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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemo View Post
    What do you guys think of this quote?

    "People go to church for the same reasons they go to a tavern: to stupefy themselves, to forget their misery, to imagine themselves, for a few minutes anyway, free and happy... [As a] jealous lover of human liberty, deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."

    - Mikhail Bakunin

    I had a huge discussion with one of my friends about it, who is something of a Deist, but I won't introduce our positions just right now in order to not influence this discussion.

    So, thoughts?
    Bakunin took a pretty hard line, whereas I've already mentioned that I'm personally pretty tolerant of religion and religious people.

    One might simplify the question: Do most atheists want to simply co-exist alongside believers, or do they actively want to overthrow and "abolish" religion?

    I don't know if surveys have been done along that line. But I'm in the former camp.

    (Oh well, I'm out of here for the night.)

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    I don't think I'm communicating very clearly. I don't mean that scientists should just leap to accept any old theory- just that when the initial response to a new theory is to ridicule it, that doesn't strike me as "genuinely cautious and professional." It strikes me as entrenched. That's not really bad, it's just human. And that's why there are standards outside of any one person or community's standards, as the link posted by Sassafrassquatch (I'm having that username shortening dilemma again) said. I fully expect that if they were confronted with irrefutable evidence that they would come around.
    Well, I suppose we would have to drum up the specific instance you mentioned and examine it more closely. Maybe the new theory was "Chariots of the Gods" stuff (empty fad theory, obvious junk science) and worthy of ridicule. Or maybe the experts didn't ridicule it per se; maybe they were just vociferous about not getting on the bandwagon until they had had a chance to look at the evidence themselves. I don't know the specific case you're referring to, so I don't know what was going on there.

    FWIW, I think that the "global warming" debate is a good example of legitimate scientific theory being in flux and hotly debated. There is a lot of circus and hot air surrounding that particular debate, especially when the politicians and the media get involved. But there are also a lot of serious scientists who genuinely want to get to the bottom of it. It's just that there are a lot of different ways to measure the evidence, and some scientists are still needing more proofs.

    You could call it closed-mindedness on the part of scientists who might still be holding out. But I think that would be selling some of those guys short. It's just that it's still a legitimate debate in some respects, and not everyone is convinced yet. [shrugs shoulders]

    [Not that I want to debate global warming here. It's just an example.]

    [Okay, I'm really dropping out of the thread now. ]

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemo View Post
    What do you guys think of this quote?

    "People go to church for the same reasons they go to a tavern: to stupefy themselves, to forget their misery, to imagine themselves, for a few minutes anyway, free and happy... [As a] jealous lover of human liberty, deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."

    - Mikhail Bakunin
    Right off the bat, it doesn't resonate with me.

    He defines human liberty as being the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity. Huh????

    How can that be?? That doesn't make sense to me.

    The existence or nonexistence of God has very little to do with why people go to church.

    Yeah, I don't like it, or him.

    He's dogmatic, in that he's selling/preaching the condition of "all that we admire and respect in humanity" as being ultimate and absolute. Aren't admiration and respect inherently subjectively derived? And who is he talking about with this we? The universal we? The "We"? What if people of the "We" admire and respect contradictory things, what then?

    Yeah, he really doesn't jive well with me.

    Like I read that quote and my head hurts because he is asserting things that are fallacious and connecting disparate ideas, yeah headache, someone please help.
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  4. #54
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    Also, re: if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.

    He needs to define what type of hypothetical God it would be, and why if he did exist it would be necessary to abolish him.

    Something about that statement is very humany, (in a bad way), to me. Like if God exists he is an asshole and we would need to get rid of him.

    I dunno, thoughts?
    `
    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

  5. #55
    The Destroyer Colors's Avatar
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    I'm an atheist. I wasn't born believing in God. And I haven't seen/heard anything that has changed that.

    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine
    One might simplify the question: Do most atheists want to simply co-exist alongside believers, or do they actively want to overthrow and "abolish" religion?

    I don't know if surveys have been done along that line. But I'm in the former camp.
    Sometimes I get very frustrated with religion and feel like I am in this second group. These instances are generally knee-jerk reactions, sort of a defensive manuever for when I feel threatened/attacked for my atheism.

    There are many religious people in the world. And many of those people probably believe in a god/ gods. Therefore blanket statments about them are bound to be useless.

    What frustrates me is when people use religion/ belief in god(s) as a crutch of explanation/judgment:

    "Sex outside of marriage is morally wrong/ a sin. It says so in this document, and people who are morally right have been doing this chasity ceremony for generations in order to avoid punishment in the afterlife."
    VS
    "Sex is an intimate act that has serious reasons (reproduction) and serious possible consequences (reproduction, STDs, etc). The risks are reduced and the positive benefits are increased when sex occurs within an emotionally stable/healthy relationship between two people. Marriage is a committment which is conducive to a stable/healthy relationship."

    What adds to this frustration sometimes is the perception of some religious people that I can't understand their viewpoint, while they perfectly understand mine, which they see as nihilism (unhappy and empty and cold), essentially. Of course, this perception can also go the opposite way- I have met people whom I've fell/felt saw the world as a magically-illogical place full of hellfire and self-righteousness.

    I suppose I can conceive of religion as composing of various elements of philosophy, culture/cultural traditions, mythology, and superstition. What I would most want to stress to the religious world is that as an atheist I am not lacking in these areas- I merely haven't bought into the package deal.

  6. #56
    Senior Member nemo's Avatar
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    I interpreted Bakunin as saying this:

    People have faith for incredibly bad reasons, and in becoming "faithful" they're throwing away their basic human liberties. If God really did exist to legitimize this phenomenon, it would be necessary to destroy him in order to preserve this "human liberty."

    Interestingly, I've heard many religious people argue along these lines: they claim that, since faith requires a belief in the unknown, any absolute declaration of the existence of God would destroy their faith and the entire point of religion and what people get from it.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick
    He's dogmatic, in that he's selling/preaching the condition of "all that we admire and respect in humanity" as being ultimate and absolute. Aren't admiration and respect inherently subjectively derived?
    Ah, you're beginning to get into my objections with is quote.

    I'll write more later. Going out now.
    You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. - Jack London

  7. #57

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    I find this thread fascinating, and I hope that I am welcome considering that I am a believer. For the record, I don't find the thread offensive. I think everyone deserves their own little corner to talk about what they want.

    As for the Bakunin quote, I think what he fails to understand is that religion may in fact dovetail with one's personal philosophy instead of controlling it. i.e., one may choose religion simply because it reflects their personal values instead of adjusting one's values because religion is present. The biggest problem I have with anti-religion arguments is that they seem to discount that belief in God may come from self-examination and serious thought instead of by group dynamics or something more menacing like brainwashing.

    I think that the problem believers and atheists have is that they argue from divergent points of view. To have a healthy and productive debate, I think the debaters must share some common assumptions, and I don't think there are any common assumptions between believers and atheists. The point of faith is that you believe without proof. It's sort of like a marriage. You don't KNOW that your spouse won't betray you, but you take the plunge and you believe, because that is what's needed to get it done. You accept the risk that you end up looking the fool because the rewards are worth it. To an extent, I think atheists aren't willing to risk looking the fool. Which is fine.

    I guess in the end, I think that pure logic leaves the door open for God, even if it doesn't prove him. And I think that my senses fill in the rest.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

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    /Nohari

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMWarner View Post
    The biggest problem I have with anti-religion arguments is that they seem to discount that belief in God may come from self-examination and serious thought instead of by group dynamics or something more menacing like brainwashing.
    Yep.. Faith can be a beautiful thing. I have tried in earnest to make myself a person of faith, and instead have chosen to live my life with spirit and and a healthy dose of optimism.. I do feel like I'm part of this incredible movement.. life.. and it gives me so much enthusiasm to go about my daily life.

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    Hallmark card faith makes me queasy...

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemo View Post
    What do you guys think of this quote?

    "People go to church for the same reasons they go to a tavern: to stupefy themselves, to forget their misery, to imagine themselves, for a few minutes anyway, free and happy... [As a] jealous lover of human liberty, deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."

    - Mikhail Bakunin

    I had a huge discussion with one of my friends about it, who is something of a Deist, but I won't introduce our positions just right now in order to not influence this discussion.

    So, thoughts?
    1) Only some people go to church to stupefy themselves, but those with integrity go in order to be edified in understanding.

    2) It seems Mr. Bakunin is an incompatibilist, libertarian free will-er (for lack of a better term). His position undermines itself: if human action cannot be determined--upon pain of losing moral responsibility--then nothing determines how I act, which means I don't determine how I act. If I don't determine how I act, then no act is my act, and so no act is my free act--thus human liberty and moral responsibilty go out the window.

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