating. The more I learn about it the less I find I'm able to outright attack anyone other than the fundamentalists.(taking religion courses in school right now, and planning to focus on it throughout my education) I'd much rather talk with religious people about improving their own religions than trying to convince them that they're wrong entirely. I think more gets accomplished that way, I'd rather work alongside the religious than against them (seeing as they outnumber me by a wee bit...).

If we could get most people to agnosticism I would be happy, I don't think it's that important to try and get them one step further to actual atheism, that will happen naturally or it won't, I don't think you can ever argue a theist into an atheist, but you can argue them into an agnostic (or at the very least a pluralist or inclusivist).

P.s. Sorry about the inclusivist pluralist ranting, I just wrote my term paper yesterday on exclusionism inclusivism and pluralism in Christianity... kinda fresh in my mind right now.


In a lot of ways I agree with that approach to fundamentalism, I am also just as scarred of a fundamental Islam as I am of a fundamental Christian. Both give me the chills. So in your militant approach to fundamentalism, I support that. I think the more we try to stifle that sort of “the world is flat” thinking, as much as we can, as militantly as possible. That is why I support the Afghanistan mission, to the point of basically letting the best of the best loose on those mountain living heretics. When it comes to fundamentalism + violence, we need to actually kill the idea. That means, kill them all, and maybe even kill the next generation of them, how ever old they are.

Can we create a more universal approach? With more folks like you, we sure can. Your paper sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing.
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Postby Drunken Idaho » 09 Mar 2009 13:48

Hmm, so it looks like I'm alone in believing that religion is dangerous and destructive.

Like you, Schu, I love to discuss these things with people of faith, as it always makes a conversation interesting, but I will not hold back in saying that faith causes wars and is used by leaders to keep the masses obedient. There's no denying that dark, ugly side of religion. There's something disturbingly wrong with a population that considers fear of a higher power to be a good thing.

As for my own standing, I fall under what's called Naturalistic Pantheism. In my own words, NP means that the only book or being that could be considered holy is the universe itself. It tells a story (albeit somewhat cryptically) and it is a living thing. No other book can be trusted. this includes pretty much everything science tells us, such as fossil record, evolution, etc... In that sense, if there is any God at all, then he is the universe itself and we are a part of it. And the only way to worship is to trust only what the universe tells us plainly.

Many atheists and agnostics are Naturalistic Pantheists, but they may not know it yet. This happened to me. I had figured out pretty much exactly what I described to you above, and then later I came across a description of NP, which perfectly fit the beliefs I had formed independently.
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Postby SwordMaster » 09 Mar 2009 13:51

Schu wrote: (which I understand would be held to be unconstitutional if ever questioned by anyone, but it's still disturbing). I would certainly feel more need to "fight" for atheism if my rights were threatened like that.


Just to comment on that, its not required in any official way. Its just that you cannot win an election in most places without having "god on your side"

If you can believe it, G.W.Bush actually lost his first attempt at elected office, by a guy who "out christened" him. Similarly his father, who refused the label of "born again" Christian, lost his 2nd term for president to Bill Clinton. It’s not anti atheism as much as it is, "YOU have to be Christian" or your of "unknown values" A good point you bring up though
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Postby SwordMaster » 09 Mar 2009 13:57

Drunken Idaho wrote:Hmm, so it looks like I'm alone in believing that religion is dangerous and destructive.

Like you, Schu, I love to discuss these things with people of faith, as it always makes a conversation interesting, but I will not hold back in saying that faith causes wars and is used by leaders to keep the masses obedient. There's no denying that dark, ugly side of religion. There's something disturbingly wrong with a population that considers fear of a higher power to be a good thing.

As for my own standing, I fall under what's called Naturalistic Pantheism. In my own words, NP means that the only book or being that could be considered holy is the universe itself. It tells a story (albeit somewhat cryptically) and it is a living thing. No other book can be trusted. this includes pretty much everything science tells us, such as fossil record, evolution, etc... In that sense, if there is any God at all, then he is the universe itself and we are a part of it. And the only way to worship is to trust only what the universe tells us plainly.

Many atheists and agnostics are Naturalistic Pantheists, but they may not know it yet. This happened to me. I had figured out pretty much exactly what I described to you above, and then later I came across a description of NP, which perfectly fit the beliefs I had formed independently.


I think that I might be in the same place then, this is very much exactly my beliefs, as personal as I might think them to be, and clearly others have found themselves in this place as well. Very cool, I had no idea this form of thinking had a name. Idaho your not as drunk as your name would suggest.
Last edited by SwordMaster on 09 Mar 2009 14:10, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 09 Mar 2009 13:58

Schu wrote:A Thing of Eternity - personally, I have a huge amount of sympathy for religious views. I considered myself atheist only when I turned about 16 or 17, it would have been much earlier than that other than for the fact that considering my personal fate to be oblivion is almost impossible to escape without a god, and for me, that was a terrifying thought.

I would be extremely happy if parents, religious, atheist, whatever, would not force/pressure their beliefs on their children and give them a broader perspective of the matter. Religion being shoved down my throat by my mother was the primary reason for the aforementioned fear.

So while I do think that religion does do harm, I certainly don't in a Richard Dawkins way (not to imply that I think you do, because I don't) and I don't really feel the need to "fight" for atheism.


As per the part I underlined, Dan Dennett (one of Dawkins' "new atheist" allies) has proposed a very intelligent change to the education system on the same lines as you wish for here. He wants religious education to be a mandatory part of the curriculum for all schools, just like math or science. It would teach just the un-biased facts about each religion, not attempting to portray any as true or untrue. He says (and I agree) that any religion that can continue existing when it's children are brought up without forced ignorance of other beliefs would likely be a safe, or "non-toxic" religion.

I am on a similar page as Dawkins, but much more in line with Sam Harris or Dan Dennett, who don't make asses of themselves as often as Dawkins tends to (he doesn't know as much as he should about the religions he's fighting IMO).
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Postby SwordMaster » 09 Mar 2009 14:04

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Schu wrote:A Thing of Eternity - personally, I have a huge amount of sympathy for religious views. I considered myself atheist only when I turned about 16 or 17, it would have been much earlier than that other than for the fact that considering my personal fate to be oblivion is almost impossible to escape without a god, and for me, that was a terrifying thought.

I would be extremely happy if parents, religious, atheist, whatever, would not force/pressure their beliefs on their children and give them a broader perspective of the matter. Religion being shoved down my throat by my mother was the primary reason for the aforementioned fear.

So while I do think that religion does do harm, I certainly don't in a Richard Dawkins way (not to imply that I think you do, because I don't) and I don't really feel the need to "fight" for atheism.


As per the part I underlined, Dan Dennett (one of Dawkins' "new atheist" allies) has proposed a very intelligent change to the education system on the same lines as you wish for here. He wants religious education to be a mandatory part of the curriculum for all schools, just like math or science. It would teach just the un-biased facts about each religion, not attempting to portray any as true or untrue. He says (and I agree) that any religion that can continue existing when it's children are brought up without forced ignorance of other beliefs would likely be a safe, or "non-toxic" religion.

I am on a similar page as Dawkins, but much more in line with Sam Harris or Dan Dennett, who don't make asses of themselves as often as Dawkins tends to (he doesn't know as much as he should about the religions he's fighting IMO).


Dawkins is too much of a militant atheist for my taste.

If you believe in any form of god your crazy - fuck THAT cocksucker.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 09 Mar 2009 14:07

Drunken Idaho wrote:Hmm, so it looks like I'm alone in believing that religion is dangerous and destructive.


Hellllll no. Western religion (Judaism Christianity and Islam) is possibly the most dangerous element in modern society IMO, neck and neck with extreme nationalism. I think we can feel free to be a wee bit less scared of the Jainists though. :wink:

Like you, Schu, I love to discuss these things with people of faith, as it always makes a conversation interesting, but I will not hold back in saying that faith causes wars and is used by leaders to keep the masses obedient. There's no denying that dark, ugly side of religion. There's something disturbingly wrong with a population that considers fear of a higher power to be a good thing.


I agree totally, I just don't like to lead with those statements when discussing these things. When it comes up though...

Many atheists and agnostics are Naturalistic Pantheists, but they may not know it yet. This happened to me. I had figured out pretty much exactly what I described to you above, and then later I came across a description of NP, which perfectly fit the beliefs I had formed independently.


Kinda like Gaia, but for the whole universe? Nice romantic thought, but I'd still fall under pure atheist. This kind of belief, and other agnostic beliefs, are fine with me though, they aren't particularly dangerous.
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Postby Schu » 09 Mar 2009 14:08

SwordMaster wrote:
Schu wrote: (which I understand would be held to be unconstitutional if ever questioned by anyone, but it's still disturbing). I would certainly feel more need to "fight" for atheism if my rights were threatened like that.


Just to comment on that, its not required in any official way. Its just that you cannot win an election in most places without having "god on your side"

If you can believe it, G.W.Bush actually lost his first attempt at elected office, by a guy who "out christened" him. Similarly his father, who refused the label of "born again" Christian, lost his 2nd term for president to Bill Clinton. It’s not anti atheism as much as it is, "YOU have to be Christian" or your of "unknown values" A good point you bring up though
.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimina ... stitutions

I guess I had my facts a little muddled. Still disturbing though.

A Thing of Eternity - That sounds like an excellent plan. And I think study of religion is a good thing - if nothing else it is a major part of history.

Drunken Idaho - spinoza's pantheism, right? I am a fan of that. The only thing that bugs me is that it led Einstein to make quotes that were ambiguous enough to make people think he was religious, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Personally, I call myself a Naturalistic Ignostic.

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 09 Mar 2009 14:12

SwordMaster wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Schu wrote:A Thing of Eternity - personally, I have a huge amount of sympathy for religious views. I considered myself atheist only when I turned about 16 or 17, it would have been much earlier than that other than for the fact that considering my personal fate to be oblivion is almost impossible to escape without a god, and for me, that was a terrifying thought.

I would be extremely happy if parents, religious, atheist, whatever, would not force/pressure their beliefs on their children and give them a broader perspective of the matter. Religion being shoved down my throat by my mother was the primary reason for the aforementioned fear.

So while I do think that religion does do harm, I certainly don't in a Richard Dawkins way (not to imply that I think you do, because I don't) and I don't really feel the need to "fight" for atheism.


As per the part I underlined, Dan Dennett (one of Dawkins' "new atheist" allies) has proposed a very intelligent change to the education system on the same lines as you wish for here. He wants religious education to be a mandatory part of the curriculum for all schools, just like math or science. It would teach just the un-biased facts about each religion, not attempting to portray any as true or untrue. He says (and I agree) that any religion that can continue existing when it's children are brought up without forced ignorance of other beliefs would likely be a safe, or "non-toxic" religion.

I am on a similar page as Dawkins, but much more in line with Sam Harris or Dan Dennett, who don't make asses of themselves as often as Dawkins tends to (he doesn't know as much as he should about the religions he's fighting IMO).


Dawkins is too much of a militant atheist for my taste.

If you believe in any form of god your crazy - fuck THAT cocksucker.


He's not too militant for me, have you watched any videos of him debating with people? He's actually pretty damned polite compared to Christopher Hitchens (who I really do dissaprove of). My issue with Dawkins is that he goes after specific bible passages in the wrong ways and says a lot of specific things about religions that aren't actually correct - he should do some more research IMO, or stick to what he knows - evolution and the logic behind atheism.

I really prefer guys like Dan Dennett and Sam Harris though, I think they are much more effective than Dawkins, and at the same time also put forth a better PR image for atheists.
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Postby Schu » 09 Mar 2009 14:24

I should probably clarify - I think Dawkins is an EXCELLENT scientist. And I think that a lot of his rhetoric is very clever and all. But yeah, bad for public image, and he says some really counter-productive things.

People like to blame religion and atheism alike for certain wars and atrocities etc. I htink both are missing the point. I could argue it, but I'd rather link a better argument:

http://www.cracked.com/article_15759_10 ... ee-on.html

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Postby GamePlayer » 09 Mar 2009 14:40

SwordMaster wrote:Dude, you need to stop saying the shit in my own head, its getting to a point where I have nothing left to post cause you nail it so exactly.


My mind-machine is running perfectly :)
Seriously, I don't give anyone props for being an atheist. I've learned that lesson too well from the way some christians think electing a christian means they don't have to put any effort into voting. No, atheism is a good start, but doesn't give you a get-out-of-jail-free-card, not in my book. I also don't consider myself part of any group or brotherhood. Just because you're an atheist, doesn't mean we're on the same side. Outside of open ideological warfare (which I hope never happens, but I will fight for aethism if my hand is forced), I'd rather side with a religious moderate than some fundamentalist atheist. But that's just me.

A Thing of Eternity wrote:Amen. :wink: We need to spend a lot more time talking about the merits of atheism than slandering religion. I think that's a big part of why many religious people think we're a bunch of downers, and why we're listed as the number one most mistrusted minority in the US (not sure about up here).

That said, we still need to fight fundamentalist religion hard IMO. Not by being antagonistic, that's just childish and doesn't accomplish much, but by having actual intelligent debates with people and moving those who are religious towards inclusivism, then pluralism, then agnosticism. Like SwordMaster said, we don't need to be always calling people who believe in a higher power idiots, because they're not. They've managed to turn off logic in relation to one aspect of their lives yes, but everyone does that to one extent or another.


I'm not really one for pushing my beliefs on others. I'm very hands-off. But if people want to listen, I'm not shy about extolling the virtues of what I believe. But on the flip side of that, I'm also open to good ideas. But the key is "good ideas", not Intelligent Design, which is theism served up in a candy coated wrapper of pseudo-science. :)

As for the debate between theism or atheism, the best revenge is living well. The world is largely run by moderates and the best way to win them over is to live a good life in spite of what the vocal minority extremists may say. There are fundamentalists out there that want to try to destroy our freedom of choice, but the better we atheists live, the worse they look. After all, no one I'm friends with, religious or otherwise, likes some fundamentalist ass preaching intolerance.

Schu wrote:I'm glad to see similar sentiments here :)

Gameplayer - great post. I was really glad on joining the club 2 years ago that it isn't a "let's all hate the religious peeps" and it was genuinely just a social group of atheists (generally, reasonable ones). I'd hate for one of the minority of antagonistic types to be the one that "represents" us.


That sounds fine. It's basically like a bunch of christians or buddhists or even film geeks (smiles) just hanging out because they have something in common. That's the way it should be. I hope that militant atheist doesn't run the party. If he does, you should go after him with both barrels. Don't hold back and let the whole group know about his snake oil.

Baraka Bryan wrote:there are some pretty crazy fundamental Christians out there...
like shirley phelps (occassional guest on the Dean Blundell show) who is part of a group from a baptist church that go to the funerals of people who die in plane crashes or dead soldiers etc and scream and rant about how God wanted the people to die and it's his judgement... she was upset when the plane was saved by crashing into the hudson etc...

just a nutjob that makes us normal Christians look bad :(


But that's the way of everything in life. You're going to tell me Dawkins is sane? Fundamentalism is a human failing and despite all the polarized politicos trying to slam their ideology down your throat, it's sadly not exclusive to aethism or christianity. Just talk to any green party member :)
"They can chew you up, but they gotta spit you out."

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Postby Eyes High » 09 Mar 2009 18:44

GamePlayer wrote: ...
... After all, no one I'm friends with, religious or otherwise, likes some fundamentalist ass preaching intolerance.
...


I like that.

Well as many of you may know; I am, what I consider, a born-again Christian. I do believe there is a God who created this universe and any others that exists as well. I do believe that He sent part of Himself (who many refer to as His Son) to Earth via a virgin birth. That baby grew into a man who lived about 33 years, preaching for about the last 3 and a-half years of that life, that He, know by then as Jesus the Christ, was tried unfairly in illegal court procedures, and that He died on a cross-like instrument in order to pay for my sins. That He rose from the dead, walked among man for 40 more days, and is now in a place that many referred to as Heaven awaiting the appointed time of His return.

Now with that said; I also hope that many of you have come to view me as a respectable person who is open minded and respectful of others' beliefs. And as a lady that has at least some measure of intelligence.

Like y'all have said; it is the extremists in any group who tarnishes that groups' perception by the rest of the world.

The so called christians who bomb abortion clinics and murder people, 'because god told them to do it' or protest at people’s funerals 'because god hates homosexuals' are foremost misunderstanding the true teachings of God in my opinion and are just as wrong as the those who, because they don't believe in a god or 'my God', do not think anyone should be able to practice their faith out in public (or even in private for some) and further believe that anyone who believes in such a deity is a complete idiot.

I do not believe religion is the danger. I believe it is the way some people interpret said religion is where the danger lies. The God I know is a God of love. To me it is a person relationship. A relationship that cannot be forced onto others. A relationship that each person must decide for him or herself if they want. To me it is that relationship not the religion that is so important.

I would love it if everyone would come to believe in Jesus as Lord and savior, but I am not so naïve as to not know that is not going to happen. We each have our own points of view and belief systems.

I believe in a God who loves me as well as everyone else. He hates sin, but loves the people. I see Him like a parent who might not approve of what their child is doing but still loves that child. He might allow bad things to happen but He is not the cause of the trouble of this world. I also believe in the possibility of life elsewhere. Does that make me insane? Does that lessen my Christianity? (To some it would)

Intolerance is wrong. However, lately I see coming from those extremists in the fields of anti-religion the same intolerant behavior that they accuse many religions (especially Christianity) of having.
Reminds me of the old saying: “The pot calling the kettle black.”

Whether or not I agree with your beliefs I hope I have shown each and every one of you the respect you deserve. If I have not, please forgive me and except my sincere apology.

I know there are many people who claimed to be Christians out there who are very intolerant and racist and act like complete idiots. Just like there are members from every religion who go to the extreme and only pick out parts of their religious teachings to follow. And like many of you have stated above there are atheists and agnostics that go to the extremes as well. But like we talked about in the racism thread. Don’t generalize and don’t allow the bad apples, the extremists from any group to tarnish the whole.

Forgive the rambling nature of this post; I admit it was hard to corral my thoughts properly. However, I hope you were able to ascertain at least part of what I was trying to say.

Thank you.
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Nothing, but that which is in our own imaginations.

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Postby SwordMaster » 09 Mar 2009 18:57

GamePlayer wrote:I'd rather side with a religious moderate than some fundamentalist atheist. But that's just me.


co-sign and turn your mind machine off dammit
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Postby SandChigger » 09 Mar 2009 19:08

Drunken Idaho wrote:Hmm, so it looks like I'm alone in believing that religion is dangerous and destructive.

Not in the least.

I'm all for people being allowed to believe whatever fool notion churns their mental birdbath. AS LONG AS THEY KEEP IT TO THEMSELVES. (That includes not indoctrinating children before they are mentally able to question and judge for themselves. That is child abuse in my opinion.)

Unfortunately, that doesn't work with Paulianity (so-called "Christianity") and Islam, both of which are geared for domination of, not real coexistence with, other belief systems.

Fundy atheists are just as boring as fundy anything-elses.

My motto for many years has been "I'll shut up about your religion when you do." :)

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Decidedly off-topic

Postby SandChigger » 10 Mar 2009 08:56

Right.

I've got Boston Legal on at the moment and some anorexic high school bint seeking emancipation from her mother (who just wants her to eat properly) used the non-word "thinspirational" and that reminded me that I wanted to bitch about the following this morning but forgot to do so:

Schu wrote:I do like the idea of "ignosticism", which basically say that the question "does god exist" doesn't make sense.

I have no problem with the concept but I really wish people would study a bit of etymology before making up stupid words. This one isn't as bad as "Ebonics" or other examples that have made my spheencter tweetch over the years, but what renders it especially egregious is the fact it was a rabbi—someone supposed to represent learning and knowledge and whom you would expect to have some sensitivity and sensibility with respect to words—that came up with it.

Oy. :roll:

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Postby Schu » 10 Mar 2009 10:18

OH I know, it's a terrible cross between ignorant/the verb ignore and (a)gnosticism. But I like it anyway.

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Postby chanilover » 10 Mar 2009 11:05

Atheism isn't the monopoly of non-religious people. There are plenty of Buddhists who are atheists. Confucius put it best when he said true wisdom is respecting the spirits whilst keeping them at a distance.
"You and your buddies and that b*tch Mandy are nothing but a gang of lying, socially maladjusted losers." - St Hypatia of Arrakeen.
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Postby Schu » 10 Mar 2009 11:20

*remembers something of a quote from Heretics of Dune, along the lines of "you may be our god, shai-hulud personified, but you don't belong here, we don't want you in our cities and in our lives"*

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Postby GamePlayer » 10 Mar 2009 12:32

Eyes High wrote:I like that.

Well as many of you may know; I am, what I consider, a born-again Christian. I do believe there is a God who created this universe and any others that exists as well.


"I believe in America" :)

Seriously, I believe in democracy. Or to be more specific, I believe in the dream that was democracy, since we no longer have it. Perhaps not even that. Perhaps just the promise of the next progressive form of government is what I truly believe in, by whatever name that is to be called. Perhaps I'm just born out of my time :)

The problem with life is common wisdom and the fact that it's tragically uncommon. Even here, I've no doubt lost points with both sides of the spectrum just by revealing my staunch pro-democratic leanings. You see the reason people follow extremism is because it's easy, it's decisive and because it looks good in a PR campaign. You have to "stand for something" when you want to be recognized or when you want to lead. Otherwise you're a waffler, a fence-sitter, an indecisive turncoat to one side or another. If you're a chrisitian, you MUST be with the christians. When you're an atheist, you MUST be with the atheists. If not, then you "don't stand for anything." But who is to say they are wrong? If push comes to shove, would I not fight for atheism? If it came to war, would history judge me any better because I believed I was fighting for my choice to be atheist, not because I was an atheist? Probably not. :)

All I know is what I am in the eyes of others and what I am in the eyes of myself.

In the McCarthy era, I would have been called "communist"
In the 60's, I would have been called the "establishment"
The conservatives call me a "liberal"
The liberals call me a "conservative"
The moderates call me "libertarian"
The military would call me "traitor"
The press would call me "stooge"
The founding fathers would call me "patriot"

Who knows how many would really agree with me. Not many, I'd wager. But I don't get political points for being an idealist - I have to do the best I can with what I have.

SwordMaster wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:I'd rather side with a religious moderate than some fundamentalist atheist. But that's just me.


co-sign and turn your mind machine off dammit


Mwuahahaha :)
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SandChigger wrote:I'm all for people being allowed to believe whatever fool notion churns their mental birdbath. AS LONG AS THEY KEEP IT TO THEMSELVES. (That includes not indoctrinating children before they are mentally able to question and judge for themselves. That is child abuse in my opinion.)

Fundy atheists are just as boring as fundy anything-elses.

My motto for many years has been "I'll shut up about your religion when you do." :)


That's my chigga. Love ya, dawg! :)
"They can chew you up, but they gotta spit you out."