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  1. #371
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    I have never encountered any hostility as an atheist when I have been in the US before. I have to agree with @Tellenbach, I think that there are a subset of atheists who are very zealous and stir up a lot of conflict in the community they live in, though maybe it has been easier for me because I am politically conservative.

    Superficially I wouldn't object to secular activism as I share many of the activists' concerns (such as separation of church and state), but often these people are the ones who focus on really pathetic things like disrupting Christmas decorations, turn around and apologise for fundamentalist Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc, and support open borders which allows more religious zealots to enter the country. I therefore see them as politically motivated Leftists, rather than genuine atheists who view religion as a negative force generally.

    The reality is that outside Africa, very few Christians go on killing sprees anymore. Can you say the same for Islam? Abortion/contraception is also much more of an critical issue in third world countries than in the U.S, which actually has a fertility rate (1.9) below the replacement threshold. How many of you knew that?

  2. #372

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    I have never encountered any hostility as an atheist when I have been in the US before. I have to agree with @Tellenbach, I think that there are a subset of atheists who are very zealous and stir up a lot of conflict in the community they live in, though maybe it has been easier for me because I am politically conservative.

    Superficially I wouldn't object to secular activism as I share many of the activists' concerns (such as separation of church and state), but often these people are the ones who focus on really pathetic things like disrupting Christmas decorations, turn around and apologise for fundamentalist Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc, and support open borders which allows more religious zealots to enter the country. I therefore see them as politically motivated Leftists, rather than genuine atheists who view religion as a negative force generally.

    The reality is that outside Africa, very few Christians go on killing sprees anymore. Can you say the same for Islam? Abortion/contraception is also much more of an critical issue in third world countries than in the U.S, which actually has a fertility rate (1.9) below the replacement threshold. How many of you knew that?
    The sorts of political secularism you describe is for the most part the creedos of killjoys whose politics are boring as fuck. I'm sorry but that's the general reaction and I think its justified, the same as I would say about their counter parts who want to ban music, dance or good times.

    I've said before, and probably even in this thread, there's a problem with contrasting good atheism and bad religion or vice versa, there are serious and real faults in each creedo. I dont think that atheism is a negative force in the world, largely because I dont think it is a force in the world and because, in many ways, of how it is constituted I dont believe it can be, now I know for many reasons atheists would want it that way. Although I think that religion can be a force for good or a negative force in the world. There's atheists (Erich Fromm, Karl Marx) who've thought so and agnostics (Mark Vernon).

    Was interesting to read what you had to say, there are political over laps which seem to matter a lot in the discussion of this topic.

  3. #373
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The sorts of political secularism you describe is for the most part the creedos of killjoys whose politics are boring as fuck. I'm sorry but that's the general reaction and I think its justified, the same as I would say about their counter parts who want to ban music, dance or good times.
    Some atheists are authoritarian in a very similar way to religious people - they want to ban things/ideas that offend their sense of morality. Atheism of course has no creed, but unfortunately it is a tenant of many revolutionary political philosophies so people conflate the two. I don't lose sleep over the chance I might offend somebody, as I know I will. Only a bully uses force to silence people they fear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I've said before, and probably even in this thread, there's a problem with contrasting good atheism and bad religion or vice versa, there are serious and real faults in each creedo. I dont think that atheism is a negative force in the world, largely because I dont think it is a force in the world and because, in many ways, of how it is constituted I dont believe it can be, now I know for many reasons atheists would want it that way. Although I think that religion can be a force for good or a negative force in the world. There's atheists (Erich Fromm, Karl Marx) who've thought so and agnostics (Mark Vernon).
    I don't know if anybody else here has been involved in this, but in 2010-12 the atheist community convulsed because of feminists, who objected to the dominance of white men in our organisations. A woman called Rebecca Watson claimed sexism and discrimination generally was rampant, and said she felt in danger of being raped at events (!!!!). The charges were complete nonsense, of course, but nobody had the mettle to treat this victimhood with the derision it deserved. If you are interested, read up about Elevatorgate. The subsequent fallout and its ideological ramifications have led to prominent atheists being pushed sideways.

    I should add that these events were the catalyst that led me to reject my previously libertarian views, split with the atheist community and move towards nationalism. I joined a couple of nationalist forums in 2012.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Was interesting to read what you had to say, there are political over laps which seem to matter a lot in the discussion of this topic.
    Thanks. My perspective is something of a novelty on here, but there are atheistic people out there who agree with me. Unfortunately we are marginalised by both the left and the right.

  4. #374
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I wonder if enough people make the same mistake if its still a mistake?

    Its interesting how the self-evident changes with time and place dont you think?
    When discussing historical fact, there is a correct answer, whether we are able to uncover it from the historical record or not. History doesn't change in response to, say, democratic processes or repressive ideologies, though either can influence how it is presented. (As they say, historical accounts are written by the victors.)

    What is self-evident can indeed change with respect to education level/content, social customs, political climate, and many other factors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    I have never encountered any hostility as an atheist when I have been in the US before. I have to agree with @Tellenbach, I think that there are a subset of atheists who are very zealous and stir up a lot of conflict in the community they live in, though maybe it has been easier for me because I am politically conservative.
    Every credo has its zealots, atheism being no exception. Your political views may have shielded you from hostility as you say, but the reaction you received in the US would be strongly dependent on where you were. There are regions where atheism, agnosticism, secular humanism, and all manner of non-mainstream spiritual and philosophical thought are commonplace, and there are regions where most people are fairly conservative Christians, and assume everyone else must (or should) be as well. Atheists in these locales often do encounter hostility. I was reading an article just yesterday claiming that in one of our states (North Carolina), it is still illegal for an atheist to hold public office. Even your conservative politics might not get you an exception there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    The reality is that outside Africa, very few Christians go on killing sprees anymore. Can you say the same for Islam? Abortion/contraception is also much more of an critical issue in third world countries than in the U.S, which actually has a fertility rate (1.9) below the replacement threshold. How many of you knew that?
    I am well aware of that. It also applies to people who emigrate from these regions to the west. In any case, I suspect when Islam has reached the current age of Christianity, it will have left behind these violent practices as well - perhaps even sooner, given communication technology available today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I've said before, and probably even in this thread, there's a problem with contrasting good atheism and bad religion or vice versa, there are serious and real faults in each creedo. I dont think that atheism is a negative force in the world, largely because I dont think it is a force in the world and because, in many ways, of how it is constituted I dont believe it can be, now I know for many reasons atheists would want it that way. Although I think that religion can be a force for good or a negative force in the world. There's atheists (Erich Fromm, Karl Marx) who've thought so and agnostics (Mark Vernon).
    It's more that there are good and bad people espousing each credo, and as you write, either/any can be used to justify causing harm, or to promote doing good. I see much greater potential for agnosticism becoming a force in the world than atheism, which is as much a belief as any faith in deity. Agnosticism is the only logically defensible position on the topic, and even the faithful would do well to consider the questions it raises, to help them view their own faith more critically and objectively.
    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...

  5. #375

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    It's more that there are good and bad people espousing each credo, and as you write, either/any can be used to justify causing harm, or to promote doing good. I see much greater potential for agnosticism becoming a force in the world than atheism, which is as much a belief as any faith in deity. Agnosticism is the only logically defensible position on the topic, and even the faithful would do well to consider the questions it raises, to help them view their own faith more critically and objectively.
    I dont think agnosticism is the most logical position when it comes to religious belief because religious belief involves hope without evidence rather than simply a response of "its impossible to tell or know, move on" which rightly or wrongly I'd ascribe to agnosticism.

    In a practical sense I think it would be progressive if anyone religious speaking with anyone who is irreligious or anti-religious would admit to having hope rather than evidence, at least any evidence liable to be acceptable to an irreligious or anti-religious someone who demands evidence. Then they both agree to "move on", ie discuss ethics, politics, practice, whatever.

    Both camps spend a lot of time thinking and arguing over what are intractable positions and only lead to entrenchment and retrenchment, even arguments about the two parties to the dispute not hoping to convince one or the other but believing their dispute could be useful to the undecided gallery of bystanders are entirely unconvincing by this stage.

    NB I dont think that religion or atheism or even agnosticism are necessarily prescriptive rather than descriptive, religion has combined prescription and description, atheism perhaps, in the sense that it is in opposition to religion and agnosticism is the fence sitter.

    Humanism could be the worldly, naturalistic creedo but again its not necessarily prescriptive, it was one of the things I was thinking about when I created the thread about humanism being pessimistic or optimistic.
    Last edited by Survive & Stay Free; 03-21-2015 at 09:30 AM. Reason: addendum

  6. #376
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Who here is an atheist anyway? Just curious what the percentage is, have we polled for this?

    For a potentially small group, the thread is pretty active.
    Indeed! It might be informative to start a straight-up poll. There's also the 'What Religion Do You Practice..." thread in the spirituality subforum, if anyone were motivated enough to tally up the folks who posted there.

  7. #377
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Humanism could be the worldly, naturalistic creedo but again its not necessarily prescriptive, it was one of the things I was thinking about when I created the thread about humanism being pessimistic or optimistic.
    One rule that makes sense, and is shared by many religions, including Christianity, is "don't dish out what you can't take." I think the majority of people might even get on board with that in a hypothetical sense, even if they fail in applying it practically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo
    Superficially I wouldn't object to secular activism as I share many of the activists' concerns (such as separation of church and state), but often these people are the ones who focus on really pathetic things like disrupting Christmas decorations, turn around and apologise for fundamentalist Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc,
    This is actually one of the things that I find very irritating. The reaction some people had to the incidents in Paris clarified a suspicion that had been building in me, that some people had really gone too far with some of this stuff. It doesn't really matter whether the cartoon was offensive or not; the bottom line is that murdering people for it is far worse. causing offense != murder.

    That being said, I also think that painting people with a broad brush and holding them accountable for the actions of a few is also wrong.
    [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. #378
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    I have never encountered any hostility as an atheist when I have been in the US before. I have to agree with Tellenbach, I think that there are a subset of atheists who are very zealous and stir up a lot of conflict in the community they live in, though maybe it has been easier for me because I am politically conservative.
    Eh, unless you're rubbing shoulders with the most rabid of U.S. conservative ideologues -- I don't know who you hang with while you're in the States, so I leave that judgment to you -- I doubt the lack of hostility has to do with your personal politics. I'm guessing you don't get ranty or smarmy about your atheism, and probably don't even go out of your way to tell people you're an atheist. So most Americans probably A) assume you're a Christian, and/or B) don't care what you do or don't believe. Which has been my experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    Superficially I wouldn't object to secular activism as I share many of the activists' concerns (such as separation of church and state), but often these people are the ones who focus on really pathetic things like disrupting Christmas decorations, turn around and apologise for fundamentalist Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc, and support open borders which allows more religious zealots to enter the country. I therefore see them as politically motivated Leftists, rather than genuine atheists who view religion as a negative force generally.
    I'm curious about these atheist haters of Xmas decorations who also apologize for non-Christian fundamentalism, if you can remember any names or sources.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    The reality is that outside Africa, very few Christians go on killing sprees anymore. Can you say the same for Islam? Abortion/contraception is also much more of an critical issue in third world countries than in the U.S, which actually has a fertility rate (1.9) below the replacement threshold. How many of you knew that?
    I know these things, though I don't know what they have to do with anything.

  9. #379
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    This is actually one of the things that I find very irritating. The reaction some people had to the incidents in Paris clarified a suspicion that had been building in me, that some people had really gone too far with some of this stuff. It doesn't really matter whether the cartoon was offensive or not; the bottom line is that murdering people for it is far worse. causing offense != murder.

    That being said, I also think that painting people with a broad brush and holding them accountable for the actions of a few is also wrong.
    I'm also curious about these reactions that have built up your suspicions; all I remember is Je suis Charlie and outrage at the murderers from everywhere, including modern mosques.

  10. #380
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    I'm also curious about these reactions that have built up your suspicions; all I remember is Je suis Charlie and outrage at the murderers from everywhere, including modern mosques.
    Oh, of course. Similarly, a lot of Muslim organizations in France came out against that attack on the Kosher grocery store that happened around the same time.

    I'm referring more to the response from certain quarters on the internet. Maybe I'm overstating it's importance, because I spend too much time online.... but there was a lot of handwringing about how the cartoons were offensive, and how all the people defending freedom of speech are only saying that because they secretly hate Muslims/Arabs. The implication was made that if I defended the freedom of speech of the magazine editors, I was somehow saying it was ok with revenge killings against Muslims. I am not.

    There was an odd unspoken assumption that merely mentioning Islamic fundamentalism (when it obviously exists) was racist. Talking about Islamic fundamentalist is not the same thing as saying "kill all the Muslims", and the fact that it was equated with that kind of strikes me as being hypocritical, and disturbing, even.

    I'm curious about these atheist haters of Xmas decorations who also apologize for non-Christian fundamentalism, if you can remember any names or sources.
    Thing is, though, there are actually atheists who seem uncomfortable with criticizing Islamic fundamentalism, as strange as that may sound; he's not making that up. Some of them are congregating on Tumblr; others are getting it from hack journalism and regurgitating it.

    It's really easy, guys. You can criticize Islamic fundamentalism and killing random Muslims at the same time. It's not hard!
    [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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