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View Poll Results: Are you religious?
Religious 58 44.62%
Atheist 32 24.62%
Agnostic 40 30.77%
Voters: 130. You may not vote on this poll

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      10-22-2009, 12:07 PM   #45
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Again- we never said we know everything. You also left off the first line of that quote...

I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.
I felt Einstein's position sufficiently explained by my preface that he did not believe in a personal God. He also believed, as I posted in a more recent post, "The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer." He may have thought that belief in God was childlike, but he also wanted to make it clear that he didn't consider himself a "professional atheist" who needs to denigrate others' beliefs.
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      10-22-2009, 12:13 PM   #46
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I believe that religion is a time-based reflection of morality of a people. If it's chicken or egg scenario, well... morality is the cause of religion. It is a documented guide to being a member of society, and every single one we have at the moment are enforced by superstition.Unfortunately it doesn't have an expiration date. Christianity has tons of stuff that is ignored today and discounted to the "Oh, well, that shit was how they did it back then. We need condoms today!". However for whatever reason the supersticious part of religion hasn't been erased as simply. I don't know what the formula for this kind of brain stamping is, but I bet that any modern company would kill for something this marketable.
I see nothing objectionable with the above and can agree with it. As I've ended up clarifying my own position, I'm in agreement with those who believe that too much religious control in present day is detrimental. Take a look at some of the countries in the Middle East who follow Sharia law to the letter.

My argument has been more along the lines that in the infancy of civilization, religion served as a method of enforcing man-made morals on a society, and this in turned help to keep people organized. I'm not sure what else could have had the same effect so long ago.
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      10-22-2009, 12:15 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by nostrum09 View Post
... religion was responsible for our initial moral code.
What do you base that on? I've demonstrated this is not only unecessary but unlikely.

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Religion is a man made construct, just as morals are. Man believed certain things and used religion as the tool to ensure that society followed along. I'd argue that in civilization's infancy, had it not been for religion we wouldn't be nearly as advanced, since there wouldn't have been anything to hold people together.
I'll agree with that. Religion subvert the familial instincts and projects them onto a much larger group. Beyond helping to form strong tribes and building people willing to sacrifice themselves for people they aren't related to, I think it outlived it's purpose. Of course, none of this makes it true- just a secular tool that people still believe in.

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I'm not sure why you think I set it up as a strawman.
Because nobody claimed we know everything.
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      10-22-2009, 12:21 PM   #48
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If morals are based on religion, how did anyone arrive at that conclusion. The bible was used as justification for slavery right up to the end.





Funny you mention AA. They no longer publish their success rate because it tends to be equal or lower than the success rate of people who just make it their personal goal to quit. Without the peer-pressure and support from regular meetings, I'm sure the rate would be MUCH lower. I think AA is terrible in that the first step is to convince people they are powerless to control their disease and only God can help them. This is a great example of religion being for the weak.

I think it allows people a convenient excuse to drink again. Not their fault, right? In the end, it IS in their power and ONLY in their power to control their addiction. So, good example- thanks.
I need everyone not me who's on now to make one big post so I can address all items at once =)

You somewhat contradicted your own position. You indicate that AA has stopped publishing its success rates because it may not be statistically different from those who don't attend AA, but then go on to mention that it's the peer-pressure and regular meetings that prevent their rate from being lower. That would imply that without those meetings (i.e., those who simply make it a personal goal), those people would fail.

As for this being an example that religion is for the weak, do you believe that medicine is for the weak? If you broke your arm, would you make it your personal goal to set it yourself and heal on your own, or would you go to the doctor? Given that addiction is both mental and physical, the logical extension for alcoholics is that for the mental aspect, help may also be needed. Whether that help comes from a therapist or from a religious-based support group makes no difference.
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      10-22-2009, 12:29 PM   #49
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What do you base that on? I've demonstrated this is not only unecessary but unlikely.



I'll agree with that. Religion subvert the familial instincts and projects them onto a much larger group. Beyond helping to form strong tribes and building people willing to sacrifice themselves for people they aren't related to, I think it outlived it's purpose. Of course, none of this makes it true- just a secular tool that people still believe in.
At this point we're more in agreement. The first part where I say religion is responsible for morals was bad wording. As I've ended up clarifying, religion is the mechanism by which man-made morals (those sets of rules and ideas that society came to believe to be best for their own survival) were handed down to the people to ensure that they followed orders, which was also in the best interest of society. Religion may have outlived its usefulness from that perspective, but we still can't deny that it's very likely that religion has gotten us to where we are now (even if we hit stumbling blocks along the way). And so what if it's outlived its usefulness? Subject to the exemptions I mentioned before (like nanny-statism because of religious convictions), if someone believes, who cares? Just like those on the left believe that same-sex marriage is a no-brainer since it doesn't affect the lives of those not gay, how does the personal religious belief (again subject to those exemptions) of someone affect anyone else?

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Because nobody claimed we know everything.
Examples were brought up about the superiority of science over religion, so I felt it appropriate to mention that even great scientists have been respectful of that fact that science may not explain everything, and that religiousness/spirituality is not in and of itself bad.
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      10-22-2009, 12:49 PM   #50
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At this point we're more in agreement. The first part where I say religion is responsible for morals was bad wording. As I've ended up clarifying, religion is the mechanism by which man-made morals (those sets of rules and ideas that society came to believe to be best for their own survival) were handed down to the people to ensure that they followed orders, which was also in the best interest of society. Religion may have outlived its usefulness from that perspective, but we still can't deny that it's very likely that religion has gotten us to where we are now (even if we hit stumbling blocks along the way). And so what if it's outlived its usefulness? Subject to the exemptions I mentioned before (like nanny-statism because of religious convictions), if someone believes, who cares? Just like those on the left believe that same-sex marriage is a no-brainer since it doesn't affect the lives of those not gay, how does the personal religious belief (again subject to those exemptions) of someone affect anyone else?



Examples were brought up about the superiority of science over religion, so I felt it appropriate to mention that even great scientists have been respectful of that fact that science may not explain everything, and that religiousness/spirituality is not in and of itself bad.


Personal religion is fine as long as it does not become part of domestic and international policy. "God told me" should never be a valued argument in favor of going to war, for example.
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      10-22-2009, 12:54 PM   #51
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I need everyone not me who's on now to make one big post so I can address all items at once =)

You somewhat contradicted your own position. You indicate that AA has stopped publishing its success rates because it may not be statistically different from those who don't attend AA, but then go on to mention that it's the peer-pressure and regular meetings that prevent their rate from being lower. That would imply that without those meetings (i.e., those who simply make it a personal goal), those people would fail.

As for this being an example that religion is for the weak, do you believe that medicine is for the weak? If you broke your arm, would you make it your personal goal to set it yourself and heal on your own, or would you go to the doctor? Given that addiction is both mental and physical, the logical extension for alcoholics is that for the mental aspect, help may also be needed. Whether that help comes from a therapist or from a religious-based support group makes no difference.

When they last published, they did not have a good success rate. There's a Penn & Teller about this- pretty good. I think the meetings and support are good, and teaching people they CAN'T control their own drinking without mystical forces is counterproductive. They tned to balance out.

Meds are science based. They aren't distributed until they're proven to do something, and people understand how they work. If someone needed placebos to function, then yes- that'd be a weakness. People have used the crutch of religion to better themselves. However, ultimately the work was their own. What if I decided to live a more moral life in order to provide better cover for myself, and to uphold the responsibilities of, my true identity as a real-life super hero. Maybe I'd actually become more moral, but is this really a healthy way to go about it? Would it not be healthier to confront reality and use rational reasons to behave moral?

I imagine there are people who'd be a menace without fear of God, so I guess that makes it a useful tool. I wouldn't truly consider those people moral though- just afraid.

Again: to the extent it doesn't affect me, I don't really have an vested interest in what strangers believe, even if they want to believe they're superheros. I do find it interesting though.

Last edited by carve; 10-22-2009 at 01:40 PM.
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      10-22-2009, 01:02 PM   #52
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Personal religion is fine as long as it does not become part of domestic and international policy. "God told me" should never be a valued argument in favor of going to war, for example.
No argument from me here. I've borne the brunt of the "God/religion told me so, so it must be true" attitude before (I'm gay), and there's no arguing them. My hope that eventually all of society will look at homosexuals with no more interest than we look at heterosexuals has tempered by opinion about religion, as I recognize that there are still plenty of people who hold religious beliefs but don't let them interfere with the lives of others.
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      10-22-2009, 01:14 PM   #53
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When they last published, they did not have a good success rate. There's a Penn & Teller about this- pretty good. I think the meetings and support are good, and teaching people they CAN'T control their own drinking without mystical forces is counterproductive. They tned to balance out.

Meds are science based. They aren't distributed until they're proven to do something, and people understand how they work. If someone needed placebos to function, then yes- that'd be a weakness. People have used the crutch of religion to better themselves. However, ultimately the work was their own. What if I decided to live a more moral life in order to provide better cover for myself, and to uphold the responsibilities of, my true identity as a real-life super hero. Maybe I'd actually become more moral, but is this really a healthy way to go about it? Would it not be healthier to confront reality and use rational reasons to behave moral?

I imagine there are people who'd be a menace without fear of God, so I guess that makes it a useful tool. I wouldn't truly consider those people moral though- just afraid.
I would not consider people moral who needed the fear of God or religion to be moral, but I think that most people know on their own that things like slavery, murder, rape, robbery, etc. are wrong. In the beginning of history though I do believe that religion provided, as you call it, a useful tool to keep people in line, and to encourage those who wouldn't have acted morally in the first place, to act morally. As we've advanced, and specifically as science and civilization have advanced, we've come up with other ways of helping those who just don't seem to understand how to act morally.

And as it applies to morals, I consider myself a moral relativist (another point that separates me from the hardcore religious). Morals do change over time (hence our change in position on items like slavery). The unfortunate thing with moral absolutists (if that's the correct term) is that they believe that morals are fixed, but ignore the history of the change of morals -- their goal is decidedly immoral I believe -- to get everyone to live as they do.

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Again: to the extent it doesn't affect me, I don't really have an interest in what strangers believe, even if they want to believe they're superheros. I do find it interesting though.
I find it interesting as well =) My initial "outrage," if you will, over the comment that religion is for the weak has sparked some good debate. Now we just need some of the more religious people to join the thread!
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      10-22-2009, 01:44 PM   #54
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I find it interesting as well =) My initial "outrage," if you will, over the comment that religion is for the weak has sparked some good debate. Now we just need some of the more religious people to join the thread!
I'm not the one who made that comment and somewhat disagree, but I thought I understood the point he was trying to make and do see some validity to it.

Gays now are actually a more accepted group that atheists

Not sure where the religious people went. Where's Zell, the OP, too? He started this up and left. Lurking, Zell? Thoughts?

I have to say though- I'm pretty surprised only 1/3 of respondents identified themselves as religious. I was hoping the discussion would focus more on my first post: agnostic can be theist or atheist. I'd like to see the poll again with the only choices "theist" and "atheist"
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      10-22-2009, 02:04 PM   #55
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I'm not the one who made that comment and somewhat disagree, but I thought I understood the point he was trying to make and do see some validity to it.

Gays now are actually a more accepted group that atheists

Not sure where the religious people went. Where's Zell, the OP, too? He started this up and left. Lurking, Zell? Thoughts?

I have to say though- I'm pretty surprised only 1/3 of respondents identified themselves as religious. I was hoping the discussion would focus more on my first post: agnostic can be theist or atheist. I'd like to see the poll again with the only choices "theist" and "atheist"
I'm surprised as well, since when you see nationally conducted polls, there tend to be more religious people. Then again, our sample size is pretty small, so we can't really draw any conclusions from the results.

Hopefully the more religious people will see the newer posts and join in again.
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      10-22-2009, 03:20 PM   #56
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Religion has of course been used in the past, and to lesser extents currently, as a means of controlling the population. But you would have to completely ignore the contributions to society of any religious person to stand by your claim. Going back to my example, would you claim that George Washington was weak?

Heck, even Einstein, while agnostic and believing that God is not a personal God like what many of today's religions profess, hated when people brought up his name in support of atheism. He wrote in a letter to a friend: "You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being."

A man of no less intelligence and capability as Einstein himself still has respect for the fact that man cannot know everything. Are you suggesting that you know everything, or perhaps that Einstein is weak, at least compared to you?
I do not have to ignore the contributions of religious people to stand by my claim. I do not believe Washington was weak. He was a deist.


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Religion is a man made construct, just as morals are. Man believed certain things and used religion as the tool to ensure that society followed along. I'd argue that in civilization's infancy, had it not been for religion we wouldn't be nearly as advanced, since there wouldn't have been anything to hold people together. Without religion to hold people together, how long might it had been before we moved from our initial nomadic ways into organized societies? Remember here too, I'm talking the dawn of man. I would not advocate theocracies, or the use of religion as a means to control, as appropriate for modern society. Religions certainly have made very bad moral calls (as you and others have mentioned, slavery, stoning of individuals, etc.), but over time these have been corrected, again often by religious people who understood that in more advanced societies, these actions were not acceptable.
Your argument regarding religion in man's and civilization's infancy is definitely correct. The idea of deities and then religion came about from evolution. These ideas provided comfort, made people feel safe, and gave them hope. I also agree with the underlined point you're making.

However, these beliefs have outlived their usefulness.

Why we believe in gods (long, but good vid):
[u2b]<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/1iMmvu9eMrg&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/1iMmvu9eMrg&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>[/u2b]

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I have to say though- I'm pretty surprised only 1/3 of respondents identified themselves as religious. I was hoping the discussion would focus more on my first post: agnostic can be theist or atheist. I'd like to see the poll again with the only choices "theist" and "atheist"
I'd prefer to see a revised poll with these options:
- Agnostic Theist
- Agnostic Atheist
- Gnostic Theist
- Gnostic Atheist
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      10-22-2009, 10:45 PM   #57
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you need to add Satan worshippers and the fastest growing religion: Earth worshippers. go green!!! , I pledge allegiance to the earth and the life that it gives, one planet, under the sun, for animals and plants united. amen.
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      10-22-2009, 10:59 PM   #58
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I'm surprised as well, since when you see nationally conducted polls, there tend to be more religious people. Then again, our sample size is pretty small, so we can't really draw any conclusions from the results.

Hopefully the more religious people will see the newer posts and join in again.
Most of us here have had this conversation with carve and it gets rather exhausting. As a debate starts up he will typically make false claims that God said this or God said that. Or simply quote a verse from the bible that is completely out of context.

What i find interesting about these threads is that more often than not, the "religious" people bow out of the conversation because we have better things to do than vehemently oppose atheists. However the atheists, who claim we are imposing our views on them, are willing to spend countless hours posting about their "non-beliefs", ridiculing our beliefs, and eventually casting insults. And because the "religious" gives up the debate the atheists assume victory, or that our faith is a mere crutch that they have whittled away with their infinite knowledge of how man and morels have come to be and how the universe was formed.

On the topic that this thread has changed to; claiming that morals didn't come from the bible and belief in God is just silly. Just because you don't want it to be true doesn't mean it isn't. I'm not religious and frankly am offended when labeled with that term. Offended because religion has been and is tainted by man and his greed for territory, power, and riches.

nostrom09 has presented the most unbiased, logical argument in this thread. Without resorting to an insult or belittling anyone's belief. Sadly, simple human decency has become commendable in these forums.

With regards to atheists being the most despised minority; you only have to look towards the elitist all knowing attitude most of them project. Then make the connection that they insult and ridicule the beliefs of the majority and it's obvious as to why the polls reveal this data.
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      10-23-2009, 08:59 AM   #59
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Most of us here have had this conversation with carve and it gets rather exhausting. As a debate starts up he will typically make false claims that God said this or God said that. Or simply quote a verse from the bible that is completely out of context.

What i find interesting about these threads is that more often than not, the "religious" people bow out of the conversation because we have better things to do than vehemently oppose atheists. However the atheists, who claim we are imposing our views on them, are willing to spend countless hours posting about their "non-beliefs", ridiculing our beliefs, and eventually casting insults. And because the "religious" gives up the debate the atheists assume victory, or that our faith is a mere crutch that they have whittled away with their infinite knowledge of how man and morels have come to be and how the universe was formed.
The paragraph above is one of the reasons that I came to the conclusion that hardcore atheism is a religion in its own right. It may not fit the traditional and technically correct definition, but since hardcore atheism seems to have its own very strong belief system, as well as a compulsion to inform others why belief in a God is wrong, I can't help but think that it's pretty darn close to a religion.

Along those same lines, and with respect to the example provided by sayemthree of [hardcore] environmentalism as a religion, I too agree, with the same reasoning as provided for hardcore atheism. Clearly I'm taking some liberties with how I use religion in this case, but there are parallels to be drawn. Just as a hardcore traditionally religious person might proselytize to others and insist that their viewpoints/beliefs are the only correct way to live, hardcore atheists and hardcore environmentalists similarly have strong beliefs that what they believe is the only correct way to live/think. The super religious might want laws changed to reflect what they believe (e.g., DOMA, don't ask don't tell), the atheists have their own (their interpretation of separation of church and state, suits filed when religion seems to permeate into public spaces), and the environmentalists have their own, as well (cap and trade, global warming based legislation).

Quote:
On the topic that this thread has changed to; claiming that morals didn't come from the bible and belief in God is just silly. Just because you don't want it to be true doesn't mean it isn't. I'm not religious and frankly am offended when labeled with that term. Offended because religion has been and is tainted by man and his greed for territory, power, and riches.

nostrom09 has presented the most unbiased, logical argument in this thread. Without resorting to an insult or belittling anyone's belief. Sadly, simple human decency has become commendable in these forums.
I would expand the origin of morals to include all gods, past and present, since human civilization has been around for longer than the current monotheistic belief systems. But we certainly agree on the importance that religion and belief in gods and God has had on the shaping, understanding and enforcement of morals on society. Even those who have also contributed to the thread believe that religion was an important development in the history of mankind, though you and I now differ from them with respect to its importance or relevance in modern society.

The term religious is something that a lot of my friends also tend to eschew as well (I'm 28 for a frame of reference of the maturity level of the people I'm bringing up). I have a friend who considers herself born again spiritual. She doesn't belong to a particular religion per se (though she does attend services -- not sure which ones though), but considers herself to have a personal relationship with God that transcends the dogma and disciplines of any particular religion.

And thank you for the complement, MP0WER. I think this thread has remained very civil. Even if it hadn't, while I would likely have been frustrated, I find that discussions like these help to refine my position on topics that I normally wouldn't discuss with others.

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With regards to atheists being the most despised minority; you only have to look towards the elitist all knowing attitude most of them project. Then make the connection that they insult and ridicule the beliefs of the majority and it's obvious as to why the polls reveal this data.
I must agree with the above, as well, as it refers to hardcore atheists (I always must add hardcore because I have friends who are atheists, but they don't talk about it much even when conversation turns to that). But the same must be said about those who push any agenda so hard that it becomes obnoxious.

As an aside, I don't believe that I'd classify anyone on these threads as hardcore atheist -- while we certainly have had some spirited discussion, that was the purpose of the thread, so had we had very muted opinions of the whole thing, I would have been rather disappointed. =)
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      10-23-2009, 09:20 AM   #60
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Nostrum9: What tennets and beliefs must one hold to be an atheist?

I explained in an earlier post why I find these discussions so interesting.

I'll agree that religion has been used to enforce moral systems- I disagree that they are the SOURCE.

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With regards to atheists being the most despised minority; you only have to look towards the elitist all knowing attitude most of them project. Then make the connection that they insult and ridicule the beliefs of the majority and it's obvious as to why the polls reveal this data.
That one is particularly rich. Elitest? We're not the ones claiming to be chosen by and in direct communication with the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. Claiming to know only what can be proven is, in my opinion, very humble. I treat religious beliefs no different than any other beliefs. They should not be put on a pedestal. How do you treat the "pastafarians"? How would you treat someone who believed in superheros? What if these people were trying to push an agenda? How are these supernatural beliefs any different?

I'm a skeptic. I'm equally flippant with people like anti-vaxxers, astrology, flat-earthers, chem-trailers, homeopaths, etc. Religion is just the non-evidence based belief that with the most adherents, and that comes up the most often. In the end, they're all beliefs without supporting evidence and none should receive special treatment.

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      10-23-2009, 09:36 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by carve View Post
Nostrum9: What tennets and beliefs must one hold to be an atheist?

I explained in an earlier post why I find these discussions so interesting.

I'll agree that religion has been used to enforce moral systems- I disagree that they are the SOURCE.
Remember, I'm taking a bit of liberty here when I consider hardcore atheism to be a religion. I'm not seriously suggesting that it's an established religion, with a holy book, places of worship, etc. -- it's more of a metaphor, for lack of a better term, to show how extreme beliefs can often times develop into their own groups and ways of thinking.

That said, if I were tasked to come up with the belief system for hardcore atheism from what is currently observable, I would note the following:

- Belief that gods or God cannot and do not exist.
- Belief that a belief in gods or Gods is borderline delusional, if not outright ready for inclusion in the APA's DSM manual.
- Belief that it is the hardcore atheist's duty to inform society why belief in gods or God is wrong.
- Belief that it is the hardcore atheist's duty to ensure that any mentioning of gods or God is removed from all public venues and anything State sponsored (e.g., removal of 'under God' from the Pledge)

And again as a caveat, I've not seen anything from people on this board that would classify them even closely to how I would define hardcore atheism as a religion, so please don't think that I'm accusing you of any part of the above.
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      10-23-2009, 11:44 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by carve View Post
Nostrum9:
That one is particularly rich. Elitest? We're not the ones claiming to be chosen by and in direct communication with the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. Claiming to know only what can be proven is, in my opinion, very humble. I treat religious beliefs no different than any other beliefs. They should not be put on a pedestal. How do you treat the "pastafarians"? How would you treat someone who believed in superheros? What if these people were trying to push an agenda? How are these supernatural beliefs any different?
I would treat them just the way i would treat you. And don't mistake that for anything bad or sarcastic. We established in another thread a while back that outside of this forum and the confines of these religious conversations; we'd likely be totally cool with each other.

And don't act like you're so naive that you don't know that EVERY GROUP is pushing an agenda. You’re more educated than that.

I'm assuming that your comment about atheists being a despised minority came from poll information. I'm only pointing out, through deductive reasoning, why the polls likely show that data. It doesn't mean i agree with it or think its "right".
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      10-23-2009, 11:54 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by nostrum09 View Post
The paragraph above is one of the reasons that I came to the conclusion that hardcore atheism is a religion in its own right. It may not fit the traditional and technically correct definition, but since hardcore atheism seems to have its own very strong belief system, as well as a compulsion to inform others why belief in a God is wrong, I can't help but think that it's pretty darn close to a religion.

I must agree with the above, as well, as it refers to hardcore atheists (I always must add hardcore because I have friends who are atheists, but they don't talk about it much even when conversation turns to that). But the same must be said about those who push any agenda so hard that it becomes obnoxious.
I agree, there are varying levels and my comments do not refer to those that are content to simply not believe.

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Originally Posted by nostrum09 View Post
Remember, I'm taking a bit of liberty here when I consider hardcore atheism to be a religion. I'm not seriously suggesting that it's an established religion, with a holy book, places of worship, etc. -- it's more of a metaphor, for lack of a better term, to show how extreme beliefs can often times develop into their own groups and ways of thinking.

That said, if I were tasked to come up with the belief system for hardcore atheism from what is currently observable, I would note the following:

- Belief that gods or God cannot and do not exist.
- Belief that a belief in gods or Gods is borderline delusional, if not outright ready for inclusion in the APA's DSM manual.
- Belief that it is the hardcore atheist's duty to inform society why belief in gods or God is wrong.
- Belief that it is the hardcore atheist's duty to ensure that any mentioning of gods or God is removed from all public venues and anything State sponsored (e.g., removal of 'under God' from the Pledge)
In my experience, nearly every atheist I’ve come across on these forums fits all 4 criteria.
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      10-23-2009, 02:37 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by MP0WER View Post
I would treat them just the way i would treat you. And don't mistake that for anything bad or sarcastic. We established in another thread a while back that outside of this forum and the confines of these religious conversations; we'd likely be totally cool with each other.

And don't act like you're so naive that you don't know that EVERY GROUP is pushing an agenda. You’re more educated than that.

I'm assuming that your comment about atheists being a despised minority came from poll information. I'm only pointing out, through deductive reasoning, why the polls likely show that data. It doesn't mean i agree with it or think its "right".
Of course. Most of my friends and family are religious, and we get along fine. There are only a few of 'em that I can speak candidly about religion with though, and we have interesting debates. Talking to the internets, it's hard to get a direct feel for people's reactions, but there's also nothing invested in the relationships, so I feel a little more free to let 'er rip.

Yes- everyone has an agenda. But, the religious are extremely well connected politically and push the boundries of constitutionality. The pledge, for example, was brought up. We should not force the nations students to take a de facto religious oath. In fact, the BAPTIST MINISTER who WROTE the pledge did not have "under God" in it. It was added about 60 years after the fact to seperate us from the godless commies. Trying to manipulate the legal system to VOTE on what in science books is another example, but thankfully that isn't working very well (although still better than it should). So, I suppose you can say the agenda I'm pushing is freedom and the value of science- the two things that have made modern western civilization possible more than any other.

Here are some results from the poll I was mentioning...

Quote:
This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society…

Atheist: 39.6%

Muslims: 26.3%

Homosexuals: 22.6%

Hispanics: 20%

Conservative Christians: 13.5%

Recent Immigrants: 12.5%

Jews: 7.6%

I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group….

Atheist: 47.6%

Muslim: 33.5%

African-American 27.2%

Asian-Americans: 18.5%

Hispanics: 18.5%

Jews: 11.8%

Conservative Christians: 6.9%

Whites: 2.3%
Quote:
A recent Newsweek poll found that 26% of registered voters think that atheists are inherently immoral, only 29% would vote for an atheist, and only 3% called themselves atheists.
Quote:
Here are the percentages of people saying they would refuse to vote for "a generally well-qualified person for president" on the basis of some characteristic; in parenthesis are the figures for earlier years:

Catholic: 4% (1937: 30%)
Black: 5% (1958: 63%, 1987: 21%)
Jewish: 6% (1937: 47%)
Baptist: 6%
Woman: 8%
Mormon: 17%
Muslim: 38%
Gay: 37% (1978: 74%)
Atheist: 48%
I would LOVE to see the justifications people give for these reasons. The president's responsibilities, for example, are entirely SECULAR in nature. Seems like an advantage to have someone in here that knows this is his one chance to make a mark, the consequences of his decisions don't consider the rapture inevitible, and his country knocks God off the top of his priority list.
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      10-23-2009, 03:06 PM   #65
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What the hell...I'm feeling feisty, so I'll try to take these on. I'll try to explain the values and motivations i hold, and that other, more vocal atheists may also hold. I'll end by explaining my perception of the goals of theists, and why I consider them misguided.

Quote:
- Belief that gods or God cannot and do not exist.
I'd say "lack the belief in God(s)"- a-theist=without gods/theism. There is simply no reason to believe in things like that without some extreme evidence. Atheists are the only group that are generally identified for what they DON'T believe in and don't do. I'll take a usefule but cliched example: the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). Do you believe the FSM not only does not, but CAN NOT exist? Justify. I think it CAN exist, but the it is so vanishingly unlikely that it's not worth mentioning. Other than the age of the stories, what are the differences between the FSM, God, and the numerous 'dead' God's nobody thinks are real anymore.

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- Belief that a belief in gods or Gods is borderline delusional, if not outright ready for inclusion in the APA's DSM manual.
Delusion is a provocative word, but if you remove the drama associated with it it is quite clear and relatively minor.

From webster...
Delusion: something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated b : a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary

Beyond other people's claims there is no reason to think god(s) exist, and the belief is unquestionably propagated. There is not indisputable evidence to the contrary, but this is a weakness in the definition: you can not prove a person's or objects non-existence indisputably. What evidence would a non-existent being leave of it's non-existence? The more pertinant point is that there is no hard evidence FOR the belief- just claims. So, even atheist that are polite and don't use the word delusional, it's an accurate description of theists from the POV of people who see no evidence of God. I personally have never called religious people that, and have never argued this point, but I think I've shown a good case can be made for it.




Quote:
- Belief that it is the hardcore atheist's duty to inform society why belief in gods or God is wrong.
Belief in god(s) is very common, and people don't look at these claims with the same skepticism as anything else in their life- even other religious claims (imagine a hippie looking guy approaching you in the street claiming to be the messiah, doing impressive magic tricks. 99.9% of people would brush him off as a nutcase)! I wouldn't say belief in god(s) is wrong from a moral standpoint, but from an incorrect-or-correct stand point it probably is. Like the FSM, it might be right; there's simply no reason to think so beyond peoples claims. As far as informing society...I don't do this unless someone else brings it up. What they want to believe in their own personal lives, in a way that doesn't affect me, I don't care. Once points of a religious nature are brought up or postulated as true, all bets are off and I'll debate it as I would any other baseless claim. The spreading of misinformation is my biggest pet peeve, and the belief in misinformation is fascinating to me, which is why I spend so many keystrokes in threads like this when they come up.

Quote:
- Belief that it is the hardcore atheist's duty to ensure that any mentioning of gods or God is removed from all public venues and anything State sponsored (e.g., removal of 'under God' from the Pledge)
This is thankfully a nation of religious freedom. Proclaiming a belief in God is proclaiming a religious belief. The government shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion (and spending bills, including spending on the maintenance of public property however small, is codified in law). I addressed the pledge in my last post.

The seperation of church and state was as much for the protection of church as for state. None of these seperations of church and state fetter the practice of anyones religion in the slightest degree (yes- kids can still even pray in school; they just aren't forced to and aren't ostrizied for not participating). Therefore, the intent of trying to insert religious views into secular law must necessarily be the legitimization, promotion, and establishiment of particular religious views. This seems pretty cut and dry. Let the churches and individuals handle the religious rules and practices, and let the government handle the secular rules and practices. Seems pretty win/win to me, and this right, like all our rights and freedoms, is worth fighting for.

In the end, some of these things are interesting, and many are worth fighting for. Furthermore, freedoms and science can be demonstrated to exist, work, and have benefits. If can argue that freedom and naturalism aren't worth putting some effort into defending, I'd love to hear it

The parallel argument from the religious side is that it is worth fighting to save souls, too. I can totally understand that, and understand how the religious consider it their duty to spread the faith by any and all means possible. However, they're putting the cart before the horse. Before they can save souls for God, they must first demonstrate (not just claim, and reference others who've made the same claim in the past) that souls and God not only exist, but they operate in the fashion they describe. What they're doing now is analgous to putting unicorns and dragons on the endangered species list and setting up protected habitats for them before they can demonstrate those creatures exist, much less what constitutes a good habitat for them and what threats there are against them.

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      10-23-2009, 04:48 PM   #66
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