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Are the “new atheists” intolerant fundamentalists?
Posted: 08 August 2011 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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I am totally pessimistic about the possibility of phasing out religion.  We have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the scientific method is the best method we have to perceive and quantify reality and our existence (this is 100% proven everytime we plan and accomplish a space mission).  But this method, this way of thinking must be applied to ALL facets of our life .  Not just science.*  While we may bash the religionists, I have yet to meet a so-called non-believer who is not a mystic in some sense.  Even folks here will post a reasoned comment and then end it with a quote by William Blake!  Overwhelmingly, most self proclaimed atheists I know are really new agers (“religion is B.S. but the tarot works!”).  They are just anti-Christian.  They easily tolerate every faith except Christianity.  My new pet peeve that only deepens my pessimism is this bogus litmus test of ‘evolution.’  Somehow if you believe in evolution, you are a reasonable, rational person.  I have RARELY ever met ANYBODY who even understands evolution and if they do they will shockingly also believe in contradictory things like acupuncture, angels, esp, astrology, the ‘blank slate’ and other mystical concepts of human nature.  We are really up against mysticism- all unfounded, fantastical beliefs based on zero evidence.  We must take religion off the pedestal and put it in the same cess pool with witchcraft and voodoo and strip it of any shred of respect.

* NOTE: Artistic expression is the only human facet where I think anything goes.  Imagination can be totally nonsensical and still communicate something about reality and at the very least,  entertain.  (Also, note lack of quote by a noted mystic here.)

[ Edited: 08 August 2011 08:13 AM by mormovies]
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Posted: 08 August 2011 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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Hey!  You better not be dissing my Blake quote!  wink

I’m one of the few resident agnostics here and i make no apologies for my poetic preferences.  Just because ‘The Tyger’ is my favorite poem doesn’t mean I suffer from any of its author’s supposed x-ian delusions, dearie.


And don’t think for one second that my more ‘neutral’ brand of non-belief (aka, *shrug*, ‘what-ever’) makes me more tolerant of the mental disease that is abrahamic belief.  Sure, there are plenty of other religions that have some truly crappy cultural baggage attached to them as well, but the ‘big three’ are currently the most virulent.  And just because i claim no certainty about the existence of any deity or deities, nor accept the certainty claims of others, doesn’t mean i can’t make cultural value judgements about religions.


As an agnostic, I can’t rule out the possibility that the Universe itself may be a conscious entity of some sort.  We do still have many things to learn about it.  In any case i seriously doubt that would necessitate its capacity or desire for any special benevolence toward Earthlings.  I can easily rule out the pitiful judeo-christian concepts of ‘god’ and ‘afterlife’.


So to the topic, firstly, what’s the point in tolerating something corrupt?  Call it what it is.
Secondly, ever try taking a child’s favorite security blanket or pacifier away before she’s ready to let it go?  That’s the ongoing process of the death of these old, stupid religions; it’s the psycho-social evolution of our species.  I must point out that the religions, or as i like to call them, ‘poetic narratives’ that survive the process in the long term may have a valuable concept or two even in the absence of an actual ‘deity’.  I’m thinking mainly of Buddhism and to some extent Hinduism (minus some of the bad cultural gender biases).  To be clear, i’m not referring any moral concepts because they have never been the exclusive domain of religions.
Thirdly, part of the problem of ‘converting’ the deluded is that they’re aware that they look stupid to us.  It’s difficult to trust someone when you know they consider you inferior.  Just being ‘right’ is never enough.  Even less so when it’s the minority who are ‘right’.  Again, it’s tough to try to reason with a mob of frightened children.


At the core, it comes down to the old fear of death.  More accurately, there are two kinds of people, those who accept oblivion as their eventual fate, and those who are utterly terrified of it and will do anything to avoid accepting that reality.  As long as the latter remain in the majority, we will be burdened with the myriad trappings of religious delusion.

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The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisedom
-William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”

Life, what is it but a dream?
- Lewis Carroll, “A boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

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Posted: 08 August 2011 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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As I explained, when it comes to art (that includes poetry too!), it’s all good!  I just think those kind of references need to be put in context on this specific board.  Nonetheless, you have only re-confirmed my worst fears and deepened my pessimism.  It is disingenuous to critique established, organized religion when the new age mystics have precisely no more or less evidence for their faith-based beliefs. Just having new, different and equally mystical beliefs is not ‘better’ than the ancient ones.  We must learn to distinguish between what we want to believe and what we need to believe.  It’s 2011 and mysticism is threatening our existence and any chance of progressing to a scientifically enlightened future.

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Posted: 08 August 2011 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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You’re trying to split the agnostic hare!  LOL!

I’m afraid i don’t have to qualify any of my ‘artistic’ preferences to anyone for any reason.

And if you insist on reading ‘mysticism’ into anything i said, then it’s clear you’re just on a ‘witch hunt’, lol.

I stand by my judgements.  The ‘big three’ suck more.

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The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisedom
-William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”

Life, what is it but a dream?
- Lewis Carroll, “A boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

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Posted: 08 August 2011 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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I have to give a break to first century brains for producing first century rubbish.  There’s no excuse for clinging to mysticism today.

I’ll throw in a quote that will slaughter your quote…

“My real feeling is that anybody who believes in supernatural entities on some level is insane. Whether they believe in The Devil or God, they are abdicating reason. If they really believe they are in communication with some sort of interventionist deity…you know, somebody can be a deist and think that maybe there was some sort of force that launched everything and now has nothing to do with it. That’s not anything you can prove. It’s also not a matter of faith. It’s a matter of making a choice between whether there was something or there wasn’t. I think maybe that is the most rational decision. I think science makes it look otherwise, but I don’t think somebody like that is mad. But anybody who believes in some kind of existence in deity or spirits or anything that intervenes in their life is not somebody I hold in any kind of esteem.  - Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest of the Church Of Satan

[ Edited: 08 August 2011 01:17 PM by mormovies]
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Posted: 11 August 2011 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Zzzzzzzzz…..*snort*, huh? 

How am i supposed to take you seriously?  What ‘mystical’ thingy do you keep rattling on about?  Duh-huh.  You do know you’re talking to a non-believer, right?

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The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisedom
-William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”

Life, what is it but a dream?
- Lewis Carroll, “A boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

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Posted: 17 August 2011 09:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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mormovies - 08 August 2011 12:04 PM

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Overwhelmingly, most self proclaimed atheists I know are really new agers (“religion is B.S. but the tarot works!”).  They are just anti-Christian.  They easily tolerate every faith except Christianity.  My new pet peeve that only deepens my pessimism is this bogus litmus test of ‘evolution.’  Somehow if you believe in evolution, you are a reasonable, rational person.  I have RARELY ever met ANYBODY who even understands evolution and if they do they will shockingly also believe in contradictory things like acupuncture, angels, esp, astrology, the ‘blank slate’ and other mystical concepts of human nature.  We are really up against mysticism- all unfounded, fantastical beliefs based on zero evidence.  We must take religion off the pedestal and put it in the same cess pool with witchcraft and voodoo and strip it of any shred of respect.

* NOTE: Artistic expression is the only human facet where I think anything goes.  Imagination can be totally nonsensical and still communicate something about reality and at the very least,  entertain.  (Also, note lack of quote by a noted mystic here.)


This is interesting. I guess it depends on who you hang out with. Most of the atheists I know are not new agers. This has been in regular atheist groups that are bold enough to use the word atheist in their group names. I’ve lived in Salt Lake, Portland, and Austin. At “atheist” groups in these towns there weren’t many new agers that I met. But there is one big caveat I’ll note shortly.


It’s taken several years but I feel I have a pretty good understanding of evolution, cosmology, & natural selection.


The vagaries of the blank slate stuff do sneak in more because of it’s presence in the Ivory Tower so much. It’s not so much an atheist thing. It’s just that anyone who goes to college has been infected with the blank slate crap.


Sagan’s Demon Haunted World book was good.


The caveat: Now, one thing I will say is that if you frequent Unitarian churches, there are people there who are new agers, and believers in all manner of crap. There’s also liberal Christians & atheists/humanists who go to Unitarian meetings. But the rather big difference between being a new ager, a pagan, and a conservative Christian is what happens in people’s private lives. How they grow up. How they feel about life, being human, and about who they are. Conservative Christianity tends to be abusive on these fronts. The various flavors tend to abuse in both different and similar ways. But later experience has taught there can also be an abusive element that can come from the liberal side of Christianity - at the end of my post I note how this can occur.


Mysticism is a huge waste of time. But when adding up the costs, there’s forms of religion which are more damaging than others. There’s the mostly harmless forms. And gradations all the way along. Here’s a general flow as far as I can see, from most abusive to least:


Islam.
Scientology.
Fundamentalist Mormonism
Evangelical Protestant Christianity
Regular Mormonism.
Catholicism
The Conservative & middle flavors of Judaism that continues to genitally mutilate their children
Methodists.
Lutherans.
Secular Jews who don’t circumcise.
Anglicans.
Unitarians
Quakers.

 

Basically the arguments that state that we’re intolerant fundies - and arguments that start with anger while accusing us of it - such arguments are based out of fear and ignorance.


How many days have any of these people spent in the religions some of us grew up in?


Have you been an Islamic woman in Somalia, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali?


Have you been a woman in fundamentalist Mormonism?


Have you been a Mormon? A Scientologist? And so on.


I am intolerant of intolerance. I’m intolerant of people who would kill other people for drawing cartoons. I’m intolerant of idiots who have no concept of what life is really like in real hard core conservative religions, and I’m intolerant of the abusers in such religions.


My primary interest is the survival of humanity, and of as much of the beautiful garden that is this planet that can be kept alive. Long term survival. Not being nihilistic. Being concerned about legacy. Not being a bum. And so on.


I will say that there is value in coming up with a plan and not being completely chaotic, relative to living and child raising. And I say that as a thoughtful atheist and an observer of the lives of many people including my own.


Have fun, but do it in a smart way.


Be concerned about survival (short, long, and very long term).


Help the Age of Enlightenment continue - a key component of long term survival.


Don’t be a bum. Don’t watch too much TV, and don’t let the TV be your kid’s baby sitter. Don’t do too much texting on your phone, watch too much porn, or drink too much alcohol. Don’t let your kids be fat bastards who stay at home for too long. If kids come first then that means you may have to “sacrifice” by not hijacking their lives so that you can have them around on a co-dependent basis.


If we could have a system that teaches the good things without the human spirit destroying shaming that would be good.


Basically we should be accurate.


No, Johnny, not everything that pops into your head as something good to do will actually help you be happy. Teaching this key principle is hard these days I know. So maybe we can start up an atheist branch of the Quakers, or the “family values atheist” group that maintains that having children is actually a good, valuable, and essential thing. Maybe I’ll work on that. Just drop the mysticism and shaming, and maybe hold onto the good from the rest. 


Am I an intolerant fundie atheist if I think that liberals who believe they themselves should not have kids are actually victims of an abusive meme set from the 60s and 70s that taught kids about the evils of population control? That such people have essentially been rendered a zero in the long term because of fearful crap they were taught as kids and young adults?


I also think there’s negative costs to people’s lives when they are taught “whatever you feel is best for you is best, and no one should question it.” This really is an abusive concept that comes directly from the blank slate ideology and liberalism (speaking as a socialist and liberal myself). Not everything that pops into a person’s head will help them survive and thrive. People have bone headed stupid ideas all the time, and their lives go down the hill because no one has the guts to tell them “you are a dumb S and that idea is going to screw up your life.” I have seen people’s lives messed up for the worst because people, including me, didn’t tell these other people about the stupidity of the other person’s bone headed ideas (one after another after another), and how their lives were screwed up as a result.


So labels are more complex apparently.

[ Edited: 25 August 2011 12:31 PM by birdman]
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Posted: 24 August 2011 10:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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[ Edited: 31 January 2012 06:00 PM by ...]
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Posted: 25 August 2011 03:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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No, I don’t believe the “new” atheists are intolerant fundamentalists. There is a distinct difference between us and say the Communist regimes who directly oppressed religious groups for they were perceived as a threat with the potential to compromise the power of the state. I don’t see the debate between us and them as any different to the debating of ideas within academia and in fact I would argue the typical nature of debate in academia, particularly when politics is concerned, is far uglier. People just aren’t used to hearing their religious beliefs being spoken of in this manner, thus will be outraged. I say we should continue doing what we have been working with over the past few years, but I do believe the overall goal should be the creation of an International lobby (for lack of a better term) to counter the political power of theism. We have to play their game and win.

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Posted: 25 August 2011 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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[ Edited: 31 January 2012 06:00 PM by ...]
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Posted: 25 August 2011 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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We must fight religion with science and reason.  That’s the only thing that will work and it only works with young people.  Most adults will admit up front that there is NOTHING that will change their beliefs.  It’s pretty much a lost cause.  Personally, I refuse to use the term ‘religion.’  I only refer to supernatural or occult beliefs and that really throws the believers for a loop.  All religionists refer to other different beliefs as the occult but they have not a sliver of evidence more to prove the superiority of their faith.

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Posted: 25 November 2011 03:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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I’m intolerant of religion; religion is a completely intolerant institution and to think otherwise is to practice self-deception. And this policy that “we should be better than they are” is completely frickin’ absurd. What we should do is be human beings who value each other over senseless superstitions.

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Posted: 06 May 2013 09:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Sandy - 06 December 2009 06:03 AM

I do not see any reason to force people out of their religion.  Why make it another division among people.  I see nothing wrong with the majority of Americans believing in God.  I see everything wrong with them trying to legistate their morals on the rest of us.

The best action is not to annoy them but simply demand a return to the separation of church and state.  I attended a convention on this desire to separate the church and state and many in the audience/hotel had admitted to being godless only in the last couple of years.  I never believed in God and never said much about it. 

We have seen what this religion has done to the Republican Party and the ugliness that this has caused even in families.  I have always voted for and with people who demand equal rights for all Americans and I have been eased quietly to the left.  Our churches were bought by President Bush 43 when he promised faith based grants. The ministers began marking ballots for their congregations and they should lose their tax status for that.

Are you kidding me, evolution, stem-cell research, homosexualality, abortion rights for woman, are all suppressed by our countries Religous right. We could go a lot farther a lot faster if it were not for the religous dark ages of america. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins are what this country needs more of, not less. You have to fight religous ignorance with education. When you believe in a fairy tale you throw reason out the door.
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Posted: 07 May 2013 01:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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Intolerant to what?
~
Equatling a non-belief or negative condition (atheism) to a belief or doctrine (religion) is an act of obscurantism.

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“Does history record any case in which the majority was right?”
Robert A. Heinlein

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