Theism isn't bad, atheism isn't bad, people are bad.

Cpt_pineapple
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Theism isn't bad, atheism isn't bad, people are bad.

Both sides of the Theism issue have leaders of nations that commited astocities. Some were atheists some were Theists. But one thing all these people have in common, a point missed by both atheists and Theists is that they were all human. They all had the need for power and greed. Most control it, others take it to the extreme. 

 

Let's start with the Crusades. Do you really think it's a conicedence that the Church leaders will rule the land? They didn't do it in the name of God, they did it for their greed. And why not? They can use ignorance of the population and who can blame them? They had no where near the knowledge we have now. Why not blame the plaque or any famines on their enemies? There was no centre for disease control to diagnose the plaque and blame it on bacteria rather than God. 

 

Stalin wanted complete control over Soviet Union, Hussien wanted it over Iraq.  The strategies of  both Theist and atheist leaders like this are strikingly similar. All who dared disobey the leader were executed. Soviet Union was primarly an atheist nation because Stalin refused to be put second on the 'who to follow' list. Any one who believed in God put God above Stalin and they were promptly disposed of. Same with Iraq, Hussien was Muslim. All who were not, (or were the wrong kind of Muslim) put Hussien in the back seat of the 'who to follow' list and had to be executed. The premise is the same. "Obey me, the leader or else."

 If you think religion is required to motivate people to follow the leader, you are wrong. Stalin had no shortage of followers, he had the entire Soviet army willing to do his bidding what ever the cost, no believe in God required. All who refused were made an example of which is the case in Hussien's Iraq. Hussien regularly held public executions to show the consequence of disobedience.  Once again, no religion need apply. "Obey me or be killed" was the phrase in pretty much every leader's vocabulary whether they be atheist or Theist. 

 

Many people associate religion with terrorism. I can see why, as the media is pumping out non-stop coverage of the latest suicide bomber. Many people associate suicide bombings with the Isamic religion. This is not the case. The terrorist group with the most suicide bombings under their belts is secular, in fact the Tamil Tigers were the first to use the suicide vest. Believe in God is not required to commit a suicide bombing. 

 

 The motivation for terrorism, or wars is politics, the want for land, power, money, not Theism or atheism. 

 

Theism isn't evil, atheism isn't evil, people are evil.

 

 


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I agree completely - though,

I agree completely - though, I wouldn't use the word evil.


LosingStreak06
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More like people are

More like people are AWESOME.

PS Mass murder is addictive. 


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As has been covered before:

As has been covered before: Religion can be used to justify and motivate extreeme nastiness to other people. Atheism (the lack of religion) can at best be used to remove condemnation (semi-justify) of these acts by denying morality.

Sure the leaders are probably not motivated by faith but a leader without an army is no leader.

Yes there are other things that motivate the masses to be unpleasant to other masses but these almost universally come from religious-type thinking. They come from ideologies that rely on blind faith, that provide arbitary morality and meaning and that discourage individuals questioning the dogma. A strong example of this is the style of communism implemented in the USSR. Instead of God there was the state but the thinking was the same.

Any ideology that generates unquestioning adherence to a belief structure can be used to manipulate people to do unspeakable things to other people. Religion is the most widespread and therefore the most dangerous of these ideologies.

Religion makes you a potential tool to be used by leaders for their own reasons. that in itself makes religion bad. It also makes communism, nationalism, environmentalism (I mean the screaming mob variety. Not those who care about the environment and actually look at the evidence and look for practical solutions) equally bad. At best they destroy your individuality, at worst they make you do horrible things for horrible people.

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


Hambydammit
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Evil doesn't really

Evil doesn't really exist.

Bad exists, and good exists, but always relative to something or someone.

Theism is dangerous because it is a system wherein people are expected to follow blindly, without the eye of reason.

Reason, while it can lead to bad acts, is less likely to encourage mass violence.

Bottom line:  Theism is more dangerous than reason when it comes to mass irrationality.

Bad, good, evil?  Whatever...

 

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

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The problem being that most

The problem being that most theism encourages blind obedience and a lack of critical thinking. It also teaches that all other people are immoral and evil, while followers are defacto good.

 

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


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great post pineapple, i do

great post pineapple, i do agree with you.

hamby, i would partly agree that religion is dangerous.  the truth is the only irrational point is that God really exists and He loves us and wants us to love each other.  we all have to agree that religion has some good morals but the problem is that people that claim to be religious don't follow the same philophsy.  i claim that it is human nature that only uses religion as a tool and the same can happen with any set of beliefs.

do you really think that atheism is the answer?  i think that you give far too much credit to mankind and to your beliefs.  no one is perfect and i suspect if you look closer you will see that you are not as rational and you think you are... or at least that is what i learned from looking at myself, i guess you could the be exception.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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stillmatic, again i can

stillmatic, again i can understand where you are coming from. i just think that it is a common misperception that religion require blind obedience and a lack of critical thinking. i would like to think that we are progressing with society but i do have to agree there are people in religion that lack the ability to question and search deeper. this opportunity may not have been available 200 years ago.

speaking for christianity it says we should love everyone, evil and immoral or not. it says that we should not judge another person. again i think it is a human quality that fears people with a contradicting point of view.

something similar is happing now with atheism... what is different between me calling you a evil person and you calling me a deluisional retard that fails to think rationally?

 

EDIT: grammar errors

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


Hambydammit
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Quote: the truth is the

Quote:
the truth is the only irrational point is that God really exists and He loves us and wants us to love each other.

Kind of true. If you take god's existence as truth, then it becomes logical to do heinous things when the religious leaders tell you it's what god wants.

Quote:
we all have to agree that religion has some good morals

I dare you to find a good moral behavior that can't be attributed to secular logic.

I don't see how you could possibly say I have to agree to your statement. It's patently false. Some religions have adopted some good morals that already existed.

Quote:
but the problem is that people that claim to be religious don't follow the same philophsy.

The more parsimonious explanation is that some people either intentionally or unintentionally use the loopholes provided by religion to do bad things. Sure, you can do bad things with or without religion, but there is no loophole in reason. There are simply consequences to actions.

Quote:
i claim that it is human nature that only uses religion as a tool and the same can happen with any set of beliefs.

Yes. That's true, but it is less likely for really bad things to happen when the consequences for actions are restricted to real consequences.

Quote:
do you really think that atheism is the answer?

No. I think rationality is the answer. Will it solve all the problems in the world? No. That's irrational to expect. Atheism is but one aspect of rationality. Human interaction is unbelievably complex, and there are limited resources on the planet. There will be war. There will be murder. There will be atrocity.

As to what athiesm can do? Well, the primary thing is to promote independent thought. The more people who think for themselves, the less you have mass insanity. Every religion, whether it admits it or not, squelches independent thought. Faith demands blindness.

Quote:
i think that you give far too much credit to mankind and to your beliefs.

Hopefully, for my part, I've dispelled that notion for you. I don't believe that humans are ultimately good or bad. They're just human, and the nature of the world is that there will be conflict, with winners and losers. Ending religion would not end conflict, but it would help.

Quote:
no one is perfect and i suspect if you look closer you will see that you are not as rational and you think you are...

With regard to the existence of god and the supernatural, we are exactly as rational as we think. We can prove it. We do prove it, every day, on this very site. In 2 millenia, there has not been a single logical proof for the existence of god. Yes, we do have the rational high ground.

With that said, I do irrational things, of course. Some of the things I think are irrational. However, and this is a very, very important point -- because I am a rationalist, if you can demonstrate my irrationality to me, I'll try to change it. Here is the difference between rationality and theism. Theists are proud of their irrationality when you point it out to them.

Quote:
or at least that is what i learned from looking at myself, i guess you could the be exception.

It's difficult to relate to you on this one, because it's still a puzzle to me how you could see the overwhelming evidence presented on this site and still believe in a deity. You gotta remember, according to me, you're looking at yourself through Jesus-colored glasses, and that makes your assessment suspect.

I'd suggest that many christians are taught a false humility. I know I was when I was one. You are taught that anything you think that makes you think of yourself as better than the Christian concept of man (flawed, evil, in need of redemption) is pride, and should be squelched.

I'm happy to report that I'm a really awesome person, and I don't mind admitting it. Is it pride? Yes, to a certain degree. I've lived through some pretty awful shit, and come out of it better. Many people don't do that, and I count rational thought as the primary thing that allowed me to get through a lot of it. Am I unique? No, but I don't mind being proud of who I am. It's pretty healthy to have a good self image, after all.

 

 

 

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

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Hambydammit
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Quote: something similar is

Quote:
something similar is happing now with atheism... what is different between me calling you a evil person and you calling me a deluisional retard that fails to think rationally?

Evil is a concept that is not defined, since it relies on an incoherent concept, namely god.  You calling me evil is meaningless.

You are demonstrably delusional, since you believe something that is contrary to reason.

I've never called you a retard.  Your IQ seems normal enough.

I imagine you have a lot of rational thoughts, but you don't apply rationality to your god beliefs, which is irrational.

 

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

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sapphen wrote: we all have

sapphen wrote:

we all have to agree that religion has some good morals

do you really think that atheism is the answer?  i think that you give far too much credit to mankind and to your beliefs.  [/quote

Well I agree that the "golden rule" is a good moral idea, the rest of the Bible is filled with immoral teachings.

Since the Bible was written by men, you give too much credit to the moral teachings of men who lived nearly two centuries ago and take their word as unbreakable law.

For me the most glaring problem with the Bible as a moral authority is that it doesn't oppose slavery. Right there I know that the entire thing is bullshit.

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


Cpt_pineapple
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ParanoidAgnostic wrote: As

ParanoidAgnostic wrote:

As has been covered before: Religion can be used to justify and motivate extreeme nastiness to other people. Atheism (the lack of religion) can at best be used to remove condemnation (semi-justify) of these acts by denying morality.

Sure the leaders are probably not motivated by faith but a leader without an army is no leader.

Yes there are other things that motivate the masses to be unpleasant to other masses but these almost universally come from religious-type thinking. They come from ideologies that rely on blind faith, that provide arbitary morality and meaning and that discourage individuals questioning the dogma. A strong example of this is the style of communism implemented in the USSR. Instead of God there was the state but the thinking was the same.

Any ideology that generates unquestioning adherence to a belief structure can be used to manipulate people to do unspeakable things to other people. Religion is the most widespread and therefore the most dangerous of these ideologies.

Religion makes you a potential tool to be used by leaders for their own reasons. that in itself makes religion bad. It also makes communism, nationalism, environmentalism (I mean the screaming mob variety. Not those who care about the environment and actually look at the evidence and look for practical solutions) equally bad. At best they destroy your individuality, at worst they make you do horrible things for horrible people.

You seem to be confusing political ideology with reiligious ones. Sure I guess you can say that 'Stalin was the 'god' of worship in the Soviet union', but people worshipped Hussien in Iraq. My point is political ideology is independent of religious ones. Even if everyone is atheist, their will still be Republicians and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, Communists and Facists.    

 

As for  ideology in general. Don't we need it sometimes? What if nobody supported Churchill against the Nazis? What if Joan of Arc couldn't get a big enough French army to lead? What if nobody stood up against Communist Russia? Then guess what? We would be under Nazi rule, France will be an extension of England, and Russia will still be the U.S.S.R.  


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Quote: You seem to be

Quote:
You seem to be confusing political ideology with reiligious ones.

The only way to do this is if you think there's a difference.  Kettle calling the pot black?

 

Quote:
Even if everyone is atheist, their will still be Republicians and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, Communists and Facists.   

True, and if there is no religion in the picture, they'll be using some kind of testable, falsifiable theory for their beliefs.  That's better than dogmatic blind faith as a basis.  It allows for this crazy thing called compromise.

Again, will it be perfect?  No.  Will it be better?  Yes.

 

Quote:
As for  ideology in general. Don't we need it sometimes? What if nobody supported Churchill against the Nazis? What if Joan of Arc couldn't get a big enough French army to lead? What if nobody stood up against Communist Russia? Then guess what? We would be under Nazi rule, France will be an extension of England, and Russia will still be the U.S.S.R. 

Kind of a silly question.  If there was no ideology, there'd have been no need to support Churchill against the Nazis, because there'd have been no Nazis.

Actually, I think that when there's a need for organized action, it can be done without blind ideology.  After Pearl Harbor, just about everyone in the U.S. supported the war because it was a good idea to do so.  It was rational.

Just as an aside, I have noticed that the only people who seem to think that atheists think in absolutes are the people who think in absolutes.... theists.

 

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

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Hambydammit wrote: True,

Hambydammit wrote:

True, and if there is no religion in the picture, they'll be using some kind of testable, falsifiable theory for their beliefs.

This, I think, is very hasty assumption. 


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people follow leaders that

people follow leaders that has always been the case. this s the scary part of religion but i fear that it will exist if religion is not present. various governments are good examples of this.  in modern times it is more difficult to deceive a mass amount of people.  i feel that you might be overlooking our past ignorance (in society) and blame religion.

attributed to secular knowledge or not Jesus taught to be kind and understanding.  apart from it already existing, christainity says to be loving yet some christains are not.  people love to find 'loopholes' and we will do so in religion or in law in general. that is part of what i perceive as pineapple's idea.

i kind of understand the point of consequences but religion never excuses anyone of earthly consequences. we all make excusses for our actions and i don't see the connection where religion would be at fault for this.  it is an excuse but not the cause.

there is loopholes in reason and logic can be false.  we are human and subject to error.  i would agree that we are not bad or good but neutral with tendencies of each.  as we progress and learn more we can be more accurate but ultimately right and wrong is decided by an individual and what facts they wish to believe.

granted there are some things that could be proven without a doubt.  nonetheless how would you deal with people that refuse this information?  you still want to promote independent thought right?

i think rational is given more credit than it should.  to question certain "rational" ideas one must be "irrational".  some brilliant people have been irrational and lead us to a rational standpoint.  i do understand you quest for knowledge and i believe that is a progressive one.

i think that your statement "to end religion would help" is an assumption.  like stated before, christainity is an institute that supposedly promotes love (whether existent or not) yet it is still flawed.

how would you think a society of independent thinkers would pan out?  granted the first few years would be discovery and exciting but as people grow old they get used to old ideas and sometime not willing to learn new ones.  is it rational then to say that these people should be removed from society?

i believe that you guys are very rational and i enjoy all the information on this site.  i have not seen overwhelming evidence because i perceive a lot of it as bias.  i think you are looking back at me with a pair of atheist-colored glasses.

the core of our discussion leads us to the concluding that there is no proof God does or does not exist.  although the burden of proof lyes on us, it is just as irrational to say He does not exist than He does. we can dribble facts all day but when it comes down to it, i have faith that God exists and from God that is all that is required.

pride and confidence are two different things.  if you gathered that from religion then i suggest you have made the same mistakes all of us have.  to follow a man not God.  to follow God requires for me and large amount of time pondering and searching.

if it felt wrong to you then it most likely was but then you stopped searching and rebelled. i still remember the first pastor i looked up to and respected.  he was a good man but very strict sometimes.  i did not agree with him but i did look for the good and i fount it.  sometimes we do need to look for good because i think we tend to focus on the bad.

i agree with you that we are human, not good or evil.  maybe it is society in general that can be bad?  would it be rational to say that we should get rid of society or governments?  if you don't agree with religion or not, i think it would be wise to learn from it's mistakes.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


Hambydammit
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Quote: Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Hambydammit wrote:

True, and if there is no religion in the picture, they'll be using some kind of testable, falsifiable theory for their beliefs.

This, I think, is very hasty assumption.

Jesus Christ on a freakin' pogo stick!

How hard is this to comprehend?

Theism = belief that there is something outside of "natural."

If there is no theism, then everything is perceived as inside nature.

If it's inside nature, it's testable.

Will it be tested?  I dunno.  Did I say it would be?  No.

 

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

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Cpt_pineapple
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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Even if everyone is atheist, their will still be Republicians and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, Communists and Facists.

True, and if there is no religion in the picture, they'll be using some kind of testable, falsifiable theory for their beliefs. That's better than dogmatic blind faith as a basis. It allows for this crazy thing called compromise.

 

Again, will it be perfect? No. Will it be better? Yes.

 

No, if they were using some kind of testable, falsifiable theory, then everyone will be Liberal of Conservative, as that would be the rational thing to do. For example, take gun control. Either it's a good idea or it isn't. Either we should implement it or not. However, their are people on both sides of the issue, both with stats and arguments supporting their positions. So the point is, no matter what, people will still disagree. Politics is not like science. A biologist presents a paper on bacteria, it gets accepted as science and the biology community believes it until evidence to the contrary emerges. However, if a politician writes a report on political policy, their are vastly different opinions on whether the policy will work, is cost effective etc...

 

There will always be ideology.

 

 

 

Quote:

Quote:
As for ideology in general. Don't we need it sometimes? What if nobody supported Churchill against the Nazis? What if Joan of Arc couldn't get a big enough French army to lead? What if nobody stood up against Communist Russia? Then guess what? We would be under Nazi rule, France will be an extension of England, and Russia will still be the U.S.S.R.

Kind of a silly question. If there was no ideology, there'd have been no need to support Churchill against the Nazis, because there'd have been no Nazis.

No, Hitler promised Germany a better economy, a better place in the world, what German wouldn't want that?  So their still would be Nazis. You cannot get rid of ideology completly

 

 

Quote:

Actually, I think that when there's a need for organized action, it can be done without blind ideology. After Pearl Harbor, just about everyone in the U.S. supported the war because it was a good idea to do so. It was rational.

 

 

 

Nobody thinks they are blindly following their leader. The leaders will lie, distort do anything to ensure the loyalty of their followers. Politicians spin stories to portray themselves as the underdogs, and their opponents as the mean evil leader who wants to blow up the world.

 

Quote:

Just as an aside, I have noticed that the only people who seem to think that atheists think in absolutes are the people who think in absolutes.... theists.

 

I know the atheist doesn't think that the world will be sunshine and puppies without religion. However, my point is that not much will change besides the fact that nobody is religious.  


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:
Quote:
Hambydammit wrote:

True, and if there is no religion in the picture, they'll be using some kind of testable, falsifiable theory for their beliefs.

This, I think, is very hasty assumption.

Jesus Christ on a freakin' pogo stick!

How hard is this to comprehend?

Theism = belief that there is something outside of "natural."

If there is no theism, then everything is perceived as inside nature.

If it's inside nature, it's testable.

Will it be tested? I dunno. Did I say it would be? No.

 

And here I thought that theism was the belief in a god or gods. Silly me. Not all beliefs stem from falsifiable theories. For examples, see, oh I don't know, every conspiracy theory ever.


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Sapphen, if you were a

Sapphen, if you were a deist I could understand that position. However as a Christian your Bible makes claims that are verifiable and demonstrateably false.

When people say to me they believe in God, my ears hear them say they want to avoid death and are so afraid they will delude themselves with anything to feel safe.

Nobody here is claiming the world would be a perfect place without religion, but it would be better in my opinion. Any idea derrived from an unquestionable authority is a bad one.

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." -- former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien


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Quote: people follow

Quote:
people follow leaders that has always been the case. this s the scary part of religion but i fear that it will exist if religion is not present.

Once again, what's so difficult here?

Theism = outside of nature = untestable.

If we take "untestable truth" out of the mix, then we're one step ahead. Will people still be charismatic leaders, and inspire followers based on emotion instead of fact? Yes. Will they be more open to criticism? Yes.

Quote:
i feel that you might be overlooking our past ignorance (in society) and blame religion.

You don't watch TV late at night, do you...

Past ignorance? puh lease...

Quote:
attributed to secular knowledge or not Jesus taught to be kind and understanding.

Cherry Picking Alert!

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people love to find 'loopholes' and we will do so in religion or in law in general.

And if you can't fall back on "I'm right because my invisible friend said so" then the loopholes are more open to skepticism.

How is it so difficult to see this?

Quote:
i kind of understand the point of consequences but religion never excuses anyone of earthly consequences.

huh?

have you read anything about Islamic law?

How about those abortion bombers in the U.S.? Ever heard them talk about how god would excuse them for what they did because it was for his glory?

How about all of Fred Phelps followers?

What about all those Christians who voted for Bush, comparing his past indiscretions to David in the Bible?

You obviously don't have a firm grasp on religion in America or the middle east. Sorry.

Please, don't give me the line that the "heads of religion" or "the true religious teaching" don't excuse people. Religion is what people believe. Lots of people believe it DOES give them an excuse to do otherwise awful things. Period.

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there is loopholes in reason and logic can be false.

Which is why we have peer review

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as we progress and learn more we can be more accurate but ultimately right and wrong is decided by an individual and what facts they wish to believe.

You're conflating individual and group morality, but the point is still valid for both. Yes, morality is fluid, and it changes for individuals largely based on the consensus of the group, which is largely based on current living conditions/education levels/political climate, etc...

Quote:
granted there are some things that could be proven without a doubt. nonetheless how would you deal with people that refuse this information? you still want to promote independent thought right?

The same way we've always tried to do. We judge their actions based on their impact on society and come up with a retributive action that suits the current conception of "greater good."

The difference is we wouldn't be using "unquestionable truths" to make the standards. Why is this so hard to comprehend?

Quote:
i think that your statement "to end religion would help" is an assumption.

It's a well educated prediction. Having seen that secular societies tend to have less social problems than religious ones, I predict that a world with no religion would have less societal problems than a world with religion. This is good deduction.

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like stated before, christainity is an institute that supposedly promotes love

yeah, and historically, it's got a TERRIBLE record.

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how would you think a society of independent thinkers would pan out?

Better than the current one. I've already explained why.

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granted the first few years would be discovery and exciting but as people grow old they get used to old ideas and sometime not willing to learn new ones. is it rational then to say that these people should be removed from society?

Did I say that?

What's your point?

Quote:
i have not seen overwhelming evidence because i perceive a lot of it as bias. i think you are looking back at me with a pair of atheist-colored glasses.

You mean clear?

Look, whether you like it or not, supernatural is incoherent. It can be no other way. Since it is, and you believe in it, it is not bias to say you're delusional. It's just fact.

Quote:
the core of our discussion leads us to the concluding that there is no proof God does or does not exist.

Class, repeat after me: THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON THE CLAIMANT.

If there is no proof that god exists, then there is no need for proof that he does not exist.

Period.

Quote:
although the burden of proof lyes on us, it is just as irrational to say He does not exist than He does.

I just demonstrated that it is more rational to say he does not exist.

Quote:
we can dribble facts all day but when it comes down to it, i have faith that God exists and from God that is all that is required.

Admitting your delusion doesn't make it more rational.

Quote:
pride and confidence are two different things. if you gathered that from religion then i suggest you have made the same mistakes all of us have. to follow a man not God. to follow God requires for me and large amount of time pondering and searching.

huh?

What did I say about following a man?

I'd say it would take a large amount of time, since there's no possible way you could know anything for sure about your god.

Me, on the other hand, I've got lots of things I can know for certain because of logic and science.

Quote:
if it felt wrong to you then it most likely was but then you stopped searching and rebelled.

Huh?

What did I rebel from?

What did I stop searching for?

I don't think I said any of that.

Quote:
i agree with you that we are human, not good or evil.

Then you disagree with one of the core tenets of Christianity?

Why do you believe the rest of it then?

Quote:
maybe it is society in general that can be bad?

Perhaps. Group dynamics can be pretty scary. But... society always has leaders. These are individuals, who have a huge amount of power to change society.

Quote:
would it be rational to say that we should get rid of society or governments?

Why would you think that?

Quote:
if you don't agree with religion or not, i think it would be wise to learn from it's mistakes.

That's what we're trying to get people to do.

 

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Quote: And here I thought

Quote:
And here I thought that theism was the belief in a god or gods. Silly me. Not all beliefs stem from falsifiable theories. For examples, see, oh I don't know, every conspiracy theory ever.

What do we, as a society, do to conspiracy buffs?

We point our fingers and snicker at them, and make fun of them.  That's appropriate, because most of them are severely delusional, and believe in things that are untestable.  Did I ever say delusion only comes from theism?

What is theism?  It's belief in something supernatural, right?  What is god?  Supernatural, right?

What else is supernatural that people believe in?  Ghosts, demons, etc?  Is that theism?  Ok, I dunno.  Maybe it's just silly.  But... if it were widely accepted that anything supernatural cannot exist, might a few less people believe in these things?  Probably.

Are you trying to catch me on a technicality?  Why?  Do you think my points are any less valid because somebody believes Elvis speaks through their refrigerator magnet?

I'm sorry, I'm more interested in somebody trying to refute the point of my posts, namely that religion contributes nothing to society that couldn't be done equally well or better without religion. 

 

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

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as a christain i have no

as a christain i have no need to defend the bible.  some of the contradictions are in dispute now on this site but i think sometimes we see what we want to see... including myself.

one point about slavery you stated eariler, it was my impression that the "slavery" that the bible agreed with was more like a servant.  they got payed and was not treated badly.  they lived in houses, some where allowed to marry and save up for when they would be free from the contract.  it was kind of a trade agreement.  you like my daughter?  then work for me for 10 years and i will let you marry her.  there where instances of people treating these servants badly but even today we have a boss that is a tailpipe.

to me i see the bible as two things, history written by man and a living spiritual text that speaks to me in many different ways.  the bible is one thing that convinced me of God.  i understand the contradictions but have you ever put that much time in the good stuff.  because it contains questionable points to you does not mean that it is entirely inaccurate.

take a refreshed look at it.  pick up another version othen the KJV or NIV.  the amplified is a great one.  read some in the NT and look for the good.

death...  it happens.

 if you would like to respond to this, send me a personal message or we can start a new thread.  this is an interesting topic but i do not wish to take away from pineapple's thread.

 --

yes i do agree that an idea derived from an unquestionable authority is dangerous.  i have questioned God many times in my prayers and i have always gotten an answer.

find good in what people say and try to ignore the bad... we all have good and bad in us and we just want to reach out to each other.  to be understood.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:   As

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
 

As for ideology in general. Don't we need it sometimes? What if nobody supported Churchill against the Nazis? What if Joan of Arc couldn't get a big enough French army to lead? What if nobody stood up against Communist Russia? Then guess what? We would be under Nazi rule, France will be an extension of England, and Russia will still be the U.S.S.R.

Nationalism Cpt_pineapple it's an ideology promoted by the state for very bad reasons

Any ideology that bypasses ones own ethics is inherently dangerous Communist religion nationalism and so on,these all try to bypass one's natural sense of morality

While atheism promotes freethinking and a reliance upon one's own sense of ethics and morality

 


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Well, Sapphen, I give you

Well, Sapphen, I give you props for your ability to reconcile cognitive dissonance, but I hope you realize that doesn't go very far to answering some of the very valid points that have been brought up so far.

I don't mind personally if you don't address them, but I'd think for your own peace of mind, you'd want to.

 

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
And here I thought that theism was the belief in a god or gods. Silly me. Not all beliefs stem from falsifiable theories. For examples, see, oh I don't know, every conspiracy theory ever.

What do we, as a society, do to conspiracy buffs?

We point our fingers and snicker at them, and make fun of them. That's appropriate, because most of them are severely delusional, and believe in things that are untestable. Did I ever say delusion only comes from theism?

You definitely implied that without theism, rational thinking would reign supreme. And not everyone snickers at conspiracy buffs. Otherwise, there would be no conspiracy buffs.

Quote:
What is theism? It's belief in something supernatural, right? What is god? Supernatural, right?

Not my God.

Quote:
What else is supernatural that people believe in? Ghosts, demons, etc? Is that theism? Ok, I dunno.

If you don't know, then I'll be happy to tell you. It isn't theism.

Quote:
Are you trying to catch me on a technicality? Why? Do you think my points are any less valid because somebody believes Elvis speaks through their refrigerator magnet?

I'm not trying to catch you on anything. I'm telling you that when you essentially said "Once theism is gone, everything will be better" you were wrong.

Quote:
I'm sorry, I'm more interested in somebody trying to refute the point of my posts, namely that religion contributes nothing to society that couldn't be done equally well or better without religion.

You are free to think that. I think that the value of religion (and theism in general) has nothing to do with its contributions to society (positive or negative).


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Has there ever been an

Has there ever been an atheistic society or culture? The injustices found in theocracies are not to be disputed but do we have any atheist cultures that we can look at for comparison? It seems the closest we can get is some communist regimes ore maybe some dictatorships but these are not atheist except in a peripheral sense. Even progressive countries are secular, but not atheist.


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Quote: You are free to

Quote:
You are free to think that. I think that the value of religion (and theism in general) has nothing to do with its contributions to society (positive or negative).

So, what is it?

Quote:
I'm not trying to catch you on anything. I'm telling you that when you essentially said "Once theism is gone, everything will be better" you were wrong.

Read what you wrote. Everything will be better? Did I say that? I said that the world would be better. Do you want to rethink your statement? Did I say milk will taste better? All or nothing thinking is not something I do a lot of. If you read my posts carefully, you'll see that I've consistently said that the world (read: people, society) would be better off without religion. Since you admit that religion doesn't contribute value to society, how could you possibly disagree with me? Or, is that not what you meant? What exactly is the contribution of religion again? Your words: I think that the value of religion (and theism in general) has nothing to do with its contributions to society (positive or negative). If this is so, then the contributions of religion to society don't have value attributable to religion. It must be something that could be got from outside religion, right?

Quote:

Quote:
What is theism? It's belief in something supernatural, right? What is god? Supernatural, right?

Not my God.

It's still pretty delusional to believe in a natural god, but you are a step closer to rationality, and that's good.

Quote:
You definitely implied that without theism, rational thinking would reign supreme.

Would you do me the favor of reading what I actually write, and not what you expect it to be?

hambydammit wrote:
Having seen that secular societies tend to have less social problems than religious ones, I predict that a world with no religion would have less societal problems than a world with religion.

hambydammit wrote:

True, and if there is no religion in the picture, they'll be using some kind of testable, falsifiable theory for their beliefs. That's better than dogmatic blind faith as a basis. It allows for this crazy thing called compromise.

Again, will it be perfect? No. Will it be better? Yes.

hambydammit wrote:

I think rationality is the answer. Will it solve all the problems in the world? No. That's irrational to expect. Atheism is but one aspect of rationality. Human interaction is unbelievably complex, and there are limited resources on the planet. There will be war. There will be murder. There will be atrocity.

As to what athiesm can do? Well, the primary thing is to promote independent thought. The more people who think for themselves, the less you have mass insanity. Every religion, whether it admits it or not, squelches independent thought. Faith demands blindness.

************

Quote:
And not everyone snickers at conspiracy buffs. Otherwise, there would be no conspiracy buffs.

Not everyone snickers at religious people, either, but we're getting there.

Yes, losingstreak, I think there would be more rationality if religion were eradicated. Do I think the world would be perfect, or that everyone would suddenly be completely rational? Duh.

Only theists believe in the possibility of a perfect world, at least as far as I've seen.

 

 

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Quote: Has there ever been

Quote:
Has there ever been an atheistic society or culture?

I'm not aware of one that was 100% atheist.

Quote:
The injustices found in theocracies are not to be disputed but do we have any atheist cultures that we can look at for comparison?

Most of the scandinavian countries are majority secular/atheist.  I've known many people from the Netherlands, and the general consensus there seems to be quiet chuckling at religious people.  Japan is mostly atheist.

 

Quote:
It seems the closest we can get is some communist regimes ore maybe some dictatorships but these are not atheist except in a peripheral sense.

Right.  Communism could well be called a secular religion.  It required the same dogmatic belief, squelched questioning, and punished dissent with brutality.

What you're really asking, I think, is if there are societies that encourage freethinking.  Atheism is but one part of what could be described as a "rational society," and isn't strictly necessary, although it would be a natural result of a society that didn't do anything to promote or encourage religion.

And, to answer that, the countries I mentioned seem to fit the criteria fairly well.

 

Quote:
Even progressive countries are secular, but not atheist.

And I think that's pretty much all most atheists could ask for.

For my part, as long as religion stays completely out of my government and my personal life, I'm a happy camper.

For that to happen, it has to be marginalized enough that people don't take it seriously.  I think there are enough examples of that kind of culture to make a comparison.

See my next post for documentation.

 

 

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Text follows. Bold,

Text follows. Bold, underline, font size are my emphasis.

-HD

 

 

Gregory S. Paul
Baltimore, Maryland

Introduction

[1] Two centuries ago there was relatively little dispute over the existence of God, or the societally beneficial effect of popular belief in a creator. In the twentieth century extensive secularization occurred in western nations, the United States being the only significant exception (Bishop; Bruce; Gill et al.; Sommerville). If religion has receded in some western nations, what is the impact of this unprecedented transformation upon their populations? Theists often assert that popular belief in a creator is instrumental towards providing the moral, ethical and other foundations necessary for a healthy, cohesive society. Many also contend that widespread acceptance of evolution, and/or denial of a creator, is contrary to these goals. But a cross-national study verifying these claims has yet to be published. That radically differing worldviews can have measurable impact upon societal conditions is plausible according to a number of mainstream researchers (Bainbridge; Barro; Barro and McCleary; Beeghley; Groeneman and Tobin; Huntington; Inglehart and Baker; Putman; Stark and Bainbridge). Agreement with the hypothesis that belief in a creator is beneficial to societies is largely based on assumption, anecdotal accounts, and on studies of limited scope and quality restricted to one population (Benson et al.; Hummer et al.; Idler and Kasl; Stark and Bainbridge). A partial exception is given by Barro and McCleary, who correlated economic growth with rates of belief in the afterlife and church attendance in numerous nations (while Kasman and Reid [2004] commented that Europe does not appear to be suffering unduly from its secularization). It is surprising that a more systematic examination of the question has not been previously executed since the factors required to do so are in place. The twentieth century acted, for the first time in human history, as a vast Darwinian global societal experiment in which a wide variety of dramatically differing social-religious-political-economic systems competed with one another, with varying degrees of success. A quantitative cross-national analysis is feasible because a large body of survey and census data on rates of religiosity, secularization, and societal indicators has become available in the prosperous developed democracies including the United States.

[2] This study is a first, brief look at an important subject that has been almost entirely neglected by social scientists. The primary intent is to present basic correlations of the elemental data. Some conclusions that can be gleaned from the plots are outlined. This is not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health. It is hoped that these original correlations and results will spark future research and debate on the issue.

The Belief that Religiosity is Socially Beneficial

[3] As he helped initiate the American experiment Benjamin Franklin stated that "religion will be a powerful regulator of our actions, give us peace and tranquility within our minds, and render us benevolent, useful and beneficial to others" (Isaacson: 87-88). When the theory of biological evolution removed the need for a supernatural creator concerns immediately arose over the societal implications of widespread abandonment of faith (Desmond and Moore; Numbers). In 1880 the religious moralist Dostoyevsky penned the famous warning that "if God does not exist, then everything is permissible." Even so, in Europe the issue has not been a driving focus of public and political dispute, especially since the world wars.

[4] Although its proponents often claim that anti-evolution creationism<1> is scientific, it has abjectly failed in the practical realms of mainstream science and hi-tech industry (Ayala et al.; Crews; Cziko; Dawkins, 1996, 1997; Dennett; Gould; Koza et al.; L. Lane; Miller; Paul and Cox; Shanks; Wise; Young and Edis). The continuing popularity of creationism in America indicates that it is in reality a theistic social-political movement partly driven by concerns over the societal consequences of disbelief in a creator (Forrest and Gross; Numbers). The person most responsible for politicizing the issue in America, evangelical Christian W. J. Bryan,<2> expressed relatively little interest in evolution until the horrors of WW I inspired him to blame the scientific revolution that invented chemical warfare and other modern ills for "preaching that man has a brute ancestry and eliminating the miraculous and the supernatural from the Bible" (Numbers: 178).

[5] In the United States many conservative theists consider evolutionary science a leading contributor to social dysfunction because it is amoral or worse, and because it inspires disbelief in a moral creator (Colson and Pearcey; Eve and Harrold; Johnson; Numbers; Pearcey; Schroeder). The original full title for the creationist Discovery Institute was the Discovery Institute for the Renewal of Science and Culture (a title still applied to a division), and the institute's mission challenges "materialism on specifically scientific grounds" with the intent of reversing "some of materialism's destructive cultural consequences." The strategy for achieving these goals is the "wedge" strategy to insert intelligent design creationism into mainstream academe and subsequently destroy Darwinian science (Johnson; Forrest and Gross note this effort is far behind schedule). The Discovery Institute and the less conservative, even more lavishly funded pro-theistic Templeton Foundation fund research into the existence and positive societal influence of a creator (Harris et al.; Holden). In 2000 the Discovery Institute held a neocreationist seminar for members of Congress (Applegate). Politically and socially powerful conservatives have deliberately worked to elevate popular concerns over a field of scientific and industrial research to such a level that it qualifies as a major societal fear factor. The current House majority leader T. DeLay contends that high crime rates and tragedies like the Columbine assault will continue as long schools teach children "that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup of mud" (DeLay and Dawson). Today's leaders of the world's largest Christian denomination, the Catholic Church, share a dim view of the social impact of evolution. In his inauguration speech, Benedict XVI lauded the benefits of belief in a creator and contended, "we are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution." A leading church cleric and theologian (Schonborn) proclaimed that "the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design" refutes the mindless creation of Darwinian natural selection (also Dean, Dean and Goodstein).

[6] Agreement with the hypothesis that popular religiosity is societally advantageous is not limited to those opposed to evolutionary science, or to conservatives. The basic thesis can be held by anyone who believes in a benign creator regardless of the proposed mode of creation, or the believer's social-political worldview. In broad terms the hypothesis that popular religiosity is socially beneficial holds that high rates of belief in a creator, as well as worship, prayer and other aspects of religious practice, correlate with lowering rates of lethal violence, suicide, non-monogamous sexual activity, and abortion, as well as improved physical health. Such faith-based, virtuous "cultures of life" are supposedly attainable if people believe that God created them for a special purpose, and follow the strict moral dictates imposed by religion. At one end of the spectrum are those who consider creator belief helpful but not necessarily critical to individuals and societies. At the other end the most ardent advocates consider persons and people inherently unruly and ungovernable unless they are strictly obedient to the creator (as per Barna; Colson and Pearcey; Johnson; Pearcey; Schroeder). Barro labels societal advantages that are associated with religiosity "spiritual capital," an extension of Putman's concept of "social capital." The corresponding view that western secular materialism leads to "cultures of death" is the official opinion of the Papacy, which claims, "the proabortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected" (John Paul II). In the United States popular support for the cultural and moral superiority of theism is so extensive that popular disbelief in God ranks as another major societal fear factor.

[7] The media (Stepp) gave favorable coverage to a report that children are hardwired towards, and benefit from, accepting the existence of a divine creator on an epidemiological and neuro-scientific basis (Benson et al.). Also covered widely was a Federal report that the economic growth of nations positively responds to high rates of belief in hell and heaven.<3> Faith-based charities and education are promoted by the Bush administration<4> and religious allies and lobbies as effective means of addressing various social problems (Aronson; Goodstein). The conservative Family Research Council proclaims, "believing that God is the author of life, liberty and the family, FRC promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free and stable society." Towards the liberal end of the political spectrum presidential candidate Al Gore supported teaching both creationism and evolution, his running mate Joe Leiberman asserted that belief in a creator is instrumental to "secure the moral future of our nation, and raise the quality of life for all our people," and presidential candidate John Kerry emphasized his religious values in the latter part of his campaign.

[8] With surveys showing a strong majority from conservative to liberal believing that religion is beneficial for society and for individuals, many Americans agree that their church-going nation is an exceptional, God blessed, "shining city on the hill" that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly skeptical world. But in the other developed democracies religiosity continues to decline precipitously and avowed atheists often win high office, even as clergies warn about adverse societal consequences if a revival of creator belief does not occur (Reid, 2001).

Procedures and Primary Data Sources

[9] Levels of religious and nonreligious belief and practice, and indicators of societal health and dysfunction, have been most extensively and reliably surveyed in the prosperous developed democracies (Figures 1-9). Similar data is often lacking for second and third world nations, or is less reliable. The cultural and economic similarity of the developed democracies minimizes the variability of factors outside those being examined. The approximately 800 million mostly middle class adults and children act as a massive epidemiological experiment that allows hypotheses that faith in a creator or disbelief in evolution improves or degrades societal conditions to be tested on an international scale. The extent of this data makes it potentially superior to results based on much smaller sample sizes. Data is from the 1990s, most from the middle and latter half of the decade, or the early 2000s.

[10] Data sources for rates of religious belief and practice as well as acceptance of evolution are the 1993 Environment I (Bishop) and 1998 Religion II polls conducted by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), a cross-national collaboration on social science surveys using standard methodologies that currently involves 38 nations. The last survey interviewed approximately 23,000 people in almost all (17) of the developed democracies; Portugal is also plotted as an example of a second world European democracy. Results for western and eastern Germany are combined following the regions' populations. England is generally Great Britain excluding Northern Ireland; Holland is all of the Netherlands. The results largely agree with national surveys on the same subjects; for example, both ISSP and Gallup indicate that absolute plus less certain believers in a higher power are about 90% of the U.S. population. The plots include Bible literalism and frequency of prayer and service attendance, as well as absolute belief in a creator, in order to examine religiosity in terms of ardency, conservatism, and activities. Self-reported rates of religious attendance and practice may be significantly higher than actual rates (Marler and Hadaway), but the data is useful for relative comparisons, especially when it parallels results on religious belief. The high rates of church attendance reported for the Swiss appear anomalous compared to their modest levels of belief and prayer.

[11] Data on aspects of societal health and dysfunction are from a variety of well-documented sources including the UN Development Programme (2000). Homicide is the best indicator of societal violence because of the extremity of the act and its unique contribution to levels of societal fear, plus the relatively reliable nature of the data (Beeghley; Neapoletan). Youth suicide (WHO) was examined in order to avoid cultural issues related to age and terminal illness. Data on STDs, teen pregnancy and birth (Panchaud et al.; Singh and Darroch) were accepted only if the compilers concluded that they were not seriously underreported, except for the U.S. where under reporting does not exaggerate disparities with the other developed democracies because they would only close the gaps. Teen pregnancy was examined in a young age class in which marriage is infrequent. Abortion data (Panchaud et al.) was accepted only from those nations in which it is as approximately legal and available as in the U.S. In order to minimize age related factors, rates of dysfunction were plotted within youth cohorts when possible.

[12] Regression analyses were not executed because of the high variability of degree of correlation, because potential causal factors for rates of societal function are complex, and because it is not the purpose of this initial study to definitively demonstrate a causal link between religion and social conditions. Nor were multivariate analyses used because they risk manipulating the data to produce errant or desired results,<5> and because the fairly consistent characteristics of the sample automatically minimizes the need to correct for external multiple factors (see further discussion below). Therefore correlations of raw data are used for this initial examination.

Results

[13] Among the developed democracies absolute belief in God, attendance of religious services and Bible literalism vary over a dozenfold, atheists and agnostics five fold, prayer rates fourfold, and acceptance of evolution almost twofold. Japan, Scandinavia, and France are the most secular nations in the west, the United States is the only prosperous first world nation to retain rates of religiosity otherwise limited to the second and third worlds (Bishop; PEW). Prosperous democracies where religiosity is low (which excludes the U.S.) are referred to below as secular developed democracies.

[14] Correlations between popular acceptance of human evolution and belief in and worship of a creator and Bible literalism are negative (Figure 1). The least religious nation, Japan, exhibits the highest agreement with the scientific theory, the lowest level of acceptance is found in the most religious developed democracy, the U.S.

[15] A few hundred years ago rates of homicide were astronomical in Christian Europe and the American colonies (Beeghley; R. Lane). In all secular developed democracies a centuries long-term trend has seen homicide rates drop to historical lows (Figure 2). The especially low rates in the more Catholic European states are statistical noise due to yearly fluctuations incidental to this sample, and are not consistently present in other similar tabulations (Barcley and Tavares). Despite a significant decline from a recent peak in the 1980s (Rosenfeld), the U.S. is the only prosperous democracy that retains high homicide rates, making it a strong outlier in this regard (Beeghley; Doyle, 2000). Similarly, theistic Portugal also has rates of homicides well above the secular developed democracy norm. Mass student murders in schools are rare, and have subsided somewhat since the 1990s, but the U.S. has experienced many more (National School Safety Center) than all the secular developed democracies combined. Other prosperous democracies do not significantly exceed the U.S. in rates of nonviolent and in non-lethal violent crime (Beeghley; Farrington and Langan; Neapoletan), and are often lower in this regard. The United States exhibits typical rates of youth suicide (WHO), which show little if any correlation with theistic factors in the prosperous democracies (Figure 3). The positive correlation between pro-theistic factors and juvenile mortality is remarkable, especially regarding absolute belief, and even prayer (Figure 4). Life spans tend to decrease as rates of religiosity rise (Figure 5), especially as a function of absolute belief. Denmark is the only exception. Unlike questionable small-scale epidemiological studies by Harris et al. and Koenig and Larson, higher rates of religious affiliation, attendance, and prayer do not result in lower juvenile-adult mortality rates on a cross-national basis.<6>

[16] Although the late twentieth century STD epidemic has been curtailed in all prosperous democracies (Aral and Holmes; Panchaud et al.), rates of adolescent gonorrhea infection remain six to three hundred times higher in the U.S. than in less theistic, pro-evolution secular developed democracies (Figure 6). At all ages levels are higher in the U.S., albeit by less dramatic amounts. The U.S. also suffers from uniquely high adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, which are starting to rise again as the microbe's resistance increases (Figure 7). The two main curable STDs have been nearly eliminated in strongly secular Scandinavia. Increasing adolescent abortion rates show positive correlation with increasing belief and worship of a creator, and negative correlation with increasing non-theism and acceptance of evolution; again rates are uniquely high in the U.S. (Figure 8). Claims that secular cultures aggravate abortion rates (John Paul II) are therefore contradicted by the quantitative data. Early adolescent pregnancy and birth have dropped in the developed democracies (Abma et al.; Singh and Darroch), but rates are two to dozens of times higher in the U.S. where the decline has been more modest (Figure 9). Broad correlations between decreasing theism and increasing pregnancy and birth are present, with Austria and especially Ireland being partial exceptions. Darroch et al. found that age of first intercourse, number of sexual partners and similar issues among teens do not exhibit wide disparity or a consistent pattern among the prosperous democracies they sampled, including the U.S. A detailed comparison of sexual practices in France and the U.S. observed little difference except that the French tend - contrary to common impression - to be somewhat more conservative (Gagnon et al.).

Discussion

[17] The absence of exceptions to the negative correlation between absolute belief in a creator and acceptance of evolution, plus the lack of a significant religious revival in any developed democracy where evolution is popular, cast doubt on the thesis that societies can combine high rates of both religiosity and agreement with evolutionary science. Such an amalgamation may not be practical. By removing the need for a creator evolutionary science made belief optional. When deciding between supernatural and natural causes is a matter of opinion large numbers are likely to opt for the latter. Western nations are likely to return to the levels of popular religiosity common prior to the 1900s only in the improbable event that naturalistic evolution is scientifically overturned in favor of some form of creationist natural theology that scientifically verifies the existence of a creator. Conversely, evolution will probably not enjoy strong majority support in the U.S. until religiosity declines markedly.

[18] In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies (Figures 1-9). The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a "shining city on the hill" to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health. Youth suicide is an exception to the general trend because there is not a significant relationship between it and religious or secular factors. No democracy is known to have combined strong religiosity and popular denial of evolution with high rates of societal health. Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional. None of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction. In some cases the highly religious U.S. is an outlier in terms of societal dysfunction from less theistic but otherwise socially comparable secular developed democracies. In other cases, the correlations are strongly graded, sometimes outstandingly so.

[19] If the data showed that the U.S. enjoyed higher rates of societal health than the more secular, pro-evolution democracies, then the opinion that popular belief in a creator is strongly beneficial to national cultures would be supported. Although they are by no means utopias, the populations of secular democracies are clearly able to govern themselves and maintain societal cohesion. Indeed, the data examined in this study demonstrates that only the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come closest to achieving practical "cultures of life" that feature low rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related dysfunction, and even abortion. The least theistic secular developed democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most successful in these regards. The non-religious, pro-evolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator. The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted. Contradicting these conclusions requires demonstrating a positive link between theism and societal conditions in the first world with a similarly large body of data - a doubtful possibility in view of the observable trends.

Conclusion

[20] The United States' deep social problems are all the more disturbing because the nation enjoys exceptional per capita wealth among the major western nations (Barro and McCleary; Kasman; PEW; UN Development Programme, 2000, 2004). Spending on health care is much higher as a portion of the GDP and per capita, by a factor of a third to two or more, than in any other developed democracy (UN Development Programme, 2000, 2004). The U.S. is therefore the least efficient western nation in terms of converting wealth into cultural and physical health. Understanding the reasons for this failure is urgent, and doing so requires considering the degree to which cause versus effect is responsible for the observed correlations between social conditions and religiosity versus secularism. It is therefore hoped that this initial look at a subject of pressing importance will inspire more extensive research on the subject. Pressing questions include the reasons, whether theistic or non-theistic, that the exceptionally wealthy U.S. is so inefficient that it is experiencing a much higher degree of societal distress than are less religious, less wealthy prosperous democracies. Conversely, how do the latter achieve superior societal health while having little in the way of the religious values or institutions? There is evidence that within the U.S. strong disparities in religious belief versus acceptance of evolution are correlated with similarly varying rates of societal dysfunction, the strongly theistic, anti-evolution south and mid-west having markedly worse homicide, mortality, STD, youth pregnancy, marital and related problems than the northeast where societal conditions, secularization, and acceptance of evolution approach European norms (Aral and Holmes; Beeghley, Doyle, 2002). It is the responsibility of the research community to address controversial issues and provide the information that the citizens of democracies need to chart their future courses.

Figures (return)

Indicators of societal dysfunction and health as functions of percentage rates of theistic and non-theistic belief and practice in 17 first world developed democracies and one second world democracy. ISSP questions asked: I know God really exists and I have no doubt about it = absolutely believe in God; 2-3 times a month + once a week or more = attend religious services at least several times a month; several times a week - several times a day = pray at least several times a week; the Bible is the actual word of God and it is to be taken literally, word for word = Bible literalists; human beings [have] developed from earlier species of animals = accept human evolution; I don't know whether there is a God and I don't believe there is a way to find out + I don't believe in God = agnostics and other atheists.

..>..>

Figure 1 Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9

Legend

A = Australia
C = Canada
D = Denmark
E = Great Britain
F = France
G = Germany
H = Holland
I = Ireland
J = Japan
L = Switzerland
N = Norway
P = Portugal
R = Austria
S = Spain
T = Italy
U = United States
W = Sweden
Z = New Zealand

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

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Hambydammit thank's for this

Hambydammit thank's for this ? do you have a link to the source


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First, Hammby, being

First, Hammby, being secular is not getting rid of religion. Canada is one of the best countries in the world, and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister) is Christian. The government can be secular and the people religious 

 

Rev_Devilin wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

As for ideology in general. Don't we need it sometimes? What if nobody supported Churchill against the Nazis? What if Joan of Arc couldn't get a big enough French army to lead? What if nobody stood up against Communist Russia? Then guess what? We would be under Nazi rule, France will be an extension of England, and Russia will still be the U.S.S.R.

Nationalism Cpt_pineapple it's an ideology promoted by the state for very bad reasons

Any ideology that bypasses ones own ethics is inherently dangerous Communist religion nationalism and so on,these all try to bypass one's natural sense of morality

While atheism promotes freethinking and a reliance upon one's own sense of ethics and morality

 

 

I already noted, that atheists are as capable of dogmatic thinking as anyone else.  


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: I

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I already noted, that atheists are as capable of dogmatic thinking as anyone else.  

Here's the difference, an atheist can be dogmatic about something other than atheism. Atheism itself has no dogma so it cannot be dogmatic. Religion on the other hand actively promotes dogmatic thought.

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


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Rev_Devilin wrote:

Ctp pineapple wrote:

I already noted, that atheists are as capable of dogmatic thinking as anyone else.

? do you believe that an ideology of blind obedience as promoted in religious teachings would not have any effect upon dogmatic thinking


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ParanoidAgnostic

ParanoidAgnostic wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I already noted, that atheists are as capable of dogmatic thinking as anyone else.

Here's the difference, an atheist can be dogmatic about something other than atheism. Atheism itself has no dogma so it cannot be dogmatic. Religion on the other hand actively promotes dogmatic thought.

 

I never said that anything was a dogma of atheism. This is why I said it was important to distinguish between political ideology and religious one. Political ideology is different than religious. Aheist and Christian alike can share being a Liberal or Conservative. There is nothing in the political ideology that says you have to be a specific religion. That is the key difference. Religion promotes dogmatic thought, but religious dogmatic thought. It doesn't say you have to be a Democrat or Republician or a Communist and Facisit. Or that you have to follow the leader of the country to war.

So I don't see how getting rid of religion will vanquish political ideology which was used in many of the wars.


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Hammy, thank you for the

Hammy, thank you for the props i guess.

i've been mulling and meditating on this post all afternoon.  in some ways i feel that we both are cherry picking and just tossing our opinions around.  i see that i could take you points one at a time and cross reference, quote and restate my opinion trying desperately to find what our ultimate goal is... i don't see the point in it.

to keep in line with pineapple's post i would like to add that everyone has a certain type of personality.  some are followers, some are leaders, some manipulate, some are good and some are bad.  i will be willing to accept that people feel that some religions have accounted for some of this but i don't think the lack of will change people that dramatically.

i don't think civilization would be better without the belief of God and you think it would be.  i think we should encourage independent thought and from what i understand you do too, unless it includes God.

i think that christianity is in the need of a serious overhaul but to me God and religion is separate.  i think we both agree that humanity will never be perfect.  people have personalities and they will manifest by any means.  i see that christians and atheist have the same type of people thereforth i don't see any need in labeling someone because that does not do them justice.  from what i understand you are grouping all religious people into a category and saying that we all have the same perspective and problems but people that are labeled atheist do not.  you are a good debater but i see it like a great salesman with an irrational product.

i think it best we try to find a way to get along and improve our lives without trying to take away someone's right to think and draw their own conclusions.  that would hinder our growth.  like you said, it is from conflict that we can walk away a better person.  we should deal with the issues and not concentrate on eradication of certain beliefs.

i feel your responses are selective and not thought out.  i see a lot of conflict in yourself as well.  forgive my criticism because i'm sure i am subject to similar mistakes.

i failed to see what the valid points that where brought up or maybe my post just hit at the wrong time.  if it is okay with pineapple i would like for you to list out the valid points you are actually discussing and we can approach this in a rational and orderly fashion.

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: I

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I never said that anything was a dogma of atheism.

Good, that's the core of my point. 

Quote:
This is why I said it was important to distinguish between political ideology and religious one. Political ideology is different than religious.

The only difference I see is that one invokes magical beings. do you think that theistic dogma is less dangerous than political dogma? 

Quote:
Aheist and Christian alike can share being a Liberal or Conservative. There is nothing in the political ideology that says you have to be a specific religion. That is the key difference.

Yep, so a theist can have 2 dogmas, one religious and one political. An atheist can have only the political dogma.

I'd say getting rid of all dogmatic thought would be best but losing one is a good start.

Quote:
Religion promotes dogmatic thought, but religious dogmatic thought. It doesn't say you have to be a Democrat or Republician or a Communist and Facisit. Or that you have to follow the leader of the country to war.

Where do you get the idea that Religious dogma only effects religion? Part of most religions is the imperative to force its dogma onto others and, failing that, force the non-believers to live by the rules of the dogma. That's where it becomes politcs.

Religion also encourages unquestioning obedience and conformity, it presents them as virtues. That makes it easy for religious leaders to maipulate believers but it also makes believers less likely to question the actions of political leaders (like presidents) particularly when the leaders can rationalise the actions within the religious dogma.

Quote:
So I don't see how getting rid of religion will vanquish political ideology which was used in many of the wars.

It won't, It will vanquish religious ideologies which is atleast as dangerous as political ones. Most political ideologies have some grounding in reality. This means claims can be tested against the framework and goals of the ideology. This limits just what you can justify with it. Religion on the other have is based purely on fantasy and so there is no way to test claims, anything can be justified by claiming it's what the imaginary being wants.

Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!


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sapphen wrote: i see that i

sapphen wrote:
i see that i could take you points one at a time and cross reference, quote and restate my opinion trying desperately to find what our ultimate goal is... i don't see the point in it.

I'd actually prefer that you do, but so far, most of your posting has been kind of hit and run. You make your point, and when it's bashed, you say that there's something wrong with our logic, but don't deliver. I suggest your polite deferral is not for our good, but for yours.

Quote:
to keep in line with pineapple's post i would like to add that everyone has a certain type of personality. some are followers, some are leaders, some manipulate, some are good and some are bad.

If you were to read Robert Altmeyer's book, "The Authoritarian Specter," I think you would have a much greater understanding of what you're saying. I suspect you won't, but if you get through that and don't have a vastly different view of religion, there's probably no hope for you.

FWIW, it's a science book. It's not something you'll find at the front of book stores. It's got all his research, complete with sample data, methodology, control procedures, etc. You have to have some understanding of research methods to understand all of it, but you could just read the summaries at the end of the chapters if you don't want to wade through all the data.

Quote:
i don't think civilization would be better without the belief of God and you think it would be.

Probably because you believe in god and think he's good, no?

I think there's probably nearly a 100% correlation between people who think religion is good and people who believe in their religion. Kind of stating the obvious.

Quote:
i think we should encourage independent thought and from what i understand you do too, unless it includes God.

Please, think as freely as you like about god. If you post thoughts that are invalid logic, we'll feel free to point that out to you.

Quote:
i think that christianity is in the need of a serious overhaul but to me God and religion is separate.

When, exactly, do you think Christianity was a force for good in the world?

You know, the crusades and inquisition lasted for centuries. Witch burnings in America... decades. The church was pretty much corrupt for the entire Middle Ages -- more of a political party than anything else, with the Pope being the second most powerful man in politics. I'm sorry, I just can't think of any time when Christianity contributed more for society than it took away from it.

Quote:
from what i understand you are grouping all religious people into a category and saying that we all have the same perspective and problems but people that are labeled atheist do not.

The only thing all religious people have in common is that they believe in god, and god doesn't exist. So, they all share the same delusion, even if their individual concept of god differs.

The only thing all atheists have in common is that they don't have this delusion.

Quote:
you are a good debater but i see it like a great salesman with an irrational product.

Thank you. Maybe if we keep at it you'll see that I'm not trying to sell you anything. I'm trying to help you to think for yourself.

Quote:
i think it best we try to find a way to get along and improve our lives without trying to take away someone's right to think and draw their own conclusions.

Why would you think I want to take away your right to think? I'm trying to encourage you to think more!

Quote:
like you said, it is from conflict that we can walk away a better person. we should deal with the issues and not concentrate on eradication of certain beliefs.

I don't think I ever said that. Sometimes conflict can make people better, but I certainly don't think it's always the case.

I'd say that eradicating certain beliefs is an issue we should deal with. Certain beliefs are demonstrably false, and demonstrably harmful. Did you not notice that gigantic, peer reviewed study I posted? It demonstrates clearly that religious belief is negatively correlated with societal health. Why should I not work to better society by eliminating such a belief?

Quote:
i feel your responses are selective and not thought out.

Please, back this statement up with something. Otherwise, it just sounds like you're trying to salvage something from this debate, which so far seems to be going against you pretty badly. You haven't successfully refuted anything I've posted. You've just said you disagree. Well, bully for you. Could you post some logical reasons why you disagree?

Quote:
i see a lot of conflict in yourself as well.

Oh?

Such as?

Quote:
if it is okay with pineapple i would like for you to list out the valid points you are actually discussing and we can approach this in a rational and orderly fashion.

Ok. That's fair. How about if I start a new thread. I'll put your name in the title, and I'll go through this thread and pick out the most salient posts I've made, and you can respond to them.

Please, though... save us both some time and don't respond simply by saying you disagree. Tell me the logic behind your disagreement, or the whole thing will just be pissing up a rope.

 

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

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Ok, Dylan.  HERE'S A LINK

Ok, Dylan.  HERE'S A LINK to my new thread.  I've asked that everyone allow you to respond first, so that the thread doesn't get sidetracked before you even have a chance to respond.

 

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

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hamby,

hamby,

Quote:
hamby said: I'd actually prefer that you do, but so far, most of your posting has been kind of hit and run. You make your point, and when it's bashed, you say that there's something wrong with our logic, but don't deliver. I suggest your polite deferral is not for our good, but for yours.

i regret that my posts have been hit and run. i never meant to deny your logic but simply tired to say mine. in the future i will try to make my delivery to the right addresses. yes, my politeness is for my own good.

Quote:
If you were to read Robert Altmeyer's book, "The Authoritarian Specter," I think you would have a much greater understanding of what you're saying. I suspect you won't, but if you get through that and don't have a vastly different view of religion, there's probably no hope for you.

i have never read "The Authoritarian Specter" so i guess i really don't know what i'm saying. i probably wouldn't, i'm not perfect and trying to prove religion is good. i disagree with the hope part, like other christains i believe God has enough hope for me.

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FWIW, it's a science book. It's not something you'll find at the front of book stores. It's got all his research, complete with sample data, methodology, control procedures, etc. You have to have some understanding of research methods to understand all of it, but you could just read the summaries at the end of the chapters if you don't want to wade through all the data.

i probably don't have an adequate understanding of research methods or the means to find a library. i'll try to look for the "The Authoritarian Specter for dummies". i usually drown in large books, the big words and such.

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Probably because you believe in god and think he's good, no?

I think there's probably nearly a 100% correlation between people who think religion is good and people who believe in their religion. Kind of stating the obvious.

yes, it is probably because i believe in God and think He's good. i didn't mean to bring up a commonly known opinion.

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Please, think as freely as you like about god. If you post thoughts that are invalid logic, we'll feel free to point that out to you.

thank you for pointing out why you think my logic is invalid and then providing links, research topics and a really long post.

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When, exactly, do you think Christianity was a force for good in the world?

You know, the crusades and inquisition lasted for centuries. Witch burnings in America... decades. The church was pretty much corrupt for the entire Middle Ages -- more of a political party than anything else, with the Pope being the second most powerful man in politics.

i think God is a good force in the world but that is probably because i believe in God and think He is good. i never said bad things did not come from religion.

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I'm sorry, I just can't think of any time when Christianity contributed more for society than it took away from it.

well then i was talking about the good contributions.

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The only thing all religious people have in common is that they believe in god, and god doesn't exist. So, they all share the same delusion, even if their individual concept of god differs.

The only thing all atheists have in common is that they don't have this delusion.

thank you for clearing up the grouping process and mental state of atheists and theists. i'm still a little bit shady on agnostics but i think i'll look into "am i agnostic or atheist?" post.

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Thank you. Maybe if we keep at it you'll see that I'm not trying to sell you anything. I'm trying to help you to think for yourself.

you're welcome. thank you for trying to help me think for yourself.

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Why would you think I want to take away your right to think? I'm trying to encourage you to think more!

i will think a lot more and it will probably be about God. that doesn't bug you does it? it seems you also do a lot of thinking about Him. athough i like the "!" mark, it shows that you have some true concerns and i can feel your energy.

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I don't think I ever said that. Sometimes conflict can make people better, but I certainly don't think it's always the case.

i am sorry i misquoted you, the last thing i want to do is put words in your mouth.

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I'd say that eradicating certain beliefs is an issue we should deal with. Certain beliefs are demonstrably false, and demonstrably harmful. Did you not notice that gigantic, peer reviewed study I posted? It demonstrates clearly that religious belief is negatively correlated with societal health. Why should I not work to better society by eliminating such a belief?

because other people that eat, sleep and contribute to this society think that God exists. these are normal everyday people and i suspect they want a better society as well.

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i feel your responses are selective and not thought out.

Please, back this statement up with something. Otherwise, it just sounds like you're trying to salvage something from this debate, which so far seems to be going against you pretty badly. You haven't successfully refuted anything I've posted. You've just said you disagree. Well, bully for you. Could you post some logical reasons why you disagree?

i salvage nothing from this conversation. there is nothing going against me badly when i can walk away with knowledge. i was never in competition that i was aware of. i still do disagree with you and that is my freedom to do so.

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i see a lot of conflict in yourself as well.

Oh?

Such as?

the conflict i feel within you is that you want to get rid of religion to make a better society. i feel you are saying because i am a christain i am worthless to society and i want to bring it down. i feel you want to encourage thought but only on the information you have. i feel you are unaware of other's outlook and not able to conversate well with others that have a different opinion. i feel there are no room for "christians" in your ideal society and you are not forgiving of the past allowing for future growth. i feel you are assuming that there will not be another type of worldwide belief. i feel you think you could do better, and may for a short period of time but ultimately i feel you will have the same problems religion has.

the above is my feelings, if you didn't notice, and they could very well be wrong.

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Ok. That's fair. How about if I start a new thread. I'll put your name in the title, and I'll go through this thread and pick out the most salient posts I've made, and you can respond to them.

i honestly don't like your attitude. i will pray about it and look into your post. right now i feel slightly bullied and a little bit irritated. i would love to counter with some sort of witty response but honestly i am not clear on what your agenda is other than to see who can piss the furthest. i tried asking you to help me make a list of your points so that we can see what we where "debating". apparently you are talking about me and my opinion, my "lack of research abilities", and how i as a christian am poisoning society. i really don't think it productive to assume the abilities you have, you've already demonstrated the patience you have for "my kind".

all i have to offer is my opinion i've never claimed to more. if you don't like it that is fine with me. if you want to write a post on my faults and try to make me feel bad that is fine as well. in the end i do not seek your approval but God's.

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Please, though... save us both some time and don't respond simply by saying you disagree. Tell me the logic behind your disagreement, or the whole thing will just be pissing up a rope.

i hope the above served as some satisfaction to you for the logical reasons why i disagree, if not i hope you brought a long rope.

 

EDIT: grammer, know to known. took away "BTW who is dylan or did someone else write that" after seeing a user named dylan. added in quote boxes (that was only for you hamby.)

May God bless us and give us the words to express our ideas in a creative and civil manner, while providing us an ear that we may truly hear each other, and a voice to clearly project our thoughts.


Hambydammit
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Sapphen, first, I owe you

Sapphen, first, I owe you an apology. I made the post I said I would, and then addressed it to Dylan. Sorry that I got you confused with the OP.

Second, I'm not really going to address most of your post because there's nothing in particular to respond to. You've stated your opinions clearly.

Here's what I will respond to:

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the conflict i feel within you is that you want to get rid of religion to make a better society.

You're correct about my desire, but I certainly wouldn't call it a conflict, at least not within me. I'm quite certain of my desire.

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i feel you are saying because i am a christain i am worthless to society and i want to bring it down.

I've never said anything of the sort. This is the second time in as many posts that you've put words in my mouth. I'm not mad, I'm just pointing this out so that you can see your own projections.

If you go back and read what I've said carefully, you'll see that I believe religion is a bad influence on people, and that people's delusions about religion lead them to do bad things that they ordinarily wouldn't do.

The implicit statement in this is that I think Christians are basically good people who do bad things because of their delusions. I'm sorry if I didn't spell it out plainly enough, but I think if you go back and read my posts again, you'll see that's what I'm saying.

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i feel you want to encourage thought but only on the information you have. i feel you are unaware of other's outlook and not able to conversate well with others that have a different opinion.

Interesting. Could it be that you're mistaking my lack of acceptance for lack of understanding? No, I do not accept your outlook because I can see that it's flawed. I understand it very well, though. I was a Christian, and an apologist, and have said many of the things you're saying, and meant them.

Understanding is quite different from tolerance and worlds away from condoning. I am tolerant of your position insofar as your right to believe anything you like, but I do not condone it, and I work to change it because that is also my right, and I think the world would be better without the beliefs you hold.

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i feel there are no room for "christians" in your ideal society and you are not forgiving of the past allowing for future growth.

Ideal? No. There would be no Christians. I'd like the religion to die and be forgotten. No, I do not forgive the religion because it is doing the same things it's always done. Individual people I can forgive, but the religion is not worth forgiving.

Realistic? I'd like to marginalize Christianity to the point where it has no political power. As long as people believe silly things that don't affect me, I'm basically pretty happy. When they legislate their silliness, it really blows my bugle.

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i feel you are assuming that there will not be another type of worldwide belief. i feel you think you could do better, and may for a short period of time but ultimately i feel you will have the same problems religion has.

I don't know how many different ways I can say this. I don't think there would be utopia without religion. Just less irrationality. That's it. That's all I think. There would still be problems, but things would be better, particularly in America, where we're getting so close to theocracy it's scary.

(I'm not going to go too in depth on this topic because if you don't understand the authoritarian personality and the dynamics of power within mass movements, it's honestly not worth trying to explain in this kind of format.)

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i honestly don't like your attitude. i will pray about it and look into your post. right now i feel slightly bullied and a little bit irritated. i would love to counter with some sort of witty response but honestly i am not clear on what your agenda is other than to see who can piss the furthest.

I am sorry that you don't like my attitude. The post is addressed to Dylan. Sorry again. My intention is not to bully you. It is to get you to respond to clear, concise points. You've been on these boards long enough to know that unsubstantiated opinions don't mean much of anything. If you can counter any of my claims, I'd like to see the argument. If you can't, then I have refuted your claims, and it seems dishonest for you to stand by them despite the fact that they've been refuted. If you feel you don't know enough to refute my claims, then I'd suggest it's intellecually lazy of you not to educate yourself enough to know if I'm right or not. Do you really think God would want you to slink away from an argument simply because you don't want to make the effort to learn enough to know whether or not you're right? Are you going to quit because some mean old atheist made you feel bullied?

Seriously, if God's real, and I'm wrong, you ought to be able to prove it. If I'm right, and there's no god, then look what you're doing to yourself by not taking the time and energy to educate yourself.

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i tried asking you to help me make a list of your points so that we can see what we where "debating". apparently you are talking about me and my opinion, my "lack of research abilities", and how i as a christian am poisoning society. i really don't think it productive to assume the abilities you have, you've already demonstrated the patience you have for "my kind".

I think if you were to take a look through my posts, you'd find that my lack of patience with "your kind" is not lack of patience with theists. It's lack of patience with people whose minds are not open, and who do not wish to better themselves and learn.

My impatience with you is caused by your pretense. You voice your opinion without any backing, and then get mad and slink away when someone calls you on it. That's irritating.

Watch...

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all i have to offer is my opinion i've never claimed to more. if you don't like it that is fine with me. if you want to write a post on my faults and try to make me feel bad that is fine as well. in the end i do not seek your approval but God's.

See, Sapphen. That's irritating. You're going to take your ball and go home because the big bad atheist made you feel bad by pointing out the faults in your argument. God makes you feel all better and you don't owe the big bad atheist anything.

How convenient.

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i hope the above served as some satisfaction to you for the logical reasons why i disagree, if not i hope you brought a long rope.

I haven't heard one logical reason yet, but I do hear the reasons you've given.

If you're willing to talk with an open mind, I've got all the patience in the world. I'm willing to help you learn about logic, philosophy, critical thinking, whatever. The place to start is admitting that you might be wrong. I'm well aware that there's a possibility I could be wrong.  Are you?

 

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

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wavefreak
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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Seriously, if God's real, and I'm wrong, you ought to be able to prove it.

 

This is not necessarily the case. While it might be true for you persoanlly, the same dynamic that prevents the acceptance of evolution by Creationists can come into play. Overwhelming evidence of god's existence (walking on water, healing an enitire hospital full of people) may not be enough to convince some atheists. 


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Quote: This is not

Quote:
This is not necessarily the case. While it might be true for you persoanlly, the same dynamic that prevents the acceptance of evolution by Creationists can come into play. Overwhelming evidence of god's existence (walking on water, healing an enitire hospital full of people) may not be enough to convince some atheists.

Wave, I know this is where we often part ways, so I won't badger you with the long version, but I have a couple of major disagreements with you.

First, speaking of what I call intellectual atheists, that is, atheists who, after examining religion/theism, came to the conclusion that there is simply no evidence for any of it, I think it's grossly unfair to say that presented with overwhelming evidence for god, they would not believe.

Atheists are not rebelling against god or anything like that. We simply see that he doesn't exist, so we don't believe in him. Atheists are, by and large, rationalists. If there were overwhelming evidence, atheism would be irrational.

Second, I understand that many theists/creationists cannot use good logic to examine theism because they are more or less hard wired against questioning, and hard wired to accept woo-woo. I submit to you, wave, that it is not the same. I have yet to meet a creationist who actually understood evolution. I know that sounds extreme, but it's true! Not a single one. To say that a creationist doesn't believe in something he doesn't understand is simply to say he doesn't understand it. What aggravates me is the intellectual laziness required to look at something and say, "I already know the answer. I don't want to learn, because I'm certain I'm right."

(Ok.. let me rephrase. I have met creationists who had a cursory knowledge of evolution, but none who could talk intelligently about amino acid divergence, or how it corresponds to the geologic column, or who could even begin to explain the overwhelming fossil evidence that corroborates the biological evidence. In other words, every creationist I've ever met knew just enough to be convinced by other people who don't know about it.)

Is it realistic for me to expect people to get a master's level education on evolution so they can ditch god belief? No. I admit that. But, if someone comes on and wants to debate it?? Yeah, I expect them to know what the heck they're talking about. And if someone's debating the existence of god, and I hit them with something they don't know anything about, and they dismiss it, saying "I don't need to know about that, because I'm right and you're wrong"??? How lazy and arrogant!

 

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

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wavefreak
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Hambydammit wrote: Wave, I

Hambydammit wrote:

Wave, I know this is where we often part ways, so I won't badger you with the long version, but I have a couple of major disagreements with you.

First, speaking of what I call intellectual atheists, that is, atheists who, after examining religion/theism, came to the conclusion that there is simply no evidence for any of it, I think it's grossly unfair to say that presented with overwhelming evidence for god, they would not believe.

Atheists are not rebelling against god or anything like that. We simply see that he doesn't exist, so we don't believe in him. Atheists are, by and large, rationalists. If there were overwhelming evidence, atheism would be irrational.

 

 

Not so sure we are that different on this. I have a lot of respect for anybody that is as you describe. Nothing makes me crazier than people that refuse to think and ask questions. 

 

BTW, I've decided to call my brand of theism Waffle-ism. 


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Waffle-ism, eh? Wave's

Waffle-ism, eh?

Wave's Waffle Palace?

How about a mint... it's only Waffle-thin?

Eat more waffles, I'll think of more?

Lots of potential here.  I think you're onto something.

 

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

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Waffle-ism, eh?

Wave's Waffle Palace?

How about a mint... it's only Waffle-thin?

Eat more waffles, I'll think of more?

Lots of potential here. I think you're onto something.

 

 

The Waffle-ist Creed

 

1) The FSM is the devil. The one true food based deity is Waffletronica.

2)All donations are the property of the founder.

3) Uri Geller's spoons may not be used during Waffle consumption rites 

4) Atheists are to be pitied for their lack of belief denies them the fullness of waffle-ishness

5) So far, baptizing in full immersion batter tanks has proven fatal.  This will have to be revisited.

7) GO TO to 2 (previous number skipped because it is malformed and therefore evil)