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  1. #221
    Senior Member Stevo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    The USSR was officially an atheist state.
    I never claimed it wasn't---but its actions and policies were guided by the principles and ideology of communism, not atheism. This was the point I was trying to make.

  2. #222
    Senior Member Stevo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    Well so we can find more common ground, let's approach it from a different perspective.

    Granted there are Islamic and Christian fundamentalists who espouse violent means. Do they do this only because they are fundamentalists? No. Do they do this only because they are Muslims/Christians? No. Do they do this only because they are theist? No. Do they do this because they are theist, Christian/Muslim, and fundamentalist? Not completely. There must be other social, economic, or political considerations when explaining the roots of the violence.

    True, people have fought "in the name of God" and gotten others to fight alongside them. People have killed for heretical deviation of doctrine. True, all of these instances cannot historically be unlinked from politics. Blaming all this killing on theism is not a good thing.

    Take it a step further. I hope you will agree that not all religions are theistic. There are atheistic religions. Religion does not require belief in a creator God. Such religions have been involved in wars. But we cannot attribute the violence to atheism.

    So we all know that one need neither be a theist nor an atheist to engage in violence. However at this point, one could still argue that religion causes more violence than secularism. Religion, more accurately competing religions, makes groups and individuals susceptible to violent behavior. An organizer can appeal to religious grievances and mobilize an armed force. That same organizer can also use ethnic differences, tribalism, economic exclusion, nationalism, among many other things. Violence often occurs with these other things, and without the presence of religion. Yet there are no or few calls for the ending of ethnicity or tribal or all economic structures, even though ethnic or tribal or economic disputes are often the "cause" for violence. Instead we hear calls more often for peaceful coexistence, dialogue, political action.

    Degrees of exclusion, isolation, difference, belonging to a group, social structure in any form are the real "root" of violence in the sense that the New Atheists mean. Violence is human. It's been here before religion, before monotheism, before atheism, before everything. Violence is, in a sense, natural and not exclusive to any belief or disbelief.



    Now, when people here say "Atheists" a lot of the time mean those who advocate the primacy of human reason, science, and secularism. For better or worse, those things are becoming the characteristics of a group. It remains to be seen what it will do if it's ever as a group, singled out for something like economic repression, ideological cleansing, political fault line formation, etc. All hypothetical and unlikely, but the hypothetical capacity for group structure and ideology formation is there. Though these hypothetical malcontents may not use the battle cry "for atheism!" they could use something like "for rationality" "for science" "for demystification" or something that the atheistic trait is only a part of.

    I don't think this will happen, but I don't think any group is impervious to the temptation or justification of violence.
    To these statements, I cannot disagree. I can only hope that the secular humanist movement that I consider myself a part of will never take those steps. Because if they do, I'll no longer be able to consider myself one, and it's just such a darn good description of my philosophy towards life.

  3. #223
    Junior Member Danikov's Avatar
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    I don't think it's unreasonable for people to write such things and have such opinions. I do feel some atheist writers misrepresent atheists in general and, even if they were 100% right in trying to destroy religion, they're going about it in the wrong way. However, I also don't see atheism as anything special, whereas a lot of atheists do seem to, and that frustrates me greatly.

    Atheists see logic as their root axiom (an axiom being something that's considered to be self-evident). Theists see faith as their root axiom. Objectively, neither has any merit that ranks it above the other, and most people refuse to admit that they're subjective and see the big picture. They're rather elevate themselves and feel superior thinking that they're right.

    I'd agree that the two are currently mutually exclusive and are principally opposed to each other, but that doesn't mean that the people who hold such beliefs will be in opposition with one another. The world doesn't entirely work in the 'why can't we all get along' way, but a large part of it does. Most of the advances we benefit from today wouldn't exist if humanity were perpetually intolerant and non-cooperative. We also embrace conflict and competition, but there's vast differences between individuals proving their superiority, difference of opinion, and forcing opinions on others.

  4. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo View Post
    I never claimed it wasn't---but its actions and policies were guided by the principles and ideology of communism, not atheism. This was the point I was trying to make.
    Atheism is an element of Communist ideology, so please stop dancing around the issue.

  5. #225
    What is, is. Arthur Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danikov View Post
    I don't think it's unreasonable for people to write such things and have such opinions. I do feel some atheist writers misrepresent atheists in general
    Well, there is always going to be a few angry and extremely vocal individuals within any group of people, or at least groups such as: atheism, theism, satanism, etc. If people are completely willing to found their opinions on any group based upon the actions of one or more, so long as it's not the entire group or the larger portion of it, disagreeable people then they are just ignorant. The thing is though, I'm not entirely sure if they are misrepresenting you. Why do you feel as though they are?

    and, even if they were 100% right in trying to destroy religion, they're going about it in the wrong way.
    What's the right way?

    However, I also don't see atheism as anything special, whereas a lot of atheists do seem to, and that frustrates me greatly.
    I'm sorry you feel that way. Just kidding.

    Atheists see logic as their root axiom (an axiom being something that's considered to be self-evident). Theists see faith as their root axiom. Objectively, neither has any merit that ranks it above the other, and most people refuse to admit that they're subjective and see the big picture. They're rather elevate themselves and feel superior thinking that they're right.
    If there is no god then logic trumps faith and vice versa with a god. Only one is right and only that truth has any merit. One of us can legitimately feel superior so let's all do it.

    I'd agree that the two are currently mutually exclusive and are principally opposed to each other, but that doesn't mean that the people who hold such beliefs will be in opposition with one another.
    Belief-wise they will be in opposition, always, since they are opposite.

    The world doesn't entirely work in the 'why can't we all get along' way, but a large part of it does.
    Yes, a large part of it gets along but the larger portion of it is in turmoil.

    Most of the advances we benefit from today wouldn't exist if humanity were perpetually intolerant and non-cooperative.
    Sure.

    We also embrace conflict and competition, but there's vast differences between individuals proving their superiority, difference of opinion, and forcing opinions on others.
    Sure.
    INTJ | 5w4 - Sp/Sx/So | 5-4-(9/1) | RLoEI | Melancholic-Choleric | Johari & Nohari

    This will not end well...
    But it will at least be poetic, I suppose...

    Hmm... But what if it does end well?
    Then I suppose it will be a different sort of poetry, a preferable sort...
    A sort I could become accustomed to...



  6. #226
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    Danikov, post 219 is correct. I confused my views with "atheist books." However, I'd add that it seems likely that the percentage of atheists that would claim religion is a harmful force should mirror that of religious who claim the same of atheism.

    Edit: I think MM just said the same thing. What would be a better approach for atheists in your opinion? You mentioned social sciences earlier.

  7. #227
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    A wonderful book (series): 'The Criminal History of Christianity' by Karlheinz Deschner.

  8. #228
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Well, if you decide to combine both the USSR and the PRC, then you could conclude that Athiests are not the nicest in the world. However, this brings up an important point -- religious violence (or anti-religious violence) is caused by mixing it with politics, it is not the religion (or atheism) alone.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  9. #229

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    A hell of a lot of sophistry has crept into this thread, to be honest I'm not surprised its on the side of the athiests.

    The reality is that power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely and it doesnt matter whether its religion or ideology which is corrupted, atheism is and has been as easily corrupted as theism.

    During the French Revolution revolutionary deists and the cult of reason tried to carry out atrocities deliberately which would make religious ones pale by comparison, the secularist authorities of that same revolution pretty quickly took a turn into what can only be described as inquisitorial terror.

    That is if you believe all tales of the inquisition and those are effectively a propaganda coup, started with the reformation and revived with every great social or ideological upheavel since.

    Communism, Fascism and other modernist ideologies where equally Godless and both they and their detractors or opposition emphased that point, I'm not sure if its on Youtube still but there was archive footage from about the fifties in which public information broadcasts sought to influence the public and generally began with "They are Godless".

    Atheism has destroyed a great many because it has taken on the character of a rot, it is not monolithic or seeking to seize power and enforce its mandates, generally, but it is a slowly growing and culturally pervasive phenomenon which from Chesterton to now should be imposed not because it involves believing in nothing but makes it possible to believe in anything.

    I seriously think that permissiveness, crisis of authority at the individual and social level, disrespect and discurtisy are just among a very few of the consequences of disintegration of religious precepts and norms, all the while when this is happening instead of instituting anything better or anything different with an equivocal role athiests have gone on seeking to undermine faith. They have had an ample supply of bad religion to attack, most of it historical now or from cultural contexts foreign and alien to the public they seek to appeal to, but the attacks on the bad also undermine the good or, frankly, neutral.

    That all has consequences, its basically an attempted erasure of a complete host of enduring norms, values, structures and precepts, many of which have served really importantly in the social unconscious.

    There is no good guaranteed and most of the leading lights of atheism, despite public records of optimism, can really be described as great people, they all have also admitted to psychological disturbance, despair and illness or they exemplify a combative mindset, they live for a struggle with their perceived opponents and admit themselves no doubts or second thoughts. To be honest AC Grayling is the only one that I can respect at all and only because I've heard interviews with him which afford for a different perspective from that permitted by knowledge of his views in print alone.

  10. #230
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    To address the OP; I don't think atheists are actually the most disliked minority in America, despite consistent public opinion polls suggesting that's the case.

    There's islamophobia, there's homophobia, but there's no atheist-o-phobia. They face little bigotry and prejudice as a group, partially because they rarely group together.

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