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  1. #41
    Senior Member FunnyDigestion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    What do you mean by commonplace? In the USA, secular people are at best 10% of the population. Certainly we are not a political authority in anyway, either.
    By commonplace, I meant in the intellectual world. "A commonplace in western intellectual life"-- the people who compose western intellectual life: the people who publish... the people who write shit down. The people who talk. The people who gather in groups in Barnes & Noble & say, "I have been thinking; what have all of you been thinking? [answers being a bunch of things that few others in the broader populace have been thinking]

    It's very correct we aren't a political authority, & the very reason for that is because we live in our own world. William James said, the most profound discovery of modern time is that man can change his behavior by changing his thinking. Which makes me think, how could the behavior of the average person change by changing his religious belief?

    Regarding the importance of the issue. The question is how much religion plays into the major issues of the world. Of course it is not a seriously problem in and of itself that someone would believe something, it's what it makes them do. if religion compels people to uphold violent and oppressive laws, disregard important scientific facts, and generally remain idle in the face of global crises, then it should be stopped.
    No doubt, but how should it be stopped? How SHOULD it BE stopped? If you say that too many times, you start to sound like Joseph Stalin, who is a person most people dislike.
    RCUAI
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  2. #42
    Senior Member FunnyDigestion's Avatar
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    Here it is according to "brainyquote.com":

    "The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."

    Do you agree? Maybe changing people's minds in regards to the existence of God is the most essential task in fixing humanity's biggest problems.
    RCUAI
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    "Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it."

  3. #43
    Senior Member Litsnob's Avatar
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    Your question at first seems to be asking if atheists are intitled to a supposed self-importance but in reading your whole post I think that what you mean is to question the importance of the battle for secular humanism to replace religion. To me it is. My desire for reason, logic and rational thinking as well as for the truth as we can best ascertain it to be the vehicle for making laws is very important. Religion is not sustained by anyone employing reason so it frightens me to think how many people are using emotions, fantasy, magical thinking and tradition on which to base their world-view and their decision making.

    Add to that the variety in religious dogma and there isn't even agreement on what God wants so it is just pointless to keep playing that game.

    Religion being accepted as a viable method of understanding the world undermines the quality of thinking in human beings as a whole. It seems likely that the human brain is not going to let go of superstition and magical thinking too readily. Neuroscientists have found a region of the brain which produces religious experiences and feelings when stimulated and it is hypothesised that superstitious thinking had an evolutionary advantage when it came to survival. I would never advocate for suppression of religion or persecution of believers, I just dream of a day when people are a little bet embarrassed to admit to magical thinking and it is not considered equal or superior to logical thinking.

    Believe whatever you want. Believe in fairies if you like. It just should not have any bearing at all on the making of laws nor the framework of society.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I honestly don't think so. I mean, last century shows that Godless ideologies are just as destructive and insidious as their counterparts. If I went militant about endorsing something that would make the situation better, it would be tolerance. (heh)
    I agree, just like it said somewhere in the OP...when it comes down to what matters god is not in the picture. Love, help, etc. They are all things taught with or without god. The only place religion really comes in is in regard to rules for the sake of making the "trek to god" easier. Either way we can end up with what actually matters in the "world" whether your aethiest or not. Both can cause issues or solve the problems.
    Im out, its been fun

  5. #45
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunnyDigestion View Post
    But then I think, maybe they're fighting a cultural battle. After all religion is as old as humanity & maybe releasing its hold on our collective consciousness is something that will take generations of work. & maybe religious ideas are deep in the structure of our institutions & social organization which prevent us from solving problems.

    But THEN I think... in all probability the real villains of today have nothing to do with religion, the things to worry about are resource overconsumption, resource misallocation, technological authoritarianism, economic exploitation, etc... & the atheist intellectuals are just a sign that the rich people of the world have too much time on their hands & nothing better to do.

    What do you think? Is atheism today an important cultural battle?
    I'm an atheist and not particularly militant, but do realize that if you weren't raised in the middle of a particularly dysfunctional religion, then your perspective will be different from someone who was.

    I was raised in a dysfunctional religion that was used to make some people vulnerable and others exploitative. Some of what I've seen is almost as extreme as the most militant religions overseas. There is an element of power dysfunction that uses the ultimate power of God to justify itself. That part is a disease, horrific, and needs to end. To give an abysmal example, there is a man right now who is the elder of a rural church who is adored by its members, but who is also outrageously, physically abusive towards certain people. It's incomprehensible, but it is literally happening. He tells people that "God understands him, and so its okay", and because of the dysfunction, the congregation as a whole accepts this. There is something about claiming the power of god that overrides any other claims to power in a completely irrational manner. When I was a child there was another elder of the same denomination who was molesting all of his children and eventually was run out of town for breaking the leg of a child. He got away with his bad behavior possibly longer because of his position. Alot of people don't realize there are these weird, horrific little cult dynamics peppered across the landscape of the U.S.

    I make a rational attempt to not impose my anger about these incidents onto the whole of religion because there are polite congregations who are healthy and normal, and who like to get together to think about inspiring things and to become better people. I generally like to view religion with curiosity to first understand why humans create these social structures and to understand what they get out of it. I don't like to control people - especially their most personal inner space of identity and belief. I am not interested in fighting a cultural battle to make people stop believing something. I won't even do that with close friends and family because I also sense enough of people's internal emotional and psychological frameworks to know that you could really destabilize and hurt someone profoundly if you rip away their inner construct of reality.

    What I do care about is healthy education for the young. I care about teaching children critical thinking based on reasoning and logic. I care a lot about teaching people to be skeptical and ask 'why' continually. People need to question every authority and never fall into a childlike trust and admiration of them. I think we need to be rigorous and questioning in our thinking, and then however that affects religion, so be it. If it eliminates it, if it reconstructs it, whatever the result will likely be the best for humanity if you just provide the healthiest, best tools and then let the process unfold naturally.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunnyDigestion View Post
    So I have a quizzical attitude toward those gung-ho atheists who are so vocal & militant. Agnosticism has been a commonplace in western intellectual life for a hundred years so it's peculiar that people could still find the idea revolutionary.

    But then I think, maybe they're fighting a cultural battle. After all religion is as old as humanity & maybe releasing its hold on our collective consciousness is something that will take generations of work. & maybe religious ideas are deep in the structure of our institutions & social organization which prevent us from solving problems.

    But THEN I think... in all probability the real villains of today have nothing to do with religion, the things to worry about are resource overconsumption, resource misallocation, technological authoritarianism, economic exploitation, etc... & the atheist intellectuals are just a sign that the rich people of the world have too much time on their hands & nothing better to do.

    What do you think? Is atheism today an important cultural battle?
    My feeling is that atheism is a sociopolitical stance - comparable to global secularization i.e. Atatürk's Turkey, Marxism, feminism, libertarianism - in that it exists only in opposition to religious thinking. (The -isms I mentioned would never exist in situ, in a natural state without their opposition) Think of it in these terms: if The Age of Revolution instituted the agnostic worldview - the Reformation's final nail in Catholicism's coffin - then atheism is the (post)postmodern death throes of what started with Descartes, Hegel, Kant's rationalization of Western society. Being an outgrowth of secularism, the movement that's coalesced around its most militant members (like the magnanimous/comical Richard Dawkins) runs on mixed fuel - in the same way writer Carol Gilligan describes postmodern, nonuniversalist feminism as "a patchwork of overlapping alliances." When I watch Bill Nye squaring off against Ken Ham, I see that they're both profiteering for their respective causes, not simply debating the efficacy of their worldviews.

    To answer the OPs question: I think that atheism is an important cultural paradigm, as significant as feminism and multiculturalism. Ironically, the movement already resembles the self-serious decorum of Satanism - as if atheism isn't just a means, but an enlightened membership and gospel. To paraphrase the writer bell hooks, feminism exists to end sexism. Similarly, atheism should note the pitfalls of taking Marxism literally and just die once it's redundant.
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  7. #47
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amanki View Post
    Think of it in these terms: if The Age of Revolution instituted the agnostic worldview - the Reformation's final nail in Catholicism's coffin - then atheism is the (post)postmodern death throes of what started with Descartes, Hegel, Kant's rationalization of Western society.
    Do you mean to say that it represents the end of the movement started by Descartes, Hegel, Kant, or that it seeks to destroy that movement? Your post is interesting, I just want some clarification.

    I think my issue with militant atheism is that, like you said, it only exists in opposition to something. It doesn't really offer anything for anyone to live for, which is why I think it will not be successful unless it evolves. Religion offers meaning and something to live for, atheism doesn't. Philosophy can offer meaning; I suspect there are ways of finding meaning outside of or independent from organized religion, but the atheist movement doesn't seem interested in exploring that or even consider that relevant, in my experience. What does militant atheism offer as a way of dealing with our own mortality, or the vastness of the universe, or morality?

    I agree with members of the atheist movement in political views much more often than not, but there's something about it that seems incomplete.

    I guess I'm just being a counterphobic 5w6 and rebelling against all contemporary trends, lol.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


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  8. #48
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunnyDigestion View Post
    That isn't meant sarcastically whatsoever.

    (& neither was that disclaimer for you paranoids); I'm an atheist, but for me it was a no-brainer. Even as a child I didn't believe in god. I felt sorry for him for not existing.

    So I have a quizzical attitude toward those gung-ho atheists who are so vocal & militant. Agnosticism has been a commonplace in western intellectual life for a hundred years so it's peculiar that people could still find the idea revolutionary.

    But then I think, maybe they're fighting a cultural battle. After all religion is as old as humanity & maybe releasing its hold on our collective consciousness is something that will take generations of work. & maybe religious ideas are deep in the structure of our institutions & social organization which prevent us from solving problems.

    But THEN I think... in all probability the real villains of today have nothing to do with religion, the things to worry about are resource overconsumption, resource misallocation, technological authoritarianism, economic exploitation, etc... & the atheist intellectuals are just a sign that the rich people of the world have too much time on their hands & nothing better to do.

    What do you think? Is atheism today an important cultural battle?
    I've bolded the part which I think is most important but I've italised another part because I dont believe that its possible that mankind can be irreligious, as I understand it religion is intrinsic, you can either follow good or bad religion as a consequence and be conscious or unconscious of doing so.

    Religion is a frame of reference, including norms, mores, ethical judgements, expectations of self and others, and an object of devotion, which could be a deity, could be some other concept.

    Repression of the religious is a really bad thing, for the individual it has its own set of individual consequences I would say and those can be varied, on a social level its liable to result in other things taking the place of religion, ideology, great men/political leaders/demagogs, to date its never been a positive development for mankind in general.

  9. #49
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildflower View Post
    i think that the militant form of atheism we are seeing these days is modernism's last gasp, just as calvinism, a type of christianity which is largely based on propositional truth acquired primarily through reason, is. both privilege rationalism. imo we are moving into a postmodern era where truth is localized and pluralized rather than universal in nature. modernism is man-centered and privileges reason whereas postmodernism is more localized and pluralized and is open to the supernatural.
    I think that calvinism was highly superstitious and did not really privilege reason at all, I also think that it rehabilitated a lot of very old prejudices, the richest man in the cemetary being favoured by God, for instance which had a great deal of pedigree with the hebrews at the time of Christ (and I would argue most of Christ's ministry was spent challenging it) but I think the entire reformation and protestantism was a dire mistake in human history, so, could be biased.

    I dont exactly find the whole linear developmental view, including the advent of post-modernism, to be credible at all, I also despise the post-modern position, reason is absolutely vital to the discernment of truth, truth is conceivable, it is difficult to discern and scientific method requires falsifiability but it does not mean the idea itself is invalid.

  10. #50
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    I would say no because to me it seems passé, but then I see shit like this: Ind. Senate panel votes to let schools teach creationism, If by "Christian love" you mean hatred & contempt...

    That said, I like what Hitchens said in his introduction to The Portable Atheist:

    "The rejection of the man-made concept of God is not a sufficient condition for intellectual or moral emancipation. Atheists have no right to go around looking superior. They have only fulfilled the necessary condition by throwing off the infancy of the species and disclaiming a special place in the natural scheme."
    Its hardly representative of Christianity, not even Christianity now let alone over the span of human history, geography and demography.

    There's bad religion, there's bad atheism, I dont choose to consider things at their worst when weighing up alternatives, its unfair to compare something at its worst with someone else at its very possible best.

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