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An Atheist Manifesto

post #1 of 295
Thread Starter 
Five years ago Sam Harris wrote this piece and it is just as relevant today, if not more so given the escalation of religious violence worldwide. I am tired of being treated like a second class citizen because I do not subscribe to belief without reason. In Harris's article, he goes on to eloquently define atheism, expose the hypocrisy of "liberal piety" from religious moderates, demonstrate how good societies do not need a religious foundation, and show that the primary source of political violence in this world is rooted in religion and unreason.

If you are an atheist, I recommend you read this article fully because it succinctly and articulately outlines why religion, even of the more moderate variety, is harmful to our society.

If you are religious, I vehemently recommend you read this article in its entirety because it rationally explains the atheist point of view. Despite the religio-conservative resurgence (which I can only hope are just the death throes of it), we are a growing sector of the population who are done being relegated to the margins of society.

Quote:
There is no society in recorded history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.

Linkage

And his conclusion for you lazy fucks. But really, don't be lazy. This is important. Read the whole thing.

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It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world simply by multiplying the opportunities for interfaith dialogue. The endgame for civilization cannot be mutual tolerance of patent irrationality. While all parties to liberal religious discourse have agreed to tread lightly over those points where their worldviews would otherwise collide, these very points remain perpetual sources of conflict for their coreligionists. Political correctness, therefore, does not offer an enduring basis for human cooperation. If religious war is ever to become unthinkable for us, in the way that slavery and cannibalism seem poised to, it will be a matter of our having dispensed with the dogma of faith.

When we have reasons for what we believe, we have no need of faith; when we have no reasons, or bad ones, we have lost our connection to the world and to one another. Atheism is nothing more than a commitment to the most basic standard of intellectual honesty: Ones convictions should be proportional to ones evidence. Pretending to be certain when one isntindeed, pretending to be certain about propositions for which no evidence is even conceivableis both an intellectual and a moral failing. Only the atheist has realized this. The atheist is simply a person who has perceived the lies of religion and refused to make them his own.

Edit: Link fixed. Excuse me.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #2 of 295
Where to even begin on such a load of bullshit....

How about page three which your link starts at even though it is in the middle of the five page article...

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People of faith regularly claim that atheism is responsible for some of the most appalling crimes of the 20th century. Although it is true that the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were irreligious to varying degrees, they were not especially rational.

First it isn't people of faith who regularly claim atheism is responsible for all these appalling crimes. They are simply facts and assigning them and then dismissing them based off who noted them is a sign of irrationality and bigotry within the mind of the article itself which shows the author, by his own reasoning would not act especially rational as well and thus could be just as guilty.

All the named parties above believed they were taking a scientific approach to humanity and organizing society. The problem was the limits of science within their timeframes or simply the fact that scientific understanding alone does not give on the ability to understand, lead, organize or help humanity. A rational person would look at all those attempts by the various leaders listed and note that the irrelgious approach, having been tried multiple times and failed, not only having failed but having caused massive genocide multiple times, would not advocate for such an approach again. It is akin to advocating for genocide yet another time.

Since the author is to irrational himself to understand this point, why give any validity to his criticisms of religious folks and his eliminationist rhetoric involving them. His argument amounts to nothing more than a justification to march them off to the gas chambers and ovens himself with no remorse.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #3 of 295
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Where to even begin on such a load of bullshit....

How about page three which your link starts at even though it is in the middle of the five page article...



First it isn't people of faith who regularly claim atheism is responsible for all these appalling crimes. They are simply facts and assigning them and then dismissing them based off who noted them is a sign of irrationality and bigotry within the mind of the article itself which shows the author, by his own reasoning would not act especially rational as well and thus could be just as guilty.

All the named parties above believed they were taking a scientific approach to humanity and organizing society. The problem was the limits of science within their timeframes or simply the fact that scientific understanding alone does not give on the ability to understand, lead, organize or help humanity. A rational person would look at all those attempts by the various leaders listed and note that the irrelgious approach, having been tried multiple times and failed, not only having failed but having caused massive genocide multiple times, would not advocate for such an approach again. It is akin to advocating for genocide yet another time.

Since the author is to irrational himself to understand this point, why give any validity to his criticisms of religious folks and his eliminationist rhetoric involving them. His argument amounts to nothing more than a justification to march them off to the gas chambers and ovens himself with no remorse.

Where do we begin with this? How about where you confuse "to" and "too". See, you can make mistakes, too. Being a jerk about it, however, isn't really the way to go about getting your point across.

You make a significant leap yourself in your very first statement. Regimes carrying the tag of atheism may have been responsible, but it was unreason that was the driving force behind the actions.

And your hyperbole in your last paragraph is just pure insanity. You need to get over yousrelf, Trumpet.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #4 of 295
Thread Starter 
A rational person, Trumpet, would see that atheism wasn't the reason behind the genocide. A rational person, Trumpet, would see that it was extreme nationalism, totalitarianism, and a whole host of other isms that have ZERO to do with atheism.

Nazis wore red! Communists had red on their flags! Quick, it's the color red that causes genocides! BAN THE COLOR RED! Any rational person should see that!

*sigh* I really wish you hadn't entered this thread, Trumpet. I thought you were gone. I'm sad to see you back.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #5 of 295
The first thing I think to note before addressing the points below is that a 'manifesto' is in fact a call to action, an attempt to counter something, a statement of belief....even a postited 'solution' to a perceived problem.

The problem can be 'real' or can be argued to seem 'real' (as in political manifestos and some religious ones).

As such it can be seen as sharing many of the underlying principles of religion. Atheism in fact necessarily shares many aspects of the framework of religion..... because these frameworks are human and what we work with when we construct....when these frameworks are promoted as 'the truth' or 'the real and only' then we start to have a problem in religion, atheism, politics or any other human endeavour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

Five years ago Sam Harris wrote this piece and it is just as relevant today, if not more so given the escalation of religious violence worldwide.

Is there an escalation of religious violence? Is what people claim to be religious violence really religious?

To look superficially at a conflict - resurgence of violence between 'Catholics' and 'Protestants' now in Northern Ireland say - and say 'look, that is religious' just because that is the culture of the combatants is irrational.

That's ok. But then don't play the 'rational' card.

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I am tired of being treated like a second class citizen because I do not subscribe to belief without reason.

This is a good example of the 'underlying frameworks' I mentioned in the opening paragraph.

Many people you would label 'religious' are tired of being treated like second-class citizens. Literally. And for them it means a hell of a lot more than it does for you. For some of them it means life and death issue.

Yet, of course, the anger you feel is 'reason' and the anger they feel is 'religious irrationality'.

And how is it belief without reason' - because you say so? what do you know of religious beliefs? Judaism and US Christianity maybe...but even then, how much theology have you studied to arrive at the opinion?

If you have not done a lot of theological research across the whole spectrum of religions - and I know that Harris and Dawkins have not (hence the fall back 'don't need to it is irrational') - to arrive at that conclusion then I would suggest that this is an irrational statement.

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In Harris's article, he goes on to eloquently define atheism, expose the hypocrisy of "liberal piety" from religious moderates, demonstrate how good societies do not need a religious foundation, and show that the primary source of political violence in this world is rooted in religion and unreason.

'Liberal Piety' should be exposed for sure. Is this what Atheism does though? I do not think so.

He does not show this is the source of violence. He CLAIMS it is, fails to prove it and then states it as being self-evidently true. Repeating many times until he and others believe it unquestioningly.

In short, this is what I would call the 'Fundamentalist Religious' approach.

It is self-deception and when Atheists point it out in religious people they are corrext. They cannot see it in thmeselves though and they make an even bigger mistake - as do Fundie religious - which is this: they assume that this is all religion is and that there is no other type of believer or belief.

And then they try to spread this view.

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If you are an atheist, I recommend you read this article fully because it succinctly and articulately outlines why religion, even of the more moderate variety, is harmful to our society.

If you are an atheist you will have read it or be aware of it already.

It's like saying to a Christian 'check out this thing called Church'.

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If you are religious, I vehemently recommend you read this article in its entirety because it rationally explains the atheist point of view. Despite the religio-conservative resurgence (which I can only hope are just the death throes of it), we are a growing sector of the population who are done being relegated to the margins of society.

Could everyone read the above and please tell me the difference between that statement and the following:
If you do not know Jesus, I vehemently recommend you read this tract in its entirety because it rationally explains the Christian message.
Quote:
And his conclusion for you lazy fucks. But really, don't be lazy. This is important. Read the whole thing.

And yet, has he 'read the whole thing' ?

Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism.....and hundreds of others...

And if he has then has he read them as deeply as necessary to arrive at his conclusions?

Or are the answers the same as the religious answers?

Don't need to do the sin to know it is bad...don't need to see 'Life of Brian'....don't need to read Rushdie's book to know it is evil...

One other thing - why the 'Lazy Fucks'? How do you know they are lazy? I would say it is atheists who are lazy in not studying their targets. And why 'Fucks'?

Just to annoy the Fundies? I love to annoy them too but I don't need to say 'Fuck' to do it or resort to actually insulting them. THAT is lazy imo.

Anyway, let's address some ofMr Harris' points, it won't take long:

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It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world simply by multiplying the opportunities for interfaith dialogue.

Why? 'Seem' is personal - it 'seems so' to him...fair enough. It would do with his world view. Why extrapolate it universally though? And where is the evidence in support?

And is it not insulting to downplay the attempts many sincere people make to heal divisions between faiths?

This statement is highly irrational though.....break it down, the claim is:

1) religion is the cause of violence in the world - this is bad
2) it manifests in conflicts between religions - this is bad
3) some people in these religions try to stop this and work for understanding - this is bad

So again, if religion is the cause (though it is not) then why would it be 'unlikely' that healing rifts would fix it?

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The endgame for civilization cannot be mutual tolerance of patent irrationality.

Agreed. And that includes any irrationality that may be evident in Atheism. If the claim is that Atheism has none and is purely rational then it will have to unfortunately go on the list under 'Fundies' and we'll need to deal with that too.

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While all parties to liberal religious discourse have agreed to tread lightly over those points where their worldviews would otherwise collide, these very points remain perpetual sources of conflict for their coreligionists.

Except this is not the only - or even primary - method. Why would someone assume it is?

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Political correctness, therefore, does not offer an enduring basis for human cooperation. If religious war is ever to become unthinkable for us, in the way that slavery and cannibalism seem poised to, it will be a matter of our having dispensed with the dogma of faith.

The only people I know who refer to 'Political Correctness' are Right-Wingers of a certain noxious type. I am now becoming worried.

The more so because No-one to my knowledge has even suggested this...this is seriously concerning...

Btw; not all faiths fall back on dogma. Many do not.

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When we have reasons for what we believe, we have no need of faith; when we have no reasons, or bad ones, we have lost our connection to the world and to one another.

There are always 'reasons for what we believe'. The fact is that other's may not agree with those reasons or fell threatened by them...that in fact is the basis for conflict - NOT the belief itself. It has no religious basis but rather religious intolerance is JUST ONE manifestation of it.

It is essentially the same mechanism as racism - fear of 'those not like us' but in the ideological arena. The same driving force between the Cold-War fear of 'Reds'.

To not see this is to have no basic knowledge of the advances in psychology. Why? This is seriously niave and displays not only a naivete about religion but a frightening lack of awareness of the human condition.

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Atheism is nothing more than a commitment to the most basic standard of intellectual honesty: One’s convictions should be proportional to one’s evidence.

And yet - as in all Fundie systems - this basic tenet is ignored and flouted from the very start.

What intellectual honesty is there in applying universal blanket statements to a phenomena as widespread and disparate as religion WITHOUT SUPPORTING EXAMPLES AND YEARS OF STUDY?

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Pretending to be certain when one isn’t—indeed, pretending to be certain about propositions for which no evidence is even conceivable—is both an intellectual and a moral failing. Only the atheist has realized this.

This is pure Fundamentalism. It speaks of moral failings, claims there is a failing (sin) and shows the answer (redemption). Stop for a while and ponder this from the quote above...no comment on it is needed:

Only the atheist has realized this.

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The atheist is simply a person who has perceived the lies of religion and refused to make them his own.

Not simply. They may have perceived lies in religion but they have constructed their own alternate lies when they outline their belief (yes) that religion is what they say it is.

When they say that because they see a lie then ALL religion is lies.

This is a lie in itself and I think in the final analysis this is the key to the whole matter. Fundies and Atheists are essentially the same type of person - both want to find answers and the 'Truth'.

Truth is hard to find though and in the absence of it the conventionally religious fall back on 'Faith' which, as the Atheists point out, is essentially a form of lying or at least 'giving up the search for truth' and settling for a constructed belief.

Atheists are more honest than this....but not much more.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #6 of 295
Thread Starter 
I appreciate your more in depth and thoughtful examination of the article, Segovius. However, I must fall back upon what Sam Harris said at the very beginning. Atheism isn't something that should need a defense. It is the default position. Religions make the claims. Religions don't support the claims.

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It is worth noting that no one ever need identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist. Consequently, we do not have words for people who deny the validity of these pseudo-disciplines. Likewise, atheism is a term that should not even exist. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. The atheist is merely a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (eighty-seven percent of the population) who claim to never doubt the existence of God should be obliged to present evidence for his existence -- and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day.

Also, Sego, no need to get upset about my use of the phrase lazy fuck. I was simply referring to anyone who doesn't want to read article...religious, non-religious, alchemists, non-alchemists...It came across playfully in my mind, but I suppose that didn't translate to the written word.


Sego, yes, I do want the truth. I do want answers. But I admit I don't have them all. I am positive I won't ever have them all before I die. I choose not to take the easy route and pretend that I do.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply
post #7 of 295
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

This is pure Fundamentalism. It speaks of moral failings, claims there is a failing (sin) and shows the answer (redemption). Stop for a while and ponder this from the quote above...no comment on it is needed:

Only the atheist has realized this.

I believe you are reading too much in that statement and making parallels where they don't really exist.

Pretending to be certain when one isn't is an intellectual and moral failing. It should be clear why this is an intellectual failing. I would say this is also a moral failing because doing so propagates ignorance. I would also say that it is a moral failing only if said person passes on his ideas to others.

If the person who is pretending to be certain despite a lack of evidence truly believes in his position, it is an intellectual and moral failing as above. If the person has realized it and still believes, that person has a double intellectual failure. If the person has realized it, stops believing, but continues to espouse the beliefs for any number of social or political reasons, that person has a double moral failure.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply
post #8 of 295
Naziism was born thanks to Martin Luther. Hitler may not have been very religious himself, but he clearly USED Christianity and the Lutheran anti-semitism to spread his ideas. In this way, Christianity itself is not completely innocent of this crime.
post #9 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

I appreciate your more in depth and thoughtful examination of the article, Segovius. However, I must fall back upon what Sam Harris said at the very beginning. Atheism isn't something that should need a defense. It is the default position. Religions make the claims. Religions don't support the claims.

True...that's the ideal but I sometimes think that people like Dawkins go a bit beyond that.

My main criticism would be that to call something 'Atheism' - I mean as a movement as opposed to an ideology which is what seems to be happening (hence a manifesto I suppose) is in a way to fight the battle on the home ground of the religious.

Why not leave religion and atheism out of it and have a broad sweep of 'opposition to irrationality' perhaps like the Skeptics?

I could get on board with that.

But to dismiss all religion as of no use is erroneous imo. The scientific method that Harris is the heir to is due in a very large part to the efforts of inter-faith religious frameworks in Medieval Spain for example....that would not be the case if those people in that tine were irrational.

In fact, the two faces of religion are clearly viewable in that time; in Europe the Church was suppressing knowledge and continued to oppose it until Galileo and beyond..in Spain they were saving the Greek inheritance (books which were destroyed by the European Church in the main) and it was Jewish, Christian and Muslim people who translated these works and stored them in massive libraries.

Without this then the Western science would not have developed - and the Medieval Spanish religious would not have been able to make their scientific discoveries.

So there are clearly two types of religion; 'rational' and 'irrational' or, if you prefer, rationality can creep into religions sometimes.

To claim otherwise as Harris seems to is dishonest and denies history.

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Also, Sego, no need to get upset about my use of the phrase lazy fuck. I was simply referring to anyone who doesn't want to read article...religious, non-religious, alchemists, non-alchemists...It came across playfully in my mind, but I suppose that didn't translate to the written word.

It doesn't upset me....I am partial to the frequent profanity and obscenity myself. Is very healthy. Was just wondering if you put it there to annoy the prudes.

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Sego, yes, I do want the truth. I do want answers. But I admit I don't have them all. I am positive I won't ever have them all before I die. I choose not to take the easy route and pretend that I do.

Well that's very admirable. I think Dawkins said something once which I almost agree with (think it was him)...something like 'it's ok to not have all the answers'. I think it's ok to realize we never will.

Maybe there are only 'personal answers' anyway...I don't know, I don't have any either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

I believe you are reading too much in that statement and making parallels where they don't really exist.

Pretending to be certain when one isn't is an intellectual and moral failing. It should be clear why this is an intellectual failing. I would say this is also a moral failing because doing so propagates ignorance. I would also say that it is a moral failing only if said person passes on his ideas to others.

But isn't that what Atheists are trying to do now? Hasn't it moved from a personal belief to more of a 'movement' that is propagating itself?
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #10 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Naziism was born thanks to Martin Luther. Hitler may not have been very religious himself, but he clearly USED Christianity and the Lutheran anti-semitism to spread his ideas. In this way, Christianity itself is not completely innocent of this crime.

Nazism owes a lot more to Buddhism actually...specifically Tibetan (the current Dalai Lama has some very interesting connections) and also some other Occult groups.

For anyone interested this is a brilliant study of Nazi origins.

But re Luther; surely the issue here is Racism? Luther was a racist and he was also religious.

But was he a racist BECAUSE he was religious? I would say no. Imo racism would exist without religion. Religion might be used to justify it -as Luther did - but this is not the same thing.

One would have to study the base tenets of the religion in question and analyse the degree to which the founder's teaching was racist. this is the only rational approach: to assess the religion by the inventor rather than by later interpreters.

And if you do that I think you'll find Christ's message was essentially one that is anti-racist. Love your neighbour and all that.

Of course millions of his 'followers' have gone against that but are we talking about them or about the religion...many Atheist thinkers don't seem to make a distinction and that is not very rigorous.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #11 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

Imo racism would exist without religion. Religion might be used to justify it -as Luther did - but this is not the same thing.

You see, that's jut it. Religion IS used to justify racism. And such religiously supported racism is very commonly accepted by the religious. Atheism is never used to justify racism, at least as far as I know. No atheists have ever said all the religious people should be killed or deserve to be killed. Aggressive atheists simply want religious people to stop being religious.
post #12 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

You see, that's jut it. Religion IS used to justify racism. And such religiously supported racism is very commonly accepted by the religious. Atheism is never used to justify racism, at least as far as I know. No atheists have ever said all the religious people should be killed or deserve to be killed. Aggressive atheists simply want religious people to stop being religious.

But my point is that although religion is used to justify racism that still makes the problem RACISM and not religion.

Put another way: if you 'solve' this racism problem by eradicating religion it will not in fact solve it - racism will still exist and something else will be used to justify it.

So the issue is either racism or religion. Both can be a problem but they are not the same problem and cannot be conflated.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #13 of 295
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

You see, that's jut it. Religion IS used to justify racism. And such religiously supported racism is very commonly accepted by the religious. Atheism is never used to justify racism, at least as far as I know. No atheists have ever said all the religious people should be killed or deserve to be killed. Aggressive atheists simply want religious people to stop being religious.

Yeah, an atheist at the most extreme just wants people to look at the universe rationally and stop wasting time, effort, and resources in the name of religion. I don't draw a distinction between atheism and the skepticism that Sego talked about. Skepticism is simply and fundamentally what characterizes an atheist.

I think there are many reasons behind this growing movement of non-believers. Non-belief has been socially unacceptable for far too long. I'm glad we had our first black president, but how about an atheist president? Furthermore, at least in America, religion has decided to start waging a war against science. It's keeping children ignorant by opposing teaching evolution in schools, failing to promote effective birth control techniques* and then vehemently opposing abortion, and just flat out getting in the way of medical progress that would make our only lives on this planet last longer and under better circumstances.




*Remember when the Pope sentenced thousands of Africans to death by telling them using condoms was forbidden? It's bad enough he's a fucking child rapist protector. He's a murderer.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply
post #14 of 295
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

But my point is that although religion is used to justify racism that still makes the problem RACISM and not religion.

Put another way: if you 'solve' this racism problem by eradicating religion it will not in fact solve it - racism will still exist and something else will be used to justify it.

So the issue is either racism or religion. Both can be a problem but they are not the same problem and cannot be conflated.

However, eradicating religion might just promote rational thought. Racism is not rational thought. Perhaps racism will be curbed by the promotion of the same rational thought?

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
Reply
post #15 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

Yeah, an atheist at the most extreme just wants people to look at the universe rationally and stop wasting time, effort, and resources in the name of religion. I don't draw a distinction between atheism and the skepticism that Sego talked about. Skepticism is simply and fundamentally what characterizes and atheist.

I think there are many reasons behind this growing movement of non-believers. Non-belief has been socially unacceptable for far too long. I'm glad we had our first black president, but how about an atheist president? Furthermore, at least in America, religion has decided to start waging a war against science. It's keeping children ignorant by opposing teaching evolution in schools, failing to promote effective birth control techniques* and then vehemently opposing abortion, and just flat out getting in the way of medical progress that would make our only lives on this planet last longer and under better circumstances.


*Remember when the Pope sentenced thousands of Africans to death by telling them using condoms was forbidden? It's bad enough he's a fucking child rapist protector. He's a murderer.

I agree 100% with everything you said above. Even having an Atheist President. I think it is necessary and would do a lot of good.

The only issue I can see where I disagree with you or Atheism in general is the idea that what you see in the world generally as religion is a) what religion actually is or the only thing that it can be and b) that no good can come of it just because no good is coming from it now at this present stage of human development.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #16 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

However, eradicating religion might just promote rational thought. Racism is not rational thought. Perhaps racism will be curbed by the promotion of the same rational thought?

I suppose it depends what you mean by religion I guess.

If you mean something like disbanding rigid structures like the Catholic Church then yes, perhaps. But you could do the same by a reformation of the Church from within.

To be honest in the case of the Church it is not so much rational thought or lack of it that is the problem...the evils that it perpetuates would not be tolerated in any other societal institution. Something needs to be done there but I would say it is the institution of the Church that is the problem not religion itself.

If oth you mean to abolish the sort of questions we all have like 'why are we here?' or 'is there life after death?' and so on then I think that is a sort of quasi-fascistic approach. One cannot or should not legislate against questions that arise...this is part of rational thought. the questions are natural.

It is the answers that are the problem - and some forms of religion are just 'wrong answers' which people - for various reasons - pretend are 'true' and correct.

So I think that religion can be a 'right' answer or a 'wrong' one. If the religion does not offer certainty but provides what I call a Skeptic approach (and this is possible and many do) then this is fine imo. If they are irrational oth then I am with you all the way.

But this is a tricky ground I think; people should be free to think what they like even if it is irrational don't you think? Any other path is...well...we all can think of historical examples.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #17 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

I agree 100% with everything you said above. Even having an Atheist President. I think it is necessary and would do a lot of good.

The only issue I can see where I disagree with you or Atheism in general is the idea that what you see in the world generally as religion is a) what religion actually is or the only thing that it can be and b) that no good can come of it just because no good is coming from it now at this present stage of human development.

Well, you're not disagreeing with me here. I agree that religion has its merits. It is extremely useful in a productive way for numerous reasons.

It is also extremely harmful for numerous reasons.

Unfortunately, there is apparently no way to preserve its benefits while reducing its harmful effects. I have not seen any progress in the balance between good religion and bad religion since I've been capable of thinking about such things.

On the other hand, for nearly every aspect where religion is beneficial, there is an atheist solution that would be just as beneficial. And atheism has none of the negative qualities of religion, when used together with such solutions.

Therefore...

Benefits of Religion + Harm of Religion = A constant of "goodness" let's call "K".
Benefits of rationalism + Harm of Rationalism (~0) = A constant let's call "C".

The way I see it C is far greater than K.
post #18 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

You see, that's jut it. Religion IS used to justify racism...

Don't group your condemnation upon all religion; just as racism cannot be a group condemnation.
post #19 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camp David View Post

Don't group your condemnation upon all religion; just as racism cannot be a group condemnation.

Oh, trust me, I'm not.

I'm comparing the fact that religion is used as a tool by the wicked to justify racism (and other crimes against humanity) with the fact that atheism is not. This does not mean that all religion is bad. It just means that this aspect of religion is bad, where there's no analogous disadvantage in atheism.
post #20 of 295
There are figures to back up Tonton's claims. Rationalism brings material benefits, it seems.

Its the Global Peace Index! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Peace_Index The top ten:

New Zealand
Iceland
Japan
Austria
Norway
Ireland
Denmark
Luxembourg
Finland
Sweden

Cant help noticing that seven out the top ten (New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, Japan) are the most irreligious places in the world.

According to Wiki, although Shinto is the state religion of Japan:

Quote:
70 percent of Japanese profess no religious membership and possibly only one in five Japanese claim a belief in God. However, polls generally show that two-thirds of Japanese profess no religion and according to Demerath (2001:138), 64% do not believe in God and 55% do not believe in Buddha.

Meanwhile, Scandinavia is an evil hotbed of low church attendance and gay marriage and a total divorce of religion and state.

Quote:
According to a 2005 study by Zuckerman, Denmark has the third-highest proportion of atheists and agnostics in the world, estimated to be between 43% and 80%.

When we compare the Happiness Index its practically the same: the atheist Scandinavian nations are the happiest.

I think if America seriously aspires to peace and prosperity it should follow the example of Scandinavia and Japan and New Zealand: keep the church / religion and the state as separate as possible, allow people to marry who they please, and so on.
post #21 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbo Jumbo View Post

The top ten:

New Zealand
Iceland
Japan
Austria
Norway
Ireland
Denmark
Luxembourg
Finland
Sweden

Can’t help noticing that seven out the top ten (New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, Japan) are the most irreligious places in the world.

It might not be that straightforward. Here are the world suicide rates:



As you will see it is dominated by former Soviet Bloc (ie Atheist) countries. Russia is #2.

Finland here is #3, France - possibly the most atheistic European country is #5, Denmark #6 and New Zealand #7.

So that 'Happiness Index' has to be skewed. It is far more subjective than a suicide-rate table.

One could also argue from this that the almost total absence of significant Islamic nations is significant. Islam is a far more 'religious' religion than Christianity is in Europe - Ie that is to say, where it has a hold people take it far more seriously than Europeans do Christianity - and therefore it's absence may be an argument for religion preventing unhappiness if suicide is taken as emblematic of such.

Whether it is or not is debatable but I am just pointing out the flip-side of the 'Happiness Index' argument.







Suicides after all are solid statistics whereas happiness in not quantifiable.,
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #22 of 295
You have made a few important errors, segovius.

Firstly, Russia is not an atheist country. Theres been a phenomenal, extraordinary and very well-documented explosion of Christian (and Islamic) faith in Russia, making it perhaps the most Christian nation in Europe. More than Italy. Wiki:

Quote:
The most natural approach is based on self-identification data. The majority of Russian citizens, and as many as 90% of ethnic Russians, self-identify as Russian Orthodox. This makes Russian Orthodox Church by far the most widespread religion, with as many as 70-75 million adult adherents.

Secondly, France isnt the most atheist nation in Europe.

Thats Sweden, followed by Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.

Thirdly, suicide affects a tiny, tiny minority of any population, but youre absolutely right that there does seem to be a correlation on first glance. I just checked, and New Zealand has a comparatively high suicide rate

I suppose that if youre among that tiny minority that might kill yourself, your religion might possibly prevent you. But this in absolutely no way means that religion makes a nation happy, however, while the converse seems still to be true, looking at the data.
post #23 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

Where do we begin with this? How about where you confuse "to" and "too". See, you can make mistakes, too. Being a jerk about it, however, isn't really the way to go about getting your point across.

Sorry I hit that late at night but really, others have already hit on this and noted how you are taking human nature and applying it to religion. You can remove the religion and still see that human nature. Segs explained this to you a couple very long posts and you just dismiss it out of hand.

Quote:
You make a significant leap yourself in your very first statement. Regimes carrying the tag of atheism may have been responsible, but it was unreason that was the driving force behind the actions.

If all the major movements that have practiced atheism in modern history have all practiced unreason, then unreason is one part of their operating procedure and a feature of their belief system.

Quote:
And your hyperbole in your last paragraph is just pure insanity. You need to get over yousrelf, Trumpet.

You misspelled a word there, and Seg noted that while calling me a jerk, you noted people who wouldn't do what you desire are "lazy fucks". Do we really need to dig into the irony there? Talk about a lack of rational thought. People who disagree with you are rude those who won't read what you want are "lazy fucks". You're only one step away from genocide yourself. I mean really, who would miss some rude, irrational, lazy fucks who believe hold beliefs that have caused the world nothing but misery and will in the forseeable future? Better to waste a few bullets now than let the world continue to suffer. Better to kill, I mean cull a minority of the human race than let the large majority continue to suffer from the delusion they perpetuate. Is say, 50 million really that much when saving billions? Of course not. We do it for pets. We do it for diseases all the time. Kill the infected and spare the group as a whole. It's perfectly scientific and rational.

It's also been perfectly applied in all mass movement atheistic belief systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

A rational person, Trumpet, would see that atheism wasn't the reason behind the genocide. A rational person, Trumpet, would see that it was extreme nationalism, totalitarianism, and a whole host of other isms that have ZERO to do with atheism.

Nazis wore red! Communists had red on their flags! Quick, it's the color red that causes genocides! BAN THE COLOR RED! Any rational person should see that!

*sigh* I really wish you hadn't entered this thread, Trumpet. I thought you were gone. I'm sad to see you back.

A rational person would see that claiming all prior examples weren't the rule, and if we can just get this exception right, all will be fine, is complete and utter lunacy. You've often heard me complain about utopian socialism. Well do you know what such thinkers called themselves? Scientific socialists and they believed, yes all those previously cited groups believed, they were completely rational and were in fact applying the scientific method.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

I appreciate your more in depth and thoughtful examination of the article, Segovius. However, I must fall back upon what Sam Harris said at the very beginning. Atheism isn't something that should need a defense. It is the default position. Religions make the claims. Religions don't support the claims.

Should the default position need a defense or worse still, a manifesto? Do you think people need argue that without this manifesto, the sun will no longer rise tomorrow or the world will stop spinning? Rationality alone should show you that if it were the default state, it wouldn't need a movement.

Quote:
Also, Sego, no need to get upset about my use of the phrase lazy fuck. I was simply referring to anyone who doesn't want to read article...religious, non-religious, alchemists, non-alchemists...It came across playfully in my mind, but I suppose that didn't translate to the written word.

BTW, I wasn't being rude, I was just being.... playful. Suck my dick, oh wait... that was just kidding, I'm playful. it isn't rude.

Quote:
Sego, yes, I do want the truth. I do want answers. But I admit I don't have them all. I am positive I won't ever have them all before I die. I choose not to take the easy route and pretend that I do.

Here's some rationality for you. Within the atheistic belief system, there cannot be "the truth." There is no reason or cause to human existence. Humanity and all that comes from it is nothing more than an accident, a roll of the dice that came up right and produced life where previously none existed and where none will likely exist in the future. The default state is emptiness and lifelessness as we can see in all our explorations so far. Life itself is nothing more than a temporary outlier who's sole purpose happens to be helping a higher energy state achieve a lower energy state more quickly.

Talk of "the truth" from a claimed atheistic and rational purpose is the very sort of notion that has them grabbing rifles and marching those who do not endorse "the truth" into death camps and gas chambers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

But my point is that although religion is used to justify racism that still makes the problem RACISM and not religion.

Put another way: if you 'solve' this racism problem by eradicating religion it will not in fact solve it - racism will still exist and something else will be used to justify it.

So the issue is either racism or religion. Both can be a problem but they are not the same problem and cannot be conflated.

Exactly. I'm feeling a bit lazy this morning and perhaps a bit foggy too but what I'm recalling is a logical fallacy called the associative fallacy or something similar. I used to note it when people would read articles endorsing bilingual education. I would ask them to remove the word bilingual and see if all the statements were still true. They were and thus I would show them it was actually an endorsement of education and that bilingualism was just along for the ride. I would note that doesn't mean bilingual education is bad, just that they need to find an article that actually endorse bilingual education and not just education in general while tacking on bilingualism. If you don't then you are conflating the two just like you note above. Solve the problem, don't conflate two different sources.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

You see, that's jut it. Religion IS used to justify racism. And such religiously supported racism is very commonly accepted by the religious. Atheism is never used to justify racism, at least as far as I know. No atheists have ever said all the religious people should be killed or deserve to be killed. Aggressive atheists simply want religious people to stop being religious.

Apparently you've never heard of a little concept called eugenics. The very concept of selective breeding is easily understood outside of humankind and we apply it all the time in the animal kingdom which atheistic and "rational" people would note we are members of and thus should apply the same principles to ourselves.

What do we do with old animals, weak animals, the runts, the deformed, etc. We kill them. What do we do with weak stock? We do not let it breed. How do we deal with a trait we do not like, we selectively breed it away. That is quite the gap in information you are claiming there Tonton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbo Jumbo View Post

There are figures to back up Tonton's claims. Rationalism brings material benefits, it seems.

It’s the Global Peace Index! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Peace_Index The top ten:

New Zealand
Iceland
Japan
Austria
Norway
Ireland
Denmark
Luxembourg
Finland
Sweden

Can’t help noticing that seven out the top ten (New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, Japan) are the most irreligious places in the world.

According to Wiki, although Shinto is the state religion of Japan:

Meanwhile, Scandinavia is an evil hotbed of low church attendance and gay marriage and a total divorce of religion and state.

When we compare the Happiness Index it’s practically the same: the atheist Scandinavian nations are the happiest.

I think if America seriously aspires to peace and prosperity it should follow the example of Scandinavia and Japan and New Zealand: keep the church / religion and the state as separate as possible, allow people to marry who they please, and so on.

Can you show in the natural world where "peace" is the default state? Look at the birthrate of those countries. They don't have peace. They have enough fancy baubles that they are not only too distracted to fight, they are too distracted to fuck. Modernity and atheism has given them no reason to live and thus, they have stopped living. They are on paths to self extermination. How can that be considered a healthy and rational state of mind?

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #24 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbo Jumbo View Post

You have made a few important errors, segovius.

Firstly, Russia is not an “atheist” country. There’s been a phenomenal, extraordinary and very well-documented explosion of Christian (and Islamic) faith in Russia, making it “perhaps the most Christian nation in Europe.” More than Italy. Wiki:

True.... I was thinking of the years of Communism though which might have had some effect but you're right.

Quote:
Secondly, France isn’t “the most atheist nation in Europe.”

That’s Sweden, followed by Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.

It's up there though.

I don't know about Scandinavia but I've lived in both France and Netherlands and I'd say that religion is quite integrated and accepted in Holland whereas in France it is very much downplayed. Christmas is almost secular and Easter is non existent as a festival. You'd never know it was a religious festival..at least in Paris.

Quote:
Thirdly, suicide affects a tiny, tiny minority of any population, but you’re absolutely right that there does seem to be a correlation on first glance. I just checked, and New Zealand has a comparatively high suicide rate

I suppose that if you’re among that tiny minority that might kill yourself because of mental health issues, religion might possibly prevent you. But this in absolutely no way means that religion makes a nation happy, however, while the converse seems still to be true, looking at the data.[/QUOTE]

I think we'd need to know more about the Happiness Index to take it further though...it seems culturally conditioned to me.

Also I am not sure it is valid - after all the issue is not happiness per se: I know and have know very many religious people and the vast majority are undeniably happy.

They are also in the main undeniably deluded and irrational in BR's view (and mine actually) but that is not the point. You can be happy AND irrational.

Btw, I think there is another very significant factor we need to take into account: of the countries you list - particularly Scandinavia and other Northern European States - racism is not only on the rise it is rabidly embraced.

Denmark is possibly the most racist nation currently on earth though Holland is closing fast - and New Zealand and Australia are notorious.

Taking Holland as an example; this week a far-right racist party has been voted in. Attacks against mosques are commonplace, hate crime and literature is on the rise and attacks on immigrants are massively increasing.

Now I would not put this down to religion but to plain old RACISM.

BUT if the argument is that these countries are ATHEIST and therefore 'happier' then surely we can say that these crimes are Atheist-inspired in much the same way one would blame religion if they were religious related crimes?

As I say, I don't claim a link with Atheism but it is a natural conclusion of your argument.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #25 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

I'm comparing the fact that religion is used as a tool by the wicked to justify racism (and other crimes against humanity)...

No it is not, You are making a general condemnation against all religions with no facts to back it up. Our Church I attended this am is not racist not has it been.
post #26 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camp David View Post

No it is not, You are making a general condemnation against all religions with no facts to back it up. Our Church I attended this am is not racist not has it been.

Jesus, can you comprehend English?

"Religion is used as a tool" does not mean "All religion is, is a tool" or "All religion is a tool" or "Religion is only used as a tool".

It means "Religion is sometimes used as a tool". The "sometimes" in that statement does not need to be there, and in fact does not help.

Religion is sometimes used as a tool by the wicked to spread racism and other crimes against humanity. That is a fact.

Is that better?
post #27 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

It might not be that straightforward. Here are the world suicide rates:

Sego, you're honestly one of the smartest people on these boards. But I can't comprehend how it didn't occur to you that religious people choose not to commit suicide not because they are happier, but because they fear the consequences (i.e. going to hell and all that)? Therefore suicide rates cannot be taken as a measure of happiness.
post #28 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Sego, you're honestly one of the smartest people on these boards. But I can't comprehend how it didn't occur to you that religious people choose not to commit suicide not because they are happier, but because they fear the consequences (i.e. going to hell and all that)? Therefore suicide rates cannot be taken as a measure of happiness.

What about birth rates? If they feel like the world is a cocoon of happiness, wouldn't they want to consider bring a child into that? Is reproduction not a default state for humans and even when it can be controlled ought we not feel the need to still reproduce even when not overproducing?

All the countries cited there have birth rates well below replacement rates. They may be pacified by their iPods and Xboxes but they aren't happy enough to want to see another generation do what they are doing.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #29 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Sego, you're honestly one of the smartest people on these boards. But I can't comprehend how it didn't occur to you that religious people choose not to commit suicide not because they are happier, but because they fear the consequences (i.e. going to hell and all that)? Therefore suicide rates cannot be taken as a measure of happiness.

It could be that - or it could be that they have found in religion (or believe they have found - it doesn't matter whether it is true for this purpose) a meaning to life that precludes the need to recourse to it when things go wrong. Or maybe the religious community they are in provides a sort of 'support network' so they can get help before it gets to that.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #30 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

It could be that - or it could be that they have found in religion (or believe they have found - it doesn't matter whether it is true for this purpose) a meaning to life that precludes the need to recourse to it when things go wrong. Or maybe the religious community they are in provides a sort of 'support network' so they can get help before it gets to that.

It could be... but as I hinted in my earlier post, all those things can be dealt with in the Atheist realm as well. Last I heard, Samaritans was a secular organization, as is Nightline in the US.

Likewise, a wonder for the miracle of beauty can be a good substitute for a wonder for God's work. Love for humanity can replace Love for Jesus. Even capitalism can serve as a motivator to "keep chugging".

The only thing missing from Atheist thought that is found readily in Religion, unfortunately, is fear. Well, except in the case of gun owners... though I bet their suicide rate isn't anything to be scoffed at... lol.

But the point remains that suicide rate is not a good indicator of happiness.
post #31 of 295
I've been reading a bit about this Sam Harris and his ideas because I really don't know enough about him to express a proper opinion so I thought I'd gen up. Groverat PM'ed me some of his literature once (which I thought an odd thing to do) and I tried to read it but couldn't get past the anti-Islam stuff.

Anyway, since this thread I am reading some more and he does have some interesting ideas...far more so than Dawkins...but I have already come across a problem.

He claims to be opposed to 'irrationality' in general and in specifically irrationality in religion - fair enough, I agree completely.

But - and I could be wrong here, just getting into this - he seems to believe in reincarnation and also admits some form of paranormal phenomena are possibly real and is possibly (again I don't know this from his work but it is suggested so it might be incorrect) interested in some form of mysticism.

Some Skeptics are down on him because of all this apparently.

I don't have any problem with any of it...I have an open-mind on reincarnation and have experienced some 'paranormal' phenomena myself so no problems there...my problem is what does he mean by irrational thought then if these are indeed his beliefs ?

I am fairly sure that most atheists would class the above beliefs as irrational. Yet how are these things - reincarnation particularly which is a belief that derives almost exclusively from a religious framework - 'rational' in a way which equivalent 'religious' beliefs are not?

It's a problem already isn't it?

EDIT: Further issues have manifested....they are pertinent.

I knew already that Harris is an Islamophobe and his views are Right-wing. Fair enough. He is entitled to that and I don't intend to discuss that (although I think it might play into his atheism in an unhealthy way) BUT some of his views are questionable in a societal sense.

For a start he seems to accept that torture is sometimes necessary in war. Again that's a fair enough view though one I don't share - we've been through it here many times and I don't think we need to get into it again...the point is more that it contradicts the atheist argument that religion is the source of violence and violence is bad.

On the one hand he uses violence as an example as an evil - then he claims that this very bad evil is caused by religion. And that is why religion is bad and needs to go. All fair enough and logical enough.

But then he argues for torture....see where the problem is here? You can't have your cake and eat it...this is pure selective argument.

I think the most chilling quote I have found so far is this (in relation to Islam):

"some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them"

Quoted by Madeline Bunting

My point here is not to discuss his views on killing or Islam - many people have those and are entitles to them loathesome as they are imo - my point is to dispel this myth that:

a) Religious people are the source of violence - here we clearly have an atheist embracing quite extreme violence possibly on a genocidal scale

b) That if religion did not exist there would be none - clearly again, we have an example here to counter that

c) That Atheists would not conduct a 'Religious Crusade or Inquisition'.

To be fair, Harris is the only Atheist I know of who promotes anything like these extreme views so I am NOT IN ANY WAY claiming that this is what Atheists think or want. This thread is about Harris though and this is what I came across in my researches so far and it seems pretty extreme.

I don't really think we can take this guy seriously.

We might need to wait a while for an appropriate Manifesto and it looks like he's not the guy for the job.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #32 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

The only thing missing from Atheist thought that is found readily in Religion, unfortunately, is fear. Well, except in the case of gun owners...

Is that true though?

Fear will strike us all soon enough on our-death beds and in the meantime believers and atheists alike spend most of their time not thinking about death and assuming they will be here tomorrow when in fact there is no guarantee.

Faced with inevitable death I think everyone of any belief will feel fear. The rest of the time they are just in denial about death and not considering it....which is pretty much the opposite of the classical philosophical position.

I agree that religious people may have fear of hell but this is different; that has been conditioned into them in order to control and is not really a consciousness of death (which would be a beneficial thing imo).

But just like your atheistical equivalences of beauty etc - which are obviously correct - there is also 'atheist' equivalences of fear of hell; fear of financial loss or insecurity is the most obvious one as it is a major driving force of society and keeps people enslaved to 'the system' just as much as fear of hell keeps believers enslaved to their system.

It's the same: people being controlled by threats and fear - one is tangible (ie bank closing on your mortgage) and one is not (Mr God sending you for eternal roasting because you like boys not girls) and of course the second is irrational and possibly 'evil' but then, even though the first is 'rational', it can also be 'evil' too.....

It's all about control of people and their money. Well..not all but a lot of it...
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #33 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

I've been reading a bit about this Sam Harris and his ideas because I really don't know enough about him to express a proper opinion so I thought I'd gen up. Groverat PM'ed me some of his literature once (which I thought an odd thing to do) and I tried to read it but couldn't get past the anti-Islam stuff.

Anyway, since this thread I am reading some more and he does have some interesting ideas...far more so than Dawkins...but I have already come across a problem.

He claims to be opposed to 'irrationality' in general and in specifically irrationality in religion - fair enough, I agree completely.

But - and I could be wrong here, just getting into this - he seems to believe in reincarnation and also admits some form of paranormal phenomena are possibly real and is possibly (again I don't know this from his work but it is suggested so it might be incorrect) interested in some form of mysticism.

Some Skeptics are down on him because of all this apparently.

I don't have any problem with any of it...I have an open-mind on reincarnation and have experienced some 'paranormal' phenomena myself so no problems there...my problem is what does he mean by irrational thought then if these are indeed his beliefs ?

I am fairly sure that most atheists would class the above beliefs as irrational. Yet how are these things - reincarnation particularly which is a belief that derives almost exclusively from a religious framework - 'rational' in a way which equivalent 'religious' beliefs are not?

It's a problem already isn't it?

Totally agree. Not to mention, he's a heavy smoker. Which is in itself a clear indicator of irrationality.
post #34 of 295
Very good points, Segovius, and I do agree with you.

However, I still think that C>K
post #35 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

What about birth rates? If they feel like the world is a cocoon of happiness, wouldn't they want to consider bring a child into that? Is reproduction not a default state for humans and even when it can be controlled ought we not feel the need to still reproduce even when not overproducing?

All the countries cited there have birth rates well below replacement rates. They may be pacified by their iPods and Xboxes but they aren't happy enough to want to see another generation do what they are doing.

Well, that's an excellent observation, certainly.

But those nations are the most prosperous in the world and have excellent support structures. One could just as easily argue that people in developing nations have children as insurance for their old age, an incentive lacking in, say, Denmark.

One could also argue that they're so happy with their stuff and their jobs and their leisure time that they don't feel the need to have children.

I'm not sure about birth rates as an index of happiness, in other words. But this is off topic anyway and I don't really intend to get in to this.
post #36 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by mumbo jumbo View Post

one could also argue that they're so happy with their stuff and their jobs and their leisure time that they don't feel the need to have children.

* bingo! *
post #37 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbo Jumbo View Post

Well, that's an excellent observation, certainly.

But those nations are the most prosperous in the world and have excellent support structures. One could just as easily argue that people in developing nations have children as insurance for their old age, an incentive lacking in, say, Denmark.

I think as the various economic turmoils are proving, the claims for much of this prosperity are fabricated and involve debt instruments and passing around pretty but worthless pieces of paper.

Either way, people are putting forward proxies in support of claims. Be it the proxy of "happiness" as determined by one source or suicides and birthrate, all are proxies.

If something were to give one proxy a higher standing than the other, it would be objectivity versus subjectivity. Attempting to measure happiness is certainly a subjective thing for who can perfectly define and measure happiness? However the birth rate and suicide rates certainly are more objective.

Quote:
One could also argue that they're so happy with their stuff and their jobs and their leisure time that they don't feel the need to have children.

One could see your point if we were discussing why the birthrate is 6-8 children per couple versus 2.1. However we are talking about a rate below the rate of sustaining society. Is happiness measured as an impulse so selfish that there is complete disregard for the future of society itself?

Also look at rates of obesity, hours of sleep, frequency of sexual intercourse, etc. People might be pacified but that doesn't mean they are truly happy.

Quote:
I'm not sure about birth rates as an index of happiness, in other words. But this is off topic anyway and I don't really intend to get in to this.

If you are going to note one trait of atheists and claim it as a positive, you shouldn't be surprised others will note the negative traits of these same atheists. They are so happy they are killing themselves via suicide and don't appear to care enough about society to see it continue. Add in the other historical examples and lines of reasoning that Tonton, BR and yourself have failed to address and the argument just looks like a weak assertion with multiple strawmen and dodges afterwards.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #38 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

A rational person, Trumpet, would see that atheism wasn't the reason behind the genocide. A rational person, Trumpet, would see that it was extreme nationalism, totalitarianism, and a whole host of other isms that have ZERO to do with atheism.

Nazis wore red! Communists had red on their flags! Quick, it's the color red that causes genocides! BAN THE COLOR RED! Any rational person should see that!

*sigh* I really wish you hadn't entered this thread, Trumpet. I thought you were gone. I'm sad to see you back.

You ruffled his religious feathers which if you know much about conservatives is fightin' words! You can't even question it or talk about it because if they entertained the idea they might begin to question themselves and their motivations for things.

If you want a rational response you shouldn't even bring it up. But one has to because of it's place in the scheme of things.

And of course this works in concert with corporate profits because if it wasn't for that the US might not be so interested in areas with religious conflicts.

No conspiracy. It's just the way it works.
Without the need for difference or a need to always follow the herd breeds complacency, mediocrity, and a lack of imagination
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Without the need for difference or a need to always follow the herd breeds complacency, mediocrity, and a lack of imagination
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post #39 of 295
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

I
If you are going to note one trait of atheists and claim it as a positive, you shouldn't be surprised others will note the negative traits of these same atheists. They are so happy they are killing themselves via suicide and don't appear to care enough about society to see it continue. Add in the other historical examples and lines of reasoning that Tonton, BR and yourself have failed to address and the argument just looks like a weak assertion with multiple strawmen and dodges afterwards.

As I said, I'm not getting into this because it's off topic and it doesn't really interest me.

But the real reason I'm not getting into this is because, even though I positively went out of my way to avoid making this personal, I knew that you would, and predictably you have, and from this point on it's just going to be unpleasant.
post #40 of 295
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

a feature of their belief system.

This is why I can't take anything you say on this subject seriously. You still can't understand the simple fact that atheism is NOT a belief system. It's the default, the zero state, that exists before one fills in the gaps of his or her knowledge with fairy tales.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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