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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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      10-21-2009, 02:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleWede View Post
How to decide what is real and what is parable? Listen to the Holy Spirit talking to you in your heart.


Scientific, definately not. It is again, FAITH.
Like I said- completely arbitrary. If the holy spirit talks to people, why do they need a book? If the holy spirit were really talking to people, shouldn't all people wind up with pretty much the same broad interperatation...at least agree on what parts are parable and what are literal...what's to be followed and what to ignore? Clearly, what people are "hearing" are their own thoughts, hunches, and wishes.

What if I say the holy spirit told me the entire thing has been so corrupted that it is essentially without merit? Again- religious claims are merely based on other claims, and you just have to belive them without evidence, aka "faith". I can not respect this, faith, as a virtue or goal.

Last edited by carve; 10-21-2009 at 02:44 PM.
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      10-21-2009, 03:08 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleWede View Post
To me, the bible is the work of MEN, not God. It is the best attempt to explain, in human terms, the divine nature of God and his relationship with humans.

How to decide what is real and what is parable? Listen to the Holy Spirit talking to you in your heart.

Scientific, definately not. It is again, FAITH.

Do you not think originally it was ancient mans attempt to explain things they did not understand like stars, sun, tides, lightning, etc through a mystical God force?
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      10-21-2009, 08:00 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 742 View Post
And while science is work in progress, it is science that has given us vaccines, antibiotics, harnessed electricity, modern farming, clean water pain relief and BMWs. I would think that a book that was truly the word of God would have given us a few hints about some of these, but then my wife tells me that I think too much about some things.
Great video, regarding 742's comment above...






&, starting at about 5 minutes, it addresses my comment about how to determine fact from parable.

Last edited by carve; 10-22-2009 at 12:07 AM.
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      10-21-2009, 08:22 PM   #26
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So much fail in this thread, thankfully carve and 742 have brought win.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleWede View Post
The ark and destruction of the surface of earth by a massive flood - absolutely. Too many parallels in non-christian stories.

What, you've never "communicated" with an animal? They didn't tell me God just wants you to not have the same power as He does, but. . .

Many of the stories should be considered parables.
There is no such thing as Noah's Ark and/or the Great Flood. They never happened.


Quote:
Originally Posted by maswastage View Post
Even as a Christian, I think everyone should take the Bible with a grain of salt. In fact, all religious documents should be taken with a grain of salt, because ultimately they were all written by men, and men have a tendency to misinterpret things (whether intentionally or not). The most important thing is to have an individual, personal connection to God. It's is a personal thing, I think, and you don't necessarily have to belong to a church (or Mosque or Synagogue) to know God.

And why do atheists always feel the need to bash on religion? It's not like science is infallible. Don't forget that science still can't explain why 80% of the universe is missing.
Science is ever changing as we learn more. Science can admit that it was wrong. Religion/Theists cannot. Our scientific knowledge evolves, religious nonsense stays the same, quite obviously false.

God of the gaps FTL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nostrum09 View Post
I think the hardcore atheists, the ones who actively bash other religious or spiritual people, are technically religious themselves. They have their own dogma and tenets, they just don't happen to have a higher power to believe in. I also find their hatred of the religious/spiritual to be just as offensive as those who are super-religious and insist that only their way is right.
How are we religious? Atheism only means 'lack of belief in dieties.' Other than that an atheist can hold whatever beliefs they want. Calling atheism a group is like calling people who don't collect stamps a group.

Religion is for the weak.
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      10-22-2009, 07:42 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by DougLikesBMW View Post
How are we religious? Atheism only means 'lack of belief in dieties.' Other than that an atheist can hold whatever beliefs they want. Calling atheism a group is like calling people who don't collect stamps a group.

Religion is for the weak.
I made the consideration of atheists as religious based on my perception of the definition between spiritual and religious, but I also applied it to the hardcore atheists, not atheists in general.

If one chooses not to believe in God, that's quite alright, but once one makes it their point to show how people who do believe in God are simply wrong, and then makes proclamations about how "religion is for the weak," you've moved beyond simply not having a belief in God to proselytizing about how there cannot be a God. When organized groups spend money on a campaign about atheism (http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/21/new.york.subway.ads/), it's virtually no different than teaching about the dogma and disciplines of a religion that does believe in God.

I'm not religious, and I would be considered weakly spiritual at best, but I certainly harbor no ill will towards those who are. We would all be remiss in not recognizing how much of our society's laws have been shaped by the moral foundations laid by religion.

As for religion being for the weak, I would think that George Washington (among countless other great men and women in our history) would disagree with you. Incidentally, he believed in religious tolerance if, gasp, someone held different beliefs.

Fear not, though -- hardcore atheism has its 'great' people too. Joseph Stalin comes to mind...
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      10-22-2009, 09:10 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostrum09 View Post
Fear not, though -- hardcore atheism has its 'great' people too. Joseph Stalin comes to mind...
People gloss over the fact that Stalin was a seminary student. In any case dragging him out of history as an example of your typical atheist is no more relevant than dragging out Hitler as an example of your typical Christian.

It is interesting how in 2009 the Bolsheviks are commonly labeled atheists, since before 1945 they were tagged as Jews in the American (and German) press. What they were was simply power hungry thugs, and what they are labeled at any given time is just a means to demean a group.
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      10-22-2009, 10:07 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 742 View Post
People gloss over the fact that Stalin was a seminary student. In any case dragging him out of history as an example of your typical atheist is no more relevant than dragging out Hitler as an example of your typical Christian.

It is interesting how in 2009 the Bolsheviks are commonly labeled atheists, since before 1945 they were tagged as Jews in the American (and German) press. What they were was simply power hungry thugs, and what they are labeled at any given time is just a means to demean a group.
Perhaps then I should have labeled it more generically and simply said that hardcore atheists can take comfort in knowing that their company includes the followers of the Marxist-Leninist approach, which is not just atheistic but anti-religion.

Ultimately my point, however, is that saying religion is for the weak is simply antagonistic and dismisses that the majority of the world's people have some religious or spiritual belief. To dismiss all those people as weak is wrong, just as ignoring the destructive influences of states which officially make atheism and anti-religious positions a core component of the system of government is wrong and dangerous. I'd rather live in a country where religious freedom is accepted and not officially (state-sponsored) attacked, than live in a country where an anti-religion position is the norm and state-sponsored.
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      10-22-2009, 10:18 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 742 View Post
People gloss over the fact that Stalin was a seminary student. In any case dragging him out of history as an example of your typical atheist is no more relevant than dragging out Hitler as an example of your typical Christian.

It is interesting how in 2009 the Bolsheviks are commonly labeled atheists, since before 1945 they were tagged as Jews in the American (and German) press. What they were was simply power hungry thugs, and what they are labeled at any given time is just a means to demean a group.
Doesn't the fact that Christians believe that the devil exists contradict one of the ten commandments?
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      10-22-2009, 10:27 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostrum09 View Post
Perhaps then I should have labeled it more generically and simply said that hardcore atheists can take comfort in knowing that their company includes the followers of the Marxist-Leninist approach, which is not just atheistic but anti-religion.

Ultimately my point, however, is that saying religion is for the weak is simply antagonistic and dismisses that the majority of the world's people have some religious or spiritual belief. To dismiss all those people as weak is wrong, just as ignoring the destructive influences of states which officially make atheism and anti-religious positions a core component of the system of government is wrong and dangerous. I'd rather live in a country where religious freedom is accepted and not officially (state-sponsored) attacked, than live in a country where an anti-religion position is the norm and state-sponsored.
I agree with you that tolerance all around is needed, and that spiritual people are not inherently “weak”.

However the Russian example bears closer examination given its frequent use in these discussions. Any government that followed the Czar was likely to be anti-religious, for the simple reason that Czarist Russia used religion as an important part of its claim to power. They were the last remnant of the middle ages in this regard, and any revolution in Russia was bound to roll over the official church (and there was no other).

Non-believers are no more accountable for Stalin than the Jews are for Trotsky and Lenin. Or the Christians for Hitler.
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      10-22-2009, 10:35 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 742 View Post
I agree with you that tolerance all around is needed, and that spiritual people are not inherently “weak”.

However the Russian example bears closer examination given its frequent use in these discussions. Any government that followed the Czar was likely to be anti-religious, for the simple reason that Czarist Russia used religion as an important part of its claim to power. They were the last remnant of the middle ages in this regard, and any revolution in Russia was bound to roll over the official church (and there was no other).

Non-believers are no more accountable for Stalin than the Jews are for Trotsky and Lenin. Or the Christians for Hitler.
Very true on your last point, so no argument from me there.

My examples citing Russia were the best that I could think of, but my knowledge of history is not a strong suit.
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      10-22-2009, 10:39 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by MrRoboto View Post
Doesn't the fact that Christians believe that the devil exists contradict one of the ten commandments?
Not that I'm aware of. Unless you're referring to the 1st commandment about having no other gods or not worshiping false idols, but in this case simply believing that the devil exists is not the same as worshiping him.
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      10-22-2009, 10:43 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostrum09 View Post
I made the consideration of atheists as religious based on my perception of the definition between spiritual and religious, but I also applied it to the hardcore atheists, not atheists in general.

If one chooses not to believe in God, that's quite alright, but once one makes it their point to show how people who do believe in God are simply wrong, and then makes proclamations about how "religion is for the weak," you've moved beyond simply not having a belief in God to proselytizing about how there cannot be a God. When organized groups spend money on a campaign about atheism (http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/21/new.york.subway.ads/), it's virtually no different than teaching about the dogma and disciplines of a religion that does believe in God.

I'm not religious, and I would be considered weakly spiritual at best, but I certainly harbor no ill will towards those who are. We would all be remiss in not recognizing how much of our society's laws have been shaped by the moral foundations laid by religion.

As for religion being for the weak, I would think that George Washington (among countless other great men and women in our history) would disagree with you. Incidentally, he believed in religious tolerance if, gasp, someone held different beliefs.

Fear not, though -- hardcore atheism has its 'great' people too. Joseph Stalin comes to mind...
Morals don't come from religion.

"..the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.." - Article 11, Treaty of Tripoli.

What's your point about Stalin? No one has ever killed in the name of atheism.

If you think logically for a second you will understand why religion is for the weak.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” - Seneca the Younger
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      10-22-2009, 11:19 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostrum09 View Post
I made the consideration of atheists as religious based on my perception of the definition between spiritual and religious, but I also applied it to the hardcore atheists, not atheists in general.

If one chooses not to believe in God, that's quite alright, but once one makes it their point to show how people who do believe in God are simply wrong, and then makes proclamations about how "religion is for the weak," you've moved beyond simply not having a belief in God to proselytizing about how there cannot be a God. When organized groups spend money on a campaign about atheism (http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/21/new.york.subway.ads/), it's virtually no different than teaching about the dogma and disciplines of a religion that does believe in God.

I'm not religious, and I would be considered weakly spiritual at best, but I certainly harbor no ill will towards those who are. We would all be remiss in not recognizing how much of our society's laws have been shaped by the moral foundations laid by religion.

As for religion being for the weak, I would think that George Washington (among countless other great men and women in our history) would disagree with you. Incidentally, he believed in religious tolerance if, gasp, someone held different beliefs.

Fear not, though -- hardcore atheism has its 'great' people too. Joseph Stalin comes to mind...

I love these religion threads, but make it a general rule to not start them. The compartmentalization, double standards, and irrational world view are a pet peeve of mine and endlessly fascinating. Its profound effect on the course of the world is hugely important, and it all seems to be based on fantasy, so it's a subject I'm extremely interested in.

For too long, and to this day, atheist has been the most despised minority out there. I have to say- I'm very impressed with the results of this poll. People who don't believe in myths as reality are finally standing up for themselves. To us, it's no different than if people who didn't believe in Zeus, the FSM, or the Easter Bunny were considered a despised class.

The reason you often here atheists so vocal about other people's religion, besides the general interest I mentioned above, is that people's religion affects us. You really can't hold public office without proclaiming your belief in magic and the power of casting spells (aka prayer). People are trying to LEGISLATE myths and magic into science books. People are trying to use public spaces and money to promote religion, such as 10 commandments monuments, inserting religious proclamations into the pledge, money, and secular oaths, basing laws on religious opinion (e.g. gay marriage, attempt to force prayer in school, "faith-based" initiatives that are publically funded). General religious attitudes affect public policy regarding things such as foreign relations, war, and the environment. And all of this is based on claims without evidence...just based on other claims. [speaking of the 10 commandments, only a few of them a laws. Our morals don’t come from religion (slavery? Stoning to death for disobeying parents or working on Sunday? Giving your daughters up for gang rape? Willing to kill your son because a voice in your head tells you so). No- morals develop based on what makes a society work. A society that considered theft and murder virtues would quickly disintegrate, which is why many broad morals exist in essentially all societies.]

People can believe whatever they want as long as it doesn't affect me (although I'd still be interesting in discussing WHY they believe in fairies, unicorns, or god(s)). When they start trying to force policy and make decisions for all of us based on these irrational beliefs, I have a problem, and I'll be vocal about it. Conversely, I would NEVER support any policy forcing people to change/eliminate their religious beliefs in any way, but I would be interested in people converting to a secular worldview based on evidence that it works. That doesn't make atheism a religion or dogma. There are NO- ZERO- beliefs and practices to be an atheist. But just think about all the knowledge and progress that religion has destroyed and subverted, and all the knowledge religious are still trying to subvert. The phrase “pissing in the fountain of knowledge” comes to mind. Without the dark ages, it's conceivable the explorers of the 1500's would've explored Mars rather than America.


Regarding “religion is for the weak”. A little extreme- not all religious people are weak. The point I think he’s trying to make though goes something like this. Religion is a delusional, but comforting, way to convince yourself all your problems are OK and part of some greater plan, or even to convince yourself you don’t have to do anything to better your own conditions. It takes true strength to confront problems without this sort of crutch, and actually DO SOMETHING YOUSELF to improve the condition of you, your friends and family, and humanity. There are no spells or supernatural powers that'll come to your aid, and you must use yoru own knowledge, skills, ingenuity, and work to make things change. Thinking like this has led to doctors replacing preists and shamans, irrigation replacing rain dances, and evidence replacing superstitution. Basically, everything good about living in the modern world stems from this naturalistic worldview.


Regarding communism: The big communist countries ran almost like religions. The state or supreme leader was elevated to infallible, unquestionable, all powerful status. Many Koreans even think Kim Il Sun had supernatural powers! Having religious institutions in these nations was also competition for authority- something they wouldn’t approve of. Furthermore, I wouldn’t consider people being forced out of religion to truly be atheist: merely oppressed. You can’t even TELL what they really believe, and they aren’t allowed to tell you either. So, while I’d agree that communism leads to atheism for these reasons (atheism of a sort- more accurately secular worship of the state with in-the-closet oppressed religion), it’s ridiculous to suppose atheism leads to communism. Read some Ayn Rand!

Cuba seems to be an exception. Being mostly Catholic, it shows that communism does not even necessarily lead to atheism.

Last edited by carve; 10-22-2009 at 11:34 AM.
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      10-22-2009, 11:21 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by DougLikesBMW View Post
Morals don't come from religion.

"..the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.." - Article 11, Treaty of Tripoli.
If not religion, where did man's idea of morals come from? As a purely thought-based device, they certainly couldn't have been discovered in the same sense that we unearth fossils. Instead, they are mental constructs that are based on both our own personal experiences, and on lessons that are taught to us. Given religion and spirituality go back to the dawn of man, and given the place they were given in the daily lives of people for most of man's history, it's intellectually dishonest to assume that religion has had no hand in morals.

As for your point about the US, the government is prohibited from establishing a state religion, but also from preventing the free exercise of religion by its citizens. That doesn't mean that many of the laws which define our nation were not inspired by the religious beliefs of those who wrote them. If you think that religion had no influence in the creation of our laws, I can only deduce you are being willfully ignorant.

Quote:
What's your point about Stalin? No one has ever killed in the name of atheism.
As pointed out by 742, my examples with the former Soviet Union and atheism were misguided, given my relative lack of knowledge of history. As for killing in the name of atheism, however, that is also incorrect I believe. In the early 1900s, just prior to forming the USSR, it was not uncommon for religious officials to be persecuted. Actions included the confiscation of property, arrest and even execution. All done under the premise that religion was bad and that state atheism was the only way forward.

Quote:
If you think logically for a second you will understand why religion is for the weak.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” - Seneca the Younger
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?
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      10-22-2009, 11:29 AM   #37
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Interesting view by a big name atheist:




As far as the religion being responsible for creating morals. Morals are a social construct. Humans are a herd species. With communication and geographic barriers being erased over time, the joint global morality is prevailing over the individual, and area-specific morality. Religion is a systematic record of time period morality for the uneducated mass. It also helps bridge the differences in regional morality codes by conversion through supernatural, rather than imposing a new social order on a culture.

Imagine a scenario: We discover a planet with intelligent life; however that life is dramatically far behind us in technological development. For all purposes, they are cannibalistic bushmen (Do not confuse with Cheney). To them, the early colonists are Gods. Or at the very least, the heralds of gods.

What is the easiest way to implement rules such as "don't jack our shiny shit", or "try not to dart us in the face"? Such a huge gap in social evolution is easier bridged by involving a supernatural order to convert to.
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      10-22-2009, 11:45 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carve View Post
I love these religion threads, but make it a general rule to not start them. The compartmentalization, double standards, and irrational world view are a pet peeve of mine and endlessly fascinating. Its profound effect on the course of the world is hugely important, and it all seems to be based on fantasy, so it's a subject I'm extremely interested in.

For too long, and to this day, atheist has been the most despised minority out there. I have to say- I'm very impressed with the results of this poll. People who don't believe in myths as reality are finally standing up for themselves. To us, it's no different than if people who didn't believe in Zeus, the FSM, or the Easter Bunny were considered a despised class.

The reason you often here atheists so vocal about other people's religion, besides the general interest I mentioned above, is that people's religion affects us. You really can't hold public office without proclaiming your belief in magic and the power of casting spells (aka prayer). People are trying to LEGISLATE myths and magic into science books. People are trying to use public spaces and money to promote religion, such as 10 commandments monuments, inserting religious proclamations into the pledge, money, and secular oaths, basing laws on religious opinion (e.g. gay marriage, attempt to force prayer in school, "faith-based" initiatives that are publically funded). General religious attitudes affect public policy regarding things such as foreign relations, war, and the environment. And all of this is based on claims without evidence...just based on other claims. [speaking of the 10 commandments, only a few of them a laws. Our morals don’t come from religion (slavery? Stoning to death for disobeying parents or working on Sunday? Giving your daughters up for gang rape? Willing to kill your son because a voice in your head tells you so). No- morals develop based on what makes a society work. A society that considered theft and murder virtues would quickly disintegrate, which is why many broad morals exist in essentially all societies.]

People can believe whatever they want as long as it doesn't affect me (although I'd still be interesting in discussing WHY they believe in fairies, unicorns, or god(s)). When they start trying to force policy and make decisions for all of us based on these irrational beliefs, I have a problem, and I'll be vocal about it. I would NEVER support any policy forcing people to change their religious beliefs in any way, but I would be interested in people converting to a secular worldview. That doesn't make atheism a religion or dogma. There are NO- ZERO- beliefs and practices to be an atheist. But just think about all the knowledge and progress that religion has destroyed and subverted, and still aims to do. The phrase “pissing in the fountain of knowledge” comes to mind. Without the dark ages, it's conceivable the explorers of the 1500's would be exploring Mars rather than America.


Regarding “religion is for the weak”. A little extreme- not all religious people are weak. The point I think he’s trying to make though goes something like this. Religion is a delusional, but comforting, way to convince yourself all your problems are OK and part of some greater plan, or even to convince yourself you don’t have to do anything to better your own conditions. It takes true strength to confront problems without this sort of crutch, and actually DO SOMETHING YOUSELF to improve the condition of you, your friends and family, and humanity.
Regarding communism: The big communist countries ran almost like religions. The state or supreme leader was elevated to infallible, unquestionable, all powerful status. Many Koreans even think Kim Il Sun had supernatural powers! Having religious institutions in these nations was also competition for authority- something they wouldn’t approve of. Furthermore, I wouldn’t consider people being forced out of religion to truly be atheist: merely oppressed. You can’t even TELL what they really believe, and they aren’t allowed to tell you either. So, while I’d agree that communism leads to atheism for these reasons (atheism of a sort- more accurately secular worship of the state with in-the-closet oppressed religion), it’s ridiculous to suppose atheism leads to communism. Read some Ayn Rand!

Cuba seems to be an exception. Being mostly Catholic, it shows that communism does not even necessarily lead to atheism.
I too enjoy these threads, especially from my perspective in that I'm not religious and I'm spiritual in the sense that man doesn't know everything, and more specifically in the sense that the idea of consciousness, and why I'm perceiving life through my current body and not that of someone else, is a very tough concept to understand.

I was raised Catholic, but went through a strong period of rejection, based on a variety of reasons. Part of this strong rejection included what I call hardcore atheism. In the last 5 or so years, however, I've softened my position as I've met a wide variety of people who, with a wide variety of religious/spiritual beliefs, have shown me that there just isn't any reason or enough time to harbor such harsh thoughts for them.

As for religion making its way into the public space, there are certainly aspects I find disagreeable. But I also don't find things like a monument of the 10 commandments offensive. Most of them are now religion non-specific, and the rest simply don't offend me. Where I do have an issue is where religious influence turns into nanny-statism, such as with the level of censorship that members of the religious right would like to see in the US. Likewise with your examples of certain aspects of religion that today we would find appalling (slavery, "ownership" of women, etc.), it wasn't atheism that ended slavery, it was the collective efforts of likely many religious people who realized that, regardless of what happened in Biblical times, slavery is simply not acceptable.

As for communism, I don't believe I made the statement that atheism leads to communism, and if I did, I made a mistake. But for the Marxist-Leninist view of communism, state-atheism is a requirement, so they more or less went hand-in-hand.

And lastly, as for religion being a crutch that leads people to believe that they don't need to do anything to improve their situation, I think that is mostly incorrect, as well. I believe that more people pray for the strength to help them through their issues, rather than simply hoping to pray them away. AA relies on freedom from addiction through God's help -- not that simply praying to God will cure them of their addiction. If anything, and I may be generalizing a bit here, the more religious right-wing of the US believes in self-reliance and helping one another, while the less religious left-wing believes in the state helping the less fortunate (whether by bad luck or their own doing). The left-wing attitude is far more likely to create people dependent on the help of others (the state), rather than having the initiative to fix things on their own.
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      10-22-2009, 11:47 AM   #39
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If our morals were based on the bible & religion, our society would be barbaric and...well...immoral.

Think of morals as evolutionary. Lets take an extreme example for illustration: consider a society where murder is a virtue. What happens if the murder rate exceeds the birth rate?

Consider a society where it's compltelty expected for everyone to steal from each other. How productive will you be? How close will you live to your neighbors? (Many would call this society "communist" by the way).

These societys, and their values, will quickly cease to exist.

Many things in the bible we'd consider immoral and barbaric...stoning misbehaving children and adulterers & those who work on Sunday, genocide, animal sacrifice, slavery, in many situations rape, etc. These things were approved and often COMMANDED BY God (supposedly). How did we determine these things are immoral? Of course, many things in the bible are morally good, but you're confusing the cause and the effect. They aren't good because they were in the religion- they were added to the religion because they were good.

Religion is not the basis of our morals- they're based on what works, and what kind of society we want to live in. If you want to see a society based on religious values, go to Saudi Arabia.

The society that has rules and morals that operate in a way that allow people to be treated the way they want to be treated in will prosper. The society with morals that lead to it's own destruction or exodus of population will fail (most communist societies work around this by preventing people from leaving, and depriving them of most pleasure beyond sex, thus N. Korea's large population)

BTW- if we already knew everything we wouldn't need science and discovery. Nobody is claiming we know everything. We do know a lot more based on naturalism than religion though, despite religion being very old and science being in it's infancy. Please don't use that strawman anymore- it makes you look foolish.

Last edited by carve; 10-22-2009 at 12:06 PM.
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      10-22-2009, 11:51 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Negotiator View Post
Interesting view by a big name atheist:




As far as the religion being responsible for creating morals. Morals are a social construct. Humans are a herd species. With communication and geographic barriers being erased over time, the joint global morality is prevailing over the individual, and area-specific morality. Religion is a systematic record of time period morality for the uneducated mass. It also helps bridge the differences in regional morality codes by conversion through supernatural, rather than imposing a new social order on a culture.

Imagine a scenario: We discover a planet with intelligent life; however that life is dramatically far behind us in technological development. For all purposes, they are cannibalistic bushmen (Do not confuse with Cheney). To them, the early colonists are Gods. Or at the very least, the heralds of gods.

What is the easiest way to implement rules such as "don't jack our shiny shit", or "try not to dart us in the face"? Such a huge gap in social evolution is easier bridged by involving a supernatural order to convert to.
To your scenario, I would agree that allowing them to view us as "gods" would be a far easier way to gain control and/or ensure stability than trying to explain to them exactly how we go there. (As an aside, have you played Star Ocean: The Last Hope for the 360? There's a part in that game where you visit a planet whose inhabitants are technologically inferior, and they view the space explorers as gods.)

As for your position on religion and its relationship to morals, I can't quite tell which side of the argument you're on. It would appear that you are on the side that religion did lead to the initial creation of our moral code, based on the idea that you believe old societies used a religious basis to enforce certain types of conduct.
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      10-22-2009, 11:53 AM   #41
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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?
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.

For the record, I received very little religious indoctrination in my youth, and what little there was didn't start until I was old enough to realize it was weird.
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      10-22-2009, 11:57 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by nostrum09 View Post
To your scenario, I would agree that allowing them to view us as "gods" would be a far easier way to gain control and/or ensure stability than trying to explain to them exactly how we go there. (As an aside, have you played Star Ocean: The Last Hope for the 360? There's a part in that game where you visit a planet whose inhabitants are technologically inferior, and they view the space explorers as gods.)

As for your position on religion and its relationship to morals, I can't quite tell which side of the argument you're on. It would appear that you are on the side that religion did lead to the initial creation of our moral code, based on the idea that you believe old societies used a religious basis to enforce certain types of conduct.
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.
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      10-22-2009, 12:01 PM   #43
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wasn't atheism that ended slavery, it was the collective efforts of likely many religious people who realized that, regardless of what happened in Biblical times, slavery is simply not acceptable.
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.



Quote:
AA relies on freedom from addiction through God's help -- not that simply praying to God will cure them of their addiction.
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.
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      10-22-2009, 12:02 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by carve View Post
If our morals were based on the bible & religion, our society would be barbaric and...well...immoral.

Think of morals as evolutionary. Lets take an extreme example for illustration: consider a society where murder is a virtue. What happens if the murder rate exceeds the birth rate?

Consider a society where it's compltelty expected for everyone to steal from each other. How productive will you be? How close will you live to your neighbors? (Many would call this society "communist" by the way).

These societys, and their values, will quickly cease to exist.

Many things in the bible we'd consider immoral and barbaric...stoning misbehaving children and adulterers & those who work on Sunday, genocide, animal sacrifice, slavery, in many situations rape, etc. These things were approved and often COMMANDED BY God (supposedly). How did we determine these things are immoral? Of course, many things in the bible are morally good, but you're confusing the cause and the effect. They aren't good because they were in the religion- they were added to the religion because they were good.

Religion is not the basis of our morals- it's what works, and what kind of society we want to live in. The society that has rules and morals that operate in a way people want to be treated in will prosper. The society with morals that lead to it's own destruction or exodus of population will fail (most communist societies work around this by preventing people from leaving, and depriving them of most pleasure beyond sex, thus N. Korea's large population)

BTW- if we already knew everything we wouldn't need science and discovery. Nobody is claiming we know everything. We do know a lot more based on naturalism than religion though, despite religion being very old and science being in it's infancy. Please don't use that strawman anymore- it makes you look foolish.
Remember, I'm not professing a belief in a particular religion, nor am I even professing a belief in God. I didn't say that God gave us morals, but that religion was responsible for our initial moral code. 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.

As for science not being able to explain everything, I did not use that as a reason in any argument, so I'm not sure why you think I set it up as a strawman. I brought it up in the content of Einstein to show that even a man who helped to advanced science tremendously recognized that man doesn't (yet, if ever) know everything there is, and that there's no reason to harbor the harsh opinions of a "professional atheist." Again, as Einstein so eloquently put it, "The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer."
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