A New Member

EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
A New Member

Hello everyone! You can call me Athans. I figured I would tell you all a little about me so you know about my experiences and where I am coming from. Maybe by reading this you will see we have things in common and want to talk a bit back and forth, or maybe it is simply trying to gather info about me. After reading this you can determine what I may be knowledgeable about and if I am a reliable source. I especially encourage you to read this if you wish to debate me with, just to save you some embarrassment. I’m not trying to be arrogant, just speaking from past experiences where people did not do their research on me.

Why I am here

I am here because many things on this site fascinate me. I am interested in things such as religion and space. I am here to read other peoples stuff but mostly to get some of the facts out there. Too often in this world people get their information from poor sources or are simply ignorant. I want to get good info out there because most scholars do not waste their time doing it. I have no hidden agenda and I am not seeking fame or glory. I want to be a teacher, so I am simply trying to teach people, and hopefully learn in the process. I am not trying to change people’s minds or get them to believe what I do, but encourage critical thinking and helping people come to their own conclusions. Information I present can shatter faith or make it stronger but only you can come to that conclusion.

My life

I grew up in Minnesota in the United States and also spent several years of my childhood in Las Vegas, Nevada. My early life is fairly uneventful. I wrestled and ran track in high school.

After high school I joined the United States Air Force. I was active duty for 4 years and I am currently a SSGT in the Air National Guard. I am in Services, which mainly includes: Food, Fitness, Lodging, Recreation, Mortuary and Honor Guard. I was stationed in Germany for 2 years and in Virginia, USA for a year and a half. I went on 2 deployments. One was to Kyrgyzstan and the other to the United Arab Emirates.

When I got off of active duty I went straight into the Air National Guard. I got a job as a Personal Trainer for a year while my wife finished school. When she finished school I enrolled at the University of Minnesota. My original plan was to get a degree in Kinesiology because that is where the money was at, but I soon found out my heart was in another place.

I first enrolled in the Religious Studies program. I have always liked History and Religion plays a huge part in it. I quickly found out that Religion is my passion. I also stayed true to History and enrolled in the Ancient Mediterranean Studies program. Because of the complexity of Religion and the Ancient Near East, I am also a minor in Jewish Studies and Philosophy. I recently picked up a 3rd major in History because of the requirements for the Masters program. Basically it is the same as the Ancient Mediterranean Studies major with the exception of a couple modern history classes, American history classes and some “how to do history” classes.

First and foremost I am a scholar of Religion (In my next post I will explain the Religious Studies program.) I study the theories of religion and the origins of religion. I find religion interesting and I respect it. I believe if more people understood religion we could cut out a lot of hostility.

As far as religious traditions and history goes, I am focusing on a few different things. My major focus is on early Judaism and Ancient Near Eastern religions along with the Rabbinic Midrash. The second part of my focus is the theology and civilization of Islam. My last area of focus will be early Christianity. I have a good deal of knowledge in Christian theology but I have not studied the texts much.

I mentioned that I am a minor in Philosophy. I would be a major in it except I would not be able to graduate on time. As far as Philosophy goes I have looked at the theories of religion, moral philosophy, and Islamic Philosophy. I have also studied Christian theology quite a bit. This fall I am starting “Philosophy of Religion.” I hate Philosophy but at the same time I love it. I will be getting much deeper into it in the next few years.

Some of the religions I have looked at in more depth not previously mentioned are Mormonism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Baha’i, Ancient Astronaut Theory, and Atheism. I know some will be offended by my claim that Atheism is a religion. This does not include all atheists but by a number of definitions of religion, some forms of Atheism can be considered a religion.

In addition to my studies I am just trying to become as well rounded as possible. I am taking classes that I find interesting and also taking classes in science. I am getting paid to go to school so I am taking advantage. One must understand all sides to a debate.

On a more personal note

I was raised Lutheran Christian but I am now an Agnostic Atheist. If you need more explanation on what exactly I believe feel free to ask.

I have been married for about 3 years now. My wife is my opposite. She is a devout Christian that has been on mission trips. She received a degree in nursing (minor in Theology) from St. Catherine’s University, which is a private all girls Catholic University. In March we had our first child. His name is Ryker.

Future Plans

After I complete my undergrad I plan on joining the teaching licensure/masters program. Once I get my license and a job I will finish the last couple credits for my masters. I will be getting my classroom experience at a Jewish school, a Muslim school, a Christian school, and of course public schools. I would prefer to teach at one of the religious schools but we will see how it goes. After my wife goes back to school to get her doctorates in nursing I will be returning to either get my masters in Religions in Antiquity or Philosophy. My long term goal would be to get a Ph.D. I am also considering getting a BS in Biology but math is my weakest point. If I can spend some serious time on my math skills this will be a very serious option.

Because I plan on going into teaching my biggest area of interest is the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design (Creationism/Creation Science) debate. I DO NOT ARGUE ABOUT RELIGION but I will argue about it being taught in a science class. That is actually how I found this site. I was watching ThunderF00t’s videos on YouTube. I will DISCUSS religion though.

I think that is enough of an intro and thank you to those who actually read it all. I will add more if I come up with stuff and I will also add something about the scholarly study of religion, my theory of religion, and my sources.

I hope to have good conversations with many of you.

-Athans

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


Thunderios
atheist
Posts: 261
Joined: 2010-12-26
User is offlineOffline
Hey, Athans!I don't know

Hey, Athans!

I don't know what to say, really. You've got quite a past, having been in the army and having multiple Majors already.
What are you going to teach on those schools, exactly? I mean, I went (just finished my last year) to a Christian school, but they wouldn't allow an atheistic Religion teacher, and we mostly heard what the moral lessons and whatnot are of the Christian Doctrine.
Also, with Early Christianity do you mean the cults that were around already before Paul started writing his letters, and how they merged to one, or is that the Christianity after the Council of Nicaea? (I'm not really familiar with the term and everything Laughing out loud).

Anyway, I hope to have some good conversations with you, too. But I think you will most likely be 'discussing' with Brian, because of your 'Religion isn't necessarily evil' attitude (If I read "I believe if more people understood religion we could cut out a lot of hostility." right).

And one more note: black text on a grey background is kind of hard to read, unless you want all of us to copy and paste every single one of your comments to Word to be able to read them, I'd advise not writing with a black font (or did you copy the text from a text editor?) Smiling


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13545
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Welcome to the forums.Do us

Welcome to the forums.

Do us a favor though, please figure out how to change your text color. It is hard to read black text on this background.

For your next post I mean.

 

"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


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Sorry about the text color.

Sorry about the text color. I was having a hell of a time lol. This forum is very different from the one I am used to. It doesn't look like I can edit it though...

Edit: If a mod could change the text color in the first post to white, that would be great.

Thanks,

-Athans

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Thunderios wrote:Hey,

Thunderios wrote:

Hey, Athans!

I don't know what to say, really. You've got quite a past, having been in the army and having multiple Majors already.
What are you going to teach on those schools, exactly? I mean, I went (just finished my last year) to a Christian school, but they wouldn't allow an atheistic Religion teacher, and we mostly heard what the moral lessons and whatnot are of the Christian Doctrine.
Also, with Early Christianity do you mean the cults that were around already before Paul started writing his letters, and how they merged to one, or is that the Christianity after the Council of Nicaea? (I'm not really familiar with the term and everything Laughing out loud).

Anyway, I hope to have some good conversations with you, too. But I think you will most likely be 'discussing' with Brian, because of your 'Religion isn't necessarily evil' attitude (If I read "I believe if more people understood religion we could cut out a lot of hostility." right).

And one more note: black text on a grey background is kind of hard to read, unless you want all of us to copy and paste every single one of your comments to Word to be able to read them, I'd advise not writing with a black font (or did you copy the text from a text editor?) Smiling

 

        My Teaching License will be in Social Studies. I could teach anything in that area but I would prefer history or world religions. The schools I have visited (Al-Amal, and Torah academy) both allow teachers not of that faith. It is actually against the law to discriminate against the beliefs of the teacher. It is true that they do teach their docterines but Judaism is big on critical thinking and this is shown in the scholar world. Jews are not only very good at science but are amoung the most respected scholars, as far as religion goes. I would also like this school because I could teach certain classes in Ancient Hebrew.

       The Islamic school is equally as orthodox as far as traditions go but they are light years a head of the Jewish school as far as science goes. The Jewish school simply does not teach evolution and refers students to their parents on this matter (granted this school only teaches up to 8th grade,) but the Islamic school does teach evolution and current science. Though they may not personally believe in it they understand it needs to be taught for the students success. They teach through grade 12 but by graduation their students have 4 semesters of college credit.

     Some Christian schools may brainwash their students  but I would not be involved in that garbage. I would probabaly limit myself to Catholicism for the main fact that they are the most respected in the scholarly world as far as Christians goes. Catholics do a good job of teaching science (especially evolution) and English. Studies have shown that students from Catholic schools have more knowledge of evolution than those who went to public schools.

     There are pluses and minuses to private/religious education. The question is does one want to risk their child following a particular faith for a good education or not? It is a difficult decision because children are very impressionable.

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Thunderios wrote:Hey,

Thunderios wrote:

Hey, Athans!

I don't know what to say, really. You've got quite a past, having been in the army and having multiple Majors already.
What are you going to teach on those schools, exactly? I mean, I went (just finished my last year) to a Christian school, but they wouldn't allow an atheistic Religion teacher, and we mostly heard what the moral lessons and whatnot are of the Christian Doctrine.
Also, with Early Christianity do you mean the cults that were around already before Paul started writing his letters, and how they merged to one, or is that the Christianity after the Council of Nicaea? (I'm not really familiar with the term and everything Laughing out loud).

Anyway, I hope to have some good conversations with you, too. But I think you will most likely be 'discussing' with Brian, because of your 'Religion isn't necessarily evil' attitude (If I read "I believe if more people understood religion we could cut out a lot of hostility." right).

And one more note: black text on a grey background is kind of hard to read, unless you want all of us to copy and paste every single one of your comments to Word to be able to read them, I'd advise not writing with a black font (or did you copy the text from a text editor?) Smiling

 

Sorry, I forgot the other part of your question...

When I say "early Christianity," I am covering a wide range of things. Because I study Judaism and ancient Israel we look at the different Jewish sects, one of which became Christianity. I also look at Christianty in the Roman Empire and the split of the Catholic and Orthodox Church. I have not done much work on the New Testament yet but I have studied Orthodxy from the council of Nicaea through the Bosheviks. I have also studied the Crusades extensively. My knowledge of Christianity drops off after around 1453, though I have studied religion and education in America from it's founding to the present.

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
 Hello Athans!You seem an

 Hello Athans!
You seem an interesting person. 

EKAthans wrote:
Some of the religions I have looked at in more depth not previously mentioned are Mormonism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Baha’i, Ancient Astronaut Theory, and Atheism. I know some will be offended by my claim that Atheism is a religion. This does not include all atheists but by a number of definitions of religion, some forms of Atheism can be considered a religion.

I'm not offended but no, atheism is not a religion and never was. It is a simple statement of unbelief. It is the same opinion you have about an invisible pink unicorn. But people are complicated and they like to decorate the facts. They like to expand upon atheism through philosophy, or express devotion and idealism towards it. 

On the other side, deeply religious people see all the world as religious. They sometimes can't imagine that scientists or philosophers just like interesting, true and precise facts, they don't worship some god or demon of knowledge. Or that they oppose religion because it's evidently unreal and illogical, not because they cheer for the Devil. These are the main reasons why people consider atheism a religion.

 

EKAthans wrote:
         Because I plan on going into teaching my biggest area of interest is the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design (Creationism/Creation Science) debate. I DO NOT ARGUE ABOUT RELIGION but I will argue about it being taught in a science class. That is actually how I found this site. I was watching ThunderF00t’s videos on YouTube. I will DISCUSS religion though.
 So, how does a class of creationism look like? What will you say to the kids about that side of the discussion, once you get to teach it?

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
EKAthans wrote:    

EKAthans wrote:

     There are pluses and minuses to private/religious education. The question is does one want to risk their child following a particular faith for a good education or not? It is a difficult decision because children are very impressionable.

 

It all depends on the child and their family.  My younger brother-in-law attended Gonzaga Prep in Spokane WA (they have a statue of Bing Crosby on campus).  He listed his religion as "druid" as when he attended, atheist or agnostic was not a choice. 

And welcome to the forum.  My oldest son is a career Air Force sergeant  - he is currently stationed in South Korea, in meteorology.  Not the Rangers, as he can't get past the idea of parachuting out of a perfectly good airplane.  He did a tour in Germany, forgive me as I don't recall which base except that it was close enough to Munich they bused there for Octoberfest.

Post early and often. 

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Hi Athans, Welcome! Very

Hi Athans,

Welcome! Very interesting introduction. You'll certainly find lots to talk about here.

I tweaked your post. There is a button on the editor that looks sorta like an eraser, and its tool tip says it is "Remove Format". If you get stuck in some wacky formatting, you can select the text and use that to get out of it. Also, if you're pasting from another source, you can use the "Paste as plain text" or "Paste from Word" to clean up formatting issues. I recommend keeping formatting fairly simple. For example, the only formatting I used on your post was to change the titles from the "Normal" format to the "Header 3" format. If you are comfortable with HTML you can click the "Source" button to edit the HTML directly, if necessary. Aside from that, usually Ctrl-B, Ctrl-I, Ctrl-U, adding links and using the quote function are sufficient for most purposes.

EKAthans wrote:
I am interested in things such as religion and space.

Like, religion in space, or just religion and space independently?

Quote:
Too often in this world people get their information from poor sources or are simply ignorant.

Agreed!

Quote:
I first enrolled in the Religious Studies program. I have always liked History and Religion plays a huge part in it. I quickly found out that Religion is my passion. I also stayed true to History and enrolled in the Ancient Mediterranean Studies program. Because of the complexity of Religion and the Ancient Near East, I am also a minor in Jewish Studies and Philosophy. I recently picked up a 3rd major in History because of the requirements for the Masters program. Basically it is the same as the Ancient Mediterranean Studies major with the exception of a couple modern history classes, American history classes and some “how to do history” classes.

Your background brings to mind two people you might be interested in, if you haven't heard of them already. First is Dr. Robert M. Price, who used to do (still does? not sure) The Bible Geek podcast. He's a real character and has the kind of intense passion for the study of religion (mostly Christianity) that you seem to have. Fascinating guy and a great sense of humour too.

Second is Richard Carrier, a historian of Ancient History (including religion and science). He's a brilliant guy and has written a lot about religion (esp. Christianity) from an atheist/naturalist perspective. He's also done some great lectures and appearances on podcasts and the like.

Quote:
I believe if more people understood religion we could cut out a lot of hostility.

Interesting. I actually agree with that sentence, but probably differently than you mean. I think the more people understand about religion, the more likely they will give it up as a belief system, and that will cut out a lot of hostility.

Quote:
I hate Philosophy but at the same time I love it.

I have a similar feeling, perhaps. For me philosophy is just a natural part of my life. I spend a lot of my time thinking and working on my own philosophy. But I can't stand most academic 'philosophy' and 'philosohpers'. One of the few I respect is Daniel Dennett.

Quote:
Ancient Astronaut Theory

Would love to hear more about this.

Quote:
I know some will be offended by my claim that Atheism is a religion. This does not include all atheists but by a number of definitions of religion, some forms of Atheism can be considered a religion.

Correction: Some forms of religion can be considered atheist. The simplest--IMO best--definition is simply lack of belief in any gods. All other definitions tend to leave out people who are obviously atheist, but don't fit in to the additional conditions tacked on to the basic 'lack of belief' definition.

Quote:
In addition to my studies I am just trying to become as well rounded as possible. I am taking classes that I find interesting and also taking classes in science.

Very good plan.

Quote:
I am getting paid to go to school so I am taking advantage.

Lucky!... Smiling

Quote:
I am also considering getting a BS in Biology but math is my weakest point. If I can spend some serious time on my math skills this will be a very serious option.

If you're getting paid to go to school, and need help in Biology and math, as it turns out I'm currently working as a tutor in sciences (early bachelor level, all sciences, incl. Bio and evolution) and math (all bachelor levels). I don't know if it's feasible, but if you're interested in trying over-the-internet tutoring, I'd love to help. Send me a PM (or use my Contact tab in my user profile if you can't do PMs) if you're interested.

Again, welcome. Feel free to join in whatever interests you. I'll be interested to get your perspective on things. If you ever find the heat of discussion too much for you, you can always use the Kill 'Em With Kindness forum.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
Welcome, new guy, have fun

Welcome, new guy, have fun in here.  

This is probably been objected to already but here it goes, atheism is not a religion, maybe you can tell us why you think it is. Smiling

I'm also an agnostic atheist, you'll find that the majority of us are.  I look forward to reading some of your posts. 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Ktulu wrote:This is probably

Ktulu wrote:
This is probably been objected to already but here it goes, atheism is not a religion, maybe you can tell us why you think it is. Smiling

Interesting that this blog by Jason Rosenhouse just came out a couple days ago:

Jason Rosenhouse wrote:

Ye Olde “Atheism is a Religion” Canard

Category: Religion
Posted on: May 31, 2011 5:56 PM, by Jason Rosenhouse

Truly there is no end to the vapid inanity the HuffPo Religion section will post. Our latest example comes from David Lose, in an essay titled, “Has Atheism Become a Religion?” Want to take bets on whether the answer is “No”?

I don't recall who first said it, but it has been wisely noted that if atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby. That ought to be the end of things, but Lose encourages us not to dismiss the question out of hand. He then presents four lines of evidence. Let's have a look. (read on)

Somewhere in the comments around that post I found an analogy I hadn't heard before, but that seems to work really well: If atheism is a religion, then being pro-gun-control is a form of gun ownership. If you can find it, it's worth a gander.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5486
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
It'll be good to have a

It'll be good to have a Theologist on the board [as opposed to a Theologian].

 

 

As for atheism being a religion, I don't think it fits unless you redefine religion to include pretty much anything. People can say atheism is a religion, like saying Communism is a religion, it's simply re-defining religion to suite needs.

 

 

Then again atheism can come up in the subject of religion, such as the people who DON'T belief in a god. Such as Christians belief in X god, Hinuds many gods, atheists no gods.

 

 

 


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Luminon wrote: Hello

Luminon wrote:

 Hello Athans!
You seem an interesting person. 

EKAthans wrote:
Some of the religions I have looked at in more depth not previously mentioned are Mormonism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Baha’i, Ancient Astronaut Theory, and Atheism. I know some will be offended by my claim that Atheism is a religion. This does not include all atheists but by a number of definitions of religion, some forms of Atheism can be considered a religion.

I'm not offended but no, atheism is not a religion and never was. It is a simple statement of unbelief. It is the same opinion you have about an invisible pink unicorn. But people are complicated and they like to decorate the facts. They like to expand upon atheism through philosophy, or express devotion and idealism towards it. 

On the other side, deeply religious people see all the world as religious. They sometimes can't imagine that scientists or philosophers just like interesting, true and precise facts, they don't worship some god or demon of knowledge. Or that they oppose religion because it's evidently unreal and illogical, not because they cheer for the Devil. These are the main reasons why people consider atheism a religion.

 

EKAthans wrote:
         Because I plan on going into teaching my biggest area of interest is the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design (Creationism/Creation Science) debate. I DO NOT ARGUE ABOUT RELIGION but I will argue about it being taught in a science class. That is actually how I found this site. I was watching ThunderF00t’s videos on YouTube. I will DISCUSS religion though.
 So, how does a class of creationism look like? What will you say to the kids about that side of the discussion, once you get to teach it?

 

       Wow there are a lot of new responses. I will get to them one by one. I agree with your view but I will explain the "religion" of Atheism a little more. I agree that the atheism you discribe is not religion but there are some cases when atheism can fit into the definition of religion. The definition in which it would fit is the definition of religion put forth by Sociologists. The theory was first proposed by Emilie Durkheim and has been changed slightly over time by those following in his foot steps. Basically they consider religion a social construct and things such as football could be considered "religion." It is a very broad catagory...

       The best example I can give of atheism being a religion was that imposed by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Atheism was forced on people and they tried to get rid of "religion," mainly Christianity. This was not a simple statement of unbelief but an imposed ideal on all Russian people.

       Creationism is not a scientific theory. It does not have a testable hypothesis. It is simply what they claim to be "evidence" and "logic" but is neither. It is a simple case of being uneducated or worse, a blatent attempt to get religion in the classroom. Creationism will never be taught in a science class HOWEVER I am not opposed to it being taught in a philosophy class or a theology class as long as the class is not required. Unless I recieve a teaching licence in science I will not have to deal with the issues that come up but if I did I would explain what science is or ask them to talk to me after class.

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5095
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Hey there Athans

 

Welcome - enjoyed your first post. Guess like most here I don't see my own atheism as a religion but I can imagine a spiritual belief set - say stoicism - where you could argue such a thing applied quite readily.

Seneca described stoicism as taking nature as a guide and seeing reason as the guide of nature, the overarching position being that what you do not what you say or believe is the right expression of individual will. Stoicism is certainly as religious in practise as any other doctrine from the era, with the natural world as the central focus. I always suspected Sagan was a bit of a universe worshipper.

In any case, glad to have you aboard.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5810
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
'Atheism' can be an aspect

'Atheism' can be an aspect of some actual dogma or world-view, such as Stalinism, etc, which itself could be seen as a 'religion', but it would not correct to call atheism the defining core of that doctrine. So no, atheism cannot be defined as a religion.

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


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
EKAthans wrote:The

EKAthans wrote:
The definition in which it would fit is the definition of religion put forth by Sociologists.

The definition put forth by Sociologists, or a definition put forth by Sociologists? Is there really one agreed upon definition used by mainstream Sociology?

Quote:
Basically they consider religion a social construct and things such as football could be considered "religion." It is a very broad catagory...

Seems also a rather useless category. Do you have any references or links to any sociology works (texts, papers, whatever) that use this definition in practice?

Quote:
The best example I can give of atheism being a religion was that imposed by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Atheism was forced on people and they tried to get rid of "religion," mainly Christianity. This was not a simple statement of unbelief but an imposed ideal on all Russian people.

Again, this doesn't show that atheism is a religion, but that a 'religion' like Bolshevism can be atheistic. A religion requires a set of beliefs. Atheism is a lack of beliefs. Whatever beliefs are instrumental in forcing people to give up religion/theism are the 'religion' in this case, but whatever beliefs those are, they are not atheism. They are something more than atheism.

 

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Hi

natural wrote:

Hi Athans,

Welcome! Very interesting introduction. You'll certainly find lots to talk about here.

I tweaked your post. There is a button on the editor that looks sorta like an eraser, and its tool tip says it is "Remove Format". If you get stuck in some wacky formatting, you can select the text and use that to get out of it. Also, if you're pasting from another source, you can use the "Paste as plain text" or "Paste from Word" to clean up formatting issues. I recommend keeping formatting fairly simple. For example, the only formatting I used on your post was to change the titles from the "Normal" format to the "Header 3" format. If you are comfortable with HTML you can click the "Source" button to edit the HTML directly, if necessary. Aside from that, usually Ctrl-B, Ctrl-I, Ctrl-U, adding links and using the quote function are sufficient for most purposes.

EKAthans wrote:
I am interested in things such as religion and space.

Like, religion in space, or just religion and space independently?

Quote:
Too often in this world people get their information from poor sources or are simply ignorant.

Agreed!

Quote:
I first enrolled in the Religious Studies program. I have always liked History and Religion plays a huge part in it. I quickly found out that Religion is my passion. I also stayed true to History and enrolled in the Ancient Mediterranean Studies program. Because of the complexity of Religion and the Ancient Near East, I am also a minor in Jewish Studies and Philosophy. I recently picked up a 3rd major in History because of the requirements for the Masters program. Basically it is the same as the Ancient Mediterranean Studies major with the exception of a couple modern history classes, American history classes and some “how to do history” classes.

Your background brings to mind two people you might be interested in, if you haven't heard of them already. First is Dr. Robert M. Price, who used to do (still does? not sure) The Bible Geek podcast. He's a real character and has the kind of intense passion for the study of religion (mostly Christianity) that you seem to have. Fascinating guy and a great sense of humour too.

Second is Richard Carrier, a historian of Ancient History (including religion and science). He's a brilliant guy and has written a lot about religion (esp. Christianity) from an atheist/naturalist perspective. He's also done some great lectures and appearances on podcasts and the like.

Quote:
I believe if more people understood religion we could cut out a lot of hostility.

Interesting. I actually agree with that sentence, but probably differently than you mean. I think the more people understand about religion, the more likely they will give it up as a belief system, and that will cut out a lot of hostility.

Quote:
I hate Philosophy but at the same time I love it.

I have a similar feeling, perhaps. For me philosophy is just a natural part of my life. I spend a lot of my time thinking and working on my own philosophy. But I can't stand most academic 'philosophy' and 'philosohpers'. One of the few I respect is Daniel Dennett.

Quote:
Ancient Astronaut Theory

Would love to hear more about this.

Quote:
I know some will be offended by my claim that Atheism is a religion. This does not include all atheists but by a number of definitions of religion, some forms of Atheism can be considered a religion.

Correction: Some forms of religion can be considered atheist. The simplest--IMO best--definition is simply lack of belief in any gods. All other definitions tend to leave out people who are obviously atheist, but don't fit in to the additional conditions tacked on to the basic 'lack of belief' definition.

Quote:
In addition to my studies I am just trying to become as well rounded as possible. I am taking classes that I find interesting and also taking classes in science.

Very good plan.

Quote:
I am getting paid to go to school so I am taking advantage.

Lucky!... Smiling

Quote:
I am also considering getting a BS in Biology but math is my weakest point. If I can spend some serious time on my math skills this will be a very serious option.

If you're getting paid to go to school, and need help in Biology and math, as it turns out I'm currently working as a tutor in sciences (early bachelor level, all sciences, incl. Bio and evolution) and math (all bachelor levels). I don't know if it's feasible, but if you're interested in trying over-the-internet tutoring, I'd love to help. Send me a PM (or use my Contact tab in my user profile if you can't do PMs) if you're interested.

Again, welcome. Feel free to join in whatever interests you. I'll be interested to get your perspective on things. If you ever find the heat of discussion too much for you, you can always use the Kill 'Em With Kindness forum.

 

Thanks for cleaning up my first post. Sorry about this post being a big text block but when I copy from word it doesn't show my spacing and stuff and I can't figure out how to get it to show up.Lol sorry I was unclear. Religion and space separately, unless there is religion in space? That sounds very fascinating. I grew up watching shows on TV about space and I have always liked Star Trek and Star Wars. I also used to go to star gazing groups. I think this is one of the reasons I was so drawn to Ancient Astronaut Theory. I wanted AAT to be true but once I started getting involved in scholarly research I came to almost hate it. I mean it is a good for a laugh but I take special offense to people such as Zachariah Sitchin. He portrays himself as a scholar of Ancient Languages and an archeologist. He is neither. He went to school for economics and that is about all. He could not provide any proof of a single course taken in either of the categories he claims to be an expert it. I take offense to that because he is undermining scholars who have spent their entire lives in this field. To get a degree in this area it takes a 4 year bachelors, like normal, but then takes another 5-9 years to receive a Ph.D. This guy eliminates 10-15 years of schooling by making some claim he is an expert and then people believe him. What would you like to know about Ancient Astronaut Theory? I could give you some basic details or I guess I could actually post a paper I wrote last semester in which I was looking at AAT as a religion from the stand point of Mircea Eliade. It was kind of a ballsy thing to do, especially with that professor, but I feel it went well considering I got a B+ on the paper. My English and grammar suck (I will need to work on that in the future,) so I normally do not do well on papers so a B+ is really good…
Quote:
Interesting. I actually agree with that sentence, but probably differently than you mean. I think the more people understand about religion, the more likely they will give it up as a belief system, and that will cut out a lot of hostility.
The problem is they WON’T give it up as a belief system and that is the reason I do not argue about religion. I will post a short paper done by my friend who explains this and my view on religion. In short “religious” people need abductive reasoning alone. They do not need logic, empirical evidence or inductive reasoning like I’m sure most of you do. I have a lot to say about this topic but in short this is my biggest gripe with most atheists. They believe if these illogical religious people were just shown the facts they would give up their faith. That is no different than saying an atheist would become a Christian if they just simply read the Bible.Thanks for the tutoring offer but I do not think I need it. There are 2 reasons for this. First, I understand the theories and the information in science but I do poorly because they require me to math. I just do not understand math and I really shouldn’t have passed it in high school. Going back to school I was excited because math fits my line of thinking but I just can’t grasp it. You can show me a problem 1 minute and it makes sense but then 5 minutes later I cannot figure it out to save my life. My wife gets annoyed because she has a degree in science but I always crush her in Chemistry topics. She gets mad and asks how I know this crap because I got a D in Chemistry. I tell her that I understand Chemistry just fine but if you ask me to figure out how many mols or there are in a certain number of grams or something, I’m in trouble... The second reason I do not need help is my wife is amazing at math. She took the most advanced math classes and slept through them, so she is here if I need her.I might check out the Kill ‘Em with Kindness forum but I’m sure I can hold my own. And like I said, I am not here to get in heated debates.

 

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Valid point about it being A

Valid point about it being A definition as opposed to being THE definition. You are probably right that there is not an accepted official definition because I am not a sociologist but it is the main definition we have looked at. I agree it is a rather unless definition and really the only reason I say that is because I say I have "studied atheism." To say that I have studied a lack of belief sounds rather odd doesn't it?

I do not have any links I can give you of that definition in use because most of our stuff from that class were in books. There are 2 books that go together that talk about Durkheim's definition and have some of his works. The books are Eight Theories of Religion and Introducing Religion by Daniel L. Pals. I recall reading an article about football as a religion but I do not have any info about it. You could check out the wikipedia page on Emilie Durkheim if you would like. I can tell you some of the Religious Scholars he has influenced (though they may not use his definition of religion down to the T.) J. Z. Smith and Ann Taves are the most notable scholars he has influenced. I can dig through my PFDs and see if I have anything you might like but I have no links, sorry.

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Here is my friend Anthony's

Here is my friend Anthony's Theory of Religion. I feel like it is a good representation of my beliefs. I hope you take the time to read it but if you do not that is fine also. Anthony is a Religious Studies major with a Political Science minor. He is also a linguist.

Religion : A Definition
by Anthony Meyer on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 4:50pm
Preface

It has been an active pursuit spanning more than two centuries now to discover and analyze a theory of religion which could be used universally, with a descriptive function, to serve as a foundation for a dialog about religion and how it relates to the human experience. It has been a noble pursuit, to my eyes, for definitions are incredibly important to understand one another, and understanding is something absolutely essential when it comes to a dialog about religion. It seems that at least in America, religion is an inherently emotional topic, and people tend to make the stakes of these dialogs very high (and with good reason). Thus, finding a universal definition for the term "religion" is not only a noble task but a useful one as well.

However, despite the goal's nobility or usefulness, it has become a popular trend in the field of religious studies to concede a defeatist attitude about a universal definition of religion. Instead, the ideologies of the liberal "intellectual" have risen to power declaring that such cannot be found, and where once we valued systematic interpretation and the scientific approach we now value something wholly different: tolerance. Now I would be the last person to argue against tolerance in social practice. I agree with my forefather when he said, "But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg" (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782). That said, it is a very different thing altogether to advocate tolerance in language. Tolerance in language necessitates inclusion in definition which renders language meaningless. That is, if we are to be tolerant and open minded about how a word is defined, we must then concede that the number of things which may be included under the umbrella of that word is constantly increasing ad infinitum until the word comes to mean anything and everything, and thereby means nothing. Not only does such a linguistic tolerance do injustice to language, but it also does an injustice to its subject. As a case in point, our subject here, religion, cannot be called just anything for there are certain things which religious people themselves protest that they certainly are not; a nation or political system, for example.

Therefore, in that vein I would like to pick up where the greats of religious studies left off, and in so doing cut off the liberal intellectuals who followed them in their wrong direction. I speak in reverence, of course, of Clifford Geertz. To my eyes, his "thick" description of religion was, and remains to this day, the closest we as scholars of religion ever came to realizing the universal definition of religion. There are certain, specific things which Geertz and I disagree on, which will be assessed below. Yet, on the whole, most people, even his religious subjects, could easily find truth in his work, and I feel that in the field of religious studies that is the true pay-off: the work must be agreed upon by its subjects. Without this, the study has not been a scholarly pursuit of the "other's" perspective, but rather a twisted and perverted view of one's own perspective put on display to stroke one's own ego, a sort of "intellectual masturbation." As I have said, Geertz made great strides in this way. However, he had his shortcomings as I certainly will. Given below has no pretense of being "gospel," but I do hope that it can be seen is a next step in understanding religion and how it functions in the human experience. Along these lines, I'd like to close this introduction by quoting Newton, "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants."

Theory

I suppose the simplest way to begin is to declare outright that I believe that Geertz was correct when he portrayed religion as a cultural system. For Geertz, lots of things create a society's culture: economics, politics, art, and not least of all religion. Thus, all of these things are cultural systems. This may seem like common sense, but believe it or not, this was a revolutionary theory at the time. Far more common was the idea that religion was not a producer of culture alongside these other things, but rather religion was a product of these other things. Marx, for example, famously claimed that religion was a product of social class struggle. Durkheim believed that religion was a product of the creation metaphors for the society as a whole. Indeed, Geertz was one of few voices in the field to finally bring religion up to its proper place.

However, Geertz makes things, to my eyes, far more complicated than need be. He gives a terribly specific, 5-point description of religion which is brilliantly argued, point by point, but really only serves to alienate his subject as he goes on. I am relatively certain that this alienation was not intentional of Geertz, but rather unavoidable given his worldview. For my part, I present here a 3-part description of religion in hopes that it will not alienate my subject or turn religion into something it is not.

A religion is:
(1) any social group of
(2) individuals who are psychologically dependent upon beliefs which are
(3) based on faith.

Each of these parts will be taken below, in Geertzian fashion, point by point.

1. Any social group: Immediately it may seem that I have offended some. Especially in America, the religious experience is characterized as a uniquely individualistic experience. The Evangelical Christian is encouraged every Sunday to have a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ." Even more problematic is the practice of the religious ascetic who (like my namesake, Saint Antony) leaves the society to live alone in devotion to their faith. Asceticism is not an uncommon aspect of religions and certainly not a uniquely Christian one. The life cycle of every person in Hinduism holds that after one has reached a certain point they are to become "forest dwellers," living outside of the village in a state of constant study of the Vedic texts.

Given these seeming contradictions, how then can I claim that religion is a decidedly social subject? To this question, I respond in kind: How is it that we have heard of Saint Antony? If Saint Antony was a true, absolute hermit with absolutely zero contact with the outside world, how would we have heard of his exploits, however fanciful their details? The fact is, although Saint Antony certainly did live outside the boundaries of the cities, that he left and stayed way so long only made him more entrenched in the social group. All this is just "pretentious-speak" for a simple fact, Saint Antony was famous. Now, just how separate are famous people from society? Would their fame exist without a social context. Simply stated, no.

As for the Hindu "forest dwellers," I have dishonestly left out an important detail. A man or woman only becomes a forest dweller if he or she lives long enough and with enough financial security to afford to do so. If their offspring are not independent enough to provide for the family on their own, the Hindu senior simply never "retires." Given the known poverty of this country, it should be little surprise when I tell you that it is far more common the case that a man or woman should die before ever realizing that ideal final stage. If they do, however, the sheer difficulty in attaining that position makes them highly honored and respected within the society they claim to leave. That alone makes a similar case as the one for Saint Antony above, but the reality is actually even less fanciful. In theory, the person goes and inhabits the forest alone in religious devotion, but in practice they usually just study diligently at home in the village.

Risking troubled waters, I now must assess this "personal relationship with Jesus Christ." For this I raise nothing more than what many Evangelical churches claim themselves. A popular Evangelical saying states the following, "Experience God, not religion." To this saying I supplement that this "personal relationship with Jesus Christ," should anyone actually ever truly attain it, is not a religious practice but rather a belief and practice of the individual in the realm of theism. We shall see, however, and I will make it clear here now, that theism and religion are certainly not tied at the hip. You can have one without the other. We will see that more specifically in section three.

In short, a religion is not a religion without some sort of social construct, and by social construct I mean that there are understood behaviors and beliefs which are valued or discourage by the "in-group." A personal relationship with Jesus is highly valued in the Evangelical social group, which is why they make such a spectacle of the "personal testimony" of their conversion stories or struggles in their individual lives which God has helped them overcome. On the other hand, the eating of pork in Jewish social groups is a common and simple example of a behavior which would have a social cost on the perpetrator. That religion is so entrenched in the social aspect of the human experience is actually probably more a surprise to the atheist than the religious among you. After all, the ten commandments were nothing if not a record of what was considered socially valuable or stigmatized at the time they were authored, and even the atheist will concede that at least a few of these commandments are consistent with social regulations still in use today.

2. Psychologically Dependent upon Beliefs: Here it will be significant to differentiate what I mean by psychological as it is opposed to intellectual. The former, psychological, refers solely with the realm of human instinctual feeling and emotion. When we feel hunger, lust, or fear (for but a few examples), we are experiencing that instinctual psychology of the human species which requires of us to protect and preserve ourselves. When we feel joy, fulfillment, or hate (again for but a few examples), we are similarly experiencing the emotional psychology of the human experience which has been born out of our interactions with each other. The latter term, intellectual, refers solely that to the realm of ideas and beliefs. These are mental constructs and how we feel about these beliefs is considered something entirely separate from the belief itself. To this intellectual category we will return in the third part of this work.

Psychological so defined, I must now make clear what I mean by "dependent." It will be hard for me to describe this part, again, without sounding offensive. I shall try my best, however, because I personally do not feel that psychological dependence is a "bad" thing. At the very least it is understandable, and at the most it can often be commendable. I view the term "dependent" in much the same way as I'm sure most people would; unable or willing to do without (something). Here, the analogy of the drug addict is, unfortunately, the best to display this point. Only accounting for the human mind's needs, the human mind does not (at conception) require cocaine, for instance (unless the mother was using during pregnancy, which offers an interesting parallel). However, should the human eventually use cocaine and become addicted, then and only then does the human mind biologically begin to need cocaine. This is what is meant by the term "addiction," a psychological dependency on a substance.

In the case of religion, the "substance" the religious individual is addicted to differs as widely as there are religions in the world. To serve the ends of explanation, however, two will be listed here in summary. First, I must approach my main audience, the Evangelical Christian. With this subject, his mind is either unable or unwilling to do without the knowledge that there is a deity watching over them and the world. For them, this is a satisfying and easing psychological view. When so believed, the world has a certain order (as is so important to Geertz) that makes the mysterious explainable, the tragic endurable, and moral ambivalence understandable. Should this view be undermined (as we will discuss in the final section), we would expect the religious man to respond emotionally and instinctively. And indeed, as any militant atheist would tell you, the Christian in debate often becomes very heated indeed. What the militant atheist would be less inclined to tell you is just how heated he becomes for similar reasons (His worldview too, in debate with a Christian, is being severely undermined. To this we shall return).

As for my second subject, I will take the curious case of the devout Buddhist. Buddhism, as Gautama taught it, is a strictly atheistic and anatta religion. Atheism can be summarized briefly as the ideological position that characteristically lacks a belief in a deity. Anatta is defined similarly as the ideological position which lacks a belief in the soul. Curious, then, is it that Buddhism should refer to itself without reservation as a religion. However, this is less curious when we recognize that religion and theism are not tied to the hip, to which we have already referred. Here, a Buddhist replaces the belief in a god or a soul with other equally psychologically satisfying (for him) beliefs; Dukkha (suffering) and one's release from Dukkha by means of Nirvana. I should like to make it perfectly clear here that I am absolutely NOT saying that Dukkha and Nirvana are the Buddhist's gods, but merely that they are serving the same psychological function as God does to the Christian. It is important to notice that same function does not dictate same thing. I can use the heel of my boot to drive a nail into a wall, but this does not make my boot a hammer. Just as much as we are making important the definition of religion as distinctive from other cultural systems, it is as important to keep distinct differing beliefs and terms, especially in such a controversial subject.

Returning to the subject of the Buddhist, the ideology of Dukkha as the simple reality of the universe and Nirvana as an ultimate process of salvation from that suffering can, thus, obviously be seen as serving the same satisfying and easing psychological effect as the Christian God. It is no wonder, then, that the Buddha is always depicted with a serene look upon his face. The suffering of the world is of no more concern for him; he no longer suffers from it nor adds to it.

3. Based on Faith: This is the intellectual aspect of religion. Already I will have perhaps made the militant atheist angry for, to the stereotypical atheist, to declare anything that religion does as "intellectual" implies that religion is not, as he believes, "absolute nonsense." And, indeed, this is precisely the implication I hope the reader to draw. Religion is neither irrational, nor illogical, nor unintelligent. To these conclusions we will arrive shortly. For now, allow me to, yet again, properly define my terms.

Faith, as I see it, is abductive reasoning without the requirement of deductive or inductive reasoning. Yes, I realize how unhelpful it is to define a term with even more confusing ones. However, I hope to make these terms clear, and in so doing, I believe they will be very helpful in forming my argument. The former term, abductive reasoning, is best depicted, to my eyes, by the following example from Wikipedia, "For example, the lawn is wet. But if it rained last night, then it would be unsurprising that the lawn is wet. Therefore, by abductive reasoning, it rained last night." With this example there are a great many other possible explanations for why the grass would be wet (some neighbor kids had a super-soaker fight, you accidentally left the sprinkler on all night, etc.). However, to come to any more narrowed (deduced) set of options necessarily requires abductive reason's deductive counterpart.

"Deductive arguments are attempts to show that a conclusion necessarily follows from a set of premises or hypotheses. A deductive argument is valid if the conclusion does follow necessarily from the premises, i.e., if the conclusion must be true provided that the premises are true. A deductive argument is sound if it is valid and its premises are true" (Wikipedia). For example, all items with a density less than 1 g/ml will float in water, a ping pong ball has a density less than 1 g/ml, therefore a ping pong ball must float in water. Inductive reasoning is a bit like deductive reasoning except it begins with a premise which is, at the very least, generally accepted as fact (although this is never stated without a doubt), and the conclusion usually reflects the premise in absolute terms. For example, all the swans we have ever seen have been white, therefore all swans are white. While abductive reasoning has a known ending and the beginning must be presumed, inductive reasoning has a known beginning and a presumed ending. Therefore, if either is to be logically complete, deductive reasoning, which focuses on making valid steps from a premise (beginning) to a conclusion (ending), must bridge their gaps.

In short, faith is satisfied by a simple theory, belief, or ideology as long as it could possibly have produced the reality before them. No other evidence or system of logic need be applied or even taken into account. Defined this way, when I say that an individual's beliefs are based upon faith, I am in fact saying that his beliefs need only be justified using abductive reasoning. To the mind of the religious man, this is more than enough proof and once this perspective "lens" has been established in an individual anything and everything can be seen as further proof of that unknown premise of abductive reasoning. This is precisely what Geertz is describing when he speaks of the "religious perspective" as: "If one is to know, he must first believe." However, I disagree with Geertz in his view that the realm of common-sense and practical act are the paramount human experience, which implies that religion is always secondary. There is, in my experience, a very real power in religion to shape the "lens" of man so that the real world is instead seen as a manifestation of the divine all the time. Geertz, of course, knows the power of religion to change an individual's view of the real world as divine, but he appears to insist that even the most religious of men do not view the world as religious even a majority of the time. From what I have seen of religions, it seems to me that this dominant religious perspective is absolutely attainable and was probably the norm in the Ancient Near East.

As before, I am now again faced with the very real possibility that I have offended the religious among you. If I may respectfully retort, how is it that the religious man would typically define faith? Would it be inaccurate to assume a definition somewhere along the lines of what Kahlil Gibran says, "Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof."? Here, faith is considered beyond the petty burden of proof. Faith is considered superior, and indeed, for the religious man faith is absolutely superior to proof. In so saying, then, is it really inaccurate to define faith as this dispensation of proof? For, in reality, this is all that my definition claims; faith is above proof and human reasoning. It is, by definition, something beyond the comprehension of man.

To illustrate this point specifically, let us take up the Buddhist again. The ideology of the Buddha requires an unquestioned belief in the concepts of Dukkha, Nirvana, and yes even reincarnation (despite the lack of a soul to be transported from one body to the next). As far as deductive or inductive reasoning is concerned, neither seems to have been employed, not even by Gautama himself. Instead, the authority of this knowledge is based upon a rather mystical revelation under a fig tree after an unnatural time to have been without food or water. To the Buddhist, this knowledge and "myth" is more than enough to substantiate his whole worldview. In the same way, if I may take up respectfully the case of the Christian, his ideology requires the unquestioned belief in a god which can neither hear nor see nor eat nor smell; nor can he be heard, nor seen, nor eaten, nor smelled. Clearly, deductive and inductive reasoning are not of great concern to either of these men.

It is interesting, then, that the religious man should be found to use deductive and inductive reasoning while in debate with an atheist or other skeptic. This, however, should not be seen as the religious man's attempt to view his own religion or beliefs under these terms. After all, he has had no need to do so prior to this conflict. On the contrary, the religious man is only attempting to twist his opponent's logic against him. Yet, he is inherently not very talented at this skill. This is not a reflection of the religious individual's incompetency. By no means! In my experience, intelligent men are religious and non-religious alike. Along with the religious man's lack of skill in employing deductive and inductive reasoning runs the atheist's equal and parallel handicap of being unable to use only abductive reasoning. In other words, what is at play here is not a reflection of a lack of intellect, but rather a difference of logic systems, where each is seen by the adherent as the more valid. It is precisely this point which brings us to why the atheist and skeptic often become so heated in debates. Since the atheist worldview is shaped by logic and reason, the religious individual himself is the very thing which undermines that worldview. And, in accord with the religious reaction of emotion, the atheist, for he too is only human, becomes just as angry and hot as his opponent.

To close this section, I beg the pardon of the Christian reader, for an atheist is about to quote scripture. I do so only to make a point and to show that what I have said is specifically not earth shattering and apparently not all that new. For, if Jesus could have said it nearly 2,000 years ago, it must be an old and obvious idea indeed. In Mathew 11:25 states, "At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants." Clearly faith is not only something different from the wisdom and intelligence of mere men, but something very close to God.

Conclusion

In proper form, I shall end as I began. Religion is a cultural system. From this it should be implicit that, to my eyes, a cultural system requires three aspects: (1) a social, (2) a psychological, and (3) an intellectual. In this way, religion is not so unique from, say a Free Market Capitalist society. In this example, a Free Market Capitalist society is (1) a social group of (2) psychologically consumerist individuals whose beliefs are (3) based on self-interest. Yet, I mention this example not to show that, as Durkheim so profanely does, that religion is merely a representation of something else. On the contrary, I raise this example to show just how different and unique religion is even within its category of "cultural system."

In so many ways, religion proves to be atheism's superior. Never have beautiful works of art been made in the name of atheism. Never have nations been moved to peace and to war in the name of agnosticism. Religion is so much more than atheism, for atheism is only an ideology. Atheism itself makes no claim in a social system; for this most atheists resort to Humanism (myself included). Similarly, atheism alone stakes no claim on how one psychologically reacts to the ideology. In my experience, many people have resorted to an equally many different psychological dispositions. It seems very common, in the U.S. anyway, that newly converted atheists tend to quickly turn to the psychologically dependent system of social liberalism. For them, it seems that this "loving, tender, tolerant" perspective is a quick "Indiana Jones" switch for the dependence once enjoyed under religion. I for one made this conversion at first, as well. After a certain point, however, with the aid of my twin brother, I was shown that switching from religion to social liberalism is a bit like quitting smoking by taking up heroin. In other words, the cure for psychological dependency is not a different addiction, but rather psychological independence. This certainly seems to be what has occurred in Richard Dawkins and explains that unabashed ego of his (a reason to both love him and hate him).

Finally, I hope I have made clear the profound respect I have for religion, both the subject and the cultural system. Often I stand in awe of it; not with the open mouth of sarcastic piety, but with the open eyes of genuine reverence. That we differ intellectually should not be grounds enough for hatred between us. This message is for both my atheist and religious readers. So often we only learn about each other so as to "know thy enemy." In so doing, I hope I can say that I have made a friend of religion, and it has never done me any wrong. For the ills that religion does play on the world, I hope we, as atheists, can try to remember that we no more deserve to be "holier than thou" than the priests. After all, we are all only humans.

Your brother in death,

Anthony


Thank You

I should like to thank the inspirations of the preceding work. Certainly Dawkins and of course Geertz are among them. For the others, I wish I had the time, memory, and space to right them all. The three men which rise above all the others as the foundation of my "lens" with which I view the world are as follows in the order in which I demand others to read their works: "The Predictioneer's Game" by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, "How to Read the Bible" by Marc Zvi Brettler, and "The Red Queen" by Matt Ridley. Your works have changed my life over and over again, and I cannot possibly display the sheer burden of gratitude I bear for you three brilliant men. Next, I must thank Bernard Levinson for being my first true inspiration into the field of religious studies and for seeing something more in me than I saw in myself. I hope to be half the man you are one day. Of course, I would be remiss for not thanking my twin brother Brian. You have been the foil to which I compare myself our whole life. Always the reasonable one, I would not be what I am today had you not had a hand in shaping it. Finally, I feel I must thank (and apologize to) the victims of the innumerable religious debates with which I had instigated. It should be obvious that this work was "born out of fire." Know now that my "blades have been made into plowshares." To the many others who have inspired me, I cannot thank you enough. I hope that being tagged in this note will show how much you mean to me. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.

 

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Once again here is something

Once again here is something that I do not expect most of you to read but people often question what exactly "Religious Studies" is. Here is a little something I typed up about it a while back.

The Study of Religion

First, I will get into Religious Studies program. At the University of Minnesota we have 2 tracks in the Religious Studies program. Here is some info about track 1…

Description of the Track I Major
This track is ideal if you wish to study religion broadly or as a social and cultural force.
• It emphasizes the methodologies of the humanities, social sciences, and arts.
• It addresses questions of expression, psychology, theology or religious thought, as well as public and social policy and the political contexts and ramifications of religion.

This track provides a solid foundation for careers serving diverse communities in public arenas, as well as graduate study in the arts, humanities, or social sciences, or in theological or seminary programs.
For more info on it, you can check out the full link.

http://www.religiousstudies.umn.edu/ugrad/track1.html

Here is track 2…

Description of the Track II Major

This track is ideal if you seek in-depth knowledge of a particular religious tradition (for example, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, American Indian, or Hmong).
It emphasizes learning about the selected tradition through study of its untranslated foundational texts.
For this track, you must complete preparatory work through the 4th semester (or the equivalent) of a language appropriate to the specific religious tradition and its sources.

This track provides a solid foundation for careers serving diverse communities in public arenas, as well as graduate study in the arts, humanities, or social sciences, or in theological or seminary programs.
Track II is particularly recommended if you are interested in such topics as the (1) the advanced study of the Bible or the Qur’an both in their origins and their later interpretations, (2) the history of Judaism, Islam, or Christianity before the modern period, or (3) the study of the traditions and texts of the religions of South or East Asia, whether in their countries of origin or in diaspora.

Sample subject and language pairings include but are not limited to:
• Judaism: Hebrew (for scriptural or historical area of concentration), German or Yiddish (e.g., for Jewish literature or 20th-century)
• Islam: Arabic, Turkish
• Christianity: Greek or Latin (for scriptural or medieval concentration), German or Spanish (for relevant geographical/cultural themes)
• Buddhism: Chinese or Japanese
• Hinduism: Sanskrit or Hindi
• American Indian religions: Ojibwe or Dakota

http://www.religiousstudies.umn.edu/ugrad/track2.html

In both tracks we are required to take this course. Just reading the description of this course will answer many of the questions people may have about the study of Religion. In my opinion, this is the single most important course in the entire program, which is probably why it is a requirement.

RELS 3001 – Theory and Method in the Study of Religion: Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion-
Description: While even a quick glance at any newspaper these days impresses upon us the importance of religion, just how we are to understand and/or learn about religion, given the vast array of ideas, practices, institutions, and communities that lay claim to the category, is anything but straightforward. Scholars from many disciplines study religion, adding another layer of diversity?not to say confusion?to the question of how one might go about learning about religion. This course attempts to sort through the many theories about religion and methods for studying it that have developed over the past century. We will first examine several theories of religion (what ?religion? is and entails and how it works) from such writers as Sigmund Freud, Max Weber, Rudolph Otto, Thomas Berger, Jonathan Z. Smith, Talal Asad, Tomoko Masuzawa, and others. Then, we will examine a number of different approaches to or methods for studying it, examining some recent monographs using specific methods to explore topics such as Catholic devotional practices (ethnographic), the Gnostic gospels (historical-textual), American spirituality (sociological), and Hindu nationalism (historical, literary deconstruction).

After that description there is not much I have to say. The first thing we attempt to do define religion because as someone said “how did you study religion if there is no universal definition?” This is very difficult and obviously varies a lot. In the books Eight Theories of Religion and Introducing Religion by Daniel L. Pals, we see that there are many Religion theorists (some are listed in the description) that have very different definitions.

We also try to figure out WHY someone believes what they do and HOW religious ideas came about. Obviously this varies depending on the definition. In the article that I linked about, Anthony is trying to answer this question.

“I have heard on numerous occasions(from someone who claims to be religious) that "If you except Jesus/Wotan/Allah/etc you'll get your evidence" Should I be telling them 'Oh well you can't define religion so it doesn't matter what you say'?”

The problem with this statement is that you are describing how “religious” people, particularly monotheists, get their proof. This does not address many things which can be considered religion. This is specific to modern, popular religions. It does not address HOW these ideas first came about and WHY people believe them. When I say WHY, I am talking about the origins of religion. Is it sociological, psychological, biological, something divine, or something we do not even understand. WHY does someone believe “if you accept Jesus you’ll get your evidence?” Is it their method of thinking and reasoning different? (another thing Anthony covers in his paper) Methods of reasoning are clearly different between Scientist and “Religious,” but at the same time I scientist can be “religious.” HOW does this happen? How can someone that studies things with empiricism flat out ignore that and believe something based on faith alone? One would think a scientist could not have “blind faith,” but they do. Do you see the complexity of these questions?”

Do you see my irritation about the comments to Anthony’s paper? He attempts to explain the very things I mentioned above but obviously some either didn’t read, or didn’t understand his paper. It is understandable that it may be too complicated for someone not from this area to understand. I may not have taken that into consideration.
When we understand why someone believes what they do, we can accept them better and argue with them less. If we understand that Atheist and Christians have different methods of reasoning, we can see how pointless it is to try and prove the other wrong. Understanding the origins of religion can help us understand why people believe what they do and can eliminate the “I’m right, you’re wrong” problem. Maybe everyone is “right” and simply different. Who are we to judge if someone is wrong? This is what I am getting at when I talk about tolerance.

Maybe Christians and others may not agree with a lot of the stuff I have said and that brings me to the final point I want to make. The study of religion is to be done separate of one’s beliefs. Religion cannot be properly studied if people bring their own views in. Yes, people do bring their own views in, resulting in different definitions, but the goal is to try and be as unbiased as possible. If you consider someone else’s views pointless and stupid, you will never understand them. Religious Studies scholars are made up of all types of people, from Atheists to Christians. This shows that one can put their own views aside and study religion.

I hope this helps clear up what exactly the study of religion is and I hope that Anthony’s paper can be read in new light, if you wish to read it of course.

 

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
EKAthans wrote:      

EKAthans wrote:

       Wow there are a lot of new responses. I will get to them one by one. I agree with your view but I will explain the "religion" of Atheism a little more. I agree that the atheism you discribe is not religion but there are some cases when atheism can fit into the definition of religion. The definition in which it would fit is the definition of religion put forth by Sociologists. The theory was first proposed by Emilie Durkheim and has been changed slightly over time by those following in his foot steps. Basically they consider religion a social construct and things such as football could be considered "religion." It is a very broad catagory...

       The best example I can give of atheism being a religion was that imposed by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Atheism was forced on people and they tried to get rid of "religion," mainly Christianity. This was not a simple statement of unbelief but an imposed ideal on all Russian people.

So what you mean is an organized religion. Atheism does not become a religion, it becomes organized. Maybe it also becomes idealized, with many people devoted to it, but still there is no holy figure to give it a supposed supernatural trademark.
(well, from esoteric point of view the patron of skeptics, atheists, agnostics and scientists is Hilarion a.k.a. St. Paul)

EKAthans wrote:
       Creationism is not a scientific theory. It does not have a testable hypothesis. It is simply what they claim to be "evidence" and "logic" but is neither. It is a simple case of being uneducated or worse, a blatent attempt to get religion in the classroom. Creationism will never be taught in a science class HOWEVER I am not opposed to it being taught in a philosophy class or a theology class as long as the class is not required. Unless I recieve a teaching licence in science I will not have to deal with the issues that come up but if I did I would explain what science is or ask them to talk to me after class.

Indeed! "Being fair to creationism" as some teachers say does not mean speaking of it as seriously as of the evolution science. It means explaining the sheer idiocy of creationism in blunt and simple words. But if it's for a class of philosophy, I think the best would be to mention some other bizarre creation myths, to see they're just as logical as the biblical one. What about some goat-milking in Odin's style or gigantic australian crocodile copulating with a hole in the ground.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
I think I would first point

I think I would first point out that none of the Biblical stories are unique and original and would direct them to other myths of the Ancient Near East. But then again I guess that is history and not philosophy...

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3705
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Welcome to the forum. 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5810
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
A couple of points: the more

A couple of points: the more nuanced method of inductive reasoning is to observe that all A so far observed have attribute B, therefore that would indicate with a high degree of likelihood that all A have B, but never with 100% certainty.

Of course, I might add that from my personal observation in the first part of my life, all swans are black. But I live in Australia, where all native swans are indeed black, so I always smile at that standard example of the simplistic version of inductive reasoning.

At least inductive reasoning is based on empirical data, therefore intrinsically adds some degree of new truth, whereas deductive reasoning only reveals what is already implied by the axioms or initial assumptions. In the case of basic logic, it reveals nothing about what really exists, in itself, but does serve as a tool to guard against a number of forms of sloppy reasoning.

So deduction says "IF A THEN B", induction says "A, therefore whatever is entailed by A has a calculable level of probability of general truth".

You actually need both modes of reasoning working together.

====

"In so many ways, religion proves to be atheism's superior. Never have beautiful works of art been made in the name of atheism."

is a very strange way to make an ultimately empty point, virtually a category error. In the absence of immediate follow-up elaboration to acknowledge that artists who have happened to be atheists have been responsible for some great works of art, I find it objectionable. The composers Verdi, Berlioz, Brahms. Dvorak, Vaughn Williams were all atheist, I understand. "in the name of Atheism"?? WTF? Religion is one aspect of culture, and really not validly studied as a separate issue, as it is so intertwined with other aspects of a culture.

Leonardo da Vinci was not an atheist, AFAIK, but his sentiments were far more toward humanism than the church in many aspects, and in a less Church dominated environment one can only speculate as to how much further he might have gone from respect for the Church.

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


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
<---- My baby.

<---- My baby.


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:A couple of

BobSpence1 wrote:

A couple of points: the more nuanced method of inductive reasoning is to observe that all A so far observed have attribute B, therefore that would indicate with a high degree of likelihood that all A have B, but never with 100% certainty.

Of course, I might add that from my personal observation in the first part of my life, all swans are black. But I live in Australia, where all native swans are indeed black, so I always smile at that standard example of the simplistic version of inductive reasoning.

At least inductive reasoning is based on empirical data, therefore intrinsically adds some degree of new truth, whereas deductive reasoning only reveals what is already implied by the axioms or initial assumptions. In the case of basic logic, it reveals nothing about what really exists, in itself, but does serve as a tool to guard against a number of forms of sloppy reasoning.

So deduction says "IF A THEN B", induction says "A, therefore whatever is entailed by A has a calculable level of probability of general truth".

You actually need both modes of reasoning working together.

====

"In so many ways, religion proves to be atheism's superior. Never have beautiful works of art been made in the name of atheism."

is a very strange way to make an ultimately empty point, virtually a category error. In the absence of immediate follow-up elaboration to acknowledge that artists who have happened to be atheists have been responsible for some great works of art, I find it objectionable. The composers Verdi, Berlioz, Brahms. Dvorak, Vaughn Williams were all atheist, I understand. "in the name of Atheism"?? WTF? Religion is one aspect of culture, and really not validly studied as a separate issue, as it is so intertwined with other aspects of a culture.

Leonardo da Vinci was not an atheist, AFAIK, but his sentiments were far more toward humanism than the church in many aspects, and in a less Church dominated environment one can only speculate as to how much further he might have gone from respect for the Church.

 

Just wanted to mention that I do not think Religion is superior to atheism, that is just his view point. He is much more inlove with religion than I am. I respect it but I personally do not care for it. We don't agree on everything...

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


pauljohntheskeptic
atheistSilver Member
pauljohntheskeptic's picture
Posts: 2484
Joined: 2008-02-26
User is offlineOffline
Welcome to the forums

Welcome to the forums Athans.

I too was raised Lutheran, my mother was originally a Lutheran school teacher. I became Catholic when I married. I became atheist after college and a graduate degree at a Jesuit University.

The more you learn about religion, the less believable it is.

 

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


RatDog
atheistSilver Member
Posts: 562
Joined: 2008-11-14
User is offlineOffline
 Welcome.  I'm not exactly

 Welcome.  I'm not exactly sure anymore what the word religion means.  I tend to think that religions are non empirical evidence based systems of beliefs about some kind of supernatural and/or immaterial realm, and how that realm relates to existence, meaning and the nature of being human.


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
@pauljohntheskepticThat is

@pauljohntheskeptic

That is one of my favorite quotes. We had a speaker that was raised Evangelical Protestant, converted to Catholicism and finally turned atheist. He was a school teacher and his last degree with in divinity. He said "the more you learn about the Bible, the less you believe it."

I guess that is why I try and get info about the Bible out there...

 

@RatDog

Well if you don't understand the world religion you are learning. Most people think the Abrahamic religions when they say religion.

I tend to agree with your observation for the most part as far as the Abrahamic religions go...

My big question was HOW did religions come about. That has led me more towards anthropology. I don't care that people believe in something we might think it stupid, I want to know why and how.

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Some useful links

Hey I thought I would post some links people might find useful or interesting.

http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il/   Info on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/bibles-buried-secrets.html  A video of the History of the Bible.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/flood.html A break down of the 2 flood stories found in the Bible (with interactive.)

http://www.angelfire.com/rnb/bashiri/Syllabi/courseassign.html#W111 Info on the countries and cultures of the Silk Road.

https://www.sites.google.com/a/umn.edu/jassen/online-text-library  Online Jewish Text library.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/  "Welcome to the largest freely available archive of online books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric on the Internet. The site is dedicated to religious tolerance and scholarship, and has the largest readership of any similar site on the web."

 

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


pauljohntheskeptic
atheistSilver Member
pauljohntheskeptic's picture
Posts: 2484
Joined: 2008-02-26
User is offlineOffline
EKAthans

EKAthans wrote:

@pauljohntheskeptic

That is one of my favorite quotes. We had a speaker that was raised Evangelical Protestant, converted to Catholicism and finally turned atheist. He was a school teacher and his last degree with in divinity. He said "the more you learn about the Bible, the less you believe it."

I guess that is why I try and get info about the Bible out there...

I agree. I spend most of my time here in lengthy discussions with Christians in regard to the Bible, understanding what was really meant and why. The Jews did not live in a sheltered glass bubble from the rest of the world. When one studies the details and compares them to other ancient beliefs, history, and events many distortions are obvious and the less believable.

There are several Christians here of differing viewpoints who are very willing to discuss issues. They won't likely change their views but others who read it that are in the "grey" areas just might.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Let me know if you want to

Let me know if you want to talk Bible (preferably the Old Testament or NT Prophecy.) It is my main area of study.

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Taking some time off. Burned

Taking some time off. Burned out from work and I have a sick wife and a baby to take care of. I will be back in a couple of days.

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
EKAthans wrote:Taking some

EKAthans wrote:

Taking some time off. Burned out from work and I have a sick wife and a baby to take care of. I will be back in a couple of days.

I feel ya. Taking care of things in personal life takes top priority. I'm in the middle of composing a reply to your own intro thread, but don't feel pressured to respond when I post it. It'll keep.

Take care.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


EKAthans
EKAthans's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: 2011-06-01
User is offlineOffline
This might be Goodbye

You know, I don’t think this is the site for me. I may continue to read here but I am not going to support this hate for religion and I am not going to help try to abolish it. I like your attitude as far as keeping religion out of the science classroom and out of the government but trying to eradicate it like some type of disease is wrong. My number one rule is I do not argue about religion and what I am doing? Arguing about religion…You guys have ALL the answers and clearly don’t need someone like me. I started typing up a big long detailed response but it hit me after about an hour and a half that it was pointless. Just like a Christian claiming they have all the answers you too do the same thing and claim you have all of the answers. You have your world view established and it’s not going to change so what is the point of me trying to change it? This is all a dead end argument because anything negative you will blame on religion and anything positive you will find a way to give credit to some other factor.
Edit: I guess to be fair I will read what others are saying and not just the few I have had discussions with before I make my final decision but if you plan on doing the following I have no desire in talking with you.
I do not have the time and dedication to explain every little thing out for you word for word. I don’t know what you guys do but I have a family, job, and I go to school. One would imagine that someone might have the logic and reason to figure out what someone is saying but you have proven you are incapable of doing that. Instead you sit around and try and point out logical fallacies when there isn’t one. You want an example? Here are 2 of my quotes…
“WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? WE HANG RELIGIOUS PEOPLE?”
“If it’s not going away what should we do? Should we understand them and accept them, or hang them all?”
Here is your suggestion…
“ This is called a False Dichotomy Fallacy, the fallacy that there are only two possibilities when in reality there are more than two.”
Of course there are more than 2 options. Do you really think I am that stupid that I think there are only 2 options? That is what we call an example. I should not have to explain to you that that statement does not represent my beliefs of the only option. I was simply asking what you think we should do about it. Understand them and hang them are simply 2 of many examples.
While we are on the topic of logical fallacies I will point out ad hominem. I’m guessing I don’t need to explain the definition to someone brilliant like you right? Here is your quote.

Quote:
And again, this just comes of as ignorant, arrogant, condescending, and self-defeating.
And I'm not even talking about being arrogant and condescending towards us. Actually I couldn't care less what you thought of our approach. (I know it works from first hand experience, so your opinion is rather moot.)
I'm talking about being arrogant and condescending towards believers! You've (apparently) given up on them and are even trying to discourage others from helping them out of theism. Considering the huge relief many people who deconvert feel after giving up religion, that seems like an irresponsible thing to do, IMO.

Yeah, good job calling me ignorant, arrogant, condescending, and self-defeating. I have given up on them? As if they have some sort of incurable disease? I simply respect their beliefs and allow them to believe what they choose. YOU think they have a problem.
Calling someone hypocritical is not always an insult but it can be taken as one…
Quote:
So, yeah. After all that info, it appears to me that you're actually rather hypocritical here. You're complaining, but you give no solution.

Hypocritical? Really? I give no solution? My solution is let people be religious. Just keep it out of schools and politics.
You also go on and keep asking for evidence while providing none yourself. I will give you more evidence than you can deal with but I know it’s pointless because you really do not care about anything that goes against your established beliefs. It appears your only evidence is personal revelation which Christians love to use. You also have your philosophical genius to support your cause. One of the reasons I am a philosophy minor is because I hate philosophy. It has some good points but for the most part it’s people sitting around speculating about things without actually doing any research, or at the very least reading a book. Here are 2 real quotes by people that have Ph.Ds in Philosophy…
“Well are you sure fish don’t feel pain? I mean maybe they feel this kind of pain but not this kind of pain…” No moron, I know fish don’t feel pain because I have the ability to read a fricking book.
“Well we know that homosexuality its natural because there are no examples of it in nature.” Once again a biology text book can prove that wrong instantly. Also my class called The Evolution and Biology of Sex, a class that can be taken by any university student, would prove that very incorrect.
And those are statements by trained Philosophers. Philosophy is worthless unless it is being used on information you already know something about.
That leads me to this…
Quote:
Non-sequitur. Religious people are not biologically religious, they are culturally religious. Their natural state is unbelief, and it takes a positive indoctrination to make them into believers.

If you are going to claim it is Non-sequitur why don’t you first PROVE your point with some EVIDENCE. Let’s see the peer reviewed articles that state what exactly make someone religious. Let’s see the evidence of why the scientists that believe there is a biological link are wrong. Let’s see proof that their natural state is unbelief. I actually find that last one plausible but I doubt you could find any scientific papers on it. Even if the natural state is unbelief you are not addressing the issue of whether or not they are inclined to believe something based on a certain type of reasoning.
You do this a number of times. You ask me to provide evidence and then take the opposing view and show no evidence. I am not going to just take your word for it that you know what you are talking about. At least give me some background info on you and what your degrees are in and I might take it a little more seriously. That is why I had such a big introduction, to say “hey I’m more than a Google artist.” I am not saying I have all of the answers, because I don’t, but I am saying I have studied a lot of this stuff in an academic setting.
Listen, some of the religious groups out there infuriate me to no end. I have had bad experiences with religious people and I still do, especially at school. Most of the people in the Religious Studies program are planning on being priests and pastors things like that. But a lot of times the reason I am attacked right off the bat is because of people like some of those on this site that think religion is evil and should be done away with. I’m sorry you had bad experiences but not all religious people are like that. If someone gets beat up by a group of black guys is it then justifiable to hate all black people and join the KKK? If you have been screwed over by a number of women is it then justifiable to hate all women? Just because you had a bad experience with some religious people does not make it justifiable to hate all religious people, and yes you do hate them. And don’t even start to tell me this isn’t analogous because I don’t want to hear your opinion on it. You aren’t fooling people with the “kill em with kindness.” We have a group on campus called CASH (Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists) and they always have signs up saying “Hug and atheist” and “Atheists are people too!” They also have a stand that says “ask an atheist anything.” I have spent many hours sitting near this stand watching and listening and it is my conclusion that they are only looking for an argument. I see more yelling and screaming at it and the atheists talk with such a condescending tone acting like they have all of the answers to the world. In my class, Religion and Ethics in Educational Policy, we had 2 atheists from that group literally stomping their feet and yelling at the Christians. That is why people don’t like atheists.
I really don’t give a crap if anyone responds to this and I kind of hope no one does. If this is my farewell speech, fine. But don’t talk to me if…
You don’t have scholarly, peer reviewed evidence
You are unwilling to tell me you background and educational experience
You are going to talk in a condescending tone
You are going to point out logical fallacies instead of addressing the topic
You are going to use circular arguments
You are going to tell me how much you hate religion and how evil it is
You aren’t going to take what I say into consideration without automatically dismissing it
You believe you have all of the answers
You really don’t think you can learn anything from me
You are just trying to educate me (because I do have the ability to read and watch youtube videos on your views and opinions)
You want to argue about religion
I think that about does it for the most part. If anyone still wants to talk I should let you know that I will be in Alaska for 2 weeks for military training so I will not be around.
 

Want to know about me? Here is my intro...
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603

My kid laughs at you


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
 You may be a little too

 You may be a little too sensitive for this forum, I think you're making the right decision by not participating if you can't take a little criticism.  If you read the first page of this forum you will notice that it is generally addressing irrationalities and primarily addressing religion as an irrationality.  Did you expect us to hold hands and sing Cumbaya?  I personally do not claim to have all the answers, I will admit that I may be wrong in my point of view, but this is what makes sense to me.  Religion seems like a scam morally, financially, intellectually and this is my opinion, some of us are more militant than others, but I think we all share that sentiment to a certain degree.   

When debating, unless you can get past the logical fallacies, you can't really have a rational conclusion.  They have to be pointed out.  

I also have a job, three very young kids, and school, this is what passes for entertainment most times.  I enjoy my time here, and I don't spend 100% of it hating religion, or even talking about religion, I read through and throw my two cents in once in a while.  It's a public forum.  

Good luck with the kid and everything else if I don't hear from you again.  Take care and don't take shit so seriously Smiling

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5810
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
EKAthans,that is sad, and

EKAthans,

that is sad, and full of far more baseless assumptions and 'non-peer-reviewed' claims than I can see around here, nearly as bad in that respect as virtually every religious doctrine.

We are not basing our ideas on 'bad experiences with religious people'!!! Please!!

It is the fundamentally flawed and totally invented nature of the doctrines of religion themselves that most of us object to.

Even when they motivate people to do good things, it is for the wrong reasons, which means, as we see, that religion can just as easily, if not more so, lead people to do bad things, because there is no true moral basis behind it, being based instead on the conception of an authority figure handing down edicts, rather than genuine concern over avoiding imposing harm and suffering to others.

And we are not focussed so much on the believers themselves as objects of hate, except insofar as they persist in doggedly and deviously trying to justify the religious doctrines they claim to base their world-view on, after repeated attempts to show them what we see as the problems in the doctrines.

I try to be very positive and encouraging especially to the more honest 'theists' who are prepared to concede the possibility that there are problems in the official doctrines, especially the OT, but still find comfort in some parts of scripture.

Sorry you couldn't see that - if you are accurately describing your impressions of this site, then it clearly is not for you.

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


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5095
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Seriously Athans

 

EKAthans wrote:

My number one rule is I do not argue about religion and what I am doing? Arguing about religion…

 

You can't turn up on an atheist website and not expect to find people arguing about religion, to find some people emotionally damaged by religion wanting it abolished, and to find those with no actual experience of religious oppression floating above the reality of daily fundamentalism in a liberal la-la land.

I dunno. You've obviously never been beaten by one parent while the other read out bible verses. You can't come from that background as an instinctive materialist and not pick up a profoundly negative attitude to the underpinnings of fundy faith. You know, ancestral sin, eternal punishment and all the rest of it. It seems to me that you think of christianity as an exercise in scholarship but that's simply not all it is. It's also an attempt to exercise power in this reality. 

A good few of your assertions are not supported by the facts. To wit, the assertion we claim we have 'all the answers'. All the answers to what? The meaning of life? A working cosmogony? A theory of abiogenesis? I would like religions to admit that they are based on unsupported hypotheses that continue to fail to explain universal causation and the existence of human concepts like morality. I'm happy to admit I don't know the answers - why aren't they? 

Regardless, there's no community here without the sharing of ideas and I thought your position was a valuable one. You're not obliged to argue about religion. You could just talk about your understanding of the bible, which from reading your posts, seems well worth reading. Your position is unusually level and devoid of negative emotion when it comes to monotheism but we aren't all you, Athans, which is the whole point of communicating. 

 

Then there's this... 

 

http://www.jesusandmo.net/2011/06/07/see/ 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3705
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
EKAthans wrote:You know, I

EKAthans wrote:
You know, I don’t think this is the site for me. I may continue to read here but I am not going to support this hate for religion and I am not going to help try to abolish it.

If you are this sensitive to having your beliefs criticized, then this is indeed not the forum for you. In fact, I don't think online forums, in general, are going to be very pleasing to you. 

EKAthens wrote:
I simply respect their beliefs and allow them to believe what they choose. YOU think they have a problem.

Do you respect all religious beliefs, sir?

EKAthens wrote:
But a lot of times the reason I am attacked right off the bat is because of people like some of those on this site that think religion is evil and should be done away with. I’m sorry you had bad experiences but not all religious people are like that. If someone gets beat up by a group of black guys is it then justifiable to hate all black people and join the KKK? If you have been screwed over by a number of women is it then justifiable to hate all women? Just because you had a bad experience with some religious people does not make it justifiable to hate all religious people, and yes you do hate them. And don’t even start to tell me this isn’t analogous because I don’t want to hear your opinion on it.

Racism is not a good analog of my position on religion for several reasons. 

Skin color is a physical characteristic of people that can be correlated to their actions, but it is very difficult for it to influence their actions. On the other hand, organized religions are social entities that are definitively closed-minded, having sets of fundamental beliefs that can't be questioned. If we allow that beliefs inform actions, then it is a given that religious beliefs will inform actions to at least some extent. On this point alone, it makes much more sense to be opposed to a religion than a skin color.

Also, skin color is a trait passed on through our genes while a religion must be passed on through advertisement, indoctrination, etc. so the religion of an individual can change while their skin color cannot. 

I don't hate religious people, except for some radicals and fundamentalists that I can observe to do 'bad' things; I hate most religions. Thus, for the analogy to be more accurate, our positions should be compared to hating black skin or hating the state of being female, rather than hating black people and hating women. No one holds such a position because there is no logical basis for despising such traits.  

I have had some bad experiences with religious people, but I am confident that, overall, my experiences are very mild compared to some of the other posters here. I am opposed to religion in principle, not because of personal experiences. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5810
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
So, EKAthans has a 'rule'

So, EKAthans has a 'rule' not to argue about religion. Why?

I understand that arguments can degenerate into pointless exchanges of insults, but not always. It is very useful and positive to test your ideas against someone else's when they are prepared to engage in real discussion/debate. I have learned from such encounters.

Quote:

And don’t even start to tell me this isn’t analogous because I don’t want to hear your opinion on it.

re racism and sexism.

This comment, take with the 'rule' not to argue about religion, presents an impression of someone who has made up his mind on this issue, and refuses to accept any challenge, anything which may cast doubt on it. Especially when you refuse to accept that people can and have changed their attitude to 'God', consistent with your deeply flawed analogies with race and sex, which you refuse to argue over.

Absolutely not the site for you. Internet forums are not the place for anyone who doesn't want to argue.

This is very similar to the 'fundamentalist' believer's attitude, and very disturbing. Not that of someone who is actually in open pursuit of 'the Truth', which is the ideal of the free-thinker/skeptic, which is usually the background of the informed atheist. Certainly it is my ideal.

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


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
EKAthans wrote: You know, I

EKAthans wrote:

You know, I don’t think this is the site for me.

That is certainly possible.

Quote:
I may continue to read here but I am not going to support this hate for religion

"Hate"? I don't hate belief systems. Your phrasing of my beliefs and attitudes as 'hate' is rather offensive to me.

Quote:
and I am not going to help try to abolish it.

So.... don't. Nobody's forcing you to, or even asking you to.

Quote:
I like your attitude as far as keeping religion out of the science classroom and out of the government but trying to eradicate it like some type of disease is wrong.

Why? You haven't provided any reason except for your own personal distaste for arguing over religion. I'm fine with you not wanting to participate in my style and in my goals. Do your own thing. Fine.

But when you tell me that I'm doing something that is "wrong", you're claiming I'm acting unethically, and I would like to see you make that case, or else stop making it.

How would you like it if someone said to you, "... but trying to study religion and teach others about it is wrong." Would that make any sense to you? Probably not. Just as your charge against me/us doesn't make any sense. Can you demonstrate that what we're doing is wrong? Can you prove it beyond a reasonable doubt? If not, then stop making baseless accusations against us. We don't do it to you!

Quote:
My number one rule is I do not argue about religion and what I am doing? Arguing about religion…

Nobody's forcing you to do this. As far as I remember, you initiated this whole debate by claiming we're doing something ineffective and/or wrong. If you didn't want to get tangled up in defending your claims against us, the easiest thing to do would be to just stop making such claims, especially when they are baseless.

Quote:
You guys have ALL the answers and clearly don’t need someone like me.

What's that supposed to mean? Nobody here is claiming to have all the answers. We just disagree with your portrayal of the situation (as seeing deconversion as a hopless thing, when it is demonstrably not).

Quote:
I started typing up a big long detailed response but it hit me after about an hour and a half that it was pointless. Just like a Christian claiming they have all the answers you too do the same thing and claim you have all of the answers.

WHERE!!?!?!?!?!

Where has anyone done this in the conversations you've participated in?

How would you feel if someone told you "You think you have ALL the answers."? Would you think that their accusation was accurate, or inaccurate? Probably inaccurate, right? Because, probably, you don't actually think that, right?

Same goes for us. We don't actually think that. We don't accept your characterization of us. It is, frankly, bullshit.

Think about it. If you really believe that we think we have all the answers, but you don't have any sort of evidence to back that up as a fact, then shouldn't you double-check your assumptions? Clearly, you're missing something. Have you thought of alternative explanations? Such as that we don't actually think we have all the answers, but simply that we are confident enough in the tentative answers we do think we've found to make a strong case for them in the public sphere.

Quote:
You have your world view established and it’s not going to change

That is, in fact, false. My worldview changes all the time, as I learn more and more. I have changed positions on topics in the past and I will most probably do so many times in the future.

Your claim that I/we are closed-minded and dogmatic and impervious to reason is almost exactly 180 degrees opposite from reality.

How would you like it if someone claimed that about you? Would you think it was accurate or inaccurate? Insulting or not?

Quote:
so what is the point of me trying to change it?

What is the point of trying to change anyone's opinion about anything? Because it's worthwhile? Because it is possible, and can in fact be very effective at bringing about change in society? Those are my reasons.

Quote:
This is all a dead end argument because anything negative you will blame on religion and anything positive you will find a way to give credit to some other factor.

So, you already know everything about us, is that it? You know everything we're going to say, even before we ourselves do, is that what you're saying?

You have already decided that it's not possible for us to have good reasons for our positions, and that our questioning of common folk wisdom about religion is not actually questioning, but instead is really blaming and discrediting.

Well, if that were true, you'd be right in thinking that there's no point in discussing anything. However, what makes you think it's true? What if you're wrong and we do actually have good reasons for our positions? Wouldn't you be closing yourself off to that possibility by making such assumptions about us? Why would you want to do that?

Quote:
but if you plan on doing the following I have no desire in talking with you.

I do not have the time and dedication to explain every little thing out for you word for word.

Again, if you don't want to spend time discussing the effects of religion, then why did you join the conversation which was about those effects?

Don't blame us for responding to your comments. If you comment on something, anyone else is free to comment back to you in reply. If that bothers you, don't join the conversation.

Quote:
I don’t know what you guys do but I have a family, job, and I go to school.

Surprise! The people you tend to interact the most with on any website on ANY topic are the ones who have the time and interest-levels to spend on that topic. This is the website I spend the most time on because I think it's an important and worthwhile endeavour. Some are like me, but others only come on once a week or less. It makes sense that you're going to get the more 'hardcore' types interacting with you the most. It's the same everywhere on the internet.

Quote:
One would imagine that someone might have the logic and reason to figure out what someone is saying but you have proven you are incapable of doing that.

Incapable? Really? You know, there's an obvious alternative that you (conveniently) left out: Sometimes when one is misunderstood, it is because one did not express oneself clearly enough to the intended audience. The solution to that problem is not to blame the audience of being 'incapable' of figuring out what you're saying, but to improve the way you say it.

Quote:
Instead you sit around and try and point out logical fallacies when there isn’t one. You want an example? Here are 2 of my quotes…
“WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? WE HANG RELIGIOUS PEOPLE?”
“If it’s not going away what should we do? Should we understand them and accept them, or hang them all?”
Here is your suggestion…
“ This is called a False Dichotomy Fallacy, the fallacy that there are only two possibilities when in reality there are more than two.”
Of course there are more than 2 options. Do you really think I am that stupid that I think there are only 2 options? That is what we call an example. I should not have to explain to you that that statement does not represent my beliefs of the only option. I was simply asking what you think we should do about it. Understand them and hang them are simply 2 of many examples.

So, then, why did you choose 'hanging' out of all this wide variety of possible examples? Why didn't you choose "go swimming with them" or "bake a cake"? Because those are just about as plausible as "hanging". In fact, I'd say they are far far more plausible than "hanging". So, why did you pick "hanging"? And you didn't just pick 'hanging' once, but twice.

And not only that, but you explicitly excluded a more reasonable third alternative, which, conveniently, just happens to be the alternative we would support.

So, yes, your rhetorical question was an attempt to force us into one of two positions: Yours, or an absurd one that we would never defend. That is what a false dichotomy is all about.

Quote:
I was simply asking what you think we should do about it.

You were not simply asking what we think we should do, you were claiming that what we think we should do is "implausible".

If you were 'simply asking', you would have simply asked! Like, "So, what do you propose to do?" That's pretty darn simple if you ask me.

Quote:
While we are on the topic of logical fallacies I will point out ad hominem.

Please do. I would never want to rest my conclusions on the weak and wimpy tactic of spewing insults or distracting the audience with irrelevant characteristics of the other debator, as a replacement for an actual argument.

Quote:
I’m guessing I don’t need to explain the definition to someone brilliant like you right?

Thanks for the compliment. No, you don't need to explain it to me. I've been dealing with ad homs for a long long time. It's a very common fallacy.

Quote:

Quote:
And again, this just comes of as ignorant, arrogant, condescending, and self-defeating.
And I'm not even talking about being arrogant and condescending towards us. Actually I couldn't care less what you thought of our approach. (I know it works from first hand experience, so your opinion is rather moot.)
I'm talking about being arrogant and condescending towards believers! You've (apparently) given up on them and are even trying to discourage others from helping them out of theism. Considering the huge relief many people who deconvert feel after giving up religion, that seems like an irresponsible thing to do, IMO.

Yeah, good job calling me ignorant, arrogant, condescending, and self-defeating.

Funny, I distinctly recall calling your dismissive comment about debating with religious people ("I mean other than an implausable one such as convincing religious people they are wrong..." ) as being "ignorant, arrogant, condescending, and self-defeating". I never applied those adjectives to you as a person. I rarely do that.

I maintain a strong distinction between peoples' beliefs, claims, actions, writings, opinions, and those people themselves as people. Beliefs, claims, actions, writings, etc. are not people, and people themselves, are not their beliefs, claims, actions, writings, etc. 

I'll feel free to blast people's beliefs, claims, actions, etc., but I very rarely take it 'to the man', or, as they say in latin, 'ad hominem'.

Quote:
I have given up on them?

That's how it appears to me, which is how I phrased it:

Quote:
You've (apparently) given up on them and are even trying to discourage others from helping them out of theism.

If you haven't, feel free to correct me.

Quote:
As if they have some sort of incurable disease? I simply respect their beliefs and allow them to believe what they choose.

Do you respect the belief of many theists that gays should be denied the right to marry? How about the belief of many theists that most people on the planet, yourself included, deserve to be tortured for eternity? How about the belief that a good way to get into heaven is to fly airplanes into buildings?

Do you really respect such beliefs just because people hold them? If you do, then that's a more relevant topic for us to debate, because such harmful and dangerous beliefs do not deserve ANY respect. And they deserve even less respect for the simple fact that real people actually believe them and will act on them.

I respect those people more than I respect their beliefs. In fact, I respect them enough to try to help them escape such beliefs by expressing my massive disrespect for those beliefs.

That's why making a clear distinction between people and their beliefs is important. People deserve some basic respect just because they are people, but beliefs do not deserve any special respect just because someone believes them.

Also, expressing my view of disrespect for a person's beliefs does no harm to that person. They may be offended, temporarily, but at the end of the day, they have lost nothing, for they are free to listen or ignore as they choose.

Quote:
YOU think they have a problem.

The first step toward overcoming a problem is becoming aware that there IS a problem. There's nothing wrong with pointing out problems that people have, especially if they are not aware that it's an actual problem.

Quote:
Calling someone hypocritical is not always an insult but it can be taken as one…

Correct. Sometimes it's simply a matter of fact, like having an embarassing skin rash.

"You have a rash."

"How dare you insult me?!"

"Umm, I'm not insulting you. I'm just pointing out that you have a rash. I can see the irritated skin right there. In fact, that looks like a particularly dangerous rash. You should get that checked out."

"WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? WE HANG PEOPLE WITH RASHES?"

"Umm, no. I suggest getting it looked at. I hear they can cure such rashes these days."

"You think you have ALL the answers! My rash makes me happy. You should respect my rash and leave me to have whatever rash I want!"

"You can have whatever rash you want (as long as you don't spread it around), but I'm not going to respect your rash. That's crazy. I respect people, not rashes. I respect you enough as a person to say that I really think your rash is unworthy of any kind of 'respect'."

"I'm offended!"

"Oh well. At least now you know that not everybody thinks your rash is a good thing. Oh, and people without rashes are good people too, by the way."

Quote:
Quote:
So, yeah. After all that info, it appears to me that you're actually rather hypocritical here. You're complaining, but you give no solution.

Hypocritical? Really? I give no solution? My solution is let people be religious. Just keep it out of schools and politics.

How's that been working out for ya, these last 30-40 years?

Is religion being kept out of schools? Just barely, and in some cases, NOT AT ALL well.


High School Student Stands Up Against Prayer at Public School and Is Ostracized, Demeaned and Threatened

Quote:

High School Student Stands Up Against Prayer at Public School and Is Ostracized, Demeaned and Threatened

When a high school atheist tried to stop prayer at his graduation, he was harassed and kicked out of his house. But the atheist community stepped in. May 25, 2011  |     Photo Credit: Jasmic  Whatever you think about atheists -- good, bad, mixed, indifferent -- this story should seriously trouble you.

Damon Fowler, an atheist student at Bastrop High School in Louisiana, was about to graduate. His public school was planning to have a prayer as part of the graduation ceremony: as they traditionally did, as so many public schools around the country do every year. But Fowler -- knowing that government-sponsored prayer in the public schools is unconstitutional and legally forbidden -- contacted the school superintendent to let him know that he opposed the prayer, and would be contacting the ACLU if it happened. The school -- at first, anyway -- agreed, and canceled the prayer.

Then Fowler's name, and his role in this incident, was leaked. As a direct result:

1) Fowler has been hounded, pilloried, and ostracized by his community.

2) One of Fowler's teachers has publicly demeaned him.

3) Fowler has been physically threatened. Students have threatened to "jump him" at graduation practice, and he has received multiple threats of bodily harm, and even death threats.

4) Fowler's parents have cut off his financial support, kicked him out of the house, and thrown his belongings onto the front porch.

Oh, and by the way? They went ahead and had the graduation prayer anyway.

(Read on)

And politics isn't faring much better.

Quote:
You also go on and keep asking for evidence while providing none yourself.

What claims have I made that require evidence? Quote me, please.

I have responded to your claims about what will and won't work. And, although you seem to forget, even though it is overflowing in the my response to you, I did provide all sorts of evidence that our techniques work and do no harm, but do good.

It is you who have provided no evidence that what we do won't work, and will cause more harm than good.

Quote:
I will give you more evidence than you can deal with

Excellent. I'm looking forward to it.

Quote:
but I know it’s pointless because you really do not care about anything that goes against your established beliefs.

And how, precisely, could you possibly know this? You've interacted with me for no more than 1 week, and almost entirely on this one issue.

Besides, if you are correct that I'm so dogmatic, the best thing you could do is to show everyone all the evidence that I've been ignoring for years and years. This website is viewable by the entire internet. I'm not the only one who can see it. If you've got a strong case, make it. Or if you don't want to argue over it, don't. Entirely your choice.

The point is, whether or not I'm actually as dogmatic as you claim, there is no reason for you not to post your evidence.

Quote:
It appears your only evidence is personal revelation which Christians love to use.

Right. All the evidence I cited in my response to you is all imaginary, eh? Or did you just not bother to look at it?

Quote:
You also have your philosophical genius to support your cause.

Whatever that means.

Quote:
One of the reasons I am a philosophy minor is because I hate philosophy. It has some good points but for the most part it’s people sitting around speculating about things without actually doing any research, or at the very least reading a book.

As I already pointed out, I agree with you on this.

Quote:
Here are 2 real quotes by people that have Ph.Ds in Philosophy…
“Well are you sure fish don’t feel pain? I mean maybe they feel this kind of pain but not this kind of pain…” No moron, I know fish don’t feel pain because I have the ability to read a fricking book.

Are you actually saying fish don't feel pain, or was that a mis-placed 'don't'? Not that it's relevant to the thread, but it sure seems like a strange position to defend.

Quote:
Philosophy is worthless unless it is being used on information you already know something about.
That leads me to this…
Quote:
Non-sequitur. Religious people are not biologically religious, they are culturally religious. Their natural state is unbelief, and it takes a positive indoctrination to make them into believers.

If you are going to claim it is Non-sequitur why don’t you first PROVE your point with some EVIDENCE.

You mean my point that people are not born Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist, but that they must acquire their specific religious beliefs from the culture around them? Is this really so controversial an idea? Do you actually disagree with it?

You said: "I was starting to feel like we needed to scream at black people and tell them they shouldn't be black because that is what they are."

As if religious beliefs are built in to people genetically. But they aren't. That's obvious, right? Do you really need 'proof' to convince you of this?

Quote:
Let’s see proof that their natural state is unbelief.

Ask some newborns if they believe Jesus died for our sins. Pretty sure they won't be answering in the affirmative. Natural state: Unbelief.

Quote:
I actually find that last one plausible but I doubt you could find any scientific papers on it.

You'd only have to look at the stats for which religion children exhibit after enculturation: If it tends to be the prevailing religion of their culture and/or family, for example in twins raised in separate households, then it seems undeniable that children are not born with religious beliefs. Whaddaya know? Kids tend to adopt the religions of their parents, by an overwhelming majority.

Are you seriously disputing this?

Quote:
Even if the natural state is unbelief you are not addressing the issue of whether or not they are inclined to believe something based on a certain type of reasoning.

Yes I am. I most definitely am. I've written about these tendencies in the past. But I recognize that these tendencies of belief are not religion per se. They are simply the human basis for any and all belief. Religious belief is not a special kind of belief mechanism, it is a special kind of belief.

Furthermore, the tendencies of irrational belief are not something that is fixed and permanent. We are able to correct for them, and in some cases overcome them completely. In fact, it is possible to learn this ability to correct one's own reasoning through education in various topics of critical thinking. That's what we encourage. That's our main strategy. And it works.

Pretty much anybody can learn to spot logical fallacies, for example, and that is often one of the best ways to introduce people into critical thinking.

If you teach someone how to spot Argument from Authority, for examples, and they choose to apply that filter to the messages they are exposed to, all of a sudden about 95% of religious claims become suspect to them.

There may be (probably is) genetic variation in the degree to which different people are susceptible to different kinds of irrational belief, but that still doesn't make them genetically religious. And it doesn't mean that they are somehow incapable of learning critical thinking. This is what I mean by your apparent 'giving up on them'. I don't consider them incapable of change and learning and even eventually breaking out of religious belief. You seem to be, at least based on some of the things you've said. If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me.

Quote:
You do this a number of times. You ask me to provide evidence and then take the opposing view and show no evidence.

Largely, this is because you think I'm saying something which I'm not actually saying.

I'll make you a deal. You point out any positive factual (not simply my opinion) claim I make and I'll give you at least one link to some evidence to support it.

However, don't be surprised if what you think I'm claiming is not actually what I said. You've already displayed several preconceived notions about who I am, what I believe, how I act, what I support, etc.

In return, could you examine the evidence I've already supplied in the @EKAthans thread, and respond to it?

Quote:
I am not going to just take your word for it that you know what you are talking about.

Good. I wouldn't want you to.

Quote:
At least give me some background info on you and what your degrees are in and I might take it a little more seriously. That is why I had such a big introduction, to say “hey I’m more than a Google artist.” I am not saying I have all of the answers, because I don’t, but I am saying I have studied a lot of this stuff in an academic setting.

Degrees are useful for some things (such as job requirements for specific professions), but in many ways they are over-rated. I'm wary of people who demand respect for their ideas just because they have a degree in such-and-such. It's another argument from authority. What I care about is not 'what experts defend these ideas?', but 'are these good ideas?'.

Also, I'm a bit of an auto-didact. I spend much of my free time just learning and learning about stuff. It's one of my favourite activities. So I know quite a bit about a lot of things which interest me. But I do not claim to be an expert in any of these fields, because I don't have the academic credentials.

However, in the interest of answering your question directly: For what it's worth, I started university studying the sciences, Phsycis, Chem, Bio, Math, Stats, etc. But after 1st year, I switched to Computer Science, and graduated with a B.Sc. in Computer Science (4 year Honours program), during which I took a wide variety of extra courses, including Psychology, Sociology, Cognitive Science, Philosophy, Film, and a couple others that slip my mind at the moment.

Since then, I can honestly say I've learned far more outside of school than in it. For example, working as a software developer for several years, I read at least 50 textbook-sized books on software development, often walking to and from work with a hardcover text in front of me. I learned how to walk and study at the same time, avoiding obstacles and other pedestrians by using my peripheral vision.

I've always stayed current on the latest science news and magazines such as Scientific American, so while I'm not a 'scientist', I am a big proponent of science, and can hold my own in most debates with non-scientitists.

I've also had a long-time interest in philosophy, having read a few books in high school, taken about 3 or 4 philosophy courses in university, participated in several informal debates, and since then read several books and articles on the subject.

I take particular interest in evolution, the brain, informaton theory, and a few other 'pet' topics.

I'm currently studying the logical foundations of mathematics, vector calculus (from the ground up), Bayesian statistical inference, and critical thinking education for children.

I'm currently working as a tutor for children, adolescents, and adults (math, science, computers, mythology, et al.). In this capacity, I've also been studying various techniques in education, especially with a focus on teaching logic and critical thinking for grade-school students. I've had quite a bit of encouraging results here, which I'm quite excited about. My teaching philosophy is that learning is inherently fun, and anything that makes it not fun needs to be changed to allow it to be fun again. In this spirit, I'm in the process of developing computer games for kids for teaching math, logic, and computer programming.

Quote:
But a lot of times the reason I am attacked right off the bat is because of people like some of those on this site that think religion is evil and should be done away with.

You may believe that is the case. The religious people who attack you may believe that is the case. But I would bet a lot of money that neither they nor you can demonstrate that it is actually true.

These 'nasty atheists' you think are such a big problem, are basically non-existent bogeymen, more akin to negative stereotypes of people who identify as homosexual, Black, Jewish, or any other denigrated minority. Atheists did not create this bogeyman, religions did:

Psalm 14:1 KJV wrote:
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt , they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

See? It's written there right in their book(s). And it's preached from the pulpit every Sunday and twice on Wednesday. And people believe it.

Quote:
I’m sorry you had bad experiences

You know nothing of my experiences, one way or another. Instead of presuming you do know about them, why don't you ask me about them instead?

Quote:
but not all religious people are like that.

I have never claimed that they are (all alike).

Quote:
If someone gets beat up by a group of black guys is it then justifiable to hate all black people and join the KKK?

Are you equating the RRS with the KKK?! Careful with your analogies there.

Let me give you a better one: Have you heard about the vaccine denialists? Jenny McCarthy and all that jazz? They spread anti-scientific nonsense about the supposed dangers of vaccines, which are at best extremely exaggerated beyond all conception of reality.

Are you aware that there have been within the last few years dozens of outbreaks of once-rare and easily avoided diseases such as whooping cough, measles, mumps, and others? Sounds pretty harmless, maybe, eh? After all, we've all had some childhood sickness or another, and we're fine.

Unfortunately, the only ones who can say, "We're fine," are the ones who survived. The dead have no such voice.

There have been hundreds of children dead from these entirely preventable outbreaks, many of them infants.

Now, I don't go around calling vaccine denialists 'baby murderers'. But I have no compunctions about stating the fact that vaccine denialism is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of children. I might even go so far as to say that vaccine denialism has 'blood on its hands'.

And I couldn't give two shits if some vaccine denialist gets offended by that.

And I will certainly not hold back my strong criticisms of anyone who defends vaccine denialism. I will say that their defense of denialism lends support to the outbreaks and the deaths, and that, in this way, by defending denialism, they are taking on some onus of responsibility for denialism's effects, namely, the deaths of children.

My critique of religion and defenders of religion is at exactly the same level.

Sure, not everyone who supports anti-vax will automatically make their kids sick. Nor will they automatically make any other kids sick (by weakening so-called 'herd immunity' which vaccine programs depend upon for success). But they are lending support to anti-vax itself, and therefore also indirectly supporting its harmful and dangerous effects (whether they are conscious of it or not).

Likewise, not everyone who is religious is automatically doing bad things in the name of religion. And not everyone who is religious is automatically a direct accomplice to those people who do bad things in the name of religion. But they are lending support to the idea of faith-based religion itself, and so are also indirectly supporting faith's harmful and dangerous effects (whether they are conscious of it or not).

And I don't hate either of these kinds of people. Many of them are not even aware of the negative effects of religion. And I don't even 'hate' (except in a purely metaphorical sense) the religious beliefs that influence them to support irrational thinking (such as faith itself) as if it were somehow a virtue. The only people I tend to actually hate (and this is very rare these days compared to when I was younger) are people who directly do harm to me, out of apparently malicious intent.

So, your analogy is terrible. It feeds into the false negative stereotype that atheists 'hate' religious people, or that they are even particularly hate-filled at all. It equates us with organizations that have actually hated people to the extent of lynching, murdering, and generally oppressing them. We have done nothing of the sort, and are staunchly opposed to such crimes.

All we do is speak out and express our opinions just like anybody else, but in our case, we are demonized for it.

Well, I'm here to tell you that I am not going to apologize for the false bogeyman in your imagination. It is not me, and I don't even believe it really exists to a significant extent in reality. I have followed up on claims of nasty atheists several times, and, like Bigfoot or UFO aliens, the evidence always seems to shrivel up and disappear the moment you look too closely at it.

If there are so many 'nasty atheists' out there doing such incredible harm to people, please show me where they are so that I can join you in condemning them for their actions.

Frankly, I do not believe you will be able to locate even one prominent such example.

Quote:
If you have been screwed over by a number of women is it then justifiable to hate all women? Just because you had a bad experience with some religious people does not make it justifiable to hate all religious people, and yes you do hate them.

So, you're telling me how I feel, eh? Does that make any sense to you?

How, exactly, do you know that I 'hate all religious people'? I'll make it easier for you: How do you know that I even hate the majority of religious people?

(When you fail to provide any justification for this, take a step back and realize how bigoted your comment is.)

Quote:
And don’t even start to tell me this isn’t analogous because I don’t want to hear your opinion on it.

LALALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!

How very open-minded of you.

Quote:
You aren’t fooling people with the “kill em with kindness.”

And how would you know that, since you haven't even bothered to try posting there?

Quote:
We have a group on campus called CASH (Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists) and they always have signs up saying “Hug and atheist” and “Atheists are people too!” They also have a stand that says “ask an atheist anything.” I have spent many hours sitting near this stand watching and listening and it is my conclusion that they are only looking for an argument. I see more yelling and screaming at it and the atheists talk with such a condescending tone acting like they have all of the answers to the world. In my class, Religion and Ethics in Educational Policy, we had 2 atheists from that group literally stomping their feet and yelling at the Christians. That is why people don’t like atheists.

You know what would be really great? Video tape this behaviour you find so terrible and post it to YouTube so that we can all see it. Please, expose them. If they truly are 'only looking for an argument', then they are just being bullies, and you should expose them. If you can show atheists stomping their feet and yelling at Christians, you would be doing humanity a service by exposing them to public criticism. That would also be an incredible coup for your 'nasty atheists are everywhere' thesis.

Please. I would love to see this. Prove me wrong. Show me the truth I've been missing.

Seriously. Why is it so hard to back up what you're saying with something rather than nothing.

I do not deny that you believe you have witnessed this. (The same as how I don't deny that UFO 'abductees' have has some sort of experience, or that people have so-called 'religious experiences'.) I simply suspect your interpretation of the actual events/experience. I suspect you are succumbing to unconscious confirmation bias. That is why actually showing us independent evidence is so important here. You are making claims about something that should be easy to gather evidence of, and yet, there is no evidence.

But all my suspicions could be turned against me by just proving me wrong. So, go ahead. Prove me wrong. If I'm wrong, I will recant and apologize. You have nothing to lose. So, let's see it.

Quote:
You are going to talk in a condescending tone

You mean, like this?

EKAthans wrote:
Let me ask you this…Have you ever sat down with a Christian or any other religious person and showed them the empirical, logical evidence and have them say “holy crap you are right! Thank you for showing me! I no longer believe in God!” I am willing to be that has happened very many times which is why I do no argue about religion. Yes a few people do this but how deeply religious were they in the first place? If they did change like that I would conclude they are the type of person that likes logic and empiricism. But why is it that the vast majority don’t change their mind? Because they don’t care…they don’t need logic. Abductive reasoning is enough for them. Yes, I think religion, for the most part, is illogical and worthless. But it does bring happiness to many people and it’s not going away. If it’s not going away what should we do? Should we understand them and accept them, or hang them all?

Or this?

EKAthans wrote:
Maybe much better, maybe not but guess what? There wasn't a culture back then that valued knowledge so what is your point? What if people were super nice and everyone was equal? You think knowledge today isn't being used for personal gain? Do you think the American government which poses all of this knowledge is worried about the best interests of the people? Like I said in my last post...WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? WE HANG RELIGIOUS PEOPLE?

Or how about this?

EKAthans wrote:
Everyone complains about a situation but no one gives a solution...I mean other than an implausable one such as convincing religious people they are wrong...


Quote:
You are going to point out logical fallacies instead of addressing the topic

Umm, I'm doing both. Pointing out fallacies and addressing the topic at the same time. Where have I avoided the topic?

Quote:
You are going to tell me how much you hate religion and how evil it is

Where have I done that? Where did you get the presumption that I would do something like that? I point out the dangers and risks and actual harm of religion. I don't literally 'hate' it, nor do I use words like 'evil'.

Quote:
You aren’t going to take what I say into consideration without automatically dismissing it

What if it's the case that the things you are saying are not referring to real problems? Some claims (such as your claims about what you think I feel, think, do, and support) are so devoid of reality that the only thing left to do is just point them out as baseles and then to dismiss them.

Quote:
You believe you have all of the answers

Deal. I won't believe I have all the answers if you also agree not to believe that I actually think that I do (which I don't).

Quote:
You really don’t think you can learn anything from me

I've said several times I'm interested in hearing about your areas of expertise.

Quote:
You are just trying to educate me (because I do have the ability to read and watch youtube videos on your views and opinions)

What if you say something that is false, and I tell you "Hey, what you said is false, and here's evidence against it," as I did in my post in response to you? You may see that as "trying to educate you". I see that as "setting the record straight".

Quote:
You want to argue about religion

That's easy. If you don't want to argue about religion, stop arguing about religion.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
 What a perfect response,

 What a perfect response, Natural. Long as hell, but worth reading, every line. I hope you will receive a reply, although usually when I make a point, nobody replies.

Actually, you gave me an idea. If you're so good at debating falsehood, (which you definitely are) why should you do it all personally? What about you make a gamebook, or a dialogue game, as a form of debate with a theist? The theist would try to score points against a computer atheist in a debate, by defeating his arguments. At least such will be the premise, to lure the believers into playing. There will have to be questions, where the computer honestly admits ignorance, without being ashamed of it. There will have to be the digital atheist's own irrational pet beliefs, which the player will have a chance doubting and refuting by himself, therefore getting a fair amount of score. 

The fallacies and false arguments will lead to a proper, logical rebuttal (with scientific explanations, pictures, etc when it comes to stuff like creationism) and decrease of score. The only way how to not fall out of the game but keep playing will be an intellectual honesty and exercise of critical thinking to prove the computer wrong when it actually is. Theists will have to admit to the computerized atheist (or be reminded by him) that they willingly drop standards for their favorite beliefs and that they have no right to judge other people and the world by their beliefs. For admitting errors, there will be positive score and/or next level.

There might be levels or chapters for creationism (including my favorite, if God made people of dirt, why there is still dirt?), Pascal's wager, biblical errancy, circular logic, original sin, Yahweh's benevolence, Jesus' uniqueness, and so on. 

I might be able to make such a program by myself, but I've been in freeware game development for 5 years and somehow... I burned out. It was my childhood dream to make games and I made 40 of them in total, small and big. Nowadays if I start a project, I feel empty... the strength to sit hours scripting and testing is gone. From time to time I just try to materialize an idea I have in mind, just to see if I'm good enough to pull that off. Like a pseudo-3D top-down shooter game with elevated jumpable blocks and platforms, or a professionally-looking RPG inventory and equip system. (the pseudo-3D engine works and the inventory system almost works)

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3273
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Nope New Guy

Nope this may not be the site for you. Truth to be told, the Atheist vs. Atheist debates get alot more heated on here than the Theist vs. Atheist debates. We have had some real hard arguments on here with each other, yet we get along. If people didn't challenge my opinions or put them up for examination, then I would be as guilty as the dogmatic theists that I do not agree with for their irrationalities.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
Luminon wrote: What a

Luminon wrote:

 What a perfect response, Natural. Long as hell, but worth reading, every line. I hope you will receive a reply, although usually when I make a point, nobody replies.

You make a good point. hehe

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


ricaluanna
Posts: 1
Joined: 2011-06-16
User is offlineOffline
It was great reading your

It was great reading your introduction.


Ktulu
atheist
Posts: 1830
Joined: 2010-12-21
User is offlineOffline
ricaluanna wrote:It was

ricaluanna wrote:

It was great reading your introduction.

Welcome new poster, and the OP has washed his hands of us.  We dared challenge his beliefs, and god knows that's a big no no.  Too bad, he sounded like he had potential.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc