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Author Topic: Elliquian Atheists  (Read 35557 times)

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Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #175 on: July 17, 2012, 10:25:46 PM »
Now, not doing to others what you don't want done to yourself, is an improvement of a sort.

People have always said that, but I just don't see it. It has the exact same problems as the positive version. For example the positive version of the reciprocity law is criticized roughly like this: "a masochist who wants to be randomly whipped by people as they walk down the street would, using that law (do to others what you want done to you), think it's a good idea to randomly whip others." But the exact same type of criticism can be levelled against the negative version of the law: "a person who likes to suffer and thus would refuse help even when they're at the lowest would, using that law (don't do to others what you don't want done to you), think it's a good idea to refuse to help others who are suffering."

The underlying problem with the law of reciprocity is that it grounds morality in personal preferences. That problem doesn't magically go away - or even lessen in the slightest - when you simply negate the terms. The only reason the negative version looks like an improvement, really, is just psychological - it relies on the fact that we think in terms of positive actions, and not negative ones (ie, we don't consider deliberately not doing something to be a wilful action, even though it technically is just as wilful an action as deliberately doing the opposite).

The law of reciprocity, positive or negative, is hardly a real, practical, adult code of morality. It's a handy way to put ethics in simple enough terms for a child to understand, but that's about it. As soon as you get into more tricky, adult moral situations, it falls right apart.

So, really, if the law of reciprocity is the best moral code all of the world's religions combined can come up with... that's pretty pathetic.

Luckily, just as in the natural sciences, we've moved beyond that nonsense, though, sadly, proper moral philosophy is not taught at schools, and most people have no clue what it is, what it looks like, or even why it matters. Most people today still think that religions have something profound to say about morality. It is my opinion that if we actually taught real, proper moral philosophy - especially as part of a larger program to teach real and proper philosophy in general, separating it from the crap pop pseudophilosophy that most people think is real philosophy - even that little niche religions like to claim will quickly be swept out and cleared up.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #176 on: July 17, 2012, 11:07:57 PM »
I've always found, "don't be a dick," to serve me fairly well through life.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #177 on: July 18, 2012, 06:55:40 AM »
People have always said that, but I just don't see it. It has the exact same problems as the positive version. For example the positive version of the reciprocity law is criticized roughly like this: "a masochist who wants to be randomly whipped by people as they walk down the street would, using that law (do to others what you want done to you), think it's a good idea to randomly whip others." But the exact same type of criticism can be levelled against the negative version of the law: "a person who likes to suffer and thus would refuse help even when they're at the lowest would, using that law (don't do to others what you don't want done to you), think it's a good idea to refuse to help others who are suffering."

Precisely why I said "of a sort". It's still nothing to actually base your morality on. I agree with you for the most part. And where I don't agree with you, well, it's not really important enough to get into.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #178 on: July 18, 2012, 09:21:11 AM »
I am not sure if this got covered, but couldn't treating someone else as you want to be treated consider what the other person actually wants?  I want to be treated the way I want to be treated, so I should treat someone else the way they want to be treated, not the way I want to be treated.

Does that even make sense?   ???

Offline Oniya

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #179 on: July 18, 2012, 09:22:58 AM »
I am not sure if this got covered, but couldn't treating someone else as you want to be treated consider what the other person actually wants?  I want to be treated the way I want to be treated, so I should treat someone else the way they want to be treated, not the way I want to be treated.

Does that even make sense?   ???

I understood it, but my brain's pretty well hash in this weather.

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #180 on: July 18, 2012, 02:40:44 PM »
I am not sure if this got covered, but couldn't treating someone else as you want to be treated consider what the other person actually wants?  I want to be treated the way I want to be treated, so I should treat someone else the way they want to be treated, not the way I want to be treated.

Does that even make sense?   ???

Not sure that it does, unless the other person's wishes meet some test of sanity. For example, I can't imagine there are many who would believe me to be on firm moral ground in granting another's request that I kill him, notwithstanding the unquestioned sincerity of both his expressed desire and belief that, at the moment of death, he will be transported to the mother ship where he will be welcomed as an intergalactic stud muffin by 70 virgins of his own extraterrestrial species.

I am convinced morality has little to do either with religion or philosophy. Like preferences for sweet foods over bitter ones, or for the fragrance of flowers over the odor of carrion, humans have evolved instinctive preferences for certain behaviors over others. Call it a moral tongue, if you will.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #181 on: July 18, 2012, 06:42:02 PM »
I've always found, "don't be a dick," to serve me fairly well through life.

When it comes to moral philosophy, the devil is always in the details. In this case, the problem hinges on exactly what it means to "be a dick", and who decides who's a dick and who isn't.

For example, you see your best friend pissing drunk getting into their car and pulling out of the driveway. You have no car at the moment, and no other friends with a car near enough that they can get to the drunk friend fast enough to flag them down before they hit a main road. Do you call the cops on your best friend? I'm sure if you asked your best friend, and most of your other friends, that would be a pretty dickish thing to do. And yet....

Or consider the standard trolley problem. A train is barrelling down the tracks, out of control, with five people trapped on the tracks up ahead in imminent danger. There is a switch that could divert the train onto another track... but on that track there's also one person trapped on the tracks. Do you do nothing and let the five die? Or pull the switch, effectively deliberately killing that one who is otherwise in no danger? No matter which option you take... you're going to be a bit of a dick to someone. If you save the one you're going to be a dick to more people (the five that die), but if you save the five you're going to be a huge dick to just one person (the one who wouldn't have died had you not acted).

"Don't be a dick" and "do (not) to other what you (don't) want done to you" are handy little mnemonics for simple situations, but they're as much real moral philosophies as "don't spend it all one place" is a real economic theory. It's just depressing that we're all tuned now to recognize that the hyper-simplifications of science that religion tries to pass off as reasonable are nonsense, but not yet able to recognize that the hyper-simplifications of philosophy - especially moral philosophy - are just as much nonsense. I mean if "do (not) to other what you (don't) want done to you" is cogent moral philosophy then "don't be a dick" makes Phil Plait as morally enlightened as a god.

I am not sure if this got covered, but couldn't treating someone else as you want to be treated consider what the other person actually wants?  I want to be treated the way I want to be treated, so I should treat someone else the way they want to be treated, not the way I want to be treated.

Does that even make sense?   ???
Not sure that it does, unless the other person's wishes meet some test of sanity.

Yup, you nailed it. Without that caveat it would be morally good to give crack to a crack addict. Or a loaded gun to a child who wanted to play with it.

I am convinced morality has little to do either with religion or philosophy. Like preferences for sweet foods over bitter ones, or for the fragrance of flowers over the odor of carrion, humans have evolved instinctive preferences for certain behaviors over others. Call it a moral tongue, if you will.

Philosophy (whether you're talking about moral philosophy, any other branch of philosophy or even philosophy in general) has nothing to do with "preferences". One does not "choose" a philosophical conclusion any more than one "chooses" a mathematical or scientific one. (And, in fact, both mathematics and the natural sciences are specific applications of the philosophical method.) You've been mislead by popular misconceptions of philosophy, I'm afraid.

As for morality being a matter of personal preference - instinctive or otherwise - that simply doesn't work. We have many instincts evolved into us that are horrific as moral guidelines in a civilized society. For example, we have instincts to gather and hoard resources, and defend our stash violently from others - and I'm sure many people, if you asked them, would say, straight up, that they have the right to take what they can get in life and nobody has the right to force them to share it if they don't want to. But if we tried to build a society out of that instinct... it would be a horrifically unjust, crazy and short-lived society.

The reason religion is such a terrible, terrible moral guide is because - in addition to its horrible moral lessons - it over-simplifies a complex problem, reducing it into simplistic platitudes that fail miserably when really tested. If you're going to do the same, then you're not going to do any better, morally, than religion does.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #182 on: July 18, 2012, 07:24:40 PM »
It's far too late for me to be writing anything, but I'm going to give it a shot all the same.

Your post, Saria, and all the problems you outline, is precisely the reason I don't believe that one moral system can work. That we have to think, use our reason, and to take responsibility. Reality is simply too full of nuance to be boiled down to simple ( or even very complex ) systems. I agree in a lot of ways with Peter Singer, and some people here may find this interesting. I mention him quite often, as he's one of the few people whose moral philosophy I can take seriously ( that's not to say that I follow his advice, ah-hah-hah, religiously ) - mainly owing to the fact that he's very consistent.

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #183 on: July 19, 2012, 12:09:15 PM »
Philosophy (whether you're talking about moral philosophy, any other branch of philosophy or even philosophy in general) has nothing to do with "preferences". One does not "choose" a philosophical conclusion any more than one "chooses" a mathematical or scientific one. (And, in fact, both mathematics and the natural sciences are specific applications of the philosophical method.) You've been mislead by popular misconceptions of philosophy, I'm afraid.

Agreed, one may not choose a philosophical conclusion, but one may choose a philosophical premise.

What I had meant was that reason may be of assistance in helping us choose the "right" action in some specific circumstance, but it provides precious little guidance in deciding what is right, independent of circumstance. In your runaway train illustration, the higher good may be in sparing the greater number of lives or it may be in avoiding action that will cause the loss of any life not otherwise in peril. I don't really see that reason ineluctably points one way or the other, however. Perhaps moral philosophy thus has a good deal in common with math, as the arguments of the one and the proofs of the other must ultimately be founded on certain "givens". Even Kant's categorical imperative is grounded in the postulate that the better rule in any circumstance is one applicable to all circumstances (though, I kant even begin to imagine how to give content to the idea).   

Quote
As for morality being a matter of personal preference - instinctive or otherwise - that simply doesn't work. We have many instincts evolved into us that are horrific as moral guidelines in a civilized society. For example, we have instincts to gather and hoard resources, and defend our stash violently from others - and I'm sure many people, if you asked them, would say, straight up, that they have the right to take what they can get in life and nobody has the right to force them to share it if they don't want to. But if we tried to build a society out of that instinct... it would be a horrifically unjust, crazy and short-lived society.

The reason religion is such a terrible, terrible moral guide is because - in addition to its horrible moral lessons - it over-simplifies a complex problem, reducing it into simplistic platitudes that fail miserably when really tested. If you're going to do the same, then you're not going to do any better, morally, than religion does.

This is a bit of a straw man argument. Human beings are bundles of conflicting, instinctive impulses, many of which cannot be squared with accepted notions of civilized or moral behavior. But, the existence of antisocial instincts does not negate the existence of instincts to empathize and cooperate which, in my view, are the sine qua non of civilization and the wellsprings of the "givens" to which I alluded earlier. This is not to suggest, however, that inquiry into what is right in any particular situation should end with appeal to instinct.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 12:11:03 PM by vtboy »

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #184 on: July 19, 2012, 07:28:28 PM »
Does it follow that religious morals have a shelf life?  Thier applicability applies for only a given time until the circumstances changes enough to require new 'guidelines' and therefore prompts the need for a new religion?

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #185 on: July 20, 2012, 02:02:25 AM »
Does it follow that religious morals have a shelf life?  Thier applicability applies for only a given time until the circumstances changes enough to require new 'guidelines' and therefore prompts the need for a new religion?

I would rather say that history teaches that religions and their gods have shelf lives. Other than the occasional odd duck, who today worships Astarte or Amon or Zeus? Personally, I look forward to the day when present mass hallucinatory institutions will likewise have become museum curiosities.

As for "religious morals," I suppose they are no more or less permanent than any others. The precept that one should not take human life without fairly compelling reasons seems to have some staying power, whether or not one ascribes its source to divine revelation or to something else. The "eternal" laws laid down in Deuteronomy are another matter. I don't know too many people today who would, for example, stone to death a bride who does not bleed on her wedding night, or get terribly exorcised over the wearing of two different fabrics or the occasional destruction of a fruit tree. Even proscriptions against homosexuality have become matters at least of controversy among  the faithful. The lesson I take from all this is that there are certain moral rules that exist independently of religions, and manage to survive their rise and fall, and others, perhaps more circumstantial or expedient ones, that don't.

Offline Ghostly Bagel

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #186 on: July 23, 2012, 07:31:52 PM »
Personally, I look forward to the day when present mass hallucinatory institutions will likewise have become museum curiosities.

I can't tell if you are making this claim about a specific group or all organized religion in general.

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #187 on: July 24, 2012, 05:38:30 AM »
It's more a hope than a claim, but it applies to all organized religion.

Online RubySlippers

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #188 on: July 24, 2012, 09:29:55 AM »
Why does one need religion to have morals in fact religion can create morals that are bad IMHO.

Lets say you have an issue say homosexuals marrying a religious person would go my book says its evil, stone them all. A rational person who is an atheist would ask is their marriage hurting me or others so as to give a rational reason to deny them marriage and might conclude its fine.

You can go down the list but I would think most would agree some things are just so unacceptable as to be something to restrict: murder, rape, adult on child incest, racism and the like in the end a list of not acceptable behaviours. Likely ones people could all agree with who are rational.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #189 on: July 24, 2012, 02:53:39 PM »
Why does one need religion to have morals in fact religion can create morals that are bad IMHO.

Lets say you have an issue say homosexuals marrying a religious person would go my book says its evil, stone them all. A rational person who is an atheist would ask is their marriage hurting me or others so as to give a rational reason to deny them marriage and might conclude its fine.

You can go down the list but I would think most would agree some things are just so unacceptable as to be something to restrict: murder, rape, adult on child incest, racism and the like in the end a list of not acceptable behaviours. Likely ones people could all agree with who are rational.

Leaving morality up to religions doctrines does seem to have backfired repeatedly hasn't it?

I think it's the fact that they have absurd rules, involving facts of life, ways of life and all kinds of different benign things that are given this grand importance, often times tied in with a bad consequence. Which is mind boggling to me as to why some people would follow them, when in the modern day, they have either no application, or whatever that 'rule' is covering is completely harmless.

I think what confuses/amuses me the most is the people who won't follow those rules, but will follow the rules of their doctrine that comes a few lines later.

-sighs-

But yes Ruby, I agree that those listed behaviors are destructive and inhibiting on other's freedoms and right to life in a couple of cases. Which one would rationally think would be something that you shouldn't do....

>.>

Offline Ghostly Bagel

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #190 on: July 24, 2012, 04:28:30 PM »
I don't speak for all of religion but to say the rules are absurd is to group them all together. There are clear differences between not only religions but the people within them.

One of the Commandments, for example, state to love your neighbour as you would love yourself. Some take this in different ways, but it's essentially "caring for others." When you look at the Old Testament you will see much more drastic rules and punishments. If you are looking at the New Testament, however, all of those old expectations are interpreted differently by everyone (i.e. some take it figuratively, others take it literally). Also, there are certain sections of the Bible that were not the "teachings of God" but the rules or expectations that the people held. There is a difference between the religion and the people here. If you believe Jesus was the Savior then the punishments were already taken into account for and therefore you would be forgiven. One of the main things you would do now is not to pay for your sins but to uphold your faith and accept what you have been forgiven for.

Religion is too large, since it touches all aspects of life, to judge it as one thing. As people have felt persecuted by the church, priests, Christians, Catholics, Muslims, etc. there has also been a return of that over the years by those who disagree. To me, I see the humanity as an imperfect thing. I think the problems with religion are not rooted from the religion itself but the people who portray it wrongly, the people who each of us have had a personal problem with. And we will see these people not only within religion but in government, schools, communities... anywhere. We are social creatures, and with the differences between us all we will never see the world being 100% fair.

I believe in a God but I have also had my doubts in the past and questioned it immensely. The only way you can truly come to terms with your own belief is to thoroughly seek out all possibilities. I studied science, looked through different religions and even talked with theologians and read up a lot. It's truly a personal thing and that's why I believe there should never be any atheist who attacks religion or vice-versa. To each their own beliefs.

Just to point out, however, you must consider that some people who are religious sometimes are misinterpreted. Some people who are trying to "force you religion" are simply trying to do the only thing they see as doing what is right. I don't justify or support it, I just want to remind you guys that mean well. Obviously they don't always do the best they can, though. But who is perfect? ;)

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #191 on: July 24, 2012, 04:43:24 PM »
It's truly a personal thing and that's why I believe there should never be any atheist who attacks religion or vice-versa. To each their own beliefs.

Just to point out, however, you must consider that some people who are religious sometimes are misinterpreted. Some people who are trying to "force you religion" are simply trying to do the only thing they see as doing what is right. I don't justify or support it, I just want to remind you guys that mean well. Obviously they don't always do the best they can, though. But who is perfect? ;)

This is the kind of thing I mean when I say that reminding an organized religion of it's responsibilities and limitations is not an attack on their freedom. The whole door knocker thing is just to try and save as many people as they can from their silly eternal punishment system (infinite torture for a finite 'crime', lovely) so it's a very good deed to them, to try and save my soul. They don't see their actions as being annoying at the least, insulting at the worst, and a stepping stone to social divides and ridiculous moral movements. They're just being good, God fearing Mormons and following their Churches nice rules to help me out.

No wrong doing has been committed on their part, in the eyes of the Church, and this is pretty much their duty. But that don't mean a friggen thing to me, and I live here to :/ learn to share living space guys.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #192 on: July 24, 2012, 05:01:01 PM »
It's truly a personal thing and that's why I believe there should never be any atheist who attacks religion or vice-versa. To each their own beliefs.

Modern religion is not a personal thing as you make a point of later in your post. Religion is an organization and organizations can only thrive as a system that feeds itself and grows even larger. Religion is a set amount of rules that many people agree upon, dictating human affairs. What you are relating to being religion is actually seen in the modern world as faith, a private faith.

I dislike religion, the modern religions because of what they do to people and how negatively they have affected the modern world. As well as I do not 'attack' modern religion, and yet many of the things I say and even do are seen as an attack on religion. Simply put, I dislike the idea of saying that something is an 'attack' since it is a word too easily thrown around.

Quote
Just to point out, however, you must consider that some people who are religious sometimes are misinterpreted. Some people who are trying to "force you religion" are simply trying to do the only thing they see as doing what is right. I don't justify or support it, I just want to remind you guys that mean well. Obviously they don't always do the best they can, though. But who is perfect? ;)

So I should be understanding when the person on my doorstep is telling me that unless I follow their doctrines, I'm an immoral person condemned to a twisted nightmare place of agony and despair? That seems a warped perspective of love and meaning well. It's good intentions laid down on a path of fear and hate to me. So yes, while in their minds they 'mean well' it is still shoving their beliefs into my lap and expecting me to be alright with it.

You don't see me going around talking about how believing that god doesn't exist is great door to door, or showing up and preaching about the virtues of being an atheist on a makeshift pulpit on the street.

As a side note, I'd like to point out that 'meaning well' could also be used for hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #193 on: July 24, 2012, 05:47:32 PM »
I don't speak for all of religion but to say the rules are absurd is to group them all together. There are clear differences between not only religions but the people within them.


It's true that religions are a mixed bag - about as diverse as you can get - and trying to find commonalities across all religions is all but impossible.

However there is one thing that all religions have in common: faith.

There are three ways to believe that something is true. There is observation - where you have empirically seen, with your physical senses, that something is true; where you have physical evidence of a thing. There is reason - where you have logically deduced, using rational thought processes, that something is true; where you have a logical argument for a thing. Then there is faith, where you have no evidence and no reason for believing something, but you feel it is true; you believe in spite of the fact that you can't prove it by empirical or rational means.

All religions are based on faith to some degree or another - that's what makes them religions. If I believe that there is an old Greek dude on a mountain in the sky who throws lightning bolts down on the world during a thunderstorm, that is a religious belief... because I can't provide any evidence or reasoning for why that might be true. On the other hand, if I believe that there is a skinny brown guy in an oval office who with a word can vaporize pretty much the entire surface of the Earth in fire, that's not a religious belief... because I can point to Obama and estimates of what the US nuclear arsenal could do. It's not the craziness of the beliefs that make them religious beliefs, nor is it what those beliefs are about... the only thing that distinguishes religious beliefs from non-religious beliefs is, ultimately, faith.

And because all religions are based on faith, we can judge all religions in one shot - even without knowing or caring about the details of those religions - by judging faith itself.

So what's the problem with faith? Most people - religious people, of course - say faith is actually a virtue. Is it?

If it were confined solely to irrelevant stuff like life after death, then faith would be benign... but it isn't. Religious people apply their faith to the real world, to real problems, and expect it to be taken seriously alongside empirical and logical arguments.

How bad is that? Here's an example, borrowed from William Kingdon Clifford and updated a bit.

Suppose a pilot of an aeroplane believed in their gut... by faith... that their plane was safe to fly. They have not had any maintenance checks done (they have no empirical evidence), and no rational reason to believe that the plane is in perfect working order (they have no deductive reasoning)... they just believe that that plane is ready to fly. They believe it so deeply in their heart it hurts - they can't even imagine the possibility that this plane might not be safe to fly. I mean, they really believe. Their faith is strong, strong, strong. Nothing can shake their belief that their plane is safe to fly! So... they hop in the plane with a full load of over 300 unsuspecting innocent passengers, and go for a flight.

Now, here's the thing... it doesn't really matter if they make it or not. That pilot is a nut and should be grounded and jailed for putting that many people at risk. If they make it, it's pure luck, really. Everyone with half a functioning neuron understands why this pilot is dangerous and crazy. Yet what is that pilot's great sin? They used faith, rather than evidence or reasoning.

And it gets worse, because that was a case where the pilot had faith alone... but now what if the pilot has faith in spite of contradictory evidence or reasoning. Observe:

Suppose a pilot of an aeroplane believed in their gut... by faith... that their plane was safe to fly. The last maintenance check said that the engine was in poor working order and on the verge of dropping off, concluding the plane is entirely unsafe for flight. Also the plane is way past its service life and was recently battered in bad weather, so there is a good chance that it is not going to last a whole flight. Yet despite these warnings, the pilot nevertheless believes that the plane is safe to fly. They believe it so deeply in their heart it hurts - they can't even imagine the possibility that this plane might not be safe to fly. I mean, they really believe. Their faith is strong, strong, strong. Nothing can shake their belief that their plane is safe to fly, not even the fact that the engineers have evidence that it isn't, and any reasonable person can see that it is a very risky prospect at best! So... they hop in the plane with a full load of over 300 unsuspecting innocent passengers, and go for a flight.

As you can see, faith - the basis of all religions - is very dangerous and problematic. As before, even if the plane doesn't crash when that pilot flies it, that doesn't absolve the pilot of being a nutcase. They still took an enormous, dangerous risk... they just lucked out, this time.

If religious people kept their faith to irrelevant things like life after death and so on - things that have no real basis on the world as we live in it - then religion would be silly, but harmless. The problem is, as you and everyone else well knows, they don't; religion involves itself in just about every facet of human life. Religion wants to dictate our dietary choices, whether or not we can have abortions, our sexual behaviour, even, in some cases, our clothing. And behind every single religious dictate, regardless of what the dictate is or which religion it is... is faith.

That is the problem with religion - with all religions. It's not their specific dictates, and it's not even what their specific followers do or how well they follow those dictates. It's faith. Every... single... time... a faith-based belief is used to make a decision - whether or not it's "should I fly this plane or not" or "should I seek treatment from a doctor or just pray" or "should I blow up this busload of heretics" - you're dealing with a dangerous nutcase. Yes, every time. It's not just martyr wannabes who are dangerous nutcases - that pilot of that hypothetical plane did not want to die or hurt the passengers, quite the opposite, yet clearly they were a dangerous nutcase.

That hypothetical pilot could have been the nicest person in the world! That flight they were undertaking could have been an aid flight to bring food and medical supplies and kittens and rainbows to people who are suffering horribly. None of that matters. So making the excuse that "they are simply trying to do what they see is right" is no excuse. As long as they're using faith as the guide to determine what is right, and what the right thing to do is - that is, as long as they are using religion rather than evidence or reason - they are dangerous nutcases.

Now, if people want to be dangerous nutcases in their own lives... that's fine! They're welcome to it! As you say, to each their own beliefs. The problem arises when they cross into the public sphere and insist on applying their faith-based beliefs to other people (as the pilot did by risking those 300 passengers on their faith-based belief).

And that's when religion becomes a menace. And, as I explained, it doesn't matter which religion it is, or what the specific beliefs are, or what the people who follow that religion are like, or whether their intentions are good or bad (for the record, they're almost always good, if you accept their faith-based premises). It all comes down to faith. Faith is the problem.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #194 on: July 24, 2012, 06:29:42 PM »
Judgment seems a bit harsh regarding door-to-door preachers.  Girl Scouts go door-to-door in order to sell cookies, some of the children here go door-to-door to sell raffle tickets so they can get some kind of toy and there are also the people going door-to-door with petitions.  Annoying, certainly.  I donít exactly consider their efforts insulting, creating a social divide or leading to morale movements.  That train of thought is one that leads toward ignorance and intolerance.  People have different beliefs and simply sharing them is not a crime nor should that ever be considered so.  If their efforts annoy, then just tell them good day and to consider this a warning for harassment. 

Saria that is not faith.  People believe all manner of things from all manner of sources without the need for religion to be involved.  Someone gets into a car while drunk believing they can make it home.  They are not using faith, just poor judgment.  Somebody believes the pain in their chest will go away so they donít go to the hospital.  God was not involvement in their belief, just poor understanding of what was going on at the time.  Are you honestly going to blame religion for poor judgment?

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #195 on: July 24, 2012, 06:34:55 PM »
Judgment seems a bit harsh regarding door-to-door preachers.  Girl Scouts go door-to-door in order to sell cookies, some of the children here go door-to-door to sell raffle tickets so they can get some kind of toy and there are also the people going door-to-door with petitions.  Annoying, certainly.  I donít exactly consider their efforts insulting, creating a social divide or leading to morale movements.  That train of thought is one that leads toward ignorance and intolerance.  People have different beliefs and simply sharing them is not a crime nor should that ever be considered so.  If their efforts annoy, then just tell them good day and to consider this a warning for harassment. 

Saria that is not faith.  People believe all manner of things from all manner of sources without the need for religion to be involved.  Someone gets into a car while drunk believing they can make it home.  They are not using faith, just poor judgment.  Somebody believes the pain in their chest will go away so they donít go to the hospital.  God was not involvement in their belief, just poor understanding of what was going on at the time.  Are you honestly going to blame religion for poor judgment?

Yes, but a girl scout does not tell me I'm going to doomed to be thrown into a lake of fire if I don't buy some Thin Mints.

And also, it could be said that religion can be blamed for poor judgement. Look at the poor ignorant people in Africa who took the Pope's word on not using condoms? Or the millions of people killed in the name of religion because they were taught that by religion.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #196 on: July 24, 2012, 06:47:26 PM »
Saria that is not faith.  People believe all manner of things from all manner of sources without the need for religion to be involved.  Someone gets into a car while drunk believing they can make it home.  They are not using faith, just poor judgment.  Somebody believes the pain in their chest will go away so they donít go to the hospital.  God was not involvement in their belief, just poor understanding of what was going on at the time.  Are you honestly going to blame religion for poor judgment?

A person who gets in the car drunk has impaired thinking skills. They may be trying to use evidence, reason or faith - depends on the person - but the hard fact is their brains simply aren't working. That is not the same as the pilot in my example; his brain was functioning perfectly, he wasn't drunk or stoned or otherwise impaired. Unless you're going to claim that all religious people have impaired thinking skills - which I don't think is necessarily true - then that example is irrelevant.

Similarly a person who believes that the pain in their chest will just go away could be using faith, but more likely they're just refusing to acknowledge what reason and evidence tells them. That's not the same as using faith. If it were, then you would be implying that all religious people know that God doesn't exist (for example), but they just refuse to believe that because it's so unpleasant to think about and instead hope for the best. Again, that is not the same as the pilot in my example; he wasn't merely ignoring unpleasant conclusions because he didn't want to face them, he sincerely believed - as most religious people do - that he knew the truth. Unless you're going to imply that religious people don't sincerely believe what they say - that they only will themselves to believe because the alternatives are unpleasant - then that example is also irrelevant.

What I am honestly going to do is blame religion for the poor judgement it is actually responsible for, not for every single case of bad judgement caused by alcoholic impairment, emotionally-biased wishful thinking or whatever else pops into your head.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #197 on: July 24, 2012, 06:49:36 PM »
There is a HUGE divide between selling me tickets/cookies/asking for a signature to support a petition, and telling me my soul is corrupt and they can clean it for me. Just being on my property is an insult to me :/ They're here because I'm unclean and need saving, and all because I'm not them.

Cookies are real at least! Even the ones that taste like cardboard and bread crumbs. I bought some bad cookies, but I received bad cookies. There was an equal exchange. And if the cookies were over priced, then I have actual, physical criteria here to deem the product not worth the price.

What they're selling me is an invisible cookie, that comes with a real price, and of more then just money. They SAY it's an awesome cookie, but I can't tell :/ I try to eat it, because apparently I'm hungry, and only this cookie can sate my hunger. And if I express that I can't taste it, or that it doesn't do anything for my apparent hunger, I'm supposed to get more and join the Cookie Club? No, I think anyone operating like that should be ashamed of themselves.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #198 on: July 24, 2012, 07:21:28 PM »
Actually the pain in the chest could also be based on evidence, because gas also causes pain in the chest.  Most chest pain is caused by gas and whatís called referred pain.  Someone with knowledge of medicine, or really first aid, can often times decipher the difference.  A lay person would not have that information or might have misinformation from a variety of sources.  People do not refuse to go to the hospital because they think they are having a heart attack and donít want to face reality, they refuse to go because they think nothing serious is happening.  Poor judgment.

A drunk driver is considered responsible for their actions.  Their thinking might be impaired when getting in the car, but was not impaired when they arrived at the location to drink.  Conscious thought was put into arriving at the location in their own vehicle, not turning over the keys, starting to drink knowing they would drive home.  Poor judgment.

The pilot example is no different than a case of poor judgment.  Just as millions of people across the globe get into their cars every day without checking their tires, drive past the recommended mileage without a tune up or getting their brakes checked.  Considering auto mobile accidents are the leading cause of death in almost every age group and one of the leading causes in the other age groups, the pilot may actually be more in the right.  Religion is certainly responsible for some bad judgment, but so are plenty of other things. 

The Pope is responsible for Africa?  Seriously?  If the people of the world listened to the word of the Pope with that much enthusiasm then the world might be different.  The Pope also says abstinence, but they arenít hearing those words just the one they want to hear.  No condoms. 

Governments send people to die on their behalf.  Are soldiers now made ignorant by government because they are willing to fight and die for their ideals? 

Most often the petition people want money as well.  The pitches I often hear are if ďso and so is elected he will destroy healthcare,Ē ďif this bill is not passed your children wonít be able to breathe without a mask,Ē and my still favorite ďif we donít get enough signature then rapists will run free.Ē 

Also, girl scouts can get really pushy and if you donít like thin mints then you will burn in a lake of fire.  They are awesome.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #199 on: July 24, 2012, 07:30:25 PM »
Religion is certainly responsible for some bad judgment, but so are plenty of other things.

And as I just finished explaining, I'm not talking about those "plenty of other things". I'm talking about the bad judgement specifically caused by religion - that is, bad judgement caused by faith.

Not bad judgement caused by not being a medical expert and mistaking gas for signs for a heart attack. Not bad judgement caused by being a moron and not making sure you wouldn't be able to get in the car when drunk. Bad judgement caused by faith.