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Religion, Atheism, What-Have-You
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Snorri



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Him wrote:
Reason and Racism in the New Atheist Movement


God that author is annoying. And the article is fucking bad. Like, it's perfectly fine to attack whoever Greta Christina is and the rest of what seems to be one of the loosest movements I've ever seen, but be a bit more honest and especially acknowledge the irony in making absolutist statements when criticizing someone for making absolutist statements.
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mean, the first part blames "the new atheists" for not having evidence that says religion is always and without fail bad (despite that not being a claim made by anyone of note) and then assumes that the evidence supports their position.

If there is no evidence at all, then you can't make any claims like that.
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Istancow



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a nihilist and I just contradicted myself which is totally okay because there's nothing wrong with being a contradictory hypocrite.
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Felgraf



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm not entirely sure what I do believe in. I've got a crapton of 'if then' statements in my head, though.

Like 'IF fred phelps is right, THEN fuck his version of god, that god is evil'.

A lot of my views are born both from Pratchett, and the church I grew up in (they're actually very compatible!). While my own views have drifted slightly, I'm still *immensely* proud of the church I grew up in.

(Warning. I... like to ramble about this church. I'm pretty proud of it. It's going to sound like evangelizing. It may BE evangelizing.)

That church being the United Church of Christ. They're a highly progressive church, and a congregationalist church (which means that the congregation elects/hires/chooses the pastor: This DOES cause variation from church to church, and does mean there are some regressive churches within the structure). They have their roots in abolitionist churches, were actually pretty big on the Civil Rights Movements, were among the first churches to ordain a woman, and the first church to ordain an openly gay man. Heck, they (in general: Again, congregationalist church, so not EVERY church agreed)began realizing that bein gay *wasn't* a sin in *1977*, right around/after research began to show it wasn't a choice (after all: If it wasn't a choice... how could it be a sin?). (link: http://www.ucc.org/education/polity/pdf-folder/human-sexuality-lth-98.pdf The document really refers to how human sexuality, in general, is an OK thing, but homosexuality was definitely a topic at this time (And note they do NOT distinguish between homosexuality and heterosexuality or anywhere in between. They just say sexuality, and how it is not a bad thing).

This wasn't, then, so much them changing their believes to 'stay popular', since going "Being gay isn't a sin!" was... noooottt exactly a popular stance for that time period.

They're been agreeing that a woman has a right to control of her body since at *least* as early are the Roe vs. Wade decision (possibly earlier, I just haven't had time to track down the documentation. Wikipedia's links are all broken).

They also feel that a lot of Christian denomination's on "Faith, not acts" (you don't have to DO good to get to heaven! You just have to BELIEVE in jesus!") is a distinction without a difference. One of their mottos is "To Believe is to care, to care is to do:" If you *truly* believe in the bible, and in the message Jesus taught, then you *will* care for those less fortunate than you. Because you believe that it's the right thing to do. SO YOU'LL DO IT. That said, they never brought up "or you'll go to hell" as a reason you SHOULD do it. ... I honestly can't remember them bringing up hell at all. More, you should worship god out of love for god, you should do good *Because it is good*.

(The pastor at my church also gave an impassioned easter sermon against the 'lottery' version of Christianity, or as he saw it, the nihilistic version. That is: "You've won! You're a christian, and you get to go to heaven! This world of flesh is now unimportant." He pointed out the bible claims Jesus was also risen in the flesh, which symbolizes the fact that *this life* and *this world* is also important. And that we should make it a better place.)

You may not have heard of them. This is not really their fault, though! In the early 2000's (aughts?), they launched a television campaign centered around the argument that 'God is still speaking', and that 'Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we'. Links to some of the ads are:
Bouncer and Ejector .

... These were banned from NBC, CBS, and most other major broadcasters as 'being too controversial'. (Tim Teebow's anti abortion superbowl ad? AOK).

Also, Barack Obama is actually a UCC member.

'Kay, done now, sorry!
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Lasairfiona



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your church sounds cool.
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a skeptical atheist, with some zen buddhism and neo-paganism thrown in the mix.

One thing I am troubled by lately is the notion that Islam is especially bad, which is being espoused by skeptical atheists that I respect. By especially bad, I mean that it's not just the usual things skeptical atheists tend to dislike about religion, but that Islam itself is hideously dangerous, that most religions should be okay, but that Islam can't coexist ever with anything else.

I am not an expert on Islam, but this just doesn't make sense to me. I don't know of any reason why a country with a majority population of Christians should stand a better chance of not trampling human rights than a country of Muslims. I mean, I get that there are countries with theocratic governments where women have no rights, queer people are executed, and a host of other problems exist. I am horrified by that. I just mean I don't understand how this conclusion that Islam is somehow a special evil all on it's own came about.
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ShadowCell



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

simple. the most prominent depiction of a Muslim in the Western world is Osama bin Laden, who had zero interest in coexisting with anyone. it's a stereotype, born from limited media representations and political fearmongering.

which just goes to show that just 'cuz you're atheist doesn't mean you're rational.
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Samsally



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think if there had been a church like the one Felgraf described near me while I was growing up my childhood may have played out pretty differently.

As it was, I decided to tap out of organized religion permanently after getting tricked into seeing a pyrotechnic play that informed me I was a horrible person and going to hell, then getting herded into the basement to be grilled by a skinhead and some old guy about how I needed to say I believed in Jesus that very second or else, and after I refused and asked to go home getting stalked by the old guy until my dad figured out what was happening and completely flipped his shit (Dad is forever my hero. The funny part is he's normally very quiet and polite). Then there was also that time I got tricked into a church lock in that turned into four solid hours (from midnight to 4am, specifically) of 15 or so people playing 'grill the non-believer' after my 'friend' told on me.

That isn't even the whole of it, just the stuff that was easy to type at the moment.
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Felgraf



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lasairfiona wrote:
Your church sounds cool.


It was/is. Again, don't really consider myself entirely a 'Christian' these days (my beliefs are... strange), but I'm still quite proud of them. They don't really seem to care what religion other people were, either-When the local muslim mosque was undergoing reservation, they were allowed to use the church for their worship services.

Bah I *AM* evangelizing at this point, sorry. XD

Samsally wrote:
I think if there had been a church like the one Felgraf described near me while I was growing up my childhood may have played out pretty differently.

As it was, I decided to tap out of organized religion permanently after getting tricked into seeing a pyrotechnic play that informed me I was a horrible person and going to hell, then getting herded into the basement to be grilled by a skinhead and some old guy about how I needed to say I believed in Jesus that very second or else, and after I refused and asked to go home getting stalked by the old guy until my dad figured out what was happening and completely flipped his shit (Dad is forever my hero. The funny part is he's normally very quiet and polite). Then there was also that time I got tricked into a church lock in that turned into four solid hours (from midnight to 4am, specifically) of 15 or so people playing 'grill the non-believer' after my 'friend' told on me.

That isn't even the whole of it, just the stuff that was easy to type at the moment.


WTF. That's just... that's asinine. I'm glad your dad was there to back you up, that just sorta makes me angry just reading about it. =(

Nothing wrong with tapping out on organized religion, though-I wish you luck in finding your own path, whether belief or non belief or Harry-Dresden-esque theological switzerland. I'm sort of of the opinion that that's really, ultimately, what is best anyways. I'm sorry you had to deal with crap like that, that's just.. gaaah. I think what *really* matters is that we just try to live good lives. If god doesn't exist: You've still lived a life where you tried to help people. If god does exist, and is just/merciful: Shouldn't matter if you believed in him, just that you lived a good life. If god does exist, but will condemn you to suffering despite living a good life: Fuck him, REBELLION TIME. Now, where did they leave the lance of longinus....

Sort of a reverse-pascal's wager, I suppose?
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Samsally



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Felgraf wrote:
I think what *really* matters is that we just try to live good lives. If god doesn't exist: You've still lived a life where you tried to help people. If god does exist, and is just/merciful: Shouldn't matter if you believed in him, just that you lived a good life. If god does exist, but will condemn you to suffering despite living a good life: Fuck him, REBELLION TIME.


This is... damn near verbatim what I thought at a fairly early age and have latched onto ever since. I figured the most important part (and, conveniently, the part that didn't inevitably bite me in the ass) of every religion I have heard of was the moral code they try to impart on people. So I spent most of middle school and high school picking apart the morality that various religions taught and choosing the bits that seemed the most reasonable.

I don't do religion... I don't even do atheism, really. I just try to be a good person. If that isn't good enough, then I can't imagine I'd have much in common with kind of people that land in heaven anyway.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clearly, you people have failed to assimilate the message of chick tracts.














*good for you!
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stripeypants wrote:
I'm a skeptical atheist, with some zen buddhism and neo-paganism thrown in the mix.

One thing I am troubled by lately is the notion that Islam is especially bad, which is being espoused by skeptical atheists that I respect. By especially bad, I mean that it's not just the usual things skeptical atheists tend to dislike about religion, but that Islam itself is hideously dangerous, that most religions should be okay, but that Islam can't coexist ever with anything else.

I am not an expert on Islam, but this just doesn't make sense to me. I don't know of any reason why a country with a majority population of Christians should stand a better chance of not trampling human rights than a country of Muslims. I mean, I get that there are countries with theocratic governments where women have no rights, queer people are executed, and a host of other problems exist. I am horrified by that. I just mean I don't understand how this conclusion that Islam is somehow a special evil all on it's own came about.



While I don't really agree with the idea that Islam is "more dangerous" Islam does have a few characteristics that really separate it from Christianity (or any other religion of course) and make prediction difficult. It isn't just Christianity with (even) more beards, the teachings and concepts are often radically different. And a lot of people don't know enough about Islam to actually understand that.

For instance, people often refuse to believe that basically all muslims believe the Qu'ran is the literal word of God. Even the most liberal and 'westerny' of muslims believe that the Qu'ran is the literal word of God. There is no human error or mistranslation, you can't ignore things in it like that. It isn't viewed like the Bible is.

There are plenty more differences and it's actually really interesting how Islam functions. I won't go into it in this post though. But it's important to note that even if Islam is no more dangerous than Christianity that does not mean you can approach them the same.
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bitflipper



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Felgraf wrote:
If god does exist, but will condemn you to suffering despite living a good life: Fuck him, REBELLION TIME. Now, where did they leave the lance of longinus....

Sort of a reverse-pascal's wager, I suppose?

I've always maintained (well, at least, since I first gave the matter some serious thought in college, anyway) that any god worthy of my worship must demonstrably exhibit moral behavior superior to my own. There have been many men and women throughout history who have passed that simple test, but no gods or goddesses, as yet.
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Sojobo



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bitflipper wrote:
Felgraf wrote:
If god does exist, but will condemn you to suffering despite living a good life: Fuck him, REBELLION TIME. Now, where did they leave the lance of longinus....

Sort of a reverse-pascal's wager, I suppose?

I've always maintained (well, at least, since I first gave the matter some serious thought in college, anyway) that any god worthy of my worship must demonstrably exhibit moral behavior superior to my own. There have been many men and women throughout history who have passed that simple test, but no gods or goddesses, as yet.

So there have been plenty of gods and goddesses you've believed in, but they exhibited moral behaviour inferior to yours, so you didn't worship them?

You're conflating two ideas in a way that trivializes both of them. You do not worship a deity because none have demonstrated that they exist to you. Period. That's perfectly fine and reasonable. But morality has shit-all to with it in your case, because you will never be in the situation that you are convinced God exists and yet you reject Him because you think He's immoral.

It's like when you say you wouldn't give James Cameron a blowjob for five million dollars. It's a very safe and "moral" thing to say, because he isn't actually offering, but if he did, you'd change your tune right quick.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

so when constantine (i think it was constantine) made christianity the official religion of the roman empire, it was because he had never believed in a god or gods before he experienced something that made him believe the christian god had power? he couldn't have believed in all of them, but decided his best bet was to go with the most powerful? how about people who change religions? all the people who converted from paganism or the like never actually believed their supposed gods existed, that they chose christianity because it was the only one with a 'real' god, and not the one with the best god?

it's possible to believe something supernatural exists without offering worship. how many of the people who believe in ghosts actually worship them?
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