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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:42 PM
Original message
To my fellow DU Atheists, Agnostics, and Nontheists
Hi there. How ya doing? Look, we gotta stop bashing believers because they believe things we don't. They are not stupid. They are not insane. They are adherants of various belief systems that have been around for 1000s of years. Some of the greatest minds that ever lived have been adherants of some of these beliefs. We cannot expect such things to be so easily discarded.

This is a forum for political discussion. That does not mean that religious topics should be eschewed. Quite the reverse. They are a vital part of the dialog. But when we stoop to calling others beliefs stupid and delusional we cut them off from the dialog. If they outnumber us we cut ourselves off from it. It just doesn't make any sense to do so.

We need to reach out to the believers. Many of them are being taught that we are horrible people because we do not share their beliefs. We need to shatter that impression. We do not do so by calling them names. We do not build any bridges by calling their god a space monster or invisible friend. We will not make a difference if we do not find a way to communicate with them. But the wonderful thing is if they do talk to us and find out that we are not horrible people it may cause them to reconsider other things they are being told. And isn't that a good thing?

DU and the Democrats are a big tent. We need to figure out how to behave with each other in here. We need to find ways of talking about important matters without losing our connectivity with each other. We need to be able to embrace each other even though we may not agree on all things.

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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thank you
As a non-believer, I cringe every time I see one of those disrespectful threads. It's entirely possible to be intelligent, educated, and a believer.
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muchacho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
2. Insane is as insane does
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 03:48 PM by muchacho
I'll tell you what, I'll be as civil as how I'm treated..as per my temperament I assume the best of folks until they say something insane and then I mention that they are insane.

I'm all for people believing what they want but if they use those beliefs to buttress an argument they are fair game.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. Then argue the facts
Argue the issues. Argue the context. If you feel your case is stronger demonstrate it. And then realize that even if you do demonstrate your case to your satisfaction that their life has taken a different route and that they may not weigh the issues the same as you do. An impasse is not solved or gotten around by calling them insane. It only destroys any chance you may have of getting through to them at a later date.

We disagree on things. That is clear. Sometimes you will not be able to make your point to them in terms they accept. People change though. Sometimes it may take time for someone to reconsider a position. The single best thing you can do is make what information you have available that you believe makes your case available to them. You cannot make them accept it. You cannot force them to believe it. You can only be there to explain it should they ever decide to investigate it further.

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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #8
31. You cant argue with someone who says
I believe it, therefore it is so.

Religious faith (almost) absolutely poisons the "reasoning mind".
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rdfi-defi Donating Member (395 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. i may or may not agree with you,
but to know for sure i need to know what is your definition of faith?
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. Yes you can argue with someone who says that! Just watch me
Religious faith (almost) absolutely poisons the "reasoning mind".

That is not true merely because you say so.

(You see? You *CAN* argue with the absolutists!) :-)
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. Whatever dude
I hope your kids get the textbooks that omit Evolution.

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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #36
59. I believe in evolution
Hey, I thought you were the one who believed in reason.

I guess for you, "reason" = name-calling
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #59
69. Sorry, i didnt think "dude" was name calling
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #69
77. The crack about evolution was
.
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bobbyboucher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #69
141. He/she's very sensitive.
Tread lightly.
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #59
90. christians shouldn't have a problem with evolution
i'd say i'm about 3/4 convinced on many concepts of evolution. i probaly will never be fully convinced 100% that its the full explanation of why we are the way we are but there are enough gaps and ambiguities in the bible that evolution can easily fill.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #90
94. Most Christians don't
.
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polazarus Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #36
140. Hitler and the Nazi's
Loved Darwin. Heck, when Jesse Owens went to Germany, he was basically called a monkey because he has not evolved yet. The KKK, and other white supremacist's uses Evolution to justify their white supremacy by saying that blacks are monkey's. Darwin had some uncanny observations, but I discard that because of the racists overtones It has caused in the past, present, and future. I was taught that in school, something about being born from a beef bullion cube. The bullion mutated and dinosaurs happened... whatever.


It's OK, I already taught my children years before they went to school about God. My son, is in the 5th grade and taking Elementary Algebra so my children are not stupid.

I challenge anyone here to read Martin Luther Kings
"A Measure of A Man," I concur with every thing he said about creation of man, Evolution, every word of that 5 page essay.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #140
148. Groups claiming the truth
Will grasp at anything they believe can shore up their position. As soon as it turns against them they discard it. KKK and other white supremicists also make claims based on biblical interpretation. I bet you believe their claims to the bible to support their racism are misuses of the teachings.

As to where beef bullion cubes enter into evolution... sounds like you had a really bad instructor. My sympathy to you.
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polazarus Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #148
174. My advice to anyone
Would be not to be contempt with what someone tells you, but to do exhaustive investigations and then come to a conclusion. I also subscribe to the meditations of Descartes. So, over time I have used secular sorces and biblical sources to formulate my belief.

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/timewarp/descartes.html

On a seperate issue, In the Army I learned what real tolerance was. I had athiest, pagan,agnostic,black,white,mexican,african (nigeria),haitian,vietnameese,chineese,laotian,navajo,cherokee,yes I was even forced to live with yankees (he he). We all have to get along and just be americans.
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rdfi-defi Donating Member (395 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #34
37. i may or may not agree with you,
what is your definition of faith?
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #37
43. Believing in something in the absence of reason
:)
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #37
60. Faith is belief in the absence of proof
.
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Sophree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #31
49. And the "reasoning mind"
often obscures the truth.
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truthspeaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #49
78. I disagree entirely
Bad reasoning obscures the truth. That's why everyone has to learn how to reason for themselves instead of depending on others.

Reason isn't the only path to the truth, but it's the only path that always leads there.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #78
86. So you disbelieve science
Research into how the brain functions has shown that the brain/mind will often create memories in cases of trauma, extreme cognitive dissonance, etc. In other situations, so called reasonable people will imagine all sorts of reasonable excuses for what they did, even when their actions were guided by emotion. The reasonable mind is an extremely remarkable thing.

Reason isn't the only path to the truth, but it's the only path that always leads there

Religion does not rule out the use of reason. It welcomes it.
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leesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #86
139. You kidding me? Doubting Thomas comes to mind. Religion hates
reason. You can't promote belief in fantastical occurrences if reason enters the picture.
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sangha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #139
161. "fantastical occurrences"??
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 09:41 PM by sangha
Don't tell me you interpret the Bible literally?

That's what the Fundamentalists do!! You're not a Fundie, are you?

It really shouldn't be so hard to distinguish between those Christians who believe in the hocus-pocus and insist that you believe in it too (along with a host of political positions on issues like abortion, gay marriage, prayer in schools, etc) and those who do not engage in that sort of behavior. It should be child's play to do it on DU because DU BANS the first type, so by definition, any Christian you encounter here are not going to be preaching in your face, nor are they going to be ranting about their pet issues.

Polls on DU, though unscientific, indicate that a significant number of DUers are religious. When one makes sweeping and derogatory assertions about how religious DUers are irrational/mentally ill/stupid/easily led/etc, one insults a large number of Democrats when even a child should be able to figure out that the religious are not all the same. Our presence here, on DU, which clearly forbids such behavior, proves that there is a difference.

(BTW, I never promote fantastical occurrences, and I don't see any need to do so in order to discuss religious issues)
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RichardRay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #31
50. If I gave you a really long list
of people who reason spectacularly, and who had/have deep religious faith, would it have any impact on you opinion?

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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #50
63. I doubt it
I provided evidence that you CAN argue with someone who says "I believe it, therefore it is so." and he dismissed it with an insult (as opposed to the reason he claims to respect)

So much for the reasoning mind.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #50
71. Look, one could write books on this subject. I reduced my comment
to something post-sized.

Yes there are people who manage to carve the world into 2 sets... to wit: areas where reason applies, areas where faith applies. However, there is a disturbing trend in the USA (and elsewhere) that more & more people are experiencing everything aspect if life as faith-based.

Hello, Dark Ages!
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #71
79. IOW, you divide people into two groups
and criticize the people who carve the world into two sets.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #31
97. What you've just described is fideism.
Faith, as Anslem said, is "faith seeking understanding." My reasoning mind is functioning just fine, thank you very much.

But this is another great example of the kidn of statements that do nothing to unite anyone, only make people feel defensive.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #31
142. Well, the thread was a good attempt anyhow
But it was inevitiable.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #142
150. Learning does not happen instantly
Of course there are going to be those that do not take an idea to heart instantly. But you do not give up. I hate to use this one on you but... What would Jesus do? Keep at it. Hold to what you believe to be true. And treat others as you would have them treat you.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #150
158. I haven't given up either
Which is why I keep trying to raise the issue.

And I commend you for trying.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:01 PM
Original message
Didn't God just speak to a woman & tell her to kill her kids?
Verdict: Insane.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
87. No.
.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #87
95. Wrong answer.
A housewife who said God told her to bash her sons' skulls with rocks was acquitted by reason of insanity of capital murder and serious injury to a child after a jury on Saturday determined she did not know right from wrong during the killings.

http://www.woai.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=DE...

Kinda biblical, no?
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #95
100. "A housewife who said ..." The housewife "said". Not God.
You called the housewife insane, so why do you believe her when she says "God told me to do it"?
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #100
103. I didn't call her insane, i reported the news from the court case.
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 05:25 PM by BlueEyedSon
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #103
106. Do you believe that God spoke to her?
I noticed you ignored the point
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #106
110. Well, since God is an imaginary construct in ones own mind -
in this case Ms. Laney's - I guess he did!

Seems that under the law whether God speaks to you or not isn't evidence of insanity, it's what his instructions are. :)
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #110
113. Yes or no. Do you believe God spoke to her?
You're not fooling anyone with your "I guess he did".

Seems that under the law whether God speaks to you or not isn't evidence of insanity, it's what his instructions are.

That's true. I don't know why you see any humor in that.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #113
117. Hey, if God speaks to you, and he speaks to others
and he has different instructions, how do YOU tell which is the "real" God talking?
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sangha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #117
162. It's a fairly simple question
You're avoiding it because you realize your argument is weak. It's obvious that you don't believe that God spoke to her because it would hypocritical for someone to think that an entity that doesn't exist could speak to this woman.

The honorable thing to do would be to acknowledge it, and move on. Then you could take a minute and re-frame your argument into something that is more credible. Pursuing this argument, when it's clear that even you don't believe it, will not not gain you any credibility
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truthspeaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #113
192. I believe she heard the same voice Abraham did
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
132. Yes, but that was Good God
Bad God would have done much worse.
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rdfi-defi Donating Member (395 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
3. well put, i agree
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 04:27 PM by rdfi-defi
i think one of the causes for the break down in communication is the lack of a deffinition for words like "faith." that word can mean different things depending on how you define it. i recently read a series of esseys by anthony flew, r.m. hare, and basil mitchell that delt with the diffenent ways people can define and understand "faith." they are relitivly short but helped me better understand "faith". the key is to remember that we should respect people's religious beliefs, but at the same time religous people must remember that religion affects the lives of atheists and agnostics on a political level every day. i do not think atheists and agnostic have that kind of affect on the politics of religous people (short of making laws to ban the practice of all personal religion, which does not happen offten or at all in todays political climate.) all in all a little open mindedness goes a long way.

edit:spellllingggg
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jedicord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
4. Thank You
As a Deist in Texas, I've found that Christians are rock solid in their belief. It's not that they're stupid, it's that they have a faith which gives them comfort and hope.

"Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours." -- Chief Tecumseh
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Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
5. Honest to God
I don't care any more about your religious beliefs than I care about who you sleep with or what you do in bed. Its none of my business. I am interested in your political ideas, however, and finding common ground to expose the frauds in the White House.
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Red State Rebel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
6. I never had a bad thought about a non believer until...
the ones on DU started calling names, insulting and deriding my faith. I don't disrespect people for what they believe or don't believe, I disrespect them for how they behave.

The thread the other day about atheism was a perfect example. I didn't see anyone bashing athiests for their beliefs or non-beliefs, but the minute someone puts up a thread about Christians, it's bombs away!!
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #6
15. I am sorry that you had that experience, but let us take a look further
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 04:04 PM by Marianne
How many times over and over have you seen other Christians being bashed by Christians, who insist that they are real Christians, and the others, such as the "fundies" are not real Christians and they are, additionally, "whackos"

Well they may or may not be "whackos" but it is certain that they are Christians. And it is for certain they are as sincere in their beliefs and it gives them just as much comfort as any other in times of stress, or joy or whatever. And although others have been deleted for supposed bigotry, I have never been aware that any who indulge in this bigotry are ever cautioned or deleted.

So, where do we draw the line here? I personally cringe when I see others so bigoted, even though I also do not particularly care for those Christians either.

So, perhaps they entire religion thing should be a subject not spoken about on this board.

Except that one George Bush has made it such a integrating part of his politics that it cannot be avoided.

How do we criticize the ever so visible faith and all of it's foibles, of George Bush and not insult other Christians?

Is the infighting amongst Christians, some calling others not "real" Christians, a suitable subject on these boards?



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chefgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #15
35. How do we criticize??
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 04:29 PM by chefgirl
>>How do we criticize the ever so visible faith and all of it's foibles, of George Bush and not insult other Christians?<<

Visible faith in what?? THAT is the question.

REAL Christians question the beliefs of people who only call themselves Christian, wrap themselves in the Bible like a shield of armor, and follow absolutely NONE of the teachings of Jesus because if they are the most visible example of 'Christianity' that the majority of people see, then they are corrupting the truth of Jesus' message.

Sure, George Bush and the rest of his 'fundie whacko' fellow believers have an awful lot of faith...in mammon, destruction, hatred, dishonesty and a whole host of other NON Christian beliefs.

Just as it is our duty, as Americans, to question our political leaders, it is imperative that those who truly do try to live by the message of Christ stand up and speak out against those who only use His name as some perverted version of a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card.

-chef-

edit: To AZ,
Thank you for a thoughtful, insightful post. It really needed to be said by a non-believer.
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Libertarialoon Donating Member (57 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #35
47. In the words of Jesus Himself...
REAL Christians question the beliefs of people who only call themselves Christian, wrap themselves in the Bible like a shield of armor, and follow absolutely NONE of the teachings of Jesus because if they are the most visible example of 'Christianity' that the majority of people see, then they are corrupting the truth of Jesus' message.

Exactly.

Matthew 7
20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #47
67. and their fruits are?
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 04:50 PM by Marianne
How many "real" Christians, have failed to display their "fruits"

What are these "fruits" that distinguish a real Christian from a "not real" Christian.

Did the medieval Christians have the right "fruits"? Were they
"real" Christians? They were, certainly the harbingers of the Christian religion and founders of many of it's tenets.

Did the Puritans and their witch hunting, and susequent hangings of those they deemed witches show suitable "fruits"?

Were they real Christians?

You see, when explored reasonably, it becomes a slippery slope.

You call those you do not like, not real Christians. You know not a single thing about them except that you do not like them because their Christian beliefs are not as you would have them be. They may become "fundies" and as such are the enemy and not the "real" Christians. And the strange thing is that they would call you not a "real" Christian.

You know, I think, that for every quote you can produce, there is another to be found in the bible that would conradict that. So quoting the bible and the dubious sayings of Jesus, according to the "Jesus Seminar" http://religion.rutgers.edu/jseminar / is really just a verification of your religious beliefs. There is nothing wrong with that--I do not argue your faith, except that I simply cannot see how Christians can call other Christians, not "real" Christians because they do not believe the same. :shrug:

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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #67
92. Many people who claim to be Christians
have no "fruits". These "fruits", like real fruit, come in various guises. Good works, tithings, ritual, etc I have a suspicion you can recognize what they are too, and you may even know some athiests who possess some of them.

WRT the medieval Christians, so may have had these "fruits", and some may not. Being "saved" or "born again" is not a group activity. Individuals are saved and born-again.

WRT witch burning, my opinion is that those who burned women suspected of witchcraft were committing a sin, but only God would know for sure.

Were they real Christians? I doubt it, but I can't know for sure. But I've come to believe that God forgives them all because God loves all of His children.

You see, when explored reasonably, it becomes a slippery slope

Yes, it is a very slippery slope. In fact, even the Bible states that the path is straight, but very narrow.

You call those you do not like, not real Christians

It's not a matter of "like". There are people I like who do not believe as I do. There are people I know and like who call themselves Christians but behave in ways that I believe are unChristian.
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Libertarialoon Donating Member (57 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #67
93. Two greatest commandments
Jesus said the two greatest commandments are

1) Love God
2) Love man

If you can't keep these, you aren't a "real" Christian. Nothing in the Bible contradicts these commandments.

It's not our jobs to sort out the true-Christians from the pseudo-Christians. God can handle that on his own. But if someone is in clear violation of one of the above, you can pretty much discount that person as a Christian.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #93
98. Good point
I am not a Christian, but I do respect the teaching of Jesus Christ as I understand them. One of the main reasons for this respect is because those two simple commandments encapsulate so much of his teachings. While it can be difficult to decide which of the many prohibitions and exhortations should be followed, I don't think it's all that difficult to judge whether someone is at least trying to conform to those two commandments.

I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that Bush*'s invasion of Iraq, and the death and destruction it has wrought, is in opposition to both of those commandments.
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dpibel Donating Member (898 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #93
144. Isn't that a little too reductionist?
If you trim Christianity down to those two commandments, how is it different from most other religions and, for that matter, the practice of any kind human being?

Of course, you can argue that if you don't love God, then you're not a Christian. But where does that leave you for people who love the Buddha/Dharma, or people who love the vast menu of Gods offered by Hinduism, or the people whose actions are restrained by the spirit that lives in that tree over there, andwho love man?

When you come right down to it, you've described an unverifiable motivation (love God) for verifiable actions (love man). If someone acts out the love man part, what difference does their motivation make? Which is to say, when you reduce Christianity that far, it loses any claim to being different from any other moral code that includes a golden rule.

I thought that if you wanted to be a Christian, you had to accept a number of other things, including the divinity of Jesus and blood redemption, at minimum.

I certainly wouldn't argue the beneficial effects of the "love man" part of your formulation. I'm not sure the "love God" part adds anything. I'm not convinced that you'd find many Christians who'd accept your formulation as the sole qualification to call yourself Christian.

I also strongly question why I have just written this. But now that I have, I guess I'll post it.
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sangha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #144
168. Wow! Very good questions
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 10:05 PM by sangha
Though I do agree with that brief description of Christianity, I have to also admit that you make a good point. In defense, I'd say that while I do agree with the brief as a quick summary of Christ's main teachings, it would not be accurate to say that is what Christianity is about. There's a lot more to it, so your charge of reductionism is not inaccurate.

As far as how Chritianity is different from other religions, I happen to think that all religions are, in their essence, incredibly similar in that they all preach a love for all people, the dangers of materialism, and the benefits of valuing certain intangibles, such as spirituality. They do frequently differ on exactly how many Gods there are, with numbers ranging from zero to many, but I've often viewed that as variations on the philosophy of God's nature and how it manifests itself in the natural world as well as something that might be influenced by environmental and cultural factors. This is why I don't identify with any one specific religion.

When you come right down to it, you've described an unverifiable motivation (love God) for verifiable actions (love man). If someone acts out the love man part, what difference does their motivation make? Which is to say, when you reduce Christianity that far, it loses any claim to being different from any other moral code that includes a golden rule.

I found that part about the unverifiable motive for verifiable actions extremely thought-provoking. Intuition has me suspecting that the effort to link this is an important part of the religious instinct, for lack of a better word. And again, I'd repeat my belief that all religions, at least to my knowledge, are remarkably similar.

I thought that if you wanted to be a Christian, you had to accept a number of other things, including the divinity of Jesus and blood redemption, at minimum.

Actually, AFAIK, there's nothing in the Bible that quotes Jesus as demanding the acceptance of any such list of ideas, acts, etc. Jesus preached a philosophy over and above the list posted above. The rest was added on later.

If you're a Roman Catholic, then the Pope decides those matters for you. However, in the world of Christianity, one can join whatever church one chooses to, and can even start one's own church. No one can tell you (with any authority) that you're not a Christian.

I'm not convinced that you'd find many Christians who'd accept your formulation as the sole qualification to call yourself Christian.

As far as I know, there are no statistics around to tell us exactly how many Christians think one needs to do x, y, and z in order to be a Christian and how many think one needs to x and y, etc so I don't think it's possible to prove it either way. However, there are Christian sects that are known for their liberal requirements.

And I'm glad you posted that. I found it very interesting. Thank you.
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #35
55. well, in all sincerity, what is it exactly that makes them not "real"
Christians? And who are you calling not "real" Christians"

The ire is present in your post and is bigoted.

Howcome those whom you do not like are not "real" Christians? And who are the "real" Christians?

Can you answer those questions honestly, and make any sense, or make an argument that cannot be demolished within a second?

I am not challenging your religion or your religious beliefs, I am only pointing out that it is other Christians attacking other Christians and this is not an exclusive indicator of non theists, but extends also, in it's bigotry to Christians.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #55
66. What's in their heart is what makes them Christian, or not.
And we don't know what's really in other people's hearts.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #55
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truthspeaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #35
84. but to us you're all Christians
You say the whackos aren't real Christians. The whackos say you aren't real Christians. Non-Christians like me aren't qualified to discern who the real Christians are.
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #84
102. But even so
you must realize that there are differences even amongst Christians, so why speak of them as if they wree all the same?
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chefgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #84
108. Read my above reply
If you simply don't know what Jesus came to teach, then you are correct. You are not qualified to judge who is 'real' and who isn't.
Only people who endeavor to educate themselves about His message can truly understand what real Christians are.
Which was not at all meant to be derogatory. I respect that you are willing to say you don't know enough to judge. I also completely respect your right not to care one way or the other, but those who represent themselves as Christians and then behave otherwise should know better.

-chef-
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leesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #6
143. No one bashes atheists for their lack of belief?? Only on a 24/7 basis
It's built into our culture. Atheists could not seriously run for public office or let their feelings be known publicly without derision. Anyone who publicly states they do not believe in God is treated as a pariah. They learn not to say so. They are treated in an appalling fashion. Welcome to their world!
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sangha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:07 PM
Response to Reply #143
169. I have to agree with you there
The idea that we are a Christian nation has been shamelessly exploited with the result being that in many places, atheists are discriminated against.
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
7. I'll do unto them as they aren't doing on to me.
I won't think they're delusional even though they think I'm evil and going to hell.
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Red State Rebel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I don't think you are evil and I don't judge who is going where....
Did someone on DU say that to you?
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Caution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. Nope but my both of my grandmother's have said that to me
So has one of my uncles a number of cousins and untold acquaintences and friends. If you want an education in bigotry next time someone who doesn't know you are a Christian starts mentioning religion, tell them you are an atheist.

Luckily for atheists we can be quiet about our beliefs unlike those who put up with racial bigotry. It would be nice though to be able to run for office and be honest about my personal beliefs.
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jedicord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. I get that too...
There's a lady here in my office who feels it is her God giving duty to bring me into the fold of Christianity (I'm a Deist). Drives me nuts, she (and others) have told me I was not saved, therefore I am going to Hell (along with my not saved son). It can get crazy.

She asked if my family was going to this big Easter celebration Sunday. I told her no. She asked if it was because my husband didn't want to go (a Baptist, so that was a weird comment). I said that no, it was because of me. Besides, wouldn't that be the height of hypocrisy for the one day for me to go to church being Easter? She said that for most of the people there it would be their only day.

Again, I had to reiterate that I don't believe that Jesus rose up to Heaven and became part of the Trinity. Oh, the tirade I got after that comment.

It does get old.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #14
29. Ok but no one here is you grandmother, cousin, or uncle right?
Not all religious folk are the same, just like not all atheists are the same, wouldn't you agree?

I think both sides need to stop using so much language of sweeping generalization. It's what leads to hurt feelings in the first place, as people read bombastic assaulting generalizing posts (from both sides) and say with hurt feelings, "wow, that's not me at all, but they're saying it is! I must defend myself!" And so it begins... :)

I'd rather it didn't begin, if you know what I mean..
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gpandas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:51 PM
Original message
converting
i have never had a person try to convert me to atheism, but i have had a great number of people try to convert me to their religion, so to me they are a pain
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
91. the specific people who tried to convert you "they" or the anyone who...
..is religious, regardless of whether or not they've tried to do anything to your or not "they?"

I'm religious, and I don't think I've ever been a "pain" to you - certianly not if by "pain" you mean attempting to convert you.

This is my point exactly about why generalization language is destructive. The people who have tried to convert you have been a pain to you. That is a valid statement. But that's the only valid statement.
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gpandas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #91
125. did i make any other statement?
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #125
138. I don't know, I'm just asking.. :)
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. No, but St. Paul did
2 Corinthians 6

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
17"Therefore come out from them
and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you."

I am not asserting that everyone who identifies as Christian agrees with every part of the Christan Testament, but it is a part of the religion.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. feh - Paul.
Probably a rant for another thread... :)
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #17
56. yoked with unbelievers
i don't believe that fraternizing with unbelievers is completely against scripture. keep in mind that the king james bible is one of many bible translations. i cannot believe that god forbids us from associating with someone who doesn't "follow him". hanging out with them and hiding your faith because you are ashamed of what they might think definitly is. letting them know you are christian and they are welcome to ask any questions about it whether out of fact finding or a genuine intrest to get involved is being a GOOD christian, force feeding it and constantly 'witnessing' and just ranting to other people definitly is not. all you are doing is acting like a fool and that doesn't help anyone.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #56
115. Well, Paul said it
not a prophet, so take that as you will.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #9
22. Atheists are affected by this religious society
I myself have incurred a rather large number of incidents including vandalism to my car on numerous occaisions. Fortunately for most athests we are effectively closeted and our status does not become available unless we volunteer it.

However at events where we gather there will typically be individuals telling us where we will be going. If we are honest about our beliefs to the public we cannot be elected in any official capacity. It is a regularly accepted practice for Clergy to villify us and proclaim us as evil incarnate.

So while many believers may not share these views with their fellows there is little or no reaction when hatred towards atheists is raised. I do not recall any prominent reaction to atheist kids being kicked out of the BoyScouts. But when gays were kicked out the trouble began. We are unfortunately the permissible oppressed. Its ok in this society to condemn atheists. So yes, sometimes we react strongly. Sometimes we get angry. Sometimes we return what we believe has been dumped on us.
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #22
99. Many atheists when applying for jobs, hesitate to declare their
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 05:19 PM by Marianne
atheism. They are fearful of the consequences, so will lie in order to not be prejudiced against.

Many also, not wanting the label of "atheist" applied to them, because of it's evil connotations in our society, will declare themselves "agnostics" to avoid the label of "atheist".

Somehow "agnostic" is better accepted , socially, and even by some religions.



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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #99
112. I Was "Agnostic" For Awhile... I Was Also "Bisexual" For Awhile
I self-identified as "agnostic" for the many of same reasons that I self-identified as "bisexual". Mostly out of fear of being harshly judged by family and friends. I was copping out.

My reasoning was this---that by being ambivalent, or 'undecided', about my beliefs (or sexuality) then others would see me as someone who wasn't TOTALLY beyond hope.

How strange... my mom thinks that my atheism is just a phase and that I'll return to Jesus. My dad keeps hoping that after 30 years, my homosexuality is 'just a phase' and that the right girl can 'cure me'.

Nah-gah-dah happen.

-- Allen
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #22
145. Sorry, but the Scouts can have anybody they want as members
If they believe in God and expect members to do the same, then atheists can't be members.

And, yes, they could have a similar statement about race as well.

People have the right of free association.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #145
154. Oh I agree
It is a private institution. They can set whatever standards they desire. The problem is of course that they have become embedded in our social psyche. In addition to this they draw money from public funds. As a discriminatory institution this runs afoul of certain laws. So they were met with two issues. One social and one legal. In neither case was the discrimination against atheists the primary concern of the reacting parties. I do not insist you interpret this any particular way. But the facts are out there. My interpretation is that it is permissible to discriminate against atheists but not against gays. I am happy the gays have found defense in this society but I regret that we atheists are still be held in the closet.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #154
159. Then we are back to a basic question
Is homosexuality nature or nurture.

Hell if I know one, the other or both.

But belief in God is clearly a choice. While we view homosexuality much the same as race, so the two are wildly different situations.

In one case, the Scouts would be banning people based on facts of who they are -- much like banning disabled people or seniors.

In the other case, the group comes out and says that these are their beliefs. If you believe, you can join. If not, you can't.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #159
163. I cannot choose to believe in god
Any more than you can choose not to. We can come to change our beliefs but it is not by shear will that we do so. In fact we generally attempt to shore up that which we believe and avoid seeking to undermine it.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #163
165. I disagree
People change their opinions all the time. In theory, I could choose to STOP believing in God. The reverse goes for you.

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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #165
167. Agreed, however
People change their mind all the time. But it does not come from simply deciding to change it. They have to encounter new ideas. They have to have their internal balances shifted. They have to have experiences that alter their views. Sitting there right now, as you are, you cannot simply decide to not believe in god. Given time and a sufficient impetus you could come to change your mind. But it is not a case of deciding to change it. You simply come to realize that you have come to a new belief.
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dpibel Donating Member (898 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #159
179. Isn't that a distinction without a difference?
It appears to me that you are here saying that banning atheists from the scouts is perfectly cool, but you seem to have some reservations about non-choice matters like being disabled or seniors.

But a mere two posts up the thread, you said that the scouts could ban people based on race, because they have the right to free association.

Did I miss a transition here?
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #179
180. My point is this
First off, the Scouts can ban everybody and hold a meeting of two people for all I care. That's their right.

The difference is, banning people based on belief or disbelief doesn't strike most people as unfair. The Scouts are a belief-based organization. If you don't believe, you shouldn't belong.

However, banning people for something they can't change -- race, ethnicity, age, disability, etc. -- does strike people as unfair.
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Misinformed01 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #145
190. Not when they are meeting in public schools, they can't
Sorry Muddle...it doesn't surprise me that you support the bullshit that the Boy Scouts of America have been sprouting for the past few years...

They sure as hell do not have the right to meet in public schools, or libraries (unless they are paying rent, and meeting after school hours)...and then claim the right to be a "religious organization."

They can kiss my ass. And you should read more about this, and wake up.
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
10. that was nice to hear
i'm a christian but the christian coalition can kiss my ass. i don't fully agree with the concept of abortion but i would never take away someone's right to perform it. i can pray on my own time but it should never be force fed in a public school. church and state must be seperate, look at the byzantine and western "holy" roman empires - do you think the emperor really had THAT much power? of course not, it was the pope that did. theocracies are a joke, and ultra right christian lobbying groups are just as bad. i believe in the concept of socialising a few chosen industries that i think could benefit from it, but that doesn't make me a godless unamerican.

there is a middle ground and its really not that hard to find. its called being polite to your fellow leftists!
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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:00 PM
Response to Original message
11. Not an apologist for rudeness but I tend to remind that heat comes from
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 04:23 PM by JohnOneillsMemory
the fact that there are thousands dying because of religious warring. And the Christian fundamentalists and Taliban and Shiites and Radical Muslims have the world in flames and on the brink of a rogue nuclear 'event.'

That's enough to make people kinda brittle and vigilant about other people believing that they have the one true faith.

The US is one of the most 'religious' cultures in the Western world and the most militant. These qualities seem to go hand in hand.

Again, not to apologize for those who are rude and dismissive of other people's spirituality, just a reminder that the bodies are piling up in today's version of the Crusades.

A good reason to keep things civil and tolerant, for sure.

"Lord, protect me from your followers."
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I hope that you didn't think this thread would be just warm fuzzy affirmations of other's beliefs because there are very important life-and-death issues involved with our government and religion. To make my point, here's my stock synopsis of the attempts to displace the US Constitution with a theocracy called 'DOMINIONISM.'

I think everyone who thinks and writes about religion in the US needs to read these links:

Religion is the biggest arrow in the quiver of the Culture War to hijack control of the biggest weapon on the planet, the US government. Television is a close second for filling the collective American mind with manipulative fearmongering. Combined, they are a 24/7 Nuremberg rally of adrenalin and endorphins, a daily drip of red-white-and-blue indoctri-Nation-alism.

'THE CHOSEN FEW' IS BEING MORPHED INTO 'THE MASTER RACE'
THE SAME WAY 'GET OSAMA' WAS MORPHED INTO 'GET SADDAM'! GET IT?

This is the basic model of this religion-fueled fascism:
Supreme Dictator Smiting Evil-doers Wrathfully Without Legal Restraints.
Sound familar?
Yup. George W. Bush as the American Ayatollah.

We are living in the closing minutes of a culture war that the American Taliban, called Dominionists, are winning.
The US Constitution (of-by-for the people) is being gutted and replaced with the Bible (Divine Right of Kings) to achieve a police-state where everyone who isn't with us goes to Guantanamo Bay to be tortured indefinitely with no legal rights. That is already happening.

'Might Makes Right' is WINNING over 'The Rule of Law.'

The inflammation of the old anti-Semitic, anti-homosexual, anti-abortion, and anti-pornography 'passions' is part of a very real and documented campaign to make this country into a Hitlerian theocracy fueled by militarism and Christian fundamentalist religious dogma called 'Dominionism.'

Its teachings are the opposite of those of Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount. Instead:
Wealth=virtue/Poverty=sin.
War=safety/Peace=danger.
Monarchy=Success/Democracy=failure.

It is totally Orwellian and some animals are definitely more equal than others. In fact, some deserve to starve. Eugenics serves as domestic policy while imperialism is foreign policy.

We are experiencing the return of eugenics (elimination of the 'weak') in our government's policies that looks very much like the old systems of feudalism, slavery and holocaust.
Have you noticed the body-count in the last three years with no end in sight?


Georgie's brain is much worse than you think and he's being used for terrible purposes. Here's a British clinical psychologist's researched analysis of the boy king. He interviewed Georgie's family, friends and such and determined that he was abused as a child and developed an 'authoritarian personality,' the root of fascism. Read it and weep for him and us.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1033904,00....
(So George, how do you feel about your mom and dad?)-CLICK

And this personality is being exploited to further the creation of a Hitlerian Theocracy called Dominionism, which has been going on in this country for the last thirty years. Read it and wonder what the hell we're in for next now that Eugenics is domestic policy and Imperialism is foreign policy.
http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_5160....
(God Bless America, The Constitution is Dead)-CLICK

If you'd like to read the full speech of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia back in the dark ages of January 2002 when he said that 'democracy interferes with the Divine Right of Kings and he's doing something about it,' read this and wonder what century we're living in and just what that Constitution was for, anyway.
http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/scalia.htm
(God's Justice and Ours)-CLICK

Eugenics, isnt that a little dramatic? Social conditions have not improved in the United States since 1980.
Using data from the UN and World Bank, researcher Richard Estes created an Index of Social Progress that
Takes into account health, education, human rights, political participation, population growth, the status of women, cultural diversity, freedom from social chaos, military spending, and environmental protection.
In a list that included 163 countries, the United States ranked 27th. Estes, who has researched world social development for 30 years, found the pace of social development to be "on hold" since 1980, putting the U.S. on the same level as Poland and Slovenia in the current "report card. Yet the US defense budget is the size of the next 15 largest in the world combined.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-07/uop-ur20...
(US Ranks 27th in World Social Progress)-CLICK.


How can they get away with it when everyone seems to be mad at Georgie and we're supposed to be able to vote him out of our White House? By fixing the electronic voting machines for 'the House.' Read this and decide which country to escape to this fall when Georgie is reinstalled, like a 'Manchurian Candidate' to finish the job he was sent to do: eliminate democracy, create a police state, and conquer the world as Superman Jesus in a Cowboy Hat.
http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0225-05.htm
(Diebold, Electonic Voting, and the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy)-CLICK

LATE BREAKING NEWS-FEB. 26 2004
Right now the Dominionists are introducing legislation to replace 'The People' as the authority in our democracys Constitution with God in a bill called The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004, exactly the opposite of what it really is, just like the Patriot Act, the Help America Vote Act, the Leave No Child Behind Act, and the Clear Skies Act. The legalities of the Christian Theocracy are being used to destroy our laws as if by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

This is not a test! It is absolutely real and happening right now while the media are busy covering gay marriage and Mel Gibsons bloody crucifixion porn film, The Passion of the Christ.

on February 11 , 2004 Dominionist leaders in congress made their move; they introduced a bill in both houses called The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004. Among the sponsors of the bill are Rep. Robert Aderholt (Alabama), Rep. Michael Pence (Indiana), Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, Sen. Zell Miller (Georgia), Sen. Sam Brownback (Kansas), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina).

The House version is H.R. 3799 and the Senate version is S. 2082. The bill limits the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts to hear cases involving expressions of religious faith by elected or appointed officials.

Although the claim by its sponsors appears to be that the intention is to prevent the courts from hearing cases involving the Ten Commandments or a Nativity Scene in a public setting from being reviewed, the law is drawn broadly and expressly includes the acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law by an official in his capacity of executing his office.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0402/S00172.htm
(The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004)-CLICK

Re: People killing because God told them to-

Schools should teach about the many human sources of the Bible.
The Bible comes from human sources in historical contexts over hundreds of years.

If this was taught to children in public schools, the spirituality of the poetry and allegory and symbolism might be learned and the world would be a more loving place.

Jesus Christ's teachings of peaceful coexistence and nurturing the weak are actually EVOLUTIONARY.

That is, they represent the evolution of the species progressively away from the 'law of the jungle' cruelty of 'might makes right' to the next step in our biological/social development to cooperation and nurturance and 'strength in numbers' of the larger Human Family.

That's why he was threatening to the power structure and was killed.

Now the power structure of the Dominionist neocons wants to prevent our evolution by reinforcing the old fear/hate/war dynamic of our distant past.

Democratic progressive policies like the New Deal, Great Society, War on Poverty etc. are repressed by the corporate-driven Republican power structure the same way that Jesus' teachings were. "Helping the poor, why that's...SOCIALISM! You commie pinko fag!"

It's a little scary to use language that claims to 'truly' embody a religion's values. But humanitarian ethics in a constitutional republic such as ours makes rational sense, not mystical. The Bill of Rights still supercedes theological scriptures.

If the US government actually had policies that reflected Jesus' teachings about assisting the underclasses, non-deists probably wouldn't be as alarmed by 'religious values' in public legislation.

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cheezus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
12. Only when the thread is about it
of course we're going to argue when that's the point of the thread.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
13. well said.
Especially agreed that religion has to remain a vital part of the discussion here.
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
16. Ahhhhh shaddup ! ...
Just kiddin ... Chuckles ...

HEY ! ... Good Idea .... but will it work ? ...

I dont know: ... I know I feel an urgency sometimes to respond to overt creedalist bait, but I must admit I get frustrated by the acrimonious exchanges ... But just like the interaction between Republicans and Democrats: the dialogue between theists and non-theists has twisted into simple incriminations and insults ...

There appears to be no middle ground ....

In the meantime: I suppose Ill just get the popcorn and watch the Crusades unfold on my TV screen, assuming I am safe from the Crusader weapons myself ... for now ....
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
20. If people keep bringing up their religious beliefs
and asking what I think about those religious beliefs, i will let them know what I think of those religious beliefs.

p.s. - the phrase is not "invisible friend," it is "imaginary playmate."

I dislike your patronizing tone, by the way, Az. Who made you the arbiter of how things should be discussed?
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. Advice is NOT interference ....
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Who said it was?
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. Arbiter?
I merely suggest a possible alternate route to consider. Take the suggestion if you wish. But ask yourself what you hope to accomplish with such terms. Do you hope to make a difference or merely wish to vent your feelings about their belief. How do you react when a believer calls you a blind fool? Do you suddenly find yourself wanting to hear what they have to say or do you cut them off and ignore them. If you like being ignored then fire away. Personally I prefer to make my words count for something.
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Do what you will then
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Cooley Hurd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
21. I agree...
What you believe is cool as long as you respect what I believe. It's quite simple, really...
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truthspeaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:14 PM
Response to Original message
24. It seems to me it's only a handfull of non-believing posters who insult
I think the rest of us infidels have to cut them off when they do. We should be the first to hit "Alert" when we see an insulting post.

Keep in mind that there are a handfull of believers who will scream offense at any negative comment whose target is remotely related to religion.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. I agree - I do the same thing on my side of the "isle"
It is just a handful. And it doesn't matter what they believe or don't believe. If they are agressively harassing and inflammatory, there's an alter button that makes no distintion between religious and atheist. :D
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #24
39. Yeah, use the narc button
But I happen to believe there is a very good case to be made that the three major monotheistic religions are, for better or worse, bundles of primitive superstitions. Sorry. One postress thought that this was somehow offensive. I thought that it was quite well established myself, given the foundations of doctrine in what some call the "Old Testament," by a matter of historical record pre-scientific and therefore "primitive" as in one anthropological definition: "Of or relating to a nonindustrial, often tribal culture, especially one that is characterized by a low level of economic complexity."

See, for example, Leviticus.

It's funny that a believer would complain of being offended, hectored, or persecuted, on a political board given that it's impossible to be elected to major public office without declaring one's faith (belief without evidence is one definition of that word) in "God."

Lincoln and Jefferson both had to cover their faithless tracks for political purposes.

Now hit your narc button.
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truthspeaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #39
74. I agree 100% with the first sentence of your post
I just don't think DU is the place to discuss it. The superstitous people outnumber us in this country and we have to work with them. Many of them are reasonable in regard to things here on earth. We have to work together to get the arch-theocrat out of the White House.
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:01 PM
Original message
Okay, well if DU is not the place to discuss it,
why are all these religious threads here?

When I made my first "offensive" posts on this matter, it was in response to a thread titled, "Christianity: What are Your thoughts?"

I didn't start that thread.
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #74
83. agreed
i may have been going a little overboard on this thread with my beliefs, but only because its the only liberal forum i know of where i can say what i believe without being jeered from either side too much. theocracies suck. religous affecting the state sucks. fuck bush. im sure god would be sick of this clown invoking his name for stupid petty power grabbing.
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #39
80. public office
some politicians won't back down from their faith even though it costs them the election against a white male, protestant. i refer to canidates who are jewish, catholic, mormon, and moslem. so what it comes down to is the country's allegiance to lutherans, methodists, presbyterians, and to a lesser extent, pentecostals.

personally i don't think the demonimation really makes a difference, and i agree, the voting record and campaigns centered around religion is really b.s.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #39
146. Not narcing
Though the mere fact that you put it that way indicates your disdain for anyone daring to complain about the way you word things or refer to religion.

I too think you reference is offensive. Go figure. If I said that about any other core belief for people, they would as well.

As for Lincoln, he didn't have much religious faith but came around over time.

People change...
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #24
111. Yeah, but what if you hit the alert when Christians call other Christians
Whackos and not "real" Christians? And it is ignored? And that bigotry is allowed on this forum where bigotry is forbidden?
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chefgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #111
131. Wow
Simply calling something bigotry doesn't mean it is.

-chef-
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #131
133. Oh I know
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 08:10 PM by Marianne
there seems to be a wide range of parameters here.

Some are called anti-semitic because they criticize Sharon and Israel's policies, and others can call Christians "whackos" continually, and consistenetly and it is just accepted. :shrug: You tell me.

Face it.

Calling the enemy Christians "fundies" and "whackos" is easy here on DU, because they are perceived as an enemy. The reality is that they are following a religion and a belief as real to them as those here who post their Christian beliefs. The reality is that both are operating on beliefs and none have been proven and will and can be never proven.


I know a few fundies. I cannot say it makes sense to me, but then, neither does any religion. Because they are the enemy it seems it just fine to call them "whackos" and disdain their beliefs here on DU.
They are further, not here to defend their beliefs. and that makes it all the easier to trash them.

I maintain that is bigoted and is a hyposcrisy that exists here on DU.

It seems it is OK to disdain these Christians, which by the way sees to be coming from other Christians, and not from non theists, because there are few who post here to defend their religious beliefs. and, I have the feeling that if they did they would be trashed off the site. LOL


They are the ENEMY and therefore it is OK to be bigoted against them.
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chefgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #133
173. Enough already
You just don't want to understand that what I'm saying is:
They are NOT Christians because they do NOT worship Christ.What they worship is something else entirely. Sheesh!
Simple enough?



:eyes:

-chef-
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
26. Az, with that post you became a giant among human beings... :)
And I feel exactly the same way from my perspective, that Christians, spiritualists, mystics, and believers from all other organized or not-so-organized religions should take your words to heart just as much!

We are a big tent. I feel like I need to say that at least once a day.

That was an excellent and well worded post, and I thank you!

Non-spiritual, secular, natural blessings upon you, and all your house! :D
Sel
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truthspeaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
32. you all know about Internet Infidels, right?
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #32
42. Sure. What about it?
:shrug:
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truthspeaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #42
81. it's a discussion board where religion bashing isn't just allowed
it's encouraged.
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #81
89. nonsense
Ironic, your screen-name in light of your false statement.

;-)

Julie-fan of irony
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truthspeaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:40 AM
Response to Reply #89
184. what false statement?
By the way, I wasn't criticizing II. I love II. There's a lot of deep discussion there, but you're also free to say "People who believe in a personal god are superstitious fools" there.

My handle there is Godless Dave.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #81
126. Criticism and debate are not necessarily "bashing".
And if we want to go down that path there are plenty of nasty assed fundy sites that do, IMHO, much worse in the "bashing" department.

But since this was an attempt by DU'ers to be understanding of each other's view I hardly think it's relevant. II isn't DU. All II'ers are not Liberals (Although we're generally a pretty Liberal bunch. Except the Randroids of course...Come to think of it many DU'ers are hardly Liberal...) and have zip to do with this thread.

Nice to see that good old theistic brotherly love here :-)

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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #32
44. don't forget about pascal's wager
the probability of god existing is 1 in 2. either he does or doesn't. so it is in one's best intrest to assume he does.

man, philosophy was easy in the 17th century wasn't it!? ;)
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #44
48. subject
>the probability of god existing is 1 in 2. either he does or >doesn't. so it is in one's best intrest to assume he does.

>man, philosophy was easy in the 17th century wasn't it!? ;)

Yeah, and probability wasn't terribly advanced either.
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #32
45. Yeah,
and you know about democratic underground, right?

www.democraticunderground.com
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NightTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:29 PM
Response to Original message
38. I don't "bash believers."
If anything, we're the ones who get bashed!
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
40. This Atheist agrees 100%. Liberal Theists are our FRIENDS.
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 04:30 PM by JanMichael
Not to be belittled but engaged.
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Sophree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
41. I never thought you were a horrible person, Az.
Or any other DUer, for that matter, atheist or not.

:hi: :-)
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
46. don't forget about pascal's wager
the probability of god existing is 1 in 2. either he does or doesn't. so it is in one's best intrest to assume he does.

man, philosophy was easy in the 17th century wasn't it!? ;)
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #46
51. How could I possibly forget something that was posted
twice in the same thread?
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #51
57. accident
back button, you know.
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Sophree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #46
53. That reminds me of something a friend of mine once said
(To a non-believing friend of his)

"If I'm wrong, I'm just dust. If you're wrong, you're screwed."
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #53
68. What an unfortunate argument
With all the various religions to choose from, there are so many ways to be screwed... even if you are a believer (oops, wrong pick!).

Also, if the atheist is right, the believer has wasted his/her one and only life in the service of an illusion.
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #68
72. was it really that bad?
getting involved with a religion doesn't require you to be a nun or a monk. i generally find my religious friends to overall be more positive than my 'nonbelieving' friends (or even my pagan ones). it makes my life more enjoyable to be around people who feel they have a purpose and are relativelty upbeat. so even if there wasn't a god (though i know there is), my one and only life is turning out to be pretty good. and p.s., any christian church that tries to preach how a married couple should perform sex can piss off. my wife and i hate that shit.
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #72
96. sorry to carry on here,
but are you implying that nonbelievers don't "feel they have a purpose and are relatively upbeat?"
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #96
178. of course not
i was pointing out that my more religious friends are overall more positive than my non religous ones. i referring to myself and the people i associate with. look, you may be getting the wrong impression from me. i'm the type of christian you probaly want to have on your side. i'm extremely polarized to the left politically, and disagree with many traditional christian church teachings. i have a strong sense of justice and would rather have a complete god rejecting atheist who is fair and just as president of the united states, than a would be christian one who is a complete slimeball.

i don't understand atheism and the complete rejection of the possibility of a higher diety but I don't ever imply that atheists are somehow beneath me or unhappy people. in my heart i know everyone could benefit from a stronger spiritual side, but my friends who are either homosexual, pagan, atheist, or believe in god but absolutely hate the guy don't have to listen to me preach to them because they don't hassle me about my beliefs and vice versa. and i think that was the original point of this thread.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #46
54. Unfortunately , it's higher
1. Atheist No God
2. Buddhist No God
3. Christian god a/k/a "God"
4. Allah
5. Jewish God
6a-f. All those nutty Hindu gods
7. Agnostic maybe (counts as +1/2)
.
.
.
etc.

You do the math!


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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #54
61. ok, let me rephrase for a new generation ;)
1 and 2 that there is a HIGHER POWER worth devoting attention to ;) .. and by the way its widely recognized that the jewish and muslim god are the same as the christian one. well the jewish and christian god are defintely the same, but many fundamentalist christians don't want to associate with "barbarians" so they claim allah is the "moon god", etc.. etc.. there is alot more evidence though that suggests he is the same god that the israelites worshipped.
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patcox2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #54
176. Buddhists beleive there is no god?
Then what of all the minor deities, demons, etc., that buddhist mythology believes in?

I have seen too often that agnostics and atheists who refer derisively to christian beliefs in cartoonish oversimplified, and insulting terms (fairy tale big friend in the sky) give a pass to Buddhism just becuase they are ignorant of the massive amounts of ludicrous mythology associated with Buddhism.

I think its because the form of buddhism most often seen in the US is a rarified and highly intellectual form of Buddhism, and the reason is because Buddhism was brought here by intellectuals.

But what many seem unaware of is that there is also a highly evolved, intellectual, and nuanced version of christian theology as well, but because scoffers find it easier to scoff at the cartoonish and ignorant level of christian theology, they don't or won't learn the higher levels and argue against that.

The sad fact is that 50% of the people in the world are below average in intellegence. Any beleif system, any philosophical system, will have a majority of adherents who don't really "get it," whose understanding is simplistic and pathetic. I know self professed rationalists who beleive in evolution and nuclear physics, but really don't understand the concepts, it might as well be superstition to them. Likewise, the majority of praccticing chrisitians ain't so bright and they practice a dumbed down literalist version. But that doesn't mean christianity or any beleif system should be judged by the level of understanding of its stupidest adherents.

And I don't think its fair or morally right to criticize, or even feel superior to those who aren't blessed with high intelligence. Intelligence is a value nuetral attribute like height or strength, that someone can't grasp the difference between the symbolic and the literal no more makes them inferior than the fact that they can't long-jump 18 feet. Tolerance and love is what my religion teaches. Nothing else matters.
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dpibel Donating Member (898 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #176
183. Who dat?
I'd be interested in finding these atheists who give a pass to Buddhism because of their purblind ignorance. AFAIK, no self-respecting atheist lends credence to any religion (with the exception, I guess, of UU, which is perfectly happy to have you be an atheist if you are).

Perhaps you are confused by the fact that it's very, very rare (right about zero, I'd say) on DU for a Buddhist to tell an atheist that having "seek the Dharma" on currency would constitute no endorsement of Buddhism, or that, no matter how misled they are, Buddha loves them anyway.

Seems to me that the discussion centers around Christianity because, well, there's a bunch of Christians around here. If nobody brings up Buddhism, nobody discusses Buddhism.

Here's an interesting thought exercise for you: Christians get all up in arms if people refer to "mythology" when speaking of Christianity. You surely are not suggesting that the beliefs of Christianity (triune god, angels, demons, evil spirits, witches, seers) are more worthy and true than the Buddhist pantheon of similar beings?

There are plenty of live-and-let-live Christians around here, just as there are many live-and-let-live atheists. I'd say both are in the majority. The rarified, really smart brand of Christianity may be really cool. But that's not what's getting bruited about here, is it?

By the by, could you help me understand why a "a highly evolved, intellectual, and nuanced version of christian theology," to which, I must assume from your post, you are privy, would be of any interest to a person who does not believe in god? Or is this version of Christianity so rarified that it has abandoned that part?

It seems to me that, if one does not believe in god, it matters not whether it's 47 or 412 angels doing the schottische on the head of a pin.
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #46
64. Pascal's solution was a cowardly way out.
Besides, wouldn't God know if you were being phony just in case he might exist?
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clonebot Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #64
70. on being phony
well, even though on DU this probaly opens me up to all sorts of flaming, but i am latter day saint - and one of the beliefs of mormons is that there are multiple 'kingdoms' of heaven. if you just believe in god and don't really do to much with it, and only get involved just in case he 'might' exist - well heaven is for you just not quite as nice as those who devoted themselves fully. its probaly the belief that makes other christians go "WTF?!" the most and they usually translate it to mean that every person becomes a god with their own planet after they die but that, unfortunately, is just a bad, face value translation - usually meant to discredit mormons.

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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
52. Here's a slightly different perspective on your wise post.
As humans we are all stupid and delusional. That's how our brains work. Our intellectual, analytical, left brain evolved very recently in our species - and it isn't nearly as powerful as most of us believe. We're still learning how to use it - and making many mistakes while we do.

We still make all our decisions and adhere to all our beliefs (like religion, or liberal/conservative) because they feel good to us. If, on occasion we act rationally, it's only because we've taught ourselves to feel good by acting rationally in some special circumstances. As my Sig line reminds, the only time we consistently use our brains is to justify our beliefs - not to arrive at them.

Unfortunately, for many insecure people, what feels good includes the security they get when they are surrounded by others who believe just as they do. It is natural for them to try to enforce their beliefs on others if they can, and punish those who don't go along - and to seek groups where that behavior is reinforced. My strong meme theory. http://www.geocities.com/margimcghee/howsmart.htm

That's what many atheists are reacting to when they ridicule religious faith - the attempt to marginalize them and take away their rights as citizens by powerful organized groups that are in virtual control of all three branches of our government.

Here are some suggestions to avoid ugly confrontations:

1) I've never met an atheist who wanted the phrase under no God placed in the pledge of allegiance. As long as theists insist that under God should be there they are supporting a fundamental unfairness in the application of the values that underlie our Constitution. They must expect resistance and even outrage when they do. This is not a little thing - it defines the fundamental idea of fairness in our Constituion.

2) Believers should make clear, in on line discussions, perhaps in their Sig line, that they are not politically evangelical about religion - i.e. that they have no desire to place their religious beliefs in our laws, in any way. My friends who are religious are in this group. I respect them all the more for bravely going against the majority of believers - but they are doing more good for this nation and our values and their religious beliefs than they can imagine.

3) We all, atheists and believer alike, should accept that our brains are emotionally driven. We just adhere to different mostly irrational belief systems that feel good to us. I am emotionally attached to my secularism - and that's about as close to a religion as I can get. A little humility can go a long way for both sides.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #52
151. A problem with that argument
Non-believers seem to expect believers to set their beliefs aside when voting or lobbying for anything in politics.

That is impossible.

Our beliefs are part and parcel to who we are, just as yours are to you. A Catholic who is anti-abortion is both advocating a religious belief and a core philosophical belief. You can't expect people to set those aside.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #151
156. What we hope for
Is not for you to set aside your beliefs. Rather we hope for is that when you vote you are able to realize that yours is not the only belief in the world and that you not attempt to impose your views on others. Fortunately for us most seem to get this (you included). Unfortunately some do not get this and continue to try to assert their beliefs and create increasing tension within the society.
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #156
160. Imposing your views
OK, I'll stick with my example since I am pro-Choice and it makes an easy point of theoretical discussion.

The hypothetical Catholic anti-abortion voter believes abortion to be murder. If he/she believes that, how are they supposed to vote under your theory?
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #160
166. Vote their conscience
If you believe it to be murder then vote that. I will exorcise my right to try to talk you out of it. :)
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #166
181. There you go
That's why so many anti-abortion types vote against us. They believe abortion to be murder. We do not.

It doesn't make them bad. It just means we disagree.

But it is illogical to expect them to vote other than their beliefs.
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ArkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
58. What about those of us who are
anarcho-syndicalists?
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #58
65. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
ArkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #65
73. In the immortal words of William Shakespeare
"Methinks thou doth protest too much"!
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #73
75. Darn
I guess you didn't get my situationist reference.

I typed it just for you.

*sniff*.
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ArkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #75
88. The Spectacle Erases
the dividing line between self and world, in that the self, under seige by the presence and absence of the world, is eventually overwhelmed; it likewise erases the dividing line between true and false, repressing all directly lived truth beneath the real presence of the falsehood maintained by the organization of appearances. The individual, though condemned to the passive acceptance of an alien everyday reality, is thus driven into a form of madness in which, by resorting to magical devices, he entertains the illusion that he is reacting to his fate. The recognition and consumption of commodities are at the core of this pseudo-response to a communication to which no response is possible.The need to imitate that the consumer experiences is indeed a truly infantile need, one determined by every aspect of his fundamental dispossession. In terms used by Gabel to describe quite another level of pathology, "the abnormal need for representation here compensates for a torturing feeling of being at the margin of existence".
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
62. Thank you, Az
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 04:47 PM by Lydia Leftcoast
Some of us religious DUers are trying to reach out to fundamentalists on their own terms and show them the contradictions between what they're being taught in their megachurches and what Jesus actually said. There are ways to get to them, but you have to speak their language and use their metaphors, or they will not listen.

It's not at all helpful when a few militant atheists, the ones who have deep personal pain because of how they were treated by religious people, go on and on ragging on all religious people for the sins of a few. This only reinforces the stereotype of liberals being "aligned with the devil," because at their stage of understanding, anyone who criticizes their brand of religion is an agent of Satan.

When people leave fundamentalism, it's hardly ever because someone argued evolution with them (they're taught pat answers for every point) or because someone insulted them. There's usually some "eureka" moment where the walls crack--what it is varies from person to person, and because they've been taught that Satan is after their soul, it's a scary time. They need to know that if they have the religious impulse, there are other ways to express it that don't require "checking their brain at the door."

There are plenty of "varieties of religious experience" where the overriding theme is What does the Lord require of you but to do justice,
love mercy, and walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).

Rants about "religion is the source of all evil" (ALL evil?) will only send fundamentalists scurrying back to the safe echo chamber where everyone tells them how much God favors them.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #62
76. How about this: Religion (a/k/ "faith") is the source of all
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 05:00 PM by BlueEyedSon
acts of evil perpetrated with moral certainty (to paraphrase your post). Reason and logic hardly ever are the source of same. Doubt and reflection should accompany murder (such as in Iraq) dontcha think?

So even including all the "good" actions for which religion is responsible, I figure the world would be better, on balance, without religion.

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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #76
82. You mean like Mao's Cultural Revolution?
I know survivors of that horror. It was the "logical outcome" of Mao's idea of continuous revolution, and it involved persecution of religions of all stripes, including Taoism and Buddhism.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #82
101. See...? No religion, no prosecution.
(Meant as a joke. Sorry if it's not funny.)
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #101
104. I got a joke for you
I recently met a couple. The man is American born. The woman is a Vietnamese born American citizen. When Saigon fell, her father, an official in the SVN govt, was executed, his house confiscated and used as a barracks for NVN soldiers. This woman and her sister were under house arrest, where they served as maids and "comfort women". IOW, they were worked and beaten all day, and raped and beaten all night. The ones commiting these crimes were Godless communists.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #104
107. But did they have unwavering "faith" in their cause? You betcha.
BTW, since you are so energized and well informed, why dont you estimate the number of dead for all the religious crusades vs. non-religious ones (historically). While you're at it take a count of ongoing conflicts in the world and categorize them as well.

Also remind me if the religions involved, in general, prohibit murder.

I'll check back later.

Thought of the day: "God is Santa Clause for adults."
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #107
114. Bait and Switch?
Earlier, it was religion that was the problem. Now you are suggesting that it's "unwavering faith"

If you don't believe (and stick to) your own arguments, why would anyone else?

BTW, since you are so energized and well informed, why dont you estimate the number of dead for all the religious crusades vs. non-religious ones (historically). While you're at it take a count of ongoing conflicts in the world and categorize them as well.

I got an idea! Why don't we split the burden. You name the religious wars and their death tolls, and I'll list non-religious ones. And to show you my good intentions, I'll go first:

Mao's Great Famine - Toll: 20 million
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #114
116. And what you will find when all is totalled
is that when a structure is arrainged that proclaims itself to have the truth people suffer. It matters not whether that proclomation is based on a god or a social structure. When a system makes itself inflexible it is the people that give.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #116
122. Az, you hit the nail on the head.
So a structure that has flexibility and re-evaluation of its truths built into it *might* cause the least suffering....
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sangha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #122
170. Yes, he did
It's "unwavering faith" that's dangerous. Unwavering faith in all sorts of things is dangerous. The critical key isn't religion; it's the certainty that kills.

I'd just like to point out that the religious are not any more or less vulnerable to certainty.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #116
128. That's exactly right. Religion as personal piety, sure. Religion as....
..institutional authority? HELL NO.
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Mattforclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
85. Amen
;)
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
109. I've got to get back to work, but first I'll stir things up with this.
Ok here goes:

Just as the war in Iraq is growing terrorist groups, so is Christian-bashing by the left growing the religious right. Discuss.

First person to think it's cleverness to say that this means Christians are the same as the terrorist groups, gets to be the first person to completely miss the point and waste our time in this discussion.
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hippiegranny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #109
119. i'll go one further
could it be possible the ultra religious who would force us all to be governed under a theocracy are growing more anti-christian sentiment all the time? speaking for myself, they are. i'm more than happy to let people to their own faith based devices as long as their dogma is kept separate from my public policy.
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sangha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #119
172. I think the answer to that is obvious
and there are many Christians who are just as concerned about that as you are and for the very same reasons.

i'm more than happy to let people to their own faith based devices as long as their dogma is kept separate from my public policy.

Why that sounds like a very good deal. Sold!!
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #109
121. You win, you said it first!
You have it totally backward. I was never a Christian-Bashing Lefty Atheist (TM) until the Christians started trying to take over the country. Anyway, I want to engage in rational debate, fair voting and sensible policy making... not blowing up churches from Apaches.

Fundamentalism is the same whether is it Islamic, Christian, Jewish or whatever.

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." -- Ann Coulter.

Goodwill ambassadors like Ann don't help the cause much. Can't you reasonable Christians get her excommunicated or something?
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bobbyboucher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #109
149. Christian bashing?
I think that it is more like "just keep your religion personal or within your group, and out of our government".

Worship anything or anyone you want.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #109
175. Didn't get much responses, but...
...I get a lot of "they're doing this, so I'll do that". I'm not talking about how justified anyone feels doing what they do, I'm talking about, what's your plan? On DU, it's pretty simple - anyone here who does not belong to the religious right shouldn't be subjected to stuff about how poisoned anyone thinks their mind is or whatever. It's against the rules even. It's completely off topic for here, and it's detrimental to our cause. Because what's the point? We're all here to get Bush* out and stuff - why do we want to take the people that go to these churches with a lot of right-wingers and keep them away from this ever-so-valuable resource we have here? What's the point? What practical thing does anyone seek to accomplish with all this fighting, really? Someone mentioned Ann Coulter - is she a poster here? I understand a lot of people live in areas where they're subjected to religious fanaticism and it's frustrating, but if DU is to become a valuable thing, it will stick to it's purpose, and that's equipping all Democrats with what they need to fight the right-wing, not for taking out your frustrations. It's a commons which exists to be useful to its members. If you don't like people mixing religion and political power, be influential toward religious people who have that same philosophy - show some more tact and you'll get more of what you want.
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msmcghee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
118. Step back, take a breath.
Religion is not the enemy. It is any strongly held belief system (memeplex). These all will eventually require the destruction of any competing system.

Some religions, like Unitarianism, eschew strongly held beliefs and are a model for secularists and theists alike. Why not ask how many people have been violently killed through the ages by "true believers" in any belief system?

Except for murders committed by thieves, you could probably cover all of them.
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SheepyMcSheepster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
123. I agree, thanks Az
"DU and the Democrats are a big tent. We need to figure out how to behave with each other in here. We need to find ways of talking about important matters without losing our connectivity with each other. We need to be able to embrace each other even though we may not agree on all things."

exactly
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spooky3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
124. Well said!
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
127. Stop criticizing my tools, and look at my house! (more..)
Swag wrote:
"But I happen to believe there is a very good case to be made that the three major monotheistic religions are, for better or worse, bundles of primitive superstitions. Sorry. One postress thought that this was somehow offensive. I thought that it was quite well established myself, given the foundations of doctrine in what some call the "Old Testament," by a matter of historical record pre-scientific and therefore "primitive" as in one anthropological definition: "Of or relating to a nonindustrial, often tribal culture, especially one that is characterized by a low level of economic complexity."

I agree that they are primitive mythologies, for the most part. But you I think would want to add, "and therefore have no meaning, relevance or value to us today." I disagree with you there, but.. you know... still like you and stuff. :toast:

The real issue I think is that absolute dogmatic literalistic interpretations of scripture truly to fly in the face of reason are frustrating for the atheist, because they literally contradict with what we can actually prove about the contradictory and historically inaccurate accounts of the bible, as well as the clear mythologies borrowed from other cultures.

However, for the mystics out there, like me, I've never interpreted scripture has historical-literal. I believe that it is imagery, like poetry. To me it presents itself as a metaphorical, and symbolic package, some metaphors and imagery more illuminating for me than others, which can indeed point to truths of being.

I posted a quote the other day, which in part described poetry as "pointing a finger at the moon." The finger should never be equated with the moon and we should not fail to miss the moon entirely while being fixated on the finger. That's what scripture is like to me.

I've never been concerned with the Scripture as "history." Of coarse there is myth, parable, and even inaccuracy. But I have always seen the scripture as "wisdom" - and in my life, it has provided me with a language set to help describe some of the more abstract yet genuine experience of my life.

If that language tool set doesn't work for you, no problem! But that' s tool set that works very well for me to illuminate some actual truths.

I wish people would stop trying to criticize me for the kinds of tools I use and instead look at the house I am building...


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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #127
134. well, you're putting words in my post, as anyone can see,
and therefore setting up a strawman which you knock down with a very tangential, not to mean unimportant, argument of your own.

And if your argument is the power of myth and the truth of metaphor and the inspiration and importance to the individual of the revelation or flash of the being in time, I have no quarrel (like anybody should give a shit what I have a quarrel with) with it at all. Or the value of your framework, your frame of reference, your personal cosmography/cosmology to you, how can one quarrel with that? (Hey, I've still got some Three Dog Night records!)

I was defending my previous remarks about Christianity which had been invited in a thread labeled something like, "Christianity: your thoughts on it?"

And I'm starting to think that if people don't want to talk about religion on this board, they shouldn't talk about it so much if they're just going to take umbrage and get their feelings hurt. And they certainly shouldn't ask GD questions about how others feel about their religion. Or be so itchy around their "alert" buttons.

If anybody does or doesn't think I'm a big asshole, please:

http://contribute.johnkerry.com
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #134
135. There is no straw man... because I am not aruging against your post.
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 08:25 PM by Selwynn
I am agreeing with it, and then adding additional, qualifying comments of my own. The comments of my own are aimed at anyone who reads them, not designed for critiquing your point of view.

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Djinn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
130. I really don't see a lot of bashing
There are a few DUer's who are perhaps a little rude in expressing their agnosticism/atheism but it isn't "bashing" to say that one beleives that Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, Vishnu, Buddha etc etc etc are imaginary, or myths or fairytales or whatever expression one uses.

If it is then every single theist is guilty of said "bashing". For example:

If one is a Muslim, then by that very faith they are "bashing" Christian's who beleive that Christ is the "son of God" (all though not ALL Christian's beleive that) who "died for our sins" and was ressurected.

If one is a Hindu, then by that very faith, they "bash" those that beleive in monotheism.

Each member of a particular religion beleives the "story" that is part of their chosen system, therefore they MUST also beleive that those who beleive in other stories are beleiving something that is not true/did not happen and is a myth.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #130
136. Oh not so!
"If one is a Muslim, then by that very faith they are "bashing" Christian's who believe that Christ is the "son of God" (all though not ALL Christian's believe that) who "died for our sins" and was resurrected."

It really depends on what you think makes you a "Muslim" or a "Christian" or whatever. For a lot of people, God is bigger than anyone religion, so I would definitely not bash someone else's experience. There's all kinds of religious pluralism out there today. That said, I still embrace and use the tools and language of Christian tradition, because they help me articulate certain experiences in the world - that doesn't mean I am bashing others who use a different tools set.

So I'm not sure "every" single "theist" is any one particular thing or another. Sounds like more mass generalization to me, in which I don't find myself represented..
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Djinn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #136
147. true
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 09:11 PM by Djinn
there are Christians like Bishop Spong - but I think you'd find the VAST majority of Christian DO beleive that (for example) Jesus is the son of god - but even if they don't the very belief in ONE god means that the Hindu's and pagans are wrong - I really don't see any way around it.

I honestly don't see how you can have it both ways - if you beleive one theory you are NOT beleiving in a theory which espouses something different or even the total opposite.

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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #147
171. I can't deny that - you're right about the vast majority... :(
As far as not believing the total opposite, that's true. I don't "agree" with everyone. However, there is an awful lot of commonality and room for diolog between "faith" traditions - its just a question of whether or not you choose to be a "uniter not a divider." :)

I'm more interested in the things we have in common than the things we don't.

Cheers!
Sel
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
152. this atheist never bashes DU believers
But I will criticize the beliefs, especially the dogmas of the faith or system in question. That being said, I generally avoid the religion/anti-religion threads, because they yield too high a ratio of flames to substance and respectfulness. This is the first thread of this kind I have posted in for over a year.

Never have criticized or flamed a believer who is a member of DU. As for the fundie whackjobs and TV evangelists offsite, let me at 'em.
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UTUSN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
153. I'm Here, I'm Loud-----------Relax n/t
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #153
157. No problem with being loud
I personally recommend it.
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BigThama Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
164. Arrogance...
How do we get the idea that reason always leads to truth? Aristotle was one of the most brilliant reasoners in human history, yet his physical theories, derived from perfect "reason", are simply garbage.

The fact is that the human mind is not a perfect instrument. It evolved as a survival mechanism, not as a perfect seeker of truth. It is nice to think that the human potential to understand and discover is limitless, but I see no evidence for this.

Is it so hard to admit that we aren't all that smart? Religion isn't so different from atheism, in both cases we put our trust in something we can't quantify or be sure is even capable of what we think it is. With religion, that thing is God. With atheism, that thing is the human mind.

It's faith either way. As for me, I'll stick to God. And when I hear someone deriding my faith, I just remember that their derision rises out of the same sort of faith that they mock, simply aimed in a different direction.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:55 PM
Response to Original message
177. I say what I always say
I don't care if they believe in the tooth fairy, big foot, God, whatever. I JUST DON'T WANT IT THROWN IN MY FACE. And here in Texas religion is CONSTANTLY thrown in my face. I am absolutely SICK OF IT.
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troublemaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:37 PM
Response to Original message
182. Atheists bashing the religious
I don't attack religious people because though they are mistaken they are experiencing something I cannot experience. I simply have no idea how difficult it is for them to see things empirically.

Maybe it's a difficult for them to disbelieve as it is for me to believe. No point badgering people.

Probably more productive to reach out to the religious on the beauty of the separation of church and state than on the impossibility of their beliefs.

Meanwhile, can we at least passing a law that no Christian can drive or fly a plane? When those pilots disappear in the rapture...
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dryan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:16 AM
Response to Reply #182
187. Thank you Az
To the person who started this thread. Thank you.

My faith is very important to me. It has gotten me through some very rough periods in my life. God's existence does not need to be proved to me. I was brought up in a very tolerant home though where other viewspoints about things (not just religion) were respected. My father was a professor who had many co-workers who were Jewish or who were avowed non-believers and would visit our home. My mother managed a well-known supper club and dealt with many musicial artists-- I guess you would call them 'beatnicks' who were into Eastern religions and beliefs. Frankly, it has been one of the biggest hurdles in my life to deal with people that don't respect other peoples viewpoints including mine. If someone doesn't believe in God I don't judge that person as less worthy of my respect. My mother used to say that if you can't imagine Jesus Christ doing something you were tempted to do, then don't do it. I guess that's a variation of "WWJD".

A person should not have to announce that they are a Christian. Their life, their values, their ethics, and the way they treat others should show people that they are Christians. The word "Christian" has become so corrupted over the last few years to the extent that it really bothers me. It is not unusual for businesses (at least here in the Orlando area) to put a Christian symbol or a fish symbol in their yellow page ad, their business card, etc. We have a new businesswoman's group forming here in Orlando that is called the Christian Business & Professional Women. Their organizers came to a BPW meeting a few months ago. We ar a very diverse group and the night the organizers visited the meeting was late getting started so we didn't go through our normal formalities with an invocation and pledge. We had a headliner speaker that night and wanted to give her a long a time as possible. When introductions were being made one of the organizers said --- and this is a direct quote -- "I noticed that we didn't have a prayer before dinner so I hope no one chokes" -- you could hear a pin drop. Later they contacted me because someone had told them that I am a pretty devout Christian. They asked me where I went to church and I told them that I attended St. James Cathedral and they asked me what religion that was when I told them that I was a Catholic, the woman said that she didn't think their group was for me.

On the other hand, a few months ago I was in the doctor's office and a man coughed, I said "God bless you". He started to rant and rave and said that he was insulted because he's an atheist and there is no God. I said I was sorry if I had hurt his feelings.

Sometimes you just can't win......

Again, thanks Az.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #187
191. Its not easy
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 08:31 AM by Az
What some people see as acts of kindness, others see as oppression. I use a story of a burning house as example.

Imagine you are walking along and notice a house on fire. You also see the owner of the house sitting calmly inside the house. Do you stand there and hope they realise their house is on fire or do you rush in and try to save them. The thing is when you do burst in the door and try to drag them out of there they claim they do not see the flames. In fact they accuse you of attacking them.

The real question is, "Is the house really on fire?" How do we deal with this issue in our diverse society where some see the house as being on fire and some do not.

It of course works both ways. Atheists can be just as concerned about other people as theists. We are bothered by people being held in sway with what we believe to be a false story. Our impetus to convert others may not be as strong as believers (the price of being wrong seems to be lower from our point of view) but it is not nonexistant. When we see harm being done in the name of these beliefs though it definately does get our blood boiling.

It is going to take some time, but what needs to be realised on all sides is that what we do in the name of our beliefs is done in what we believe to be good intentions. When a theist tries to convince an atheist about the love of god it is because they believe they are trying to save them. When an atheist tries to dismantle a persons belief in god it is because they are bothered by people being held in thrall to what they believe to be a lie (and they may have some theories about how these beliefs can lead to social trama).

We are really first and foremost humans. And as social creatures we really are concerned about each other. Unfortunately our intentions can become muddled by the nature of the wide array of beliefs in this world. The only way to clear up the confusion is to keep the dialog open. There will be stress. There will continue to be confusion. But over time we will find clarity as well.
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BigThama Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #182
189. Troublemaker....
Being religious is not at all a matter of being unable to see the world empirically. For me, investigation, careful thought and observation of some incredible events formed the foundation of my faith when I was at that point in my life when I needed to find truth, or the absence thereof. Now I'm Mormon. I could tell the whole story, but this probably isn't the place. Once the physical evidence was in, I could then begin to believe spiritually. I'm now a genetics student at UNC. As a student, the more I learn about science, the stronger my faith becomes, because I realize how perfectly the two mesh together.
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EV1Ltimm Donating Member (831 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
185. my words exactly...
a little too exact. you owe me 25 cents!
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #185
186. Can you break 50 cents
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EV1Ltimm Donating Member (831 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #186
188. zing!
i kinda broke it unevenly, so it's more like 35 and 15...

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