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  1. #21
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    I have a lot of issues with "millitant" or "new atheism". Probably even more than with religious fundamentalism (or at least, it annoys me more). I think it's because I see the idea of acting in such an evangelical dogmatic fashion while opposing religion as fundamentally absurd. It seems as though "new atheists" merely replicate many of the things I tend to find the most off-putting about some religious folks. They claim to fight against "delusions" while caring not one whit about cognitive biases or groupthink.

    I'm a Spinozan pantheist, but if I don't feel like explaining that to people, I just tell them I'm an atheist (and some atheists appear to actually be pantheists). But because of the "New Atheism" thing, I always feel like qualifying it.

    I also dislike that I cannot have an intellectual discussion about religion as a cultural phenomenon at all without someone shouting "WHO CARES ITS A DELUSION" and hijacking the discussion. I'd like religion to be a topic of discussion on the internet and be about something other than atheism vs. theism, which isn't the interesting to me, and if I wanted to read it, I'd just got to r/atheism.

    Oh, and Christopher Hitchens sucks.
    [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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  2. #22
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    I have a lot of issues with "millitant" or "new atheism". Probably even more than with religious fundamentalism (or at least, it annoys me more). I think it's because I see the idea of acting in such an evangelical dogmatic fashion while opposing religion as fundamentally absurd. It seems as though "new atheists" merely replicate many of the things I tend to find the most off-putting about some religious folks. They claim to fight against "delusions" while caring not one whit about cognitive biases or groupthink.

    I'm a Spinozan pantheist, but if I don't feel like explaining that to people, I just tell them I'm an atheist (and some atheists appear to actually be pantheists). But because of the "New Atheism" thing, I always feel like qualifying it.

    I also dislike that I cannot have an intellectual discussion about religion as a cultural phenomenon at all without someone shouting "WHO CARES ITS A DELUSION" and hijacking the discussion. I'd like religion to be a topic of discussion on the internet and be about something other than atheism vs. theism, which isn't the interesting to me, and if I wanted to read it, I'd just got to r/atheism.

    Oh, and Christopher Hitchens sucks
    .
    Yeah but man you posted something shocking the other day about terminal illness.

    Anyway, that aside your view is actually remarkably similar to my own, although I'm on the other side of the fence in many ways because I'm a believer. A lot of the time I try to give athiests, even the new athiests, the benefit of the doubt, its one of those things which I think can only be understood when you're given the context, I truly dislike evangelism, now I know, I know, there's room to alledge that there's some lingering bug bears about protestantism there, I'm guilty, that's true, in my country evangelists target, pretty vociferously its got to be said, RCs too, as though they were none believers. So I'll nearly prefer a dip shit documentary by Dawkins or AC Grayling saying things on Radio 4 or Philosophy Bites to the street preachers every saturday.

    There's differences between them all too, I dont mind AC Grayling, the guy seems pretty harsh in print but in interviews he's not that bad, Dawkins seems like he can be bowled over when faced with a decent representative of religion instead of an eejit, Dennett I've no time for, dont like him at all, it was probably deciding that not simply God but morality, free while and character were all imaginary which did it, I think its incredibly hard to live by those beliefs or practice that, which then makes be think its purely abstraction, lacking even practical reasoning as an underpinning which makes me suspect his whole perspective is merely a rationalisation for how he feels.

    The final bit you write there, about it as a cultural phenomenon, I highlighted that because I think that's kind of a big deal, the best atheists like Erich Fromm have been able to grasp that and while a superficial acquaintence with their views isnt going to satisfy the most irreligious and anti-theist, there's no mistaking it there's no belief in a deity, after life, supernatural dimension in life but there are some vital understandings of the role, past, present and future of religious traditions and beliefs.

    There are "Godless Christians", "Humanistic Jews", philosophical spiritual thinkers like Mark Vernon who seem to bridge a gap between belief and non-belief or traverse the two camps. Whatever creates obsticles to discussion and dialogue isnt any good, bridges, not walls, that's what's needing to be built.

  3. #23
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Yeah but man you posted something shocking the other day about terminal illness.
    That came out harsher than I intended, and I removed the sarcastic vibe that came off way nastier written down. I mean to point out that science is better for dealing with terminal illness, but the sarcasm kind of obscured that. Anyway, I didn't understand that she was making a joke.



    There are "Godless Christians", "Humanistic Jews", philosophical spiritual thinkers like Mark Vernon who seem to bridge a gap between belief and non-belief or traverse the two camps. Whatever creates obsticles to discussion and dialogue isnt any good, bridges, not walls, that's what's needing to be built.
    I agree with this, and recently I've been working harder at trying to understand things, rather than just assuming I already know the answers for everything. Among other things, that's an incredibly dull way to live. Ne, not just Ti.
    [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....

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  4. #24
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    This is kind of a tangent, but here’s a little story:

    When I was growing up, it was a big hassle to admit that I was an atheist. Once I uttered the word “atheist,” every Christian within a country mile would come crowding up and start proselytizing. The proselytizing wasn’t done out of meanness; I was never the target of any hostility. The proselytizing was either done out of genuine concern for my soul or out of intellectual curiosity: “Well maybe you just haven’t heard *my* argument about why you need Christ in your life.”

    Still, it was a hassle. Self-declared atheists were few and far between, and atheists were the “gold standard” for proselytizers. By contrast, agnostics were kind of sneered at by Christians as being lukewarm. But every Christian salivated for the day that they met a true-blue atheist. In church, preachers loved to say things like “If you every meet a real live atheist, here’s what you tell him...”

    So I heard every possible argument in favor of conversion, and I debated them each a hundred times or more. Eventually I got tired of it; when people asked about my religious affiliations, I just said, “I don’t know, I haven’t been to church in a long time.” I just acted wishy-washy, and Christians by and large left me alone, figuring me for an agnostic or lapsed Christian. As for me, I figured it was up to the next atheist in line to carry the debate burden; I had already paid my dues.

    By the late 80s and 90s, it was no longer such a big deal to use the “A” word. Wiccans and pagans and pantheists were starting to pop up, and they were getting a lot of the attention from Christians that atheists used to get. So saying that I was an atheist was less of an issue.

    Now that the New Atheists have arisen, suddenly atheists are the badasses of the metaphysical/philosophical world. A Christian walks up to me, he asks about my religious affiliation, I say I’m an atheist, and the Christian runs away from me screaming, apparently afraid that I’m going to start proselytizing.

    I love it. That’s all I ever wanted from Christians: To be left alone and not have to hear about their faith. If it means them running away screaming, that’s fine with me.

    And if the so-called New Atheists are the cause of this new attitude, then I applaud those New Atheists and say, “God bless their heathen asses!”

  5. #25
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I think it becomes "militant" when you start trying to convert people to your side. Of course, it's a matter for debate whether having no side is quite equivalent to having a particular side. Going with a military analogy, is telling both sides that they're wrong to fight quite the same as supporting either side?

    Alternatively, people might say "militant" to denote a very confrontational attitude, bringing it up constantly, attending protests, etc. That definition makes sense to me too, actually. So, it would be militant if disproving religion seems to be the focus of your life, but not militant to criticize religion (even harshly) in an appropriate setting, like here, or discussing with friends, or a debate, or a book, or whatever.

    I think people's definitions will probably depend on the context in which they've heard it used before.
    -end of thread-

  6. #26
    Level 8 Propaganda Bot SpankyMcFly's Avatar
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    When was the last time a militant atheist knocked on your door and asked to discuss atheism with you? Or stood along the street with their ¨literature¨ asking you if you´ve heard the word? I do not think these kinds of activities are militant per se, but certainly are very organized. I´m going to go out on a limb here and say if militant atheists did this it would cause quite a ruckus. Why aren´t groups like these also labeled militant?

    On a personal note, I label myself an atheist and frankly I really don´t care about what other people believe or don´t believe in, insofar as it does not affect me, live and let live, be happy and all that. Therein lies the rub. As I read and hear about public policy and political discussions, religion and religious belief are often the basis for peoples values & perspectives i.e. using drugs like marijuana is ¨immoral¨, capital punishment is ¨an eye for an eye¨, teaching intelligent design (repackaged creationism) in public school (which actually passed then was overturned in Kansas), the majority of the home schooling movement in the U.S., abortion and birth control pills, condoms, sex education in school, etc.

    I really wanna just be left alone, but if you insist on projecting your religious based values into public policy, indirectly affecting me, I feel the need to stand up and be heard.
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... Some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age. " - H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #27
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky McFly View Post
    When was the last time a militant atheist knocked on your door and asked to discuss atheism with you? Or stood along the street with their ¨literature¨ asking you if you´ve heard the word?


    I have made jokes implying that trolls and leprechauns are real, and gotten weird self-righteous responses like "I believe in SCIENCE, I only accept things that are REAL." This has happened to me at least once.

    In my social circles, I usually run up more against militant atheism than militant Christianity. I suppose Christian fundamentalism is more of a political problem, but in my day-to-day life, militant atheism is something I have tended to encounter more. Adding to my annoyance is that I feel that militant atheism shouldn't even exist. Why does atheism need to "balance out" fundamentalists?

    I'd also like to be able to acknowledge that religion exists as a cultural phenomenon without it always turning into the same stupid atheism vs. theism debate.
    [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:
    http://kevan.org/johari?name=Birddude78

  8. #28
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    "-isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself."


  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    [...] I feel that militant atheism shouldn't even exist. Why does atheism need to "balance out" fundamentalists?

    I'd also like to be able to acknowledge that religion exists as a cultural phenomenon without it always turning into the same stupid atheism vs. theism debate.
    Those are your rules, not mine.

    I figure “marketplace-of-ideas” rules apply here. There’s no great injury being done to anyone here; no one is being left dead on the side of the road. It’s just an inconvenience for one side or the other. At worst, you have to put up with the occasional atheist troll on a message board or in your social circles. If you don’t like it, there are easy remedies: find a moderated message board for religious people and choose your friends from your Sunday School class.

    In the US, at least, it’s “marketplace-of-ideas” rules: We mix it up, and we accept that not everyone is going to agree with us. As I see it, the bottom line is that you just don’t like the fact that there are some new players in town.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpankyMcFly View Post
    When was the last time a militant atheist knocked on your door and asked to discuss atheism with you? Or stood along the street with their ¨literature¨ asking you if you´ve heard the word? I do not think these kinds of activities are militant per se, but certainly are very organized. I´m going to go out on a limb here and say if militant atheists did this it would cause quite a ruckus. Why aren´t groups like these also labeled militant?

    On a personal note, I label myself an atheist and frankly I really don´t care about what other people believe or don´t believe in, insofar as it does not affect me, live and let live, be happy and all that. Therein lies the rub. As I read and hear about public policy and political discussions, religion and religious belief are often the basis for peoples values & perspectives i.e. using drugs like marijuana is ¨immoral¨, capital punishment is ¨an eye for an eye¨, teaching intelligent design (repackaged creationism) in public school (which actually passed then was overturned in Kansas), the majority of the home schooling movement in the U.S., abortion and birth control pills, condoms, sex education in school, etc.

    I really wanna just be left alone, but if you insist on projecting your religious based values into public policy, indirectly affecting me, I feel the need to stand up and be heard.
    +1
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