nontheist vs. atheist
Posted: 29 June 2010 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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i have never been religious; i have never believed in any gods, not for as long as i have been able to think for myself, and that was at a very young age. however, i consider myself a nontheist rather than an atheist for several reasons:

1. “atheist” is an anti-theist term. i am not anti-theist; i do not honor the question. also, i do not reject only the traditional judeo-christian god; i reject ALL gods: past, present, and future. they are not nice (as Jane Austen might say), and they bring out the inherent evil in believers.

2. “atheist” is what people of one set of beliefs call people of a different set of beliefs, although both sets profess a belief in god/s. i do not wish to be part of that melange.

3. “atheist” seems to refer mainly to the “great” judeo-christian god (who is not), while i do not limit myself to only one. the prefix “a-” is a negative; the prefix “non-” is a more comprehensive and at the same time less negative term. it is a rejection without a fight.

4. atheists are considered godless, while i look upon that word as an inherent negative. i prefer to look upon myself as god-free, which is a load off my back and a happier thought. i am not less because i have no gods in my life; i am free of dogma of any kind. it is exhilarating to be positive about it rather than working from a negative terminology.

i agree with Sam Harris that we should not have to call ourselves anything at all, but until that day comes (and i do not see it coming in my lifetime), i will be god-free, not god-less; nontheist rather than atheist.

i consider religions anathema—they bring out the worst in people. they spread moralities that are at the very least suspect; at the most, destructive. obligatory altruism is not a good; faith is not a good; belief without evidence (faith) is actually bad for homo sapiens. even animals are smarter than that—they have to be, in all practicality, or they will be eaten.

in our culture, it is those who are god-free who are eaten, but that will inevitably change, as Man matures. religion is for children who need father-figures and who are afraid of death. i am an orphan in the maelstrom, and not unhappy with that thought. i had one father; i need no more. even the “founding fathers” i prefer to call the “Framers,” for that is what they did.

religion was invented by men who craved answers to questions. i prefer questions; they are more interesting, and even the interesting answers only lead to more questions, ad infinitum. and what’s all this crap about “love”?  loving everyone means loving no-one.  let’s respect everyone (unless and until they prove themselves unworthy), and love the few worthy of our love who we know well enough to love.

finally, i want to thank you, Sam, for your eloquent and fervent arguments in favor of nonbelief. i am a fan, of course—The End of Faith is a brilliant Book. keep up the good work.

thank goodness for you.

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Posted: 29 June 2010 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Greetings, Hollis.

Most of the current activity of Harris forum posters can be found at Project Reason.

This forum http://www.project-reason.org/forum/  is the new hang-out.

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Delude responsibly.

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Posted: 18 August 2010 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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hollis - 29 June 2010 02:51 PM

i consider religions anathema—they bring out the worst in people. they spread moralities that are at the very least suspect; at the most, destructive. obligatory altruism is not a good; faith is not a good; belief without evidence (faith) is actually bad for homo sapiens. even animals are smarter than that—they have to be, in all practicality, or they will be eaten.

Hi Hollis:

First of all thank you for the very eloquent post.  I would have to say that few people know themselves and the principles they carry as you obviously do.

I was compelled to reply to your post because you practically said the same thing that Gareth Wilson does in his book, The Plain Truth of Religion.  I am currently reading this book now and I must say that it is very painstakingly researched, very well written and entertaining to boot.

Wilson is saying that religion fuels amorality by extinguishing the moral impulses of people to desensitize them from the atrocities brought about by religion.  But Wilson does not stop there. He goes on to explain how religion sparked barbaric wars and factions from Ireland to India to Nigeria and even Bosnia.  As such Wilson argues that religion is bereft of morality.

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Posted: 19 August 2010 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Julioet - 19 August 2010 02:38 AM
hollis - 29 June 2010 02:51 PM

i consider religions anathema—they bring out the worst in people. they spread moralities that are at the very least suspect; at the most, destructive. obligatory altruism is not a good; faith is not a good; belief without evidence (faith) is actually bad for homo sapiens. even animals are smarter than that—they have to be, in all practicality, or they will be eaten.

Hi Hollis:

First of all thank you for the very eloquent post.  I would have to say that few people know themselves and the principles they carry as you obviously do.

I was compelled to reply to your post because you practically said the same thing that Gareth Wilson does in his book, The Plain Truth of Religion.  I am currently reading this book now and I must say that it is very painstakingly researched, very well written and entertaining to boot.

Wilson is saying that religion fuels amorality by extinguishing the moral impulses of people to desensitize them from the atrocities brought about by religion.  But Wilson does not stop there. He goes on to explain how religion sparked barbaric wars and factions from Ireland to India to Nigeria and even Bosnia.  As such Wilson argues that religion is bereft of morality.

thank you for the compliment, julioet.  i’m interested in The Plain Truth of Religion and in Gareth Wilson.  i haven’t heard of him or the book, but i’ll be on the lookout for it now.  and i suppose Wilson is plagiarizing me—great minds think alike wink

i’ve been a nontheist my entire life, and the older i get, the more i want to proclaim my status by wearing the equivalent of a cross.  i designed a pair of shoes that say “god-free nontheist” on them, and a hoodie and boxer shorts that say the same thing.  i wear a lot of nontheist-oriented t-shirts, and they succeed in starting some conversations.  i’m an evangelist for nontheism.

on a sad note, Christopher Hitchens has esophageal cancer that has metastasized to his lymph glands and lung.  this doesn’t sound very good.  i hate to lose him; he is such a bright spirit.  there is no one who can replace him.  his timing for Hitch-22 was impeccable.  i will miss him very much.  perhaps modern medicine can save him, but the kind of cancer he has, plus its metastasizing, to repeat myself, doesn’t sound very good.  i don’t pray, but i think very hard when something is important—i am thinking very hard about Christopher Hitchens.

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Posted: 27 August 2010 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Hi Hollis:

thanks for the response.

hollis - 19 August 2010 06:49 PM

thank you for the compliment, julioet.  i’m interested in The Plain Truth of Religion and in Gareth Wilson.  i haven’t heard of him or the book, but i’ll be on the lookout for it now.  and i suppose Wilson is plagiarizing me—great minds think alike wink

I’ve finished it last week, and I thoroughly recommend it.  The lovely thing about atheism or non-theism (I’ve begun to use this term more and more often!) is that you learn to be very critical about your beliefs.  Also you have this insatiable love for knowledge.  And Wilson is both of these.  He puts forth a lot of things about religion and tells us how it affects our lives and how detrimental religion really is. 

I do agree that Wilson seems to be plagiarizing you, as I often came across his arguments that were similar to yours in your original message.

hollis - 19 August 2010 06:49 PM

i’ve been a nontheist my entire life, and the older i get, the more i want to proclaim my status by wearing the equivalent of a cross.  i designed a pair of shoes that say “god-free nontheist” on them, and a hoodie and boxer shorts that say the same thing.  i wear a lot of nontheist-oriented t-shirts, and they succeed in starting some conversations.  i’m an evangelist for nontheism.

While I would support you in this, I don’t think that I’d ever be bold enough to wear the same smile  I have always been a t-shirt and blue jeans sort of guy smile

But since you’ve mentioned it, it is sad that non-theists have no way to show the world their beliefs unless they write or speak.  It’s sad.  I guess there would be a lot more people who would abandon their religions upon seeing (1) how it’s not real, (2) how bad it is for them and (3) how many people have done the same before them.

hollis - 19 August 2010 06:49 PM

on a sad note, Christopher Hitchens has esophageal cancer that has metastasized to his lymph glands and lung.  this doesn’t sound very good.  i hate to lose him; he is such a bright spirit.  there is no one who can replace him.  his timing for Hitch-22 was impeccable.  i will miss him very much.  perhaps modern medicine can save him, but the kind of cancer he has, plus its metastasizing, to repeat myself, doesn’t sound very good.  i don’t pray, but i think very hard when something is important—i am thinking very hard about Christopher Hitchens.

I find it revolting how people are actually going online, on air and on print that they’d like to see if Hitchens betrays his true colours and turn to a god when he’s close to dying.  It’s almost as if these people would place bets against each other to see who’s right.  But I guess it has backfired because he has been very consistent with his stand.  And he has been very belligerent as well.  From the looks of it, nothing has changed, and I admire him for it.

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Posted: 27 August 2010 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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we’re all, always, close to dying.  Hitch’s number has come up, and he picked the short stick.  god doesn’t play any role in his life other than as phantasmagorical adversary, and i expect it to remain that way.  he has often said that he wouldn’t want a world completely devoid of religion or god, because then he would have nobody/nothing to argue with/about LOL  that’s our Hitch.  there is no one out there who can fill his shoes.  i really like richard dawkins—in person more than in his writings, and i absolutely love Sam Harris—both in person and in his writings (The End of Faith has become my favorite book), but Hitch is in a category of his own.  i’d love it if he survived this trial, but it’s really not likely.  he won’t betray his beliefs and call out for any god/s, because he doesn’t like them.  he wouldn’t want to be in any club of theirs that would have him as a member, to paraphrase Groucho Marx.

yesterday was mother teresa’s 100th b-day, and all i could think of was The Missionary Position and Hell’s Angel.  Hitch certainly got the goods on her, i’m happy to say.  he’s intransigent and iconoclastic and erudite and knowledgeable and well-read and ... but i could go on and on all day, about what Hitch is.  he calls himself an anti-theist, but i think he’s really a nontheist.  just my opinion.  Socrates was 70 when he drank the hemlock; would that Hitch would have at least 10 more years.  but i’m just being an optimistic pessimist, because i don’t believe he has those 10 years.  i hope current history proves me wrong.

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Posted: 03 October 2010 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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hollis - 27 August 2010 07:26 PM

we’re all, always, close to dying.  Hitch’s number has come up, and he picked the short stick.  god doesn’t play any role in his life other than as phantasmagorical adversary, and i expect it to remain that way.  he has often said that he wouldn’t want a world completely devoid of religion or god, because then he would have nobody/nothing to argue with/about LOL  that’s our Hitch.  there is no one out there who can fill his shoes.  i really like richard dawkins—in person more than in his writings, and i absolutely love Sam Harris—both in person and in his writings (The End of Faith has become my favorite book), but Hitch is in a category of his own.  i’d love it if he survived this trial, but it’s really not likely.  he won’t betray his beliefs and call out for any god/s, because he doesn’t like them.  he wouldn’t want to be in any club of theirs that would have him as a member, to paraphrase Groucho Marx.

yesterday was mother teresa’s 100th b-day, and all i could think of was The Missionary Position and Hell’s Angel.  Hitch certainly got the goods on her, i’m happy to say.  he’s intransigent and iconoclastic and erudite and knowledgeable and well-read and ... but i could go on and on all day, about what Hitch is.  he calls himself an anti-theist, but i think he’s really a nontheist.  just my opinion.  Socrates was 70 when he drank the hemlock; would that Hitch would have at least 10 more years.  but i’m just being an optimistic pessimist, because i don’t believe he has those 10 years.  i hope current history proves me wrong.

Hi Hollis:  It’s been a long time since I logged on.  My apologies.

I agree with you that Hitchens remain to be a very stubborn man even when his death is so close, and I admire him for it.  It’s really great to see his conviction coming strong now, and I just with that with all of us “closer to dying” as you say, that we have this kind of conviction.  If it would mean that we’d serve as a model to theists to become non-theists, then I would say that it’s a life well served.

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