Dart, you act as if you agree with dude's point - which is the same point I made above - but it's certainly not reflected in your statements.
I'll try to be more clear.
What you are clearly, and I mean clearly, arguing in this thread is the same thing you argued in Tal's thread - your argument is that history shows that atheists are MORE likely to engage in acts of violence against theists.
Well atheist dictators
are, yes. There really isn't much of an argument about it. It is a fact. But this isn't because atheism encourages murder. It is because atheism doesn't provide inhibitions for dictators who are contemplating the act of mass murder. Some social problems can be solved by numerous dictators if they are only willing to slaughter an entire class of the population. History shows that atheist dictators feel more free to do that.
Now you're calling dude wise for saying the exact opposite of what you've been arguing???????
I don't think I am. Can you do me a favor and put a citation from us both that you think are opposite? Let's go over what the duder has said:
"I don't believe an individual person's convictions regarding "god" are a significant driving force in becoming a mass murderer-- those ideas are not a necessary component, nor sufficient
Not only have I agreed with this since the beginning, this statement flies in the face of many atheist arguments that have been presented recently. Duder seems to acknowledge that religion
really isn't a danger, at least in the sense JAK would have us believe. Dude goes on to say:
"Belief or disbelief is not the prime mover in human character. If you think it is then watch out: you are on the precipice of bigotry
How have I disagreed with that? Disbelief isn't
a "mover" at all for atheist dictators. Atheist dictators are simply operating without any moral guidelines. This doesn't mean all atheists have a problem with morality. Everyone
has this problem. Power corrupts and creates temptation for more power. It isn't belief. But history shows that men in power - those who are in a position of slaughtering their own populations for the "better good" of society - are far less likely to do so if they are religious. Why? Because it is likely against the religious principles they were taught.
Now had dude said he didin't believe "an individual person's convictions regarding 'god' are a significant driving force in becoming a charitable person," then I would disagree. Rleigion does infact make bad people better. Heck, even Sam Harris didn't argue against that.
Dude just commented on this, and I think this helps pin point the problem in our communication:
Dart, I've got to agree with Beastie and the others; you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. I say belief/disbelief (which is just another way of saying faith/skepticism) is irrelevant to why humans do good or evil.
Emphasis mine, because I didn't get that from dude's comments. I understood what he said about belief having nothing to do with a person doing evil
, but I didn't get from his post the argument that this applied to doing good
. Obviously I disagree here, for the reasons already expressed. Religion's greatest benefit to society is its organized efforts to make bad people good and good people better. There is much more to religious groups than simply praying to a spaghetti monster.
I don't see how anyone can really argue against this, and I don't think anyone really has. Hundreds, thousands, even millions of people claim they have become better people because of religion. Whether it be helping them get away from a life of crime, drugs, prison, alcohol, wife beating and moving towards a life of charity, volunteer work, etc. Religion has made positive impacts on lives everywhere, which essentially disproves the claim that religion has nothing to do with people doing good. That's refuted.
Now let me be clear about this. This doesn't mean there aren't any religious people commiting heinous crimes - of course there are. It just means that while religion is at least trying to do something about it, atheism does absolutely nothing
My second ARRRGH. You were actually asking me - an ATHEIST - to 'prove' that God REALLY told people to kill other people??????!?!?
It doesn't matter what you believe
, you still made the claim and I was pointing out it was silly. Now you're upset because I took you seriously? Well, if it helps, my tongue was firmly shoved in my left cheek as I typed that. The claim that "God frequently" tells people to kill is a more powerful statement that "people claim God tells them to kill." The former is an attack on the probability of God's existence whereas the latter is an attack on stupid people. Let's keep our focus on what stupid people claim. There is a huge difference.
Having said all that, I apologize for not getting back to the other thread from a couple days ago. Honestly, I lost track of it and it was pushed to the bottom and it just slipped my mind. I'll respond to your comments here if that's OK. You left it with two posts. The first seemed to be about clarification on what I meant and an argument about the precise figure for atheists in the world. As long as you know what I meant, and understand that I do try to use qualifiers, then I think we're OK there. I think the atheist numbers is kind of a sidebar issue that really isn't worth debating since we'll never really know the exact number. The last point in your post was about atheist organizations not having an agenda against religion because, well, that's what they say.
Well, I can only see that as naïve. By that logic, Bill O'Reiley isn't a republican and Barack Obama never endorsed his preacher's beliefs. Actions speak louder than words. And the same is true for CAIR, which claims to be a benign civil rights organization for Muslims, yet gets involved in all sorts of terror supporting activities and fund raisers.
Now you said,
What atheist organizations normally attempt to do is to protect the separation of church and state, and to attempt to spread accurate INFORMATION about atheism.
But atheism is nonbelief right? That's been the chant here for a long time. It is a "default position" to belief. So it isn't even a belief system at all. So how can there be information about it that needs to be spread? DO we need organizations for that
? As to the first point, the separation between Church and State is something atheists never understood to begin with. They do a disservice to the man who started that, by implementing it in ways he never intended. Atheist organizations are behind some of the most ridiculous lawsuits known to man, that try to remove religious terms, inferences, symbols etc., from anything location or event funded by the government.
Now could someone please do us all a favor and tell us how this is logical given the ubiquitous nature of religion in the early development of our government? Political meetings opened with prayers, yet modern atheists insist the constitution would never allow that. Our money, for crying out loud, has God plastered all over it, yet modern atheists insist the constitution is against any mention of God on public grounds. Anyway, onto your second post that pertains more to this thread:
The aggressive atheist regimes were aggressive due to their attachment to another dogma, like Marxism.
disagreeing with el duderino. Belief systems don't make people do bad things, remember? I know this is contrary to virtually everything we've been hearing from the atheist majority lately, but it is still a fact. And your statement still doesn't explain why religious dictators are less likely to slaughter their own people.
They did not become aggressive due to the fact that they were led by people who did not believe in God – they became aggressive because they were led by people who believed in another dogma. Atheism became attached to some of that dogma, but atheism was not the cause of the dogma.
Of course it wasn't the cause of the dogma, and I never said otherwise. You see, it isn't a matter of what atheism does. It is a matter of what atheism doesn't do
. Atheists and theists alike, will eventually be put in positions in politics where they will be granted the power to slaughter their own people. Given both situations, would you rather be a citizen of the country run by an atheist or theist? With the atheist, his atheism does nothing to preclude the onslaught
. With the theist, whether or not he chooses to follow it, he has at least been given a moral compass that has a chance of guiding him in the right direction.
But I really don’t understand why you even bring this up.
Well, I hope I've made it clearer.
I’ve mentioned this before, it always bemuses me when religionists attack atheism by saying it’s like a religion. Does that really help your cause?
Atheists generalize about the negatives of religion, without understanding the fact that they are acting just as religious as the theist. This is about a point of fact, not about helping a cause.
You say it’s like a religion
It can be. It isn't always like religion. Theists don't necessarily act religiously either.
You asserted that atheists have “had it easy” compared to hatred and discrimination handed out to theists. This defies reason and reality.
Not according to those pesky little things called statistics.
You conceded that atheists are always in the minority, and the hard facts are that minorities in any population will always suffer more discrimination and hatred.
Oh, so now you accept atheism as a belief system?
For heaven’s sake, dart, an atheist is the least likely to be elected president, based on atheism alone, in the US
For heaven's sake, do you really consider this proof of hatred towards atheists? People will elect the man they are more comfortable with and majority issues factor into that. Theism is a majority issue. It always has been. It used to be more majority than it is today, but it si still a majority issue. Libertarians are struggling to get a shot at the Presidency too, but their difficulty has nothing to do with American "hatred" towards them. If it is, then every political move atheist organizations make against religions, must also be considered "hatred" towards theists.
Like marching across the country with a magnifying glass to find religious symbols in small towns they don't really care about and they'll never visit again, and fund legal action to have those symbols removed, even though 100% of the people in the town want those symbols there. Atheists who are active in these organized efforts, were born in a country that says God bless America, that has God written on its currency, etc. But they aren't interested in maintaining or even respecting the traditions and culture of America. They essentially want to recreate a nation in their "minority" image, and they are getting their way! How many minorities can claim so much success as the so-called "persecuted" atheists in America? That is why there is some antagonism towards them by conservatives.
Atheism is often associated with amorality and hedonism. We see this over and over. I am honestly confused that you are asserting that atheists are less discriminated against and hated.
Globally, yes, it is a fact. Apparently, you haven't been paying attention to world events, such as the ongoing persecutions in China towards religious people. There are more theists persecuted in one day in China, than there are atheists persecuted in America for a year.
Besides, as I have pointed out before, a great deal of the hatred and discrimination that theists have suffered have been doled out by other theists – just of a different persuasion
True, but not all. And it still doesn't change the fact that religious people are more perscuted because of their beliefs, than atheists are persecuted for thei lack of belief.
Yes, atheists get on internet boards or write books, and may vent about religion. Can you blame us?
We live in societies saturated with religion
Religions that leave you alone. I mean the worst thing that might happen is that they try toc onvert you. Whoopty doo. They're not going to egg your house and threaten the life of your children. Let's take a look at the FBI report on hate crimes. Here is the list of hate-crime incidents based on religion or lack thereof:(http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2006/table1.html
Even if I grant that all the other hate crimes against theists were all from other theists
, you still have to come to grips with the fact that there were only seven
cases involving anti-atheism the entire year! This flies in the face of your complaints about excessive persecution.
we are viewed with suspicion, and even hatred and fear, simply due to the fact that we don’t believe in god.
Oh come on. This certainly isn't the case where I have lived. Even in Atlanta the Christians are considered the looneys to be feared. When someone at work says he is an atheist, he might get an Evanglical cohort try to dissuade him, but he certainly isn't met with antagonism or fear! Most people shrug it off as if to say, who cares?