This undertaking of the onus of definition is a common tactic amongst the evangelical crowd. Simply put, they would much rather the world hear their message than the truth, so they co-opt legitimate, cogent disciplines (ie evolution, philosophy, skepticism, life, history, sciences of all kinds, et cetra) and terms, redifining them to suit their desires. Evolution becomes "Man from Monkeys", History is liberalized and granted irrefutability through any text, and Biological Life apparently neccesitates a non-physical component called a "Soul
This is, of course, completely rediculous. Rediculousness is expected of theists --those who simultaneously entertain contradicting truths; this is one of the corner-stones of any theistic religion. However, this practice of hijacking arguments has a far more dangerous implication of hypocracy for the superstitious community; that is, while they quote any number of versions of biblical scripture as indesputable and supremely authoritative on the definitions applied to the faith, they fail to recognize the legitimacy of far more concrete refference material -- namely, the dictionary. The theistic religious community has been renowned for taking liberties with definitions in order to facilitate their manipulation of thought and propagandizing. By undermining the authority of the dictionary, and controlling the implications of specific language, they have created an economy of the dichotomy of meaning, and rendered confusing and doubtful the specific and lucid meanings of important terms.
"Dear Mr. Repucci, most of the Atheists I have met are moral relitivists -- why is that? As a Christian woman, my morals aren't subjective and are clearly defined in the bible...are all Atheists beholden to a moral code?"
Thank you and God Bless,
Linda Valle D'osta, Georga.
Kant is a good place to start. Incidentally, did you know that the statistical data on the subject would suggest that atheists are more moral than any other religious group in the US? The prisons are full of christians and muslims -- but very few atheists wind up incarcerated.
Utilitarian Humanism is my credo. There isn't a system of ethics that does not address the golden rule in any religious or social body -- everybody has roughly the same moral code, and that code pre-dates a religious usurpation (thanks, Hammurabi!) with it's roots firmly in secular rule of society. Morals aren't relative just because they aren't handed down by god on stone tablets -- and moral relitivism is a dangerous proposition. Do not murder, do not rape, do not steal, do not lie...theses are moral tennants that we can all agree upon, regardless of superstitious belief. Moreover, I would claim that the Judeo-Christian God is the least moral entity in existence, were he to actually exist. God slaughters innocent babies, and damns them to an eternity of torture. God gambles for Job's soul with Satan. God, time after time, sacrifices the many for the benefit of the few in the old testament, encouraging the Jews to slay the Philistines down to every last man, woman, and child. Why doesn't your god act in a moral fashion, if he is so concerned with morality? Even the president of the USA isn't above the law, yet because Yahweh is a Tyrant, who will marshall his tyrany for eternity, unchecked by any body politic or rival deities, is above admonition or rebuke for his evil.
People aren't growing 'less tolerant' of christians...the data states that you have this backward. In fact, christians are becoming less tolerant of the rest of the world. Biblical literalism/fundamentalism is in the middle of a boom right now; christians are alienating themselves from the rational community and rejecting modernity at an alarming rate. According to NBC's Dateline, there are 70 MILLION evangelical christians in this country now...the catholic church is more moderate and accepting of the scientific/social community of today that the average evangelical, non-denominational christian. Catholics aren't biblical literalists, and the Vatican has been a proponent of evolution and the old earth theory for 20 years now.
Do you know what a dispensation is? The Mosaic Law had under its Law the provisions against relations with a woman while she was menstruating and not eating pork or wearing mixed linens etc. But, the question is "Are we in that same dispensation today" "Do those same laws apply to us today?" The answer is no. We are not under the Law any longer. We are under Grace, ushered in by Jesus who brought Grace and became the fulfillment of the Law. Do you understand?
Secondly, how can you be a big fan of Jesus unless you accept Him as God? His teachings were that He was God in the flesh--so either He actually was and is or He is a lunatic. There is no middle ground when you consider who Jesus actually claimed to be--that is--God manifest in the flesh.
I have some problems with the belief that an all knowing all all caring God would set human beings up to fail. He put the tree of knowledge of good and evil up knowing that ultimately our human curiosity would get the best of us.
A minor correction. Curiosity had nothing to do with the fall -- Satan, the only respectable character in the first few chapters of Genesis, explains the Tree of Knowledge very well, by explaining to Eve that if she eats the fruit, she will have knowledge of good and evil, and in that respect, be as god. HE IS NOT LYING HERE.
Call them on their bull.
I really am sorry if I offended anyone -- rereading my post, I see that I come across as a bit of an ass -- I dont mean to. I have questions because it is important to me to understand your faith. I DO NOT HATE CHRISTIANS -- my family is devout Roman Catholic, and I taught confirmation at St. Dennis in Diamond Bar, CA for 2 years (no bs -- ask around), I simply don't understand -- disregarding textual arguments -- Why does Satan need minions? Don't people choose evil of their own free will? I thought that this was the whole point of free will -- people choosing the hard right over the easy wrong. Why does evil need a facilitator? I understand Lucifer was cast out of heaven, but what kind of punnishment is being made LORD of the Damned? It is infamy, but it is still a leadership role.
*note to my readers: I have attempted to extricate myself from my usual fare of anti-judaic religious ranting...unsucessfully. If you are sick of my brow-beating, I am truely sorry that I am giving you more of the same bullshit in a different package. Unfortunately, since I have started my war on faith, and, more relevantly, my blog, religious belief has yet to take notice of my very valid, pro-human points and has yet to completely dissolve. Untill there is a more immediate threat to the continued existance, progress, and prosperity of humanity, expect MORE OF THE SAME OUT OF ME. That being said, here is my latest plea to the religious community that CONTROLLS our government and society through IRRATIONAL FEAR, BELIEF, AND FASCISM. Lack of God, help us all. --Louis.
Sheltering children from the diversity of ideas and ways of life is NOT an education -- the liberal arts aren't the main value of public education, indeed, those who wish to remain illiterate and uneducated will do so no matter what their backgroud...and more power to them; the world needs ditch-diggers.
The main value of public education is socialization. I was reading books by 4 years old, and could give a decent lecture on Jurrasic era flora and fauna by the time I was 8. Do you think that I could do this because of the bottom-of-the-barrel education I recieved in the LA unified school district? Of course not -- I was ON FIRE for knowledge, and spent HOURS in the libraries. When other kids were watching cartoons, I watched the Discovery Channel. While other kids played tag, I played chess. I am an autodidact, and subsiquently was very bored with my compulsory education. Everything moved too slow. Everyone needed 3 or 4 times longer than I for basic material, and none of them really cared how Carthage was destroyed, or what a fulcrum is, or how to properly format an essay.
A sperm cell is alive -- is birth-control then abortion by the millions?
A fetus is not a human being. A human being can survive the environment of earth on their own. They eat and digest raw food. They breath oxygen with their own lungs and abdominal muscles, and, most of all, THEY AREN'T DEPENDANT ON ANOTHER HUMAN BEING FOR ALL OF THESE PROCESSES.
If you want to get technical, a fetus is a PARASITE. It's relationship to it's host is a non-reciprocal one, consisting of taking nutrients and resources from the human it lives in, and offering nothing in return.
Look, just because I am pro-rights doesn't mean I am pro-abortion. I don't personally condone the practice, but I am NOT A FASCIST. I don't condone christianity, but do you see me trying to pass legislation to make it illegal to wear a cross? Of course not. I am a tolerant person, who understands that the sheep need their pacifier. That is the problem with you christians -- if you don't agree with something, you go on a fucking crusade to make sure NOBODY ever does it again. Homosexuality? Christians are pushing legislation that would make homosexuals second-class citizens, simply based on who they like to penetrate. Abortion? The church not only doesn't condone it, but christians are doing their damndest to make sure noone ever has an abortion ever again, under any circumstances. Euthenasia? Sorry, too bad you have terminal cancer, and you have been reduced to a shit and piss factory that lives in agony, you don't get to kill yourself. Why? Because of the bible.
I avoid using metaphoric non-entities like 'spiritual' as much as possible -- they connote nothing, and are well defined as such. By using terms like this to describe qualitative states/experiences, we lend credence to their LITERAL being, due to the fact that a large percent of those we are talking to (mistakenly) classify the 'spirit' as an actual, extant entity. We have plenty of language to use that does not evoke such non-sequitors and misguided inference on the part of the audience -- as a rule (and as a rational mind) avoid pitfalls such as 'spiritual'.
Mind you, this is when speaking in rational terms -- and as an atheist and rationalist, I tend to default to this mode of communication when expressing myself and particularly when broaching subject matter that may be mistakenly interpreted as literal.