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Won_Hip's big giant angry atheist thread - enter at your own peril

Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
edited October 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
There is a double standard in America. In almost all things, people will demand rationality, empiricism, evidence, and logic of others. Rational individuals are expected to carry themselves with a certain amount of accountability for their beliefs and behaviors. Any subject can be approached with reason, criticized, and judged, except for one: religion.

Not only does religion receive its own unique little protective bubble where it is allowed to exist free of criticism, it's often regarded as admirable if you operate in your religious faith in a way that is wholly contrary to evidence and reason. This has created a force of untouchable destruction in our society. Values voters can arbitrarily make decisions about others people's lives, and religious fanatics are driven to blow themselves up in crowded areas.

But despite this, those that do choose to operate on rigorous reason are, at best, misunderstood in this country, and often despised. Admittedly, very few on these boards are likely to hold this opinion. But what they do say, on the other hand, is that militant atheists (I'd take issue with labelling somebody on a fucking debate forum a militant atheist because of the nature of the god damned environment) are just as bad as evangelical Christians.

Personally, I can only conceive of two reasons behind such a statement. The first is that people wish to appear enlightened and above the fray, despite the facts of the situation. The second, and what I'd estimate is the most common reason, is utter ignorance - willful or otherwise - to the facts. Here are some things that the people that make claims about "militant" atheists need to consider:

1. This debate is not two equally-weighted sides. The existence of any meaningful gods is not just as likely as the inexistence of those gods.

2. Personally, I don't care what a person believes. I really don't. I know many of you reading this are positively laughing at it, but I don't. What I do care about, however, is when people start making claims about my reality, your reality, all of reality that they cannot substantiate in any way whatsoever. This is the necessary action of a religious person. They are always making claims about everybody's reality if their god or gods have any meaningful power or ability because that's what religion is all about.

Even then, I only really care when they voice their beliefs, otherwise how else am I going to know? But, thing is, none of you making the accusations likely know me or any of the other "militant" atheists outside of the context of these boards in which discussion and rigorous review of stated opinions is accepted and expected. So what the fuck's up? Why do you feel so offended when a person holds just one more belief up to a standard of evidence on a board in which literally everything else is approached exactly the same way?

I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs. Maybe you should grow a thicker skin, maybe you should learn to defend your position, or maybe, just maybe, you should learn for yourself that you can't forever overcome the problems with your religion or spirituality by incessant rationalization and running from these debates.

Just because we hold spiritual beliefs to the same standard as everything else doesn't make us militant. Just because we confront these issues on a forum dedicated to intellectual debate doesn't mean we're proselytising atheists. Just because you can't handle criticism of this shit that American culture says we can't touch doesn't mean we're the same as evangelicals.

Wonder_Hippie on
Spoiler:
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Posts

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Religious belief is an accepted form of psychotic delusion.
    I'm okay with that. If John Nash could do it so can I.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    That said, the question is not, "Do gods exist?" The question is, "What does the evidence suggest?"

    Why isn't the question, "Does the evidence suggest otherwise?"

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Well, if I said that I based my life around and donated money to an organization/belief structure that was chiefly concerned with a concept that a dinosaur at the center of Pluto is the cause of all existence, people would rightfully be concerned about my mental health. I don't see how it's unfair to judge someone's rationality based on their beliefs.
    I’m uncomfortable with the comparison of religious belief to a psychiatric disorder. It’s a rhetorical device used on occasion not only by Dawkins but by other revivalist atheists like Sam Harris (as with Harris’ joke that when President Bush says he talks to God every night through prayer we accept it, but if Bush were to say that he talks to God every night through a magic telephone we’d be alarmed and have the man committed).

    I’m uncomfortable with it, first off, because it demonstrates a pretty fundamental lack of exposure to some of the fundamental ethical issues in psychiatry - primarily, psych as a science has to at least give lip service (if not serious consideration) to the problem that what we consider ’sanity’ might simply be a shared delusion maintained by the most powerful majority. That’s not to say that psychiatrists walk around in a solipsist fog like the antihero of some Philip K. Dick novel, but that in certain sticky cases they might have to recognize that somebody who is “insane” may not actually be sick but might be perceiving reality in a way that is no less accurate and no less functional than our own, and the reason they appear crippled to us is because they’re trying to operate in social environment that’s designed for people who share the majority mental state. (See Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault, and Charles Tart for more in-depth discussion of this problem.)

    The way actual mental health practitioners sidestep this philosophical dilemma is to only treat a cognition like a symptom of disease if there’s evidence that the disease does any of the following: makes the patient more likely to harm himself or others, causes the patient distress, interferes with the patient’s ability to be economically self-sufficient, or interferes with the patient’s ability to maintain human relationships. So if somebody were to claim that they spoke to God through the telephone every night, we’d be alarmed, because prior experience has shown that the only people who make claims like that are people who have diseases, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, that interfere with their lives in other ways. A simple belief in God, or a belief in the power of prayer, on their own have not shown to interfere with people’s lives in other ways. They don’t cause distress, they don’t make you more likely to cause harm, and they don’t interfere with your ability to love or work.

    I understand feeling uneasy about using psychological terms to describe religion and the religious. However, this is not an isolated case of someone that lives a productive life and doesn't harm anyone, but happens to talk to their hairdryer every morning. This is a systemic problem in which people are allowed to simply choose not to have to justify their decisions and beliefs without relying on mythology. Again, this wouldn't be a huge issue, except for the fact that these people are organized and highly politically active.

    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    eokNV.jpg
  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    That said, the question is not, "Do gods exist?" The question is, "What does the evidence suggest?"

    Why isn't the question, "Does the evidence suggest otherwise?"

    This gets into negative vs. positive atheism.

    The idea that god definitely exists is as unprovable as the idea that he definitely does not exist. The evidence suggests that god very likely does not exist.

    eokNV.jpg
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    Why wouldn't they be?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Okay, first off "science" and "reason" are a rectangle and a square. It is possible to engage in reasonable thought that is not, strictly, based in the scientific method: for example, algebra.

    Second, if something is subjective and non-confirmable, that does not necessarily make it wrong. I can say that I had corn flakes for breakfast, in my home, with nobody around to see me. That is non-confirmable and effectively subjective. However, I suspect that you would not find this statement objectionable.

    Third, I thought the whole point of atheism was that the existence of God cannot, even hypothetically, be confirmed by science and reason; therefore your statement does not apply.

    Belief in gods frequently and almost necessarily includes various other beliefs with regards to the universe. It is not very often simply "god(s) exists!" and absolutely nothing else. There are statements made about the universe that are the result of these beliefs, otherwise those beliefs are, effectively, inexistent, and the gods proposed by them are ineffectual and meaningless.

    So, that said, yes, strictly speaking science and reason are different. But my specific contention is with the claim that gods, or the spiritual, cannot be accessed by science. They can. The previous paragraph assumes that there are consequences of the existence of any meaningful gods, and science can observe for those consequences. That those consequences do not present and that naturalism still maintains consistent and accurate explanations is evidence against the existence of gods.

    Spoiler:
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    You leave out the part where people are making claims about the universe and reality with these beliefs that have absolutely no supporting evidence. That's where the problem is.

    Why is it a problem?

    Because it's using subjective, non-confirmable experience to make statements about something that can be studied by science and reason.

    Wait, what?
    How is reason not subjective and non-confirmable, at least when regarding the existence of god?

    Inherent in that statement is the assumption that claims are being reviewed by many, many people for veracity and accuracy.

    Yes, human reasoning is far from perfect, but it has a tendency to self-correct. That said, the question is not, "Do gods exist?" The question is, "What does the evidence suggest?" Gods don't even enter into the equation if you approach it from that direction.

    The evidence suggests implies that, at some point, you have to believe something that you can't prove. You have faith in the evidence to the point that you are willing to accept the theories on something we don't know on, well, faith.

  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    That said, the question is not, "Do gods exist?" The question is, "What does the evidence suggest?"

    Why isn't the question, "Does the evidence suggest otherwise?"

    This gets into negative vs. positive atheism.

    The idea that god definitely exists is as unprovable as the idea that he definitely does not exist. The evidence suggests that god very likely does not exist.

    Exactly, and it's only very likely that, when I drop a rock, it will accelerate towards the Earth. We can functionally operate as if that's true.

    Spoiler:
  • BedlamBedlam Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Namely because you say things which are demonstratively not true.
    What is not true about what I said?

  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Kilroy wrote: »
    I agree with what my archaeology professor said on the matter:

    "Ask a rationalist where the proof of the existence of god is and he will say 'I don't see it.' Ask a man of faith where the proof is and he will say 'I see it everywhere.'"

    The truth of the matter is that you are simply dealing with two very different world-views, and no logic or argument can be made to convince either side to change their position.

    Well, that's nice if you're trying to make a peaceful end to the debate so everyone can sit down to dinner together. But people are expected to have justifications for their beliefs in other aspects of their lives, and religion should not be excepted, especially when it is itself used to justify other decisions.

    eokNV.jpg
  • OboroOboro __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008

    The idea that god definitely exists is as unprovable as the idea that he definitely does not exist. The evidence suggests that [an Abrahamic, omnipotent, omniscient, all-good] god very likely does not exist.
    You can take those adjectives in any combination, and it's still valid -- any combination but none of them. There's no evidence that a 'god' does not exist, because there cannot be. The only evidence is against the existence of qualified definitions of 'gods.'

    EDIT: for clarification

    words
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    The evidence suggests implies that, at some point, you have to believe something that you can't prove. You have faith in the evidence to the point that you are willing to accept the theories on something we don't know on, well, faith.

    But we can test over and over and over and over and over again. And what's more, we often do. It's how we make sure our assumptions and theories are still accurate.

    Spoiler:
  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Richy wrote: »
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Is it okay for one to be of the opinion that religion is okay, but dogma is bad?

    Cannot one be religious but not believe in any of the voodoo behind it? People like to say they are spiritual but not religious. Well, I contend that people should be religious but not spiritual.
    How would that work, exactly? Like, you pray and worship and obey all the commandments, but you don't believe that there's a god or life after death? If so, why would you do all those things?

    I know people that go to catholic mass and do the religious events but don't assert that the dogma is true. You see, you can get the positive community building aspects and such without all th unprovable spirtual part.

    It would work like the modern day Unitarian Universalist sect.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Well, if I said that I based my life around and donated money to an organization/belief structure that was chiefly concerned with a concept that a dinosaur at the center of Pluto is the cause of all existence, people would rightfully be concerned about my mental health. I don't see how it's unfair to judge someone's rationality based on their beliefs.
    I’m uncomfortable with the comparison of religious belief to a psychiatric disorder. It’s a rhetorical device used on occasion not only by Dawkins but by other revivalist atheists like Sam Harris (as with Harris’ joke that when President Bush says he talks to God every night through prayer we accept it, but if Bush were to say that he talks to God every night through a magic telephone we’d be alarmed and have the man committed).

    I’m uncomfortable with it, first off, because it demonstrates a pretty fundamental lack of exposure to some of the fundamental ethical issues in psychiatry - primarily, psych as a science has to at least give lip service (if not serious consideration) to the problem that what we consider ’sanity’ might simply be a shared delusion maintained by the most powerful majority. That’s not to say that psychiatrists walk around in a solipsist fog like the antihero of some Philip K. Dick novel, but that in certain sticky cases they might have to recognize that somebody who is “insane” may not actually be sick but might be perceiving reality in a way that is no less accurate and no less functional than our own, and the reason they appear crippled to us is because they’re trying to operate in social environment that’s designed for people who share the majority mental state. (See Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault, and Charles Tart for more in-depth discussion of this problem.)

    The way actual mental health practitioners sidestep this philosophical dilemma is to only treat a cognition like a symptom of disease if there’s evidence that the disease does any of the following: makes the patient more likely to harm himself or others, causes the patient distress, interferes with the patient’s ability to be economically self-sufficient, or interferes with the patient’s ability to maintain human relationships. So if somebody were to claim that they spoke to God through the telephone every night, we’d be alarmed, because prior experience has shown that the only people who make claims like that are people who have diseases, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, that interfere with their lives in other ways. A simple belief in God, or a belief in the power of prayer, on their own have not shown to interfere with people’s lives in other ways. They don’t cause distress, they don’t make you more likely to cause harm, and they don’t interfere with your ability to love or work.

    Well, that was certainly... verbose.

    I rather doubt that the argument he was making was the belief in religion is a mental disorder recognized by psychiatrists and psychologists. I also doubt he was talking about the philosophical definitions of concepts like "sanity".

    If I met someone who based his/her beliefs around the idea that a dinosaur the the center of Pluto was the key the existence, I would indeed be concerned about that persons mental health, and my concern would probably be warranted (unless that person was joking, of course). And
    I don't see how it's unfair to judge someone's rationality based on their beliefs.
    Is certainly a statement I agree with. To me, this is the central issue here. That the normal standards by which we consider someone to be rational are just ignored when it comes to religion, and most people think this is ok, even normal.

    ragesig.jpg

  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Oboro wrote: »

    The idea that god definitely exists is as unprovable as the idea that he definitely does not exist. The evidence suggests that [an Abrahamic, omnipotent, omniscient, all-good] god very likely does not exist.
    You can take those adjectives in any combination, and it's still valid -- any combination but none of them. There's no evidence that a 'god' does not exist, because there cannot be. The only evidence is against the existence of qualified definitions of 'gods.'

    EDIT: for clarification

    But how far back do we have to pull on the definitions of these various gods until we reach something that is unobservable, and at that point, is it still meaningful at all?

    Spoiler:
  • OboroOboro __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Oboro wrote: »

    The idea that god definitely exists is as unprovable as the idea that he definitely does not exist. The evidence suggests that [an Abrahamic, omnipotent, omniscient, all-good] god very likely does not exist.
    You can take those adjectives in any combination, and it's still valid -- any combination but none of them. There's no evidence that a 'god' does not exist, because there cannot be. The only evidence is against the existence of qualified definitions of 'gods.'

    EDIT: for clarification

    But how far back do we have to pull on the definitions of these various gods until we reach something that is unobservable, and at that point, is it still meaningful at all?
    I believe in a meaningful higher power that has absolutely zero influence on my life or the universe, and yet provides a tangible benefit to my existence.

    So uh ... yes, it can still be meaningful without having any observable intersection with corporeal reality. Yes.

    words
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Richy wrote: »
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Is it okay for one to be of the opinion that religion is okay, but dogma is bad?

    Cannot one be religious but not believe in any of the voodoo behind it? People like to say they are spiritual but not religious. Well, I contend that people should be religious but not spiritual.
    How would that work, exactly? Like, you pray and worship and obey all the commandments, but you don't believe that there's a god or life after death? If so, why would you do all those things?

    I know people that go to catholic mass and do the religious events but don't assert that the dogma is true. You see, you can get the positive community building aspects and such without all th unprovable spirtual part.

    It would work like the modern day Unitarian Universalist sect.

    Aren't they still essentially theistic?

    And, I mean, I agree more or less. Community's great. Don't need no gods for community, though.

    Spoiler:
  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Oboro wrote: »

    The idea that god definitely exists is as unprovable as the idea that he definitely does not exist. The evidence suggests that [an Abrahamic, omnipotent, omniscient, all-good] god very likely does not exist.
    You can take those adjectives in any combination, and it's still valid -- any combination but none of them. There's no evidence that a 'god' does not exist, because there cannot be. The only evidence is against the existence of qualified definitions of 'gods.'

    EDIT: for clarification

    But how far back do we have to pull on the definitions of these various gods until we reach something that is unobservable, and at that point, is it still meaningful at all?
    Utter and complete knowledge of everything.

  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    Why wouldn't they be?

    If my friend believes that every time he leaves his home, the interior of it is transported to an alternate dimension, I would be personally less likely to believe him if he was trying to convince me of anything. Basically, his value as an authoritative source would be compromised by his blatant willingness to believe what we would consider to be ridiculously unlikely.

    eokNV.jpg
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Belief in gods frequently and almost necessarily includes various other beliefs with regards to the universe. It is not very often simply "god(s) exists!" and absolutely nothing else. There are statements made about the universe that are the result of these beliefs, otherwise those beliefs are, effectively, inexistent, and the gods proposed by them are ineffectual and meaningless.

    Since you and I share no experiences except those that are confirmable, then yes, as far as you and I are concerned, the existence of God is an irrelevant belief as I cannot confirm that one exists.

    However, to state that the existence of God is a universally irrelevant belief ignores the subjective benefit of such a belief. If it gives somebody comfort and meaning, then God is neither ineffectual nor meaningless (almost by definition) and there is ultimately no reason to abandon that belief.

    The "militant" atheist position is to say, "You over there, the believer in God. Your comfort, your serenity, your confidence, these things that you get from a belief in God; they are fraudulent. Your sense of community you get from associating with other believers; that is false. Why is it false? Well, I can't tell you why it's false. But you can't tell me why it's true, therefore you are intellectually dishonest for finding comfort in these beliefs and I disrespect you for refusing to abandon them in the face of my non-proof!"

    If your argument, however, is that religious people make verifiably false statements about reality - say, for example, that the Earth is 5,000 years old - based on their religion; well, religion does not shield those false beliefs from criticism as objectively verifiable evidence must trump subjective faith for any epistemological theory (and any society) to function. However, this is not to say "God does not exist and you are foolish for holding that he does," this is to say "Don't use your religion to justify statements which have been thoroughly disproven." These two positions are not equivalent either in intellectual content nor in offensiveness.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Oboro wrote: »
    Oboro wrote: »

    The idea that god definitely exists is as unprovable as the idea that he definitely does not exist. The evidence suggests that [an Abrahamic, omnipotent, omniscient, all-good] god very likely does not exist.
    You can take those adjectives in any combination, and it's still valid -- any combination but none of them. There's no evidence that a 'god' does not exist, because there cannot be. The only evidence is against the existence of qualified definitions of 'gods.'

    EDIT: for clarification

    But how far back do we have to pull on the definitions of these various gods until we reach something that is unobservable, and at that point, is it still meaningful at all?
    I believe in a meaningful higher power that has absolutely zero influence on my life or the universe, and yet provides a tangible benefit to my existence.

    So uh ... yes, it can still be meaningful without having any observable intersection with corporeal reality. Yes.
    Motherfucking John Nash.

    If he can be schizo and win a nobel prize I can manage deism and not killing babies.

  • HilgerHilger Registered User
    edited September 2008
    I’m uncomfortable with the comparison of religious belief to a psychiatric disorder. It’s a rhetorical device used on occasion not only by Dawkins but by other revivalist atheists like Sam Harris (as with Harris’ joke that when President Bush says he talks to God every night through prayer we accept it, but if Bush were to say that he talks to God every night through a magic telephone we’d be alarmed and have the man committed).

    I’m uncomfortable with it, first off, because it demonstrates a pretty fundamental lack of exposure to some of the fundamental ethical issues in psychiatry - primarily, psych as a science has to at least give lip service (if not serious consideration) to the problem that what we consider ’sanity’ might simply be a shared delusion maintained by the most powerful majority. That’s not to say that psychiatrists walk around in a solipsist fog like the antihero of some Philip K. Dick novel, but that in certain sticky cases they might have to recognize that somebody who is “insane” may not actually be sick but might be perceiving reality in a way that is no less accurate and no less functional than our own, and the reason they appear crippled to us is because they’re trying to operate in social environment that’s designed for people who share the majority mental state. (See Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault, and Charles Tart for more in-depth discussion of this problem.)

    The way actual mental health practitioners sidestep this philosophical dilemma is to only treat a cognition like a symptom of disease if there’s evidence that the disease does any of the following: makes the patient more likely to harm himself or others, causes the patient distress, interferes with the patient’s ability to be economically self-sufficient, or interferes with the patient’s ability to maintain human relationships. So if somebody were to claim that they spoke to God through the telephone every night, we’d be alarmed, because prior experience has shown that the only people who make claims like that are people who have diseases, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, that interfere with their lives in other ways. A simple belief in God, or a belief in the power of prayer, on their own have not shown to interfere with people’s lives in other ways. They don’t cause distress, they don’t make you more likely to cause harm, and they don’t interfere with your ability to love or work.
    While I agree with this overall argument in general, I'd like to point that this is not always the case. And, I think, it depends largely on the extent to which individuals believe that God interacts with the corporeal world and with them in their daily lives. A prime example of this is with faith healing, where there are plenty of notable cases of people foregoing completely traditional medical care because they believed that God would heal them. This isn't an internally inconsistent notion--if God really does heal people who pray, then there's simply no reason to go to and see a doctor. Ultimately, this is simply "a belief in the power of prayer" taken to its extreme, yet on the other hand it does seem to fit your criteria for a "mental health disease" (specifically, the clauses for distress and self-harm). Is it possible that some religious beliefs merit mental health treatment, or do they, in some other way, avoid that diagnosis?

  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited September 2008

    I understand feeling uneasy about using psychological terms to describe religion and the religious. However, this is not an isolated case of someone that lives a productive life and doesn't harm anyone, but happens to talk to their hairdryer every morning. This is a systemic problem in which people are allowed to simply choose not to have to justify their decisions and beliefs without relying on mythology. Again, this wouldn't be a huge issue, except for the fact that these people are organized and highly politically active.

    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    True, but there are interpretations of the bible that say, for instance, that being gay means that you have to ritually cleanse yourself before you can re-enter the temple, not that gay people are evil. There's no line in Sodom in Gomorrah that specifically mentioned a dude entering another dude.

    Just because a specific interpretation of a very vague book has been harmful doesn't mean that the book should be thrown out.

  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Oboro wrote: »
    I believe in a meaningful higher power that has absolutely zero influence on my life or the universe, and yet provides a tangible benefit to my existence.

    So uh ... yes, it can still be meaningful without having any observable intersection with corporeal reality. Yes.

    Yeah, see, to me, that sounds meaningless except that maybe it's providing you some peace of mind. I think you're an exception.

    Spoiler:
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Bedlam wrote: »
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Namely because you say things which are demonstratively not true.
    What is not true about what I said?

    Sorry, the "you" I was talking about was meant to by a hypothetical religious person.

    But, you did say there was "evidence for god". If by evidence you mean evidence in the scientific sense, then that is not true. You mentioned people who "dispute evolution". I'm not going to make absolute statements on that one, but pretty well everyone who disputes evolution does so from a religious perspective, and is wrong/misinformed in their criticisms.

    ragesig.jpg

  • OboroOboro __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Oboro wrote: »
    I believe in a meaningful higher power that has absolutely zero influence on my life or the universe, and yet provides a tangible benefit to my existence.

    So uh ... yes, it can still be meaningful without having any observable intersection with corporeal reality. Yes.

    Yeah, see, to me, that sounds meaningless except that maybe it's providing you some peace of mind. I think you're an exception.
    Providing peace of mind is meaningful, and I don't think I'm an exception. My best friend shares the same specific set of beliefs that I do -- in fact, our sharing those beliefs, even half-jokingly, not only contributes to us peace of mind but a shared bit of camaraderie and community.

    All from a higher power that we believe has absolutely no bearing on the universe, never did, and never will. <3

    words
  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Richy wrote: »
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Is it okay for one to be of the opinion that religion is okay, but dogma is bad?

    Cannot one be religious but not believe in any of the voodoo behind it? People like to say they are spiritual but not religious. Well, I contend that people should be religious but not spiritual.
    How would that work, exactly? Like, you pray and worship and obey all the commandments, but you don't believe that there's a god or life after death? If so, why would you do all those things?

    I know people that go to catholic mass and do the religious events but don't assert that the dogma is true. You see, you can get the positive community building aspects and such without all th unprovable spirtual part.

    It would work like the modern day Unitarian Universalist sect.

    Aren't they still essentially theistic?

    And, I mean, I agree more or less. Community's great. Don't need no gods for community, though.

    No they are not essentially theistic. At least not the UU places I have been to. There is no belief requirement. Strict belief requirements are the bane of Christianity. It is strange that belief is more important than practice in say, Catholocism.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008

    I understand feeling uneasy about using psychological terms to describe religion and the religious. However, this is not an isolated case of someone that lives a productive life and doesn't harm anyone, but happens to talk to their hairdryer every morning. This is a systemic problem in which people are allowed to simply choose not to have to justify their decisions and beliefs without relying on mythology. Again, this wouldn't be a huge issue, except for the fact that these people are organized and highly politically active.

    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    True, but there are interpretations of the bible that say, for instance, that being gay means that you have to ritually cleanse yourself before you can re-enter the temple, not that gay people are evil. There's no line in Sodom in Gomorrah that specifically mentioned a dude entering another dude.

    Just because a specific interpretation of a very vague book has been harmful doesn't mean that the book should be thrown out.

    No, it pretty much does. Because of the nature of religious reasoning and beliefs, you can say, quite literally, whatever the fuck you want. That's why we have suicide bombers. You can justify anything at all using the bible, and because people think it's actually of divine inspiration, or written by the god himself, or whatever, it's rather dangerous.

    Spoiler:
  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    You can use any subjective set of morals and beliefs to justify anything.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I think I agree with Hippie that we are holding religion to a different standard of evidence. Why do we do so? It seems to me that everyone is saying there is not absolute proof god does not exist so I can still believe it.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited September 2008

    I understand feeling uneasy about using psychological terms to describe religion and the religious. However, this is not an isolated case of someone that lives a productive life and doesn't harm anyone, but happens to talk to their hairdryer every morning. This is a systemic problem in which people are allowed to simply choose not to have to justify their decisions and beliefs without relying on mythology. Again, this wouldn't be a huge issue, except for the fact that these people are organized and highly politically active.

    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    True, but there are interpretations of the bible that say, for instance, that being gay means that you have to ritually cleanse yourself before you can re-enter the temple, not that gay people are evil. There's no line in Sodom in Gomorrah that specifically mentioned a dude entering another dude.

    Just because a specific interpretation of a very vague book has been harmful doesn't mean that the book should be thrown out.

    But people interpret this very vague book to mean whatever they want. Killing homosexuals has recently become unpopular, and hence the interpretation of the bible changes accordingly. Same thing with treatment of women, slavery, and so on.

    So if you can interpret this book to mean whatever you want then... what exactly is its purpose again?

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  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    You can use any subjective set of morals and beliefs to justify anything.

    But here in America, people are using religion because it's supposed to be impervious. You can use anything, but most everything else is going to get ridiculed.

    Spoiler:
  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    You can use any subjective set of morals and beliefs to justify anything.

    But here in America, people are using religion because it's supposed to be impervious. You can use anything, but most everything else is going to get ridiculed.
    If someone tells me they get their ideas from Mambo the Space Faring Gay Clown I won't give a shit so long as they have a history of working and not objectively needlessly harming people.

  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Oboro wrote: »
    Oboro wrote: »
    I believe in a meaningful higher power that has absolutely zero influence on my life or the universe, and yet provides a tangible benefit to my existence.

    So uh ... yes, it can still be meaningful without having any observable intersection with corporeal reality. Yes.

    Yeah, see, to me, that sounds meaningless except that maybe it's providing you some peace of mind. I think you're an exception.
    Providing peace of mind is meaningful, and I don't think I'm an exception. My best friend shares the same specific set of beliefs that I do -- in fact, our sharing those beliefs, even half-jokingly, not only contributes to us peace of mind but a shared bit of camaraderie and community.

    All from a higher power that we believe has absolutely no bearing on the universe, never did, and never will. <3

    Yep. There are demonstrable benefits from religion. People may gain a sense of community, purpose, etc. I had an atheist philosophy professor once that would always mention that Jehova's Witnesses had much higher survival rates in concentration camps in WW2, where nonbelievers were more likely to commit suicide.

    eokNV.jpg
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    You can use any subjective set of morals and beliefs to justify anything.

    But here in America, people are using religion because it's supposed to be impervious. You can use anything, but most everything else is going to get ridiculed.
    If someone tells me they get their ideas from Mambo the Space Faring Gay Clown I won't give a shit so long as they have a history of working and not objectively needlessly harming people.

    So, they can believe what they want, as long as their are no consequences for their beliefs, right?

    Problem is, generally speaking, there are consequences for religious beliefs, as history has shown us. Everything doesn't boil down to these hypothetical innocuous nutballs that believe weird shit, religions have a tengible negative effect on the world.

    Spoiler:
  • WashWash Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    If at best, the belief in a higher power provides someone with peace of mind and a sense of community, and at worst, damages their credibility amongst those outside of their community, who condescend to think that their perspective is more 'true' or 'healthy', then it seems to me the good outweighs the bad.

    It doesn't matter what a person believes in; belief in a higher, controlling power is just a part of your view of the world. Since no one can claim that their view is anymore accurate than someone else's, their view is just as good as yours.

    08owef8ecd0o.jpg

  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008

    I understand feeling uneasy about using psychological terms to describe religion and the religious. However, this is not an isolated case of someone that lives a productive life and doesn't harm anyone, but happens to talk to their hairdryer every morning. This is a systemic problem in which people are allowed to simply choose not to have to justify their decisions and beliefs without relying on mythology. Again, this wouldn't be a huge issue, except for the fact that these people are organized and highly politically active.

    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    True, but there are interpretations of the bible that say, for instance, that being gay means that you have to ritually cleanse yourself before you can re-enter the temple, not that gay people are evil. There's no line in Sodom in Gomorrah that specifically mentioned a dude entering another dude.

    Just because a specific interpretation of a very vague book has been harmful doesn't mean that the book should be thrown out.

    There's nothing wrong with the book in and of itself. There is nothing terribly harmful in a belief in god, as Oboro has described. It is when people allow their beliefs to be dictated by unverifiable claims and as a result make ill-advised decisions that the harm occurs.

    eokNV.jpg
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited September 2008

    I understand feeling uneasy about using psychological terms to describe religion and the religious. However, this is not an isolated case of someone that lives a productive life and doesn't harm anyone, but happens to talk to their hairdryer every morning. This is a systemic problem in which people are allowed to simply choose not to have to justify their decisions and beliefs without relying on mythology. Again, this wouldn't be a huge issue, except for the fact that these people are organized and highly politically active.

    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    True, but there are interpretations of the bible that say, for instance, that being gay means that you have to ritually cleanse yourself before you can re-enter the temple, not that gay people are evil. There's no line in Sodom in Gomorrah that specifically mentioned a dude entering another dude.

    Just because a specific interpretation of a very vague book has been harmful doesn't mean that the book should be thrown out.

    There's nothing wrong with the book in and of itself. There is nothing terribly harmful in a belief in god, as Oboro has described. It is when people allow their beliefs to be dictated by unverifiable claims and as a result make ill-advised decisions that the harm occurs.

    In that case most people, including most religious people, are fine because they don't fall into this category, and a better way of solving the problems they cause is done by focusing on the problem, not religion.

  • OboroOboro __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    In that case most people, including most religious people, are fine because they don't fall into this category, and a better way of solving the problems they cause is done by focusing on the problem, not religion.
    This is because 'religion' is a bloated, all-encompassing and fairly meaningless term. Militant atheists are often fighting ghosts, on this note. :/

    words
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited September 2008

    I understand feeling uneasy about using psychological terms to describe religion and the religious. However, this is not an isolated case of someone that lives a productive life and doesn't harm anyone, but happens to talk to their hairdryer every morning. This is a systemic problem in which people are allowed to simply choose not to have to justify their decisions and beliefs without relying on mythology. Again, this wouldn't be a huge issue, except for the fact that these people are organized and highly politically active.

    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    True, but there are interpretations of the bible that say, for instance, that being gay means that you have to ritually cleanse yourself before you can re-enter the temple, not that gay people are evil. There's no line in Sodom in Gomorrah that specifically mentioned a dude entering another dude.

    Just because a specific interpretation of a very vague book has been harmful doesn't mean that the book should be thrown out.

    No, it pretty much does. Because of the nature of religious reasoning and beliefs, you can say, quite literally, whatever the fuck you want. That's why we have suicide bombers. You can justify anything at all using the bible, and because people think it's actually of divine inspiration, or written by the god himself, or whatever, it's rather dangerous.

    I think that the world isn't real.
    Therefore I'm going to kill you all.
    Also, we've already gone over about how the only people who like suicide bombers are potential suicide bombers, and there aren't that many of them anyway.

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