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  1. #291
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    That's a pretty broad generalisation of a very wide ranging and very different and disparite traditions there, you sure you want to do that?

    I'm prepared to make distinctions between humanistic and non-humanistic religion or philosophy, I'm prepared to acknowledge there's "good" and "bad" atheism or religion, although this makes it appear like you dont accept any definition of that sort.

    I dont believe that any religious leaders have been able to command unquestioning obedience for a long time, I think that the secular authorities would have difficulty too, perhaps if they had stoked peoples sense of threat enough but it wouldnt be as its been in the past. Perhaps I'm mistaken about that.

    The things which command that sort of allegiance now are emotionally charged and ill conceived vagaries, people are willing to put people out of work, out of business, censor them, silence them and ultimately try to control their thinking, all the more insidious because no one realises what's going on. Its a totally leaderless phenomenon, kind of like the total and utter opposite of a furherprinzip but you want to bet its as dangerous.
    My generalization is quite intentional, and based in the definition and nature of religion as something (1) accepted without proof as a belief system, and (2) dealing with weighty issues of morality, judgment, God, the afterlife, etc. When leaders can threaten followers with eternal damnation, hell, losing the favor of God, etc. and cannot be expected to back up their claim because it all rests on faith, this is a powerful tool for motivating if not outright controlling the masses. Any religion can be used for this purpose, just as any can be used to motivate good and compassion for ones fellow creatures. I therefore see far less difference between religions, and much more difference between people and the ends to which they put it. If you want examples of blind or uncritical obedience today, just look at fundamentalists within any faith.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...
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  2. #292
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    Is it? I mean, beyond what we'd expect from growing populations?

    In any case, I have high hopes that as time goes on -- and assuming peoples' quality of life generally goes up -- religion will eventually become less obtrusive and more like...

    "I'm a christian because I'm a big ol' lover at heart, and I just love psalm-rock!"

    "I'm a hindu because it's the GOR*! Also, the Mahadeva trinity really speaks to me and reminds me that everything is a cycle."

    *Grand Old Relig'

    "I'm a muslim because the discipline really helps me structure my day. Plus I love wearing the burqa once a year on Halloween!"

    "Oh I don't go to temple, religion isn't my thing."

    "That's cool. Hey, let's hit the soccer field!"
    I think of religions as being a bit like culture. We all grow up with one (to include, here, atheism or agnosticism), and it colors many things about our lives. Some of us get more into it than others. Some of us make fun of other cultures. Some of us have fun experiencing and learning from other cultures. Some of us adopt a new culture by marriage or geographic relocation. There's nothing wrong with putting our own culture first by default, but that doesn't mean we denigrate the culture of others. And most of us don't.

    It makes me think of my Indian friend sharing her lentil recipes with me, while I shared my Italian foods. I didn't stop cooking Italian food, but now I have some Indian foods in my repertoire as well.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...
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  3. #293
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    I've been getting a kick out of reading the Christian Answers which Arthur Schopenhauer linked, and feel the need to talk about its perception of atheism. From the bottom of the page:

    Quote Originally Posted by Why the Atheist Doesn't Exist
    To say categorically, “There is no God,” is to make an absolute statement. For the statement to be true, I must know for certain that there is no God in the entire universe. No human being has all knowledge. Therefore, none of us is able to truthfully make this assertion.

    If you insist upon disbelief in God, what you must say is, “Having the limited knowledge I have at present, I believe that there is no God.” Owing to a lack of knowledge on your part, you don’t know if God exists. So, in the strict sense of the word, you cannot be an atheist. The only true qualifier for the title is the One who has absolute knowledge, and why on earth would God want to deny His own existence?
    As a supposedly effective evangelist, I don't know why the writer would encourage his readers to presuppose the existence of the Christian god in a conversation with atheists. I don't know about other atheists, but that'd put me on immediate guard and bring the words 'arrogant' and 'know-it-all' to mind. Which the writer amusingly thinks atheists are. Maybe he just can't help himself?

    More interestingly is the angle of his claim: The dictionary defines atheism in a technically impossible manner, and therefore there are no atheists. So, Tippo's assumption, basically. I can't decide whether this is a genuine preoccupation with the dictionary and an assumption that all atheists follow the same definition of atheism, or merely a 'Atheism doesn't exist so HA!' tactic that his readers can use to fluster and distract atheists.

    For reference, two popular dictionaries define atheism as:

    Merriam-Webster
    a: a disbelief in the existence of deity
    b: the doctrine that there is no deity

    Oxford English
    Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God. Also, Disregard of duty to God, godlessness (practical atheism).

    After reading these definitions, I can see how someone who's never talked to an atheist might get some of the ideas that seem to pervade religious assumptions. The second MWD definition puts atheism in an immediately misleading religious context -- an atheist 'doctrine' sure does imply that atheism is a belief structure rather than a lack of belief. The OED definition similarly puts atheism in a religious context -- the denial and disregard of a thing sure does make it sound like an entire group of people hate that thing. Thus, the misperception that atheists really believe in God deep down, but deny Him as a sort of childish 'You're not my real Creator!' reaction.
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  4. #294
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    There's a page on Christian Answers entitled 44 Questions for the Not-Yet-a-Believer -- talk about arrogant presumptions! -- and I've been trying to make sense of the mindset which they come from. For example, there are only two questions out of the forty-four which acknowledge the existence of other religions:

    Quote Originally Posted by 44 Questions for the Not-Yet-a-Believer
    19. Why does the Bible alone, of all of the world's 'holy' books, contain such detailed prophecies of future events?

    29. Have you ever considered the fact that Christianity is the only religion whose leader is said to have risen from the dead?
    Most of the questions don't acknowledge other religions, and seven of them explicitly present Christianity as the only existant religion:

    Quote Originally Posted by 44 Questions for the Not-Yet-a-Believer
    6. Wouldn't it make better sense, even pragmatically, to live as though the God of the Bible does exist than as though He doesn't?

    9. If the Bible is not true, why is it so universally regarded as the 'Good Book'?

    16. Isn't it somewhat arrogant to suggest that countless churches and people (including men like Abraham Lincoln) are all radically in error in their view of the Bible?

    20. On what basis can the Bible (interpreted as per historic Christian orthodoxy) be challenged as a sole, final truth-standard (Galatians 1:8)?

    37. Is your unbelief in a perfect God possibly the result of a bad experience with an imperfect Church or a misunderstanding of the facts, and therefore an unfair rejection of God Himself?
    And two questions are implicit assumptions of the Christianity vs. atheism false dilemma:

    Quote Originally Posted by 44 Questions for the Not-Yet-a-Believer

    22. Is it possible that your unbelief in God is actually an unwillingness to submit to Him?

    44. What would be required to persuade you to become a believer?
    Which has got me wondering "Don't these evangelists know that all religions are part of the vast body of evidence in favor of non-belief? And that so often failing to acknowledge them just demonstrates a lack of understanding?" But then a thought struck me:

    What if some Christians think that atheism is a rejection not of religion as a whole, but of Christianity specifically?

    Atheism as a recognized -ism is most prevalent in first world nations which happen to be dominantly Christian, so I could see someone making the assumption that the former is a reaction to the latter. Many if not most public theism vs. atheism debate points focus on the Bible, and most debates happen to be Christian Guy vs. Atheist Guy for this very reason. Atheism as 'anti-Christianity' would certainly explain the spite coming from some of the Christians on this very thread. This possible misconception also feeds into the persecution complex that many Christian fundies seem to have.

    Any thoughts from believers or non-believers?

  5. #295

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    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    There's a page on Christian Answers entitled 44 Questions for the Not-Yet-a-Believer -- talk about arrogant presumptions! -- and I've been trying to make sense of the mindset which they come from. For example, there are only two questions out of the forty-four which acknowledge the existence of other religions:

    Most of the questions don't acknowledge other religions, and seven of them explicitly present Christianity as the only existant religion:
    It doesn't make sense to me that a faith-based religion would say anything more or anything less.

    And two questions are implicit assumptions of the Christianity vs. atheism false dilemma:

    Which has got me wondering "Don't these evangelists know that all religions are part of the vast body of evidence in favor of non-belief?

    And that so often failing to acknowledge them just demonstrates a lack of understanding?" But then a thought struck me:
    That doesn't sound right. Maybe I don't understand the question. Respectfully, I have to ask, do you understand faith and how it works? What does faith mean to you?

    What if some Christians think that atheism is a rejection not of religion as a whole, but of Christianity specifically?
    I've never heard that. I think you may be over-thinking this!

    Atheism as a recognized -ism is most prevalent in first world nations which happen to be dominantly Christian, so I could see someone making the assumption that the former is a reaction to the latter. Many if not most public theism vs. atheism debate points focus on the Bible, and most debates happen to be Christian Guy vs. Atheist Guy for this very reason. Atheism as 'anti-Christianity' would certainly explain the spite coming from some of the Christians on this very thread. This possible misconception also feeds into the persecution complex that many Christian fundies seem to have.

    Any thoughts from believers or non-believers?
    I would guess many Christians have had a spiritual or holy-spirit experience that the Bible talks about, which solidified their faith. I'm one of those folks. I don't imagine anyone that's ever been touched by god is ever the same or ever goes back to disbelief. The kind of spiritual awakening and knowledge I'm talking about is not something that can be taught to the natural mind of a skeptic. One has to experience the holy spirit for themselves. In order to facilitate that, simple faith, an open heart, and communication with god are necessary.

  6. #296
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skinny-Love View Post
    I would guess many Christians have had a spiritual or holy-spirit experience that the Bible talks about, which solidified their faith. I'm one of those folks. I don't imagine anyone that's ever been touched by god is ever the same or ever goes back to disbelief. The kind of spiritual awakening and knowledge I'm talking about is not something that can be taught to the natural mind of a skeptic. One has to experience the holy spirit for themselves. In order to facilitate that, simple faith, an open heart, and communication with god are necessary.
    Fortunately it is untrue to say that the Bible and faith are necessary to have a genuine spiritual experience.

    More and more people in the West are having genuine spiritual experience without religion.

    A good place to start is the book by Sam Harris called, Waking Up: Spirituality Without Religion.

  7. #297

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Fortunately it is untrue to say that the Bible and faith are necessary to have a genuine spiritual experience.

    More and more people in the West are having genuine spiritual experience without religion.

    A good place to start is the book by Sam Harris called, Waking Up: Spirituality Without Religion.
    Oh, I know. I've met a few counterfeit spirits in my day and I'm not talking human spirits either.

  8. #298
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skinny-Love View Post
    Oh, I know. I've met a few counterfeit spirits in my day and I'm not talking human spirits either.
    C'mon, you are dealing in counterfeit experience, you speak in cliches, cliches that have been in too many mouths, when the genuine currency of the spirit is freshly minted and spontaneous.

    Imagine the journey you have in front of you before you reach spontaneity.

  9. #299
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    I think get what Lark is saying. Atheists many times are vociferous about their thoughts, and they annoy a lot of people for that. Like that dickhead Richard Dawkins.
    Calling Richard Dawkins a dickhead reflects on the quality of the caller rather than Richard Dawkins who is a great man.

  10. #300

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    C'mon, you are dealing in counterfeit experience, you speak in cliches, cliches that have been in too many mouths, when the genuine currency of the spirit is freshly minted and spontaneous.

    Imagine the journey you have in front of you before you reach spontaneity.
    It takes courage to share my spiritual experiences for fear of sounding crazy because it defies physical laws, but I do it anyway because it's my reality. I share about it to the best of my ability. I take comfort in that I'm not alone; there are others that have experienced what I've experienced.

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