"I was an atheist"

FreeHugMachine
FreeHugMachine's picture
Posts: 152
Joined: 2009-04-02
User is offlineOffline
"I was an atheist"

Can you take seriously anyone who makes this claim, but then goes on to assert the supernatural?  I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine.

Christian friend:

"My family wasn't religious [...] I was where you are now only a little over a year ago. It took me years of reason and analysis of many friends and their lives that have led me to Christianity. I acknowledged in my atheism is my search for truth and even [researched] Islam and Hinduism.[...] Also, I question your reading of those books [Bible, Koran, Bhagavad-Gita]. I have read the Bible through and it did not get much out of it initially. Over the past year I have read and analyzed the Bible passage to passage and even verse by verse with small groups of people in the same boat as me. That is when I really got information out of it."

So he establishes he knows my position intimately then goes on to assert:

"The Bible is the word of God. The Bible is the only truth we know because it is His word, it is inspired by God. There are many contradictions because of the way humans interpret it. It is human error, not Godly error."

"Adam and Eve had the power of choice but could not stray away from God because they couldn't put themselves before God in their thoughts and actions." (Of course Adam and Eve couldn't really even exist if evolution is true.)

 

"I have yet to hear reason and logic from any atheist or documentary that has strayed me away from God. It actually strengthens my belief because I find most logic and reason not logical at all."

"Basically my experience with atheist thought, the thought you look so highly upon that is being suppressed by religion comes down to calling faith 'bullshit.' This is not logic and reason, this is human's petty attempt to make themselves kings. I know it feels good, it's hard to put God first. The Bible says the path to redemption comes with much sacrifice and I know it will be the hardest thing i will ever have to do. Human knowledge is finite and futile while God's knowledge is omnipotent and infinite. I choose to follow Him."

After my response:

"You have successfully beaten me in this argument. Not because you have changed my ideals. I actually want to thank you because you have strengthen my faith that God exists and Jesus is my Lord and Savior. You have won because I have two chem reports due tomorrow and finals are coming up."

"Christianity is not religion, it is a way of life"

"I'm thankful for everything he [God] has done because above all the talents he has given me, he has given me the ability to worship him and be saved by Grace"

"I hope that one day I will see you in heaven and we can live in perfect salvation. You will stay in my prayers."

__________________

These excerpts were the only real arguments my friend made. I don't dislike this kid, he was in many of my honors classes through high school and is now on his way in becoming a radiologist.  I just don't understand why he thinks claiming he was an atheist will help him in this discussion.  It may be true he was an atheist in the simple definition sense (lacking belief in God), but it doesn't seem he was an atheist by product of logic and reasoning like me. I'm not an atheist because I haven't tried looking for god(s), I'm an atheist because I used all that 'God' gave me and found his existence in question.

I seriously doubt a lot of the claims my friend made about his past religious stance, but was curious what others thought about the method he tried to appeal to me.  Ever single 'argument' he made was either emotional or my personal favorite "you're interpreting it wrong, but I'm interpreting it right."  I feel like he going with the method "You have to believe in order to understand why I believe."

(I know this is sort of the No True Scotsman, but I don't care if he was an atheist just the method he tries to use this factoid)

-Hugs-


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
When he gets to the bit

When he gets to the bit where he says "I find most logic and reason not logical at all" this is where his pretence of argument ends, along with much else if he were my friend. It would have been prudent to interject at that point and remind him that there are many unfortunate people suffering from mental disorders who would sadly agree with him there.

 

You ask what I think about the method with which he tried to appeal to you? Yet I see no method, and definitely no appeal - either to reason or emotion. If your quotations are verbatim and accurately represent his mental health then I would be one worried friend. The conversation as he conducted his part in it was only nominally concerned with religion, but was most definitely and fundamentally eloquent on the matter of his sanity.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


FreeHugMachine
FreeHugMachine's picture
Posts: 152
Joined: 2009-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Compartments

That's the sad fact of it.  I didn't find his argument in any way appealing, but was merely wondering about why he would think they were good arguments at all.  He is one of those people you would never guess to be irrational, but chooses to put his 'faith' out of the reach of his actual life.

He never really refutes anything I say, he just says that it makes his belief stronger.  I'm of the opinion that if God exists, and was actually 'good', he wouldn't give a damn what worked for some... but what would work for everyone.

 

Edit :  These quotes are verbatim other than capitlization, grammer correction, and my imput within [] for better understanding


Magus
High Level DonorModerator
Magus's picture
Posts: 592
Joined: 2007-04-11
User is offlineOffline
Remember being a critical

Remember being a critical thinker is not a requirement for being an atheist.  They do help though...

 

Sounds made up...
Agnostic Atheist
No, I am not angry at your imaginary friends or enemies.


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 15747
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
One of my more religious

One of my more religious co-workers defended atheists upon hearing fallacies she heard from other Christians.

She told me today that she over heard other Christians saying, "Atheists worship Satan" She responded to them, "They don't believe in Satan anymore than they believe in God"

Mind you, she gets a lip twitch when I try to debate her, but I was proud of her, for at least understanding that we don't believe in anything super natural good or bad.

Quote:
Remember being a critical thinker is not a requirement for being an atheist.  They do help though...

Another example. I have another co worker who has a boyfriend who has called himself an atheist. After further digging I found out that he didn't buy the magical claims of the bible, BUT, he still thought there might be something out there. He is in reality an agnostic theist.

He merely bought into the demonize propaganda of "atheist" being anyone who doesn't buy the bible.

The key  is yes, I don't buy the bible, but I also don't buy the Koran or the Torah or Talmud either. An atheist is someone who doesn't buy any super natural being of any label, or even generic.

"Atheist" in it's litteral meaning means "without god or gods" so it is not limited to one god claim and incumpasses all god claims, polytheist or monotheist.

Unarmed atheists are the counterpart to what theists would call "Weekend worshipors". They may be what they say they claim, but they are also easy pickings for a well crafted rival.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann wrote:When he gets

Nordmann wrote:

When he gets to the bit where he says "I find most logic and reason not logical at all" this is where his pretence of argument ends, along with much else if he were my friend. It would have been prudent to interject at that point and remind him that there are many unfortunate people suffering from mental disorders who would sadly agree with him there.

Let me try to give you an example. This has intrigued me too for quite a while, and gradually I came to understand what this means for some theists. Or so I think I have.

1) First of all, it's based on the perception that I really share with them - if the world was completely atheistic up until now, it might even have been worse than what we see today. We might even have had to invent some kind of religion, just to start a spark of some idea of equality and social responsibility and bind it to a crazy idea of martyrdom in an organized fashion that can not be drowned in blood and fear.

In the light of this thinking, all arguments that go with "religion is bad" really sound like "bad people use everything they can, religion included". They don't connect with your thought that we would be better off without religion, and quite frankly neither do I. It's a butt-shit crazy idea, but it did and continues to do some important work on the organizing level, save all it's faults.

2) Second, they hear us advocate theories as facts. These facts are proven and by the way they mean your way of thinking is invalid - basta. To be perfectly honest, that is shitty skill with argumentation. One has to take audience into consideration when arguing for a case. Skill with argumentation is a quality of a reasonable society on it's own. People even tick me off calling this or that a fact, and I would cut God's balls off and wear them as a necklace, if I was to run into one in the afterlife. We lose credibility asserting definite knowledge, and this is not restricted to people choosing between faith and atheism. But if faced with the choice, it suddenly becomes less obvious, since both groups assert definite knowledge.

3) Third, some questions they pose we look at as less important, unanswerable, stupid or just plain already answered and proven meaningless as all the rest of it. They want meaningful answers. We are fine with our own answers. They want more than fine. Taking audience into consideration, we should not ignore those questions or the ways they were posed. But we do, so their questions go unanswered. More than that, we often leave an air of arrogant disdain for even being so bold as to ask. Being in touch with some holy book and this book being basically a prescription on human behavior, they get an authoritative way of sorting us into a box of ignoramuses, since arrogance and presumption of knowledge often is treated in that way in holy books. This grants immediate satisfaction, since they really dislike us for being ass-wipes about things they really are troubled with.

I can see how many times a guy like his friend might run into unsatisfying answers from people like us. This is unfortunate, because people that need answers elsewhere than in themselves are capable of much greater devotion to an idea, than someone who can make shit stick as he goes and is fine with things being fucked up in general. I think we are missing out on a lot of good human material, that luckily gets picked up by our unwanted friends in the religious environment.

4) Finally, in the light of all of the above, it's not too hard just to assert that atheism is cool, but atheists don't know what they are talking about. For some this realisation is a ticket to some religious gathering, like his friend there. For me it is very exciting, actually. It means that there might yet be hope for a reasonable world, since the most reasonable people really aren't all that reasonable yet.

Nordmann wrote:

You ask what I think about the method with which he tried to appeal to you? Yet I see no method, and definitely no appeal - either to reason or emotion. If your quotations are verbatim and accurately represent his mental health then I would be one worried friend. The conversation as he conducted his part in it was only nominally concerned with religion, but was most definitely and fundamentally eloquent on the matter of his sanity.

I agree that it probably was no appeal as much as excited explanation. But as to worry about his mental health, I probably would not. Given the premises I wrote up above, his social experience of "Bible study" and historical impact of religious personalities present in his mind, it's not too hard to imagine a person like him would reject atheism with increasing strength, all the while persuing scientific work. Radiologist is not particulary scientific endavour by the standards of today, but even if it was, not a problem in his mind - Newton's largest work was theological in nature.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


spike.barnett
Superfan
spike.barnett's picture
Posts: 1018
Joined: 2008-10-24
User is offlineOffline
ZuS wrote:We might even have

ZuS wrote:

We might even have had to invent some kind of religion, just to start a spark of some idea of equality and social responsibility and bind it to a crazy idea of martyrdom in an organized fashion that can not be drowned in blood and fear.

This is a load of crap. Religion is not necessary for people to be good people. When has religion ever been responsible for social equality? As I recall it's always been a hierarchy.

ZuS wrote:

2) Second, they hear us advocate theories as facts. These facts are proven and by the way they mean your way of thinking is invalid - basta. To be perfectly honest, that is shitty skill with argumentation. One has to take audience into consideration when arguing for a case. Skill with argumentation is a quality of a reasonable society on it's own. People even tick me off calling this or that a fact, and I would cut God's balls off and wear them as a necklace, if I was to run into one in the afterlife. We lose credibility asserting definite knowledge, and this is not restricted to people choosing between faith and atheism. But if faced with the choice, it suddenly becomes less obvious, since both groups assert definite knowledge.

fact OED

     1 a thing that is indisputably the case.

     2 (facts) information used as evidence or as part of a report.

As you can see there is more than one definition for the word. What you have here is a category error. Some theories are built upon facts as described by the second definition. Some theories, such as gravity, fit into the first. If they can't see the difference it's no fault of ours.

ZuS wrote:

I can see how many times a guy like his friend might run into unsatisfying answers from people like us. This is unfortunate, because people that need answers elsewhere than in themselves are capable of much greater devotion to an idea, than someone who can make shit stick as he goes and is fine with things being fucked up in general. I think we are missing out on a lot of good human material, that luckily gets picked up by our unwanted friends in the religious environment.

This I agree with mostly. They either can't handle or can't understand the truth, so they latch onto a sky daddy. Though I'm not sure we're missing out.

 

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
MySpace


geirj
geirj's picture
Posts: 719
Joined: 2007-06-19
User is offlineOffline
Based solely on how people

Based solely on how people on this site have discussed their atheism, it tends to be a place where you don't leave once you arrive. There seem to be far more theists-turned-atheists than vice-versa.

Nobody I know was brainwashed into being an atheist.

Why Believe?


FreeHugMachine
FreeHugMachine's picture
Posts: 152
Joined: 2009-04-02
User is offlineOffline
I guess he considered his

I guess he considered his pre-religious days as atheism, which is fine.  I just take for granted when someone says they are an atheist they probably won't go around asserting baseless claims.  That's like a Christian going around talking about how Jesus was not supernatural or even the Son of God, it just isn't something you'd expect.

I'm an atheist but not just because I feel like it, I have tried very hard (by my own standards) to justify belief in any god.


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
spike.barnett wrote:ZuS

spike.barnett wrote:

ZuS wrote:

We might even have had to invent some kind of religion, just to start a spark of some idea of equality and social responsibility and bind it to a crazy idea of martyrdom in an organized fashion that can not be drowned in blood and fear.

This is a load of crap. Religion is not necessary for people to be good people.

I didn't say religion was necessary for people to be good people, actually the opposite - good people are necessary for the existance of some existing religious practices. This doesn't mean that good people have to belong to some religion, although I might form an argument in which pretty much everyone alive is religious in some way. Don't answer this last bit, I don't feel like entering endless discussion of definitions.

More to the point - organized practice of approval of self-sacrifice establishes a culture of martyrdom. Martyrdom is ultimate resistance to opression, since the more you rip the martyr to shreds, the more exalted he becomes in the eyes of his community for their bravery, commitment and steadfast example. Even if he breaks under torture, he is praised all the more, because he submited himself to suffering no man can take. Jesus is the perfect example with "father why have you forsaken me" stuff. Even in his darkest hour of despair there is the establishment of a higher principle - a man is broken, but his faith remains. Namely, he doesn't say "there is no God", the thought that he might never even appears - he affirms his principle even beyond tolerance of human flesh.

This is not just a religious thing, you can easily see this in the communist resistance movement during the second world war and many others. I myself was named after a man from the resistance, a poet who was tortured to death by fascist colaborators in 1943, his story probably greatly exaggerated. To me all concept of religious piety is utterly foreign, but understandable - in extreme situations the cult of death protects meaningful life.

In extreme situations good people do come forward, but to stand up to significant risk of death, you need more than a pragmatical risk assessment. So they invent a bit of religious zeal. Religion just makes this human notion an official policy, establishing it beyond questioning glares of pragmatists, who at any point might call the martyr a fool and a lunatic. They can use a crazy story - any story will do for a person on the verge of doing a good thing in face of death, anything that would rebuke the perception of him getting it wrong and being a fool. And our human society supports it. This is what I was talking about, really. A lot of words for a small point Smiling

spike.barnett wrote:

When has religion ever been responsible for social equality? As I recall it's always been a hierarchy.

Not sure where to start. I don't think there is a science, a humanitarian movement or a socialist endavour that was not supported, initiated and/or led by religious socialists. The idea that all men come from a single father is astonishing in and of itself, establishing the idea of equality between men thousands of years before our secular government was fine with segragation, eugenics and social Darwinism (look that last one up, if you haven't already, a marvel of secular thought). Today you have these people running arond jungles, warzones, natural disaster areas, affiliated either directly or loosely with religious organisations, basically just dieing while trying to help ordinary people. In our own communities they are organizing, feeding the homeless and poor, picking up ex-convicts and generally people we have discarded as useless and reintroducing them into society. They are oganizing and staging actions against all kinds of social plights and they permiate every corner of everything we see, but we never really hear them speak. Partly because we don't llisten.

If you haven't yet had the time, make sure to put off like a month to go through Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky.

spike.barnett wrote:

ZuS wrote:

2) Second, they hear us advocate theories as facts. These facts are proven and by the way they mean your way of thinking is invalid - basta. To be perfectly honest, that is shitty skill with argumentation. One has to take audience into consideration when arguing for a case. Skill with argumentation is a quality of a reasonable society on it's own. People even tick me off calling this or that a fact, and I would cut God's balls off and wear them as a necklace, if I was to run into one in the afterlife. We lose credibility asserting definite knowledge, and this is not restricted to people choosing between faith and atheism. But if faced with the choice, it suddenly becomes less obvious, since both groups assert definite knowledge.

fact OED

     1 a thing that is indisputably the case.

     2 (facts) information used as evidence or as part of a report.

As you can see there is more than one definition for the word. What you have here is a category error. Some theories are built upon facts as described by the second definition. Some theories, such as gravity, fit into the first. If they can't see the difference it's no fault of ours.

Here I define 'fact' as definite knowledge that rebukes the religious thought on the grounds of impossibility. Your response will not help solve the problem of us ticking people off by asserting definite knowledge in an arrogant and condescending manner. A religious person would look at you - "a category error? everything I build my life around is a category error?" While I might understand what you are saying, a religious person would not. In this case not even I understand how you got to that response.

This is argumentation not taking audience into consideration. You have to think like the person you are arguing with, if you hope to convince them of something, or at least reach a conclusion of some sort.

spike.barnett wrote:

ZuS wrote:

I can see how many times a guy like his friend might run into unsatisfying answers from people like us. This is unfortunate, because people that need answers elsewhere than in themselves are capable of much greater devotion to an idea, than someone who can make shit stick as he goes and is fine with things being fucked up in general. I think we are missing out on a lot of good human material, that luckily gets picked up by our unwanted friends in the religious environment.

This I agree with mostly. They either can't handle or can't understand the truth, so they latch onto a sky daddy. Though I'm not sure we're missing out.

Here we go again - condescending. I can not stress enough how different your world would be without people who feel like they do - without the romantics, martyrs, meaning seekers, humanitarians and other 'weirdos'. You might have to do without the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, without the laws of mechanics, without the IFOR, without thousands of organizations and milions of idividuals that shape our reality free enough to support practicing atheists, sometimes at great cost to themselves. If we want more room for atheism, we should really support them, regardless of their belief system. Weird, huh?

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


neptewn
neptewn's picture
Posts: 296
Joined: 2007-06-25
User is offlineOffline
Sorry when I hear this

Sorry when I hear this psychobabble from the overtly religious, the memories of my youth come rushing back... The Southern Baptist Minister Grandfather, the Catholic Grandmother, the Mormon Aunt and all the heroin riddled relatives. This blurring of addictions still rings true today.

FreeHugMachine wrote:

Can you take seriously anyone who makes this claim, but then goes on to assert the supernatural?  I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine.

Christian friend:

"My family wasn't religious [...] I was where you are now only a little over a year ago. It took me years of reason and analysis of many friends and their lives that have led me to Christianity. I acknowledged in my atheism is my search for truth and even [researched] Islam and Hinduism.[...] Also, I question your reading of those books [Bible, Koran, Bhagavad-Gita]. I have read the Bible through and it did not get much out of it initially. Over the past year I have read and analyzed the Bible passage to passage and even verse by verse with small groups of people in the same boat as me. That is when I really got information out of it."

So he establishes he knows my position intimately then goes on to assert:

"The Bible is the word of God. The Bible is the only truth we know because it is His word, it is inspired by God. There are many contradictions because of the way humans interpret it. It is human error, not Godly error."

"Adam and Eve had the power of choice but could not stray away from God because they couldn't put themselves before God in their thoughts and actions." (Of course Adam and Eve couldn't really even exist if evolution is true.)

So he admits he didn't come from a family of addicts but was probably not properly armed to make an active choice to say No to Drugs. Yes, you were once drug free but are not now. I love the part where he discusses his dabbling in various drugs until he found his drug of choice, Christianity.

FreeHugMachine wrote:

"I have yet to hear reason and logic from any atheist or documentary that has strayed me away from God. It actually strengthens my belief because I find most logic and reason not logical at all."

"Basically my experience with atheist thought, the thought you look so highly upon that is being suppressed by religion comes down to calling faith 'bullshit.' This is not logic and reason, this is human's petty attempt to make themselves kings. I know it feels good, it's hard to put God first. The Bible says the path to redemption comes with much sacrifice and I know it will be the hardest thing i will ever have to do. Human knowledge is finite and futile while God's knowledge is omnipotent and infinite. I choose to follow Him."

You can't use reason and logic to talk a drug addict out of their addiction. Trust me I have tried.. You end up exposing them to the reality they are trying to escape from, which only resolidifies their addiction.

FreeHugMachine wrote:

After my response:

"You have successfully beaten me in this argument. Not because you have changed my ideals. I actually want to thank you because you have strengthen my faith that God exists and Jesus is my Lord and Savior. You have won because I have two chem reports due tomorrow and finals are coming up."

"Christianity is not religion, it is a way of life"

"I'm thankful for everything he [God] has done because above all the talents he has given me, he has given me the ability to worship him and be saved by Grace"

"I hope that one day I will see you in heaven and we can live in perfect salvation. You will stay in my prayers."

__________________

These excerpts were the only real arguments my friend made. I don't dislike this kid, he was in many of my honors classes through high school and is now on his way in becoming a radiologist.  I just don't understand why he thinks claiming he was an atheist will help him in this discussion.  It may be true he was an atheist in the simple definition sense (lacking belief in God), but it doesn't seem he was an atheist by product of logic and reasoning like me. I'm not an atheist because I haven't tried looking for god(s), I'm an atheist because I used all that 'God' gave me and found his existence in question.

I seriously doubt a lot of the claims my friend made about his past religious stance, but was curious what others thought about the method he tried to appeal to me.  Ever single 'argument' he made was either emotional or my personal favorite "you're interpreting it wrong, but I'm interpreting it right."  I feel like he going with the method "You have to believe in order to understand why I believe."

(I know this is sort of the No True Scotsman, but I don't care if he was an atheist just the method he tries to use this factoid)

-Hugs-

The rest is simple peer pressure...

Just Say No.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. - William S. Burroughs


spike.barnett
Superfan
spike.barnett's picture
Posts: 1018
Joined: 2008-10-24
User is offlineOffline
ZuS wrote: I didn't say

ZuS wrote:

I didn't say religion was necessary for people to be good people, actually the opposite - good people are necessary for the existance of some existing religious practices. This doesn't mean that good people have to belong to some religion, although I might form an argument in which pretty much everyone alive is religious in some way. Don't answer this last bit, I don't feel like entering endless discussion of definitions.

More to the point - organized practice of approval of self-sacrifice establishes a culture of martyrdom. Martyrdom is ultimate resistance to opression, since the more you rip the martyr to shreds, the more exalted he becomes in the eyes of his community for their bravery, commitment and steadfast example. Even if he breaks under torture, he is praised all the more, because he submited himself to suffering no man can take. Jesus is the perfect example with "father why have you forsaken me" stuff. Even in his darkest hour of despair there is the establishment of a higher principle - a man is broken, but his faith remains. Namely, he doesn't say "there is no God", the thought that he might never even appears - he affirms his principle even beyond tolerance of human flesh.

Again, bullshit. Being good is not a requirement for martyrdom, as is made clear every day. Martyrdom is just as much a tool for oppression as it is for freedom. The brand of martyrdom used for oppression is almost exclusively religious. What say you to that?

ZuS wrote:

Not sure where to start. I don't think there is a science, a humanitarian movement or a socialist endavour that was not supported, initiated and/or led by religious socialists.

Have you been living in a cave? Your telling me you have never heard of secular humanism?

ZuS wrote:

The idea that all men come from a single father is astonishing in and of itself, establishing the idea of equality between men thousands of years before our secular government was fine with segragation, eugenics and social Darwinism (look that last one up, if you haven't already, a marvel of secular thought). Today you have these people running arond jungles, warzones, natural disaster areas, affiliated either directly or loosely with religious organisations, basically just dieing while trying to help ordinary people. In our own communities they are organizing, feeding the homeless and poor, picking up ex-convicts and generally people we have discarded as useless and reintroducing them into society. They are oganizing and staging actions against all kinds of social plights and they permiate every corner of everything we see, but we never really hear them speak. Partly because we don't llisten.

Don't give me that social Darwinism shit. If anything, Darwin showed that all animals came from a "single father." I'm tired of you sidestepping the issue. The subject of this conversation is weather or not religion is required for people to be good, not weather secular people can be bad.

ZuS wrote:

If you haven't yet had the time, make sure to put off like a month to go through Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky.

I'll look into it, can't promise anything.

ZuS wrote:

Here I define 'fact' as definite knowledge that rebukes the religious thought on the grounds of impossibility. Your response will not help solve the problem of us ticking people off by asserting definite knowledge in an arrogant and condescending manner. A religious person would look at you - "a category error? everything I build my life around is a category error?" While I might understand what you are saying, a religious person would not. In this case not even I understand how you got to that response.

This is argumentation not taking audience into consideration. You have to think like the person you are arguing with, if you hope to convince them of something, or at least reach a conclusion of some sort.

That is exactly the problem. Certain religious ideas are flat out wrong. Anybody who believes in flat-earth, young-earth, global flood, or any other ridiculous notion should be looked down upon. I know that makes me sound like a dick, but frankly I don't give a fuck. These ideas are irrational and illogical, and as such need to be squashed. I don't care if the truth hurts their delicate sensibilities. You're really bringing out the militant atheist in me...

ZuS wrote:

Here we go again - condescending. I can not stress enough how different your world would be without people who feel like they do - without the romantics, martyrs, meaning seekers, humanitarians and other 'weirdos'. You might have to do without the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, without the laws of mechanics, without the IFOR, without thousands of organizations and milions of idividuals that shape our reality free enough to support practicing atheists, sometimes at great cost to themselves. If we want more room for atheism, we should really support them, regardless of their belief system. Weird, huh?

More bullshit. You're assuming one must be religious to have a sense of awe and wonder. This is a fallacious argument that doesn't even deserve a response, but I'll give one any way. Ever hear of Einstein? How about Sagan? I could go on forever.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
MySpace


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
 With the exception of

 With the exception of Antony Flew (who, even in his senility could only get as far as deism) and Francis Collins (who inexplicably found god in a waterfall after heading the human genome project) I don't know of any other high profile learned atheists who have become theists.  To be honest, I'm not sure Collins was an actively formed atheist or just a default agnostic before his Walden moment.

In conversations with run of the mill folks who claim to be theist nee atheist, I've noticed a distinct lack of ability to articulate a sound argument against theism.  Here's where we start to get into the duh part of the equation.  In order to accurately determine which of two alternatives is true, one must be familiar enough with both alternatives.  If someone was truly an actively formed atheist -- that is, if he had committed to atheism after considering both alternatives, not just been a default nonbeliever -- and became a theist, the only thing we can conclude is that he is either very bad at critical thinking, or didn't fully comprehend both alternatives.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


Vastet
atheistBloggerSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 13210
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I do have to agree with Zus

I do have to agree with Zus to a certain extent. We would not be where we are without religion. That does not however mean that we still have a legitimate use for it.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
spike.barnett wrote:ZuS

spike.barnett wrote:

ZuS wrote:

Here we go again - condescending. I can not stress enough how different your world would be without people who feel like they do - without the romantics, martyrs, meaning seekers, humanitarians and other 'weirdos'. You might have to do without the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, without the laws of mechanics, without the IFOR, without thousands of organizations and milions of idividuals that shape our reality free enough to support practicing atheists, sometimes at great cost to themselves. If we want more room for atheism, we should really support them, regardless of their belief system. Weird, huh?

More bullshit. You're assuming one must be religious to have a sense of awe and wonder. This is a fallacious argument that doesn't even deserve a response, but I'll give one any way. Ever hear of Einstein? How about Sagan? I could go on forever.

I think we basically agree on everything more or less, you just missread or missunderstood most of what I wrote. So I will dump the rest of it to look at this part, because it's kindof the core of the issue.

If you notice, I never mention in that paragraph that I am talking about religious people exclusively. That's because I am not. I define for you a group of people, of which some happen to be religious because of who they are. So, why not support all of them? Because some of them believe in an invisible man and I don't like that? So what, they have same interests as me, they helped make this world a better place in many more ways than me, why would I discard them? Doesn't this strike you as a bit idiotic - allowing whoever has interests opposite ours to drive a wedge between natural allies over something as retarded as that?

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Of course people should get

Of course people should get credit for their humanitarianism whenever they show it, and praise for when they do so with fortitude, regardless of whether or not they are religious.

 

But is your point that one should never take such a person to task over their religious beliefs? What stupid guff. If a great humanitarian ascribes his or her actions to a devotion to a giant teapot in solar orbit somewhere around the asteroid belt then he or she is validating the same belief in all the other teapot-worshippers, including the sadists, the hypocritical adherents to teapotism, the ignorant and the plain lunatic amongst them.

 

If they hold an untenable position with regard to orbiting teapots then it requires to be exposed, and I would suggest even more in their case than with others, since the validation they provide through it not being challenged has the potential to undo everything they worked for.

 

You seem to be attempting to walk a middle line, but I would caution against it strongly as the line is one dividing realism and logic from sheer lunacy. Attempting to reconcile the two is worse than madness. One only has to look at religion's own attempts at the exercise to see the damage it causes.

 

By all means speak up for those who, despite their adherence to untenable hypothesis, managed to allow their humanitarianism to win out in the end. But ask yourself with equal vigour how many other great men and women have been silenced throughout history by the beliefs which you say motivated your heroes, how many great leaps forward have been restrained by those beliefs, and how much therefore we should see those few "heroes" as evidence of a potentially vast crime against humanity itself - one which has been instigated through ignorance, prosecuted through ignorance, and now is sustained by the wilfully ignorant?

 

Hope you enjoy the view from the middle ground - from where I'm standing it looks dangerously close to the other side's!

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


spike.barnett
Superfan
spike.barnett's picture
Posts: 1018
Joined: 2008-10-24
User is offlineOffline
ZuS wrote:I think we

ZuS wrote:

I think we basically agree on everything more or less, you just missread or missunderstood most of what I wrote. So I will dump the rest of it to look at this part, because it's kindof the core of the issue.

Perhaps. I'm inclined to disagree.

ZuS wrote:

We might even have had to invent some kind of religion, just to start a spark of some idea of equality and social responsibility

That is the statement is most likely the root of the disagreement. I took it to mean religion might be necessary for social advancement. This is in my opinion logically flawed. Maybe that's not what you meant, but it's what I thought you said.

ZuS wrote:

If you notice, I never mention in that paragraph that I am talking about religious people exclusively. That's because I am not. I define for you a group of people, of which some happen to be religious because of who they are. So, why not support all of them? Because some of them believe in an invisible man and I don't like that? So what, they have same interests as me, they helped make this world a better place in many more ways than me, why would I discard them? Doesn't this strike you as a bit idiotic - allowing whoever has interests opposite ours to drive a wedge between natural allies over something as retarded as that?

I'm not saying that we should squelch believers. I'm just saying we should call them on their bullshit, and not allow their ridiculous beliefs to take higher priority than reasoned thought as is currently the case in a lot of the world.

Nordman made a great point about religious censorship holding back progress and it's backed by historical evidence. Religion attempts to censor anything that does not conform to it in every any way. Astronomy and Evolutionary theory are a couple of examples for science, but religion also censors works of creative fiction such as Dante's Divine Comedy or even works like Harry Potter. Religion is built upon the practice of stifling imagination. If you don't see that than there is no use continuing this discussion.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
MySpace


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Quote:Religion is built upon

Quote:

Religion is built upon the practice of stifling imagination.

 

It is much more deadly than that, Spike, though your point is also true.

 

But if stifling imagination was its only crime then one could just about adopt a neutral view towards it, or simply adopt Zus's "leave the good ones alone" attitude of avoidance. However when you realise that the active interference of god worshippers in Tutu's own land is leading to the deaths of thousands from AIDS, or that the same delusion shared by the admirable Al-Haqq humanitarian organisation in the UK is also shared by those who think it right and just to stone a young rape victim to death elsewhere, then the debate is raised way beyond the level of an academic indifference to delusional views held by otherwise worthy people, and to the level where all which propagates such inhumanity, and especially that which is grateful for the validation it receives from the good works of a minority, should be exposed for what it is. If some great humanitarian worthy has to face the uncomfortable fact that they have inadvertently contributed to the very woes they thought they were eradicating then all the better.

 

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


wkirby
Posts: 69
Joined: 2009-04-12
User is offlineOffline
FreeHugMachine wrote:

FreeHugMachine wrote:


Christian friend:

"My family wasn't religious [...] I was where you are now only a little over a year ago. It took me years of reason and analysis of many friends and their lives that have led me to Christianity. I acknowledged in my atheism is my search for truth and even [researched] Islam and Hinduism.[...] Also, I question your reading of those books [Bible, Koran, Bhagavad-Gita]. I have read the Bible through and it did not get much out of it initially. Over the past year I have read and analyzed the Bible passage to passage and even verse by verse with small groups of people in the same boat as me. That is when I really got information out of it."

All you need to know about your friends 'atheism' is right here. If he was atheist, why did he feel the need to find a faith of some kind?

He was a theist with not enough knowledge (or balls) to be satisfied with any one religion until he met "small groups of people in the same boat as me" who showed him the light. I wonder if the Branch Davidians felt the same way...

The greatest inhibitor for learning is knowing. If you know there is no God of any kind, why spend your life looking for it? Conversely, if you know the God you believe in is the one true God, why search for an alternative?

Debating the truly faithful is pointless because they know they are right. You'll have as much success as a religious person has in converting a true atheist. You're friend said so himself - all of your arguements reinforce my faith.

Why can't people accept that Atheism is by definition no faith? I don't believe in Atheism, I simply am Atheist.


FreeHugMachine
FreeHugMachine's picture
Posts: 152
Joined: 2009-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Exactly!  That was why I

Exactly!  That was why I was so baffled by his "I totally was an atheist, just like you!" to asserting to know about the validity of the Bible/Yahweh/Christ.  I would feel less insulted if he just said something like "I used to not be very religious, but now I am!."  I think it is a little offensive to assume that I merely haven't put forth the effort to understand/accept a certain religion and that I should take him as an authority because he claims he was in my position as an atheist.

Oh well....

Worst part of the whole thing is that it started with "I'd love to discuss this" to "You win, I don't have time."  He asked me to question him, yet runs away when he can't answer me...  I even took the time to link him some good videos to watch Sad

 


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5939
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
wkirby wrote:FreeHugMachine

wkirby wrote:

FreeHugMachine wrote:


Christian friend:

"My family wasn't religious [...] I was where you are now only a little over a year ago. It took me years of reason and analysis of many friends and their lives that have led me to Christianity. I acknowledged in my atheism is my search for truth and even [researched] Islam and Hinduism.[...] Also, I question your reading of those books [Bible, Koran, Bhagavad-Gita]. I have read the Bible through and it did not get much out of it initially. Over the past year I have read and analyzed the Bible passage to passage and even verse by verse with small groups of people in the same boat as me. That is when I really got information out of it."

All you need to know about your friends 'atheism' is right here. If he was atheist, why did he feel the need to find a faith of some kind?

He was a theist with not enough knowledge (or balls) to be satisfied with any one religion until he met "small groups of people in the same boat as me" who showed him the light. I wonder if the Branch Davidians felt the same way...

The greatest inhibitor for learning is knowing. If you know there is no God of any kind, why spend your life looking for it? Conversely, if you know the God you believe in is the one true God, why search for an alternative?

Debating the truly faithful is pointless because they know they are right. You'll have as much success as a religious person has in converting a true atheist. You're friend said so himself - all of your arguements reinforce my faith.

This is the most common situation, but is not universal.

We have plenty of evidence that there is a minority of apparently fervent believers who can be swayed.

Many members of this site have come from that minority.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


wkirby
Posts: 69
Joined: 2009-04-12
User is offlineOffline
I think you should offer him

I think you should offer him one of your free hugs - or at least an older, cheap one! Smiling


wkirby
Posts: 69
Joined: 2009-04-12
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:We have

BobSpence1 wrote:

We have plenty of evidence that there is a minority of apparently fervent believers who can be swayed.

Many members of this site have come from that minority.

In my experience, the most fervent anything are usually the ones trying to convince themselves more so than anyone else and therefore ripe to be swayed.

Why can't people accept that Atheism is by definition no faith? I don't believe in Atheism, I simply am Atheist.


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann wrote:... simply

Nordmann wrote:

... simply adopt Zus's "leave the good ones alone" attitude of avoidance.

Don't adopt that attitude, 'cause it sucks. Don't avoid the issue, face it intelligently. Don't leave them alone, support them in redefining what it means to be religious in their communities and globally, support them in humanitarian work and anything else that is aligned with our interests. Attack directly anyone who does not fit the profile of what Nordmann calls "good ones" with accusation of being a closet-atheist and call them openly out for their ungodly ways.

Religious profile of man is not carved in stone, we can shape it into a tool for progress, untill such a time as the whole matter is made more or less harmless. This state will not be trouble-free or permanent, but so what? In the long term we will just have to fight for all the short terms it consists of.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


spike.barnett
Superfan
spike.barnett's picture
Posts: 1018
Joined: 2008-10-24
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann

Nordmann wrote:

Quote:

Religion is built upon the practice of stifling imagination.

It is much more deadly than that, Spike, though your point is also true.

Believe me, I know. That was aimed at Zus's argument of supposed religious inspiration. That's only one of many serious detriments to the individual and society in general.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
MySpace


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Zus wrote:Don't adopt that

Zus wrote:

Don't adopt that attitude, 'cause it sucks. Don't avoid the issue, face it intelligently.

 

What sucks is adopting attitudes which contribute to human misery. So let's analyse the "intelligence" behind yours:

 

Quote:

Don't leave them alone, support them in redefining what it means to be religious in their communities and globally, support them in humanitarian work and anything else that is aligned with our interests.

 

Only the last bit there comes close to making sense, but your use of the word "support" is - like the rest of your viewpoint - vague to the point of stupidity. By all means support humanitarian work. I cannot think of a nobler cause. But what the fuck use is supporting the delusional prejudices harboured by the same humanitarians? Unequivocal support for individuals whose actions contribute indirectly to the undoing of any benefit they implement is not only stupid, it is anti-humanitarian in its final effect.

 

The first bit "support them in redefining what it means to be religious ..." is pure unadulterated bullshit. It goes without saying that I would help anyone who wishes it should they begin the often laborious and sometimes painful process of divesting themselves of their delusional state. But those who claim to have been inspired to do good by such delusional attribution to non-existent deities are hardly prime candidates for seeking such help, are they? Yet you seemingly want that delusion supported.

 

Hmmm.

 

Quote:

Attack directly anyone who does not fit the profile of what Nordmann calls "good ones" with accusation of being a closet-atheist and call them openly out for their ungodly ways.

 

That's just plain thick. What the fuck is a "closet atheist"? Why would I as an atheist attack another atheist for their "ungodly ways"? You're really not making any sense with this utterance either. Normally, when one finds that one has become totally nonsensical one has a straight choice, shut up or make even a bigger fool of oneself by becoming even more dipshit in what one says. You apparently choose the latter as your next comment reveals.

 

Quote:

Religious profile of man is not carved in stone, we can shape it into a tool for progress, untill such a time as the whole matter is made more or less harmless.

 

Heh? How is something dangerous rendered harmless by encouraging its use?  But wait - it gets worse:

 

Quote:

This state will not be trouble-free or permanent, but so what? In the long term we will just have to fight for all the short terms it consists of.

 

What on earth are you gibbering about now? What "state"? What is  a "fight for all the short terms it consists of"? What do you think has been the general pattern of western society, for example, until now? Has it not been a series of incremental advances made despite rather than because of religion? Are you advising everyone simply to carry on as before? Do you like religion that much?

 

Hmmm.

 

You are obviously a person whose estimation of the intelligence of his remarks exceeds his ability to express himself. And that's fine - many peoploe are so afflicted. But please don't attempt to gainsay other people's arguments with the resultant gibberish. It's rude.

 

 

 

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann wrote:Zus

Nordmann wrote:

Zus wrote:

Don't leave them alone, support them in redefining what it means to be religious in their communities and globally, support them in humanitarian work and anything else that is aligned with our interests.

 

Only the last bit there comes close to making sense, but your use of the word "support" is - like the rest of your viewpoint - vague to the point of stupidity. By all means support humanitarian work. I cannot think of a nobler cause. But what the fuck use is supporting the delusional prejudices harboured by the same humanitarians? Unequivocal support for individuals whose actions contribute indirectly to the undoing of any benefit they implement is not only stupid, it is anti-humanitarian in its final effect.

All I really say in the last part of the sentence is - don't let their belief blind us of our common interests at this moment. Of course I am not telling you that we should give our unequivocal support to anyone and even if we do for a brief while, the change of situation will bring the next step to us - namely dealing with the new situation.

Here comes something more interesting:

Nordmann wrote:

The first bit "support them in redefining what it means to be religious ..." is pure unadulterated bullshit. It goes without saying that I would help anyone who wishes it should they begin the often laborious and sometimes painful process of divesting themselves of their delusional state. But those who claim to have been inspired to do good by such delusional attribution to non-existent deities are hardly prime candidates for seeking such help, are they? Yet you seemingly want that delusion supported.

Societal investment or divestment from whatever state is very complicated and discussing this would really lift our discussion to another level. You are very right to ask "what does this mean", since it is in the spirit of the next step of the discussion. This is the right direction for the discussion, so this is great.

But for now let me try to remove some misunderstandings brought by my "affliction", so that we don't lose ourselves in frustration.

Nordmann wrote:

What the fuck is a "closet atheist"?

A closet-atheist is a less-than-fortunate term I invented for people like Pat Robertson - pragmatic and cynical elements using radical positions to make our life difficult. As the term might tell you, I propose engaging them not on the basis of their religiosity, but the exact opposite - their atheism. This is how we divorce them from their power base.

Nordmann wrote:

Heh? How is something dangerous rendered harmless by encouraging its use?

Again we are at the verge of discussing what this "encouraging" means and how we could go about it, which is awesome, but we need to get this small missunderstanding out of the way first.

I do not propose we encourage irational belief, just the most reasonable part of the religious society that will give the divorced powerbase of Pat Robertson a place to go, sort of a dignified retreat. Facing this crazed group head on will only galvanise them in their support for the populistic pragmatist cynics, which is what we do most of the time.

This is what the redefinition of religiousity is all about, pushing the culture towards something closer to our position, and there is plenty of opportunity! We should not insist on playing to the tune of the pragmatist cynics.

Now, you and I might disagree on the benefit of having a religion at all and this discussion will surely play out once we get rid of the radical element, but surely we must agree that we want the radical element gone as soon as possible and that supporting a change rather than abolishment is the fastest way to go. Or no?

Nordmann wrote:

ZuS wrote:

But wait - it gets worse: This state will not be trouble-free or permanent, but so what? In the long term we will just have to fight for all the short terms it consists of.

What on earth are you gibbering about now? What "state"?

The environment in which we have shifted the credibility away from radical elements to such an extent, that all we have to deal with are the religious elements we supported up to that point in changing the religious demography into something close to our position.

Nordmann wrote:

What is a "fight for all the short terms it consists of"? What do you think has been the general pattern of western society, for example, until now? Has it not been a series of incremental advances made despite rather than because of religion? Are you advising everyone simply to carry on as before? Do you like religion that much?

Now, here might be real reason for impass, even though I hope it is not, for the sake of the next step of our discussion.

I think we are in much worse shape than you seem to think we are in. Whatever progress is made is going hand in hand with regressive global policies, sort of like one step forward two steps back. Despite human rights advancements, establishment of international law, constitutions, declarations and all the rest of it, the whole system is more violent, more volatile, instable and dangerous. I also think that the violence and instability is promoted by the very secular institutions we created, simlpy being the result of power interest.

We can discuss this, if you like?

Nordmann wrote:
 

But please don't attempt to gainsay other people's arguments with the resultant gibberish. It's rude.

I certainly wouldn't want that and I appologize if I have been rude Smiling

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
spike.barnett wrote:ZuS

Hi, sorry for the late response Smiling

spike.barnett wrote:

ZuS wrote:

We might even have had to invent some kind of religion, just to start a spark of some idea of equality and social responsibility

That is the statement is most likely the root of the disagreement. I took it to mean religion might be necessary for social advancement. This is in my opinion logically flawed. Maybe that's not what you meant, but it's what I thought you said.

Of course, this is wrong, partly because of my less than eloquent formulation. Let's try the full sentence: "We might even have had to invent some kind of religion, just to start a spark of some idea of equality and social responsibility and bind it to a crazy idea of martyrdom in an organized fashion that can not be drowned in blood and fear."

I use religion loosely here, making a point that it is a manifestation of our human nature. In a time when every rational thread in us compels us to shut up and stay out of the way, zealotry of some sort can be a way out of the state of frozen. Promoting this anti-freeze in an organised fashion is a human way of dealing with a frozen situation. We don't need religion to do this for us, we ARE religion in this sense. We just call it forth in the time of need. I can exemplify this behavior with the rate of religious conversions in prisons. It's not that the reigion is available, it's that the need for something of the sort is present.

This is somewhat inconsequential to my point and I should probably have left the sentence out. But it is an interesting thing to look at in this context, now that we are here. I think it is a very positive human trait, that we can put perspective on dire suffering in such a way that we can go through it unscathed, even solidified. It also means that there is no way around this for us, other than eleviating human suffering, which is also a positive thing.

spike.barnett wrote:

ZuS wrote:

If you notice, I never mention in that paragraph that I am talking about religious people exclusively. That's because I am not. I define for you a group of people, of which some happen to be religious because of who they are. So, why not support all of them? Because some of them believe in an invisible man and I don't like that? So what, they have same interests as me, they helped make this world a better place in many more ways than me, why would I discard them? Doesn't this strike you as a bit idiotic - allowing whoever has interests opposite ours to drive a wedge between natural allies over something as retarded as that?

I'm not saying that we should squelch believers. I'm just saying we should call them on their bullshit, and not allow their ridiculous beliefs to take higher priority than reasoned thought as is currently the case in a lot of the world.

Nordman made a great point about religious censorship holding back progress and it's backed by historical evidence. Religion attempts to censor anything that does not conform to it in every any way. Astronomy and Evolutionary theory are a couple of examples for science, but religion also censors works of creative fiction such as Dante's Divine Comedy or even works like Harry Potter. Religion is built upon the practice of stifling imagination. If you don't see that than there is no use continuing this discussion.

Religion does nothing - people do everything. If it appears that religion censors this or that, you should assume that the culprits really are human individuals and organisations grounded in interest. They use ideas as both deceit and a weapon. Now you could argue that carpet bombing everything that has anything to do with the ideas they hide behind is as good as anything else, but what you really are doing is facing off their human shields. If you prefere status quo, this is the way to go. You will piss people off, galvanise the support for the crooks even more, while the people making money on the conflict will support you in this endavour.

We have to wrestle the ideas out of their hands, so that they have to watch their language and actions a bit more closely with every day that passes, untill the particular idea is just no longer a viable solution due to huge resistance within and they go for something else. Social Darwinism, which you so dislike me mentioning, is just such an alternative idealistic construct that gives them space to operate in. And there are thousands of others, including freedom, patriotism, democracy, capitalism, socialism ... We have to follow them like flies on shit accross the whole spectrum of ideologies. Make it harder for them to operate on their own ground - give people meaningful and strong alternatives based on our interest, all the while discrediting our adversaries in the same community.

This has to be done through alliances formed with people in the world of these ideas.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Zus, if as you claim you

Zus, if as you claim you have been misunderstood on absolutely every point you made then maybe you should be examining the notion that you could be a bit more succinct in how you express yourself. Every time you post you have modified your stance. If it's alright with you I'll wait until you settle on a cohesive position which you can express without confusing yourself and others and then I'll discuss what you like. Discussing nebulous issues with even more nebulous interlocutors is something someone younger than I might have time for, but not me.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann wrote:Zus, if as

Nordmann wrote:

Zus, if as you claim you have been misunderstood on absolutely every point you made then maybe you should be examining the notion that you could be a bit more succinct in how you express yourself. Every time you post you have modified your stance. If it's alright with you I'll wait until you settle on a cohesive position which you can express without confusing yourself and others and then I'll discuss what you like. Discussing nebulous issues with even more nebulous interlocutors is something someone younger than I might have time for, but not me.

Now I am inclined to believe I am misunderstood on purpose, at least when it comes to you. As for your retreat, fine with me.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
 No, kiddo.  It's you.

 No, kiddo.  It's you.  Your posts are damn near impossible to read and comprehend, and you are anything but unequivocal.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Hambydammit wrote:No, kiddo.

Hambydammit wrote:

No, kiddo.  It's you.  Your posts are damn near impossible to read and comprehend, and you are anything but unequivocal.

 

Ok, so let the "kiddo" try something very short and unequivocal. Tell me if you agree with all or some of this:

1) Ideology is not separate from humanity, but is actually a manifestation of some human need or interest - therefore ideology cannot be fought on it's own and out of context.

2) Some ideologies can be easily used to galvanise support from the very resistance to them.

3) The ideologies that comply with 2) are best not faced head on, but gradually redefined from within to fit our views.

4) Propagators of ideologies that comply with 2) are best not affirmed in their martyrdom, but discredited instead.

5) The best way to fight a given ideology is accomplishment of 3) and 4), and lessening of influence of human needs and interests mentioned in 1).

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
 Quote:Tell me if you agree

 

Quote:
Tell me if you agree with all or some of this:

We'll play this game once.  If you aren't clear and concise in responding to me, I'm not going to bother anymore.

Quote:
1) Ideology is not separate from humanity, but is actually a manifestation of some human need or interest - therefore ideology cannot be fought on it's own and out of context.

I have no idea if I agree or disagree.  What do you mean by "Ideology is not separate from humanity"?  Are you saying that whenever we need or want something, we form an ideology?  Or are you just making the banal observation that ideology is mind-dependent.  If that's all you're saying, I agree.  If not, then I have no idea.

I have no idea what you mean by "ideology cannot be fought on its own and out of context."

Quote:
2) Some ideologies can be easily used to galvanise support from the very resistance to them.

Umm... Are you saying that some ideologies exploit the us-them instinct in humans, such that opposition strengthens the resolve of those embracing the ideology?  I agree.

Quote:
3) The ideologies that comply with 2) are best not faced head on, but gradually redefined from within to fit our views.

Hell, I don't know.  Maybe it's better to crush them with overwhelming force.  In most of history, the ideology itself has been part of the overwhelming force.  

So, I neither agree nor disagree, for lack of evidence either way.

Quote:
4) Propagators of ideologies that comply with 2) are best not affirmed in their martyrdom, but discredited instead.

Hmm... what do you mean by affirmed in their martyrdom?  You mean we shouldn't kill them?  I generally agree.  I believe that discrediting ideology is an effective method of fighting it.

Quote:
5) The best way to fight a given ideology is accomplishment of 3) and 4), and lessening of influence of human needs and interests mentioned in 1).

I dunno.  What percentage of 3 and 4 do you think works best?  How much of 1?  

Ok... I'm asking that flippantly.  Sorry.  Look, I don't know what the "best" way to fight any ideology is.  I don't think we've got enough experience as a culture in defeating ideologies to say that we have a big enough data set to make such a conclusion.

Ideologies are transmitted by people, so talk of beating ideologies is necessarily talk of manipulating people.  In cognitive psychology, most personal problems people are in therapy for are multi-pronged.  That is, no single therapy technique is likely to be 100% successful.  Instead, the therapist looks for a network of beliefs, emotions, and perceptions, and attempts to metaphorically chip away at each one until something starts to give.

I suspect fighting mass ideology is the same way.  You probe and poke and jab until you find a weak spot.  Then you try to exploit it to your advantage.  In the end, if an ideology fails, it will probably be from multiple attacks on multiple fronts.

 

 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Zus wrote:Now I am inclined

Zus wrote:

Now I am inclined to believe I am misunderstood on purpose, at least when it comes to you. As for your retreat, fine with me.

 

I always retreat from ambiguity. It keeps me sane.

 

I would also offer some advice. If you find that those who misunderstand you are also those who you suspect do so intentionally, and that it includes almost everyone, then you have made the first tentative step to the inevitable deduction that you are most likely talking through your arse. The two vital clues to this deduction are a) most people couldn't be bothered taking the trouble to misunderstand you with intent, it's way too much work, even for a minority of them and b) if the whole world still misunderstands you then this either means that the whole world is stupid or that you are.

 

The whole world isn't dim.

 

That leaves you with a choice - assume you're dim or assume you've been too vague. Let your honesty and your ego battle it out over which is the case.

 

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


spike.barnett
Superfan
spike.barnett's picture
Posts: 1018
Joined: 2008-10-24
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann wrote:The whole

Nordmann wrote:

The whole world isn't dim.

I'm not so sure of this...

I'm sorry. It was just too easy to pass up...

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
MySpace


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Bertrand Russell was once

Bertrand Russell was once asked what he might reckon would prove the turning point with regard to religious adherence after which it would plummet into a sharp decline. For example, the questioner asked, would it be perhaps when global education improved to the point where most people on the planet would register in the top half of the IQ scale (thereby showing at once an unwarranted faith in education equating with intelligence, and a total ignorance of quotients in statistics).

 

Russell replied that the turning point would most probably be when the majority of people in the world could spell IQ.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


EXC
atheist
EXC's picture
Posts: 3925
Joined: 2008-01-17
User is offlineOffline
Hambydammit wrote: If

Hambydammit wrote:

 If someone was truly an actively formed atheist -- that is, if he had committed to atheism after considering both alternatives, not just been a default nonbeliever -- and became a theist, the only thing we can conclude is that he is either very bad at critical thinking, or didn't fully comprehend both alternatives.

 

Or he suffered a lot of anxiety about his own mortality. So he decided to abandon critical thinking in favor of anxiety relief in the form of religion. Or he is suffering from a mental illness that reduced his critical thinking and made him more susceptible to delusions. Or he discovered he could make more money and be more popular being a 'Christian' scientist.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


EXC
atheist
EXC's picture
Posts: 3925
Joined: 2008-01-17
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann wrote:Russell

Nordmann wrote:

Russell replied that the turning point would most probably be when the majority of people in the world could spell IQ.

That day may never come with our current education system and teachers unions.

The turning point will come when scientists and engineers develop non-invasive brain stimulation that provides greater anxiety relief than religion.

I think the end is near for religion. Jesus better hurry his ass up or their won't be any believers when he returns:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory?id=6240358

 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


spike.barnett
Superfan
spike.barnett's picture
Posts: 1018
Joined: 2008-10-24
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann wrote:Russell

Nordmann wrote:

Russell replied that the turning point would most probably be when the majority of people in the world could spell IQ.

It would be terribly funny if it weren't so very true... It's still funny, just not terribly funny.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
MySpace


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Hi, sorry for the late

Hi, sorry for the late answer, busy as hell lately.

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
1) Ideology is not separate from humanity, but is actually a manifestation of some human need or interest - therefore ideology cannot be fought on it's own and out of context.

I have no idea if I agree or disagree.  What do you mean by "Ideology is not separate from humanity"?  Are you saying that whenever we need or want something, we form an ideology?  Or are you just making the banal observation that ideology is mind-dependent.  If that's all you're saying, I agree.  If not, then I have no idea.

I have no idea what you mean by "ideology cannot be fought on its own and out of context."

The key to whole 1) is in the part you omitted: "[ideology] is actually a manifestation of some human need or interest ..."

I say nothing about how we create ideology, but that ideology is grounded in and can not exist without some human need or interest. Needs and interests can become weaker and stronger or change nature, and these fluctuations will manifest themselves in the scope, power and nature of the ideology, fundamentally defining it. If you attack a presumed static autonomous thing that is ideology, like a stated "logic" of the ideology, you will miss the target, because you are not addressing the fundamental (and mostly unstated) needs and interests that define, enforce and recruit for the ideology.

Is this agreeable?

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
2) Some ideologies can be easily used to galvanise support from the very resistance to them.

Umm... Are you saying that some ideologies exploit the us-them instinct in humans, such that opposition strengthens the resolve of those embracing the ideology?  I agree.

Ok, so we are almost there with 2). Is this agreeable with respect to the cult of suffering/death kind of ideology as well? Like for instance the Quaker pacifists, who are only that more comfirmed in their belief the more they are suppressed, beaten and ousted from the community?

If this is agreeable, then it's a general accept that some ideologies can become stronger in their resolve as an effect of resistance to them.

I will suspend 3) for now, yell if you disagree.

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
4) Propagators of ideologies that comply with 2) are best not affirmed in their martyrdom, but discredited instead.

Hmm... what do you mean by affirmed in their martyrdom?  You mean we shouldn't kill them?  I generally agree.  I believe that discrediting ideology is an effective method of fighting it.

Not just killing them, but basically anything that would affirm them in the eyes of their followers. This could be as little as a bad review of Pat Robertson in the New York Times - of course the gay-married elitist liberals would take a shot at our Messiah. Far from discrediting him, this actually shuts down New York Times as a source of reliable information about Pat Robertson to his community. It is still good to have reviews of Pat Robertson in the New York Times, but now any criticism that comes from New York Times will have little to no effect on the minds of his followers, which effectively is no longer meaningfully discrediting him. We need something to support these reviews withing the community of his followers.

Is this agreeable?

I suspended 5) for now as well, yell if you disagree.

 

Next part of this post is separate from my questions above and should not be considered a part of our little noobie dialectic/examination. Feel free to disregard it and please don't allow it to interfere with the questions above.

Hambydammit wrote:

Look, I don't know what the "best" way to fight any ideology is.  I don't think we've got enough experience as a culture in defeating ideologies to say that we have a big enough data set to make such a conclusion.

I think we have plenty of experience and we can use history as our best available lab environment. Rest of it is method: responsiblity for what is done, which will assure dialogue and caution; willingness to learn rather than to be superficially "right about things".

Hambydammit wrote:

Ideologies are transmitted by people, so talk of beating ideologies is necessarily talk of manipulating people.

Yes. Education is also manipulating people, not necessarily all of it a bad thing.

Hambydammit wrote:

In cognitive psychology, most personal problems people are in therapy for are multi-pronged.  That is, no single therapy technique is likely to be 100% successful.  Instead, the therapist looks for a network of beliefs, emotions, and perceptions, and attempts to metaphorically chip away at each one until something starts to give.

I suspect fighting mass ideology is the same way.  You probe and poke and jab until you find a weak spot.  Then you try to exploit it to your advantage.  In the end, if an ideology fails, it will probably be from multiple attacks on multiple fronts.

I agree. This does not limit us to trial-and-error only, however. Our educational system, for example, functions assuming much more than the narrow cognitive psychology and is fairly successful at forwarding both explicit and implicit "knowledge" to generation after generation. Compared to this system, our method of confronting religion is extremely crude, for better and for worse. I advocate a third way that would take the best of both worlds, as far as this is possible.

Another benefit of attempting to organize, discuss and implement more consistent solutions is to ourselves. Experience of our own foolishness is best acquired in a rich environment capable of delivering constructive feedback.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Clearer now, Hamby? Zus,

Clearer now, Hamby?

 

Zus, get a grip. You're too young for this shit. Wait a few years until you have your head sorted out (ie. jettisoned the crapology masquerading as intelligence) and then make a case against "ideology". Until then it sounds almost as bombastic as the crap you purport to oject to.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


ZuS
atheist
ZuS's picture
Posts: 562
Joined: 2009-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Nordmann wrote:Clearer now,

Nordmann wrote:

Clearer now, Hamby?

 

Zus, get a grip. You're too young for this shit. Wait a few years until you have your head sorted out (ie. jettisoned the crapology masquerading as intelligence) and then make a case against "ideology". Until then it sounds almost as bombastic as the crap you purport to oject to.

If you look at the post above, the argument is down by two points and I have tried to make the remaining 3 as plain as day, or push them a bit further to see if I can get agreement on a broader level.

If the answer is still "I don't know", it's out. If the answer is "agree to this point", then that's common ground.

While it might be stupid, I don't see how it's not clear.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


Nordmann
atheist
Nordmann's picture
Posts: 904
Joined: 2008-04-02
User is offlineOffline
I agree that the expression

I agree that the expression of your point is improving in terms of longevity. However you are still labouring under several misapprehensions concerning its lucidity.

 

Getting better, but not quite there yet, in other words.

 

You got a pointer from Hamby concerning the accepted semantic construct represented by the term "ideology" which (whether you know it or not) you have departed from for no obvious reason except that you wish to imagine that you have a successful strategy for "countering" one. However when the normal construct is re-applied it leaves your recommendation lacking in meaning. You have essentially applied an active role to a passive analysis of how ideologies develop, prosper, and occasionally lose relevance but have not actually addressed the mechanics of your strategy. You think you have, as you're using a problematic and highly individual model of ideology to prosecute your position, but for all your assertion you are not making sense to anyone but yourself.

 

The drawing board awaits you.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy