Not all of us are extremists [Kill Em With Kindness]

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Not all of us are extremists [Kill Em With Kindness]

Much of the hostility I've read toward religion seems to be geared towards the extremists. I would agree that they are an unsavory lot, but I would also submit that if the rational responders' goal -- and all other skeptics who share in their endeavor -- is to pursuade people of belief to let go of their faith (i.e. 'Believe in god? We can fix that') then you do little to convince the average believer as we don't fall into their camp. Now, while I may be Catholic, I would also make the similar claim for Muslims who often get worse admonishion (consider this poll done by gallup on Who Speaks for Islam).


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Find and read Letter to a

Find and read Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris. Moderates provide cover for extremists by demanding special respect for religious faith, which deserves no special respect. The moderates are forced into this position because they have no solid basis for their belief, except their reliance on faith. Unfortunately, 'faith' is exactly the same whether you're moderate or extremist. You have no basis to criticize extremists because your reasons for believing what you believe are the same reasons the extremists use for believing what they believe.

For that matter, also read the more comprehensive The End of Faith, also by Sam Harris.

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I don't think there is a

I don't think there is a rationality for theist or atheist in wanting a battle to the death over "my utopia vs your utopia". There are 6 billion people on this planet and even if all of us claimed the same label, there would still be subsets and divisions amoungst the same label.

I don't think that in the interest of debunking superstion that when we challenge or blaspheme a theist, that they need fear it. Instead, the wise person looking for a different perspective wont shout "you hate me" but "why do you hold that position".

Empathy above all, to ones emotions in that they have them as well, and the recognition that those who don't hold the same position, have those same emotions, and the same faults, and the capability of empathy, is the key.

If I had my utopia, which I know wont exist, but if I could have one, it would be one where everyone could bitch with out killing and the worst we would end up in is a pellow fight.

No one here would say "don't fight absurd claims". We wouldn't have stopped thinking the world was flat if someone didn't challenge that claim. But to think that bluntness and blasphemy is a call for genocide is absurd. It may be that those who disagree are bitching, they do it, and we do it. I would like to see humanity solve it's problems with bitching rather than swords.

 

 

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But that's just the thing,

But that's just the thing, I'm not coming in demanding special respect nor am I or other average believers giving excuse for the actions of a fringe group of extremists. I'm not even coming in here to convince you of what I believe. I'm simply making the observation that because your criticisms -- which are legitimate -- are narrowly tailored to extremist groups you have failed in persuading the average believer to leave their faith. It would be like me coming to you and talking about all of the bad science (like referencing Cesare Lombroso's ativistic theory). Have I convinced you that science is a joke or that you should leave it entirely? This is exactly the point I'm making.

I thank you for directing me to Sam's book but I've already read Letter to a Christian Nation -- hence my reference to it in my original post. Apart from these fringe groups, most of us understand that the Bible isn't to be taken literally but rather serve as a compilation of stories aimed at teaching a lesson about life. Of course in between all of this there exists archaic stories written by men hundreds of years ago and obviously will contain not only error but crazy claims as well. Also, as a Catholic I should say that it is a teaching of the catholic church that the Bible is not historically accurate but religiously accurate; for example: Adam and Eve is fictional, yet the point of the story is that God made the world (the Catholic Church accepts evolution). Noah's ark is fictional, yet the point of the story is that God saved us. That is religious truth, as defined by the catechism of the Catholic Church.

 

Thanks for the input by the way you guys.


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Religious Moderation

Religious Moderation

http://www.rationalresponders.com/religious_moderation

Truth, 'I am god', no faith required .... tested "thermodynamics" ....

 


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Star_Dust wrote:But that's

Star_Dust wrote:

But that's just the thing, I'm not coming in demanding special respect nor am I or other average believers giving excuse for the actions of a fringe group of extremists. I'm not even coming in here to convince you of what I believe. I'm simply making the observation that because your criticisms -- which are legitimate -- are narrowly tailored to extremist groups you have failed in persuading the average believer to leave their faith. It would be like me coming to you and talking about all of the bad science (like referencing Cesare Lombroso's ativistic theory). Have I convinced you that science is a joke or that you should leave it entirely? This is exactly the point I'm making.

I thank you for directing me to Sam's book but I've already read Letter to a Christian Nation -- hence my reference to it in my original post. Apart from these fringe groups, most of us understand that the Bible isn't to be taken literally but rather serve as a compilation of stories aimed at teaching a lesson about life. Of course in between all of this there exists archaic stories written by men hundreds of years ago and obviously will contain not only error but crazy claims as well. Also, as a Catholic I should say that it is a teaching of the catholic church that the Bible is not historically accurate but religiously accurate; for example: Adam and Eve is fictional, yet the point of the story is that God made the world (the Catholic Church accepts evolution). Noah's ark is fictional, yet the point of the story is that God saved us. That is religious truth, as defined by the catechism of the Catholic Church.

 

Thanks for the input by the way you guys.

As far as I'm concerned, if you are not actively standing up against the extremists, and you are also telling us to basically shut up, then you are contributing to the problem. And, since you cannot effectively stand up against the extremists without contradicting your own faith, then you serve no purpose to this fight.

Here's a challenge for you: Can you, as a theist who believes based on faith, make a solid argument against theistic extremists, who also believe on exactly the same faith (belief without evidence), that the extremists are wrong?

If you can't meet this challenge, then don't bother complaining about our tactics, as you have nothing to offer.

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LOL natural. To be an

LOL natural.

To be an engaged atheist is a personal victory. ~ me

Atheists are the Arsons of Darkness ! ~ me

The cloud of darkness is still thick, light more candles. ~ me

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” - Voltaire

As the great statesman Thomas Paine said, quoted by Akerley:

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel." Thomas Paine


And the eminent freethinker Robert Ingersoll stated:

"Nobody holds with greater contempt than I the writers, publishers, or dealers in obscene literature. One of my objections to the Bible is that it contains hundreds of grossly obscene passages not fit to be read by any decent man; thousands of passages, in my judgment, calculated to corrupt the minds of youth." Robert Ingersoll

The "Zealot Religious" are awe impaired,  GAWED damn blind .... heal them idol worshipers .... awaken their awe, you awesome bright atheists. Kill that theist GOD , with G-AWE-D ! All is ONE , No Master. Existence is absolutely "gawedsome"! ~ me

He who is not angry this day, is my sick enemy to heal.  --> , and jesus wept .... ~ (me)

   Etc, etc etc etc --------->   Imagine no religion, No Master ....

 


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Star_Dust wrote:But that's

Star_Dust wrote:

But that's just the thing, I'm not coming in demanding special respect nor am I or other average believers giving excuse for the actions of a fringe group of extremists.

Actually you are demanding special respect.  You want me to respect your religion beliefs based on faith or unverifiable personal experience, and on the second and say you are different than the extremist who use the exact same methods to defend their religious beliefs.  If anything I am treating your arguments as fairly as I treat all arguments of faith.

Star_Dust wrote:

I'm not even coming in here to convince you of what I believe. I'm simply making the observation that because your criticisms -- which are legitimate -- are narrowly tailored to extremist groups you have failed in persuading the average believer to leave their faith. It would be like me coming to you and talking about all of the bad science (like referencing Cesare Lombroso's ativistic theory). Have I convinced you that science is a joke or that you should leave it entirely? This is exactly the point I'm making.

Why are you not coming here to convince?  If you have any true value in your belief system why wouldn't you share them?  I am not against spreading information, I am against spreading false information or passing unverified information as fact.

I would probably refer to it as bad scientist as science and scientific method cannot be good or bad.  Building a nuclear weapon uses science (not bad science) what I mean the math and theory behind the model work and no matter how bad we think the weapons are that does not give us the ability to call it bad science.

Star_Dust wrote:

I thank you for directing me to Sam's book but I've already read Letter to a Christian Nation -- hence my reference to it in my original post. Apart from these fringe groups, most of us understand that the Bible isn't to be taken literally but rather serve as a compilation of stories aimed at teaching a lesson about life.

Why are you taking life lesson from people who lived 2000 years ago, do you think we have not advanced in our ability to understand life for the past 2000 years?

Star_Dust wrote:

Of course in between all of this there exists archaic stories written by men hundreds of years ago and obviously will contain not only error but crazy claims as well. Also, as a Catholic I should say that it is a teaching of the catholic church that the Bible is not historically accurate but religiously accurate; for example: Adam and Eve is fictional, yet the point of the story is that God made the world (the Catholic Church accepts evolution). Noah's ark is fictional, yet the point of the story is that God saved us. That is religious truth, as defined by the catechism of the Catholic Church.

 

Thanks for the input by the way you guys.

The point of the Matrix is that Neo saves us.  This is synonomous to your Bible since you consider both to be fiction.  Why then do you consider the characters in your book of fiction to be real? If Adam and Eve are ficticous then what brought about this thing called sin according to your religion?

Sounds made up...
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Magus, I thank you for your

Magus, I thank you for your reply but I feel you took the discussion another route. While the topics you've raised are certainly very interesting to talk about I came here concerning your pitch toward believers. You said, for example, that I some how asked that you respect my beliefs based on faith when I did no such thing. I welcome you to cite such a claim by me as I cannot find it. I didn't come here attempting to spread my beliefs for the reason that they are my own subjective beliefs that I hold to be true. I didn't come here to discuss biblical literalism as I am not a literalist. My point was that you guys will attack only that religious belief which extremists and literalists adhere to and by not tailoring your arguments to those who don't believe in that way you essentially fail in the attempt to persuade them.

 

EDIT: also, just to cover some of your other points, you seem to think God not existing is obvious, but obviousness is one of the most highly subjective things. To many a believer, the existence of God is the most obvious thing in the world and that nonbelievers are poor souls worthy of pity. What makes your sense of obviousness so dependable? Thanks all for your replies.


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Star_Dust wrote:Magus, I

Star_Dust wrote:

Magus, I thank you for your reply but I feel you took the discussion another route. While the topics you've raised are certainly very interesting to talk about I came here concerning your pitch toward believers. You said, for example, that I some how asked that you respect my beliefs based on faith when I did no such thing. I welcome you to cite such a claim by me as I cannot find it.

You have evidence to support your beliefs? Please present it.  I admit is was an assumption that you don't have evidence, but an assumption based on the fact that no one with a belief in a deity has ever presented evidence for the claim.

Star_Dust wrote:

I didn't come here attempting to spread my beliefs for the reason that they are my own subjective beliefs that I hold to be true. I didn't come here to discuss biblical literalism as I am not a literalist. My point was that you guys will attack only that religious belief which extremists and literalists adhere to and by not tailoring your arguments to those who don't believe in that way you essentially fail in the attempt to persuade them.

I attack faith in general not extremists.  Faith is a worthless tool in obtaining knowlegde about the world around us.  If you don't use faith then present your evidence, if you do use faith then you are not discussing reality in a productive way.

Are you going to avoid my previous questions? I was hoping you could help me to understand your position better. 

Sounds made up...
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Star_Dust wrote:EDIT: also,

Star_Dust wrote:

EDIT: also, just to cover some of your other points, you seem to think God not existing is obvious, but obviousness is one of the most highly subjective things. To many a believer, the existence of God is the most obvious thing in the world and that nonbelievers are poor souls worthy of pity. What makes your sense of obviousness so dependable? Thanks all for your replies.

Incorrect I don't know if a god exists. As my tagline states I am an agnostic atheist.  However I feel it is important to not believe things that don't have evidence to support them.  Just as I don't believe in Gremlins, Jabba the Hut, or Santa. I don't believe in souls either. 

Sounds made up...
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Yes, my way or the highway,

Yes, my way or the highway, I am star dust , all is particles , material energy matter from all that can be known in this real place we all are .... even imagination is in the material nature of this dimension we are contained, as we are condemned.

All is god, meaning existence, so now what? Well, let's focus on happiness for all, as we are one earth, one race.

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Star_Dust wrote:Magus, I

Star_Dust wrote:

Magus, I thank you for your reply but I feel you took the discussion another route. While the topics you've raised are certainly very interesting to talk about I came here concerning your pitch toward believers. You said, for example, that I some how asked that you respect my beliefs based on faith when I did no such thing. I welcome you to cite such a claim by me as I cannot find it. I didn't come here attempting to spread my beliefs for the reason that they are my own subjective beliefs that I hold to be true. I didn't come here to discuss biblical literalism as I am not a literalist. My point was that you guys will attack only that religious belief which extremists and literalists adhere to and by not tailoring your arguments to those who don't believe in that way you essentially fail in the attempt to persuade them.

 

EDIT: also, just to cover some of your other points, you seem to think God not existing is obvious, but obviousness is one of the most highly subjective things. To many a believer, the existence of God is the most obvious thing in the world and that nonbelievers are poor souls worthy of pity. What makes your sense of obviousness so dependable? Thanks all for your replies.

Why did you avoid my challenge? It was not rhetorical. If you do not have a solid argument against the extremists, then what right do you have attacking our approach to the issue?

I will ask you again: What is your argument that shows the extremists are wrong, and you are not?

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Listening to a believer

Listening to a believer about de-conversion is a bit like, pardon the expression, asking a priest about sex. Well, consenting, heterosexual sex, anyway.

 


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Star_Dust wrote:Much of the

Star_Dust wrote:

Much of the hostility I've read toward religion seems to be geared towards the extremists. I would agree that they are an unsavory lot, but I would also submit that if the rational responders' goal -- and all other skeptics who share in their endeavor -- is to pursuade people of belief to let go of their faith (i.e. 'Believe in god? We can fix that') then you do little to convince the average believer as we don't fall into their camp. Now, while I may be Catholic, I would also make the similar claim for Muslims who often get worse admonishion (consider this poll done by gallup on Who Speaks for Islam).

You may not personally pull the trigger, but you are just as complicit as the terrorists. Your way of life makes theirs possible.

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I don't think our criticisms

I don't think our criticisms "are narrowly tailored to extremist groups". We criticize the fundamentals of religion itself. Of course "extremist groups" attract extra criticism, for obvius reasons.

'Faith' and "Revelation" are purely subjective and add no actual knowledge - any real knowledge 'inspired' by thoughts stemming from such beliefs and experiences is only gained by testing them against reality, IOW something close to science, just like any other hypothetical speculation. The moderate and liberal believers still seem to share a confidence in the value of faith and revelation with the extremists, which ironically demonstrates the fallacy of treating then as a sources of some actual knowledge, since they can lead to such different attitudes and moral interpretation. For both ends of the spectrum they reinforce the attitudes of the particular individual or group, so helping the extremists to further convince themselves of the 'righteousness' of their position.

The harm even in the case of the moderates is demonstrated in their still holding to Bible as still deserving of respect as a good source of moral guidance, rather than the outdated encapsulation of many primitive ideas. There are many despicable ideas to be found there, such as the attitude to homosexuals and even the inferior status of women, the justification of disproportionate punishment for 'sins' which cause little or no real harm to anyone, the punishment of the descendants for the 'sins' of some individuals, the 'virtue' of blind obedience to authority, that 'might makes right', pushing the extremely primitive and atavistic idea of blood sacrifice to jealous deities to buy some sort of favour (the core idea, at least the original idea, behind the crucifiction). Not to mention the implicit endorsement of slavery, and the failure to condemn rape and torture, indeed the presentation of such things as perfectly okay when applied to your enemies, whoever the 'enemy' is perceived to be.

There have been many superior guides to morals, ethics, and the nature of the Universe published since. This is one of the things we wish to point out, that encouraging people to base their moral outlook on the Bible is inhibiting us from moving past many bad or simplistic ideas such as those I listed above, and fully incorporating all the advancements in knowledge and ethical ideas that have taken place since biblical times, whether it be the rights of women or the turn-around in attitudes to slavery.

I submit that these problems apply to all who identify themselves as Christian.

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Excellent

BobSpence1 wrote:

This is one of the things we wish to point out, that encouraging people to base their moral outlook on the Bible is inhibiting us from moving past many bad or simplistic ideas such as what I listed above, and fully incorporating all the advancements in knowledge and ethical ideas that have taken place since biblical times, whether it be the rights of women or the turn-around in attitudes to slavery.

 

Excellent... and I would add that the Diamond Sutra, the Qur'an, any of the Hindu Vedas, the Book of Mormon, the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Tanakh, just to name a few, don't provide useful moral outlooks  either.

 


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BobSpence1: A fine blend of

BobSpence1: A fine blend of Paine, Jefferson, Einstein, Sagan, Neitzchie, Russell, Sartre, and heck, add a heaping measure of 'buddha consciousness'.

 Yeah Bob, I know, I said I wouldn't, but it was not a promise. Man, those are dancing words, let's party, break out the booze ....


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Please read the following

Please read the following essay, which I wrote just for people like you.  Since it was written for you, I'd appreciate it if you offered your opinion, even if only to say that you read it, understand it, and disregard it completely.  I feel like I have some very well reasoned opinions in it, and if you are truly moderate and open to new ideas, I'd appreciate it if you'd make a sincere effort to consider it as objectively as possible, and if anything I say rings of truth, take it for what it's worth to you.

 

Religious Moderation

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

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Star_Dust wrote:But that's

Star_Dust wrote:

But that's just the thing, I'm not coming in demanding special respect nor am I or other average believers giving excuse for the actions of a fringe group of extremists. I'm not even coming in here to convince you of what I believe. I'm simply making the observation that because your criticisms -- which are legitimate -- are narrowly tailored to extremist groups you have failed in persuading the average believer to leave their faith. It would be like me coming to you and talking about all of the bad science (like referencing Cesare Lombroso's ativistic theory). Have I convinced you that science is a joke or that you should leave it entirely? This is exactly the point I'm making.

I thank you for directing me to Sam's book but I've already read Letter to a Christian Nation -- hence my reference to it in my original post. Apart from these fringe groups, most of us understand that the Bible isn't to be taken literally but rather serve as a compilation of stories aimed at teaching a lesson about life. Of course in between all of this there exists archaic stories written by men hundreds of years ago and obviously will contain not only error but crazy claims as well. Also, as a Catholic I should say that it is a teaching of the catholic church that the Bible is not historically accurate but religiously accurate; for example: Adam and Eve is fictional, yet the point of the story is that God made the world (the Catholic Church accepts evolution). Noah's ark is fictional, yet the point of the story is that God saved us. That is religious truth, as defined by the catechism of the Catholic Church.

 

Thanks for the input by the way you guys.

You say the flood story is a reminder that your god saved "you". How do you divorce yourself from the implications of the rest of the story where your god drowned all but one family and all but a few examples of every animal? In other words, in order to have effected this "saving" your god killed essentially everything alive. That does not give you pause?

BTW, I was Catholic too, and the Pope expects Catholics to accept Adam and Eve as literal first persons. Cafeteria Catholic? You do know that the Catholic church is actively obstructing access to and use of condoms and education about the cause of HIV in Africa? Could this happen without approval or complicity by the Pope? Isn't he, then, one of the nutter extremists? This is but one example where "moderates" enable extremism.

 

Too bad stupidity isn't poisonous.


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Hey StarDust.  Let me first

Hey StarDust.  Let me first say that I hope you enjoy your time here and stick around a while.  You present yourself in a friendly way, and more importantly, you use spelling and grammar correctly.  We get little enough of that from the "extremists" you reference in your thread title.

But it's actually your thread title that concerns me the most.  You claim not to be an extremist and I believe you.  But why aren't you?  And how can you call an "extremist" by that name?

Even if you don't believe in a Young Earth, a Noachian flood, a Red Sea crossing, a Virgin Birth, even if you don't believe in the Divinity of Jesus, if you call yourself a Christian, you must at the very least believe that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross occurred so that God might forgive humanity, just so long as humanity believes that this is the case.  There really is no Christian faith without that belief.  Now, given that one can assume from the troubles God took that forgiveness would be better than the alternative, you should have no higher priorities, or even comparable priorities, than getting other humans to believe that Jesus died so that humanity might be forgiven.  The Acts of the Apostles, if we are to believe in the historicity of the text, describes a group of people who dedicated their lives to such a task, risking their lives and meekly submitting to torturous deaths.  I hope you'll agree that this does not in fact describe the behavior of extremists if the Apostles were correct about the reality of Salvation.  

But I know you live your life as if it did.  If you had the option of telling a dying man about Jesus or helping him call his wife, you'd do the latter.  This is just about the easiest scenario in the whole universe of witnessing possibilities, and I dare say you could find the good believer who'd tell him about Jesus ten times out of ten.  Mother Teresa did so in her House For the Dying in Calcutta, where family members and friends of dying homeless persons were forbidden visits with their loved ones so that the dying might have more time to make their decision for Christ.  Simple as that.  

My point, as I'm sure you've guessed by now (and it's hardly a new one) is that the term "extremist" isn't necessarily a deserved epithet for suicide bombers and the rest of them on down the scale of revulsion.  Extreme behaviors in the service of a good deed (say, fishing around in the pockets of a dying man's blood-soaked pants for his cell phone) are admirable, however unusual they might be.  Demanding that children be taught about a 6000 year old earth is not extreme, nor is killing an abortion provider, nor is beating a child for the least little bit of defiance; it's just wrong and cruel.  

When it comes down to it, I'm not upset with moderates (I won't presume to speak for my comrades) because they mollycoddle fundamentalists or give them ideological cover.  I'm upset with moderates because they've got more in common with me than they ever will with fundamentalists and they're sitting on the fence rather than joining the really cool party we're having in the backyard.  I'm deep-frying battered pork nuggets and drinking Scottish Ale and you've got your genitals all wrapped up in the chain link with the neighbor's rabid Doberman leaping up for a taste.  

 

"The whole conception of God is a conception derived from ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men."
--Bertrand Russell


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Xlint essay Hamby, as I

Xlint essay Hamby, as I mentioned in post 4, and in other threads. If it was adapted to podcast I bet it would get heard on the pubic sponsered and internet radio stations.

I think DG had such a "radio friendly" essay hot rant against "new age" woo woo, which I've tried to find to no avail yet. I think you also had a bit simulair one regarding "awe inspiring science", which you directed me to recently.

Thanks again Hamby, signed , I AM, AS YOU, GOD     

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are! *