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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Taking advantage of VT to 'promote' faith (Page 3)

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Author Topic: Taking advantage of VT to 'promote' faith
Tresopax
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quote:
Does it matter? If humanism is positive, does it matter why?
You just said that if "there is something positive happening, then it is important to identify the source." Secular humanism is a collection of beliefs. If there is something positive happening from secular humanism, it must stem from some of those beliefs. I think it would be important to figure out which beliefs if only to try and determine which beliefs are most important to have.
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katharina
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Ah, I see. I was calling humanism the source, and I thought you were asking what the metaphysical source of humanism was. I have an opinion on that, but I don't think it matters what the source of humanism is.

But it seems like now you asking what, specifically, are the positive-outcome-generating parts of humanism. Is that right?

I think that's a good question. I know some people call themselves humanists - what do y'all think are some postive-outcome-generating portions of it?

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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

But all that aside, I don't know much about D'Souza--I saw him once on the Colbert Report--but he doesn't sound like a very well-meaning or especially smart fellow to me.

I hadn't heard of him until now, but based on what he's written about this particular issue, I wholeheartedly agree.
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Dagonee
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I've met him - he's actually a very smart guy.
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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:

It isn't splitting hairs. Atheism is a denial of something - not something positive in and of itself.

It seems that way when we take the discussion into an academic debate and tear apart each word. Yet, D'Souza was attacking atheists generally, and secular humanism and a moral abhorrence for suffering is widespread enough among atheists for the author to write, 'We atheists believe...'

It's a perfectly reasonable statement. He didn't even say that atheists believe these things bceause of atheism. In fact, it was worded more like, 'We atheists don't do _____, but we see value in _____ and have meaningful ways of responding to tragedy too.'

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katharina
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For that to be true, Euripides, all or even most atheists would have to also be secular humanists and ascribe to his world view. That's a little presumptuous.
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Euripides
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katharina, take a look at what the author claims atheists believe:
quote:
We believe in people, in their joys and pains, in their good ideas and their wit and wisdom. We believe in human rights and dignity, and we know what it is for those to be trampled on by brutes and vandals. We may believe that the universe is pitilessly indifferent but we know that friends and strangers alike most certainly are not. We despise atrocity, not because a god tells us that it is wrong, but because if not massacre then nothing could be wrong.
These aren't the tenets of a quirky or particularly specific moral philosophy; they are things which somewhere around 99% of atheists would agree on, depending upon what the author means by "human rights and dignity". In fact, a lot of those things apply to most people generally. Please see the statement in context. It's perfectly reasonable.


(it's been a long day; good night for now)

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katharina
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Most of the statements in that sentence specifies a source for the belief or a caveat to soften the belief.

Despise atrocity - because if not massacre then nothing could be wrong.
Believe in human rights and dignity - because of what happens when those are trampled.
Universe is pitilessly indifferent - but not friends or strangers most likely. (This last statement is definitely something that is not universal; there are plenty who think that strangers are often indifferent.)

For most of the statements, there is a reason or a source given. Those reasons do not come from atheism.

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Euripides
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He never said they did. Forgive me if I don't labour the point further. I'm repeating myself from the last page, and I really do need some shut-eye.
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Teshi
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quote:
It isn't splitting hairs. Atheism is a denial of something - not something positive in and of itself.
The absence of something isn't always a negative thing, just because it's an absence. Sometimes it can even be positive. In this case, it's a perfectly neutral thing. Atheism does not begin with a 'bad' or 'good' universe/society/existance, it stems from a neutral one.

This, of course, does not mean that the sum of everything in the universe is neutral.

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Teshi
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quote:
Those reasons do not come from atheism.
No. They don't. Atheism isn't religion. It doesn't give you anything but an absence of a supreme being, which, as I said before, is neutral. Religion defines the nature of earth and the ether etc., whereas atheism does not. It does not give you reasons. Perhaps this is what you mean by "something positive in of itself" in which case you are correct.

The beliefs of atheists that seem to be present ed here, come from the humans that create them; from observation, from scientific investigation, from experience, from hope. I would call this Humanism.

Atheism is really a name which exists only because for so long the default position has been Theism. In the world of an atheist, this viewpoint is usually reversed.

Although Euripides says that there are uniting beliefs for all atheists, I think that only applies to Humanists, who make up the vast majority of atheists. I suppose what you view as morality comes from Humanism.

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katharina
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quote:
The beliefs of atheists that seem to be present ed here, come from the humans that create them; from observation, from scientific investigation, from experience, from hope. I would call this Humanism.
...
Although Euripides says that there are uniting beliefs for all atheists, I think that only applies to Humanists, who make up the vast majority of atheists.

This is exactly what I meant. [Smile]
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Teshi
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And Humanism, I should add, comes from the people that ascribe to it. Anything positive is stemming from the people- the humans. That is what Humanism means.
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Rakeesh
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Euripedes,

quote:
It's a perfectly reasonable statement. He didn't even say that atheists believe these things bceause of atheism. In fact, it was worded more like, 'We atheists don't do _____, but we see value in _____ and have meaningful ways of responding to tragedy too.'
You and I at least have been over this before, but I thought I'd draw attention to our disagreement for the sake of newcomers to the conversation. I believe that since, when a religious person says, "We Mormons believe...," or, "We Catholics believe," or, "We Buddhists believe," that person is generally comprehended as implying (whether or not he knows what he's talking about) a statement about the behavior of Mormons, Catholics, Buddhists, etc., in general.

I believe that the same should be said for atheists, because it's been my experience (backed up by the author) that while atheists (when viewed in only that light) aren't unified by anything other than disbelief, there is still some kinship felt.

J4

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Tresopax
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I don't think it is a good idea to mix up the concepts of Atheism and Humanism. There are some atheists who are not Humanists, and it would be unfair to them for one thing. There are also many theists who are Humanists. I am inclined to think, if Christ's teachings are true, that God was the first Humanist.
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