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View Poll Results: Do you think the world would be better if everyone were an atheist?

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  • Yes

    25 25.25%
  • No

    60 60.61%
  • Other - please explain

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Thread: Atheists:

  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    How exactly is god the value? Can you elaborate a little?
    See, for me, as someone who appreciates Taoism...I can see "the creative force" being the value because in more sensible, practical religions that don't invent human faces for the life force and equate goodness with what is natural and living, and accept that what can be used for good can also be bad, pending on perspective and consequence. In that sense, I can say "yes, what promotes the life force is moral. Yes, that's the value."

    But when you have a religion which gives the life force a personality separate from nature (i.e. "supernatural") and judging humans, and rules that distinguish good from bad in a more black and white manner that has nothing do with reality (for example, um, lying isn't always bad, stealing isn't always bad, killing isn't always bad, if your father rapes you or beats you it might not be such a good idea to "honor" him, et al) ...I can't see how someone can say that. God is the whole point, really? Something completely detached from A) natural earth and human life and B) contextual reason...is the value? Why? How? Can we please make it stop?

  2. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    My friends, loved ones, kitties, puppies, and random children come before the declarations of some imaginary daddy in the sky.
    Something that I did not realize until I attended an atheist sponsored discussion group for people questioning their faith, was that God was perceived as a real person by people who where brought up as Christian or Muslims. He was just as real to them as a parent. Losing their faith was as emotionally difficult as losing a parent.

    While I respect personal choices in spiritual matters, I think that unquestioning deference to "higher" authorities leaves a person open to exploitation by others. The cult group suicides are obvious examples.

  3. #183
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    Well with God's will I can see it going four ways regarding value.

    1. God wills something, like maximising a certain frequency of sound, and valuing that is still entirely arbitrary. If you don't happen to value it, it's not a sign of irrationality or ignorance, it is merely differing values. You'd have to show that someone who doesn't bother maximising the frequency is somehow more than of differing values (like say, valuing red or blue more), to prove otherwise.

    2. God wills something, either placing a reward/punishment system, or simply a negative/positive consequence system, to enforce it. If there is any absolute value here, it can be in the consequences and not just in the will itself. You'd still have to prove that the consequences have absolute value, again by somehow proving those who don't obey are more than just of differing values.

    3. Gods will is something you need to experience to know that it is absolutely valuable. In which case it is like describing the color red to someone born blind. In this case it's fair enough, as those arguing for God's will as an absolute value claim a privileged point of view. Presumably an intangible claim, unless there's a direct way to experience God's will, which will leave those without the experience unaffected.

    4. God can defy logic. A simple enough point, but leads to a lot of confusion and problems. In a typical Christian case it would mean God could force everyone to be absolutely good without violating free will. Immediately calling into question God's benevolence. The very tool used for understanding becomes useless, if this is the case.

  4. #184
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    I voted "no". Why? Because I don't believe religion is a cause of evil. Yes, there are religious wars, but even there religion is more like a group-definition than something else.
    The North Ireland Catholic didn't kill the Protestant because the Protestant doesn't worship Maria. He killed the Protestant because a (probably another) Protestant killed his friend/relative/... The main problem is the generalization.
    And if religion is abolished, generalization can go among race or other group identifiers.
    You don't have to abolish the group identifier. That would be the same as saying "If everyone was white like I am, there would be no racism!" Well, logically, that's true, but that's not the way to get rid of racism, for crying out loud!
    I'd gladly talk about atheism or why I am an atheist. I'd gladly deconvert someone. But not because that would make a better world or because that would make people happier. I'd do it because I think it's true and to me, truth matters. That's why I'd gladly convert to any religion if it can show (not TELL, SHOW, by measurement, by observation) that their god exists.
    I don't think the world would be worse if everyone is an atheist, either.

    Edit. Thought a bit more about it. My biggest problem with the question is it's implication - "you should be atheist, that would make the world better" or "let's force everyone our lack-of-belief in their throats". Lots of religions have done this - just think of crusades and holy wars. And atheism isn't free of that, either! Maoist China destroyed lots of temples in Tibet and forbade worship! It would be totally wrong to see "the world would be better if..." as an imperative to force other people to behave like you do.
    Aren't atheists the ones who criticize the religious people about intolerance? Shouldn't we give the good example, then? Intolerance is the problem, not religion.
    I'd like to spread atheism and I'd hate to force somebody. Convince, yes. With experiments and reasoning. That's how I do it for gravity, too. (And again, I'm ready to be convinced too, with experiments and reasoning.)
    Last edited by Tamske; 07-18-2011 at 03:47 AM.
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  5. #185
    Junior Member AscendingFlame's Avatar
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    I think the world would be a better place if religion (or non-religion) was a private business not a political one.

  6. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    It depends on how that happens and how society is affected. It would never magically disappear without cause, and if it were never in existence it's hard to predict what society would have turned out like.

    I think it'd be great if it dies out eventually, though. Or at the very least, gets rids of fundamentalism. Increased education may help with that. I don't think it's likely at all though....nor would I support "outlawing" of religion outright.
    religion is a medium of fundamentalism, not the route
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  7. #187
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    I vote no, definitely not.
    - it's true, one can be moral without being religious, but let's face it, if everyone was an atheist, do you REALLY think the number of evil crimes wouldn't go up substantially?
    - religion binds people together and gives a sense of community. granted, community is not something that is important to me personally, but from an economic perspective, it facilitates trade, growth and prosperity
    - religion has saved many people too. many Christians have restrained themselves from killing another because of their faith
    - religion is not needed to start wars of religious magnitude. just look at any non Middle Eastern dictatorship of the 20th century
    - religion when practiced properly encourages kindness and love. about half of the atheists I know lack both of these things completely
    - religion inspires people to a higher calling, atheists have no default mechanism to provide them with such a higher calling, so many never attain one
    - I remember reading somewhere that the suicide rates of atheists is astronomically higher than religious individuals
    - let's face it, people need the miraculous. science just does not inspire people the way the super natural does
    - people would invent new religions, it's societal nature
    PS: I'm a deist/objectivist
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  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    religion is a medium of fundamentalism, not the route
    Give me an example of fundamentalism propagated widely without religion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism

    I know a lot of fundamentalist Christians will tell you that "militant" atheists (whatever that means) are fundamentalist, but I do not think that word means what they think it means.
    -end of thread-

  9. #189
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    Haven't read the entire thread but my 2 cents:

    Most people are not independent. They see a need to know that there is someone there who will take care of them. A parental figure, a close friend, a government, a god. It provides them the confidence and stability they need to pursue their dreams. Without their god, how will others find the strength to approach adversity and take risk? There are only so many of us SJ's to support everyone else and in sometimes I'd rather you send your problems to god than call me up at 3 am.

  10. #190
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    Atheists and Mystics

    We all know there are religious mystics but I was pleased and surprise to discover an atheist mystic. His name is Sam Harris and he is a meditator and an atheist. We can find Sam on Youtube by typing in his name.

    And what is interesting is that all mystics are pretty much the same, whether they are catholic mystics, protestant mystics, christian orthodox mystics, buddhist mystics, hindu mystics and now, atheist mystics.

    And interestingly mystics recognise themselves in other mystics no matter what their tradition and fee warm towards each other.

    We have some atheists on this site and I would like to say that mysticism is open even to atheists.

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