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Brilliant Article on Secularism vs Religion - Page 2

post #41 of 258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

Why is that, segovius? Why are you incapable of dealing honestly with this issue? Why do you have to lie? Why can you not admit that you have lied and correct it and then engage honestly in the discussion? Is your belief so fragile and weak that it must be girded with dishonesty?

As I say - I understand things differently to you. You call that lying.

It's all the same to me - it's enough we are on opposite sides of the fence. I can admit I am a liar if it makes you feel better.

But when does the debate start?

The answer is: never.

But that is the whole point isn't 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 #42 of 258
Segovius: Dawkins says that there is absolutely, positively no god.
Groverat: Provides direct evidence that Dawkins says no such thing.
Segovius: Cryptic response that doesn't really acknowledge he was wrong and still refuses to change his opinion on the matter.


This is the problem with religion. When presented with hard evidence, it just makes the bastards cling tighter to their preexisting, false beliefs.

 

“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.” 
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post #43 of 258
Being a liar is a poor witness for the faithful. I think Christ deserves more honest representatives.
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post #44 of 258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

Being a liar is a poor witness for the faithful. I think Christ deserves more honest representatives.

Well - if you refer to me stop lying: I am not a Christian.
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 #45 of 258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

Segovius: Dawkins says that there is absolutely, positively no god.

See you are a liar too....I told you we all are hahah! Welcome to the club!

I'd ask you to prove it but I don't really care....I KNOW we are all liars...it doesn't bother me a bit.

How does it feel for you?
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 #46 of 258
Very well then, humanity deserves a more honest representative.

Do you see what happened there? I acknowledge a mistake and corrected it. Are you capable of doing the same?
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post #47 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

See you are a liar too....I told you we all are hahah! Welcome to the club!

I'd ask you to prove it but I don't really care....I KNOW we are all liars...it doesn't bother me a bit.

How does it feel for you?

I could have sworn you have ranted about his 100% category 7 atheism in the past. If you really haven't, my mistake. That doesn't make me a liar.

 

“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 #48 of 258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

Very well then, humanity deserves a more honest representative.

Do you see what happened there? I acknowledge a mistake and corrected it. Are you capable of doing the same?

Yes...if necessary. I am not yet convinced it is - which is kind of the point. That is not enough for you, you have to call me a liar when actually I may just be misunderstanding. Or you might (though obviously that is hightly unlikely).

I will give my reasoning and let's see.

In my view someone who calls themselves an atheist is claiming there is no God.

I base this on the definition of the Oxford English Dictionary:

Quote:
atheism: Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god.

I believe that Nr Dawkins claims to be an atheist. Therefore I feel it is legitimate to logically conclude that he denies the existence of God.

I have nowhere - despite BR's lie above (hey, this is cool this lying thing - kind of like being back at school!) - claimed that Dawkins stated that 'there is no God' in one of his books but rather that he 'says there is no God' and I belive this is grammatically correct in as much as he takes the position of being an 'atheist'.

Just like if I claim to be a Christian then you can legitimately state that I claim to believe Jesus is the son of God.

Unless we want to play word games which could also be fun.

Actually I agree with Dawkins in many respects - you wouldn't know that yet - too busy leaping to his defence. For example, he says the following:

Quote:
This book will advocate an alternative view: any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution. Creative intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it. God, in the sense defined, is a delusion;

I agree with this. The key words are in the sense defined - ie, defined by Dawkins.

So it is with my words they are in the sense defined.

If you want to label them as lies by judging them outside of this context then it's fine by me. Holds the same for Dawkins.

Unless of course, he has some special status because he is 'divinely right' or something.
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 #49 of 258
He is not denying that Dawkins holds the "there is no god" position, he is denying his Christianity.
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post #50 of 258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

That doesn't make me a liar.

Depends which rules we are playing.

I don't care which ones they are - it is a bar-room brawl either way and I'm generally up for a ruck - but it would be good if the rules were the same ones for both sides.
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 #51 of 258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

He is not denying that Dawkins holds the "there is no god" position, he is denying his Christianity.

You lost me here......
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 #52 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

Depends which rules we are playing.

I don't care which ones they are - it is a bar-room brawl either way and I'm generally up for a ruck - but it would be good if the rules were the same ones for both sides.

Once again you ignore the more important thing I say and jump on the insignificant semantic bullshit. You really are a pain in the ass to argue with.

 

“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 #53 of 258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

Once again you ignore the more important thing I say and jump on the insignificant semantic bullshit. You really are a pain in the ass to argue with.

Welcome to my world...I have been putting up with the same shit all thread.

Now let's move on. I asked Shetline a question aeons ago but there was no answer.

Now I ask you and let's see if we can salvage something: if you could sum up what you find objectionable in religion - or why you think it is 'a bad thing' if you prefer - in a brief outline, how would you frame 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 #54 of 258
segovius:

Quote:
In my view someone who calls themselves an atheist is claiming there is no God.

And that has been demonstrated to be false, very clearly and definitively. So despite atheists actually telling you that you are wrong about what you consider "atheism", you still cling to it. Why? Because you are intellectually dishonest and completely unwilling to acknowledge your own dishonesty.

You claimed: When Dawkins claims 'there is no God' - what he is actually saying is there is no God as described in the Bible and other Scripture and that 'God' should He exist, could not have the qualities we ascribe to Him.

I would (more or less) agree with this but Dawkins actually never puts it this way - he just says 'there is no God'.


This has been demonstrated a false claim by simply quoting Dawkins's book (even the quote you provided disproves part of the above-quoted assertion, you even contradict yourself within the same thread).

Not only does Dawkins clearly define exactly what he is talking about when he says "god", but he also does not claim that god does not exist. He is very clear on this, as has been shown to you repeatedly.

Quote:
Now I ask you and let's see if we can salvage something: if you could sum up what you find objectionable in religion - or why you think it is 'a bad thing' if you prefer - in a brief outline, how would you frame it?

Religion squashes inquiry by claiming an answer before the question is even asked.
Religion indoctrinates young people in dogmatic mindsets and teaches them that they are low-born sinners.
Religion divides families by creating an in-group/out-group mentality.
Religion teaches false things about the world, often with harmful effects and often with the goal of subjugation.
Religion is comprised of mythology and faulty reasoning.

Or you can download the pdf version of The God Delusion I have provided for you and read Chapter 8. If you prefer, I can get you an audio copy to simply listen to while writing another stupid, dishonest blog post about the book.

I would also recommend reading the (superior) The End of Faith by Sam Harris. Sadly, I do not have the pdf, but I do have the audio, just ask and I will provide.
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post #55 of 258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

And that has been demonstrated to be false, very clearly and definitively.

So despite atheists actually telling you that you are wrong about what you consider "atheism", you still cling to it. Why? Because you are intellectually dishonest and completely unwilling to acknowledge your own dishonesty.

Ok, I recant then. You are right. But then I am also an atheist as I do not believe in the existence of God as described in the major religions in a literal sense but I do belief there is a possibilty he exists.

Am I an atheist?

Also: your dogmatism would be insuting and offensive to people who are capable of being insulted. Luckily I am not but I think your tone does not really help the cause of your debate...it reminds me very much of certain fundies I have known. So sure they are right, so sure that they 'know' and so unwilling to acknowledge someone else thinks in a certain way even if that way is not correct.

It is almost as if the incorrecteness of a view deserves 'punishment'; of course in yours and Dawkins' case that takes the form of derision.

Quote:
You claimed: When Dawkins claims 'there is no God' - what he is actually saying is there is no God as described in the Bible and other Scripture and that 'God' should He exist, could not have the qualities we ascribe to Him.

I would (more or less) agree with this but Dawkins actually never puts it this way - he just says 'there is no God'.

Yes, I said that and I believe it. My 'crime' was to use the phrase 'he just says' but I know see this was a mistake. I had not realized the degree of petty pedantic debate that would ensue or I would have instead said "Dawkins promotes the view.....

I amend that now.

Quote:
This has been demonstrated a false claim by simply quoting Dawkins's book (even the quote you provided disproves part of the above-quoted assertion, you even contradict yourself within the same thread).

It has been demonstrated to you. You may even be right. But that does not mean it has been demonstrated to me.

In any event Dawkins himself uses other definitions of God in various places and (IMO) some of these are contradictory.

Quote:
Not only does Dawkins clearly define exactly what he is talking about when he says "god", but he also does not claim that god does not exist. He is very clear on this, as has been shown to you repeatedly.

As I say, if this is true I have only a few minor issues with Dawkins (I will describe them below) and will henceforth consider myself an atheist. An atheist who subscribes to a conception of a God.

I am quite serious about this - I have always believed in the possibility of God whilst rejecting all religious dogma. I believe in evolution so it seems like the perfect belief to me.

I just hope no atheists are going to queue up to tell me I am not one now you have proved I am.

Quote:
Religion squashes inquiry by claiming an answer before the question is even asked.
Religion indoctrinates young people in dogmatic mindsets and teaches them that they are low-born sinners.
Religion divides families by creating an in-group/out-group mentality.
Religion teaches false things about the world, often with harmful effects and often with the goal of subjugation.
Religion is comprised of mythology and faulty reasoning.

This is the place where if the boot was on the other foot you would start screaming 'LIar!!!!" again isn't it?

These claims are false.

Let's take them one at a time. I won't call you a liar...just point out where you are mistaken.

Religion squashes inquiry by claiming an answer before the question is even asked.

"Religion" does not do this. Many religious people have a strange propensity to fall into this error (as have other types of people also).

Western Christianity post-700 CE has a marked tendency to do this but I would not apply it to Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism in the Middle ages or Islam between 800 - 1300 and would argue that in all these cases the opposite can be shown to be true.

Religion indoctrinates young people in dogmatic mindsets and teaches them that they are low-born sinners.

This is undoubtedly true of Judeo-Christianity but "religion" no. There is no conception of original sin in Islam for example and even the concept of 'sin' is highly dubious. In some conceptions of Islamic thought the devil is even 'good'. In no case is he 'evil' and 'sin' is not really an issue.

Most religions today do condition young minds (but so do virtually every other system from schools to advertising so it is more a question of 'what' they are being conditioned to) but this was not always the case so again it is untrue to use the balnket term 'religion'.

Religion divides families by creating an in-group/out-group mentality.

It divides famililes in extremist religions when a family member wants to leave. I would regard this as cult-behaviour rather than religious.

Religion teaches false things about the world, often with harmful effects and often with the goal of subjugation.

On occassion this happens. Again, it does not happen every time and in every case. But it seems like you are saying it does? Are you?

If so then we would only need to find one contra-example in the whole gamut of human history.

As it happens religion often teaches true things about the world. Would you accept this?

Religion is comprised of mythology and faulty reasoning.

This is the lamest yet. Very poor.

SOME theological speculation - perhaps even most, is comprised of faulty reasoning but religion itself cannot possibly be as the reasoning (or lack of it) stems FROM a given religion and is not synonymous with it.

Jesus for example left no system of theological reasoning - this arose after the fact and in opposition to his initial views in many cases.

Again, there are numerous mythological elements in many religions. In many ways, that's what religion actually IS. I think you are missing a very big point. IT doesn't necessarily claim to be TRUE. Some religious maniacs may claim that for a given system but that does not make it the case.

Quote:
I would also recommend reading the (superior) The End of Faith by Sam Harris. Sadly, I do not have the pdf, but I do have the audio, just ask and I will provide.

I may just do that. You should not think that because I oppose Dawkins I oppose all anti-religious viewpoints.
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 #56 of 258
segovius:

By definition, an atheist does not believe in god. That is a separate claim from whether or not that person claims knowledge as to existence of god. If you believe in god, you are not an atheist. If you do not believe in god, you are an atheist.

Quote:
Luckily I am not but I think your tone does not really help the cause of your debate...it reminds me very much of certain fundies I have known.

I would rather be an honest person with a sharp tongue than a dishonest one attempting to be nice.

Quote:
But that does not mean it has been demonstrated to me.

It has certainly been demonstrated to you. I provided the quotes and you, ostensibly, have read them. Whether or not you are able to comprehend what was demonstrated is the question in hand.

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These claims are false.

I can demonstrate that they are not.

Quote:
Many religious people have a strange propensity to fall into this error (as have other types of people also).

Western Christianity post-700 CE has a marked tendency to do this but I would not apply it to Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism in the Middle ages or Islam between 800 - 1300 and would argue that in all these cases the opposite can be shown to be true.

I would not call Buddhism a religion, firstly.
Secondly, the very fact that you have to specify time periods for the actual religions does nothing but vindicate my point.

The propensity to fall into this "error" is not strange by the light of the texts and dogmas of the religions discussed. All three of the brutal, Abrahamic monotheisms feature injunctions that the faithful subjugate and even kill blasphemers and heretics.

Quote:
This is undoubtedly true of Judeo-Christianity but "religion" no. There is no conception of original sin in Islam for example and even the concept of 'sin' is highly dubious. In some conceptions of Islamic thought the devil is even 'good'. In no case is he 'evil' and 'sin' is not really an issue.

Evil and sin are both huge issues in Islam. There is no original sin in Islam, but (like its brothers), Islam creates a set of rules that are impossible to not break, setting the game up before it starts to favor the dealer. So while a Muslim child is born innocent, that state does not last long.

Quote:
Most religions today do condition young minds (but so do virtually every other system from schools to advertising so it is more a question of 'what' they are being conditioned to) but this was not always the case so again it is untrue to use the balnket term 'religion'.

Schools and advertising do not teach kids that straying from whatever indoctrination is provided will land them in eternal torment. A schoolmaster can give detention or explusion. A commercial can be turned off. Parental indoctrination of religious dogma creates a real psychological harm.

And you're falling into the trap of "well other things are bad, too!", which is not a defense, it is just a distractor. Simply because it is true of other things does not mean it is not true of religion. I am against school indoctrination and all advertising aimed at kids.

Quote:
It divides famililes in extremist religions when a family member wants to leave. I would regard this as cult-behaviour rather than religious.

What religion, by its own texts and teachings, is fine with people leaving the faith?

Quote:
On occassion this happens. Again, it does not happen every time and in every case. But it seems like you are saying it does? Are you?
If so then we would only need to find one contra-example in the whole gamut of human history.
As it happens religion often teaches true things about the world. Would you accept this?

It does not need to happen in every case at every time, it only needs to happen for it to be true.
A study of human psychology offers far more insight than religion into human nature and motivations.
A study of history and sociology offers far more insight than religion into social networks and relationships.

The simple fact is, what religion offers in a positive way can be had elsewhere, and without the horrible baggage that religion brings along.

I will not contend that religion does not teach anything true, but I will ask what those things might be.

Quote:
This is the lamest yet. Very poor.

Why is this lame or poor? I think it is bad to teach people to believe nonsense and cherish blind faith as a virtue. I think this creates tremendous problems in development, because it creates an overly-credulous sucker.

Quote:
I may just do that. You should not think that because I oppose Dawkins I oppose all anti-religious viewpoints.

You have a PM.
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post #57 of 258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

segovius:

By definition, an atheist does not believe in god. That is a separate claim from whether or not that person claims knowledge as to existence of god. If you believe in god, you are not an atheist. If you do not believe in god, you are an atheist.

Well, I guess I am not an atheist anymore then. It was a wild 60 minutes though.....

Quote:
I would rather be an honest person with a sharp tongue than a dishonest one attempting to be nice.

I would rather be neither.

Quote:
It has certainly been demonstrated to you. I provided the quotes and you, ostensibly, have read them. Whether or not you are able to comprehend what was demonstrated is the question in hand.

Yes - or more specifically - whether I understand them as you do is pehaps more pertinent. The real question though is not who understands what but which view is correct I think....

Quote:
I can demonstrate that they are not.

Please do.

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I would not call Buddhism a religion, firstly.

Many people would. Me for instance. Again; who is right and who is wrong? If we were religious we could kick each other's heads in to find out.....as it is we are at stalemate...

Quote:
Secondly, the very fact that you have to specify time periods for the actual religions does nothing but vindicate my point.

I think not.

Quote:
The propensity to fall into this "error" is not strange by the light of the texts and dogmas of the religions discussed. All three of the brutal, Abrahamic monotheisms feature injunctions that the faithful subjugate and even kill blasphemers and heretics.

Yes, No doubt. The point though is 'what is the actual religion?' I raised this with Shetline but he started babbling about new-age wooliness or something.

I would contend that Christianity is by definition the doctrine taught by Christ.

I can show you - really conclusively actually - that the doctrine generally going under that name is at variance with this man's teaching.

Therefore you need to show that the 'brutal Chrtistanity' stems from the teaching of Christ. In my opinion it stems from the teaching of the Church which is at variance with the teaching of Christ.

Of course, you may say that the Church is the true religion and not Christ's teaching and if so I would agree with your original contention. But my personal opinion is that Christianity stems from Christ and not the Church.

Quote:
Evil and sin are both huge issues in Islam. There is no original sin in Islam, but (like its brothers), Islam creates a set of rules that are impossible to not break, setting the game up before it starts to favor the dealer. So while a Muslim child is born innocent, that state does not last long.

They may be 'huge issues' but they are in no way the same thing as in Christianity - ie Churchianity.

Quote:
Schools and advertising do not teach kids that straying from whatever indoctrination is provided will land them in eternal torment. A schoolmaster can give detention or explusion. A commercial can be turned off. Parental indoctrination of religious dogma creates a real psychological harm.

Well in a way they do.

Straying form the 'ordained path' results in 'hell on earth' - both are metaphors. One is medieval and one is modern.

Quote:
And you're falling into the trap of "well other things are bad, too!", which is not a defense, it is just a distractor. Simply because it is true of other things does not mean it is not true of religion. I am against school indoctrination and all advertising aimed at kids.

Not really falling into the trap - just observing it.

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What religion, by its own texts and teachings, is fine with people leaving the faith?

Off the top of my head; Bahai.

But again, one MUST draw a distinction between 'decayed' religion over hundreds of years and the religion of the founder.

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It does not need to happen in every case at every time, it only needs to happen for it to be true.

To be true sometimes and false sometimes - but that is not what you implied.

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A study of human psychology offers far more insight than religion into human nature and motivations.

Very true. And religions very often offer psychological insights of great depth or contain aspects that do.

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A study of history and sociology offers far more insight than religion into social networks and relationships.

Yes, it is interesting that the men that pioneered these two fields were actually very religious Muslims. I love irony.

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The simple fact is, what religion offers in a positive way can be had elsewhere, and without the horrible baggage that religion brings along.

In theory - but that is not how history was played out is it? These things occurred in a religious context in the main....

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I will not contend that religion does not teach anything true, but I will ask what those things might be.

Seeing as I am in an ironic mood due to the above quote I will continue; did you know that a theory of evolution was proposed by a Muslim clerical figure in the 13th century?

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Why is this lame or poor? I think it is bad to teach people to believe nonsense and cherish blind faith as a virtue.

I do too. No argument there.

The dispute is to what exactly the 'nonsense' is - I am disagreeing that it is 'religion' in toto
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 #58 of 258
Quote:
Of course, you may say that the Church is the true religion and not Christ's teaching and if so I would agree with your original contention. But my personal opinion is that Christianity stems from Christ and not the Church.

And the church stems from Christ. It is a mark (an indelible and fatal mark) against Christ's teaching that it is apparently incapable of ever forming a single cohesive belief set accepted by all of Christ's followers.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

One man's metaphor is another man's call to auto de fe. Which interpretation is more theologically defensible? Even more, is there a real difference between the two available interpretations?

Even the kindest interpretation of Christ's message only postpones the horrible pain used to revenge god against the non-believer until after physical death. And that is gentle Jesus, meek and mild. We are not even talking about the blood-soaked rage of Muhammad and his Allah or the petty vindictiveness of Moses and his Yahweh.

So the question becomes this: Regardless of how we want to arrange the deck chairs and thereby attempt to find a suitable definition of religion, and whether or not we can even set up some scale of weigh the good versus the bad that religion might bring why bother?

For all the effort and energy we can waste apologizing for Jesus's followers, we accomplish absolutely nothing. We could simply shed the unnecessary weight of religion (however you want to define it) and dogma and move forward with a more rational understanding of our "spiritual" and "metaphysical" nature.

All that is good in religion can be had elsewhere.
All that is bad in religion can be abandoned happily.
What purpose, then, does religion even serve?

Our lives are relatively short and our existence as a species is likely very limited on the geological time scale. Why, then, should we waste our time attempting to reconcile ancient mythologies with the modern world?

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Off the top of my head; Bahai.

So, a tiny and inconsequential one, then. Wonderful. Certainly not the vile beasts that rule the consciences of the vast majority of the world's unfortunate inhabitants.

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Seeing as I am in an ironic mood due to the above quote I will continue; did you know that a theory of evolution was proposed by a Muslim clerical figure in the 13th century?

I did not ask what good things religions people have done, but religion itself. Does Islam teach some version of evolution? Does it, by its dogma, embrace the study of evolution?

Islam, and all other religions, create artificial intellectual boundaries guarded by the hounds of hell.
As much as you wish to demonize Dawkins, the absolute worst he would ever claim is that you are a stupid person. The religions of the world, however, damn you in horrible and unconscionable ways.
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post #59 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

Now let's move on. I asked Shetline a question aeons ago but there was no answer.

I actually have a life outside these forums, and other stuff I'm supposed to be doing part of the time.

Quote:
Now I ask you and let's see if we can salvage something

Not when you can be confronted with direct evidence that you're wrong, yet hand-wave it all away as a matter of "interpretation". You can't even be bothered with explaining how or why -- you just do see things differently. Tra la la... Why can't we accept such a simple thing?

I could claim that I think the Earth is shaped like a pyramid, and you could cite me reference after reference, argue problems of gravity and instability, demand to know where the edge and vertices of the pyramid are, and all I'd have to do to be an obstinate pain in the ass is look at your round pictures of a globe and blithely say "Well, I see it differently", and act as if your questions aren't worthy of answers since you refuse to see things my way.

That's where I see you coming from at this point with Dawkins and religion.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #60 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPoster View Post

It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.

~Thomas Jefferson

Unfortunately, there are many people today who could learn from that.

Actually, I don't think that you and Jefferson do understand the meaning of the word god or gods.

If you say there are two or more gods, then you say that you have two or more supernatural beings that you worship, that you obey and follow, ie. you have two or more commandment-sets from these two or more gods, and these command-sets deal also with matters of life and death.

It's not always jokingly or hypothetically saying that there are two or more gods, like westerners usually think about the topic, the problem arises when you actually and factually believe in the existence of two and more gods, that you are a servant of them and whatever they tell and command you, you do and practice.

Fortunately for us all real polytheism has been successfully drowned out by monotheism, and it's only on the basis of monotheism and the social peace and security it created, that secularism could arise.

Secularism and democracy is practically nothing other than monotheism, because it believes in the rule of one law for all.

Nightcrawler
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post #61 of 258
Please explain Democracy's roots in Ancient Greece in their polytheistic culture. Ack, there went that argument.

 

“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 #62 of 258
No need to go back in time. How about India?

To carry BR's argument through, number of gods does not matter, because we humans are masters at splitting loyalties and partitioning our minds between the sacred and profane and acting very sincerely with both at "heart". If any *theism presents a problem with democracy, then democracy will not evolve into the cultural government until that *theism either changes to accommodate democracy (as Christianity and Judaism have done) or perpetually quells the call for democracy (as Islam currently does).

I do quite like this idea of subtraction with regards to number of gods. We used to have more than one, now we just have one, hopefully we will soon have zero and we can begin thinking of humanity as worth our love and consideration simply because they are humans, not necessarily because a higher being tells us to love them.
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post #63 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

Please explain Democracy's roots in Ancient Greece in their polytheistic culture. Ack, there went that argument.

Good argument.

Greece when it developed from villages to cities, from tribes to states, from agriculture to trade, from isolated families/clans/villages with their respective single deities to travelling, commerce-making polis, they had to find a way to harmonise the multiple singular deities that met each other, and so a tale was chosen or born that would explain the multiple deities and allow each tribe to worship their deity without getting in conflict with other ones.

The pantheon was a great idea to harmonise multiple basically monotheistic orally preserved religions/traditions that had an idol as representation in a polytheistic council.

Rome did eventually the same, and so did Egypt.

It was possible, because the monotheistic traditions had no scripture, since the people could not read nor write, and had known no specialisation ie. no priesthood...

(India did it differently with Hinduism by declaring the numerous monotheistic traditions and idols to be different manifestation of the same truth, but achieved the same result, namely harmony and order.)

By forming mulitple monotheistic idols into a pantheon, peace could be achieved, because the hierarchy and the council formed eventually one will. But in order to be on the secure side, the tale woven around the pantheon portrayed the gods to be only interested with each other.

Before the development of the state, there was no theology surrounding the monotheistic idols from the different locations, and so the opportunity was there to fill the void with a multitudes of tales about the interactions, games, and actions of the gods with and against each other, by the way a primary source for fictional storytelling, basically reducing them to immortal but humanlike beings, with all the human desires and traits projected into them, good and evil.

Since they were busy interacting with each other, and also just as fallible and emotional as us humans, there was no ethic commandment for the humans that the gods would ask for to follow and eager to control and judge upon.

In that sense, secularism is similar to the polytheism of rome and greece, it allows different concepts of God to be worshipped in the same state, Yahwe, Jesus, Allah, but without allowing the respective commandments of these to express themselves beyond the private space, the rest belongs to the state and its law.

The only thing that prevents nowaday the creation of a pantheon in contrast to the past, is that the religions of today have a scriptural basis, which on top warn against exactly that.

Nightcrawler
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post #64 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

Please explain Democracy's roots in Ancient Greece in their polytheistic culture. Ack, there went that argument.

A whole bunch of slaves to insulate people from the effects of their decisions?

Seriously, Greece could barely make that system work, constant wars alternating between the city states and everyone else, endless political intrigue, infighting between different commercial interests, and mucho messianic megalomania in high office. But enough about the Bush administration. In the end it was all philosophically consummated by Colin Farell taking over the known world while making doe eyes at the hired help -- who wants that?






-------

To reply to the original post:

Good article, it's really good to have people step back a bit, and consider what in the cat's hair is going on in the public discourse. The person quoted on Christianity marginalizing itself was right.

There are, I think a couple of basic problems: the first is that too many people act, cat call, piss and moan to the effect that there is an epistemological Switzerland we can all go to. And there ain't no such place. It would be nice for that fact to be acknowledged, rather than a subtext that implicitly puts 'religion' off in left field.

The second is an odd sense of history, or maybe none at all. When Dawkins or Hitchens chatter about 'how bad religion is,' the history of atheism's 20th century experiments go right out the window.

....let me repeat: right out the window. Never happened, no connection, doesn't reflect badly on anybody or any philosophy. We are talking Deniro/Costner at the end of The Untouchables levels of denial. Not on the map. Who misbehaved most badly in the 20th century? The communist party, or the Southern Baptist Convention? 'Why those sniveling gay-hating...' That's not even mathematically reasonable.

Here's the social logic at work: (and don't worry if you miss it here, we'll do this for real in the thread later, if time permits)

'religion will drag us back to the dark ages! and then we'll go through inquisition after inquisition! there'll be no intellectual freedom! there'll be death to unbelievers!'

..Hey, wait a minute -- that's sounds just like Communis....

-Shut up you gay-hating pig! You want to drag us back to the Spanish Inquisition!!!

...but...but the Spanish Inquisition was 500 years ago, right this minute Castro is...

-Shut up you gay-hating pig! You want to drag us back to the Spanish Inquisition!!!





I think something has to give.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #65 of 258
Quote:
'religion will drag up back to the dark ages! and then well go through the inquisition after inquisition! they'll be no intellectual freedom! They'll be death to unbelievers!'

Straw men burn so easily.

Quote:
The second is an odd sense of history, or maybe none at all. When Dawkins or Hitchens chatter about 'how bad religion is,' the history of atheism's 20th century experiments go right out the window.

And lies are so easy to tell.
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post #66 of 258
I realize, in advance, that this is probably a massive waste of time on my part, because it is obvious that those who might actually learn about these books from the quotations, excerpts, and online access I provide to them are obviously determined to deal falsely and dishonestly from the outset in order to avoid considering the arguments actually being made (dmz hides his dishonesty behind cutesy rhetoric ("cultural reference lol!") and segovius behind the "what me, worry" mask of a philosophical Alfred E Neuman). The playbook has been delivered to their hands and they will stick to it. But I will make the effort anyway.

God Is Not Great - Chapter 17 - "An Objection Anticipated - The Last-Ditch Case Against Secularism"
The God Delusion - Chapter 6 - "The Good Book And The Changing Moral Zeitgeist"
Sam Harris addresses the matter in both The End Of Faith and Letter To A Christian Nation.

My favorite of all these treatments is from Sam Harris in Letter To A Christian Nation:
Quote:
Christians like yourself invariably declare that monsters like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Kim Il Sung spring from the womb of atheism. While it is true that such men are sometimes enemies of organized religion, they are never especially rational.* In fact, their public pronouncements are often delusional: on subjects as diverse as race, economics, national identity, the march of history, and the moral dangers of intellectualism.

And Hitler's atheism seems to have been seriously exaggerated:
"My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison___as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people."
Hitler said this in a speech on April 12, 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939. Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20. Oxford University Press, 1942).

The problem with such tyrants is not that they reject the dogma of religion, but that they embrace other life-destroying myths. Most become the center of a quasi-religious personality cult, requiring the continual use of propaganda for its maintenance. There is a difference between propaganda and the honest dissemination of information that we (generally) expect from a liberal democracy. Tyrants who orchestrate genocides, or who happily preside over the starvation of their own people, also tend to be profoundly idiosyncratic men, not champions of reason. Kim Il Sung, for instance, demanded that his beds at his various dwellings be situated precisely five hundred meters above sea level. His duvets had to be filled with the softest down imaginable. What is the softest down imaginable? It apparently comes from the chin of a sparrow. Seven hundred thousand sparrows were required to fill a single duvet. Given the profundity of his esoteric concerns, we might wonder how reasonable a man Kim Il Sung actually was.

Consider the Holocaust: the anti-Semitism that built the Nazi death camps was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity. For centuries, Christian Europeans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. While the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, its roots were religious, and the explicitly religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued throughout the period. The Vatican itself perpetuated the blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914.* And both Catholic and Protestant churches have a shameful record of complicity with the Nazi genocide. Auschwitz, the Soviet gulags, and the killing fields of Cambodia are not examples of what happens to people when they become too reasonable. To the contrary, these horrors testify to the dangers of political and racial dogmatism.
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post #67 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

I realize, in advance, that this is probably a massive waste of time on my part, because it is obvious that those who might actually learn about these books from the quotations, excerpts, and online access I provide to them are obviously determined to deal falsely and dishonestly from the outset in order to avoid considering the arguments actually being made (dmz hides his dishonesty behind cutesy rhetoric ("cultural reference lol!") and segovius behind the "what me, worry" mask of a philosophical Alfred E Neuman). The playbook has been delivered to their hands and they will stick to it. But I will make the effort anyway.

God Is Not Great - Chapter 17 - "An Objection Anticipated - The Last-Ditch Case Against Secularism"
The God Delusion - Chapter 6 - "The Good Book And The Changing Moral Zeitgeist"
Sam Harris addresses the matter in both The End Of Faith and Letter To A Christian Nation.

My favorite of all these treatments is from Sam Harris in Letter To A Christian Nation:

Somehow, Hitler is run together with communism. I don't understand that; Hitler wasn't a Communist. Then there's the 'well they weren't consistent atheists.' :

Quote:
...let me repeat: right out the window. Never happened, no connection, doesn't reflect badly on anybody or any philosophy. We are talking Deniro/Costner at the end of The Untouchables levels of denial. Not on the map. Who misbehaved most badly in the 20th century? The communist party, or the Southern Baptist Convention? 'Why those sniveling gay-hating...' That's not even mathematically reasonable.

I'm going to have to take off points for denial.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #68 of 258
Quote:
Somehow, Hitler is run together with communism. I don't understand that; Hitler wasn't a Communist. Then there's the 'well they weren't consistent atheists.'

That is your only commentary? "Hitler wasn't a communist"? That's it? Who argued that Hitler was a communist?

Let's see if we can't get some blood from this turnip...

Let's look at this bit:
While it is true that such men are sometimes enemies of organized religion, they are never especially rational.* In fact, their public pronouncements are often delusional: on subjects as diverse as race, economics, national identity, the march of history, and the moral dangers of intellectualism.

Do you disagree with the argument presented in this paragraph?
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post #69 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

That is your only commentary? "Hitler wasn't a communist"? That's it? Who argued that Hitler was a communist?

Let's see if we can't get some blood from this turnip...

Let's look at this bit:
While it is true that such men are sometimes enemies of organized religion, they are never especially rational.* In fact, their public pronouncements are often delusional: on subjects as diverse as race, economics, national identity, the march of history, and the moral dangers of intellectualism.

Do you disagree with the argument presented in this paragraph?

Well, two things: Was the Roman church 'especially rational' in what it was doing in the Inquisition -- or was it rather throwing Christ's teaching by the boards in favor of some pretty blatant totalitarian practices? Also, Hitler keeps coming up as a distraction from what communism self-consciously tried to do. Remember what Stalin said about Hitler: something to the effect 'He had a good idea, but he had a good heart.' Compared to the damage that worldwide communism did, Hitler was a sideshow. So, bringing up the guy who killed 5-8% of Communism's body count is a distraction from the issue.


Quote:
Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.
Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

But that point is a very (essential) small part of Marx's philosophy. There were economic issues, things that he thought would 'end oppression' of the working class, etc. What happened in the 20th century was the putting in practice a great deal of Marx's philosophy. The rest is history, and ~140,000,000 murders.

That quote is immaterially different from what either Dawkins or Hitchens are saying -- I'd call it identical. What Dawkins and Hitchens are attempting to represent, is a culture free of 'religion'. That doesn't happen in a vacuum, something else has to inform how institutions are run, in what context people are 'understood,' etc. Once 'religion' is removed from interpreting human desires, needs, the proper way to interact, something else must fill that void.

So, we aren't really talking about 'no religion' but the throwing out of one worldview for another. The entire discussion, in that respect, is a misdirection. There ain't no such place as an ideological Switzerland.

So when Dawkins says 'let's throw out religion' he's simply hawking to give pop psychology, grafted onto some form of purely secular -- state adjudicated and exclusive -- control another whirl, anyone who had been watching the oak and calf go at it last century has a potent visceral reaction.

And let me tell you something groverat, I don't care if that tripe is coming from Richard Dawkins or Hugo Chavez or Robespierre, the scientific method tells us that there is a deadly price to pay when we follow that path. Throw out religion dogmatically, put the state in it's place, and before you know it, you're chaining people together and pushing them into the Seine, because you can't guillotine them fast enough. Besides, the idea of Hitchens channelling Marx is just creepy.

If 'not especially rational' Christians had attempted to set up a string of theocracies in the 20th century, and managed to murder 140,000,000 people in the process, I'd probably be typing this from a 'reeducation center,' or as Castro terms them 'mental hospitals.'

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #70 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz View Post

Well, two things: Was the Roman church 'especially rational' in what it was doing in the Inquisition -- or was it rather throwing Christ's teaching by the boards in favor of some pretty blatant totalitarian practices? Also, Hitler keeps coming up as a distraction from what communism self-consciously tried to do. Remember what Stalin said about Hitler: something to the effect 'He had a good idea, but he had a good heart.' Compared to the damage that worldwide communism did, Hitler was a sideshow. So, bringing up the guy who killed 5-8% of Communism's body count is a distraction from the issue.




But that point is a very (essential) small part of Marx's philosophy. There were economic issues, things that he thought would 'end oppression' of the working class, etc. What happened in the 20th century was the putting in practice a great deal of Marx's philosophy. The rest is history, and ~140,000,000 murders.

That quote is immaterially different from what either Dawkins or Hitchens are saying -- I'd call it identical. What Dawkins and Hitchens are attempting to represent, is a culture free of 'religion'. That doesn't happen in a vacuum, something else has to inform how institutions are run, in what context people are 'understood,' etc. Once 'religion' is removed from interpreting human desires, needs, the proper way to interact, something else must fill that void.

So, we aren't really talking about 'no religion' but the throwing out of one worldview for another. The entire discussion, in that respect, is a misdirection. There ain't no such place as an ideological Switzerland.

So when Dawkins says 'let's throw out religion' he's simply hawking to give pop psychology, grafted onto some form of purely secular -- state adjudicated and exclusive -- control another whirl, anyone who had been watching the oak and calf go at it last century has a potent visceral reaction.

And let me tell you something groverat, I don't care if that tripe is coming from Richard Dawkins or Hugo Chavez or Robespierre, the scientific method tells us that there is a deadly price to pay when we follow that path. Throw out religion dogmatically, put the state in it's place, and before you know it, you're chaining people together and pushing them into the Seine, because you can't guillotine them fast enough. Besides, the idea of Hitchens channelling Marx is just creepy.

If 'not especially rational' Christians had attempted to set up a string of theocracies in the 20th century, and managed to murder 140,000,000 people in the process, I'd probably be typing this from a 'reeducation center,' or as Castro terms them 'mental hospitals.'

Links please! Who's making the body counts, and how accurate are these estimates? I've already seen a reference for Stalin of 3 to 60 million (or 20X accuracy estimate using the lower figure as a baseline), with the actual figure believed to be closer to the lower figure.
Every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. NOT!
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Every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. NOT!
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post #71 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by franksargent View Post

Links please!

Links...















Links?








We don't need any links....








We don't have to show you any stinking links!!













Hells bells, franksargent, there's a boatload of references there, everything from Das Kapital to Vanity Fair, to Cindy Sheehan's dreamboat el presidente. Where would you begin?

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #72 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by franksargent View Post

Links please! Who's making the body counts, and how accurate are these estimates? I've already seen a reference for Stalin of 3 to 60 million (or 20X accuracy estimate using the lower figure as a baseline), with the actual figure believed to be closer to the lower figure.

Ah-ha, you edited it, or hit 'submit reply' too soon. That was basically just communism's worldwide 20th century body count. From here.

But, if you want to go light: just Russia, China, and Cambodia -- it's about 90-100 million, which still represents a grossly obscene human failure.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #73 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz View Post

Ah-ha, you edited it, or hit 'submit reply' too soon. That was basically just communism's worldwide 20th century body count. From here.

But, if you want to go light: just Russia, China, and Cambodia -- it's about 90-100 million.

Read 'em and WEEP!

Starvation

Quote:
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more than 25,000 people die of starvation every day, and more than 800 million people are chronically undernourished. On average, a child dies every five seconds from starvation.

25,000 * 365.25 * 100 = 913,125,000 deaths/century!

Given that population estimates for 2050 are estimated to be 1.5X to 2X today's population, and starvation deaths in the 21st century will easily top 1,000,000,000 or 1 BILLION PEOPLE!

So now what EXACTLY is your point?
Every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. NOT!
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Every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. NOT!
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post #74 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by franksargent View Post

Read 'em and WEEP!

Starvation



25,000 * 365.25 * 100 = 913,125,000 deaths/century!

Given that population estimates for 2050 are estimated to be 1.5X to 2X today's population, and starvation deaths in the 21st century will easily top 1,000,000,000 or 1 BILLION PEOPLE!

So now what EXACTLY is your point?

Well don't leave out old age -- or disease! Sheesh.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #75 of 258
dmz:

Quote:
Well, two things: Was the Roman church 'especially rational' in what it was doing in the Inquisition -- or was it rather throwing Christ's teaching by the boards in favor of some pretty blatant totalitarian practices?

They were operating on perfectly reasonable interpretations of scripture. The Bible is not unclear as to what must be done with heretics and blasphemers. We have pushed that aside for secular reasons, not because Christ was any nicer than Yahweh. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild is a product of Romanticism.

Atheism has no gospel to interpret. It is nothing more than the lack of belief in god. Therefore, all the choices atheists make rest on their own shoulders, there is no hiding. Christians, on the other hand, claim to have a guiding book. These are very different beasts we are dealing with.

Quote:
Also, Hitler keeps coming up as a distraction from what communism self-consciously tried to do.

Who is defending communism?
Further, who is advocating the abolishment of religion?

Quote:
Throw out religion dogmatically, put the state in it's place, and before you know it, you're chaining people together and pushing them into the Seine, because you can't guillotine them fast enough.

I want you to read this quote again, and then go back and re-read Sam Harris's paragraph that I quoted. You are not paying attention to anything anyone is saying to you. I do not understand how you can be so thoroughly dishonest, it is a mania at this point.

As a matter of fact, if you bother to read Hitchens's book (or any of the others) you would not foster any of these illusions that you seem to have about these books advocating a march towards a secular utopia.

You, quite simply, have no clue what the hell you are talking about, because it is obvious you are completely unfamiliar with the source material.

Audio of Chapter 17 of God Is Not Great that deals specifically with what you are talking so ignorantly about.

And let me, yet again, quote Sam Harris in Letter To A Christian Nation: "It is time that Christians like yourself stop pretending that a rational rejection of your faith entails the blind embrace of atheism as a dogma. One need not accept anything on insufficient evidence to find the virgin birth of Jesus to be a preposterous idea. The problem with religion—as with Nazism, Stalinism, or any other totalitarian mythology—is the problem of dogma itself. I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs. "
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post #76 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz View Post

Well don't leave out old age -- or disease! Sheesh.

Methinks, you're missing the BASIC point.

All premature deaths are "bad."

Whatever the ideologies, lifestyles, neglects.

Immediate deaths (killing with weapons, etceteras) or slow deaths (smoking, alcohol, drugs, diet, etceteras). All are "bad."

We "could" look at Iraq today as a good example of a democratic state (e. g. the USofA) causing deaths on a wide scale. "Official" death toll there is 10X less than some estimates, also the ~2 M Iraqi people who have been displaced is not too encouraging.

In fact, I could make some rather convincing arguments of killing rates during the Crusades given the regional demographic populations at that time.

I could also make convincing arguments as to the ideology of Darwin's evolution causing newer ideologies (e. g. communism) as a negative feedback from religious orthodoxes.

I could also make convincing arguments as to death rate estimates having lower, mean, and upper bounds, and that R. J. Rummel Democide numbers are;

Quote:
Note that most estimates for mass murder are more or less disputed.

Quote:
Note that Rummel's estimates for mass murder do not necessarily have broad academic acceptance.
Every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. NOT!
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Every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. NOT!
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post #77 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

Atheism has no gospel to interpret. It is nothing more than the lack of belief in god. Therefore, all the choices atheists make rest on their own shoulders, there is no hiding. Christians, on the other hand, claim to have a guiding book. These are very different beasts we are dealing with.

This seems to be the core of your argument. So, no, not at all. This is horrible, shallow reasoning: 'There's no holy book to blame, so 20th century Communism's horrors can't be hung on any one thing, or any one dogma, it was just a comedy of murders.' Just unrelated particulars?

That Hitchens isn't 'marching us towards any secular utopia' is to be expected. It's conniving to claim neutrality, calling your opponents over to your nice, neutral territory. But as I said before there ain't no such place as an epistemological Switzerland. Things don't happen in a vacuum; we can't abstractly play with ideas in our hypothetical vacuum.

The reality is that we tried Hitchens and Dawkins 'religious' vacuum in the 20th century, and something very ugly again, and again, and again, and again, took its place -- and it was a bloodbath.


(The comment on the Catholic treatment of blasphemy/heresy was doubletalk. You can't have it both ways, either they were Christian or they were not.)

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #78 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by franksargent View Post

Methinks, you're missing the BASIC point.

All premature deaths are "bad."

Whatever the ideologies, lifestyles, neglects.

Immediate deaths (killing with weapons, etceteras) or slow deaths (smoking, alcohol, drugs, diet, etceteras). All are "bad."

We "could" look at Iraq today as a good example of a democratic state (e. g. the USofA) causing deaths on a wide scale. "Official" death toll there is 10X less than some estimates, also the ~2 M Iraqi people who have been displaced is not too encouraging.

In fact, I could make some rather convincing arguments of killing rates during the Crusades given the regional demographic populations at that time.

I could also make convincing arguments as to the ideology of Darwin's evolution causing newer ideologies (e. g. communism) as a negative feedback from religious orthodoxes.

I could also make convincing arguments as to death rate estimates having lower, mean, and upper bounds, and that R. J. Rummel Democide numbers are;

Then just go with the lower numbers, 90-100 million.

Very quickly...and this cannot be disputed...

The tactics used, mass starvation, purges, denouncements, etc., were SOP for communist countries, they still are. It was the same for the French revolution. Over, and over, and over, when you banish 'religion' from society you see the state take over all things societal, followed by the unraveling of otherwise normal cultures. Every time this has been tried it ends horribly. Dawkins and Hitchens are just whistling past that graveyard.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #79 of 258
dmz:

Quote:
This seems to be the core of your argument. So, no, not at all. This is horrible, shallow reasoning: 'There's no holy book to blame, so 20th century Communism's horrors can't be hung on any one thing, or any one dogma, it was just a comedy of murders.' Just unrelated particulars?

I make no effort to apologize for the brutality of communism. Neither Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, nor Dennett make any effort to apologize for the brutality of communism. Where Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc are mentioned they are condemned, and so is the idea of a Utopian world that is to be marched towards as a single-minded entity.

As I said (and as you quoted), atheism has no doctrine.

Quote:
That Hitchens isn't 'marching us towards any secular utopia' is to be expected.

Apparently you did not expect it, since your initial assertion was this: "Throw out religion dogmatically, put the state in it's place, and before you know it, you're chaining people together and pushing them into the Seine, because you can't guillotine them fast enough. Besides, the idea of Hitchens channelling Marx is just creepy."

Quote:
It's conniving to claim neutrality, calling your opponents over to your nice, neutral territory. But as I said before there ain't no such place as an epistemological Switzerland. Things don't happen in a vacuum; we can't abstractly play with ideas in our hypothetical vacuum.

The reality is that we tried Hitchens and Dawkins 'religious' vacuum in the 20th century, and something very ugly again, and again, and again, and again, took its place -- and it was a bloodbath.

We have not "tried Hitchens's and Dawkins's 'religious' vacuum in the 20th century", because neither Hitchens nor Dawkins lay out any kind of utopian plan for world unification. What "we" have tried in the 20th century is a series of totalitarian personality cults, an institution that every single one of the books in question denounce in no uncertain terms.

To quote Sam Harris yet again: " The problem with religionas with Nazism, Stalinism, or any other totalitarian mythologyis the problem of dogma itself."

The arguments in these books is that people should, personally, abandon dogma (Christian dogma, Muslim dogma, Stalinist dogma, Juche dogma, etc), not just religion. It just so happens that religion is the greatest purveyor of dogma in our current world, so that's the first stop on the attack.

Quote:
Over, and over, and over, when you banish 'religion' from society you see the state take over all things societal, followed by the unraveling of otherwise normal cultures.

Which of these authors advocates banishing religion from society? (Please answer this question.)
proud resident of a failed state
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proud resident of a failed state
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post #80 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat View Post

As I said (and as you quoted), atheism has no doctrine.

Um, right, no doctrine, no legacy, no philosphical pedigree, either.

You're wasting my time.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
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