It is currently Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:22 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 55 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: When is it atheism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:24 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:57 pm
Posts: 2947
Some semi-random thoughts:

It seems to me that if I declare that I believe in a lizard god who I do not take to be literally all powerful then from the point of view of most Abrahamic religions, I am essentially an atheist. From the point of view of these religions, I just don't believe in God. Well, what about a mammal god, a kind of super ape that has limitations like not being able to be in more than one place at a time? Does that count as belief in God? Is it essentially atheism?
I think most Christians would, if they thought about it, agree that it is just as bad as atheism even if it isn't atheism in some pedantic dictionary sense.

So what kind of atheism is it that is dangerous? What kind of atheism breeds guys like Stalin?
What kind of god beliefs help protect us from Stalinesque atrocities?
Is it enough to believe in any kind of god? What if I accept the Bible but my interpretation of it says that God was really an alien whose powers were godlike by man's standards?

Another question. What if I believe in a god but think that everything is made of matter, even god? Remember Joseph Smith said that spirit was just a more refined form of matter. Is that materialism? Gee, Joseph Smith was a materialist whose idea of God was a super mammal with a creaturly form and certain definite limitations.


What is the real enemy for people who think atheism is evil or dangerous? Is it the lack of magical or supernatural thinking that is really the scary part? Is it the hard nosed, show me the evidence attitude that is so fearful?

_________________
when believers want to give their claims more weight, they dress these claims up in scientific terms. When believers want to belittle atheism or secular humanism, they call it a "religion". -Beastie

yesterday's Mormon doctrine is today's Mormon folklore.-Buffalo


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When is it atheism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:51 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:32 pm
Posts: 6194
Location: in the dog house
Tarski wrote:
What is the real enemy for people who think atheism is evil or dangerous? Is it the lack of magical or supernatural thinking that is really the scary part? Is it the hard nosed, show me the evidence attitude that is so fearful?

I think it's the fear that atheists lack ultimate accountability because they might be able to do things either when nobody is watching or when nobody can stop them.It may also be the fear of a lack of unifying or ultimate guidance, direction, and purpose for life.

A third fear is that of being different. Catholic and Protestant Christians in Ireland have demonstrated this although this may be ethnic and cultural as much as it is religious.

_________________
That's General Leo. He could be my friend if he weren't my enemy.
eritis sicut dii
I support NCMO


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When is it atheism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:14 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:57 pm
Posts: 2947
asbestosman wrote:
Tarski wrote:
What is the real enemy for people who think atheism is evil or dangerous? Is it the lack of magical or supernatural thinking that is really the scary part? Is it the hard nosed, show me the evidence attitude that is so fearful?

I think it's the fear that atheists lack ultimate accountability because they might be able to do things either when nobody is watching or when nobody can stop them.It may also be the fear of a lack of unifying or ultimate guidance, direction, and purpose for life.
.

Then it's ironic because there is nothing unified or unifying about religion. Further, judging from the behavior of religious people, even priests, it seems like the being watched thing doesn't help much.

_________________
when believers want to give their claims more weight, they dress these claims up in scientific terms. When believers want to belittle atheism or secular humanism, they call it a "religion". -Beastie

yesterday's Mormon doctrine is today's Mormon folklore.-Buffalo


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When is it atheism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:25 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:32 pm
Posts: 6194
Location: in the dog house
Tarski wrote:
Then it's ironic because there is nothing unified or unifying about religion. Further, judging from the behavior of religious people, even priests, it seems like the being watched thing doesn't help much.

Religion is unifying if we all believe the same thing. Maybe if we all believe we need to pray towards Mecca then we'll finally be unified. Whether that's desireable is another question. Furthermore, It may be that religions tend to agree on moral issues more than atheists agree with a particular religious position (abortion, homosexuality, fornication / adultery).

Maybe the priests weren't true believers because we know that no true Scotsman would . . .

More realistically, maybe the feeling of being watched isn't a 100% correlation--maybe it's merely a great influence that works on most but not all people and it may be important enough that we'd want it there just as we make seatbelt laws, and laws against smoking in public buildings or about the use of asbestos.

_________________
That's General Leo. He could be my friend if he weren't my enemy.
eritis sicut dii
I support NCMO


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:42 am 
Regional Representative

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 1:59 pm
Posts: 657
Location: SLC (behind the Zion Curtain)
I think the "being watched" thing is interesting. I grew up with it (Mormonism), and there is always this vague concept of the constant observer. We were taught that "He" was always watching, but we would never really see him. We would "feel" his presence (and that concept has always led to an extremely wide spectrum of interpretations), and as long as we "felt" the same things that our leaders told us were right, we were "in tune with the spirit," yada, yada, yada....

Well, then when I became confident that the Mormon claims were false, I came to doubt "His" presence at all. It was strange to believe I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted -- without fear of retribution, and in many ways that got me into trouble for a time.

So I became forced to re-evaluate my moral compass with an attitude consistent with my sig line below, and found what worked for me was to approach life as if we are all one organism. I learned that this is not unique...eastern philosophies are consistent with it, and I found that with that attitude, and living the Golden Rule (the extent of my "religion" today), ethics and morals made perfect sense. If there is some kind of higher source, it seems that I have as much access to "it" as anybody else...and to consider that "It" is in my heart, I guess you could say that "It" is watching...and is always there.

It works quite well for me today.

_________________
Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:58 am 
God
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:32 pm
Posts: 6194
Location: in the dog house
BishopRic wrote:
So I became forced to re-evaluate my moral compass with an attitude consistent with my sig line below


Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche



I would have translated Überzeugungen as convictions, but I admit that I speak Dutch not German although they are fairly similar. Also, Babelfish agreed with me.

Anyhow, I think convictions are more dangerous than certainty because I am certain that 1 + 1 = 2 (following axioms). I don't, however, have a conviction that it's necessarily some fundamental neo-platonic truth to it. I think it's more a tautologly or true by definition and nothing more. Tarski would probably disagree.

_________________
That's General Leo. He could be my friend if he weren't my enemy.
eritis sicut dii
I support NCMO


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When is it atheism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:11 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:16 pm
Posts: 2861
Location: Unassigned Lands
asbestosman wrote:
More realistically, maybe the feeling of being watched isn't a 100% correlation--maybe it's merely a great influence that works on most but not all people....


Being watched is highly erotic for some people. Priests and others who are also into exhibitionism might secretly enjoy the idea that God is watching.

Tarski wrote:
What is the real enemy for people who think atheism is evil or dangerous? Is it the lack of magical or supernatural thinking that is really the scary part? Is it the hard nosed, show me the evidence attitude that is so fearful?


Good questions. The other night, my wife insisted that she is not an atheist (like me). So what does she believe in? She doesn't know, just not atheism. I do believe it's the lack of supernatural thinking that makes atheism hard for her. In a similar vein, we've had a couple arguments about whether or not to buy loads of "Airborne" to protect us from the common cold. Recently my hard nosed-show me the evidence attitude was vindicated by 60 Minutes. I think I'm right about god as well, but it's not worth fighting over as long as god remains a free placebo in our home.

_________________
"And yet another little spot is smoothed out of the echo chamber wall..." Bond


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When is it atheism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:17 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:16 pm
Posts: 1895
Location: Lehi, UT
The Dude wrote:
asbestosman wrote:
More realistically, maybe the feeling of being watched isn't a 100% correlation--maybe it's merely a great influence that works on most but not all people....


Being watched is highly erotic for some people. Priests and others who are also into exhibitionism might secretly enjoy the idea that God is watching.

Tarski wrote:
What is the real enemy for people who think atheism is evil or dangerous? Is it the lack of magical or supernatural thinking that is really the scary part? Is it the hard nosed, show me the evidence attitude that is so fearful?


Good questions. The other night, my wife insisted that she is not an atheist (like me). So what does she believe in? She doesn't know, just not atheism. I do believe it's the lack of supernatural thinking that makes atheism hard for her. In a similar vein, we've had a couple arguments about whether or not to buy loads of "Airborne" to protect us from the common cold. Recently my hard nosed-show me the evidence attitude was vindicated by 60 Minutes. I think I'm right about god as well, but it's not worth fighting over as long as god remains a free placebo in our home.


I'm with your wife on this one. If we take the set of all belief systems {Judaism, Mormonism, Jainism, Taoism, atheism,...}. Then this is the set of things that I don't believe in.

_________________
Mormon Expression


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When is it atheism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:26 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:16 pm
Posts: 2861
Location: Unassigned Lands
John Larsen wrote:
I'm with your wife on this one. If we take the set of all belief systems {Judaism, Mormonism, Jainism, Taoism, atheism,...}. Then this is the set of things that I don't believe in.


You got me! The way I said it, atheism is something a person can "believe in". In fact, my wife's comment was: "I'm not an atheist like you."

As one who rejects belief systems, are you an atheist John?

_________________
"And yet another little spot is smoothed out of the echo chamber wall..." Bond


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:45 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:26 pm
Posts: 13428
I may be wrong, but I have a hard time believing that theists really believe that atheism makes people engage in all sorts of horrific behavior. I know they use that as a debate point, but it's so - well - stupid - that it's hard for me to believe that even they believe it.

I actually think that the thing that really bugs theists about atheism is that they think atheists present themselves as intellectually superior, and view theists as buffoons. I think it's defensiveness. And certainly some atheist responses theism smack of condescension. But it's very hard to avoid that, when theists often present truly ridiculous arguments.

_________________
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

Penn & Teller

http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: When is it atheism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:46 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:16 pm
Posts: 1895
Location: Lehi, UT
The Dude wrote:
John Larsen wrote:
I'm with your wife on this one. If we take the set of all belief systems {Judaism, Mormonism, Jainism, Taoism, atheism,...}. Then this is the set of things that I don't believe in.


You got me! The way I said it, atheism is something a person can "believe in". In fact, my wife's comment was: "I'm not an atheist like you."

As one who rejects belief systems, are you an atheist John?


I am a jack-atheist. I may be an atheist, just not a very good one. ;)

_________________
Mormon Expression


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:48 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:16 pm
Posts: 1895
Location: Lehi, UT
Speaking of sets, I think theism is a dumb way to categorize. As if all believers in some sort of God have a commonality. That, of course, makes atheism an even stupider designation.

_________________
Mormon Expression


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:56 pm 
Regional Representative

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 1:59 pm
Posts: 657
Location: SLC (behind the Zion Curtain)
I just hate labels! Like my sig line says, I think I am able to be more open to new information if I don't commit to a label. And I've always hated the God/no God black and white distinction. What if I believe in "the force" like from Star Wars? Is that a God?

Maybe I'm "stupidest!"

_________________
Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:14 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:59 am
Posts: 7894
beastie wrote:
I actually think that the thing that really bugs theists about atheism is that they think atheists present themselves as intellectually superior, and view theists as buffoons. I think it's defensiveness. And certainly some atheist responses theism smack of condescension. But it's very hard to avoid that, when theists often present truly ridiculous arguments.


I have no doubt that defensiveness is part of the equation, but I wouldn't want to overlook the power of life-long (or any long term) investment in god belief. When you invest in any belief, it becomes difficult to give it up, but when it comes to those things that are apparently "sacred", the belief investment seems to magnify the resultant emotional attachment ten fold.

I can't remember which video it was I watched yesterday; it may have been one of the ones Tarski linked or one from a related topic, but this atheist dude on a call-in show was having what seemed like a fairly civil conversation with a caller who asked him if he thought it required faith to not believe in god. The atheist easily dismantled every point the caller made, and at the end of the 10+ minute conversation, the guys finally says something like, "Well why don't I just come down there and punch you in your bald little head?!"

People really don't like their investments threatened.

_________________
"You get to have your own beliefs, and your own wishes, and dreams, and imaginations. What you don't get to have is your own reality." - Sethbag

"Salt Lake, we have a problem." - Fence Sitter


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:55 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 9:27 am
Posts: 2750
Quote:
So what kind of atheism is it that is dangerous? What kind of atheism breeds guys like Stalin?

The kind of atheism that expresses intolerance towards theists. Is it really a mystery?
Quote:
What kind of god beliefs help protect us from Stalinesque atrocities?

The reason Stalin didn't hesitate slaughtering millions based on their religious belief, had much to do with the fact that he thought theists were delusional. He didn't want divisions and he knew how divisive religion could be in society. He felt religion was a threat to society in the same way many atheists express an alarmist mentality on this forum.

For me, it seems less likely that a theistic dictator, of any religious stripe, wouldn't have been so willing to slaughter so many because of their religious beliefs. So I don't think it was a "kind" of atheism that made Stalin what he was. It was just a case where disbelief in the divine existed, there was also a sense of being above reproach; no consequences, no accountability, and no moral responsibility. Religious dictators, at the very least, have to answer to a religious constituency.
Quote:
Is it enough to believe in any kind of god? What if I accept the Bible but my interpretation of it says that God was really an alien whose powers were godlike by man's standards?

I can't help but ask, who cares? What's the point with this semantic dilly dally? Theists generally understand an atheist as one who denies the existence of any God. I don't know of any who think Muslims are atheists. They probably think Buddhists are theists, when they're really not.
Quote:
What if I believe in a god but think that everything is made of matter, even god? Remember Joseph Smith said that spirit was just a more refined form of matter. Is that materialism? Gee, Joseph Smith was a materialist whose idea of God was a super mammal with a creaturly form and certain definite limitations.

Yea, I noted that elsewhere, and I think it is a good point. As far as I know, Mormonism is the only theism that is materialistic. Of course, just leave it up to some apologist to say "that's not official." Given half the chance, it'll happen.
Quote:
What is the real enemy for people who think atheism is evil or dangerous? Is it the lack of magical or supernatural thinking that is really the scary part? Is it the hard nosed, show me the evidence attitude that is so fearful?

I doubt it. I think most theists who truly fear atheism, have recent history on their minds. Particularly where atheistic dictators legalized religious persecution. They are mainly afraid that, given enough time, their religious freedoms would be removed. That's certainly the vibe I get from the prominent atheist writers. As long as they can convince people that group X represents a "danger", then that is the first step in justifying a removal of rights. JAK and mercury seem to think politicians should not be theists, especially the President.
Quote:
I have no doubt that defensiveness is part of the equation, but I wouldn't want to overlook the power of life-long (or any long term) investment in god belief.

Removing yourself from a life-long religion is much harder than merely removing yourself from a private belief. With the former there are social factors that make the move much more difficult. It was hard for me to shove myself out of Mormonism, but I wasn't raised in the Church. I can only imagine how hard it is for those who were. Sometimes I wonder if I had been raised LDS, whether I'd be like Will Schryver, still howling at the moon about how Joseph Smith was a prophet and no amount of evidence could prove to me otherwise.

As it is, I have no "investment" in my belief because it has no bearing on my life, socially, emotionally or even spiritually. I am totally disconnected from God, so I would have no problem abandoning belief in God if there were evidence to prove he doesn't exist. Disproving Mormonism is easy.

_________________
“All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it...Propositions arrived at by purely logical means are completely empty as regards reality." - Albert Einstein


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:00 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:26 pm
Posts: 13428
Quote:
For me, it seems less likely that a theistic dictator, of any religious stripe, wouldn't have been so willing to slaughter so many because of their religious beliefs. So I don't think it was a "kind" of atheism that made Stalin what he was. It was just a case where disbelief in the divine existed, there was also a sense of being above reproach; no consequences, no accountability, and no moral responsibility. Religious dictators, at the very least, have to answer to a religious constituency.


You're ignoring the very obvious - that "God" often tells his followers to kill other people.

And, really, now - if God tells you to kill, then you have to be accountable to no human being.

_________________
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

Penn & Teller

http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:03 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:57 pm
Posts: 2947
beastie wrote:
Quote:
For me, it seems less likely that a theistic dictator, of any religious stripe, wouldn't have been so willing to slaughter so many because of their religious beliefs. So I don't think it was a "kind" of atheism that made Stalin what he was. It was just a case where disbelief in the divine existed, there was also a sense of being above reproach; no consequences, no accountability, and no moral responsibility. Religious dictators, at the very least, have to answer to a religious constituency.


You're ignoring the very obvious - that "God" often tells his followers to kill other people.

And, really, now - if God tells you to kill, then you have to be accountable to no human being.


Oh snap!

_________________
when believers want to give their claims more weight, they dress these claims up in scientific terms. When believers want to belittle atheism or secular humanism, they call it a "religion". -Beastie

yesterday's Mormon doctrine is today's Mormon folklore.-Buffalo


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:08 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 9:27 am
Posts: 2750
Quote:
You're ignoring the very obvious - that "God" often tells his followers to kill other people.

This has never been demonstrated. You have a few instances (very often!?!?) in ancient scripture, but almost nobody follows these as examples to live by - certainly no theistic government ruler. The horror in the OT is generally rendered ahistorical by modern archaeology, and you don't see Jews killing people of other religions anyway. How do you explain that if theists are preprogrammed to follow scripture without question and without thinking?

And you are ignoring the fact that historically, an atheist dictator is a hundred times more likely to kill large portion of his own population, than is a religious one. This is a historic fact. And the question was about Stalin, after all.

Quote:
And, really, now - if God tells you to kill, then you have to be accountable to no human being.

Can you name any specific cases? Aside from the lunatic fringe in Islam, that is.

_________________
“All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it...Propositions arrived at by purely logical means are completely empty as regards reality." - Albert Einstein


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:19 pm 
God

Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:35 pm
Posts: 18169
Location: Shady Acres Status: MODERATOR
beastie wrote:
You're ignoring the very obvious - that "God" often tells his followers to kill other people.


No, he doesn't. That's how you can tell when man is speaking as man... the instant he says God tells him to kill, you know God didn't tell him any such thing.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:20 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:26 pm
Posts: 13428
I'll come back with examples tomorrow night, but I have to say: you gotta be kidding. Are you seriously, I mean seriously, claiming that people have not, throughout history, killed because they believed God told them to??

Or are you going to pull a "no true scotsman"?

_________________
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

Penn & Teller

http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:23 pm 
God
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:26 pm
Posts: 13428
Quote:
No, he doesn't. That's how you can tell when man is speaking as man... the instant he says God tells him to kill, you know God didn't tell him any such thing.


Well, of course I don't believe "he" does, either, since I don't believe he exists.

But the point is that various believers, throughout history, believe that God has commanded them to kill, and act accordingly.

_________________
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

Penn & Teller

http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 55 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bazooka, Dr. Shades, Google [Bot], Hasa Diga Eebowai, malkie, neworder, No_Hidden_Agenda, robuchan, Roger, son of Ishmael, SteelHead, Stumpy Pepys, Tim the Enchanter and 28 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Revival Theme By Brandon Designs By B.Design-Studio © 2007-2008 Brandon
Revival Theme Based off SubLite By Echo © 2007-2008 Echo
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group