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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » How many Atheists are there? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: How many Atheists are there?
AchillesHeel
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I was just linked to something unexpected, a census for atheists world wide. They had some technical issues early on but since December 7th they have had 126,195 people submit themselves as atheists. The quick and easy census asks for your age, gender, education level, country and religion of origin. They are requiring no more than an email account which obviously doesn't prevent any abuse but there is no prize to waste time over so I think excessive submission is unlikely.

Most submissions have been from the U.S. with some really surprising percentages from the other first world countries, as well as six from Haiti.

How many atheists do you think it would take to have a more apparent existence world wide?

http://www.atheistcensus.com/

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Xavier
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The number of self identified atheists is dwarfed by the number who are "no religious affiliation" or some flavor thereof.

It's still a pretty huge taboo to be an "atheist" in most parts of this country. Many who "lack a belief in a deity" won't go so far as to accept the label. I don't blame them, generally.

Edit: So to me, as am atheist, these numbers aren't typically all that interesting to me. Though if they are growing, all the better.

[ December 27, 2012, 04:45 PM: Message edited by: Xavier ]

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AchillesHeel
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The site tally was eight thousand just a couple days ago, so as we heathens spread the word it should have many more submissions to go. It may also benefit from the degree of anonymity that many Americans don't feel with the federal census.
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Xavier
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Yeah, when I say the number of "no religious affiliation" dwarfs the number of atheists, I mean on more widespread survey mechanisms like the ARIS. Obviously on an internet site where you "opt-in" it won't be the same ratio.

But still, I'd be quite interested to see how large the number gets.

Edit: BTW, I'm number 126,297. So by sharing it here you've bumped it by 1 at least [Smile] .

Though I wonder if /r/atheism has seen it yet. If not you can expect the number to double at least when they do get their hands on it.

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AchillesHeel
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I'm not familiar, although I would wonder if reddit has contributed. I've even had it related to me randomly while at work that reddit has quite the Niel Degrasse Tyson fan club.

ETA
Haha, well. I just googled /r/atheism. Great minds?

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Strider
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You guys might also be interested in /r/TrueAtheism. It's got more serious conversations going on. Though, the more "fluff" centered /r/atheism is also incredibly satisfying at times.
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Orincoro
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It all depends on how you ask the question.

The actual percentage of atheists, or something that could be comfortably described as atheist without the specific label (ie: mostly believe that there is no God) in Europe is, according to some estimates, a majority. In some countries, the figure approaches 90%.

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Parkour
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R/atheism is a wretched pit.
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GinetteB
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I don't have a religion myself, yet I do not understand the aversion against religions. It is a lack of moral principles that is the problem in the world today, not religion in itself. This lack of moral principles is caused by obedience: Either emotional obedience (being incited by others aversion, anger, hate, blaming) or mental obedience (as it is comfortable to hand responsibility over, so one cannot make mistakes nor has to admit them and thus escapes the pain of shame and guilt and negative feelings, no fear for bad decisions) to a point where people perform acts not compatible with their own standard of fundamental moral principles, if only they would sit and think about it.
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Hobbes
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quote:
How many atheists do you think it would take to have a more apparent existence world wide?
For some reason I find this quote really amusing. [Cool]

Hobbes [Smile]

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AchillesHeel
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Ginette, for me the designation of atheist versus non-religious is heavily influenced by the abuse of power and influence by people whose only authority is magical. In America the leading argument against equal rights for a minority is because religious people say its wrong without much legal reasoning. In addition to being tax exempt religious institutions are not held to same scrutiny than non-religious organizations and non-profit charities are. In the UK the church of England has a voice in parliament. Religions are allowed much authority and privacy world wide, I think the time for this is behind us. We don't need myths to keep us from killing our brothers and eating shellfish anymore.

[ December 29, 2012, 08:41 AM: Message edited by: AchillesHeel ]

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GinetteB
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The point I am making, is that this giving authority away to religious institutions is in peoples mind, not in the religious teachings. If you would want to change that, I guess you'd have to make people study their religion seriously. That would be a better approach than blaming everything on 'religion'.
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Rakeesh
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Ginette's right. No major religions insist upon high degrees of authority over the lives and decision-making of their believers, and hardly any at all insist that in order to be good, decent human children of God who do things like please Him or avoid hellfire, adherents must reject their own conclusions when they come into conflict with the religion's principles.
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Shigs
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The fact that churches are tax exempt is ridiculous. Even better, several of them were campaigning in the last election, and there hasn't (and won't be) any word about revoking their status.
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AchillesHeel
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I obviously never thought that religion is a tangible thing that can be defeated. I treat any and all religions like any other organization, the only difference is that very few people believe that political parties or companies are above reproach. It is when we speak out against religious organizations, their teachings or even defending the Constitution that we find those who would be willing to demand that our civil liberties be ignored. I understand how one could find people like Dawkins disagreeable but I don't think that the "smile and nod" method improves life for anyone but the theists in power.

For instance, the only ones fighting against gay rights are doing it for religious reasons. Actively denying equality with no better excuse than a passage or two in a book. It is far from reasonable, and if they keep restricting the freedoms of innocent civilians and rewriting our history I fear for what such regressive people could get away with in the future.

So I'm willing to be a loud mouth on the matter.

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TomDavidson
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How many atheists does it take to change a lightbulb?

Thirty.
One to go get a ladder, obtain a bulb, and change the bulb without making a big deal about it. Twenty to point out to everyone else in earshot how easy it is to change a lightbulb when you aren't shackled to outmoded superstition. And another nine who worry that there aren't enough atheists out there to change all the lightbulbs that need changing.

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Parkour
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Don't forget the extra three to post Facebook arguments about lightbulbs to the internet.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
How many atheists does it take to change a lightbulb?

Thirty.
One to go get a ladder, obtain a bulb, and change the bulb without making a big deal about it. Twenty to point out to everyone else in earshot how easy it is to change a lightbulb when you aren't shackled to outmoded superstition. And another nine who worry that there aren't enough atheists out there to change all the lightbulbs that need changing.

Needs some work. The genius of a good lightbulb joke is that it plays with the concept instead of just making fun of the group screwing in said lightbulb. The first part of the joke is pretty good on its own actually: "one... it's not really a big deal."

Ever hear the one about how many hipsters it takes to change a lightbulb? No I'm not surprised you haven't heard about it.

How many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb? You know, this joke sounds better on vinyl.

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GinetteB
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No Achillesheel, they are not doing it for religious reasons, and because it is in the book. They do it, because it causes aversion in their mind. Then next, they seem to find justification for that in the book. This justification is false, as Christians already have proven (with the same book) and it is only a matter of time before also muslims will find out, justification of this aversion is not to be found in the Qu'ran.

You justify your own aversion against religion by attacking religious institutions, not acknowledging the problem is in the mind of those people that obey those institutions. Please keep in mind, there are millions of people having more or less left the church, without loosing their religion.

So, whether you like it or not, you yourself might very well suffer from emotional obedience: Incited by others aversion against people obeying religious institutions, you blame 'religion' for all the problems in the world. That though, is not the way to take responsibility and do something constructive. Such an attitude causes more problems instead of solving them.

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AchillesHeel
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When did I blame religion for all that is wrong with the world?

I will repeat, I treat religions as organizations and no differently than any other organization. And yes, plenty of the immorality within these organizations does stem from the source material. When you indoctrinate a child from birth with views of sexism, racism, tribalism and servitude all with the threat of eternal punishment if they do not comply they are less likely to think for themselves and question the book that tells them all this. In the past, religion has been the binding force of society. Without the catholic church Europe would be a very different place today. But these organizations that base themselves on myths that are above reproach have, are and will continue to hold our global societies back. Voting for a president due to the opinion that he is a "good christian man" and teaching our children about how cavemen co-existed with dinosaurs because the Earth is only six thousand years old in science class is detrimental to the evolution of our society and effectively our species.

If any person or organization wishes to hold authority of any kind they should be held to the same scrutiny and requirements as all others. So long as these organizations wish to remain held apart but still enforce their views and restrictions upon society I will look for ways to undermine them. If they would like to start paying taxes and allow federal requirements to be involved in their hiring practices as well as their practices in general, I would welcome the change.

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AchillesHeel
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Teaching myth and misdirection over proven science.
http://www.11points.com/Books/11_Eye-Opening_Highlights_From_a_Creationist_Science_Textbook

Rewriting American history.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/16/texas-schools-rewrites-us-history

This is a two hour documentary on youtube, centered around a veteran who came home to King, North Carolina to find a christian flag above the newly built memorial in the center of town. I agree that there are vicious and immoral people who use religious organizations to their own benefit, but this is thousands of people who are demanding that one man leave town because he challenged the christian supremacy and defended the Constitution. Surely each of them don't have a personal vendetta against this man, but when a book is placed above questioning these are the things that happen. I would note that we are getting better with these things, mere decades ago it would not have been a rally demanding that his civil liberties be ignored but a lynch mob killing his family. Progress is progress nonetheless.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ucVDpmFz-E

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TomDavidson
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quote:
You justify your own aversion against religion by attacking religious institutions, not acknowledging the problem is in the mind of those people that obey those institutions.
It's actually sort of amusing to see someone castigating an atheist for complaining about religious institutions, when the real problem (the complainant asserts) is with religious people.

You don't often see that particular approach.

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Marek
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this is a bit off topic, maybe should be its own, but this seems a good place to ask:

I know a couple of true Agnostics, they are not sure what divine powers there might be, or if there are any, but they are also not sure there isn't anything out there, they simply do not care one way or the other.

But I know a down right fanatical atheist who insists in trying to convince anyone of faith that their faith is foolish, and that there is nothing there. Still he insists on being called an Agnostic, not an atheist because he says atheist is an offensive term. Personally i find most atheism no more or less annoying than any other faith. But is the term atheist offensive?

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AchillesHeel
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If nothing else atheists and agnostics are individuals. There is no hand book to show us how to be non-believers no matter how many books Richard Dawkins or Penn Jillette publish.

If he doesn't want to be called atheist, it's his deal. I was raised without religion but only became an atheist at twenty years old, I chose the descriptor myself. I'm the only non-believer in all my extended family and it was three years before I started spending time with other atheists. No one put the label on me, but I would be interested in why someone would think it derogatory.

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Strider
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Marek, it's difficult to say. He might have his own reasons for being offended and they may in part have something to do with how he defines both those words, or how he associates those terms with the movements, etc.

For instance, the terms atheist and agnostic tend to be used to mean "knows god doesn't exist" and "isn't sure if god exists", respectively. But their technical definition is actually something like, "lacks belief in a deity" and "believes the question of the existence of a deity cannot be answered/known with certainty". So under those definitions, I'm both an atheist and an agnostic.

So without knowing more about your friend and how he views those terms it's impossible to say what it is that offends him about the word atheist.

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Xavier
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quote:
Personally i find most atheism no more or less annoying than any other faith.
Also, you might not want to call atheism a "faith". I don't particularly care to argue that point again, so just trust me, its not [Wink] .
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Personally i find most atheism no more or less annoying than any other faith. But is the term atheist offensive?
If you keep calling it a "faith," yes, it is. I'm not at all offended when someone calls me an atheist; I am generally livid when someone suggests that I belong to the Atheist Faith. Leaving all other questions aside (like, for example, the fact that there are actually atheist faiths out there, so a hypothetical Atheist Faith is not itself a useful grouping), it's like saying that a lack of belief in unicorns is itself a belief.

For my part, I think atheists who want to be called agnostics while still believing that the question of a god's existence is in fact an answerable one are mildly cowardly. If you're calling yourself an agnostic because the non-existence of God hasn't been proven, you've misunderstood the meaning of the word.

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AchillesHeel
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I think they are just excusing themselves from the judgement, stupid questions and antagonism that you can encounter as an atheist.

"Are you happy?"
"How can you have morals without god?"
"Have you read the bible? I think it would do you good."
"I'll pray for you" which always sounds like they think they are tattling on me to god, and I'll get sorted out in the end.

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GinetteB
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I hear some very narrowminded views here. In the first place, those views have nothing to do with religion, but everything with aversion, caused by Christian people asking the wrong questions. But what exactly do you know about Islam? Buddhism? Taoism? And what exactly do you know about Christianity?

All religions describe the beginning of all things, they give lessons about how to live our lifes, and they describe our final destiny together with predictions about the end of times.

The principle underlying the beginning of existence, is similar in all religions, whether theistic or non-theistic. Even science has a similar view on the origin of the universe and its development, being one ultimate source everything evolved and expanded from. Where beliefs start to differ, depends on the properties, given to the ultimate source of our origin. At least all religions agree, something cannot come into existence out of nothing, so the universe must have an ultimate cause. Though it seems to be an important question, it is by far not the most important. The most important is the keypoint, whether this cause/the Highest God has a will of itself, whether it thinks and loves, whether it has sent its Word into the world through messengers, and whether it intervenes in our lifes through actions.

As to life for humans, all religions agree our love and our human intelligence, our mind/consciousness, or spirit, are sort of trapped in a mortal body, and the desire to please and protect this body/individual existence is the cause of destructive emotions, sins or evil. They all teach how to develop our love and mind, by being aware of this destructive tendency. They also teach, we are all one big family and should not put our own interests above the interests of others but at least equal to our own interest. Furthermore, they contain advice as to what is healthy for the body including advice on hygienics and diet, and on how to structure life in a community of people including basic laws against harmful actions. In essence, even those rules are very similar in all religions. Where beliefs differ, is as to what is in between our highest destiny and mortal life on earth. Is there more (intelligent) life in the universe? Are there intelligent beings on some higher level of reality between humans and the Highest God? Do we have more than one mortal life? Are there lesser deities or gods? Do we have to worship those lesser gods and/or the Highest God? Did God send the Word through messengers? Can God work miracles without interference of humans? Depending on the answers to those questions, religious lessons contain rituals and rules for the sake of worship, to please and thank the gods and/or God, and to ask for divine interference. Last but not least, there is the queest for extraordinary powers - like for example healing, speaking with the death, knowing the future - and a continuous blissful state of mind.

As to our final destiny, all religions promise a blissful ending if we succeed in living our lifes according to the teachings, to be judged in the end of times. All religions agree, the end of times does not mean the end of life on earth, it means the end of the cycle of birth and death, (ultimately) to be replaced with eternal life both on the earth as well as in the heavens. All religions say we cannot achieve this without a saviour, so they all predict this saviour to come in the end of times. The difference is, that all religions say this saviour will come from among their own midst, and most believe, this saviour will only save those from their own religion. Yet, all religions also teach, humankind is one big family with ultimately the same anchestors, no matter religion, so this is probably a misunderstanding, unless the saviour has 7 bodies.

Those without a religion prefer to leave all answers to questions that cannot be known open, until science has given proof. As to developing inner human values, they use our human mind with the conscience, giving warning signals whenever we (plan to) do something wrong, while religious people have the opinion, we cannot trust this enough, so we need the ethics from the religion. Besides, we are ignorant, so they believe we need the religions prescriptions as to what is healthy for us and good for our community. And they believe, we cannot achieve higher powers nor can we achieve eternal life, without religion.

So,as for religion, the essence of them all is compassion, love, tolerance and respect for others. Their different philosophical views are approaches to the same end.

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Orincoro
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quote:
All religions agree, the end of times does not mean the end of life on earth,
Really? I don't think all religions agree on this. Actually I know for a fact that the Catholic church accepts the current cosmological model, which spells the end of life on Earth at some point in the future.


Anyway, religious people so often get caught up in what religion "promises" people. They don't get that to an atheist, who came to this conclusion based on a rational, observational, deductive thought process, it sounds like an insurance sales pitch. "Buy Jesus, get saved now." It is utterly meaningless in the philosophical context in which most atheists operate.


quote:
while religious people have the opinion, we cannot trust this enough, so we need the ethics from the religion.
Or perhaps religious people operate under the false assumption that the natural laws of human behavior are imparted by religion, rather than being incorporated into religion *because* they are already a part of the human psyche.

In this way, religion is about as sophisticated as Taroh reading: it reds omens and invokes scriptures to tell people exactly what they already instinctively understand about themselves, but were not self-aware enough to realize it, nor poised enough to credit themselves with that understanding.

My parents attended the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco, and subsequently I read Emerson's "Self-Reliance," and "Education," among other essays. He presents this as the central problem of organized religion: it depends upon us accepting that what is natural and right in our minds was put there by words that merely describe how we already see ourselves. It is, in his view, the greatest swindle of all time.

[ December 31, 2012, 06:50 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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TomDavidson
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As a former Baha'i, reading Ginette's rant just now was a little surreal.
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GinetteB
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It was not a rant. Maybe that's why you thought it surreal.
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GinetteB
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Ok. I'll put it simple. Something cannot come into exisistence out of nothing. Now DEPENDING ON THE PROPERTIES of this source, we have different beliefs. Got it?

For the rest, I am out of this thread. Just indulge in your aversion, and waste your time ventilating your frustrations against religion. It won't have the sligthest effect for the good. If you want people to think for themselves and stop misinterpreting their religion, then maybe you should understand them first so you don't harm them, and then help them if you can. If you think you're wiser than them, show it.

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Strider
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Ginette, what you fail to realize is that most of us atheists understand religion extremely well, as most of us were raised in one faith or another. I, for one, went to an orthodox jewish school for 10 years growing up. I *was* religious, I understand the mindset perfectly.

Further, a lot of atheists acquaint themselves with various scriptures. Some did this during their process of leaving the faith and trying to find something more suitable for them. Not all do this for altruistic reasons; many try to learn as much as possible about all the other religions so they can better argue against them. But whatever the reason, many atheists know a religious person's religion in great detail, while also being able to discuss many different world religions.

Can you explain what particular views in this thread are narrowminded?

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Shigs
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Why can't the problem be both the religious people AND the religious scriptures?
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Rakeesh
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Ginette, someone who has just labeled one of the essences of all religions as being *tolerance* is in no position at all lecturing others on a failure to understand religions.

I mean, the rest of it where you pin most of human virtues to religion, those are varying degrees of murky and difficult to argue. But *tolerance*?

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Marek
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
I think they are just excusing themselves from the judgement, stupid questions and antagonism that you can encounter as an atheist.

"Are you happy?"
"How can you have morals without god?"
"Have you read the bible? I think it would do you good."
"I'll pray for you" which always sounds like they think they are tattling on me to god, and I'll get sorted out in the end.

Even as a Catholic, I would want to sock some one who said most of those. Those just really annoying to me.

also
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
it's like saying that a lack of belief in unicorns is itself a belief.

Does this mean my new church of No-unicorns is a hoax? But I already payed for the symbolic necklace and car decal! [Angst]
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Samprimary
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quote:
So,as for religion, the essence of them all is compassion, love, tolerance and respect for others.
Exactly what meaning of the word "Tolerance" are you using here to describe a universal characteristic of religions?
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GinetteB
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With 'respect' I mean true respect, that is acknowledging the value. With 'tolerance' I mean to accept others beliefs even if you think they are false.

My tolerance goes so far as to accept false views, but I will not accept wrong views. The difference is - if you'd please allow me as a foreigner to make this distinction in your language - that a wrong view is a harmful one, sure to lead to harmful action. While a false view is taking something for true that has been proven to be false or the other way around.

As to narrowminded, it is this whole thing of condemning 'religion', the black-and-white thinking.

Strider, why would you argue 'against them'? As I said, I don't have a religion. I have friends from different religions as well as friends that do not have one. I meet people from different religions and cultures. I would never 'argue against them' unless they are harming me or others. To be a good person, be happy and contribute to the wellbeing of others has nothing to do with religion.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
With 'respect' I mean true respect, that is acknowledging the value. With 'tolerance' I mean to accept others beliefs even if you think they are false.

Do you see how such a thing is inherently self-contradictory? You do not accept other people's beliefs if you think they are false. Patently. Tolerance is *allowing* and *forgiving* beliefs in contradiction to your own. It is not accepting those beliefs. We are not required to accept that which we do not believe, as a condition of tolerance.
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Xavier
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quote:
With 'tolerance' I mean to accept others beliefs even if you think they are false.
I don't know how anyone could have even a minimum of exposure to world history (or current events!) and come to the conclusion that this is a property of religion.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
Ok. I'll put it simple. Something cannot come into exisistence out of nothing. Now DEPENDING ON THE PROPERTIES of this source, we have different beliefs. Got it?

No I don't get it. As a rational person, looking at the accumulated evidence, which suggests that the laws of nature may not have always been consistent with our current observations, I am not convinced that something cannot come from nothing. This is an area of cosmology that is still being explored. As such I *have* no beliefs about the origins of the universe, other than what the scientific process has suggested is likely, or possible. I am not required to have beliefs about something, about which I do not have sufficient information. A key difference between me and you, apparently.

quote:
As to narrowminded, it is this whole thing of condemning 'religion', the black-and-white thinking.

My thinking is not black and white. I condemn some religions on firmer grounds than others, for example. I condemn all religions, about which I have collected sufficient information, because all of them have been, in my experience, condemnable. This is a powerful pattern, but nevertheless, I am not tempted to suggest that all religion, everywhere is universally condemnable. I do not know this to be the case. I only suspect it. This is not black and white. Rather, your thinking is decidedly binary on this: you perceive criticisms of religion as universal statements of absolute faith (a consequence of your religious training, I imagine), and not as qualified statements of opinion, which is what they actually are.
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GinetteB
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It is. Unfortunately, it is not a property of religious institutions.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
It is. Unfortunately, it is not a property of religious institutions.

No, it is a *claim* of religious institutions. I defy you to segregate, in a meaningful way, the properties of "religions," and "religious institutions."

Mind: a meaningful way. I am not looking for your latest bright-siding prevarication about how everything bad about religion is institutional, and everything sunshine and lollypops is "religion." I want to know what the difference actually is- not how you feel about one or the other. I am looking for some justification for the notion that religion, and religious institution are discrete things, despite the observable fact that religions are shaped by, defined, and advocated by institutions of one make or another.

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GinetteB
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That is my point Orincoro. Religions have been used as an instrument of power through religious institutions. Now those institutions have corrupted their own scriptures, and made rules and false interpretations. To have religious harmony and respect for other beliefs, it is not enough to find common ground on what beliefs have in common (in the lollypop part as you call it). It is also necessary to acknowledge this common ground as the most important element in beliefs, and have it prevail over man-made interpretations and rules within a beliefsystem. To acknowledge this, would mean to reconsider religious laws and rules, not in line with the main scripture, to correct misunderstandings caused by false human interpretation, and to consider rituals and worship at least equally important to living the teachings.

So that is what I think the discussion should be about. Why not value what is valuable, and save arguing for the elements that are harmful?

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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Or perhaps religious people operate under the false assumption that the natural laws of human behavior are imparted by religion, rather than being incorporated into religion *because* they are already a part of the human psyche.

Is a belief in "natural laws of human behavior" any different than the belief in objective morality? Claiming there are laws that govern behavior implicit to the human psyche suggests there is some optimal condition of human existence or a preferred outcome of events.
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Samprimary
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So basically whenever you have intolerance as a feature of religion, it's not religion (which supposedly has tolerance as a universal value) but rather 'religious institutions,' okay, what about the preponderance of faiths throughout history which have held at their core that nonbelievers are lesser, dangerous, or deserving of death?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:

So that is what I think the discussion should be about. Why not value what is valuable, and save arguing for the elements that are harmful?

You see value in things that I see as harmful. This is the basis of the discussion. Your answer above is practical nonsense: you plead "understanding," and "acceptance," or such terms, I think in the hopes of having a discussion about religion entirely on your own terms. And when it is had on your own terms, anything bad is not worth talking about, and anything "good," (read: not necessarily explicitly bad from your point of view), counts in favor of your religious beliefs.

This is like asking us all to sit down and *try* really hard, to agree with you, and to find reasons why you might be right. Really, it's infantile- and I would blame you personally if I didn't know that this is what you've been taught. This is what people think talking about religion is. This is *why* people stay religious, because they don't get into actual discussions about it, they learn to avoid them.

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AchillesHeel
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Religion demands persons or institutions with authority. The institutions are what made the scriptures, designated the holidays and named the saints. When there is no institution making declarations and demands, there is no religion. In the past this would only have resulted in anarchy and regressive human actions. Currently we are capable of moving beyond mysticism and embracing reason logic and rationality. In cases when there were no over institutions ones were made. This is true throughout all humanity.

For longer than we have recorded our thoughts we have struggled to understand everything that we have met. What is edible, the seasons, the tide, animal behaviors, what can heal our sick and what happens to us when we die. Every religion answers the questions we have, but in the last four hundred years we have been disproving them all. As mentioned above, even the Vatican has accepted some scientific proof that defies the bible.

History has shown time and again that when religious teachings are disagreed with the blasphemer is killed, when equally challenged the response is genocide.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Or perhaps religious people operate under the false assumption that the natural laws of human behavior are imparted by religion, rather than being incorporated into religion *because* they are already a part of the human psyche.

Is a belief in "natural laws of human behavior" any different than the belief in objective morality? Claiming there are laws that govern behavior implicit to the human psyche suggests there is some optimal condition of human existence or a preferred outcome of events.
It implies it, but it does not require it. "Natural laws of human nature," I employed as a loose term to describe basic human nature. I am not inured to the idea that there is an unbreakable natural order to humanity- evolutionary theory suggests that the nature of humanity must be fluid, and must contain elements adaptable not just to our present, but to our past as well. And as we adapt to the future, our present adaptions themselves remain. So "natural laws of human nature," are themselves not an article of faith, but a general term of description for the human condition as it is observed.
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