Controversial Salon article posted last week.
I was raised Catholic. Not just a little bit Catholic, like my wife, Catherine. When she was young, many Catholics in France already barely went to church, except for the big three: baptism, marriage, and funeral. And only the middle one was by choice. By contrast, in the southern Netherlands—known as “below the rivers”—Catholicism was important during my youth. It defined us, setting us apart from the above-the-rivers Protestants. Every Sunday morning, we went to church in our best clothes, we received catechism at school, we sang, prayed, and confessed, and a vicar or bishop was present at every official occasion to dispense holy water (which we children happily imitated at home with a toilet brush). We were Catholic through and through.
But I am not anymore. In my interactions with religious and nonreligious people alike, I now draw a sharp line, based not on what exactly they believe but on their level of dogmatism. I consider dogmatism a far greater threat than religion per se. I am particularly curious why anyone would drop religion while retaining the blinkers sometimes associated with it. Why are the “neo-atheists” of today so obsessed with nonexistence that they go on media rampages, wear T-shirts proclaiming their absence of belief, or call for a militant atheism? What does atheism have to offer that’s worth fighting for?
As one philosopher put it, being a militant atheist is like “sleeping furiously.”
OP they have rational thought vs. religion that ruins the world over and over.
Well it's root is based in a theist belief, that no god exists. It's main opposition is all forms of religion, in the same way Islam's for of opposition is all other forms or religion.
Bill Maher and Seth MacFarlane seem obsessed with Atheism, and the hate and ridicule others that don't stand on their side of the line.
Maybe it is morphing into a religion, as in it's being approached with a religious sensibility.
R3 bullshit. It is not morphing into anything save common sense.
Agnostics ask the important questions, not atheists.
The only atheist that has ever sounded rational, humorous and interesting when it came to discussing atheism is Julia Sweeney. The rest of the atheists just come come across as hateful, angry and determined to stomp everyone's head in the ground who doesn't agree with them.
"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being." -Jerry Falwell
Religion is just latin for order, so yes atheism can be a religion the same way any non-theist belief system can organize.
Where do you get that from, R8? When I look up the etymology of "religion," this is what I find:
c.1200, "state of life bound by monastic vows," also "conduct indicating a belief in a divine power," from Anglo-French religiun (11c.), Old French religion "religious community," from Latin religionem (nominative religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods," in Late Latin "monastic life" (5c.).
According to Cicero derived from relegere "go through again, read again," from re- "again" + legere "read" (see lecture (n.)). However, popular etymology among the later ancients (and many modern writers) connects it with religare "to bind fast" (see rely), via notion of "place an obligation on," or "bond between humans and gods." Another possible origin is religiens "careful," opposite of negligens.
To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. [Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, 1885]
Meaning "particular system of faith" is recorded from c.1300. Modern sense of "recognition of, obedience to, and worship of a higher, unseen power" is from 1530s.
Maher has explained his position clearly on his show. If Jesus comes down tomorrow he'll say "Well I guess I was wrong."
I don't believe in a divine power, and I don't give my non-belief much thought. It just is.
Jesus, that Salon writer is long-winded. He blathers on for a zillion paragraphs to propose a pretty simple theory: atheists traumatized by a strict, forbidding religious upbringing tend to become zealous and evangelical about their atheism, while atheists raised in more relaxed, forgiving religious environments are simply nonbelievers who don't spend a lot of time thinking about atheism or giving a crap what others believe. As an atheist who falls into the latter camp, I suspect he's correct, but he could have expressed his ideas more concisely.
Shhh! Don't upset the Atheists. Just smile nod and back away slowly.
[quote]The rest of the atheists just come come across as hateful, angry and determined to stomp everyone's head in the ground who doesn't agree with them.
I understand your point, but I don't think all atheists are that way; it's just that the rabid atheists are the ones out there proclaiming their atheism in public. The mellow, rational atheists aren't particularly interested in talking about atheism all the time, or converting others to their non-belief system.
R9 I got that definition from Latin class in college. Anyway, upon further review I do see that it is disputed. I remember translating religio in the context of order, as in 'an order of troops'. Even within what you posted it seems that the religio as having a theistic connotation comes from later ancient writers.
Eh, I would fall into the latter category as defined by r11 too, but I think it's only fearful morons who worry about "militant" or "rabid" atheists. The only thing I see more active atheists doing is calling out ignorant and harmful religious bigotry and hypocrisy.
And calling someone "militant" for wearing a t-shirt (or whatever else) proclaiming their atheism is absurd. Why shouldn't they enjoy the same freedom of expression that religious people do? I understand the urge, especially if someone has overcome an oppressive religious upbringing. People are just hyper-sensitive about stuff they feel threatened by. It's a similar reaction that vegetarians get.
Anyway, if anyone concerned about this can name one death related to 'militant' atheism (as opposed to militant religion), I'll care.
Hitchens vocally supported the Iraq War and Dawkins is very anti Muslim, to name two. They believe in eradicating those that don't subscribe to their agenda through violence and death. You'll never hear the militant atheists address this, though.
The article simply asks why militant atheists adopt strategies of those they loathe? It's a good question and those who clearly feel threatened by it simply shouldn't respond.
[quote]I understand your point, but I don't think all atheists are that way; it's just that the rabid atheists are the ones out there proclaiming their atheism in public. The mellow, rational atheists aren't particularly interested in talking about atheism all the time, or converting others to their non-belief system.
Correct. Just like it's the rabid, hypocritical Christians who try to force their theology on everyone else that piss in the pool that the rest of the Christians share.
Agnostics are without brains. Sad but true.
It's still a false equivalency between belief and non-belief based on what....it all comes down the assumption that religious traditions have survived through the ages because someone somewhere had a better insight into the divine than people today. And that's not intelligent.
Sam Harris is vocal NRA supporter and believes in the NRA's motto more guns, he seems very right wing on foreign policy too.
But what bugs me is who the fuck appointed Bill Maher or Seth MacFlarne to be spokespersons for atheist? They seem to talk on behalf on all atheists, and they are almost unbearably conceited and utterly contemptuous towards anyone who is not atheist. It's as if it's an atheist community add that to the fact it is simply stupid to say atheism and religion are not related. And that's where the almost organized religious sensibility is coming from.
If you're agnostic, but also believe (with some degree of fervor) that all existing forms of religion cause more harm than good, you might well pursue a militant atheism, I think.
At least, that's the position in which I sometimes find myself, when confronted with bovine believers.
Most atheists don't have a problem with people being religious. They have a problem with people being religious and pushing their religion into everyday, secular life.
[quote]Bill Maher and Seth MacFarlane seem obsessed with Atheism, and the hate and ridicule others that don't stand on their side of the line.
NO, they hate it when the religious bring their BS into secular life - using prayer and other nonsense instead of trying to solve problems with rationality and science.
I don't believe that. A secular state is essential, but secularism can easily turn into a society based on discrimination and xenophobia, like it has in France, where even most atheists will say as an example of a secular state it has failed, and gay marriage in France is not even legal.
Seth and Bill would use secularism to disguise their militant atheist agenda, where all religion was discriminated against. That is not what secularism is about, secularism is to ensure all people will receive fair treatment, that no one religion, (the dominate religion) would have influence over the government or the laws of the land.
I am an atheist most days and I don't think all religions do more harm than good. A lot of them do a lot of good - I think of the Quakers and the United Church in Canada - both of which back gay marriage. There is a lot of good work done by many churches/religions that wouldn't get done otherwise or would at least put a greater strain on civil society organizations.
These religions and churches suffer for the idiocy of any fundamentalist sect, the executive of the Catholic Church and to some degree the stubbornness of the Church of England on selected social issues.
I try not to be contemptuous of people who go to church regularly, when I know their faith not to be a battering ram. And not every faith or religion is.
You're full of shit, R23. 80% of Americans are religious to one degree or another, so this threat you feel from atheists is in your warped mind.
Religion ruins everything.
They always pull this Atheism is a religion bs.
It boggles my mind how offended people get when you state that you do not believe in the existence of any god. I'm pretty quietly an athieist, but what's wrong with other people pointing out the obvious?
Atheists can be as scary as the fervently religious. China/Russia were murderous about atheism. Even Cuba was atheist & until very recently wouldn't let their citizens leave the country freely to travel etc..– although extreme leftys (often atheists) will kill you for pointing that out.
Really only the latter 2 Abrahamic religions are evangelical & hell-bent on spreading the good word all over the earth as they killed many millions of people to do it. They were just empires in liturgical clothing. (Rome, the Saudi's, The Ottomans). They are also the only 2 religions that believe in hell.
I'm with South Park on this. Many people do feel they have a spiritual connection to something. It's the dogma that's bad. And really do most of us feel the need to eliminate Christmas or carols or a beautiful X-Mas eve mass? I mean there is some wisdom in these things, "Do unto others, etc.." & you can feel renewed & loving after a kind, wise sermon.
Just eliminate the creepy hateful dogma. Keep the wisdom and the beautiful music
There was an article recently about some American atheists who formed a "church community" of sorts for like-minded non-believers. The whole idea reeks of desperate "mee-tooism" and they seemed as unlikable as the more hardcore fundies they strive to oppose.
I'm a pretty hard core atheist, but I don't bring it up to people unless they bring it up. And I don't get all fired up about religion except when it is used to justify intolerance toward those who might believe differently (which, these days, is much of the time). I will say this: I am SO glad that I do not and have never lived in the Southern U.S.
I've been called a militant atheist on occasion, and I guess I am fairly openly hostile towards organized religion.
I only really discuss religion if the topic comes up, and I don't think I'm particularly angry or hateful, but I do get very frustrated that others so easily believe in something that to me is so completely and obviously false, and for which there is no compelling argument. I guess that can be misinterpreted as hateful, though.
I adhere to the ideological view that the world will ultimately be better off without religion. All of the good things about religion - charity, compassion, community - can be achieved and maintained without it, and many of the bad - I must attack those who believe differently, it's not so bad if all these young soldier's die because they'll be rewarded in Heaven - will be lost. I'm not so naive that bad things won't continue to happen, but I think they can be more easily resolved if we take a rational approach to addressing issues. I think forms of spirituality that aren't so dogmatic can meet the obvious human need for "something more".
We're slowly moving inevitably towards the end of dogmatic religion anyway. Three major branches of the same ancient religion could exist more easily back in the day when a lack of technology kept us geographically and culturally distant. Now the reality that three major groups worship the same god in three different ways just looks ridiculous and is completely illogical. And although people attack science as a new form of dogma, it's ultimately futile since scientific advancements consistently undermine religious dogma.
Many of the attacks on atheists are made by people who are starting to realize (at some level) that their religious beliefs really don't add up or make sense. And I get how scary that must be.
[quote]Shhh! Don't upset the Atheists. Just smile nod and back away slowly.
That's what I do. Atheists and vegans make make born again Christians and Jehovah's Witnesses seem easy-going and complaisant.
[quote]Atheists and vegans make make born again Christians and Jehovah's Witnesses seem easy-going and complaisant.
Yes, because atheists are the ones who are always trying to pass laws that restrict what you can do in your bedroom or when you can have children.
r32 is a perfect example of the kind of people to avoid. Bet he has few or no friends, or his "friends" don't know they're his friends.
If you truly have doubts than agnosticism is the honest position to have.
My problem with the militant atheists is that they sound an awful lot like fundamentalists to me and are just as insufferable.
[quote]Many of the attacks on atheists are made by people who are starting to realize (at some level) that their religious beliefs really don't add up or make sense.
I have long felt the same way too. It doesnt make sense why a person would care about what faith another has. So you dont believe in a god? No biggie. You do believe in a god? No biggie. As long as you dont try to force what you believe on others, it really doesn't matter. But when a person of faith attacks an atheist, its almost like the homophobes who gay bash because they dont want anyone to suspect they are secretly gay.
Militant anything is a turn off.
R32, tens of thousands of children die every year from starvation and illness that can be treated and vaccinated against easily with little cost.
But scientists spend billions upon billions on find out things that are of mo real practical use to us, 1 billion to find out the life span of a star a trillion miles away while children starve to death.
Science is becoming as narcissistic and at times blinkered toward social morality and ethics as much as religion was.
We cannot allow science to run riot, we cannot allow science to become a religion.
R39 The scientists who work on vaccines are not the same scientists who study the cosmos. I dont think you understand what science is. That is not surprising. Through out history, the people who dont understand science are usually the ones who criticize it.
R39 sounds like a whack job.
I'm sorry, but what army supports "militant" atheism?
Just because people opine hat gods are fairy tales doesn't make them "militant."
I am an atheist and think there is quite a bit of misunderstanding in this thread. The reason there are militant atheists is because the christians are doing everything in their power to take total control. They have most people believing this country was founded by christians, and that atheists are out to destroy the country. I have enjoyed watching the Atheist Experience TV show, which you can find links to the archived shows on their page below.
That makes sense.
After all, part of the reason that religion exists is so that like-minded believers can form a community.
There are no "militant atheists."
You show me an atheist Jim Jones or an atheist David Koresh and I'll say "OK, there are militant atheists who stock up on guns and separate themselves from others who don't believe as they do."
You show me survivalist communities of atheists. Show me atheist cults. Show me atheists who demand that all houses of worship be burned and any and all religious observances banned. Show me atheists who demand the cross and the star of david and the crescent moon and star be banned forever. Show me atheists demanding to go into people's houses and strip them of bibles and altars and Christmas trees and menorahs and Easter baskets and crucifixes and palms and Korans.
THAT would be "militant atheism."
A militant atheist?
the lateChristopher Hitchens...
as atheist as he was, that didn't stop him from saying all sorts of bigoted things about women, racial minorities, etc.
Just because you are an atheist doesn't imply that you think rationallu about all things. There's still the whole deal with "nurture" and the emotions to deal with.
OP, the author of that piece is kind of an idiot.
Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color, or health is a disease.
"Militant Atheism" is nothing more than someone fed up to here with being told something that is manifestly not true, is true. Militant Atheism is nothing more than the response/blow-back from militant religiousness forcing its way into where it doesn't belong, like secular law, and science classes.
The easiest, fastest, and best way to eliminate militant atheism is to end religious fundamentalist meddling with other people's lives (i.e. those not in the religion).
R45, some of the most militantly atheist regimes of the twentieth century also slaughtered millions. Look up the old Soviet Union and the Holodomor.
Atheism is inherently faith-based, and really no better than any other religious branch. The very fact that it denies to be faith-based actually makes it more intrinsically militant, ironically.
If you think a monster like Lev Bronstein (aka Trostky) wasn't a militant, bloodthirsty disciple of his chosen belief system than you are either ignorant as to history or simply so biased as to be blind.
The biggest problem with atheism, logically, is where it ends up: with each man as his own God, leaving us with no standard of Right, Wrong or Good and Evil beyond the subjective. It is nihilistic as, first, iconoclastic posturing, then simply as a debased guideline for life.
In other words, your attempt to pass moral judgment on (other, let's be logical and honest) religions is itself a self-defeating oxymoron because of the very nature of atheism. If there is no higher power then there is no way to universally pass judgment on any act as either moral or immoral.
It makes the word "evil" -- which atheists love to use, self-righteously, when describing specific religious groups or members -- meaningless in any objective value judgment, because it both raises man to the status of god and reduces him to little more than the dominant animal on the planet.
Ever met an evil house plant? How about a farm animal that should have been prosecuted? Such is the ridiculous and reductive standard that atheism pushes when trying to both undo the idea of a moral creator, and any idea of a soul, while also insisting that they, the Atheists, are the only true moral force.
Being openly atheistic is being "militant,"according to most Christians I have known. It's the same way with being "openly" homosexual.
"I don't have a problem with it, but why do they have to rub it in everyone's face." Sound familiar?
Christians think they own shit. They own holidays, they own Google, they own marriage, they own the term "family," they own the United States, they own political discourse, they own public schools, they own values and morals. They assume their belief system is the default setting. When they are challenged, they claim that they are being persecuted and those who challenge them are "militants." Hilarious.
R48, those were not 'atheist' states... their religion was The State, or was Communism.
I'm so tired of religious morons pulling up those examples when they have no idea what they're actually talking about.
[quote]Atheism is inherently faith-based
Utter stupidity. Please, stop talking about things you don't understand (ah, right, but you're religious... talking endlessly about things you not only don't understand but cannot possibly understand is what you people DO)
Your ignorance is stunning, R48. Wrong on all counts. Stop posting and go back to school.
[quote]Atheism is inherently faith-based, and really no better than any other religious branch.
When you write something as retarded as this, everything else that follows is ignored.
Atheists have no faith, hence it cant be faith based.
If you need religion to keep from committing heinous acts such as murder or rape, then you are a scary person, R48. Stay far the fuck away from me. Aside from everything else, you're stupid.
Exactly R52. The only thing that keeps R48 from going on a killing spree is in the end they would get punished. The idea that you may actually hurt someone and cause suffering is never even considered. Its all about how they'll turn out in the end.
The inherent question is, R52, who is to judge what meaning the word "heinous" has? Do you even understand how dim and provincial you're being?
Of course not. And that's the joke.
Your thinking is little more than a bumper sticker or talking point: it is not your own, and it instead is something you use as a hollow front rather than a stance with well-thought substance underlying it. It's as close to mindless as one can get. Bravo.
For If there is no higher power than man, then why would one man's morality be another man's? And therefore, what meaning does a word like "morality" have? For, lt's face it, it -- like all other words and descriptions -- was created by...a man.
These questions get to the heart of what is wrong -- yes, wrong -- with atheism. And no amount of self-regard or bluster from your side will answer to or undo them.
Religion = mental deficiency and illness
This thread's idiots such as r39 and r48 can be Exhibit A in the study.
I grew up w/both sets of grandparents thinking religion is for the gullible. But darn they were no neurotic and anxious...I envy calm and peaceful religious people. However, I somehow just can't grab onto that leap of faith. So I am slowly adopting Buddhism into a way of life for me.
R54 If you were to learn tomorrow that there is no god, there is no heaven, there is no hell. When we die there is NOTHING on the other side. Would you then go around killing people? Stealing? Cheating? After all, you're not going to get punished.
If not, why?
R50, that is such sophistry. Laughable.
Lenin's Russia was all about atheism, hence why they expected worship of the state: atheism makes man into god as a baseline argument, and thus invites tyrants to enforce their worldviews on other, "weaker" men.
And as trotsky, Lenin and Stalin showed us, they will be quite ruthless in doing it. And why not? There is no greater power to answer to, and no morality beyond whim.
The difference between atheism and other religions is minimal as far as ugly result, but quite large as far as any meaning or ability to judge the factors that go into it; in other words, if one accepts atheism, then any and all acts are equally meaningless and absurd. The only thing that matters, truly, is power. Morality is for a creature with a soul, not just another creature fighting for primacy in the jungle.
For how can morality exist universally if the only standard is man himself?
Logically, what we're left with are people worshiping states. And other men.
And we can also see that an atheist, such as yourself, doesn't have either the character or intellect to own or understand these facts and factors.
When a militant atheist, such as Trotsky, butchers millions of Christians? Well, that has nothing to do with atheism. By that standard, no belief system in history could or can be responsible for man's violence -- yet atheists argue just the opposite when they are on the attack against Christianity and the like.
Quite obtuse if not inane. Great work.
R51, you have little reasoning ability or understanding of language.
Maybe you should look up the word 'faith'.
Here, I'll help:
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.
You've deluded yourself into believing that atheism is itself a fact, rather than a belief. You don't actually know what the nature of the universe is, but somehow you've conflated your faith in a lack of higher power with fact. Such arrogance and megalomania is part and parcel of the true-believing atheist.
Always living down to the cliche of never even understanding your own ethos/religion.
of course, all atheists have in the playbook is to attempt ad hominems when baseline reality and logic are pointed out about their belief system. I'll leave you to it. No doubt there will be more false fronts about how atheism "is the opposite of faith" and an attempt to act like moral arbiters through a system that undoes the very meaning or existence of the word 'morality'.
Great stuff. Though a little tautological in its recursion. Like watching a toilet flush is to listen to an atheist extol the virtues of atheism as both fact and moral hierarchy.
R48- all that I have experienced as the son of a fundamentalist preacher indicates that religion is a piss poor moral guide. I've known Chistians who have engaged in everything from child rape to theft from a dying old woman to shooting one's adoptive father in the head while he slept. Never mind the utter cruelty to anyone even remotely unusual or out of the fold.
Then you neeed to read John Ralston Saul's "Voltaire's Bastards."
One of the most stunning sentences that I have ever read was (and I can't quote it exactly) was that the murder of over 6 million people was anpurely rational act.
(Which isn't exactly atheist but neither can you blame something like the Holocaust on Hitler's Catholicism).
Atheism does not mean that one won't be susceptible to irrational thoughts...and atheism, by itself, won't necessarily make the world a better place.
I'm on your side in this but I have to play Devil's Advocate...
If not for a fear of punishment (either by God or civil authorities) then why not rape and murder?
Yes, I see the misspellings in R60 from being heavy handed.
They're my misspelings.
A better example of what Max Weber called "the cult of personality" like Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky would be Mao...who perfected it (and Mao took notes on how to do that from Confucius.)
also, so the nomenclature here is clear, atheism, quite literally, means a lack of a god and/or gods and not a lack of religion.
"If not for a fear of punishment (either by God or civil authorities) then why not rape and murder?"
No offense. But this is why religious people are the most violent and murderous in the world.
You can't imagine ANY reason beyond "There's an invisible man in the sky watching over me" to NOT murder and rape?!!? Really, none?!
It's just so infantile, it's hard to believe.
Religious people kill so much because 1) deep down they know it's all bullshit, that they're not really being watched or judged and they've never had to develop any sort of mature moral compass. Or 2) they think invisible sky-friend is on THEIR side and that gives them the right to rape, murder, wage war etc.
Interesting how R58 refuses to answer the questions asked of them.
I explicitly stated that I can atheistically imagine several reasons not to rape and murder.
I'm not religious, by the way, but we do need to be able to make these arguments.
Your reasons as to why religious people kill (although they're far from the only ones!) are interesting. I subscribe to #1, not necessarily to #2.
R54 is really deeply ignorant, but completely unaware of just how far their head is up their own ass.
Here's a clue, R54: Try taking a class on philosophy and ethics.
What's WRONG wtih Religion is that it's completely made-up nonsense, it isn't true, there is no super-natural, no evidence of any 'god', and it's just make-believe... mostly used by the powerful to control the masses.
Wrong on all counts, R54, no matter how much you try to puff up your prose to make you sound educated. You're not. You're blind and ignorant.
[quote]Lenin's Russia was all about atheism, hence why they expected worship of the state: atheism makes man into god as a baseline argument, and thus invites tyrants to enforce their worldviews on other, "weaker" men.
R58, false on all fronts.
It's amazing the logical pretzels you'll tie yourself into in order to force the world to fit into your narrow-minded made-up dogma.
You really should stop typing while you're behind... everyone already thinks you're a moron. You don't need to confirm it with each new post. Seriously. You're over the edge and around the bend. You clearly don't know or understand what you're talking about, you're just grasping at straws to defend the indefensible.
[quote]also, so the nomenclature here is clear, atheism, quite literally, means a lack of a god and/or gods and not a lack of religion.
Actually, quite literally, it means "without theism".
Everyone is an atheist. I doubt you fervently believe in the existence of Zeus or Odin or Shiva, and worship them faithfully.
The only thing different between a Christian and an Atheist, is that a Christian doesn't believe in 30,000 gods, and an Atheist doesn't believe in 30,001.
You never hear of militant atheism in countries that are actually mostly atheist (like mine is, one of the least religious country in the world, if not the least). There's noone to call us that, we're the peaceful boring majority and the churches here are trying to play nicely in order to survive. And surprise surprise, we're also absolutely boring safe country where there's basically no gun control and yet there's almost no gun violence.
Well, it's not as if reason and science couldn't be utilized to control the masses as well. That's why "the masses" resent intellectuals so much.
It's such bullshit that the religious are called "devout", yet atheists are called "militant"! Religion rigs everything in its own favor. You don't hear about Atheists getting any tax breaks do you?
There is only one aspect of American society in which the majority population cannot participate, and that is minority status. This causes an inexplicable craving among some bougie types to belong to some sort of minority group. As a result, they are always dreaming up some sort of oppressed demographic in which they can assign themselves membership.
That's how Christians have come to view themselves as persecuted in a country where they are 70% of the population. That's why you see stories of brave teenagers "coming out of the closet" to their parents as atheists. That's why people who ride bicycles on city streets claim persecution for their lifestyle choice. That's why people with food allergies need a special section at the restaurant.
See, their lives are hard, too; so why should they be the only ones who don't get a parade?
It's not militant. It's zealousness. I was raised fundamentalist, which is just an extreme pole. I flipped to the other extreme pole of zealous atheism for years. It very much was a direct response to the hypocrisy of the church, and how it is shoved down our throats despite separation of church/state. A public high school in Texas is allowed to display Bible verses at school-sponsored sports events? Hell no! That's a religious matter which is not legal in a government paid for venue.
Only a few years ago in my mid-thirties did I realize I was just as bad as the zealous religious. So I've softened and don't have a strong hatred for the religious anymore. I'm still turned off and disdain religion, I still don't like it foisted upon me in secular spaces / times, but I don't really care if others want to believe and talk about something in their spare time. You know, outside of work and public spaces (government-sanctioned/paid for displays of religion). Believe what you want, but thou shalt not negate my free will choice to abstain, in accordance with your god's rules. It is also my legal right to be separate from the church.
In my softening, I'm even for allowing the religious to have special break times to pray 5 times per day, or whatever their religion requires. They may practice their religion to the extent that their beliefs don't interfere with our laws (such as women are in-equal and can be beaten/killed by their husbands).
As for the religious mumbo jumbo rambler, I see their point. Their arguments about atheists could be true about some, but it doesn't mean they are true about all.
A/Theistic morality in my next post.
Morality, while it is also shaped within, is also shaped without. By society surrounding you.
Have you ever known people that live rurally and shun human interaction? The farther they get from town, the more they are eccentric hermits with odd ideas. Something happens in the course of socializing, or even in having to interact with your fellow human: you naturally see, through the course of conversation and body language, where society's boundaries are, and you naturally adjust. To not adjust is to be ostracized. In ancient times, to not conform to a village's law would mean expulsion and probably death without your interdependent community's support to keep you safe from the elements/wild animals.
Natural interactions keep us all in line more or less, with an ever-shifting morality built on consensus. Some becomes written law. Modern day ostracizing is being shunned by your friends or being arrested / going to prison for not conforming to group agreements.
As you move among people, you learn what is and isn't acceptable, which informs and edits your internal sense of right and wrong. None of this needs a god, and neither does it leave you in a groundless chaos state of "I can do anything I like because I am God".
I'm an athiest. There is no god and religion is bogus. It's just a matter of fact with me. Middle Eastern people did not have any greater insight into supernatural then any other people. The beliefs in Judaism, Christianity and Islam are as bogus as any other religion. Just because you have gotten a lot of people on board with these ideas doesn't make them true or better than any other religious belief.
Oh all 77 of you, fuck up get life.
[quote]Oh all 77 of you, fuck up get life.
These threads seem pointless, it's just atheists being rude, obnoxious and hateful toward gay men or women that are not in any way religious fundies.
The truth is all atheists hate non-atheists, they have no respect for them, they have nothing but contempt for anyone who is not an atheist.
Why bother? Why do people even try to engage in this pointlessness?
Reminds me of the religious folks, r80.
[quote]The truth is all atheists hate non-atheists, they have no respect for them, they have nothing but contempt for anyone who is not an atheist.
I have always been an atheist. Several of the people I know who I most admire and respect are Christians. Your "truth" is pure fiction that only reflects your prejudice.
Thanks for making the point that simply being atheist is being "obnoxious and hateful", R80. The hatefulness came from a particular religious "philosopher" and others, such as myself, reacted. Read the thread. Furthermore, you choose to ignore all the posts made by atheists that talk about how they have no problem with religious people or how they rarely discuss the issue. They did not express contempt. But this is typical.
[quote] it's just atheists being rude, obnoxious and hateful toward gay men or women that are not in any way religious fundies.
No, it's just theists being rude, obnoxious, and hateful EVERY DAY towards gay men or women, regardless of whether they're atheists or not.
Constantly. Consistently. And beyond being rude and obnoxious, being violent, and legislating their rude and obnoxious hatred.
[bold]Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems[/bold]
[italic]Groups that demand obedience and conformity produce fear, not love and growth.[/italic]
At age sixteen I began what would be a four year struggle with bulimia. When the symptoms started, I turned in desperation to adults who knew more than I did about how to stop shameful behavior—my Bible study leader and a visiting youth minister. “If you ask anything in faith, believing,” they said. “It will be done.” I knew they were quoting the Word of God.
We prayed together, and I went home confident that God had heard my prayers. But my horrible compulsions didn’t go away. By the fall of my sophomore year in college, I was desperate and depressed enough that I made a suicide attempt. The problem wasn’t just the bulimia. I was convinced by then that I was a complete spiritual failure. My college counseling department had offered to get me real help (which they later did). But to my mind, at that point, such help couldn’t fix the core problem: I was a failure in the eyes of God. It would be years before I understood that my inability to heal bulimia through the mechanisms offered by biblical Christianity was not a function of my own spiritual deficiency but deficiencies in Evangelical religion itself.
Dr. Marlene Winell is a human development consultant in the San Francisco Area. She is also the daughter of Pentecostal missionaries. This combination has given her work an unusual focus. For the past twenty years she has counseled men and women in recovery from various forms of fundamentalist religion including the Assemblies of God denomination in which she was raised. Winell is the author of Leaving the Fold - A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving their Religion, written during her years of private practice in psychology. Over the years, Winell has provided assistance to clients whose religious experiences were even more damaging than mine. Some of them are people whose psychological symptoms weren’t just exacerbated by their religion, but actually caused by it.
Two years ago, Winell made waves by formally labeling what she calls “Religious Trauma Syndrome” (RTS) and beginning to write and speak on the subject for professional audiences. When the British Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychologists published a series of articles on the topic, members of a Christian counseling association protested what they called excessive attention to a “relatively niche topic.” One commenter said, “A religion, faith or book cannot be abuse but the people interpreting can make anything abusive.”
Is toxic religion simply misinterpretation? What is religious trauma? Why does Winell believe religious trauma merits its own diagnostic label?
(more at the link)
[quote]The truth is all atheists hate non-atheists,
You don't need a religion to be a zealot.
[quote]Furthermore, you choose to ignore all the posts made by atheists that talk about how they have no problem with religious people or how they rarely discuss the issue. They did not express contempt.
Oh, my sides! Seriously, now. Read this or any other threads about atheists' opinions on religious people.
Ricky Gervais is another of those insufferable evangelical atheists who just have to rub it in everyone's face whether they care or not. Every interview, and tv appearance, he brings it up unprompted.
[quote] Has militant Atheism become a religion?
Love it. A "militant" atheist writes books and argues passionately. A "militant" religionist straps bombs to himself, burns witches, declares wars, and flies planes into buildings. Double standard much?
And though an atheist and a religionist might both be passionate, the parallel ends there. Religion, by definition, is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp, gods. Atheism is, by definition, the disbelief in such gods. So atheism CAN'T be a religion. Ever. You might think you're super-clever for noticing that an atheist is as strident or as passionate as a religionist but that doesn't make atheism a religion.
Religionists are always trying to do this last ditch thing where they try to drag atheism down to their level by calling it a religion. Well, it's not. Atheists run the gamut: we're quiet and loud, obnoxious and polite, hidden and public, articulate and dumb, you name it. The only shared feature is that we don't believe in invisible sky-friends. That's it.
Learn to deal. If you want to believe in sky-daddy, knock yourself out. But don't try to drag atheism down to your level by calling it a religion. It's not.
I had an argument with my brother-in-law about how atheism can't be a religion because religion requires spiritual belief. He argued that the absence of a spiritual belief is actually a spiritual belief because it requires you to consider spiritual beliefs before discounting them. Therefore atheism is a religion.
You can never win with these people. Ever.
I've yet to have an atheist disturb my sleep in the morning by ringing my doorbell and trying for force his beliefs/literature on me.
I'm an atheist. I'm vocal because I'm sick and tired of religion creeping in to government. I have the right to say it does not belong there just as a religious person has the right to try to get their hocus pocus codified into law. That doesn't make me "militant". Maybe a person wearing a t-shirt wants to "get the word out" that god is a sham and should not be forced on the masses by the government.
I'm an atheist and do not hate anyone based on their religion, nor do I know any atheists that exhibit that behaviour. Hate based on religion seems to be perfected by those that are religious, particularly christian or muslim.
While he acknowledges this a bit, he sort of glosses over the fact that religion in America has become a militant and offensive thing. Even those not raised in religion must recognize that the current state of American religion is an oppressive system. Gay men should know this better than any and if you don't, you should turn on the news or read a paper.
My lack of faith in any deity isn't militant. The premise is misguided. My objection to the religionists' need to control and specifically fuck up my life as a gay man, makes me militantly antireligious. It isn't the same thing at all. I could disbelieve and let them believe whatever they want.
It's physically impossible for atheism to become a religion. By definition. Please learn what words mean.
R94, you must not have read half the post on this thread. Most atheist post are rather derogatory to anyone who is not an atheist.
Religion stands on the ground that some things are beyond direct human experience but are still real. Atheism stands on the ground that if we cannot measure and observe something it cannot be taken on faith.
Atheists claim the high ground of "reason" and "science," despite the history of science which has shown at any point in human history, there's a whole lot of shit going on that the human mind could barely imagine, let alone prove.
Atheists' certainty is a form of faith. However, they don't surround that faith with the rules, rituals and traditions that mark religion. To the extent they seek laws and practices that are based solely on what can be known while leaving others free to believe what they want, they are outside of religion.
Wrong, r98. Atheism allows for plenty of uncertainty about things we don't understand or can't comprehend. Religion actually gives very specific explanations to the origins of the universe, the history of the world, etc. The idea that religion is this unique realm of spiritual mystery is such a fucking joke. Religions offer very specific explanations for the natural world and its origins with NO evidence. Atheists are perfectly comfortable with uncertainty, "I don't know why the world is here, but I'm certain it wasn't Zeus or the Easter Bunny that created it."
You miss the point, R99. Of course science allows for uncertainty. What it doesn't allow is answers to that uncertainty based on faith.
Where do atheists stand on String Theory?
What a load of crap, r100.
[quote]Where do atheists stand on String Theory?
What a nonsense question. it's like asking, "What do the people who don't believe in Santa Claus make of string theory?"
There is no logical connection between them and where you stand on one does not determine what you might make of the other.
I think most atheists are agnostic-atheists. I've only ever interacted with a "hard", gnostic-atheist on the internets. Just calling oneself "agnostic" is a cop out in my opinion.
R97. Actually I did read them. I have never run into anything like that. Probably a quarter of my friends are atheist, 50% are spriritual/religious and 25% are pretty deeply religious. We have absolutely no issues getting along and none of my atheist friends have ever been rude or judgmental towards my religious friends, nor have they questioned their religious beliefs. Every once in a great while one of religious friends will try to sneak in a prayer or try to "witness" but that is quickly sorted out with no hard feelings.
exactly R103. Atheism doesn't come packaged with any beliefs as religions do. Some atheists don't believe in evolution...
There are militant atheists on Datalounge, but most militant atheists are so only because they're extremely insecure in their (non-) belief.
Those of us who figured out there was no God when we were small care much less about forcing others to see the same way we do. Forcing religious opinions on others (even that there should be no religion) is incredibly obnoxious.
R103, most people dismiss the idea of god based on scientific evaluation of the universe. They say god cannot exist because there is no scientific evidence for him at all, but there is no scientific evidence string theory, and cannot not be proven, so atheists must dismiss it as sci-fi nonsense.
If you dismiss something because there is no prove and it is unlikely, then you must dismiss everything that cannot be proven.
Differences aside, any so-called secular viewpoint can be just as arrogant as organized religion. Few people want to admit that the elements comprising someone's worldview (whatever it is) can be argued to contradict each other.
For example, someone who constantly voices that people should "open their minds" and get educated, etc., may very well be contradicting what he or she claims to otherwise believe about life. If this person puts all their trust in what science indicates, well...science doesn't indicate that humans are a special or "better" species that is "obligated" to do anything. It indicates that we're all going to die and ultimately not matter...and perhaps that we're even an invasive species. Just going on that, one could argue that this person has no place telling other humans to "learn" for the "good of humanity," nor does this person have a place to assert that someone who just ruminates on what they experience, without ever reading books, is "an idiot."
[quote]What a load of crap, [R100].
Would you care to spell out what's wrong with it?
I just hate arrogance. I think that is just a trait of whoever you are as a person. There are arrogant obnoxious religious people and there are arrogant obnoxious atheists. I have no time for either.
[quote]There are militant atheists on Datalounge, but most militant atheists are so only because they're extremely insecure in their (non-) belief.
No, R107, they're militant because they're frustrated and annoyed and pissed off at religious people trying to force their religion down everyone's throat and enshrine their dogma into secular law.
Which one is more insecure, the atheist who speaks out in defense of the separation of church and state, or the religious person that insists that their religious dogma must be enforced by the full force of the State?
So here we see atheists accused of arrogance and insecurity simeultaneously. Of ignorance and over-explaining simeultaneously.
It really takes a hell of nerve to stand at the end of hundreds or thousands of years of human "telephone" and say it could be true, notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary, just because lots of people believe in it.
But that aspect of it, R112, actually has very little to do with Atheism specifically and only.
Especially since not one in 100 believers or agnostics can even tell you what it is they actually believe.
Actually it has almost everything to do with it, R114. Why would you claim otherwise?
[quote]Agnostics ask the important questions, not atheists.
Agnostics need to shit or get off the pot. No point in dithering about it. If you think you see both sides of an argument, you see neither.
Bill, is it you?
*Specifically and only*, R112/116. Peoplebelieve in separation of church and state who do not necessarily ascribe to atheism.
Know of any atheist synagogues, churches, cathedrals or Mosques? Or perhaps an atheist spa or resort?
I don't. So no.
R108 you really have no idea what you are talking about. Few atheists state that god(s) "CANNOT" exist. They simply reject the claim that god(s) exist because there is no credible evidence that he/they do.
I think you need a basic understanding of what atheism is before you start throwing around non sequiturs like "atheists must reject string theory" (wtf!?).
And R103 still applies. People who reject the claim that Santa exists do so based on rational thought; therefore, they must also reject string theory. Does that make any sense?
[quote]Hitchens vocally supported the Iraq War and Dawkins is very anti Muslim, to name two. They believe in eradicating those that don't subscribe to their agenda through violence and death. You'll never hear the militant atheists address this, though.
This is how atheism differs from religion. There isn't any set agreement upon atheist dogma. Hitchens' and Dawkin' statements have nothing to do with my atheism, and I've no reason to defend or address their stances. They're not the Pope to me.
Well you'd be wrong R120. Look to Amherst, New York in the Buffalo region.
[quote]And we can also see that an atheist, such as yourself, doesn't have either the character or intellect to own or understand these facts and factors.
[quote]These threads seem pointless, it's just atheists being rude, obnoxious and hateful toward gay men or women that are not in any way religious fundies.
Oh, the atheists here are the ones being rude and obnoxious?
[quote]What it doesn't allow is answers to that uncertainty based on faith.
I should hope so. An answer to an uncertainty based on nothing isn't worth anything.
If god was omnipotent, wouldn't he be embarrassed that we worshiped him?!
[quote]They say god cannot exist because there is no scientific evidence for him at all, but there is no scientific evidence string theory, and cannot not be proven, so atheists must dismiss it as sci-fi nonsense.
I don't know much about string theory. Is modern thought that it's a theoretical dead end that has been shown not to be feasible, or is it just that we haven't devised a way to verify it? The Higgs-Boson took billions of dollars to prove, but it existed whether we had evidence of it or not and we went looking for it based on some math that is way beyond my ability to comprehend. That is to say, we had hints of the answer, just no way until now to verify it.
God, on the other hand - there has been absolutely nothing in the history of man that would point to his existence.