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A serious question for the Strong Atheists

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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:46 AM
Original message
A serious question for the Strong Atheists
If atheism is not the noun "the belief that there is no god" and therefore an absolute belief system on the nature of the universe - that is, a religion of no god - but rather the verb "to be without religion" that is to say a person who believes there is no god, but does not have this belief as a belief system - a person without religion or theology...

...why are you generating so many threads in the Religion and Spirituality Group and not within the Atheist and Agnostic Group?

Agnosticism clearly crosses boundaries, but Strong Atheism, as it has been explained to me, does not.

With little exceptions and a few matters of lineage, belief systems are welcoming by design; of course your discourse and presence are welcome... but I cannot wonder if it is disingenuous?
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:18 AM
Response to Original message
1. Details
First off this is not the Religion and Spirituality group. This is the Religion and Theology group. Not trying to split hairs but this particular group was set up amongst other reasons as a place for theists and atheists (and any other selflabeled individuals) to engage in the more heated topics that sometimes arise between such groups. There have been atheists in this group since it was set up.

The word atheist gets beaten around a bit. There is a practice on the part of some theists to insist that a person that does not believe in god has made a choice to do so. As if they were rejecting god. Thus they say that an atheist believes there is no god.

But this is not the case. An atheist simply does not believe in a god or gods. Its not a choice. Its simply a recognition of what one happens to believe or not believe. An atheist can no more choose to believe in god than a theist can choose not to.

So using the definition that is applied to us typically by those that do not agree with us seems disengenuous. We define ourselves as individuals who simply do not happen to believe in god or gods. Beyond that you have to talk to us to see whether our position takes an aggressive stance including an insistance that there are no gods or simply one of a lack of belief or refutation of claims of god we have run into.

We live in a god soaked society. People that believe in gods have an effect on our society. They sit in positions of power over us. Some even sit in judgement of us in courts of law. It is in our interest to take an interest in what these beliefs may lead to and what impact they have on our lives. And it is quite definately in our best interest to represent our views and if possible expose others to them in an effort to show the sense of it to them. Thus we debate and discuss such matters with people of belief. Hopefully in a civil and reasonable manner.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 03:36 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. The definitions of athiesm...
...were supplied to me by atheists, with you in particular as my prime source. I am careful not to post my own beliefs on atheism, only to define it as it has been explained to me by those of that faith.

But now I must ask: you clearly state you believe non-atheists typical application of the broad definition of "atheist" disingenuous,that you should be taken on a one-by-one case to determine belief...

Then how can you defend the constant defamation of entire religious groups by the actions of a distinct minority? It's a double-standard.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 06:20 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Not defending defamation
In fact I rather oppose defamation of any group. In fact my recommendation is to find out exactly what any individual (atheist or theist) believes and not rely solely on a label applied to them.

My objection to your definition stems from a common problem of turning an atheists lack of belief into an act of defiance agaist god. It may seem a minor issue to you. But it makes a difference. One position is true the other false. It is always best to procede with the truth.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. but it is not my definition, it's yours
as I said, I have only parroted back the definition.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 06:35 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Let me add
In discourse between believers and nonbelievers it takes effort to not step on each others toes. It takes a desire to try to work things out. Not all are practiced in it. Society gives us few chances to work such matters out. Thus in artificial circumstances such as forums like this where prolonged discourse can occur it is dependent on those involved to define the path it takes.

Social taboos interdict with real discussions of belief in our society. Which is tragic because some of these issues are vital to the development of our society. But we allow the matter to lie stagnant because of social fears.

You have to realize that conversation between the sides is going to necissarily be difficult. If you want to make progress then you will have to allow for ignorance and try to educate when you see it. Just as I have tried to explain the complexities of our side to you, you should try to be a representitive of the particular beliefs you hold in order to better let us understand.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. I, for one, enjoy a good discussion
The trouble with the Internet is that we cannot see facial expression, tone of voice, etc., the way we can in face-to-face encounters. Very few people have the language skills (and this is not a slam against anyone, I'm including myself) to be precise enough in their statements so as not to offend anyone. Thus, people can so easily fly off the handle, as they do in DU.

A liberal, to me, practices tolerance, and only through dialogue can we learn to be tolerant. My hope is that secular Democrats and religious Democrats can one day form a coalition to tackle issues of interest to both sides. IMO, faith-based federal grants would be a good start. That's a slippery slope we don't need to climb, and any intelligent Christian should be able to see that. BTW, can you envision the Bushies dispensing a faith-based grant to a Pagan group, never mind the fact that Paganism is a faith which pre-dates Christianity by a millenium or more?
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. True
I was recently working on a project specifically designed to bring social gesturing to text-based communication. It failed, of course.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:52 PM
Response to Reply #2
40. Atheism is not a faith.
You fail right off the bat when you bring in an incorrect assumption like that.

Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Period.

Some do carry it further, to "there are definitely no gods". That's a faith-based statement, and also isn't atheism.

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justme1961 Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #40
60. If Atheism is not faith . . .
then by (your self defintion) do atheists have no faith?
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #60
61. I may not believe what you believe, but that doesn't mean
that I don't believe anything at all. It looks like you are trying to twist this into a semantic argument.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #60
69. Atheism itself is not faith
But atheists as individuals can have many many different things they have faith in. Be it nontheistic religions to simply having faith in their friends. When you find out someone is an atheist the only thing you know about them from that is that they don't happen to believe in gods. They may believe in ghosts, pixies, trolls, invisible pink unicorns, or flying spagheti monsters. Only way to find out more about them is to ask them.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #60
109. In gods? Absolutely not.
I can't have faith in beings no one has ever proven to exist.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 07:39 AM
Response to Original message
5. Regardless of whether one is a "strong" or "weak" atheist...
religion impacts our lives every freaking day. Virtually every broadcast channel on Sunday morning is wall-to-wall preachers claiming that those of us without faith are responsible for the evil in the world today. Organizations dedicated to helping children learn about service, civic duty, and teamwork expressly discriminate against me and my son because of our religious stance. Former President George Herbie Bush says that I shouldn't even be considered a citizen of this great country. 99 Senators stand up on the Capitol Steps with "Onward Christian Soldiers" playing in the background while they SHOUT the Pledge of Allegiance WITH its religious phrase.

Religion is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and I'm gonna talk about it whether you like it or not.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. I think you greatly overstate the threat, of course.
Religion is not the 800-pound gorilla, and Sunday mornings have more people watching the news shows rather than religious channels, with the vast majority probably asleep in bed and not watching any channel.

Exactly how are you discrminated against? I think much of this is illusory, in my opinion. Most Americans are irreligious, and might give lip service to it on opinion polls because they think it sounds good, but they really don't have any active religious practice. The real church is probably the local mall, which gets far more attention.

I think the threat from fundamentalists is wildly exaggerated.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Here is another opinion on that subject--Bill Moyers (Theist)
"And radicals on the Christian right are now the dominant force in Americas governing party. They control much of the U.S. government and are on the verge of having it all."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10389.h...
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. I disagree with Bill, too .... but all this off the topic of this thread.
Sorry to hijack the thread.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Start up a new thread, then.
And tell us atheists how good we have it, and how the religious right is nothing to worry about.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Why?
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #17
35. So you can get us nasty atheists to shut up?
I mean, that's what you're trying to say, isn't it?
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #35
58. Nope
Though I do think that there is unsupported whining going on.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #58
59. Well, when the day comes that Islam is a majority,
don't come whining to me when they put "In Allah We Trust" on the money and won't let you testify in court unless you swear on a copy of the Koran.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. I agree, in certain respects.
I am a churchgoer, and I am a rarity. Religion is simply not an important part of people's lives, no matter what they might say to a pollster.

I agree with Moyers in that there is a small cadre of fundies who have seized power, after years of preparation. This cadre does NOT represent most Americans, and unfortunately many are too uninformed to know what has gone on right in front of them.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #12
19. As you no doubt realize you are not all church goers
I have conversed and discussed these issues with many many different stripes of believers. I am glad to call many liberal Christians allie. But the thinking and plans of many others truly gives me cause to worry.

I personally believe that Fundamentalism is dying. But I also believe that a cornered animal is the most dangerous. The are tremendous pressures in this society that are striking down the positions of fundamental belief. They literally have no choice but to fight back or fade away.

And because it is politically advantageous to the repugs these groups have found a way to increase their reach, voice, and power. As a result they have found a way to indoctrinate even more and perhaps put off their natural demise.

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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. I hope you are right
I hope fundamentalism IS dying. We'll all be better off, believers and non-believers
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. I think you are correct.
As we advance the information age many faiths are going to be forced into a radical readjustment.

But I still assert those in power are not people of the faith they profess, they are merely using the situation to their advantage.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #26
36. And I still assert that you have absolutely no way of knowing that.
Until you develop that power of mind-reading, your assertion is mere opinion.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #36
64. No, people's words can be judged against their actions
Mind-reading is not necessary to judge whether they are truly as religious as they say they are, it can simply be judged by their actions.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #64
66. Let's try this again.
You can judge them based on YOUR interpretation of the religion, but what if they sincerely believe they are doing what god wants them to do?

That's the point. You have no way of knowing, and no way of proving, that YOUR interpretation of your faith is the correct one.

Maybe they aren't being a Christian like you, but then maybe you're wrong.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #66
73. Of course you can ... Are they following THEIR interpretation of
THEIR religion, not my interpretation!

If they act differently than they profess in their particular beliefs, then they clearly don't believe what they say they do.

Very simple.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #73
76. You make no sense.
There is no "correct" interpretation. That's the problem! And besides, if it's a revealed religion, then you must allow for the possibility that god spoke directly to someone and revealed NEW knowledge.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #76
80. Stop insulting me
or should I alert a mod?

I am talking about hypocrisy. If a person professes a certain belief, and acts differently, then they don't truly believe what they claim that they do.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #80
85. Where's the insult?
Please do alert, if you feel that I've insulted you.

To this point, you have claimed atheists who complain about the unfair way in which they are treated, viewed, and judged in this country are simply "whining." I found that rather insulting.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #85
89. You said I made no sense, a personal attack on me
and your second statement is completely inaccurate. Read my original statement again.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #89
93. That you can judge someone's actions against what they say
and call them a hypocrite. Sure. But that doesn't mean they aren't a Christian. After all, some of the earliest Christian church fathers encouraged lying if it meant more souls would be saved by the gospel.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #89
111. Saying you make no sense is not a personal attack against you.
You've got a serious persecution complex going.

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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #80
91. Really?
If a person professes a certain belief, and acts differently, then they don't truly believe what they claim that they do.


So ANY christian who claims to believe in Jesus, and does anything OTHER than what you think Jesus would do, doesn't truly believe in Christianity?

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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #91
95. Rationalization, what a beautiful word
I have been involved in many debates and been to many marches and I have brought out the direct words of Jesus (according to the bible) and found that invariably the Christians confronting us will rationalize their way out of abiding by Jesus' wishes. Now admittedly I have only had to turn this particular argument on active and vocal conservative Christians. But with one exception everyone of them turned their back on Jesus' teachings.

Luke 6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

I swear it's like kryptonite. Pull that verse out and they start searching for every excuse in the book (literally) to not abide by Jesus' teachings.

Many believers rationalize the things in the bible to fit their own needs. Does it mean they don't believe? Well adhering to the letter of the word is debatable but they are quite convinced that they believe. Through rationalizing they can find all sorts of loopholes that apply just to them or their particular group.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #95
112. Do you actively participate
in anti-religious marches? (Just curious as to your level of atheistic commitment...)
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #112
113. Antireligious?
No. Proatheist yes. Atheists are concerned about our rights being stripped away. We march to protest this.

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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #113
114. Love that spin.
Tricky things, those words.
No?
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #113
115. Thanks for the correction
Good luck. Sounds like tough work.

I have to ask... When you organize before a march.. you have a web site, yes?

And it has a FAQ, yes?

And on this FAQ, it has "What is an atheist?" yes?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #115
116. What do you think we are, the Borg?
Do you really think there is ONE freethinkers' website?
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #115
117. Here is one
The Godless March on DC was an example of numerous atheist orgs coming together to defend our rights. This group is a result of that march. http://www.godlessamericans.org/
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #117
124.  Thanks you!
Just as you hinted, it's hard to get a definition out of the FAQs of even the connected sites.

But the site you gave me and most of the sites I found connected were able to discuss secularism in an open and cooperative terms. But I think if I used "..who do not embrace religious creeds..." or even the innocuous "nonbelievers' as a definition for atheism people here would still have a negative reaction.

It's jello, I say. Just can't get a grip.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #124
125. The difficulty in organizing atheists is extreme
Liberal Dems are a trained herd of sheep compared to trying to get a group of atheists on the same page. It really boils down to the singular shared trait of not believing in a god or gods.

The descriptions I and others give you is merely an attempt to give some idea of the various forms and ways an atheist may present themself.

We have been defined by those that disagree with us for centuries. We are just starting to be able to gather together openly and as a result we are forming definitions for ourselves. But as you can see there are many different types of atheists running around out there. Some are angry and vindictive. Some are quiet and passive. Some are still too scared to come out in the open. And that is the tip of the iceberg.
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CarbonDate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #125
127. They don't call us "freethinkers" for nothing....
...newthinkers have trouble grasping that concept. They find it subversive.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #127
129. Newthinkers...
That's good.

The act of thinking does seem to be almost painful for them, doesn't it?
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #125
130. It's a shame the people who organized these marches are atheist
after seeing what they went through, they are absolute candidates for sainthood!

I KEED! DON'T FLAME! I KEED!
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #115
118. Here are some other links for your examination
www.infidels.org
www.atheists.org
www.secularhumanism.org
www.americanhumanist.org/index.html

Keep in mind each of these really just represent themself. But many atheists find themself in agreement with one or more. Some find some of them objectionable as well. Take these only as examples of some of the range that you can expect when dealing with a self avowed atheist.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #115
119. There is a God FAQ, you know.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #119
120. hehe
Cute.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #119
122. Only 400 monkeys?
Very educational site.
:evilgrin:
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #73
84. Chaos
People in power have to make complex descisions. Sometimes the impetus behind those descisions can be even more complex. Observing from our safe distance it can be difficult to percieve the motivation and factors that go into their descisions. Thus it becomes increasingly difficult to tell whether they are being true to their faith or not.

Add to this the fact that peopel are falable. They may hold to their beliefs and because of the pressures of the situation come down on a path or choice that conflicts with their beliefs in some way because they were trying to minimize the damage they see in any of the choices. Maybe they had no good choices given their situation. Maybe they just made the wrong choice.

But it is nice to be able to simply distance one self from those that regularly make bad choices by saying they are representitive of another belief or another group. Reality is complex. Reality is uncomfortable.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #26
42. That's a faith-based statement.
You can't assert something to be true that you have no possible way of knowing is, in fact, true.

You DON'T know, no matter how much you suspect, unless, as Trotsky says, you can now read minds.

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dwckabal Donating Member (854 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #19
131. Secularists thought fundamentalism would die
after the Scopes "Monkey" trial, too.

As they say, "The rest is history."
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Maat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #19
138. Well said, Az.
Edited on Sat Oct-08-05 05:56 PM by Maat
And, there are those of us who have a 'religion' (belief system), only we're not Christians.

I unite with both my atheist friends and my liberal Christian friends to fight for separation of church and state.

AND .. I keep having to focus on the true issue with debating with my RRE acquaintances (Religious Right Extremists) - the issue is GOVERNMENT SPONSORSHIP of religion ... NOT 'religion in the public square.'

Keep reminding the RRE-ers of that, please.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #12
53. They may not represent most Americans
But they have seized power, and they've taken over our government, begun re-writing it's laws, changing the way the nation's children are being educated, reshaping the Supreme Court, etc. Don't try to claim religion is not having a significant effect on our nation.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #53
62. I believe I acknowledged that in my post
A minority of r-wing fundies, via a coalition within the Republican party, have seized power. Look in the back issues of Playboy, circa early -80s, for a chilling look at how this all began.

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #53
65. Fundamentalists haven't take over, far right conservatives have
Edited on Thu Sep-29-05 12:22 PM by kwassa
I have my doubts about Bush's fundamentalism being anything other than Texas opportunism, and none of his cronies in government such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, or anyone else in the upper echelons is a fundamentalist. Conservatives come in all different varieties, and many are not religious at all.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #65
70. The right is dependent on the religious conservatives
They have made a pact with the devil as it were. Without the support of the religious right the conservatives would be in trouble. Thus they have to supplicate them with an ever increasing bending of the laws in their favor. As time goes by more and more repug candidates are drawn from the religious conservative ranks. Due to this it is no longer supplication that drives the slide into the dark ages. It is becoming a case of true believers sitting in office voting their beliefs.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #70
74. Republicans have always played the religious right cynically
and these religious folks do get out the votes, and have a larger influence than their total numbers in the population. They still don't hold real power, though, and won't beyond a few offices. They might get more than they have now, but the majority of Americans, liberal, conservative, or in-between, are not very religious, and will not be dictated to by a born-again dogmatic true believer. It just won't happen.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. I'm glad you're not worried.
These insignificant fundamentalists have managed to:

1) Wield their power as a voting bloc to control the presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court.

2) Essentially get permission to post their religious commandments in public buildings.

3) Shove "faith-based" crap where organizations like the Salvation Army can take government funds to help people, but then choose which people they want to help based on their discriminatory practices.

I'm sorry you are unwilling to even consider the saturation of religion in this country from a non-believer's standpoint. My son cannot join the Cub Scouts because they hate atheists and homosexuals. I could never run for elective office because even though "most Americans are irreligious" (your claim), polls show that a vast majority of Americans would NEVER vote for an atheist - their hatred is that deep.

So just sit right back and don't concern yourself with issues of religious freedom. It doesn't affect you, so why care, right?
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. Personal examples of discrimination
Just a sampling mind you. These are my personal experiences. Not all atheists undergo such treatment. Some experience little or no oppression, some experience much more.

In school when I expressed support for evolution I later found a note in my school book informing "God is real, believe or else"

I have been told by a sitting Vice President that I do not deserve to be a citizen.

My car has several bumper stickers on it proclaiming my atheism. This is not intended to offend any believers. Rather to simply let other atheists know they are not alone. I recieve positive reactions from others for this. I also recieve negative reactions as well. Here is a little list:

Countless pamphlets (and Chick Tracts) left on my car telling me what a monster I am and what awaits me when I die.

WWJD bracelet wrapped around my wipers.

Numerous notes stuck on my car telling me what a fool I am.

Several notes left telling me the writer hopes I burn in hell.

3 sets of stickers stolen from my car.

1 set of stickers removed from the rear and placed on the side(magnetic backing, I suspect the individual suddenly remembered it was against the 10 commandments to steal).

2 key jobs.

Countless fingers.

Followed into parking lots and evangelyzed on 3 occaisions.

10 bibles dumped on my trunk on one occaision.

I have a friend that had a simple Darwin Fish on his car, he was forced off the road by some idiots yelling obsentities about his nonbelief.


So yes, you may not experience the life I have. You may not watch sunday morning services. But it happens. Sunday morning tv doesn't just happen in a vacuum. Someone is paying for those broadcasts. Advertisers don't just dump money down the drain. There is an audience out there being told on a regular basis that everyone must conform to their view oh and go vote.
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. Anyone who goes against the grain
is bound to be targeted. One of the dirty little secrets of American society we refuse to recognize. With all of our vaunted freedom, we dislike and distrust those who are different. And treat them accordingly.

I remember reading about a Frenchman who, at the height of the anti-French hysteria, was vandalized three times -- he owned a wine store in Seattle. I sent an email telling him of my support, and that those who targeted him were thugs, plain and simple. He sounded overjoyed to hear from me: I guess people all over the country had written to him.

The people who targeted to you may have been Christians, but they were also thugs. It may be too late for them, but there are surely children, growing up now, who could be taught the lesson of tolerance, and respect for others' differences, before it is too late.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. One certainly does hope
But the point is of course that despite the presense of many many compassionate religious individuals that get the idea of a pluralistic society and can embrace the nearest heathen, there are countless other individuals out there that do not get it. And these people no longer wish to play by the rules that say tolerance is a good thing.

We have no elected official that is representitive of our views. We only have believers that get it and we are dependent on them continuing to see some sense in defending our rights along with their own. This is not a pleasant situation to be in. It is difficult for us not to be cognisant of it. And watching a group of our Senators stand on a court house step and shout UNDER GOD ...

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemller
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. I can certainly understand that
About the only solution I can see is a full-scale embrace of pluralism. This may be necessary, anyway, since the world is so small and none of us can live out our lives with people "like us."

I also think, however, that some common goals and ways of thinking should be adopted. Otherwise, societies would become too fragmented -- I realize the Dalai Lama isn't too popular on DU, but he said something a while ago that made a lot of sense to me:
With the great diversity of beliefs on this planet, nations and cultures might agree to develop a system of ethics, non-religious in nature, that all can abide by, and all would agree to enforce. That way, religious beliefs remain personal, but international law and ethics would govern all.
It may sound impossibly utopian, but may be a step in the right direction.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #25
32. Sounds good to me! n/t
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Maat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #25
139. I'm a Universalist ..
and believe in all paths (and, being such, I attend the Church of Religious Science ... www.rsintl.org ).

That being the case ... celebrating each individual's right to choose the belief system that fits for them ... I enjoy studying the Dalai Lama, among other Master Teachers.

I agree with what you are saying, and I think that we did make such an effort with the human rights committees/orgs within the U.N. (Human Rights Commission). We need to support those efforts.

Maybe DUers can get together and do so.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. "Personal examples of discrimination"
This is exactly where atheists start losing support and respect. Your examples of intolerance and discrimination, although perhaps personally traumatic, are not comparable to the usual actions emotionally attributed to the term.

My "Personal examples of discrimination"

Being denied promotion, equal pay and benefits

Being the only one the police pulled out of a car load of white people

Being pulled over by police over a dozen times with no cause

Being laid-off (more than once) because of my skin color (they were blatant, it was alright back in those days)

My girlfriends parents not allowing her to see me because of my skin color

My brother's friend Ron Settles beaten to death in solitary confinement in Signal Hill, california after a routine traffic stop

My sister threatened by secret police (in Saudi Arabia)

My mother being beaten by police

My father being threatened by police with lynching for stopping in the wrong cafe

My grandfather being thrown out of a third story window onto a moving box car of scrap metal.

My great-grandfather leaving escaping in the middle of the night from an angry mob who torched his home and business
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shrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. Good God
My condolences to you and your family.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #27
47. Thanks
I didn't mean to troll for sympathy, thank you for your kindness. As I said to Az, my situation is quite the norm where I grew up.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. My sympathy for your situation
Am I to take it that because our oppression is not the same as yours its ok? Maybe we should just lay here quietly.

This is not a game of who has it worse. It is recognition of predjudice in our society and calling it for what it is.

Heres the deal. I will continue to stand up against the oppression you face and you acknowledge that your issues are not the only issues this nation faces. Perhaps even stand up against the oppression others face.

The idea is to end all oppression, not just the types we experience.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. No sympathy necessary
My situation was the norm in the neighborhood in which I grew up. But I thank you for your kindness.

In great wisdom you say "lay quietly" but then you advance a baby step... ;)


And here's my counter:
We are all (with the exception of trolls and freepers) here on DU with the hope we can improve our people, country, planet. DU has grown to be multinational, multi-denominational, and multicultural. Our political viewpoint is clearly the overwhelming philosophy of the nation, and we have had some success in advancing programs and press to achieve common goals, but our progress is in now way equal to the sum of our desire.

Why? Ego.

The sense of personal identity is not an absolute; it evolves and changes from socioeconomic pressure, but it has never been stronger, more absolute than it is in our current American generation. We were raised with an individual belief of importance, entitlement and self worth that is unparalleled in human development. Because of this, few are willing to release their personal cause for a greater, unifying cause.

To bring this to a practical matter, internet communication is imperfect and impractical. It is easy enough to accidentally insult or misconstrue text without people willfully interfering with the sharing of ideas to pursue the validation of their own personal identity. We need to build community and consensus, and advance the greater good, but one derogatory term can stop all progress on any topic.

I want atheists to realize when they degrade another's faith, no matter how much they may feel it justified to do so. It hurts people. It negatively impacts a national division that empowers our enemies.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. I agree
My entire point is to acknowledge that communication difficulties exist. Continue to move forward understanding this. If someone says something that causes you harm then inform them of the issue as best you can without injecting emotion into the matter. Do not tell them to go away as that ends any possibility of anyone learning anything.

If we respond to such things emotionally then the discussion degrades into an argument of who is more hurt. And then the path can only lead to an escalation of trying to hurt one another. Stop the cycle. Ignorance and anger serve no one. Knowledge and compassion serve everyone.
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CarbonDate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #31
136. You've suffered all these indignities....
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 09:59 PM by CarbonDate
...yet you're concerned about the unkind things atheists say about religion on a message board?

:wtf:

Surely you, of all people, must realize that a 0.4% minority like us have no power to oppress a 76% majority like Christians. I'm not saying you're lying about your experiences (although the thought did cross my mind), but the sense of proportion seems to be a little out of whack, here.

Then again, I have a gay friend who thinks that blacks aren't discriminated against. :shrug:
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #23
33. The things that have happened to you and your family are terrible.
But they don't give you the right to determine who has it "bad enough" to complain or ask for fair treatment. I kinda thought we were all in this together.

Going back to those surveys, a large majority of people today are willing to vote for a racial minority. Not so when it comes to atheists. There is hatred and venom directed at us, and most of the time, people feel it's justified.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #23
43. So your discrimination is "better" than that suffered by Az?
You're trying to "one-up" Az?

Good grief, how pathetic. Discrimination is unacceptable, no matter how severe.

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
41. "Exactly how are you discrminated against?"
Not that your past postings show you really care, but...

Can't run for office in some states.

Forced to spend currency that proclaims something I don't agree with.

Been attacked for my lack of belief.

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #41
63. In what state can't you run for office if you are an atheist???????
and how specifically have you been attacked for your belief?
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #63
67. Polls show
That all things being equal over 50% of the people would not vote for someone if they were an atheist. This is a higher percentage than if they were gay, black, muslim, female, or any other discriminated group. Suffice to say the only way an atheist could be elected is to lie.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #67
81. BTW, that is not discrimination
that is unpopularity.

If you were not ALLOWED to run or if obstacles were placed in your path to make it difficult to run, that would be discrimination.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #81
135. See the post DIRECTLY BELOW YOURS.
We are BANNED from running in some states, outright.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #63
68. Arkansas and South Carolina for starters.
Arkansas' state constitution says:

No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.
(http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/data/constitution/const7.... )

This appears twice in SC's constitution:
No person who denies the existence of the Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.
(http://www.scstatehouse.net/scconstitution/a06.htm and http://www.scstatehouse.net/scconstitution/a17.htm )

Sorry to be so whiny. But would you be as dismissive if instead of banning atheists from office, these states banned Jews or blacks?
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #68
71. These laws could and should easily be challenged
This is a Supreme Court case if there ever was one.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #71
72. Funny how they have stood for so long
Curious really.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #72
75. If no one challenges, then no one challenges.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #75
77. And no one challenges
because they get death threats from loving Christians. See what Newdow has faced? Multiply that times 1000 for someone stepping forth in a state in the bible belt.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #75
79. In order for a challenge to move forward
A court must accept the case of an elected official must call for a review. No court accepts a challenge and no political official will risk their career.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #79
86. Had a court rejected such a challenge?
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #86
90. Yes
There is an active effort by American Atheists to rid the books of these prejducial laws. They have been unsuccesful in these two states. These type of laws were once far more common place. But most have been struck down.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #63
99. A current listing, I believe, from Religious Tolerance.org:
The Bill of Rights of the Texas Constitution (Article I, Section 4) allows people to be excluded from holding office on religious grounds. An official may be "excluded from holding office" if she/he does not "acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

This would specifically exclude all Atheists and Agnostics from holding public office. It would also exclude:
* Most Buddhists, who do not believe in a personal deity.
* Members of the Church of Satan; they are typically agnostics.
* Some Unitarian Universalists.
* Some followers of the New Age who do not believe in the existence of a personal deity

However, Wiccans and Zoroastrians are acceptable, as they believe in two deities -- twice as many as Section 4 requires. Hindus would also be good enough because they generally acknowledge the existence of millions of deities. The number, gender, shape, size and other attributes do not matter, as long as you believe that a Supreme Being of some sort exists.

This form of religious intolerance is not limited to Texas. Six other states ( MA, MD, NC, PA, SC and TN) all have similar language included in their Bill of Rights, Declaration of Rights, or in the body of their constitutions.

In a few states whose constitutions include the text of the oath of office, the candidate must swear an oath to God. Such an oath would prevent ethical non-theists from taking office.

However, now that these Constitutions include discriminatory and intolerant language, the states are probably stuck with it. The passages will forever affirm that people who follow some minority religions were considered unreliable second- class citizens of questionable morality -- at least at the time that the state constitutions were written. They could only be removed through constitutional change; this requires at least a majority vote of the citizens of the state. With the present political leadership and religious climate towards non-theists, this is not going to happen.

*********************************************************************

* Maryland's Bill of Rights: Article 36:
" That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore, no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion, or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent, or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain, any place of worship, or any ministry; nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness, or juror, on account of his religious belief; provided, he believes in the existence of God, and that under His dispensation such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefore either in this world or in the world to come."

Comments: In this state, a juror or witness might be considered incompetent if they do not believe in the existence of God. Although humans worship many Gods, the Article does not specify which one is being referred to; presumably it is the Judeo-Christian deity. Not only must a person believe in such a deity, but they must apparently believe in a Heaven and a Hell.
* Massachusetts' Declaration of Rights:
* Article III:
"As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily."

Comments: The constitution allows individual municipal bodies to tax everyone (Anglicans, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Protestants, non-believers, etc.) in order to maintain Protestant clergy.
* Article:
"...every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law."

Comments: All Christian denominations are considered of equal status, and are to be equally protected under the law. Non-Christian groups appear to be left out in the cold.
* North Carolina's Constitution, Article 6 Sec. 8:
" Disqualifications of office. The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God...."

Comments: "Almighty God" apparently refers to the Judeo-Christian God. This Section would appear to disqualify anyone who is not a Christian or Jew from holding office in the State.
* Pennsylvani a Declaration of Rights: Article 1, Section 4:
"No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth."

Comments: Apparently anyone who denies the existence of God OR who denies the existence of heaven and hell can be held ineligible to hold office or be a member of the PA civil service.
* South Carolina's Constitution, Article 4 Section 2:
" Person denying existence of Supreme Being not to hold office. No person who denies the existence of the Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution."

Comments: "The Supreme Being" apparently refers specifically to the Judeo-Christian God. This Section would appear to disqualify anyone who is not a Christian or Jew from holding office in the State.
* South Dakota: We could not locate a copy of its Constitution on the Internet.
* Tennessee's Bill of Rights: Article 9:
* Section 4: " That no political or religious test, other than an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of this state, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state."
* Section 2. " No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state."

Comments: Section 4 says that there is to be no religious test. Section 2 is that there is a religious test. Nobody who denies God or heaven or hell can hold office.
* Texas' Bill of Rights Section 4:
" RELIGIOUS TESTS: No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

Comments: As noted above, only theists can hold office civil servant in Texas.

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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #99
101. Good research
Gotta drag the discrimination into the light.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #101
103. Thanks. I had much much more.
I lost everything when my hard drive had a nervous breakdown.
I'm slowly building up the archives again, you never know when you'll run into an "un-believer".
:evilgrin:
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
7. I don't accept any definition
That characterizes me by what I don't believe. It is the start of the negative connotation that comes with being an "atheist". I think we should characterize theists as a-scientists according to what they disbelieve.

Speaking only for myself, I say that disbelief in superstition is not a belief system. It is not an affirmative statement of what does exist. If you disbelieve that a black cat can cause bad luck are you characterized by that disbelief?

There are as many definitions of Atheist as there are of Christians. You will never be able to pin anyone down with your definition of either.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
18. Very interesting statement
"It is not an affirmative statement of what does exist, " Well put, a much more concise explanation.

I realize language is an insufficient method of explaining ethereal concepts, but there comes a time we must create definitions in order to maintain culture. As I said, the definitions were supplied to me by atheists here on DU.

But to be critical for a moment; I honestly don't know if you meant to equate faith = superstition with your post, or if you were exaggerating to make a point. If you do believe faith is superstition, you should understand correct or not, using the term superstition to describe the faith of others is demeaning.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. Thank you for the advice on etiquette
I apologize to all who believe that black cats cause bad luck.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #24
28. They do if you're allergic to cats. n/t
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. .
:evilgrin:
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arKansasJHawk Donating Member (311 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:29 PM
Response to Original message
37. Groups and Forums
I just thought I'd throw my (nearly worthless) two cents in here. I was under the impression, and I could certainly be wrong, that a discussion forum (where this thread is located) is a place for - discussion. Of, for instance, religion and theology. As opposed to a "group," which seems to be a collection of like-minded individuals talking about whatever it is they're like-minded about.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. Welcome to DU, arKansasJHawk!
And your two cents are right on the mark.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. The idea of anyone's 2 cents being worthless
Sorry, I just don't see it. Your opinion is just as important as anyone elses. Welcome to DU.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #37
44. Despite some theists' fervent wishes, yes, you are correct.
Welcome to DU.

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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #37
46. I will take that admonition to heart
communication online is hard enough without me muddling th rules.

Welcome to DU!
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heidler1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
45. Any subject that is debatable has its pros and cons to limit to only the
pro would result in a mirror of what you get in church. IMO believers of any God promoting group want statements about things like Cannon Law, Biblical quotes, Church sanctioned history, Church approved miracles and some that are not approved by their Church accepted as proof of the existence of a God.

IMO Atheists do not accept any writings as proof of a God ever existing. We tend to discuss the issue from a stand point of human nature and what we perceive as factual history and scientific proof.

I believe that many humans find death or their current life too horrid to deal with so they grasp at a promise of heaven, even though there is no proof of its existence.

Human failings include getting and holding a good job, sustaining a good marriage and on and on. Yes it is sad that Atheist in there attempt to show the wish-was thinking of believers they pour cold water on cherished beliefs, but the tipping point of persecution of Atheists and or witches by Christians is lurking around every corner.

Like everything human there are others who are all too willing to prey of these believers even the government. Because government effects us all Atheists have to be concerned. Our own safety is at risk so that government does not cause physical or mental harm to self and loved ones we must keep the religious from mucking everything up beyond repair and at this time we do feel threatened. Yes, I still believe this all goes back to human nature and very likely if 70% of us were Atheists some other problem would show up. However we are a long way from that being the case.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. If I understand
you feel atheists have a right, as an under-reported viewpoint, to openly challenge any faith-based statement, no matter the context or conversation?
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heidler1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. Yes, even the duty, but not because it is under reported.
By the very same rational that you have the same right to challenge any view that I may present. In the discourse hopefully the weaker of the viewpoints will become apparent to all who see them presented. This is the essence of debate. If either of us believe that our view is empirical and beyond questioning we are breaking the rules of discourse. Sacred view points are one of the main causes of screw ups by people. Yes, I have been accused of holding nothing sacred. However we should hold our own best interests sacred, but they should also pass the test of enlightened selfishness which many prefer to call being unselfish.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. But specifically I ask...
regardless of the context of the conversation?
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heidler1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:05 AM
Response to Reply #51
54. If you mean in a case like saying God bless after someone sneezed.
Would I remind them that I'm an Atheist? Only if the person knew you and was doing it as a test of how far you would or wouldn't go with keeping people aware of the fact that you are an Atheist. In that case the test would be meant to embarrass me. My disgust would probably show very plainly. All such questions must be put into all most exact context or my reaction might seem inconsistant.

A shirt tale relative sent me a Bible in her attempt to save me and do her duty so as to please her God. To me this was a half assed attempt to convert me. I sent it back and it cost me money. She would have been very insulted if I had sent her a book that was about "Why you should be an Atheist". The whole idea that any or all Religions have the moral high ground, therefore they have converting privileges is bull.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 04:59 AM
Response to Reply #54
55. Exactly!
The idea that ANY religion or belief, or lack of belief, should have the moral high ground is bull.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 07:22 AM
Response to Reply #55
56. But at some point, as long as we live together in a society,
we have to agree on some kind of moral and legal code.

Should it be based on religion, of which the various flavors and cults and sects cannot and will never agree upon morals and will doom us to sectarian bickering and fighting for another few millenia?

Or should it be based on secularism and human rights, which can at least be argued to say that your rights end at my nose?
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #55
57. Careful there!
Atheists do not have a lack of belief. To imply that we lack belief is demeaning. I know I don't have to lecture you on being demeaning after you provided me with such priceless advice in another post.

In fact, Atheist believe a lot of stuff, but when we disagree with you, it is not because we are lacking or deficient as you imply. And many of us do not like being characterized in such negative terms.

If you expect others to respect your beliefs, you should respects the beliefs of others.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #57
78. every description I have and use of atheists
I get from atheists on this board. If you have a problem with the definition, it was an atheist who supplied it to me!

I have gone through great effort NOT to supply my own definition.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #78
82. Its difficult not to step on toes isn't it
We atheists tend to be difficult to pin down. As we are not an organized group some atheists simply bristle at any notion of being labeled or cataloged. Its kind of the same thing with believers too though.

I find the best route to take is to find out who the individual you are talking to is. They are their own label. Its handy to know the various categories that may come into play. But let the person be who they are and not what a label claims they are.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #82
83. HA HA HA HA!
I am beginning to believe atheists live in jello and bathe in olive oil.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #83
88. Some may well do just that
From the label atheist you cannot know anything beyond the fact that they profess to not believing in god.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #78
92. And I stated that I do not accept those definitions
see post 7

If you characterize me in negative terms, I don't care who you quote, I will still remind you that your accusations are offensive and hypocritical in light of your previous lecture on demeaning posts.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #92
96. I'm sorry you take offense
but by the nature in which they were cultivated they cannot be either insulting, demeaning or accusatory. I find it only possible to conclude that is the messenger and not the content you object to.

I will gladly add your definition to the term...?
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #96
97. The only thing all
Atheist have in common is that theist disagree with us. Any other common attribute is purely coincidental. Any attempt to define or characterize such a group with only one common attribute is only valid if the definition only includes that one attribute. Thus, the definition would be: An atheist is a person with whom theists disagree.

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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #97
98. Fuzzy def
A theist can disagree with a person on many subjects. This definition does not clarify the point of contention.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #98
100. to clarify
An atheist is a person with whom theists disagree on matters of superstition.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #100
102. a definition must stay neutral
can you rephrase that so that your bias does not show? I need a non-derogatory definition so that we can have inter-philosophical discussion with mutual terminology.

Again, I am not asking you to validity, just identify. Please, give me a non-offending term so that the discussion can move forward.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #102
104. An atheist is...
a person who is not a theist.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #102
105. You did not challenge non-neutral definitions
When those definitions validated the notion that atheists are lacking something. Why did you not impose your own standards on the definitions you started this thread with? That's right, go back to the beginning and look at the negative words you used. You did not demand that those definitions be neutral. Why do I have to be neutral and you get to advocate. You accepted definitions insulting to atheists, but you will not accept definitions insulting to theists. Why the double standard?
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #105
106. Yowza.
Great point, cd.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #105
107. I have challenged nothing.. I am asking
are you trying to help me understand how to better communicate or not? If you find the definitions insulting help me tune them to something acceptable.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #107
110. You challenged my definition as being non-neutral
But you did not challenge your original definitions. You have changed your standards in the middle of the debate.

How can I tell what is acceptable when your standards keep changing. And as I said, the only valid definition is one that only includes one attribute. If you can't describe that attribute without being demeaning, why should I?
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heidler1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #55
87. Please do not reply to my posts with a word like "exactly" and then
proceed to miss quote what I said and put a whole different spin on what I meant.

"The whole idea that any or all Religions have the moral high ground, therefore they have converting privileges is bull." This was taken from the context of a paragraph that told of a religious person sending me a Bible in a attempt to convert me. Christians all to often act as though they have the moral high ground so they feel justified in doing this. I'm quite sure that there is no similar effort on the part of Atheists to convert Christians.

You said,"The idea that ANY religion or belief, or lack of belief, should have the moral high ground is bull." The flaw in your rebuttal is the lack of example where Atheists behave that way. Of course there might be Atheists somewhere active in conversion that I don't know about, but with Christians it's as common as dirt.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #87
94. I did not mean to take your statement out of context
and I apologize if I caused you offense.

I sincerely thought you made a clear statement against unnecessary and inflammatory prejudicial insult from any group to any other, regardless of philosophy or past history.

In my enthusiasm I misinterpreted your intent. Such is the nature of internet communication...
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #87
108. I beg to differ
heidler1, to Old Mouse:
"You said,"The idea that ANY religion or belief, or lack of belief, should have the moral high ground is bull." The flaw in your rebuttal is the lack of example where Atheists behave that way. Of course there might be Atheists somewhere active in conversion that I don't know about, but with Christians it's as common as dirt."

I think that some atheists that participate in this forum act as if they have the moral high ground, and with thinly-veiled contempt for those with religious beliefs, so I see no flaw. It can be just the mirror image of the arrogance that some Christians display.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #108
121. The contempt you see
would be the response one might rightly expect if one belittles a social group and laughs away society's prejudices and hatred towards them.

IMHO, of course.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #121
123. Very astute observation. Well worded.
:thumbsup:
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #108
128. Really?
Show me where an atheist claims to be morally superior to christians.

I see plenty of examples, not just here, but all over DU, of christians proclaiming indignantly that bad people are not REAL christians, the inference being that only GOOD people are christians and bad people are something else.

So exactly who is claiming the moral high ground on DU?

You don't see atheists claiming that a bad person couldn't possibly be an atheist, only good people are atheists and therefore they must be christian.

Do you ?
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liberal43110 Donating Member (687 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-11-05 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #108
141. Thinly veiled?
My contempt for religion is not thinly veiled. Rather, it is direct and in plain sight.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-12-05 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #141
142. ~
:thumbsup:
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
50. I used to squat-press 341 Kilos. Is that "strong" enough for you?
But since I RARELY post here, I really can't answer your question.

"Strong" and "Weak" Atheism are misnomers, IMO. I don't deny that some of us (Me included) are less than accepting of people of faith, and I can't speak for anyone else, but in my case, that stems from some REALLY bad experiences with Charismatic Evangelicals when I was younger.

The source of your trouble is in trying to pigeonhole the so-called "strong" Atheist into a Belief System (religion) of No Belief.

Of COURSE I have no "Belief", because that requires "faith".

For the sake of MY pigeonholing, what you consider a "weak Atheist" is someone who hasn't had the faith beaten or cheated out of him yet. A person who has equal parts of belief and dis-belief.

Just because an Atheist expresses an attitude of NO belief does not mean that we would discount evidence to give a reason for belief. I'm skeptical. That means that extrordinary claims need some tangible evidence to prove them (note I did not fall into the "extrordinary evidence pitfall)

kinda silly, isn't it? If this Jesus DID suddenly appear and verify everything King James had written about him (I think he'd take a glance and say "Myself! What IS this Shit?") do people think Atheists would stick their fingers in their ears and say "Nope, I DON'T see him standing there. I Don't hear him!"?

I doubt it. But then, I also think the chance of that ever happening is nil. that "lack of Faith" thing again, y'know...

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FM Arouet666 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
52. I am not clear on what you are posting.
Strong Atheists vs. Weak Atheists?

The whole "belief" controversy in the definition of atheism is unnecessary.

Belief: Conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.

To define atheism as lacking in a belief of god, or belief that there is no god, is irrelevant. What is relevant is faith, to believe something with little or no evidence. That is what makes religious "belief" different from atheistic belief. Atheism is not a "godless religion."

As for posting here, this is not the Religion and Spirituality Group, all are free to participate. :evilfrown:
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CarbonDate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 06:19 PM
Response to Original message
126. Me personally?
I'm not allowed to post on the Atheists and Agnostics group, apparently because I took the tombstone as my avatar in protest of Modem Butterfly's banning. (Not trying to drag this over here, but the question was asked, and I felt I should answer.) There might have been another reason, but I wasn't told and I'm not inclined to engage in a dialogue with Skinner at this point.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #126
132. I read a little about that
can you explain the history of the tombstone?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #132
133. The tombstone?
Try Demopedia.
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Old Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 04:16 AM
Response to Reply #133
134. I meant what happened to MB
but I found out.

Thanks
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jackthesprat Donating Member (184 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 12:49 PM
Response to Original message
137. What is your point exactly?
Stop thinking and start obeying?
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-08-05 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
140. Because the topics are moved from GD by the mods?
It seems to happen a lot. And who are we to argue?
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