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(Salon)   "Why Does The Left Ignore Atheists?" Look, Alternet Journalist, I know you live in some fancy shmancy place like New York or LA, but here in flyover country, there's this little thing called "evangelicalism"   (salon.com) divider line 109
    More: Obvious, GLBT, The Audacity of Hope, United Church of Christ, orators, John Dewey, Alan Keyes, PZ Myers, theisms  
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2312 clicks; posted to Politics » on 08 Aug 2012 at 1:19 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-08 01:58:43 PM  

canyoneer: Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.


Atheists don't have to disprove anything, the burden of proof lies on the person making a claim. There are literally countless things all religious and non-religious folks don't believe because there is no proof. The difference between atheists and theists is that atheists believe in one less religion than theists do. To suggest that is irrational is to suggest everyone on the planet is irrational.

But I'm glad you got to feel smugly superior to everyone.
 
2012-08-08 01:59:28 PM  
I'm only a good person cuz I'm afraid what God will do to me.
 
2012-08-08 02:02:43 PM  
canyoneer:

Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.

So glad you agree. Who exactly is it trying to legislate faith-based positions and make it the law of the land?

Take your time... Come back with a measured response...
 
2012-08-08 02:04:09 PM  

Jekylman: Can you name a single American politician that is currently trying to take away people's religious rights?
[www.barenakedislam.com image 240x160]


Touché.

Let me rephrase.

Is there a single American politician trying to take away religious rights from American Christians?
 
2012-08-08 02:05:18 PM  

GBmanNC: canyoneer: Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.

You are describing gnostic atheism. Most atheists are agnostic atheists.

/someone post the chart, I'm too lazy


No, he's just a moron. I don't believe in Santa Claus.. This does not involve any effort on my part; I just . . . don't think about Santa Claus. I don't ask him for presents, and I don't leave out milk and cookies for his reindeer. I have nothing to do with Santa Claus at all. See how that works? I don't care what other people do with Santa Claus as long as they don't involve me in their rituals.
 
2012-08-08 02:07:17 PM  
By the way, the reason Atheists have such a bad rep is because people don't like having their fixed beliefs challenged. They also don't like having to accept responsibility for their actions. This is why Satan is so much more important to believers than God: they need a scapegoat.
 
2012-08-08 02:09:00 PM  
pacified:

I'm only a good person cuz I'm afraid what God will do to me.

Well, if nothing else, it's an ethos.

It's a shame more people don't understand the much older and deeper concepts of... ya know, say... "do unto others" and need to get spanked in order to be good people.

They must be bad people at heart to need whipping. Some gods have really awful followers.
 
2012-08-08 02:09:37 PM  
Well, there are 8 states with constitutions that bar atheists from holding elected positions. That might be a part of it.
 
2012-08-08 02:10:35 PM  

canyoneer: Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.


There is no evidence of the existence of any kind of supernatural creator of the universe, and the universe as we see it can be explained thoroughly through natural phenomena. There is nothing that we have observed that requires such a being to explain its existence.

What is irrational is superimposing a deity or intelligent creator onto a system that can be adequately explained without invoking any divine intervention: if we suppose the existence of a deity that created the universe, it creates a whole series of unanswerable questions, foremost being "where did the creator originate?"
 
2012-08-08 02:11:44 PM  

Gwyrddu: To suggest that is irrational is to suggest everyone on the planet is irrational.


Well, that's certainly not possible.
 
2012-08-08 02:14:56 PM  

meat0918: Jekylman: Can you name a single American politician that is currently trying to take away people's religious rights?
[www.barenakedislam.com image 240x160]

Touché.

Let me rephrase.

Is there a single American politician trying to take away religious rights from American Christians?


There are too many to single out any one individual:
www.focusonlinecommunities.com

i.huffpost.com

s3.amazonaws.com

media.theweek.com
 
2012-08-08 02:16:06 PM  

canyoneer: Gwyrddu: To suggest that is irrational is to suggest everyone on the planet is irrational.

Well, that's certainly not possible.


Maybe, but it certainly isn't because they don't believe every absurd fairy tale that comes their way.
 
2012-08-08 02:16:07 PM  
gilgigamesh:

canyoneer: Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.

There is no evidence of the existence of any kind of supernatural creator of the universe, and the universe as we see it can be explained thoroughly through natural phenomena. There is nothing that we have observed that requires such a being to explain its existence.


Dude!!! You're being irrational by applying rational analysis to the problem! IT IS THE SAME THING!
 
2012-08-08 02:22:23 PM  
gilgigamesh

su·per·nat·u·ral/ˌsoopərˈnaCH(ə)rəl/

Adjective: (of a manifestation or event) Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.
 
2012-08-08 02:22:46 PM  

DamnYankees: Exactly this. I don't know of any issues that only affect the atheist community. There's nothing to really rally around, and thats not a bad thing.


Most atheists can rally around keeping mumbo jumbo out of public school biology (and other) classes. That's not exclusively an atheist issue, as there are non-creationist religious people, too, but I'd say it's one issue almost all atheists are concerned about.
 
2012-08-08 02:24:33 PM  

canyoneer: Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.


On a broad sense, yes. There's really no more evidence for a creator Deity than for the lack of a creator Deity.

But, in a post-Copernican world, knowing that there's a decillion cubic light years of universe out there, and we're in an exceedingly non-central place in it? With zero evidence to suggest that there is or isn't a God who cares where I stick my wee-wee, the proposition that there is a God who cares very much where I stick my wee-wee is a much, much, much more specific and evidence-or-GTFO level claim.
 
2012-08-08 02:25:22 PM  

IHadMeAVision: Can't speak for LA, but in NY atheism isn't even that common.


I'd say it is very common here in comparison to other places. Of course, it also depends on the demogaphic your looking at though.
 
2012-08-08 02:29:43 PM  

canyoneer: gilgigamesh

su·per·nat·u·ral/ˌsoopərˈnaCH(ə)rəl/

Adjective: (of a manifestation or event) Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.


Which is really just a broader application of God of the Gaps. Just because science can't currently explain something doesn't mean it's supernatural. And currently there is no reason to believe there exists phenomenon for which the scientific method can't at least theoretically be applied regardless of whether it has or not.

You can't step outside of the laws of nature because there is no known outside to step to. If you can find a legitimate exception to the law, that just means we didn't understand the law well enough in the first place.
 
2012-08-08 02:33:34 PM  

canyoneer: gilgigamesh

su·per·nat·u·ral/ˌsoopərˈnaCH(ə)rəl/

Adjective: (of a manifestation or event) Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.


But once it acts on the world, it becomes measurable, and ceases to be "supernatural".

I'll admit there may be a supernatural force out there, but the evidence for such a force is dwindling rapidly as science marches on. There will always be gaps in our knowledge that a god can fit into, but we don't think Zeus is throwing lightening bolts forged by Hephaestus any longer.

//After death will probably be the last major gap for people to stick too.
 
2012-08-08 02:34:00 PM  

Lawnchair: On a broad sense, yes. There's really no more evidence for a creator Deity than for the lack of a creator Deity. But, in a post-Copernican world, knowing that there's a decillion cubic light years of universe out there, and we're in an exceedingly non-central place in it? With zero evidence to suggest that there is or isn't a God who cares where I stick my wee-wee, the proposition that there is a God who cares very much where I stick my wee-wee is a much, much, much more specific and evidence-or-GTFO level claim.


Oh, I agree. I pretty skeptical about it, too, but I'm not prepared to categorically deny the possibility of the existence of the supernatural simply based on the fact that, by definition, it is impossible to do so. To me, the widespread strong belief in specific supernatural explanations of the universe is really an indication that our species is little different today than it was 10,000 or 100,000 years ago. You can take the paleolithic savage out of the Paleolithic, but you can't take the Paleolithic out of the paleolithic savage. That politicians still pander to this ruddy mumbo-jumbo is further support for that supposition.
 
2012-08-08 02:38:35 PM  

Kurmudgeon: We Theists aren't bigots and don't vote on a politician's personal anti-religious belief unless that individual intends to take away rights to service their bias.
Hard Core Right Wingers place their prejudice before any belief or faith, don't confuse the two.
/though I'm sure some will still be determined to.


That's demonstrably false. Atheists are the single most discriminated against segment of American society (though only in bias/opinion, not in legal terms) that aren't actual criminals. Theists are routinely bigots and absolutely would vote on a politician's person lack of religion if they were out as an atheist, and not just the hardcore right wingers. When significantly more than half of people in every poll ever done on the subject regard "being an atheist" as a disqualifying quality for someone's vote, it's not just the hard core right wing evangelists that are discriminatory.
 
2012-08-08 02:41:19 PM  

pacified: No, i'm not a christian because my parents brainwashed me as a child.


So then which are you? recovering addict or someone who got hitched to a Christian chick?
 
2012-08-08 02:46:19 PM  
Religion has been a tool for exploitation at least since some guy in Egypt figured out that people will do anything he tells them to do as long as he wears a bird-mask and claims to be a god. The problem politicians face with atheists is that they can't apply their age-old pandering mechanism to their beliefs and actually have to come through on policy positions.
 
2012-08-08 02:50:58 PM  

DamnYankees: No one has ever been elected to a Federal office as an atheist, as far as I know. Only Pete Stark has ever even admitted to being one, and he did so after having served for 30 years when he was pretty well entrenched.

So what exactly are you talking about?


Not the straw horse that I never mentioned, that's for sure.
I have no problems voting for an atheist as long as his/hers ideas of governance are reasonable to society that is supposed to have freedom for all beliefs. Remember it's Freedom OF Religion, not from it.
If no atheist has ever been elected, then there is no doubt that their number of supporters were insufficient. You do know everyone votes in private, right?
 
2012-08-08 02:54:53 PM  
I think Kurmudgeon is a script that posts by just pulling sentence fragments at random from emails forwarded to you by your grandparents.
 
2012-08-08 02:55:48 PM  

OneTimed: By the way, the reason Atheists have such a bad rep is because people don't like having their fixed beliefs challenged. They also don't like having to accept responsibility for their actions. This is why Satan is so much more important to believers than God: they need a scapegoat.


Which is hilarious because the number of references to Satan in the bible is damn near zero, and IIRC he's never mentioned by name until until the epistles.
 
2012-08-08 02:57:14 PM  

canyoneer: Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.


"Atheism" is simply lack of a belief in a deity. It can absolutely be supported by logic - in fact it's the default position in a cultural vacuum. Because to believe something exists, you should really have some sort of evidence.

"I do not believe there is a god" is still atheism - agnostic atheism, to be precise, because it doesn't make a claim to know for certain, but it involves no belief in a god.
"I believe there is no god" is gnostic atheism, which makes less sense logically because it carries a certainty. It still COULD be a scientifically sound position, though - you may not be able to offer absolute PROOF that gods don't exist, but like in any science at all, you can do experiments and show that the chance of a god existing is close enough to zero that it's not worth considering.
 
2012-08-08 02:58:20 PM  

canyoneer: There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view.


1) That depends on what sense of the word "prove" you're using.
2) Most atheists don't deny it categorically with absolute certainty, but merely on a "most probably" basis.
theosophical.files.wordpress.com

There is no way for anyone to categorically prove with absolute certainty that you are not a cleverly disguised cabbage.

GBmanNC: /someone post the chart, I'm too lazy


a.imageshack.us


Funbags: I don't think theists are too worried about maintaining a separation of church/state.


Depends on the theist. They tend to be less worried, such that the anti-separation crowd is disproportionately theist; but about half the people who (for example) support the SCOTUS rulings against teachers/administrators leading prayer in schools (EG: Engel v. Vitale) are theists.

Some Catholics are old enough to remember protestant discrimination, or at least to have learned about it in their US history classes.

Lawnchair: There's really no more evidence for a creator Deity than for the lack of a creator Deity.


I'll note in passing that "evidence for" is a lazy heuristic; "evidence well-described by" is closer.
 
2012-08-08 02:59:40 PM  

Kurmudgeon: I have no problems voting for an atheist as long as his/hers ideas of governance are reasonable to society that is supposed to have freedom for all beliefs. Remember it's Freedom OF Religion, not from it.


What? A government that lacks religion is the safest type for all religions. It lacks bias.
 
2012-08-08 03:04:13 PM  

Kurmudgeon: Remember it's Freedom OF Religion, not from it.


-10/10
 
2012-08-08 03:11:46 PM  

canyoneer: I pretty skeptical about it, too, but I'm not prepared to categorically deny the possibility of the existence of the supernatural simply based on the fact that, by definition, it is impossible to do so.


Anyway, I have to argue about flying saucers on the beach with people, you know. And I was interested in this: they keep arguing that it is possible. And that's true. It is possible. They do not appreciate that the problem is not to demonstrate whether it's possible or not but whether it's going on or not. - Richard Feynman

Kurmudgeon: Remember it's Freedom OF Religion, not from it.


Freedom from Government Establishment will do nicely, thank you.

IrateShadow: A government that lacks religion is the safest type for all religions.


Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? - James Madison
 
2012-08-08 03:22:12 PM  

Kurmudgeon: Remember it's Freedom OF Religion, not from it.


And the right to bear arms means everyone must own an automatic weapon.
 
2012-08-08 03:22:59 PM  
Why Does The Left Ignore Atheists?

Because they don't going around killing people who disagree with them?
 
2012-08-08 03:26:49 PM  
scrwmedia.com
 
2012-08-08 03:44:09 PM  

canyoneer: Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.


Do you believe in Santa Claus? Is it irrational or illogical to deny that he exists?
 
2012-08-08 03:47:10 PM  
Maybe subby was making a little hick joke, but I imagine that in flyover country, perhaps even more fervently than anywhere else, they use the correct term, which is evangelism.
 
2012-08-08 03:53:57 PM  
*looking at watch*

The 2:52 I'll-Tell-You-What-An-Athiest-Is-And-Isn't Special is right on time.
 
2012-08-08 03:55:40 PM  
Well it sems that perhaps in in flyover country, perhaps even more fervently than anywhere else, they made up some nonsense and twisted the name. My bad.
 
2012-08-08 03:57:36 PM  
Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas & Maryland are all States that BAN atheists from holding public office. What do you think would happen if a States banned someone who was religious from holding an public office?

Now, of course, this stupidity is undone by federal law:
Link

I wonder who Christians hate more ... gays "whose actions are sinful" or atheists "who dismiss their religion"?
 
2012-08-08 04:09:41 PM  
Why Does The Left Ignore Atheists

How long has TFA been beating his wife?
 
2012-08-08 04:25:33 PM  
Felt I had to chime in.

Midwest Atheist

Closest thing to "spirituality" I have is snowboarding.

// don't mind religion specifically, just think it's silly and childish
// please keep it to yourself and out of law
 
2012-08-08 05:35:09 PM  
I'm an apathetic agnostic. Don't know, but don't really care.
 
2012-08-08 05:48:11 PM  
Because my being an atheist is tied to one political concern: separation of church and state. Removing religious references from currency, public building displays, etc., while proper, is not popular among the vast majority of active citizens. While separation of church and state extends further than simply the references, the policies which are religious in motivation have several great arguments against without touching upon religious aspects. Add to this a lack of unifying practices, terms (other than "atheist", of course), etc., as well as the ignorance and mistrust amongst the population and minimal affiliation.

Basically, you cannot pander to atheists without alienating others, pandering to atheists is hard due to lack of language to use, pandering to atheists is hard due to lack of social representation, and pandering to atheists by what I would identify as atheist specific concerns (references to God which are often ignored or supported by religious progressives) is ignoring far more pressing matters to me. I do not want to pandered to, either; how about fix sh*t which is of concern across diverse groups?
 
2012-08-08 06:28:24 PM  

gilgigamesh: canyoneer: Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.

There is no evidence of the existence of any kind of supernatural creator of the universe, and the universe as we see it can be explained thoroughly through natural phenomena. There is nothing that we have observed that requires such a being to explain its existence.

What is irrational is superimposing a deity or intelligent creator onto a system that can be adequately explained without invoking any divine intervention: if we suppose the existence of a deity that created the universe, it creates a whole series of unanswerable questions, foremost being "where did the creator originate?"


I think there are 4 deductions one can make once you strip away all the semantics that people play games with...

1. The (as you point out) incomplete deduction that our universe came into existance intentionally through some intelligent creator deity. This falls short as you now have to answer where did creator n come frome, and creator n+1 through infinity...
2. Or one can avoid the infinite creator regression by concluding that the universe has just existed for an infinite time in the past and will exist for some infinite time into the future. It just is, no creator.
3. If the universe just existing for an infinite time frame doesnt float your boat, we can just say that it randomly came into existance, from 0 to 1. Nothing to everything spontaneously, no creator.
4. This is where I stand...it is beyond the human mind to fathom infiniteness and nothingness. Its dividing by 0. The human brain cannot imagine non-existance. And pretty much all religions are human made systems to calm our fear of what lies beyond death. If I'm not preoccupied with death and what lies beyond, I can get busy reproducing, so these dogmatic belief systems have been selected for throughout human evolution.

I can't picture "nothing", I can't count to infinity, I can picture a black void, but that still is something . So rather than getting pissed off or making up definitions for every shade of _____ism's, I gave up,I try to live my life and stop trying to calculate infinity. What I do know is that I am here...I will never know with absolute certainty where I will go when I die...so I may as well enjoy myself now, and let others enjoy themselves as well (as long as they dont enjoy killing or raping me and those who I am close to)
 
2012-08-08 08:06:39 PM  
Arguably, there are liberal clobber verses as well - passages condemning wealth and telling believers to give to those who ask, for example - but for whatever reason, liberal believers have been slow to deploy them and inept when they do try.

Clearly this author has never been in a Fark religion thread.
 
2012-08-08 08:35:21 PM  

canyoneer: Atheism is an absolutist view of the universe that cannot be logically-supported. There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, so to categorically deny that it exists or can exist is an irrational point of view. Atheists have that in common with the religious...an irrational point of view...a religious bias, so to speak.


You can pretty easily go through most religious books and assign a very low probability to the truthfulness of claims being being presented in the books in regards to miracles. For example, the sun stopping in the sky as claimed in the book of Joshua just doesn't work based on our current understanding of the way the world works, even though it seemed pretty reasonable back when a geocentric model of the universe was commonly accepted.

Now, that is not to say that some Elder God like entity, terrifyingly unknowable by the mind of man, does not exist and was responsible for the creation of the universe or life on Earth, but there is simply no evidence to support that hypothesis at this time, so it is not really work considering. Basically, the universe currently looks as if there were either no god, or that god has taken great pains to hide its existence. A simple breaking of the laws of physics here and there, or a mathematical message hidden in Pi would suffice if such a god wanted to make itself known. It is downright evil for such a god to not communicate clearly with its creation, because without clearly knowing what god wants you inevitably have people suffering because of religious strife. So in the end you really only have three options that make sense: either God does not exist, God is indifferent to us and our suffering, or God is evil and enjoys seeing us kill each other over religion. Of the three options, I honestly find the non-existence of God the least distressing.
 
2012-08-08 08:36:57 PM  

DarwiOdrade: WTF is the point of that article? Democrats don't hold up atheists as the paragons of leftitude, so we're ignoring them?


I only read a little of it, but the author seemed to be saying that atheists must be progressive because they're overwhelmingly pro-abortion rights.
 
2012-08-08 08:47:29 PM  
I don't think the Left really has to pander to us atheists, anyway. What are we going to do, vote Republican in poutrage? They have gone so far into the arms of the Religious Right that there's no way I'd feel comfortable voting Republican.
 
2012-08-08 09:28:22 PM  
Is there a god is a question that can be answered yes, no or I don't know. If you answer I don't know, you're agnostic.

Do you believe in god is a yes or no question. If your answer above is I don't know or no, you're atheist.

Atheist/agnostic answer two different questions.
 
2012-08-08 09:50:38 PM  
I don't feel ignored.

I don't require that my representatives be atheist, just that they simply keep religion and politics separate. Democrats tend to do a lot better job at that than the Republicans.

On the flip side, Republicans are all Pro-Jesus because it seems that conservative voters refuse to vote for anyone who doesn't worship Jesus in their own particular fashion.

Coupled with the fact that my beliefs (non-religious) tend to follow more closely with the Democrat party (or liberal/moderate independent parties), I don't feel ignored at all.
 
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