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Author Topic: Elliquian Atheists  (Read 35568 times)

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Offline Elias

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #150 on: July 10, 2012, 11:54:17 PM »
I consider myself agnostic, I wanna believe however my knowledge of origins causes too much doubt, one religion takes from another which takes from another down to a point where people were barely out of caves its hard to take it seriously, Bibles roots are all in the pagan faiths that Christianity tried so hard to destroy. Their rituals were also adapted from older pagan faiths so the converts could see their gods in the eyes of a new one.

I do find that faith in general creates better people, self sacrificing, hard working, can take more on faith. They also have that fear of god thing, and I believe thats a positive. Even if I dont have it in me myself. And when I talk of faith I mean all faiths, buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Jews the devout have a real difference about them from normal people.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #151 on: July 11, 2012, 04:12:23 AM »
...and why should they fear their supposedly good god?

Offline Hemingway

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #152 on: July 11, 2012, 06:17:01 AM »
Christopher Hitchens had a thing or two to say about fear of god and loving god. He found the idea of being required to love someone you were also required to fear perverse. I personally fail to see how living in fear of god is any different from living in fear of an earthly dictator - except that it's much, much worse.

Offline Elias

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #153 on: July 11, 2012, 09:33:54 AM »
Thats because you take it too literally, signs of atheists I imagine. The answers simple. You fear god the same as you fear your parents when your a child. They seem to be everywhere, they know when you have done something wrong and though they still love you they will punish you for it because it will make you a better person. Only if you listen to the mad men on the farthest right does god WANT to send you to hell, does god WANT to punish, in truth he wants you to be a better person. Dictators preach literalism (Do try and remember Roman Catholicism was born out of a dictator not anything else), religious men truly faithful men believe in teaching and aiding and being better.

What is perverse isn't fear, because in fear you become a better person. Whats truly perverse is the belief that you wont be punished by anything and therefore can do what you like within the confines of a diluted moral system developed by human beings. If all you believe stands between you and punishment is bars and concrete your more likely to push your moral boundaries.

This is the rule for every faith, bad things happen to bad people so be good and do good unto others that's it that's the basis of every single religion.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #154 on: July 11, 2012, 10:06:06 AM »
Would you be for a father who rules your home with a completely ridiculous set of moral codes and equally non sensible rules on punishment and reward? If God is 'like a father', I'd call child protective services on him >.>

Cherry picking Gods intent like you are now only shows how much of it needs to be ignored to come to this conclusion. If he were truly a God worthy of your worship and love, you wouldn't need to dishonestly represent him like this. The Catholic bible is a horrific book, and the characters in it have almost no consistency to them, so its no wonder we need to spin and choose to get a version of Jesus or God who aren't schitzophrenic hypocritical psychopaths.

Or is that just the mad extreme old men ruining it for the true Christians?

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #155 on: July 11, 2012, 10:14:18 AM »
If all you believe stands between you and punishment is bars and concrete your more likely to push your moral boundaries.

And yet, our prisons are not filled with atheists.  This is a fallacy perpetrated by far too many Christians.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #156 on: July 11, 2012, 10:19:38 AM »
I never feared my parents, so I can't really relate. To the extent that I did fear them, I understood why, and what would happen. With religion you can never be quite certain, and the punishment is eternal. And this figure, who will, if you don't obey, send you to hell, you're somehow supposed to love. That sounds more like a hostage situation than a parental one to me.

The notion that fear makes you a better person seems so absurd to me that it's almost offensive, and I think you ought to explain better what you mean. As it stands, you could be interpreted as saying that living in a state of fear of, say, our government, would make us better people.

Your claim that if don't believe in some sort of higher authority, you're more likely to commit crime, is demonstrably false. Compare rates of any crime to rates of religiosity, and you'll find an inverse correlation, or no correlation. What you won't find is a positive one. I mean, look no further than the US, one of the most religious countries in the world, and compare it with Scandinavia, one of the world's least religious regions. Now, don't take this as suggesting religion leads to crime. It simply means that lack of religion almost certainly doesn't lead to crime.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #157 on: July 11, 2012, 10:51:46 AM »
Prisons are also a concentrated population with a great many religious person there to help in reaching out to the population.  Many of the prisoners “find” their religion while in prison.  The statistics you are making reference to are not taking conversion into account, but rather current affiliation.  The numbers also do not take into account the amount of times the prisoner attends service, performs acts on behalf of their faith or any variables for “strength of faith.”  The question asked by the Federal Bureau of Prisons was, “what is your religion?”  Many people when answering that question will respond with the religion they grew up practicing or that their parents subscribed to during childhood.  They may not have stepped into a Church recent memory, but they will still subscribe to that religion when asked.

As for the bit on Scandinavia, that is a nonsensical statement.  There are too many variables between the two countries to even begin making a comparison without removal of the variables.  Everything from culture to the weather is different.   This doesn’t speak at all about the effects of religion on a country, positive or negative. 

I agree with Elias that people are taking the notion of fear to be something negative.  People fear disappointing their parents, fear bringing shame or negative consequences to their parents, fear misunderstanding or breaking rules set forth by their parents.  Fear is not necessarily “not wanting” to be punished, but is sometimes just not wanting something to happen.  Fear is healthy because fear means that the person is looking at consequences for their action.  Certainly there are passages in the Bible that talk about fearing God for his power and might, just as a child would fear their parents for their ability to spank them or put them in time-out.  There are also passages about disappointing God or not living up to the potential that God sees in people.

While I do not consider the Bible a page turner, I think the book far from a horrible read.  Maybe a bit more respect could be shown one of the founding documents of a religion and to its tenets. 

Offline Elias

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #158 on: July 11, 2012, 10:59:40 AM »
Prisons are also a concentrated population with a great many religious person there to help in reaching out to the population.  Many of the prisoners “find” their religion while in prison.  The statistics you are making reference to are not taking conversion into account, but rather current affiliation.  The numbers also do not take into account the amount of times the prisoner attends service, performs acts on behalf of their faith or any variables for “strength of faith.”  The question asked by the Federal Bureau of Prisons was, “what is your religion?”  Many people when answering that question will respond with the religion they grew up practicing or that their parents subscribed to during childhood.  They may not have stepped into a Church recent memory, but they will still subscribe to that religion when asked.

As for the bit on Scandinavia, that is a nonsensical statement.  There are too many variables between the two countries to even begin making a comparison without removal of the variables.  Everything from culture to the weather is different.   This doesn’t speak at all about the effects of religion on a country, positive or negative. 

I agree with Elias that people are taking the notion of fear to be something negative.  People fear disappointing their parents, fear bringing shame or negative consequences to their parents, fear misunderstanding or breaking rules set forth by their parents.  Fear is not necessarily “not wanting” to be punished, but is sometimes just not wanting something to happen.  Fear is healthy because fear means that the person is looking at consequences for their action.  Certainly there are passages in the Bible that talk about fearing God for his power and might, just as a child would fear their parents for their ability to spank them or put them in time-out.  There are also passages about disappointing God or not living up to the potential that God sees in people.

While I do not consider the Bible a page turner, I think the book far from a horrible read.  Maybe a bit more respect could be shown one of the founding documents of a religion and to its tenets.

Beautifully said, and I will also say that I am not just speaking of the bible and Christianity, but every faith. They all have the same roots.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #159 on: July 11, 2012, 11:10:03 AM »
You can argue the statistics, but it is far less of a leap than to suggest that because someone does not share the Judeo-Christian morals that they have no morals at all.

Quote from: Pumpkin Seeds
Maybe a bit more respect could be shown one of the founding documents of a religion and to its tenets.

Why?  Just because it has been around a while (plea to tradition) and is believed to be the word of god by many people (plea to majority) does not grant it immunity to scrutiny.  You may believe it is holy, but I do not and I will not treat it as such.  Are you equally respectful of the Book of Mormon?  The Qu'ran?

Offline Hemingway

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #160 on: July 11, 2012, 11:12:15 AM »
Prisons are also a concentrated population with a great many religious person there to help in reaching out to the population.  Many of the prisoners “find” their religion while in prison.  The statistics you are making reference to are not taking conversion into account, but rather current affiliation.  The numbers also do not take into account the amount of times the prisoner attends service, performs acts on behalf of their faith or any variables for “strength of faith.”  The question asked by the Federal Bureau of Prisons was, “what is your religion?”  Many people when answering that question will respond with the religion they grew up practicing or that their parents subscribed to during childhood.  They may not have stepped into a Church recent memory, but they will still subscribe to that religion when asked.

As for the bit on Scandinavia, that is a nonsensical statement.  There are too many variables between the two countries to even begin making a comparison without removal of the variables.  Everything from culture to the weather is different.   This doesn’t speak at all about the effects of religion on a country, positive or negative.

You're missing the point, which I thought I made quite clear. Which is that there's absolutely no evidence that religion makes people less likely to commit crime.

As to Scandinavia, that's the point I was making. If religion were a major factor in crime, you'd expect those countries to have soaring crime rates - certainly higher than the US. But they don't. Precisely because other factors determine crime, not religion. Or at least not to a significant extent.

I agree with Elias that people are taking the notion of fear to be something negative.  People fear disappointing their parents, fear bringing shame or negative consequences to their parents, fear misunderstanding or breaking rules set forth by their parents.  Fear is not necessarily “not wanting” to be punished, but is sometimes just not wanting something to happen.  Fear is healthy because fear means that the person is looking at consequences for their action.  Certainly there are passages in the Bible that talk about fearing God for his power and might, just as a child would fear their parents for their ability to spank them or put them in time-out.  There are also passages about disappointing God or not living up to the potential that God sees in people.

You are, again, talking about a different kind of fear. We "fear" disappointing people, but it's not the same life-or-death fear you feel when your life is threatened. Saying that "fear is healthy" without any qualifying statement is absurd. Having a knife to your throat is likely to cause a great deal of fear - is that healthy? Fear as part of our fight-or-flight response is healthy, in that it keeps us alive in the face of immediate harm. Assuming we don't panic, and freeze, and come to harm precisely because of our overwhelming fear.

If you're talking about not wanting to "disappoint god" as "fear", then we're talking about two different things. I'm talking about the horror of being promised an eternity of agony if you don't obey a set of rules so strict that no one could reasonably be expected to follow them.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #161 on: July 11, 2012, 11:51:52 AM »
I can argue the statistics because they are not adequate or useful in the instance they are being used.  As for atheists not having morals, I do not think anyone said that.  Elias implied that fearing bars and concrete is less useful to deter criminals than fearing something less substantial like God.  That is a correct statement except for the God part.  People that don’t get in trouble typically fear disappointing their parents or being publically shamed more than disrupting their religious beliefs.

As for scrutiny of the Bible, I think scrutiny is fine.  Simply saying this is a horrible book is not scrutiny but ridicule.  I also do give those books respect.  They are texts that people draw a large amount of inspiration and wisdom from for their lives.  I may not agree with the text, but I will be respectful enough not to tell them the book is horrible.

Hemmingway, your example does not point to an effect of religion on crime at all.  The amount of variables, once again, is too great.  Perhaps introducing more religion to Scandinavia would decrease their crime further with their current structure or maybe removing religion from the United States would decrease its crime.  The effect of religion is neither supported nor detracted by your statement.  The statement is similar to me having two vials of random solution and then dropping a chemical into both and then saying “Look no effect, so this dye has no effect on color of any solution.”

As for being afraid of a knife to the throat, I would claim that to be healthy fear.  People should be afraid of a sharp object being put against their throat.  People react differently to fear and learning to act while afraid is something people learn to do as they grow up.  Such as a student learning to take a test while afraid of the result or a soldier learning to move while afraid of being shot.  Fear of a bad grade will cause the student to study and fear of being shot will keep the soldier’s head down, both are healthy reactions. 

Fear of punishment after death I would place in a similar vein of fear.  Some people react to that fear by being “good” people and some react by being paralyzed by that fear. 

Offline Hemingway

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #162 on: July 11, 2012, 12:09:40 PM »
As for being afraid of a knife to the throat, I would claim that to be healthy fear.  People should be afraid of a sharp object being put against their throat.  People react differently to fear and learning to act while afraid is something people learn to do as they grow up.  Such as a student learning to take a test while afraid of the result or a soldier learning to move while afraid of being shot.  Fear of a bad grade will cause the student to study and fear of being shot will keep the soldier’s head down, both are healthy reactions. 

Fear of punishment after death I would place in a similar vein of fear.  Some people react to that fear by being “good” people and some react by being paralyzed by that fear.

No, no. Perhaps I wasn't clear. I'm not talking about fear of knives being healthy or not. I'm talking about whether or not it would be healthy to be periodically restrained and held at knifepoint by someone threatening to kill you if you don't obey.

Hemmingway, your example does not point to an effect of religion on crime at all.  The amount of variables, once again, is too great.  Perhaps introducing more religion to Scandinavia would decrease their crime further with their current structure or maybe removing religion from the United States would decrease its crime.  The effect of religion is neither supported nor detracted by your statement.  The statement is similar to me having two vials of random solution and then dropping a chemical into both and then saying “Look no effect, so this dye has no effect on color of any solution.”

Then how would you go about measuring the effect of religion on morality? If you can't use crime statistics as an indicator, what can you use? And if you can't use anything, what's the point of making a claim one way or the other? Better yet, if you believe religion somehow makes people more likely to behave morally, bring some sort of evidence that this is the case. Otherwise concede that it's nothing but an opinion.

Offline Elias

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #163 on: July 11, 2012, 12:12:05 PM »
How about we use philanthropy as our indicator, lets compare the amount given by the faithful compared to the atheist? Obviously faithful outnumber atheists for now but even if you dealt in averages I think you would find the self sacrifice of the religious to be FAR higher than their atheist counterparts.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #164 on: July 11, 2012, 12:33:51 PM »
Nevermind that I don't think that's a very good indicator of how moral a person is, there's a very large number of problems with that.

First, how would you determine what is religious and what isn't? Do atheists giving to religious organizations count? What about religious people giving to secular organizations? And how would you determine how generous someone is in giving - based on a percentage of their wealth, or a flat amount? What about the reasons why people give? Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Now, if you still think that's a good idea, I recommend going out and doing the research, getting the numbers. I've been browsing the web looking for studies of how much religious versus non-religious people give to charity, and I can't seem to find any trustworthy sources ( Conservapedia is not a trustworthy source >_> ).

I did happen to find http://www.livescience.com/20005-atheists-motivated-compassion.html this article, which was quite interesting.

"Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not," study co-author and University of California, Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer said in a statement. "The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns."

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #165 on: July 13, 2012, 04:57:25 PM »
You can argue the statistics, but it is far less of a leap than to suggest that because someone does not share the Judeo-Christian morals that they have no morals at all.

Why?  Just because it has been around a while (plea to tradition) and is believed to be the word of god by many people (plea to majority) does not grant it immunity to scrutiny.  You may believe it is holy, but I do not and I will not treat it as such.  Are you equally respectful of the Book of Mormon?  The Qu'ran?

I would like to take this opportunity to say that my posts were emotionally charged and I appologize if I offended.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #166 on: July 13, 2012, 06:08:42 PM »
I'm sorry, I find the idea of being afraid of your god and his punishment to be anything but a good thing. I never feared my parents, if I feared them, it would be an indication of abuse. Sorry but, "I'm going to wreak so much pain and torment upon you if you misbehave" is NOT a show of love. It's one of an abuser, a control freak and a sadist.

Fear does not create good people, fear turns us mean, victims lash out at people they could help and the abused becomes abusers. You know what makes good people?

Compassion.
Charity.
Hope.
Love.

Not fear of some god or his angels will punish you FOREVER if you are wrong. That's not punishment, that's torture pure and simple.

You will never be able to convince me that fear is a good motivator for good morals.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #167 on: July 15, 2012, 01:49:32 AM »
I've always found the idea of comparing gods to parents quite silly.

The reason parents have to use any kind of disciplinary action or "tough love" on their children is because their children are born without important knowledge and survival skills that they need to have, and the parent has to either imbue those kids with the necessary knowledge or keep them from danger until the child develops the capability to no longer need protecting. When a parent tells a child "don't try to climb up to the stove", they're not doing so for arbitrary reasons, they're doing it because if the kid tries to climb up the stove they could end up terribly hurt or dead. And if the kid doesn't listen and tries to climb up to the stove anyway, then the parents put the kid in some kind of punitive "time out", the parents are not punishing the kid because they feel like it; they're doing it to save the child's life, and they have no better practical way of getting the lesson into the kid's head. If parents could magically have kids just know not to climb up to the stove, they wouldn't need to use "tough love" to prevent them from doing it.

Any good parent would, if they had the option, choose to have the child born with the necessary survival skills, rather than have to restrain or punish the child to teach them. No good parent would ever choose to have to punish or restrain their child if they didn't have to. They just don't have the choice; they have to take the child as it is born, without the necessary survival skills, and do the best they can.

But the situation is entirely different with a god. There's no reason a god would ever have to punish, restrain or use any kind of "tough love" on its creations. If a god wanted a child to not climb up to the stove, they could - among other options - change the child's body so the stove couldn't hurt them, change the stove so that it wouldn't hurt the child, make the stove infinitely unclimbable, always be present when the child thinks to try climbing the stove, and so on and so forth. Or they could simply just make the child to begin with having the innate knowledge to not climb the freaking stove.

I understand why people want to compare gods to parents. Parents have a remarkably difficult job, but the good ones do it admirably and deserve our respect for the effort they put into it despite the hardships of the job. A god, however, has no hardships except those of its own making, and deserves no admiration or respect for punishing people arbitrarily and just for the hell of it. In fact, it is rather offensive to parents to justify the behaviour of gods by comparing them to parents.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #168 on: July 15, 2012, 11:11:23 AM »
This is the rule for every faith, bad things happen to bad people so be good and do good unto others that's it that's the basis of every single religion.

I don't believe that's true. I think that we live in a world where someone can be a horrible person and yet still prosper. I also think that wonderful, loving people can have terrible things happen to them that they don't deserve.

However, this doesn't make me want to be a horrible person. Instead it motivates me to do what I can to make this world a better place. The only heaven I believe in is the one that someday we might build for ourselves if we humans can ever get over our differences.

I also don't believe that every kind act done by religious people is out of some selfish desire to be rewarded or from fear of punishment. I think that many religious people do kind acts because they're nice people who care about the happiness of others.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #169 on: July 15, 2012, 11:22:22 AM »
How about we use philanthropy as our indicator, lets compare the amount given by the faithful compared to the atheist? Obviously faithful outnumber atheists for now but even if you dealt in averages I think you would find the self sacrifice of the religious to be FAR higher than their atheist counterparts.

Why so much effort to judge one group of people better than another?

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #170 on: July 15, 2012, 01:30:44 PM »
.....the situation is entirely different with a god. There's no reason a god would ever have to punish, restrain or use any kind of "tough love" on its creations. If a god wanted a child to not climb up to the stove, they could - among other options - change the child's body so the stove couldn't hurt them, change the stove so that it wouldn't hurt the child, make the stove infinitely unclimbable, always be present when the child thinks to try climbing the stove, and so on and so forth. Or they could simply just make the child to begin with having the innate knowledge to not climb the freaking stove.
     I tend to agree, but the conservative Christian take seems to be more that humans are lab experiments.  If we're not good little rats, then we're to be discarded and burned, purged, whatever.  So be a "good kid," or the cops/collection agents will come get you with the rest of the "juvenile delinquents".  Maybe the point is more that 'child' is system jargon for a person to be constantly held under surveillance. 

     I agree that an omnipotent creator who really had the best intentions for all his creations would not have any need to 'test their fiber' or some such via these trials.  But for much of Christianity, it seems like there's a thread of testing whether people live on the safe, straight and narrow etc.  That actually overrides claims that deity wishes everyone to turn out just fine.  It's more raw capitalism (secure your own future or be swept aside) than compassion.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #171 on: July 15, 2012, 01:55:28 PM »
I suppose it was an attempt to try to get people to actually not be selfish dicks earlier on in our history. Someone came along and was like "hey, if you're a good person, do good things for people and for the world, than hey, you'll go somewhere real nice, warm, pretty and safe when you die. But hey if you're an asshole, you get nothing but pain, regret, agony and despair, so think on that." Of course somewhere it went all wonky by saying you can save yourself by asking for forgiveness and creating a contradicting set of rules that literally no one can live by exactly or manage too.

I'll need to find the source but I remember seeing a quote about the new and old testament, "if someone followed the old testament they would be in jail, and if they followed the new, they would be insane."

But I digress, I find the need for a deity or some divine compensation for this many times terrible world unnecessary personally. Plus I don't think I could be too awful happy with a deity who claims to be good and lets a lot of the things that happens in this world, happen.

-shrug-

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #172 on: July 17, 2012, 04:45:04 PM »
I think those who credit religion with the advent of morality have things rather turned around. 

In the Judeo-Christian (and, I believe, Islamic) tradition, morality is the stuff of divine revelation, the most famous instance of which was, of course, the handing down of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. But, this was, what, only 5000 or so years ago? Is it really conceivable that human beings were without morality before that? Well, I suppose if one defines morality as what god dictates, then the answer would be "yes". But, the circularity of this reasoning is unappealing.

I prefer a more functional view of "morality".

It seems a rather unremarkable proposition that people exhibited what would be regarded with fair universality as "good" behavior long before the doings of Exodus. Complex, stable societies had, after all, existed for millennia before Moses's frolic in the desert. The emergence of these societies would have been impossible if their members did not already, to a greater or lesser degree, subordinate selfish impulse to the commonweal and resist urges to smite their neighbors, steal their oxen, and bed their wives.   

It thus appears that decency and charity must have existed before the religions many now credit with their imposition, and likewise spring from something more fundamental than instruction.     

Offline Oniya

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #173 on: July 17, 2012, 05:32:15 PM »
I think those who credit religion with the advent of morality have things rather turned around. 

I rather thought Hammurabi had something to do with it...

Interestingly, the majority of major religions all have some version of 'the Ethics of Reciprocity' in them (also known as 'The Golden Rule').  As morality goes, it's rather influential, and makes no mention of the existence or non-existence of any deity.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #174 on: July 17, 2012, 07:01:40 PM »
Ahh! I knew I remembered someone pointing out that the Golden Rule, in its positive version, is a horrible basis for morality. I thought it might have been Christopher Hitchens ( because he's apparently the only person I can quote... ), but it turns out it's the very soft-spoken and gentle A. C. Grayling, who had the following to say:

"Under no circumstances should you do to other people what you'd like them to do to you because they may not like it."

Now, not doing to others what you don't want done to yourself, is an improvement of a sort.