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A fallacy of atheism
Posted: 06 October 2008 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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McCreason - 06 October 2008 06:29 PM

‘If an individual finds a religious belief not credible then that individual should simply disbelieve and go about life.’

You kiding me?

If ‘believers’ would keep their faith individual and personal, no antitheist would care. But religious dogma preaches influence, conversion and domination.

Or haven’t you noticed?

Or as Pat Condell says:

“...Actually, my problem is not with God, but with God’s little helpers, the ones who take it upon themselves to police the rest of us on his behalf.

These people give religion a bad name, which, given its history, takes some doing.

They wear their ignorance as a badge of honour, and they hold very strong opinions about what other people should think.

Plus they’ve managed to insinuate themselves into a position where their beliefs are given equal weight with real ideas, and are allowed to affect our lives in all sorts of ridiculous ways
...”

Amen to that.

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Christian psychopaty:

Bruce Burleson
“.Tell me why it is wrong to rape, steal and kill….
…If I am a slaveholder in Alabama in 1860, why shouldn’t I enslave the niggers, fuck their women, and whip their children when they disobey me????
I’ll tell you why, and it is the ONLY reason why
..”

..he fears gods punishment.

Christians per definition has no moral.
They are governed by fear and fear only.

..and they don’t mind using the N-word.

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Posted: 06 October 2008 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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bongobongo,

Gad, I wish you (and others) would simply post under their own name.  Mine has served me well, or sometimes poorly, for 70 years and I’m not about to hide behind some screen name,  Other than that comment, I agree with your post completely.

Dennis

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Truth, especially “moral truth,” is that elusive human creation whose exclusive apprehension is claimed by many, who then sanctimoniously condemn anyone else who does not agree with their particular apprehension, while denying that any question can be posed about their own apprehension.  I will try to avoid that tendency.  DEC

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Posted: 06 October 2008 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Dennis Campbell - 06 October 2008 06:44 PM

McCreason has a point.  Religion is objectionable in part because it seeks to convert and control others.  If many of the people who are theists would leave the rest of us alone, I could care less what they believe.  But Islamic and Christian fundamentalists have a mission to convert the rest of us, and some of them are quite willing to kill to do so.  They seem to think, if think is the operative word, that somehow their beliefs are threatened because others do not share those beliefs.

This is another aspect of the problem that’s solved by the idyllic “universal humanism” I pointed out earlier. If we embrace our humanity we’re all in. Done. Proselytization is utterly nonsensical. There’s no call to try and somehow win converts, all of us are part of the “in” group (although David Brin’s whole “uplift” idea is pretty interesting, but even there we have a pretty critically different notion than convert or burn forever!).

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 06 October 2008 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Dennis,

Your question is valid and interesting. LogicAndReason asked a similar question in a past thread without making the intuitive posit that you have made here. I suspect that you are correct in why many people cling to religion. However, I feel that we can only offer guidance to ourselves, our children, and those who ask for it. It is unlikely that a theist is going to ask a nonbeliever for help in forming a new worldview. I personally have no desire to proselytize my lack of religious beliefs.

Having said that, I try to create meaning for my own life and I encourage my children to try to find a way to contribute something to society besides new recipients of social security numbers.

I volunteer my time with a secular, philanthropic group in which I can offer the services that I was trained to provide. This somehow feeds my selfish desire to feel significant. It works for me. I suspect that everyone who desires to feel significant must find a way that works for them.

Self reliance and personal responsibility should ultimately suffice to fulfill this desire for those who have it, regardless of their beliefs. In my opinion, it is easier to assume significance from some perfect, father-figure god, than to do the work yourself. Thus, many will, no doubt, continue to take the well worn, easy path which has been mapped out by the hordes who traveled it before.

Scotty

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 06 October 2008 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Dennis,

True.

There are many things about which we could not have conversation in parts of the world.

But that as a blanket argument is a bit of a copout.

People mistreat one another.  That’s human nature.  As a societal institution religion is often involved in that mistreatment.  But so is politics.  People would still mistreat one another even if they did not have religion as a pretext. 

And pedophiles would still commit their heinous crimes, with or without a white collar.

It is not that I am surprised by antitheist rhetoric.  Prejudice is everywhere.  Ridiculing someone’s faith is bigotry just as is ridiculing him for his race or sexual practices is bigotry.  And bigotry is what people do!

But what I hear from most atheists, including most posters here or at RDW, is meanness.  If the reason for knocking religion is that it poisons society and that society would be better without it then the testimony from most atheist blogs I have visited does not support this empirically. 

Sam Harris makes valid points.  Alonzo Fyfe makes valid points.  But most of the antitheist ranting I’ve seen doesn’t look much different in substance from the speech of Julius Streicher!

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Posted: 06 October 2008 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Dennis Campbell - 06 October 2008 12:04 PM

Sanders asked what propositions I have to replace religion, or at least I think that’s what he was asking, and I do not have any ready-made conceptual propositions.

Dennis, you were the one who suggested just that in this thread.

Seems to me that any such propositions must include and encourage what we call science and critical thinking, while at the same time addressing the common human emotional needs for a sense of their place in the world.  That’s a daunting challenge.

How’s that Dennis?

Even though I like to think I am so very special, I am probably just an average dude who has had the great fortune of not having celestial woo-woo rammed down my infant throat.

I know very well how to address my emotional needs.
Would you like a crash course?

Money in my pocket, a roof over my head, a girl to love and fuck, the odd poem, read or written, and two playful kittens in my house.
Add to that a good bottle of wine, family and friends and life is as good as it gets.

Everything else is superfluous, IMO.

The fact that we are all going to be worm food is unfortunate, but I’ll be damned if I will endorse any kind of woo-woo because it makes some folks feel better.

So I will ask you again, since you brought it up.

What exactly did you have in mind when you suggested ‘a proposition to replace religion.’

Sander

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“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

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Posted: 06 October 2008 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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wahoo - 06 October 2008 08:16 PM

It is not that I am surprised by antitheist rhetoric.  Prejudice is everywhere.  Ridiculing someone’s faith is bigotry just as is ridiculing him for his race or sexual practices is bigotry.  And bigotry is what people do!

But what I hear from most atheists, including most posters here or at RDW, is meanness.  If the reason for knocking religion is that it poisons society and that society would be better without it then the testimony from most atheist blogs I have visited does not support this empirically. 

Sam Harris makes valid points.  Alonzo Fyfe makes valid points.  But most of the antitheist ranting I’ve seen doesn’t look much different in substance from the speech of Julius Streicher!

While you have a valid point to a point, I suspect it’s heavily biased against atheism (i.e. a significant portion of the “anger” you sense is a construct of anti-iconoclastic bias—the mere perception of anger because of the striking nature of openly honest criticism of religion, which to many is somewhere just North, or South, of disparaging motherhood). Such is the nature of an iconoclastic concept. Don’t feel bad about it though, at least not until you’ve learned better and you’ve had time to assimilate it. Even most non-theists in my experience still haven’t managed to shake all of their socialized religious notions. It’s why a lot of atheists call themselves agnostics, giving special dispensation to the notion of gods and, in regard to such, drastically altering their standards regarding doubt and the benefit thereof. Even atheists have a hard time being truly objective and not giving the “home team religion” significant undue respect (can’t say that I’m free from doing so myself, I think I’m just far more aware of the problem than most).

Critically read Atheists As Other after having a look over an article or two about it (like this one or this one, but the Atheists As Other study is what really illuminates the situation, what to be “Other” really means), and if you have a functional understanding of socialization (I think it’s pretty obvious to those who do that most people don’t, so I’m not suggesting you already should, but rather that if you don’t I can’t recommend more highly that you develop it) you should get a fair picture of what I’m talking about.

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 06 October 2008 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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All,

I raised the issue, not the answers.  I’m not, yet, quite that narcissistic and grandiose. “Answers” IMO do need to include science and rationalism, as well as people’s need for some sense of meaning.  I’m not all that interested in attacking theism, nonsense as it appears to me, unless and until theists come after me and mine. 

Dennis

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Truth, especially “moral truth,” is that elusive human creation whose exclusive apprehension is claimed by many, who then sanctimoniously condemn anyone else who does not agree with their particular apprehension, while denying that any question can be posed about their own apprehension.  I will try to avoid that tendency.  DEC

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Posted: 08 October 2008 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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I’ve stated my own theory before that has something in common with this original post.

My theory is slightly different in that I believe not so much that religion is something that human psychology manufactures to feel significant, but that it is something to make us feel in control of our lives.  Perhaps Dennis shares the same view based on his knowledge of psychology.

In another post, I posited that religion satisfies our human desire to feel in control of our lives.  An example is the natural inclination to pray for a desired outcome.

One instance comes to mind.  I happened to see an accident scene where a little girl had been hit by a car.  She was still alive, but was laying on the pavement and crying.  At this particular moment, I felt incredibly helpless and I had a strong desire for control over the situation.

I think religion is produced by our minds for these sorts of things…to make us feel in control and give us a sense of peace about them.

Though SC seems to be of the opinion that no one deserves to have any feelings, I beg to differ. 

As Dennis said, we non-theists do have a problem when it comes to meeting the needs of the AVERAGE human psychological makeup.  We are indeed not the average.

I also think that if we could come up with answers to address this issue, we would be much more effective in convincing others of our viewpoints.

As Dennis said, no matter how much evidence and good reasoning we provide, we aren’t going to convince any theists of our ideas without addressing these psychological issues.  I suspect some theists in fact DO believe that their beliefs are a bunch of bullshit, but they DO know that it somehow makes them feel sane…and this is the crux of the problem.

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Posted: 08 October 2008 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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Dennis Campbell - 06 October 2008 06:44 PM

Wahoo,

Religion is objectionable in part because it seeks to convert and control others.  If many of the people who are theists would leave the rest of us alone, I could care less what they believe.  But Islamic and Christian fundamentalists have a mission to convert the rest of us, and some of them are quite willing to kill to do so. 

Dennis

This goes along well with my argument that religion is about feeling in control.  Perhaps religious minds have a genetic predisposition with desiring more control than us non-theists?

Perhaps the theist’s mind producing religion is simply a result of their obsession with control…in addition to obsessively wanting to control others as well.

It seems the most zealous theists have the greatest desire for control in all areas of life.  The most religiously entrenched also are the most fervent in their attempts to convert others or condemn them for disbelief.

There is a correlation I believe…

This is ironic, because someone so obsessed with control is likely to NEVER allow themselves to be convinced of someone else’s ideas - especially when those ideas only result in them feeling even less control.

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Posted: 08 October 2008 07:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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Dennis Campbell - 06 October 2008 06:44 PM

Wahoo,

Religion is objectionable in part because it seeks to convert and control others.  If many of the people who are theists would leave the rest of us alone, I could care less what they believe.  But Islamic and Christian fundamentalists have a mission to convert the rest of us, and some of them are quite willing to kill to do so. 

Dennis

This goes along well with my argument that religion is about feeling in control.  Perhaps religious minds have a genetic predisposition with desiring more control than us non-theists?

Perhaps the theist’s mind producing religion is simply a result of their obsession with control…in addition to obsessively wanting to control others as well.

It seems the most zealous theists have the greatest desire for control in all areas of life.  The most religiously entrenched also are the most fervent in their attempts to convert others or condemn them for disbelief.

There is a correlation I believe…

This is ironic, because someone so obsessed with control is likely to NEVER allow themselves to be convinced of someone else’s ideas - especially when those ideas only result in them feeling even less control.  I think this is the point Dennis was getting at…human psychology is working against our arguments of reason.

Here’s an idea… why don’t non-theists adopt the idea of having lots and lots of offspring, so we can create more of us in the gene pool?

Perhaps Catholicism was extremely smart in this regard (even if not for the reasons I’m suggesting).  Perhaps their being against birth control and for large families was extremely effective in spreading around the gene that desires control and manufactures religion?

I believe there is some good evidence of this, don’t you agree?

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Posted: 08 October 2008 07:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Actually agree with you here.  It is the various emotional or non-rational needs (e.g. solace, significance, meaning, companionship, effectance motivation, control over the unknown; social control, etc.) held in common by most people that religious beliefs address.  Religious beliefs are expressed in response to those kinds of needs.  Our enthusiastic intellectual (and not so intellectual) attacks on religious expressions do not address these underlying needs that these expressions serve.

Some addictions also are partially in response to some of these same needs; it is common to observe recovering addicts “finding god,” as a less lethal alternative to chemical addictions.  That observation does not take into account the physiological variables of physical addictions, but it is to me worth noting.

Dennis

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Truth, especially “moral truth,” is that elusive human creation whose exclusive apprehension is claimed by many, who then sanctimoniously condemn anyone else who does not agree with their particular apprehension, while denying that any question can be posed about their own apprehension.  I will try to avoid that tendency.  DEC

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Posted: 08 October 2008 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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NoLongerDelusional - 08 October 2008 10:51 AM

. . .
In another post, I posited that religion satisfies our human desire to feel in control of our lives.  An example is the natural inclination to pray for a desired outcome.

One instance comes to mind.  I happened to see an accident scene where a little girl had been hit by a car.  She was still alive, but was laying on the pavement and crying.  At this particular moment, I felt incredibly helpless and I had a strong desire for control over the situation. . . .

What about religious delusion would have assisted you in such a situation, NLD? How would it have given you a feeling of control? I’d suggest that taking a course in CPR and first aid would be more likely to help you feel some control over such a situation. But please elaborate if I’m misreading you.

You’re certainly on to something in your thoughts and assumptions about control, but is it possible that what’s perhaps taking place is that religion allows a person to relinquish a perceived need for control? That is, if I see a girl lying injured on a road, as in your description, religion could conceivably comfort me by informing me that her time on earth is either finished or not according to God’s will, not my first-aid/CPR training.

Is this what you were thinking?

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 08 October 2008 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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We have no need to seek some godly control over our world when we have at hand the means to do so ourselves.  It is when we do not, when we feel helpless in the face of some threatening event, that people call for “god’s help.” 

Dennis

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Truth, especially “moral truth,” is that elusive human creation whose exclusive apprehension is claimed by many, who then sanctimoniously condemn anyone else who does not agree with their particular apprehension, while denying that any question can be posed about their own apprehension.  I will try to avoid that tendency.  DEC

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Posted: 08 October 2008 07:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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homunculus - 08 October 2008 11:20 AM
NoLongerDelusional - 08 October 2008 10:51 AM

. . .
In another post, I posited that religion satisfies our human desire to feel in control of our lives.  An example is the natural inclination to pray for a desired outcome.

One instance comes to mind.  I happened to see an accident scene where a little girl had been hit by a car.  She was still alive, but was laying on the pavement and crying.  At this particular moment, I felt incredibly helpless and I had a strong desire for control over the situation. . . .

What about religious delusion would have assisted you in such a situation, NLD? How would it have given you a feeling of control? I’d suggest that taking a course in CPR and first aid would be more likely to help you feel some control over such a situation. But please elaborate if I’m misreading you.

You’re certainly on to something in your thoughts and assumptions about control, but is it possible that what’s perhaps taking place is that religion allows a person to relinquish a perceived need for control? That is, if I see a girl lying injured on a road, as in your description, religion could conceivably comfort me by informing me that her time on earth is either finished or not according to God’s will, not my first-aid/CPR training.

Is this what you were thinking?

I should have originally mentioned this, but what I was referring to was prayer.  When religious people come across these circumstances, the use of prayer makes them feel in control.

My previous years of brainwashing by my mother and churches had something to do with it I suspect, but in the aforementioned scenario, I did have a strong urge to pray for that little girl, even though I knew it would have no effect other than making me feel better personally.

That’s a good point you raise about CPR… and this is precisely why I am against religion.  Religion takes people’s focus off of real solution and shifts it to pseudo-solutions that just make them feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Thanks for the feedback.

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