Religious Moderation

Hambydammit's picture

One of the most controversial questions among atheists involves moderate theists.  Many who identify themselves as simply non-religious would prefer that us outspoken atheists leave moderates alone.  After all, they will say, moderates don't hurt anybody, and most of them are really nice people.  Their religion is mostly just cultural.  They don't really believe the nasty parts of the Bible.  They should be left alone even though they do happen to practice a potentially nasty religion.  I take an opposing view, and I believe there is a very good reason for doing so.


Without spending thirty minutes finding statistics that will be debatable, I'm going to hazard a guess that maybe 20% of Christians in America are either fundamentalists or evangelicals or both. It doesn't really matter. The point is, they're the minority of Christians. Most are moderates. They believe in some version of Christianity, most likely one that leaves out the nastier elements like stoning homosexuals, and the unscientific elements like a 6000 year old cosmos.

These moderates, in my view, are the ones directly responsible for the decline of America into quasi-theocracy that has occurred in the last 30 years. Their complicity is a result of at least two things: first, they defend fundamentalists as “slightly misguided, but genuine, honest people,” and second, they defend “faith” as a legitimate source of knowledge. The first defense is maddening. In any other discussion, moderates would most likely not advocate letting people continue to do harmful things just because they are well intentioned. Imagine an alternative medicine guru who advocated a return to the use of mercury to cure various illnesses. Suppose that he had been living by himself somewhere for the last thirty years, and was simply unaware of the mortal danger involved with mercury. Would moderate Christians say that he should be allowed to continue with his recommendations simply because he had a genuine desire to help people?

At this point, many people, including some atheists, might be balking at my comparison. After all, we know that mercury kills, and advocating taking poison is not the same as letting people have their religious beliefs, is it? Well, in the case of right wing fundamentalism, it's not really much different. After all, it is right wing fundamentalists who refuse to permit stem cell research, effectively killing people who would benefit from cures available only through this new research. If that's not concrete enough for you, think for a minute about abortion clinics. They have security systems that would make a Guantanamo Colonel swell with pride.  That level of security isn't excessive, either.  Without it, we would have a lot of dead doctors.  With it, many doctors who perform abortions fear for their lives, and occasionally, one of them dies at the hands of someone doing "God's will."  Every election, two of the biggest issues are gay marriage and abortion rights.  It's probably not too much of a stretch to say that George Bush gained eight years of power riding the coattails of the Fundamentalist Right. 

Still, you may object that most moderates are vehemently opposed to right wing violence. They detest it as much as us non-theists. It's unfair to say that they are not opposed to such things. This is where I, along with Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and other atheist activists, part company with even the majority of atheists. I say that not only is it fair to say they facilitate violence, I also say that they are actually causing much of the violence because of their refusal to examine their own beliefs and reject the very foundation of religion itself!

Moderate Christianity is deceptively alluring because of its seemingly scientific basis. Most educated Christians have no problem admitting that there's something to evolutionary science, and they have no problem admitting that the earth is very old, and that dinosaurs once roamed about. In fact, if you get a good Moderate Christian into a theological discussion, they will almost inevitably tell you that they believe questions are good, and that any thinking person ought to question what they believe.

Forgive me, but the devil is in the details, and they're missing a very, very important detail. The admission that questions ought to be asked makes it seductively simple to believe that moderate Christianity is ok, and doesn't hurt anyone. Maybe it's even helpful in some way. The problem, and the main point of this essay, is that questioning is not ok for moderate Christians. I can prove it. Next time you're talking to a moderate, try getting them onto the nature of god. If you're any good at debate, you can quickly steer them to one of the half dozen paradoxes inherent in god belief. Once you get them there, note how quickly they will revert to the position, “There are some things you just have to take on faith.”  If you press them into explaining why, they will get defensive.  They will probably end the discussion very quickly.

The simple, indisputable fact is that any god belief requires faith, and if you follow my writings at all, you know that “faith,” properly defined, is “belief in a thing despite evidence to the contrary, or a total lack of evidence.” Once you get them to the point of admitting that they hold a belief despite it's opposition to reason, you can see that the facade of moderation is just that – a facade. At their core, they are exactly the same as fundamentalists. They just pick a more socially acceptable irrationality. What they really mean when they say you should question everything is that you should question everything – except for the validity of faith as a means of acquiring knowledge.

This is why I don't let spiritualists off the hook, either. They advocate the same thing. There are some things that are true because they just feel true. It's exactly the same foundation, and it leads to exactly the same place. If we, as skeptics and atheists, allow this hedge-bet to go unchallenged, we are also complicit in the religiostupidification of America. In the case of both fundamentalists and moderates, the individual's own sense of morality determines how much “faith” they need, or in other words, how much irrationality they will accept.

Another way of saying this is that where religious faith is concerned, allowing a little irrationality is no different from allowing a lot. This point is so important that it needs to be made again. Accepting the belief that some things are true and irrational is what gives a perception of validity to every religious belief. Right wing fundamentalists are crazy. These are people who are out of touch with reality. The reason they are not either publicly ridiculed or maybe even forcibly medicated is that they are given a free pass -- because it's religion. If they believed some of the crazy things they believe because the Jolly Green Giant spoke from the side of a can of beans, they would be institutionalized. But, because the Mean Old Sadist in the Sky told them to blow up buildings, they're encouraged to be a little more moderate.

The primary reason that moderates refuse to come out publicly against fundamentalists is the vulnerability of their own position. The really smart moderates know this, and I suspect that the rest sense it even if they can't put their finger on it. The only way to effectively call out the fundamentalists is to challenge them on rational grounds. So, you see, the lie in Moderate Christianity is that it is moderate at all. It is not. It is, however, to use the colloquial term, chicken shit. Moderates are too intellectually dishonest, or too scared, to apply logic to all questions, lest they have to give up the illusion of a sky daddy that makes them feel better about the world. They are also too scared to take a stand against those of their own faith who are using faith as a weapon, and causing untold suffering among gays, women, atheists, and, dare I say it... Iraqis. They cannot, in good ecclesiastical conscience, take a firm stand against those within their order who eschew science, for if they did, they would be opening the door to the scientific scrutiny of their own beliefs.

Moderate Christianity is a lie. While moderates do not have a political agenda advocating taking America two hundred years backwards, they allow those who do to go about their work unimpeded. Worse, they very often vote based on their religious ideology rather than their rational beliefs. I suggest that it is time to stop giving moderates a free pass just because they embrace a softer, gentler version of a hateful, misogynistic, authoritarian religion. People of reason will never have a rational leg to stand on until we challenge the very foundation of religion – all religion – that is, the errant belief that “faith is a virtue.”

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Nero's picture

Alright, Hamby, I am

Alright, Hamby, I am pissed.  I'm not a moderate Christian but am pissed nonetheless.  I would like to provide a list of things that actually piss me off.  I think that if the Christians take some pointers from this list, maybe they could work up some piss themselves.

I am pissed about:

Frosted Cheerios, bronze cannons, poodles, bingo, staph infections, chicken mcnuggets, the sound a blender makes, the sound a vacuum makes, the sound that babies make, the sound that 18 wheelers make, Diesel the cologne for men, ties that are too narrow, people who talk about geopolitics but couldn't find Europe on a globe, the four dead in Ohio, cancer, platitudes, Simon deMontfort, Paulie Shore, MTV, the Real World, spaniels, Iberia, binocular vision, Yoko Ono, Autumnal Equinox, HMS Pinafore, the Allman Brothers, fat free salad dressing, turkey bacon, industrial sabotage, le francais, 32 hour work weeks, Gitmo, taking off my shoes at the airport, terrorists, New Zealand, crank, lack of crank, waitresses calling themselves servers, modern art, Hapsburg jaws, obituaries, and Water buffalo.

There should be one thing in there that pisses everyone off.  I figure we can all rally around hating Paulie Shore and his fucking weasel routine.  You're in your 40's, you fucking twathead!

Anyway, I hope this helped, Hamby.

 

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer

shelley's picture

I'm pissed that Nero is

I'm pissed that Nero is pissed about poodles.  I'm even more pissed about staph infections.  Thanks for the reminder. Now I'm really pissed.

bdstrohl's picture

I'm pissed about him being

I'm pissed about him being pissed at Pauly Shore...c'mon, he rules!

I agree 100%. Realizing

I agree 100%. Realizing this problem a few years ago I started really bugging everyone about their god and faith ideas. How to change the moderates became my focus and mission. I realized that the vast unknown and seemingly miracle of life was being associated with the silly god of abraham largely because no other options are taught to them. I'ts basicly a god of abraham media monopoly here in the west.

To generalize, when I began explaining and showing the god ideas of the east and pantheism and the writtings of our founding fathers, and other respected people like Einstien, Carl Sagan etc, the change in my many moderate friends was pretty quick and dramatic. The fear of talking openly about god, and sounding uninformed, was removed. They now understand the danger and vocally challenge both the fundy's and moderates. Basicly they've stopped being tolorant moderates.

While most of them still won't call themselves atheists in public, they've quit calling themselves christians to just be polite and politicly correct. Even my few fundy friends have softened up and are more like moderates now.

My friends know I am a god obsessed nut and most laugh and agree with me now when I say, "we are god, all is god", just like jesusbuddha etc struggled to comprehend and teach. ...blah blah ....

I really believe the moderate public would be quickly changed if education thru the xian monopoly privately owned tv was fixed, and people were simply aware of other god options. Remember that movie "Network" (1976) "I'm as mad as hell,. and I'm not going to take this anymore!!" ...

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechnetwork2.html

.... anyhow, thanks Hambydammit ( and my apology to rrs for my late night posts of poor communiction, I am a drinker, a joker, a picker and a midnite toker ....a spaced cowboy ( Steve Miller band , "The Joker", my anthem ) Hell, I can hardly write sober as now ..... )

Cpt_pineapple's picture

Quote:  These moderates,

Quote:

 These moderates, in my view, are the ones directly responsible for the decline of America into quasi-theocracy that has occurred in the last 30 years.

 

ORLY?

 

 

 

Quote:

Their complicity is a result of at least two things: first, they defend fundamentalists as “slightly misguided, but genuine, honest people,”

 

If by 'slightly misguided' you mean 'incoherent fucktards' than yes.  

 

 

Quote:

and second, they defend “faith” as a legitimate source of knowledge.

 

 

Sorry, no dice. The only thing the moderates take on faith is the existence of God. For everything else, politics, science etc.. they demad evidence.

 

 

Quote:

Christianity is ok, and doesn't hurt anyone. Maybe it's even helpful in some way. The problem, and the main point of this essay, is that questioning is not ok for moderate Christians. I can prove it.
Next time you're talking to a moderate, try getting them onto the nature of god. If you're any good at debate, you can quickly steer them to one of the half dozen paradoxes inherent in god belief. Once you get them there, note how quickly they will revert to the position, “There are some things you just have to take on faith.” The simple, indisputable fact is that any god belief requires faith, and if you follow my writings at all, you know that “faith,” properly defined, is “belief in a thing despite evidence to the contrary, or a total lack of evidence.”

 

And what exactly about God paradoxes have to due with their voting record? 

 

It's called compartmentalization. They are rational on all other things, but the only thing they are 'irrational' about is the belief in the existance of God.

 

Quote:

Once you get them to the point of admitting that they hold a belief despite it's opposition to reason, you can see that the facade of moderation is just that – a facade. At their core, they are exactly the same as fundamentalists. They just pick a more socially acceptable irrationality. What they really mean when they say you should question everything is that you should question everything – except for the validity of faith as a means of acquiring knowledge.

Yes, but to think they apply that to secular causes, such as voting on key issues etc.. is nonsense. 

 

Quote:

In the case of both fundamentalists and moderates, the individual's own sense of morality determines how much “faith” they need, or in other words, how much irrationality they will accept. Another way of saying this is that allowing a little irrationality is no different from allowing a lot.
This point is so important that it needs to be made again.

 

EVERYONE has irrational thoughts about somethings. 

Once, again to think they will apply that to secular beliefs is not valid. 

 

 

 

Quote:

Accepting the belief that some things are true and irrational is what gives a perception of validity to every religious belief. Right wing fundamentalists are crazy. These are people who are out of touch with reality The reason they are not either publicly ridiculed or maybe even forcibly medicated is that they are given a free pass -- because it's religion.

 

 

They are ridiculed. I haven't met a Christian that doesn't have a Ray Comfort joke.

 

 

Quote:

The primary reason that moderates refuse to come out publicly against fundamentalists is the vulnerability of their own position. The really smart moderates know this, and I suspect that the rest sense it even if they can't put their finger on it. The only way to effectively call out the fundamentalists is to challenge them on rational grounds. So, you see, the lie in Moderate Christianity is that it is moderate at all. It is not. It is, however, to use the colloquial term, chicken shit. Moderates are too intellectually dishonest, or too scared, to apply logic to all questions, lest they have to give up the illusion of a sky daddy that makes them feel better about the world.

O RLY? Ken Miller would like to have a word with you. 

 

I speak up against fundies, as do my Christian friends.

 

The whole  'vulnerability of their own position'. does not follow. What does, for example, the issue of gay marriage have to do with with a moderate's God belief? 

They only apply faith to their God belief, for secular issues, they use logic and reason. Compartmentilaztion. 

 

Quote:

They are also too scared to take a stand against those of their own faith who are using faith as a weapon, and causing untold suffering among gays, women, atheists, and, dare I say it... Iraqis.

Suffering among gays and women? Canada is predominatly Christian and gay marriage is legal. I'm pretty sure abortion is too.

 

And dare I say, the Iraqi war isn't the most popular war in U.S history.  

 

Hambydammit's picture

Pineapple, to be honest, I

Pineapple, to be honest, I have no desire to have this conversation with you.  I know how it will end, and it's simply not worth the effort of pulling you in from the thousand tangents you will go off on, deflecting (intentionally, or unintentionally, I don't care) from the crux of the argument.

I will simply point out that once again, your answers prove that not only have you completely missed my argument, you have argued my position remarkably well without realizing it.

If you're really interested in learning what I'm saying, reread the essay very carefully, and examine it in light of the following sentence you wrote:

"Sorry, no dice. The only thing the moderates take on faith is the existence of God. For everything else, politics, science etc.. they demad evidence."

If, after rereading it, you still don't understand what I'm saying, I'm really sorry.  If someone else wants to explain it to you, fine.

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Hambydammit's picture

ROFL! Thanks, I AM.  It's

ROFL!

Thanks, I AM.  It's really nice to see sentences flowing together into paragraphs.  I think we need to coin a term for late night drunk posting...

I always tell my friends not to drink and dial -- avoiding late night phone babbling.  Surely there's a clever turn of phrase for late night substanced induced message board babble...

Anyway, thanks again for the agreement.

 

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Beyond Saving's picture

I think you could lump in

I think you could lump in moderate muslims with moderate christians. 

There, that should piss off any moderate who was not offended already.

Mission Accomplished

Dog Bless America

Dog Curse everyone else

 

Cpt_pineapple's picture

Hambydammit wrote: If

Hambydammit wrote:

If you're really interested in learning what I'm saying, reread the essay very carefully, and examine it in light of the following sentence you wrote:

"Sorry, no dice. The only thing the moderates take on faith is the existence of God. For everything else, politics, science etc.. they demad evidence."

If, after rereading it, you still don't understand what I'm saying, I'm really sorry. If someone else wants to explain it to you, fine.

 

 

I did. Now, IIRC, you said that moderates were directly responsible for the decline of America into a quasi-theoracy. That they validate faith as a means of aquiring knowledge.

 

shelley's picture

Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Quote:

and second, they defend “faith” as a legitimate source of knowledge.

 

Sorry, no dice. The only thing the moderates take on faith is the existence of God. For everything else, politics, science etc.. they demad evidence.

 ...

Yes, but to think they apply that to secular causes, such as voting on key issues etc.. is nonsense.

Really?  What about abortion or stem cell research?  How about animal cruely cases or for that matter even 'human' cruely cases?  How about issues on the environment.  If religion was isolated to 'just religion' I don't think Hamby would have take the time to write the article. 

Cpt_pineapple's picture

shelleymtjoy

shelleymtjoy wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Quote:

and second, they defend “faith” as a legitimate source of knowledge.

 

Sorry, no dice. The only thing the moderates take on faith is the existence of God. For everything else, politics, science etc.. they demad evidence.

...

Yes, but to think they apply that to secular causes, such as voting on key issues etc.. is nonsense.

Really? What about abortion or stem cell research? How about animal cruely cases or for that matter even 'human' cruely cases? How about issues on the environment. If religion was isolated to 'just religion' I don't think Hamby would have take the time to write the article.

 

But here in lies my point.

When I said 'Yes, but to think they apply that to secular causes, such as voting on key issues etc.. is nonsense.', I was refering to the moderates, not the fundies.

The purpose of the comment is to say that because the Fundies do it, the moderates will is nonsense.

 

Moderates keep religion isolated to religion. This is my point. Religion should be personal, not applied to politics as the fundies do. Case in point. Embroynic stem cell reseach. There is a big fuss over if it should be illegal or not. The fundies want it banned, so why all the fuss? The moderates, they are calling the fundies on their bullshit politics.

 

The main advocates against abortion and stem cell come from the bible belt. Even if Hamby is correct that the fundies have a nationwide minority, it in no way implies that indivdual states will have a Fundie minority.

 

That is also why I think that whether the moderates are illogical about God belief is a red herring. What matters is what they do in the voting booth, not what they do in church or in private worship. The moderates are doing exactly that. Keeping the religion out of the politics.

 

On these issues, you should be debating the politics, not the religion. So, even if the moderates are afraid that questioning the fundies on religion will compromise their own beliefs, it doesn't matter, what matters is the politics. In fact, I have seen moderates do question them on God such as 'Why would God ban gay marriage?' The fundies of course have no good answer. The moderates however did question themselves about this and that is why they are moderates.

 

So, you see, the logic of the existance of God had no bearing on this issue. The logic of what God wants in the world comes from the secular views of the moderates. That is why I said the moderates demand evidence for things of politics and science etc...

 

America is by no means alone in having a Christian majority. Plenty of countires do. However, America is the one with these stupid issues. Why? Because of the fundies. Who's fighting against them? The moderates, they keep the religion out of politics, and encourage everyone else to do so.

shelley's picture

Really?  While I have no

Really?  While I have no specific quotable data on the matter I find it hard to believe America is the only Country with issues of religion encroaching into politics.

I also could see a moderate not taking as heavy of a stance on some religious issues but I can't see that religion wouldn't factor in at all... afterall, if religion is really that private why do the moderates see the need to stamp themselves as members of X religion and show up for public worship.  

What about less significant issues like Prayer in Schools. 

Cpt_pineapple's picture

shelleymtjoy

shelleymtjoy wrote:

Really? While I have no specific quotable data on the matter I find it hard to believe America is the only Country with issues of religion encroaching into politics.

I'm sure there is, but my point is that there are some Christian countries without these issues. And even if other countires have fundies that want to encroach politics with religion, the moderates will boot them back out.

 

 

Quote:

I also could see a moderate not taking as heavy of a stance on some religious issues but I can't see that religion wouldn't factor in at all...

 

 

Yes, but the moderates are applying their secular views to their religion not vice-versa.

That is why if you ask moderates opinion on different issues, you will get different answers.

 

I'm sure that there are people that are personally against Gay marriage or abortion, but will still vote for it, because they don't want to take away that right from somebody else. 

 

 

Quote:
 

afterall, if religion is really that private why do the moderates see the need to stamp themselves as members of X religion and show up for public worship.

 

I don't know ask them. What matters is what they do in the voting booth.

 

Quote:
 

What about less significant issues like Prayer in Schools.

 

I'm not American, but I'm sure that prayers in public schools are not allowed. 

shelley's picture

Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Quote:

What about less significant issues like Prayer in Schools.

 

I'm not American, but I'm sure that prayers in public schools are not allowed.

I'll have to get back to these other issues later (class starting soon) but I just wanted to clarify that I wasn't saying prayer in schools was/was not allowed - I was just picking an example of an issue that wasn't major (in my mind marriage and abortion are major) yet discussed in politics and heavily debated on religious grounds. 

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: The purpose of the

Quote:
The purpose of the comment is to say that because the Fundies do it, the moderates will is nonsense.

While I'm not going to argue this with you, I'm also not going to let you distort my writing and misquote me.

I never said, "... because the Fundies do it, the moderates will...
"

If you had any grasp of my argument, you'd realize how completely wrong this is.

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Cpt_pineapple's picture

Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
The purpose of the comment is to say that because the Fundies do it, the moderates will is nonsense.

While I'm not going to argue this with you, I'm also not going to let you distort my writing and misquote me.

I never said, "... because the Fundies do it, the moderates will...
"

If you had any grasp of my argument, you'd realize how completely wrong this is.

 

 

You seem to be missing my argument. Which is, may I say, is ironic.

shelley's picture

Cpt_pineapple wrote: You

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

You seem to be missing my argument. Which is, may I say, is ironic.

I seem to be missing it too... 

Hambydammit's picture

Quote: You seem to be

Quote:
You seem to be missing my argument. Which is, may I say, is ironic.

I'm not missing your argument.  I'm ignoring it.

You misquoted me.  I simply don't want you to do that.

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Cpt_pineapple's picture

Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
You seem to be missing my argument. Which is, may I say, is ironic.

I'm not missing your argument. I'm ignoring it.

You misquoted me. I simply don't want you to do that.

 

 

I didn't misquote it. If you actually knew it IN CONTEXT, then you will see what I'm saying. 

 

So don't misquote me and accuse me of misquoting you. 

Hambydammit's picture

Seriously. I don't care

Seriously. I don't care about any of this. I didn't say "If Fundies do it, then moderates will." I have pointed this out. That is all I care about in this discussion. I don't care who you were quoting. I don't care what your argument is. Your first response demonstrated that you don't understand my argument. I'm not going to explain it to you.

That is all.

{edit: I can see that a different interpretation of your post is possible, and I retract accusing you of misquoting me.  You still haven't demonstrated even a basic understanding of my argument, though.}

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Cpt_pineapple's picture

shelleymtjoy

shelleymtjoy wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:

You seem to be missing my argument. Which is, may I say, is ironic.

I seem to be missing it too...

 

One of the points of the essay is how do we know what to take on faith and what to take on logic. That the moderates take things on faith (the existance of God), hence implying that faith can be used to justify a position, hence fueling the fundies who justify their politics (gay marriage/abortion issues etc...) on faith.

 

So the key issue here is taking/justifying things on faith.

 

 

Now my argument is that there is a line to draw on what to take on faith and what to take on logic. That line is POLITICS!

Religion, or belief in God should be a personal thing. This is what I'm arguing. That, in essence, you cannot apply that faith to things that will affect me, my neighbour or any other person. We must use logic on that.

 

That is if, for example, you oppose gay marriage based on religion, the solution is simple: don't marry a gay person. Don't vote it down (unless you can think of a logical reason),  just keep it personal.

 

 

 

 

 

shelley's picture

Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
shelleymtjoy wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:

You seem to be missing my argument. Which is, may I say, is ironic.

I seem to be missing it too...

 

One of the points of the essay is how do we know what to take on faith and what to take on logic. That the moderates take things on faith (the existance of God), hence implying that faith can be used to justify a position, hence fueling the fundies who justify their politics (gay marriage/abortion issues etc...) on faith.

 

So the key issue here is taking/justifying things on faith.

 

 

Now my argument is that there is a line to draw on what to take on faith and what to take on logic. That line is POLITICS!

Religion, or belief in God should be a personal thing. This is what I'm arguing. That, in essence, you cannot apply that faith to things that will affect me, my neighbour or any other person. We must use logic on that.

 

That is if, for example, you oppose gay marriage based on religion, the solution is simple: don't marry a gay person. Don't vote it down (unless you can think of a logical reason), just keep it personal.

I used to be following this but just like Ham, I think I am getting a little tired of this run-around too. Congrats, you may be an informed voter. Just because you would not carry your faith in the booth does not mean it does not happen. your personal voting habits as a theist are not the majority. did you see the post i made about the car with the UU bumper sticker? why do you think being an atheist is the equivalent of political suicide?

we are clearly off-topic with the OP

Iruka Naminori's picture

One of the things I'm most

One of the things I'm most pissed about = television.

  • spineless media hacks that fixate on Paris Hilton, O.J. Simpson, etc. when there are really important things we should be discussing
  • Reality TV - I no longer have television and this is a major reason why.  You have to pay for six layers of crap before you can get some of the decent channels.  No thanks.
I've been without TV (save what I can find online) for over three years now and I'm getting to the point where I don't miss it and get pissed when I see how it's everywhere: gyms, banks, everywhere.  Gack!

Books on atheism, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.

Cpt_pineapple's picture

shelleymtjoy

shelleymtjoy wrote:

 Congrats, you may be an informed voter. Just because you would not carry your faith in the booth does not mean it does not happen.

 

I never said it doesn't happen, I'm saying it shouldn't happen. 

 You see, this is preciously what the moderates are fighting for.  Keeping religion out of politics.

 

 

Quote:

your personal voting habits as a theist are not the majority.

 

 

 That's not what I'm saying.

 

 

Quote:
 

did you see the post i made about the car with the UU bumper sticker?

 

 No, what about it?

 

 

Quote:

why do you think being an atheist is the equivalent of political suicide?

 

 Perhaps in America (with many fundies), but in other Christian countries, such as Canada for example, it isn't.

Why not? Take a guess!

 

 

Quote:

we are clearly off-topic with the OP


 I am not going to repeat myself. I already stated my argument and how it relates to the OP.

 


 

 

   I if you haven't

  

if you haven't read, 

Sam Harris, "The Problem with Religious Moderates", http://www.beliefnet.com/story/153/story_15332_1.html

"Unless the core dogmas of faith are called into question-i.e., that we know there is a God, and that we know what he wants from us-religious moderation will do nothing to lead us out of the wilderness." Sam Harris

... Fix the Idiot TV, educate the moderates, the silly western definition of god is laughable in the east, if the moderates only knew. The current TV is the biggest enemy to progress. Sheep are easy led ....

Iruka Naminori's picture

shelleymtjoy wrote: I used

shelleymtjoy wrote:

I used to be following this but just like Ham, I think I am getting a little tired of this run-around too. Congrats, you may be an informed voter. Just because you would not carry your faith in the booth does not mean it does not happen. your personal voting habits as a theist are not the majority. did you see the post i made about the car with the UU bumper sticker? why do you think being an atheist is the equivalent of political suicide?

we are clearly off-topic with the OP

Speaking of UU's, even they want to bring religion into politics.  I sang at a UU service before I got sick this summer and the topic of politics came up.  I tried to hint that the UU's were violating church and state issues as much as the fundies (although I agree with their politics, for the most part).  I wanted them to think it through, but all I got was the same old tired argument I get from fundies: Separation of church and state was to protect churches, not the state!

No wonder we're in trouble. 

Books on atheism, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.

    ALL the debates of

    ALL the debates of Xians and Atheists would be much more productive if we atheists would insist always that an equal ranking BUDDIHIST was involved.

The buddhists turn the god of abraham into chop suuuuuieee ...  while still being jesus fans , so cool, if the western moderate xian brainwashed westerns only knew, .... it would be big progress.

nip it, that silly god of abraham, invite a buddhist.

 

 

my eyes are slanting .....

    

Hambydammit's picture

Shelley, welcome to

Shelley, welcome to Pineapple-Land.

This has been a recurring pattern for months.  If I seem to be rude, it's not the case.  This has just been done ad-nauseum.  Pineapple is a master of arguing for days about anything except my point.

Kudos to you for spotting his deflection and refusing to engage.

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Hambydammit's picture

Other quotes from Sam

Other quotes from Sam Harris that echo my point:

"However, religious moderates are themselves the bearers of a terrible dogma: they imagine that the path to peace will be paved once each of us has learned to respect the unjustified beliefs of others"

"...most of us believe that there are good things that people get from religious faith (e.g., strong communities, ethical behavior, spiritual experience) that cannot be had elsewhere; (2) many of us also believe that the terrible things that are sometimes done in the name of religion are the products not of faith per se but of our baser natures-forces like greed, hatred, and fear-for which religious beliefs are themselves the best (or even the only) remedy."

"Rather than bring the full force of our creativity and rationality to bear on the problems of ethics, social cohesion, and even spiritual experience, moderates merely ask that we relax our standards of adherence to ancient superstitions and taboos, while otherwise maintaining a belief system that was passed down to us from men and women whose lives were simply ravaged by their basic ignorance about the world."

Go, Sam.

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

 .... bumping .... for new

 .... bumping .... for new rrs readers, 'ham and sam', this is important , and the Sam Harris link again, http://www.beliefnet.com/story/153/story_15332_1.html

, this is not about being "militant", it's about caring and speaking up .....

Hambydammit's picture

Just my regularly scheduled

Just my regularly scheduled bump, so all the new folks can get pissed at me for being so hard on moderates.

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

  YEAH Hamby, you are good

  YEAH Hamby, you are good Jesus !

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

The good fight isn't over. Sharpen thy swords.

We are atheist warriors for TRUTH ! ; and god is on OUR side. 

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

Sorta like this, Saxon "Power And The Glory" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkq7woV2Daw

The cool guitar solo was cut from that version ?

GET PISSED ! Saxon - "Let Me Feel Your Power" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJz7xajz-qM

Don't hurt anyone people, "love the enemy", understand them .....

Thanks Hamby .....

Eloise's picture

  Hi Hamby, you wrote:

 

Hi Hamby,

you wrote:

Hambydammit wrote:

Other quotes from Sam Harris that echo my point:

"However, religious moderates are themselves the bearers of a terrible dogma: they imagine that the path to peace will be paved once each of us has learned to respect the unjustified beliefs of others"

I'll admit to endorsing something vaguely similar to this principle. If you'll permit me to explain, though, I also agree with you in being angry that such enables radical and irrational theism.

The principle I endorse is that human societies given personal liberty, pave their own path to peace, basic self interest is by and large a charitable dynamic. Individual liberty and comfort is usually also in the interest of others in some form so, people can generally be expected to do what is in the interest of everyone provided they are simply left alone to do it. The problem with religion is that it doesn't leave anyone alone. If it did, we are both reasonable people, Hamby, we most likely wouldn't be discussing it.

In my estimation, many moderate theists found arguing in favour of the respect and freedom of personal beliefs probably intend to be taken as being against authoritarian aggression, but end up appealing for the authoritarian aggression which they shun in other theists. And I know, intentions are all well and good until some kid loses a fair go... It does need to stop.

But.. perhaps this is a really question of articulation, that is, a moderate might say, I respect the beliefs of others because it is right to do so, yet.. do they really respect the beliefs? or are they compounding beliefs with the intellectual freedom to have them.

There are many 'beliefs' of theists which I brazenly and openly disrespect, ridicule and deride. For example the "real true christian" belief that a string of magic words gets you into "heaven" on some appointed "rapture" date "regardless of how you treat your fellow man" before you get there. This "belief" is radical convoluted garbage, The End. A person has freedom to believe it, mores the pity, and I won't take that freedom from them, they'll need it when they wake up to themselves, but, god-willing (Pun Eye-wink ) I'll get my hands on the belief and make good use of it as toilet paper.

Which brings us to your question of my ability to do that. Can I ridicule a belief when, by your estimation, my own beliefs are based on the same foundation of irrationality? Well the reality is, your estimation of my rationality is not going to matter, anyway. Marginalising divisive and errant ideas of radical theists and having your respect and approval of my state of mind aren't dependent on each other.

Quote:

"...most of us believe that there are good things that people get from religious faith (e.g., strong communities, ethical behavior, spiritual experience) that cannot be had elsewhere; (2) many of us also believe that the terrible things that are sometimes done in the name of religion are the products not of faith per se but of our baser natures-forces like greed, hatred, and fear-for which religious beliefs are themselves the best (or even the only) remedy."

"Rather than bring the full force of our creativity and rationality to bear on the problems of ethics, social cohesion, and even spiritual experience, moderates merely ask that we relax our standards of adherence to ancient superstitions and taboos, while otherwise maintaining a belief system that was passed down to us from men and women whose lives were simply ravaged by their basic ignorance about the world."

Go, Sam.

 

I'm one moderate who is 100% for the end of superstition in all it's forms. However, I cannot agree with Sam that ancient people were necessarily ignorant or wrong in their beliefs. Mr Harris needs to get out more and meet some culture beyond the western front if that is what he thinks.

 

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com

thing is, pretty

thing is, pretty woman Eloise from lucky Australia, You are no Xain. You is more buddha, the way I read ya.

Damn words, "Moderate", that's a good example of the Tower Of  Babel !. SHIT damn it god ....  

Thanks for bumping !

Thanks for bumping !

I missed this before. It is

I missed this before. It is GOOD! Hope you don't mind I cuntpasted it other places. I attributed it to "an online friend of mine" so I didn't take credit. It is so true.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team

Hambydammit's picture

No problem, Matt.  If it's

No problem, Matt.  If it's a place where you can post the link, I'd prefer that you link it to me, as I do reserve the right to use any of my essays in potential book projects, so I would like it if there's as much attribution as possible.

Thanks for the props!

 

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

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

BUMP ! My eyes are slanting

BUMP !

My eyes are slanting ..... Buddha was a cool ATHEIST  !!!  

   Me is a cracker honky gringo joe paleface   ....  please Love ME, I love all of YOU !

   We are ONE !