1 of 2
1
Where to now?
Posted: 24 July 2008 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1031
Joined  2007-12-04

We atheist have applied both logic and reason, science, scholarship of history, and philosophy to expose the illogical and banal qualities of religion.  How difficult can that be?  We have time and again illustrated Biblical absurdity, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, child abuse, and provocations of genocide.  I conclude it is much more difficult to defend an illusion than to destroy it.

My personal ax to grind against religion has to do with the hate and bigotry it justifies and the ignorance it promotes.  But alas, anger is an emotion with no responsibility attached.  I’m not simultaneously blinded to the support this illusion brings to many I love and to my community (regardless of its truth rationale).  Can we surgically remove one half of a body and save the other?

Without delusions of our own Utopia, where to now?  If over time we ultimately win this war, what then? I’ve read a mountain of evidence supporting atheism but very little about how we will create hope when our theory is decided correct.

 Signature 

http://www.thehereticandthepreacher.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2008 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1646
Joined  2008-04-02

I may not understand your question.  Are you suggesting that nonbelievers need some sort of unified creed or goals?

 Signature 

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

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2008 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1031
Joined  2007-12-04

Nope.  An example of my question here, the President and his adviser prosecuted the war in Iraq on the assumption that by military means we would easily win.  Based on our military ability and action, we did defeat them; but did we win?  Bush may have announced “Victory” but we know it is otherwise.  Do we face the same dilemma?  Will this war prove so easily won that we have not planned what to do afterwards?

You and I know plenty of people who would be quite personally effected if religion were to just go away; “The End of Faith.”  What then?  What about the drug addict or alcoholic who uses the illusion to overcome their illness?  Do you want to take that away because you know the illusion to have no truth value.

Beam, I’m beginning to discover how easy it is to attack theology and do see light at the end of that tunnel.  What is my responsibility then?

 Signature 

http://www.thehereticandthepreacher.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2008 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1646
Joined  2008-04-02

These are some quotes from a speech that Sam Harris gave:

“Finally, I think it’s useful to envision what victory will look like. Again, the analogy with racism seems instructive to me. What will victory against racism look like, should that happy day ever dawn? It certainly won’t be a world in which a majority of people profess that they are “nonracist.” Most likely, it will be a world in which the very concept of separate races has lost its meaning.

We will have won this war of ideas against religion when atheism is scarcely intelligible as a concept. We will simply find ourselves in a world in which people cease to praise one another for pretending to know things they do not know. This is certainly a future worth fighting for. It may be the only future compatible with our long-term survival as a species. But the only path between now and then, that I can see, is for us to be rigorously honest in the present. It seems to me that intellectual honesty is now, and will always be, deeper and more durable, and more easily spread, than “atheism.””

 Signature 

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

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 July 2008 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1031
Joined  2007-12-04
Beam_Me_Up - 24 July 2008 03:58 PM

These are some quotes from a speech that Sam Harris gave:

“Finally, I think it’s useful to envision what victory will look like. Again, the analogy with racism seems instructive to me. What will victory against racism look like, should that happy day ever dawn? It certainly won’t be a world in which a majority of people profess that they are “nonracist.” Most likely, it will be a world in which the very concept of separate races has lost its meaning.

And what altruism of racism we would destroy by destroying the idea and institution?

Beam_Me_Up - 24 July 2008 03:58 PM

We will have won this war of ideas against religion when atheism is scarcely intelligible as a concept.

That is a beautiful quote!

Beam_Me_Up - 24 July 2008 03:58 PM

We will simply find ourselves in a world in which people cease to praise one another for pretending to know things they do not know.

This assumption says little about human narcissism. 

Beam_Me_Up - 24 July 2008 03:58 PM

This is certainly a future worth fighting for. It may be the only future compatible with our long-term survival as a species.

Beam, while I greatly admire your intellect, don’t you see a dogma hidden in that last sentence?  The sky was falling long before Harris wrote his book.  I’m not saying that we should save the illusion as a psychological crutch.  But I find blaming religion for our possible annihilation equally deceptive.

Beam_Me_Up - 24 July 2008 03:58 PM

But the only path between now and then, that I can see, is for us to be rigorously honest in the present.

Now you have found the heart of my question; our honesty.  Our intentions. 

Beam_Me_Up - 24 July 2008 03:58 PM

It seems to me that intellectual honesty is now, and will always be, deeper and more durable, and more easily spread, than “atheism.””

Bingo!

 Signature 

http://www.thehereticandthepreacher.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2008 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2492
Joined  2008-04-05

We have still a long way to go. Personally I doubt that global secularism will ever ‘win’ this fight and we will never as a species see ‘The End of Faith’ The vast majority of all humanity indeed need such an endeavour as faith. Simple biological life is not good enough for most. Most require some sort of spiritualism and it will always be so.

I heard on NPR this morning driving to work that hate crimes in Los Angeles have been categorized as most prevalent by race first, with hispanic on black and black on hispanic being the most numerous and ranked 1 and 2.
White hate crimes were affiliated largely with religious differences.

We have not moved significantly forward from the first century in many ways still.

Atheism remains still a relatively small elite crowd worldwide.

Like everything else I think an end to faith will ‘evolve’ and the answers to how we survive and what we do afterword will come along with the transition. Focus will change and human beings will learn that there does not always have to be a battle or war to be won. Perhaps one day the Abrahamic religions will be read and studied by everybody much like Greek Mythology is today.

There will always be things to learn about our universe long after faith based religion is gone, if it ever is.

 Signature 

‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2008 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1031
Joined  2007-12-04
McCreason - 25 July 2008 12:42 PM

We have not moved significantly forward from the first century in many ways still.

And this is the point of my question, what will replace the evil we know?  Will it be a new evil with a different name?

Nice post McReason!

 Signature 

http://www.thehereticandthepreacher.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2008 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2492
Joined  2008-04-05

Thanks L and R. You are a nice fellow. Your initial commentary and inquiry was thought provoking as well. I have often pondered this throughout my adult life. It is a natural step for we critical thinking types. What indeed happens if we get what we seek? What is the next level? Will there be a new level of consciousness?

Even with faith out of the way, theoretically, I suppose their will still be hunger in the world and poverty. Crime and discrimination and social issues to address. However, the path will be more clear and not so ‘overgrown’ in attempts to fix these problems I would think.

There are most probably several different types of Atheists in this life. I will mention but two. The ACLU Atheists and the AK-47 Atheists. I suppose differences even between these people will keep the world interesting long after faith is once and for all exposed and accepted as archaic and obsolete worldwide.

 Signature 

‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2008 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1646
Joined  2008-04-02

On the forum, it is fun to be the AK-47 atheist. In real life, I suspect that most nonbelievers (and most people in general) are just decent people who try to do what is just and right. If a religionist comes here, they surely expect to get smoked.

 Signature 

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

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2008 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  949
Joined  2007-10-08

[quote author=“Beam_Me_Up” date=“1217038530”]On the forum, it is fun to be the AK-47 atheist. In real life, I suspect that most nonbelievers (and most people in general) are just decent people who try to do what is just and right. If a religionist comes here, they surely expect to get smoked.

To ape L & R and Jefe: “BinGo-ooh-ooh—ooo-ooo-aah-aah!”

Jefe: “There is great potential for misuse, ignorance, and political backlash in how our increasing understanding of genetics and in vitro manipulation works.”

Beware the coming technophiles who will want to put nano-bots in our too slowly evolving brains!

 Signature 

“Proving the efficacy of a methodology without defining the word ‘efficacy’ can come back to bite you in the assertion.”—Salt Creek

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 July 2008 08:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2807
Joined  2005-04-29
LogicAndReason - 24 July 2008 02:29 PM

. . .  Can we surgically remove one half of a body and save the other?

Without delusions of our own Utopia, where to now?  If over time we ultimately win this war, what then? I’ve read a mountain of evidence supporting atheism but very little about how we will create hope when our theory is decided correct.

Just keep in mind that deity worship and adherence has always been hogwash. It’s not as though God himself actually died back in the 19th century. Every one of humanity’s ways has evolved without any assistance from God or gods, and they reflect human realities, despite at times far-flung stretches toward the otherworldly. Laws, regulations, mores and morality itself will continue with not even a blip from the removal of hallucination and delusion. Quite the opposite, if anything.

 Signature 

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

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 July 2008 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1646
Joined  2008-04-02

What do you propose L&R;?

 Signature 

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

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 July 2008 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1031
Joined  2007-12-04

Such a fair question and one that it will take many to answer.  Here is my weak attempt.

We atheist value truth.  Attacking the validity of ideas against a standard of truth and scientific method should be a welcomed exercise for all who hope to glean some answers from the world we live in.  So when challenging ideas, I say take off the gloves and let’s think, test, search and discover.

Atheist also value the human mosaic and the people who are painted upon that canvass.  All humans error.  I’m asking my atheist friends, as humanist, to draw a line of delineation between illusory superstitions and those who hold such beliefs. 

There are some who have risen to represent us, atheists, by proxy and they say many things that I agree with.  They utter some bigoted remarks and have some political solutions that I do not agree with.  I suggest they need to stick with the business of combating superstition with reason and stay out of the “we have a solution” business.

 Signature 

http://www.thehereticandthepreacher.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 July 2008 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  663
Joined  2008-05-22

L&R;said “I’m asking my atheist friends, as humanist, to draw a line of delineation between illusory superstitions and those who hold such beliefs.” That’s some damn good advice! (similar to the concept of separating the drug addiction from the drug addict). This separation enables us to see the believers as the human beings that they are, and communicate with them as such. Let’s put away the AK-47s, and try TALKING with them.

Personally, when talking with Christians, I start by focusing on all the areas in which I AGREE with Jesus. I agree that we should love one another, avoid hypocrisy, help others in need (like the Good Samaritan), and follow the Golden Rule. Once they realize that this is NOT an attack, and once they realize how much respect I have for the life, teachings, and wisdom of Jesus, then they are usually a little more receptive to a conversation about the “truth” of Jesus’ claim to divinity. Most Christians tend to soften up a little when they see that our unbelief is based purely on lack of evidence, and nothing more. No hatred of their god is involved here.

Since L&R;took a stab at what we should do once “the end of faith” has been achieved, I’ll add to what he said with another idea. KEEP CHURCH. Let’s not deprive people of an institution that enables them to come together and socialize, and fellowship with others in their community, and (as George Carlin said) “compare clothing”, and engage in various activities together (pool parties, cookouts, etc.). People need this connection to other people, and so do I. We could even debate on whether to keep calling it church, or give it a new name. But “church” would continue to benefit our communities; we just wouldn’t need to keep that “believing-extraordinary-claims-on-insufficient-evidence” part of it.

I wonder how many people in churches today are really just there because they don’t know where else to go to have this kind of social connection…..and how many of them REALLY believe the fairy tales about Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the whale, Jesus walking on water, etc. etc. etc.

[ Edited: 29 July 2008 09:25 AM by Josh]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 July 2008 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2492
Joined  2008-04-05

Josh

I have close relatives who do the church thing simply for their children and for the comraderie. It gives them a sense of community and brotherhood etc., And they hope it gives their children morals and values and keeps them off of the street,.

The adults however, do not really even talk about God or spirituality. It is more of a social gathering to them.

I think there are probably millions of Americans, especially in the middle economic classes, that live like this. Church and religion are just…..things that responsible people do. And they think no further about it, at least outwardly.

Every church goer is not devout, thats for sure.

 Signature 

‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 July 2008 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  663
Joined  2008-05-22

McCreason, these are the people who would have the easiest time making the transition to a faith-free world. If we keep the “church” for fellowship, and to teach basic morals to the children, then they won’t even miss the whole “pretending-to-know-things-we-don’t-know” aspect of it.

It’s the ones who use faith as a crutch that we need to address, to see if there is another crutch we can replace it with, or to see if they really even NEED a crutch at all!

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed