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Thread: Atheism

  1. #1 Atheism 
    Forum Professor Obviously's Avatar
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    Intro:

    I wish to bring up a few perhaps controversial points which I think deserves a bit more discussing about. Strong atheists are accused often of showing little respect to religion with their arrogance and are said to be no better than annoying religious fanatics who impose their view on others.

    Is atheism good or bad? Maybe both? Will atheist zealots emerge from these harmless discussions and debates and become no different from any other religious zealots?

    I actually wanted to take this topic up earlier, but I was too lazy :P

    Claims About Atheism:

    Outspoken atheists like: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens (to name perhaps the most outspoken ones) are said to be no more different than fundamentalist christians who are imposing their view on others. They show no respect whatsoever to religion and are outright attacking religion with their books and opinions on programs and the like. Calling religion "superstitious" and "delusional". They should keep their opinions to themselves. Stalin was an atheist, look how that worked out.

    Minions of these outrageous atheist leaders appear everywhere imposing their opinion on things and bashing religion for no reason at all. They're arrogant and ignorant, not even considering the position of the theist and debate religion everywhere constantly. They're obsessed with their hatemongering and smugness, they're just as bad as any christian fundamentalist or radical muslim you might find. And they're absolutely sure they're right.

    Why can't atheists leave believers alone?

    Apologies if this is disproportionate

    Questions

    * Are these claims right, or are they blowing this out of proportion?

    * Does atheism have the potential to become too extreme, or perhaps it is already?

    * Are outspoken atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris being unfair, or do they have good reasons for their "religion-crusade"?

    * Are atheists generalizing religion based upon a few fanatics? Are they being too hard on religion?

    * Can the "No true scotsman" fallacy be applied to atheists claim that Stalin didn't do what he did because he was an atheist?


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    Rules

    I imagine this will be a heated debate. Please consider all possibilities and discuss reasonable with eachother. Back up claims with reference if needed and consider your opponents position as well as your own.

    Thank you.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    How is Dawkins imposing his view on others? Certainly he has strong views, but as far as I know he isn't infiltrating the government. Is he?


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  4. #3  
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    As a believer I've seen his book, from a few pages, I saw where Q gets his style from. Dawkings (with his intelligence) puts the wrong words in when he describes religion, that in itself is evidence that he is aware that he is doing it and should know better. He's doing it to get a reaction, for goodness knows reason.

    As long as atheists don't insult me, I won't insult them. But I believe in karma, so I will stand up for myself and religion if it is insulted.

    Bunbury try to stay rational and adress a serious matter. Read his boook from a religious point of view, you'll see he's imposing. To feel the same way, read the religious fantics books, and you'll see. Jehovah's witness' are a good example. No offense to them, I don't mind them expressing their views, I infact like it and wish for them continue. But in the eyes of an atheist, I'd find what Jovo's do a bit insulting, or offensive in some way, but I'm not so I don't, they're just being helpful, their intentions are good. So let them be, they want to help us. Unlike some atheists like Dawkins who seem content in just addressing religion but having no positive outcome for both parties. He's just like that kid in the school ground who keeps copying everythign you say, and twisting it.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Anyone got an answer to my question?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor Obviously's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    Read his boook from a religious point of view, you'll see he's imposing.
    How can you read a book and say: "Hmm, this book is imposing its view on me" :?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Zigackly.

    The only problem I have with Dawkins' book is that he is a touch dismissive about some of the classical 'proofs' and their refutations. I know he is a biologist and wants to focus on evolution (a brilliant idea, it's true, with astonishing ramifications) but given the inclusiveness of his subject I think he could have done better by some of the classical ideas.

    Otherwise, excellent stuff.
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  8. #7  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    Read his boook from a religious point of view, you'll see he's imposing.
    How can you read a book and say: "Hmm, this book is imposing its view on me" :?
    Like I say, you'd have to be religious to see that. Thats why a lot of religious people don't like him or his book. You won't understand because you're not like us.

    PS Why do you all suck up to Dakwins, he's a bloody arsehole!
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  9. #8  
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    The only religious people that would buy Dawkins book and be affected by it are those religious types that already question their beliefs. If you are set in your beliefs then you won't be turned one way or the other. That's why quite a lot of religious debates between a believer and a non believer end up like two horses buttign heads never wanting to stray from their paths.
    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt" - Bertrand Russell
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  10. #9  
    Forum Masters Degree pavlos's Avatar
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    atheism is only rearing it's head more later, mainly due to religous nutjobs of which there are quite a lot.
    and it is long overdue.
    some people say that religious fantasies/beliefs should be left alone, as they make people happy, and people with religious fantasies/beliefs are easily controled.
    however because religous fantasies/beliefs are taken seriously this make them the most dangerous of all.
    religion can alleviate anxiety and distress and the fear of the unknown, however we know from history religious fantasies/belief restrict our freedom, sometimes under penalty of death. the likes of Dennett, Hitchin, and Harris, only have the floor today because in the past they would have been killed, anything that can make people see sense has got to be a good thing.
    A logician saves the life of a tiny space alien. The alien is very grateful and, since she's omniscient, offers the following reward: she offers to answer any question the logician might pose. Without too much thought (after all, he's a logician), he asks: "What is the best question to ask and what is the correct answer to that question?" The tiny alien pauses. Finally she replies, "The best question is the one you just asked; and the correct answer is the one I gave."
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  11. #10  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Oh great the dogmatic fanatic is back.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  12. #11 Re: Atheism 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I wish to bring up a few perhaps controversial points which I think deserves a bit more discussing about. Strong atheists are accused often of showing little respect to religion with their arrogance and are said to be no better than annoying religious fanatics who impose their view on others.
    What do you mean by a "strong atheist". If you mean someone who goes around saying that religion is a disease that ought to be exterminated at all costs for the well being of the human race, then I would say that their fanaticism and self-righteous judgement of others makes their similarity to the "religous fanatics who impose their view on others", rather blatantly obvious.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Is atheism good or bad? Maybe both? Will atheist zealots emerge from these harmless discussions and debates and become no different from any other religious zealots?
    Atheism is GOOD. Diversity of thought and opinion is not only good it is ESSENTIAL for the survival of mankind, much in the same way that a diverse genetic pool is essential for the survival of a species. Getting stuck in a one way train of thought would be the death of human intellegence much like an evolutionary dead end is doomed to extinction. But atheists who are incapable of respecting diverse viewpoint in the same way of religious zealots are indeed a blight on the life of human intellegence.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Outspoken atheists like: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens (to name perhaps the most outspoken ones) are said to be no more different than fundamentalist christians who are imposing their view on others. They show no respect whatsoever to religion and are outright attacking religion with their books and opinions on programs and the like. Calling religion "superstitious" and "delusional". They should keep their opinions to themselves. Stalin was an atheist, look how that worked out.
    I can only speak to Richard Dawkins, who as a spokesman of science has been confusing the issue of science with anti-religious rhetoric. He is provoking an escalation of conflict which is likely recoil upon the public perception of science. He is an intellegent man and I think He is capable of and should excercise greater concern for the public well being rather than just what will simply gain him more attention and sell more of his books.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Minions of these outrageous atheist leaders appear everywhere imposing their opinion on things and bashing religion for no reason at all. They're arrogant and ignorant, not even considering the position of the theist and debate religion everywhere constantly. They're obsessed with their hatemongering and smugness, they're just as bad as any christian fundamentalist or radical muslim you might find. And they're absolutely sure they're right.
    Whether they are absolutely sure that they are right is irrelevent. Even smugness (which is hard to define anyway) is a matter of personal choice and not public censure. BUT hatemongering and the lack of respect for the diversity of human opinion in counter to the interests of a free society and should most DEFINITELY provoke strong outrage and opposition.

    The atheist must be judged by the same standards as any Christian or muslim by their behavior including the respect they offer other human beings regardless of the difference of opinions. Surely we cannot afford the delusional thinking that a person is good just because he says he is an atheist any more than we can afford the similar thinking that a person is good just because he says he is a Christian. That many Christians are guilty of this is something that the election of Bush Jr. has made me suspect.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Why can't atheists leave believers alone?
    Why can't theists leave non-believers alone?

    ---in other words, silly question---

    However there is a difference between atheism and anti-religious rhetoric just as there is a difference between theism and anti-atheist rhetoric. I have not seen much evidence of anti-athiest rhetoric recently but I have seen a lot of anti-religious rhetoric. The attacks of the religious upon religious freedom (with there efforts to impose their personal moral commitments upon others and their theology upon science) can be considered provocation but not justification. Our interest MUST be peace and not an escalation of the conflict as if any side could actually win - the only really posible result is that we ALL LOSE.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    * Does atheism have the potential to become too extreme, or perhaps it is already?
    It has nothing to do with atheism any more than it has to do with religion. The problem is people - for it is the people who get carried away with whatever ideology to the point where they do not show respect for others.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    * Are outspoken atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris being unfair, or do they have good reasons for their "religion-crusade"?
    I would consider some of the things Dawkins has said bigotry for it is something I have had to overlook in order to read his books and profit from some of his insights in science.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    * Are atheists generalizing religion based upon a few fanatics? Are they being too hard on religion?
    I would make no such generalization. Some atheists are acting like bigots and obnoxious idealogues just like many religious fanatics, yes.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    * Can the "No true scotsman" fallacy be applied to atheists claim that Stalin didn't do what he did because he was an atheist?[/i]
    If it is applicable to Christian denials in regards to the Crusades then it is applicable to this as well. It is the hypocrisy of pointing it out in others while doing the same thing yourself which is outrageous. The Christian has a much right to talk about the "true Christian" as the atheist has a right to talk about the "true atheist". But as a result, this idea that religion is the source of all evil in history is just pure hypocritical trash.
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  13. #12  
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    I converted to what I'd call "hardened" atheism many years ago, from what now seems a sinkhole of increasingly complex disbelief systems. I had to go to theists, to learn what happened there. It was Faith.

    "Moderate" and "reactionary" atheists, as I'd mark them, won't embrace their fundamental sloppiness and wrongness. They have no Faith, only desperate & artificial rationalizations. Which is not to predict they'll lose this debate, since Faith must lose at this game.
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  14. #13  
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    Pong wrote:
    They have no Faith, only desperate & artificial rationalizations.
    Can you elaborate more how they expressed their desperate and artificial rationalizations?
    If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism
    -Albert Einstein
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    Pong wrote:
    They have no Faith, only desperate & artificial rationalizations.
    Can you elaborate more how they expressed their desperate and artificial rationalizations?
    Better yet, I can speak for myself, since I was first a moderate atheist (an irreligious kid) and later a reactionary atheist (you know, the kind upset by Christianity).

    Because I had no easy answers (God made it so) I felt compelled to figure things out on my own. I grew this belief that the human mind, and indeed humanity, free of religion, was capable of anything. Human intelligence could lead the way. We'd simply map all things knowable, adjusting life to fit the ever expanding reality. My atheistic world was rational.

    Well, I never got to attacking religion, but my system did begin to show holes over time. I faced them soberly, tried to patch them up with yet more of the same. For example, I felt a little "wrong" about devouring the flesh of other mammals. This became an intellectual problem, even a political one. There were always people ready to engage in elaborate discussion about it. I guess I went through half a dozen rationalizations for my behaviour: Animals are inferior, the rules don't apply, we're doing them a favour, they'd eat us if they could... I was growing desperate with this and other problems. Yet nothing seemed to patch the holes. Of course I projected utmost conviction in my perfect solutions, whatever they happened to be for the moment.

    It was all artifice. I began to realize, that I'd reasoned such a tangle, explaining myself and the world around me, that my system of beliefs had no practical merit, except - that's odd - it excused a lot of attitudes and behaviour (good & bad) I already had and probably would have regardless of what I thought. I began to note the passion driving supposedly cool intellectuals, and I wondered if they weren't just deluding themselves. My own beliefs were "sophisticated", which meant complex, which I knew to be a sign of bad propositions shored up at great lengths.

    That's enough for now. Satisfied, Prasit?
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  16. #15  
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    Sorry for being late in replies. My computer kinda crashed and I've been busy reinstalling a lot of software so I haven't found time to make elaborate responses.

    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    Like I say, you'd have to be religious to see that. Thats why a lot of religious people don't like him or his book. You won't understand because you're not like us.

    PS Why do you all suck up to Dakwins, he's a bloody arsehole!
    I wouldn't understand even if I was religious. If I don't want to read the book, then I won't. That way it isn't imposing anything, you have a choice to read it or not. Maybe there's some insulting parts or something, but I found Dawkins' book quite analytic and interesting. Do you feel like some parts are misrepresentive? Why do you find Dawkins an arsehole?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Mitch, I found myself in much agreement with a lot you said, but there's perhaps a few things I would like to examinate a bit more.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    What do you mean by a "strong atheist". If you mean someone who goes around saying that religion is a disease that ought to be exterminated at all costs for the well being of the human race, then I would say that their fanaticism and self-righteous judgement of others makes their similarity to the "religous fanatics who impose their view on others", rather blatantly obvious.
    I haven't heard any atheist say they want religion exterminated "at all costs" yet, however, I'm keen to put up an example of what I see as an strong atheist:

    Pat Condell

    Would you find his points valid or extreme? What about his approach? To get the most of what this guy is about I would recommend watching "Why debate dogma?" and "What's good about religion?".

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I can only speak to Richard Dawkins, who as a spokesman of science has been confusing the issue of science with anti-religious rhetoric. He is provoking an escalation of conflict which is likely recoil upon the public perception of science. He is an intellegent man and I think He is capable of and should excercise greater concern for the public well being rather than just what will simply gain him more attention and sell more of his books.
    I think he is concerned with the public well being, but perhaps he's exercising the wrong approach. It's a good point that his anti-dogma (I would rather say) can be percieved bad and thus science is also percieved to be bad. I say anti-dogma because he's mostly attacking alternative medisin (wich he brilliantly remarked once "when alternative medisin works, it stops being alternative and merely becomes medisin". Note that this is not a direct quote), radical islam and fundamentalist christians. I don't think (but my memory could be fooling me) he has much problems with intelligent theists who don't impose their views on others and mostly keep their faith to themselves. But I would agree that his approach might be dividing people rahter then make them understand eachother.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The atheist must be judged by the same standards as any Christian or muslim by their behavior including the respect they offer other human beings regardless of the difference of opinions.
    I know you probably don't think so, but I have to ask nonetheless. Do you believe all ideas are created equal? Where is the line to be drawn? You do have ridiculous ideas (for these times) like for example: the earth is flat, the devil makes us sick and the like. Should we perhaps draw the line within current knowledge about the world? By the line I mean what ideas are bad and to be dismissed and what ideas are good and should be considered.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The problem is people - for it is the people who get carried away with whatever ideology to the point where they do not show respect for others.
    Should we always respect others? What about the other extreme, tolerance of intolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I would consider some of the things Dawkins has said bigotry
    How come? Could you provide some examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    If it is applicable to Christian denials in regards to the Crusades then it is applicable to this as well. It is the hypocrisy of pointing it out in others while doing the same thing yourself which is outrageous. The Christian has a much right to talk about the "true Christian" as the atheist has a right to talk about the "true atheist". But as a result, this idea that religion is the source of all evil in history is just pure hypocritical trash.
    Upon thinking about it you're probably right. I always imagined that communism was the real cause for the anti-religiousity. If Stalin was a muslim or a christian, he would probably erradicate everyone else who wasn't, but flipping this argument upside down, it can be applied to christian leaders as well (what if they were atheist), but perhaps not. Religious leaders did things in the name of their faith, atheist leaders didn't do what they did in the name of atheism, or?

    There seem to be a little difference, but perhaps I'm mistaking or overanalysing it.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pong, I wish to respond to you too if that's ok

    Your example of eating mammals is weird in my view. It's is natural for us humans to eat meat and we've done so for a long time. Different species often eat different species and sometimes species of the same kind as well. It's only natural, so there's no rationalization needed for such a thing. Anyhow, I don't see how a belief in God would help anyway for something like this. God is often used as an evasion from problems rather than a solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I felt a little "wrong"
    This is not rationalization. Personal convictions is different from objective reasoning. Whether or not you believe in something, this will remain a problem of your own, and you can simply solve it by not eating mammals.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I felt a little "wrong"
    This is not rationalization.
    Yes, I phrased it that way for contrast, so one may note the cause and effect:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I felt a little "wrong"... This became an intellectual problem, even a political one...
    That gut feeling was the impetus for my "objective reasoning", reasoning which really only had one mission: to reduce my moral discomfort. That was rationalization.


    ***

    BTW, Obviously, I've since visited my cattle ranching relations and eaten fresh cut calf balls, so most squeamishness is vanquished. But feeling a little "wrong" about eating mammal flesh is perfectly natural I think, if you follow this thought experiment: Could you kill and slaughter a mammal, as it is done by your meat suppliers without feeling rather grim?
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Could you kill and slaughter a mammal, as it is done by your meat suppliers without feeling rather grim?
    Yes, if it's necessary.
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  19. #18  
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    * Does atheism have the potential to become too extreme, or perhaps it is already?

    Based on your response to slaughter, maybe... maybe. I like to believe you really wouldn't be so coldhearted. That you're projecting how you think you ought to feel.

    The thought that people can sit around coolly proposing acts they wouldn't bear to carry out personally, it scares me.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    * Does atheism have the potential to become too extreme, or perhaps it is already?

    Based on your response to slaughter, maybe... maybe. I like to believe you really wouldn't be so coldhearted. That you're projecting how you think you ought to feel.

    The thought that people can sit around coolly proposing acts they wouldn't bear to carry out personally, it scares me.
    Apologies if I was too direct in my first response and perhaps was percieved as insulting, that was not my intention, however, I did say "if necessary". I'm not that cold-hearted, but if it was a life and death situation, and I had to kill a mammal to survive, I probably would. Otherwise I wouldn't. I don't like hurting animals for no reason at all.
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  21. #20  
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    Alright. We're good. Just sliding off topic.

    I do fear the danger that some atheists could derive A Modest Proposal from their oftentimes detached belief systems. Maybe not cannibalism, but eugenics and the like sure can't be ruled out, it's the sort of policy that twisted ethics have produced before. One's duty to the nation. It may be spawned by decision makers who have lost contact with common (traditional) morals. Then carried out by morally vacant drones, just following the correct ethics as pronounced by professionals.

    Religious groups including theocracies, I'd trust more in some ways. They have tethering. Their ethics are less liable to revision, and are always open to scrutiny. They can't help but hold their ethics and even values up for scrutiny. For example, a secular state will say of using WMD, enigmatically, "all options are on the table", but contrast a well known theocracy: though bellicose, they'll make perfectly clear that WMD are "against the will of Allah" and that's that. They pass a law to behead any hellbound sinner building or using WMD of any kind. You can trust they're fanatically serious about this, no wink.

    But if I had to choose, I'd take harmless over scrutable. I feel that atheists as a group are too diffuse to mount a serious threat.
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  22. #21  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I haven't heard any atheist say they want religion exterminated "at all costs" yet,
    What really? I have. But I have not heard a Christian say that they want atheism exterminated "at all costs".


    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    however, I'm keen to put up an example of what I see as an strong atheist:

    Pat Condell

    Would you find his points valid or extreme? What about his approach? To get the most of what this guy is about I would recommend watching "Why debate dogma?" and "What's good about religion?".
    From the website alone my impression of this guy was about the same as my impression would be of a Christian that said to me that atheists are stupid - which immediately reveals a rather deep well of ignorance.

    Then I watched "What's good about religion?" and I enjoyed his humor. But I especially like all his talk about the human soul. LOL Especially at the beginning when he said that the three "montheistic dogmas have made a desert of the human soul". In fact, this is very similar to something that Jesus said about the Pharisees.

    "Why debate dogma" was delightful. He reminds me of some of the Christians that I actual like and enjoy the company of. Some of the things he says sounds like things that I would say. But he is NOT like me and not just because I am Christian and he is atheist. For despite all the good things I can think up to describe him there is still the well of ignorance there of a person bound up in his own ideological framework which looks down upon the world in judgement and is unable to see from broader perspective.

    BUT it is time to go back to your question and apply it to him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Strong atheists are accused often of showing little respect to religion with their arrogance and are said to be no better than annoying religious fanatics who impose their view on others.
    My answer in his case is a definite no. As I said he very much reminds me of Christians whose company I enjoy. So I would say that there are very few religious - very few Christians who could say such a thing about him without being a hypocrite. Maybe only a hypocrite would say so. But then I am not so sure that Pat Condell would not likewise prove himself to be a hypocrite by saying this about Christians who are just like him except for being Chrisitan.


    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I think he is concerned with the public well being, but perhaps he's exercising the wrong approach. It's a good point that his anti-dogma (I would rather say) can be percieved bad and thus science is also percieved to be bad. I say anti-dogma because he's mostly attacking alternative medisin (wich he brilliantly remarked once "when alternative medisin works, it stops being alternative and merely becomes medisin". Note that this is not a direct quote), radical islam and fundamentalist christians. I don't think (but my memory could be fooling me) he has much problems with intelligent theists who don't impose their views on others and mostly keep their faith to themselves. But I would agree that his approach might be dividing people rahter then make them understand eachother.
    Well I would like to hold off on Dawkins because I am currently reading "The God Delusion". If you want to know how this came about read my introductory post to the RichardDawkins.net forum, which I have just recently joined. My last post to the thread as of 3:13 AM Mountain Standard time of Friday April 11 included my intitial impressions of the book.

    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/view...hp?f=3&t=41216


    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I know you probably don't think so, but I have to ask nonetheless. Do you believe all ideas are created equal? Where is the line to be drawn?
    Of course not. However I think that a vast portion 90% of the differences between different ideologies/philosophies/religions comes down to something fairly arbitrary like the diffences between languages. Each of these ideologies/philosophies/religions, in fact, draw such a line as you are talking about and since the differences in the rational for how they draw these are 90% arbitrary, the result is fairly meaningless. This is why diversity is so essential for our survival. Every one of these religions/philosophies including both Christianity and atheism are capable of destroying the world, because of their own particular type of blindness. Its like the world is a higher dimensional place than it seems and so the two eyes which we have to give us depth perception just isn't sufficient to see the world the way it really is.

    One has to choose one of these "languages" or one will simply be shallow. I am reminded of the way Pat Condell said if there was a God he would pray for God to save him from all the polite and deferential atheists, which is another thing that he said which is so similar to words of Jesus about those who are lukewarm. This is not exactly the same thing, but close enough, since it still points to the need to take a stand and fight for something you believe in. But I think that there are some things which are certainly more important than other, like religious freedom (or equivalently freedom from religion), and a respect for and protection of human diversity. So although I have chosen Christianity as my language(not my native or birth language), I refuse to be devoured by it "hook line and sinker", so that I can retain access to a broader perspective.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Should we always respect others? What about the other extreme, tolerance of intolerance?
    Yes and no. To give people the respect that they give others should be a kind of baseline, but since this is hardly a visible line we should not be so eager to stand right up against the line. We need to use good judgement. In particular when one side is getting out hand it is exactly the wrong thing to do, to imitate them and be as outrageous as they are for that will only justify and fuel their fanaticism. Intead that is exactly when you need to defend the line by championing tolerance and religious freedom. Choose your battles and fight for the compromise that must be defended at all cost.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    What about the other extreme, tolerance of intolerance?
    Tolerance of intolerance is another way of saying passive intolerance. There is no paradox or contradiction in the idea of intolerance of intolerance. We should be intolerant of intolerance, however we must not ignore the complexities involved when we do so. Our intolerance should not exceed the intolerance that we are refusing to tolerate, but our responses must be appropriate to the behavior we are opposing.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Upon thinking about it you're probably right. I always imagined that communism was the real cause for the anti-religiousity. If Stalin was a muslim or a christian, he would probably erradicate everyone else who wasn't, but flipping this argument upside down, it can be applied to christian leaders as well (what if they were atheist), but perhaps not. Religious leaders did things in the name of their faith, atheist leaders didn't do what they did in the name of atheism, or?
    Mao Tse Tung said religion was a disease and proceeded to stamp it out. Dawkins basically says the same thing as Mao, but with a more elaborate rational for saying so. What is the difference can know for sure is between them except that Mao had the power to try and cure the disease but Dawkins does not. Sure there is a difference between not believing in god and believing that religion is a disease - VERY different, and that really is the whole point, isn't it. How would you respond to someone with an explanation of why atheism is a disease? I actually say atheism is good, but I am not an atheist. Do you see what I mean?

    When we look at pathological (clinical) psychology, religion can be a disease, but so also can atheism be a disease. I am talking about how these play out in a particular persons' thought processes. If how that particular person understands their religious or atheist concepts and ideals has a destructive impact on their psychological well being then these are a source of illness that needs to be removed. The point here is that we must not leap upon particular instances like these for the gratification of justifying our own ideology, so that we cannot admit the possibility that religion or atheism actually plays a positive and important role in the thought processes of other people. People are really very very different, even in the same culture... even in the same family... even between father and son or between mother and daughter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I haven't heard any atheist say they want religion exterminated "at all costs" yet,
    What really? I have. But I have not heard a Christian say that they want atheism exterminated "at all costs".
    Then there's a possibility we both are "blind" to it where we stand

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Well I would like to hold off on Dawkins because I am currently reading "The God Delusion". If you want to know how this came about read my introductory post to the RichardDawkins.net forum, which I have just recently joined. My last post to the thread as of 3:13 AM Mountain Standard time of Friday April 11 included my intitial impressions of the book.

    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/view...hp?f=3&t=41216
    I can see you've had quite a lot of fun there :wink:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I chose to "gather" what I've gained from this discussion instead of answering every response I got. It seems that all ideas are dangerous to some extent. Consider all philosophies/religions/ideologies to be cells of a larger structure. There are different types of cells everywhere making up a "whole" by working together. Every cell in this body has the potential to become cancerous, and when that happens, "the whole" starts to deteriorate and chaos within the structure emerge. Perhaps philosophies/religions/ideologies then should be considered dependent on eachother similar to a way evolution by natural selection works. Competition within philosophies/religions/ideologies over time equals progress and variation. I guess this is starting to get into memetics or something now, isn't it? You could call humans, in a metaphorical sense, a dominating philosophy/religion/ideology, but which is dependent on other PRIs in order for it to survive.

    Anyhow, beyond that, I would say I am pretty much in agreement with you. :-D I'm also glad you enjoyed watching Pat Condell by the way, he's pretty funny :wink:
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    Is there really nothing more to add to this thread? Express your opinions now!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Is there really nothing more to add to this thread? Express your opinions now!
    I am pretty much finished with the Dawkins.net forum. It pretty much went like this.

    (I assume you read my introductory post)

    Them: You cannot be a scientist if you say such unscientific things.

    Me: You confuse science with the opinions of a scientist.

    Them: But you believe that ...

    Me: No I don't. There are a lot of things that Christians believe that I do not.

    Them: You are being evasive.

    Me: Ask me straight and I will answer straight.

    Them: So do you believe ...?

    Me: Yes, because ...

    Them: What is your proof. You cannot come here telling us stuff like that and not give any proof.

    Me: I just came here to share my reactions to Expelled. I thought you would appreciate the irony of a Christian being inspired by that film to read "The God Delusion."

    Them: You cannot be a scientist if you say such unscientific things.

    Me: You confuse science with the opinions of a scientist.

    Them: You are being evasive.

    Me: Ask me straight and I will answer straight.

    Them: So do you believe ...?

    Me: Yes, because ...

    Them: You are preaching Christian nonsense at us. Cookoo cookoo

    (I do not reply)
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Them: You are preaching Christian nonsense at us. Cookoo cookoo

    (I do not reply)
    in time, you will thank them for their sharp reaction against your religious nonsense.
    i was a christian, and am proud to say i'm no more, and the world has become a far more interesting place for that.
    oh, and its helped me get over dumb superstition like fear of the number 13.
    whenever i see 13, and some dumb mishap occurs, instead of saying "13 is to blame!" i simply say, well that was pure chance.
    i still feel uneasy around the number, bless the flaming souls who brainwashed me, but it doesnt dominate my choices like it did when i was a kid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Them: You are preaching Christian nonsense at us. Cookoo cookoo

    (I do not reply)
    in time, you will thank them for their sharp reaction against your religious nonsense.
    i was a christian, and am proud to say i'm no more, and the world has become a far more interesting place for that.
    Ho hum ... "In time you will grow up and learn that the small box you have stuffed reality into, although possibly bigger than the last box you were using, is still but a pale shadow of the real thing." (demonstration)

    See ... I can do the boring self-righteous condescending look down at your stupidity thing just as well as you can. Therefore, do you really think this suggests that you have some valuable insight which I lack? On the contrary, it could very well suggest to me the understanding of child or a brainwashed zombie that hasn't even begun to comprehend the complexity of the world. But I know that things are not this simple.

    The expanded awareness of the those converted to atheism is clear to me, and so that you rejoice in what you have gained is only natural, and so I congratulate you. But I see EXACTLY the same expansion of awareness in those converted to various religions. And so I have learned to look upon such declarations by the converted of all types with equanimity and patience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    It has nothing to do with atheism any more than it has to do with religion. The problem is people - for it is the people who get carried away with whatever ideology to the point where they do not show respect for others.
    No, it is indoctrination that is the problem, not people. Dawkins is more interested in eradicating that problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I am pretty much finished with the Dawkins.net forum. It pretty much went like this.

    (I assume you read my introductory post)

    Them: You cannot be a scientist if you say such unscientific things.

    Me: You confuse science with the opinions of a scientist.

    Them: But you believe that ...

    Me: No I don't. There are a lot of things that Christians believe that I do not.

    Them: You are being evasive.

    Me: Ask me straight and I will answer straight.

    Them: So do you believe ...?

    Me: Yes, because ...

    Them: What is your proof. You cannot come here telling us stuff like that and not give any proof.

    Me: I just came here to share my reactions to Expelled. I thought you would appreciate the irony of a Christian being inspired by that film to read "The God Delusion."

    Them: You cannot be a scientist if you say such unscientific things.

    Me: You confuse science with the opinions of a scientist.

    Them: You are being evasive.

    Me: Ask me straight and I will answer straight.

    Them: So do you believe ...?

    Me: Yes, because ...

    Them: You are preaching Christian nonsense at us. Cookoo cookoo

    (I do not reply)
    I actually read quite a lot of the thread and think you described it quite well here Many of them just jumped to conclusion even though you had explained throughoutly what you think and believe etc. I found one part of the discussion very funny when somebody was going after your typos or something, as if that was very important
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    Wait a second: Atheists can also be condescending and petty?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Wait a second: Atheists can also be condescending and petty?
    Of course, I imagine there are plenty of atheists that can tell a very similar if not worse story about a visit to a Christian dominated website. So it is not as if I think what happened proves anything.

    But it does remind me of that thread in this forum about some comparison of average of IQs between atheists and the religious. My first observation in that thread was that we should not be confused about the fact that averages are only just averages after all, and that thinking that such averages says anything about oneself in particular is itself evidence to the contrary.
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    Yes. I think the moral of the story is that the world is filled with a variety of people: some being petty, condescending, obtuse, prejudiced, etc. etc. and examples of each can be found everywhere among atheists and theists. Pretty obvious one would think, but.... :?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    Jehovah's witness' are a good example. No offense to them, I don't mind them expressing their views, I infact like it and wish for them continue. But in the eyes of an atheist, I'd find what Jovo's do a bit insulting, or offensive in some way, but I'm not so I don't, they're just being helpful, their intentions are good. So let them be, they want to help us.
    I beg to differ. From the eyes of anyone not a Jehovah's Witness I'd find their beliefs offensive. They believe that everyone who is not a Jehovah's Witness will be destroyed (hopefully very soon) while they happily skip away from the mayhem into a reinstated global Garden of Eden.

    They wan't to help us, perhaps in a warped way. I think most people would find their true core beliefs offensive and immoral.

    I praise Richard Dawkins for his book, the reason why it's appropriate for faith to be questioned is that for most of human history it has been a capital offence to question it. Faith itself must be held accountable for its many "sins". Don't even get me started on the subject of mental child abuse. Religion has infringed on our most basic freedoms and must never be allowed to regain their former position.
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by portcontrol7
    They wan't to help us, perhaps in a warped way. I think most people would find their true core beliefs offensive and immoral.

    I praise Richard Dawkins for his book, the reason why it's appropriate for faith to be questioned is that for most of human history it has been a capital offence to question it. Faith itself must be held accountable for its many "sins". Don't even get me started on the subject of mental child abuse. Religion has infringed on our most basic freedoms and must never be allowed to regain their former position.
    Ahhh... the guru of your religion is revealed.

    I do indeed desperately hope that no religion of any kind gains such power again for our liberty depends on maintaining the diversity of human thought. Once any group whether those that believe in God like the Catholic church or those who do not like the communist party, gain absolute power over the rest, darkness descends.
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