I'd call this killing 'em with kindness.

Jesterspace
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I'd call this killing 'em with kindness.

E-Mail activism

 

Stan Nelson of the Pueblo Chieftan penned this article 

 

"

The excitement of the moment in the nonfiction publishing industry is the cause of atheism.

Because public appearances sell books, the authors - including scientist Richard Dawkins and essayist Christopher Hitchens - go on the road to deliver talks and speeches to support their points of view, which, in turn, support book sales.

Christians always should pay attention when atheists speak, and especially when they take the lectern in the public square. They bring up a lot of important points that believers should think about.

For one example, Dawkins' strong suit is his argument against the rationality of belief in God.

Christians - and not just their opinion leaders - need to check out what he has to say, objectively, and not merely to line up opposing arguments. They need to pay attention to what they fail to explain, and prepare themselves to discuss it intelligently.

For another, it helps to know what they have to say even if it doesn't sound too honest. Take Hitchens' grave warning: "Religion kills."

Well, yes. Religion kills, all right. So we've seen, in the Crusades, the pogroms, the Inquisition, the modern Sunni-versus-Shiite violence. And that's bad, as reasonable, peace-loving people should agree.

But it is not the only reason why people kill other people - and may play no greater part in social or cultural decisions to declare war, or attack without warning, than other reasons.

"If it was not for God, we would have nothing to war over" and "Religion is genocide," a vandal scrawled on a church door Downtown, three years ago. We pointed out then how that was only half true, if that.

Russian dictator Josef Stalin, an atheist, starved 10 million people to death in the Ukraine, and Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, also an atheist, sowed more than 1 million bodies onto Cambodia's killing fields.

Pot's atheism was in the mold of Mao Zedong, under whom the body count of the Cultural Revolution is only guessed at, often conservatively, somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.

But does that mean atheism kills? It may be argued that the influence of atheism, which eliminates practical faith in God, allows a culture to place a lower value on human life. But the same can be said about religion, in several circumstances.

Read the words uttered early last week by Abu Jandal al-Dimashqi, who advertises himself as the leader of an Islamic group called Tawhid and Jihad: "Our people in Syria, how do you accept to be ruled by the vulgar Nassiries? . . . (R)ise up as one man to chop their legs and heads." "Nassiries" is a Sunni term for the Alawites, Shiite Muslim subset to which Syrian leader Bashar Assad belongs.

That sounds like a direct suggestion to commit genocide for reasons connected to religion - at least, to us. Still, the condemnation of opposition is the central theme, and not necessarily religion.

The consideration of religion would be the only difference between al-Dimashqi's call and the orders Mao sent down to the Red Guard to find certain types of people and arrest, torture, imprison and, if necessary, kill them. In the hands of someone determined to eliminate opposition, one difference is as good as another.

The truth is that atheism and religion stand on the same, blood-soaked level, one as culpable as the other. But the reason for that is atheism and religion are not strict opposites.

Atheism is not the opposite of religion, but of faith, specifically in God or, for that matter, any god or gods. Religion is the demonstration of faith, defined in prosaic terms in James' epistle: "To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

Faith is the basic idea of belief - "the substance of things hoped for," as the writer of Hebrews put it.

Does faith kill? Well, we can say that people have been killed because of their faith. Often, those people accepted their beliefs despite the threat of death.

Why? Because their faith redefined the way they looked at life, to the point that the God it connected them to was more important than self-preservation - or political or cultural dominance.

In those cases, the believers were given their lives back, in fuller measure - saved, some people say, to a calling beyond whatever surrounded them and bound them to Earth.

So we're left with the dismal fact that religion and atheism can kill, because as practical belief systems, they allow such abuse, even if they should not.

Investigation and experience tell us, however, that faith can and does save life, sometimes in a quite practical sense, in too many examples to list here.

Does atheism do that?

Stan Nelson is a news editor at The Pueblo Chieftain. He may be reached by e-mail at snelson@chieftain.com ."

 

The column can be found here

http://www.chieftain.com/life/1181426325/5

 

I responded thusly

In an article you wrote, you asked whether Atheism has ever saved a life. Yes. Mine.

Over the last summer, I was in a dark place mentally, my fiance and I had broken up after 5 years, my Multiple Sclerosis was acing up, and due to it, I was rapidly becoming paraplegic, with no feeling in my legs and unable to even stand, let alone walk. I was basically bedridden. I will be totally honest here, I was contemplating suicide, I even worked out how I was going to do it. A few people (both friends and family) had told me they were praying for me. The promise of dying to relieve the pain (I was on percocets and oxycontins because the pain was intense, as well as several epidural shots in my lower spine) was tempting. During the pain, I still participated in the Toledo MS walk, using a Powerchair to get around. I was a Team Captain and couldn't let my teammates, and everyone who was fighting MS, down. I had a mission to do, and it needed to be done. So I gritted my teeth (literally) and went. The prayers did not work. After my spinal surgery, and cortical steroids (which reduce swelling in the brain and spinal cord), and aggressive and intensive physical therapy, today I can walk, using just a cane sometimes. Science, along with friends and family and doctors did work. I tend to try to stick with that which is effective.  I was lying in my bed, holding the bottles of pills. I had researched. The combination of pills I had would have easily shut down my body permanently. And the pain was amazing. I wanted it to stop. Then, as I am known to do, I thought about what I was getting ready to do. I've been an Atheist long before the recent heightened awareness of Atheism in the media (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, the Rational Response Squad, etc). I combined this knowledge with some common sense. As an Atheist, I believe (with evidence to back it up) that this life is the only one we get. Getting off this ride now means you don't get another ride. No Heaven, no Valhalla, no Happy Hunting Ground. I thought about how my act would affect my own family and friends. I thought about how it would affect the people with MS who I'd be depriving of my ability to raise funds and awareness for the fight.  I'm too much of an actor. I'm not ready for the final curtain call. Now, through a lot of work (both my own, my friends, and my doctors) I can get along with my life. My ex and I have patched our friendship. Yes, we're no longer engaged. But the friendship to me was what mattered. And we have that. I was going to marry her. I'd HOPE we were friends, irregardless of the love. Now.. I can walk. I can get to my Rocky Horror shows, my coffeehouses, my MS Walks. Every day isn't perfect. But it's the best I got. I think that most religions call suicide a sin because, let's face it, Heaven to many sounds pretty good. If suicide wasn't considered a sin guaranteeing that other place (Hell, or as we like to call it,, Hoboken), your day might go like this..  "Hey Steve, who went on eternal vacation today?"
"Alex, Tami, Amberlynn, and.. um.. um.. Mark"
"Cool.. lucky bastards.. how did they get the ticket?"
"Let's see.... ate a shotgun, downed 3 bottles of pills and washed it down with vodka, skydiving without a parachute, and lied down on railroad tracks."
"Sweet! I'm gonna miss them all.. Hey.. wanna go see them? I got some rat poison at home."
"Let's go, dude.. I'll drive!"  Yes, I'm treating suicide pretty flippantly. As an Atheist, suicide strikes me as the ultimate waste. We're only here for a short time on the cosmic scale. I'm not going to waste it on my knees. Prayer has already been proven to be ineffective. I love how the faithful state that prayer cannot be evaluated scientifically. It amuses me that these same people will evaluate everything else logically, except their god. Imagine if you decided that you didn't need to evaluate your car logically. "I don't need to get gas. God will make this car run forever if I just pray hard enough!" Honest question.. would you laugh at someone who did that? If it would work...Jesus Christ.. OPEC would collaspe overnight.  In all seriousness.. I can say my Atheism has literally helped me save my own life. Atheism didn't save me. I did. It was just a tool that helped me not do something stupid. I don't need a god to tell me I shouldn't go and kill people. And as we've seen throughout history, gods demand a lot of killing. From people strapping bombs to their chests and walking into a public square, to telling people in Africa (With an AIDS epidemic) that condoms are a sin that you'll burn forever for. I'm not saying that religion is the only cause of suffering. As you mentioned Stalin and the others, you are correct on that. We might want to BELIEVE that religion does more good than harm. The evidence points in the opposite direction. Religions have tenets. Ways of action and thought which bind them together. Beyond a lack of God-belief, we are all individuals. Talking about Stalin as an Atheist representative is the same as saying OJ Simpson is a representative of all African-Americans.
I've been accused of being angry at god. A few problems with that theory. I didn't believe in a god when my life was going great (ran a successful party house, was getting more in the way of girlfriends that ANY man has a right to, had dozens of great friends). Yes, my life has turned in different directions. But dammit.. it's still pretty cool. And being mad at god is, to me, the same as being mad at Spider-Man for not saving his uncle Ben. I use this analogy because BOTH are stories. I'm willing to examine any evidence you have that leads to another belief. I'm not angry at the Easter Bunny for not bringing me chocolate either.  Penn Jilette said it better than I could. "Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future. Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have." But I must disagree on one point.
I don't really like Jell-O. I got a response from him "Jameson,I've had quite few e-mails from atheists on this column. Some made me sort of wish I'd never written it. But not this one. It's the only one I've gotten that makes sense. You're the only one who talked to me instead of at me.You're a damn good writer. And a good guy, who understands more about what life is for than a lot of Christians I know. And, from what I've seen so far, at least some atheists.Thanks. I mean it.
Stan" I might have just scored a point for the good guys here. JesterNot buying the whole God thing since my own age of reason.  

 

 

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


Susan
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Jesterspace!  Glad to see

Jesterspace!  Glad to see you back on the forums.

You've been missed!

I hope you were gone simply because you were busy and not due to illness. 

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Jesterspace
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Actually, been busy working

Actually, been busy working with the MS society a lot lately. I've been doing my bits. Correspondences like the one you saw, showing TGWWT for friends, and the like. As befitting my own style, i'm taking a softer approach. Firm, yet accomodating.

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


Susan
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I'm really glad to hear

I'm really glad to hear that!

 


jread
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Great story man, you have

Great story man, you have amazing character and determination. Where do you goto catch showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Not too many of those around anymore...

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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Insperational and thorn in

Insperational and thorn in the side of the religious rong at the same time. Awesome.

 Keep on keepin' on man.

WWTFSMDFAKB?


Jesterspace
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Stan Nelson's article (with guest appearance by me)

 Stan Wilson's article in response to my comments

What a Christian learned from an atheist (headline)

Once in a while, you have to take your lumps. And lumps were taken.

If you are not an atheist and plan to write a column or blog post or other public-square item about atheism, as happened here two weeks ago, take fair warning from the one with the lumps. Mind your p's and q's. Watch what you write. Check it twice. Better still, ask yourself --- do you really want to deal with the grief that may result?

Because you might not. Just like Christians, atheists have a small, dedicated group of unofficial monitors who --- again, just like some Christians --- quickly respond to whatever they see as published misrepresentations of fact or definition. This lumpy one received the, er, benefit of their expertise.

Speaking of definitions, an apology and a concession must be offered to Austin Cline, who is the contributing author for the section on atheism and agnosticism for the informational Web site about.com. The mistake made was to identify atheism as a belief system. It can be, as Cline pointed out, a component of a belief system, but should not be considered a belief system unto itself. Cline's depth and latitude should be deferred to, at least in that regard.

Amid the e-mails from knowledgeable atheists so eager to, uh, help (yes, that's the word), came one from a man who sought to talk to me, rather than at me, and to answer a fundamental question posed at the end of the previous column.

"In an article you wrote, you asked whether atheism has ever saved a life," wrote Jameson Sawyer. "Yes. Mine."

Sawyer is from Bowling Green, a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, and has suffered from multiple sclerosis since 2003. And last year was a bad one for him.

"I was in a dark place mentally," he wrote, "my fiance and I had broken up after five years, my multiple sclerosis was acting up, and due to it, I was rapidly becoming paraplegic, with no feeling in my legs and unable to even stand, let alone walk. I was basically bedridden. I will be totally honest here, I was contemplating suicide."

Friends prayed for him. However, Sawyer gives the credit for his decision to carry on with life to modern medicine, therapy, his own considerable grit and two other very important things.

One was his dedication to others. Sawyer was a team captain for the MS Walk in Toledo that year. As the day approached, he lay on his bed with a deadly combination of pills in his hands and his teammates on his mind.

Though "the pain was amazing," he wrote, "I thought about how my act would affect my own family and friends. I thought about how it would affect the people with MS who I'd be depriving of my ability to raise funds and awareness for the fight."

So his decision to choose life was made. "I'm too much of an actor. I'm not ready for the final curtain call."

He put the pills away and did his job at the MS Walk, on wheels and in pain.

"I had a mission to do, and it needed to be done," he wrote.

Whether you are atheist, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or whatever, you cannot read that and not feel the tug of connection, of sympathy --- not pity --- and triumph that can be shared.

The other important thing was corollary to the first. If you believe, as Sawyer does, that you're put here for other people, then you have to know the ground rules. He did, in his own way.

"As an atheist, I believe (with evidence to back it up) that this life is the only one we get. Getting off this ride now means you don't get another ride."

Of course, he means he does not subscribe to a belief in an existence after death, but anyone who does still can take his point and apply it.

In fact, a Christian should, on both points. First, just notice the Samaritan got the thumbs-up because he was there for the man who'd been robbed and beaten, but Pharisees who practiced religion for political reasons just got the thumb.

Second, heaven may be described as a reward in the Bible, but the point is clear: it's not an escape hatch, and, karma notwithstanding, life on Earth is a one-time deal.

There are some points on which Sawyer and I will have to agree to disagree. But disagreement is not the point, here. The point is what a Christian can learn from an atheist, and here it is: When best understood and applied, Christianity is a very human faith.

"Now, through a lot of work (both my own, my friends, and my doctors) I can get along with my life," Sawyer writes. "My ex and I have patched our friendship. . . . I can walk. I can get to my 'Rocky Horror' shows, my coffeehouses, my MS Walks. Every day isn't perfect. But it's the best I got."

The best we got here is a level field where two who disagree can stand and agree to understand.

That's not giving any ground to atheism, by the way. Sure, there was all that, uh, guidance from the others who e-mailed in, and some observations from Sawyer, but nothing that would make any serious, studious, logical, well-read, circumspect Christian stop and say, "Well, that does it. I was wrong."

But it doesn't mean there's nothing to be learned from them.

Thanks, Jameson Sawyer.

P.S.: If you want to read about Sawyer and his fellow soldiers in the cause against multiple sclerosis, visit facesofms.org.


Stan Nelson is a news editor at The Pueblo Chieftain. He may be reached via e-mail at snelson@chieftain.com.

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


Susan
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Well done, my friend. 

Well done, my friend.  Well done.

 


Jesterspace
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Thanks.  'The best we got

Thanks.

 'The best we got here is a level field where two who disagree can stand and agree to understand.'

'But it doesn't mean there's nothing to be learned from them.'

I didn't expect to, at least to this man, become the 'goodwill ambasador' of Atheism. But hey.. words are one of my god-given (heh) talents. 

 We each fight this battle in our own way, with our own weapons. This is my way. And at least to one person, I have shown that we can be good without god. And he showed it to others. Bonus points.

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


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That's simply awesome

That's simply awesome Jester.  This will have positive consequences in the future, for sure.  He even sounded like he had to hold himself back from agreeing with atheism too much Smiling

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...


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Yeah, nice one. I think that

Yeah, nice one.
I think that sometimes we as a community talk 'politically' rather than 'personally'... if you know what I'm saying here?


LosingStreak06
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Strafio wrote: Yeah, nice

Strafio wrote:
Yeah, nice one. I think that sometimes we as a community talk 'politically' rather than 'personally'... if you know what I'm saying here?

 

Yes. 


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As a community we do often..

As a community we do often.. and that's needed.. but when I see the chance to get personal, I take it.. it might not 'change the world'.. but it can show a single person atheists are not worthy of the mistrust we've had heaped on us. The fact that he writes columns and shot that message in print was a bonus.

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


Jesterspace
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Agreed.. I was hoping for a

Agreed.. I was hoping for a person of faith to respond here. I'd like your honest opinion as to whether this was well done. While I admit I place little stock on the religions, I place a lot of stock in, for lack of a better term, the 'human spirit'. Theist or Atheist, for right now.. the tome we're alive, we have to all live thgether on this little blue-green marble in the universe. I personally see no reason that we can't all work together to make THIS life agreeable to all. If there's another, we'll find out when we die, one way or another. Heh.. our luck the Mormons are right. Wait.. that's a scary thought Smiling

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


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Jesterspace wrote: Heh..

Jesterspace wrote:
Heh.. our luck the Mormons are right. Wait.. that's a scary thought Smiling

Actually, not really. If they are right, we'll all get a chance to convert after we die. Awfully nice of them, don't you think?

-Triften 


Jesterspace
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I was unaware of that. I

I was unaware of that. I stand corrected. I looked into it and you are correct. Ah.. the joys of rationality. You can admit when you are wrong, and are happy that the new info brings you closer to only stating fact. Even if it's an irrational subject Cool

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


LosingStreak06
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Jesterspace wrote: Agreed..

Jesterspace wrote:
Agreed.. I was hoping for a person of faith to respond here. I'd like your honest opinion as to whether this was well done.

It was very well done, and it was a very good idea. If there's one thing I absolutely love, it is shattering stereotypes and standards. Human growth is one of the most beautiful things to witness, I think. The problem with most theists is (and I am guilty of it myself) we get bored easily. We don't really care about statistics, studies, reports, investigations, or anything that involves something we already have an opinion about (thus the continued stereotyping of atheists as being immoral dispite massive amounts of evidence to the contrary). If there's one thing we all love, though, it's a good story. We can overlook facts and figures, but it's another thing entirely to ignore another human being staring us in the face (although there are those who even manage that...).

I think you'll find that a lot people who are theists aren't the "sinners in the hands of an angry god" types. They realize the value of human life, and they also believe in a god who values human life. You can tell when you go to a church what kind it is, because they'll inevitably teach about one of two things: they'll either stick you with the guilt trip about how no one lives up to god's perfect standards, and judgment day and all that, or they will emphasize their god's desire to save mankind. I would imagine that the writer of the article you wrote to was probably one of the latter Christians. Some people, however, just don't see the beauty in the world. I don't know that I'll ever really understand why.

Jesterspace wrote:
While I admit I place little stock on the religions

Can't say I blame you, really. There are some crazy ass beliefs floating around out there.

Jesterspace wrote:
I place a lot of stock in, for lack of a better term, the 'human spirit'. Theist or Atheist, for right now.. the tome we're alive, we have to all live thgether on this little blue-green marble in the universe. I personally see no reason that we can't all work together to make THIS life agreeable to all.

Amen [sic]. I have to say, you are already one of my favorite people here, and I barely know you at all.


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LosingStreak06 wrote: Amen

LosingStreak06 wrote:
Amen [sic]. I have to say, you are already one of my favorite people here, and I barely know you at all.

I'm the same way. I put all of my faith (no, not the religious kind of faith) in the human spirit. Nothing is more beautiful and ugly at the same time.


bzeurunkl
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Quote: I put all of my

Quote:
I put all of my faith (no, not the religious kind of faith) in the human spirit.

 

Would you mind explaining to me how there could possibly be a difference?

Faith is faith.  Either you have a rational explanation for your (seemingly, as presented) irrational "faith", or else you have no faith at all, in anything.

Same question to the Jesus-in-leathers-dude, who's name I cannot see right now while making this reply.......

 

 


I AM GOD AS YOU
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you atheists are already

you atheists are already saved, so give your focus to the lost sheep, .... seems all revolution comes from the bottom up .....

 Every time we say the G_O_D word think of the sheep .... mabey ask RSS Todangst about this ???


I AM GOD AS YOU
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Atheists are against

Atheists are against Fundys, Atheists are for GOD, ..... a message from the awaking sheep ..... We are all god, no more fundy god, god is 100 % ME/YOU/ALL. All is god.

Lets stop saying just the word GOD. It doesn't work in world wide communicating. Can we ever get beyond this communication problem ? God what again ? Fundy god ? Atheist god ? WTF ?  NO GOD ?, define god please , before you speak that word ....  no one as yet has uttered the word god with any total sense. Use adjectives please .... WHICH GOD ?????


CrimsonEdge
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bzeurunkl wrote: Quote: I

bzeurunkl wrote:

Quote:
I put all of my faith (no, not the religious kind of faith) in the human spirit.

 

Would you mind explaining to me how there could possibly be a difference?

Faith is faith. Either you have a rational explanation for your (seemingly, as presented) irrational "faith", or else you have no faith at all, in anything.

Same question to the Jesus-in-leathers-dude, who's name I cannot see right now while making this reply.......

Faith has multiple definitions. The faith I used (trust) is not the same as religious faith (belief without evidence).


Jesterspace
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bzeurunkl wrote: Would you

bzeurunkl wrote:


Would you mind explaining to me how there could possibly be a difference? Faith is faith. Either you have a rational explanation for your (seemingly, as presented) irrational "faith", or else you have no faith at all, in anything. Same question to the Jesus-in-leathers-dude, who's name I cannot see right now while making this reply.......

 

I have 'faith' that when I turn on my computer, it will in fact turn on. I have 'faith' that when I wake up tomorrow the sun will still  be churning along. Both of these events have been demonstrated over and over. I am prety confident that the sun will in fact be there tomorrow. And my typing this post shows my'faith' in my computer was well deserved.

 Faith

1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. 3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.6. A set of principles or beliefs. I subscribe to definitions 1, 3, and 6.  As an Atheist, I can speak only for myself. It's like mt 'faith' on Evolutionary theory. If another falsifiable theory shows more logical reasons to accept it (i.e. god coming down and holding a press conference, the raelian aliens or xenu being spotted -ALL would need proof that they were not frauds) I would accept it. The joy of science. Science is about finding truth. The 'human spirit' is a metaphor. Not a tangible (intangible) 'reality'. A function of my will, and desire to work in unison with the species.

 

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


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Jester like you I found

Jester like you I found myself drawn back to this forum after what seems like ages. 

I really found myself enjoying your post.  What I got out of it though was a question and this question I wanted to know if it wasn't the underlying message you were trying to express: even though we do not agree on the belief in the unknown (or should I say unknown to you), should animosity not be so prevalent?

I guess what I'm wondering is if your post here about atheist vs. theist isn't more about if God exists or not but rather how the two sides play the stubborn card far too often leading to hate?  Should there be a greater desire to "just get along"?

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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In truth, most Atheists

In truth, most Atheists would probably love to 'just get along'. As I'd assume most Christians would. However, Theism does have a lions share of control in our country, even at the expense of the majority. Example: Stem Celll Research. Both the House and the Senate approved the bill. But Bush is playing the Veto card. At the expense of the majority of Americans. Personal Faith is simply put.. your business. You can dislike or disapprove of abortion. Or gays. Jerry Springer said it best. 'If you don't like gays.. don't date them.' I'm not saying I know your personal beliefs on these topics. I'm referring to the stereotype Christian belief.

 

I'm in complete agreement that both sides can be confrontational. But much like the African-Americans who had to fight for equality for something they had no control over, Atheists need to fight for equality. A great example..

 

Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

Bush: I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.

Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists.

 Replace the word Atheist with the word African-American and you can see why groups like the Response Squad are needed. I want to get along. And in all fairness, religious people have shot doctors and flown planes into skyscrapers. WE do things like blood drives and autism research funding. I'm not in any way saying that Atheists have never done anything morally wrong. Just not in the name of their lack of faith. The following quotation from the Nobel prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg has become well known, but it is so devastatingly true that it is worth quoting again and again:

“With or without [religion] you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.”

 

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


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Jesterspace wrote: In

Jesterspace wrote:
In truth, most Atheists would probably love to 'just get along'. As I'd assume most Christians would. However, Theism does have a lions share of control in our country, even at the expense of the majority. Example: Stem Celll Research. Both the House and the Senate approved the bill. But Bush is playing the Veto card. At the expense of the majority of Americans. Personal Faith is simply put.. your business. You can dislike or disapprove of abortion. Or gays. Jerry Springer said it best. 'If you don't like gays.. don't date them.' I'm not saying I know your personal beliefs on these topics. I'm referring to the stereotype Christian belief.

I understand your point.  In the example you gave about Bush, I don't agree with a lot of what he does.  As a Christian myself, it's hard to accept his very obvious non-separation of church and state in his leadership style.  But when you bring up the point of equality, the message that many atheists have towards theists is hardly speaking of equality throughout.  The provocation of what one person believes as being superstitious or delusional only inspires hate and that is not going to bring about any sense of equality.  African Americans or even women aspiring for gender equality, each continue to struggle for their cause but I don't see women saying men are the lesser gender or African Americans saying that other races should not exist.  Blanket statements, those stereotypes, are not going to change the minds of the Bush's of this world and provoking hate (like the pic you put on your profile) makes that cause harder I'd think.  It would be the same if I joined up this forum and started posting things like "you're going to hell for your non-belief" or "I'm here to save as many as I can."

Jesterspace wrote:
I want to get along. And in all fairness, religious people have shot doctors and flown planes into skyscrapers. WE do things like blood drives and autism research funding. I'm not in any way saying that Atheists have never done anything morally wrong. Just not in the name of their lack of faith.

Tell me do you consider "faith" and "religion" the same thing?  I ask because I do not.  There is a HUGE difference between followers of a religion and those who have faith in a higher power. Even you, who supposedly believe in nothing beyond what you can see, hear, feel, taste, or touch, still has faith in something unknown - yourself. You don't know what you'll be capable of if a situation comes up like a fire near by, a crime being committed and you are a witness, or when you get hungry later and begin to wonder what you'll eat. But you have faith in yourself that you'll make the decisions you won't be ashamed of and that's faith, faith in yourself, faith in the unknown.  As to faith in a higher being, you don't share the same faith that I do or others but it is still my faith in something else. It is what I know to be true though personal experience but it is no religion.

What one group does or another does not isn't going to bridge any gaps.  I mean I could tell you I volunteer at a crisis center for abused women but would that make any difference really to you or others in your regard to the fact that I believe in God and you don't? 

I don't agree with what Weinberg stated there because could you use that same blanket statement towards a serial rapist to the guy that decided to slip a rufie in a girls drink one night?  Did religion drive them to that evil action?  What about the woman who, out of spite for her cheating lover, decided to play a game with their three children, a game that involved pouring gasoline over their bodies, hiding them in a closet, and then throwing a lit match on the floor?  Christianity as a system of faith teaches to forgive and move on, so how would that be turning a good person to evil?  Being human has it's faults but to stereotype evil as being only religious based is ignorant.  Don't get me wrong either; I know full well what evil is done in the name of religions too.  Should I judge a group of people on the actions of a few idiots?

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote:   Tell

razorphreak wrote:
 

Tell me do you consider "faith" and "religion" the same thing? I ask because I do not. There is a HUGE difference between followers of a religion and those who have faith in a higher power. Even you, who supposedly believe in nothing beyond what you can see, hear, feel, taste, or touch, still has faith in something unknown - yourself. You don't know what you'll be capable of if a situation comes up like a fire near by, a crime being committed and you are a witness, or when you get hungry later and begin to wonder what you'll eat. But you have faith in yourself that you'll make the decisions you won't be ashamed of and that's faith, faith in yourself, faith in the unknown. As to faith in a higher being, you don't share the same faith that I do or others but it is still my faith in something else. It is what I know to be true though personal experience but it is no religion.

Faith is this: holding a belief without evidence

In this way you cannot have 'faith' in yourself.  You know how you will act in a given circumstance, or roughly how you will act, based on how you have acted.  What I do in the case of a fire or in witnessing a robbery and speculating on what I might do or speculating on how I don't know what I'd do until it happened is not faith.  There is no 'faith' in the unknown.  The unknown is just that.  It requires no faith to be ignorant of something.

The Atheist, I'm sure you know (but I'll tell you again), has no faith.  Faith is not required to not believe in something for which there is no evidence.  You don't require faith to not believe in Zeus or Thor or the Invisible Pink Unicorn.  There is simply no evidence for their existence and you do not believe in them.  In this way do Atheists not believe in your god or any god.  Faith is holding a belief without evidence.  The Atheist has no belief and that requires no evidence.  There is no burden of proof on the skeptic if the claim the skeptic does not accept has no evidence itself.  There is no evidence for god, thus belief in god would require faith and non-belief would be the position of a rational person.  Atheists not only don't share your faith, but have no faith at all.

Faith does not necessitate religion, but it can.  Perhaps you do irrationally believe in a god.  Perhaps you follow no religion.  Religion, however, does necessitate faith, unless you pay lip service to the particular traditions of a religion without believing in god or a 'higher power'.  There is a reason why I can ask of what faith someone is and in response be told what religion that person belongs to.  People attach their faith to their religion and their religion to their faith.  You cannot believe in the Christian god without being Christian.  You cannot believe in Yaweh without being Jewish.  You cannot believe in Allah without being Muslim.  You cannot believe in Krishna without being Hindu.  If you purport to have faith in a high power and follow no religion it would be ridiculous for you to then state that you believe in a religion's particular god.  There is no president to believe in the god of a religion if you are not of that religion.  How can you extricate a god from a religion?  Essentially, you cannot, or you have your own new, personal god.  Oddly, people can believe in these personal gods and can also be of a particular religion (in the case of the monotheistic religions).  Christians often ignore a great deal of the biblical nature of their god, insist they have a personal relationship with it, and maintain to still be Christians.  If you take the Christian god and purport to believe in it and not be a Christian it is very silly.  The essential point here is that there is no 'HUGE' difference, as you suggest, between faith and religion, but they do not have to be one in the same.  They are, however, often one in the same.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Thomathy wrote:

Thomathy wrote:
Faith is this: holding a belief without evidence

In this way you cannot have 'faith' in yourself. You know how you will act in a given circumstance, or roughly how you will act, based on how you have acted. What I do in the case of a fire or in witnessing a robbery and speculating on what I might do or speculating on how I don't know what I'd do until it happened is not faith. There is no 'faith' in the unknown. The unknown is just that. It requires no faith to be ignorant of something.

I'm not sure how to either agree or disagree with you here because it seems you are redefining what the term "faith" means. Even Webster's definition of faith has "allegiance to duty or a person" as part of the definiton. "Faith" is a bit more broad than just in the context of religion, God, or, as you state, "irrational notions."

Anyone can say they know or speculate how they'll act but the truth is if there is a fire and you aren't a fireman, you won't know until it happens. If there is a crime and you aren't a policeman, you won't know. Until you are hungry, why would you speculate what you might eat? My point here is saying you can speculate you will make a decision but that is nothing more than having faith in yourself for your own basic needs.

Thomathy wrote:
Faith does not necessitate religion, but it can. Perhaps you do irrationally believe in a god.

It's dangerous to make so many assumptions, or should I say judgments.

Thomathy wrote:
People attach their faith to their religion and their religion to their faith. You cannot believe in the Christian god without being Christian. You cannot believe in Yaweh without being Jewish. You cannot believe in Allah without being Muslim. You cannot believe in Krishna without being Hindu. If you purport to have faith in a high power and follow no religion it would be ridiculous for you to then state that you believe in a religion's particular god.

Ah so the labeling of someone's beliefs automatically constitute a religion? Being Christian is nothing more than a label. It's easier to say Christian than "follower of Jesus Christ" so that label sticks. It does NOT constitute a religion however. Perhaps this is where I should be more specific in that it is a religious institution, i.e. dogma, to which I equate what "religion" means.

I'm not going to comment on the rest of your post so I don't threadjack this thread into a whole other direction.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak

razorphreak wrote:
Thomathy wrote:
Faith is this: holding a belief without evidence

In this way you cannot have 'faith' in yourself. You know how you will act in a given circumstance, or roughly how you will act, based on how you have acted. What I do in the case of a fire or in witnessing a robbery and speculating on what I might do or speculating on how I don't know what I'd do until it happened is not faith. There is no 'faith' in the unknown. The unknown is just that. It requires no faith to be ignorant of something.

I'm not sure how to either agree or disagree with you here because it seems you are redefining what the term "faith" means. Even Webster's definition of faith has "allegiance to duty or a person" as part of the definiton. "Faith" is a bit more broad than just in the context of religion, God, or, as you state, "irrational notions."

I'm very sure you know exactly how to agree or disagree with me, but as you are incorrectly equivocating different meanings of faith with each other you are merely ignoring what I've written. I have not redefined faith. I have offered the application of faith as concerns faith in the belief of gods. When you talk about having faith in oneself, this is not the same at all. I won't put up with this sort of dishonest.  You have commited a fallacy, you have not proven your point.

razorphreak wrote:

Anyone can say they know or speculate how they'll act but the truth is if there is a fire and you aren't a fireman, you won't know until it happens. If there is a crime and you aren't a policeman, you won't know. Until you are hungry, why would you speculate what you might eat? My point here is saying you can speculate you will make a decision but that is nothing more than having faith in yourself for your own basic needs.

I do not need to be a fireman to know that I will try to get away from the fire. This has no bearing on what I pointed out. You equivocated one use of faith with another with the intention of proving something. You offered an argument and committed a fallacy. Speculating about what I might do is not a matter of faith. Here, you don't even make sense.

razorphreak wrote:

Thomathy wrote:
Faith does not necessitate religion, but it can. Perhaps you do irrationally believe in a god.

It's dangerous to make so many assumptions, or should I say judgments.

What exactly do you mean here? I have made no assumptions and I gave quite enough reason for anyone to think that faith can necessitate religion. I have not made 'so many assumptions' or 'judgments' in only two sentences. I did not even suggest that you indeed believe in a god, but it is certain that such a belief would be irrational, that's not assuming anything (or as you might say, judge). I am not offering an assumption about god belief. I am offering the fact that god belief is irrational based on the definition of faith. It is simply the only logical conclusion to draw. It is not reasonable to believe something for which there is no proof.

razorphreak wrote:

Thomathy wrote:
People attach their faith to their religion and their religion to their faith. You cannot believe in the Christian god without being Christian. You cannot believe in Yaweh without being Jewish. You cannot believe in Allah without being Muslim. You cannot believe in Krishna without being Hindu. If you purport to have faith in a high power and follow no religion it would be ridiculous for you to then state that you believe in a religion's particular god.

Ah so the labeling of someone's beliefs automatically constitute a religion? Being Christian is nothing more than a label. It's easier to say Christian than "follower of Jesus Christ" so that label sticks. It does NOT constitute a religion however. Perhaps this is where I should be more specific in that it is a religious institution, i.e. dogma, to which I equate what "religion" means.

Follower of Christ would be a label if we used it to describe followers of Christ rather than the word Christian, which means follower of Christ.

I stand by what I said. A Christian is a person who believes in the Christian god. You may look up the accepted definitions of religion and you'll find that when I state that the god cannot be extricated from the religion, what I say it true. It cannot be. To believe in the Christian god you must believe in the nature of the god as described in the bible or by a Christian religious institution. To believe in the Christian god, that is, you must also believe in the things that god is purported to do, to be able to do, etc. If you don't, where exactly is the Christian god in your belief? I was fairly explicit with regards to my point.

We refer to the Christian religion (or faith, where faith is used to mean religion). Being Christian is to be a member of a religion.

Religion is not a religious institution. If you meant to talk about religious institutions, you should have said so. You cannot equate religion with religious institution.

razorphreak wrote:

I'm not going to comment on the rest of your post so I don't threadjack this thread into a whole other direction.

Thank you. You've managed to post while ignoring what has been posted before or you would not have made the categorical fallacy you have.

On topic:
Excellent job, Jesterspace!

Edit: Aparently I repeated myself! 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Thomathy wrote:

Thomathy wrote:
Thank you. You've managed to post while ignoring what has been posted before or you would not have made the categorical fallacy you have.

All I did was ask a question. Chill out man...you've got fallacy on the brain far too much and by the rest of your post, it seems that's all you know when talking to someone who believes differently than you.

Thomathy wrote:
I'm very sure you know exactly how to agree or disagree with me, but as you are incorrectly equivocating different meanings of faith with each other you are merely ignoring what I've written. I have not redefined faith. I have offered the application of faith as concerns faith in the belief of gods. When you talk about having faith in oneself, this is not the same at all. I won't put up with this sort of dishonest. You have commited a fallacy, you have not proven your point.

I am doing no such thing. I gave two different viewpoints on what "faith" means, when you have faith in [a] God or faith in an individual, it's the belief in the unknown, or I'll even concede to saying the "unprovable" to someone else (I'll finish this thought at the end). I'm not sure what proof you want on this one. As I stated, I'm asking questions here without any pretenses.

Thomathy wrote:
I do not need to be a fireman to know that I will try to get away from the fire. This has no bearing on what I pointed out. You equivocated one use of faith with another with the intention of proving something. You offered an argument and committed a fallacy. Speculating about what I might do is not a matter of faith. Here, you don't even make sense.

You say now you'll try to get away from the fire. Well what if that fire was at your house and you had a family member in that house. What if the fire was at a building with strangers? Would you still try to just get away or perhaps rescue that person still in the house/building? Would you even know how considering most people have never used an extinguisher? Like I said you can speculate all you want but the fact remains you don't know what you'll do until the situation arises. Now the question I originally asked was in regard to if you'll do what you won't be ashamed of, restated the "right thing." Do you believe in yourself even though you don't know exactly what you'll do? Is that not another way of saying you have faith in yourself?

Thomathy wrote:
What exactly do you mean here? I have made no assumptions and I gave quite enough reason for anyone to think that faith can necessitate religion. I have not made 'so many assumptions' or 'judgments' in only two sentences. I did not even suggest that you indeed believe in a god, but it is certain that such a belief would be irrational, that's not assuming anything (or as you might say, judge). I am not offering an assumption about god belief. I am offering the fact that god belief is irrational based on the definition of faith. It is simply the only logical conclusion to draw. It is not reasonable to believe something for which there is no proof.

I'm not going to touch this...it's a no winner anyway, even if I prove my point you'll say I never did anyway.

Thomathy wrote:
Follower of Christ would be a label if we used it to describe followers of Christ rather than the word Christian, which means follower of Christ.

...

We refer to the Christian religion (or faith, where faith is used to mean religion). Being Christian is to be a member of a religion.

Religion is not a religious institution. If you meant to talk about religious institutions, you should have said so. You cannot equate religion with religious institution.

I do equate the two because, as I view it, "Christian" is the belief but say something like "Catholic" or "Baptist" is one man's interpretation on showing another how to worship what you believe. I'm sure you can tell me a hundred different reasons why I shouldn't do that or whatever but, and I'll repeat it so you know, it's simply my view on the difference.

Faith then to me is simply the belief in the unknown. I am not saying unprovable at all because to the person who does believe they have the proof they require to believe. I feel "fallacy" coming on but...if I have faith that my brother will do what I ask, I know he will because he has done so in the past even though I cannot be sure he will do it because it is unknown. If someone has faith that the United States can correct itself from the mistakes it commits towards a group of different lifestyle, I know the United States as a whole strives for things like this so it's not a bad belief to have although no one can honestly say if Americans will, if ever, but it's definately more than possible, even without proof against some groups. If I have faith in God, it comes from much more than reading it from a book or what some would say is what I picked up from my parents.

I'm putting these things here because this is my view of things, my opinions, and what I believe. You can accept them or not although from your post, I already know the answer.

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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A few quick points. 1) My

A few quick points.

1) My avatar pic: Done in honor of Halloween, a celebration (to me) where as a kid I got candy, and as an adult I get to have parties with my friends and dress silly without funny looks. After the holiday, I will be returning to my normal pic

2) Remember the topic of this particular forum thread.

3) However the conversation is interesting. Might I reccomend taking it to another spot... even making a thread?

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.


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Jesterspace wrote: 1) My

Jesterspace wrote:
1) My avatar pic: Done in honor of Halloween, a celebration (to me) where as a kid I got candy, and as an adult I get to have parties with my friends and dress silly without funny looks. After the holiday, I will be returning to my normal pic

Personally I actually found it funny (unlike the Sarah Silverman thing). My point however was how I'm certain you'd understand how many would find it so offensive it would inspire hate.

Jesterspace wrote:
2) Remember the topic of this particular forum thread.

Was trying to stay on topic.  That's why I was asking you the questions... 

Jesterspace wrote:
3) However the conversation is interesting. Might I reccomend taking it to another spot... even making a thread?

Really? Which part?

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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1) Thanks.. I'm a longtime

1) Thanks.. I'm a longtime devotee of the Rocky Horror show. And yes I can see how it could be seem as offensive to some. Sarah Silverman? I knew of the Kathy Griffin thing, but I've been really lately lately and haven't had the time to keep up on everything.

2) I was primarily referring to the exchanges you were having with others.

3) Hmm... maybe general convwersations or Atheist vs Theist.

 

Thanks, man. Props for coming here and expresing your views. 

"Imperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell.... Kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.