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Author Topic: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle  (Read 7476 times)

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Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #150 on: December 03, 2012, 02:57:40 PM »
I forgot about games and gamers since I don't see them as life affirming opinions.  They are and should be hobbies like loyalty to your local sports teams or a preference for sitcoms over dramas on television.

However, any topic that results in raising anger levels and leaving any person(s) feeling alienated or attacked should not be discussed unless you can do so objectively because ranting, screaming and trying to shove your point of view down someone's throat are at the least counter productive.

In a group such as your you play what the majority votes to play.  Then if majority rules in that case why not in every case where one opinion comes up against another.  Taxpayers in a community all have an equal say in how tax money should be spent and there are legalities for having an referendum added to a ballot.  My payroll and property taxes give me a right to that vote that is equal to every other tax payer in the jurisdiction.  If a proposal is made to paint the communities parking meters purple and the referendum is put on the ballot people can choose yea or nay and majority rules not the opinions of atheists or the beliefs of the those who believe. 



It is more than appropriate, in my view, to hold organizations, religious or not, accountable for their doctrines and for the actions taken by members in furtherance of those doctrines. I trust you would not quibble over holding the Nazi party, the CCCP, and the KKK accountable for the atrocities they have wrought.
I don't hold Germans or Russians living today responsible for those actions or Christians living today responsible for those of the past either. 

Quote
Organizational accountability aside, I am getting a little tired of having to repeatedly deny the straw man argument that I hold A responsible for the acts of B simply because they belong to the same church. My earlier point in this thread was that scripture is not the pellucid moral beacon many claim it to be, as its teachings are vague and contradictory, and have provided warrant for bad acts as well as for good. How did you translate this into my holding all members of a religious group accountable for the bad acts of some?
If you didn't say that, if you truly can live side by side with people today no matter what then you aren't included in that are you?

Quote
If you take respect for others in the conversation to heart, please exercise a little more care to understand what they have written, and avoid ascribing to them views they have not expressed.
Likewise.  Nothing I've said is directed at any one person but at the general philosophy I am inferring from some of the posts in this thread.  If I quoted a remark of yours it was to discuss the remark and present my own point of view which is what discussion is all about. 

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #151 on: December 03, 2012, 04:53:20 PM »
Absolutely false. How is the absence of religious symbols from public places a representation of atheism? That one does not endorse one thing is not an endorsement of its competitor.
Because Belief does not care about Truth.

If you get enough people to believe something to be true, you can actually change things.  Some times for good, some times for ill.  But Truth does not matter in the end, only Belief does.

How else do you get men like Martin Luther King?  (Good.)  Or cults the KKK? (Bad.)

Because enough people BELIEVE in that message.

Offline Stattick

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #152 on: December 03, 2012, 06:52:33 PM »
It's not that simple. The lack of theological symbols in a public places is a representation of atheism. So by removing the ten commandments, bible verses, nativity scenes, and whatever from public places is still the government favoring one religion over another.

No, a lack of symbols means nothing. On the other hand, if we filled parks and courthouses with atheist symbols and statues of Dawkins (not Darwin, because he was a Christian), Nietzsche, and... um... other prominent atheists that spoke out against religion, then public places would be a representation of atheism. Not that I think we should do that. Although atheism isn't a religion or philosophy, our public places shouldn't be used to endorse or push an agenda like that.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #153 on: December 03, 2012, 11:30:54 PM »
I'm sorry, but to throw Stalin and Mao into the pot with other atheists is ridiculous. (Not Hitler, as it's already been shown that he was a Christian) First off, the only sharing factor between those two and myself, is the lack of belief in god. Hell they might even have stated without a doubt that there is no god, I do not take that extra step. Secondly, with that in mine, you cannot say that their atheism is going to cause them to kill and maim. Because, that's all atheism is, a lack of belief in a higher power.

That's it.

No holy doctrine proclaiming one should kill a non-believer or blasphemer.
Nothing about killing those that are committing some odd and esoteric fallacy according to the doctrine of the book that's talking about it.

Nothing

These men did not use some great atheistic virtue or writings to justify their move to power, their mass murders, their sheer douchebaggery. They did it because they're dicks and they wanted power. What I'm trying to point out is there is no common denominator for their motivation between them and myself or any other atheist. There is nothing there other than atheism and whatever scientific fact they held to be true that would be similar to modern day ones. I highly doubt they were all the friendly on my more liberal political stances and what have you.


And yet...
Crusades? For God! Against the Blasphemers and Heretics!
Salem witch trials? (and the thousands of wretches in Europe burnt for the same) Welp, the bible says thou shalt not suffer a witch to live, better get on killing these whores of Satan here fast.
Inquisition? Well, we're good pure holy men, living by the bible and we know the devil and his evil is afoot in the land, we should totally fuck that up, because our book says that evil could be anywhere, and hey! Even tells us what to look for.

THAT is my point.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #154 on: December 03, 2012, 11:39:56 PM »
I really don't see a problem with including them.

Persecution is persecution whether it's done for political or religious reasons or in the name of religion for political and financial gains, with generous helpings of greed and avarice thrown in by the ruling families in the European countries who were too cowardly and scurrilous to openly go raiding, raping and land grabbing and used the Crusades in some cases as a way to get rid of the undesirables in their own kingdoms.

I really don't care who did what and when from the early 20th century and back as long all of them are tarred with the same brush.


Offline Braioch

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #155 on: December 04, 2012, 01:09:58 AM »
I'm not saying that Stalin and Mao shouldn't be condemned for what they did. Cruelty born of greed and ambition is still cruelty.

What I'm saying is that unlike with secular assholes, religious doctrine can easily be used to make normally decent people do awful things in the name of their God. Especially since so many of these awful things are condoned by the books in question.

Offline vtboy

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #156 on: December 04, 2012, 01:12:04 AM »
I really don't see a problem with including them.

Persecution is persecution whether it's done for political or religious reasons or in the name of religion for political and financial gains, with generous helpings of greed and avarice thrown in by the ruling families in the European countries who were too cowardly and scurrilous to openly go raiding, raping and land grabbing and used the Crusades in some cases as a way to get rid of the undesirables in their own kingdoms.

I really don't care who did what and when from the early 20th century and back as long all of them are tarred with the same brush.

If you are simply drawing up a list of people who have committed mass atrocities in the name of some ideology, then certainly Hitler, Stalin and Mao rank high on it, along with many clerics. But the ideologies Hitler, Stalin and Mao claimed to serve were not atheism which, as other posters have eloquently explained, is not an ideology at all.

So, if your point is that mass murdering atheists are as worthy of condemnation as the mass murdering faithful, I have no dispute with you. Similarly, if you fault Communism for providing an ideological justification for the horrendous deeds of Stalin and Mao, we are again on the same page. If, however, your point is that atheism was a productive cause of the horrors wrought by Stalin and Mao, in the way that religious doctrine provided cause for the miseries inflicted by Torquemada, Khomeini and Bin Laden, you are not being sufficiently discriminating in your thinking.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #157 on: December 04, 2012, 01:45:00 AM »
What I'm suggesting is that the doctrine, ideology, opinion or religion is not at fault.  It is the person who takes them and twists them to suit their own purpose for their own gain to satisfy their greed for power or money or both.  They don't care about the Bible, Quran or any other text that lays out some sort of guide for living.  They only care about themselves.  If the Bible hadn't been written Torquemada would have found another way.  If there was no Quran, Ten Commandments or other text to pervert and hold up as the banner for the cause all of those criminals would have found another way.

I don't hold Islam responsible for Bin Laden.  I hold Bin Laden responsible for his choices.  Each of those people you named and so many more perverted something that many look up to, twisted it and used it as a reason to do what they did.

There are people who see a rule and immediately try to break it.  They see a law and try to get around it.  They see a loophole and try to use it.  And it's all done for personal gain and satisfaction.  The rule, law or loophole isn't responsible for what people choose to do.

People are the cause, they are the root, they are responsible for what goes wrong.  Greed for money and power more than anything else is to blame.  I think it's wrong to blame the thing when it is the person who is at fault.  Only when the yelling stops and we all listen to each other will things have a chance of working out.  Anger and insults never solved anything.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #158 on: December 04, 2012, 02:26:04 AM »
Atheism IS an ideology.  It requires belief in something no one can quantify.  Just as people can point to proof that there is no God, people can point to proof that there is.  And each is based on a personal set of criteria the person believes

There is no known quantifiable proof that God exists.  At the same time, there isn't any that proofs that there's no deity figure either.

Offline Slywyn

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #159 on: December 04, 2012, 02:28:11 AM »
I just don't really see how you can compare someone who murdered millions of people for their own, personal, reasons and someone who murdered hundreds of thousands in the name of a book.

They didn't do it because they wanted to, they did it because they believed in their hearts that their religion required them to, they felt that it was their duty to commit those atrocities. They didn't do it for personal gain. They didn't do it for plunder or just to see the world burn. They did it in the name of religion, in the name of their god.

Nothing else on this planet inspires that.

Atheism isn't an ideology. It's someone saying "I don't think there's a God". That's it. There's nothing else to it.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #160 on: December 04, 2012, 02:32:16 AM »
Atheism IS an ideology.  It requires belief in something no one can quantify.  Just as people can point to proof that there is no God, people can point to proof that there is.  And each is based on a personal set of criteria the person believes

There is no known quantifiable proof that God exists.  At the same time, there isn't any that proofs that there's no deity figure either.

Except the 'proof' of existence is circumstantial and heresay at its best.
And also, most people whom are considered atheists will not lay out proof that there is no god, because there is none. So self-respecting individual with any appreciation of science and logic sets out to prove something doesn't exist. Most atheists simply state the truth, there is not enough proof to say for a fact that such a being exists, your claim, you bring the proof. Not vice versa.

So no, there is no unquantifiable 'belief,' there is no bloody ideology. If I have to go back to the old analogy, calling atheism an ideology, belief, religion, etc, is like saying not playing sports is a sport.

It doesn't work.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #161 on: December 04, 2012, 02:50:51 AM »
Atheism isn't an ideology. It's someone saying "I don't think there's a God". That's it. There's nothing else to it.

And how is that different than someone saying, "I think there is a God."

Offline Slywyn

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #162 on: December 04, 2012, 03:30:25 AM »
And how is that different than someone saying, "I think there is a God."

People of faith believe there is a God. They have faith that he exists, that he is.

Atheists just think there isn't. There's no belief behind it, there's no faith. They're just "I don't think there is one."

Offline vtboy

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #163 on: December 04, 2012, 04:52:04 AM »
Atheism IS an ideology.  It requires belief in something no one can quantify.  Just as people can point to proof that there is no God, people can point to proof that there is.  And each is based on a personal set of criteria the person believes

There is no known quantifiable proof that God exists.  At the same time, there isn't any that proofs that there's no deity figure either.

That the existence of god can be neither proved nor disproved does not make atheism -- disbelief in the existence of god -- an ideology.

Here is the Merriam Webster definition of ideology:

"1: visionary theorizing

2 a: a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture

   b: a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture

   c: the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program"

Religious doctrine fits at least 2a and 2b. Communist and Nazi docrine probably fit all four. Atheism fits none.


Offline Sabby

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #164 on: December 04, 2012, 05:26:14 AM »
And how is that different than someone saying, "I think there is a God."

It's a little thing called reasonable doubt. Not being able to disprove God is not grounds to believe in God.

It is an EXTRAORDINARY claim, and so it requires extraordinary evidence. I can't provide anything that will show you beyond a doubt that God exists, just like I can't provide the same to prove he does not exist. But this doesn't mean that both are equally sane options.

Take for instance my previous example. Rhubarb Frankfurter. It is a Godly Duck in space, and the Milky Way Galaxy is a gigantic boogeyboard that Rhubarb uses to traverse the stars in search of floating bread.

I cannot prove to you that we exist within a celestial stubby surfboard. There for, you are justified in rejecting my claim.

But you cannot prove to me that we are NOT in a celestial stubby surfboard. Does that justify my continued assertion that we are guided to the Bread of Paradise by Rhubarb?

No. No it does not. Because we know enough of space and time and reality to find the claim not only unreasonable, but ridiculous, and yes, we may not know EVERYTHING, but the chances of new evidence coming forward that completely destroys our entire understanding of physics (which is the grounds we use to reject that space is a duck pond) are so astronomically low that they are not worth considering. And until such a change happens, we are justified in assuming that our current understanding of space not being a duck pond is more reasonable then some alternate theory.

Does Rhubarb exist in exactly the way the Book of Quackerations tells us? He might. But we can reasonably doubt it.

Offline Stattick

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #165 on: December 04, 2012, 03:04:11 PM »
And how is that different than someone saying, "I think there is a God."

Because the belief in a God comes with a lot of baggage. It automagically implies religion, and the possibility that one can commune with the supernatural to gain insight or knowledge that one otherwise couldn't know, and perhaps also the possibility to get that God or those Gods to intercede in the real world on the believer's behalf. Humans are innately logical creature in some ways. And so, when someone believes in a God, and they pray for their God to intercede on their behalf, perhaps by making it rain so all the livestock doesn't die and all the crops don't wither and die, and then it does rain, well the human will naturally put those two together and assume that it was the prayer that led to the rain. Next time drought threatens, the believer will probably try to replicate the prayer that worked last time, therein creating ritual. In a lifetime, you can go from only the vaguest belief in the supernatural, to a full blown religion.

This sort of thing doesn't happen because of the disbelief in Gods. What builds from atheism? A critical view of the world, a skepticism of those that claim religion and/or that the supernatural is real. And frankly, many people don't even go down that path at all. In today's America though, you do tend to find a little more commonality among atheists, because we're derided by the majority, and have to defend ourselves regularly from them, if we make the mistake of letting it be known that we don't believe in God. There are huge swaths of the population that automagically assume that atheists are deceived fools, liars, or agents of Satan. So there's positive reinforcement for atheists to learn something about science, biology, genetics, geology, and so forth. There's pressure to learn something about history and philosophy as well. There's some pressure to learn rhetorical skills as well. There's also some pressure to learn self defense as well, because sometimes pissed off crusading Christians will physically assault an atheist. But all of this is because some segments of the Christian population won't shut the fuck up and leave atheists alone. If it weren't for that, most atheists would just leave well enough alone, and wouldn't feel the need to go poking at the religious. But because atheists get treated like shit by the religious majority, it creates a lot of resentment in some people, and they push back, say by putting up signs next to a nativity scene that say that religion is bunk.

There are also huge swaths of the population that make the mistake of believing that atheism is equivalent to religion, and so their knee jerk reaction is to believe that atheists get together in clubs once a week to worship Charles Darwin, to memorize holy text from Darwin's writings, and to sing Korn songs. They imagine that there's this community of atheists that can lean on each other, support each other, and do all those other things that religious people do at church. But, in fact, atheists don't have anything like that. We don't share a positive belief that draws us together like that. All we share is a negative belief, one that says, "I don't believe God exists." What would an atheist club do? Sit around and bitch about religion? That sounds... really fucking stupid. Doesn't sound like a good time at all. Other than that, I suppose they could teach and study genetics, geology, biology, upper mathematics, statistics, philosophy, and so forth. But I've already been to a place like that. It was called college. It was a lot of work. Most people won't go back to college, even if it's free, if they're not going to get anything other than knowledge from it. So... atheist club... not really a go.

On the other hand, it might be a lot of fun to get a bunch of people together to sing Korn songs every Sunday.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #166 on: December 04, 2012, 03:19:26 PM »
Would they be the sacred hymns for your Church of the Kung Fu Dragon-Slaying Heart-Devouring Buddha?

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #167 on: December 04, 2012, 03:58:07 PM »
Personally, I don't get atheism.  To not believe in anything... to solidly believe that when we die, we just blink out into nothingness, well just thinking about that possibility depresses the hell out of me.  If that's true, it means that life is meaningless and nothing we do matters. 

I can't believe that.

Offline Stattick

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #168 on: December 04, 2012, 04:32:05 PM »
Personally, I don't get atheism.  To not believe in anything... to solidly believe that when we die, we just blink out into nothingness, well just thinking about that possibility depresses the hell out of me.  If that's true, it means that life is meaningless and nothing we do matters. 

I can't believe that.

Welcome to existential terror. We have cookies. And Korn.

Offline Sabby

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #169 on: December 04, 2012, 04:37:02 PM »
Life only matters if its a prelude to a second, eternal state?

No. My life is precious because as far as I know, its all I got. Its human nature to wanna escape death, but to sacrifice the one life you know you have in the hopes of appeasing death is far more depressing Lunar...

Reality aint about wants. Reaper comes for us all one day.

Offline Scribbles

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #170 on: December 04, 2012, 04:43:09 PM »
LunarSage,

Speaking for myself and more as an agnostic than an atheist, I find it's more important to appreciate life than worry about death. I also believe that you contribute meaningfully simply by how you add to the lives of others.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #171 on: December 04, 2012, 04:53:15 PM »

There are also huge swaths of the population that make the mistake of believing that atheism is equivalent to religion, and so their knee jerk reaction is to believe that atheists get together in clubs once a week to worship Charles Darwin, to memorize holy text from Darwin's writings, and to sing Korn songs. They imagine that there's this community of atheists that can lean on each other, support each other, and do all those other things that religious people do at church. But, in fact, atheists don't have anything like that. We don't share a positive belief that draws us together like that. All we share is a negative belief, one that says, "I don't believe God exists." What would an atheist club do? Sit around and bitch about religion? That sounds... really fucking stupid. Doesn't sound like a good time at all. Other than that, I suppose they could teach and study genetics, geology, biology, upper mathematics, statistics, philosophy, and so forth. But I've already been to a place like that. It was called college. It was a lot of work. Most people won't go back to college, even if it's free, if they're not going to get anything other than knowledge from it. So... atheist club... not really a go.

On the other hand, it might be a lot of fun to get a bunch of people together to sing Korn songs every Sunday.

The frightening thing about threads like this is that there are self-professed atheists here who are holding themselves up as representative of atheism.  They make broad statements like the one highlighted above. 

I'm thankful that in my real life I know actual people who are atheists and are nothing like what I see here.  I'm frightened, though, that anyone not acquainted with atheism will get the wrong message by reading this thread and be turned.



Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #172 on: December 04, 2012, 05:00:26 PM »
Life only matters if its a prelude to a second, eternal state?

To me, yes.

LunarSage,

Speaking for myself and more as an agnostic than an atheist, I find it's more important to appreciate life than worry about death. I also believe that you contribute meaningfully simply by how you add to the lives of others.

I do appreciate life... but to think that there is absolutely nothing after it is too frightening to even consider.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 05:02:02 PM by LunarSage »

Offline Sabby

Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #173 on: December 04, 2012, 05:07:42 PM »
Yes, Atheists form groups. Because they have to :/ Not for the same reasons a Church sends kids out on their bikes with flyers. In a mostly religious part of the world, outreach programs are important. To point to the fact there are Atheist social groups and conclude that all Atheists are bound by doctrine/that Atheism is a belief system is, to be completely honest... either knowingly dishonest or just plain ignorant.

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Re: Christians vs Atheists in California Nativity Debacle
« Reply #174 on: December 04, 2012, 05:13:20 PM »
There are knitting and crochet groups, and even cross-stitch groups.  And while there might be heated discussions or even flaming over English vs. Danish method, or the belief that licking your thread leads to brown age-spots on the fabric, I doubt that could qualify any of them as religious groups - or even belief systems.