The Atheist Challenge [Kill Em With Kindness]

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The Atheist Challenge [Kill Em With Kindness]

I understand that not all self-proclaimed "atheists" behave in this manner, but to those who do...    

     Let us begin with a brief deconstruction of the word, "atheist."  It comes from two Greek roots, the first root being, "a-" meaning "without" and "theos" meaning "god."  Now that we've discovered that "atheist" means "without a god," let us evaluate this statement.  No where in the meaning of "atheist" does one find any reference to Christianity.

     Which brings us to the crux of the matter.  My challenge to anyone who calls himself or herself an atheist is to disavow all religions equally.  I challenge you to criticize and smite with the undeniable power of logic all "irrational belief," as opposed to just denouncing whatever religion will make you popular.  Let's try to maintain some ideological purity, shall we?  If you hate Christians, don't say you oppose religion.  Say you oppose Christianity with every moral, intellectual fiber of your being.  If the goal of atheists is to hold oneself to the standard of reason, then do so.  If you are anti-Christian, but Buddhism, Hinduism, and New Age belief is fine, then admit it!  Don't, however, use a term to mean what it does not.  After all, one of the chief criticisms of religion is that it blinds the masses and encourages disinformation, correct?  Avoid such hypocrisy, then.  The irony is unbearable when an anti-Christian posing as an atheist contributes to confusion and falsehood.    

And to repeat myself: I know full and well that not every atheist is guilty of this.

Thanks

 


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seth wrote: Man I'm tired

seth wrote:

Man I'm tired of atheists saying that they don't have a stance.  They have nothing to prove.  Well if you don't have a stance, take one.  If you don't have a philosophy, get one.  Atheism is indeed a choice, and it sounds like you have a reason for making that choice, so don't tell me you don't.  Everyone has a burden of proof.  If you believe anything at all, then you have to have a reason for believing it be it rational or not. 

It's simple - atheists don't believe in the existence of a god. What sort of proof of my lack of belief would be satisfactory to you?

If someone comes up to you and claims to be male, do you have him drop trou so you can check for yourself?

You want a reason for atheism - how about theism doesn't work?  If a machine doesn't work do you keep using it or do you find something that does?

Theism (particularly the Abrahamic versions) keeps trying the same things over and over, hoping for a different result. Last time I checked, that was a definition for insanity. 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Magus wrote: You seem to

Magus wrote:

You seem to think mind and the "I" are seperate entities. I am the chemical reactions of my mind.

Do you think you could unconditionally love someone who beat you ever day? Give me an example of unconditional love.

What I think is that people are in control of their actions.  In that aspect "I" control mind mind.  If that make it 2 separate entities so be it.

One example of unconditional love is Christ dying for the very people He was trying to save, all the while, they where the ones who killed Him.

Since you probably don't care what the Bible says, another example would be marriage.  That is why you should chose your partner carefully.  Christians make an covenant with there spouce to love them no matter what.  This makes for lasting relationships.

My main problem with what you are saying is that if you don't like someone anymore, or don't enjoy being around them anymore, how long do you wait to "drop" them?  Let say for some reason, that in the future you like that person again, or even have regret, change of heart, or you come in contact with them again and it turns out you like them again.  It that other person going to want you back.  Since you were a jerk and basically shut them out of your life?  This doesn't make for healthy realationships. 

 


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Tilberian wrote: wavefreak

Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

An additional problem is there is broad disagreemnt on what constitutes valid evidence. Quoting a verse in the bible and saying Jesus fulfilled a prophecy is not considered empirical evidence, even if it is sufficient evidence for many believers. So the standard of evidence for atheists is different that for theists.

Actually, theists are quite committed to the very same standards of evidence as atheists in every aspect of their lives except that one concerning God. I haven't noticed many theists buying cars on faith, for instance.

And are you saying then that atheists don't make choices based on faith.  First you weigh the evidence and then you make a choice based on the available evidence.  To say the theists are the only ones opperating on faith is like saying that atheists know everything there is to know past, present and future.  Admit it, you have faith, admit it! 


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seth wrote:

seth wrote:

Christians make an covenant with there spouce to love them no matter what. This makes for lasting relationships.


Christian divorce rates cited from a Christian web-site:

http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=170

Also, Jesus states in Luke 16:18 "Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery , and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery."

Incidentally, want to guess how many millions of Christians are now adulterers according to Jesus ?

Even that fat bastard, Pastor John Hagee has been married twice and end-times Christian author Hal Lindsey is married to his fourth wife.

So much for lasting relationships among Christians ! What a joke !

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

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seth wrote: Magus

seth wrote:
Magus wrote:

You seem to think mind and the "I" are seperate entities. I am the chemical reactions of my mind.

Do you think you could unconditionally love someone who beat you ever day? Give me an example of unconditional love.

What I think is that people are in control of their actions.  In that aspect "I" control mind mind.  If that make it 2 separate entities so be it.

One example of unconditional love is Christ dying for the very people He was trying to save, all the while, they where the ones who killed Him.

Since you probably don't care what the Bible says, another example would be marriage.  That is why you should chose your partner carefully.  Christians make an covenant with there spouce to love them no matter what.  This makes for lasting relationships.

My main problem with what you are saying is that if you don't like someone anymore, or don't enjoy being around them anymore, how long do you wait to "drop" them?  Let say for some reason, that in the future you like that person again, or even have regret, change of heart, or you come in contact with them again and it turns out you like them again.  It that other person going to want you back.  Since you were a jerk and basically shut them out of your life?  This doesn't make for healthy realationships. 

 

I won't get into the "Jesus made no sacrifice" thing again. Others have done it so well.

Are you saying that Jesus died only for the Jews of his time? Or are you saying that I have to believe that he died in order to accept the love he gave? If the answer to the first question is "yes" then people living today don't need to worry. If the second question's answer is "yes", then his love is conditional.

If Jesus/God loves us whether we believe in Him or not, why is there the Hell that He will happily let us burn in for eternity?     

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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seth wrote: Tilberian

seth wrote:
Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

An additional problem is there is broad disagreemnt on what constitutes valid evidence. Quoting a verse in the bible and saying Jesus fulfilled a prophecy is not considered empirical evidence, even if it is sufficient evidence for many believers. So the standard of evidence for atheists is different that for theists.

Actually, theists are quite committed to the very same standards of evidence as atheists in every aspect of their lives except that one concerning God. I haven't noticed many theists buying cars on faith, for instance.

And are you saying then that atheists don't make choices based on faith.  First you weigh the evidence and then you make a choice based on the available evidence.  To say the theists are the only ones opperating on faith is like saying that atheists know everything there is to know past, present and future.  Admit it, you have faith, admit it! 

Ah, the old "absolute knowledge" argument. Where would Ray Comfort be without you?

No faith needed. If I go into a darkened room and flip the light switch, I know from past experience (from repeated trials) that I can reasonably expect the lights to come on. If they don't, I can reasonably expect to have to go repair some fault in the system (or have a professional do it for me if it is beyond my abilities).  

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Well, Seth, I've been away

Well, Seth, I've been away for a couple of days and I see you're not dead yet. I guess we atheists haven't been kind enough to you.

When I was younger I so much wanted to be rational. I even thought I was or at least said I was. I lied. I am not rational. Further, I have never met someone who is and I'll bet you haven't either. What I am is reasonable and (at the risk of ending up one head shorter) I'd be willing to bet that reasonable is the best all the other people on this site can do too. (Oh boy, am I gonna hear it for this one.)

At the risk of introducing yet another computer analogy, we are not hard-wired to be rational. Too much of what we think we think is filtered through some very primative (certainly pre-logical) data buffers. I know you don't accept the theory of evolution (that is still the case, right?) but I do. Evolution tells me a whole bunch of things that fit really well. For one, when measured against some very interesting observable data, it tells me that our distant ancestors were sexually selected to be predisposed for religious belief. No, this isn't a cheap shot. Just bear with me.

Some time before 60,000 years ago, is my guess, our guy ancestors began to get sex because they 'got' the tribe's story. If they didn't understand the story then they were too dumb to be chosen to beget offspring. Now the story probably started out very simple and nebulous, "Uhg, da hunter kill animal really good, bring home meat. You like." But the story evolved along with us and "Uhg was mighty hero, live long ago. He fight many battles." There was probably a lot of pantomime with the early versions.

Predators are good for prey. The prey that survives is better and passes on its genes, yadda, yadda, yadda - zis boom baa. Well the relationship between story and story teller is very similar and soon it wasn't enough just to 'get' the story. The story had to be told by a good story teller. And guess what he got. And this is still observable today. Look at how much sexual excitement is generated by skinny little boys on a stage, tunelessly strumming a stringed instrument while yelling unintelligable words. And while I've never attended a Christian rock concert, I'll bet the responses are very similar in nature - at least just beneath the surface and with the possible exception of audience word choices. I mean, what ellicits the steamy look in that religious girl's eyes? Is it the message - the same message she's probably barely listened to the last thousand times she's heard it? Is it the message or is it the messenger?

You asked in one of your recent posts if you had to go back to school. The short answer is yes. Once you step out of faith and into the realm of thinking then you have to learn what other thinkers think. To that end I'm going to recommend a little book (and it really is little).
How Brains Think by W. H. Calvin. I thought the author's name might appeal to you. That's a joke, Seth.


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[MOD HAT] Seth, don't use

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Seth, don't use the misleading avatar.  It'll be replaced with an asshat avatar each time you use it.  Please replace avatar without being deceptive. 

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seth wrote: Admit it, you

seth wrote:
Admit it, you have faith, admit it!

You do understand the difference between faith based upon previous experience and faith as in a belief without proof, don't you?

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lieutenant24 wrote: seth

lieutenant24 wrote:

seth wrote:
Admit it, you have faith, admit it!

You do understand the difference between faith based upon previous experience and faith as in a belief without proof, don't you?

 

What else is there besides previous experience? Remove all my experiences and I have nothing. The real issue is that there is a class of experiences which each of us consider germane to our views of reality. Some insist that the experiences that build that reality must be limited to those which are empirically verifiable. Hence a religious experience is important to some and discarded by others.


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 So where is the challenge

 So where is the challenge here?

The religions I have tampered with Christianity, Wicca, Buddhism all really add up to silly superstitition but I will give budhism the upper hand for having those cool KUNG-FU THEATER ROBES, lol. 

If God didn't want atheists than we wouldn't exist..


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Sorry, Sapient, I was using

Sorry, Sapient, I was using my work computer and forgot that little technicality.  I don't particularly like being Anonymous.


I AM GOD AS YOU
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yo Slayne, fundy's can and

yo Slayne, fundy's can and do screw most everything up ....

"Reincarnation" is a prime example which simply meant all enegy/matter is recycled. The word reincarnation has been dropped by many buddhists because of it's widespread miss understanding and attachment to silly superstition ..... darn fundys.   

Buddhist 'monks' are non superstitious atheists who wear robes ..... Why ?

GOOGLE "why do buddhist monks wear robes"

'The simplicity of wearing a basic robe partly symbolizes the vow they have taken to live a simple life. It is like their "uniform" in a way. A symbol of their non-status that they are no longer partake in the material aspects of society.'

this is kinda cool,

http://www.buddhanet.net/9-gqga.htm

Yes, unfortunatley there are some nuts calling themselves Buddhists ..... geezz go figure ..... 

, thats why I just call myself 100% God ! Cool

Einstein was a Buddha fan. Check out cool bad boy westerner Alan Watts who taught eastern ideas. He dressed in levis.

 

 


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seth wrote: And are you

seth wrote:

And are you saying then that atheists don't make choices based on faith. First you weigh the evidence and then you make a choice based on the available evidence. To say the theists are the only ones opperating on faith is like saying that atheists know everything there is to know past, present and future. Admit it, you have faith, admit it!

So according to you there are two conditions a person can be in: total knowledge or lack of total knowledge with the gaps filled in by faith.   

Hate to break it to you, but there is a third condition: not knowing everything, understanding that you don't know everything, and proceeding enthusiastically in an attitude of curiosity.

If theists really did feel that all the knowledge they don't have is adequately filled in by faith, then they would have no reason to engage in the collection and evaluation of evidence that you describe. They would either know the answer to any given question, or be able to consult their faith (ie their imaginations) and arrive at the answer with no investigative process necessary. But this isn't what I see theists doing. So I guess faith doesn't substitute for knowlege after all.

I have no faith. As far as I'm concerned, everything I think I know could be wrong tomorrow. And, IMO, that goes for everyone else who claims to have knowledge, too. However, I can't live my life this way so I have decided to proceed from certain axiomatic assumptions, for instance, that induction works, that my senses report fairly accurate information, that Occam's Razor is valid etc. This framework hasn't let me down yet, and has the added benefit of requiring no faith of any kind. 

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seth wrote: Tilberian

seth wrote:
Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

An additional problem is there is broad disagreemnt on what constitutes valid evidence. Quoting a verse in the bible and saying Jesus fulfilled a prophecy is not considered empirical evidence, even if it is sufficient evidence for many believers. So the standard of evidence for atheists is different that for theists.

Actually, theists are quite committed to the very same standards of evidence as atheists in every aspect of their lives except that one concerning God. I haven't noticed many theists buying cars on faith, for instance.

And are you saying then that atheists don't make choices based on faith. First you weigh the evidence and then you make a choice based on the available evidence. To say the theists are the only ones opperating on faith is like saying that atheists know everything there is to know past, present and future. Admit it, you have faith, admit it!

You are never going to learn with an attitude like that. You have repeatedly and falsely accused atheists of claiming to know everything which we dont. Please stop.

 Repeatedly in this post the word has been explained to you. We have also explained that there is a differance between holding a position, and having knowlege of that position and those two seperate issues apply to both the atheist and theist.

If you want to learn, then read and learn. If you want to repeat yourself you are wasting your time and ours. We want you to learn and we want you to understand and we do think it is great that theists engauge us.

Now, for the last time,

Holding a position, any position, on any issue, NOT JUST RELIGION, DOES NOT, require knowlege, it merely means you hold a position.

 

 "I believe in horriscopes" is stating a position. 

THAT IS DIFFERENT THAN

"I know horriscopes work" 

Now, one could also say the following in regards to horriscopes:

"I believe that horriscopes work, but I dont know how"

OR

"I know horriscopes work, and here is how".

OR,

ANOTHER EXAMPLE

"I believe that the War in Iraq is going well, although I dont know how they are succeeding"

OR

"I know that the war in Iraq is going well, and here are the specific tactics they are using to do so".

OR

"I hold the position that the war is going badly, even though I dont know why it is"

OR

"I know the war is going badly and here are the reasons" 

See the pattern? You can claim something, anything and that is merely a position you are taking. But that is a seperate issue than knowing. The same goes with theism and atheism.

Theist "I know the Christian god exists"

agnostic theist, "I believe a god exists, but I dont know anything about it or what to call it"

agnostic atheist, "I dont know if a god exists, but I see no good evidence to buy such a claim" |( this can apply to any deity claim, not just your religion)

atheist="I know that your god cannot exist, and here is why"

I myself consider myself an agnostic atheist as far as future possible evidences, but I consider myself an outright atheist as far as current and past claims. 

So, for the last time. There is a differance between holding a postition and having knowlege of that position. This is not hard logic to understand. 

 

 

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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote: yo

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

yo Slayne, fundy's can and do screw most everything up ....

"Reincarnation" is a prime example which simply meant all enegy/matter is recycled. The word reincarnation has been dropped by many buddhists because of it's widespread miss understanding and attachment to silly superstition ..... darn fundys.

Buddhist 'monks' are non superstitious atheists who wear robes ..... Why ?

GOOGLE "why do buddhist monks wear robes"

'The simplicity of wearing a basic robe partly symbolizes the vow they have taken to live a simple life. It is like their "uniform" in a way. A symbol of their non-status that they are no longer partake in the material aspects of society.'

this is kinda cool,

http://www.buddhanet.net/9-gqga.htm

Yes, unfortunatley there are some nuts calling themselves Buddhists ..... geezz go figure .....

, thats why I just call myself 100% God ! Cool

Einstein was a Buddha fan. Check out cool bad boy westerner Alan Watts who taught eastern ideas. He dressed in levis.

 

 

 

hey I actually studied with some buddhist muonks and realize the symbolism of the Robe I was simply commenting tat is all silly but the Robe is cool due too chessy 70's kunfu movies.

Relax... besides you are slightly misguided  there as Tibetan Monks have not yet dropped the re-incarnation. plus if you you had something as reincarnation then dropped it thenthat makes you hypocritical to yourself.

on the point of Fundies, remember the fundies have little power without the moderates enabling them. 

If God didn't want atheists than we wouldn't exist..


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wavefreak wrote: What else

wavefreak wrote:

What else is there besides previous experience? Remove all my experiences and I have nothing. The real issue is that there is a class of experiences which each of us consider germane to our views of reality. Some insist that the experiences that build that reality must be limited to those which are empirically verifiable. Hence a religious experience is important to some and discarded by others.

The light comes on everytime I flip the switch. This is what I expect to happen, based upon quantifiable experience. The number of times when it worked are evidence that it will work again. This is faithed based upon reason. Everyone has this sort of faith.

Religious beliefs are based on faith without reason. If God physically came down to earth to bake you a pie everytime you asked, you could reasonable expect him to the next time you asked. That would be faith based upon reason. I'm guession yours is not.

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lieutenant24 wrote: I'm

lieutenant24 wrote:

I'm guession yours is not.

Don't guess. It makes you look foolish. 


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Sapient wrote: Seth, don't

Sapient wrote:

Seth, don't use the misleading avatar. It'll be replaced with an asshat avatar each time you use it. Please replace avatar without being deceptive.

 It wasn't misleading, I wrote clearly, "but not of this site" right on there.  Thanks for the hat but I think it looks better on you.  You could have asked me to change it. 


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Not bad. Here's you as

Not bad. Here's you as Rudolf Hess, drinking the nectar out of a baby's head.

 

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seth wrote: Sapient

seth wrote:
Sapient wrote:

Seth, don't use the misleading avatar. It'll be replaced with an asshat avatar each time you use it. Please replace avatar without being deceptive.

 It wasn't misleading, I wrote clearly, "but not of this site" right on there.  Thanks for the hat but I think it looks better on you.  You could have asked me to change it. 

Looks to me like he did ask you - why the petulance? 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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magilum wrote: Here's you

magilum wrote:

Here's you as Rudolf Hess, drinking the nectar out of a baby's head.

Sorry, nothing to add; just wanted to pay homage to the funniest sentence I've read in a while. I salute you, magilum.

<golf clap>

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I disavow irrationality

I disavow irrationality because it is irrational, not because it is affiliated with a religion. Some people (admittedly few) follow a religion as a metaphor for creative thought, expressing emotion or cultural connection, and so forth. I have no problem with that. I think symbolic, allegorical, or archetypal thought can be useful. However, where I have a problem is there the symbol is mistaken for something real. Literalism is something else entirely. 

For example, take Aesop's fable. These little tales are wonderful at simply illustrating some of the foibles of human nature. However, we don't *really* believe they happened, or that the text of Aesop's fables is the inerrant word of a mystical being.  Similarly, as a scholar of religion and history, I see great value in the myths and stories of many religions - AS myths and stories. 

 Where the understanding of these things as allegory breaks down, so too does rationality. Why does that matter? After all, what someone believes in the privacy of their own mind is their business yes? Well, yes, but also no.

Is it OK if someone believes in the privacy of their own mind that they have been instructed by God to blow up a building? Of course not. What if your belief is totally harmless, and does not cause you to interfere with anyone at all.

Say your religion has no evangelism, no judgement of those who don't believe. However, in your belief, potatoes are evil. Utterly evil and must be banished from existence. Don't you think that would affect the things you do?

You will avoid certain restaurants, perhaps try to lobby to change the menu at your child's school, favor businesses with a strict no-potato policy, regardless of whether they are otherwise ethical businesses. You will demand alternate meals be available in public forums. You will soon have formed communities, social groups around your loathing of potatoes. Because you all have that in common, you are alike. Not like those potato eaters... I mean, really, who can trust someone who eats potatoes? Do you want your children playing with potato eaters? You will vote for pubic officials who are more sympathetic to your anti-potato stance, and are willing to pass legislation making it possible for your potato free diet to be supported.

So even something this trivial has now becomes a socially divisive force, a political issue, an economic factor... all based in an purely irrational hatred of potatoes.

Yes, this is a pretty extreme hypothetical. Call it my own fable, not to be taken literally. But is it really so hard to see religion in our society in this story? That's why I will always disavow literalism, no matter the religion it comes from.

_________________________________________________________

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Ravenmoon wrote: Is it OK

Ravenmoon wrote:

Is it OK if someone believes in the privacy of their own mind that they have been instructed by God to blow up a building? Of course not. What if your belief is totally harmless, and does not cause you to interfere with anyone at all.

Say your religion has no evangelism, no judgement of those who don't believe. However, in your belief, potatoes are evil. Utterly evil and must be banished from existence. Don't you think that would affect the things you do?

You will avoid certain restaurants, perhaps try to lobby to change the menu at your child's school, favor businesses with a strict no-potato policy, regardless of whether they are otherwise ethical businesses. You will demand alternate meals be available in public forums. You will soon have formed communities, social groups around your loathing of potatoes. Because you all have that in common, you are alike. Not like those potato eaters... I mean, really, who can trust someone who eats potatoes? Do you want your children playing with potato eaters? You will vote for pubic officials who are more sympathetic to your anti-potato stance, and are willing to pass legislation making it possible for your potato free diet to be supported.

So even something this trivial has now becomes a socially divisive force, a political issue, an economic factor... all based in an purely irrational hatred of potatoes.

Yes, this is a pretty extreme hypothetical. Call it my own fable, not to be taken literally. But is it really so hard to see religion in our society in this story? That's why I will always disavow literalism, no matter the religion it comes from.

The problem with your "fable" is that it seems to break its own rules. You started it off by trying to envision a belief that was harmless, but you (purposefully) added harmful elements to it. Of course the point you were trying to make is that any belief can be taken to irrational, extreme, and harmful levels, but I don't believe that this demonstrates that all irrational beliefs are necessarily harmful. Obviously beliefs shape behavior, but I don't believe that all irrational beliefs necessarily shape the harmful behavior that you are attempting to depict.


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LosingStreak06 wrote: The

LosingStreak06 wrote:

The problem with your "fable" is that it seems to break its own rules. You started it off by trying to envision a belief that was harmless, but you (purposefully) added harmful elements to it. Of course the point you were trying to make is that any belief can be taken to irrational, extreme, and harmful levels, but I don't believe that this demonstrates that all irrational beliefs are necessarily harmful. Obviously beliefs shape behavior, but I don't believe that all irrational beliefs necessarily shape the harmful behavior that you are attempting to depict.

 

So, you're saying that an irrational belief can lead to non-harmful behavior?  By definition irrational thought is in conflict with reality.  Isn't that reason enough in itself to avoid such a thing?  Isn't being in conflict with reality harmful enough all by itself - whether or not it leads to action?  Besides, arriving at the conflict with reality is a choice and therefore it is an action.  A willfull agreement with one's self - and sometimes in concert with others - to ignore reality, this seems a path frought with danger (harm) to  me.


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OccamsChainsaw wrote:  By

OccamsChainsaw wrote:

 By definition irrational thought is in conflict with reality.

Huh? I'm pretty sure this isn't what you mean. First of all thoughts are neither rational nor irrational. They are simply thoughts. Rational conclusions are reached when the thoughts conform to the rules of rationality. And even a chain of thoughts that conforms to rational rules can fail to be descriptive of reality if the data is erroneous. Also, a chain of thoughts that fail rational process can still end on a conclusion that is valid (A god pulls the sun across the sky. Gods never die, therefor the sun will rise tomorrow).


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I'm pretty sure it isn't

I'm pretty sure it isn't what I meant either.  It would have sufficed to say that the irrational is in conflict with reality.  And it's in conflict whether or not the sun rises tomorrow.  You're correct, wavefreak, thoughts are neither rational or irrational - good or bad - they're just thoughts.  It's the starting point and the ending conclusion that matter.  And whatever fun we might have along the way is just a bonus.


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OccamsChainsaw wrote:

OccamsChainsaw wrote:
So, you're saying that an irrational belief can lead to non-harmful behavior? By definition irrational thought is in conflict with reality.

I disagree. One could come to irrational conclusions that are not in confliction with reality. For example, people who play the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" can (and occasionally do) arrive at a correct answer through very incorrect thinking. Before the invention of methods to measure astronomical and geological structures, it would have been irrational to conclude that the earth was round, let alone that it wasn't the center of existence. Rational conclusions must be based upon empirical knowledge. This does not make irrational conclusions incompatible with reality, it merely makes them groundless.

Quote:
Isn't that reason enough in itself to avoid such a thing? Isn't being in conflict with reality harmful enough all by itself - whether or not it leads to action?

I would argue that it is not, in the same sense that a hammer is not harmful unless I hit myself on the thumb with it. Or if you want to make things a bit more abstract, in the same sense that my desire to hammer things isn't harmful until I hammer someone else's thumb.

Quote:
Besides, arriving at the conflict with reality is a choice and therefore it is an action.

A harmful one? I don't see how.

Quote:
A willfull agreement with one's self - and sometimes in concert with others - to ignore reality, this seems a path frought with danger (harm) to me.

Danger and harm are quite different things, I should think.

 

EDIT: I would also like to make the preemptive concession that the event of an irrational conclusion being true is very much a case of the blind squirrel finding his acorn. I was just pointing out that your definition of irrational, as I see it, suffers from being a bit too pointed. 


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I'm having a tough time

I'm having a tough time rebutting some of your arguments.  What usually works for me is rambling on for awhile until something clicks.  It seemed so clear to me until you muddied things up. 

Ages ago, when I was a Randite (ist?) - when I was a lot more randy - I used to agree with a lot of conservative Republican views even though to me, they arrived at those conclusions for the wrong reasons.  So I get your point.

I think all I'm really after here is the realization that choosing to remain irrational in the face of reality can lead to other nasty habits and hence, to walking down that path frought with dangers.  If I lived in Medieval Europe I might keep my knowledge of the Earth's true shape and position to myself. I'd probably think seriously before I opened my mouth.  The trouble with that is that I'm one of those Quixotic individuals and a lot of me is tied up in the maintenance of that self-image.  There would come a time when keeping silent would cost me at least as much pain as being burned at the stake.  What worries me is that there are enough irrational folks - people with real power - that I might be faced with a very similar choice in the not too distant future.  And I'm just this old guy, you know. 


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pyrokineticist wrote: My

pyrokineticist wrote:
My challenge to anyone who calls himself or herself an atheist is to disavow all religions equally.

Does this challenge extend to those who are atheist but do not call themselves so?

A Christian falls into this category as he believes in one god. He does not, for example, believe in the god of the Muslim faith, and therefore is Atheist toward Allah.

Are you able to accept your own challenge and disavow all religions equally?

Try not to be daunted by the task of asserting that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the best actor that ever lived, you have to ignore a lot less facts than you do to assert that the Earth is only 6,000 years old!


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Brango

Brango wrote:

pyrokineticist wrote:
My challenge to anyone who calls himself or herself an atheist is to disavow all religions equally.

Does this challenge extend to those who are atheist but do not call themselves so?

A Christian falls into this category as he believes in one god. He does not, for example, believe in the god of the Muslim faith, and therefore is Atheist toward Allah.

Are you able to accept your own challenge and disavow all religions equally?

You know, I really hate that line of reasoning, because it distorts the definition of the word atheist. In fact, the quote from which your line of thinking is summed up was in the signatrue of a previous poster in this topic, and I very nearly crticized it. Since you went and argued for it, I think I'll go ahead and do that now. The quote in question, of course is:

 

Stephen Roberts wrote:

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

Firstly, I would point out that an atheist is defined (by most dictionaries) as one who lacks belief in a god or gods. By that definition, one cannot be an atheist toward one god and NOT an atheist toward another god. Not believing in a particular god is quite different from not believing in all gods. An atheist who believes in a god is something similar to a married bachelor - a contradiction. So the definition of atheist is misused in the quote.

Secondly, the line of reasoning is a faulty assumption. It is very possible that the reason a Christian does not believe in other gods is because her god demands that she does not. The Christian god quite frequently insists that he is the one true god. A belief in the Christian god could be used as the reasoning to reject other gods. Being that Mr. Roberts does not believe (to my knowledge) in the Christian god, he would be incorrect in asserting that the Christian's reasoning for not believing in other gods is the same as his for not believing in theirs.

So I guess what I'm really trying to say is that it's not really a very good quote, and I really do wish that people would stop using it as an argument, or as a signature for that matter.


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LosingStreak06

LosingStreak06 wrote:
Brango wrote:

pyrokineticist wrote:
My challenge to anyone who calls himself or herself an atheist is to disavow all religions equally.

Does this challenge extend to those who are atheist but do not call themselves so?

A Christian falls into this category as he believes in one god. He does not, for example, believe in the god of the Muslim faith, and therefore is Atheist toward Allah.

Are you able to accept your own challenge and disavow all religions equally?

You know, I really hate that line of reasoning, because it distorts the definition of the word atheist. In fact, the quote from which your line of thinking is summed up was in the signatrue of a previous poster in this topic, and I very nearly crticized it. Since you went and argued for it, I think I'll go ahead and do that now. The quote in question, of course is:

Stephen Roberts wrote:

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

Firstly, I would point out that an atheist is defined (by most dictionaries) as one who lacks belief in a god or gods. By that definition, one cannot be an atheist toward one god and NOT an atheist toward another god. Not believing in a particular god is quite different from not believing in all gods. An atheist who believes in a god is something similar to a married bachelor - a contradiction. So the definition of atheist is misused in the quote.

Secondly, the line of reasoning is a faulty assumption. It is very possible that the reason a Christian does not believe in other gods is because her god demands that she does not. The Christian god quite frequently insists that he is the one true god. A belief in the Christian god could be used as the reasoning to reject other gods. Being that Mr. Roberts does not believe (to my knowledge) in the Christian god, he would be incorrect in asserting that the Christian's reasoning for not believing in other gods is the same as his for not believing in theirs.

So I guess what I'm really trying to say is that it's not really a very good quote, and I really do wish that people would stop using it as an argument, or as a signature for that matter.

I think the quote is based on this line of reasoning:

Christians have as much evidence for believing in the God of the Bible as the Egyptians did for believing in Ra or the Greeks had for believing in Zeus.

Yet on that evidence they endorse their version of God and deny all the others.

Atheists look at the evidence that the Christians use to justify belief in their God and deny it also.

If Christians would really examine the scant evidence they have for their God (instead of the preaching and self deception), they'd have to lump him in with Zeus, Ra, Allah, et al.   

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote: I think

jcgadfly wrote:

I think the quote is based on this line of reasoning:

Christians have as much evidence for believing in the God of the Bible as the Egyptians did for believing in Ra or the Greeks had for believing in Zeus.

Yet on that evidence they endorse their version of God and deny all the others.

Atheists look at the evidence that the Christians use to justify belief in their God and deny it also.

If Christians would really examine the scant evidence they have for their God (instead of the preaching and self deception), they'd have to lump him in with Zeus, Ra, Allah, et al.

I understand that, but the reasoning behind it is faulty. Christian's don't use evidence to form their beliefs, and the entire quote depends on them doing so. Sure, Christians will expand their rationalizations to include what they perceive as evidence if they are not challenged in doing so. But I can't imagine that you've never challenged a Christian's beliefs and had them come up with the "it's just a matter of having faith" line. Christians don't use evidence. That is why the quote fails outright. 

 


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LosingStreak06 wrote:

LosingStreak06 wrote:
"..... Christians don't use evidence. That is why the quote fails outright.

 

Just an observation, but if Christians don't rely upon evidence to rationalize their beliefs then from whence do we have these long, tedious posts from Christians such as wzedi, beatz, et al?

Should it take them four or five pages of posts to simply state they're belief is based solely upon......faith ?

No offense LosingStreak but are you kidding me ?Frown

Why do they resort to validating their belief system by resorting to historical records to "prove" that Jesus was a historical figure, that prophecies have come true, Intelligent Design is truth and evolution is just a "theory". These are all areas in which Christians attempt to use "evidence" to prove the validity of Christianity.

Reminds me of the title of Josh McDowell's book "Evidence That Demands a Verdict"

Peace.

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

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LosingStreak06

LosingStreak06 wrote:
Brango wrote:

pyrokineticist wrote:
My challenge to anyone who calls himself or herself an atheist is to disavow all religions equally.

Does this challenge extend to those who are atheist but do not call themselves so?

A Christian falls into this category as he believes in one god. He does not, for example, believe in the god of the Muslim faith, and therefore is Atheist toward Allah.

Are you able to accept your own challenge and disavow all religions equally?

You know, I really hate that line of reasoning, because it distorts the definition of the word atheist. In fact, the quote from which your line of thinking is summed up was in the signatrue of a previous poster in this topic, and I very nearly crticized it. Since you went and argued for it, I think I'll go ahead and do that now. The quote in question, of course is:

Stephen Roberts wrote:

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

Firstly, I would point out that an atheist is defined (by most dictionaries) as one who lacks belief in a god or gods. By that definition, one cannot be an atheist toward one god and NOT an atheist toward another god. Not believing in a particular god is quite different from not believing in all gods. An atheist who believes in a god is something similar to a married bachelor - a contradiction. So the definition of atheist is misused in the quote.

Secondly, the line of reasoning is a faulty assumption. It is very possible that the reason a Christian does not believe in other gods is because her god demands that she does not. The Christian god quite frequently insists that he is the one true god. A belief in the Christian god could be used as the reasoning to reject other gods. Being that Mr. Roberts does not believe (to my knowledge) in the Christian god, he would be incorrect in asserting that the Christian's reasoning for not believing in other gods is the same as his for not believing in theirs.

So I guess what I'm really trying to say is that it's not really a very good quote, and I really do wish that people would stop using it as an argument, or as a signature for that matter.

I think what you are missing about the quote is "...when you understand why you reject all other gods...". He is not making a false assumption here IMHO. Ask any normal theist why they don't believe in any of the old gods or any other current gods, and I would bet my life that they wouldn't say "Because my god told me not to." They would probably laugh at you and say that it is obvious that those gods are just myths. Theism is always laughable from the outside looking in, but never the inverse.

Thats cute.


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LosingStreak06 wrote: You

LosingStreak06 wrote:
You know, I really hate that line of reasoning, because it distorts the definition of the word atheist.

It could be said that it distorts what you want the definition of the word atheist to be, but regardless of wish or preference, it is a very valid reasoning indeed.

Ask yourself, do you consider a Muslim atheist? If you are fortunate enough to have been born in a region of the world that blessed you with the chance to have belief in the god of Christianity, then regardless of what a Muslim believes, as far as you are concerned his belief is mistaken, and he is as godless as anyone else not blessed with the fortune of sharing your belief.

Reverse the roles and ask a Muslim the same of a Christian. To him, you are godless. To him, you are atheist.

LosingStreak06 wrote:
It is very possible that the reason a Christian does not believe in other gods is because her god demands that she does not.

Very true. This restriction, however, does not exempt one from being seen as atheist outside their own faith. Perhaps a god who actually existed would have forseen this anomaly in his one true creed, and done his followers the enormous favour of addressing it before he created atheists.

I love your avatar, BTW!

Try not to be daunted by the task of asserting that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the best actor that ever lived, you have to ignore a lot less facts than you do to assert that the Earth is only 6,000 years old!


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pyrokineticist

pyrokineticist wrote:
[...]I challenge you to criticize and smite with the undeniable power of logic all "irrational belief," [...]. Thanks.

All religions are manmade and I believe in none of them.

You are welcome. Eye-wink 


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pyrokineticist wrote: My

pyrokineticist wrote:

My challenge to anyone who calls himself or herself an atheist is to disavow all religions equally. I challenge you to criticize and smite with the undeniable power of logic all "irrational belief," as opposed to just denouncing whatever religion will make you popular.

I DISAVOW ALL RELIGIONS EQUALLY!

(At least in the sense that they can be disavowed equally. The "challange" seems to assume that all religions are equally irrational, whereas some are obviously moreso than others.  Plus, I would be interested in a definition of "religion", just to be clear.

However, we can say that any system of worshipping, honoring or belieing in something supernatural is irrational. Some religions (considered by some definitions) don't do this, so they aren't in the same category: some strains of Buddhism, for example.)

As an atheist, I will also say that all religions have some nice bits of wisdom equally: the golden rule, don't kill, etc.  Just because its a religion doesn't mean that all of what it consists of is bad. 

 

I find it telling that a Xian would want us all to see the world in Black-and-White and denounce "all" of something, with a sweeping gesture. It is obviously a fallacy taught to him by his religion. 

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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interesting

in regards to the OP...I assure you, if Budhaist fucked with us as much as Christians, we would pay more attention to them.


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I disavow all irrational nonsense equally...

Whether it be a religion, the latest fad diet, or copper and/or magnetic bracelets as a panacea.


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 Let us begin with a brief

 Let us begin with a brief deconstruction of the word, "atheist."  It comes from two Greek roots, the first root being, "a-" meaning "without" and "theos" meaning "god."  Now that we've discovered that "atheist" means "without a god,"

 

 First of all I want to begin this retort with an extended for defining the definition of the word atheist to a group of...atheist.

No where in the meaning of "atheist" does one find any reference to Christianity.
 

AGREED! THANK YOU. Please remind other christians of this every day if you will please?

Which brings us to the crux of the matter.  My challenge to anyone who calls himself or herself an atheist is to disavow all religions equally.

I thought we cleared this up in the first paragraph. Without god. Doesn't matter which god..we dont care..we dont accept any of the worlds known dieties.

as opposed to just denouncing whatever religion will make you popular.

Most of us I presume live in the U.S. And if Christians weren't trying to but into anyone and rule the free world, it wouldnt seem that we were singling you fine christian americans out. BUT that's not the case. In fact quite opposite. We seem to be in a constant struggle with christianity as a whole.  I don't need to point out why. Not our choice to go and pick on you guys but if you cant stand the heat, get out of the kitchen..

  Let's try to maintain some ideological purity, shall we?  If you hate Christians, don't say you oppose religion. 

we dont. and we do.

Say you oppose Christianity with every moral, intellectual fiber of your being.  If the goal of atheists is to hold oneself to the standard of reason, then do so.  If you are anti-Christian, but Buddhism, Hinduism, and New Age belief is fine, then admit it!  Don't, however, use a term to mean what it does not.  After all, one of the chief criticisms of religion is that it blinds the masses and encourages disinformation, correct?  Avoid such hypocrisy, then.  The irony is unbearable when an anti-Christian posing as an atheist contributes to confusion and falsehood.    

I cant speak for hinduism and new age but  buddhist dont follow a diety. in fact buddhism is more of a philosophy on life. you can be both a buddhist and christian if you like. Your ignorance is starting to show.

It's also possible to be anti christian and atheist...just wanted to point that out too.

 

 

The (White) Pearl


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With religion or spiritual

With religion or spiritual belief (including alcoholics anonymous) usually comes prayer for strength to overcome obstacles, prayer for forgiveness for sins or prayer for god to fix your problems. Central to all of these is the idea that there is a supernatural force capable of changing the outcome in your favor despite the actions of you or others, or that there is such a thing as fate. Carried to it's logical conclusion prayer is a belief that you are not entirely responsible for your actions be they good or bad. Often times people who cleave to a belief in a higher power, by their own admission, feel that life would not be enjoyable, understandable, or livable without their belief. In short they believe that belief in god is necessary even if their is no verifiable evidence for it. Just because something feels right doesn't mean that it exists or is real. Also I have major issue with the free will thing. Most religions tell you that you have free will to not fallow god and then tell you that he will kill or torture you for exercising that will. This is not free will. Most of our sense of justice is built off of this premise. Is a woman in possession of free will if a gun is held to her head during her rape and she was given the choice to capitulate or die? I don't think anyone would say that she had true free will at all, it was unjustly removed from her. Her only option was to die or capitulate. So to say that God (as most people understand the concept) gives us free will but then holds threat of death or torture over our head is illogical.
 


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 Thanks praetorian,  I

 Thanks praetorian,  I put that in my "RRS Wisdom" folder. The freewill statement deserves it's own paragraph.    


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What an easy challange...

Alright. All religions are equally absurd.

Except scientology. I find that one to be slightly less absurd, because we DO know that other planets exist.


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Maytacera wrote:Alright. All

Maytacera wrote:

Alright. All religions are equally absurd.

Except scientology. I find that one to be slightly less absurd, because we DO know that other planets exist.

 

How can a religion that tells you that the reason bad things happen to us is because pissed of alien ghosts live in our bodies, be less absurd than any other religion?


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What's your point?

Any set of beliefs or world view that depends on the existence of invisible, non-physical sentient beings that somehow affect the real world must be considered absurd.

I personally however was raised steeped in christian tradition, my granny dragged me to a Pentacostal church as a wee lad and even had me baptised (buggers darned near drowned me...)

When my disbelief solidified, I explored other belief systems other than the one I had been indoctrinated with, and they too were found wanting.

I refer to Judeo/Christianity/Islam as the Sinai death cults and don't really differentiate between them.

Buddism seems to be a bit of esoteric philosophy wrapped around an undeniably theistic core.

The other base religions of the world suffer from the same flaw, being just a variation on the 'invisible superbeing who really cares what I do' scenario.

 

LC >;-}>

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.


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I don't believe in God,

I don't believe in God, Gods, or Godesses. On the other hand, Santa did bring me presents, the Tooth Fairy and I bartered money in exchange for my teeth, and the Easter Bunny gave me candy in the form of plastic eggs, so denouncing them is a little harder, but I guess I have to say they are only as real as the person who is doing the deed of giving and attributing it to the particular being. May rationality reign supreme.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda


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 Big J/B are just OUR

 Big J/B are just OUR stepping stones , most fall off the slippery rocks, rescue them .... We are ONE ..... Why argue ? What is the bitch ?????  I don't fucking get it? .... oh but then came religion ..... oh yeah , thanks for reminding me , yeah, FUCK THAT religion ....


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Maytacera wrote:Alright. All

Maytacera wrote:

Alright. All religions are equally absurd.

Except scientology. I find that one to be slightly less absurd, because we DO know that other planets exist.

Haha - yeah, right. It just gets dicey when we start talking about the names of the ancient alien rulers who lived on them.

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pyrokineticist wrote:No

pyrokineticist wrote:
No where in the meaning of "atheist" does one find any reference to Christianity.

True. Did you just want to state a conclusion, or ...

pyrokineticist wrote:
Which brings us to the crux of the matter.

Was this pun on purpose? Crux? Ah? Nudge, nudge.

pyrokineticist wrote:
My challenge to anyone who calls himself or herself an atheist is to disavow all religions equally.

Okay! I denounce them! There. That wasn't actually all that challenging.

pyrokineticist wrote:
I challenge you to criticize and smite with the undeniable power of logic all "irrational belief," as opposed to just denouncing whatever religion will make you popular.

I'm working on it! Holy crap. Rome wasn't built in a day.

pyrokineticist wrote:
If you are anti-Christian, but Buddhism, Hinduism, and New Age belief is fine, then admit it!  Don't, however, use a term to mean what it does not.

Anti-supernaturalist would be most accurate for me, but it just doesn't roll of the tongue. How about "rationalist". Maybe even "materialist" or "positivist" among people who can read. (Otherwise, you get that "quantum indeterminacy" argument from people who have never taken statistics.) Is that better? Anti-Christian is just where most of the action is, since being Canadian, I'm right next to the Excited States of America.

 

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence