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  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    weird, it is precisely because i am an atheist (or teapot agnostic, close enough) that my reaction to militant atheism is pretty much covered in those infamous lines:


    i mean, seriously, the whole principle of non-theism is that WE DON'T WANT TO PLAY THE GAME. going in and making non theism into a side... wtf dawkins? WTF?
    I’ve talked at length about in this thread about why I think the New Atheists might be right to engage believers. I'll just add:

    I don’t think that non-belief automatically means that we can’t or shouldn’t participate in debate on the subject. Most atheists (and also believers) would probably intervene if they saw instances where religious or supersitious beliefs were significantly harming people’s lives: parents using faith healing on a sick child; fundamentalists putting down gays or saying that hurricanes are punishments from God; people who believe they are suffering from a voodoo curse or evil eye or have a haunted house, etc.

    Debating with a person about their religion is like debating with a person about their choice of boyfriend or girlfriend. Most times there’s no reason to intervene or question people about their personal relationships or personal beliefs. On the other hand, if you see that a person’s relationship or religion is clearly toxic to them or others, I don’t think there’s anything in the “Atheist’s Handbook” that says we have to remain quiet about it.

    In fact I'm a little surprised when people assume that I'm supposed to STFU about religion just because I'm an atheist. Why? Who made that rule, and why am I supposed to give a rat's ass about it? To me, being an atheist is about calling my own shots; it's not about following the rules in some imaginary "Atheist's Handbook."

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I don’t think that non-belief automatically means that we can’t or shouldn’t participate in debate on the subject.
    simply because there are better reasons not too:

    1. it is politically damaging our 'cultural alliance'. under the larger umbrella of cultural liberalism / secularism, the requirements for a free and diverse society in which no single religious group is allowed to force it's religion over others, the need for separation of church and state is not only ours but also something we automatically share with every other church (or synagogue or mosque or buddhist temple) that doesn't want to be enforced by that particular one. if instead of seculars we do so as atheists, we take a huge risk of alienating the rest of the team, who at any given moment have more in common with the oppressing religious sect then with us.

    2, already having a ruling majority within academic circles, we have the best conspiracy in the world - so good that it's completely out in the open. the medical expert they will call in trial against someone withholding healthcare from their child in favor of faith healing? bringing a non-theist view points. the advisors health insurance companies hire? same. now, what do you think happens if instead of all-prevailing & needed institutions, academia starts standing out as an anti-religious sect?

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    simply because there are better reasons not too:

    1. it is politically damaging our 'cultural alliance'. under the larger umbrella of cultural liberalism / secularism, the requirements for a free and diverse society in which no single religious group is allowed to force it's religion over others, the need for separation of church and state is not only ours but also something we automatically share with every other church (or synagogue or mosque or buddhist temple) that doesn't want to be enforced by that particular one. if instead of seculars we do so as atheists, we take a huge risk of alienating the rest of the team, who at any given moment have more in common with the oppressing religious sect then with us.

    2, already having a ruling majority within academic circles, we have the best conspiracy in the world - so good that it's completely out in the open. the medical expert they will call in trial against someone withholding healthcare from their child in favor of faith healing? bringing a non-theist view points. the advisors health insurance companies hire? same. now, what do you think happens if instead of all-prevailing & needed institutions, academia starts standing out as an anti-religious sect?
    That’s just the “Don’t make waves” argument, which many atheists reject (including me).

    A lot of atheists condemned Madalyn Murray O’Hair for her public activism in the 1960s and 1970s; she sued in a number of high-profile atheism-based lawsuits to get prayer out of school and that sort of thing. Atheists worried that her lawsuits would get a negative reaction from the churches or government, especially during the Cold War when atheism was perceived as aligned with “godless communism.” Such atheists said, "Don't make waves."

    But in the end, it wasn’t a problem. The courts were largely sympathetic to her suits, and even a big part of the public could see the reasoning behind her suits.

    So I say: Speak up, and trust the “marketplace of ideas” to be resilient and to sort the wheat from the chaff. If you keep silent, the “marketplace of ideas” can’t do its job properly; you deprive the marketplace of an important point of view.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    So I say: Speak up, and trust the “marketplace of ideas” to be resilient and to sort the wheat from the chaff. If you keep silent, the “marketplace of ideas” can’t do its job properly; you deprive the marketplace of an important point of view.
    meh, making plans for ideal worlds has the funny quality of rarely being applicable to ours.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    meh, making plans for ideal worlds has the funny quality of rarely being applicable to ours.
    Me and my little soapbox disagree with you.


  6. #106
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    This is probably because I'm not a 4, but I don't see why atheism now has to be this thing where it's now an important part of your identity. Someone being an atheist does not necessarily mean I agree with them on other issues. I really don't follow the meme that atheism guarantees strong progressive values.

    I refer to Christopher Hitchens. The things I disagreed with him about mattered far, far more than the things I agreed with him on. He made spirited arguments against religion, but he also made spirited arguments in favor of the Iraq War. One of these things I cared about far more than the other.

    I think part of the reason he supported the Iraq War was because he had developed a missionary-like zeal towards atheism, and thought military action in Iraq would spread secular values throughout the Middle East. This is why I think atheism taking on an evangelical quality is something I'm not in favor of. Atheism as a "movement" can justify shitty behaviors and shitty policies the same way religion has. Self-righteousness seems to cause the same problems regardless of one's metaphysical beliefs.
    [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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  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    This is probably because I'm not a 4, but I don't see why atheism now has to be this thing where it's now an important part of your identity. Someone being an atheist does not necessarily mean I agree with them on other issues. I really don't follow the meme that atheism guarantees strong progressive values.

    I refer to Christopher Hitchens. The things I disagreed with him about mattered far, far more than the things I agreed with him on. He made spirited arguments against religion, but he also made spirited arguments in favor of the Iraq War. One of these things I cared about far more than the other.

    I think part of the reason he supported the Iraq War was because he had developed a missionary-like zeal towards atheism, and thought military action in Iraq would spread secular values throughout the Middle East. This is why I think atheism taking on an evangelical quality is something I'm not in favor of. Atheism as a "movement" can justify shitty behaviors and shitty policies the same way religion has. Self-righteousness seems to cause the same problems regardless of one's metaphysical beliefs.
    Hitchens was a blowhard contrarian author and commentator. He was kind of a Rush Limbaugh or Anne Coulter figure for the atheist crowd. It was his job to have strong political opinions. It’s the nature of the media today. That’s how you get press and publicity.

    The Christians have Rush Limbaugh and Al Sharpton and numerous other PR-hungry blowhard media commentators. The New Atheists had Hitchens (though he died a couple years ago). So what?

    You keep trying to make “evangelical atheism” out to be something dark and conspiratorial and dangerous. But atheists aren’t doing anything differently from Christians. The only thing that’s new is that the New Atheists are starting to wear their (non-)beliefs on their sleeve the same way that Christians always have.

  8. #108
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    You keep trying to make “evangelical atheism” out to be something dark and conspiratorial and dangerous.
    Not exactly. I just don't think it's awesome. It's just another form of tribalism.

    But atheists aren’t doing anything differently from Christians. The only thing that’s new is that the New Atheists are starting to wear their (non-)beliefs on their sleeve the same way that Christians always have.
    Well, I don't like self-righteousness in Christians, so why should I be more tolerant of it from atheists? Because they're more of "my side"? Why should I be happy that we now have annoying militant atheists to counter annoying militant Christians? Why is that a good thing?

    You claim it's good because it's necessary to "push back". But what are we gaining? Is someone becoming an atheist necessarily going to make them smarter? A better person? Why should I care whether someone is an atheist or not? Why is atheism the defining moral and intellectual issue to eclipse all other moral and intellectual issues?

    How can someone claim to value "reason" and "evidence", and then conclude that metaphysics is more important than foreign policy? (Hence the tendency for New Atheists to defend Hitchens even if they don't agree with everything he said. Reflects an interesting set of priorities.)
    [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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  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Not exactly. I just don't think it's awesome. It's just another form of tribalism.

    Well, I don't like self-righteousness in Christians, so why should I be more tolerant of it from atheists? Because they're more of "my side"? Why should I be happy that we now have annoying militant atheists to counter annoying militant Christians? Why is that a good thing?

    You claim it's good because it's necessary to "push back". But what are we gaining? Is someone becoming an atheist necessarily going to make them smarter? A better person? Why should I care whether someone is an atheist or not? Why is atheism the defining moral and intellectual issue to eclipse all other moral and intellectual issues? How can someone claim to value "reason" and "evidence", and then conclude that metaphysics is more important than foreign policy? (Hence the tendency for New Atheists to defend Hitchens even if they don't agree with everything he said. Reflects an interesting set of priorities, I think.)
    As far as I can see, your argument is all just another version of the "straw man" argument: You're basically making the argument that New Atheists have to be qualitatively better than Christians; and if they are *not* superior to Christians, then they are no good and should simply STFU and go away.

    I reject that argument. As far as I’m concerned, when an atheist and a Christian sit down at a table, you have exactly the same thing on either side of the table: an intellectual with a big ego and a certainty that he’s right.

    What’s changed is that previously atheism was largely absent from the “marketplace of ideas”; but recently the New Atheists have entered that “marketplace” to represent their ideas along with the rest. And that’s a good thing. The “marketplace of ideas” needs a variety of different voices in order to function properly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketplace_of_ideas

    But beyond that, I repeat what I said before: atheists aren’t doing anything differently from Christians. The only thing that’s new is that the New Atheists are starting to wear their (non-)beliefs on their sleeve the same way that Christians always have.

    It’s simply a question of being represented on par with the rest in the “marketplace of ideas.” Aside from that, It’s *not* a question of being superior to Christians or being less tribal or whatever other "straw man" qualities you try to demand from atheists.

  10. #110
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    Yes, New Atheists have to be qualitivately better than Chritistians, if they' believe that atheism makes them morally and intellectually superior to Chrisitians, which they often do. If New Atheists stopped implying and asserting that, then I would agree with you. You think the assertion of moral and intellectual superiority without necessarily demonstrating is acceptable, because of the marketplace of ideas. I, however, think it's worthy of criticism. If someone keeps on pointing out how their atheism makes them more rational and humane then Christians, you can bet I'm going to take an issue if they start endorsing torture

    If you believe that the ideal state of humanity is for everyone to be atheist, you can bet that it's relelvant when atheists don't live up to their ideal. Just as it is when Christians don't live up to their ideal. The same standard applies.

    You can't claim superiority, and then accuse people of erecting a "strawman"' when you don't live up to that superiority.


    The solution is not missionary atheism, but, as Mane asserted, secularism. Secularism is a big tent, atheism is a small tent.
    [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


    This is not going to go the way you think....

    Visit my Johari:
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