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Anti-theist murders three Muslim students in North Carolina

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    tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    "Doesn't believe in Christ" is incredibly nebulous phrase and is meaningless as common set of ideas when compared to the breadth and depth of the number of things 'believers in Christ' disagree about.

    Unitarians or some other liberal group of Christians are going to disagree with your various Pentecostals/Baptist hard line conservative Christians on just about every issue, outside of 'believing in Christ'-which they will not "believe in" in the same way.I wouldn't be surprised if overall there is a stronger coherence in beliefs among Atheists, simple because the group is strongly correlated with Education/Income/Etc, versus Christians in general.

    Your hypothetical menage of two groups don't really intersect all that well. Much of the New Atheists criticism of religion is that it is either inherently, or just near universally in practice, immoral e.g. Hitchen's criticism of vicarious redemption as a concept, or the various research into selflessness/altruism in non-humans-which is basically a hunt for moral realism of a non-theistic source. Having a position against theism doesn't really make any sense for a Nihilist, why would you be against or for it if there are no moral truths?

    Are there actually a meaningful number of Nihilists, excluding for a moment 16 year olds in all black clothing with eyeliner on? I doubt it.

    tinwhiskers on
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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Dac wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    Dac wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    Dac wrote: »
    Atheism is the rejection of the belief of Gods and the stated belief that there is/are no God/s. That's pretty easy to define.

    So can you define the code of ethics that defines Athiesm? Or the philosphy?

    I literally just described the philosophy.

    Absence of belief in a god is a philosphy now?

    Yes.

    A philosophy doesn't need to be enshrined somewhere, or written in a holy book, or shouted from the mountaintops to be a philosophy. It's just a noun to describe the ways a person approaches some of the fundamental questions of existence. Whether that's atheism, agnosticism, or theism, they're still philosophies. Even if you don't care at all, that's still a philosophy.


    Even when we go the terrible route of talking about "personal philosophies" that people have we generally talk about complete or extensive sets of belief and not small parts of them. And usually we do so by talking about the positive statements they make about what is real/in the world*. That is, one is a Marxist because they believe the struggle between classes is real or one is a realist because they assert that abstract objects are real.

    While we do have and need terms to express the position that denies the realness of those things, it is a stretch to say those are philosophies in themselves. That I do not believe the class struggle is real makes me a non- or anti-Marxist, sure, but it is silly to say that non-Marxism is my philosophy. Not because there is no holy text for non-Marxism but because I am not making a positive assertion with my non-Marxism. It doesn't say anything about what things I believe to be real. And I still have a lot of room for all the things I do assert to be real.

    As a comparison suppose that you ask me what my job is and I answer with: "I am not a rocket scientist." This might very well be true, and it certainly gives you some information about what my job is, but surely it would be silly to think that my job is a non-rocket scientist? Similarly if you ask me what my philosophy is and I answer with: "I am an atheist." it would be silly to accept that as an actual answer. It may be true and all but it is no more a philosophy than not being a rocket scientist is a job.



    *An important reason to keep it to positive assertions and not include negative ones is conceptual ease. The amount of things I or you assert to not be real is infinite, and so we would all have an infinite number of philosophies of which most we wouldn't even be aware. That seems too large a framework to carry around when we don't really need it. (Similarly it only makes sense to talk about philosophies for (near) complete or extensive sets of beliefs given the amount of things we assert to be true in the first place. You and I might both believe that rocks exist but it seems pointless to say we both have the philosophy of "Rockism". If you think that rocks don't count because they're not fundamental or important, then I must point out that to me neither is the question of Gods. Importance or fundamentalism is clearly in the eye of the beholder.)

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    MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    It really confuses me how people will say things like "there isn't a single, whole atheist community" when there are large Atheist conventions, things like the Richard Dawkins foundation (and their scarlet A logo), as well as humanist groups of various stripes that run charity events and Darwin Days

    Like, okay maybe you personally (anyone in the thread who is arguing on this line) isn't a part of the "larger atheist community"- you don't go to meetings (which exist!) you don't hang out with people and talk about reasons for your non belief (but this is a thing that happens in organized ways!) you personally may not identify with the larger atheist community.

    But that doesn't mean there aren't a significant amount of people who do identify with and associate themselves with this community.

    Now, the dude who murdered these women, is he part of the "atheist community"? I don't know! I doubt it, unless we can check member records or something.

    I mean I get the overall point- this guy probably wasn't a part of the "atheist community," he was just a crazy jackhole who went off the deep end (though I presume there are some other causal factors involved than just parking disputes, but that is speculation)

    Does this mean we should hold "atheists" responsible for these murders?

    No, not at all. Can we hold the atheist community responsible for being anti-religious (which many prominent participants in the community are) as well as strongly islamaphobic?

    Well, yeah. Do I think these sorts of ideas had an influence on the murders this week? It is hard to tell. My gut says "possible, but not more so than the general undertones of islamaphobia and racism already present in American society."

    In a similar way, and this is something the "atheist community" needs to also think about, you can't hold organized religion responsible for the actions of their radical extremes

    Wouldn't the thing they talk about at these conventions then be the actual community descripter instead of atheism?

    As snarky as the label anti-theist is, it's a better description for some of these groups.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    I really feel like conceptually, pretending like describing oneself as "atheist" isn't a label that carries useful information about one's philosophy, even if "atheist" can have a rather broad definition and encompass a lot of different viewpoints.

    Especially considering the population demographics of organized religion- painting oneself as an "atheist" winnows down your personal philosophy significantly, if not specifically.

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    this is pretty naff

    an atheist might tell another atheist to behave differently based on moral or ethical reasoning, just as christians might do to one another. Why do you choose to embrace a nihilist framework vs. a humanist one? Let's talk about that.

    The difference between this and your hypothetical christian discussion is that christianity has various common-ish dicta believers can use rhetorically, but those probably don't change all that much because 1) they're pretty broadly known and somebody who doesn't already get that jesus probably wouldn't flip someone the bird in traffic is unlikely to be persuaded and 2) christian sects don't even necessarily agree on their interpretations, introducing more opportunities to get bogged down in semantics.

    I tend to think that atheists have an easier time in these discussions, because we can just get right into the moral reasoning without having to quibble over which version of leviticus we're quoting.

    ed: and I mean, isn't that whole post basically just a long format phrasing of the creeping fear that loss of christian-specific moral imperatives invetiably leads to absolute relativisim? I don't find that a compelling position

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Nova_C wrote: »
    It's hard to define people by what they are not. Being an athiest doesn't describe anything that is, like Christianity or Islam does. Being a Christian is like joining a club. Not joining a club doesn't then mean you have the same philosophy or morals as anyone else who doesn't join that club. You can't define someone's belief structure by the things they don't believe.

    Athiesm doesn't define anyone. It can't.

    A further problem is that defining one's self as an atheist reinforces the notion that religious belief is something humans are supposed to have.

    Analogy Example:
    tailless-cat-966318-m.jpg

    There is a breed of cat we colloquially refer to as "tailless cats". That designation is useful since "lacking a tail" is a deviation from the standard cat. The designation of "beakless cat" is not useful, as cats are not 'supposed to' have beaks.

    If we start with the assumption that humans are 'supposed to' have religious belief, then atheist is a meaningful description. If we start with the assumption that religious belief is the deviation from the norm, then "atheist" is insignificant, since lack of religious belief would be the standard.

    Defining one's self as "atheist" is ideologically self-defeating.

    Sam Harris makes the same argument, though he does not use any pictures of cats or feline analogy. Which seems like quite the lapse.

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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    As a ginger
    as an untrustworthy scoundrel

    Well damn, now I have to figure out which I identify with more

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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    I think the point people are trying to get at is that while being atheist may be a facet in a person's personal morality and philosophy, it is not the facet that makes someone decide to do something good or bad.

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    I mean, I understand it. Conceptually and logically it makes sense to stick to positive descriptors, and not negative ones.

    That being said, let us also not pretend like the word "atheist," as a descriptor of personal philosophy, doesn't carry current cultural weight and information.

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    Alinius133Alinius133 Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    "Doesn't believe in Christ" is incredibly nebulous phrase and is meaningless as common set of ideas when compared to the breadth and depth of the number of things 'believers in Christ' disagree about.

    Unitarians or some other liberal group of Christians are going to disagree with your various Pentecostals/Baptist hard line conservative Christians on just about every issue, outside of 'believing in Christ'-which they will not "believe in" in the same way.I wouldn't be surprised if overall there is a stronger coherence in beliefs among Atheists, simple because the group is strongly correlated with Education/Income/Etc, versus Christians in general.

    Your hypothetical menage of two groups don't really intersect all that well. Much of the New Atheists criticism of religion is that it is either inherently, or just near universally in practice, immoral e.g. Hitchen's criticism of vicarious redemption as a concept, or the various research into selflessness/altruism in non-humans-which is basically a hunt for moral realism of a non-theistic source. Having a position against theism doesn't really make any sense for a Nihilist, why would you be against or for it if there are no moral truths?

    Are there actually a meaningful number of Nihilists, excluding for a moment 16 year olds in all black clothing with eyeliner on? I doubt it.

    “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” -Richard Dawkins

    Statements like that make me think the overlap might be higher than you estimate it.

    Alinius133 on
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    I think the point people are trying to get at is that while being atheist may be a facet in a person's personal morality and philosophy, it is not the facet that makes someone decide to do something good or bad.

    Maybe!

    It might be!

    Just as one can't use this angle of a person's personality to ascribe behaviors to that person a priori, one also can't exclude this facet from behavioral decision making!

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    Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    I do not think it's a real answer to that question. If someone responded to that question with "I am French" I would find that answer similarly lacking.

    Even a response of "Christian" is a rather paltry answer that only suggests what to fill in the blanks with with little assurance. But "I am an atheist" doesn't really say anything much at all.

    I admit and agree that it invites numerous assumptions which may be correct. But answers? Not really.

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    As a ginger
    as an untrustworthy scoundrel

    Well damn, now I have to figure out which I identify with more

    Conjunction fallacy means that no matter which you pick, we will still associate them together

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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    It's definitely a loaded term, which is ridiculous when you consider how narrow the term, when correctly applied, actually is.

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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    Wait, most atheists who don't identify as secular humanists are nihilists?

    This seems unlikely.

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Being an atheist only really gives us knowledge that someone's choices are not based in the assumption of any gods. The statistical chances of certain other beliefs change, but that's about it.

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    I do not think it's a real answer to that question. If someone responded to that question with "I am French" I would find that answer similarly lacking.

    Even a response of "Christian" is a rather paltry answer that only suggests what to fill in the blanks with with little assurance. But "I am an atheist" doesn't really say anything much at all.

    I admit and agree that it invites numerous assumptions which may be correct. But answers? Not really.

    No single descriptor of personal philosophy will be complete. We don't (or shouldn't) act like it is useless, and I think you aren't being realistic or fair when you compare "I am an atheist" to "I am French" as an answer to the question posed.

    You say it yourself- even "Christian" is an incomplete answer.

    That doesn't mean it isn't a useful descriptor for orientation and future questions (if one wishes)- or if one only wants a rough answer to the question.

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    MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    I don't know about that.

    I could answer that question with "Christian: NGK", and still be mostly correct, even though I'm an athiest.

    You can be an athiest, and still have a personal philosophy that's 90% Christian. (Which I would guess is most of the western athiests)

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    We don't say there isn't a christian community, or that "christian" isn't a useful identifier of philosophy because there are various christian sects and even non-practicing people who still sort of believe

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    Alinius133Alinius133 Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    this is pretty naff

    an atheist might tell another atheist to behave different based on moral or ethical reasoning, just as christians might do to one another. Why do you choose to embrace a nihilist framework vs. a humanist one? Let's talk about that.

    The difference between this and your hypothetical christian discussion is that christianity has various common-ish dicta believers can use rhetorically, but those probably don't change all that much because 1) they're pretty broadly known and somebody who doesn't already get that jesus probably wouldn't flip someone the bird in traffic is unlikely to be persuaded and 2) christian sects don't even necessarily agree on their interpretations, introducing more opportunities to get bogged down in semantics.

    I tend to think that atheists have an easier time in these discussions, because we can just get right into the moral reasoning without having to quibble over which version of leviticus we're quoting.

    ed: and I mean, isn't that whole post basically just a long format phrasing of the creeping fear that loss of christian-specific moral imperatives invetiably leads to absolute relativisim? I don't find that a compelling position

    So basically before you can convince me I am wrong, you have to convert me to Humanism?

    Nihilism is only one of the several possible implications of embracing Atheism.

    Alinius133 on
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    MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    We don't say there isn't a christian community, or that "christian" isn't a useful identifier of philosophy because there are various christian sects and even non-practicing people who still sort of believe

    Right, but theist is pretty much a useless description.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
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    rockrngerrockrnger Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    rockrnger wrote: »
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    rockrnger wrote: »
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    So all Christians share morals now?

    Last I checked Christians managed yell at each other about slavery for 100s of years without it coming to a conclusion about "what Jesus would do".

    Notice the use the word attempt, but you actually prove my point. If I was an atheistic slave owner, how would use your knowledge of my Atheism to show me that slavery is wrong?

    The point being "what I think you should do" and "what I think Jesus thinks you should do" have equal weight since everyone is deciding what they think anyway.
    Only if you don't have some external common reference point, like maybe a book filled with examples of what Jesus did....

    Even believing the validity of the bible (not all Christians do) and the inerrancy of the bible (again most don't) Jesus and the bible don't give anything concrete about most subjects and everyone has a different interpretation.

    So how is it a reference point?

    rockrnger on
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    We don't say there isn't a christian community, or that "christian" isn't a useful identifier of philosophy because there are various christian sects and even non-practicing people who still sort of believe

    Right, but theist is pretty much a useless description.

    Because it doesn't have weight and connotations attached to it like "christian" or "atheist" or "jew" have.

    This is a disingenuous argument. "This word that we don't use in common parlance to describe people isn't descriptive at all, thus this other word, which when defined literally means 'the opposite of' previously described unused word is also not descriptive."

    Or, more clearly, just because "theist" doesn't really carry meaningful information culturally, doesn't mean that "atheist" is also informatively null. I understand that the definitions of the word "atheist", when used in a logical vacuum, may not be the most efficient conceptual ideas, but that doesn't mean Western culture doesn't have a schema of what it means to be an "atheist".

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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    Giving you a list of jobs I don't have might be useful for determining what my job is but it is not an actual answer to the question of what my job is.

    That the term atheist is useful and descriptive has nothing to do with whether it's a personal philosophy. The term non-engineer may have a lot of use at an engineer convention but that doesn't make non-engineer a job, even if everyone at the convention including the non-engineer themselves uses the term and accepts it as an answer to the question of what their job is.

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    Giving you a list of jobs I don't have might be useful for determining what my job is but it is not an actual answer to the question of what my job is.

    That the term atheist is useful and descriptive has nothing to do with whether it's a personal philosophy. The term non-engineer may have a lot of use at an engineer convention but that doesn't make non-engineer a job, even if everyone at the convention including the non-engineer themselves uses the term and accepts it as an answer to the question of what their job is.

    This analogy is comparing apples to oranges, in my opinion.

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    It really confuses me how people will say things like "there isn't a single, whole atheist community" when there are large Atheist conventions, things like the Richard Dawkins foundation (and their scarlet A logo), as well as humanist groups of various stripes that run charity events and Darwin Days

    Like, okay maybe you personally (anyone in the thread who is arguing on this line) isn't a part of the "larger atheist community"- you don't go to meetings (which exist!) you don't hang out with people and talk about reasons for your non belief (but this is a thing that happens in organized ways!) you personally may not identify with the larger atheist community.

    But that doesn't mean there aren't a significant amount of people who do identify with and associate themselves with this community.

    ...

    In a similar way, and this is something the "atheist community" needs to also think about, you can't hold organized religion responsible for the actions of their radical extremes

    I don't really see where this line of argument leads

    I agree that people cannot be 'held responsible' for the actions of their more extreme ideological cohorts. This seems like a beyond obvious statement, unless you're one of the people who seems to think it's very important for people who identify one way to be constantly apologizing for more extreme people who also identify that way

    it was the smallest on the list but
    Pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
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    Alinius133Alinius133 Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    Wait, most atheists who don't identify as secular humanists are nihilists?

    This seems unlikely.

    Of the people who actually make a logical choice to embrace a moral philosophy, yes. A lot of people who convert continue along with their previous moral philosophy with modifications, and thus never make an actual choice about moral philosophies.

    Alinius133 on
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    redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    I don't get the requrment of rejecting all the morality Christianity teaches just because there isn't a god.

    Basically, your sole motivation in acting morally is to please god, possibly so you will be rewarded?

    Simply making the world you actually have to live in better isn't motivation enough?

    I was raised in a sect of Christianity. When I embraced the belief that god does not exist, it changed basically nothing in how I treated others or what I considered moral.

    Edit: this is very common from my experience.

    redx on
    They moistly come out at night, moistly.
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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    I think the point people are trying to get at is that while being atheist may be a facet in a person's personal morality and philosophy, it is not the facet that makes someone decide to do something good or bad.

    Maybe!

    It might be!

    Just as one can't use this angle of a person's personality to ascribe behaviors to that person a priori, one also can't exclude this facet from behavioral decision making!

    So can you think of an example of someone making a moral decision based solely on their belief that there is no god, without it being tied to some larger, more encompassing philosophy?

    If, for example, someone kills someone because "There's no god, no afterlife, society's strictures are pointless," that's not because they're an atheist, but because they're a nihilist. While being atheist is a part of nihilism, it is far from the whole of the philosophy.

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    Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Trans* Woman In Aviators Firing A Bazooka. ⚛️Registered User regular
    Alright, #SanityCheckMe thread.

    I'm a secular humanist. Is it a reasonable position to respect someone's faith (as I do), but not their religion?
    And then, once you know them well, also respect them as a person?

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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    "Doesn't believe in Christ" is incredibly nebulous phrase and is meaningless as common set of ideas when compared to the breadth and depth of the number of things 'believers in Christ' disagree about.

    Unitarians or some other liberal group of Christians are going to disagree with your various Pentecostals/Baptist hard line conservative Christians on just about every issue, outside of 'believing in Christ'-which they will not "believe in" in the same way.I wouldn't be surprised if overall there is a stronger coherence in beliefs among Atheists, simple because the group is strongly correlated with Education/Income/Etc, versus Christians in general.

    Your hypothetical menage of two groups don't really intersect all that well. Much of the New Atheists criticism of religion is that it is either inherently, or just near universally in practice, immoral e.g. Hitchen's criticism of vicarious redemption as a concept, or the various research into selflessness/altruism in non-humans-which is basically a hunt for moral realism of a non-theistic source. Having a position against theism doesn't really make any sense for a Nihilist, why would you be against or for it if there are no moral truths?

    Are there actually a meaningful number of Nihilists, excluding for a moment 16 year olds in all black clothing with eyeliner on? I doubt it.

    “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” -Richard Dawkins

    Statements like that make me think the overlap might be higher than you estimate it.

    I think you're vastly overstating or otherwise misinterpreting the significance of that particular quote and Dawkins' influence.

    But more importantly, even if you were not you cannot equate that with nihilism AT ALL if you consider it within its actual context - an argument against a benevolent watchful deity and that Dawkins rejects arguments based on the naturalistic fallacy all the time.

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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Zilla360 wrote: »
    Alright, #SanityCheckMe thread.

    I'm a secular humanist. Is it a reasonable position to respect someone's faith (as I do), but not their religion?
    And then, once you know them well, also respect them as a person?

    Yup. This makes you a normal, well-adjusted person.

    It takes an extremist, of any philosophy/religion, to be to the point where they avoid relationships with anyone who disagrees with them on those matters.

    EDIT:
    I mean to say it's an extremist position to avoid associating with anyone merely because of the single belief. If you get along with someone but you butt heads over a particular issue, normally you'd probably try to work out a "hey, let's just avoid talking about these things with each other" in order to preserve your friendly/professional/whatever relationship.

    DarkPrimus on
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    ShandoShando Registered User regular
    edited February 2015

    Giving you a list of jobs I don't have might be useful for determining what my job is but it is not an actual answer to the question of what my job is.

    That the term atheist is useful and descriptive has nothing to do with whether it's a personal philosophy. The term non-engineer may have a lot of use at an engineer convention but that doesn't make non-engineer a job, even if everyone at the convention including the non-engineer themselves uses the term and accepts it as an answer to the question of what their job is.
    This analogy is comparing apples to oranges, in my opinion.

    That's just because you've been culturally conditioned to see "engineer" as the default state of occupation, duh. The fact that most people see "engineer" as the default occupation in our society has thrust those of us who have never had a job as one into defining ourselves by that fact, and for some reason have decided that makes us a community.

    Shando on
    your troll just berserked on us.
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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    I reject that "I am an atheist" is not a valid answer to the question "What is your personal philosophy?"

    It may not always be a complete answer, but that doesn't mean it isn't a descriptive and useful definition.

    For some people it might even be a complete answer!

    Giving you a list of jobs I don't have might be useful for determining what my job is but it is not an actual answer to the question of what my job is.

    That the term atheist is useful and descriptive has nothing to do with whether it's a personal philosophy. The term non-engineer may have a lot of use at an engineer convention but that doesn't make non-engineer a job, even if everyone at the convention including the non-engineer themselves uses the term and accepts it as an answer to the question of what their job is.

    This analogy is comparing apples to oranges, in my opinion.

    One can compare apples to oranges easily enough (both round, fruit, sour) but my point is that the usefulness of "atheist" as an answer is merely due to current societal demographics and not because it is a real answer. Suppose that 95% of the world was atheist for example, would "atheist" still be an useful answer? "Catholic" and "Secular humanist" would retain their usefulness as answers because those are actual "personal philosophies" that make several positive assertions about what is real/in the world.


    (For the record, "theist" and "agnostic" aren't very useful answers either. While theism does make a positive assertion about the world it is only a single one. )

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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    "Doesn't believe in Christ" is incredibly nebulous phrase and is meaningless as common set of ideas when compared to the breadth and depth of the number of things 'believers in Christ' disagree about.

    Unitarians or some other liberal group of Christians are going to disagree with your various Pentecostals/Baptist hard line conservative Christians on just about every issue, outside of 'believing in Christ'-which they will not "believe in" in the same way.I wouldn't be surprised if overall there is a stronger coherence in beliefs among Atheists, simple because the group is strongly correlated with Education/Income/Etc, versus Christians in general.

    Your hypothetical menage of two groups don't really intersect all that well. Much of the New Atheists criticism of religion is that it is either inherently, or just near universally in practice, immoral e.g. Hitchen's criticism of vicarious redemption as a concept, or the various research into selflessness/altruism in non-humans-which is basically a hunt for moral realism of a non-theistic source. Having a position against theism doesn't really make any sense for a Nihilist, why would you be against or for it if there are no moral truths?

    Are there actually a meaningful number of Nihilists, excluding for a moment 16 year olds in all black clothing with eyeliner on? I doubt it.

    “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” -Richard Dawkins

    Statements like that make me think the overlap might be higher than you estimate it.

    this isn't a normative statement; at best it's dawkins observing that the natural world seems to tend toward nihilism
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    this is pretty naff

    an atheist might tell another atheist to behave different based on moral or ethical reasoning, just as christians might do to one another. Why do you choose to embrace a nihilist framework vs. a humanist one? Let's talk about that.

    The difference between this and your hypothetical christian discussion is that christianity has various common-ish dicta believers can use rhetorically, but those probably don't change all that much because 1) they're pretty broadly known and somebody who doesn't already get that jesus probably wouldn't flip someone the bird in traffic is unlikely to be persuaded and 2) christian sects don't even necessarily agree on their interpretations, introducing more opportunities to get bogged down in semantics.

    I tend to think that atheists have an easier time in these discussions, because we can just get right into the moral reasoning without having to quibble over which version of leviticus we're quoting.

    ed: and I mean, isn't that whole post basically just a long format phrasing of the creeping fear that loss of christian-specific moral imperatives invetiably leads to absolute relativisim? I don't find that a compelling position

    So basically before you can convince me I am wrong, you have to convert me to Humanism?

    Nihilism is only one of the several possible implications of embracing Atheism.

    no? You brought up humanism vs. nihilism, so I used that as an example. The point is that we can compare moral frameworks absent christian rhetoric

    it was the smallest on the list but
    Pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
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    Alinius133Alinius133 Registered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    I don't get the requrment of rejecting all the morality Christianity teaches just because there isn't a god.

    Basically, your sole motivation in acting morally is to please god, possibly so you will be rewarded?

    Simply making the world you actually have to live in better isn't motivation enough?

    I was raised in a sect of Christianity. When I embraced the belief that god does not exist, it changed basically nothing in how I treated others or what I considered moral.

    Edit: this is very common from my experience.

    I never said that rejecting your old morals is required, but it is one of several possibilities. In fact, I would grant that most people who convert to Atheism probable keep their old morality system to some degree or another.

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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Arch wrote: »
    It really confuses me how people will say things like "there isn't a single, whole atheist community" when there are large Atheist conventions, things like the Richard Dawkins foundation (and their scarlet A logo), as well as humanist groups of various stripes that run charity events and Darwin Days

    Like, okay maybe you personally (anyone in the thread who is arguing on this line) isn't a part of the "larger atheist community"- you don't go to meetings (which exist!) you don't hang out with people and talk about reasons for your non belief (but this is a thing that happens in organized ways!) you personally may not identify with the larger atheist community.

    But that doesn't mean there aren't a significant amount of people who do identify with and associate themselves with this community.

    ...

    In a similar way, and this is something the "atheist community" needs to also think about, you can't hold organized religion responsible for the actions of their radical extremes

    I don't really see where this line of argument leads

    I agree that people cannot be 'held responsible' for the actions of their more extreme ideological cohorts. This seems like a beyond obvious statement, unless you're one of the people who seems to think it's very important for people who identify one way to be constantly apologizing for more extreme people who also identify that way

    The argument leads to this page, where I argue that "atheist" is a useful descriptor and can also mean someone is a member of a community

    The "responsibility" part was only there to tie the initial post into the OP so I nominally felt like I was on topic.

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    Alinius133Alinius133 Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    Alinius133 wrote: »
    First up to clear up some confusion, and no, this is not a "No true Scotsman fallacy", but there exists a significant subset of Christians who are what I would call "Ethnic Christians". They grew up in a Christian household, and self identify as Christian, but when you ask them what they believe, you will get something that is more of a general Deism and Agnostic. I am about as non-denominational as they come, but there are still a few basic core tenants that you must believe to be a Christian. Saying, "I am an Atheist who believes in God" is an illogical statement. So is "I am a Christian who doesn't believe in Christ". In short, just because someone claims to be Christian doesn't make it so.

    As a Christian, if I see another Christian acting badly, I have a common set of ideals that I at least attempt to use to show them that what they are doing isn't "What Jesus would do". Unfortunately, those of you who say that Atheists has little or no common ground are correct, and that is exactly the problem. Let assume I were to renounce my faith, and embrace Atheism today. Along with rejecting my former Theism, I also reject all of the moral lessons that I learns alongside my Theism. I choose to not embrace Humanism, and land squarely among the Nihilists. I now proceed to go about my life being an amoral asshole while loudly proclaiming myself to be an Atheist. The problem is that other Atheists have no grounds to tell me I am doing it wrong, because I am, in fact, an Atheist. At best, you can say that I am not the same kind of Atheist as you.

    That said, under the umbrella of Atheism, you have the New Atheists(Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc.) who treat anyone who holds any belief in the supernatural as sick, deluded individuals, and the Nihilists who have rejected the existence of most or all moral boundaries. That is somewhat like putting gunpowder and a lit match in proximity to each other.

    "Doesn't believe in Christ" is incredibly nebulous phrase and is meaningless as common set of ideas when compared to the breadth and depth of the number of things 'believers in Christ' disagree about.

    Unitarians or some other liberal group of Christians are going to disagree with your various Pentecostals/Baptist hard line conservative Christians on just about every issue, outside of 'believing in Christ'-which they will not "believe in" in the same way.I wouldn't be surprised if overall there is a stronger coherence in beliefs among Atheists, simple because the group is strongly correlated with Education/Income/Etc, versus Christians in general.

    Your hypothetical menage of two groups don't really intersect all that well. Much of the New Atheists criticism of religion is that it is either inherently, or just near universally in practice, immoral e.g. Hitchen's criticism of vicarious redemption as a concept, or the various research into selflessness/altruism in non-humans-which is basically a hunt for moral realism of a non-theistic source. Having a position against theism doesn't really make any sense for a Nihilist, why would you be against or for it if there are no moral truths?

    Are there actually a meaningful number of Nihilists, excluding for a moment 16 year olds in all black clothing with eyeliner on? I doubt it.

    “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” -Richard Dawkins

    Statements like that make me think the overlap might be higher than you estimate it.

    I think you're vastly overstating or otherwise misinterpreting the significance of that particular quote and Dawkins' influence.

    But more importantly, even if you were not you cannot equate that with nihilism AT ALL if you consider it within its actual context - an argument against a benevolent watchful deity and that Dawkins rejects arguments based on the naturalistic fallacy all the time.
    I don't disagree. The problem isn't my misinterpretation of it, but a question of how many other people might misinterpret it to be a statement in favor of Nihilism.

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    JepheryJephery Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    All you need to reconcile atheistic rationalism and morality is selfishness and the realization that altruism can be selfish. Helping others and contributing to your society is a form of self preservation.

    Some people reach the conclusion that rationalism leads to nihilism, but I'd say that rationalism and selfishness ultimately leads to rational altruism, and thus results in a rational morality.

    (Edit: I am pretty sure this is the basis for secular humanism.)

    Jephery on
    }
    "Orkses never lose a battle. If we win we win, if we die we die fightin so it don't count. If we runs for it we don't die neither, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!".
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