You guys were right, and I was wrong: refuting theists who won't budge really does make a difference

wingless_sephiroth
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You guys were right, and I was wrong: refuting theists who won't budge really does make a difference

I've been active in the ex-Muslim circles as we post rebuttals to common Muslim arguments, and to be honest, like I posted here before (and you all refuted), I was beginning to think it was a waste of time. Why keep refuting theist arguments when the theists on the other side are not going to budge?

That is, until today when two Muslims not really involved in the debates (and another random theist) said that my posts had helped them see that atheism was in fact a very tenable and logical position, and that they were interested in me answering their questions further. These Muslims were already relatively liberal, and were disgusted by many aspects of mainstream Islam.

Still, it seems so time consuming, and living in the West, being "passionate" about refuting religion in the name of atheism makes one looked down upon as a fanatic, no different than a Christian or Muslim one. Which brings me to this picture:
 


 

Am I a fanatic for wanting Muslims to leave Islam, and to reject an ideology that is overwhelmingly violent and hateful? Am I an extremist for thinking the world will be just so much better without a single ontological position other than my own, just like Muslims think?

But then again, I read in history that many people, including even supposedly Abraham Lincoln, thought abolitionists were extreme fanatics. John Brown instantly comes to mind, whom Lincoln called crazy. Lincoln was afraid their rhetoric was going to tear the nation apart, and stated that he would rather not set any slaves free and keep the union in place.

But, it was the abolitionist position that was the morally superior one. And that is the one that won out in history. And that's what makes me thing that being viewed as a fanatic today may mean history tomorrow will smile down upon me. I don't really know yet, but that is the best point that comes to mind.


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wingless_sephiroth

wingless_sephiroth wrote:

 Am I an extremist for thinking the world will be just so much better without a single ontological position other than my own, just like Muslims think?

 

And your position is .. ?

A negative?

 

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Keep it up!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

                       Keep up the good work, as you can see it does work, not so much for the people you argue with but for the observers. It causes them to think and atheiisim becomes a more accepted way of life.  Ergo a better life for all of us.

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I don't think I am, but I've

I don't think I am, but I've been an extremist before without seeing it. I think this sort of activism is justified, but can I be completely sure? The difference between this 'extremism' and 'Islamic extremism' is that the latter hurts people, and the former might hurt people indirectly.

Some of the Muslims becoming more interested in atheism live in some of the most dangerous places in the Muslim world. Part of me doesn't want them to become atheists. What if something happens to them? It would be my fault, and I would have to bear that for the rest of my life. And, that all comes after seeing a terrible video of a woman and a man being stoned to death:

http://beta.xsvoce.com/stoning.mp4

It's just a lot to emotionally handle.


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 I have a actually had a

 

I have a actually had a discussion on personal philosophy with a guy from a strong Islamic family, recently.  We touched on religion, he drinks and does not consider himself religious, but he has a lot of respect for the religion, from what I gather born from tradition.  He had some interesting things to say, a very well read and intelligent person.  He considers himself a closet agnostic, and I got the impression that the word atheist just carried too much baggage for him.  He made a face when I said it.  He mentioned the 'perfections' of god, and how he was using parts of the Islamic philosophy in his personal philosophy.  I actually thought of you while we were talking, you being the only other non religious ex Islamic person I know.  He mentioned that there is a movement away from the traditional religion among the younger crowd.   

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


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Ktulu wrote: I have a

Ktulu wrote:

 

I have a actually had a discussion on personal philosophy with a guy from a strong Islamic family, recently.  We touched on religion, he drinks and does not consider himself religious, but he has a lot of respect for the religion, from what I gather born from tradition.  He had some interesting things to say, a very well read and intelligent person.  He considers himself a closet agnostic, and I got the impression that the word atheist just carried too much baggage for him.  He made a face when I said it.  He mentioned the 'perfections' of god, and how he was using parts of the Islamic philosophy in his personal philosophy.  I actually thought of you while we were talking, you being the only other non religious ex Islamic person I know.  He mentioned that there is a movement away from the traditional religion among the younger crowd.   

 

And that's one of the ways out, I'm thinking. Should I really just push for secular humanism and skepticism, and let individuals implement that in their lives as they see fit, rather than push atheism with the goal of having them abandon Islam? It seems not only easier for them, but also so much safer for them too. If they keep the title of 'Muslim', despite whatever theological peculiarities they have, at least they can remain safe and not end up in some horrible situation.

He's right, there is a strong movement away from traditional religion among the youth, but there is also a strong movement towards atheism I am seeing. I am not sure how these movements will end up complimenting each other. So far, in interactions, it seems the atheists always manage to convince the liberal or non-traditional Muslims to abandon the Muslim label altogether. So, I might be going against the current on this one.


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You should

 

encourage people to seek the knowable truth based on an acceptable standard of evidence. It's this baseline that counts. Once people start asking serious questions the conclusions become obvious. 

As for your worries about the fault lines of muslim disbelief, I'd not worry too much about it. Agnostics and atheists are much more polite and understanding of each other than competing religious denominations are. 

What you are doing is important, Wingless. 

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


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Quote:These Muslims were

Quote:
These Muslims were already relatively liberal, and were disgusted by many aspects of mainstream Islam.

Well, that seems to support what AIGS or Natural (I can't remember which, I think it was AIGS) said about people already bordering on disbelief... they tend to make easy deconverts.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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wingless_sephiroth wrote: I

wingless_sephiroth wrote:
I don't think I am, but I've been an extremist before without seeing it. I think this sort of activism is justified, but can I be completely sure? The difference between this 'extremism' and 'Islamic extremism' is that the latter hurts people, and the former might hurt people indirectly.

So, the 'moral' thing to do is not so cut and dry, huh?

Funny dat. Not according to theists...

wingless_sephiroth wrote:
 Some of the Muslims becoming more interested in atheism live in some of the most dangerous places in the Muslim world. Part of me doesn't want them to become atheists.

So, your recommendation for a strategy is to just observe them fester in antiquated ideologies and let them breed into larger numbers?

wingless_sephiroth wrote:
 What if something happens to them? It would be my fault, and I would have to bear that for the rest of my life.

So the butterfly effect only works one way? What if one of these people, or their friends wasn't stopped to think just that 1 time, and evolved into a terrorist bomber that killed dozens, hundreds, if not thousands?

wingless_sephiroth wrote:
 And, that all comes after seeing a terrible video of a woman and a man being stoned to death:

http://beta.xsvoce.com/stoning.mp4

It's just a lot to emotionally handle.

Right.

Better sit on the sidelines, and not rock the boat.

Eventually the human race will evolve in the right direction. That it, unless irrational automatons like these don't get their hands on the fuel for a nuclear weapon.

Any other strategies you think might be just as clever?...

 

Not trying to bust your balls, just trying to point out the non sequiturs.

Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes time to deprogram dogma. Read all the testimonials here. Listen to how these ex theists feel now that they've sat down and analyzed religion.

It certainly didn't happen in a day. And now they are working to influence others, through dialogue, through posting, through debates, etc etc.

Wouldn't you rather see these people like the ex theists here? Like yourself?...

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Quote:What you are doing is

Quote:
What you are doing is important, Wingless.

Thanks you so much. It's just, what I am doing has an affect on people's lives in very volatile areas of the world. I am introducing people to ideas that could potentially get them killed.

 

redneF wrote:
So, your recommendation for a strategy is to just observe them fester in antiquated ideologies and let them breed into larger numbers?

It's worked well in communities such as Jews. They kept the Jewish identity, but adopted secular humanist values. 30% of Israel's population are atheists, after all; and even prior to that, Jews had ruled most of their death penalties as invalid around Christ's time.

 

redneF wrote:
So the butterfly effect only works one way? What if one of these people, or their friends wasn't stopped to think just that 1 time, and evolved into a terrorist bomber that killed dozens, hundreds, if not thousands?

That's a good point. Or their kids become terrorists, or someone else they could have introduced to secular humanism could have become terrorists.

 

redneF wrote:
Eventually the human race will evolve in the right direction. That it, unless irrational automatons like these don't get their hands on the fuel for a nuclear weapon.

I do see an honest liberalisation of Islam going on, as pointed out earlier in this topic. What if that liberalisation does precisely what I am aiming to do anyway; creating a population that is significantly less likely to strap a bomb to their body. And, 'liberal Muslims' are much less likely to be captured, raped, and then stoned to death. Just a thought.

 

redneF wrote:
Not trying to bust your balls, just trying to point out the non sequiturs.

I'm here to debate this, so I appreciate it. It's just not easy to encourage people in third world countries to put their lives on the line by leaving Islam, when I'm sitting here cozy and comfortable in California as a natural born citizen.

 

redneF wrote:
Wouldn't you rather see these people like the ex theists here? Like yourself?...

I would, but I'd rather see them stick to that stupid liberal Muslim identity rather than become atheists and murdered for it. But, like you said, who is to say they don't devolve from liberal Islam to political Islam?

 

But, I suppose I shouldn't make them all martyrs just so quickly. My life is in danger in the West too, because radical Islam has its own pockets in California, and I am an open apostate who is challenging them to debates all of the Internet. It only takes one radical Muslim to decide that being put in jail for a bit is worth fulfilling Muhammad's commandment that an apostate must be killed, in particular since Islamic jurisprudence encourages targets that may potentially lead others down the wrong path. But, I don't care; I'd rather live a short life where I'm honest than a long life where I'm two different people. Maybe for others it is the same.

 


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I see your point

 

 

Wingless, given apostacy and atheism are death crimes in many muslim nations. Thing is, they used to be in christian nations, too. As we see from the shemozzle of Iraq and Afghanistan, change comes best from within.

I believe the middle east will change, that knowable truth will out... 

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


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wingless_sephiroth

wingless_sephiroth wrote:

redneF wrote:
So, your recommendation for a strategy is to just observe them fester in antiquated ideologies and let them breed into larger numbers?

It's worked well in communities such as Jews. They kept the Jewish identity, but adopted secular humanist values. 30% of Israel's population are atheists, after all; and even prior to that, Jews had ruled most of their death penalties as invalid around Christ's time.

I concede that seems to be true. I can't think of a single Jew that I think is capable of violence.

 

wingless_sephiroth wrote:

redneF wrote:
So the butterfly effect only works one way? What if one of these people, or their friends wasn't stopped to think just that 1 time, and evolved into a terrorist bomber that killed dozens, hundreds, if not thousands?

That's a good point. Or their kids become terrorists, or someone else they could have introduced to secular humanism could have become terrorists.

Yes, exactly.

 

wingless_sephiroth wrote:

redneF wrote:
Eventually the human race will evolve in the right direction. That it, unless irrational automatons like these don't get their hands on the fuel for a nuclear weapon.

I do see an honest liberalisation of Islam going on, as pointed out earlier in this topic. What if that liberalisation does precisely what I am aiming to do anyway; creating a population that is significantly less likely to strap a bomb to their body. And, 'liberal Muslims' are much less likely to be captured, raped, and then stoned to death. Just a thought.

I can't argue that stepping them down to the level of moderates is a huge step in the right direction. It worked for Christians. All they do is run their mouths and annoy 'infidels' and 'apostates'.

 

wingless_sephiroth wrote:

redneF wrote:
Not trying to bust your balls, just trying to point out the non sequiturs.

I'm here to debate this, so I appreciate it. It's just not easy to encourage people in third world countries to put their lives on the line by leaving Islam, when I'm sitting here cozy and comfortable in California as a natural born citizen.

I get that. I suggest that you read, or watch guys like Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett point out in very clear terms that the time for action is already past due, and that we need to make waves and get people discussing the very, very real threat these fundies pose. They are actively trying to get their hands on nuclear weaponry, or any weaponry capable of mass destruction.

 

wingless_sephiroth wrote:
But, I suppose I shouldn't make them all martyrs just so quickly. My life is in danger in the West too, because radical Islam has its own pockets in California, and I am an open apostate who is challenging them to debates all of the Internet. It only takes one radical Muslim to decide that being put in jail for a bit is worth fulfilling Muhammad's commandment that an apostate must be killed, in particular since Islamic jurisprudence encourages targets that may potentially lead others down the wrong path. But, I don't care; I'd rather live a short life where I'm honest than a long life where I'm two different people. Maybe for others it is the same.

I can appreciate your particular circumstances, fully. Yes, I do think you have to be careful, more than most of us, and tread lightly in your territory.

I was just trying to motivate you to continue in your positive efforts, in my own way...lol

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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So, it happened.One of the

So, it happened.

One of the Afghani Muslims who felt atheism was starting to make much more sense than Islam was threatened with death by his brother who found out he was posting in this group with us. I don't know if it was a, "IM SOO MADD IM GANA KILL U," or, "I will make sure you are stoned to death," but I told him I'd rather him be a living Muslim than a dead atheist, and to withdraw from all the atheist activity until it was safe for him to continue it again later. He agreed, so we'll see if he can ever return to chat with us.


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redneF wrote:Funny dat. Not

redneF wrote:
Funny dat. Not according to theists...

If you are foolish enough to believe the gold lies in fighting fire with fire towards Islam, be my guest. The bodies of any idiot activists that take this ridiculous approach will pile up faster than you can blink.

redneF wrote:
So, your recommendation for a strategy is to just observe them fester in antiquated ideologies and let them breed into larger numbers?

This is almost guaranteed to happen anyways, regardless of what anyone does, short of releasing a doomsday human-extermination weapon of some sort on the relevant populations. The best bet is for their kids to be born over in the western part of the world, adopt a love of freedom both of their own practice and the practice of the same freedoms by others, see men and women as equal, and perhaps one take those values back to the homeland.

In the case of 'toxic' Islam, a multigenerational, 'splinters and dust' approach to theism is exponentially more effective than a 'shout it to them, regardless of the risk' and with no consideration being paid to subtlety. One of these approaches is incredibly more easy to detect and retaliate against than the other.

redneF wrote:
So the butterfly effect only works one way? What if one of these people, or their friends wasn't stopped to think just that 1 time, and evolved into a terrorist bomber that killed dozens, hundreds, if not thousands?

If someone is going to (d)evolve into a "terrorist bomber" at some point, it's highly doubtful that being "stopped to think just that 1 time" is going to cause them to rethink their life choices at a later date.

 

But you already know this.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:redneF

Kapkao wrote:

redneF wrote:
So, your recommendation for a strategy is to just observe them fester in antiquated ideologies and let them breed into larger numbers?

This is almost guaranteed to happen anyways, regardless of what anyone does, short of releasing a doomsday human-extermination weapon of some sort on the relevant populations.

Right.

It's best to wait it out *irony*, in order to avoid any collateral damage...

There's probably time for them to 'see the light' and quickly evolve into moderates and atheists in such a flurry that there won't be enough whackjobs to make an organization who get their hands on nuclear or chemical/biological weapons capable of megadeath.

 

I'm not so optimistic.

Then the end is probably near for the human race. It'll possibly happen in our lifetimes, but probably no less than in the next few generations. I've already reconciled with that probability.

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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wingless_sephiroth

wingless_sephiroth wrote:

Funny thing about that cartoon; one could substitute the "militant atheist" slot for a cartoon of a Red Army soldier.

 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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redneF wrote:Right.It's best

redneF wrote:

Right.

It's best to wait it out *irony*, in order to avoid any collateral damage...

There's probably time for them to 'see the light' and quickly evolve into moderates and atheists in such a flurry that there won't be enough whackjobs to make an organization who get their hands on nuclear or chemical/biological weapons capable of megadeath. 

Is the issue at hand radical Islamists, or just "whackjobs" that "get their hands on (WMDs)"?

Because I thought the thread was about the former, but the goalposts have been moved over time it seems. Also, some WMDs are pretty damn easy to get a hold of. Namely the chemical ones.


 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Come out, come out, A-Nony-Mouse

 

redneF wrote:

 

I can't think of a single Jew that I think is capable of violence.

 

 

wherever you are...

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

redneF wrote:

 

I can't think of a single Jew that I think is capable of violence.

 

 

wherever you are...

 

Does the IDF, and all the radically religious Israeli settlers on the West Bank, count? They are fighting for the idea of a homeland that is primarily religiously enshrined.


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Kapkao

Kapkao wrote:

wingless_sephiroth wrote:

Funny thing about that cartoon; one could substitute the "militant atheist" slot for a cartoon of a Red Army soldier.

 

I don't think Muslim is to Islamism what atheist is to Marxist-Leninism. The latter is practically a religion in its own right, no?