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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 04:12 PM
Original message
Why I don't like being told I have a belief system
Edited on Tue Mar-28-06 04:13 PM by Goblinmonger
I am speaking for myself, as an atheist. I would not presume to speak for other atheists. I hope they will let me know where they agree and where they disagree, but we all know they are a silent group, so maybe they won't.

The problem I have is one of perspective. I know this will seem trivial to many, but I don't think it is trivial. I feel that I have an ABSENCE of belief in god, not that I DISBELIEVE in god. The reason is thus:

AN ABSENCE of belief indicates thats there is nothing there. In many cases, I may never even have given that "god" a first thought, much less a second thought. Sorry that this offends people, but I see gods/religion as just a more elaborate (in some instances) fairy tale developed to help people feel better about themselves and the world around them. I reject fairy tales. I do not believe in any of them. As a matter of fact, I can't remember a time when I did believe fairy tales (though I can remember being a Catholic) though I am sure there was a time. See that is an ABSENCE of believe.

A DISBELIEF is something different. Perhaps an analogy (and, believe me, I am hoping Evoman comes up with another scene to his play on this thread) would help. I love the Minnesota Vikings (it has been a rocky 35 years of my life being a fan, but I am still loyal). Let's say I "believe" they are the best team ever (no snide Vikings comments, I'm trying to make a point). Let's say there are a whole group of us that believe they are they best team ever (a small group to be sure). You, on the other hand, don't give a rip about football. You don't watch it, don't keep up with it, couldn't even name more than a handful of the more visible teams, have no idea who won the Super Bowl last year, heck, you don't even know what the Super Bowl is. If you were talking to me and my friends, and I said "Hey, this guy/gal doesn't believe that the Vikings are the best team ever," that would be a mis-statement. You have absolutely no thoughts about the Vikings in comparison to other teams or as a team in and of themselves. The way I worded it, assumes that the Vikings are the best team ever, but you just choose to not acknowledge it.

Do you see the connection to religion? To say to me that I disbelieve that Jesus is God (or whatever sect) is to assume that he is. I just am too stupid to realize it or willfully ignore the divinity. And that isn't the case. He is a fiction just like every other mythology developed by humans to create some false security.

On edit: I think this is closely related to BMUS' thoughts on believing. I could never believe in god again, even if I wanted to.
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
1. The fallacy in your argument is that the football non-fan...
does not deny the existence of either football or the Vikings. He does not say that football or the Vikings are mere "fairy tales." Of course, since the Vikings and football are both demonstrably real, it would be stupid of him to say so. The same cannot be said for an unseen, unheard, seemingly powerless and yet supposedly all-powerful "god."
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Good point
though I don't know if it is a fallacy so much as just a flaw in the analogy. I could have been really snarky with my analogy and pissed a lot of people off, but I am trying not to do that so much this week. We'll see how this all goes. Though I agree with your last sentence 100%.
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dchill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
3. If you have "an ABSENCE of belief in god..."
then you are not technically an atheist - you're an agnostic. So am I. I agree with you about being told what you believe. Belief is a choice that YOU make. Or not. I say, "Don't tell me what I believe, 'cause I don't know."

I'm a l-o-n-g way from believing that the "believers" actually believe what they profess to believe. Most of them act like they are afraid someone will find out that they don't really believe.
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believerinchrist Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. To truly believe in God demands proof in our lives..
If my life does not reflect what I believe--that God is love--then my faith is useless. Words are a dime a dozen, but mercy, grace, and compassion are not.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Your definition of atheist and agnostic confuse me
From the Greek, atheist (a-not/without + theos-god) has come to mean in English "one who denies the existence of God" according to Webster

Agnostic (a-not/without + knowledge) has come to mean "one who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable, also according to Webster.

Seems to me that Goblinmongers description of himself being absent of belief in God fits both definitions.

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #10
21. Here's the problem I have with the atheist def.
It sounds like this: "Goblinmonger, why do you keep denying that you have a drug problem?" See what I mean. "Deny" seems to imply that which is being "denied" is somehow true.

I don't, for the most part, like mainstream dictionaries because they just reflect how the average person uses the term, which can be seriously fucked up.

Sorry if I was unclear. I hold open no possibility that there is an ultimate reality that contains God.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #21
35. I have have problems with how the words have been construed
by the language over the years, too. But I was refering to the definitions "believerinchrist" was espousing. They didn't even come close to the dictionary definitions and I was hoping he would clarify.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 06:34 AM
Response to Reply #35
60. I'm with you
I was just clarifying.
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dchill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
47. They are not my definitions.
Yours are correct. I simply think that atheism IS a belief system, and agnosticism is not. The atheist believes there is no god, but he cannot know it.

Agnostic - One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God. (From thefreedictionary.com) So I guess even agnostics are "believers" too, huh? Everybody believes something. However, my belief in UFOs is much stronger than any belief in any kind of deity. In the end, there may be little difference between the atheist and the agnostic.

Whichever Goblinmonger believes he is, is fine with me.

:)
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 01:06 AM
Response to Reply #10
53. The founder of Websters was a raging fundy himself......
and their current definition of "Atheist" is flawed. It seems they have kept up with their founders take on religion and xtianity in general.

An Atheist is simply one with no gods.

Thats it. It has NOTHING to do with belief or the lack thereof or the denial of anything.

I currently have no Aircraft carriers in my driveway.

Do i actually "Lack" an Aircraft carrier?

I am simply A-aircraftcarrier. I dont have one. I dont need one. Although having one would be cool, having a god, as far as i am concerned is unnecessary and in my experience, not cool.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 06:35 AM
Response to Reply #53
61. Good analogy
And it is the word "lack" that rubs the wrong way, too, since it seems to indicate something less or or inferior.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
20. I don't consider myself an agnostic
To me, an agnostic means that you just are sure. You hold open the possibility that there is a god (whatever form that may be). I do not hold open that possibility.

I don't think belief is a choice. I cannot choose to believe in God anymore than a Christian could choose to believe in the tooth fairy. I could fake it, but I wouldn't REALLY believe.
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dchill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #20
39. If belief is not a choice, what is?
I think that atheism is a "belief system" and agnosticism is just an admission that such things are unknowable. To me, belief is something that a reasonable person bases on available evidence. For instance, I believe in the bad intentions of George Bush. I base that belief on what I know. I have chosen that belief based on the facts at hand.

Also, I would keep in mind the genius of the statement "anything is possible." Any given possibility does not depend on whether you hold it open or not.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 06:37 AM
Response to Reply #39
62. Anything is not possible
Pigs are not going to fly out of my ass. When I step out of my door this morning, I will not jump up and keep going upward until I break out of the atmosphere.

There is no god(s). Rationality, realism, and scientific method all lead to that conclusion. By your use of the word, you have a belief in gravity. Do you really just "believe" in gravity? Do you hold open the possibility that it may not exist?
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #39
69. You're blurring the difference between "believing" and "accepting"
It's a subtle distinction, but an important one in this context.

"Belief" is a conclusion or an assertion of fact made in the absence of or in spite of evidence, whereas "acceptance" is a conclusion or an assertion of likelihood based upon evidence.

You do not "believe" that the sun will rise tomorrow; you "accept" the great likelihood that it will do so, based on overwhelming past evidence. You do not believe in the bad intentions of George Bush; you "accept" the great likelihood that his intentions are bad, based again on overwhelming evidence.

The difference is that "acceptance" follows from evidence without requiring a statement of faith, while "belief" can be based on evidence but requires a statement of faith.

Consider, for example, the following:

1. "We don't know how life began on Earth."
2. "God created life on Earth."

Statement 1 is a conclusion fully supported by available facts. Statement 2, with access to the same facts, draws a conclusion not supported by those facts. The "belief" in a thing may be very strongly held, and one's "acceptance" of a thing may be very tenuous, but that doesn't lessen the distinction between them.

Someone will probably mention The Matrix or The Truman Show, at this point, claiming that it's a statement of faith to believe that the universe "really" "exists." I'd prefer to avoid that tired conversation, but suffice it to say that it is a smaller statement of "faith" to declare that we can observe the universe than it is to claim that an infinite, eternal, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent entity exists despite an utter lack of evidence of its existence.
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Imperialism Inc. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #39
157. This is an old problem that never seems to get addressed.
Edited on Mon Apr-03-06 09:27 PM by WakingLife
If atheism = "belief system" then why does not believing in UFOs = "belief system"? Or an infinite number of other "lack of beliefs". Like dragons or hobbits ,etc etc.

For a believer it does equal a belief system because their system (probably) revolves around God. So to them it seems a lack of belief in it must revolve around it as well. But for me my belief system revolves around ideas like those of Rationalism (note: I did not invent this term. If it is offensive I am sorry but please take it up with the people who did) and ethical codes like secular humanism, perhaps a little bit of the scientific method thrown in, a bit of awe and wonder, and a healthy helping of "I don't know". So for me it makes no more sense to say that my atheism is a belief system than to say that my non-belief in UFOs is.

From the Wiki article:
Atheism, a disbelief or lack of belief in God, can be on any basis, or none at all, so it doesn't require rationalism. Furthermore, rationalism does not, in itself, affirm or deny atheism, although it does reject any belief based on faith alone.

Atheism doesn't require rationalism, but for me it does grow out of it , much as my non-belief in dragons does. It is the same process for me. So my atheism is really a side effect not a belief system of it's own. I also don't think the process I spoke of proves no God. It is like a scale from likely to not very likely. I guess if we want to pick nits we have to be agnostic about each and every thing we don't believe in. However, for me, dragons and God are about on the same place on the scale. That is, so unlikely, we may as well go ahead and say they don't exist. If you must insist on calling this agnostic go ahead, just please be consistent and call the other non-beliefs agnostic as well. So as not to imply that we think (or should think) the two things are equally likely. And to be clear about how flimsy this supposed belief system we are being assigned really is when claimed for other non-beliefs.

A friend, an intelligent lapsed Jew who observes the Sabbath for reasons of cultural solidarity, describes himself as a Tooth Fairy Agnostic. He will not call himself an atheist because it is in principle impossible to prove a negative. But "agnostic" on its own might suggest that he though God's existence or non-existence equally likely. In fact, though strictly agnostic about god, he considers God's existence no more probable than the Tooth Fairy's.
Bertrand Russell used a hypothetical teapot in orbit about Mars for the same didactic purpose. You have to be agnostic about the teapot, but that doesn't mean you treat the likelihood of its existence as being on all fours with its non-existence.
The list of things about which we strictly have to be agnostic doesn't stop at tooth fairies and celestial teapots. It is infinite. If you want to believe in a particular one of them -- teapots, unicorns, or tooth fairies, Thor or Yahweh -- the onus is on you to say why you believe in it. The onus is not on the rest of us to say why we do not. We who are atheists are also a-fairyists, a-teapotists, and a-unicornists, but we don't' have to bother saying so.
-- Richard Dawkins,
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #3
38. I respectfully disagree
If you have "an ABSENCE of belief in god..." then you are not technically an atheist - you're an agnostic.

My view is much like Goblinmonger's, and I don't believe that it's agnostic. By my understanding, an agnostic makes the positive claim that we cannot know whether god exist or does not exist, so a judgment re: belief is suspended.

An atheist, at least by my formulation, makes no positive claim about the existence or nonexistence of god and instead makes a positive claim re: the lack of belief. It is a much smaller (and less presumptuous!) statement to say "I do not believe..." than it is to say "We cannot know..."

In theological arguments, the only claim that I need to support is that I do not believe, which is pretty easily done. An agnostic, in contrast, needs to explain how a presumably omnipotent being (if such exists) would be unable to prove its existence, and that position is as difficult to support as the claims of a theist.

I am happy to be corrected if Goblinmonger's formulation is at odds with mine.


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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. That is also the original and MY definition of atheism.
Although a few theists love to tell me otherwise.

Repeatedly.



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dchill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #38
43. I still think I'm right...
but that's what make it fun, right? An atheist is "one who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods." That seems to me to be a fairly positive claim, is it not?

To be clear, my claim of being agnostic ("one who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.") is based on the idea that no one, including me, can positively say one way or another whether there is a god. To me, that's just a matter of common sense, or logic, if you will. An agnostic has no need or requirement to explain or prove anything - that responsibility falls to the believer. The agnostic advocates nothing, the atheist advocates the non-existence of deity. There's where the need to explain or prove comes in.

In my opinion.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 12:34 AM
Response to Reply #43
49. Disbelief is not a positive claim
Where denial of the existence of god(s) is. That is the difference between weak and strong atheism. A weak atheist is someone who lacks theism and who does not happen to believe in the existence of any gods no more, no less. Strong atheism goes one step further and involves denying the existence of god(s). This narrower conception of atheism is often thought by many (erroneously) to represent the entirety of atheism itself.



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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #49
66. A fine post, though "Weak" and "Strong" have always bothered me as labels!
The "weak atheist" view is actually the stronger rhetorical position IMO, since its claims are smaller, easier to support, and more difficult to refute.

The "strong atheist" (with due respect to the DU'er by that screen-name, certainly!) in contrast makes a larger claim, it's more difficult to support, and easier to refute.

This narrower conception of atheism is often thought by many (erroneously) to represent the entirety of atheism itself.

Exactly right! Every single time I discuss atheism with a theist, I have to waste time explaining how a lack of belief in a thing is not the same as a belief in the lack of that thing. Every single time!
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dchill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #66
74. "I have to waste time explaining..."
Yes. So I'm guessing that in the confines of this discussion, a "strong agnostic" might roughly equal a "weak atheist"?

The strong atheist, by definition, makes a claim (has a belief) that is not only "more difficult to support" - it's impossible to prove. I'm agreeing with you, not disagreeing.

I also happen to agree with Phil Donahue, who says that we're really all of the same religion - agnostic. The point is, nobody knows.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 01:06 AM
Response to Reply #74
79. ......
I also happen to agree with Phil Donahue, who says that we're really all of the same religion - agnostic. The point is, nobody knows.


Yet there are millions out there who would have me dead because they are certain that their god exists, and that he hates me for what I am. :shrug:
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dchill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 02:14 AM
Response to Reply #79
81. Well, that IS a problem...
isn't it? The operative term here is "their god" - who evidently would have a LOT of us dead. It really, really doesn't compute, does it?
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 01:10 AM
Response to Reply #66
80. I'm not thrilled with the labels either
And, like you, I'm sick and tired of having to explain myself repeatedly to people. Not so much those who genuinely are confused, but those who insist on trying to tell me what I believe (when I actually don't believe).

I wouldn't be so rude as to tell them what they believe, after all. :shrug:
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #66
156. "Agnostic atheist" vs. "Gnostic atheist" would be more proper.
The prefix "a-" means without.

An agnostic atheist means someone who is without gods but has no absolute knowledge of the absence of a god. This is also called a weak atheist, and like you I don't like that label. To be "gnostic" requires absolute knowledge, something on the order of divine revelation, which for atheists is hard to come by. Some theists claim absolute knowledge because they believe that god has spoken to them.

My own beliefs about god are that there is no model for god that you can conceive that does not contradict something that is known. And so goes the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, Zeus, Zoroaster, Beelzebub, Daffy Duck, and a host of other characters whose existence requires a contradiction to what I view as reality. (I define reality as a correspondence between my ideas and outside events.)

In effect, my views differ little from our own DUer, Strong Atheist, and we have discussed this, and the reason I don't claim that knowledge is because I can't prove it deductively. I am happy to claim that for me there is no god, but I wouldn't claim it for anyone else.

I would emphasize that the term "agnostic" applies to theists as easily as to atheists, and, by itself, only specifies the source of knowledge, not its nature.

Whether atheism is a belief system really gets down to definitions of words. My belief system involve two beliefs. (1) All the universe follows the same rules of nature. (2) The things that happen can be understood. Atheism is the result of my beliefs, not the cause of my beliefs. To assert that atheism is a belief system puts it on the hypothesis side of an implication, where for me, it is the conclusion. Theists like to do this because they want to assert that atheism is elective, an arbitrary position, as opposed to the result of critical thought.

--IMM
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #38
75. Okay, I'm getting on the same page
but to double check tell me which is which. If I say:

I know there is no God

I believe there is no God

I have seen no proof of God

I believe there is something but I don't know what.


Which is which?
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opiate69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #75
78. I'll have a stab at it, Grannie...
I know there is no God - A Gnostic atheist, also known (erroneously, in my opinion) as a "Strong" atheist

I believe there is no God - Strong atheist, yet again

I have seen no proof of God - Garden variety atheist

I believe there is something but I don't know what. - Agnostic or Deist
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believerinchrist Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. But the Vikings are a real team,
and even though the person has no thoughts about the team, the team still exists!

Do you really have no thoughts about God--the fact you are an atheist, by its very definition, suggests a position of not believing in God. Maybe a better term would be a neutralist--if you have no thoughts of God, how can you have a position on Him?

Words are very tricky, aren't they? (But, as a writer, I love them!)
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #4
22. Yeah
the analogy is a little flawed at that level. My alternative analogy was me and a group of people that worshipped pink unicorns. I thought that would be insulting to some and I didn't want to go there with this OP.

I am an a-theist. I am without a belief in god. That is the word origin as I understand and use it.
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believerinchrist Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #22
28. I get it..
How did you become an a-theist?
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #28
33. Not ignoring you
I only have a few minutes to post. The answer is longish and I haven't really shared all of it. I just might here since I am trying to "make myself known." Perhaps when I have more time tonight I will give you my journey.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
6. Excellent Post!
You know, I'm convinced that the folks who are the most conspicuous in their assertions that atheists have a "belief system" (or that atheists purposely and rebelliously "dis-believe" in their deity, or that they have an "active disbelief" in their deity, etc) actually DO understand the point you're trying to make. They just don't care.

Your OP is an excellent one and for anyone who truly isn't getting-it... perhaps it will help them to understand. But the usual band of suspects that your OP is probably intended for (and we know who they are), will always pretend not to understand. No matter how well it's explained to them, and even though they secretly DO understand... those folks have no true motivation to do anything OTHER than what they are doing now.

By pretending not to understand... they are able to add a bit more realism to their "who-me?" acting-innocent game. Perhaps that's how they are able to be so successfully as they continue to skirt DU rules against bigotry.

The anti-atheist bigots go to great lengths to shield their hatred and disguise their bigotry by cloaking it behind religion. Such extraordinary efforts absolutely convince me that their insults and bigoted words are intentional.

The fact that they are *clever* enough to continually come up with new (albeit repetitive) ways to make the same insulting arguments about what atheists "believe" only serves to convince me that they REALLY ARE smart enough to understand how insulting it is to atheists.

They just don't care. That's how bigots are. They just don't care. (Why they continue to be permitted to stay here at DU is a mystery to me.)

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believerinchrist Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I hope you don't consider me a bigot.
I firmly believe every person has the right to (and should) be true to himself or herself. I also think that the term "atheist" has a particular connotation to people the same way "religion" and "Christian" have. There are bigots in every belief system that exists. My advice is to ignore them; they can't control what's on the inside of you.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I Do Not Consider You To Be An Anti-Atheist Bigot...
... at least not yet, anyway. :hi: Nothing personal, but I just don't know enough about you (or what you think, or what you've written) to make a judgment about that one way or the other. Until I'm proven wrong, I'm usually inclined to give folks the benefit of the doubt though.

You can definitely rest assured that I wasn't thinking of you when I was writing that post. I had a couple of other folks in mind, who are quite obvious and blatant with their anti-atheist rhetoric and insults.

<< There are bigots in every belief system that exists. >>

But they aren't allowed on DU... at least they're not SUPPOSED to be allowed on DU.

<< My advice is to ignore them; they can't control what's on the inside of you. >>

That's easy for you to say, but I can't afford to just "ignore them".



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believerinchrist Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. I'm just curious,
why can't you ignore them? (If it's too personal, just forget I asked.) I've learned throughout the years that it's not important what other people think about me. What's important is what I think about myself and how I treat other people. I believe Shakespeare was speaking a truth when he penned, "To thine own self be true." And it's not easy for me to say--I've been so harshly criticized to my face that had I given in to it, I might have been destroyed.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #17
37. Would YOU Ignore Someone Who Used Their Scriptures...
... to justify homophobia, and constitutional amendments that institutionalized bigotry and inequality? Would YOU ignore such a threat to YOUR family, equality and well-being? (Of course if you're not gay, then such a question might not resonate with you... so you'll just have to use your imagination.)
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believerinchrist Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #37
42. I apologize--I was just looking at the belief system...
I can't imagine the type of pain you have been suffering, although I have had quite a bit of my own. For what it's worth, the only thing I can offer you is my prayers--and I hope that's not offensive to you.
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #7
67. Hey, welcome to DU!
:hi:
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #6
23. Thanks for the support
You and I certainly have to go out for a drink sometime. Tell me you live in Dallas because I am going there in June.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #23
68. Good Idea... I'd Enjoy That.
If you're ever going to be in the DC area let me know!
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #68
70. I'll keep that in mind
If you head to the land of cheese, brats, and Feingold, let me know.
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #6
76. Well, I think atheists have belief systems
they just aren't revolving around God. But everyone has beliefs. Like I believe it might snow tomorrow. Or I believe organic food is better for me than non.
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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #76
83. Not so --
Like I believe it might snow tomorrow. Or I believe organic food is better for me than non.

The word "believe" as you use it here is a synonym for "postulate".

To paraphrase if I may: "Given my understanding of weather and the information available to me I postulate that there is a high probability of snow tomorrow".

Belief also refers to having a credo or religious (or superstitious which I consider the same thing) faith. Your use of "believe" then becomes ambiguous and you commit an equivocation fallacy.


Eileen

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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #76
84. Not so --
Like I believe it might snow tomorrow. Or I believe organic food is better for me than non.

The word "believe" as you use it here is a synonym for "postulate".

To paraphrase if I may: "Given my understanding of weather and the information available to me I postulate that there is a high probability of snow tomorrow".

Belief also refers to having a credo or religious (or superstitious which I consider the same thing) faith. Your use of "believe" then becomes ambiguous and you commit an equivocation fallacy.


Eileen

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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
9. You may not have a "belief system," but...
one wonders why you talk so often about religion when you claim to have no interest in it. I have little interest in sports, and can't think of the last time I was tempted to talk about any sports team, much less the Vikings. I do have an interest in Oriental food, but I don't go into their forums telling the chefs they are making their dumplings the wrong way.

At any rate, some who call themselves atheists do have a belief that there is no god, and that belief is as unprovable as the belief that there is one. When an "atheist" of whatever stripe chimes in on a religious topic, one tends to assume it is to make such a statement of belief. "He is a fiction just like every other mythology..." might be considered to be such a statement. It shows something a bit more than simple disinterest.

Which brings me to the next point-- that I'm not all that sure I like being told what I believe is a mythology invented for false security.

Goose/Gander





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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Has he actually made such a claim?
<< one wonders why you talk so often about religion when you claim to have no interest in it. >>

I think it's a mistake for someone to presume that "no belief" is the same as "no interest". Speaking for myself... even as an atheist with "no belief" in deities, religion is a topic that interests me.

I think it's unfair for anyone to suggest that non-believers, even those who are interested in religion, are unwelcome--or somehow unqualified--to discuss, analyze, and criticize religion?

Religion affects me and my life... why should non-believers be excluded, or isolated, or intimidated into remaining silent.








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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Why does religion interest you, if you have no belief?
Edited on Tue Mar-28-06 06:27 PM by kwassa
arwaldenn:
"I think it's a mistake for someone to presume that "no belief" is the same as "no interest". Speaking for myself... even as an atheist with "no belief" in deities, religion is a topic that interests me."

Why do you find it so interesting?
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Actually...
<< Why do you find it so interesting? >>

:eyes: What I said was that it's a topic that interests me.

I don't "find it so interesting" in the sense that one usually associates with that phrase. It's not a topic that captures my attention as a way to idly pass the time. It's a topic that interests me out of a sense of preservation and keeping an eye on what the enemy has up their sleeve for me and mine... and how they use their scriptures to justify their bigotry and hatred.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. So, would it be accurate to describe it as paranoia about religious
influence?

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. Dude, seriously
why are you pissing on my thread? What have I done in the OP that invited this level of spite from you? I am trying to explain myself so that we can actually STOP having these little spats in various threads, but rather than try to REALLY understand me and other atheists, you just come in here with the same crap I am posting about.

To use your famous line, "Why aren't you responding to my OP?"
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #25
29. Um, the question was addressed to arwalden, why do you answer?
I have no spite towards you at all.

There are multiple conversations in every thread. Guess what? This isn't about the OP, but about another line of thought.

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. OK
Calm down, Francis. Interesting that when you did reply to the OP, you replied with pretty much exactly the same thing. Pardon me for jumping the gun correctly.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #19
34. Oh Good Grief... Grow Up!
:eyes:
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
41. The question was halfway rhetorical...
Religion does permeate modern American life and I agree it permeates it too much, and often for the wrong reasons. It cannot be avoided, and everyone ends up with an opinion. Just can't be helped with the onslaught of religious fervor we are all hit with on a regular basis.

My point is never that the non-religious should keep quiet or hide in one of those closets of shame we have all too many of, but that it is all too easy for some to react in the same way that they object to in others.

Speaking only for myself, my beliefs are my own, and I am willing to discuss them and listen to the beliefs, or nonbeliefs, of others. I make no special claim to wisdom or aany particular pathway to truth of any sort, and I would appreciate that of others, too. I tend to bristle when I hear anyone claim absolutely that their god is the one true one just as I tend to bristle when someone says absolutely that there is no god. I see llittle difference between the two statements, and they are perfectly valid as personal beliefs but when made as statements of fact they cannot be supported.

Just say that that is what you believe without saying that everyone else is wrong and there will be no problem. At least not with me, anyway.





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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. being a non-believer in a believer's world is like
being a network television fan during basketball's March Madness. Madness it is, but we have no choice except to look at it every day, accept its constant intrusions and cope with the consequences of its unwelcomed power to change how we live our lives.

Pardon us if we bitch a little.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #13
26. Nice analogy
And I thought I was trying to make nice with this OP and explain myself better than I may have been in the past (and create some dialogue in areas where I am still not making myself clear).
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #13
45. As I mentioned elsewhere-- you do have...
a point.

Even as a Christian, a very nontraditional one but Christian nonetheless, I am often overwhelmed by the nonsense we are all subjected to. I imagine that any non-Christian, be it other religions or not religious at all, is often made to feel like a second-class citizen.

At least the minority religions can get together in their temples and sympathize with each other. For the non-religious it must be overwhelming at times.



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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #9
24. I have a masters in communication
The way people think fascinates me. Religion is part of the way in which people shape their reality. Read the book "How Real is Real" by the author of my sig line sometime. Really cool (until the extraterrestrial stuff at the end).

I know you might not like being told that I (notice the wording here) feel that all religion is mythology for false security, but I am entitled to my thoughts, too, right. I just shouldn't say them in this forum? See, I view respecting your right to believe what you want and frame your belief system in any way that you want FAR different from me having to buy into your belief system and feel that it is valid.
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #24
44. As I said in #41...
I am only making the point that your stating this mythology as fact is, to me at least, as objectionable as someone else stating as fact that his god exists. Both statements are perfectly valid as personal belief, but still can't be stated as fact.

This insistance, even when unintentional, that one is "correct" is a root of the problems we have with religion in this country. Of course we both have our reasons for believing as we do, but since there is no meeting of the minds on the basis of our beliefs, there's no point in making flat statements as though there were.

I have no problem with you believing it's all bullshit and mythology invented for some purpose, just in the manner of stating it as if it were some accepted universal truth. Picky? Maybe, but so many of our problems are based in semantics and faulty communication, as you would know.

And, I am using the term "belief" in its broadest sense, not ascribing any actual belief system here.

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 06:41 AM
Response to Reply #44
63. Let me clarify
I am not offended when someone tells me that their god exists. I am offended when they use that belief to define me. Do you really mean that people should not state their belief in god as a universal truth around other people because those people may not believe the same thing?

But why does mine need to be belief. There is absolutely no rational, scientific evidence for the existence of god. There is scientific evidence for the existence of gravity. Do we have a "belief" in gravity?
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 12:53 AM
Response to Reply #9
51. Religion has a major impact on life in America
It affects who I can or cannot marry, what medications I can get at my pharmacy, what I can do with my body should I become pregnant, what I can watch on television, what is being taught to children in public schools, who is able to be elected to public office, who gets custody of their children and much, much more.


I'd have to be a bloody fool not to be interested.
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 02:06 AM
Response to Reply #51
56. I agree...
it is far too prevalent and its effect is certainly not all to the good.

I'm not saying you should accept this, just making a small observation on how the debate can be poisoned. Religion, or the lack of it, is an intensely personal experience and none of us has The Truth.

I would also agree that all of us, religious or not, should be even more outspoken about how we refuse to let the religious attitudes of the few control our lives. We are at the disadvantage of not having the microphone, and, curiously, it is the least spiritual and most dishonest of the alleged believers who have the drive to get that microphone.

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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 02:10 AM
Response to Reply #56
57. Very true
it is the least spiritual and most dishonest of the alleged believers who have the drive to get that microphone.

It is they who use religion as a weapon, and a tool of opression. It is they who fear diversity and conflicting opinions. Is it any wonder they are willing to do pretty much anything to keep others away from the microphone?
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
77. I can understand the interest in defining one's beliefs
within the framework of the beliefs of others. We all want to see ourselves in comparison with others... am I taller, shorter, fatter, smarter, nicer, etc. A belief in God is so common, that if you "paddle upstream" so to speak, I would imagine it is a "decision" or a "state" that requires some heavy duty thinking and defining.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 05:51 PM
Response to Original message
12. Though the analogy is a smidge flawed, I appreciate it
It's sad that this always has to boil down to believing in fact versus believing in something unproven. One belief is called a truth and the other by a variety of names its adherents find insulting. Still, many erringly insist it is all the same as they are both beliefs.

If I've learned nothing else in my 4 years at DU I've learned that those bent on argument will never see the truth even if it's been painted in the most precise brush.

I thank you for your willingness to explain what it feels like to be without belief. For those who believe, especially for those who have always believed, it must be a very difficult concept to understand. While I share your desire to be understood, I suggest that for the most part, you are tilting at windmills. Those who want to understand don't likely require such elaborate explanations. Those who don't, will likely never be happy with anything you say.

You've brought your A-game. If others can't handle it, is it really your problem? Just as some argue that being gay is a choice, there will always be some who argue that not believing in a higher power is a choice.

All I'm saying is, if you're desire to be understood by believers has caused you to expend more energy than reasonably necessary in the effort, reconsider whether or not it's worth it. After all, if you are happy and content with your life, spiritually, emotionally and physically, that is really all that is important in your life. The headaches, the stress, the frustration, the time wasted tilting windmills in defense of a truth only detracts from your quality of life.

In this world of believers, we non-believers need to keep our wits about us. Don't waste brain power on windmills.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #12
27. Thanks
I freely admit the analogy is a bit flawed. The better one I had would have been very insulting to a lot of people, so I opted for the NFL one.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #27
36. Truthfully, no criticism was intended
I thought it was fine. It's just not perfect enough for the believers who feel threatened by us.
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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
14. Non-theist - not atheist.
"I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian God may exist; so may the Gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them."

"The argument that there must be a first cause is one that cannot have any validity. If anything must
have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God."
Bertrand Russell, The Quotable Bertrand Russell
ed. Lee Eisler, Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1993)


Because we really don't know where we come from we invent answers and demand others accept them. Thence comes religion. Which leads to the questions; "if the universe was created by the Big Bang or some other event, where did the materials involved in the Big Bang come from? Nowhere? How? I mean how can something come from nothing?."

As I see it the theist "fills in the knowledge gap" by creating a figmentary world peopled by rules they claim are natural and beings that create these rules from the ether. The non theist, accepting reality and unconfounded by uncertainty and cognitive dissonance is capable of accepting current knowledge and building on that as the evidence presents itself.

This brings us to the prime difference between the answer to those questions as provided by a theist and the contrasting answer from a non theistic source.

The theist requires that there be answers always, and is incapable of living without answers, and for this reasons - where no answer exists - turns to superstition or supplies the answer from the ether which makes hir comfortable. Essentially for the theist cognitive dissonance is less uncomfortable than uncertainty; because self deception will always provide a coping mechanism for the cognitive dissonance but there is no coping mechanism for uncertainty.

The non theist on the other hand has difficulty rationalizing the cognitive dissonance associated with acceptance of the unfounded and unprovable mythology necessarily associated with belief in a theos and furthermore is not uncomfortable dealing with uncertainty which s/he recognizes as simply a part of the human condition. If we walk on the street we recognize the possibility of being struck by a random bus which has for whatever reason intersected our path despite our taking the normal precautions to prevent such accidents. We even recognize the possibility of an explosion of sewer gas opening the roadway in front of us and swallowing us - even in non earthquake prone zones - so we live with the possibility of such random and chaotic occurrences on a daily basis - but rather than despair that they may occur we posit our actions on probability, since there is a far greater probability they will not occur.

Einstein, Hawking, and many modern physicists speak of what is sometimes called "the big bang" which began the creation of the universe, as we know it, by the term "Singularity" (or usually "The Singularity"). Our modern mathematics and physics can "predict" or perhaps a better term is "project" from that singularity using what we currently know about the laws of physics but this is always a work in progress and subject to revision (as for instance recent "dark matter" revelations show) and we thus can give some form to what happened centuries, or hours, or evan speculate what happened minutes after the singularity. They refer to what happened before the singularity as "undefined" since, among other things, the time space continuum as we know it did not exist and all our 'rules' for time and space therefore cannot be applied. The 'laws' of physics, and mathematics, and logic, - in other words - stop at the singularity.

Theists consistently commits the "petitio principii" or 'question begging' fallacy in their diatribes by appealing to the unproven existence of a creator and designer for the universe. Now "evidentialism" maintains it is irrational to continue with such certainty in unproven premises that form the basis of arguments as theism does. The contemporary "Reformed Epistemogy" movement calls evidentialism into question. Many modern theists appear to accept the tenets of reformed epistemology as fact and presents arguments that seem rational from this basis. That this only works within the confines of reformed epistemology as a discipline is ignored. Also ignored are the required manufacture of a theos, a form of insanity some claim, to provide the substance missing in the arguments; and the creating of "laws" from the ether to remove the ability for rational examination of arguments. From the card house of "natural laws" and theism the reformed epistemologist then claims we are incapable of living with uncertainty and in order to fulfill this requirement embellishes the fantasy world already created by denying the existence of an a-posterior knowledge but posits an a-priori form based on a game of smoke and mirrors wherein unprovable entities whisper their "truths" into hir ear and the ears of those who also believe like hir.

I contend that unless an opponent is capable of citing actual data that factually does corroborate the arguments presented s/he is forced to appeal to unelaborated phenomenological arguments. While I respect others right to hold their own particular or peculiar religious and philosophical viewpoints, and practice those religious beliefs, and to associate freely with like minded individuals, for exercises in freedom of speech, and freedom to worship - my respect only lasts as long as the exercise of those rights do not lead to injury of others. Theists may appear to establish some invalidity of non theistic arguments through particular premises and heuristics that are indigenous to their own epistemological and ontological community. Using their own bel;ief system, in other words, they may "prove" the existence of a theor or theoses.

In other words the consistent fallacy of the theist is basing a conclusion on untrue syllogisms and then assuming the resultant conclusion is correct. It might be but the reasoning is faulty. The syllogisms must be correct before valid conclusions can be drawn from them. Theists are quite entitled to believe their own epistemological premises, but I will not be convinced until I see reproducible and generalizable data. Doxastic logic is not a replacement for a veridical ontology.

For these reasons I do not refer to myself as an "atheist" since to some that claim would be interpreted as a belief in the non-existence of a theos. Rather I say I am a non-theist. Some people, and I'm among them, recognise the stupid game played in the USA where atheism has been defined as a religion (sometimes called secular humanism) strictly for the political purpose of preventing the teaching of certain subjects. Non-theists recognise the logical fallacy of trying to prove a negative and instead opt to live our lives as if there were no such entity as a theos and ignore the need for such proof.

So I ask myself: "Self - Does it make better sense, even pragmatically, to live as though fairies, trolls, Her Horny Pinkness The IPU (pbuH) does exist than as though they don't?" and answer with a resounding NO Rather it's the result of my being a rational animal and a careful examination of the evidence to follow Russels advice and ignore the speculation which lies outside the relam of probable nowledge. The prima facie case favors non existence of a theos. I can't prove that any more than you can prove the non existence of the IPU.Just to make myself clear I am not saying a sky fairy does not exist - since there is no evidence (and can be none) of non existence. Neither do I say that Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, or Leprechauns do not exist. So he/she/it is, and they are, the equivelant of the IPU - an amusing philosophic exercise not to be taken seriously.



Eileen
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. One giant flaw in your argument, among others
"The theist requires that there be answers always, and is incapable of living without answers"

Absolutely 100% incorrect. Many theists live in great ambiquity, because the exact nature of God is difficult to know. The practice of attempting to know it is prayer, or meditation.
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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #18
46. No flaw -
So called "prayer and meditation" is actually self deception through wishful thinking based on the irrational belief that answers exist if only they could be reached - not the recognition that there are no answers. They are examples of the type of "magic thinking" among theists that replaces formal logic and rational thought. "The exact nature of a theos" is as irrational a concept as "the exact nature of fairies" so any ambiguity that arises stems from trying to resolve the cognitive dissonance inherent in the self deception required to believe nonsense.


Eileen
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Frangible Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 01:12 AM
Response to Reply #46
54. Incorrect
Meditation is performed with the abscence of thought and has nothing to do with self-deception; even without faith it's a very effective activity for reducing stress, plasma catecholamine levels, and has even been shown to spur certain types of glial development. The neuroimaging studies that have been done on regular practitioners lately are particularily interesting, temporal lobe seizure debates aside.

You are making the assertation that people engage in an activity for a reason, yet this is contradictory for at least meditation, as deep relaxation and the changes in EEG state require the abscence of thought, not the prescence of them as you suggest. Meditation is beneficial and useful whether you have faith or not.

By making an argument without data, you are using faith-- the same thing you demean others for having. It should be readily appearent that this logical cannot be considered rational.

I would suggest a visit to PubMed and learning more about meditation studies-- studies the Dalai Lama enthusiastically supports, I might add.

Finally, regarding prayer, once again you are making an assertation about the reasons involved for prayer, yet your claims differ from the published studies I have seen on it. But I must say, you do have faith.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 01:26 AM
Response to Reply #54
55. Faith in what?
Edited on Wed Mar-29-06 02:01 AM by beam me up scottie
But I must say, you do have faith.


You're not suggesting that atheists have religious faith, are you?
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 02:23 AM
Response to Reply #54
58. There is no such thing as absence of thought
Your brain is always 'on' and there's not anything you can do about. The only real thing that is somewhat under your conscious control is what you choose to pay attention to. Generally in meditation you are choosing to pay more attention to your body and the myriad sensations it experiences every second as opposed to the external world or you are focusing your attention on one stimulus to the exclusion of all others (in so far as that's possible). You are however correct that meditation is beneficial for relieving stress and perhaps other things as well although I'm not aware of the ones you mentioned.

Sorry, this is one of my pet peeves along with the other perennial myth about people only using 10% of their mind.
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WritingIsMyReligion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #58
92. I think what he means is absence of conscious thought.
As in, yeah, your brain is still working, but you're not consciously thinking of anything in particular.

:shrug:

:hi:
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #54
64. A semantic quibble
I don't think you are using mediation in the same regard as the person 2 posts upthread. They are not talking about the "absense of thought." My guess is they are talking about intense thought or reflection on a concept. That is the term that was used when I was in seminary, anyway.

Nobody is denying that mediation, as you describe it, and prayer can have positive influences on EEG, stress, etc. What I think is being said is that they do little to actually prove the existence of god.
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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #54
72. Gobblydegook.
Edited on Wed Mar-29-06 01:43 PM by Eileen
The phenomena you describe with respect to meditation are natural biochemical reactions and can be achieved through other means also (chemically induced eg) so there is no element of supernatural concerned. Now the fact that some of the neurological processes required to induce or maintain the so called "meditative state" occur at a sub-liminal level, which with good experimental design can be proven, means the claim of supernatural involvement is bogus.

Both your claims, in fact, are bogus. "Prayer" and meditation" (as it is usually referenced) lean on the metaphysical so I am making no claims without reason - or basing nothing on what you call "faith" - since these activities exhibit an absense of reasonable examination of claims.

PubMed reports in abstract form on various studies associated with the medical prtofession particularly, and I am a regular user of their database since it is an excellent research review starting point. However the abstracts presented in PubMed do not represent the study as presented in a peer reviewed journal. To get that information you need to go to the original journal in which the study was published and there you should find peer review. That peer review is essential for proper evaluation of such studies.

I can almost guarantee that any peer review of the so called "studies" you reference en passant will object to the methodology used and in particular the absence of double blind methodology, and with good reason. Testing superstition and paranormal claims does not lend itself to the double blind method.

I define "faith" as belief without reason. Those who take the studies on prayer and similar phenomena as definitive are using faith as I have described it since the studies cannot provide such definitive proof. This is precisely what you do in the first two paragraphs. It is amusing to then see you use that petitio principii to deduce I suffer from self deception also. I cannot see where I have exhibited such irrationality so your pathetic tu quoque fallacy is null.


Eileen
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #72
73. ooh, I'm all excited
Somebody else with a statistical research background. Welcome aboard.
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dchill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #14
48. "we invent answers and demand others accept them"
You could be talking about religion, or you could be talking about the Bush administration. The similarities are so plentiful.

What I mean to say is "Excellent post!"
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Strong Atheist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 06:06 AM
Response to Reply #14
59. Welcome to D.U.!
:toast:
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #14
82. Welcome to DU, Eileen
I was really getting into your post, although I will admit I'm a pretty simple thinker and you had some heavy duty intellectual mortars flying around in there. And I was thinking how elucidating it is to kind of climb into someone's brain and see how they think.

And then for me, you blew it with "does it make any sense....to live as though fairies, trolls..." And I thought. Ah, here we go again.

Because in my simple world which is not particularly logical (as I readily admit) but is extraordinarily successful by my own measures, your rational post stepped over the line of good manners. The need for kindness, compassion and manners is not quantitative, not empirical. But screwing it up can come back and bite you in the ass, and ruin a perfectly lovely thesis.

I'm getting to know the non-believers here on DU and they are getting to know me. I have found out that they don't have tails or horns (or if they do they keep them tucked in pants and under hats) and they are learning that I don't stand in the street with "Jesus Saves" signs. And we are learning to be gentle with one another. I would not tell them, any of them, that they have a belief system because obviously this is painful and frustrating to them and it hurts them. And they don't refer to the sacred things in my life as trolls and fairies for the same reason. It's working.
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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-30-06 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #82
85. Unfortunate!
If you can demonstrate that there is a difference between imaginary trolls; fairies; Her Horniness The Invisible Pink Unicorns; Thor; Mithra; Aphrodite; and whichever creature you believe in - then I will recognize a need perhaps to treat your irrational beliefs with kid gloves.

If you want me to humor you, as I would a child's belief in the Tooth Fairy, you'll be disappointed because I reserve that side of my personality for children.

The archives here would show that while I have been here for some time the posts I make are generally concerning a woman's right to control her own bodily integrity and the attempt in this country particularly to re-relegate women to the status of second class or minor persons by denying them the same rights constitutionally guaranteed to the penile endowed - particularly the right to bodily integrity. This war on women is conducted under the auspices of religion and based on the mythologies inherent with that system. That the religions engaged in this war on women act through their political arm simply demonstrates that religion is another political game used for control purposes.

I would not think of treating the political machinations of republicans or libertarians with with kid gloves. Why should I treat any other political machine so.

As I said in the post you are responding to:
While I respect others right to hold their own particular or peculiar religious and philosophical viewpoints, and practice those religious beliefs, and to associate freely with like minded individuals, for exercises in freedom of speech, and freedom to worship - my respect only lasts as long as the exercise of those rights do not lead to injury of others.


To put it as gently as I can - go ahead and build all your castles in the air. But don't expect me to live in them or even recognize them and particularly don't expect me to show deference to them.


Eileen
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #85
86. You obviously have a lot of anger regarding this
issue.

My respect for you, up until this point, has kept me from giving my true opinion of your post.

But since you have no respect for my beliefs (I never asked you to join me in them or show any deference to them, but good manners and respect are postive human qualities which you would do well to study.) I will meet you eye to eye.

I have no need to attempt to persuade you that my beliefs are logical. You have not requested that I do so. Are you truly so unaware and immune to positive interpersonal relationships that you do not realize that to liken someone sacred beliefs to trolls and unicorns is hurtful? Is this really how you effect dialogue in your life? If so, I am so sorry you have such a burden to bear. It must be difficult.

But since the gloves are off, and we are going so very very adult, I will tell you that I find your posts to be officious, dismissive, pseudo-intellectual, divisive and amazingly self-important. Oh. And boring.


Now, would someone please PM me and explain how to use the ignore feature? I think I need it for the first time.
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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #86
88. That old fallback of the theistic aoplogist -
by which I mean the ploy of accusing an interlocutor of anger when incapable of defending your own position. (It's a little like "they hate us for our freedoms".) Rigteous indignation would be a more appropriate term to apply to me, where cults are concerned. Anger stifles an effective opposition.

You are demonstrating exactly what I pointed out in my first post in this thread - i.e. ignorance is preferable to cognitive dissonance.

Il est difficile de librer des imbciles des chanes ils revere
It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere. - Voltaire


The ad personams are ignored.


Eileen
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Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #14
89. Nice post, but this part has always amused me
The 'laws' of physics, and mathematics, and logic, - in other words - stop at the singularity.


So in order to deny the existence of the Creator, nonbelievers are forced to postulate a scenario where all laws of physics are suspended, and the laws of mathematics and even logic are entirely abrogated.

I would submit that if your premise requires that you assume the abrogation of the laws of logic, you might need to reconsider your premise.

JMHO
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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #89
90. A matter of paradigms
Edited on Fri Mar-31-06 09:40 PM by Eileen
Current laws of physics and logic can be extended backwards to the singularity. After that point they are undefined and as such cannot even be guessed at. They are not - however - abrogated and I have certainly not implied such. In fact had you been a little more particular in choosing the quote you used and properly placed it in context you would be aware of this. I said:
They refer to what happened before the singularity as "undefined" since, among other things, the time space continuum as we know it did not exist and all our 'rules' for time and space therefore cannot be applied. The 'laws' of physics, and mathematics, and logic, - in other words - stop at the singularity.
but you just couldn't resist taking part of the quote out of context to produce your strawpersons.

Exactly which premise of mine are you implying requires the abrogation of said laws? or is that just another figment of your imagination. Furthermore the Russell quote at the beginning of the post
"The argument that there must be a first cause is one that cannot have any validity. If anything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God."
answers your ex nihilo appeal to some creator - though you appear to be ignoring the challenge inherent in that argument.

Provide me with a logical proof of the existence of your "creator" - something other than the blind watchmaker nonsense or Pascal's false wager, or even Acquinas' circular reasoning - and I will make suitable amendments to my conepts. I won't hold my breath though. It would probably be easier if you started with something small to prove first - perhaps proving a blue fairy exists.


Eileen

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Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #90
91. You put in in context all right
And that did nothing to get you out of the ridiculous position you find yourself in.

First, I feel compelled to point out that your overt hostility is unbecoming and unproductive. You sure have a big chip on your shoulder about something. Relax. The weekend is here.

As to your points, here is your statement in full context:

They refer to what happened before the singularity as "undefined" since, among other things, the time space continuum as we know it did not exist and all our 'rules' for time and space therefore cannot be applied. The 'laws' of physics, and mathematics, and logic, - in other words - stop at the singularity.


Adding this "context" does not change the preposterous nature of your position. You have postulated the existence of a "singularity" (which is really nothing more than a rhetorical device) in order to avoid the conclusion that there was a Creator of the universe. Then you are forced to also hypothesize that this "singularity" came into existence at a particular time in the past. In order to insulate yourself from the obvious questions regarding the origin of the singularity and how it (containing billions of galaxies worth of highly complex matter and all the energy in the universe, as well as the "programming" to make itself expand into the universe as we know it) could possibly have come into existence all on its own without a cause, you assert that "before the singularity" came into existence, rules of physics, math and logic don't apply. QED :rofl:

Exactly which premise of mine are you implying requires the abrogation of said laws? or is that just another figment of your imagination.


It's no figment. I am just referring to your own words. It is your premise that once upon a time, there was a "singularity," and that there was a time "before the singularity" as to which all rules of physics, math and logic "don't apply."

Your quote from Russell gets you nowhere.

"The argument that there must be a first cause is one that cannot have any validity. If anything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God."


No, it is not true that "God must have a cause," nor is it true that "If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God."

As I have noted in other threads, it is logically impossible for anything to create itself, because until it is created, it is not there to do the creating. Therefore, the universe could not have created itself, and must have been caused to come into existence (created) by some force outside the universe.

This force outside the universe had to be immensely powerful, in order to create the universe, with all of its matter and energy, and to cause it to expand at a mind-boggling rate. Keep in mind that natural laws dictate that matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed. Therefore, the creation of all of this matter and energy must necessarily have been supernatural.

So we know that (1) the universe was created; and (2) the creation was supernatural; and (3) the Creator was extremely, awe-inspiringly powerful.

I refer to this supernatural Creator of the Universe as "God."

Do you have any alternative hypotheses that could account for the instantaneous creation of billions of galaxies of matter and unfathomably huge quantities of energy? If so, I would be very interested in hearing your hypotheses.

Now, from all this, I have concluded that there was an uncreated Creator, and that He created the universe. For you (or Bertrand Russell) to ask who created the uncreated Creator is a nonsequitur, because it is a logical impossibility for the Creator to be both uncreated and created.

To postulate a created Creator also merely leads to the question of who created the Creator. If there was a created Creator, whoever created that Creator is the First Cause that we call "God."

Any way you slice it, you have to address the original Creator, who, as a matter of logical fact, could not have been created.

Now if, as you suggest, the rules of logic "don't apply," well then, I guess you can still maintain the belief that the universe was not created. If we don't have to apply logic, perhaps we CAN say that things can create themselves! That solves all your problems!

I'll close by saying that anyone who is capable of so quickly offending and alienating TallahassieGrannie as you did fares poorly by the comparison. She is the type of poster that gets along with everyone. But I can see that's not your style.
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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #91
93. That old "primo genitor" garbage again.
godzebe said:
*First, I feel compelled to point out that your overt hostility is unbecoming and unproductive. You sure have a big chip on your shoulder about something.
You might try for a rebate on that faulty psychoanalysis plugin on your computer.

I am not an angry girl
but it seems like I've got everyone fooled
every time I say something they find hard to hear
they chalk it up to my anger
and never to their own fear
Ani Difranco - Not A Pretty Girl

* Adding this "context" does not change the preposterous nature of your position. You have postulated the existence of a "singularity" (which is really nothing more than a rhetorical device) in order to avoid the conclusion that there was a Creator of the universe.
I have "postulated" nothing and the 'position' is not one I have made. I have presented the current thinking of quantum physicists with respect to the origins of the universe as we know it. If you feel yourself qualified to argue with the likes of Einstein and Hawking then have at it - but somehow you appear too easily influenced by superstition and "magic thinking" to take on that challenge. What really is preposteruos is the explanation you provide by use of petitio principii of a "creator".

Now perhaps you could explain how you derived the non sequitur of the magic "creator" that you drag from nowhere. Who is this magic creator? I'll bet it's her horniness the - IPU (pbuH) -. You might also explain why it is necessary for physicists and other scientists to conspire to explain what they actually can observe and demonstrate in such a way that the existence of imaginary Sky Fairies, IPUs, Spagetti Monsters, and similar theistic nonsense is "required to be" ignored and not actually ignored because it is nonsensical balderdash.
*Then you are forced to also hypothesize that this "singularity" came into existence at a particular time in the past.

The singularity did not "come into existence"! What I explained is that using our current time space continuum we can regress back to a time very shortly after the singularity. Anything prior to that is undefined. What part of "undefined" are you having problems with since you appear to be dragging up defined concepts from nowhere? (for example: obvious questions regarding the origin of the singularity and how it (containing billions of galaxies worth of highly complex matter and all the energy in the universe, as well as the "programming" to make itself expand into the universe as we know it) could possibly have come into existence all on its own without a cause,) Where did you drag that horse manure from and how could the things you define there be "undefined"? You appear to be twisting scientific concepts to fit them into your superstition.

In order to insulate yourself from the you assert that "before the singularity" came into existence, rules of physics, math and logic don't apply. QED

Once more - ANYYTHING beyond the singularity, if there is anything, is undefined - therefore we cannot know what "rules" or "laws" can be used beyond the singularity - Do you really believe you can divide by ?

*It's no figment. I am just referring to your own words. It is your premise that once upon a time, there was a "singularity," and that there was a time "before the singularity" as to which all rules of physics, math and logic "don't apply."


There is no concept of time before the singularity so your sentence is nonsense. Time as we know it ends at the singularity. Do you understand the meaning of "ends"?
*S1 - As I have noted in other threads, it is logically impossible for anything to create itself,
S2 - because until it is created, it is not there to do the creating.
S3 - Therefore, the universe could not have created itself,
S4 - and must have been caused to come into existence (created) by some force outside the universe.

S4 is not derived from S1-2-3. It is a speculative "fill in" created by you and those who ignore infinity. A first cause may give them warm fuzzies but it's meaningless - and unsupported.

Therefore when you say:
* So we know that (1) the universe was created; and (2) the creation was supernatural; and (3) the Creator was extremely, awe-inspiringly powerful.
we actually know that you are bullshitting because we know nothing of the kind and you certainly have not given us any reason or basis to even suspect what you claim is valid.

*I refer to this supernatural Creator of the Universe as "God."

You can refer to your mythical beast as whatever you want since it is obvious that you and similar cult members are the ones that created it.

I'll ignore the rest of your post which is a poor attempt at Sophistry in place of logic.
*I'll close by saying that anyone who is capable of so quickly offending and alienating TallahassieGrannie as you did fares poorly by the comparison. She is the type of poster that gets along with everyone. But I can see that's not your style.

No matter how benign the theist appears humoring them cedes some credibility to their incredible position. That incredible position and its mind addled adherents are the most destructive and evil force on our planet. I consider less than vigorous opposition to this evil to be the equivelant of silence.

Check out -beam me up scottie's- journal piece, or William Pitts - "I see four lights".


Eileen
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Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #93
94. "Before the singularity"
If you don't want people exposing the flaws in your hypothesis that the singularity "came into existence" at some time in the past, and that there was supposedly a time "before the singularity" came into existence, you might want to avoid saying that there was a time before the singularity.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #94
95. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #95
96. Your own words are
"before the singularity"

Deal with it.
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Eileen Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #96
97. Those words appear as PART OF A SENTENCE!!!!!
Deliberately taking words out of context is just another form of lying.

You really don't know what you're talking about - but typical theist you just make shit up to fill in your blanks.

- Search the page on "Singularity" -


Eileen

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
30. To reply to your OP

Why do you spend so much energy on a lack? What other beliefs do you have a lack in that you argue so strongly about?

You clearly believe in something on an affirmative level, whether it be logic, reason, the scientific method, democracy, without necessarily a religious belief of any kind. I'm guessing, of course, because I haven't heard you enunciate it.

What do you see as your affirmative belief, OR belief system?

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-28-06 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. So
philosophy, creation of reality, communication (my master's degree), violation of constitutional rights are not allowed in a religion/theology forum. Because I am a-theistic I can't be interested in what makes the theists tick, or what makes humans tick? I don't go to the Christianity forum because that is not for me. Take a look at the threads and you will see a pretty clear pattern. I do not go around pissing on every thread about religion. There are MANY that I just leave alone because they don't interest me, they aren't aimed at me, they are nowhere near my philosophy.

I believe in rationality, reality, the scientific method. I also love literature, exploration of the human condition, making my one shot at life better for myself and for those around me.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #31
71. Thanks for the answer.
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-31-06 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #31
87. You wrote:

"I believe in rationality, reality, the scientific method. I also love literature, exploration of the human condition, making my one shot at life better for myself and for those around me."


I like that because so do I. (if you'll overlook my little New Testament quirk) and I like finding commonality.

Perhaps the bugaboo is the words "belief system." I'm not quite sure how to phrase it, but believers don't understand sometimes that atheists have .... looking for words.... a core of understandings, values, whatever, that are dear to their hearts, part of their world view and satisfy them similar to the way faith satisfies and even sustains a believer.

It is interesting to me how we keep beating this poor old skeleton of a horse, and I think it is because we are all trying to connect despite our enormous differences, but language keeps getting in the way.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 12:38 AM
Response to Reply #30
50. Why do you spend so much time telling us we don't know how to
define our own atheism?

It's like a fucking one man crusade.

It used to be a two man job, but then stunster went buh-bye! :D
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #50
65. It appears to me
that there are a couple new volunteers to that particular crusade.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-29-06 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #30
52. Maybe because so many people keep contradicting us
And putting words in our mouths. :eyes:
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
98. Define Fairy tale and religion.
Really, what do they mean?

I am fine with you not believing in something you have proof of, but to me that limits the ability to learn more because we reject things we don't have the ability to currently prove.

Someone living in 1200 A.D. could not prove television because the technology did not exist at that time, but we have shown it is possible. To me god is something we cannot prove now (to others) but will be able to prove someday and hence we look for ways to do so. Rejecting the idea out of hand seems narrow minded as some have come to belief from a logical conclusion of things.

Why do so many strive to spread their belief of non-belief? And what is belief anyway - do you 'believe' democrats have a better plan than republicans? If so then you must have goals you think are best for others and that your way is the only way (or best way...) to achieve those goals.

We are surrounded by beliefs everyday, many of which can be labeled as fairy tales. What makes your beliefs more valid than someone else's, and I guess one could ask what a belief is and do we all have them and attempt to propogate them.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #98
99. So when an atheist speaks it's to "spread their belief of non-belief"?
What an arrogant and selfish thing to say considering you have had the stage for a few thousand years.

All we're asking for is tolerance.

It's obviously in short supply around here.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #99
100. Which stage?
The one in africa, china, australia, brazil, et al?

The world is full of beliefs. I have tolerance for the beliefs of others and try not to ridicule them or call them fairy tales. Is it too much to ask the same?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #100
101. That's the only thing you got out of the op?
Where were you in the other threads when believers were calling us liars?

You know what, just forget it.

I'm sick of arguing with the oblivious.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #101
103. Was not discussing other threads.
I used to be atheist myself, so no big deal to me if others are. But why try to convert others to such if one does not like others trying to convert them?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #103
104. What a crock.
Who's trying to deprogram anyone?

Some people need to brush up on their reading comprehension skills.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #104
109. So what is the point of such threads
on a religion forum - if not to convert people to your ways of thinking?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #109
112. If you have to ask that
you shouldn't even be here.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #112
114. Well that was a nice non-answer
I come here to discuss religion and theology in general - if you believe it is all fairy tales why bother to come here?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #114
119. You come here to discuss religion and theology but atheists don't.
Why should we be forced to post in a ghetto because you don't want to deal with the fact that non-believers have opinions on the subject too?

If you want an echo chamber try your own group or find a church.

If you don't like it, don't respond to our posts.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #119
128. No desire for an echo chamber
But within the confines of belief it would be nice to discuss items without people jumping in to tell me it is all a fairy tale and I should adopt their way.

I don't want to convert people to my faith anymore than people who argue in GD want to convert people to republicanism. But how many repugs do we let post there? They have their space (fr) and we have ours. Within ours we have a religion forum and an atheist one.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:56 PM
Response to Reply #128
131. YOU jumped into THIS thread and now you're whining it's offensive?
:rofl:

Are you functionally illiterate?

Why haven't you looked up the difference between groups and forums?
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #131
135. So now name calling?
Sheesh, I expected more of a critical thinker.

I jumped into a thread on religion/theology, not atheism. Maybe I missed that there was a difference - but I am really seeing there is none.

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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #135
137. There's a lot of things you're not seeing.
Like how ridiculous it is to argue about something you haven't researched.

Look up the difference and get back to me.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #128
151. Why Do You Hate Atheists?
:shrug:
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #103
106. Knock-knock-knock! -- Uh, hello! We're from the atheist, uh, church...
... and we'd like to ask you if you've found--, uh... we want to bring you the good news about--, uh... I mean... dude, you need to stop believing, right now! Just stop! I MEAN IT! STOP THAT BELIEVING... OR ELSE!

<< But why try to convert others to such if one does not like others trying to convert them? >>

Did you have any specific atheists in mind? Or were you talking about believers?

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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #106
107. Don't forget about atheist suicide bombers.
It's funny how narrow minded some believers are.
THey have to translate everything into god speak.


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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #106
110. Talking in general
If you don't believe, why spend time on a religion forum? Unless the idea is to ridicule and/or to convert?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #110
113. Oh look. Another "atheists don't belong in here" post.
If you're looking for an echo chamber, try the groups.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #113
115. Oh look - there is an atheists and agnostics group
Don't think I have ever been there myself. Maybe because I don't want to interject my beliefs into a forum that does not share them, ie - I am not out to convert them or get them to see my way as better and theirs as wrong.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #115
116. Take it up with Skinner.
I'm sick of the religious bigots in here expecting us to justify our presence in this forum.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #116
117. well, you do have your own forum...
So why bother to come here?? I mean really?

If people here want to believe, and do, why come here and ridicule them?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #117
120. Do you really not know the difference between a group and a forum?
Or are you being purposely dense?
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #120
124. Why come here?
You don't believe, probably never will, and as a former atheist I am fine with that. If I were still an atheist I would go to that group/forum and discuss issues relating to people of similar interests.

You cannot build up religion here, as you have no belief in it, which is cool by me. I have more respect for many atheists I know than folks of faith in some ways. I would not go into the atheist section of DU and try to spout my ideals as that is for people of similar ideals to discuss things. They have their space outside the normal forums/groups/rooms here to talk about things relating to their ideals.

To me a religion forum or group is for people to ask questions and learn, or to make commentary on religious ideals and/or idiots of similar belief.

I have a lot of problems with religious leaders in this land, and I don't mind discussing such in the context of our core beliefs (whether tibetan buddhism and pacifism or christians or muslims, et al). But how can one discuss their beliefs without being hammered by those who ridicule them so often?

You don't believe, that is fine. Discuss such with others in a non-believers forum. I am just wondering why the need is there to try to convert people?
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:49 PM
Response to Reply #124
126. There are groups and there are forums
As BMUS and I have pointed out several times. Learn the fucking difference. One last time: this is a place for discussion of religion including religion and politics. If you can't stand hearing an opinion different than your own, go to a group.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:56 PM
Response to Reply #126
132. So you want to discuss republican ideals and how they are better?
Afterall, it is a DISCUSSION group. But then skinner set the main site up as one for democrats, we don't want people here disrupting.

And I have no problem discussing religion in general and how it impacts society - cool with me. But to attack it and fellow DU'ers who have a belief in it seems shallow at best.

I am a dem, I have a belief in god, what is the issue? Am I less a person because I do?

If you don't beleive, you have plenty of space to discuss such. If you want to discuss in general how religion is the evil of the world, hop into GD or somewhere and tell us all.

Again, I don't go to atheists discussion group and try to tell people how wrong they are. You have your ideals, and that is cool with me. If you want to discuss religion try doing so without attacking fellow humans who believe differently than you do.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #132
134. Why can't you understand the difference between groups and forums?
I know it's a tough concept but if you really apply yourself, you'll get it.

I have faith in you.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #134
136. Faith??? LOL that is a good one.
Explain that to me. An atheist with faith. That is a good one!
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:04 AM
Response to Reply #136
138. Ah, I found a word you understand.
See, this forum made that connection possible. :D
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:14 AM
Response to Reply #138
141. I am cool with that :)
As a former atheist I can see where you are coming from, really I can.

I have seen things and experienced things in life that have totally changed me, and while they may seem silly to others (and I cannot prove them to you) they were real enough to change me to who I am now.

I cannot explain them, but as a fellow human I would like not to have my faith ripped apart because someone else did not experience them.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #141
143. The op did not "rip apart" anyone's faith.
He is frustrated because certain posters in this forum repeatedly insult us and refuse to accept our definition of ourselves.

I don't like to use the fairy tale analogy either but I have resorted to using it before.

I do try not to bash anyone's personal faith, as do most DU atheists.

See this thread before you make up your mind:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #143
158. That's cool, and I apologize
For misunderstanding the basics between forum and discussions. My mistake totally.

Thanks too for a pretty decent and flameless debate on the issues, even though we disagree and I am still not sure why folks who don't believe in something in general jump into such issues and (at times) seem to poke fun at fellow dems who do believe. I have spent my whole life studying things from science to faith to psychology (all as hobbies) and have reached my own conclusions through a rigourous process.

I don't mind people disagreeing with me on such things, just not sure what it does to help in some debates/discussions (ie, if I am discussing some passage of the bible mentioned in some story or other not sure why people who think it is all a useless fable and only idiots believe jump in to ridicule). But then in some ways I can understand it as people of any belief generall try to make converts (a natural thing in all ideals).
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-04-06 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #158
159. I'm sorry too, for losing my temper.
I do want believers to post in here, especially the liberal ones.
It would be pretty boring if we all agreed on everything.



I think it's safe to assume that most DUers agree on the most important thing: we need to kick the criminals out and take back our country.

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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #124
130. Stop misrepresenting us.
Nobody is trying to deconvert believers and atheists have just as much right to be in a FORUM as anyone else.

Get over it.

Like I said, this is a political internet forum, if you want to be with your own kind, go find a church.


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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #124
152. Is Your Faith *THAT* Weak?
Why do you have this irrational fear of "being converted"?

Anyone who sees "converters" lurking behind every rock and tree is someone who sounds to me like they are not really too sure of their own faith in the first place.

LOL... sometimes I feel like I've stepped into a John Waters movie.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #115
118. You're joking right?
Edited on Sun Apr-02-06 11:34 PM by GreenJ
No one can possibly be this dense.

There are all sorts of groups for people to talk with others of similar interests. This however is a discussion forum where people discuss issues. Religious issues affect everyone in this country. When people stop trying to force religion into government I'll stop talking about it.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #118
121. Dense?
You just mentioned similar interests. What is the similar interests between those who believe in a god and those that don't? Maybe that is why there are 2 seperate forums for this.

If you believe that religion is a terrible thing say so in a forum which goes along with that. If you are in the mind of ML King and others in history who believed in a god than speak out on issues with it in the religion forum.

To me it is simple - believers have a forum to discuss differences and atheists have a forum to discuss their views on it all.

Not real hard to understand....
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #121
122. Yep, dense it is.
Look up the difference between groups and forums.

Believers have groups where the mean old atheists can't bother them.

Go find one.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #121
123. There are religious groups as well as an atheists and agnostics group
this however is not a group for believers but a discussion forum
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #123
125. Well I can see that
Is the goal of some here though to convert myself and others to their way?

Tricky thing that, converting. We often don't like people coming to our homes (or threads) and trying to get us to believe what they do (or don't).

General discussion is just that, general. But if I jumped in most the threads trying to convert people to my personal religious views, or lack thereof, it would detract from the overall political side of the discussion.

Why the need to come here and convince people your way is the right way?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #125
127. Why are you pretending atheists are trying to deconvert you?
Either you're being intellectually dishonest or very paranoid.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 08:32 AM
Response to Reply #127
148. I'll Choose "Paranoid DUers" For $500, Alex.

And the answer is: "Always fears that atheists are trying to convert believers and tries to discourage atheists from participating in the R/T forum."

"Who is The Straight Story?"
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:52 PM
Response to Reply #125
129. So I should just ignore people trying to force religion into government?
I'm not allowed to talk about? I'm supposed to sit on the sides watching people insert bigotry into laws and smile?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:57 PM
Response to Reply #129
133. Don't bother.
He's pulled this shit in here before.

He's baiting us.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #129
139. Gosh, did I say that, I missed it.
But then, what is faith and ideals? you BELIEVE your way is best. The dem way, or whatever way.

Religion is no different than philosophy or political beliefs really.

There is one certainty, we will all perish when the sun super-novas (or becomes a red dwarf, etc). Mankind is here, he dies. Outside of that we are left with our beliefs on what is best based on our idealism (a faith of sorts). Some ideals have a god some don't.

I respect atheism and science, deeply so. I also have learned a deep respect for those who hold a higher ideal (ie, a supreme being). I would not try to get you to believe my way, no point in converting others to my beliefs. I do like to discuss beliefs i have with others who share a similar one and try to come to some consensus.

Atheists on this forum are trying to convert me with their arguments, while I am not trying to get you to believe the way I do. Why?

religion is for those who believe in it to discuss and argue, if you don't believe why come here except to convert me? I am not coming to your home (or group) to try and get you to believe, why come here and try to get me to believe your way?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #139
140. For the last time,
atheists who post their opinions in this forum are not trying to convert anyone.

And if your faith is so fragile, you really shouldn't come in here at all.

Jeesh.
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #140
142. This has definitely gotten pointless
Though I think we got a glimpse of what it feels like to discuss something with Little Lord Pissypants, lots of religious bigotry mixed with an utter lack of comprehension.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:26 AM
Response to Reply #142
144. sigh...
I hate having to abuse HTML like that.

I'm so ashamed
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #142
150. Yes, that... mixed with a good dose of irrational fear and paranoia.
"Oh. My. GOD. -- You're here to CONVERT ME! Aaaaaaaah! Run for your lives everyone! Aaaaaaaah! The atheists are here! THE ATHEISTS ARE HERE! They are EVERYWHERE! Aaaaaaaa!"



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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #139
149. Heh-heh-heh! -- Relax, Francis... It's NOT All About You.
<< if you don't believe why come here except to convert me? >>

The bad, scary, mean old atheists aren't trying to kill you, or drink your blood either.

:rofl:
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #139
154. Sorry I missed this last night
but I was tired.

So, why did you come into my thread just to piss all over it? Don't you find it ironic that you came in and did the same thing I was complaining about? Why didn't you go and take my pledge in the thread BMUS gave you?

Oh, and STOP BELIEVING RIGHT NOW.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #125
147. Not everyone thinks like you.
<< Why the need to come here and convince people your way is the right way? >>

Some of us actually THINK.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #115
146. Ah-HA! --- So You *ARE* Projecting!
<< I am not out to convert them or get them to see my way as better and theirs as wrong. >>

I knew it all along!

While it may be true that you are not personally "out to convert them", it's clear that your frame of reference originates from the same mindset of those folks who do feel it's necessary to "convert" everyone within earshot distance.

So naturally--as indicated by your words--you assume that even those who are unlike you must have the same agenda of converting (and "saving") as many "souls" as possible.

Of course it makes sense that you would want the atheists to move out of the R/T forum.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #110
145. Project Much? This Happens To Be A Subject That Interests Me.
May I have your permission to participate in this public forum? :eyes:
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #145
155. I like to use the name from Will and Grace
Hector Projector.
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #99
102. It's In Short Supply For SOME... But Not For Others.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #102
105. But of course. The uppity atheists are forcing their agenda on believers.
Where have we heard that before?
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #105
108. I Can Think Of Three Or Four Right Here At DU...
... parading around flaunting their intolerance in plain sight.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #108
111. Maybe we should start disrupting
threads in the ethnic minority groups using the same spiel.

You just THINK you're not Caucasian!
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arwalden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #111
153. That Would Be Dangerous... And You Know Why.
Atheists disrupt. Believers exercise 'freedom of religion'.
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