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Thom Hartmann is dissing atheists, saying it's a "belief" and a "religion"

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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:42 PM
Original message
Thom Hartmann is dissing atheists, saying it's a "belief" and a "religion"
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 12:44 PM by thecatburgler
No Thom, it's an absence of belief. Not the same thing. It's as much a religion as not collecting stamps is a hobby.
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Mojambo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. I love Thom, but he is wrong on this. n/t
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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
2. I thought he was referring specifically to agnostics with that comment.....
n/t

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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
3. He's not bashing atheists.
Geezus..... :eyes:
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. Yes he did.
He said he could understand being agnostic, like his dad was, but referred mockingly to atheists as people who arrogantly assume there absolutely is no God, spirits, etc. Well, isn't a Born Again Christian equally arrogant?
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Well, now you're saying something different. Asserting that atheism may
be a belief system is one thing (not necessarily an insult)--but judging people on that belief would indeed be a diss, I suppose.
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #13
50. Agnostics are probably the closest thing to a non believer that there is.
Religious people say "I KNOW there IS a God"

Atheists say "I KNOW there ISN'T a God"

Agnostics say "I don't know whether there's a God or not." and some of them would add "and I really don't care one way or the other"

All three are belief systems, but the first two are seen as "factual" by those who fall into that category, despite the fact that the existence of God cannot be proven OR disproven. Anything beyond that is faith.
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timtom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #50
68. You've got it exactly right!
I've taken this exact stance over the past 3 years here.
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #68
74. May I join you two?
Excellent analysis.
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timtom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #74
76. Welcome aboard, matey!
Aaaarrrrrhhh.
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #68
173. I came to this conclusion a while back, but never stated it as such.
It's more a statement of intellectual honesty than one of my own belief system, which is too complicated to get into here. But I will say I'm closer to agnosticism than organized religion by far these days.
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #173
228. Strict agnosticism
is as intellectually dishonest as it gets. Not only is it intellectually dishonest, it's intellectually impossible.

Human beings are not wired to willfully suspend beliefs and opinions, anymore than you can suspend your tastebuds.

Agnosticism is strictly about knowledge. It has absolutely nothing to to do with beliefs.

There's no such thing as JUST an agnostic. Agnostic theism/atheism is the only intellectually honest stance.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #50
101. Do you take a neutral view on the Greek gods?
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 01:48 PM by killbotfactory
Or the Incan gods?

Or just the monotheistic god of the bible, or some nebulous, unquantifiable derivative thereof?
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #101
169. Well, the Greek mythology is fairly easy to disprove.
Because there aren't any half man-half horse or half-man half-goat creatures walking around. And there's not some guy named Atlas holding up the planet. These are facts that can be independently verified.

As far as the Incans.... dunno. Not all that familiar with that religion. Now the Mayans apparently have this calendar which suggests the world's gonna end on December 21, 2012. So we'll all know in about 4 years whether they knew what they were talking about or not.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #169
174. And we also know it's impossible to flood the entire world
And nothing of the sort has ever happened, so why continue to believe in the God that supposedly did such a thing?

Maybe the greek gods live on a different plane of existence, you never know.
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #174
216. Believe it or not, I saw a psuedo-scientific argument made for Noah's flood on TV a few months back
Their theory was that the pre-flood earth had only one large land mass. They didn't call it "Pangea" but same general idea. Only in their version, this giant mega continent "floated" on top of a huge underground ocean. And then apparently some huge earthquake happened, which apparently busted up the continents into the shape they are now, forcing massive water displacement up from underneath, which not only caused mass flooding itself, but in mixing the water with the volcanic heat, also sent huge amounts of water into the air which then condensed and returned to the planet as rain, presumably about 40 days worth.

Now I'm not saying they convinced me, but it's a hell of a theory.
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FreeState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #169
230. The Calendar ends then - not the world - two different things n/t
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #169
235. This response
is an absolute perfect example of why I find agnostics to be such annoyingly selective hypocrites.

They tie themselves in knots trying to combat the very logic they apply to the conventional gods.

The list of gods/religions is literally endless, yet you have no problem taking the atheistic stance on every single one.

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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #50
131. Sorry, but I'm an atheist and that characterization is inaccurate.
I don't "know" that there isn't a god, I just don't believe in any. All attempts at making the "leap of faith" have wound up with a "Wiley Coyote" ending.

I do admit to the possibility of god or gods. Evidence has been isufficient to convince me, but merely acknowledging I could be wrong doesn't make me an agnostic, either.

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prostock69 Donating Member (365 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #131
249. Yes, you are right, it's inaccurate.
I'm an anti-theist (ex-christian) or a capital "A" Atheist. In other words, not only do I not have a belief in god, I am opposed to the three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam and Christianity). I feel all three of these religions cause more harm than good not only psychologically but physically. But, that is my opinion, as we are all allowed to have.

However, I'm open to the possibility that there may be a designer of this universe. However, until there is proof and evidence of such a designer, instead of the christian apologists' philosophical theories, I will keep my current position of unbelief and go with evolution and natural design which has quite a bit of evidence to support it.

Another non-religious category that is hardly ever discussed is Deism. A deist is one that believes that there was a designer/creator but it doesn't interfere with humans or the natural laws of nature on earth. I think there are a lot of deists out there that don't know they fit into a category other than atheist and theist.

A lot of our founding fathers were deists and atheists and were opposed to religion.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:58 PM
Response to Reply #50
237. I'm physically unable to believe. I have a strong reaction, a revulsion to
belief in the supernatural. I remember as a kid sitting in the pew trying to believe. There was this discomfort when I tried to believe in their deity. It was like being forced to eat everything on my plate even though I was over full. I'd get the shivers. I just couldn't do it. If that makes me an Atheist, then I am.

I couldn't believe in Santa or the Easter bunny either.
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laconicsax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #50
279. Wrong, thanks for playing.
Atheists don't profess to know that there are no gods, we conclude that without ever being able to know for sure, it is far more likely that gods do not exist.

Theists say, "I know that only my god(s) exist."
Atheists say, "It is far more likely that no gods exist, and even if they did, they are not deserving of my worship."
Agnostics say, "I don't have anything to contribute, that makes me right!"
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JSK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #13
85. I have never heard Thom mock anyone
Hell, he won't even talk about anybody unless the person is there to defend him/herself.
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. It's a judgement, not an action (or hobby). Absense of belief is a belief. Basic semantics. nt
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 12:54 PM by onehandle
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
40. I'm absolutely certain that an invisible blue goose will not fly into my house and roost on top of
my refrigerator tonight. This is my belief.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #40
45. If he's invisible, then you are, indeed, acting upon a belief system.
Because, really...prove there's no invisible blue goose up there. Right now. Do it.
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #45
52. Haven't got time. Am working on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, right now. /nt
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timtom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #52
79. How about the REAL issue,
how close to the edge can they dance without falling off?
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #79
111. Aha! If I don't see them fall off, does that mean gravity doesn't exist???
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #45
244. So basically,
we just throw all logic and common sense out the window.

We can just pull literally any extraordinary claim out of thin air, bombard your private life with it, and then assign you a belief system/faith/ideology for simply demanding some sort of evidence.

Riiiggghhhttt.

Seriously, you guys need to read some Carl Sagan. This is proof our science classes are in the shitter.
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #4
239. Good.
Tell that to your "Absense of belief" in Xenu.

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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. Hmm...I don't know that believing there is no God is an "absence of belief".
Not sure that it's worth an argument, either.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. It's belief in the absence of a god. (nt)
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. I'm not an atheist, but I would imagine that to counter all of the religious
doctrine we're surrounded by in life, they'd have to come up with their own belief system as to spirituality, humanity, higher power, afterlife, etc.
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #12
46. You'd imagine incorrectly...nt
Sid
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #12
92. Uh, no. Not really.
Quite simply, none of those things exist.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #92
94. Well, apparently you BELIEVE that. I BELIEVE otherwise.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #12
97. No, if I did all those things I'd be a theist.
Atheists, for the most part, reject concepts of spirituality, higher power, and afterlife. Not sure why you include humanity among those things but it must have some importance to you to do that.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #97
103. If you reject the existence of a spirit world, etc., then you "believe"
it doesn't exist. You cannot see it with your eyes, hear it with your ears, etc.--therefore it's not there. But, until relatively recently, bacteria and viruses "weren't there", or as someone else mentioned, radio waves. All I'm saying is, you can think you have solid proof based on your five senses and from lack of convincing proof from others, but until you can produce a tangible piece of evidence, then the spirit world's non-existence remains a theory, a belief. I included humanity because in MY set of beliefs, I believe that humans have a conscience, and have developed moral codes of behavior, for reasons other than simply evolution and peaceful coexistence. Perhaps you believe otherwise.
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #103
123. No, you've got it all messed up...
the spirit world's non-existence is the default state. It's only a belief if you posit something other than the default state.

Sid
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #103
134. As I posted down below, the radio analogy proves how wrong you and Hartmann are.
If lack of belief in radio waves was itself a belief or an article of faith, then the people who believed in the non-existence of radio waves would still hold that belief today despite all evidence. The fact that everybody who used to not believe in radio waves, suddenly accepted that they were real when scientific evidence surfaced in support of their existence proves that the lack of belief in radio waves was a logical conclusion based on the evidence available at the time, and not a deeply held religious conviction that transcends any burden of proof.

Likewise, atheists would not cling to atheism as an article of faith if God Himself suddenly descended from the sky in clear view and started talking to everyone. We would say, oh yeah, I guess he does exist. Wow, there he is. Therefore atheism is not a "belief."
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #134
187. You're saying that when offered proof that meets one's standard
to prove God's existence, an atheist will believe--and until then, he does NOT believe. But that does not account for the fact that an atheist must subscribe to some other set of beliefs and theories (man-made) to explain man's existence and purpose on earth. Therefore, he or she BELIEVES in these theories (evolution in terms of man's origins, the development of a conscience, etc.) as an alternate to God. You either believe the God/spiritual thing, or you believe you will never know, or you believe you DO know and it ain't God. Still beliefs, all.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #187
194. No, that's not true.
I don't need to subscribe to any set of beliefs about mankind's existence and "purpose" on Earth. I don't believe that we have a purpose. Evolution is not a belief but a scientific theory supported by mountains of evidence. No faith is required. There are some things we know based on scientific evidence. There are other things we don't know and there are probably things we will never know or simply cannot know. Belief and faith don't have to factor into any of it at all.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #194
208. Belief HAS to factor in to anything you conclusively accept as true and false--
atheists may think they have no "beliefs" because they rely on what they deem as tangible evidence and science, but what they really believe in is man's understanding and explanations of the natural world, which changes from era to era. The minute you acknowledge you rely on "theory", you are really saying "belief", because that's what a theory is--by definition, it is someone's really cool idea that hasn't been conclusively proven. And now, my brain hurts, LOL! Good arguin' with ya.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #208
259. I disagree. Words have meaning.
The word "believe" can be stretched to refer to anything you think or have an opinion about, but then you've rendered the word "belief" meaningless. Belief is impossible without faith, and scientific thought by definition is based on observable evidence rather than faith. So yes, even the scientific method is constrained by certain assumptions that we bring to the table, but if you're going to try to conflate belief with scientific theory, you've just rendered both words meaningless. They are by definition polar opposites.
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ihavenobias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #103
138. It's funny you should mention that actually.
I would say that most non-theists (myself included) argue that God/Gods was was created largely because we couldn't explain much of life, including the invisible.

The perfect example is thinking that Zeus throw down lightning bolts. But over time science uncovered the truth behind lightning and it has nothing to do with Zeus. There are countless examples of this false attribution throughout history (and of course it still happens today).

Imagine what science will uncover 100 years from now, or 1,000 years from now? It will have likely uncovered many things we thought were mysteries, some of which I assume some/many believers think will NEVER be solved. I mean, we know the human genome and can clone life, right?
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #103
140. Listen, we can go around and around with this
I know you don't mean to but your post reminds me of many a conversation I've had with a Bible beating fundie proseletyzer. Seriously, they use the same arguments about radio waves and bacteria. You don't have to persuade me of your beliefs. You are welcome to them. You don't need my validation.

Saying that I don't believe there's a spirit world is not the same as stating that I believe there is no spirit world.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #140
189. I'm not trying to persuade you of my beliefs. I'm just saying that the
notion of atheists still having a belief system of sorts is not necessarily a put-down or a weird need for believers to project.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #189
205. It is a put down of sorts.
Atheists are defined by our lack of belief. For you to turn around and say "well really you're a believer" is insulting and logically inaccurate.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:29 PM
Original message
No-- because others don't perceive you or define you
as you perceive and define yourself, that pisses you off. That's OK, I guess.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
260. Yeah, and as a believer
You get to perceive and define yourself and the rest of the world the way you want and no one better dare challenge it lest they be called "intolerant of your faith". You define me as having a 'belief' and yeah that pisses me off but that's about the extent of it. Would that the same could be said about offended religious people in every case, no?
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #103
183. I agree, weinerdoggie. unless someone can come back from death and
settle the situation, everything else -religion or none- is a belief you hold. Aethism -which is common among my dad's family- is the belief system they work under, more than happy to throw it at my aunt who is a die hard southern baptist. :P Makes for interesting times. There are religious, spiritualist, agnostic and aetheist believers in my family. They all believe their position is the only one. They are all believers.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #103
256. You mean before bacteria and viruses were discovered...
...everyone *believed* bacteria and viruses "weren't there?"

You believe you know what atheists believe, but are you aware that your beliefs about atheists could be wrong?
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unpossibles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #12
146. Hm. not necessarily
Atheism is a large group of people who may or may not have the same beliefs/non-beliefs at all.

For example, someone may not bother with any belief system as to spirituality, etc., right? I mean, there are things which I think we do not yet understand (and may never) but I do not consider those things to be "spiritual" or "supernatural" as much as outside of our current understanding. I suppose you could call that a "belief" but it's no more a religious belief than ... well, than someone 200 years ago thinking that someday maybe we'll be able to see inside a body (x-rays) or have safe indoor lighting.

I don't see the point in saying that an atheist needs to have a belief system regarding humanity. I "believe" we're primates and that's about it.

I don't believe in any sort of "higher power" and again don't see the point. Same with "after life".

Maybe I don't get your point, but I disagree that atheists need to replace religion's place in life with an alternative system, other than one of just plain old rationality.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #12
253. Maybe atheism isn't about countering religious doctrine.
That's not the job of atheists to do that. There are enough religious people champing at the bit to do that.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #253
261. Thank you. It's like someone else said on this thread. It's a room I don't care to enter. nt
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amdezurik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. it is simply amazing how those with a psychosis
like "belief" in a big giant beard in the sky insist that those who do not share that MUST have the same kind of psychosis but just opposite...
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #18
212. What is my philosophical belief about the universe? You don't know. So, don't make assumptions. (nt)
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #8
21. No, it's a statement of fact. There are no gods.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. Er...maybe YOU "believe" that, but maybe others "believe" differently--
now we're heading into some deep water, aren't we?
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #25
31. Exactly...maybe you "believe" the earth is round
but maybe others "believe" differently...hey, this is fun! :D
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #25
44. And some people believe in Santa Claus, fairies, unicorns, and the Easter bunny too. But that
doesn't make any of them real.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:20 PM
Original message
I know it's common to paint religious belief as being akin to Santa
and unicorns, but unless everything in the universe, and the universe itself, can be proven instead of theorized, then everyone is relying on belief in terms of deciding upon the existence of a higher power or a spiritual world, it can be argued. Your facts may be facts to you (you can't see God or ghosts, for example), but to others looking at you with a different set of facts (they think they CAN see ghosts and have seen God or spoken with him, nutty as that may sound), they are instead a belief.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
108. Good point. But where we cross the line...
between the knowable and unknowable is testability. Certainly, people believe they have experiences. We know that people hallucinate things. Some of us even enjoy hallucinating things; I like dreaming, and I've enjoyed hallucinations via LSD or the like many times.

I don't think those hallucinations are real, but my experience of them is - which is to say that I'm happy to chemically suspend my faculties somewhat in order to have an interesting experience. You can gain insight or enjoy unusual emotional states this way, just as it can be worthwhile to watch a movie or stare at a painting even though we know these are only depictions. Hallucinating, you (might) learn something about your own mind, or gain an insight about something else by looking at your existing knowledge from a different perspective. So - individual mental experiences are not devoid of value or usefulness.

However, if you decide that the reality of the experience equates to the reality of that which you experience, now you've crossed a line, and are asserting that the contents of your imagination have some kind of physical existence (god, ghosts, angels, whatever). But if something has a physical existence, then it must, somehow be physically measurable. We may not know how to go about measuring it immediately, but that's just an engineering problem which involves finding a mechanical analog to one of our senses at the relevant scale: hence electron microscopes or radio telescopes.

To think otherwise is to assert the impossibility of distinguishing between the real and imaginary, which is ultimately just another attempt to prove a negative.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
110. You can't conclusively prove that Santa, elves, and unicorns don't exist either.
:shrug:
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #110
114. This is true. Hope Santa shows up this year, then.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #114
116. I hope there's an afterlife when I die.
But I'm not going to believe in one just because I want to.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #116
191. Hey, I'll delude myself--what else have I got?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #44
78. I love my faeries.
It doesn't mean I'm going to claim that I have the ONLY answers to life like most atheists do.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #78
98. I have no interest in providing answers to life to you.
That's your business and my lack of belief is mine.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #78
120. Hope you didn't knock any fairies out of the air while you were
swinging that big broad brush.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #25
48. It's not just a matter of belief, but of evidence.
I feel comfortable agreeing with the poster above that there are no gods (other than imaginary kind), just as I believe there are no flying trees or talking rocks. I can imagine such things (indeed, I just have) but if I went around asserting they existed people would be quite justified in saying 'Oh really? Let's see one then.'

At which point, I would be quite unable to deliver. Now, if I started accusing my questioners of having their own religious belief and calling them 'tree-rootists' and 'rock-muters' I could probably find a few nutcases to go along with me, but they'd be deluded or pranksters.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #48
72. Is there life in the universe besides that which can be found here?
If you answer "maybe" then how does that reconcile with considering atheism fact and as opposed to belief.

Agnosticism is the only defensible fact-based theology.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #72
132. The answer is probably, and could very well be definately
If the universe is infinite, or there are an infinite number of universes as some theorize, then there must be other life out there. Including infinite copies of you and I doing this exact same thing. To say that there is no life out there, despite the evidence of the vastness of our universe, would take faith. All available evidence points towards life existing outside of earth. In fact, the only people who are positive that no life exists outside of Earth tend to be fundamentalists.

If, however, someone made the claim that there is an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star, and they are lizard-like people who are called the "Baknar" who visit us frequently through spacecraft that break the speed of light and monitor our progress as a species and are responsible for most alien abductions, then it would not take faith to disbelieve them. In fact I don't know anybody who is not crazy who would pretend to hold a neutral view on the matter, even though the claims are impossible to prove or disprove at the moment.

That's the problem with the god debate, the bible is full of stories which are provably false. Actions attributed to god simply have not happened. Yet atheists are supposed to ignore this mountain of falsehoods and pretend that the basic concept of God contained within could possibly be true, and are accused of being arrogant and clinging to faith when we don't.


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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #72
133. Very possible: I reconcile it thus.
I'll go so far as to say I'm 99.9% certain life exists elsewhere, on account of how it's apparently such a huge universe and life as we know it is sufficiently flexible the chances of an environment very similar to this one existing elsewhere are very high - that is, there does not seem to be anything fundamentally unique about our planet.

I can't measure or detect life elsewhere at present, only infer it; but I can think of ways to test it. We already listen for radio signals and are starting to get good at detecting planets elsewhere, even though they're tiny compared to stars. Given sufficient resources and time, we can just keep studying or venturing farther into space and actually test the theory.

Now religion, on the other hand, asserts that there is a god (and possibly angels etc. depending on what exact religion you believe in), that we have souls, and that divine beings are acutely interested in the condition of our souls...right here, right now. Your actions here, today, supposedly lead to consequences for your soul. It's the here and now part I'm having trouble with. If such things are real, why aren't they measurable? If such things are unknowable, how are we to distinguish between a thing and the idea of a thing?
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #133
161. I consider the possibility of life outside eath worth searching for.
I consider the possibility of a spiritual plane to be equally worth investigation.

You are 99.9% certain of something for which no evidence exists beyond wishful thinking. At least the little girl who prayed for a pony and... surprise! got it at Christmas, has some evidence for her belief.

I doubt that either exists, but at the same time, I don't expect that a diligent search will be conducted by people who already have certainty one way or another.

I consider atheism not only a kind of faith, but a fundamentalist one, at that.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #161
168. It's not wishful thinking.
It's taking what we know about the observable universe and drawing from it a logical conclusion.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #168
176. What we know of the universe shows that it was created from nothing.
... and eventually created consciousness which was capable of contemplating its creation.

To discount this as something less than miraculous takes some fancy footwork. Is it evidence of omipotence? Or is it just the result of physical interactions that we can't comprehend? Is there a difference?

What you "know about the observable universe" that causes you to "conclude" in existence of extraterrestrial life is:
a) the universe is really big, and
b) because the earth wasn't created by a white bearded guy, it must be the result of natural processes, which, since we're in no way special, have to have happened lots of times elsewhere.

Yet, you can't see the points in this conclusion which are nothing more than leaps of faith.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #176
223. Not at all
Creation implies agency. What we know of the universe seems to show that it's expanding, so consistently that it was once concentrated at a single point. How that occurred, we don't really have any idea at present.

You are equating 'reasonable inferences' with 'leaps of faith', even though our inferences are evidence based and we can think of ways to look for further evidence. Faith is making untestable claims.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #161
209. You're operating with a very loose standard of evidence
Much evidence exists for the possibility of life elsewhere. Life here is abundant, and diverse, and exists under a wide variety of conditions (physical and chemical environments). Looking at we know outside our planet, we can see that others have basic similarities - they orbit larger bodies, are approximately round, are composed of recognizable elements and so forth. We can see weather-type phenomena on gaseous planets, vulcanism, and so forth.

It's not like other planets are spherical and ours is a cube, for example. And looking at stars, we can see that they come in variety of sizes and temperatures, and that ours is nothing exceptional. We can also see that there are great numbers of them out there, and that some have planets orbiting them. So it is not much of a leap to assume that similar planetary and solar environments should exist somewhere else. That's not wishful thinking, it's extrapolation based on knowledge.

Now a little girl who prays for a pony and gets it is thrilled. But since we know people can and do buy ponies, not to mention pay attention to each others' interests and desires, we are equally justified in assuming that her parents just bought her a pony. Had she prayed for a unicorn and got it, that would be something else again.

The fact is that our investigations of a spiritual plane, and there have been many, have so far failed to turn up any definitive evidence for one. By 'definitive' I mean something that can be consistently reproduced under controlled conditions.

If you consider atheism equivalent to fundamentalism, then so is my belief that my shoelaces (the pair I have now, not some future shoelaces with mini-electronics woven into the fibers) are not going to tie themselves the next time I put my shoes on, along with my belief that visiting the restroom is going to mean getting out my chair and so on. In short, you're saying that any belief about anything is equivalent to religious fundamentalism.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #209
271. I'm operating with less strict standard of evidence than you're requiring of religion.
I suggest two topics of research; Fermi's paradox and the book Rare Earth, why complex life is uncommon in the universe

There is only one electromagnetic spectrum. Alien civilizations would have to use the same one we do. No observer within 70 light years of the earth could possibly miss our signals. In contrast, we've been listening to the cosmos for 30 years and have heard absolutely nothing. Also, we've observed lots of planets, but not one has demonstrated any evidence of gaseous oxygen.

Unlike the girl in my example, we prayed for the pony and got jack squat, but that hasn't shaken your faith.

I simply think that the religious deserve as much benefit of the doubt as those who watched too much star trek as kids.
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #161
250. Then back it up.
Look up atheism, then look up fundamentalism. Apply some objective intellectual honesty, and back it up.

It's funny how the trolls constantly throw out the "fundamentalist atheist" meme, yet NEVER back it up.

Just once would be nice.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #250
269. What compromises are you willing to consider in your atheism?
Is your doctrinal view fallible?

According to Wiki: Fundamentalism refers to a "deep and totalistic commitment" to a belief in, and strict adherence to a set of basic principles (often religious in nature), a reaction to perceived doctrinal compromises...

Hard to get more absolutist than "there is no God or spiritual realm"
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #269
272. Hard to get
more absolutist than claiming atheists positively say there is "no God or spiritual realm".

Prefix A = without. Without theism. How does that automatically equal absolutism and fundamentalism?

And where is this "deep and totalistic commitment to a belief" in atheism?

Is that similar to my "deep and totalistic commitment to a belief" in simply not believing in someone else's extraordinary claim in Xenu? How about Astrology? The Raelians?

Am I a "fundamentalist" in Xenu, Astrology and the Raelian religion? Or better yet, are YOU a fundamentalist in Xenu, Astrology and the Raelian religion?





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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #272
273. I'm not a fundamentalist in anything. I am agnostic.
I'm pretty confident no one has it figured out. The frisbeetarians have as good a shot as you.

Atheism, at least as vocally practiced here, is the deep and totalistic commitment to the belief that everyone who disagrees is delusional.
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #273
274. So,
you're a consistant agnostic who remains an agnostic on literally each and every unprovable extraordinary claim that comes down the pike?

I highly doubt that. More like the typically selective, hypocritical, holier than thou agnostic, who sits up on their imaginary moral highground criticizing atheists, while taking the very same staunch, fundamentalist atheistic stance on everything but the conventional concept of a god.

You can pretend all you want, but we all know it's just a show to appear superior in this debate.

You are NOT an agnostic on Xenu. I guarantee it. I feel quite confident that you are a fundamentalist A-Xenu-ist. Your lack of belief in Xenu is itself a belief. It takes faith. Therefore, it's a religion.

You belong to the A-Xenu religion.



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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #274
275. It's not imaginary moral high ground. It's the real deal.
What I do fundamentally oppose... what is fundamentally against my doctrinal beliefs, are judgementality and presumption.

You've obviously got those bases covered pretty well.
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #275
276. Nice dodge.
You're a selective agnostic. You single out and give special treatment to one extraordinary claim, while applying logic and dismissing others.

In other words, you're an atheist. Just like every other human being on the planet. We're all atheists about something. Only some are more consistant and intellectually honest than others.

"What I do fundamentally oppose... what is fundamentally against my doctrinal beliefs, are judgementality and presumption."

Your earlier posts say otherwise.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #21
62. It is equally a statement of fact to say there is no life beyond earth. n/t
I'm agnostic because no one has yet proven to me that there is a spirit realm. I can't be atheist until someone has proven to me that there isn't.
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #21
87. How is that a statement of fact?
Can you prove there is not a God?
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #87
128. There is no evidence for the existence of god/s. It is up to the person making the assertion (god
exists) to provide both a definition of god (what is the size, color, age of god? where is this god located?) and the evidence for their assertion. The rules of logic say that an assertion, without evidence, is not accepted as true.
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #128
160. But aren't you asserting the absence of God without evidence?
:shrug:
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #160
229. No. The assertion is that god exists. Without evidence, the assertion must be false.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 03:50 PM by sinkingfeeling
Therefore, god does not exist.
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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #87
144. Yes. It's been proven, only thing is religious people ignore the proof.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #21
147. Prove it.
Prove to me there are no gods. You can't, just as nobody can prove there are gods. It is therefore all a belief system, it's just a matter of which side of the fence you wish to stand on.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Not worth an argument?!!
Buzzkill.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Yeah, normally I'm up for an argument, but I don't get Hartmann's
characterization (as reported by the OP) as an insult.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #10
34. Neither do I
Both sides are nuts.

That's my belief system.

That, and the fact that good fries are better with mayonnaise than ketchup.

The rest of it takes care of itself.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #10
109. Well I guess you had to be there
When I heard him talking about atheists, using a mocking falsetto tone to mimic something he believed an atheist would say I immediate thought, would he ever talk about Catholics that way? Jews? Buddhists? He took several calls from people after, in which a few identified themselves as atheists. Thom actually argued with a couple of them, challenging them that they weren't "really" atheists because they think a, b, and c which makes them more agnostic. You may be thinking, what the big deal about that? Well, can you imagine Hartmann doing the same thing to a religious person? Can you imagine him trying to dissuade a caller who said she subscribed to the Holy Trinity from her beliefs?
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #5
59. The "belief in the absence" cannot be equated to the "absence of belief."
In zealously asserting a BELIEF, they're identical to any other zealots.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #59
65. "Absence of belief" would equal "agnostic" to me, then--in other words, you
haven't proven anything yet either way, so I'll suspend judgment on the existence of God unless proven otherwise. To me, atheists believe, because it's been proven to THEIR satisfaction, that there is no God. To me, that still sounds like belief.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #65
82. Agreed.
Some folks need to learn how to "live in the question" ... I know I did.

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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #65
104. That doesn't make sense from a logical or scientific point of view.
If I have no evidence for a particular claim and plenty of evidence that disproves it, then I have to assume that the claim is false. If solid evidence later surfaces and proves the claim correct, then I can simply change my stance on the issue. There's really no reason to be "agnostic" about it. I suppose it's a little more polite to say "gee, I don't know about your wild claim so I'll just refrain from judgement" but other than that it really serves no purpose.

But this just becomes one big semantic tangle about what agnostic means, what belief means, and what God means. I'm agnostic in the sense that I believe there are some questions for which we will never know the answer and in fact simply cannot know the answer. And that is really a "belief" in the sense that I just take it on faith that there are mysteries we will never be able to comprehend. But when I say god doesn't exist (at least the Christian definition of "God"), that's not a "belief", it's just a logical conclusion based on the available evidence. It's not an act of faith or a strongly held conviction that transcends logical proof. If you showed me some solid evidence for the existence of God I could easily flip flop on the issue.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #104
112. Excellent post
That sums up my ideas on god.

:thumbsup:
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #104
136. Yeah, by the strictest definitions atheists can only be agnostic
But I stopped referring to myself as agnostic and went with atheist a long time ago because in interactions with people I found that they had a different concept of what agnostic means. To them it meant I was saying "there might be a God" rather than "I don't believe there's a God" which was closer to the truth. So I call myself an atheist because it's more definitive. I don't want religious prosletyzers to even think that I'm entertaining the idea that there's a supreme being.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #136
155. Yeah the definitions are really a mess.
I used to consider myself an "agnostic" when I was a teenager because I kind of didn't know one way or the other and hadn't really decided where I stood. And I thought that was what agnostic meant. It seems like there are a lot of people who understand the term that way.

I don't think there is a single atheist who can be called a believer though. There are no atheists who take it on faith. I don't think any of us stubbornly cling to our atheism regardless of any logic or evidence, simply because it's how we were raised or because we follow a dogma that we got from a certain book.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #155
164. Many believers cannot think outside of the theological frame
To them an atheist is merely the opposite side of the same coin as them. I think this is why so many religious people have such hatred for non-believers. Far as they're concerned, we might as well be Satanists. A recent PEW survey showed that people are least likely to vote for an atheist and ascribe all sorts of negative moral attributes to atheists. I guess when you feel that your faith is the source of all your morality it's impossible to contemplate that others can have ethics without it.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #164
195. It's funny that you mention Satanism...
because you basically have to be a Christian to be a Satanist right? Otherwise why would you even believe in Satan? That kind of goes along with what you say about not being able to look outside of their narrow theological framework and viewing everything as two sides of a simple dichotomy.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #195
207. Which is why the majority of Satanic cults are in the Bible Belt.
From what a friend of mine who is in law enforcement says, the typical Satanic cult member is a young person who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian family. It's like the ultimate in teenaged rebellion.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #207
263. The "Satanists" I have known in my life have all been through Catholic school. -nt-
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #104
167. Suppose I offer proof that God exists because we live on a planet
that is uniquely suited for us in terms of life--oxygen content, water, ozone layer, atmosphere, distance from the sun, etc. I would guess an atheist would almost certainly say to me, "Well, that's not God, that's evolution--we evolved and adapted to conditions on the earth, and have been doing so for millions of years--it's not that the earth suits us, it's that we suit the earth"--well...can he PROVE that chicken and egg question? Of course not. He wasn't there when the earth began (whether Big Bang or the Lord's 7 days), or when the mudskipper or whatever crawled out of the bog, and it's all just theory, man's best thinking and reasoning, as to what happened to get us where we are today--therefore, anyone who asserts that they KNOW God's hand is not in the universe because they cannot see it, and that we're all just a product of evolution, is STILL subscribing to a belief systsem of sorts--but it's faith in Darwin, or some other human, rather than God--but still a "strongly held conviction" that cannot be proven. Might sound really good, sound logical, might be able to observe fruit flies adapting to their enviroment in the lab, etc.--but it's still a belief that that is how we all ended up here. That's what I mean when I say that atheists still have a belief set of sorts, if they've ever pondered our existence at all and came to a conclusion about it. Agnostics, to me, would acknowledge that our origins are unknowable, and don't ascribe to any particular theory, but don't rule out any theory, either--the minute they do, either way, they become believers in some fashion.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #167
200. You misunderstand the very concept of faith or belief.
Nobody has a "faith" in Darwin. People agree with his theory based on mountains of observable evidence that supports it. No faith is required. If Darwin's theories were clearly and undeniably disproved tomorrow, the entire scientific community would drop Darwin's theory of evolution and move onto the new, better theory. They wouldn't ignore the new evidence and cling to Darwin as an article of faith. That's the difference between belief and non-belief.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #200
214. If the existence of a spiritual realm or afterlife was clearly and undeniably
disproved tomorrow, then the religious believers would probably drop that particular theory and move onto some other theory. It's still all just theory, though, if it hasn't been proven.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #214
232. And just how would you set about doing that?
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #214
267. If that's true then you don't really have faith.
If you dropped your belief in the afterlife just because some scientists "proved" that it didn't exist, then you never really had faith did you? Faith and belief are when you hold those convictions despite any evidence to the contrary.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #267
268. And the point that believers so often make...
is that you never really can conclusively disprove the absence of something. So how could scientists prove that the afterlife doesn't exist? It's impossible. That's the point of view that people of faith have. Atheists come from the point of view that we can't accept any assertions for which there isn't any evidence. Those are two fundamentally opposed outlooks and simply saying that "atheists are believers too" isn't going to change that. Following your logic, Christians are clearly non-believers and lack faith since they don't worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster or follow the teachings of the Quran.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #167
254. 2 things:
1. Your description of life on earth sounds like Intelligent Design and it is completely your prerogative to subscribe to it as long as you don't try to get it taught in science classes.

2. While I believe (pun intended) that by the strictest definition I am an agnostic atheist, I stopped referring to myself as agnostic a while back because of the type of thing that is in your post:

Agnostics, to me, would acknowledge that our origins are unknowable, and don't ascribe to any particular theory, but don't rule out any theory, either--the minute they do, either way, they become believers in some fashion.

There's a premise buried in that statement - "but don't rule out any theory, either". Agnostics seem to be thought of as the "good" non-believers to proseletyzers. When I called myself agnostic some believers viewed it as being "persuadable". I got tired of people trying to draw me into theological discussions that I didn't want to have so I just refer to myself as an atheist. Not that they don't still try but not as much.

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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #5
142. Yeah, we should go straight to war.
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ben_meyers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
6. You mean Thom Hartmann
With his C.H. (Chartered Herbalist) degree from Dominion Herbal College, an M.H. (Master of Herbology) degree from Emerson College, and a Ph.D. in Homeopathic Medicine from Brantridge in England.

What the hell would prepare him to expound on anything?
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #6
51. Ph.D. in Homeopathic Medicine?
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

That has to be the most absurd educational resume I've ever seen.
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OwnedByFerrets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #6
199. And smarter than you will ever be if you studied in Oxford for the
next 40 yrs.
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ben_meyers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #199
219. Right
:rofl:
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
257. Haha!
Homeopathy? That says so much. I'd expect woo homeopathy nuts to not have the slightest idea about atheism.
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charlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
270. Gads
I didn't know that.

If he'd augmented that degree in Herbology with a minor in Hamburgerology he'd make a slammin' cook.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
7. He's right. Think about it. Atheists have to have faith that there is no after-life.
It's not really an organized religion, but it does adhere to the definition.

Agnosticism isn't a religion, since agnostics have no faith that there isn't or is anything.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. Well then I also have "faith" that a unicorn isn't about to fly out of my butt. nt
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AndrewP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #16
28. Yeah, I guess my lack of belief in organized religion is a religion.
Sigh


Oh well. If people believe in Jesus or the tooth fairy, that's their deal. Just leave me out of it.
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #16
61. Not a valid statement
It's a factual statement that a unicorn (or any horse sized creature) would not fit inside a human rectum. Therefore it wouldn't be possible for a unicorn to fly out of your butt.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #61
130. It could be one of the tiny ones. nt
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
22. Uh, no. that's not religion, it's logical positivism.
Obviously the agnostic position is that we don't know what happens after death, but absent any evidence to believe that something does happen atheism is an entirely logical position. The religious folk offer up assertions as evidence, but it isn't.

Do you believe in, say, flying trees? You know, regular trees with roots and trunks that start flapping their leaves and rise up into the air, where they fly about like birds? I assume not. Our whole concept of trees depends on their being rooted in the ground, it's part of what makes a tree a tree.

But you're saying here that denying the existence of flying trees is a religious belief, and that the smart position would be to say 'I don't know, maybe they do exist, how can I tell?' If you think that, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you. Atheism turns on the idea that since we see no evidence of any divine presence, souls etc., then the reasonable conclusion is that they don't exist. What happens after you die? Nothing that we can see, that's why it's sad when someone is dead because they're not coming back. Shit.

It would be a religious position IF we suddenly received good solid evidence to the contrary (eg Jesus appears and starts performing blatantly obvious miracles) and atheists insisted on ignoring it.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #22
118. Thank you. Every atheist is agnostic.
Not every agnostic is an atheist.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #118
215. Absolutely not true. Athiests who belive that there is not a god are athiests, not agnostics. (nt)
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
24. Since an after life has never been proven by evidence, it doesn't require faith to reject the idea
The same applies to every god dreamed up by mankind.
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #24
119. has the lack of one been proven?
I know, you cannot prove a lack, well neither can I.
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Pale Blue Dot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #7
29. NO. Athiests do not have "faith".
Our lack of belief is based instead on careful, logical reasoning using all of the facts currently available to us. "Faith" does not enter into it.
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unpossibles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #29
152. I have faith
that someday humanity will outgrow the need to try to turn myths into reality.

I do not have a problem with myths. They are fascinating and interesting way of looking at the human psyche. I just wish we could all admit they are what they are, and that those of us who do not believe in myths were not lumped in with everyone else.
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #29
165. Faith is simply trust...
Faith is simply trust in that of which one does not have full and complete knowledge (Hegel, 1862).

If that is indeed the case, I would hazard that all people use faith on a daily basis. One example would be that we have faith in the driver in front of us-- that he will not slam on his brakes for no apparent reason. Although social mores and highway traffic rules would give evidence to us that he will not slam on his brakes, that still does not allow us absolute knowledge that he will not. Hence, we place out faith in him.
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Gwendolyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #165
184. That's not a great analogy.

We do in fact have "full and complete knowledge" that the driver in front of us could slam on his breaks, since there are countless examples of people doing just that. Documented in thousands of insurance claims, witnessed and experienced by many. We "hope" the driver won't slam his breaks in our case, but we don't have absolute "faith" or "trust." That's why we're vigilant when we drive.

Religious faith requires a complete suspension of all rationality. Not the same thing at all.
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #184
192. whether religious or secular...
Faith, as per Hegel, whether religious or secular is simply a trust in that if which we do not have absolute knowledge, regardless of whether one thinks the analogy is valid or not.
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Gwendolyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #192
211. Secular faith (whatever that is) is based on "some" knowledge.
As per the Hegel quote, having no absolute knowledge, implies that there DOES exist some evidence to conclude one's assumption is correct. A mother might tell a child that fire is hot and will burn him/her, and the child can place his fingers next to a flame and divine that this in fact true. Religious faith is blind, in that there is absolutely no empirical evidence to conclude that one's assumption is the right one. That's the difference.
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Beausoleil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #7
35. Right, if there's no proof either way
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 01:08 PM by subliminable
you have to be agnostic, or you have to have a belief. Atheists believe, in the absence of proof for or against, that there is no god. It has to be a belief.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #35
57. No, that's silly.
The human mind can imagine a lot of things that don't exist and for which proof, either for or against, would be impossible to obtain. It doesn't make much sense to take a neutral view on those things.

Many gods can be disproven, even the god of the bible. If it is claimed that there is a god interacting with humanity it should be possible to either prove or disprove that by citing evidence of such interaction. The problem is that there is no such evidence, and any evidence offered it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. In the end people end up defining god in a way that is basically unprovable, but by doing so they make god become meaningless. At that point they criticize atheists for clinging to "faith" for not believing in a meaningless and unprovable idea.
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Beausoleil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #57
93. I didn't use the word "faith".
And I wasn't aware the the existence of god has been disproven.

However, I understand your point. If I say I believe in Mog and those who don't must have a religion of non-belief in Mog, you could say I'm an idiot.

As an agnostic, I hold out for that little bit of doubt that those who know that there is no God could be mistaken. And in the absence of proof either way, I can't go that extra step to knowledge of the non-existence of God, Since I don't know for a fact that God doesn't exist. Or Mog for that matter.
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #93
154. There are so many concepts of god, it's impossible to disprove them all
But we can look at those based on the bible, which has influenced the way almost everyone who believes in god thinks about the subject. The very idea that there is only one God, for instance. We can study the bible and analyze it's claims, and it turns out there are a bunch of lies in the bible. Many things claimed and attributed to god simply didn't happen, like the world and all life within being created in a few days. We can dismiss most of the bible as being factually untrue, so why can't we dismiss it's concept of God?

I've never known an agnostic who viewed other gods dreamed up by other cultures as anything other than fantasy, so why does the god of the bible get so much leeway?
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Beausoleil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #154
170. I think we can absolutely dismiss the concept of the biblical god
but the idea of a supreme being or entity possibly existing without our ability to know about it can't just be dismissed out of hand. If you think it can, then that is a belief akin to atheism.

The most absolute statement an atheist can make is one that claims that the existence of god cannot be proven based on the available evidence therefore one may believe that god does not exist until more definitive evidence is available.
I don't see how you can extrapolate that belief into certain knowledge.
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #35
63. How does one prove a negative? It would seem that those who say there is a god/s should bear the
responsibility of proving that existence.
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Beausoleil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #63
96. You can't
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 01:55 PM by subliminable
Therefore being an atheist cannot be based on fact or knowledge.
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #96
137. It's based on absolutely no evidence of any kind for the existence of a god.
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Beausoleil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #137
157. Therefore you believe there is no god
based upon the lack of evidence for a god. Note that I do not think this is the same as faith.

I believe evolution is true based on the extensive evidence available. I do not take this on faith, and as with any scientific theory, it is up for debate. It is still my belief. It is not necessarily a fact.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #35
71. You are mistaken. 'Proof' is not a thing, it's a concept.
You can find evidence for things. But you can't find proof (or evidence) for the absence of things. Let's say I make a large thick metal box and weld it shut, empty, in front of you. Then I hand you the box and say 'this box contains an apple. I put it there by magic. You can't prove it doesn't!' Well you could put the box on a pulley and move it around and show that if there was an apple inside it should be rolling around and thus changing the moment of inertia (ie the balance point) of the box. But I say 'it's a weightless apple, cause it's magic.' And so on.
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #71
88. You just defined religion. What was 'evidenced' by my eyes can't stand up to all the 'magic'
explanations.
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Beausoleil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #71
106. I know you can't prove a negative
But how does that square with the certain knowledge of atheists that there is no God? How does an atheist come to that conclusion? Just because the existence of God hasn't been (or can't be) proven? In my mind that is not certain knowledge. Either you know it to be a fact (how?) or you believe it to be true.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #106
151. I will now quote Donald Rumsfeld...
The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

I have always been mad at people who mocked him for this statement, because it is actually an elegant and economical articulation of positivism. Certainly, there are things which exist now but which we have yet to discover, and of which we have no conception at present. I feel comfortable saying so, since we have a long history of being surprised by things we didn't expect to find and since we are still so limited in so many ways. I mean, when is science going to come up with a way for me to have wings and fly about, dammit?

So I don't know beyond all doubt that there is no god; theoretically there could be one who chooses to hide from us and messes with out heads (and instruments) all the time to test our faith - this is the idea behind creationism. But then, theoretically, we could just be a program running in a giant computer. Or maybe I am all that exists, and am just imagining you. Or the other way around, maybe you are all that exists and everything you think you perceive is a hallucination. Or...

You can assume that there is no God (or whatever) until such time as there is evidence to the contrary. The same way that when you stand under a street lamp to look at your watch, you assume it is not going to grow a pair of legs and run away. (substitute any unlikely turn of events here.) If something is unknowable, it's not useful or meaningful to invest belief in it.
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Beausoleil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #151
179. As another poster related the discussion to a semantical one,
I also feel that "I don't know beyond all doubt that there is no god", but in my mind that makes me an agnostic.

Good post.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #71
124. An apple in a sealed box is not an 'absence'.
The proof would be in the cutting open of the box. The fact that the cutting open of the box would destroy the box is immaterial - scientists regularly destroy what they are studying in the examination of it.

Proof is not an empty concept. Proof is finding tangible evidence to support a proposition.

Now, if you were to say "god is in this box" cutting the box open would do no good unless there was a physical entity inside to be found.

No atheist will attempt to prove there is no god. It is the theists' proposition that there IS a god which must be proved. Show me the evidence.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #124
162. I never said proof was an empty concept. Evidence is tangible, proof is conceptual.
Basically I'm just echoing Schrodinger and saying that the interior of the box is unknowable. I should have added the conditionin that 'opening the box will destroy the apple'.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
42. Wrong. Atheists have no EVIDENCE of any supernatural entities or
afterlife, therefore we don't believe in supernatural entities or afterlife. Faith has nothing to do with it.

Believe me, if there were such evidence, I would not be an atheist. I don't like the idea of just disappearing, not existing. But what I don't like has nothing to do with it.

Theists, on the other hand, DO believe in things for which there is no evidence. They are, in fact, REQUIRED to believe in things for which there is no evidence for the very fact that there IS no evidence.

Atheists live in a natural world - theists live in a supernatural world.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #42
113. Exactly. Atheism is not a faith because it's not a conviction held, completely free of evidence.
If there were suddenly solid evidence to suggest the existence of God, atheists would easily change their mind. It's not an article of faith, just an observation based on the available evidence.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
11. It is a belief. It is the belief that there is no god
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #11
117. You're just playing a semantic game using only one definition of the word "belief."
I suppose atheism can be considered a "belief" if you just mean an opinion. But you're ignoring the other definitions of the word that are relevant to the religious context: faith, trust, a religious creed, confidence in the existence of something which cannot be proven logically through solid evidence.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
14. It's a pretty widely held opinion by those who admit they that don't
have all the answers, and those people are agnostics and scientists.

When you think you have all the answers and are dogmatic about it like most atheists are, and when you start forming into communities of atheists that many do, it becomes a religion. Sorry.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. I think people who call atheists "dogmatic" and "evangelical" like Thom just did
Are projecting.

BTW, joining a group (not that I have) does not mean you are in a religion.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #20
30. If you say you haven't joined a religion, then you haven't as far as you are concerned.
Also, as a person of no religion, I have found atheists to be as obnoxious in their certitude and beliefs as any church going Christian. No one has yet opened up all the secrets of the universe, but there are some new scientific discoveries that make you scratch your head and make that one atheistic mantra, which is if it isn't part of the world I know it doesn't exist, pretty much a foolish notion.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #30
38. I didn't realize we had atheistic mantras. nt
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #38
58. You have beliefs that you feel you are absolutely right about.
The what would you call it?
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #58
86. I do? News to me.
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #30
55. Not having the fear of a God makes one obnoxious?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #55
60. No. It's the sneering,"I'm right and everyone else is wrong"
posturing that makes it obnoxious. And I know people who believe in a god or gods that they aren't afraid of. Don't condemn everyone with different beliefs because you ran across one you didn't like.
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #60
77. I feel I am right, so I guess it's sneering. You and no one else can prove any existence of any God
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 01:30 PM by sarcasmo
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #77
83. I have no interest in proving the existence or non-existence of any gods.
It's all mythology to me including the belief in no god.
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #83
89. We do agree on something, that it is all mythology.
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #55
67. Evangelical antitheism makes one obnoxious
as much as any other evangelicalism does.

If Jehovah's Witnesses knock on my door trying to sell me The Watchower or Fundie Antitheists try to sell me a Richard Dawkins book, what's the difference? :shrug:
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #67
70. Exactly how many atheists have come knocking on your door?
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #70
81. Damned if I know
I never answer the door unless I'm expecting someone. They could be JW's, fundie antitheists, Mormons, magazine salesmen, criminals trying to take inventory of what they want to steal when I'm not home, or the annoying "Neighborhood Association" that's always leaving flyers under my doormat. I don't know which is which, because I don't talk to any of them.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #81
84. .
:rofl:
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #14
23. What "community of atheists"?
I personally know exactly 1 other atheist, and while he is a friend he is also a bit of an asshole, and that hardly makes us a 'community'.

There are no atheist churches. No meeting halls. No synagogues.

You just made that up. Sorry.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. She's talking about atheist activists groups.
The ones that advocate secularism in government. Seperation of Church and State.

That sort of thing.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #27
41. Wow, what a bunch of holy rollers they must be! nt
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #23
36. No she didn't make it up.
We have them in my community. One of the groups even has a sign up for roadside cleanup.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #36
47. I've never heard of a church whose prime tenet is cleaning ditches.
Just because there may be a few secularist groups around that get together to drink coffee and bitch about the theists, that doesn't make them a church or even a 'community'. No more than people who get together and paint their faces and scream at people they never met throwing a pigskin around makes THEM a church, and there's a LOT more community among fans than there is among atheists.

It's a silly assertion.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #47
66. Community service which is what the roadside clean up is about, and
is common among religious groups, you will agree. I'm not saying that this is all that they do or don't do and that non religious groups, families and individuals don't do so as well. I used it as an example and proof that organized communities of atheists do exist.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #66
102. There's a local group of cyclists who organize road-side cleanups.
I wouldn't consider them a religion either.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #102
125. If you read my whole post you would see that I included clubs like that. n/t
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #36
163. THEM?!! You have THEM in your community? Run for your lives!!!!
Just go back and substitute "nigger" everyplace you use the word "atheist" and see how it sounds.

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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #14
32. Garbage
Atheists don't go around attributing mystical powers to their belief and suggesting that one can have knowledge of unknowable things. Forming into groups of people who share a common belief doesn't make a religion, just a community. Otherwise you'd have to agree that the American Dental Association is a religion, or equally absurd contentions.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #32
43. He died for your sins
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unpossibles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:30 PM
Original message
I believe in The Tooth! nt
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #43
166. Funnily enough I have one of my wisdom teeth sitting in a jar in front of me.
You should see the size of the cavity which necessitated its removal :cry:
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #32
54. Yes, you do. You just don't see that you are doing it.
Saying that the lights go out when you die is a mystical belief in itself, because no one really knows. Saying that you know absolutely that there is no God is a mystical belief because you don't know absolutely either. In case you missed the definition of community in school, it's a group of like minded people coming together as a group to support each other. When it supports mutual beliefs, it becomes a religion, which in Latin means to unite and bind in harmony. You are uniting and binding in harmony with your fellow atheists aren't you. I don't think you can say the same about the members of the American Dental Association, which is a professional society. It's quite different you have to agree.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #54
64. There are several definitions for community
Main Entry: community
Pronunciation: \kə-ˈmy-nə-tē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural communities
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English comunete, from Anglo-French communit, from Latin communitat-, communitas, from communis
Date: 14th century

1: a unified body of individuals: as a: state , commonwealth b: the people with common interests living in a particular area ; broadly : the area itself <the problems of a large community> c: an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location d: a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society <a community of retired persons> e: a group linked by a common policy f: a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests <the international community> g: a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community>
2: society at large
3 a: joint ownership or participation <community of goods> b: common character : likeness <community of interests> c: social activity : fellowship d: a social state or condition


At any rate, I think some people perceive the issue through a theological frame and need to force atheism into a similar frame in order for it to make sense.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #64
75. It's the only way it makes sense for those of us
on the outside looking in and believe me I'm not looking at this through a theological frame.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #54
153. It is not the definition of 'community' that is in question -
it is your transmogrifying it into a religion, as per your original statement.

I, myself, have never found an atheist community - though I suppose one must exist around the FFRF. How you make that into a religion mystifies me.

Unless, of course, you do not require supernaturalism to be fundamental to religion. In which case, can I call my bowling team a religion and stop paying taxes?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #153
202. If it walks, looks and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
I think atheism as it has been presented to me, not only here on DU but elsewhere, looks, speaks and walks like a religion. Sorry, but that's the way a lot of people see you. If you don't feel it's justified then maybe you need to change how you view things and say things so people don't see you this way.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #202
217. I don't need to change shit.
My beliefs encompass NOTHING supernatural. Period. Therefore, there is no religion.

Do you consider chemistry a religion? Or bowling?

Show me ANY religion that does not depend upon faith or the supernatural.

Or better yet, just admit that you are wrong - and that atheism is not a religion.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #54
180. The American Dental Association certainly believes in the effectiveness of dentistry
As they can carry out dentistry and see it impact on teeth. By contrast, religion is like thinking that your cavities might spontaneously fix themselves at any moment.

It's not mystical to refuse belief for unknowable things. Your definition of religion as 'uniting and binding in harmony' is so vague as to admit just about any shared belief as a religion, mystical or not.
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Pithlet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #14
100. So, you know most athiests, huh?
That must be one hell of an address book you got, there.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #100
129. Most atheists I have met. n/t
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #14
135. Is that a unicorn hair broad brush?
Are you making those sweeping generalizations with a broom made of strawman entrails?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #135
145. The unicorn is at a Wal-Mart opening celebration today.
Strawmen don't have entrails, silly person! They are made of straw!
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nodster Donating Member (38 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #14
255. So,
like minded individuals forming a community = religion? Ok, gotcha.

I'll be sure to tell that to my girlfriends vegan, hiking group about their new found religion.

By the way, most atheist groups are watch dog/civil rights groups.

Get a clue.

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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
15. Can be viewed either way.
When in doubt, ask OED: "Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god".
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lynnertic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
19. Unless of course you make a hobby of protesting, harassing and slandering
stamp-collectors.

I think that's what Hartmann is referring to. Perhaps we should agree on a word for an intolerant person who doesn't believe in God(s) and who also wants to bludgeon everyone who may have a different point of view.

I mean, besides "proselytizing asshole."
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. I don't remeber any stamp collectors trying to force everyone else to collect stamps
or live by the stamp collectors credo.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #19
33. Outside of the lefty blogosphere and a couple of recent books
Where, pray tell, are all these people "protesting, harassing, and slandering" religious people? It's funny, I've had believers tell me right to my face that I'm wrong, deluded, going to burn and hell, and not a real American, but that's okay. Yet if I ever said to one "you know, your religion sounds kind of dumb" that would be viewed as a horrible insult. I'm tired of the double standard. Believers need to get over themselves and stop expecting non-believers to walk on eggshells around them. Hell, it was only recently that I tentatively 'stepped out of the closet' to reveal that I didn't believe in God.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #33
39. Did you get that great old sappy line?
"Well, God believes in you."

I had a nun say that to me. When I asked her when God had told her that, she looked confused.

I was academically trained by the Jesuits, for which I'm eternally grateful. From the Jesuits, I learned this:

To those who believe, no explanation is necessary;
to those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.

That's always worked for me, thanks to the Jesuits, which is, really, the height of intellectual honesty and irony.
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Phred42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
37. He wasnt' dissing anything
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
49. So sad for Thom to have the God fear, something this Atheist doesn't have.
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AndrewP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #49
56. I'm surprised to hear that he does.
Learn something new every day. I feel bad for him.

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qb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
53. atheism = without belief in gods. That is all.
It is not a belief in the absence of god(s); it is the absence of belief.
Most theists believe in their god but not the gods of other cultures.
Atheist simply believe in one less god.
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
69. No, I'm sorry, but he's right
I swear, the only proselytizers I see on DU are atheists BOUND AND DETERMINED TO DEMAND that all religious people give up their sick delusions THAT HAVE LED TO ALL THE EVILS OF THE WORLD. These people are 110% certain there's no God. They're evangelists.

I very much like what Hartmann said to one caller that "200 years ago, you would have known that radio waves didn't exist." The caller agreed he would have known that. Thom answered, "But, you would have been wrong." I'm not saying there's a God out there who'll be discovered in the future. I am saying that a little humility and courtesy would be appreciated.

I'm an agnostic who once thought I might be an atheist. I swear, some of the atheists here might drive me back to the church.
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #69
73. Bravo! nt
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #69
80. And outside of DU?
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 01:33 PM by thecatburgler
Where are the roving bands of atheists going around prosletyzing? Seriously, if you live in a place where a person can even be openly atheist without being a social pariah and possibly losing their job, consider yourself very lucky.

As for showing a little humility and courtesy, I'd like to see some from the religious people who try to impose their values on everyone else. After all, it wasn't atheists who campaigned for rights to be taken away from gay and lesbian citizens, was it?
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #80
90. Absolutely agree about the religions fanatics
In fact, they're a lot more dangerous because they actually have some governmental power.

But coming to DU and going after reasonable religious people doesn't help things.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #90
277. Can you please tell me the exact amount of being quiet that's required...
...of me as an atheist so I can be a good, get-along, unobtrusive nice atheist, so I know just how much I have to keep my views and comments to myself? Can I express my views at all, can I ask believers tough questions, or should I mostly stay quiet when I can imagine that anyone might take the slightest offense at something I might say?

Maybe I need more bowing and scraping to religious sensibilities, is that the problem? Like maybe if each and every sentence I utter in support of atheism or questioning someone else's theism had disclaimers like, "Not meaning to offend you, and I know I could be completely wrong, and we all in this together and I respect your opinions immensely, and I know I don't have all of the answers, and there's so much that all of us don't know, but..."

Would that do it for you?
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #69
95. Some people are rude jerks, especially on the internet
It doesn't matter if they are agnostic, atheist, monotheistic or polytheistic.

The topic of atheism tends to stir up hard feelings because of the nature of the subject. It's a little hard to say "I think everything you believe and hold sacred is stupid and wrong" politely.
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #95
99. You got that right n/t
n/t
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #95
122. As an atheist I've found that no matter how polite and respectful I am
There will be people who view my very existence as an affront and a threat. This is something that some religious folks on DU just don't get. I've never in my life said to a religious person "I think everything you believe and hold sacred is stupid and wrong" but as far as many of them are concerned that's exactly what I mean when I say "I'm an atheist".
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Pithlet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #69
107. You spend too much time on DU.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 01:52 PM by Pithlet
Believe me. I know the symptoms, as someone who's been coming here for years. I'm cutting back, myself. I recently did the "There's too much stupid on DU" post. Yes, there are atheists like that here on DU, and their obnoxious behavior can be extreme. But they're not even a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things.
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #69
126. His analogy about the radio waves is dead wrong.
If lack of belief in radio waves was itself a belief, held in faith, then those same people would still not believe in radio waves, despite all of the evidence. Likewise, atheism is not a belief because if solid evidence in support of God surfaced tomorrow, atheists would not still cling to their lack of belief. They would simply change their mind on the issue. It's not a deeply held religious conviction, it's just a logical point of view arrived at through simple observation.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #69
185. But Hartmann's premise was mistaken there
Radio waves were predicted theoretically, and their existence verified by experiment. That's a falsifiable hypothesis. When religious folk assert that God exists, they decline to offer any way that this idea could be tested and the truth or falsity of assertion established.

I'm willing to entertain any idea IF there's some way for me to test it out objectively.
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Erin Elizabeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #69
245. I think agnosticism is the most intellectually honest position.
And I say that as a believer. But I am married to an agnostic and a long time ago I decided *intellectually* it is the most honest, most fair position--that you don't know and no one CAN know.

Which is why religious/spiritual belief is often called faith. It's not based on actually intellectually KNOWING, but simply believing. And there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with believing there's NOT a god, either.

But honestly? None of us REALLY know.

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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
91. Believers just never get it
and might be incapable of grasping the notion of absence of belief.
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #91
105. Well said, Warpy.
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
115. I begin to wonder who is more sensitive about criticism...
The fundies whose faith is questioned, or the atheists whose lack of faith is questioned. For the love of mercy would you all grow a hide?
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harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #115
148. It is obvious who is worse.
Believers are much more confident in their faith so they don't feel so threatened (and thus lash out) like the atheists.

What have they (to fear) if they believe in Allah and the Last Day and spend (aright) of that which Allah hath bestowed upon them, when Allah is ever Aware of them (and all they do)? Qur'an 4:39.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #148
190. Is this satire?
Atheists are the ones who lash out?

Oh yeah, remember all those riots and death threats because of the cartoons about Darwin?

Or their crusade to force everyone to say Merry Atheistmas?

:eyes:
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #190
201. Yet we don't have many (if any) fundies on DU
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 03:21 PM by SidneyCarton
Instead we have militant Atheists, who co-opt fundy rhetoric

They crap on any dissenting thread, and howl with a wrath wholly out of proportion to the offense given at any questioning of atheist belief, or the lack thereof. There is an endless persecution complex coupled with an absolute certainty of the correctness of their position.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #201
220. Can I have an example of this atheist "fundy rhetoric"?
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #220
238. Here ya go...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Not that I expect any of this to convince you. Each of these are in your opinion well rounded and reasonable arguments which offer incontrovertable proof of the truths in which you already believe.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #238
251. So by your logic every believer is a fundamentalist
Good to know
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #201
231. "Fundy rhetoric"?
:eyes:
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #231
240. Have you not seen Atheists on this board dismiss theists as fools, idiots, and/or deranged?
How is this any different than the dismissive behavior of fundies who dismiss non-fundies as damned, evil, immoral, and perverse?
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #240
264. Oh you poor dears.
People not sucking up to your "faith" on a lefty website totally equates to atheists not even be able to be open about who they are in most places in this country. Kinda like how rough the poor straight white males have it here. :nopity:

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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
121. I'm an atheist yet I don't attend any of the meetings...
I always found the concept of an atheists "group" to be completely contradictory to the concept.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #121
127. I know there are some secular humanist organizations
And there's Americans United for the Separation of Church and State but no specific atheist groups that I'm aware of. I think it's a figment of some people's imagination.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #127
139. Posters on this very thread have posted that there are such groups.
Yet, you have rejected that because the notion doesn't fit in with the preconceived idea that you have that there are no specific atheist groups. So let's go a step further. Let Google be your guide.

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=...
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #139
150. You are correct, there are atheist organizations.
Still, I'm not aware of the ones who have regular meetings where they sit around and talk about their "beliefs" and have dogma and are similar to religions like you're trying to claim. The atheist groups you googled appear to be political organizations. I've participated in numerous pro-choice and pro-LGBT rights activities but I don't consider them to be religious in nature. I'm also active in my local Democratic party. Also not religious. :shrug:
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #150
159. See my post #156
where I explain why I can't accept atheism as a non-religion, because atheists acts like any other religion when they get power, by persecuting all who do not believe as they do.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #159
178. WTF?? Where in this country do atheists have power?
I want to move there. Seriously.

Percent Unwilling to Vote for Well-Qualified Candidate of Their Party Who Belongs to Certain Group

Atheist 50 percent
Muslim 38 percent
Homosexual (1999 data) 37 percent
Evangelical Christian 15 percent
Woman 12 percent
Jewish 10 percent
Black 6 percent
Catholic 5 percent

http://www.law.gmu.edu/assets/homepages/isomin/files/Le...

Tell me something, if you ever ran for office, would you be advised to lie about your religion? I've worked with atheist candidates before and they were told by political consulants to claim they belonged to a religion. And you're going to tell me you're being persecuted?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #178
213. They don't and we want to keep it that way.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 03:33 PM by Cleita
All belief systems about a supernatural being, and this is a belief system about not acknowledging a supernatural being, need to be identified as such and be made part of the separation of church and state. A truly secular government doesn't involve itself in any theological or anti-theological beliefs. As far as the candidates, they should be free to state their beliefs like atheism or being Muslim even. They also need to state that they will not govern from those beliefs but the rule of law as set out in the Constitution and other secular documents guiding them.
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #213
218. ,
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 03:40 PM by KG
oops
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #213
222. What country have you been living in?
Because I've been living in the one where politicians (especially RW ones) wear their Godbaggery on their sleeves. Where paying homage to the imaginary bearded dude in the sky is practically de rigeur at speeches and rallies.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #159
186. And exactly where are Atheists in power and doing all this persecuting?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #186
198. They don't and that's as it should be. We don't want anyone in power
who can accomplish this because of their beliefs and that includes atheists.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #198
224. Oh right, I must have been imagining how Mormons and Catholics joined forces
To insert their religious views into law and deprive gay people of their rights last month. Yeah, I totally imagined that. We don't have religious groups in power in this country. Nosirree, we don't. :eyes:
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #127
196. actually, here in austin there is one.
it would meet every saturday at an old bagel shop downtown.

That's how I know they exist.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #196
210. Were they similar to a religious group? Did they have dogma?
Because that's what someone on this thread is trying to claim.
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #210
226. well, the seemed to be all in agreement about many things and would meet
every saturday morning.

I miss that bagel shop. the best breakfast tacos in the world. :( it's now a dance club.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #127
262. Interestingly, the Exec Dir of Americans United is a minister
in the United Church of Christ. It is not an atheist organization. It takes no position on religious questions. And would like the government to do the same.
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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #121
233. I don't think it's a coincidence that so many Democrats are atheists.
As Democrats, we don't exactly run in a pack, either, as a survey of DU in the past month tells us!

A large number of both Democrats and atheists appear to arrive at their "beliefs," or lack thereof, through introspection and individual decision making, which is exactly the opposite of the follow-the-leader habits of right-wing authoritarians and fundamentalists. Many Democrats and atheists are defectors from other belief systems.

And, despite what some in this thread are suggesting, both groups have a high tolerance for those who dare to differ. C'mon, folks: you know you'd rather be locked in a room with an atheist DUer than a Freeper of your religious stripe. And I know I'd rather be locked in a room with a deeply religious DUer than an atheist right-winger, like Karl Rove. Deep down, you still love us.

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babydollhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
141. I once told my bf that his religion
was no religion and he burst out crying. He didn't want to have any religion
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:20 PM
Response to Original message
143. Man, I am so fucking sick of this bullshit!
I do not need to be told by believers what I do or do not believe. It's a little like a junkie instructing a surgeon on how to anesthetize a patient.

I THINK there are no gods based on the fact that there is no evidence for the existence thereof. I also seek out people who tend to THINK that same way I do. My conclusion is not a belief, and my group of like minded individuals is not a religion.

Why is that so hard for the rest of you to accept?
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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #143
149. Well, put this "Belief" bullshit is them trying to suck us down to their level and turn it into a
discussion of religious differences... no difference here..I flat out don't believe that shit just like I don't believe in the fucking tooth fairy.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #149
182. That's exactly what they're doing. Only they don't even have the respect they show other religions.
I can't imagine someone trying to convince a Catholic that they're really a Lutheran but Thom Hartmann actually argued with some his callers that they weren't "really" atheists.
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #149
188. these threads are always illuminating in that it shows a rigid hard
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 03:07 PM by roguevalley
line belief on both sides, those that believe and those that don't. That is fine, but neither side changes the other. Only dying will tell any of us the truth. Since my parents died, I have no fear of death. When my turn comes, they will be waiting as they always have for zillions of lifetimes. That is what I believe. I don't believe death will bring oblivion because of the science of energy never being lost. We are energy. We die and change into something else, with our personality living on. I don't believe we will go to a cloud or live in adoration of a deity but I believe we go back to the beginning, assess our progress or lack of it here and then come back again. I believe that we are part and parcel of the universe, with our form and status governed by the same laws. If no energy is ever lost, but merely transforms itself into another form, then so do we. That is what I believe and I don't shove it on anyone. I also believe that aetheists should believe what they do as well as religious people. I don't believe that people have the right to jump on other people's beliefs if they don't have that person in their face about their own. If some wacko steps up to me with their religion/non-religion, then all bets are off. No one is going to know definitively what's next until they leave this life.

This is what I believe. I force it on no one and no one has the right to tell me I am a jerk, wrong, etc. Tolerance works both ways and I give it freely.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #188
278. You can believe what you like, but science doesn't back you up.
I don't believe death will bring oblivion because of the science of energy never being lost. We are energy. We die and change into something else, with our personality living on.

Like I said, you can believe what you like, and you can even speculate about some future science that may or may not support your beliefs, but you don't get to make up what the science we know now means or what it has proven.

What science says about energy provides absolutely no comfort if you're hoping for an afterlife. Saying "We are energy" makes about as much sense as saying that paper you wrote for school or report you wrote at work, that Word file you forgot to save before the power went out, is "energy", therefore you didn't "really" lose it when the power went out.

Yes, you lost the paper. Unless you lucked out with an automatic back-up, it's gone. All of the "energy" involved in holding the computer's volatile RAM in a particular state, representing the words you wrote, is still present in our universe, but as soon as the power goes out that energy quickly dissipates as random waste heat.

If you think "we" (our minds, or "souls" or "spirits" if you prefer) exist as some special category of energy, like "psychic energy", and that special kind of energy isn't subject to the depredations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, once again you're entitled to your beliefs, but at that point you can't properly claim the backing of science any more.
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #149
203. Of course.
Your position is the only rational one, there can be no rational dissent from your position, for any opinion other than yours is madness. Right.

:eyes:
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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #203
227. You're missing my point
My point is that I have no interest in being drawn into a discussion of religion, why? Because I don't have one. Not believing in religion is not a religion of its own. Let's say the religious argument is a room... I don't want to be in that room at all.
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #227
242. Fair enough, I misunderstood, I apologize.
Or is it apologise? Is that the correct british spelling, I always mix them up as one is correct in the states, and the other in the commonweath.
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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #242
252. it's a zed in Canada
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #143
156. Okay here comes the reason we can't accept dogmatic atheism either.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_...

Although the article specifically addresses the Christians who were persecuted in Russia, the atheistic dogma adopted by the Marxists also extended to China and the persecution of Muslims and Buddhists. So unless you can't see the forest for the trees, it would appear that separation of church and state will also include atheism as a religion or what happened before in the name of atheism will happen again.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #156
175. oh the "godless commies" here we go
tired, tired, tired old argument...
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #175
206. About as tired as the argument that atheism is the only rational belief system to hold.
Haven't we beaten this horse to death yet. I believe, you don't, great. My probability of converting you? 0% Your probability of convincing me? 0% In the end we achieve nothing and merely manage to scream at eachother, this is not discussion it is a pissing contest.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #156
246. So if I don't accept your premise that atheism is a religion
Then I am a totalitarian who wants to impose my views on everyone else via brutal force?


:crazy:
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #143
171. Much like believers don't need to be told...
"I do not need to be told by believers what I do or do not believe"

Much like believers don't need to be told they use "magical thinking" or other pejoratives. But it happens, and it comes from both sides.

I imagine the civility depends on the person, rather than the belief...
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #171
181. Both sides, my ass.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 02:58 PM by thecatburgler
Other than occasionally on left wing internet sites, where are are you ever subjected to pejoratives by atheists? Most of us are too damned scared to admit what we are in public. I only recently "came out of the closet".
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #181
193. I could give you examples
Yes... martyrdom is not reserved only to the religious, either an observation-- not a judgment).


"...where are are you ever subjected to pejoratives by atheists?"
I could give you examples, but I imagine we will all believe what will best validates our positions and onions on the matter.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #193
204. If you are, and not on the Internet, please tell me where you live so I can move there.
Because it sure as hell ain't done here in AZ.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
158. It's a belief for sure. Not a religion, though.
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Cetacea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
172. Faith in one's logic. n/t
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #172
266. That statement is inherently illogical. -nt-
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
177. He's dead wrong on that
"It's as much a religion as not collecting stamps is a hobby." is the best summation I've heard of this

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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
197. No . . . . . . it's a LACK of belief. For me it's a giant NOTHING.
A religion of nothing? He's usually pretty intelligent, but he's off on this particular issue.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #197
221. Agnosticism is lack of belief / faith. Agnostics don't believe in the lack of a higher power or the
existence of a higher power. As someone very astute put it, above, some people need to learn to live in question rather than believing that they know the answer.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #221
236. The problem with the concept of "living in the question"
Is that religious proseletyzers view it as an open invitation to try and get you to accept their answer.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
225. An omniscient and omnipotent god strongly implies a lack of free will to me.
I don't want to be a meat puppet, even if only in my own mind, that's why I'm an atheist as far as an omnipotent and omniscient god goes.

There is the possibility of such a god however slight, I admit, it's just that considering that possibility makes me feel like nothing I do could ever be of any significance at all since it was already known for eternity what I will do.

I've argued with religious people enough about my belief to know that I'm not going to convince you and you're not going to convince me, so please don't waste both our times, I'm just taking this opportunity to state what I do believe.

I'm an agnostic atheist in that I admit it is basically impossible to know with absolute certainty whether a god or gods exist but I do not wish to believe in such a god or gods even if they made sense to me which they don't.

It's also possible to be an agnostic theist, believe in god while acknowledging the impossibility of ever knowing (at least in this life).



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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #225
234. That's why I stopped referring to myself as agnostic, even though technically I am.
It's impossible to prove a negative therefore I cannot claim there are no god(s). However, I found when I called myself agnostic too many people assumed I was open to the possibility of there being a God, hence open to proseletyzing, when I really basically don't believe in it.
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Erin Elizabeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #225
247. Cool! I never knew it had a term!
I'll have to tell my husband he's an agnostic theist. Thank you!
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Erin Elizabeth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
241. I always understood it this way:
Deists believe there IS a god.

Atheists believe there is NOT a god.

Agnostics don't know. And don't believe you *can* know.

So I always thought atheism is a belief. A belief that there is NOT any supernatural, higher power being or beings out there.

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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
243. Ah, but some people adhere to it religiously - so fundamentally they forget more important factors.
In some ways, it is as much a belief as it is the nit-wit who blows up a bunch of people thinking he'll get to pork 72 virgins in heaven.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #243
258. By "adhere to it religiously"
Do you mean "not be willing to be proseletyzed to" or "not hiding who I am to make the believers in my midst more comfortable"? Do you mean something else? What do you mean by "more important factors"? What are those?
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ContinentalOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #243
265. Yes, but what you did there is called a metaphor.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 05:09 PM by ContinentalOp
I cling to my atheism "religiously" in the same way that I watch the Daily Show religiously or religiously brush my teeth. That's a figure of speech though. It still doesn't make Atheism an actual religion. Same with the word "fundamentally." I am fundamentally opposed to eating asparagus but that doesn't make me a fundamentalist as you're trying to imply.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
248. Thats why I am Non-Religous
the thought of a something out there somewhere having a sense of presence seems absurd to me.
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PassingFair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
280. Thom is a believer, inculcated from birth.
He simply cannot approach the idea
from a neutral stance.

He would need to WANT to view reality
from an unclouded lens.

I personally don't care WHAT he thinks
on this issue, he is right on so many
others, and he is my favorite lefty
talk show host.

Merry Christmas, Thom!

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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
281. If conservatives wish to declare us a religion, then we should get a tax break.
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #281
282. Religions do not get tax breaks, only organizations
And for the record, groups such as the American Humanist Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation are classed as 501(c)(3) organizations, same as churches, Underwriters' Laboratories, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals and Planned Parenthood. :hi:
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