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StolenDance

I'm an athiest. Convince me otherwise and it would be greatly appreciated

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I have turned off the overhead lights and turned on the more gentle lamps, all before I sat down at the computer. In triumph, I will spend the last few ATP molecules responding to things I may have read on the fourth page of this thread, in the order that they occur / create themselves to me. 

We seem to assume that religion determines the attitude of the congregation. I do not think this is true at all. I think the socioeconomics (and culture) drive the selection and shape of religion. Areas that are rural and poor tend to have more charismatic, less empathetic, more punitive religions.  Urban (in the pre-euphemism sense), wealthier areas will have more open and flexible religions. You can even see this inside of denominations like Baptists and Catholics in different regions (and if you want to go completely nutso with this reality, check out a Catholic Church in Africa) -- religion rarely determines the nature of the people in it, it is the other way around; we create God in our own image, conservatives and liberals alike. 

 

I was reading an article from a Unitarian-Universalist wondering why there is no such thing as poor Unitarian-Universalist. His congregation, and almost all congregations, are well off and highly educated. I think every UU'er, sensitive to diversity as they are, is keenly aware of this. Unitarian-Universalism is about finding your own spiritual path; and that's appealing to people who have an education, who have the time and the inclination. Finding your own path is also a vaguely bourgeois concern. Professional class parents are deeply invested in motivating their children, who must push themselves through school and work really hard to have a shot at highly competitive career. "Finding your passion" is something you're more often going to hear from people who have a certain amount of financial freedom.

Then there is the working class; people who first, are not rewarded for constantly learning new things or thinking about abstract subjects; worse still, the job  of working class is to ignore their passion, because working sucks and you just have to get through the damn day; you are rewarded for showing up on time, putting in your hours. Discipline, in this circumstance, is more important than free thinking; following the rules is more important than creativity. And, every good Marxist knows, being poor and downtrodden means you want to believe there is something in the afterlife, a reward for you, and perhaps punishment for all the others. And maybe this straight-and-narrow spiritual path reflects the hard, narrow and merciless path of the economic situation. 

I was at the blue-hair movie theater a few nights ago, watching trailers. Oh, I'm sorry, I should explain what the blue hair movie theater is. 'Blue hair' is a derogatory term for an old person, whose hair is so white it appears blue; no, the epithet doesn't make any sense to me, but my friends and I have been calling it the 'blue hair movie theater' and so it shall always be. And when you have a group of similar people together, you'll get an idea of what they like to watch. It's funny to me, because there seems to be such an obvious and pedestrian theme to all the movies that are popular at this theater. They are entirely formulaic and predictable. They are exclusively dramas about late life issues, such as divorce, illness, grandchildren, etc. The preview I saw recently was a middle-aged professor who has early onset Alzheimers. Of course it keeps everything upbeat and positive throughout and I'm sure it ends with a treacly sunset or reminisce on the beach. 

And then it occured to me that (a) I was being an jerk (I later restrained a cheer as Oprah Winfrey was hit in the face with a billy club as a civil rights marcher in Selma) and (b) *most* movies are about facile wish fulfillment for their audiences -- it's only laughably obvious to me at the blue hair theater because it's someone else's wish fulfillment. Adolescent boys want to be the hero and get the girl, so millions go into giving them that wish. Women want to fall in love with a swell guy, so they get those movies. White people want to be the good guys at all times, even in movies about civil rights movements, so they get uppity about black-centered movies like Selma. And the educated want to believe that The Divine is something they can access through meditation and thought, poor people want God to be someone that rewards them for hard work and raw discipline (and what is faith but mental discipline?). Religion is a result, not a cause. 

---

Douglas Adams has an illustration of the anthropic principle. A puddle achieves consciousness and marvels at the world around it; then it notices that the hole it is in fits it perfectly. "Well," thinks the puddle, "this world was obviously created for me." The point being that the world will always seem created for us -- because we were created by it. 

My corrolary-ish saying is, "If the odds of life are rare, what are the odds that life, once created, it would think, 'I was made for a purpose'?" Meaning that it's really hard for consciousness to accept a lack of purpose for things; the root of understanding the world depends on our seeing causes and ends, even if there are none. 

-- 

It is a mind-blowing idea that we are the universes way of knowing itself. But it is also horrifying to think that we are actually highly complex automatons and that our consciousness is largely a useful fiction; that everything we do or say is determined by our genetics, history, and environment; I've struggled with it, and I can't find a philosophical way out of a deterministic theory of consciousness. But, fortunately, I can functionally ignore that style of thinking in my daily life. 

 

--

I have not read much of the bible. I went to bible summer camp and Lutheran school. I learned much of the contents of the bible, read disjointed stories from the bible, memorized verses from the bible, but I never read the bible. I think most Christians haven't even done that much. 

I did actually *try* to read the bible to see what the holiness was about. I got to the part in Sodom and Gommorah where Lot, the only holy man in the two-town area, offered his daughters to be raped by the crowd. Later, his daughters got him drunk and fucked him. Well, I thought, this is going to be a good read. But it quickly lost steam. People begat and begat and begat and I lost interest. 

I learned most about the bible qua bible from books and documentaries about how the bible is put together, the various texts, timelines, versions; the creation of the bible; the duplicated stories; the raw ahistoricity of much of it; there are so many meta-things about the bible that are so much more interesting than anything actually *in* the bible. It's mind-blowing to me that so much of the world can believe as gospel (literally (ha (sorry, that really wasn't funny or necessary))) things that were actually myths and legends, created for political purposes, or constructed whole cloth. It's a reminder of how creative we are as a species, and how the mental world we inhabit, or history, our beliefs, our understandings, must be by necessity imported into our brains. We live for less than a hundred years; everything we know about before (unless we're academics) is told to us. There's a lot of room for error in that process; and some errors are more likely to both be created and to be repeated than things that may be true.

--

KJV or go home. 

--

I went to prep school *and* got into college *and* have a masters degree. Please present your transcript before replying. 

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You mean a thread from an atheist asking how to not be an atheist is devolving? Well you could have knocked me over with a feather.

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You mean a thread from an atheist asking how to not be an atheist is devolving? Well you could have knocked me over with a feather.

 

I really didn't see anything inflammatory about it, I was being genuine

 

And again, I'm an agnostic

Edited by StolenDance

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I have turned off the overhead lights and turned on the more gentle lamps, all before I sat down at the computer. In triumph, I will spend the last few ATP molecules responding to things I may have read on the fourth page of this thread, in the order that they occur / create themselves to me. 

We seem to assume that religion determines the attitude of the congregation. I do not think this is true at all. I think the socioeconomics (and culture) drive the selection and shape of religion. Areas that are rural and poor tend to have more charismatic, less empathetic, more punitive religions.  Urban (in the pre-euphemism sense), wealthier areas will have more open and flexible religions. You can even see this inside of denominations like Baptists and Catholics in different regions (and if you want to go completely nutso with this reality, check out a Catholic Church in Africa) -- religion rarely determines the nature of the people in it, it is the other way around; we create God in our own image, conservatives and liberals alike. 

 

I was reading an article from a Unitarian-Universalist wondering why there is no such thing as poor Unitarian-Universalist. His congregation, and almost all congregations, are well off and highly educated. I think every UU'er, sensitive to diversity as they are, is keenly aware of this. Unitarian-Universalism is about finding your own spiritual path; and that's appealing to people who have an education, who have the time and the inclination. Finding your own path is also a vaguely bourgeois concern. Professional class parents are deeply invested in motivating their children, who must push themselves through school and work really hard to have a shot at highly competitive career. "Finding your passion" is something you're more often going to hear from people who have a certain amount of financial freedom.

Then there is the working class; people who first, are not rewarded for constantly learning new things or thinking about abstract subjects; worse still, the job  of working class is to ignore their passion, because working sucks and you just have to get through the damn day; you are rewarded for showing up on time, putting in your hours. Discipline, in this circumstance, is more important than free thinking; following the rules is more important than creativity. And, every good Marxist knows, being poor and downtrodden means you want to believe there is something in the afterlife, a reward for you, and perhaps punishment for all the others. And maybe this straight-and-narrow spiritual path reflects the hard, narrow and merciless path of the economic situation. 

I was at the blue-hair movie theater a few nights ago, watching trailers. Oh, I'm sorry, I should explain what the blue hair movie theater is. 'Blue hair' is a derogatory term for an old person, whose hair is so white it appears blue; no, the epithet doesn't make any sense to me, but my friends and I have been calling it the 'blue hair movie theater' and so it shall always be. And when you have a group of similar people together, you'll get an idea of what they like to watch. It's funny to me, because there seems to be such an obvious and pedestrian theme to all the movies that are popular at this theater. They are entirely formulaic and predictable. They are exclusively dramas about late life issues, such as divorce, illness, grandchildren, etc. The preview I saw recently was a middle-aged professor who has early onset Alzheimers. Of course it keeps everything upbeat and positive throughout and I'm sure it ends with a treacly sunset or reminisce on the beach. 

And then it occured to me that (a) I was being an jerk (I later restrained a cheer as Oprah Winfrey was hit in the face with a billy club as a civil rights marcher in Selma) and (b) *most* movies are about facile wish fulfillment for their audiences -- it's only laughably obvious to me at the blue hair theater because it's someone else's wish fulfillment. Adolescent boys want to be the hero and get the girl, so millions go into giving them that wish. Women want to fall in love with a swell guy, so they get those movies. White people want to be the good guys at all times, even in movies about civil rights movements, so they get uppity about black-centered movies like Selma. And the educated want to believe that The Divine is something they can access through meditation and thought, poor people want God to be someone that rewards them for hard work and raw discipline (and what is faith but mental discipline?). Religion is a result, not a cause. 

---

Douglas Adams has an illustration of the anthropic principle. A puddle achieves consciousness and marvels at the world around it; then it notices that the hole it is in fits it perfectly. "Well," thinks the puddle, "this world was obviously created for me." The point being that the world will always seem created for us -- because we were created by it. 

My corrolary-ish saying is, "If the odds of life are rare, what are the odds that life, once created, it would think, 'I was made for a purpose'?" Meaning that it's really hard for consciousness to accept a lack of purpose for things; the root of understanding the world depends on our seeing causes and ends, even if there are none. 

-- 

It is a mind-blowing idea that we are the universes way of knowing itself. But it is also horrifying to think that we are actually highly complex automatons and that our consciousness is largely a useful fiction; that everything we do or say is determined by our genetics, history, and environment; I've struggled with it, and I can't find a philosophical way out of a deterministic theory of consciousness. But, fortunately, I can functionally ignore that style of thinking in my daily life. 

 

--

I have not read much of the bible. I went to bible summer camp and Lutheran school. I learned much of the contents of the bible, read disjointed stories from the bible, memorized verses from the bible, but I never read the bible. I think most Christians haven't even done that much. 

I did actually *try* to read the bible to see what the holiness was about. I got to the part in Sodom and Gommorah where Lot, the only holy man in the two-town area, offered his daughters to be raped by the crowd. Later, his daughters got him drunk and fucked him. Well, I thought, this is going to be a good read. But it quickly lost steam. People begat and begat and begat and I lost interest. 

I learned most about the bible qua bible from books and documentaries about how the bible is put together, the various texts, timelines, versions; the creation of the bible; the duplicated stories; the raw ahistoricity of much of it; there are so many meta-things about the bible that are so much more interesting than anything actually *in* the bible. It's mind-blowing to me that so much of the world can believe as gospel (literally (ha (sorry, that really wasn't funny or necessary))) things that were actually myths and legends, created for political purposes, or constructed whole cloth. It's a reminder of how creative we are as a species, and how the mental world we inhabit, or history, our beliefs, our understandings, must be by necessity imported into our brains. We live for less than a hundred years; everything we know about before (unless we're academics) is told to us. There's a lot of room for error in that process; and some errors are more likely to both be created and to be repeated than things that may be true.

--

KJV or go home. 

--

I went to prep school *and* got into college *and* have a masters degree. Please present your transcript before replying. 

 

I can get behind that easily enough. Particularly the "religion is a result, not a cause", bit.

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I would suggest being agnostic like me, because to be perfectly honest, both models, with a god and without a god are equally absurd, difficult to explain and hard to understand. So may be there's a third model, I don't know. But I can't say there is a god or there is no god.

Edited by KillBytes

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ovO, just to clarify the blue-haired thing---it comes from blue rinses that old ladies put on their hair to get the yellow out. Sometimes white hair can take on a yellowish tint, so hairdressers sometimes use a blue rinse to make the white look whiter.  I have also seen old ladies with their hair tinted a pale lavender.  I don't know why anyone would do that.

 

That's why they call old ladies "blue-haired ladies."

 

olga

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If you really want to know about Christianity, get off your lazy ass, go to a public library and read some books.

Many people say they were deconverted by reading and studying the Bible.  Some atheists know quite a lot about the Bible.  Although they tend to favor the shocking parts ;)  ilke biblical atrocities.

 

 

 

I do admit to a liking for The Brick Testament.

http://www.thebricktestament.com/home.html

 

And it was a 2010 survey "Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life" which found

"On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. "

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us/28religion.html?_r=0

 

I put it down to the Mark Twain effect

"It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."

 

Chris

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Where do you come up with this stuff?

 

You mean Bible atrocities?  I probably googled "bible atrocities" or something like that.

 For example 1 Samuel 15:2-3, where God orders genocide:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

It seems like Christians either ignore this kind of thing in the Bible, or if they still wish to believe in it, they come up with the most appalling rationalizations. 

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Douglas Adams has an illustration of the anthropic principle. A puddle achieves consciousness and marvels at the world around it; then it notices that the hole it is in fits it perfectly. "Well," thinks the puddle, "this world was obviously created for me." The point being that the world will always seem created for us -- because we were created by it.

It is a mind-blowing idea that we are the universes way of knowing itself. But it is also horrifying to think that we are actually highly complex automatons and that our consciousness is largely a useful fiction; that everything we do or say is determined by our genetics, history, and environment;

Daniel Dennett wrote Freedom Evolves which explains very well how free will is compatible with a deterministic universe.  I don't find it horrifying at all, since genetics, history and environment don't force "someone" to do things.  Instead, they determine who that "someone" is.  That "someone" isn't separate from the physical world.  The idea of someone being forced by their genetics, history and environment to do certain things, implies a "someone" separate from the physical world.  

 

Douglas Adams' metaphor of the puddle is quite beautiful.

Edited by larkasaur

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Every mainline Protestant church I have ever had contact with was involved with some sort of outreach.  Without asking questions or preaching at people, I have seen many churches feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, send money to 3rd world countries so the people there can buy a cow or a goat, or set up a school.

 

To be fair though, religion also has many bad effects.

A major bad effect is that it's very divisive. 

When people make claims about reality that are unprovable and that involve deep feelings, and the claims of different religions differ, it's divisive. 

We can all think of wars and atrocities that have been inspired or justified by someone's religious belief. 

And probably in our personal lives, most of us have seen religious differences harm relationships. 

When my sister was 12 or so, she had a friend who was an orthodox Jewish girl called Penny. 

But in a couple years, she got a nasty letter from Penny saying that she could no longer be friends, because my sister wasn't Jewish - and generally putting my sister down. 

My sister was quite hurt and angry about this.

And in college I encountered a Christian woman, friend of a friend, who was going through a "crisis of faith".  The reason was that she had fallen in love with a Jewish doctor.  They wanted to get married, but according to her Christian religion, she wasn't supposed to marry a Jew. 

It might have been a very good relationship, but it was smashed by their religious difference. 

Another bad effect of religion is that laws against consensual crime (prostitution, recreational drugs, gambling, etc.) are the source of a lot of evil in our society, and it seems to me that the mentality that seeks to turn personal morality into laws, is a theistic sort of mentality.  People translate the concept of God overseeing people's private lives, into laws regulating people's private lives. 

It wouldn't be absolutely contradictory to religious belief to be against the laws forbidding consensual crimes, but in practice it seems that most people who oppose these laws are nonreligious. 

Yet one can point to a lot of bad consequences from laws against consensual crimes.  They create much of the criminal underworld.  Organized crime like the Mafia would be deprived of most of its money, if such laws didn't exist.  People who make their living by violating laws against consensual crimes (drug dealers, prostitutes, bookies, etc.) don't have the same legal protection that others do.  They tend to not call the police if there's violence against them, because they're afraid of being prosecuted themselves.  So such laws victimize already marginal and victimized people. 

So laws against consensual crimes seem mostly to result in social evil - yet it's mostly the nonreligious who see this. 

Edited by larkasaur

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I like Intuitive Spirit as a concept. That's just me. If others want in that's up to them. And that's how I believe that things should be: personal.

I enjoy going to places of worship every year or so because there is more Spirit there: it accumulates. But again, that's just me and y logic. We all need to find our own meanings and reasonings.

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Where do you come up with this stuff?

 

You mean Bible atrocities?  I probably googled "bible atrocities" or something like that.

 For example 1 Samuel 15:2-3, where God orders genocide:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

It seems like Christians either ignore this kind of thing in the Bible, or if they still wish to believe in it, they come up with the most appalling rationalizations. 

 

Sorry I should have been more specific

 

Although they tend to favor the shocking parts

 

That just seems like a pretty big generalization. 

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Anyone who believes in the scientific method cannot be a true atheist. It can't be proven with 100% certainly that there no higher power beyond our understanding. And I personally find human self-awareness to be so mind-boggling that it causes me to pause

 

^^This.

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ovO, just to clarify the blue-haired thing---it comes from blue rinses that old ladies put on their hair to get the yellow out. Sometimes white hair can take on a yellowish tint, so hairdressers sometimes use a blue rinse to make the white look whiter.  

 

Where does that yellowish tint come from? Is it just an unattractive vestige of their former hair? 

 

I'll probably be salt&pepper for most of my life; but I think I'd go the full Andy Warhol if it came to it. 

 

 

Daniel Dennett wrote Freedom Evolves which explains very well how free will is compatible with a deterministic universe.  I don't find it horrifying at all, since genetics, history and environment don't force "someone" to do things.  Instead, they determine who that "someone" is.  That "someone" isn't separate from the physical world.  The idea of someone being forced by their genetics, history and environment to do certain things, implies a "someone" separate from the physical world.  

 

 

I know Dennett has some stuff out on free will, but haven't read any of it. But from what you describe, it's just a matter of perspective. I sometimes think hell would be reliving your life over and over again, fully aware of what you would do and unable to change any of it. But if you believe in the deterministic universe, this is surely what we are -- completely predetermined. It's only the illusion that we are not that makes it bearable for us. It sounds like Dennett gets around the horror by obliterating the self, and just puts us in right along with all the other pretedetermined matter in the universe -- more like we're just a more cohesive, self aware clump of molecules flowing through existence. Is that about right? THere's no real way out of the conundrum but there is a way to look at it that is positive?

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I'm not sure why white hair turns yellow--maybe the natural oils that collect on your hair from your scalp?  These days, there are shampoos and rinses to give hair a silvery look---you don't have to resort to the blue stuff.

 

olga

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You mean a thread from an atheist asking how to not be an atheist is devolving? Well you could have knocked me over with a feather.

 

I really didn't see anything inflammatory about it, I was being genuine

 

And again, I'm an agnostic

 

"

Thread title: I'm an athiest. Convince me otherwise and it would be greatly appreciated

 

Now I wonder where I got the idea you were an atheist. Hmmmm.

Edited by crtclms

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Although they tend to favor the shocking parts

 

That just seems like a pretty big generalization. 

 

I didn't mean that about nonbelievers in general, but rather the self-identified atheists on various atheist bulletin boards online.  Many of those atheists are ex-religious and they concentrate on the negatives about religion.  So that atheist culture is dominated by anti-religious talk.

The nonbelievers who actually identify themselves as atheists, who make an issue out of it, are more likely to be anti-religious. 

Your average nonbeliever may actually be pro-religious, biased in favor of whatever is the majority religion in a culture. 

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I know Dennett has some stuff out on free will, but haven't read any of it. But from what you describe, it's just a matter of perspective.

 

Dennett explains the evolution of free will very well, how agents - beings that are capable of action and making choices - evolve.

 

 I sometimes think hell would be reliving your life over and over again, fully aware of what you would do and unable to change any of it.

 

But that wouldn't be possible.  Once you have a memory of what happened before, who you are has changed.  Your choices would change.  So your life story wouldn't repeat. 

 

 It sounds like Dennett gets around the horror by obliterating the self, and just puts us in right along with all the other pretedetermined matter in the universe -- more like we're just a more cohesive, self aware clump of molecules flowing through existence. Is that about right?

No, he doesn't obliterate the self, he explains how selves capable of making choices evolve.  In an atheistic perspective, in a deterministic universe, our selves are part of physical reality.  This is our home, we are in it and part of the physical world. 

 

 if you believe in the deterministic universe, this is surely what we are -- completely predetermined. It's only the illusion that we are not that makes it bearable for us.

 

Any sense of horror about that comes from a dualistic interpretation of the world, where we have a "self" outside of physical reality, that is being acted on by our genetics, heredity and environment. 

 

That dualistic interpretation is what is the illusion.  If you get rid of the illusion of dualism, there's no horror about it. 

 

I suggest reading Dennett's book, that might help you understand. 

 

I find it comforting actually, to think that this physical world, is our home.  In a non-dualistic interpretation, we belong here in the world.  We aren't strangers to it, "selves" floating above the world.  We aren't visitors here. 

 

Our "self" is not an illusion, but rather a way of interpreting the physical world that makes sense in terms of our lives as we live them. 

Edited by larkasaur

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I'm shocked no one has suggested the recent movie "God is not dead"

 

Maybe because they've seen it? 

 

The reviews are not promising. 

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Although they tend to favor the shocking parts

 

That just seems like a pretty big generalization. 

 

I didn't mean that about nonbelievers in general, but rather the self-identified atheists on various atheist bulletin boards online.  Many of those atheists are ex-religious and they concentrate on the negatives about religion.  So that atheist culture is dominated by anti-religious talk.

The nonbelievers who actually identify themselves as atheists, who make an issue out of it, are more likely to be anti-religious. 

Your average nonbeliever may actually be pro-religious, biased in favor of whatever is the majority religion in a culture. 

 

I'm an atheist, and while we celebrated the fun Jewish hoiidays, no on in my family has ever believed in G-d. I read the entire King James Bible (okay, I skimmed the "begats") because I consider it necessary for English speakers to understand what they are reading in English Literature. I am neutral about other people's religion. I would never tell anyone what to believe or not to believe. If they ask what I believe, I tell them, and I, not the religious person, usually gets shat upon for it. Again, sweeping generalizations.

Edited by crtclms

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I didn't mean that about nonbelievers in general, but rather the self-identified atheists on various atheist bulletin boards online.

 

That's a pretty small sample of atheists out of the population of such, and quite likely only poorly representative of the category as a whole.

 

Many of those atheists are ex-religious and they concentrate on the negatives about religion.  So that atheist culture is dominated by anti-religious talk.

We haz a kulture?

We have dozens of cultures and none. "Atheist" isn't much of a predictor of any other aspect of that atheist's life.

Angelina Jolie and I don't have as much in common as I might like, and though I share a few characteristics with professor Brian Cox, it's only a few.

 

The nonbelievers who actually identify themselves as atheists, who make an issue out of it, are more likely to be anti-religious. 

Your average nonbeliever may actually be pro-religious, biased in favor of whatever is the majority religion in a culture.

Now, online groups of ex-believers, yes, some of them will have certain characteristics in common, shared in part with other survivor's self-support groups. That is how some see themselves.

 

Your average non-believer, if averaging such a diverse sample is a useful activity, may be a firm believer in community, or conformity, or tradition, or a person who enjoys ritual and ceremony, whilst being a firm disbeliever in any deity or supernatural entity which on a literal reading, provides the context for religious activity and ceremony.

 

When the use of Latin in the Roman Catholic Mass was discontinued, one category of objectors were those who did not like the new form in their own language because they could understand what was being said, This, to them, killed mystery and ceremony: the things that they found vital, rather than doctrine and creed.

 

Me, I'm an animal mechant on atheism.  The topic of atheism simply does not arise in my day-to-day life, not least because I don't raise it.

But if someone does make noises or prod in that area then I may not remain passive: my atheism is not something I just "happen" to have. 

 

Chris

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Picasso said that "art is a lie that tells the truth," and I sometimes feel that is the case at times with religion/spirituality.

Picasso is right some of the time, I'm pretty sure of that.

But art can be a lie that is actually telling a lie, too.

 

A lot of religious stories/laws are irrational or promote hatred/bigotry, so I'm not advocating that.  As always critical thinking is necessary.

This is not taught by all religions by any means. As a fairly straightforward defensive, self-preserving meme "don't think for yourself, don't doubt, don't question" can be what are taught as the virtuous paths.

It's not easy, of course, doing decent critical thinking, as some of the things requiring critical thought are the tools, methodologies and initial assumptions used to do critical thinking.

 

Road Sign

"Drive carefully.  Metaphysical death-spiral ahead."

 

Chris

 

 

I did not say it was taught by all religions.  I said "a lot of religious stories" which is perhaps an exaggeration or over-generalization anyway.

 

I suppose Picasso did not mean that all art indirectly gets at the truth, but that ideally that is the intention.  

Edited by koa

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We haz a kulture?

I think so, yes.  Among the self-identified atheists online, there are definite dominant points of view, and they do pretty well represent atheism in the USA. 

I've heard that atheism in Europe is different, much less hard-edged and combative.  Europe is much less religious and much less fundamentalist than the USA, so atheists in Europe are a majority group and they aren't in a battle with people who want creationism in the public schools, etc. etc.. 

There have been studies of the atheist culture in the USA, actually - books written about it (that aren't polemics).  What I've seen of what those books say about atheists, agrees with what I've seen online. 

I'm less anti-religion than the USA atheist culture, I keep finding myself pointing out to such atheists that illusions can be useful and our illusions are an important, maybe even crucial part of our lives. 

I've been reading Karen Armstrong's The Case for God, to find out about religion without delusion and explore the pro-religious nonbeliever point of view. 

Edited by larkasaur

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