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Labels in belief

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Posts

  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Julius wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    See, but that's a reason to fight that religious view, not a reason to fight all religions. No Daoists were arguing for creationism in Dover. No Buddhists were torturing people in the Inquisition. No Wiccans were burning witches at the stake. It's unreasonable an unenlightened to hold every single religious idea accountable for every incident.

    You can't even create a reasonable claim that it's all Christians who are making it a fight, because there are plenty who are for the teaching of creationism and are willing to fight for it to be in the textbooks. That was even what was happening in Dover.

    But that way only really suggests itself if we can assume that all religions (indeed, even different viewpoints within a religion) are unrelated and share nothing in common. Or at least, nothing that might be considered objectionable.

    But the thing is that it seems that when any religion is given power someone will start fucking with other people in ways that are not generally considered cool. So you can't really fight the bad religious viewpoints, you have to prevent all religion from gaining too much power.

    The concept of religion isn't a supernatural entity in itself. It doesn't swoop in and force people to be evil or make them bad when they have power. That's people, not religion.
    People who use religion as their excuse for mistreating other people are doing just that. There have been two entire world wars and one major 'cold' war that didn't require anyone at either end to believe it was a supernatural entity who told them to fight. Stalin didn't need religion to do bad things, neither did McCarthy.

    However we have a mixed bag when it comes to people who do hold religion close to themselves and have power. How many people do you think make up groups like the KKK or the Hillsborough Baptists in the US? They aren't even a smidgen of the people in the US with positions of power and belief in a religion.
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    When there is no cure for a disease, you try to eliminate the vectors.

    Also known as:

    When the stores are all closed, you burn the house down to spite the drapes.

    Edit: Wait, did you just advocate killing all religious people?

    Dedwrekka on
    spool32
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    Does anybody still want to talk about labels

    Why do "light" products advertise with containing less fat when the product doesn't contain very much fat to begin with?

    Same reason restaurants have a grand reopening after coming back from a failed health inspection

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2014
    That analogy doesn't really make any sense, but okay.

    Edit: That's frankly an absurd assumption.

    Religion is not automatically harmful. Even when it isn't hateful, it does tend to promote ignorance in some areas (a LOT of things promote ignorance) in some instances, like "Prayer will cure my brain tumor!" but that isn't a required feature, and is usually a niche issue as people get comfortable with sticking to developing a community and a nurturing moral code instead of trying to explain things that have explanations. Religion doesn't have to have authority over lives, despite historical precedence, and can instead be something that you consent to at no penalty for refusal.

    Incenjucar on
  • BethrynBethryn Registered User regular
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    That's people, not religion.
    Religion is people. Whether you believe there's a transcendent effect behind it or not, people are the medium for all religion.

    PLA
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    rockrnger wrote: »
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Of course people fight over definitions. It's an attempt for control. I particularly hate the one where people tell agnostics they are actually atheists. The people saying they are agnostics are trying to express something about their beliefs, and being shut down because this particular area of though (belief) is seen as binary and logical. Which it isn't.

    I am an atheist. But I was raised Catholic. There are dozens of ways in which that culture still affects my thinking. But much more importantly, I'm only an atheist most of the time. I've prayed when in serious life-threatening danger. I've prayed for the health of my loved ones when they were in danger. So my belief isn't 100%. It feels complete, but in certain, replicable, situations will change. I totally accept the logic of 'God doesn't exist.' I feel perfectly certain that that is a logical position to hold. But I'm not logical, and neither are you. I'm not saying you'll pray when your family are near death. I'm saying that I do, and I'm an atheist, because belief is not a simple binary. Logical positions are simple binaries, and those are what we hold to, express, communciate, and conclude. But they are not identities.

    Basically:

    People aren't syllogisms, persecution complexes are self-fulfilling, and a hilarious experiment could be carried out with a cliff, an atheist, a rope, and a bible. Also probably a box, some poison, some uranium, and a cat, because fuck cats, mirite?

    Do you know, I had what I thought was an Interesting Discussion about this with a (now former) friend of mine.

    Basically, the context is that there was apparently some measure of Hullabaloo (ie. schoolyard gossip) about the nature of this person's relationship with someone who used to attend the uni I'm at. The person in question maintained that it was a Romantic Relationship, while everyone else seemed to feel it was one-sided and not reciprocal. I talked to this person at some length about it, and he made it clear that regardless of what anyone else said, what he experienced was a romantic connection, and so it doesn't matter what anyone else might think.

    I basically tried to explain my thoughts to him by using a related-but-different hypothetical. I could, hypothetically, start telling people some random girl is my girlfriend, or some random guy is my boyfriend... but this wouldn't per se make it so, based on the conventional definition of those terms.

    He responded by saying that his definition of a romantic relationship just didn't fit that conventional definition, and if people misunderstood when he used the word "boyfriend," that it was their own fault. I replied that when you choose to use certain words, with very specific meanings, that you can mean whatever you want by them... but you also can't be surprised or upset when people tell you that they understand those words to signify something completely different from what you're trying to communicate.

    I don't think that's analogous. Of course, sometimes people use words strangely, or with their own special definition that nobody shares, or just lie, as I mentioned before.

    In this situation I'm arguing for a conventional definition, that it's quite normal to respect people's self-definition, and that people can express a belief system that may well be irrational, but that you have to take that belief system on when involved in discourse with them, as opposed to attacking rational belief system that you hold they believe but they actually do not.

    As far as I can see, some others are arguing for unconventional definitions mostly because they want a good excuse to give those sloppy agnostics what for, or because they just haven't had much experience of speaking to agnostics.

    I don't like analogies much, but try this one:

    I'm a socialist. For some people a socialist means a communist, someone who doesn't believe in democracy. For most people it means someone who works within democracy and loves governments like Sweden's - called a social democrat (or running dog crypto-capitalist) by those who believe socialism=communism. Now, we can argue about the conventional definitions, and which is predominant, all we want. I may be mistaken that the predominant English-language usage is mine. An American may well differ, and a European English-speaker agree with me. There is room for debate there.

    BUT if we are talking about politics, and I clearly explain what I think, and you spend all your time telling me I hate democracy and love Stalin, you're just being deliberately obtuse. That's what telling an agnostic they're actually an atheist is. Being deliberately difficult and obtuse, either because you despise religion or you are a prescriptivist obsessed with etymology over usage.

    And there's no excuse for being deliberately obtuse just to win arguments.
    But what would you say if someone had your exact politics but didn't call themselves a socialist because they didn't want to kill every republican in a FEMA camp? I assume that you would try to set them straight about what a socialist is and isn't.

    I think such people are very rare outside of the US, but no, I wouldn't. I'd probably mention that I agreed with them and called that socialism, but that it's not very important what the label is.

    Which still isn't analogous, because the people telling agnostics they're wrong aren't part of the same group. A much better analogy would be me telling a democrat voter they're actually a socialist, drawing some Venn diagrams, showing them the etymology of some words, and generally pissing them off because I wanted them on my side.

    Agnosticism is different from atheism. A different word has been used for a long time, it expresses a different viewpoint.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    I find that, while labels are useful, the moment two people have a different perspective on a word, they should stop and try to explain what their personal use of those labels means, instead of wasting effort arguing over what it ACTUALLY means. Even granting that one person is wrong and one person is right, language is about communication, and so long as you can communicate effectively, that's a win right there. It's nice being able to calmly debate until you reach an agreed-upon mutual definition to facilitate communication further, but that can be something of a luxury. "X, by which I mean Y," is a really useful thing to make a habit of.

    Harry DresdenShadowhope
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    5 pages for someone to get around to a variant of "all religion is bad".

    That's pretty impressive!
    It's not impressive.

    PonygjaustinIncenjucar
  • gjaustingjaustin Registered User regular
    Pony wrote: »
    PLA wrote: »
    Speaking of labels, my mother identifies as catholic, but doesn't believe in any of it, and doesn't really like the church.
    She may be what Dara O'Briain calls "culturally Catholic", in that it's been a part of her life and self-identity for so long that she doesn't really know how to separate it from who she is even if she really doesn't believe in any of the religious tenants and doesn't agree with the Church at all. My youngest brother is like this.
    It could also be referred to as "nominally Catholic". Or, put differently, describing oneself as Catholic doesn't make you Catholic.

    I was actually hoping for some discussion along those lines in this thread, rather than just the split between Atheist/Agnostic. For example, I could talk for hours on why I don't think that describing Mormons as Christian is accurate, just like no (sane) person would confuse Christianity and Judaism.
    Julius wrote: »
    But the thing is that it seems that when any religion is given power someone will start fucking with other people in ways that are not generally considered cool. So you can't really fight the bad religious viewpoints, you have to prevent all religion from gaining too much power.
    The funny thing is that the religious people who stopped and thought it through don't want their religion to gain too much power either. Once a religion gets powerful, it starts attracting the sociopaths who would otherwise be drawn to politics or business. Skip forward a few hundred years and you have something as corrupt as the Medieval Catholic Church.
    wilting wrote: »
    beliefchart1_large.png
    I find it interesting that this picture doesn't leave any room for Theists who think they're right but are willing to admit the possibility that they're wrong. It feels like there's a row missing on there and the existing "Gnostic" row should be "Hardline" instead.

    Also, using the term Gnostic is a very bad idea in that chart. Gnosticism has a very specific meaning in religious terms and it certainly isn't the opposite of Agnostic.

    Think of it like this - You wouldn't call your new zoo the "North American Zoological Institute"* would you? Language isn't quite like math and changing prefixes doesn't always have the effect you might want.

    Hint: Look at the capitalized letters

    Pulling all that together, I think the thread underestimates the number of agnostics who claim to be theists. They won't admit it (and probably don't even realize it), but when asked to describe their beliefs it sounds an awful lot like what an agnostic would say.

    IncenjucarJulius
  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    gjaustin wrote: »
    I was actually hoping for some discussion along those lines in this thread, rather than just the split between Atheist/Agnostic. For example, I could talk for hours on why I don't think that describing Mormons as Christian is accurate, just like no (sane) person would confuse Christianity and Judaism.

    Because John Smith is the primary prophet in their religion, and the Book of Mormon - which is basically like a third testament - effectively supplants the New Testament?

    gjaustin
  • FrozenzenFrozenzen Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »

    I don't really agree with those uses of those labels.

    I recognize and respect the observation you're making. Atheism usually trucks with certain sorts of scientific physicalism; a belief that all phenomena are either emergent from or reducible to physical causes (though whether things are emergent and/or reducible are matters of internal controversy). And this atheist-physicalist paradigm adheres to a certain epistemology; one that says that ideas should be believed when we have observable evidence in their favor and rejected when we do not.

    And I admit that I am an adherent to this particular trifecta of atheism, general physicalism, and soft empirical verificationism.

    But I don't think that they necessarily go together. I've met Buddhists who believe in reincarnation and call themselves atheists. I've met atheists who believe in psychic powers or magic. My father called himself an agnostic and didn't believe in anything remotely supernatural at all (though, to be fair, I suspect his adoption of the agnostic label was a diplomatic maneuver to avoid controversy with my devout Catholic mother).

    My personal, prescriptive preference is that we use the word "atheist" to describe what its root words mean - simply, nonbelief in God. Anthropological/political/social observations that self-described atheists also tend to be skeptics, physicalists, materialists, and/or soft empiricists are useful; I don't want to dismiss such observations off-hand. But we have perfectly good words to describe these other philosophical positions; I think it doesn't really serve us to smear the word 'atheist' across all of them.

    Stop being so fucking reasonable man.

    Also, I find myself agreeing with you after getting drunk and sleeping 16 hours, trying to define these things too much is simply not possible.

    So If we go with the simple atheist=no god, and theist=god, is there not a space for someone who is undecided among them? I suppose you could go for soft theism, or soft atheism, but what then separates them? Is it not simpler to actually have a term for the people who either do not want to, or have not decided either way?

    And on the entire other tangent of religion=evil, really? It is a strong motivator for human beings, that also makes it a strong tool for control. But many things are, and I am fairly sure religion is not among the worst of them.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Where was it said that religion was evil? It's equivalent to a political ideology in many respects.

    Incenjucar on
  • FrozenzenFrozenzen Registered User regular
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Where was it said that religion was evil? It's equivalent to a political ideology in many respects.

    You comparing it to a disease?

    And yes, political ideologies have similar qualities.

  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    gjaustin wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    PLA wrote: »
    Speaking of labels, my mother identifies as catholic, but doesn't believe in any of it, and doesn't really like the church.
    She may be what Dara O'Briain calls "culturally Catholic", in that it's been a part of her life and self-identity for so long that she doesn't really know how to separate it from who she is even if she really doesn't believe in any of the religious tenants and doesn't agree with the Church at all. My youngest brother is like this.
    It could also be referred to as "nominally Catholic". Or, put differently, describing oneself as Catholic doesn't make you Catholic.

    I was actually hoping for some discussion along those lines in this thread, rather than just the split between Atheist/Agnostic. For example, I could talk for hours on why I don't think that describing Mormons as Christian is accurate, just like no (sane) person would confuse Christianity and Judaism.
    Julius wrote: »
    But the thing is that it seems that when any religion is given power someone will start fucking with other people in ways that are not generally considered cool. So you can't really fight the bad religious viewpoints, you have to prevent all religion from gaining too much power.
    The funny thing is that the religious people who stopped and thought it through don't want their religion to gain too much power either. Once a religion gets powerful, it starts attracting the sociopaths who would otherwise be drawn to politics or business. Skip forward a few hundred years and you have something as corrupt as the Medieval Catholic Church.
    wilting wrote: »
    beliefchart1_large.png
    I find it interesting that this picture doesn't leave any room for Theists who think they're right but are willing to admit the possibility that they're wrong. It feels like there's a row missing on there and the existing "Gnostic" row should be "Hardline" instead.

    Also, using the term Gnostic is a very bad idea in that chart. Gnosticism has a very specific meaning in religious terms and it certainly isn't the opposite of Agnostic.

    Think of it like this - You wouldn't call your new zoo the "North American Zoological Institute"* would you? Language isn't quite like math and changing prefixes doesn't always have the effect you might want.

    Hint: Look at the capitalized letters

    Pulling all that together, I think the thread underestimates the number of agnostics who claim to be theists. They won't admit it (and probably don't even realize it), but when asked to describe their beliefs it sounds an awful lot like what an agnostic would say.

    You know, that chart makes a lot the debate a lot clearer to me.

    Anyway, I'm of the belief that anyone that claims anything with 100% certainty is a fool. Believing in god, but having the humility to admit you don't know everything, isn't a bad thing.

    Tube wrote: »
    No, I hate D&D more than the other subforums because it's more of a pain in my arse.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Frozenzen wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Where was it said that religion was evil? It's equivalent to a political ideology in many respects.

    You comparing it to a disease?

    And yes, political ideologies have similar qualities.

    The disease was people harming each other. A vector is a delivery method. Some vectors of harm can be rendered harmless, and even be used to deliver something beneficial. Buddhism in the United States tends to be a vector of mostly positive things, despite the stuff going on elsewhere. I grant that my wording was shamefully poor but at least get it right. :p

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Nova_C wrote: »
    gjaustin wrote: »
    Pony wrote: »
    PLA wrote: »
    Speaking of labels, my mother identifies as catholic, but doesn't believe in any of it, and doesn't really like the church.
    She may be what Dara O'Briain calls "culturally Catholic", in that it's been a part of her life and self-identity for so long that she doesn't really know how to separate it from who she is even if she really doesn't believe in any of the religious tenants and doesn't agree with the Church at all. My youngest brother is like this.
    It could also be referred to as "nominally Catholic". Or, put differently, describing oneself as Catholic doesn't make you Catholic.

    I was actually hoping for some discussion along those lines in this thread, rather than just the split between Atheist/Agnostic. For example, I could talk for hours on why I don't think that describing Mormons as Christian is accurate, just like no (sane) person would confuse Christianity and Judaism.
    Julius wrote: »
    But the thing is that it seems that when any religion is given power someone will start fucking with other people in ways that are not generally considered cool. So you can't really fight the bad religious viewpoints, you have to prevent all religion from gaining too much power.
    The funny thing is that the religious people who stopped and thought it through don't want their religion to gain too much power either. Once a religion gets powerful, it starts attracting the sociopaths who would otherwise be drawn to politics or business. Skip forward a few hundred years and you have something as corrupt as the Medieval Catholic Church.
    wilting wrote: »
    beliefchart1_large.png
    I find it interesting that this picture doesn't leave any room for Theists who think they're right but are willing to admit the possibility that they're wrong. It feels like there's a row missing on there and the existing "Gnostic" row should be "Hardline" instead.

    Also, using the term Gnostic is a very bad idea in that chart. Gnosticism has a very specific meaning in religious terms and it certainly isn't the opposite of Agnostic.

    Think of it like this - You wouldn't call your new zoo the "North American Zoological Institute"* would you? Language isn't quite like math and changing prefixes doesn't always have the effect you might want.

    Hint: Look at the capitalized letters

    Pulling all that together, I think the thread underestimates the number of agnostics who claim to be theists. They won't admit it (and probably don't even realize it), but when asked to describe their beliefs it sounds an awful lot like what an agnostic would say.

    You know, that chart makes a lot the debate a lot clearer to me.

    Anyway, I'm of the belief that anyone that claims anything with 100% certainty is a fool. Believing in god, but having the humility to admit you don't know everything, isn't a bad thing.

    Except for the part where its not "believing in god" it's "believing in a specific definition of god, with specific properties, that makes positive claims about how the world functions and the moral standing of people you might otherwise have no problem with".

    aka I don't know whether or not god exists but if he does he definitely hates homosexuality.

    PLA
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    I think this thread has wandered sufficiently far afield from its original purpose into Generic Relgionthreadland.

    Geth, close the thread.

  • TinklesTinkles YAY! Never Past Bedtime LandRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
    Affirmative Jacobkosh. Closing thread...

    1gVsb9o.png
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