Why the term "atheist" is not a good term

mintcheerios
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Why the term "atheist" is not a good term

I think this is one of the most interesting points that has been brought up recently and I've thought about it a lot thanks to Sam's AAI speech. I've heard Brian make the point that our group may be larger than any other group if we didn't divide ourselves so much. I think the term atheist does exactly this. An atheist can be a Buddhist, astrologer, holocaust-denier, or even someone who thinks the world is still flat. It is not necessarily a term that describes someone who advocates reason and intellectual honesty. A Unitarian Christian can be far more rational than an atheist if that atheist believes Elvis is still alive and spends her life searching for him. An atheist can be someone who commits a genocide of intellectuals for the sole purpose of bringing society back into the dark ages (Pol Pot). Not only is the term atheism highly misunderstood, but it does a poor job of describing who we really are. We advocate reason and intellectual honesty and we urge others to do the same. We don't just oppose belief in god but also the belief in reincarnation, homeopathy, divining, and the millions of other irrational things out there. I mean, why is "The Rational Response Squad" a much better name than "The Theism Busters" or "The Atheist Response Squad"?

Yes, we are all atheists, but that doesn't mean we should call ourselves that. It's like a group of vegetarians calling themselves the "non-chicken-eaters". Yes, vegetarians are in fact "non-chicken-eaters" because they don't eat chicken, but that doesn't define the group well at all. There really is no accurate term to describe our movement which is why the problems exists in the first place. The closest term there is to describe us may be rationalist. I don't really know.

But even if we did find the perfect term to unify us all, I still think we wouldn't be utilizing our full potential at whacking down religion. Astrologers can be on our side when we talk about how ridiculous virgin births are. Look at how many Christians are out there that agree with us when we say the Koran is a fairy tale. To a certain degree we have already been in agreement with many fundamentalist Christians on many points. If any of you have heard Sam Harris on the Michael Medved show, you probably noticed that Michael (a fundamentalist Jew) was pleased with some of Sam's comments. He agreed with Sam that the 9/11 theories are ridiculous and that it was ridiculous that liberals think that Islam has nothing to do with suicide bombers. I believe a fundamentalist Christian group not too long ago was pleased to see Hitchens putting the smackdown on Chris Hedges' defense of Islam and even promoted the highlight videos from that debate.

However, it may seem a bit delusional to think we can unite with those who hold beliefs we oppose, but it has been done before and actually by theists; http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2006/11/09/jews_muslims_join_to_fight_gay_parade/

We don't have to seem dishonest to people when they ask us if we are atheists. We can say yes while pointing out that many Buddhists are also atheists. I think we have spent way too much time defending atheism and not enough time talking about how ridiculous the concept of "virgins giving birth to a cosmic superman that later turns into a zombie" is. The religious know that once the argument goes in that direction, they are screwed. Todd Friel knows this and that is why during his appearance on the Infidel Guy Show, he constantly demanded that Reggie defend atheism or secular humanism. If someone compiled a video that had every instance of a theist using the "atheism is bad" argument, it would probably rival in length (if not exceed) a compilation of theists defending their own beliefs. Once we begin to talk about reason instead of atheism, we will start discussing the relevant issues at hand.


Venkatrajan
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However you define

However you define yourself

1. It will not make much difference to people's perception of you

2. You will continue to be accused of egotism, Satanic devils, Irrational rationals etc

3. You probably need a Goebbels, but I doubt reactions wil change

The best result of a new name will be a sense of satisfaction among your group, but then what is use , most of the world  will continue their 'bad faithful' ways

Any drastic improvement in image or understanding mayl come only when you heart in heart respect the theists, be sensitive to their faiths and make them one with you. Otherwise all subtlety is lost on us.

 

 

 

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mintcheerios
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1. Yes it will.

1. Yes it will. Advocating atheism is quite different from advocating reason. Most people want to be reasonable (I assume you as well). Theists think they have good reasons for believing in what they believe so the key issue should be determining what is more reasonable; believing in magic books that claim a zombie with magic powers existed or believing that those books are really works of ordinary people.

2. Everyone is accused of those things including you. This is true because no one can be in accordance with every religion and ideology at once no matter how many gold medals they have in mental gymnastics.

3. Did you mean to say Rosenberg because Goebbels was a theist. http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/unser45.htm

Respect is earned. Constantly spewing lies isn't a good way to do it and neither is letting people get away with it. You seem to advocate both.


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   Sam makes an important

   Sam makes an important point, claming a lable that isn't yet understood is to often self defeating to our atheist cause and message. The label can get in the way.

It really depends on the forum and personal audience. Unfortunatley most people want god, not "no god".

Don't get me wrong, I am all for promoting atheism, all of it, from all angles.

SO sometimes I like starting with even the first commandment, "no gods before me" ..... so then I say who is me ? The bible is an atheist guide book ....

Moses/Jesus in the bible are atheist heros !    

WE atheists with the help of the buddhists will eventually change the very definition of god.

and War no more ......

 

 


Venkatrajan
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Quote - Yes it will.

Quote - Yes it will. Advocating atheism is quite different from advocating reason

Firstly there is no reason to think that you advocate reason and therefore theists dont. It is your opinion only. All theists are very reasonable. But Hovind types and few others may get on your nerves and lead you to conclude that the faithful masses as not advocating reason. Is this not a monumental assumption ? So you have to go back to God for a better identity if at all.

 You atheists are against belief in God , so any term will have to include something related to God or religion or faith. Else identity gets lost immly.

Maybe :-

1. Antifaithist

2. Antispiritist

On an afterthought, both are boring.

I feel atheist is small and simple, quickly conveys your personality and ideas. If you change to include some term without reference to God or something, Theists will not bite as much as they come near you now for whatever they come/interact/debate. Neither will you splash about in media, which is required for a cause to progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking for Atheists to increase my belief in God


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Venkatrajan wrote: However

Venkatrajan wrote:

However you define yourself

1. It will not make much difference to people's perception of you

Indeed I doubt a name change will eliminate the bigotry of religion. 

Quote:
2. You will continue to be accused of egotism, Satanic devils, Irrational rationals etc

I agree a name change will not stop religious people being stupid and making stupid accusations. 

Quote:
3. You probably need a Goebbels, but I doubt reactions wil change

hmmm I think all we really need is bit of time. As the collective intelligence and education reaches a certain threshold religion will fall away. The process has started and its only a matter of time before the majority of the population reject superstitition.  

Quote:
The best result of a new name will be a sense of satisfaction among your group, but then what is use , most of the world will continue their 'bad faithful' ways

I agree a name change will not prevent people from holding erronious beliefs.

Quote:
Any drastic improvement in image or understanding mayl come only when you heart in heart respect the theists,

No it will come when theists in their hearts respect atheists. Unfortunatly in your hearts this is actually impossible. Your books forbid this kind of respect. 

Quote:
be sensitive to their faiths and make them one with you. Otherwise all subtlety is lost on us.

In other words we need to respect your right to be wrong  errr well I don't and I don't see any reason why I should respect a belief that is wrong. Your wrong, god does not exist why should I respect you for being wrong? 



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Venkatrajan wrote:Quote -

Venkatrajan wrote:

Quote - Yes it will. Advocating atheism is quite different from advocating reason

Firstly there is no reason to think that you advocate reason and therefore theists dont. It is your opinion only. All theists are very reasonable.

For the most part I agree theists are indeed reasonable and rational people. In every aspect of their lives EXCEPT their religion that is. When it comes to religion reason goes out the window and we usher in faith. 

Quote:
But Hovind types and few others may get on your nerves and lead you to conclude that the faithful masses as not advocating reason. Is this not a monumental assumption ? So you have to go back to God for a better identity if at all.

You atheists are against belief in God , so any term will have to include something related to God or religion or faith. Else identity gets lost immly.

Maybe :-

1. Antifaithist

2. Antispiritist

On an afterthought, both are boring.

I think antifaith is fairly good. I think faith is the real problem. Faith is abasically holding a belief without a good reason, without evidence. I am anti this. Note: Most theists are also antifaithists in every aspect of their live except religion. 


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If tommorow all atheists

If tommorow all atheists scease to use atheist and call themeslfs "ryles", and we still challenge deity claims then that word would be attacked and demonized.

Humanism and brights have had that happen to them. Skepticism no matter what label be it atheist, humanist, bright, will be under attack untill we stand up to them.

We need to take back that word and not allow bigots to define it for us. I have no fear or shame using that word and I will not cowtow to someone who wants me to hide what I am because of their own insecurities. 

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Venkatrajan wrote: However

Venkatrajan wrote:
However you define yourself

1. It will not make much difference to�people's perception of you

Substantiate this.

Venkatrajan wrote:
2. You will continue to be accused of egotism, Satanic devils, Irrational rationals etc

Thanks for explaining your strategy.

Venkatrajan wrote:
3. You probably need a Goebbels, but I doubt reactions wil change

As Pineapple would say, Godwin, for the lose. You also make an argument from personal incredulity rather than substantiating. I've noticed this a lot in your posts. Rather than citing something, you'll just go, "You'll probably just do this," and "I doubt this will happen." There's an example right in the "define god" thread.

Venkatrajan wrote:
The best result of a new name will be a sense of satisfaction among your group, but then what is use�, most of the world �will continue their 'bad faithful' ways

To show people an alternative to listening to weak-minded parasites is possible. Later on, as efforts continue, it will become easier and easier for people with working faculties to admit to themselves their non-belief, and to finally admit it to each other.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Any drastic improvement in image or understanding mayl come only when you heart in heart respect the theists, be sensitive to their�faiths

Tried it: didn't work. Stem cells unfunded, gays unmarried, science education terrible, jets flown into buildings.

Venkatrajan wrote:
and make them one with you.

Gotta love the trite, meaningless flourishes.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Otherwise all subtlety is lost on us.

"Otherwise?"


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Venkatrajan wrote: Firstly

Venkatrajan wrote:
Firstly there is no reason to think that you advocate reason and therefore theists dont.

There's actually a great reason. It's kind of hinted at in the term "theist."

Venkatrajan wrote:
It is your opinion only. All theists are very reasonable.

Thanks for the unsupported generalizations.

Venkatrajan wrote:
But Hovind types and few others may get on your nerves and lead you to conclude that the faithful masses as not advocating reason. Is this not a monumental assumption ?

If they buy Hovind's explanations, it's not an assumption, but a reality. Hovind claims you can cover the world in a drop of water "if you spread it thin enough." That a comet froze animals in place rather than vaporizing them as even the most forgiving physical model would suggest. I don't know how stupid a claim has to be before it's labeled irrational in your world.

Venkatrajan wrote:
So you have to go back to God for a better identity if at all.

You atheists are against belief in God , so any term will have to include something related to God or religion or faith.

You assume monotheism, you assume a particular deity, and you assume that atheism is an assertion rather than a response to a cultural context. It is only a necessary differentiation from a cultural norm.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Else identity gets lost immly.

Maybe "immly" is a word in some language, but not in English. It's not even slang.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Maybe :-

1. Antifaithist

2. Antispiritist

On an afterthought, both are boring.

Thanks for nothing.

Venkatrajan wrote:
I feel atheist is small and simple, quickly conveys your personality and ideas.

It conveys nothing of personality, and a single idea: rejection of a faith in deities.

Venkatrajan wrote:
If you change to include some term without reference to God or something, Theists will not bite as much as they come near you now for whatever they come/interact/debate. Neither will you splash about in media, which is required for a cause to progress.

Which you think is pointless, and which you're hostile to given your nay-saying so far.


Watcher
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Venkatrajan wrote:

Venkatrajan wrote:
All theists are very reasonable.

 What a complete load of BS.


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Watcher wrote: Venkatrajan

Watcher wrote:

Venkatrajan wrote:
All theists are very reasonable.

What a complete load of BS.

I propose that instead of calling ourselves "athiest" we simply call ourselves "reasonable."  So, when someone asks you if you are Christian or if you believe in god, simply say "no, I'm reasonable." 


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I'm very much in favour of

I'm very much in favour of using the term brights. It is a simple word that defines the position of rational, unsuperstitious, naturalists and proponents of scientific enquiry over faith.

It has been remarked that this seems egoistic but I think it isn't so. I'm not saying that the only people who are bright are brights just as you can be gay (as in happy) without being gay (as in homosexual). It is also a positive term, the assertion of a certain set of features and values rather than the negative term atheist which is more about the absense of another set of values and beliefs.

I don't mind defining myself as an atheist and in many respects people understand the term atheist much more than they understand the term brights but in terms of what I'd rather be called the term bright is a much better word.


Venkatrajan
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Quote - Evil Religion -

Quote - Evil Religion - hmmm I think all we really need is bit of time. As the collective intelligence and education reaches a certain threshold religion will fall away. The process has started and its only a matter of time before the majority of the population reject superstitition

In USA , I guess , these thresholds have been reached , but how come Xianity is strong.  Probably only Europe is having a lag effect. They will have to resort to religion eventually to save themselves from decay caused by Global warming (by adopting a life style which is integrated with nature) . Communist countries which are liberalising are the most rabid faith adopters currently. Islam is a ever strong pillar. Hinduism is spreading far and wide. Boss you are getting sidelined rapidly . Please dont as a counter arguement quote Sweden or Vietnam (that these countries are very well off, low crime rate etc because of lack of belief). They dont really count in the balance of power.

 

Quote - Evil religion - In other words we need to respect your right to be wrong  errr well I don't and I don't see any reason why I should respect a belief that is wrong. Your wrong, god does not exist why should I respect you for being wrong? 

You have not interpreted correctly here. I said be 'sensitive' to faith. You may not believe, but that can be kept to yourself. You can criticise what deserves criticism. The problem occurs because you not only criticise, you also ridicule in a generalized manner without discrimination. You are basically human first and then only a theist or atheist. Your statement reveals that you are unable to respect a person who holds opposing beliefs. That has to change for any change in image. Instead of that , you feel a name change will work. Name change or not, the cause will only be further doomed if the troopers exhibit insensitivity.

 Selectively support and praise the 'most acceptable theists or theist ideas' that you see and trash the theists who really deserve to be trashed. Instead if you choose to ridicule Jesus, Bible etc, forget the intellectuals, the common faithful man (whom most of us dont realize, but he counts the most) will turn against you.   He shall spread the word. Faith is an extremely powerful factor in the minds of the common man.  It is only exploitd by the Powerful say evangelist Theist who know the tricks.

Quote - Magilum - Substantiate this 

Please see above some justifications

 

Quote - Magilum Tried it: didn't work. Stem cells unfunded, gays unmarried, science education terrible, jets flown into buildings 

 

The first two disturb nature's rules. Have you seen animals exhibiting homosexuality ?  Regarding Science education being terrible, people should have a choice. After all the USA is the land of choice, ain't it. The last is solely due to USA policy for the middle east. The attacks were carried out by people who are bascially against military bases of USA in Saudi Arabia. Would you like Iranian military bases in USA ?  The USA continues to misread the Muslim mind and it has caused to create a frankenstein now, which even we Hindus are paying for.

 

Quote - Watcher - What a complete load of BS. 

Ego rushing out in contempt  ?  Infact such reactions will give a bad name for your atheists. Can you react in a civilized manner ? One of the other postors here learnt it the hard way.

Here is the point. I did generalize, no doubt. But see the reaction. It gives a bad name. But instead of analysing what really happens wrong , Sam Harris propounds a face saviour, that something is wrong with the name.

 Guys -  Stop slumbering and think incisively. The name and cause are perfect and needed for a lot of reasons . But your reactions and methods need review, not a change of name. It is just cosmetic. Eventually a name change may not work and may  lead to more frustration.

Quote -  Fish - propose that instead of calling ourselves "athiest" we simply call ourselves "reasonable."  So, when someone asks you if you are Christian or if you believe in god, simply say "no, I'm reasonable." 

 

LOL. You are way off track. Seems almost an apology for being an atheist. Boy If I were you , I would be a proud atheist, a Lion who roars , but at the right moment with the right ammunition.  I shall also be sensitive , be humble (a quality that seems completely absent, never mind the Egotist amongst Theists) . Take a hint. The greatest man to turn the huge masses in his favour was Mahatma Gandhi. What qualities he had. he didnt even cover his body fully. He won respect world over.

 

 

 

I am looking for Atheists to increase my belief in God


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Venkatrajan

Venkatrajan wrote:

Probably only Europe is having a lag effect. They will have to resort to religion eventually to save themselves from decay caused by Global warming (by adopting a life style which is integrated with nature) .

 

What? Show me a prominent faith-based environmental organization. I've been trying to find one. Most Christians at least seem to believe that God made this earth for us, therefore we can do what we want to it. 

Venkatrajan wrote:

 The first two disturb nature's rules. Have you seen animals exhibiting homosexuality ? 

I haven't personally witnessed two non-human animals of the same sex getting it on, but homosexuality has very much been observed in animals other than humans:

http://www.backyardnature.net/j/o/homosex.htm

Nobody I know was brainwashed into being an atheist.

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Venkatrajan wrote: Quote -

Venkatrajan wrote:
Quote - Evil Religion - hmmm I think all we really need is bit of time. As the collective intelligence and education reaches a certain threshold religion will fall away. The process has started and its only a matter of time before the majority of the population reject superstitition

In USA , I guess , these thresholds have been reached , but how come Xianity is strong.

No, it hasn't. Science comprehension in the US is startlingly bad. You just pull this "thresholds" comment out of your... thin air, out of thin air.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Probably only Europe is having a lag effect. They will have to resort to religion eventually to save themselves from decay caused by Global warming (by adopting a life style which is integrated with nature) .

Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Communist countries which are liberalising are the most rabid faith adopters currently.

Appeal to popularity.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Islam is a ever strong pillar.

Scary.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Hinduism is spreading far and wide.

Hilarious.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Boss you are getting sidelined rapidly .

Meaningless.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Please dont as a counter arguement quote Sweden or Vietnam (that these countries are very well off, low crime rate etc because of lack of belief). They dont really count in the balance of power.

Appeal to popularity.

Venkatrajan wrote:
The first two disturb nature's rules.

I'm sure your platitude-spewing talking heads would tell nature its rules.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Have you seen animals exhibiting homosexuality ?

Humans are animals. Have other animals exhibited homosexuality? Damn right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RlTAyNI8WE

Venkatrajan wrote:
Regarding Science education being terrible, people should have a choice. After all the USA is the land of choice, ain't it.

A choice to be terrible? Kids don't have a choice, and we do them a disservice in neglecting the quality of their education. Their parents should know better, but they don't. Why? Their own science education was terrible. Nearly every Creationist argument is an attack of evolutionary theory, and nearly every one of those displays a crude lack of even the most basic understanding of it. Even the "best" Creationist arguments, which are still only attacks on evolutionary theory, have been refuted. Even if they hadn't been, they offer no practical basis for any science with their unsubstantiated one line explanation of everything: "god did it." Maybe you can be the first to tell me what predictions Creation Science makes and what applications it has.

Venkatrajan wrote:
The last is solely due to USA policy for the middle east. The attacks were carried out by people who are bascially against military bases of USA in Saudi Arabia. Would you like Iranian military bases in USA ?  The USA continues to misread the Muslim mind and it has caused to create a frankenstein now, which even we Hindus are paying for.

I suppose these particular people weren't deeply indoctrinated with a respect for martyrdom and promises of a plush afterlife. The United States could be begrudged for its policies around the world, yet one culture in particular, that celebrates suicide bombings as spiritually glorious... does just that... and it's a coincedence somehow that their indignity manifests that way.


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Venkatrajan wrote: Quote

Venkatrajan wrote:
Quote -  Fish - propose that instead of calling ourselves "athiest" we simply call ourselves "reasonable."  So, when someone asks you if you are Christian or if you believe in god, simply say "no, I'm reasonable."

 

LOL. You are way off track. Seems almost an apology for being an atheist.

Faith is unreasonable, so Fish's term is sound. Unlike, well, everything you've typed since you've arrived.

Venkatrajan wrote:
Boy If I were you , I would be a proud atheist, a Lion who roars , but at the right moment with the right ammunition.

Who cares what you would do?

Venkatrajan wrote:
I shall also be sensitive , be humble (a quality that seems completely absent, never mind the Egotist amongst Theists) . Take a hint.

Here that is in action:

Venkatrajan wrote:
Just free yourself and unshackle your mind. Evidence and Science is a booby trap. Come out of it and just crush your ego, the truth realization shall be fantastic, beyond description. You too can get redeemed and join the faithful.

Venkatrajan wrote:
The greatest man to turn the huge masses in his favour was Mahatma Gandhi.

Appeal to authority, appeal to popularity.

Venkatrajan wrote:
What qualities he had. he didnt even cover his body fully.

He also had nude women sleep in his bed and loved enemas.

Venkatrajan wrote:
He won respect world over.

"Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness." - Gandhi

Forced to share a cell with black people, he wrote: "Many of the native prisoners are only one degree removed from the animal and often created rows and fought among themselves." - Gandhi [via The Guardian]

Not that it matters, as again, his mention is only an appeal to authority.


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I actually agree with

I actually agree with mintcheerios to a degree. I would like to see the movement defined as something along the lines of "Rationalism", "Brights" work as well. I resisted getting on board for the longest time because I don't identify myself as "Athiest" - that is, I don't define myself by a lack of some incredulous claim that dumb asses make. It's the same way that I don't define myself as a non-vegitarian, etc.

I also think that, as mintcheerios mentions, we could get a lot of outside help as well from people that wouldn't otherwise join. There are tons of buddhists and other such folks out there that would probably join in.

I think that ultimately if we're going to succeed, we need to organize a strategy. I think we need to promote rationality in all things and start by getting the religious to vote on issues rationally rather than by how they personally think everyone else in the world should act. We could work on restoring the correct perspective of science, education, human rights, and so on, and then once those things are done then we'd stand a much better chance of getting people to grow out of religion or theism in general. It's about taking a series of small steps that are each reasonably acheivable. Going for an "all or nothing" (theism or atheism) approach just isn't going to work, IMO.

All that aside, however, I think that no matter what, we do need to spend some serious time and thought on our public image. As much as we'd like to reclaim the term "Atheist", we might just have to side-step the issue to get our foot in the door. Once we've done that, then we can work on the harder stuff.

 

(I kind of wonder if this thread shouldn't be moved to FA or HM?) 


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Venkatrajan wrote: However

Venkatrajan wrote:

However you define yourself

1. It will not make much difference to people's perception of you

2. You will continue to be accused of egotism, Satanic devils, Irrational rationals etc

3. You probably need a Goebbels, but I doubt reactions wil change

The best result of a new name will be a sense of satisfaction among your group, but then what is use , most of the world will continue their 'bad faithful' ways

Any drastic improvement in image or understanding mayl come only when you heart in heart respect the theists, be sensitive to their faiths and make them one with you. Otherwise all subtlety is lost on us.

I had a Muslim friend at my last job. He has lived in the states for 25years and loves this country as much as I do. Should I tell him not to call himself a Muslim because of some American's perceptions of him> Mind you, I am not talking about deity existance here, just his human right to be autonomous(even if I dissagree with his theism).

And, on top of that when I first met him, he said his name, which after a couple of times of repeating, I was able to aclimate and repeat his name. BUT, that was after he said, "Just call me Frank"

I looked at him in bewilderment and said, "Why would you want to be called Frank?"

He said, "Because people cant pronounce my name"

I said, "Fuck them, that is their problem, not yours."

Quote:
It will not make much difference to people's perception of you

Merely saying "I am an atheist" wont, but your actions DO! Since I have been an open atheist, on every single one of my jobs, the initial reaction was a "GASP", but my atheism has become accepted(not nessarrally agreed with).

My current co-workers can tell you about all my good points and my flaws, but because I am an open atheist and they all know, there opinions about me would not be based opon my atheism but upon my actuall merit and work ethic.

It is not merely saying it, it is also a combination of SHOWING.

Your view of our acceptance in the mainstreem is either pesimpistic or self serving because some(not nessarally you) but some Christians dont want us to be open.

They dont want us competing with them. They dont want us to show the world that we can be and do anything they do. So it is within their intrest to ask us to hide our label.

No thanks. I am deity free and proud of it and we have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. If some idiot thinks atheists barbaque kittens or thinks they shouldnt call themselves atheists because it "might" offend someone. FUCK THEM!

I am not going to hide in a closet because someone is too ignorant to look outside their own narrow world. I have shown quite a few Christians that I am just as normal as any other human and have the same merit and flaws as any other human.

Atheist may not be a word they like, but masking it wont change what we are and I am damn sure tired of being afraid of fearmongers and bigots. 

 

 

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Venkatrajan wrote:Quote -

Venkatrajan wrote:

Quote - Watcher - What a complete load of BS. 

Ego rushing out in contempt  ?  Infact such reactions will give a bad name for your atheists. Can you react in a civilized manner ? One of the other postors here learnt it the hard way.

Here is the point. I did generalize, no doubt. But see the reaction. It gives a bad name. But instead of analysing what really happens wrong , Sam Harris propounds a face saviour, that something is wrong with the name. 

*grins*  Ego?  You infer ego from me saying that the statement "all theists are rational" is bullshit?

I would also call BS to someone that stated all atheists are rational.  So what banner am I laying my ego upon?

Theists have some rational beliefs.  However, those rational beliefs are based on an irrational underlying belief.

So let me compare rational beliefs based on an irrational underlying belief.  And yes, I'm pulling out the greatest evil referenced in the 20th century.  But it's valid, I assure you.  If I am mistaken I hope other rational individuals will explain to me what I am mistaken on.

Underlying irrational belief:

A) Religious person = God is real and my religion teaches the truth of what that god wants us to do.

B) Nazi Germany = The jews must be removed from our territory because they are the "great betrayors" and cannot be trusted.

Rational extrapolations based on underlying irrational belief:

A) Religious person(as far as christianity is concerned) = Because my religion tells me that god is real and he does not sanction homosexuality (and for some odd reason most christians think marriage is only a christian concept and is an inherently religious vow before god) we must not condone homosexuals to get married.

This is a very rational idea if you believe in the irrational view that your christian god is real and the bible tells you what he thinks of homosexuality.  However it is based on an irrational precept.  Nazi germany was equally rational on their irrational view about jews.

B) Nazi Germany - Because jews are inherently evil and cannot be allowed to stay within our territory we must get rid of them.  What was their first idea?

Defeat England and use England's naval vessels to transport them from Nazi controlled territory to Madagascar.

No killing.  Just transport their asses out.

England, however, refused to fall, leaving Nazi Germany with a big problem.  It became increasingly difficult for them to kick the jews out.

B) Nazi Germany - Well if we can't transport the jews out of Nazi controlled territory how can we possibly get rid of them?  Well...if we can't deport them out...well...uh, we have to...kill them I guess.

If you are already sold on the irrational idea that you HAVE to get rid of them, and also face the fact that you CAN'T deport them, well what is the only other way you can get rid of them?

Rationally you have to conclude that you must kill them.  And then they proceeded with the executions very rationally without considering the irrational underlying concept.  They first began having them shot.  Even lining them up to be shot so one bullet would go through several jewish brains.  But they found out that this greatly upset their soldiers.  They had large numbers of suicides, alcoholism, depression among their soldiers over this type of slaughter.  So they rationally worked on a less emotional way for their army to kill them.  Put them in rooms and gas them.  Being rational they tried to keep the victims calm.  They took their luggage and tagged them with their information for imaginary future return.  Told them they were just going to get a shower for sanitary reasons.  Even handed them soap before sending them into the gas chambers.  Had some temporarily reprieved and imprisoned jews unload the bodies from the gas chambers so as to not screw up their german military personel.  All very rational.  But rationality based on an underlying irrational idea.

I will tell you right here and now that for a christian to oppose homosexual marriage is very rational based on their irrationally held views about a mythical diety and the religion they subscribe to.  But it is based just as rationally on an irrational idea that caused the rational killing of 6 million jews because of an irrational idea of some people in nazi germany.

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magilum

magilum wrote:

Venkatrajan wrote:
Any drastic improvement in image or understanding mayl come only when you heart in heart respect the theists, be sensitive to their�faiths

Tried it: didn't work. Stem cells unfunded, gays unmarried, science education terrible, jets flown into buildings.

Yep. I tried it for years and it didn't do squat for my interpersonal relationships either. Religion is divisive both on an interpersonal level and on a global level.

magilum wrote:
Venkatrajan wrote:
and make them one with you.

Gotta love the trite, meaningless flourishes.

I've tried to be "one" with them. I've tried to be friends with them. The problem is "their" books tell them to "be ye not unequally unyoked with unbelievers." They aren't supposed to associate with us, so (and I've learned this personally) their only reason for interacting with us is to convert us. Once they realize this is impossible, they swear us off like a bad habit. I've had this happen to me many times.

I tried again within the past few years to be friends with both fundies and moderate religionists and it happened to every single relationship. As long as the religionists' books tell them to either convert or hate us, they will continue to do both. If the first fails, they default to mode 2: hatred.

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evil religion

evil religion wrote:
Venkatrajan wrote:

Quote - Yes it will. Advocating atheism is quite different from advocating reason

Firstly there is no reason to think that you advocate reason and therefore theists dont. It is your opinion only. All theists are very reasonable.

For the most part I agree theists are indeed reasonable and rational people. In every aspect of their lives EXCEPT their religion that is. When it comes to religion reason goes out the window and we usher in faith.

If this were true, I wouldn't be here.

The problem is with religionists is that their inability to reason flows into other parts of their lives and you get things like blocked stem cell research, prayer in schools, planes flying into buildings, etc. My mother is against gay marriage. I once asked her why and the only answer she could come up with was "because the bible says homosexuality is wrong."

As Dan Barker said, "Faith is not the result of fuzzy thinking; it is the cause of it."

Religion also ruins interpersonal relationships.  My life was recently torn apart (again) because of religious beliefs. 

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"communication breakdown",

"communication breakdown", I dig zep ...

I need to clarify this statement of mine. "Moses and Jesus were atheist heros." ; it should read, "can also be" atheists heros ....

Their importance in antiquity can't and shouldn't be denied.

The moderate xains pick and choose their bible verses and reject or ignore much of the bible . Killing people for petty crimes, animal sacrifice, etc. Moderates read the bible more as a long metaphor and cherry pick.

We atheists can do the same thing, giving Moses and Jesus due credit, while still rejecting the god of abe, and the hocus pocus b.s. .... Even (atheist) Tom Jefferson created his own edited bible NT. ( google Jefferson bible )

The ten commandments are "reasonable", as is alot of Jesus philosophy (a group philosophy, and banner title under which many people wrote)

The more I approach xains with bible knowledge and apprechiation for the bits of moral wisdom within, the more xians are willing to hear my atheistic reasoning. Hell, I can usually defend confusing Jesus verses better than the xain moderates, which gives me an edge. I always agree that life and the cosmos is indeed mysterious, and that man will never know everything, but I conclude it is not a miracle or the work of a creator god, and even if it is, it ain't bible god of abe.

Basically I use the bible in a favorable attitude to open the door to debating xains, while insisting the god of abe is silly, and even againist Jesus' philosophy. Paul/Saul was more the first xain, not Jesus ..... blah blah ....

We must do a bit more than just calling ourselves athiests. Harris and Dawkins make good points. Adjectives etc are extremely useful. "Atheists for Jesus", or "God is an Atheist", "Atheist for Truth" etc. When I'm asked if I believe in god I say of course, but not the "god of Abraham" ....

..... anyhow, let's keep our atheist indignation positive, creative and compassionate .... and yeah "love (understand) the enemy". Turn up the heat brights .... make it comfortable and appealing .... stay proud , "Atheists teach God better"...

 

 


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I think Agnostic is a much

I think Agnostic is a much better term, as it accepts that you do not know anything absolutely.  Atheist, to me, seems to automatically denote "strong Atheist" or the "absolute belief that there is no deity."  This is irrational and, frankly, hypocritical.  Almost nothing is absolute (I think therefore I am being a rare exception), and God is certainly not an exception.


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RationalDeist wrote: I

RationalDeist wrote:
I think Agnostic is a much better term, as it accepts that you do not know anything absolutely.  Atheist, to me, seems to automatically denote "strong Atheist" or the "absolute belief that there is no deity."  This is irrational and, frankly, hypocritical.  Almost nothing is absolute (I think therefore I am being a rare exception), and God is certainly not an exception.

So if you arbitrarily limit the meaning of the word, it's bad. Right...

Agnostic is rooted in a statement about knowledge -- a person can be strongly agnostic, and believe absolutely that knowledge can't be had about xyz. Atheism deals with belief -- ranging from a sense of the low probability of gods, to the absolute dismissal of the concept.


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"I have not come to bring

"I have not come to bring peace but a sword "... ?

well yes a sharp debate, Jesus was an atheist, he cared, yes I am defending Jesus, fuck the lies, ....

shit I was on a roll, forgot what i was gonna say

Hey RRS fans, Give atheist me some jesus verse shit you don't like , I've been looking for them ....  NT stuff .... just jesus quotes, as in that freaky book,  send to my in box .....


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RationalDeist wrote:

RationalDeist wrote:
I think Agnostic is a much better term, as it accepts that you do not know anything absolutely. Atheist, to me, seems to automatically denote "strong Atheist" or the "absolute belief that there is no deity." This is irrational and, frankly, hypocritical. Almost nothing is absolute (I think therefore I am being a rare exception), and God is certainly not an exception.

 

Yes, that's what "Athiest" means to you, and why is that? Because you are an idiot.

An Athiest is not a theist. They don't believe in any god or the afterlife, probably because of that whole lway there is no evidence, only circular reasoning. But if presented with compelling evidence, we can change our minds. But that never seems to get tested now, does it? All we get shown are "God saved me from paying off the debt I was stupid enough to get into, but fuck all the starving people across the world" and "But without god death is SCARY!!! ABLOO BLOO BLOOO!!"

 

Would you like to point out the hypocrisy in claiming that there is no reason to believe in something none of our senses can detect, and which can be explained as nothing more than a psychological crutch and a meme? And one that doesn't even offer adequate answers (saying the universe was created god only invites "where did god come from?" and "why did he bother?&quotEye-wink Would you like to provide a distinction why it is rational to entertain the possibility of god but not the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or Diklmhsounglfdgijnerh, the god of lanyards?


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BizarroAzrael

BizarroAzrael wrote:

RationalDeist wrote:
I think Agnostic is a much better term, as it accepts that you do not know anything absolutely. Atheist, to me, seems to automatically denote "strong Atheist" or the "absolute belief that there is no deity." This is irrational and, frankly, hypocritical. Almost nothing is absolute (I think therefore I am being a rare exception), and God is certainly not an exception.

 

Yes, that's what "Athiest" means to you, and why is that? Because you are an idiot.

An Athiest is not a theist. They don't believe in any god or the afterlife, probably because of that whole lway there is no evidence, only circular reasoning. But if presented with compelling evidence, we can change our minds. But that never seems to get tested now, does it? All we get shown are "God saved me from paying off the debt I was stupid enough to get into, but fuck all the starving people across the world" and "But without god death is SCARY!!! ABLOO BLOO BLOOO!!"

 

Would you like to point out the hypocrisy in claiming that there is no reason to believe in something none of our senses can detect, and which can be explained as nothing more than a psychological crutch and a meme? And one that doesn't even offer adequate answers (saying the universe was created god only invites "where did god come from?" and "why did he bother?&quotEye-wink Would you like to provide a distinction why it is rational to entertain the possibility of god but not the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or Diklmhsounglfdgijnerh, the god of lanyards?

...

Knowing something absolutely means to prove its non-existence.  Even if you observe something empirically, that does not mean it has to be.  It could be an illusion, it could be the Matrix.

Now, admittedly, it is not a good idea to actually believe this.  It is far more reasonable to live life believing that the world we observe is true, i.e. that we can observe truth.  However, it can never be absolute truth. 


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RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:

...

Knowing something absolutely means to prove its non-existence. Even if you observe something empirically, that does not mean it has to be. It could be an illusion, it could be the Matrix.

Now, admittedly, it is not a good idea to actually believe this. It is far more reasonable to live life believing that the world we observe is true, i.e. that we can observe truth.

Wait, which side are you on?

Quote:
However, it can never be absolute truth.

Ah, good catch. Seriously, did you realise what you just said and stuck that on? "Oh, there has to be more than we can see! Because...y'know...*mutter mutter*"

If you are going to disregard the possibility we are in the matrix why not disregard the possibility god is out there for the exact same reason?


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BizarroAzrael

BizarroAzrael wrote:
RationalDeist wrote:

...

Knowing something absolutely means to prove its non-existence. Even if you observe something empirically, that does not mean it has to be. It could be an illusion, it could be the Matrix.

Now, admittedly, it is not a good idea to actually believe this. It is far more reasonable to live life believing that the world we observe is true, i.e. that we can observe truth.

Wait, which side are you on?

The side of philosophy.  The side which is discussing what can be known absolutely, and what cannot be known absolutely.

Quote:
Quote:
However, it can never be absolute truth.

Ah, good catch. Seriously, did you realise what you just said and stuck that on? "Oh, there has to be more than we can see! Because...y'know...*mutter mutter*"

If you are going to disregard the possibility we are in the matrix why not disregard the possibility god is out there for the exact same reason?

It is reasonable to believe that what we see is true because it would be difficult to live our life any other way--it would be harmful for our lives to believe that we lived in the matrix and that we had to look for morpheus, for example.  However, this does not negate the fact that we could live in the matrix, so it is also reasonable to understand that there are other possibilities, even if they are probably (and by "probably" I mean a 99.9999999% chance) not true.  To be intellectually concise, we have to admit that we do not have complete or absolute knowledge of pretty much anything other than our existence (an axiom), of logic (if A then B, if B then C, therefore if A then C) and mathematics which is a form of logic.  All we know absolutely are axioms and tautologies, everything else is only "known" empirically.  Therefore "Atheist" is not a very intelectually concise term (unless by it you simply mean an Agnostic who really, really, really doubts the existence of God.  But this wouldn't be A-Theist, or anti-theist, because it is not a complete contradiction of a theist.  Or as the OP pointed out, if you simply meant "non theist" this is also not a very good definition, since such a term includes what you are not really associating with.)

 I leave what you want to call yourself up to you though.  I guess atheist really is fine if you simply mean "non-theist", but that leaves the definition pretty broad.  I leave it to you to decide whether it is too broad or not.


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RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:
BizarroAzrael wrote:
RationalDeist wrote:

...

Knowing something absolutely means to prove its non-existence. Even if you observe something empirically, that does not mean it has to be. It could be an illusion, it could be the Matrix.

Now, admittedly, it is not a good idea to actually believe this. It is far more reasonable to live life believing that the world we observe is true, i.e. that we can observe truth.

Wait, which side are you on?

The side of philosophy. The side which is discussing what can be known absolutely, and what cannot be known absolutely.

Quote:
Quote:
However, it can never be absolute truth.

Ah, good catch. Seriously, did you realise what you just said and stuck that on? "Oh, there has to be more than we can see! Because...y'know...*mutter mutter*"

If you are going to disregard the possibility we are in the matrix why not disregard the possibility god is out there for the exact same reason?

It is reasonable to believe that what we see is true because it would be difficult to live our life any other way--it would be harmful for our lives to believe that we lived in the matrix and that we had to look for morpheus, for example. However, this does not negate the fact that we could live in the matrix, so it is also reasonable to understand that there are other possibilities, even if they are probably (and by "probably" I mean a 99.9999999% chance) not true.

 

Yeah, so once again I must ask, you choose not to believe in the Matrix, but you do choose (or have been conditioned and continue) to believe in god.  You live like there is a god but not a matrix.  Why?  Please answer, or try to clumsily sidestep it again. (I know what my money is on)

 

And you can't be assigning probability to shit that is beyond perception, it's meaningless. 

 

I would say that anything that is outside reality as we can observe it irrelevant to this one and believing in god is exactly as much a waste of time as believing we're batteries.

 

 

Quote:
To be intellectually concise, we have to admit that we do not have complete or absolute knowledge of pretty much anything other than our existence (an axiom), of logic (if A then B, if B then C, therefore if A then C) and mathematics which is a form of logic. All we know absolutely are axioms and tautologies, everything else is only "known" empirically.

Why should we even want to know about stuff outside our existence that by definition we can never know about?  And by "we" I mean everyone, including those that wrote the bible and all other holy books.  Why should we believe anything that even you acknowlege was pulled out of someone's ass.

 

Quote:
Therefore "Atheist" is not a very intelectually concise term (unless by it you simply mean an Agnostic who really, really, really doubts the existence of God. But this wouldn't be A-Theist, or anti-theist, because it is not a complete contradiction of a theist. Or as the OP pointed out, if you simply meant "non theist" this is also not a very good definition, since such a term includes what you are not really associating with.)

I leave what you want to call yourself up to you though. I guess atheist really is fine if you simply mean "non-theist", but that leaves the definition pretty broad. I leave it to you to decide whether it is too broad or not.

 

Yes, that's axactly what it means, as I have told you before, you seem to be pretty slow.  And so what if it is broad? It's accurate, and the simple definition makes it very concise indeed.  It's been said before, if you can't be an atheist because  you would become a thiest if presented with evidence to the contrary, then you need to be agnostic toward anything like the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

 I know the IPU was made up by a person, and so have no reason to believe it.  God is exactly the same why.


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BizarroAzrael wrote:
 

Yeah, so once again I must ask, you choose not to believe in the Matrix, but you do choose (or have been conditioned and continue) to believe in god. You live like there is a god but not a matrix. Why? Please answer, or try to clumsily sidestep it again. (I know what my money is on)

Believing in the Matrix wouldn't get me anything.  What would I gain by beliving in the matrix?  Conversley, what do I gain by believing in God? (hint: I do not fear death and can live a better life).  

Simply put there is no reason to believe in the matrix, while the reason to believe in God is so that I do not fear death.

Quote:
And you can't be assigning probability to shit that is beyond perception, it's meaningless.

I am simply pointing out that it is not absolute truth.  There is no way to prove, in the same way we prove that two parallel lines don't intersect, or that "I think therefore I am" that reality is real.  At best, it is only very very likely to be real.

 

Quote:
I would say that anything that is outside reality as we can observe it irrelevant to this one and believing in god is exactly as much a waste of time as believing we're batteries.

but what if a belief in God doesn't require any time?   And don't say that I am wasting time debating here about God, because you don't believe in God, and you are then  also  wasting time debating about God.

 

Quote:
Why should we even want to know about stuff outside our existence that by definition we can never know about?
If we by definition cannot know it, then there is no reason we should actively pursue it.  We still have to admit that we don't know for sure though, if we want to be truthful to ourselves.

 

Quote:
Yes, that's axactly what it means, as I have told you before, you seem to be pretty slow. And so what if it is broad?
that was what the OP had a problem with, so I just thought I would include it.


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RationalDeist

RationalDeist wrote:

Believing in the Matrix wouldn't get me anything. What would I gain by beliving in the matrix? Conversley, what do I gain by believing in God? (hint: I do not fear death and can live a better life).

Simply put there is no reason to believe in the matrix, while the reason to believe in God is so that I do not fear death.

You could start looking for a way out of the Matrix.  Or you could likewise take it to mean that it doesn't matter when we die.  And the living a better life part is just BS, you have no special advantage there. 

 By the way, you don't need to pay tax ever again if you just send an email to Seth Green containing any poem about shoes.  Believe that?  Only one way to find out, right?  Not paying tax is a good reason right?

Quote:
And you can't be assigning probability to shit that is beyond perception, it's meaningless.

I am simply pointing out that it is not absolute truth. There is no way to prove, in the same way we prove that two parallel lines don't intersect, or that "I think therefore I am" that reality is real. At best, it is only very very likely to be real.

 

Quote:
but what if a belief in God doesn't require any time? And don't say that I am wasting time debating here about God, because you don't believe in God, and you are then also wasting time debating about God.

 I like watching people willingly come here to make asses of themselves.  And I'm proud of my power to reason and like to show it off.  And I do a half dozen other things whilst I'm also surfing the board.  You meanwhile continually return like a beaten dog to their master with another lame pile of hyperbole you want to pass off as your own idea when it has been refuted years ago.

And if  belief doesn't need time, why does it need thought?  Why bother at all?  What difference does it make to anyone since there is no evidence to say anyone is right anyway?

Belief does seem to create a need for validation though, and that seem to be your big problem. 

Quote:
If we by definition cannot know it, then there is no reason we should actively pursue it. We still have to admit that we don't know for sure though, if we want to be truthful to ourselves.

So?  As with all other things, I default to needing some proof before I believe it.  I'm not going to force myself to consider a possibility someone just made up arbitrarily.


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My Thoughts on Sam's Presentation

While I can't speak for Sam, here's what I took away from his talk.

When theists hear the word atheist, they become defensive and tune us out. This removes our opportunity to call them on their irrational behaviors when they simply don't work or they are most illogical. If we label ourselves as an atheist, It doesn't matter what we say because they see us as a threat to their beliefs.

If we want to be heard, we need to point out when theists take concrete actions that empirically and measurably fail to produce results and contridict the goals they claim to hold. While can't prove that God doesn't exist, we can look at the world and point out how the actions theists are taking in the name of God are failing. We can say "this isn't working."

The fact that these actions are based on dogma or have root in theistic beliefs are not the main issue. Lack of results is.

If we explicitly pull our atheist card, then theists remove us from the process before it starts. If theists comes back with a claim that a worse outcome is what God wants or that a particular outcome is better than displeasing God, then we can state that we're not bound to these limitations because we do not share their beliefs.

In turn, we do not promote specific beliefs, or lack there of, we promote actions that are proven to work, or propose alternative actions that are likely to cause better outcomes. This means getting involved in groups and organizations that are trying to improve our communities, society and the world. We do not pull out our lack in belief of God by default. Instead, we simply become a voice among many that proposes rational actions in very specific situations. We get our foot in the door and then we change things from the inside without pointing fingers at beliefs. Since religion often looks at the world in back and white, we should be able to find specific situations where dogmatic beliefs cause irrational actions to be taken.

Many theists are belief and morality based, not results based. This is both the problem and potentially a solution. Since they take actions based on the idea that God decides what's right and wrong and want's specific things from us, the details of which they cannot substantiate or agree on, we often see conflict and lack of results.

When theists focus on the reason behind a particular action, instead of really looking at it's results, the outcome takes a back seat and is likely to suffer. And that's where we come in an point out the failed and conflicting actions that we see around us.

The mantra I'm thinking of is "it's not working", because, well, it's obviously not working and it hasn't worked for quite sometime. I think this is because many of the goals that theists claim to want actually contradict with most religious doctrine. It's underlying premise is to separate and control people based on human ego, repression of women, desire for power, exploiting fear of the unknown, etc.

For example, most religions claim to want peace, but take concrete actions which create divisions between people or even invoke violence. These actions cause the very problems theist claim they are trying to solve.

If we can point out how their actions are doing this in a concrete way, I think we have a valuable avenue of opening people's eyes to what's going on around them.

However, I don't think this excludes other valid and more direct avenues that are being used today. It's simply another approach, which I think has significant potential.

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


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mintcheerios wrote:

mintcheerios wrote:


We don't have to seem dishonest to people when they ask us if we are atheists. We can say yes while pointing out that many Buddhists are also atheists.



I'd conceder myself one of these people, but I think of Zen Buddhism as a philosophy, not a religion. The idea of reincarnation seems to be a remnant of Hinduism, which Buddhism seems to have as part of it's roots.

While our body and mind is made of matter and energy which cannot be destroyed, I think our consciousness / sense of self is lost when we die. We get recycled by the laws of physics into something else.

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


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   yeah, cool posting

   yeah, cool posting .....

"I propose that instead of calling ourselves "athiest" we simply call ourselves "reasonable."  So, when someone asks you if you are Christian or if you believe in god, simply say "no, I'm reasonable." 

.   ...God is exactly the same why. { way )))

use adjectives etc, "atheist for god ! " ....