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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Meteor shield dwindling (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Meteor shield dwindling
Thesifer
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
The beliefs I hold dear are to not impose religious belief on me, nor my kids. If you do that, you're not someone I have a problem with.

If on the other hand you support treating gays as second class citizens, etc. then I do.

That's a pretty short list of beliefs you hold dear. But if that's the only one, it won't be difficult to adhere to that.

I can also handle not treating homosexuals like second class citizens. Can you handle not treating me like a second class person?

I don't believe I've treated you like a second class citizen. But I will still make jokes about Religion. It actually IS a choice. People are welcome to their beliefs, but that doesn't mean it can't be criticized or joked about.
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MattP
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quote:
I don't believe I've treated you like a second class citizen. But I will still make jokes about Religion. It actually IS a choice. People are welcome to their beliefs, but that doesn't mean it can't be criticized or joked about.
Criticism is fine. Mean-spirited joking is just rude, and against the forum rules to boot.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I don't believe I've treated you like a second class citizen. But I will still make jokes about Religion. It actually IS a choice. People are welcome to their beliefs, but that doesn't mean it can't be criticized or joked about.
He said 'person', not citizen, which I suspect was a carefully chosen word. Look, please don't treat us like we're idiots. It wasn't a 'joke', you knew it would be considered profoundly and personally insulting. A little while ago you had the nerve to cop to it straight off, there's no need to downplay it now.

It's one thing to bag on Ron. More importantly than being wackadoo, he makes a habit of deceptive and personally insulting posts. I believe he even pleasantly anticipated the death and eternal torment of at least a few folks around here, myself among them.

But the people you're bagging on now, they *are* the people who have a profound appreciation for the separation of church and state, of having religion be treated in the public contest of ideas as just that-another idea. I'm certain of it with respect to BlackBlade, and fairly certain of it with respect to afr (I qualify that largely because you post less, afr).

So maybe don't so much insult the people you claim not to have a problem with. There were plenty of other ways to make some of the points you were making (even the one about religions all being fundamentally untrue) while not being a schmuck.

Or, you know, continue with the approach. But when you do, don't expect to be able to backpedal from criticism for it.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
The beliefs I hold dear are to not impose religious belief on me, nor my kids. If you do that, you're not someone I have a problem with.

If on the other hand you support treating gays as second class citizens, etc. then I do.

That's a pretty short list of beliefs you hold dear. But if that's the only one, it won't be difficult to adhere to that.

I can also handle not treating homosexuals like second class citizens. Can you handle not treating me like a second class person?

I don't believe I've treated you like a second class citizen. But I will still make jokes about Religion. It actually IS a choice. People are welcome to their beliefs, but that doesn't mean it can't be criticized or joked about.
If you were sitting on a train, and you looked over and saw a person wearing clothes you thought looked ridiculous. Would you say, "Hey you! Your clothes look ridiculous!"

You're well within your rights to do so. You are not well within good-manners though.

I didn't say you treated me like a second class citizen, I said you treated me like a second class *person*.

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Tittles
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Boris

You're going to have to answer to your god for not sharing the holy spirit with a truthseeker.

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Aros
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It's funny how the whole shoe fits differently when it comes to censorship, depending on whether you're on the side of the Hatrack collective or not.

The "mean-spirited" nature of a few other recent threads was far greater than that here, without any moderator intervention, deletion of posts, or general reprimands. Nothing against you BB, but it seems a bit of a double standard.

Or is the dogpile just becoming instinctive around here?

For the record, I don't agree with anyone in this thread. Just a little disturbed by the regulars lately.

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Rakeesh
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You're the last person to be critical of post deletion. In any event, this is a thread in which he is currently, regularly participating. Bit different from what happened in other threads. The ones we can read, anyway.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Tittles:
Boris

You're going to have to answer to your god for not sharing the holy spirit with a truthseeker.

You are not seeking truth. You are seeking to make yourself feel superior through radical misinterpretation and mockery of religious beliefs. You will mock every attempt I make to explain my beliefs because you do not actually want to know what I believe. You believe you are superior to me because I believe in the existence of a supreme being, and my reasons for doing so have no bearing in your treatment of that belief. You are a bigot, a fool, and a hypocrite. A bigot because you do not accept that people who believe in god are just as deserving of basic human respect and dignity. A fool because you do not seek truth but only seek to mock and malign. A hypocrite because you claim to hate religion for the very attributes that you put on display in your statements about religion. Until you are at a point where me talking to you about my beliefs will result in anything other than disrespect from you, I have no doubt that God would look upon our interaction and say, "Yeah...that guy wasn't willing to listen."
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Tittles
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Boris -

A bigot. Perhaps, although I support all rights for religious people, and even treat them with respect. Their beliefs, on the other hand? Not so much. And I'll admit my eyes reflexively roll whenever I hear them try to defend religious belief as rational.

A hypocrite. I dislike religion because pretty much every one revolves around telling other people how they should act. The Mormons are a little better at this, but they sure seem intent on telling secular society who and who should not be issued civil marriage rights.

And people keep on parroting that I'm trying to make myself feel superior. These people, I think, are missing the joke. I hate myself more then I could ever hate anyone else.

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Thesifer
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For the record my first post which was:
"Ahh religion, such good comic relief, if it weren't so damned annoying."

I guess that may be 'rude' to you if you're someone who is devoutly religious, and has devoted your life to something I will never believe in.

But I never said anything that isn't true. You can hate me because I laugh at your religion, that doesn't bother me.

You can laugh at me because I have a comic book collection, and think it's pretty awesome. On that level, to me, they are the same.

My roommate who considers himself to be a Christian watched the Mormon South Park and was laughing hysterically. When I brought up that his Jesus is really no different than Joseph Smith - except for +-2000 years, he got really pissed. I found that hilarious.

You can laugh at me because I don't kill any animals, bugs, or anything that's alive - even in my house, I catch and release. People laugh all the time - it's funny to some. I don't find it rude that people laugh because they don't think the same way I do.

Religion annoys me. Not necessarily ALL religious people, but Religion in general. I hear about it daily. I see about new laws pushed because someone's religion disagrees with something. I see laws passed for the same reason. I see politicians that get so caught up in their religion they forget everyone doesn't think that way. And they forget about the separation of church and state.

An example of my own beliefs: I don't believe it's right for me to kill any animal, bug, or otherwise, but I don't believe we need a law to make sure people don't go hunting, or that no food is created from Animals. And no - I'm not a vegan. I just personally don't kill things.

I just wish ALL (yes ALL) religious people could do the same. They aren't going to be forced to get "Gay married" so why should they force their beliefs that it's wrong on others? Not by TELLING them it's wrong, but by actually trying to legislate it, by either not allowing it, or trying to make it illegal. Some have gone as far as to try and make being gay illegal (again.)

Forcing your beliefs on others is where the issue is wrong. You can TELL me your beliefs, I can TELL you your beliefs are wrong. But when it comes to actually writing LAWS about those beliefs, there is a problem.

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Dan_Frank
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All laws are written based on beliefs, Thesifer.

Are you advocating some sort of non-government anarchistic society of free individuals?

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stilesbn
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I'm not sure what your (Thesifer and Tittles) end game is. Unless you are arguing with MattP who said it is against the forum rules and you think that your actions aren't such.

Everyone else has pretty much said, you have every right to be rude, but frankly it's rude. You could find a better way to express yourself. Of course you don't have to and you can just remain rude.

Your argument is that people shouldn't be offended I guess because you aren't offended when people laugh at your non-killing of animals belief.

I guess then you shouldn't get annoyed when religious people try to pass laws. I'm pretty sure people have the right to try to get whatever law they want passed. If it's unconstitutional then it won't pass or will get struck down by courts, but they can still try.

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Tittles
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Yeah because not hurting people's tender little feelings and not controlling their actions through legislation are completely the same thing.
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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:

Everyone else has pretty much said, you have every right to be rude, but frankly it's rude. You could find a better way to express yourself. Of course you don't have to and you can just remain rude.

But the critique for being rude is also rude. Wouldn't it be more advantageous to respond to a rude poster as you would an unreasonable child? With compassion and reason? Rather than finger pointing and namecalling?

Or you could just let Rakeesh have at them for awhile.

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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Tittles:
Yeah because not hurting people's tender little feelings and not controlling their actions through legislation are completely the same thing.

OK let me redo my post then:

I'm not sure what your (Thesifer and Tittles) end game is.

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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:

Everyone else has pretty much said, you have every right to be rude, but frankly it's rude. You could find a better way to express yourself. Of course you don't have to and you can just remain rude.

But the critique for being rude is also rude. Wouldn't it be more advantageous to respond to a rude poster as you would an unreasonable child? With compassion and reason? Rather than finger pointing and namecalling?

Or you could just let Rakeesh have at them for awhile.

Um... yes?

For the record, I did think the lambasting of you was rather over-reactive and has lasted a surprising long time with some posters. To the point of being somewhat awkward.

Then again, when I saw that TomDavidson asked someone to provide a source for a claim they made I wanted to say something snarky, so I guess I hold on to things too.

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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
I guess that may be 'rude' to you if you're someone who is devoutly religious, and has devoted your life to something I will never believe in.

I am not a theist, and I thought it was rude.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
For the record my first post which was:
"Ahh religion, such good comic relief, if it weren't so damned annoying."

I guess that may be 'rude' to you if you're someone who is devoutly religious, and has devoted your life to something I will never believe in.

And the man on the subway felt strongly enough about his selection of clothes to actually put them on that day.

Would it be respectful for me to say "It'd be cute that you deny the existence of the being that made you if it weren't so stupid?"

No, it's rude, condescending, and if you really felt that my believing as you do would help me lead a happier life, then it's immoral for you to get in your own messages' way.

quote:
But I never said anything that isn't true. You can hate me because I laugh at your religion, that doesn't bother me.
I'm sure you think it's true that the man's clothes look ridiculous. So what? Does something being true cause you to involuntarily state that truth? And why would I want to hate you? I want to have good conversations with you about myriad topics. After all, we both comes to this place.

Perhaps you felt your statement would be applauded and supported by many of the atheists here, alternately perhaps you were hoping to achieve some level of schadenfreude as the theists all raged and screamed. Whatever the explanation, you and I both know you shouldn't have.

So lets stop with the analyzing, and just say "You know what, sorry." and "I'll say, eh, no problem." Lets talk about something else now.

Or if you'd like to talk about what honest reasons believers have for opposing gay marriage, I'm perfectly happy to have that conversation with you.

But I'm not going to say anything of importance to you if I feel like you aren't going to value it.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Tittles:
Yeah because not hurting people's tender little feelings and not controlling their actions through legislation are completely the same thing.

So the government has never forced religious groups to abandon things that are part of their religious belief before? I'm sure you're a firm believer in separating the church from the state, but I wonder how strong your belief in the idea that the state should be separated from the church is...That is to say, that the state should have no say whatsoever in the practice of religious belief. Because there are many Atheist organizations out there already that are trying very hard to make it illegal to perform religious acts on public lands under the guise of separating church and state.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean Monahan:
quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
I guess that may be 'rude' to you if you're someone who is devoutly religious, and has devoted your life to something I will never believe in.

I am not a theist, and I thought it was rude.
Yep, same.

Because it was patently rude.

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Rakeesh
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It's funny you'd say that, stiles-exactly who has dragged it on here?

-----

Anyway, Thesifer, much of what you say I agree with and had you offered that instead of a one-off cheap shot directed toward all religious people generally, I would be on your side right now. But you didn't.

------

Man, Boris, if there's one thing that is exasperating and a sign of entitlement it's a theist complaining about the encroachment and oppression of atheists and agnostics. You're badly mischaraterizing so much of what goes on. Few 'atheist organizations' (could you even name one?) attempt to disallow religious observance on public land. Many more, however, work to restrict government-sponsored religious observance on public property, as they should.

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Thesifer
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Actually I was attacking nothing. I was stating my opinion. I'm sorry it offended you. But you can believe it was a direct attack on you, if that makes you feel better. I honestly don't think there is a single valid reason for opposing homosexuals. So if you want to have that debate, that's fine. But it won't be with me.
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Boris
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quote:
Man, Boris, if there's one thing that is exasperating and a sign of entitlement it's a theist complaining about the encroachment and oppression of atheists and agnostics.
The argument that I must put my religious beliefs aside in regards to what I view as valid legislation is an encroachment on the freedom of religion and my right to free speech and expression. You are essentially demanding that religious individuals be of two minds about the future of this nation, something you do not seem willing to burden yourself with. I have every right to attempt to legislate what I view as a matter of morality. I am granted that right by the constitution.

Further, the Freedom From Religion Foundation makes a habit of getting itself involved in lawsuits against private organizations that make use of public lands. I recall a story involving a privately operated baseball team being sued by the FFRF for having prayers before games with other privately operated teams that were played in public parks. I can't currently find any information on it, but I'll continue looking. And yes, they fight against public funds being used for religious displays on public property, but they also spend a lot of time and money going after privately funded displays on public land. (They don't make a habit of displaying their court *losses* on their website. Like the suit against a Spartanburg, SC school that allows students to receive school credit for released time religious studies that were performed at a local church.)

But let's then take an extreme case. Human Sacrifice. Do you believe that this should remain illegal in the US?

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Rakeesh
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quote:
The argument that I must put my religious beliefs aside in regards to what I view as valid legislation is an encroachment on the freedom of religion and my right to free speech and expression. You are essentially demanding that religious individuals be of two minds about the future of this nation, something you do not seem willing to burden yourself with. I have every right to attempt to legislate what I view as a matter of morality. I am granted that right by the constitution.
I'm not even sure what you're talking about. Who is 'demanding' you be unable to bring your religious motivations into your political decision-making, exactly? No. This is the entitlement I'm talking about. Someone says 'you shouldn't try and make laws for others based on your religious views' and you hear a demand that you be unable to do so.

Ok, now you've offered an example. *One* example in a country that is still populated by a tiny minority of agnostics and atheists. Would you care to demonstrate something besides individual cases to support your broad theme of being under attack? Because Boris, if you want to go tit for tat on private organizations lobbying or suing with regards to the separation of church and state, I think you know which side will have to blush first.

quote:
But let's then take an extreme case. Human Sacrifice. Do you believe that this should remain illegal in the US?
Again I'm not even sure what you're talking about. Should the killing of a human being for anything other than self defense or defense of other people, or reasonable fear of such, be illegal? Yes, obviously. There is the question of suicide, but that's not human sacrifice. I'm not even sure why you think this is a gotcha question.

But since you brought it up, is there a reason why various Christian sects that revere the story of Abraham and Isaac and the test of faith involving not only human sacrifice, but of a father sacrificing his son, shouldn't be regarded as shamefully wrong-headed for revering that sto?ry and that degree of faith

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Thesifer
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I apologize for offending anyone, I dislike religion. But I don't necessarily dislike the people that support the religions.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
I apologize for offending anyone, I dislike religion. But I don't necessarily dislike the people that support the religions.

Well, it's a start. But hopefully one day you will learn to see why all these people you don't dislike support religion.

I've learned to appreciate atheism precisely because of the good atheists in my life.

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MattP
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quote:
I recall a story involving a privately operated baseball team being sued by the FFRF for having prayers before games with other privately operated teams that were played in public parks.
I suspect you are mis-recalling this story. FRFF sometimes makes bad calls, but that would be a particularly egregious one for them and as much as they are unlikely to be talking up their failures, there are a number of Christian legal organizations like ACLJ and Liberty Counsel that crow loudly about them.
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Thesifer
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Thesifer:
I apologize for offending anyone, I dislike religion. But I don't necessarily dislike the people that support the religions.

Well, it's a start. But hopefully one day you will learn to see why all these people you don't dislike support religion.

I've learned to appreciate atheism precisely because of the good atheists in my life.

BB- To be perfectly honest, I think religion is fascinating. Regardless of my personal beliefs on it's truthfulness.

I would venture (Although I haven't measured) that I know more about specific religions that many people that follow that specific religion.

I don't claim to be an expert of any religion. I grew up in a "religious" household that went to church on Sundays, and moved away from there as I got older. I was christened a Methodist, and Baptised as a Southern Baptist.

Regardless of the fact that I think religious belief is funny to me, I never said it discounted the person, or that a person was "stupid" for believing in a particular religion. I believe that was inferred.

I've been publicly attacked for being atheist, It just goes with the territory. I don't generally hide it, but at work I don't blast it loudly either. I'd like to keep my job.

When I was in the military we would have discussions about religion often, everyone would always tell me "When you grow up, you'll come to your senses and see." (I'm 31.)

How many times a day does Scientology get laughed at? I would say, probably often- by many religious people. And non-religious, and former Scientologists, but they are a recognized LEGAL religion. But I don't see many non-scientologists rushing to their defense.

Muslims are demonized and called terrorists (I have vehemently defended them, and at times had it blow back in my face when young Muslims come around and claim the Qu'ran does tell them to attack the infidels. I just assume those specific Muslims are not very bright.) But I also don't see many Christians publicly rushing to their defense.

As I mentioned earlier South Park had an entire show devoted to Mormons, and a Broadway play. During the show they flashed a message on the bottom (We're not making this up.) And again, people laughed. I don't really see anyone outside of the Mormon religion demonizing Trey and Matt.

I'm not telling anyone not to believe their religion. But I'm also not walking on eggshells to make sure I never offend someone. There are many many many parts about nearly every religion that make no logical sense. But again, if someone wants to believe that, that's fine by me. It doesn't make them stupid, but in my opinion - misguided. I'm not out to change anyone's belief, regardless of how much easier it would be if everyone thought like me.

But I also (obviously) give my opinions on things.

Boris - So, it's ok for your religion to publicly fight to change things so laws can be on the books because you find they are morally right, yet it's wrong for atheists to do the same thing on the other side? I'm confused.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:

[QUOTE]But let's then take an extreme case. Human Sacrifice. Do you believe that this should remain illegal in the US?

Again I'm not even sure what you're talking about. Should the killing of a human being for anything other than self defense or defense of other people, or reasonable fear of such, be illegal? Yes, obviously. There is the question of suicide, but that's not human sacrifice. I'm not even sure why you think this is a gotcha question.

Because, quite simply, Human sacrifice was, at one point, a central tenant of a religion known as Santeria. Santeria is basically Mayan religion that was Catholicized by replacing the names of Mayan Gods with Catholic Saints to allow its followers to continue worshiping without fear of retribution from the Spanish shortly after their conquests.

If we were to truly respect the separation of Church and State, we should not be determining what practitioners of *any* religion do among themselves. If a practitioner of Santeria wanted to be a human sacrifice in one of their rituals of their own free will, then the government should have no legal recourse to charge anyone with homicide, due to those involved being well within their rights to practice such rituals. Instead, the government enforced the popular belief that the life of people is more important than the rituals of a single tiny religion and therefor outlawed human sacrifice as a religious ritual. As a result, Santeria worshipers were forced to make drastic changes to their beliefs to replace human sacrifice with animal sacrifice. Which, by the way, the government still heavily regulates.

So you do, in fact, support government intervention in religious activity. I bring up Santeria and human sacrifice because it is an extreme example of a majority, non-religious belief outweighing a minority religious belief. I could have brought up what happened to the LDS church's practice of Polygamy during the late 19th century, but that was, of course, a religiously motivated majority opinion outweighing a minority religious practice. If you believe so firmly in the idea that religious organizations shouldn't influence the government, you be equally firm about preventing the government from interfering in religious practice. You aren't.

quote:
Who is 'demanding' you be unable to bring your religious motivations into your political decision-making, exactly?
Oh good lord...do you even *use* the Internet? No one has ever said to me, "You shouldn't use your religious beliefs in your political decisions." They have said, "You *can't* use your religious beliefs in your political decisions. Separation of church and state!" This is a bastardization of constitutional principle used to completely ignore opinion and dismiss religious individuals' beliefs. And it happens *all the time*.

Let's also not forget the incredibly bigoted meme comparing religion to a penis, which suggests that religious people should just shut their damn mouths about their beliefs when they're in public. Yes. Let's all make sure we censor ourselves about what we believe so that we don't offend some poor atheist who is tired of being burdened by the harsh load of having someone talk about religion around them.

quote:
I've been publicly attacked for being atheist, It just goes with the territory.
Try growing up Mormon in North Carolina. Atheists are just godless heathens there. Mormons are the devil incarnate.

But that doesn't mean I make fun of evangelicals. I roll my eyes a little at the crap their preachers say about me and my beliefs, but I refuse to make fun of what they believe. Because on balance, most religious organizations do significantly more good than evil. Humanitarian aid that leaves the US does so primarily through Faith Based Organizations like the Catholic Church and other Evangelical organizations. A massive percentage of the aid given to homeless people in the US does so through the work of religious organizations. You know how many atheist humanitarian aid groups I've been able to find (Atheist...as in charity created by, run by, and taking donations from atheists. Not Secular, like the Red Cross and other similar groups)? 1. And even its name is a dig against religion. "Earth's Atheist Resistance To Holy Wars And Religious Devastation" or EARTHWARD. And it's a tiny freaking organization, let me tell you.

quote:
Boris - So, it's ok for your religion to publicly fight to change things so laws can be on the books because you find they are morally right, yet it's wrong for atheists to do the same thing on the other side? I'm confused.
And exactly what moral beliefs exist that have grown out of atheism alone? Other than the idea that people should shut their mouths about their religious beliefs?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Try growing up Mormon in North Carolina. Atheists are just godless heathens there. Mormons are the devil incarnate.
Bull. There's a significant Mormon subculture in the Carolinas. And I suggest that until you've been an atheist in the South, you not try to guess how well it's received.

quote:
Not Secular, like the Red Cross.
*giggle*
Seriously, though, why on Earth would any charity be "atheist" instead of "secular?" Atheism isn't a philosophy or a religion. It's a lack of belief. By default, any secular charity would do just fine. The only scenario in which an exclusively "atheist" charity would need to exist would be to stand as a counter-example to non-atheist charities, a position that's inherently reactionary (and distracting from any charitable mission) and no doubt part of the reason that it'd not be overwhelmingly popular. Even with atheists, who generally have more important things to care about than whether or not they're doing good works specifically for the Glory of Nobody In Particular.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
... If you believe so firmly in the idea that religious organizations shouldn't influence the government, you be equally firm about preventing the government from interfering in religious practice. You aren't.

You should probably explain why you believe that the first should naturally lead to the second, because I'm not following this relatively important step in your argument.

Edit to add: I mean, I can see why in the American context one might think that was what was intended by your founders. But your example is Mayan, so I'm assuming you're arguing as a part of a logical argument that should apply everywhere.

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MattP
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quote:
The only scenario in which an exclusively "atheist" charity would need to exist would be to stand as a counter-example to non-atheist charities
On a related note, check out who is the largest giving community on kiva.org... http://www.kiva.org/community
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
... If you believe so firmly in the idea that religious organizations shouldn't influence the government, you be equally firm about preventing the government from interfering in religious practice. You aren't.

You should probably explain why you believe that the first should naturally lead to the second, because I'm not following this relatively important step in your argument.

Edit to add: I mean, I can see why in the American context one might think that was what was intended by your founders. But your example is Mayan, so I'm assuming you're arguing as a part of a logical argument that should apply everywhere.

Santeria is a religion that is still practiced. It dates back to the Mayan empire. The American idea of church/state separation is founded on the ideal that no church should enforce its religious requirements and sacraments on those who don't follow that religion. Conversely, it is the ideal that the government should have no power to dictate what individuals can believe or worship. If you believe that the government should not be influenced by religion, but that religion should be influenced by government, you promote an unequal application of law and advocate a potentially serious abuse of democratic power.

quote:
Bull. There's a significant Mormon subculture in the Carolinas. And I suggest that until you've been an atheist in the South, you not try to guess how well it's received. /QUOTE]

There is a single town with a population of about 10,000 that is 90% Mormon in eastern NC. I lived in Western NC where the ward boundaries included three *counties* and the stake went from the Tennessee border to about 50 miles west of Greensboro. And just to knock your second point out, I was made fun of by the *atheists* in my school, who got little to no flack about their beliefs from anyone, as well as the baptists and whatever other evangelicals there were. So I'm pretty familiar with how Atheism is viewed there.

[QUOTE] Atheism isn't a philosophy or a religion. It's a lack of belief.

That old chestnut. A lack of belief in something is still belief in something. It's just a different something.

quote:
On a related note, check out who is the largest giving community on kiva.org... http://www.kiva.org/community
Heh. The charity that gives you back every dollar you give after a few months...Also, it looks like the dollars per donor level is higher for the Kiva Christians group...hmmm...Interesting. Also important to point out that Kiva's loans reach people through...Oh right, lots of religious organizations.
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Samprimary
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quote:
That old chestnut. A lack of belief in something is still belief in something. It's just a different something.
No, he's right. Atheism isn't a philosophy or a religion. Saying it is is like saying that "Off" is a television channel.

quote:
If you believe so firmly in the idea that religious organizations shouldn't influence the government, you be equally firm about preventing the government from interfering in religious practice
does not follow, does not compute.


quote:
if there's one thing that is exasperating and a sign of entitlement it's a theist complaining about the encroachment and oppression of atheists and agnostics.
Yup. It's a level beyond first world problems. The 'oppression' of atheists, hm? I wonder what they would think if they got to experience how atheists are treated throughout most of the country. It'd certainly be an eye-opener about why so many people eyeroll at these complaints.
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Rakeesh
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Boris,

I wasn't expecting that to be the thrust of your gotcha, so you've surprised me at least. Not with a compelling argument, though, and here's why: suicide is also illegal, and not because we were concerned with the religious practices of any religion. There is no gotcha here, because I actually do believe in government intervention in quite a lot of institutions when they break the laws our representative government has decided upon. Even-especially, in fact-religious institutions, because there are few things more toxic to society than the notion that God grants one the right to break the law.

I'm not sure what I or anyone has said that would've led you to conclude this was a very good skewer with which to argue, Boris.

quote:
Oh good lord...do you even *use* the Internet? No one has ever said to me, "You shouldn't use your religious beliefs in your political decisions." They have said, "You *can't* use your religious beliefs in your political decisions. Separation of church and state!" This is a bastardization of constitutional principle used to completely ignore opinion and dismiss religious individuals' beliefs. And it happens *all the time*.
Oh, I see. I didn't realize that we were using the old 'I hear it on the Internet, therefore it's a powerful cultural and political force' argument. But aside from that absurd notion, let me ask you a question: is it your contention that when people on the Internet say that, what they are actually suggesting is that it should somehow (by what mechanism?) be against the law for an individual to utilize religious principles in voting or politicking?

quote:
Let's also not forget the incredibly bigoted meme comparing religion to a penis, which suggests that religious people should just shut their damn mouths about their beliefs when they're in public. Yes. Let's all make sure we censor ourselves about what we believe so that we don't offend some poor atheist who is tired of being burdened by the harsh load of having someone talk about religion around them.
Ok, here's the thing. Even if I credited this 'movement' of pushy sensitive atheists with as much popularity as you do-a major case you're not at all making-my question is this: so what? It's clearly not working on you. It's fair game, in free speech terms, for one group to insist-through speech and expression-that another should concede defeat and leave the discussion, or change their minds, else be found somehow wanting. Not very effective, but in terms of the freedom of speech, well within the limits if not in touch with the spirit.

Let me put this another way: Easter is almost here. When it arrives, could you whine some more about the mean old atheists keeping religious people quiet about their religion? Don't even get me started about Christmas. This is what I'm talking about when I'm talking about entitlement-you are perceiving Internet trash talk (and having spoken to you before, Boris, you're no saint in the matter either) with a powerful national force while completely ignoring, as MattP pointed out, the larger truth of the situation.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
That old chestnut. A lack of belief in something is still belief in something. It's just a different something.

*sigh* No, it's not. To respond to a proposition of any kind with, "I don't believe there is enough evidence to conclude that that is true," *is not* of itself a belief in anything except what was stated. That's not to say one couldn't look at a particular thing and then find evidence that the claims are contradictory, fabricated, etc., but that's a different question. Please note that you haven't made the argument that explains why atheism is a belief, you've only stated that it is one.

Others have expressed it well. You're insisting that atheism ought to be held as a motivating factor for human behavior, that somehow it has an agenda like any ideology which makes claims about things. It doesn't, because it isn't. An atheist might be a humanist, a communist, a Republican, an anarchist, or so on and so forth, but you cannot claim that a lack of belief in a deity has somehow driven them to do so.

Overall it comes as no surprise to me that you have a poor understanding at best of what it actually means to be an atheist, so it's therefore also not surprising that you're seeing atheist boogeyman wherever you look. You cannot even accurately describe what atheism is-why on earth should anyone take you seriously when you talk about what it does?

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Samprimary
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Like seriously if atheism is a belief, than we are all possessed of an infinite quantity of beliefs. If I am unconvinced that there are teacups in orbit around saturn, that is already a belief and a philosophy analogous to believing in God. Or infinite numbers of other things. Everyone is a practicing nonbeliever of the tens of thousands of gods they don't believe in. It's just ..

no.

i'm literally going to drink to purge the idea from my head now thanks

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MattP
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quote:
The charity that gives you back every dollar you give after a few months
No, that's not how it works. You put money in and it's in for good.
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Thesifer
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Government has very very limited action related to 'stopping' religious practice. They don't force you to accept gays, they don't even force you to marry them, hell they even make it illegal for them to marry - because Religion wanted it.

A few practices are illegal, across the board. Not killing people. The reason isn't because "Oh, we want to stop you from practicing your religion - so no Ritual Sacrifice!" it's because historically, logically, and every other lly - Ritual Sacrifice is generally a group of willing idiots, and one poor sod that got picked to die, for whatever reason the religion made up.

Native Americans still smoke peyote legally, while it's illegal for others. And I'm sure if some religion actually had a truly religious claim to marijuana that would probably be legal for them as well. Yet no religion has had that as a practice for thousands of years.

I honestly can't think of one example of "Government Overreach INTO Religion." - But I can think of it going the other way.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Like seriously if atheism is a belief, than we are all possessed of an infinite quantity of beliefs. If I am unconvinced that there are teacups in orbit around saturn, that is already a belief and a philosophy analogous to believing in God. Or infinite numbers of other things. Everyone is a practicing nonbeliever of the tens of thousands of gods they don't believe in. It's just ..

no.

i'm literally going to drink to purge the idea from my head now thanks

Atheism IS a belief. Aren't you thinking of agnosticism?

Most of the atheists I know, as opposed to the agnostics, spend more time proselytizing than any Christian. It's an active belief that God doesn't exist, and they're recruiting. Just like a few atheists on this thread.

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TomDavidson
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You and Boris should go make out in a small room together. You're both wrong, but you're very compatible.

--------

Look, I'll elaborate: it is no more an active belief that the Christian God does not exist than it is an active belief that Zeus does not exist. To suggest otherwise is to argue, as samp has pointed out, that the default value of any truth claim is true. Do all zebras turn purple the instant they are not being observed? OF COURSE THEY DO! And if you doubt that, you are an active apurplist!

(Note: your definition of "agnostic" is wrong and, well, not very useful.)

More importantly: being an apurplist doesn't tell you anything about a person beyond the fact that they're skeptical about spontaneously color-changing zebras. An Apurplist Club doesn't make any sense, because any given apurplist might enjoy something quite different and share quite different values from any other apurplist. And any charity that does good work without requiring that people loudly declare their belief in some form of Purplism is just fine with accepting any apurplist money; there's no point to setting up an explicitly apurplist charity, since the rapid color-changing of zebras has nothing to do with whether or not there are needy people to be helped, and people who wish to help them.

Yeah, there are atheists out there who are evangelical about atheism -- but they're not spreading an atheist belief; they're asking people to challenge their existing religious beliefs. There's a difference.

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Thesifer
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Like seriously if atheism is a belief, than we are all possessed of an infinite quantity of beliefs. If I am unconvinced that there are teacups in orbit around saturn, that is already a belief and a philosophy analogous to believing in God. Or infinite numbers of other things. Everyone is a practicing nonbeliever of the tens of thousands of gods they don't believe in. It's just ..

no.

i'm literally going to drink to purge the idea from my head now thanks

Atheism IS a belief. Aren't you thinking of agnosticism?

Most of the atheists I know, as opposed to the agnostics, spend more time proselytizing than any Christian. It's an active belief that God doesn't exist, and they're recruiting. Just like a few atheists on this thread.

So you're an atheist, because you actively believe that Odin and Zeus do not exist?
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Rakeesh
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It's certainly possible to hold to something that many people call atheism as an actual, authentic belief-the positive certainty that there are no deities. Some people certainly do just that, but that goes well beyond what's required for atheism-the minimum amount of things one must think, so to speak, to be considered an atheist.

As others have pointed out repeatedly, all that's necessary to be an atheist is to not believe in any religious, well, beliefs. To hear the proposition that there is a god or gods and shake one's head and answer 'I see no reason to believe that proposition is true'.

If it is a belief, it's only a belief that there is no reason to believe the proposition is true-which is not at all what is usually meant by 'belief'.

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Rakeesh
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Two things: one, it's been repeated more than once the claim that atheism is a belief. I'd like to hear the actual reasoning behind the claim, instead of the claim itself, so we can actually examine the question. It requires an atheist to claim that it is certain there are no deities, but not all atheists claim there are no deities. Basic level reasoning here.

Second, exactly what are we calling proselytizing? Generally it means going out into the world and addressing people who haven't asked to hear an attempt at persuasion. Door to door missionary work sort of thing. Other times it means less direct attempts at persuasion and more indirect efforts, such as by doing good works or some such. But is it proselytizing if when someone asks why you don't go to church, you tell them? Or if someone asks why you think gays should be allowed to marry, you tell them? Or when someone decries a Chik-Fil-A boycott, you respond with your support? So on and so forth.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
It's certainly possible to hold to something that many people call atheism as an actual, authentic belief-the positive certainty that there are no deities. Some people certainly do just that, but that goes well beyond what's required for atheism-the minimum amount of things one must think, so to speak, to be considered an atheist.

As others have pointed out repeatedly, all that's necessary to be an atheist is to not believe in any religious, well, beliefs. To hear the proposition that there is a god or gods and shake one's head and answer 'I see no reason to believe that proposition is true'.

If it is a belief, it's only a belief that there is no reason to believe the proposition is true-which is not at all what is usually meant by 'belief'.

That's one definition of atheism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

"Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist."

So, yes, under one definition you could say that atheism is a lack of belief. Under another definition you could say that it IS a belief that there is no divinity.

So, atheism CAN BE a belief. I don't know why we're arguing semantics, other than the fact that a few normally agreeable people seem to have bees in their bonnets.

Again, I've known many atheists who are far more fervent in their belief than a lot of theists I know.

I won't even get into the agnosticism argument. It's just as pointless.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

Second, exactly what are we calling proselytizing? Generally it means going out into the world and addressing people who haven't asked to hear an attempt at persuasion. Door to door missionary work sort of thing. Other times it means less direct attempts at persuasion and more indirect efforts, such as by doing good works or some such. But is it proselytizing if when someone asks why you don't go to church, you tell them? Or if someone asks why you think gays should be allowed to marry, you tell them? Or when someone decries a Chik-Fil-A boycott, you respond with your support? So on and so forth.

Proselytism (pron.: /ˈprɒsɨlaɪtɨzəm/) is the act of attempting to convert people to another religion or opinion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proselytism

I've known many atheists that spend a considerable amount of time trying to have reasoned arguments with theists in an attempt to dissuade them from believing in God. Often times, especially on Hatrack, it devolves into ridicule. Either way, there are a lot of ways to try to "convert people to another religion OR OPINION".

Though I'd say -- in the case of religious matters -- it rarely works.

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Boris
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quote:
To suggest otherwise is to argue, as samp has pointed out, that the default value of any truth claim is true
And you are saying that the default point of any falsehood claim is *false*. In reality the default point of any belief is actually "Dunno." So you are actually following the *belief* that God does not exist. And yes, I do actually actively believe that the Norse Gods don't exist. I also actively believe that Egyptian and Roman gods don't exist.

Everything that you think is true *or false* is a belief. That belief can be supported by objective evidence or it can be disproven by objective evidence. The existence of deity can be neither supported by objective evidence nor disproven by objective evidence. Looking at this lack of evidence and saying, "There is no god" is just as logically fallacious as saying, "There must be a god." The only logical and rational conclusion you can come to is "Not enough evidence to support or disprove" At which point we use our own subjective and loosely related objective evidence to come to a conclusion that fits our other beliefs and observations. I have my own experiences and personally obtained evidence that has convinced me that there is a supreme being. You have your own experience that have convinced you that there isn't.

The reason you aren't willing to accept that Atheism is a belief akin to religion is that doing so robs you of a rhetorical advantage. "I do not have any religious beliefs, therefor it is not immoral, unkind, rude, or whatever for me to force my ideals and beliefs on others."

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
You and Boris should go make out in a small room together. You're both wrong, but you're very compatible.

--------

Look, I'll elaborate: it is no more an active belief that the Christian God does not exist than it is an active belief that Zeus does not exist. To suggest otherwise is to argue, as samp has pointed out, that the default value of any truth claim is true. Do all zebras turn purple the instant they are not being observed? OF COURSE THEY DO! And if you doubt that, you are an active apurplist!

(Note: your definition of "agnostic" is wrong and, well, not very useful.)

More importantly: being an apurplist doesn't tell you anything about a person beyond the fact that they're skeptical about spontaneously color-changing zebras. An Apurplist Club doesn't make any sense, because any given apurplist might enjoy something quite different and share quite different values from any other apurplist. And any charity that does good work without requiring that people loudly declare their belief in some form of Purplism is just fine with accepting any apurplist money; there's no point to setting up an explicitly apurplist charity, since the rapid color-changing of zebras has nothing to do with whether or not there are needy people to be helped, and people who wish to help them.

Yeah, there are atheists out there who are evangelical about atheism -- but they're not spreading an atheist belief; they're asking people to challenge their existing religious beliefs. There's a difference.

For the most part, I think you're right, Tom. But, and you do touch on this a little, I think that evangelical atheists are a pretty significant group. And the problem with that, as I see it, is that they're still defining themselves around God.

Not just in terms of being evangelical about it, though there is that.

A disturbing example, though, is the prevalence of moral relativism among atheists. I think, to some extent, this springs out of the fact that most atheists were theist at one time. If morality came from god, and they decided god didn't exist, then morality must not exist either. They toss the entire tradition out, and they don't do a good job of retaining the good parts or replacing them with something better.

That's a huge problem. Frankly, I'd much prefer a moral religious society to an immoral atheist one. And that's coming from an atheist.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Under another definition you could say that it IS a belief that there is no divinity.
You know, that's fine. That puts this kind of positive-belief atheism on the same level as, say, the belief that there are no headphones made of solid uranium.

But when people talk about atheism being a belief, they generally are doing so to draw a false equivalence between atheism and some form of religion. And I think there's a huge gulf between believing that no headphones are made of solid uranium and believing that, say, this particular book is full of God's instructions for mankind. In other words, not believing that any god exists is categorically different from believing in, say, the Jewish faith; the former does not come with any attendant beliefs, while the latter does.

--------

quote:
A disturbing example, though, is the prevalence of moral relativism among atheists.
Well, duh. You would expect atheists to be smarter than most people, and smart people recognize that all morality is relative. [Wink]

Seriously, though, Dan, we've previously established that you are a moral relativist. What disturbs you isn't moral relativism, but reactionary liberalism: the idea that, because no obvious rationale can be offered for a given tradition, that tradition should be discarded as useless or even harmful. You live a life with an axis best described as "Robot vs. Hippie," and come down firmly on the "Robot" side of that equation. *grin*

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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:

quote:
A disturbing example, though, is the prevalence of moral relativism among atheists.
Well, duh. You would expect atheists to be smarter than most people, and smart people recognize that all morality is relative. [Wink]
Smart people apparently don't recognize logical inconsistencies, though. Gotcha.
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