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Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:25 AM

The Atheists Conundrum

There are times that being an atheist in a strongly theistic society is alienating for me, yesterday was such a day.

As I see it there are two basic and completely opposite ways the atheist can look at his fellow humans who are theists, the first way is that they are all more or less deluded/crazy, believing things that no rational person could believe. The second way of looking at fellow humans is that they have some part of the human sensorium that you lack, they see in a spectrum where you are blind.

I don't find either way of looking at things particularly comforting, it sucks to be surrounded by deluded or crazy people and it sucks to be blind, either way the atheist in strongly theistic society is a loser.





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Arrow 108 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Atheists Conundrum (Original post)
Fumesucker Jan 2013 OP
elleng Jan 2013 #1
patrice Jan 2013 #9
elleng Jan 2013 #13
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #14
patrice Jan 2013 #19
Skittles Jan 2013 #11
tama Jan 2013 #23
patrice Jan 2013 #2
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #7
patrice Jan 2013 #17
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #18
patrice Jan 2013 #20
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #29
Sekhmets Daughter Jan 2013 #31
cbayer Jan 2013 #33
Goblinmonger Jan 2013 #34
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #38
cbayer Jan 2013 #42
trotsky Jan 2013 #68
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #83
cbayer Jan 2013 #89
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #94
msongs Jan 2013 #3
dimbear Jan 2013 #4
Warpy Jan 2013 #5
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #6
Warpy Jan 2013 #8
Skittles Jan 2013 #10
ZombieHorde Jan 2013 #12
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #15
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #84
Moonwalk Jan 2013 #16
GeorgeGist Jan 2013 #21
tama Jan 2013 #22
MrModerate Jan 2013 #24
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #25
tama Jan 2013 #28
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #85
rug Jan 2013 #26
mr blur Jan 2013 #79
rug Jan 2013 #90
CBGLuthier Jan 2013 #27
corneliamcgillicutty Jan 2013 #30
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #36
tama Jan 2013 #80
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #81
tama Jan 2013 #82
cbayer Jan 2013 #32
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #35
cbayer Jan 2013 #37
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #40
cbayer Jan 2013 #41
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #43
cbayer Jan 2013 #44
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #56
cbayer Jan 2013 #57
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #58
cbayer Jan 2013 #59
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #60
cbayer Jan 2013 #62
Kalidurga Jan 2013 #76
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #39
Warren Stupidity Jan 2013 #99
amuse bouche Jan 2013 #45
cbayer Jan 2013 #46
amuse bouche Jan 2013 #47
cbayer Jan 2013 #48
amuse bouche Jan 2013 #49
cbayer Jan 2013 #53
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #50
tama Jan 2013 #52
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #54
tama Jan 2013 #55
robinlynne Jan 2013 #51
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #61
cbayer Jan 2013 #63
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #64
cbayer Jan 2013 #65
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #66
cbayer Jan 2013 #67
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #69
cbayer Jan 2013 #70
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #71
cbayer Jan 2013 #72
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #73
cbayer Jan 2013 #75
tama Jan 2013 #87
cbayer Jan 2013 #88
tama Jan 2013 #91
cbayer Jan 2013 #92
tama Jan 2013 #93
tama Jan 2013 #86
Warren Stupidity Jan 2013 #100
cbayer Jan 2013 #101
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #102
Warren Stupidity Jan 2013 #103
cbayer Jan 2013 #104
Warren Stupidity Jan 2013 #105
cbayer Jan 2013 #106
Warren Stupidity Jan 2013 #107
cbayer Jan 2013 #108
Festivito Jan 2013 #74
brewens Jan 2013 #77
tama Jan 2013 #78
uriel1972 Jan 2013 #95
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #96
tama Jan 2013 #97
cbayer Jan 2013 #98

Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:29 AM

1. Don't think about it; I don't.

Really, who CARES what others think or believe?

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:00 AM

9. That was my first thought of a Reply. What on Earth does any of it matter, next to how we treat one

another and Earth?

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Response to patrice (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:07 AM

13. RIGHT, next to how we treat one another and EARTH!

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Response to patrice (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:08 AM

14. It's one of those things that once you become aware of it you can never quite completely ignore

Also it's difficult to reconcile the fact that we are the most religious of the industrialized democracies while at the same time being the most cutthroat capitalist and also the most violent both internally and as a matter of foreign policy.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:26 AM

19. I understand atheism & its critique of religion & I agree with it to the extent of the limits inhere

nt to rationalism and the nature of proof itself. That's all fine with me. I love rationalism. I don't believe in what a lot of people refer to as God either, but I will never deny their right to work all of this out for themselves as long as they abide by my criteria for how we treat one another and Earth.

Maybe I'm just more comfortable than many are with the whole idea that there are no absolutes one way or another. All truths are relative. I can't claim mine, unless I recognize that you must also claim yours, so there's no competition for me between atheism and theism, and that doesn't mean that my truth and your truth are necessarily equivalent, only "different". And I'm okay with the fact that whatever words we say, one way or another, pro or con whatever, whatever position I take, none of those words are the same thing as that to which those words ONLY refer and whatever that thing is that we are referring to, it is one whole, not just theist or just atheist, but either/both/neither. That's not only okay with me; I like it that way.

I don't know what anyone else believes, how could I? We all talk like we do, but is that even possible? I prefer to differentiate religion, ORGANIZED pre-determined belief, from wider awarenesses of truth that are freer and hence more complete as in ALSO including rationalism, NOT in spite of rationalsim . . . but I also don't mind sharing the sharing, with religious people, I guess because I think all of us are more or less wrong and that doesn't really matter anyway, because whatever is is whatever it is without us and sharing the sharing for the sake of sharing is good enough for me, it's worth what I commit to it. Religious sharing feels to me the same as sharing science feels feels to me, the same delight, two sides of the same coin, even if people do get it wrong. I can and do speak up often if anyone takes liberties with that sharing with me or with anyone else in my presence. I'm known to use the word blasphemy often and that isn't about whether somebody is getting it what I think of as right or not, just that they are saying things that it is not possible to say, which they can go ahead and do if they want to, just that I'd prefer that they recognize that that's what they are doing, saying something imperfect and they shouldn't claim otherwise. There's a reason the 1st Commandment IS the first commandment; it points to the fact that we're supposed to open ourselves to truth and stop worshipping all of the stupid labels, like "God", that we keep cranking out for what we mistakenly think of as ultimate truth, because, whatever we think/believe it is or isn't, that isn't it, that's us!

What was it all before we all came along and started blabbering about it? Whatever that is, I'm more interested in THAT phenomenology than this power struggle over something that, by our own definition of it (an omniscient, omnipotent, eternal being), we DON'T have that kind of power over it anyway. What the fuck does the word "exist" or "doesn't exist" even MEAN when you're referring to something like that?

And how could any of that matter more than how we treat one another and the world around us, a fact that happens to be what a certain very good teacher (and several others over the eons) tried to tell us a little over 2000 years ago (for whatever bullshit we have hung on THAT story) and for which he got into trouble, with his CHURCH and state, and was killed. That's enough for me; I don't need anymore than that.

And I don't hold it against that man, Jesus, that a bunch of blaspheming charlatans came along and bastardized his teachings into a business and then used that to do some pretty goddamned horrible stuff to people, including the war on and INNOCENT nation, Iraq, which I will never let American "Christianity" forget. What Jesus (and others like him over the ages) tried to show us is still true, fuck their bullshit ABOUT that that they have attached to the truth for their own needs and agendas, and that includes the "Resurrection" and "life after death" - the truth is that the tomb was EMPTY/indeterminate, but what he and others have tried to SHOW us doesn't need any of that stuff, to make it worth something.

It is good to see some sychronicity in the patterns sometimes, of the same sort that brought us the story of Yeshua despite the fact that so many have screwed that up ever since, those synchronicities are still instructive just as people like Carl G. Jung and Sir James G. Frazer in The Golden Bough and Joseph Campbell and the great poets have all pointed out. And the reason that they are instructive is because they are not just about Jesus, or Mohammed, or Buddha, or Chief Sequoyah or whoever, they are also similar to our own stories about ourselves. Whatever the heck God is or isn't, the stories are about us. It's us talking to us about us, throughout time.

Sorry about the rambling, just trying to capture a bit of a wider perspective that to me shows that all of this pro or con palaver about "God" doesn't really matters.

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:02 AM

11. if you had real faith, you wouldn't

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:08 AM

23. I believe "what" cares

 

is better question, and the answer is "empathy". We feel the pain of others, and that is... painful, if we don't have positive compassionate way to react to pain and help in constructive way. So we can either build defensive barriers to shut down empathy, or practice and strengthen our compassionate abilities.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:31 AM

2. Not losers!!! Do you know that Zen Buddhism doesn't have a God? nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:50 AM

7. Losers in the sense that if you are a thoughtful person it's hard not to be alienated

Just watching the reaction on DU to someone speaking of their discomfort was quite illuminating and DU is one of the most atheist friendly places around that isn't specifically atheist.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:58 AM

17. k, I don't know which threads specifically you are referring to. The one's I saw usually began with

an insult toward theists. That's not a good way to create opportunities for respect, but what's going on is an ongoing 2-way street.

The whole thing atheist:theist is like a dog chasing its own tail. It's self-referential, no matter what position you take. But then perhaps your point is more about there being no specific part in this people's inauguration for the atheist demographic, so you don't feel as though it was your inauguration too? Not so much as some atheists are saying that there should have been no theist activities at all? Just that you don't feel atheists were included?

Regarding a more atheistic or at least agnostic perspective, or at least one that did not mention anything theological nor religious: What did you think of Richard Blanco's poem One Today?

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Response to patrice (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:20 AM

18. Nadine, cali and Will Pitt all found it necessary to pen OPs to dump on the atheists

Funny thing is that up until recently I was one of the few who defended Nadine, after her performance yesterday I'm done with that. Cali is pretty much a joke to me anyway but I did have some respect for Will.

It's really no one big thing, just a thousand small ones. Ten years ago I'd never heard "have a blessed day", now it's the default where I live, turned the treacley but secular "have a nice day" into a treacley religious saying.

I didn't watch that much of the inaugural festivities, I had things to do yesterday that mostly kept me away from home, I caught some stuff on Youtube but I haven't had an opportunity to listen to the poem yet, so many interests so little time.










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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 04:10 AM

20. I'm sorry they were un-necessarily disrespectful. We're all like that, including me. & I'm not sure

that I understand what atheists want. Do they want religious exclusion?

If you have rights to your own truths, however those are acquired, don't other people too? I think people are objecting to what appears to be a desire for the exclusion of religious people, not equal rights with it.

I agree with all of the caveats about religion. In its organized form of pre-determined beliefs it can be and has been quite dangerous. It has had particularily BAD effects upon the well being of Earth, because we're all headed somewhere "better" it supposes, but isn't that more to do with what calls itself "Christianity" especially since the Industrial Revolution? than it has to do with an effort to perceive a-rational, or at least emergent, possibilities?

I think we should be completely diligent against religion IN GOVERNMENT, but if you discriminate against religious people in politics, then that's also grounds to discriminate against atheists in politics. It's better to call upon everyone's cognitive faculties, whether they are religious or athiest, than it is to move the issue from that priority to a more indefensible one which is what discrimination on whatever grounds, religious or atheist, would be.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:06 AM

29. + Infinity

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:16 AM

31. I grew up with

"have a blessed day" and I'll be 65 next month...how were you lucky enough to escape it for so long? When I was a kid you couldn't ask a simple question like "Can we go to the beach this weekend?" without getting a "God willing" response. Drove me nuts.

Like you, I am a non-believer but I don't have any problem with the people who still hold their assorted superstitions. While I appreciate that several people here objected to the religious aspects of yesterday's ceremonies, I also appreciate the fact that most Americans still identify with some religion or another. While I strongly resist any attempt to codify religion into our daily lives, I don't break a sweat over politicians playing to that tendency...because that's all it is and it began with George Washington. Someday, in a future I doubt I'll live long enough to see, no president, or candidate, will have to pretend to hold a religious conviction not truly experienced. But given the long history of religion, including the pagan worship of rocks, the sun etc., I doubt anyone alive today will see an end to religion, no matter how devoutly that outcome may be desired.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:35 PM

33. Those OP's were in response to many other OP's that dumped all over theists.

See, the problem is that in these kinds of battles, people are generally only aware of the offenses of others. They generally don't see their own offenses.

BTW, this OP is offensive to theists, or can't you see that? It is so, because I know from having read what you write previously that it is only your 1st option that you really consider.

This crap flows both ways. Those that continue to want to push this divisive wedge issue are not supporting the goals of the party or this site, which both theist and atheists and everyone in between share.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #33)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:37 PM

34. "dumped all over theists"

You mean that saying the inclusion of religion into a governmental oath that doesn't include that language in the Constitution is "dumping" on theists? Yeah. That's it.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #33)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:03 PM

38. I feel less and less welcome on DU these days for a number of reasons

I've tried to be respectful toward you and and everyone who is respectful in general, I've even defended people the mob is often after on DU, like Nadine for instance who has her own group of stalkers.

Of course any mention that theism might not be a fact based belief is offensive to theists.

That's why this conversation is basically impossible to have and the feelings that some atheists have about living in this society are simply impossible to utter without thoroughly upsetting some theists.

This society often creeps me out for a variety of reasons, I"m starting to get more and more creeped out by DU these days.

I know the specific post you're thinking of and if you can't tell that's a "turn the tables" reaction to being told I"m evil and going to hell by theists over a long period of time you're not nearly as perceptive as I have hitherto given you credit for being.






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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #38)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:29 PM

42. It's not the mention of theism not be fact based, because it clearly is not fact based.

It's the calling of theists crazy and delusional that is offensive. It's the mocking and ridicule. It's the stalking and group bullying on this site.

Again, when one has a dog in this fight, one seems to see only the offenses of the *other* and not of their own team. Ugly, hateful, bigoted things have been said by both sides, but each only sees what is being thrown at them and not what they are throwing, imo.

You may have been called evil and told you are going to hell by some theists in your life, but has that really happened on DU? Have you not also been befriended and even loved by some theists in your life? Do you previous negative experiences justify turning the tables on all theists?

I am sorry that you feel uncomfortable and unwelcome on DU, and perhaps a break is in order. I like you. I like talking to you. You have some really interesting perspectives on things and you have also taught me some things.

I'm just not convinced that your atheism has anything to do with your discomfort.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #42)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:37 PM

68. But is it OK to call some theists "a bunch of dumbasses", as you have?

Is that not mocking and ridicule? Why is it OK for you to do it, but no one else?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #33)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:16 AM

83. pointing out religious privilege = dumping all over theists?

 

sounds like the same kind of defensive response taken by men who don't like having male privilege pointed out.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #83)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:39 AM

89. I don't object to pointing thing out or even complaining about the amount of

religion inserted into the ceremonies and I never had.

I'm talking about rude, uncivil attacks on others because they hold a different point of view.

If you don't see it, it is because you have a dog in this fight and can only see the teeth of the other dogs and not your own.

Sounds like the same kind of defensive response taken by abusers who say their victims provoked them.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #89)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:14 PM

94. maybe i do have a dog in this fight but

 

clearly i'm not alone in this regard.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:33 AM

3. yesterday's crowd was really big on the 9 commandments lol nt

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:33 AM

4. I consider myself an early adopter. Naturally there will be bugs. n/t

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:39 AM

5. I've always considered that it might be part of the Third Man phenomenon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Man_factor

It's just switched on in theists, switched off in atheists. Whatever it is, I've always felt belief, or the lack of it, to be hard wired. About the only people who switch from one to the other are basic doubters who go along with the crowd.

Theists will never understand our utter lack of belief just like we can't understand their direct experience of "other."

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Response to Warpy (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:47 AM

6. Some populations are far more reliably atheist than others though

I suspect there are cultural atheists and hard wired atheists with the latter being considerably more rare.

If you're an atheist in Saudi Arabia then you're probably hard wired, in Sweden and Denmark not necessarily so much.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:58 AM

8. Exactly.

I'm sure it's hard wired in my case. I was an unbeliever as a kid, when I didn't know there were other people just like me. I found Bertrand Russell's writings on the subject when I was twelve and was very comforted to know I wasn't alone.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:01 AM

10. sorry, wrong thread

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:04 AM

12. I think most to all of us, even skeptics, view some imaginary things as real.

Authority, human rights, government, etc.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:12 AM

15. Well it becomes clear that some of us worship authority anyway

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:24 AM

84. sure some imaginary things are real

 

because some words are labels for real phenomenon while others are labels for ideas only. our soldiers don't fight for jesus they fight for freedom. either idea can be cynically used but at least 'freedom' is a label for an experience which anyone may encounter firsthand.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:23 AM

16. As a fellow Atheist, there is a third option, and it's not quite the dilemma you think it is...

See, most Atheists used to be religious. So if there was something the religious saw that Atheists do not, we'd know it--we'd have seen it when we were religious and probably not let it go. And we also know when we were religious if we were crazy or delusional or not--and we might say so, but, again, probably we were mostly reasonable and rational outside of religion.

The third element is this: every religious person actually agrees with Atheists, but they can't go to that particular conclusion or distance (i.e. that there is no god). What do I mean by that? No religious person I know believes everything. And most will say they believe X but not Y. For example, that Jesus was the son of god, but Mohammed was just a man not a prophet. They may believe prayer can cure one, but not believe that one can be cured by a witch doctor chanting; they may not not believe, as the Mormons do, that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, but they may believe that there is a hell where Lucifer reigns.

In other words, every religious person is skeptical about something. Every one one of them does view some other religious belief as nonsense, myth, as unbelievable--even if it's to say that gods of old, Zeus and Odin, were myths. Which means they can see things from our point of view. This erases the conundrum.

It certainly sucks to be an atheist in a theist society as everyone views us as a spoiled sport raining on their parade and party--religion is like music or sports, and questioning it is like questioning the joy and fun someone gets from music or sports. No one likes it and it pisses them off. But it's not so hopeless as it seems to get them to see where we're coming from. It's already there in their sights. And knowing that gives us another way of viewing them which is neither as crazy or special. They are us and we are them. Just at different stages of what we're willing to believe.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 05:20 AM

21. Real faith, I'm told ...

Is blind.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 05:57 AM

22. You don't need theism

 

to develop or open "some part of the human sensorium" and to remove "blindness". Buddhism is not theistic religion, and Buddhist etc. contemplative practices can be and in fact are being studied also scientifically. Contemplative practices have visible and measurable neuroplastic results, and compassion, more accurate sensing etc. can be not only be trained but understood and discussed also in clearly defined scientific terms. "Fuzzy warm feelings" are real and beneficial to individual and society and environment also without any religious and theistic connotations.

The discussions between top scientists and Dalai Lama are most illuminating and encouraging, you might find e.g. third day morning session talks about scientific approach to empathy and compassion very interesting.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:14 AM

24. Many people believe their children are exceptional . . .

Even when that is demonstrably untrue. I consider such "delusions" to be quirks of human nature and hardly worth worrying about.

I treat religious beliefs the same, assigning (most) believers to the "otherwise rational people" category.

I find it much easier that way. And since I'm one of those atheists who has never experienced discrimination worth mentioning, I continue to enjoy a life free of twisted knickers.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:37 AM

25. It is not that they believe, it is WHAT they believe

 



When President Obama put his hand on that Bible, he was giving his endorsement, his stamp of approval, to that system of beliefs. He was saying, "This is legitimate, this is true, this stuff is so real that even the President of the United States wouldn't dare take violate an oath made in this way." The same applies to the prayers, services, and the many shout-outs to god over the course of these festivities. Clearly, these people, the President and Vice President, the Supreme Court Justices, the many many speakers, the leaders and role models of this nation, clearly they must ALL believe.

God wasnít just a witness here, he was center stage, and after the President and Vice President, no one was mentioned more. That wasnít just an endorsement it was star billing. We might as well have put the word JESUS up there in lights.

But what is it that they believe?

The bible that President Obama and all of these people just endorsed teaches that gays and lesbians must be murdered. It teaches that woman are inferior and mentally deficient, that their proper role is to be subservient to men, that they are unworthy to speak when one of their male betters is speaking, that at certain times of the month they are unclean and disgusting. That this is a curse god has laid upon them for their leadership role in the fall of man.

This same book teaches that blacks are deserving of slavery and segregation. The largest denomination in America, the Southern Baptist Conference, was FOUNDED on this moral premise.

It teaches that sex for purposes other than reproduction is a crime in the eyes of the Lord, that sodomy and adultery and sex for the fun of sex, must be punished by torturing the practitioners to death. Nor does the carnage stop there; the list of ďcrimesĒ for which a person should be tortured and killed is far too long to bother with here.

It teaches that the earth in only 6000 years old, that man was crafted from dirt, and woman created from that man to serve as his helper and joyless sexual receptacle. It teaches that knowledge and reason are not just sins, but the original sin that led to the fall of man.

It teaches that men should spend their lives in mindless slavery to god and his earthly representatives. It teaches that men should happily live in misery here on this earth, that they should welcome suffering and persecution and injustice, in the hope of better times once they are dead.

Now some reading this are saying:

ďI donít believe all of THAT! I believe in this part, and that bit over there, but the rest not so much.Ē

And thatís fine. You believe in some parts, I believe in none, but when our leaders stood up there and gave their endorsement, they were endorsing all of it, even if they had mental reservations at the time.

You donít want Creationism taught in schools. You donít believe unmarried couples should be dragged screaming into the town square to be stoned to death. You donít believe that we should execute a girl who is not a virgin at marriage. You donít believe we should round up and slaughter those who work on Saturday. You donít believe its okay to murder disobedient children or to burn witches. In fact, no one who will read this believes the ridiculous story in the Bible. At best, they believe a highly edited and interpreted version as told to them by some guy in a church asking for money. Jesus loves all the little children, amen.

But what does President Obama believe? More important, why in the hell are we even having a conversation about this insane bullshit? Why are we STILL excusing or demanding that our leaders take part in Stone Age magic rituals?

Enough is enough.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #25)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:02 AM

28. Good question

 

"Why are we STILL excusing or demanding that our leaders take part in Stone Age magic rituals?"

Are we biologically and cognitively so different from stone age cultures? Or rather stone age people with nukes and not just clubs?

Does technological superiority also guarantee that peoples with nukes are more wise and loving, ethically and philosophically superior to so called "primitive" cultures of indigenous peoples, not all whom BTW have not been wiped out and destroyed from the way of technological civilization, but are still with us and many of whom are engaged in struggles to preserve environment and all our ways of life livable?

Could "magic rituals" originating back to stone age have something to do with our "leaders" at least not yet killing us all with their nukes?


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Response to tama (Reply #28)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:32 AM

85. yes our technology has progressed faster than our ethical development

 

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:38 AM

26. It sucks more to be surrounded by assholes.

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Response to rug (Reply #26)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 05:47 AM

79. Well, perhaps you should stop supporting them, making it easier for them to get away with it.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #79)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:58 AM

90. I don't. You'll usually see me arguing with them here.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:39 AM

27. there is a third way called don't let it bother you

That is the way I have chosen. Your two ways are too absolute, harsh and draining of personal energy. To let other people's expression of religion bother me would be the stupidest silliest way for me to spend my life.

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Response to CBGLuthier (Reply #27)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:11 AM

30. Amongst all this banter, thank God for

your wisdom.

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Response to CBGLuthier (Reply #27)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:43 PM

36. Is it your contention then that everyone should be bothered or not bothered by the same things?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #36)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:30 AM

80. Problem is

 

as beings with empathy, when a member of in-group is "bothered" and expresses a negative feeling, others feel it too. It bothers them too to share that negative feeling. And various strategies are developed and applied as response to negative emotion out of empathy.

Socio-psychological self awareness or reaching towards such, as in this post, is one such strategy. Nobody wants other members of in-group to feel bad, because that makes them feel bad too. So they try to help. If we were chimpanzees, you would get lot of grooming. Here, words. Not because you are "outsider" whose feelings don't matter, but because of you are in-group and inside empathy field.

PS: I just realized why also many animals seek solitude when they are in pain, or go die alone when they know their time has come. Thanks!

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Response to tama (Reply #80)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 06:52 AM

81. Yes, there's certainly been a lot of words

We use words to attack, words to comfort.

The problem I've found with words is that once you get beyond a sentence or two it's extremely difficult to write or speak in such a manner that you won't be misinterpreted by a lot of readers or listeners, sometimes even by accident.

There was a OP up in GD on the whole religion brouhaha that started off with a lengthy list of what it wasn't trying to say, didn't really help that much I'm sad to say.

I can write longer pieces but I got tired of constantly arguing over just what I meant with others so I trained myself to keep it short, tight and well spaced out.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #81)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:08 AM

82. I like this cartoon

 



And I also like writing as skill or form of art that I can continuously learn to do better - if there was no continuous learning involved, it would not be so fun and rewarding. For a while, I've been experimenting and learning to write "from heart", with warm and comfortable sensation in the heart region when writing. Seems to have at least some effect on the editorial process of which thoughts tend to get written and which not.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:27 PM

32. Wow, really? You see those as your only options?

Do you feel that way about people that like certain kinds of music? Those who get pedicures? People that drink or don't drink (depending on which you are)? Vegetarians?

Why can't you just let people be who they are? Why the need to classify them as crazy or you as deficient? Why do they bother you so much?

What difference does it make what other people believe or don't believe, as long as they are not infringing on you?

Jeesh. Try apatheism. Don't give a shit and you will probably be much happier.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #32)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:41 PM

35. Why the need to tell me how to feel about things and how to act?

I don't think I've treated you with that level of disrespect.






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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #35)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:44 PM

37. Because this is really divisive and counter-productive.

It's a war not worth waging. You have so much more in common with others than you have differences.

No disrespect intended. Those were genuine questions, not instructions. Did you not post this to get feedback?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #37)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:16 PM

40. I'm not trying to wage a war, that's where you are entirely missing my point.

At no time have I indicated that I wished to do away with religious rituals, I merely related my own feelings when looking at them.

Even that is too divisive and counterproductive evidently.

Go and check all those divisive threads, I didn't rec any of them although I did get involved in a few in a defensive way.

I try to be a positive poster here, look at my journal if you don't believe me, almost all my OPs are of a positive nature and by no means do I dwell on religion, unlike some here.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=journals&uid=218111

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #40)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:21 PM

41. You are generally a very positive poster, so I truly do not understand where you are coming

from here. This seems to be the one area where you exhibit intolerance and judgement towards those who see things differently from you.

Doesn't pretty much everyone in the world have a perspective that in some way differs from your own? Does that mean that either they are crazy or that you are missing something?

Perhaps this OP truly is a reflection of your own personal struggle and I misread it. It came off to me as just more religion bashing, because I don't really buy that you entertain the possibility that you are deficient and missing something.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #41)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:42 PM

43. There's some big chunks of American culture that I do not buy at all, that leave me feeling

And I think we are all driven by inner voices, drives, call them what you will.

Watching the majority pile on and mock the minority over the last couple of days when someone expressed dissatisfaction over a tradition that feels like it excludes some of us didn't shock me but it wasn't fun to experience anyway.

Most of my working life was spent doing things very much like detective work, I'm most comfortable gathering as many often slippery "facts" as I can and reaching a tentative hypothesis from that and then working toward eliminating the impossible. That mindset doesn't really have a great deal of room for things that have no rational explanation, I'm always looking for an explanation of things I see going on around me.

The kid who never stopped asking: "Why Daddy?"



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #43)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:46 PM

44. The pile on against both theists and atheists is about equal on this site, imo.

While theists may predominate in the general society, that is not reflected here, where there are a large number on non-believers and even anti-theists. Just look at the threads from both sides.

You are right to question and certainly right to reach your own conclusions. What I object to is the position taken by anyone who says that they are right and everyone else is wrong. That is particularly true when it comes to religious beliefs or lack of beliefs, as no one knows the *truth*.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #44)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:13 PM

56. In the very first place you mistook my purpose in the OP

It wasn't meant as an attack at all but rather as an explanation of why some of us might feel at least somewhat excluded by large displays of religion in an ostensibly secular ceremony near the heart of our system of government.

The very legitimacy of that emotion has been called into question time after time over the last couple of days and once again in this thread.

Yes, I feel somewhat excluded when I see large numbers of people doing religion as a group, I know that's not the intent but nevertheless that's how it makes me feel.

Can you not allow me to own my emotions, do they have to be the emotions that you feel appropriate?

It took Tony Blair to so much as mention people of all faiths and no faith at all after 9/11/2001, after the first few days I started specifically listening for any reference to those who lack religion and Blair was the first politician who actually had the self awareness to realize that the non religious were hurting too.

That experience really sensitized me to being excluded in public displays of religion, it's like when you get a new to you car and all of a sudden you start seeing them everywhere on the street.

We see what we look for unfortunately.

&list=UUoUA-CpKaFCCV2Uz__qNJZw&index=10





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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #56)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:25 PM

57. I understand why you might feel left out. You are being left out

when there is a prayer service or other event that is exclusively about religion.

OTOH, events in which religion is included along with secular aspects is not exclusionary. It's inclusive.

The inauguration itself included secular aspects. While I also found it to be more religious than I am comfortable with, it was about Obama, imo, and I believe he is a deeply religious man. Do you find the MLK speeches/sermons equally alienating?

I apologize if I insulted you or stepped on your emotional reaction. My intent was to point out that calling religious people delusional is offensive. That goes beyond talking about how you felt and goes to demonizing those who see things differently.

That seems oddly out of character for you.

But you are correct, we see what we want to see. Which is why I have continued to point out that this is going in both directions. Neither side seems to see the pain they inflict only that which they receive.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #57)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:49 PM

58. Every single word or metaphor I can think of to use to describe my feelings is offensive to theists

The very fact I have the feelings I do is offensive to theists.

If you think being a theist on DU is remotely as alienating as being an atheist where I live I'm not sure what to say.

It's not my religion that says to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile, it's not my religion that says to pray in private, it's not my religion that says love thy neighbor as thyself, it's not even my religion that says those persecuted for righteousness sake win the kingdom of heaven.

I'm handing out go straight to heaven cards and all I get is abuse for my trouble, you'd think people would be grateful for the priceless gift of salvation and everlasting bliss, but noooooo..



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #58)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:08 PM

59. I'm sorry for what you have to endure IRL.

Everyone has their cross, I guess. I experience a significant amount of shunning, ridicule and mistreatment from some because I live on a boat.

People either assume that I am homeless or that I light cigarettes with $100 bills. Neither of these is the truth, but it has been an eye opener.

But not everyone does this to me. Some people are open-minded and ask me why and what it is like.

There are theists that do that with atheists as well, and vice versa.

Hating on each other accomplishes nothing, imo.

I'll take one of those cards if you have an extra.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #59)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:30 PM

60. Yeah, boat people is one thing, yacht people is entirely another

Most of the time it's at the same level of giving a damn as seeing different cars on the road, sometimes such as the inauguration it becomes a mild irritant, the urge to eye roll either literally or figuratively online gets really strong.

I watched video of Michelle Obama rolling her eyes at something she clearly thought was ridiculous, can atheists not have as much slack as the First Lady?

Living on a boat, that's kind of posh, I recently learned the origin of that term and I think you would be interested.




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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #60)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:42 PM

62. I knew about the origin of posh, but this video is hilarious.

My husband is from England, so it's particularly funny to me.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #56)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:59 PM

76. LOL I lost count when...

the gorilla showed up.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #32)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:09 PM

39. Because people that believe crazy things are likely crazy?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #39)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 08:45 PM

99. Nah, mostly they are uninterested and non-introspective, i.e. dull.

The ones who have actually thought about their beliefs, sure, but I'd guess that 99% haven't.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:02 PM

45. I never feel like a loser

Far from it.

For me, being around a bunch of religious delusionists, is like being the only sober person at a Grateful Dead concert

They may look like they are having a blast, but I know they look foolish, plus I'm the only one hearing the actual music

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Response to amuse bouche (Reply #45)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:05 PM

46. Try this on and tell me how it feels.

"For me, being around a bunch of atheist delusionists, is like being the only sober person at a Grateful Dead concert

They may look like they are having a blast, but I know they look foolish, plus I'm the only one hearing the actual music."

That feel OK to you or offensive?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #46)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:10 PM

47. So you are a parrot?

It makes me feel like asking....Polly want a cracker?

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Response to amuse bouche (Reply #47)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:14 PM

48. Sure, I'll take a cracker!

Yesterday you started a thread about how you objected to how atheists were being treated on the site, yet you don't see that what you are doing here is the same thing.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #48)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:05 PM

49. I objected to the troll accusations

and implied threats of being banned. So,the accusation that it goes the other way is a lie

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Response to amuse bouche (Reply #49)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:23 PM

53. You were called a troll by a fellow atheist who often shares your point of view in

this very group. I saw nothing about threats of being banned and you have yet to supply any links for such a thing.

But, be that as it may, your OP said that these things were being said to someone who was merely voicing objections to the overly religious nature of the inauguration events. Your posts on religion and religious people go very far beyond that.

That there is some pushback to the religion/religious bashing in the form of atheist bashing is unfortunate, but not at all surprising.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #46)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:09 PM

50. When atheists start having a worldview that exists outside of reality, you will have a point.

Until then, your false equivalence is noted as just more bullshit.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #50)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:15 PM

52. Atheists

 

can have various worldviews, which one are you referring to?

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Response to tama (Reply #52)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 04:14 PM

54. I wasn't. I said when they DO start having one thy isn't based in reality.

It's the LACK of belief in a god that operates outside of reality.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #54)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 04:19 PM

55. OK nt

 

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:12 PM

51. It doesn't bother me that people believe in different things than I do. People believe in all sorts

of different things. God is one of those things.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:39 PM

61. Have you ever considered that both are right at the same time?

 

That it is very human and natural to experience what we typically call the "spiritual", but religious people are deluded/crazy to think it means what they think it does.

Committing to an atheistic understanding of the universe doesn't demand that you become alienated from your humanity, and develop and aversion to feelings misinterpreted by the insane.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #61)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:51 PM

63. Insane? Did you learn the meaning of that in psychiatry school?

And are you seriously calling all religious people insane?

MLK?

Obama?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #63)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:58 PM

64. Insane doesn't imply one cannot function

 

Many people with myriad psychosis have accomplished great feats, by human standards, especially if surrounded by people with similar ailments (perhaps in a system that thrives from and rewards actors with such a psychosis). Being a notable politician and/or a civil rights leader doesn't preclude you from suffering from mental conditions that vastly impair one's ability to perceive reality.

Though, with the majority's perception of reality being vastly impaired, the DSM won't be taking notice any time soon

BTW, I am not being derogratory. Mental illness is a serious issue, and it isn't something religious people have a monopoly on. The atheistic, technophiles suffer their own blend (though, this is morphing into a religion as well)

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #64)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:04 PM

65. So, even by your definition, do you think all religious people are insane?

Do you think that MLK and Obama have "mental conditions that vastly impair (their) ability to perceive reality"? Do you really think they are psychotic?

Do you think your perception of reality is more *real* than theirs or others who have religious beliefs?

The DSM won't take any notice because a POV or perception of reality held by a many people, and especially by the bulk of a population, is not, by definition, a psychiatric condition, thank goodness.

What you have said is really offensive. You are no more right than someone that says there is only one way to get to heaven or other such nonsense.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #65)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:13 PM

66. Most everyone these days suffers from various forms of psychosis

 

So yes.


Do you think your perception of reality is more *real* than theirs or others who have religious beliefs?

I am not sure. I am ambivalent about this. I have no objective way to know. I do often ponder this, so at least I am trying to grasp it


The DSM won't take any notice because a POV or perception of reality held by a many people

Yes, that was my point in mentioning it. And frankly, as long as these psychosis aid people in contributing to a system that reinforces them, then the behavior is beneficial to both the system and to the person the system rewards (so DSM again won't take notice of majority conditions that promote "beneficial" behaviors). That does not mean they are not any less real, in terms of interfering with perception of reality and constructing false--but collectively shared--fantasies surrounding societies.

Sorry you are so offended. Grab a tissue and go sit in the corner.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #66)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:31 PM

67. That's just a completely inaccurate statement.

You may be using some bizarre, non-clinical definition of psychosis, and by doing so you completely deflate your argument, but most everyone is most definitely not suffering from some sort of psychosis.

Trying to grasp it is great, perfect in fact. Calling others that are trying to grasp it in a different way psychotic is just wrong.

Why would the DSM take notice of anything that is beneficial to both the person and the society they live in. If the DSM took made everything that an individual disagree with a mental disorder, that would just be ridiculous.

I don't need to go sit in a corner nor do I need a tissue. Thanks.

And I am not the one being personally offended.

But if I made anything close to the statements you have made here about non-believers, you would be greatly offended, I imagine.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #67)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:40 PM

69. No, its really not

 

By psychosis, I mean a mental condition that vastly impairs emotions, thoughts and perceptions of reality.


Why would the DSM take notice of anything that is beneficial to both the person and the society they live in.

It wouldn't--I already explained this. That is why we largely do not take notice of collective psychosis of our civilization; it is not "useful" to a system diagnose nor fix mental conditions that produce behavior that benefits that system. But, it doesn't mean these conditions do not exist.


But if I made anything close to the statements you have made here about non-believers, you would be greatly offended, I imagine.

Go ahead. I really don't care. When I said "most people", I basically mean just about everyone. I would probably whole-heartedly agree with you.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #69)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:52 PM

70. Well that's not a psychosis. That's a personality, which may or may not represent a disorder.

Your understanding of psychiatry and psychiatric disorders is unique, to say the list. All I can say is that I am glad that the mental health community doesn't share it.

You, of course, are entitled to your opinion, but expect push back when you make broad brush, insensitive remarks about a very large group of people that are simply different than you.

And I wouldn't make these kinds of statement about atheists, though I harbor a very low sense of regard for anti-theists or bigots of any kind.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #70)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:57 PM

71. Personality doesn't refer to mental processes that affect the perception of reality

 

I am talking about the later, and not in reference to just the "religious" exclusively, but to the majority of industrial society.

BTW, google "collective psychosis". You'll get decent some general examples.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #71)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:11 PM

72. Personality pretty much is exclusively the mental processes that affect

the perception of reality. If not that, what is it?

I googled it. It's described as a legal or literary term. It has nothing to do with psychiatry.

A real psychosis generally involves no more than one or perhaps two people. That's by definition.

From wiki:

Where the mental state involves a large population, it is more appropriate to use plain English rather than psychiatric or psychological terminology.


Excellent advice. To do otherwise might just make one look foolish or even bigoted towards both the group being described and people with true psychiatric disorders.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #72)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:14 PM

73. "it is more appropriate to use plain English"

 

You are right. I don't want to antagonize the asylum...it might offend them to learn about their condition

And again, no, personality is absolutely not what I am referring to. Thanks for trying.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #73)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:42 PM

75. Ok, doc. Good luck with that.

If you don't want to antagonize what you describe as the asylum, you have sorely missed the mark.

See you around the campfire.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #72)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 08:10 AM

87. The problem

 

when starting from diagnosis that this society - in plain English - is loony, bonkers and fucking insane, is that also the authoritative "psychiatric or psychological terminology" originates from world view that was just diagnosed as loony, bonkers and fucking insane. See the catch?

Is there way to discuss this issue on more general level than within confines of Western psychiatry? To establish rationally and with compassion some common criteria that we can agree as leading to rational and compassionate diagnosis of our collective state and its underlying causes, so that we may begin to heal ourselves?

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Response to tama (Reply #87)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 11:36 AM

88. I think that the answers you seek are held in fields other than psychiatry or even psychology.

Sociology, political science, philosophy perhaps.

While social ills may play a role in the etiology of psychiatric illness, psychiatric illness is not a collective state, imo.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #88)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:28 PM

91. Well

 

That is very Western (pseudo)individualistic view. And as Western psyche has entangled also indigenous etc. peoples in their globalized culture and nature relation, it seems justified to voice and share also indigenous views. In many indigenous views and experiences, mental disorder such as violent behavior towards self or others is not a problem of just that individual, but of whole community suffering from disorder.

Also Western psychology recognizes empathy and that it is a collective in-group phenomenon. When a member of in-group is suffering, also other members of the in-group feel that, and to cure that collective suffering they seek the cause of that suffering so that they can stop hurting, and offer compassion and nurture to ease social stress from empathy (and other factors). Same with Chimpanzees and other social animals, it's not just us human beings.

In-group emotional bonds usually go along with codependent way of life. Capitalistic technocratic globalization has made us all dependent from that system and victims of that system. What psychological factors, attachments and emotions, have driven capitalistic technocratic globalization? Compassion and nurture and globalized in-group empathy inclusive of all humans and sentient beings?

In my view that would be sane and healthy collective mental/psychological state of globally interdependent human (etc.) society. "What you do to least of us, you do to me" is just empirical fact of empathy without barriers.

Dear cbayer, do you now see that this is not about theories and ideologies of sociology, political science, philosophy, but most basic human social psychology. Divide and conquer, strict in-group borders up to Western ideal of totally closed "individual" of sociopath and psychopath, lack of empathy and compassion, and directing socio-psychological needs towards material possessions and consumerism.

And pride! The amount of foolish pride of how "superior" Western culture is.

Tell me again that we are not collectively insane.

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Response to tama (Reply #91)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:36 PM

92. These are areas in which my interest has been marginal, at best.

I have been much more interested in the workings of the individual.

I will leave this up to others who are so much more well informed and so much more interested than myself.

While I like reading your responses, I don't always understand them and generally can't think of anything to say in response.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #92)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 01:40 PM

93. Gospel of Neuroplasticity

 

With empirical evidence the view of neurology has changed radically in recent years. There's nothing "hard-wired" in the brain, but it changes continuously through whole life - adapting to environment, according to how brain is practiced in response to external influences. The most encouraging gospel is that compassion and sense of global level in-group can be practiced and learned e.g. through contemplative practices, with very quickly visible neuroplastic changes in brain and it response-mechanisms.

This is about the workings of the individual, because we wish well being for all individuals, and because real global change can happen only through individual changes. Why care about social and global levels? In what kind of society would you wish that our children grow and live? In society based of greed and fear and us-against-them divisions and how those emotions mold our brains, or in society based on compassion and nurturing without borders?

Neuroplasticity is extremely fascinating and promising already on individual level, and that is the right place to start digging and studying, but once you realize it's social and environmental dimensions... Hallelujah! Heureka!

If you are interested, there's very good up to date presentation on IIRC day three morning session of talks with Dalai Lama by a German neuroscientist.



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Response to cbayer (Reply #70)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 07:54 AM

86. Well it's not unique

 

"This crazy world" is rather commonly felt sentiment and diagnosis of our collectively self-destructive state of affairs. Also many psychiatrists agree with that saying that it is rather abnormal not to show symptoms of mental disorder in insane society. But you don't need any authority to make such diagnosis. Common sense is enough.

It's not a put down, slur or insult against "them". It's diagnosis. We are insane as we live as members of society that is insane. And insanity in this view is understood not as something absolute or intrinsic, but as relative to more sane states.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #67)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 08:33 AM

100. Well you can't make the equivalent statement about a non-belief.


But if I made anything close to the statements you have made here about non-believers, you would be greatly offended, I imagine.


But go for it.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #100)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:12 PM

101. Sure I can. I could call all atheists psychotic, delusional, stupid, etc.

It would have the same validity as calling all believers those things - that is to say, none.

So why would I do that?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #101)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:18 PM

102. And that would be accurate too! Because it's atheists that believe dead people come back to life...

that wine and bread turn into blood and flesh...

that a mystical being exists outside of reality yet interacts with us...

Sure, cbayer, you could say the exact same thing and it would be just as valid.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #101)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 01:06 PM

103. you could do that, but it would not be equivalent.

claiming that a belief in a supernatural being is a psychotic delusion is a specific claim about a specific belief. The argument that because such a delusion has widespread acceptance it is not psychotic seems a bit weak.

calling all atheists psychotic is just name calling.

The equivalent would be calling this specific non-belief, the non-belief in a supernatural being, a psychotic delusion. However not believing in something is difficult to characterize as a psychotic delusion. Perhaps you might try to make that case. I could help: you could try characterizing delusion beliefs as not believing in their physical contradictions. For example, a delusion that one can fly could be characterized as a delusional non-belief in gravity. Go for it.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #103)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 01:16 PM

104. Not believing something that the majority of people around you believe

could also be called psychotic.

It's just name calling either way, because neither statement is true nor does either have any evidence to back it up. And it's a very weak argument when made by either side.

It's just bigotry - you are not like me, therefore you have a psychiatric illness.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #104)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 04:30 PM

105. So a republican who doesn't believe that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim is delusional?

No. You really have to have a belief that x is real, where x has no evidence of being real, to have a delusion. A non-belief is not a delusion. I could not believe in evolution, for example. Not delusionary. But if as an alternative explanation for the origins of life I believe that a magic cloud being propagated the earth with all creatures great and small 6000 years ago, I have a delusional belief.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #105)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 04:38 PM

106. No, in my opinion he is not delusional.

I think I am not being clear about my point. I put this example up to show that it is unfounded and can only be used as a weak attack on others who see things differently.

There is much more needed to call something delusional. For one thing, it has to be patently untrue. That is not the case with belief in a god or gods. While there is no proof, one can not say it is patently untrue.

If you say that there is a third arm growing out of the side of your face, I know this to be patently untrue. If you insist on it and have a firmly held belief that it is true, you are delusional.

Whether creationists are technically delusional or not is a good question. In polls, many believers in creationism also believe in evolution. That is, they have adopted an intermediate position that god guided creation using evolution. Not delusional.

For those that truly believe that men roamed with dinosaurs, there is evidence that this is patently untrue. Delusional? Maybe.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #106)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:05 PM

107. "For one thing, it has to be patently untrue"

Right, so any belief that cannot be disproved, is by your definition non-delusional. I suggest that is not a definition you want to stick with.

In my opinion religious beliefs are simply culturally acquired and accepted delusions. The difference between an adult professing a belief in Santa Claus and an adult believing in Jesus is, to an outsider, insignificant.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #107)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:13 PM

108. There is a clinical definition of delusional

A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or other effects of perception.


Now, you can either accept that definition or not, but calling religious people (or non-religious people) delusional is inaccurate and, as I have repeatedly said, just a weak, broad brush and bigoted attack on a group of people that hold a different POV.

You are welcome to believe or not believe anything you want. My original point, which you challenged, is that you would most likely be offended if I said that you, as a self-identifed member of a group, had a psychiatric disorder simply because you were a member of that group.

In addition to being personally offensive, it is offensive to people with true psychiatric illnesses.

But, whatever floats your boat. If it makes you feel better to take that position, take it.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:21 PM

74. Why be alienated.

The conundrum falls apart considering that neither side can prove their points. That you both share. Why feel alienated.

The underlying problem generally arises from what each experienced that lead them to jump into one direction or the opposite direction. What did that is a human feeling. Human feelings are not perfect feelings, but the jump to belief in God, or disbelief in God is a jump into pure perfection.

So, the arguments tend to be about reaching a perfection by means of imperfection. These arguments tend to lead nowhere. Especially when conflated with perfection.

So, you are not stuck behind these two losing points, that you either do not sense what they sense, or that your others are simply irrational. It's not sensory, sensorium, nor is it rational. It is human imperfect feeling.

Why be alienated when you have so much to talk about.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:10 PM

77. I always think about how the first religion must have come about. You could say invented,

but that might not be quite right. It might have actually been quite brilliant if you think about it. Many things that happened to those people must have seemed to be controlled by another person or animal. Deducing that what came from the sky or earth must also be controlled by some being would actually have made a lot of sense. They were so far from being able to understand weather or geology, what else could it be?

Eventually they worked it into being like a system of law. It gave them continuity and stabilized their culture. Much better than always having the toughest guy and his allies take over and start running things totally their way.

I can't really blame people for being religious. It's quite a system they developed to indoctrinate and control people. I feel lucky that I never had it forced on me. I have also never been the type to feel lost and seek something like that out. My parents taught values by example. They never really talked much about it.

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Response to brewens (Reply #77)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 04:51 AM

78. There is much more to religion

 

than explanations for external phenomena (on which science has concentrated on), and that is hardly the primary function. Whether defined as religion or just as spirituality or shamanism, the social order, ethics/customs and how the community relates to it's environment and various experiences, is closely knit with what we call shamanistic experiences or altered states of mind. In that sense, "religions" are just ways of life. What is interesting, do e.g. other primates have something similar we call "spiritual experiences", or do they actively seek such? Do they have any social functions of "shamanhood"? These questions and differences between us and other primates, including human languages, would be place to look for origin of "first religion" and how it came about.

In more narrow sense 'religion' as social hierarchy with priests etc. comes about with agrarian societies and other social hierarchies.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:33 AM

95. I'm an atheist from an atheist family,

but I was a believer too, on my way to my current position. So I was the odd one out in my family growing up and not to mention, not straight in a straight world. So I know what alienation feels like.

There is no safe place even in your own home, no-one you can talk to without fear of exposure. Mockery and ridicule are part of the daily deal, with the threat of real violence not far away. You have to pretend to be someone else just to survive, not just out in the street but everywhere.

You do feel as if you are the only one feeling like this, that somehow you are blind, malformed or otherwise impaired because you don't feel like others do. It seems like the world is crazy as well.

It hardens you in some ways, makes you bitter, more extreme in some ways too. So if the OP sounds a bit offensive to theist ears I say cut them some slack, they may have walked a very hard road that those that are part of an in-group will never know.

Not that I am saying all believers are part of an in-group or do not experience persecution/alienation.

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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #95)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:55 AM

96. :)

 

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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #95)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:17 AM

97. <3

 

From your background you can easily understand and sympathize how also many people with various spiritual experiences often feel, how alone and excluded, in fear of ridicule and considered crazy.

But instead of becoming just hard and bitter, you can use those experiences also in positive way. To grow out of the confines of the narrow and closed in-group you were born into and became member or larger and more inclusive in-group. To develop healthy self-confidence from your inner voice of conscience and empathy and compassion instead of from opinions of others and social norms. Thanks to your background you have become more aware with wider horizons. Isn't that also something to be grateful for for being sent to walk the hard road? And if you find the benefit and gratitude of what that road has taught, could that help to forgive and let go of bitterness?



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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #95)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:48 PM

98. I hear you and I hope I have heard him more clearly in the course of this thread.

There are only a few people in this world that do not experience some sort of discrimination at some point in their lives, but it is sometimes difficult to truly experience empathy when that area of discrimination is not one you have personally experienced.

But you what are talking about here is empathy and compassion, and you are right. He was trying to explain why the last few days had been particularly rough for him, and all I saw was that he called believers insane.

So, I would also suggest that when one is trying to be heard, they take care not to attack the group they are trying to communicate with. Criticism is one thing. Broad brush attacks are quite another.

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