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  #51    
Old April 14th, 2013, 08:44 AM
Kanzler
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Actually I wouldn't say atheism arises from fear. It's just that religious faith is unreasonable to us. Atheists do contemplate being wrong and that's how they arrive at atheism. A lot of atheist thinking is quite simply rational thinking - you're considering what bears the burden of proof, you try to be parsimonious in how you reach your conclusions, and you try to be skeptical. Every time you find yourself about to do a leap of faith, you second-guess and reconsider. That's basically it.

Now there is a big difference between not being able to understand and not being able to accept religion. You can accept without understanding and you can understand without accepting. And of course you can do both. I came into this thread trying to do both but probably accepting without understanding. My appraisal of how this conversation is going right now is that we're asking too much of acceptance and not doing enough understanding. This goes out to both sides of the argument.

I think a good place to start is a discussion on faith. droomph - you mentioned faith as a hope for the future, but everybody has that like Went said. By faith in a religious context I mean confidence without proof, whether it manifests itself as submission to the will of god or the acceptance that god is unobservable. For those of you who believe in a higher power, where does your faith come from?

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Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the point of this thread for it to act as a forum for two groups with opposing views to understand each other? Not to try and convert people to one or the other or argue the existence of God?
And gimmepie you are on board.
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  #52    
Old April 14th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by gimmepie View Post
I am a very rational and critical thinker for the most part, I believe in the majority of sciences I'm not a religious radical like you seem to assume anybody who believes in a higher power is (no offence intended to you, but you do come across a lot like that).
I don't think religious people are radicals, but I do think they are perhaps afraid or insecure in their lives. Religion is a crutch, a device used to bring relief. And while this is good, it is also dangerous for eventually you could use that crutch so much that you become dependent on it.

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I'm not asking you to subscribe to my beliefs but I hope that you can at least have the respect to not refer to God as imaginary. It doesn't bother me, I realise this is just your perspective but there are going to be others that are going to be angered or hurt by remarks like that and I figure you should know that, especially since you clearly are quite intelligent.
Respect is earned, not given. And until someone can provide me with verifiable proof in the existence of a supreme being responsible for all of creation and our continued existence, I can only view the concept of a god as being a figment of the human race's imagination. I'm a blunt individual. I speak my mind. I make no apologies for this. Most appreciate this in me because too often people lie to prevent others from getting hurt. But when the lie is discovered, it can cause a harm greater than if honesty is given first.

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It is people like you that I was referring to (again, I'm not saying this with any malice) that are why atheists and those who believe in God or any other deity can't understand one other, you are unwilling to accept that the existence of God is a possibility and the religious are unwilling to accept that they could be wrong.
Not true, I'm more than willing to accept the concept of a god. Like the quote in my sig says: "By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out." In other words, keep your mind open to new ideas, but not so open that you'd readily accept an idea just because someone comes along who tells you it's the truth. I, for one, need more than someone's faith or belief to prove God is real. I need tangible evidence. And quite frankly, there is none that I can see.
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  #53    
Old April 14th, 2013, 11:05 AM
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Respect is earned, not given. And until someone can provide me with verifiable proof in the existence of a supreme being responsible for all of creation and our continued existence, I can only view the concept of a god as being a figment of the human race's imagination. I'm a blunt individual. I speak my mind. I make no apologies for this.
If you don't give respect in a conversation, you're not going to be able to understand what the other side is saying. I'm not sure if you've read my last post or not, but you might have ignored or not considered it. These conversations are only useful if we have some common ground to start from.

It's not about your bluntness but about taking a step back and consider where they are coming from, and you haven't been doing that since it's all about proof vs. no proof. Why don't you try asking why not having proof is acceptable to them? If you can't get to the bottom of that, no wonder you'll be making the same arguments over and over.

You're trying too hard to not accept - or oppose, in other words - instead of trying to understand someone else's perspective. This is why I want to understand where faith comes from, because neither you and I have a conception of what that is, other than the fact that it's irrational.

The purpose of this thread, and gimmepie put it nicely, was to "act as a forum for two groups with opposing views to understand each other." Perhaps afterwards when there's more understanding we can open the debate into something actually useful. You say you need tangible evidence. This thread doesn't, at least not yet.
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  #54    
Old April 14th, 2013, 11:38 AM
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If you don't give respect in a conversation, you're not going to be able to understand what the other side is saying. I'm not sure if you've read my last post or not, but you might have ignored or not considered it. These conversations are only useful if we have some common ground to start from.
Might I ask what common ground you think atheists and the religious have? And keep in mind I've suffered quite the bit of abuse from the religious just because of who I am, so in my mind I don't see very much common ground at all.

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Originally Posted by gimmepie View Post
It's not about your bluntness but about taking a step back and consider where they are coming from, and you haven't been doing that since it's all about proof vs. no proof. Why don't you try asking why not having proof is acceptable to them? If you can't get to the bottom of that, no wonder you'll be making the same arguments over and over.
In the 40 years I've been alive on this planet I've constantly tried to understand where people are coming from (okay, maybe not as a kid, then it was always about when I'd get to play next). The problem is, the more I ask that question, the more irrational the answers become. After a time it became pointless to ask because I knew I'd get the same answers as before, and they make just as much sense now as they did then. None.

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You're trying too hard to not accept - or oppose, in other words - instead of trying to understand someone else's perspective. This is why I want to understand where faith comes from, because neither you and I have a conception of what that is, other than the fact that it's irrational.

The purpose of this thread, and gimmepie put it nicely, was to "act as a forum for two groups with opposing views to understand each other." Perhaps afterwards when there's more understanding we can open the debate into something actually useful. You say you need tangible evidence. This thread doesn't, at least not yet.
I don't think I'll ever understand how anyone could ever believe in a god, unless at some point I was shown incontrovertible evidence of God's existence. You can't really understand something unless you've experienced it yourself. I can't understand what it means to be a female, because I'm male. Someone who is straight can't understand what it means to be gay, because they're not gay. Unless I suddenly because religious, neither of us could fully understand it. So I don't much see the worth of trying.
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  #55    
Old April 14th, 2013, 12:14 PM
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Might I ask what common ground you think atheists and the religious have? And keep in mind I've suffered quite the bit of abuse from the religious just because of who I am, so in my mind I don't see very much common ground at all.
Sounds like you're not very committed to keeping an open mind. Coming from a different background than the rest of us is no excuse to treat it as a handicap when it comes to understanding others. I can tell you some things we've agreed upon in this thread: we believe in cause and effect, we agrees that humans are irrational creatures but can use reason nonetheless, that science can be compatible with reason, that it is difficult to explain the inexplicable and that religion can be analyzed in a rational framework.

These concepts are the foundation of this thread and the foundation of a constructive conversation that will lead to understanding between all of us. Because we have these common definitions and concepts, we can compare and contrast the way we think. You're misconstruing understanding how someone else could believe in a god with "incontrovertible evidence of God's existence". Perhaps because their belief is irrational so the evidence you seek is irrelevant to their belief system? That, however, doesn't prevent you from being able to understand why they would think that way. Just because you understand something doesn't mean you have to believe it. We can still grapple with irrationality within a rational context.

I don't know why you, as a gay man, don't see the worth in trying. What are allies for if you claim we "can't understand what it means to be gay"? I can't experience it the same way you can, but would anybody really be an ally if I couldn't understand what it means? The Venn diagram of gay and straight has some overlap, similarly to that of religion and atheism, as I have demonstrated above. The overlap is what I'd like to get at in order to come to a greater understanding.

Their explanation may not make sense, but you can try to understand why they would believe something that doesn't make sense to you. And that in itself is significant.
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  #56    
Old April 14th, 2013, 12:37 PM
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Let's not address each other bilaterally, but in the context of the whole thread itself.
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  #57    
Old April 14th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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I HATE religion and everything involved with religion. Religion does nothing but cause chaos and wars. People can't accept that someone else has different beliefs than them instead they try to force they're religion down others throats and wonder why it started a feud.

I'm a christian but I don't follow the religion because I think it's bs. Nor do I try to change someone else's religions beliefs. If you're agnostic, you have the choice to be, if you're satanic you have the choice to be, if you an atheist you have the choice to be, etc. I don't know why people can't accept and get over the fact that someone else's beliefs are different instead they gotta cause chaos. God (if you believe in God) doesn't want us to spread the word like we're doing so, he don't want us to force it on others he just wants us to believe in the faith and that's all and try to spread the faith. If they don't accept it, move on, that's why I don't follow religion because it's gotten out of hand.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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Alright: I hope this discussion can lead to a better understanding between everybody along the continuum of faith.

If you want to say something inflammatory, you can do this elsewhere. But I don't want this to be hijacked in order for some people to express their hyper partisan views towards religion/atheism.

It especially doesn't help when you start of with hate in big capital letters.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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I hate religion because of what it's caused that's all. From my understanding atheist seem to have an more open mind when it comes to religion or anything. They're atheist for a reason and nobody should chance they're perspective on it. I'm not trying to change you're ways I'm just saying religions is a major issue everywhere.

Being an atheist is just as normal as being a christian or any other religion. I don't know why people block them out of society or look down on them for they're choices. I don't know why people try to force they're religion down the throats of atheist either. I know lots of atheist and they will proudly say they are an atheist. They give they're reason and stop there. They don't argue against another religion and that's why I respect atheist. I don't care that they don't have the same faith as me, not everyone is entitled to the same religion it's a matter of opinion that's all.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 01:18 PM
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Sounds like you're not very committed to keeping an open mind. Coming from a different background than the rest of us is no excuse to treat it as a handicap when it comes to understanding others.
I'm open to keeping an open mind. I just have to be given something I can work with. I can guess as to why people may feel a need to believe in some power or force greater than ourselves. But so far, I've only heard that people believe because that is how they were raised. But not so much why they themselves sought comfort in such a believe.

I postulated this theory to my mother, who is a Christian (not of a particular denomination though). What if she was God? What if everything in this universe was God, both living and inanimate. In this sense God wasn't an entity or a force, but rather was a vast consciousness of which each one of us was a small part. The questions we have then are not of individual beings seeking to understand where they come from, but rather the universe seeking to understand itself through us.

She thought this an interesting theory, and thought it was a very real possibility. It would be an explanation that could satisfy both atheists (as it could conceivably be scientifically tested) and the religious. A novel that I'm in the process of beginning to write is based on this theory, only on a much smaller scale (planetary instead of universal).

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I don't know why you, as a gay man, don't see the worth in trying. What are allies for if you claim we "can't understand what it means to be gay"? I can't experience it the same way you can, but would anybody really be an ally if I couldn't understand what it means?
I don't think a person has to actually understand something to be supportive of it. I mean, I certainly can't understand what it means to be female because I'm not female (though there are some times I wish I was one tbh), I still want to do everything I can to support them and defend them when they are being attacked (like those who seek to control women's reproduction organs by denying them birth control or the right to have an abortion). I think it's one of the reasons why I have more friends who are female than male. They know that I would do anything to make sure they were treated as equals by individuals and groups and governments (and yes, even churches), and also that I don't have any ulterior motives in doing so like trying to get into their pants.

So yes, I think an ally can be someone who doesn't understand what it means to be who, or what, the other person is. Because understanding, to them, doesn't factor into their decision to support someone. What does motivate them is their sense of right and wrong, and their love for their fellow human beings.
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  #61    
Old April 14th, 2013, 01:19 PM
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I hate religion because of what it's caused that's all. From my understanding atheist seem to have an more open mind when it comes to religion or anything. They're atheist for a reason and nobody should chance they're perspective on it. I'm not trying to change you're ways I'm just saying religions is a major issue everywhere.
We're not looking for those arguments here. If you want to argue atheism vs. religion, you can make another topic. But now you're detracting from where this threat is supposed to go.

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So yes, I think an ally can be someone who doesn't understand what it means to be who, or what, the other person is. Because understanding, to them, doesn't factor into their decision to support someone. What does motivate them is their sense of right and wrong, and their love for their fellow human beings.
Okay I'll take that as a yes you're willing to keep an open mind and consider what religious folks here have to say. I'll also assume that by not addressing them you accept my premises in my previous post so you don't have to alienate the other side of the conversation that are supposed to be here in order to build understanding. If you're still not willing, then fine. But don't go around making people feel unwelcome and ruining it for us who actually try to understand.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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To me, atheism is different than not having a religion. Atheism itself is like a religion in that it is a firm belief that something does not exist. I know the word atheism itself means lack of theology but an atheist still holds the belief that nothing exists. I'm more agnostic than atheist, in that I don't really know nor do I really care what does and doesn't exist.

We're all here on Earth right now. Imo, that's the only thing that matters.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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To me, atheism is different than not having a religion. Atheism itself is like a religion in that it is a firm belief that something does not exist. I'm more agnostic than atheist, in that I don't really know nor do I really care what does and doesn't exist.

We're all here on Earth right now. Imo, that's the only thing that matters.
The absence of belief is not necessarily the belief of absence, and there are levels of belief that is not at all firm in atheism. I take atheism to include all kinds of godlessness because if you break down the word you get a- and -theism. A- meaning an absence or negation, and -theism as referring to the belief that god exists. Personally, I don't treat atheism as a religion, it's just any state of not believing in a deity.
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Old April 14th, 2013, 06:24 PM
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@Jay - The Gay/Straight analogy would make sense but I really don't think it is that hard to understand homosexuality... we way not understand why thee are attracted to the same sex but we understand the way they feel because we feel that way about the opposite. Religion and Atheism are much the same if we let them be, whilst we can't understand the rationale behind the others belief very well I see know reason that we cannot discover a common ground, which at this point I believe are commonly accepted human values (that perhaps ShinyUmbreon would like to subscribe to instead of just ripping on religion) and the quest to discover where the world came from.

@Jay - I could go on to talk about your analogy using females too but it should be clear enough at this point that I'm more or less the same on that one, including the part about churches, despite believing in God (look! More common ground between an Atheist and a believer :O)
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Old April 14th, 2013, 10:33 PM
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There seems to be some confusion in this thread as to what exactly atheism is. Since even some of the self-described atheists in this thread seem to misunderstand this, I really have my work cut out for me. ;P

To make this easier to understand, let's set up a logical dichotomy for these positions we take on belief.

I've noticed that the religious posters in this thread seem to be making a distinction between different kinds of beliefs, indicating their beliefs are not like those of organized religions. That's fine. For the sake of this model, any and all of these fall under one category of the dichotomy, what we'll call theism. (I understand this term normally is used to say one deity exists, but for simplicity I'm relegating any and all beliefs of a supernatural nature to this position, as they really are interchangeable here.)

So, if you say any of the above things: that a god exists/that some presence exists/however you'd like to describe your supernatural belief, you are making some theistic claim about the universe. Accepting this proposition would make you a theist.

If you are given one of these theistic claims and reject it, you are an atheist with respect to that claim. Where the confusion seems to come from is what exactly this means. There exist different forms of atheism (both "strong" and "weak" atheism), but this really isn't necessary to describe one's position in this.

Now what I've said thusfar is only about belief. What one claims to "know" is a separate question from belief. (Of course, we can have a discussion on what exactly one means by "knowing" something, but we'll just say for now it's a matter of the evidence you have encountered which convinces you the belief you hold is true.) For this matter, if you say you do not know whether a god or gods exist, but you do not believe one does, this is usually where you get people calling themselves an agnostic atheist. In this matter, this is the position I would take.

With this, I'm not saying I wouldn't be open to the possibility of a god or gods existing. My beliefs can and have changed over time. If the evidence was there to convince me, I would believe it. However, there just isn't anything outside of people's personal experiences and claims that there is a god that I have encountered. It may be good evidence for you to believe, but I think you should be able to understand that it's not really good evidence for me or anyone else to believe.

It's a matter of certainty. I do not think it is reasonable to hold with absolute certainty these kinds of beliefs, one way or another. A rational mind should be open to accepting new ideas and discarding old ones. I am uncertain whether or not a god or gods exist. Given the evidence, it seems rather unlikely. That's why, for all practical purposes, I call myself an atheist.

And let me be real with you. I don't think most people spend their time thinking about these sorts of things. That's why I would consider myself mostly an apatheist, which just means I don't believe in a god and I don't care about the matter. I've got other stuff to do. ;P
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Old April 14th, 2013, 11:21 PM
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@Bela... would that make me an Agnostic Theist? Since I believe in God but recognise that my beliefs can change or be proven wrong?
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Old April 14th, 2013, 11:28 PM
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It's funny though. I started this thread with the intention of letting people speak their personal perceptions of what atheism is, and I didn't foresee how letting people express their differences would come in the way of mutual understanding. Having that proposition determine one's belief vs. religion cuts out a lot of the juice in conversation though. While it might be convenient to reduce whether you're an atheist to yay or nay to a claim, it doesn't leave much room for common ground on a personal level. I think the direction this thread will eventually go is to explain how we perceive atheism and religion in terms of how it affects relationships between people - for example, how the stranger I met helped me (I've got an atheist perspective) from a Christian point of view, because that's something we can all agree on. Different perspectives can be a source of misunderstanding and humour, or might give you greater insight into a problem or human nature or anything you might be pondering. It's like those Reader's Digest anecdotes, for those of you who've read them at your doctor's office - always interesting and great discussion material to boot.

I appreciate how well you clarified an acid test for atheism, but I'd also like to keep the discussion going because once you get to certainties and likelihoods you end up with personal preferences and the thread turns into a show and tell, which it has been for the recent while so let's change that.

I'm slightly frustrated over how this thread is going because a lot of what I've read here concerning the relationship between atheism and religion is basically leave me alone and I'll leave you alone. How about some personal stories about you interacting with atheism/religion, or witnessing a conflict between friends and describing you how felt or what you took away from it? The interactions you've witnessed between atheism and religion can't all be non-interactions can they?
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Old April 15th, 2013, 03:43 AM
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Atheism is quite simply the lack of belief in a God or gods. I don't judge others unless they're fanatical in their viewpoints. I'm currently in a dilemma regarding my friend. He's become heavily religious, and it heavily skews his viewpoints. It's rather uncomfortable to be around him anymore.
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Old April 15th, 2013, 06:30 AM
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I have friends who are heavily religious and friends who are through and through atheists, which puts me in somewhat of a middle ground I guess. As far as stories go though I really have none I get along fine with both groups and whilst the majority of the people in my social circle are, in fact, atheists those of us who believe in God, whether we follow organised religion or not, get along fine with the atheists. It is really a perfect example that it is easy for atheists and theists to get along. Honestly it is nice to have a group that can look at an issue from multiple perspectives, although we are also very open minded people.
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Old April 16th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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My experiences with Christians has been largely negative. It is not easy being a part of a group who are routinely and viciously attacked by god-fearing people simply because of who I am. I try in my life to treat all people fairly, to be courteous with them in our interactions. But much damage has been inflicted by what I believe to be a small, but very vocal minority, of so-called Christians that every encounter with a Christian causes me to raise my shields in expectation of an attack. When the attack does not come, as it more often than not doesn't, I am left relieved but still suspicious. This is a fault of mine. But I have come to recognize it as a defence mechanism that won't go away until the perception of the religious has altered, and that won't happen until change is accepted on both sides.

There is a very vocal minority in the religious community that attacks those whose ideals, beliefs or characteristics differs from their own. And from the rest is silence. A few do speak up and counter those who would do harm to others. But their voices are small and rarely heard because the vocal minority has raised their own voices to deafening levels, both within the leadership and those who simply prescribe to a specific belief.

I would so much like to never again have to view anyone with suspicion who is a Christian, or any religion for that matter. But unless and until the voices of reason and acceptance can rise their voices above the din of divisiveness, I fear that that will not happen any time soon.

My own mother is a Christian. And even with her I have my shields up. Not because I want to, but because it has become a conditioned response. I have asked her, and other Christians that do not view the LGBT community negatively, what they would be willing to do to ensure that people like me would be treated with the same dignity they would hope to be treated. I have been assured they would be there for me. But still, the voices against divisiveness from the religious community remains silent about the treatment of the LGBT community. And the only voices heard are those that condemn us.

When someone tells me to respect someone who is religious, given my experiences, how is that possible? Respect is a level of trust, and I simply do not trust the religious because their beliefs can so easily be twisted to harm what they profess to love.

I do not believe in a god because it is a concept that has been perverted by the human race into something that is destructive when it was meant to promote love and understanding between all peoples. Like with everything else the human race creates, God has become a weapon to shame, marginalize, and even destroy differences, and to seek to make everyone conform to one standard. No religion is immune to this corruption because religion is a creation of flawed human beings.

Even now for instance, as we speak, Catholics who are supportive of gay rights or the ordination of women into the priesthood, or are supportive of birth control, are being threatened by the Catholic leadership of being denied communion. Gotta love the love there. Sounds more like the Borg with their line: "You will be assimilated, resistance if futile." In other words, conform or you will be punished.

In the U.S. there are a group of nuns who are being investigated by the Vatican because they have focussed their efforts on relieving the suffering of those who are poor or sick. They do not trouble themselves with the church's social policies as a habit. And yet it is precisely this that the church is demanding of them, to concentrate less on helping the downtrodden, and focusing more on opposing what they perceive to be social ills. Yes, so very logical. Stop helping the poor and do more to help the Church engage in gay bashing.

Is it no wonder the Catholic church is loosing members so rapidly?

History has demonstrated time and time again that the more power you exercise over another, the less control you have. We're seeing now that religious leaders are desperate to hold onto as much power as they can, and are doing so by issuing threats, and trying to expand their political influence into the every day lives of others. Not just of those who are members, but those outside of the church entirely.

Religion in today's societies is as corrupt as any other governing body the human race has come up with.

I postulated a theory not to long ago, that all of us combined are God; every living thing and every inanimate object; every speck of dust and microscopic particle; and every electron and atom. I suggested that we are simply a part of the universe trying to understand itself through us.

This to me seems so much more plausible than an entity or a force responsible for all of creation and that we must somehow answer to it for fear of being punished. And it seems to me, very likely, that it is a theory that could actually be scientifically tested and studied by theologians together. A true blending, if you will, of science and religion. I could certainly celebrate a union like that if it was approached on both sides with an open mind and with all preconceived notions left at the door.

The only thing stopping something like this from occurring, however, is organized groups determined to protect their own interests. In the end it's not really truth they are seeking. It's power and control. It always has been, and don't expect that to change any time soon.
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Last edited by Jay0173; April 16th, 2013 at 12:43 PM.
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  #71    
Old April 17th, 2013, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlahISuck
Not so much about the value of atheism vs. religion, but what does it mean to you?
Atheism pretty much means what you said in the first post. At its core, it's the lack of faith or believe in a god/gods/goddesses of any/many religion(s). I usually break it down to go with either agnostic or a firm non-believer and even go further with the last one as a weak or strong atheist. Basically, I go with the normal terminology that comes with atheism and can be found on quite a few sites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlahISuck
For those of you who are atheist, how does it feel with respect to your community? What does it mean to your identity, and how do you reconcile that with friends or peers who have faith? How does this affect your worldview?
Well, most of the people around me are a mix of Christian (baptist and catholic) who seem to dislike each other and other atheist (who also seem to dislike each other). So, I guess you could say it's great. We don't really care what each other believe, except the extremely religious people who have the only church in the middle of the city and like to wait on people who stop at a red light or stop sign to walk to their car and give out those fish key chains. They are kind of annoying.

For the next question, we generally don't bring it up. We've tried to talk about it before but I'd quote something, he'd quote something, etc. etc. until one of use is pissed at the other. We basically know that the other isn't going to change and stay off the subject. Plus, there are more interesting things to talk about.

As for atheism affecting my worldview, I guess I have to struggle to understand why people would do something in the name of their god/religion. It seems to silly to me to cause so many people to hate/fear you because of your religion. I also dislike it when people put other down in the name of their god/religion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlahISuck
How about some personal stories about you interacting with atheism/religion, or witnessing a conflict between friends and describing you how felt or what you took away from it? The interactions you've witnessed between atheism and religion can't all be non-interactions can they?
Hmm, I guess I have two stories, one involving the religious when I was younger and another that happened last december/november (one of those two).

The first one is when I was younger, around 8 or 9 and freaked me out for the longest of time. Some evangelist knocked on our door (I'm guessing Jehovah's Witnesses but not sure). My dad, who was sleeping because he had to work third shift (which is pretty late), saw them coming up the porch and told me to answer it and say no one is around; Basically ask for them to leave. So, they knocked, I answered, they asked if my parents were around, I said no and that they should leave, which worked out. Maybe 20 minutes later, knocking again, asking if parents were here yet and then leaving when I said they weren't. Problem is, they did it again. I answered and they said no one else on the street answered so they asked if my parents were back yet. Same answer but they started to ask if I knew about Jesus and trying to hand me one of those little bibles. I took it (which was a big mistake) and they left. They came back again and tried to give me a stack of them to give out to everyone else, which I wasn't going to do, so I closed the door on them (mistake number two). They started knocking again and talking through the door, which happened for a while and scared the crap out of me. I freaked (mistake three) and started to scream at them through the door to leave but they didn't so my dad had to get up and tell them to leave. It scared me about how persistent they were to get me to answer the door and even though I can laugh about it now, not so much when I was a kid.

My next one is with an atheist who was in my philosophy class at college last semester. We had gotten into a debate (our teacher liked to do them for fun) about abortion, which usually has people bringing in their religion as a source for their opinion. Well, it was going pretty well until a girl said she didn't believe in abortion because of her religion, which sort of sparked the flames of this other chicks rage. The second chick started to attack her believe and religion because of how "sexist it was" and how she was an atheist because of how intolerable it was. This went on for a few minutes and every time the first chick would try to say she didn't mean anything bad, the second one would ramble on again. I had to, unfortunately, sit next the the rambling chick and told her she needed to calm down and stop attacking peoples religion as it's disrespectful. She mouthed off saying something like "If your religion can't respect me then I shouldn't have to respect it". I got angry and told her I was also an atheist and for her to stop being a jack*** because it reflects badly on every atheist and that she was the reason we were so hated. It wasn't really nice but neither was she. We stopped talking and she moved to another seat.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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It's pretty obvious what those of faith would do: but to you godless people out there, how are you taking the Boston bombing and how does it play it in your worldview?
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Old April 19th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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I find myself not fitting into any specific box and generally try to avoid putting labels onto myself but I would have to say atheist is as close as it gets for me. I don't believe in any sort of higher power or holy book or dogma, but I do believe in my own set of personal morals, and one of those is not to judge others. If you are religious then that is what I believe a personal choice and applaud you. That is, as long as you keep it a personal choice. I won't go trying to "corrupt" anyone just as I don't really appreciate people who try to shove religion down anyone's throat. It's true that I find someone who is a good person solely because they personally believe it is right more noble than someone who is only doing it to please a god, but again it is a personal choice and as long as you are a generally good person we won't have any sort of conflict. I feel like I would appreciate certain religions such as Christianity more if the general consensus followed their own holy creed closer. (ie focusing more on helping those less fortunate and loving thy neighbor more than persecuting those who disagree, as the former is mentioned much more often in the bible). I also am more likely to become close with someone who shares common beliefs with me, not because I am close-minded, but because it just usually is a better fit.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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I'm mostly agnostic, so I'm relatively neutral on the topic.

However, I do think that militant atheism is dangerous, just as militant theism is. Honestly, I consider any militant ideal as dangerous, as it is inherently based on a 'holier-than-thou' point of view and a basic intolerance for those who disagree. To give those who are religious credit, though, most of the religious people I know are pretty tolerant of atheism.
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