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Author Topic: Elliquian Atheists  (Read 35607 times)

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Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #550 on: March 07, 2013, 12:32:23 AM »
Yet people of faith have contributed to critical thinking for centuries despite participating and believing in various religions throughout history.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #551 on: March 07, 2013, 12:36:11 AM »
Yet people of faith have contributed to critical thinking for centuries despite participating and believing in various religions throughout history.

Absolutely, some religious folks are extremely intelligent and educated. St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope John Paul ( the last one) are classic examples. But look again at the predicament that I illustrated.  One is forced to lie to themselves or corrupt their sense of logic over time given this environment. Is this good?

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #552 on: March 07, 2013, 12:38:31 AM »
Yet people of faith have contributed to critical thinking for centuries despite participating and believing in various religions throughout history.

Usually by means of saying something along the lines of, "If God gave me a brain that can tell you're full of shit, I'm not going to just uncritically believe your interpretation of His word." Which is largely how the Islamic and then Christian worlds became the birthplace of modern science.

Of course, I think Tainted is right that teaching people bullshit hampers their ability to perceive non-bullshit. But he's correct to note that can as easily happen in a non-religious context as a religious one.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #553 on: March 07, 2013, 12:40:31 AM »
Yet they do neither.  Those leaders then alter a change in their Church and in their faith, admitting new evidence and findings that alter their understanding of God.  I think this is more a case of someone trying to impose and force dogma to an extreme.

I understand what you are pointing toward Tainted, but the history and evidence does not support that those options are the only ones.  Obviously there are other options that have been taken.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 12:42:03 AM by Pumpkin Seeds »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #554 on: March 07, 2013, 12:40:37 AM »
:: holds the syringe:: I'm known for being quick and gentle :: winks::

No need to be gentle, I can take it... ::winces::

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #555 on: March 07, 2013, 12:52:54 AM »
Thank you, TaintedAndDelish. You've explained exactly why I find religion's thought patterns to be damaging far more eloquently than I would have.

Yet people of faith have contributed to critical thinking for centuries despite participating and believing in various religions throughout history.

One can have a partial failure in thought. In fact, I humbly submit that no human, living or dead, has ever been absolutely perfect at applying critical thinking to all aspects of their life.

The difference here is that atheism holds critical, evidence-based thinking up as a virtue. Religions hold faith, acceptance of a belief as true regardless of evidence, as a core virtue. I would argue that one tends to lead to better thinking across populations and over time than the other.

Yet they do neither.  Those leaders then alter a change in their Church and in their faith, admitting new evidence and findings that alter their understanding of God.  I think this is more a case of someone trying to impose and force dogma to an extreme.

It's also an example that is happening, and growing at an alarming pace, right now. It's very modern, too. I think this pokes holes in the idea that churches will tend to admit new evidence.

I understand what you are pointing toward Tainted, but the history and evidence does not support that those options are the only ones.  Obviously there are other options that have been taken.

Maybe not the only, but the overwhelming majority. The number of Americans who believe in young-earth creationism and the number of atheists who come to atheism from just such a crisis of faith speak to that.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #556 on: March 07, 2013, 01:10:08 AM »
Yet they do neither.  Those leaders then alter a change in their Church and in their faith, admitting new evidence and findings that alter their understanding of God.  I think this is more a case of someone trying to impose and force dogma to an extreme.

I understand what you are pointing toward Tainted, but the history and evidence does not support that those options are the only ones.  Obviously there are other options that have been taken.

I don't mean to suggest that those three options are the only ones, but my point is really that pressuring someone to choose "traditionally held beliefs" over the truth is not good.

As for your comment about forcing dogma, this is where religions go astray. If a religion is truthful and accepts truth without bias, then great. Many religions however, would change drastically if they let go of their myths and embraced the truth. In my opinion, they would all end up becoming the same for the most part - or extremely compatible. I think that would be a good thing.

Imagine what it would be like if each religion kept truth and fiction separate. If they were like scientists in pursuit of truth and understanding. If they were more than willing to exchange erroneous beliefs for truth at the drop of a hat? No wait... then they would lose any political power that they previously held. 





Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #557 on: March 07, 2013, 05:06:49 AM »
I don't mean to suggest that those three options are the only ones, but my point is really that pressuring someone to choose "traditionally held beliefs" over the truth is not good.

As for your comment about forcing dogma, this is where religions go astray. If a religion is truthful and accepts truth without bias, then great. Many religions however, would change drastically if they let go of their myths and embraced the truth. In my opinion, they would all end up becoming the same for the most part - or extremely compatible. I think that would be a good thing.

Imagine what it would be like if each religion kept truth and fiction separate. If they were like scientists in pursuit of truth and understanding. If they were more than willing to exchange erroneous beliefs for truth at the drop of a hat? No wait... then they would lose any political power that they previously held.

This. This is why religious thinking makes no sense to me. Either your Great Holy Book of Truth is right, therefore, you follow it to the letter (no work on the Sabbath, killing non-virgin wives, etc.) or you accept that those beliefs you say are true don't hold up in light of evidence or modern society and don't hold up with your own beliefs (I know a lot of Christians for example who wholely support gay marriage, for example). In the second case, what is the point in calling yourself a Christian or claiming you follow and believe in God if your first idea when encountering a class of beliefs (because remember, unlike what people will say, morality does -not- come from religion or the Bible - if this was true, people wouldn't have crisis of faith when they encounter points where their beliefs and their proported religion's belief comflic) if what you've done to your beliefs is taken the Bible, taken a marker pen and scribbled out the bits you don't like, then say ou still believe in what the Bible says?

It's like me claiming I love Harry Potter, and then when pressed to say my favourite part of Azkaban, the person replies 'Oh, actually, I think Rowling had it wrong, so I crossed out the last four chapters and had Harry fly away with Sirius where they both became crime fighting Aurors'. Then following this up by saying, when called out, "Oh no, you just interpretted the scene with the Time-Turner wrong. You see, what Rowling actually meant by this scene was..."

As for the earlier statements about Communism and such, I won't be discussing it further, as that ship seems to have sailed. But I would like to point out that yes, equating that Communism = Atheism is like saying Christianity = Westboro Baptist or Islam = Al Queda. Atheism itself says nothing about what Communism proports, its simply a label stating that 'I do not believe in a diety'. By your logic, a Christian can't deny that they are Westboro Baptists, because Christianity is a core ideal for the Westboro Baptists and therefore because all Westboro Baptists are Christians, all Christians are Westboro Baptists.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #558 on: March 07, 2013, 05:30:06 AM »
It's like me claiming I love Harry Potter, and then when pressed to say my favourite part of Azkaban, the person replies 'Oh, actually, I think Rowling had it wrong, so I crossed out the last four chapters and had Harry fly away with Sirius where they both became crime fighting Aurors'. Then following this up by saying, when called out, "Oh no, you just interpretted the scene with the Time-Turner wrong. You see, what Rowling actually meant by this scene was..."

Amusingly, I've heard it said (and I think there's some merit to the idea) that religion is a special case of fandom.

As for the earlier statements about Communism and such, I won't be discussing it further, as that ship seems to have sailed. But I would like to point out that yes, equating that Communism = Atheism is like saying Christianity = Westboro Baptist or Islam = Al Queda. Atheism itself says nothing about what Communism proports, its simply a label stating that 'I do not believe in a diety'. By your logic, a Christian can't deny that they are Westboro Baptists, because Christianity is a core ideal for the Westboro Baptists and therefore because all Westboro Baptists are Christians, all Christians are Westboro Baptists.

Other way around. The argument was that Communism is a subset of atheism, and therefore atheism must own its faults. much as the WBC is a subset of Christianity, and thus Christianity must own its faults. The argument is flawed (atheism is a derived value, not a core motivator, of marxist-leninist thought), but is not trying to say all atheists are Communists. This is demonstrably untrue, after all.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #559 on: March 07, 2013, 05:36:45 AM »
Amusingly, I've heard it said (and I think there's some merit to the idea) that religion is a special case of fandom.

Other way around. The argument was that Communism is a subset of atheism, and therefore atheism must own its faults. much as the WBC is a subset of Christianity, and thus Christianity must own its faults. The argument is flawed (atheism is a derived value, not a core motivator, of marxist-leninist thought), but is not trying to say all atheists are Communists. This is demonstrably untrue, after all.

Yeah. Special pleading does tend to get you pretty far when it comes to religion ("You can't allow gays to get married! My book says they can't get married! Oh, wait, my book also says I can't get divorced? Well, -obviously- what it meant was...")

And yeah, my bad; that makes even less sense than what I originally thought was being said.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #560 on: March 07, 2013, 05:53:03 AM »
Yeah. Special pleading does tend to get you pretty far when it comes to religion ("You can't allow gays to get married! My book says they can't get married! Oh, wait, my book also says I can't get divorced? Well, -obviously- what it meant was...")

No, I meant that it's a subset of fandom - the difference between Harry Potter fans and Bible fans is a matter of degree rather than kind. (Which would make A.J. Jacobs the most hardcore LARPer of all time.)

Interesting aside: There are at least two valid interpretations of the passages usually cited in condemnation of gays. One of them has nothing at all to do with homosexuality. This is why Biblical literalists, who think a "literal" reading of a two-thousand-year-old book  steeped in metaphor and the culture of its day and penned by dozens of authors in multiple languages the literalists don't read is even remotely possible, amuse me.

(And then there's the tongue-in-cheek interpretation. "No vaginal sex between two men. Got it, God; thanks for clearing that up.")

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #561 on: March 07, 2013, 05:55:56 AM »
(And then there's the tongue-in-cheek interpretation. "No vaginal sex between two men. Got it, God; thanks for clearing that up.")

This made me chuckle far more than it should have. :3

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #562 on: March 07, 2013, 08:15:00 AM »
This is where the language of atheism becomes a bit more frightening.  Give up their myths and embrace the truth.  The world would be so much better if only people would give up their beliefs and take up my belief.  Sounds a bit like the very religions being criticized because I am sure each of them would argue the world as being a better place if only people would believe.  The simple truth is that neither one of us knows the Truth of the matter.  Stating that people should give up their belief for the Truth is disingenuous and insulting because you don’t know the truth either.

As for religiosity affecting critical thinking, once more the historical evidence does not support the conclusion.  Critical thinking does prevent extremism and bring people back from a more “fire and brimstones” approach, but does not dissuade people from their faith.  A study showing the effects of invoking analytical thought showed that there was a decrease in the religious nature of respondents to questions afterward, but there was not a loss of faith.  Many nations that would be considered religious also produce top scientists and conduct cutting edge research in a vast array of fields.  From India, Europe and the United States there are a great many critical thinkers and researchers.  The United States is less religious than it has been in the past and quite honestly is now considered less innovative than at any time in its past.

Currently the number of Americans believing in creationism is at 30% as of 2011.  This number is down from the poll taken in 2009 where 39% of Americans believed creationism.  Of course another poll done in 2012 puts the number at 46%, while stating that the number is down 6%.  As someone that studied social science and statistics, this shows more a difference in methodology of the survey and not a reflection in the respondents to be honest.  The belief in evolution of Americans has remained steady at around 50%.  Problem that many statisticians have with this survey is that Christians, especially Catholics, are known for answering written questions as if the Pope were behind them and in the exit interview maintaining a completely different mindset.  (Very frustrating for research).  Considering the wide variance in numbers, I think this still holds to be true.

Vanity also shows the problem with forcing dogmatic thinking on the religious.  People enjoy fighting with the straw man of the religious, wanting to fight the literalist and the extremist.  Problem is that few people are the straw man.  To have someone that is non-religious tell someone that is religious that they must believe in this book because all religious people do is a gross generalization and inaccurate.  Similar to saying that all Americans must be war mongers because that is how Americans just are.

As for comparing Harry Potter to religious texts….I will abstain.  Sorry if I refuse to insult the culture of other people by having their religious texts and writings brought down to a children’s novel.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #563 on: March 07, 2013, 08:33:41 AM »
Many nations that would be considered religious

Edit: It has been brought to my attention that this quote does not explicitly mark that this is merely the beginning of one sentence and as such may cause confusion for some readers. Please note that Pumpkin's post continues both before and after the section quoted. Full text can be viewed by clicking on the hyperlink.

I'm curious, what nations do you not consider religious and by what criteria do you judge?
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 09:39:18 AM by Caehlim »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #564 on: March 07, 2013, 08:42:22 AM »
Caehlim, I believe Beguile Mistress has already made a point of showing the error in "clipping" only a portion of someone's post for critique.  Here you didn't even give me the credit of forming a complete sentence and do not even indicate that there was more to the passage than presented. 

I am going by what has already been presented by previous posters that the United States is considered a religious nation.  So using the United States as a focal point, I simply move to other European countries and I included India.  Perhaps inaccurate, but about as inaccurate as maintaining the United States is a predominately religious nation without any criteria or supporting evidence. 

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #565 on: March 07, 2013, 08:47:22 AM »
I'm curious, what nations do you not consider religious and by what criteria do you judge?

Just a quick search through my bookmarks brought this up, kinda answers your question.

Sorta.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #566 on: March 07, 2013, 08:55:31 AM »
Caehlim, I believe Beguile Mistress has already made a point of showing the error in "clipping" only a portion of someone's post for critique.  Here you didn't even give me the credit of forming a complete sentence and do not even indicate that there was more to the passage than presented.

Addressing one point at a time is not clipping. Caehlim doesn't have to pursue every point you raised. He voiced one in particular he'd like you to elaborate on. If others want to address your post in more detail they will. But it would be incredibly unfair of Caehlim to ignore a question from you because you didn't ask after everything he took the time to write out.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #567 on: March 07, 2013, 08:58:31 AM »
Caehlim, I believe Beguile Mistress has already made a point of showing the error in "clipping" only a portion of someone's post for critique.  Here you didn't even give me the credit of forming a complete sentence and do not even indicate that there was more to the passage than presented.

My post wasn't a critique. I'm seeking clarification of a term you used and quoted only where the term was used to make it clear what I was referring to.

I actually intended the brevity of my quote to make it clearer that it wasn't intended as a critique or debate, I'm sorry if that made it appear rude or disrespectful.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #568 on: March 07, 2013, 09:15:43 AM »
Sabby, see Beguile's extensive posts regarding this issue from before.  When someone does not even copy and link an entire sentence, that is not bringing up a single point but simply clipping away words.  When quoting in any documentation and not using the entire sentence the use of "..." should at least be used to denote there is more to the statement than being highlighted.  Also, considering my next sentence did touch on the countries I was using, Caehlim failed to include that sentence as well.

As I said Sabby, this issue was already brought up and dealt with in earlier postings by Beguile. 

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #569 on: March 07, 2013, 09:28:51 AM »
No, he asked how you judge a nations Religiousness. His quote is perfectly direct. You could ask him to edit in the proper quoting, but it doesn't make his inquiry unclear.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #570 on: March 07, 2013, 09:35:54 AM »
Sabby, see Beguile's extensive posts regarding this issue from before.  When someone does not even copy and link an entire sentence, that is not bringing up a single point but simply clipping away words.  When quoting in any documentation and not using the entire sentence the use of "..." should at least be used to denote there is more to the statement than being highlighted.  Also, considering my next sentence did touch on the countries I was using, Caehlim failed to include that sentence as well.

As I said Sabby, this issue was already brought up and dealt with in earlier postings by Beguile.

Do you really think that people would have believed that your entire post was "Many nations that would be considered religious"? I can understand being concerned about that misinterpretation since it doesn't even make sense or a point, especially since as a sentence it lacks the verb and object. What I can't understand is considering that to be a likely misinterpretation for people to make.

An ellipsis is not required, there was no punctuation at the end of your quote. Obviously the sentence continues otherwise there would have been a full stop (leaving aside the fact that it's clearly a sentence fragment even without such grammatical clues). Then if people wanted to see your entire post, they merely needed to click on the hyperlink conveniently provided by the BBCode.

If your concern is that I have somehow given the wrong impression about what you posted, then I'm sorry but I can reassure you that it wouldn't seem likely for anyone to think that. If not, I don't understand the point you're trying to make now.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #571 on: March 07, 2013, 09:46:56 AM »
If you had included my sentence up to the period, then there would be no need for an ellipsis.  The period denotes the end of the sentence and as such the end of a thought.  Though even simply quoting one sentence of a paragraph is inappropriate often times because that thought can be taken out of context with the surrounding statements.  By not including punctuation such as my period, you require an ellipsis to show that there is more to the statement and thought.  Once more, this is pretty basic in regard to quoting any source of person.  I am trying to give you warning about the pitfalls and problems of improper quotation especially since a recent episode of this just occurred.  If you wish to ignore the warning then be my guest, but you will more often than not run into similar situations such as this one.

Also, I did answer the question. 

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #572 on: March 07, 2013, 10:10:56 AM »
The argument was that Communism is a subset of atheism, and therefore atheism must own its faults. much as the WBC is a subset of Christianity, and thus Christianity must own its faults.

Thank you. Perhaps your explanation will get through where my previous ones didn't.

Quote
The argument is flawed (atheism is a derived value, not a core motivator, of marxist-leninist thought), but is not trying to say all atheists are Communists.

The argument actually takes it to be irrelevant whether atheism is a "derived value" or not, just as it's irrelevant to instances of religious oppression (for these purposes) whether it's really religion that's at issue or whether religion is just conveniently masking other motives.

Offline Boxy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #573 on: March 07, 2013, 10:50:46 AM »
I don't think it would be fair to say that any one group is a subset of atheism, or to treat atheism as a group itself, as if it were its own religion.  Why should I be held responsible for what others do just because we share a lack of faith in any god?  It is very different than deliberately joining a group of people with the sole purpose of worshiping one.  Religion is something that is social and organized(though it's possible to have a faith without it), whereas atheism is not - at least not that I'm aware of.  Other than simply not believing, what got my to turn from Christianity to atheism was the need to get away from the hive mind that seems to happen with just about any group of people.  To say that atheism is an organized group or has a figurehead seems completely alien a concept to me.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #574 on: March 07, 2013, 11:12:13 AM »
This is where the language of atheism becomes a bit more frightening.  Give up their myths and embrace the truth.  The world would be so much better if only people would give up their beliefs and take up my belief.  Sounds a bit like the very religions being criticized because I am sure each of them would argue the world as being a better place if only people would believe.  The simple truth is that neither one of us knows the Truth of the matter.  Stating that people should give up their belief for the Truth is disingenuous and insulting because you don’t know the truth either.

...except it's not "belief" so much as "I'll be with the evidence." And therein lies the difference. Any atheist I can think of would believe in any god you care to name, if you could provide some real evidence to support it. Religions tend not to place this emphasis on accepting the world as it actually is.

As for religiosity affecting critical thinking, once more the historical evidence does not support the conclusion.  Critical thinking does prevent extremism and bring people back from a more “fire and brimstones” approach, but does not dissuade people from their faith.  A study showing the effects of invoking analytical thought showed that there was a decrease in the religious nature of respondents to questions afterward, but there was not a loss of faith.  Many nations that would be considered religious also produce top scientists and conduct cutting edge research in a vast array of fields.  From India, Europe and the United States there are a great many critical thinkers and researchers.  The United States is less religious than it has been in the past and quite honestly is now considered less innovative than at any time in its past.

Are you certain this doesn't happen? I notice that the study you mention doesn't look at applying critical thinking to religion. Perhaps that's the key. Whatever the reason, there are a lot of recovering theists in the atheist community, and a lot of their stories sound very similar.

Currently the number of Americans believing in creationism is at 30% as of 2011.  This number is down from the poll taken in 2009 where 39% of Americans believed creationism.  Of course another poll done in 2012 puts the number at 46%, while stating that the number is down 6%.  As someone that studied social science and statistics, this shows more a difference in methodology of the survey and not a reflection in the respondents to be honest.  The belief in evolution of Americans has remained steady at around 50%.  Problem that many statisticians have with this survey is that Christians, especially Catholics, are known for answering written questions as if the Pope were behind them and in the exit interview maintaining a completely different mindset.  (Very frustrating for research).  Considering the wide variance in numbers, I think this still holds to be true.

All right, I should've verified the numbers; I'll concede the point here. That said, young-earth creationism is still a recent phenomenon, which still speaks of running further from the evidence. For that matter, it's well-established in the literature of psychology that the immediate response when confronted with evidence that contradicts a deeply-held belief is to double down, not accept the correction. This is an instinct that has to be fought against constantly, and I don't see many churches even making the attempt.

Vanity also shows the problem with forcing dogmatic thinking on the religious.  People enjoy fighting with the straw man of the religious, wanting to fight the literalist and the extremist.  Problem is that few people are the straw man.  To have someone that is non-religious tell someone that is religious that they must believe in this book because all religious people do is a gross generalization and inaccurate.  Similar to saying that all Americans must be war mongers because that is how Americans just are.

I'm not saying every theist is an extremist or a literalist. I'm saying that there are theistic circles where this behaviour is accepted, encouraged, and in some cases even required. I do hold that every theist is thinking dogmatically at some level - how else does one come to the conclusion that a single, extremely narrow view must be the correct one in the absence (and sometimes even in the face) of evidence to support it?

As for comparing Harry Potter to religious texts….I will abstain.  Sorry if I refuse to insult the culture of other people by having their religious texts and writings brought down to a children’s novel.

I used it because it was the example to hand. Would it help if I said "Tolkien" instead? I submit that his writing is better, on a literary-criticism level, than most religious texts. Why should they get special status when his works don't?