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(LA Times)   10 myths -- and 10 truths -- about atheism   (latimes.com ) divider line
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41408 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Dec 2006 at 6:28 PM (9 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-12-25 12:30:14 PM  
theomacy
WRONG!!!
Thats like saying theism is a system of beliefs.


(a)theism is not a religion
(A)theism is a Religion.

Do Keep Up.
 
2006-12-25 12:30:25 PM  
CogitoIncognito2,

"I'm Canadian too, and if you don't see how negatively religion affects our society, you don't know our history in that area. Specifically the Ultramontanism which ruled Quebec for decades (basically until Levesque, and even then afterwards to this day to a lesser extent), the negative influence they wield on social policy (Focus on the Family et al), etc etc etc."

I don't know our history in that area? Religion negatively affects our society?

Dude you're full of it. You can't hold up Quebec as a place that actually has true respect for human rights... the Quebecois do what the Quebecois do... religion is only 1/3 the problem in Quebec.

The rest of Canada does not have this problem.... I challenge you to find me ONE WAY in which my church, The United Church of Canada has negatively effected Canada. ONE BLOODY WAY.

We helped paved the way on Women's Rights AND Gay rights... and we are an organization that stands up for human rights and charity work. The money I donate operates a soup kitchen and pays the bills to keep the church open.

You live in Canada, a great sectarian country.... we don't have the problem with fervant religious types up here like they do 'down there'.

/back up the shiat you say or back off.
 
2006-12-25 12:34:13 PM  
cankersnore:

An atheist with a moral system is one who follows something extraneous to their own ultimate good because their whim is ultimately limited to their ability to get caught for something. For the average person, within society, the only real limit is the consequence of their actions relative to others (i.e. rule of law). Anything else is to make themselves feel good or to gain something from others, like cooperation. There is no utility value in acting moral towards others if they have ultimate power or believe they do. Interestingly enough, as I have contended in other discussions, this "feel good" attitude is precisely the same argument most atheists use against people who believe in something. And true accountability is, at least in part, a punishment. That's why Saddam did what he did - he figured he'd never be held accountable. That's why the same Saddam had a mistress on 60 Minutes telling the world he's no Muslim and that he's going through the motions for show.

If you're a theist and have ultimate power, you are limited by your accountability to God in the afterlife. This is a set of predefined and known issues where mass murder ultimately equates to eternal suffering. All of the religions I previously mentioned have this in their dogma. Extremists most certainly have the same, but even they have punishment for not following their own interpretation of their dogma. Bush may believe that God told him to invade Iraq, but attributing all of the deaths there to him alone is ignorant considering that they've detained Iranians and Iranian arms in the last little while attempting to stir up things purposely. And - again - the death count is nothing compared to the 30 million of Stalin alone.

Your note about the validity of atheism is irrelevant. There is a clear link between atheists and mass murder. There is also a clear link between mass murder and the normal judgment of the average human being, regardless of religious affiliation, condemning such action. Religion has structures in place to punish those who mass murder. Atheism has no such thing. Whether that's valid to you or anyone else is up to them. But - again - your association with them is utterly irrelevant.

The historical proof is in the body count I've already mentioned. Stalin killed 30 million people, the majority of them Ukrainians who were cut off purposely from government support during a time of famine. Again, see the 60 Minutes documentary regarding this. Never mind Chairman Mao who killed tens of millions in the same way. Look it up in Wikipedia if you doubt me. It's all right there. Now find me the Wikipedia entries or other independently corroborated evidence that Christians or Muslims have exacted the same magnitude of body count. YOU CAN'T. Quo Est Dictum.

My statement about scientific advance isn't questionable, it's true. The entire modern basis for calculus and, therefore, all of modern science and engineering came from Newton, for example. Same with the Arab peoples after the time of Mohammed who were deeply involved with astronomy like Khalid Ben Abdumalak. But there are two examples. I'm waiting for your example of an atheistic society that contributed more historically. My proof is there - where's yours?

I didn't grant you my permission to be an atheist. I believe people have free will to at least a certain extent. All I'm telling you is that I'm not trying to convert you, which is the opposite of what you thought.

Your statement on absolute power is, again, without proof. I have made a statement on atheists throughout history, I have demonstrated sources for their mass murders. You, indeed, are the one asking for proof. After being given said proof, you have countered with weak arguments and questions, not statements and facts. You may be right about upbringing and whatever else, but you possess no hard facts. Show me one person, throughout history, who acted in the name of God who murdered in the tens of millions. I'm not talking thousands. I'm not talking hundreds of thousands. I'm not even talking a couple of million. I'm talking an eight digit figure. Feel free to enlighten all of us if and when you do, but I'll leave it up to you to spend your time on that activity. heap and Richard M. Nixon, take note, re-read this post and provide me with said proof as well.

The assertion of the arbitrary nature of religious beliefs is, again, predicated on God being the ultimate authority and the discourse of reality as it has manifested itself up to today.

Finally, we get to the attitude of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. It is entirely obvious that their attitude towards anything religious is sharp and derogatory to religion without bringing up the fundamental points I have already made. Read their literature. They take the attitude that all religious people are deluded to some degree. What I have never seen from these people, as the "true" scientists they are, is to derive a method to explore the question that they have already answered. As I've told people before, there are lots of phenomena within science that are totally invisible and have no tangible effect on people, yet they truly exist (e.g. electromagnetic phenomena outside of the wavelengths of light, dark matter). Yet they exist too. Maybe Dawkins and Harris should spend a few minutes trying to figure out if there is a tool to look for it but, alas, it's my contention that they will do no such thing because they exhibit the same effective zealotry as radical Muslims.

Most people, regardless of religious belief, find mass murder abhorrent and wrong. It is a fundamental issue. Yet you only need to read their literature to see how they attempt to gloss over or minimize the effects of their ideology, which brings us full circle to the linked article and how I successfully rebutted one of its points.
 
2006-12-25 12:35:16 PM  
letrole,

Dude you do understand that there is a difference between having a belief and belonging to a religion.

A religion has to be organized, has to have leadership, temples, buildings, property!

Go troll somewhere else man it's Christmas.
 
2006-12-25 12:40:19 PM  
salty1
A religion has to be organized, has to have leadership, temples, buildings, property!

No. These are just attributes that apply to most any human activity. This is what is messing with their minds tonight.
 
2006-12-25 12:44:02 PM  
letrole,

Is your brain the size of a walnut? Have you even looked up the definition of religion in the dictionary?

Atheists have a BELIEF... a religion MUST be organized.

Thet's like saying Anarchists have a country.

/you've been annoying me this entire thread.

·li·gion /rɪˈlɪdʒən/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ri-lij-uhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
-noun 1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
 
2006-12-25 12:45:29 PM  
letrole,

You make the rest of us look really, really stupid when you behave this way.

God gave you a brain, use it!

You're right some athiests do like to pretend like they have no silly beliefs at all... and that's something worth talking about... but over and over AD NAUSEUM talking about ATHEISM IS A RELIGION LALALALALALALAA

makes you look like a tard.

Merry farking christmas.
 
2006-12-25 12:51:16 PM  
letrole

Atheism is a Religion. It is a system of belief.

Ok, I'll play, but I'll play the same way you do. Mindless repitition.

Atheism is a religion in the same sense that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.
 
2006-12-25 12:59:11 PM  
The_Shoggoth

The difference is that I know red balls exist. Hence there is no compelling reason to believe the ball is either red or blue. In the case of god, why would I assume it is even remotely possible?

Because it would answer a lot of previously unanswered questions about creation, human conciousness and sentience, emotion, and many other things.


As I said. Your analogy fails. Red and Blue are both reasonable answers, so there is no compelling reason to think either of them more likely. Religion is simply unreasonable, hence that matter is far more cut-and-dried.

In other words, your answer is that atheism is the only possible answer. See, when you say agnostics are "wishy washy," it makes you sound as if you think it's ok to be either atheist or theist, because you are taking a position, and agnostics don't exactly. You're not being very precise.
In any case, I understand the precept that you don't have to prove the non-existence of unicorns. I don't see the possibility of a god as the same as a unicorn, and you do. Once upon a time, science lacked the tools necessary to prove the existence of germs. That didn't mean they were not real. Your logic fails.
 
2006-12-25 12:59:17 PM  
it's not only NOT A RELIGION, but most atheist have almost nothing in common with one another. 99.9% of what atheists believe about the world are not common among atheists. The only thing atheists do have in common is a single idea, the disbelief in a god or gods.

Furthermore "atheist" is a descriptive term related only to that single idea of existence of a God or Gods. Just as Theist is a descriptive word for the opposite. It has nothing to do with anything beyond that.

If you continue to argue that atheists are united by some common bond, than you have a pretty weak argument.
 
2006-12-25 01:00:26 PM  
The biggest falacy I have seen so far is this: When we say that relgion has caused a lot more death than Athiesm-we don't just mean christians.

We mean Muslims Vs. Christians (The crusades anyone?)

We mean the Spanish vs. New World (Of the New World conquerors...Spain looked at it from a Religious Quest)

Hindus, Buddist, Muslims in India.

The very religious battles during "biblical time"

Jewish people Vs. Muslim

Christians vs. Jews.

American Indians Vs U.S. Christians.

Let's face it: Yes Hitler killed many...BUT HE WAS A CHRISTIAN

And as the author pointed out-It was political motivation...not the hatred of a religon that drove Stalin and Pol Pot.

The same case could be made for Capatilism.

And the belief that because you are "relgious" you are more "moral" is rediculous. Relgion has been used to justify things as slavery, racism, sexism, genocide, homocide, terrorism, wars and counless other atrocities. Fred "I hate fags" Phelps believes hes moral.

For an Athiest-does not NEED a god to tell him right from wrong...she does not NEED the axe of judgment day to make a decision.
 
2006-12-25 01:02:02 PM  
enave
Stalin killed around 2,000,000 people.
Mao killed about that many.
Hitler killed over 6,000,000.

I know what you're thinking. I can hear you screaming it: OMFG WHAT ABOUT THE INQUISITION!!!

Well, that killed about 500. So the xians have around 9,999,500 to go in order to catch up with the atheists. Muslims on the other hand, I don't know. Maybe they have topped 1 million. No where near 10 million though.

Fact: Atheist have been resposibile for the greatest crimes in human history.

Get your head out of the sand and accept the truth.

/atheist


A few notes

1. It's debatable whether some of them were atheists. Hitler for one as mentioned earlier in the thread.

2. Even if we did assumed they were Atheists they didn't kill "in the name of Atheism" (Has anyone ever?)
They killed scapegoats, to get rid of dissenters and because they didn't want "God" usurping their authority or due to grossly incompetent government and natural disasters.

3. "Fact: Atheist dark haired people (Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, etc) have been resposibile for the greatest crimes in human history."
Obviously this is telling us something meaningful about dark haired people in general.

/ Sarcasm

4. The higher death toll is because superior technology and much larger populations of the 20th century not Atheism.

5. Just to illustrate the different population size point. Here's the proportions of Germany's population killed in the thirty years war (between Protestants and Catholics) and WWII.

Thirty Years' War: 15 to 20% (possibly up to 30%) (pops)
WWII: 10.82% (pops) (including civilians and Holocaust victims)

Good thing they didn't have machine guns or carpet bombing back then.

6. "I can hear you screaming it: OMFG WHAT ABOUT THE INQUISITION!!! Well, that killed about 500"

I'm not sure which Inquisition you mean but if your talking about the Spanish Inquisition you might want to check your numbers before posting.

enave
Murkanen
Wasn't done in the name of atheism.
Yes dude. It was done in the name of atheism. When you put anyone who believes in any god in a gulag in sibera, you're doing it in the name of atheism.


See #2 above. They killed religious people because people who placed another authority above their own (which they didn't control) was a threat to their power.
 
2006-12-25 01:03:02 PM  
letrole: "Very interesting. Can you provide any reason as to why that would be wrong?"

Because it's done in a antisocial spirit.
 
2006-12-25 01:03:57 PM  
theomacy
If you continue to argue that atheists are united by some common bond, than you have a pretty weak argument.

(a)theists are random blots on the landscape.
(A)theists share common beliefs and goals.
 
2006-12-25 01:04:57 PM  
letrole: "I've actually been quite thin on the offered reasoning. It's easier to just let the opposing speakers chase their own tails and make my point for me."

One problem: Nobody is "making your point for you" just because they are responding to you. That is all in your mind.
 
2006-12-25 01:07:24 PM  
Kniggit

Genghis Khan killed millions, perhaps tens of millions. His religious views are widely held to be Shamanistic, Buddhist or Taoist, although leaning towards the latter two in the later part of his life. He would have been "answerable" to some god-like figure, whether the polytheistic ones of Taoism or Shamanism or the karmic force of Buddhism is up to you to decide.

Now, personally, I doubt his religious views had any basis for the number of people he killed since he was reportedly rather tolerant of all religions, however you asked for a religious person who killed millions and there you go.
 
2006-12-25 01:10:36 PM  
There is no such thing as "evolutionism"

What the fark are you even trying to say?
 
2006-12-25 01:11:30 PM  
For those arguing against morality of athiests, I suggest reading up on the stages of rational morality:

Kohlberg's Three Levels and Six Stages of Moral Reasoning

Level I: Preconventional Morality

Stage 1:

Punishment-avoidance and obedience Individuals make moral decisions on the basis of what is best for themselves, without regard for the needs or feeling of others. They obey rules only if establihed by more powerful individuals; they disobey when they can do so without getting caught.

Stage 2:

Exchange of favors Individuals begin to recognize that others also have needs. They may attempt to satisfy the needs of others if their own needs are also met in the process. They continue to define right and wrong primarly in terms of consequences to themselves.

Level II: Conventional Morality

Stage 3:

Good boy/good girl Individuals make moral decisions on the basis of what actions will please others, especially authority figures. They are concerned about maintaining interpersonal relationships through sharing, trust, and loyalty. They now consider someone's intentions in determining innocence or guilt.

Stage 4:

Law and order Individuals look to society as a whole for guidelines concerning what is right or wrong. They perceive rules to be inflexible and believe that it is their "duty" to obey them.

Level III: Postconventional Morality

Stage 5:

Social Contract Individuals recognize that rules represent an agreement among many people about appropriate behavior. They recognize that rules are flexible and can be changed if they no longer meet society's needs.

Stage 6:

Universal ethical Principle Individuals adhere to a small number of abstract, universal principles that transcend specific, concrete rules. They answer to an inner conscience and may break rules that violate their own ethical principles


Now, if you have read this and understand it, you no longer can argue that their is no rational basis for morality, and that morality MUST depend on a belief in a supreme being, who punishes or rewards.
 
2006-12-25 01:15:30 PM  
Garanimal: For those arguing against morality of athiests, I suggest reading up on the stages of rational morality:

See, I knew there was a reason I brought you to the dark side
 
2006-12-25 01:18:34 PM  
cankersnore
Because it's done in a antisocial spirit.

So? We've already shown I'm the one who has offspring. I win. Darwin said so. You can't rely upon some artificial right and wrong. There is none, only winners and losers.

There is no Spirit of Man rubbish. You're only a hairless ape who just had your lunch taken. Wake up to the reality of Atheism.

The only acceptable answer is that you are bigger than me.
 
2006-12-25 01:19:38 PM  
letrole

(a)theists are random blots on the landscape.
(A)theists share common beliefs and goals.


Wrong. There are no "A-theists." An atheist is just a person with a belief on a god.

Atheism is a religion in the same sense that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.
 
2006-12-25 01:23:34 PM  
Blue Gargoyle,

Not to agree with letrole,

But yes there are A-theists... it is the difference between people who say "I don't believe in god." and "there is no god."

the latter is a certainty requiring evidence and is a full on belief.

To call it a religion though, like you said, is to call not collecting stamps a hobbie.
 
2006-12-25 01:25:04 PM  
I don't know, I'd say that Atheism, at least the way that I understand Atheism, is indeed a system of belief-- the belief that there is no G/god. Only, in my mind, agnostics can be labeled as not having any religion. They aren't willing to say anything exists, and we aren't willing to say anything doesn't exist. (Which makes it more fun-- argue either side because you can believe and disbelieve in it :))
 
2006-12-25 01:25:48 PM  
salty1

Not to agree with letrole,

But yes there are A-theists... it is the difference between people who say "I don't believe in god." and "there is no god."

Sounds more like the difference between Agnostic atheists and strong atheists, actually.
 
2006-12-25 01:29:18 PM  
Blue Gargoyle,

Pretty much. Just different lingo. It's using that british parliamentary system of saying you're either small c or big C conservative and stuff.
 
2006-12-25 01:35:52 PM  
Shadow Blasko! Hey, I've been enjoying the TotalFark! Thanks so much!

although I'm now spend WAY more time on Fark than normally...and my eyeballs are about to burst into flames...

Thanks again, Man! YOU ROCK!
 
2006-12-25 01:43:38 PM  
This thread has gone on for more than 24 hours..

Proving that there IS no God.

:>
 
2006-12-25 01:50:26 PM  
"There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable."

Big nail...hit squarely and firmly...on the head.


I REALLY like the above quote.
Not just in the context of believers vs. non-believers or atheism or whatever...

I just simply find it hard to belive a "thinking" person can be reasonable if he/she adheres all beliefs,ethics and or moral phiosophies to some confusing ancient text that aknowledges an invisible "creator in the sky."
 
2006-12-25 01:55:39 PM  
Kniggit: "An atheist with a moral system is one who follows something extraneous to their own ultimate good because their whim is ultimately limited to their ability to get caught for something."

This makes no sense. You are attempting to define somebody else's morality based on your own suppositions.

"For the average person, within society, the only real limit is the consequence of their actions relative to others (i.e. rule of law)."

This assumes that people do not have consciences. It can be argued that immoral behavior is damaging and degrading to the person whether or not they are caught.

"Anything else is to make themselves feel good or to gain something from others, like cooperation."

Why is it limited to only these reasons? Can you not conceive of a non-religious person who acts morally based on principle?

"There is no utility value in acting moral towards others if they have ultimate power or believe they do."

There is "utility value" if the person feels that morality itself is important. There is also "utility value" if the person in a position of power wishes to set an example that others will follow, thus strengthening their power and effectiveness.

"Interestingly enough, as I have contended in other discussions, this "feel good" attitude is precisely the same argument most atheists use against people who believe in something."

Which feel-good attitude are you talking about? The one that actually exists among atheists you have encountered, or the one you're making up for the purpose of your argument?

"And true accountability is, at least in part, a punishment. That's why Saddam did what he did - he figured he'd never be held accountable. That's why the same Saddam had a mistress on 60 Minutes telling the world he's no Muslim and that he's going through the motions for show."

Your example just goes to show that avowed religious people can behave as badly as non-religious people. The lack of accountability among rulers is not an argument for why people should believe in god. It is an argument for why governing bodies should have checks and balances, or for why democracy is preferable to dictatorship.

"If you're a theist and have ultimate power, you are limited by your accountability to God in the afterlife."

This is only a limitation to the extent that you are prevented from deluding yourself into thinking that your own will is in alliance with god's.

"This is a set of predefined and known issues where mass murder ultimately equates to eternal suffering."

And yet there are so many examples of religious people ignoring this equation to do horrible things. Or, better yet, doing something horrible and then instead of answering to "accountability" deciding that they are forgiven and that's good enough.

"Bush may believe that God told him to invade Iraq, but attributing all of the deaths there to him alone is ignorant considering that they've detained Iranians and Iranian arms in the last little while attempting to stir up things purposely."

Bush does believe that god told him to invade Iraq. You can call it "ignorant" to attribute the deaths to him, but the fact is that his decision did lead to many deaths -- the lowball estimate is 150,000. Other estimates go as high as 650,000. Good intentions or bad intentions, that is a lot of life lost because somebody thought god was telling him to do something. I have no idea what your point is regarding Iranians and Iranian arms.

"And - again - the death count is nothing compared to the 30 million of Stalin alone."

So it's a horse race and Stalin wins?

"Your note about the validity of atheism is irrelevant."

It is relevant if a person is trying to decide what they believe based on the supposed link between atheism and morality. To that person I would suggest that truth is not based on the best hoped-for consequences of a belief, but on what belief (or lack thereof) makes the most sense given the actual available evidence.

"There is a clear link between atheists and mass murder."

You have not established this link or its nature (correlation? causation?). Just making the statement does not make it true. And there are plenty of counter-examples that seem to further dilute your assertion.

"Religion has structures in place to punish those who mass murder."

What structures? You mean heaven and hell? But this structure falls apart as long as a person can figure out a reason why their murder is somehow desired by god.

"Atheism has no such thing."

Right -- atheism alone does not have a moral framework. That's because atheism is not a wide philosophical belief system. It is just a state of mind regarding a single question: whether one subscribes to the belief that the earth was created by a supernatural being. That said, atheists are quite capable of having complex, internally consistent and very firmly held morals based on substantial and thoroughly thought-out reasons.

"But - again - your association with them is utterly irrelevant."

If you say so...

"The historical proof is in the body count I've already mentioned. Stalin killed 30 million people, the majority of them Ukrainians who were cut off purposely from government support during a time of famine."

Right, so it is a horse race and Stalin's genocide wins. Nevermind all the religious people who have killed others. They don't count because they just didn't have the sheer volume that Stalin achieved. Whatever.

"Now find me the Wikipedia entries or other independently corroborated evidence that Christians or Muslims have exacted the same magnitude of body count. YOU CAN'T. Quo Est Dictum."

Too bad the idea of a competitive body count between different religious ideologies doesn't mean anything conclusive.

"My statement about scientific advance isn't questionable, it's true."

Based on what?

"The entire modern basis for calculus and, therefore, all of modern science and engineering came from Newton, for example."

How does this prove anything about religion? Are you saying that if Newton had not been a religious man he would not have made his discoveries?

"But there are two examples. I'm waiting for your example of an atheistic society that contributed more historically. My proof is there - where's yours?"

There have been very few large atheistic societies in history (in fact, I can't really think of any). Most societies have had some sort of religious belief. This hardly proves that religious belief was the driving force behind scientific advances. Your "proof" is pre-loaded.

"Your statement on absolute power is, again, without proof. I have made a statement on atheists throughout history, I have demonstrated sources for their mass murders. You, indeed, are the one asking for proof."

I contest the very idea that your value judgement can be demonstrated by the type of examples you hold up as proof. I disagree with the concept of putting together some kind of historical tally sheet and then listing "religious genocide" versus "non-religious genocide" numbers side by side, with the winner getting the designation of being a worse belief system.

"After being given said proof, you have countered with weak arguments and questions, not statements and facts."

Riiiiiight. "Weak" is merely your opinion. What kind of facts would you find adequate? I did mention a few examples of religious institutions suppressing scientific advancement, as well as examples of genocide and atrocity being committed in the name of religion. If your only answer to that is to make genocide into a horse race, then you are setting your own rules about what makes a valid argument in this discussion.

"You may be right about upbringing and whatever else, but you possess no hard facts."

Nor do you, unless pointing to a few Wikipedia entries and "numbers of dead people" citings constitutes hard facts. When having a philosophical debate, are facts alone really enough?

"Show me one person, throughout history, who acted in the name of God who murdered in the tens of millions."

This is an absurd challenge because for most of recorded history people did not exist in such large numbers. Really, only in the 20th century were humans capable of the kind of mass slaughter that Hitler and Stalin managed. For that kind of killing, you need trains, armies, police forces, vast organization, etc.

There also is the question of population growth. During the Crusades, I question whether there were even 10 million people on the planet, let alone who might have been victims of a more ambitious group of killers. More people plus more assembly-line-style industry is going to naturally equal a higher death count.

That said, there are certainly many 20th-century atrocities that were committed by people who professed to be religious. Agusto Pinochet is an example. Idi Amin. The people who instituted apartheid were religious. Manifest Destiny was a religious-based idea that led to the slaughter of Native Americans.

"I'm not talking thousands. I'm not talking hundreds of thousands. I'm not even talking a couple of million. I'm talking an eight digit figure."

LOL. You're so dramatic.

"The assertion of the arbitrary nature of religious beliefs is, again, predicated on God being the ultimate authority and the discourse of reality as it has manifested itself up to today."

This sentence demands a language parser. Translation?

"Finally, we get to the attitude of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. It is entirely obvious that their attitude towards anything religious is sharp and derogatory to religion without bringing up the fundamental points I have already made."

What, your little "genocide horse race"?

"Read their literature. They take the attitude that all religious people are deluded to some degree."

It isn't an attitude. They state their ideas and give their reasons.

"What I have never seen from these people, as the "true" scientists they are, is to derive a method to explore the question that they have already answered."

Do you actually read the stuff you write? What does this sentence mean? Why would somebody "derive a method" (?) to "explore a question they have already answered" (?). You are not communicating clearly.

"Maybe Dawkins and Harris should spend a few minutes trying to figure out if there is a tool to look for it but, alas, it's my contention that they will do no such thing because they exhibit the same effective zealotry as radical Muslims."

A tool to look for what? And how do they exhibit a zealotry like radical Muslims? I must have missed the part where Richard Dawkins discussed blowing up Christians.

"Most people, regardless of religious belief, find mass murder abhorrent and wrong. It is a fundamental issue. Yet you only need to read their literature to see how they attempt to gloss over or minimize the effects of their ideology, which brings us full circle to the linked article and how I successfully rebutted one of its points."

The only reason they "gloss over the effects of their ideology" is because they do not see a murderous mentality as being the natural effect of their ideology.
 
2006-12-25 01:58:41 PM  
letrole: "(a)theists are random blots on the landscape. (A)theists share common beliefs and goals."

These are just statements made up out of your head, rather than actual arguments for a position.
 
2006-12-25 02:01:31 PM  
letrole: "So? We've already shown I'm the one who has offspring. I win."

So this is a win/lose game for you, eh?

"You can't rely upon some artificial right and wrong. There is none, only winners and losers."

Are you describing your actual belief system? If not, why not?

"There is no Spirit of Man rubbish. You're only a hairless ape who just had your lunch taken."

Life is what you make it.

"The only acceptable answer is that you are bigger than me."

One thing I will say: I am more interested in having an honest debate than you are.
 
2006-12-25 02:07:45 PM  
cankersnore
These are just statements made up out of your head, rather than actual arguments for a position.

Why yes, those are just statements I made up. They illustrate a point I'm trying to make. I didn't have to get cheat notes from filthy-athiest.org, ain't that refreshing? I've already mentioned the bland and boring sameness of the typical schoolboy atheist drivel. To wit: Atheism is a religion in the same sense that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

Yawn.
 
2006-12-25 02:12:02 PM  
Atheist Soviet Union murdered 62 million. Atheist Red China murdered 73 million.

That's 135 million people killed by these two atheist regimes alone.
 
2006-12-25 02:15:17 PM  
letrole: "Why yes, those are just statements I made up. They illustrate a point I'm trying to make."

And this point is what again? Other than saying "some atheists are more arrogant/rigid than other atheists," you don't seem to have much to offer here.

"I didn't have to get cheat notes from filthy-athiest.org, ain't that refreshing? I've already mentioned the bland and boring sameness of the typical schoolboy atheist drivel."

You're one to talk about sameness. You're the most repetitive person here.

"To wit: Atheism is a religion in the same sense that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby. Yawn."

At least that person's repetitive statement has a clear point. I'll bet if pressed he could explain what it means, why it's important to distinguish X and Y, etc. More than can be said for you.

What is your point again? Why is it important to you? What do you care about? Are you religious? Christian?
 
2006-12-25 02:15:32 PM  
Uewebawo and cankersnore:

I will bypass all of your arguments with this: atheists have killed more people in the last 60 years than all religious groups combined throughout the whole of human history. It IS a quantitative and scientific argument. It isn't about potential destruction, delusion, semantics or anything imaginary. There's a body count atheists are accountable for because there is no account to anyone or anything higher. You can chop it up and subdivide it, but there's no point. Tally up your totals and prove that your ideology is less harmful to humanity than those who believe in something. There is no dogma for atheism other than that there is nothing above humans. If that's what you believe, then you get it. Don't minimize it, don't attempt to equivocate or qualify it, just give everyone the body count. There's no sense in arguing anything else right now when the hard evidence says otherwise.
 
2006-12-25 02:17:17 PM  
SkinnyHead: "Atheist Soviet Union murdered 62 million. Atheist Red China murdered 73 million. That's 135 million people killed by these two atheist regimes alone."

Red China wins!

These numbers say much less about theism vs. atheism than they do about totalitarianism vs. some form of representative democracy.
 
2006-12-25 02:18:25 PM  
SkinnyHead: Atheist Soviet Union murdered 62 million. Atheist Red China murdered 73 million.

Kniggit: Don't minimize it, don't attempt to equivocate or qualify it, just give everyone the body count.

That's right. Stalin and Mao did what they did in the name of "Not God"
 
2006-12-25 02:23:01 PM  
cankersnore

Life is what you make it.

Minmei? Is that you?
 
2006-12-25 02:28:46 PM  
cankersnore
One thing I will say: I am more interested in having an honest debate than you are.

Your answers were pathetic. Go hit the cheat notes at filthy-atheist.org or wherever it is you get your canned responses that you mechanically post without actually understanding. There's no point in humiliating you further. I prefer to close this conversation out on good terms, so I'll wish you farewell.
 
2006-12-25 02:28:55 PM  
Stalin and Mao were not just cults of personality but religions of personality. Accepting any "higher power" would have been competition with the image they wanted to shape their countries with.

Belief (or the lack-of) of the divine in their regimes was not a source or a reason, but a byproduct of the form of totalitarian dictatorship they wanted to create and enforce. I dare say they were worshipped with more passion than any God, and feared more than any threat of eternal punishment.

It was the creation and solidification of Power, pure and simple.
 
2006-12-25 02:33:14 PM  
Kniggit: "I will bypass all of your arguments with this: atheists have killed more people in the last 60 years than all religious groups combined throughout the whole of human history."

What makes you think these deaths were committed in the name of atheism? How do you know for certain that the individuals who did the killing were not religious?

"It IS a quantitative and scientific argument."

It's a horse race that means nothing in terms of the important questions about whether one should choose to have religious beliefs. It also completely ignores individual histories of the societies where the atrocities were committed, and conveniently fails to allow for differences in global population and industrial-age organization which would affect your analysis.

"It isn't about potential destruction, delusion, semantics or anything imaginary. There's a body count atheists are accountable for because there is no account to anyone or anything higher."

That's bunk. Atheists in general are in no way "accountable" for a historical body count -- no more than all thesists are "accountable" for whatever historical body count they might have racked up. As I've said before, as long a religious person can convince himself that his muderous actions are in accordance with the will of god, he will do it. Native Americans in the way of expansion? No problem -- we'll call it "Manifest Destiny" and decide that god wants us to wipe out these other, lesser people.

"You can chop it up and subdivide it, but there's no point. Tally up your totals and prove that your ideology is less harmful to humanity than those who believe in something."

You are ignoring the fact that atheism is not a unifying ideology that is the same for each person. An actual political/moral ideology is something that would coexist with atheism, not be a subset of it. Again, I question your idea that doing a tally makes any sense or means anything when you so conveniently leave out historical context and politics. "Atheism" is not why Stalin killed people. You also fail to account for all the atrocities committed in the name of religion. Whether or not they tally up quite as high, how did they occur to begin with? What's to stop them from happening again?

"There is no dogma for atheism other than that there is nothing above humans."

You obviously do not understand atheism then. Many atheists believe that there are things in the world that are vastly more important than one's own selfish desires and interests. Many atheists are selfless and act out of principles. If you think they don't then you need to spend more time talking to people and listening.

"Don't minimize it, don't attempt to equivocate or qualify it, just give everyone the body count. There's no sense in arguing anything else right now when the hard evidence says otherwise."

You are stuck in a loop from which you seemingly cannot recover. It's like your mantra is, "It's all about the body count, OMMMMM, It's all about the body count, OMMMMMM, nothing else matters, OMMMMM, body count, OMMMMM, body count, OMMMMM...."
 
2006-12-25 02:35:54 PM  
Apathy is the lack of empathy.
Atheism is the lack of theism, which by the way is the belief in "god, the creator of all."

Therefore, anyone who does not believe in gods are atheists. Sorry.

The nonbelief in god makes you an athiest no matter what else you might believe in, just like the basis in christianity is the belief in christ, regardless of the extra clashing belief systems that make them battle amongst themselves (mormons, jehovahs witnesses, etc).

I just love how they try to lump us in with them by calling it a belief system, a faith kinda deal. Bullshiat. I don't believe in the toothfairy or santa so why would I believe an equally childish thing like hayzoos.

Why do you not believe in santa or the toothfairy, or the easter bunny, yet believe so easily about a resurrected zombie jesus?
 
2006-12-25 02:36:45 PM  
letrole: "Your answers were pathetic. Go hit the cheat notes at filthy-atheist.org or wherever it is you get your canned responses that you mechanically post without actually understanding. There's no point in humiliating you further. I prefer to close this conversation out on good terms, so I'll wish you farewell."

Condescension and insincerity all at once. If this communication demonstrates the fruits of your religious beliefs, then you are making a very good argument for atheism.
 
2006-12-25 02:38:09 PM  
And now, due to letrole's passing us mortals by, I submit all the "good terms" he has graced us with in this thread:


I enjoy placing stumbling blocks in the path of the daft and addle.

What a pathetic state that must be, to exist only in opposition to the norms of society.

It's a pity that some aren't quite in my league

But if given more than this Schoolboy Athiest drivel, I will crush any opposing argument with authority and elegance.

There is no Spirit of Man rubbish. You're only a hairless ape who just had your lunch taken.

Your answers were pathetic.



I, for one, will miss his sweet words and dulcet tone.
 
2006-12-25 02:42:37 PM  
Jesus is Lord! Only he can save you from the pit of vile filth that you wallow in!


Not really. I'm agnostic but I don't agree with any religion that I have looked into. Also, I feel that most people who have religion are two-faced hypocrites. They say one thing then turn right around and do the opposite. How are "believers" able to say that they are SOOO righteous and perfect when this is how they act. Plus I feel like adding some more fuel to this fire. I do stand by what I said though. The second part, not so much the first one.
 
2006-12-25 02:43:15 PM  
cankersnore
Condescension and insincerity all at once. If this communication demonstrates the fruits of your religious beliefs, then you are making a very good argument for atheism.

Only if Atheism tends to recruit the daft, addle, and easily punked. Wait a minute, you may have a point there, hoss.
 
2006-12-25 02:44:18 PM  
FTA:
Jews, Christians and Muslims claim that their scriptures are so prescient of humanity's needs that they could only have been written under the direction of an omniscient deity. An atheist is simply a person who has considered this claim, read the books and found the claim to be ridiculous. One doesn't have to take anything on faith, or be otherwise dogmatic, to reject unjustified religious beliefs. As the historian Stephen Henry Roberts (1901-71) once said: "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

/I want this on a slab of granite in front of whatever building they erect in my honor.
 
2006-12-25 02:45:38 PM  
letrole: "Only if Atheism tends to recruit the daft, addle, and easily punked. Wait a minute, you may have a point there, hoss."

Wow, your "good terms" thing lasted about as long as your ability to hold a reasonable discussion.
 
2006-12-25 02:48:58 PM  
letrole: Oh yeah, that reminds me -- you never did respond to my question regarding your own religious beliefs. Why is that? I am assuming you are a Christian, and further assuming that your idea of Christian or "Christ-like" behavior is very selective. Am I right or wrong here? Enlighten me.
 
2006-12-25 02:58:15 PM  
You have to be a dick to everyone that doesn't think like you.
 
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