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Author Topic: How many Atheists are there?
Strider
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
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.
I should also note that many (most) atheists would be fine with saying there is objective morality, given the types of organisms we are and the way in which we can be in positive or negative states of being, etc...
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GinetteB
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You have to fall back on insulting again Orincoro? Calling me infantile, between others?

Now that is a sign of weakness.

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GinetteB
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Achilles heel:

Religion demands persons or institutions with authority.

No, they don't. The only authority is God/the ultimate truth.

The institutions are what made the scriptures, designated the holidays and named the saints.

No. Humans made the scriptures.

When there is no institution making declarations and demands, there is no religion.

No. Religion is the word of the ultimate Truth/God as revealed

In the past this would only have resulted in anarchy and regressive human actions.

? No, they resulted in laws, based on this Word.

Currently we are capable of moving beyond mysticism and embracing reason logic and rationality.

Then you don't know much about philosophy. 3000 years ago, they were very well capable of logical reasoning 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,

No, they don't and they don't pretend to, that is the basis of faith. There is always a rest that cannot be known.

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.

The Bible? As if that is the one and only scripture. Them all?? So we disproved the value of mental (health) care? We disproved the value of concern for others? Of hygiene? Of self-discipline? Etcetera? I think we proved the opposite.

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

It is people that kill people, using their religious institutions as an excuse, no scripture says the blasphemer should be killed, on the contrary. It is Allah alone who judges who is a believer and who is a disbeliever. The Qu'ran is pretty clear about that. And does the Bible say that we can just kill those who do not fall on their knees to God? I can't find it.

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Rakeesh
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Wait a second, I want to see if you'll committ to this: it is your claim that *no* scripture advocates death for heretics and blasphemers and nonbelievers? And I don't mean any of this wishy washy nonsense you've been peddling so far, where the bad things written and passed down in scripture don't count or are obviated by a later pronouncement or edit (of...the holy word of God...).
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Samprimary
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quote:
No. Religion is the word of the ultimate Truth/God as revealed
And how, perchance, are we to figure this from when what religious authority is telling us is wrong?

Like, basically, you're telling us "Religion is religion only when it is really religion, otherwise it is religious institution. All real religion has these universal characteristics. Whenever it does not have these universal characteristics, it is not really religion."

A fairly indecipherable (in practice) church of the true scotsman. There are plenty of active religions going on right now that quite clearly establish the importance of othering nonbelievers as lessers. Go mill around in Guinea tribes for a while if you don't believe me.

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Rakeesh
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As if one would need to travel so far...
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AchillesHeel
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Ginnete, institutions are organizations, comprised of people. People are the ones who make religions and myths, not cats. Or robots. Or things that have no humans involved yet are called institutions or organizations.

Keep this in mind and then reread my posts. I think you will find them to relay very different ideas than before.

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GinetteB
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By using our mind, Samprimary


Now for what it is worth, this is my personal opinion: The overall American interpretation of Christianity is satanic; it is harmful and demoralizes your society. Their Bible has only one sentence -I am the way, the truth and the light - You have 15 million likes on a page like Jesus Daily! That about says it all.

Just don't think it is like that all over the world. We are with 7 billion people, and Christianity in Europe or India or Russia is completely different from yours. Then we have the other 6 major religions plus all kinds of minor religions and sects. Some turned into harmful systems, others contributed to peace and prosperity.

So, now I am going to have a nice New Years Eve. Happy New Year to all of you!

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GinetteB
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Oh...forgot Achilles Heel. Religions = original scriptures acknowledged as being the Ultimate Truth/Word of God as revealed through messengers/prophets like Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha. What their followers made of it over those thousands years is something completely different, unfortunately.
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AchillesHeel
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That would require the assumption of gods and magic with no proof other than the materials provided by people. The idea that magic proves magic without any proof is small minded and willfully ignorant. You want to point at a name in a religions text and demand that they be recognized as real and above reproach, I refuse. I am not alone in this, those with no religious affiliation have become the third largest demographic in the world.

Oh, and you can call me AH. Everyone here does, happy new years.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
By using our mind, Samprimary

Okay, so what do you say to everyone who says that they have used their minds and seen religion to be often very much so intolerant? Do you tell them they're just not using their mind correctly?
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GinetteB
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AH,

The idea that magic proves magic without any proof is small minded and willfully ignorant.

If you'd study Buddhistic philosophy for example, you'd find they do not proof magic with magic. They provide proof by logic and reasoning. Also in Taoism.

You want to point at a name in a religions text and demand that they be recognized as real and above reproach, I refuse.

That I refuse too. That is exactly what American Christianity does. Yet the Qu'ran says, he who does not believe in the VERSES of the Qu'ran is a disbeliever. I also think the Bible states this. 'Whoever transgresses and does not bring the DOCTRINE, has not God; whoever follows the doctrine has both God and the Son'. Clear enough. What would it be worth to 'God'- or whatever you call this ultimate source of our origin - what name we give it?

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GinetteB
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Samprimary, how can 'religion' be intolerant? What do you mean? You mean the teachings are intolerant?
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AchillesHeel
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
Samprimary, how can 'religion' be intolerant? What do you mean? You mean the teachings are intolerant?

I am paraphrasing here but... "Our God is the only God, all other gods are false idols that are to be destroyed in the name of our God."

Also, you spoke of the Qur'an. In regards to specific people within religious text being held beyond reproach or doubt I would ask you this, is it blasphemy against Allah to claim that Moses is a false prophet?

Is it blasphemy to claim that the Qur'an is false?

Is such blasphemy punishable?

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
Samprimary, how can 'religion' be intolerant? What do you mean? You mean the teachings are intolerant?

You have stated, essentially, that you consider religion to have a certain set of universal components. Tolerance is one of them. You said earlier "With 'tolerance' I mean to accept others beliefs even if you think they are false." I'm running off of this definition, because it is the definition you are applying as a universal component of religions, even when it very much so is not even near universal and has not been throughout history. If one uses their mind and determines that religion does not actually possess tolerance as a universal virtue and that in fact many religions are often fundamentally intolerant, do you tell them that they are wrong? That even though they are using their mind, they must just be doing so incorrectly?
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GinetteB
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Samp, I meant to say they TEACH tolerance.

You say 'many religions are often fundamentally intolerant' Prove it please. Where in the scripture of which religion do you feel this teaching is intolerant? Intolerant towards whom?

Are you referring to for example intolerance towards homosexuals, abortion, polygamie? Well,it has already been proven with the Bible that homosexuality is ok (Chicago), that abortion is ok (I found proof at the Christian Left page) and it is only a matter of time before the story of Lot's people in the Qu'ran will be interpreted as it should, well at least that is what I hope for muslim homos. So, thanks to people smart enough to use their own weapons against them, we can fight this 'intolerance' that is in the minds of people, not in the teachings.

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GinetteB
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AH No of course not. If you are not a muslim, you are free to believe Moses was a false prophet and the Qu'ran is false. If you are a muslim, you declare that you acknowledge the truth in the messages from all the prophets mentioned in the Qu'ran - which includes Jesus. Then, the Qu'ran says: So give glad tidings to My servants,
[39:19] Who listen to the Word and follow the best thereof. It is they whom Allah has guided, and it is they who are men of understanding.

In other words, you're free to 'follow the best thereof' you don't have to take everything literally but use your own mind: As here is a warning to obey only the authentic teachings and not some wordly institution:

O ye who believe! if you obey any party of those who have been given the Book, they will turn you again into disbelievers after you have believed.
(Qu'ran Aal-e-Imran 3:101)

As I said before, only Allah can judge, who is a believer and who is a disbeliever. So whatever laws some sects may have, they are against the Qu'ran if the simple fact that someone disagrees with some teaching will lead to punishment by some party.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
You have to fall back on insulting again Orincoro? Calling me infantile, between others?

Now that is a sign of weakness.

No. Your arguments are infantile. Of course, it is more convenient for you to leave the table now that I have said thus- you don't have to deal with everything else I said before I crossed the line into "insult." That's ok. We both know how this works.
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Shigs
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I forget, what passage was it that had Jesus repudiating that whole Amalekite "incident?"
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GinetteB
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for you to leave the table now that I have said thus

That is a false assumption Orincoro. The reason to leave is whether I have the idea people want to discuss my perspective or not. If I have the idea they don't, then I leave, why waste each others time? Yet, there were some who did after all, so I stayed.

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TomDavidson
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I belonged for many years to a religion that preached the ultimate commonality of all religions, Ginette. It strongly encouraged its adherents to be well-read in pretty much all major works of scripture, and I've maintained an interest in theology even as I moved beyond religious faith. So I'm very familiar with the claim that "all religions" share certain common values, and have been on the other side of this argument as recently as twenty years ago.

But once you stop to examine the reality of the matter, the truth is that successful societies share certain common values, and no religion can exist unless it is compatible with those values. Religions distinguish themselves by disagreeing with (and even killing) each other over the unimportant crap -- while staying out of the way of the more important changes that happen as societies mature. It is unsurprising that human collaboration has gelled around certain obvious rulesets -- like, say, don't go around killing or raping or stealing or basically being a jerk -- and equally unsurprising that people would find comfort in ascribing these "rules" to an unimpeachable and unreachable power. But while it's easy to find the common ground of all human societies (and thus all religions), it requires filing off all the rough and distinguishing edges of those societies (and religions) to assert that they're all identical and equally beneficial at their core.

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GinetteB
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Yes Tom. Exactly. To have religious harmony and respect for other beliefs, it is not enough to find common ground on what beliefs have in common. 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.

Now for the approach: You say it requires filing off all the rough and distinguishing edges of those societies (and religions) to assert that they're all identical and equally beneficial at their core. (just like humans btw)
If you'd want to contribute to religious harmony, then are you going to make the people find each other on this common ground and next have them reconsider the mess they made of their religion - so changes will in the end come from the inside out, if you succeed in making them a little wiser -, or are you going to attack 'religion' as the dragon that has to be slaughtered?

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
Samp, I meant to say they TEACH tolerance.

You say 'many religions are often fundamentally intolerant' Prove it please. Where in the scripture of which religion do you feel this teaching is intolerant? Intolerant towards whom?

The Dani and other Papuan tribes, the Zealand tribes, the Yanomamo, the Germanics, the Nuer, to say nothing of the established history of most religions anyway?

I mean we're talking about multiple religions in which "tolerance" does not exist in any meaningful sense. Outsiders are taken as slaves that can be killed at will, or they are simply killed, or even eaten, because outsiders are evil, not one of the chosen people, etc.

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brojack17
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I don't want to get into a theological discussion so take this as humor and that's it.

They should have a building that atheists go to. They can hear atheist messages and even donate money to the cause. They can keep track of who comes on a weekly basis so everyone knows how many atheists come to this building. Everyone should be encouraged to bring a guest.

That's what the title of this thread reminds me of. That and those old boards in the small churches that show attendance.

Again, no offense meant, I just thought it was funny.

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AchillesHeel
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I've thought about that before, like a social center for atheists and secularists. Game nights, social clubs co-opesque classes. Maybe even an atheist private school.

Would it qualify for tax exempt status?

One of the most common lamentations of the non-religious is a lack of imminent and accessible community. Pick any religion, in North America you can almost always join a preexisting community. Such communities regularly provide opportunities, luxuries and general higher standard of living not readily offered or available to outsiders. Not to mention a nice place to meet nice people. I would happily make a tax deductible donation to my local Secularist Social Center.

Oh to see a political drama in which the mayor shakes in his boots when he makes a decision that may lose him the secularist vote.

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Stephan
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Seems to me that most atheists are like myself, and don't really like such large gatherings of people.

I don't really think that there is anything inherently harmful about religion. I think it is people themselves that use it for their own ends. Power corrupts. Dominant people are more likely to end up in leadership roles. Religion is just something people can use to unite against another group. I don't really think the people behind the Islamic terrorist groups really care if we all convert or not. They are just warping the religion to give people living terrible lives something to believe in and be willing to die for. Nationalism is the same thing as religion in that regard.

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TomDavidson
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I love large gatherings of people. But those people need to be united by way more than atheism, because atheism is after all not actually a philosophy or viewpoint; it is the absence of a shared philosophy. There is no reason for me to assume that any given atheist shares my values or hobbies or interests.
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AchillesHeel
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The monthly meeting I attend will usually have over thirty people in a fairly small area. There are occasionally people who I don't get along with but for the most part everyone is amiable and interesting. While the lack of religion doesn't bond anyone the opportunity to socialize where no one is drunk, there is no pounding music and almost everyone is intellectual and able to converse beyond "what's your name? that's cool... y'wanna drink?" can do wonders.
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Samprimary
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quote:
But those people need to be united by way more than atheism, because atheism is after all not actually a philosophy or viewpoint; it is the absence of a shared philosophy.
More importantly, when you try to do an 'atheist group' thing united pretty much only by atheism, the commonality of the people who do attend is usually that they all have a stick up their butt about the theists/Xians/slaveminds/neurotypicals and that's what it's really all about for them.

Meanwhile everyone else does something else with their lives because the absence of a belief in something does not a sunday social group make for them

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Strider
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I belonged to a Humnanist group for some years that filled this very purpose. Monthly meetings with a speaker on topics to do with ethics, social issues, religious issues, etc. Book club, movie night, dinner/drinks get together, various other social and community service activities. The only thing we didn't have was our own building. And Humanist groups tend to be brought together not just by the atheism of the members, but out of a desire to live good lives.

On a separate, but related, note, this guy argues for taking all the good parts of religion and incorporating them into atheism: http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html

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AchillesHeel
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Samp, have you actually attended such a function? If so, how many different kinds with what variables? Let's be empirical about this.

Yes it does attract a large variety, so do most things. Comicon for instance is attended by more than comic-book nerds and gamers. The meetup I attend does not have an overriding agenda, it is simply social. When there has been a conversation about religion its been people relating their upbringing and loss of faith, I've learned a lot about not necessarily religious practices of various religious organizations this way. If not that, it has been in passing and usually a small bit of humor.

From the monthly meeting I attend people have found like-minded people to share personal interests with. There are a lot of hiking groups for varying schedules and locations that have spawned from the fact that they enjoy each others company, not to go hiking with non-religious people. Family friendly breakfast meetups in various parts of the valley game nights for people who are into those kind of things. If there were any other hockey fans (and if there were hockey.......) I might have tried to assemble a group of friends to enjoy home games with.

The reason we go is to socialize with interesting people, not temper or defend our atheism. Arizona is far from being a hub of intellectualism or culture, so it is nice to know that once a month I can meet strangers who so far have been less likely to be boring or insane. The part about no drunk people or annoying music is a big plus for me.

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AchillesHeel
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One event in particular that I am not attending because I do not go to church, but attending because I am interested in learning. Nate Phelps, son of Fred Phelps and former member of the Westboro Ministry will be speaking this Friday about child indoctrination, religious fanaticism, his upbringing and how he ended up being an atheist and an advocate of the LGBT community and rights.

I wouldn't have known if not for the meetup group calender. If it was just an atheist talking, I wouldn't care. But I care a lot about equal rights, children's safety and I still don't know what to do with that sick anger that I have felt over the Westboro Ministry's actions in the past. I would like to learn more about these things, he has a unique experience with these subjects. I'm going.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The reason we go is to socialize with interesting people, not temper or defend our atheism.
Which is great, except that then you're talking about an "Interesting People's Club," which may as well include religious folk.
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AchillesHeel
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The first time I went it was just to meet other atheists, I had never socialized with anyone who wasn't christian. Even people who had never actively participated in a religious organization decided they were defacto christians and rarely shared my skepticism in general. I was curious about them, atheism is not something people talk about here, at least not politely.

About a year prior I had also attended one socialist party meeting. I wanted to learn, I learned that the group of people were not very interesting and that I was no socialist.

I don't go to school, my work is very solitary, I don't inebriate and I obviously don't attend church. In Arizona this makes me confusing to many people who I do meet, and it is very difficult to meet people who do not bother or bore me. Hence why I appreciate the lack of inebriation, and that most everyone I've met have been clear headed and well spoken adults.

I went the first time just to talk to other atheists to see what that would be like, I've kept going to that one monthly event because I have met some really nice people who I like talking to and I wouldn't mind meeting more. In fact, getting out of my shell with them is why I have made a strong friendship with one of the customers who would come through my old store.

Tom, if you make the meetup and actually get interesting people, I'm in. Oh yeah, and it has be in Phoenix. But not in a bar.

E.T.A.
There are other meetups in my area that cater to skeptics and humanists, but they carry some agenda driven purposes that I don't want to participate in. There are a few groups for nerdy interests but they have very low membership and no activity. There are even age group specific social clubs, that I'm not really comfortable with. Somehow I found a happy little place where I can find fascinating people with no pressure or prerogative riding the whole thing. I do not care to apologize for it.

[ January 02, 2013, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: AchillesHeel ]

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
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.

I disagree with this. I think that you are talking about organized religion pretty specifically. While it is quite true that religious organizations are often quite old and powerful, organization and institutional authority is demanded by human nature, not necessarily religion. There are plenty of organizations and institutions that have nothing to do with religion.
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AchillesHeel
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In the case of those institutions and organizations they have no choice but to prove they are worthy of authority by providing either a control of resources or a particular benefit to society. Religious organizations have actually worked in direct contrast to social advancement, not only retaining authority but in some cases gaining more by degrading the standard of living within the society.

If Stanford killed and or banished the entire staff of Harvard, destroyed the grounds and outlawed the use of Harvard issued degrees I don't think they would ever get away with it. Without a mystical imperative they have to remain on the progressive side of our advancement or else we may stop supporting them. When people are blindly faithful to your organization many things can be directly regressive and destructive to not only society but innocent people. And yet these religious organizations persist and survive.

Perhaps I haven't made one of my core perceptions clear thus far. Religion is shaped by human nature, not just religious institutions but religion in general. We fear death, so we name it and define it and convince ourselves and our children that we know all about it and its alright, because when you die you are not actually dead. The planet is six thousand years old, because I can't fathom how it could be any older. Fire blesses our food with its magic, evidenced by how much easier it is for us to process cooked meat versus uncooked.

We need to know everything, admitting that we don't know almost all of everything is a really scary thing for a lot of people. I get that. But the world is not flat, god is not punishing pack-a-day smokers with poor health because they let non-christians live within the city walls and reading the same book over and over doesn't make anyone more moral than someone who doesn't read that book at all.

This community is one of those strange little places where everyone questions things, we want to understand different ideas and the world at large, but not everyone is like this. Plenty of modern people are content to live their adult lives never surpassing or questioning what they were told as children. Morality, personal responsibility and general human nature. They would rather refer to ideas that they could understand by the age of eight than pursue further education and personal experience on the matter.

At the end of the day I don't care if people are a b c d or anything really, so long as they are not terrorizing or hurting innocent people. But I think it would be more difficult for the predators to act as they have in history and in our current society if more people actually started asking questions about the world, and going in search of answers even when there are easy ones available. If it leads them back to the religion they were taught, congratulations. If it leads them to a different one, congratulations. If it leads them to a place where they choose to take the world as it is without extrapolating unprovable truths, then there is no ethereal good or evil to blame the world on and you keep on questioning what you can.

Questioning can only impair ignorance.

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kmbboots
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I am not sure that you are really looking at most religion in the 21st century. Very little of it deals with magic fire.
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AchillesHeel
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I find the rationality to be similar.

"The fire god blessed the meat."

"God kept me from dying in that car crash."

Where can I find magic fire these days?

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kmbboots
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*sigh* Again,* Yes. Humans do take short cuts and use metaphor to wrap our heads around infinite ideas. And, yes. Often we mistake our metaphors for the truth. Hardly restricted to religion BTW. Religion as a whole is not entirely (or even mostly) about appeasing the superman in the sky. At least mature religious thought is not.

* Not necessarily "again" to you.

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AchillesHeel
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Without pointed regard for the conversations we have been having I want to share this.

http://www.examiner.com/article/america-s-shameful-christian-crime-spree

Apparently atheist billboards are commonly destroyed, vandalized or outright stolen. In one case a news crew had the criminal admit on camera and admit his name, he has not been brought up on charges. This is happening in different states and types of communities. So I guess it really isn't criminal to commit crimes against atheists.

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Marek
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I agree the vandalism is wrong, but that article is one of the most openly biased ones I have ever read. To say that these things are unacceptable, and that atheist should be as protected as anyone else are fair points. I am just not sure why the open attacks on all Christians are needed in it.

I guess that could just be the brainwashing talking though, since the article literally says that Christians hate Atheists.

"the existence of Christian hate for atheists is so well documented at this point that there ought to be no need for justification."

"There are a lot of Christians who hate atheists."

Though there is an almost humorous contradiction to this line of thinking later in the article: "Every time an atheist billboard is defaced or stolen, a Christian is proving not only that (s)he is hatefully intolerant of atheists," See that is more correct, the person who destroys a billboard, proves that that person is intolerant (or into vandalism) but is not really proving anything about the larger group. Also again the vandal is proving this about themselves, so it would seem better to say "when a person..." as opposed to "when a christian...".

It is wrong to say because some terrorists are Muslims, that Muslims hate America. Or when churches are vandalized, it is wrong to say Atheists hate Christians. I believe it is also wrong to say that because some Christians vandalized billboards, Christians hate atheists.

Still I do agree the vandalism is wrong, and that every group has the right to get their message out there. And really any crime that cops look the other way on, bugs me. I guess it is just the language and tone of the article that bothers me here.

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AchillesHeel
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I agree that the article is voiced in slanted manner, but to me it sounds like an atheist talking directly to an atheist audience.
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Marek
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Yeah, that is the problem with a lot of blogs. The writers know they are preaching to the choir so they get really over the top, because they do not expect who disagrees with them to ever even see it. This seems the case on almost any subject by the way.
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Daryl
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I'd like to comment here on a cultural aspect. I'm an Australian and in our culture we generally don't share our religious views publicly. In one job I had, over time there were quite a few visiting Americans, and it tended to be embarrassing when they tried to say grace at a business lunch or mentioned their beliefs and everyone quickly started talking about the weather.
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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:


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

2 of those things are just plain wrong and contradicts discovering the true nature of our world. The part about the end of the world is even dangerous to unstable minds. The third involves good parenting and stopped being for religion to teach in any civilized countries with, you know, laws.
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AchillesHeel
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quote:
Originally posted by Daryl:
I'd like to comment here on a cultural aspect. I'm an Australian and in our culture we generally don't share our religious views publicly. In one job I had, over time there were quite a few visiting Americans, and it tended to be embarrassing when they tried to say grace at a business lunch or mentioned their beliefs and everyone quickly started talking about the weather.

The U.K. thinks we are silly as well. They have their own religious right political group but keep them penned much better than we do.
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Olivet 2.0
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There is a Humanist group here that has a monthly Tango meetup. I'd like to get my Beloved to go, but he's not into dancing. I would probably not feel comfortable doing the tango with strangers, and I'm a horrible atheist, anyway. [Razz]
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AchillesHeel
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Why are you a horrible atheist, do you pray before dinner?
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Olivet 2.0
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I pray constantly. It's really kind of embarrassing. I just recently came out to my spouse and close friends as atheist, and most of them were surprised I hadn't been all along. I mean, I went to Christian school and was basically a true believer to start with, but I have not been to church (with the exclusion of funerals and community plays... and I think my polling place at the last election was a church, but you know, not for churchy reasons) in more than a decade.

But in all that time, I prayed. All the time. Even after I figured that holy scriptures are all fallible books written by people and do not contain any higher concentration of Truth than your average book, etc. I still kind of talked to the Universe, and sometimes called it God.

So, I'm a newly-out atheist, and my cat goes missing. In my head I'm saying, "Please help him find his way home, or let the end be quick." Not just saying it, but really feeling like I'm in a conversation, just as I always have.

I believe biologists call it Displacement Activity.

So, I'm driving down the road having my usual talk with the Universe in my head, and I realized I'm a total CRAP atheist. Actually, it was more like, "You know, God, I'm a crap atheist."

So, yeah. I think I might be more of an Einsteinian theist, just by nature. I don't really believe in a god, but I talk to one all the time.

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Xavier
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I think that's pretty natural. I've never been a member of any religion, but I still talk to the "universe" at times. Even bargain with it. I don't actually believe I am talking to any deity, its just a psychological thing.

I also sort of live my life as if "karma" exists, even though I know it doesn't. Same for "luck", to a lesser extent. I don't actually believe in any superstitions, but I sometimes pretend for the fun of it. I'll even do things like switch dealers at a casino when I'm on a losing streak. Even though I know that's nonsense.

Just because your beliefs are rational, doesn't mean your behavior has to be. At least in my opinion.

[ January 05, 2013, 09:29 PM: Message edited by: Xavier ]

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