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Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:21 PM

 

Does there need to be an Atheist/Theist dialogue?

Seriously - I would say that this issue affects both camps. There are a great deal of Christians who feel it is their duty to "save" or "rebuke" Atheists. And at the same time there are a great deal of Atheists intent of "converting" theists.

Neither of these does any good, and if anything creates animosity and resentment on both sides.

Christians, I feel, need to understand that many of us Atheists feel betrayed by religion and faith, and feel as if the nature of religion puts us in crosshairs.

At the same time, Atheists need to understand that most Theists are like them - they have families, homes, are suffering in this economy and what not.

Your thoughts?
8 votes, 1 pass | Time left: Unlimited
Yes
5 (63%)
No
2 (25%)
It's complicated
1 (13%)
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Disclaimer: This is an Internet poll

165 replies, 21137 views

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Arrow 165 replies Author Time Post
Reply Does there need to be an Atheist/Theist dialogue? (Original post)
Taverner Apr 2012 OP
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #1
Taverner Apr 2012 #2
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #6
Taverner Apr 2012 #20
trotsky Apr 2012 #23
Taverner Apr 2012 #24
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #27
ZombieHorde Apr 2012 #69
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #33
Taverner Apr 2012 #35
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #36
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #3
Taverner Apr 2012 #4
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #7
obxhead Apr 2012 #17
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #59
laconicsax Apr 2012 #65
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #73
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #64
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #72
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #145
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #162
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #164
stopbush Apr 2012 #5
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #8
Lionessa Apr 2012 #10
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #13
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #60
Taverner Apr 2012 #18
skepticscott Apr 2012 #9
TygrBright Apr 2012 #11
trotsky Apr 2012 #16
Taverner Apr 2012 #19
AlbertCat Apr 2012 #51
cbayer Apr 2012 #52
TygrBright Apr 2012 #78
cbayer Apr 2012 #79
trotsky Apr 2012 #99
EvolveOrConvolve Apr 2012 #66
mr blur Apr 2012 #93
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #114
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #117
mr blur Apr 2012 #12
Taverner Apr 2012 #44
LeftishBrit Apr 2012 #14
Taverner Apr 2012 #32
cbayer Apr 2012 #15
skepticscott Apr 2012 #21
cbayer Apr 2012 #22
skepticscott Apr 2012 #28
Taverner Apr 2012 #30
Taverner Apr 2012 #25
cbayer Apr 2012 #26
Taverner Apr 2012 #29
cbayer Apr 2012 #34
Taverner Apr 2012 #39
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #56
Taverner Apr 2012 #31
cbayer Apr 2012 #37
Taverner Apr 2012 #38
cbayer Apr 2012 #40
skepticscott Apr 2012 #41
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #62
Taverner Apr 2012 #63
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #146
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #61
trotsky Apr 2012 #71
Leontius Apr 2012 #42
mr blur Apr 2012 #47
Leontius Apr 2012 #48
skepticscott Apr 2012 #49
Leontius Apr 2012 #50
skepticscott Apr 2012 #55
Leontius Apr 2012 #67
skepticscott Apr 2012 #68
LTX Apr 2012 #43
pinto Apr 2012 #45
dmallind Apr 2012 #46
AlbertCat Apr 2012 #53
cbayer Apr 2012 #57
dmallind Apr 2012 #75
trotsky Apr 2012 #76
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #77
AlbertCat Apr 2012 #58
LTX Apr 2012 #74
dmallind Apr 2012 #80
cbayer Apr 2012 #83
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #84
dmallind Apr 2012 #86
cbayer Apr 2012 #88
dmallind Apr 2012 #91
cbayer Apr 2012 #81
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #82
cbayer Apr 2012 #87
dmallind Apr 2012 #89
cbayer Apr 2012 #92
dmallind Apr 2012 #95
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #90
cbayer Apr 2012 #94
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #96
cbayer Apr 2012 #98
trotsky Apr 2012 #100
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #101
cbayer Apr 2012 #103
trotsky Apr 2012 #105
OriginalGeek Apr 2012 #116
cbayer Apr 2012 #118
laconicsax Apr 2012 #121
cbayer Apr 2012 #123
laconicsax Apr 2012 #124
cbayer Apr 2012 #125
laconicsax Apr 2012 #128
cbayer Apr 2012 #129
laconicsax Apr 2012 #132
cbayer Apr 2012 #134
laconicsax Apr 2012 #137
skepticscott Apr 2012 #138
OriginalGeek Apr 2012 #130
cbayer Apr 2012 #131
dmallind Apr 2012 #97
laconicsax Apr 2012 #102
cbayer Apr 2012 #104
laconicsax Apr 2012 #106
cbayer Apr 2012 #108
Goblinmonger Apr 2012 #109
cbayer Apr 2012 #110
rrneck Apr 2012 #143
laconicsax Apr 2012 #111
cbayer Apr 2012 #112
laconicsax Apr 2012 #115
trotsky Apr 2012 #107
dmallind Apr 2012 #85
Taverner Apr 2012 #126
skepticscott Apr 2012 #139
laconicsax Apr 2012 #54
ZombieHorde Apr 2012 #70
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #113
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #119
Taverner Apr 2012 #127
skepticscott Apr 2012 #141
laconicsax Apr 2012 #120
Taverner Apr 2012 #122
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #135
oilpro2 Apr 2012 #136
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #144
skepticscott Apr 2012 #140
rrneck Apr 2012 #142
Evoman Apr 2012 #133
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #147
laconicsax Apr 2012 #148
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #151
laconicsax Apr 2012 #154
Evoman Apr 2012 #155
Evoman Apr 2012 #149
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #152
Evoman Apr 2012 #153
Thats my opinion Apr 2012 #156
Evoman Apr 2012 #158
Leontius Apr 2012 #160
cleanhippie Apr 2012 #161
rrneck Apr 2012 #150
laconicsax Apr 2012 #157
Evoman Apr 2012 #159
felix_numinous Apr 2012 #163
Taverner Apr 2012 #165

Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:23 PM

1. "there are a great deal of Atheists intent of "converting" theists."

Bullshit. No one here is interested in "converting" anyone, but non-believers here ARE interested in having answers to the difficult questions that an irrational belief in the supernatural naturally creates. Two very different things.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:24 PM

2. Not you, not me, and not most of us on DU

 

Still, it happens

All the more reason to have a dialogue

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Response to Taverner (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:26 PM

6. Where? Exactly?

Friend, you made a serious claim, and I charge you to back up that claim with factual evidence. Please.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:55 PM

20. Here is just one example

 

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100709063110AA1rapg

This is not the norm

This is not common

This is is a specific example

AND

It is the internet. Anyone can be anything on the internet.

But, it does exist.

That is all I am saying

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Response to Taverner (Reply #20)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:03 PM

23. OK, I'm pretty sure that cleanhippie and I aren't the only ones who thought your OP...

was specifically referring to here on DU.

Did you really mean on the entire Internet? Or in the real world?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #23)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:07 PM

24. Internet and Real World

 

On DU, no.

In fact, we Atheists here couldn't be more polite.

We get accused of being impolite when we question the logic behind theist's beliefs

But that is a difference of opinion, not rudness

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Response to trotsky (Reply #23)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:13 PM

27. Yeah, I'm with you two.

 

I thought this was DU-centric at first.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 02:25 AM

69. I thought the question was more broad than just DU. nt

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Response to Taverner (Reply #20)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:28 PM

33. Ok, I thought you meant here in DU.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #33)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:29 PM

35. I apologize for the lack of clarity

 

BTW - my thought is that the scope of such a dialogue wouldn't just be here on DU, but all over America

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Response to Taverner (Reply #35)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:31 PM

36. No need for apologies. thanks for the clarification.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:25 PM

3. I feel no need to convert theists.

 

I just want the religious bullshit out of my life and certainly out of the government. The current threads about two different FFRF cases is a clear example. If religion didn't force itself into government and I was not impacted by religion coming into laws, I guarantee you I would say nothing about it outside of discussions people wanted to have with me.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:26 PM

4. I agree 100%

 

And I think Christians especially need to see this point of view

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:27 PM

7. THIS!

Too bad most theists just are unable to see it that way.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:46 PM

17. Absolutely.

 

Everyone is free to believe in whatever magic space being they choose to. I just don't want it shoved down my throat and into our laws.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:48 PM

59. Just calling any conversation "religious bullshit" is all the answer you need to give.

My guess is there will be among some of us a conversation, and you probably will want to stay out of it.

I hope that none of us in the conversation will have any intention of converting anyone, just being in the group to listen appreciatively.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #59)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:20 PM

65. What a mean-spirited response.

 

For shame.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #59)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 08:22 AM

73. Build your strawmen somewhere else.

 

I never said "any conversation" was "religious bullshit." I'm talking about the myriad of ways that religion sticks its nose into our government as "religious bullshit." And if you don't agree with that, then perhaps we don't have anything to talk about. But that's not my fault, because my desire for a secular government is in line with the founders.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:17 PM

64. There goes civil rights legislation and a lot of other progressive things. nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #64)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 08:21 AM

72. We've been through this in other thread, but there is no indication

 

that there would have been on Civil Rights without the religious. Hell, I know you want to count them, but the Transcendentalists were hardly mainline believers and more like Deists than anything and they brought about a lot of this. Emerson was banished from most religious institutions at the time for what he said. But go ahead a continue with this fallacious line of reasoning.

And here's some other stuff that we can say "there goes" to as well: inquisitions, pogroms, blue laws, abortion laws, anti-gay rights laws, religious pandering from politicians. The list continues.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 07:42 PM

145. If you want a wall so that you are never in the vicinity of any "religious bullshit"

you are out of luck. To keep the government from authorizing any religious entity is another matter. I'm with you on that one.

Explain what keeping religion out of your life might look like.

If I said that I want atheist bull shit out of my life--which I have never said and certainly don't believe, would you be offended?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #145)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 04:24 PM

162. People can have all the religion they want.

 

Go to church.
Wear whatever religious stuff you want.
Just keep it out of my government and leave me alone unless you and I have a reason to talk about it.

That's pretty simple.

And what would wanting all the atheist bullshit out of your life look like? Us not posting in here? I'm not talking about that. I come in here for the purpose of discussing religion. So do you. How has atheism pushed itself into your life?

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #162)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 06:06 PM

164. I don't have a clue and am not interested.

I would never want all atheistic influence out of my life. To wall it off would be rude and non-productive in any dialogue. You can't have a cultural dialogue with no opposition. I'm not talking about this group, but about our society. If I asked for all atheistic thought and action to be invisible because I refuse to deal with it or try to understand it, you could call me a bigot.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:26 PM

5. As long as any dialogue centers around objective facts, there should be no problem.

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Response to stopbush (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:28 PM

8. Objective facts, huh?

Good luck with that. I'm sure the "many other ways of knowing" crowd will be along shortly.

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Response to stopbush (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:29 PM

10. Tee hee, and of course right there is when the theists quit wanting to play, they have

 

no objective facts to support their belief in mysticism.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:40 PM

13. Lionessa, FTW.

Well said.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:50 PM

60. That's a converatation stopper. nt

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Response to stopbush (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:49 PM

18. What about perceptions?

 

Since I think that is what is up in the air at this time

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:28 PM

9. Is your last paragraph really the dialogue you're advocating?

 

How many atheists do you think are unaware of the things you mentioned about theists, and need to be educated? Most atheists WERE theists at some point, for pity's sake.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:36 PM

11. I feel no need to convert atheists, and I would like to engage in dialogue, but...

... the entirely justified anger and resentment on the part of atheists who've suffered centuries of vicious discrimination, and the appalling presumption and insensitivity on the part of many of my fellow theists combine to create such a toxic, emotion-driven brew that I avoid it from sheer cowardice and need to preserve my own equanimity.

So... yes, there probably needs to be such a dialogue. But could we postpone it until atheists have enjoyed a couple of centuries of complete equality, civil rights, and non-discrimination? Possibly by that time many of us theists can internalize the realizations that a) atheists aren't some fundamentally evil breed apart from humanity, and even that the conclusions they have drawn about the nature of life, physics, and metaphysics are just as valid as those theists have drawn.

And possibly by that time many atheists can have sufficiently overcome the pain, resentment, and irritation with their collective and individual experience of discrimination to the extent of not needing to smack down us irrational gullible sky-daddy believing fools for our divine folly.

wearily,
Bright

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:44 PM

16. That is the most impressive post I've ever read in this group.

Wow. You get it.

Thank you.

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:50 PM

19. 100% agree

 

"... the entirely justified anger and resentment on the part of atheists who've suffered centuries of vicious discrimination, and the appalling presumption and insensitivity on the part of many of my fellow theists combine to create such a toxic, emotion-driven brew that I avoid it from sheer cowardice and need to preserve my own equanimity. "

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:34 PM

51. Bless you.....

 

I'm an atheist, but since you say you are a theist, I say "bless you" for your understanding. It is most uncommon.

and most welcome

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:45 PM

52. Excellent post, TB.

In terms of postponing it, I'm not so sure. MurielVolestrangler just posted poll results over time that show that the public's willingness to elect an atheist is essentially unchanged over the past 12 years. (side note, it has changed substantially for GLBT candidates).

So, my question is this. Why, despite increased numbers and visibility, does that number remain the same? Do atheists need alliances with non-atheists to make progress? The "nones" are the fastest rising group - those that say they have no religious affiliation, but often still maintain some theism, deism or spirituality". Is there any opportunity for this group of "nones" to help build bridges with the general public?

And, finally, how can others help heal the pain, resentment and irritation that many have experienced? Do they just need to step back and give them time to heal?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #52)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 02:03 PM

78. Well, to take them in order:

I think the number of people willing to elect an atheist hasn't changed much in the past 12 years because the issue has been low profile except among those who personally "feel" it passionately. (Mostly atheists, alas... not nearly enough theists/"nones" (agnostics?) regard this issue as important enough to feel personally passionate about.)

In the sense that theists are the majority, control virtually all of the power structures, and pretty much have a lock on the most widely-distributed media voices, it's going to be pretty tough for atheists alone to sufficiently advance the case for ending discrimination. Not impossible, but difficult. The problem is the same as every other discriminated-against group has faced: The need to retain control of their own struggle, while at the same time actuating alliances to advance that struggle. Frankly, I have abundant confidence in atheists to do this, but I'd venture to guess that the most pragmatic among them will be seeking strategic alliances. (Hints on places to look: United Church of Christ. Friends World Congress. Unitarian Universalists.)

The reality remains: Theists must come to terms with the truth that WE are not truly free while atheists suffer discrimination. Banging that through skulls that can enclose some of our more challengingly literalist theologies will be quite the trick.

I have no answers about the "nones" and their capacity as bridge-builders except to speculate that a large number in that category are simply people who are unengaged in metaphysics at all. I'm not sanguine about their inclination to take on a passionate agenda related to metaphysical beliefs/lack of beliefs. But to the extent that "nones" may be engaged in, and passionate about, the issue of discrimination against minorities, they may play a role - even an important one.

How can others help heal the pain, resentment, etc.? Well, let's start by acknowledging that it exists, that it is justified, and that we are complicit in causing it. Let's express remorse, and commit ourselves to change, personal and societal, to rectify the discrimination that caused the pain. It's not a magic wand but I know from my First American friends, my gay relatives and loved ones, my African-American colleagues, etc., that it's usually a good place to start.

And I recommend that anyone who feels the tiniest, slightest, impulse to "explain" why or how any form or manifestation of discrimination against atheists might conceivably have been justified in any anomalous circumstance (especially including the words "tradition/traditional" "culture/cultural" "history/historic" and "context," should probably yes, step back and give it time to heal.

helpfully,
Bright

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #78)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 04:35 PM

79. I agree with much of what you say here and am willing to be an ally.

I have been an ally in many other causes and have had allies when I have been in the minority fighting for an equal voice. I know that it is a hard line to walk, sometimes, which ever side you are on.

Concerning the pain and resentment, I recognize that many have come to atheism from a theistic background in which they endured worse than just discrimination. Many have been hurt by religious institutions and religious people. To the extent that we (including me) turned a blind eye to this, we do need to take responsibility and make amends. We are also responsible for doing whatever we can to prevent those things happening in the future to whatever extent we can.

But I will not be a whipping post or allow those hurt or abused to hurt or abuse me. If someone feels that the mere presence or voice of a theist is too painful for them or elicits a response that is hostile, then I will certainly agree with your advice that it is best to step back and give them time to heal. I honestly hope that they do.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #79)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:42 PM

99. I think the most important thing someone like you needs to realize...

is that questioning Christian beliefs, even attacking them, and/or being strongly opposed to wrapping the Democratic agenda in a Christian cloak, is NOT hurting or abusing you.

And let me say too that I am one atheist of many who wasn't necessarily "hurt by religious institutions and religious people" while I believed. Far from it. It just never made any sense to me. Far more damage has come now, as a non-believer, living in a culture still over-saturated with religious sentiments and power and the inability of those who benefit from it to even recognize the privilege they enjoy.

But then you are ignoring me for whatever reason anyway. The hurt goes on.

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:44 PM

66. Thank you - awesome post

I'm not sure what to say, but thank you. I've met very few people who are able to do what you did and empathize with our pain, even though you don't experience it directly. We need more supporters like you!

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:14 PM

93. +10 nt

 

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:01 PM

114. Show me where I can attack discrimination against atheists, and I'll fight it allong side you. nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #114)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:14 PM

117. Start with your own OPs.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:40 PM

12. I had to pass, I'm afraid.

 

I certainly don't "feel betrayed by religion and faith" - it never owed me anything and has provided me with much amusement. Nor do I feel the need to "convert" theists.

It's theists who need to understand that most atheists are like them.

But, a dialogue where?

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Response to mr blur (Reply #12)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 03:10 PM

44. In 'Murica

 

In all honesty, I do think this needs to be a national dialogue

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:40 PM

14. Yes - there needs to be dialogue between everyone

I don't think that for most people whether you're theist or atheist is the main source of friction: class and ethnicity seem to cause more. But that may be because I'm not American. At any rate, it's in general better to have dialogue than hostility.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #14)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:27 PM

32. Agreed. Whites/Blacks, Muslims/Christians, Muslims/Hindus, Christians/Jews, Muslims/Jews....

 

and so it goes...

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:43 PM

15. There already is one and it's going quite well.

There are members from both camps that are not interested or refuse to take any responsibility for their part in the internecine wars nor do they have any interest in a negotiated settlement or truce. It will leave them isolated and ineffective, but if they are bent on mutual destruction in order to say they "won", so be it.

OTOH, there are members from both camps who are forming alliances while recognizing and respecting their substantial differences. Together they will move and assist each other in achieving mutual goals.

It's not that hard.


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Response to cbayer (Reply #15)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:59 PM

21. And why should a "truce" be negotiated

 

or a "settlement" reached when there is a theist army entrenched on atheist territory with NO intention of ever leaving or offering any kind of accommodation that doesn't involve the obliteration of atheism?

When theist control and attempts to control the government, the courts, the schools and the military cease, and cease for good, then talk to us about a "truce". Until then, we'll keep up the fight, thank you very much.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #21)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:01 PM

22. That's cool. I'll put you down in the doesn't want to participate column.

See you around.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #22)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:20 PM

28. What you advocate is a surrender

 

and a capitulation to those who would enshrine their particular religious beliefs into law and impose them on everyone. And no, I won't be participating in that, nor will I respect you for doing so.

What I will participate in, and have been participating in for many years, are fights to prevent that imposition, and to educate people about the dangers of religious influence in government. You and your warm and fuzzy "interfaith" groups have been of little or no help in that effort and and to the extent you have been, are very late to the party.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #28)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:25 PM

30. Exactly. "Tolerate my view, but yours is irrelevant"

 

This is not a dialogue, but asking for capitulation, surrender, and a big red "A" on our foreheads

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Response to cbayer (Reply #15)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:08 PM

25. Really...most Americans would rather live next to a serial killer than an atheist

 

And it's working well?

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Response to Taverner (Reply #25)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:11 PM

26. Could you please show me your data?

And since you popped in, if such a dialogue were to occur, I would not vote for you as the mediator. Your bias is too thick on this topic.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #26)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:24 PM

29. And I suppose your bias is OK?

 

Launching into an attack when another initiates dialogue is just plain rude.

Take a look at yourself and how you respond.

Just because you think your bias is right, doesn't mean it's still not a bias.

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Response to Taverner (Reply #29)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:29 PM

34. I wouldn't be a good mediator either.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #34)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:35 PM

39. I don't think you even belong in the dialogue

 

Especially because you think everything is fine

That mind is firmly shut and not taking anything new

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Response to Taverner (Reply #39)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:30 PM

56. Oh, SNAP!

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Response to cbayer (Reply #26)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:26 PM

31. On and here's your data

 

http://www.religioustolerance.org/atheist8.htm

Although if you've never seen this before, then what are you doing in this thread?

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Response to Taverner (Reply #31)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:32 PM

37. I don't see anything in there about serial killers. Could you point it out?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #37)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:34 PM

38. Funny how you get all specific when it comes to my claims

 

But fail to back up anything you claim

Sorry, not going to play that game

Go play with someone else

Meanwhile I'll be here trying to have a dialogue, not a nitpick fight

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Response to Taverner (Reply #38)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:38 PM

40. You appear to want a dialogue only with those with whom you agree.

Sorry I called you on your serial killer claim.

I'm out now. Don't want to play this game either.

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Response to Taverner (Reply #38)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:56 PM

41. +1000

 

Yeah, funny how some people here get all nit-picky about backing things up with actual evidence, when they habitually refuse to meet such requests themselves.

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Response to Taverner (Reply #31)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:59 PM

62. Having read it, I don't see anything there which comes within amile of your accusation. nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #62)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:10 PM

63. Where's the data that proves your god was born of a virgin?

 

Where's the data that proves your god is also his father?

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Response to Taverner (Reply #63)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 07:47 PM

146. It's a story!! Why drag that in? It has nothng to do with this thread.

If you want to fight fundamentalism go ahead, but leave me out.

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Response to Taverner (Reply #25)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:54 PM

61. Since you are big on "facts," where did you get that one? nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #61)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 06:06 AM

71. Interesting.

When others ask you for links to back up your assertions, you call them unreasonable demands and attack the person who is asking.

Nice to know you admit to having a double standard.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 03:04 PM

42. After reading the comments I voted no based on what I saw here in this thread

 

there is a majority that wants no dialog even though they claim they do and guess which side that is? It's a shame that their voice of intolerance is so loud and their doublespeak so blatant but seemly accepted by others who hold their worldview if not the same opinion on the need for real discussion.

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Response to Leontius (Reply #42)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:19 PM

47. Yawn. How er...wise you are. nt

 

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Response to mr blur (Reply #47)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:41 PM

48. Thanks, I wish I could say the same but

 

I'd be lying so we'll just have to leave it at thanks.

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Response to Leontius (Reply #42)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:07 PM

49. And that majority would be the ones

 

who regularly dodge and evade direct questions about their posts and claims. The ones who only want an echo chamber for their views and who regard any criticism or demands for evidence to back up their claims as a personal attack.

You do the math. Show us where the atheists here have refused to engage on any topic.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #49)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:25 PM

50. This thread, this day, this topic. You want to fight your battles with those other posters in

 

other threads with me? Sorry about your luck it ain't happening. Because you can't confront them is not my problem and I can't help you get off their ignore lists.

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Response to Leontius (Reply #50)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:09 PM

55. Not your problem, it just

 

puts the lie to your claim about who wants open and unrestricted dialogue and engagement in this group and who doesn't. But I guess you're used to that.

BTW, I have nobody on ignore...so who are the ones with their fingers in their ears, saying "Blah, blah, blah...I'm not listening!" Do the math again.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #55)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 08:42 PM

67. I'm sorry you don't seem to see "This thread, this topic, this day"

 

I can't make it any clearer for you than that. If you want someone to fight with pick someone else, maybe they will care about your problems with those other posters. I don't care as I would guess you aren't concerned about any problems I may have with certain people here. If someone ignores you I can't help you I already said I can't. I get the echo chamber complaint you have and I don't think it's helpful anymore than you do and I don't think the personal attacks help either, do you, or is that a part of "unrestricted"?

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Response to Leontius (Reply #67)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 08:55 PM

68. Oh, it's quite clear that you'd like to base your answer

 

to a broad question like the one posed in the OP to only what one person (you) perceives in one thread on one day. it's quite clear that you need to limit your thinking in order not to seem TOO silly.

And where did I say I have problems with other posters? I merely point out that their demonstrable behavior makes you out as dishonest. I have no problem with that if you don't.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 03:09 PM

43. Yep. Lots of "dialog" here. n/t

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 03:22 PM

45. There's a local Interfaith Coalition in my area, bridging a number of organized religions

and focussing primarily on civic/social issues related to poverty, discrimination. equality and acceptance of diversity, labor rights, etc. An overall liberal / progressive agenda.

There's also an Atheists United group here in the county. Don't know if the latter participates with the former, but I think it would be a plus all around. Small town, I know some of the AU members and some of the IC members...

I'm going to contact both and see if they interact (both have regular booths at our Farmers' Market). If I get some feedback, I'll post it here.





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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 03:44 PM

46. I'm sorry but I find the question meaningless

There obviously are plenty of atheist/theist dialogues already, many of them here. Are you asking if the nature of the dialogues should change? The answer then becomes two questions; by which means and to what end? Sure it would be better if there were both less vitriol and less reason for it I suppose, but I'm not sure you've pegged the reasons for that. I don't see much overt evangelism or devangelism here. Plenty of the former IRL of course.

I also don't think betrayal is all that common a reason for being atheistic. It's certainly a disingenuous one. Religion or its followers have never abused or personally shown treachery to me, and even if they had it wouldn't make their claims invalid were they valid to begin with. By at least a ten to one margin, atheists I've talked to reject theism because there is no evidence for it, not because of resentment or hurt feelings. Sure I'll criticize religious venality aplenty, but it's bugger all to do with why I don't believe in it, and I don't think I'm an outlier. Similarly I'm sure most atheists are well aware believers lead perfectly normal lives for the most part and do not spend their time plotting the next heretic burning.

If we want to improve the dialogue we may all need to bear certain things in mind. I confess I have "sinned" against my own list and I confess I do not approach the issue without bias, but I'll certainly try.

1) Understand terminology. Atheism is the absence of belief in gods. Nothing else. Subsets of atheism exist including perfidious ones like Randians and fideist ones like strong atheists, but speak only for themselves. Theism is the belief in personal gods. Nothing else. Endless subsets exist including wonderfully peacable groups such as Jains and intellectual traditions such as the Jewish Rabbinate but speak only for themselves. Agnosticism is not about belief and is not a third option. Christian means a believer in and follower of Christ. Nothing else. Subsets exist including objectionable ones like WBC and currently perfectly blameless ones such as Quakers - but speak only for themselves.

2) The NTS is real and poisonous and a sign of bad erm...faith in dialogue. Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, Bryan Fischer et al are Christians, not "Christians" or Paulists. So was Hitler. Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao etc were atheists. So is Dawkins when he insults people or Newdow when he's being a preening git. Pretending bad people are not of your opinion means only people who disagree with you can be bad. That's bullshit and it's insulting bullshit.

3) There is no spokesman for atheism, and no leader. I'm sure there is a communications chief of American Atheists etc - no idea who it is. But he speaks for AA only. Dawkins et al are just famous atheists. Religious leaders on the other hand speak for their organizations just like the AA person does. The Pope DOES apeak for Catholicism. You may disagree with him as a Catholic, just like an AA member may disagree with their spokesman, but he speaks for the faith, not you. I would not dream of saying AA's spokesman does not speak for AA. He does not speak for non-AA atheism though, just like the Pope does not speak for Lutherans or Baptists. BUT there is no spokesman for theism or Christianity either. Sure Ratzinger speaks for Catholicism and Fischher speaks for hundreds of thousands of AFA members, but non-Catholics or non-AFA members should not be tarred with the same brush.

4) Ontological burden of proof rests squarely on the theistic side. I cannot prove and need not prove that there are no indigo unicorns in the Horsehead nebula; if you try to claim that there are then you need to demonstrate why. Gods shouldn't get special pleading here.

5) Faith without evidence, acknowledged as such, is not per se objectionable. We all hope our team will win the Superbowl, or Olympic gold, or the pub quiz. Many of us fervently believe it. Nothing wrong with extending this to gods to give yourself comfort or hope or social cohesion. There is something wrong however with legislating or establishing social norms on that basis onto others who don't share it, or pretending that this belief has an objective basis.

6) The presence of a belief is a much stronger motivation than the absence of one. This works both ways. Believers have done far more charitable things because of their faith than atheists have because they lacked it (although as the philanthropy rankings show, atheists do a lot of it regardless of belief). But nobody ever beat a kid to death because of atheism; the same cannot be said for religion. I'm pretty sure atheists have committed such crimes and worse, but again, regardless of belief.

7) Religious belief is not a special class of belief. It should not be immune from questioning, criticism, humor or ridicule any more than beliefs about sports teams, politics, race relations, art, hobbies or anything else. Same goes for atheism, natch. Plenty of people have non-religious beliefs that are just as deep, sincere and integral to their identity, be that white supremacy or veganism.

8) Religion, and in the US this always means Christianity, permeates society. Nobody can escape it and nobody is free from its effects and influence both good and bad. Everybody has the right and the ability to discuss religion regardless of their belief. We don't have to be White House staffers to discuss politics here; we don't have to be NFL coaches to discuss football or directors to discuss movies. Of course as in these cases theologians can get far deeper into intricacies and subtleties than the rest of us, but that's only an advantage when they are discussing intricacies and subtleties. It doesn't take Scorsese to tell Schwarzenegger is a bad actor. It doesn't take Kung to tell Genesis is a folk myth.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #46)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:02 PM

53. So is Dawkins when he insults people or Newdow when he's being a preening git.

 

How does Dawkins insult people?

When is Newdow a preening git?


When they forcefully espouse their views?

Now, I'm sure they have their share of human flaws, and may even have insulted people and been preening gits at some time or other. But basically what I see in both men is, finally!, a complete lack of cowering to the special privileges religions have enjoyed for centuries. Theism has zero authority over them and they show it. Bravo.

The special treatment of theism is so ubiquitous that when it is jettisoned, even intelligent people think it's rudeness. That's like one of the 1st things that needs to be changed.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #46)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:36 PM

57. OK, I have read it twice and am still digesting.

I agree with much you say and have some argument with other points. You have raised some issues that I have not considered, but I think I may have a few to add that you may not have considered.

I would encourage you to make this an OP. I would like nothing more than a serious discussion around your 8 points.

Because they are written by you, who I assume is an atheist, perhaps we need to get input from other POV's in refining them. Not just christian, either. The issue of islamism in the US is huge and growing. Where do they fit into this scheme?

Anyway, we just had an incredible gale blow in, so I am not fully engaged here, but I am very interested in discussing further.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #57)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 10:03 AM

75. I tried

I am not impartial by any means but I tried to include religionist prerequisites here as much as atheist ones. To stress a few (none are new - just maybe need to stand alone)

The negative actions of religious people do not damage the validity of their claims, let alone the similar claims of other religious people

The actions of religious groups AS religious groups reflect only on that group

Religious motivation can be positive, and is more likely to drive positive action in that case than atheistic motivation, which is much weaker

Religious belief per se is neither negative nor, for many, useless, unless it is used to restrict the actions or norms of others


About the only other "conditions" for improved dialogue I would expect theists, again almost exclusively Christians here, to suggest, would contradict the basic reason for a dialogue between equals and would betoken the capitulation decried (and, strangely, denied its putative existence by Christians) above:

1) If we accept that religious beliefs are exempt from the same treatment meted out to any other belief from hard questions to ridicule, we assume as axiomatic that it is a different quality of belief - something special and protected. How could that be accepted unless we also accept that it is true? Not going to happen. If you think Donovan McNabb is the greatest QB in history, you need to show me stats and reasoning, and refute data that shows him not to be, and deal with pointed laughter at the comparison. Why, unless they are true, should your claims about your god being the real one amongst many such claims or against the null hypothesis be treated any differently? Sure YOU see a qualitative difference between belief in God and beliefs about football, but that's because you think God is real. If you demand that *I* see that qualitative difference, you're demanding that I think so too. That's not an equal dialogue - that's me giving in 100% to your view of the central thesis of the dialogue. Religious beliefs are only special to the religious

2) If we turn centuries of epistemology on its head and accept that gnosis is a valid source of knowledge, there is no possibility of any dialogue at all. You can claim subjective non-falsifiable non-testable certainty that God exists and I could claim the same way that he doesn't, or that Zeus does. There is no second step here - no way to synthesize or provide evidence or dispute evidence. We might as well debate who has the biggest chakras. If there were "other ways" of knowing there would be NO way of knowing.

As far as Islam goes, I and I believe most atheists see less of a difference than most Christians think we should. Oh for sure I know the theological and historical differences and so on, but none of the points above apply differently to Muslims from their application to Christians or Hindus or Wiccans. Like most Western atheists, I use Christianity as an example because it's what surrounds me and it's the religion that imposes itself on the society in which I live. But there are both benign and malign Muslim groups, who speak only for themselves; negative actions by Muslims do not reduce any truth that might be found in their religion (I personally see none, but if it could be demonstrated, not all the bombs or riots in the world would make it less true any more than Rudolph and Hill would make Christianity less true if 'twere so). Islamic motivation can be positive too and is stronger than atheistic, yadda yadda - they all apply.

I approach Islam not one iota differently from Christianity, in any respect at all. It's simply less important in my life. If I moved to Turkey it would be the reverse.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #75)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 10:14 AM

76. Nicely put.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #75)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 10:22 AM

77. "If there were "other ways" of knowing there would be NO way of knowing."




Dude, your entire post ROCKED! Lets see if you get an intelligent reply from the one you were responding to, or if the usual tactic of passively ignoring or misdirection comes into play.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #46)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:44 PM

58. Yes .... I agree with cbayer

 

I didn't meant to jump down your throat with my "Dawkins" post.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #46)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 09:55 AM

74. What is "NTS"? n/t

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Response to LTX (Reply #74)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:37 PM

80. no true scotsman - the Xian apologists' favorite fallacy

Even though, for example, Bryan Fischer is a graduate-degreed theologian and career pastor before becoming the policy director for an organization that talks about Christianity as its raison d'etre, he's not a TRUE Christian to many idiot believers because he is a homophobic asshole.

By discarding unpleasant people from the set of TRUE Christians, it seeks to establish that all Christians are pleasant and that only non-Christians can be homophopic assholes. Same for child-beaters, misogynists, ob/gyn killers, bombers, spree-shooters, tyrants etc. Even if they have been Christians all their lives, still avow fervent Christianity, still attend Christian churches and even make perfectly cogent statements that they acted for and because of Christianity, the NTS lie allows bullshitting buffoons to pretend that any bad people are not TRUE Christians and therefore no longer inconvenient to moralistic claims about Christianity and its adherents.

Not a two-way street to any great degree. Can't say too many atheists have claimed Pol Pot wasn't a TRUE atheist.



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Response to dmallind (Reply #80)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:45 PM

83. I've seen the same argument here that de Botton is not a true atheist.

Sometimes distinctions need to be made. Sometimes people that call themselves something flagrantly betray the most basic tenets of what it means to be that thing.

The accusation that something is an NTS argument and, therefore, a fallacy, is too often used only to lump everyone together and pin the worst traits of some on all.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #83)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:50 PM

84. The argument is that de Botton is a dick

 

and and ignoramus. I would also add that he is very much an Uncle Tom. That doesn't make him "not a true atheist." He doesn't believe in god. He's our (read: atheist) dick and ignoramus to deal with.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #83)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:57 PM

86. Prove it.

Cite the reference to de Botton not being a TRUE atheist. I'll promise in advance I will excoriate such idiocy roundly. Speaking personally the only time I have referred to people not being real atheists is when a few answered aa survey that they believed in a god. That's definititional, not related to behavior. If somebody says "all true Scotsman are born in Scotland" it's not an NTS to react to "Well Joe was born in Sunderland and he's a Scotsman" with "Well then he's not a true Scotsman" - it's just correcting a false use of the term.

WHEN has it been used as you describe here? WHEN has an atheist used a NTS example to say ALL Christians exhibit the same behavior that the NTS sought to disassociate them from?

You keep making these assertions. Back them up.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #86)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:05 PM

88. I think calling someone an Uncle Tom is a pretty clear statement that they are not

really *one of us*.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #88)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:11 PM

91. Bullshit in the extreme. Have you read the damn book Uncle Tom is in?

Last edited Tue Jun 12, 2012, 03:34 PM - Edit history (1)

Any indication other blacks think he's not actually black? Or just that he's a sycophantic useful tool for the white majority?

Calling somebody names is not an NTS. It's the opposite of the intent of the NTS. By calling atheists unpleasant things we admit atheists can be unpleasant. Unless we are saying he's not an atheist it's NOT an NTS. How long will you resist this 3rd grade level blindingly obvious universally agreed upon definition simply because it is inconvenient for you?

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Response to LTX (Reply #74)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:40 PM

81. It's the same argument used by both theists and atheists to distinguish

between different types within the same group.

I think accusations of using it only shuts down debate, as distinctions are often valid and often need to be made.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #81)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:44 PM

82. Surely you can link to some examples where atheists have done it, then.

 

I would posit you can't because I don't think any have used that argument. And because their is no doctrine that we can point to in a cherry-picking manner to somehow kick someone out of the group (e.g. they aren't a true atheist because they _____) unless it is that they believe in a god, but that is hardly a NTS fallacy.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #82)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:01 PM

87. You called him an "uncle tom atheist" and others have suggested that he is just in it

for self-promotion and money.

I don't see how that is different than trying to distinguish self-promoting religious people from other types of religious people - disingenuous, hypocritical and not what you identify with.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #87)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:06 PM

89. Do you REALLY not understand the NTS or just desperately trying to avoid backtracking

We can say deBotton is a dick, an Uncle Tom, a fool, and anything else without it bring an NTS. Just like you can say the same about Phelps. In fact, insulting other members of our group is the exact OPPOSITE.

It would only be an NTS if we said DeBotton was NOT A TRUE ATHEIST!

This is not complicated and you have repeated this same lie multiple times. Back it up, retract it or own your lies.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #89)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:13 PM

92. I don't respond to people that call me a liar.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #92)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:20 PM

95. Tough crap then because I responded to lies. There's only one other alternative after all

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Response to cbayer (Reply #87)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:08 PM

90. That's not the NTS fallacy.

 

Just like original usage of "uncle tom" was not saying that the person was not black but that they did all they could to make the whites feel good and not do anything to rock the boat. Uncle Tom was still a black man. de Botton is still an atheist.

I know it might make you feel good to say that I and others are committing the NTS fallacy but you are either not understanding what it is, applying it incorrectly, or deliberately misrepresenting it. I'm not sure which one, but I know your example is not an example of the fallacy.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #90)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:19 PM

94. I see your point, but wonder about this other point.

If I truly believe that Fred Phelps is a shyster who pretends to be a Christian while betraying everything that I believe defines a christian, is that an NTS argument? If I call myself black for personal gain, although I clearly am not, and someone calls me on it, is that an NTS argument?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #94)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:23 PM

96. First one is NTS and second one isn't.

 

Unless you have proof that he is pretending to be a Christian. I think Phelps is a dick but I think he firmly believes that his interpretation of Christ's message is correct. He believes in Jesus as the son of god and follows what he feels are his teachings. That is really all that is needed to be a Christian. He will say the same thing about your brand of Christianity that you say about his. Saying his interpretation is wrong is not a NTS. Saying that he isn't a true Christian because he believes X (unless X = "Christ was not the son of god" is.

You are either black or you aren't. We could get into a percentage argument, I guess, but if you say you are black and none of your ancestors are black, then someone who is black saying you aren't isn't a NTS; it's just fact.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #96)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:31 PM

98. I have often wondered if Phelps isn't an example of Poe's law.

It would be difficult to prove, but I sincerely think he may be a total poseur. I also sincerely believe that about a number of "religious leaders". The only proof I could offer you is that they have overtly lied about other important aspects of their hypocritical lives (their sexual orientation, their faithfulness to their spouses, what they do with the money they collect, etc.). But if I say this in an attempt to distinguish them, I will be called down with the NTS fallacy argument. Just because someone says they are something and mouths the shared beliefs of a certain group, does not mean they are.

My ex-FIL was an "evangelist" who was a total fraud. That one I could prove, but perhaps not to your satisfaction.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #98)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:48 PM

100. And yet no one has claimed that about de Botton.

That he's a "poseur" or anything like that. No one has denied the fact that he's an atheist. That's what is key to the claim of NTS. Do you understand?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #98)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:48 PM

101. I've thought that of Limbaugh, too

 

I often picture him in his home laughing about being able to scam so much money by pandering to the LCD.

Calling someone a hypocrite is not committing a NTS fallacy. You can be a hypocrite and still be a Christian.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #101)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:57 PM

103. I've also thought that about Limbaugh.

And there are some democratic talking heads who are so misogynistic, imo, that I wonder about them as well.

People can say they are something and not really be that thing. While you may not be able to prove they are not what they say, you can honestly believe that about them. This site has good examples of those people - moles and trolls. There comes a point when you just don't believe them.

So I maintain that if I say someone that call themselves a christian is not really a christian, and I do so in good faith, that's not an NTS fallacy.

There was recently a member banned from here (several times) who called himself an atheist. I don't believe he was. He also called himself gay and black. I don't think any of that was true either. But he said he was and I can't "prove" that he wasn't.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #103)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:24 PM

105. Your "good faith" has nothing to do with it.

Let's take a step back: what's the general, standard definition of "Christian" that just about everyone who claims the label would agree to? No, we'll never get a universal one, but let's try to get a large majority-encompassing one.

For "atheist" it would be "a person who lacks belief in gods."

Your turn.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #98)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:12 PM

116. I can't speak for the folks you mention - I don't know Phelps or the others

personally but I can promise you there are people who fervently believe everything he says and would call anyone who says they are a christian without following their very narrow interpretation of christianity a non-christian. I grew up with those people. Independent, fundamentalist baptists. They barely considered Southern Baptists to be christians. They certainly believed they were backsliding on a lot of issues. My own step-father told my liberal, Dem and Methodist Aunt that he didn't even know how someone could call themselves a christian and still vote Democrat. And that wasn't him just being "out there" That was him toeing his organization's line. Don't even get them started on Catholics. IFBs love the No True Christian thing. They are convinced they are it and very, very few others will join them in the hereafter.

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Response to OriginalGeek (Reply #116)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:20 PM

118. I have met some as well. They regard me with pity, lol.

I heard a good analysis of this problem yesterday on a radio show.

During the AA civil rights era, churches and christians were at the forefront of the movement. Politically active christians were respected and their leaders became the primary spokespeople. To identify oneself as a christian was a good thing.

Then the christian right began to gain power and the whole scenario changed. Now if one calls themselves a christian, there are often assumptions made that put you squarely in the category of being one of them. I grew up around christians who never uttered the words "one way" or even "sin". I knew these other people existed, but nothing about them felt familiar.

That's a pretty radical change over a relatively short period of time.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #118)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:02 PM

121. That analysis leaves two important things out:

 

1. That churches were essentially the only place where civil rights advocates could meet.

2. That civil rights opponents were just as religious.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #121)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:15 PM

123. Do either of those things diminish the good done by religious leaders, congregations and

individuals?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #123)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:39 PM

124. That depends on what you mean.

 

If you're talking about the actions of the individual, then no. Of course not.

If you're talking about the role of religion as pertains to the issue, then yes. Absolutely.

When you have people on both sides of an issue claiming that their shared religion motivates them, isn't it possible (if not highly likely) that the role played by religion is in the reinforcement of a priori beliefs rather than the source of those beliefs?

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #124)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:47 PM

125. But as we discussed earlier, they would not acknowledge a shared religion.

They might acknowledge a shared descriptive word, but their definitions would vary to such an extent that they are essentially contradictory.

Dr. King's christianity looks nothing like the christianity of the KKK Grand Wizard, though they might both be labeled or self-identify as christians.

So how does sharing that descriptor detract from the good done by Dr. King?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #125)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:06 PM

128. You're overlooking what both have in common.

 

The Bible: Its stories, narratives, teachings, etc.

MLK Jr. and the KKK read from the same Bible (possibly slightly different translations) and took away completely different things. Now, do you think that this is because they were inspired by their religion's shared holy book to take their respective positions, or do you think that they saw their own beliefs reflected in its pages?

BTW: I never once claimed that King didn't do good. I did claim that Christianity can't justly be credited with that good.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #128)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:12 PM

129. Every individual sees, reads, hears things through their own prisms.

Since the Bible is a collection of stories, it is possible to interpret it very differently.

Dr. King was raised in a church and community where one interpretation was stressed. Are you suggesting that his religion had nothing to do with his position regarding civil rights? Are you saying that he was born with a certain set of views and that he interpreted the bible in such a way that would reinforce them?

I'm not getting what your argument here is at all.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #129)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:01 PM

132. It isn't that complicated

 

In a general sense, those who believe in a god create it in their own image, give it their own opinions and when it comes to the Bible, no amount of study will never reveal anything about its morals and lessons that the reader doesn't already agree with or is open to believing because it's rationalization and justification of and for their a priori beliefs.

It's been said elsewhere that the Bible can be interpreted to say whatever the interpreter wants. That sentiment alone is pretty suggestive of the notion that the Bible is used to reinforce, rationalize, and justify existing beliefs and attitudes. If it were the other way around, people with very disparate backgrounds would independently reach the same (or similar) conclusions about what the Bible says. Instead of black churches (like King's) supporting a view of equality and justice and Southern Baptist churches supporting outright racism and division, you'd see both uniting around a single view irrespective of the background of their congregations.

Instead of a complete reversal on the subject of slavery over the last couple hundred years, slavery would either be seen as unacceptable in the 19th century or acceptable today. Attitudes vary and change with time, but the Bible hasn't. With each new attitude, a new interpretation can be found to support it. Christianity didn't begin fracturing into numerous contradictory sects before the New Testament was even fully assembled and now there are some 43,000 different denominations because there's a unifying quality to Christianity that can overcome population differences. On the contrary, this continual fracturing demonstrates my point--that the religion is tailored to an increasingly disparate number of individual and collective views rather than those views emerging from the religion.

The lesson to take away is that God will never reveal anything to you (or any other believer) that disgusts or horrifies you, and you'll never find a passage in the Bible that you find both reprehensible and must be taken literally.

To try and answer your two questions, what seems most likely is that King's community shared similar attitudes towards equal rights and found passages in the Bible which supported that position. The religion was ancillary. To argue otherwise is to argue that had it not been for Christianity and the Bible, King wouldn't have thought to support civil rights, let alone champion them. He wasn't born with a certain set of views, but was raised with them and was likely taught that they were supported by the Bible. No one is an island.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #132)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:28 AM

134. Wow, you sure do make a lot of assumptions about people of faith.

Is that based on your own personal experience or from some scholarly inquiry?

None of this rings true to me. While I appreciate your taking the time to write this and I see that this is the the thesis on which you base your world view, it just rings completely hollow to me.

It does, on the other hand, help me understand where you are coming from.

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this topic. To be honest, it holds little interest for me anyway and I know there are others here that are much more interested in discussing religion in this vein.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #134)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 02:55 PM

137. Yes, I do assume that people's attitudes and beliefs are shaped by their environment.

 

Not just people of faith, but everyone. No one is an island.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #134)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 04:50 PM

138. What assumptions?

 

Name three of four of the assumptions that were made in that post, and explain why they are invalid and unjustified by any facts.

A number of arguments were offered which contradict the position you keep touting. Do you have any answer to any of them that has an objective basis? Or is your response, as always, "I can't reconcile this with my own personal experience, so I'm going to dismiss it out of hand and refuse to discuss it further"?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #118)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:28 PM

130. lol - yeah, I've felt that pity many times

Usually from my little brothers and it usually does make me laugh out loud.


I am glad, though, that my Aunt and Uncle retired to Florida - it has given me an opportunity to get to know them better. I rarely saw them growing up (My aunt is my mom's sister and we generally lived a thousand miles away from them) but talking to my aunt she tells me of the times before my mom fell in with the fundie crowd and I can remember some of those good times from when I was little kid and mostly just blot out the crazy bullshit from later. Since my mom passed a couple years ago I no longer need to talk to my step-father but I love visiting my aunt and uncle. They were very literally the first christians I had met since I was a kid that didn't make me think "Christians are all insane". The kind of christians I grew up with just ain't right in their heads.

I'm still an atheist but at least I now know christians aren't all insane.

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Response to OriginalGeek (Reply #130)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 06:37 PM

131. I am glad that you have your aunt and uncle.

Our experiences are almost diametrically opposed. The first "one way" christians I met were relatives of my mother. Their hard stance and judgements were all new to me.

I never thought christians were like that, lol.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #94)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:27 PM

97. Everything that **YOU** believe defines a Christian?

You could define black in a way that includes yourself too, just like you could define Christian in a way that excludes Phelps. But if language is to be useful definitions must be standard between users of that language. If Phelps then conforms to the standard definition of a Christian, which includes believers in the Christian religion, which in turn includes Phelps, then any definition of your own that excludes him is not standard and not useful.

When Phelps says "I do not believe in a divine Christ" (or mindreading becomes testable and established science and indicates he does not so believe) then he's not a Christian. Until then, he is.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #94)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 01:51 PM

102. Let me try my hand at this.

 

NTS is using an ad hoc definition of a group to exclude someone

Suppose Angus and Hamish are at the pub.
Hamish: Did you hear about that Englishman who shagged a sheep?
Angus: Ha ha, Yes! I'll tell you what, no Scotsman would ever do that.
Hamish: Don't you remember Duncan McDaniel? He shagged a whole bunch of sheep!
Angus: Erm, no TRUE Scotsman would ever do that.

So you see, Angus, having been presented with evidence he was wrong, invented the ad hoc group "True Scotsman" to exclude Duncan. The reason this is a fallacy should be readily apparent.

I hope this helps explain why calling someone an "Uncle Tom" (which isn't at all calling yourself black for financial gain), isn't an NTS argument. By the same token, since there's no universally agreed-upon definition of "Christian," defining Phelps out of Christendom with well-intentioned but still arbitrary definitions is an NTS argument. If there were a universally agreed-upon definition of Christian, then it could be easily argued whether someone is or isn't Christian, but since there's no such definition, then you can't.

What you can do is acknowledge that he wears the same label as you and say all manner of justifiably horrible things about him. That's just an ad hominem, and since it's against a total shit, no one will care.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #102)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:05 PM

104. I agree that it becomes much more complex because of the lack

of a universally agreed upon definition of a christian. I also see your (and others) points about the Uncle Tom reference. I read it differently and have been corrected.

Let me ask you this. If I say that someone has been shown to be a liar in other areas and their actions betray the most basic tenets of christianity (let's say "love thy neighbor as thyself" and, therefore is most likely a poseur and using the label for personal gain, is that an NTS fallacy?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #104)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:29 PM

106. Those "most basic tenets" aren't interpreted the same.

 

If you interpret the "love thyself" broadly, you have a great philosophy, but not one that's been adhered to by most Christians across history--overt racism, sexism, and homophobia were generally acceptable "Christian" behaviors until fairly recently, different denominations murdering each other, etc.

You seem really eager to wash your hands of the assholes who share your label and there's an easy way to do that--accept that you wear the same label and that doesn't mean you are all the same.

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #106)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:52 PM

108. I can buy that. It's seems like an argument about semantics, then.

Since we agree that there is no consistent or universally agreed upon definition of christian, I think it is reasonable to just agree that if someone calls themselves that, then they are one (unless proven otherwise).

I would, however, like to be able to distinguish sub-groups within that category and not have it dismissed. I will just have to be careful about how it is worded.



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Response to cbayer (Reply #108)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:58 PM

109. I think you are kind of getting it.

 

As has been said by others, it is really just a mindset that it is OK to acknowledge that someone can wear the same label as you and still be a dick. de Botton is an atheist. I have no regard for anything he has written and think he is a sycophant, but he's an atheist just like me.

I know you and I have gone at it a lot, but you can't seriously think that I or any other atheist on here thinks you are the same as Phelps just because you both have the label Christian. Phelps is a worthless piece of shit. The world will be a better place when he is dead. You don't see the world the same way I do but I know you are a progressive and in the vast majority of issues we are the same. I can't think of a single thing Phelps and I would agree on. He's a Christian and a dick. That's OK. Call him a hypocrite and a dick. Just don't exclude him from the label of Christian because he doesn't share your interpretation of it.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #109)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 03:18 PM

110. OK. I think I can do that.

Not sure that I have ever said that someone wasn't a real christian, but I may have.

I have not described myself as a christian, btw. There are many reasons for that, but one of the primary ones is the lack of a clear definition as to what that means and the tendency of others to make broad assumptions once someone assumes that label. It would take much more than a single word to describe what I am. In this area, I am somewhat envious of those that call themselves atheists. One word says very clearly what you are or are not.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #110)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 05:44 PM

143. Not always. :) nt

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Response to cbayer (Reply #108)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 03:29 PM

111. There's nothing wrong to specifying denominations.

 

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #111)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 03:37 PM

112. I'm not so much concerned about specifying denominations, more about

specifying interpretations, positions and practices.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #112)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:02 PM

115. Nothing wrong with that either.

 

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Response to cbayer (Reply #104)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:32 PM

107. Now you're just bringing up more problems.

Christians themselves don't agree on what the "basic tenets" are. Nor do they agree on their interpretation. Is it not possible for Fred Phelps to sincerely, honestly believe that he is showing "love thy neighbor" by TRYING DESPERATELY to warn them about behavior that is displeasing to god? Of course it is. So Phelps is no poseur - he's following his deeply held beliefs. As far as you, I, or anyone else knows.

But he meets the basic definition of Christian. He is one. And to deny it because of arbitrary "Well you have to believe in 'love thy neighbor' exactly as *I* interpret it", that's NTS.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #81)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 12:51 PM

85. What??

Give me just ONE example of atheists saying that bad people can't be true atheists here.

And just ONE "accusation" levelled unfairly against believers using it.

It's nothing AT ALL to do with distinguishing different types within a group and I challenge you to provide one reputable source on logic or critical thinking that defines it that way. It is entirely and uniquely applicable to pretending that some members of a group are not TRUE members of a group when they fail to meet arbitrary criteria.

IEP here

http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#NoTrueScotsman

CSU here

http://courses.csusm.edu/fallacies/notruescotsman.htm

University of Essex here

http://www.essex.ac.uk/myskills/skills/thinking/identifyEvaluateargument.asp#19


Every single one consistent with my defintion.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #85)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:54 PM

126. +1000

 

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Response to dmallind (Reply #85)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 04:55 PM

139. Waste of time

 

This poster regards ever request for evidence to back up her claims as "gotcha" tactics. She just makes things up as she goes, to promote a preconceived agenda (must run in the family). Facts, evidence and logic are just impediments, used as weapons by people who aren't interested in "real" and "meaningful" discussion (whatever the heck that is).

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:07 PM

54. Need? No. Do I support such discussion? Yes.

 

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #54)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 02:30 AM

70. Fantastic answer. nt

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 03:55 PM

113. Then your goal must be to get rid of the 1st amendment. nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #113)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:21 PM

119. WTF are you talking about? No one wants to rid anything, stop fabricating things.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #119)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:55 PM

127. 1,432 posts

 

That's all I am gonna SAY 'bout that

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #119)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 05:12 PM

141. There's another word for "fabricating"

 

and it ain't "tiger"

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #113)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 04:51 PM

120. Damn, Charles! When you make shit up, you go all out!

 

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #113)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 05:14 PM

122. Um, I have no idea where you deduced that from my posts...

 

But hey, I'm always up for a little entertainment

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #113)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 12:06 PM

135. Clearly the first amendment guarantees the freedom of religion to exist and speak in the

public square. It is a violation when the government authorizes any religious institution or religion in general. But it is equally clear that the "free exercise" clause allows religion to be outside the walls of the church. When I keep hearing that religion has no place in public life, then that objection leads to conflict with the first amendment. Remember the courts have been struggling with this ever since the Bill of Rights was adopted. You cannot isolate religion from life. You can make sure that because it is a doctrine the law is not subservient to it. Justice, for instance, is a religious imperative, so is peace, equity, etc. People who come to those positions from their faith have a perfect right to speak about them as moral and ethical demands which come from their faith. So where are you with the first amendment as defined in a multitude of court decisions?

The bottom line in this argument is not what either of us holds, but what the courts have decided. This is purely a political issue.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #135)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 12:12 PM

136. Why would a publicly (tax) supported park be a haven for

 

the free exercise of religion?

Would that include all of our national parks? Would that include all of our national monuments, some of which (the White House, for example) are parks with buildings upon them?

Would we be required to allow for the Southern Baptist national conference to hold its gathering in the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone?

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Response to oilpro2 (Reply #136)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 07:35 PM

144. The court has spoken about most of these things.

No ten commandments in front of the Court House. I don't know, but if people want to hold a convention in a national park--you tell me. I know of all kinds of groups that do. i have been at religious meetings in the Rockey Mountain park at the YMCA facility. (Young Man's Christian Association.!) If the Park sponsored the event, that is another matter.
But when a group of any sort wants to rent a space in a park, that obviously is OK.

What do you think.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #135)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 05:04 PM

140. No, it doesn't

 

You've been educated on this before, and yet you continue to bring up the same falsehoods and bogus accusations?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1218&pid=18804

If you want to argue the point, have the intellectual courage to do it face to face and out in the open. Don't run off elsewhere and start peddling the same nonsense as if you don't know any better.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #135)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 05:39 PM

142. Not when "free exercise" means lobbying government.

You are all too willing to conflate the rights of citizens (the people) with the rights of the organization (religion). You're just advocating religious corporate personhood.

That's why your reasoning for such always sounds like corporate spin, hype, and parasitic manipulation. Because that's what it is.

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 08:43 AM

133. Dialogue? Man, I'm just here for the lulz.

I'm not scared of religious people. I say what I want, when I want, to whom I want. I'll be friends with anyone....but if someone puts me in the "crosshairs", are they in for a surprise. I'm 32 and I've survived being stabbed, being hit by a car, and stage 3 cancer....what the fuck can religious people do to me?

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Response to Evoman (Reply #133)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 07:51 PM

147. Well, we might just affirm you as a person with guts.We ight even listen to you. nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #147)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 08:39 PM

148. It's so generous of you to consider listening to someone on a discussion board.

 

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #148)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:47 PM

151. your snark is tedious and ignored. If you have something txo say, then say it.nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #151)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:10 PM

154. This is a discussion board.

 

If you're not willing to listen to what someone else has to say, why are you here?

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #154)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:13 PM

155. He's like me....he is here for some righteous lulz.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #147)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:06 PM

149. I don't care.

Maybe some do, but I don't. I've been around long enough to know that none of the conversations in this place make a damn difference.

I come here because I love some of the fundie atheists in this place. They are some smart and nice people who supported me when I was down. I even like some of the religious people here. And truth be told, it entertains the hell out of me when atheists skewer religious people in arguments......the defense mechanisms make me chuckle.

I don't know if this post will be deleted or get me booted. I just thought you should know that I never lie, and will always speak my truth.

Because I just don't give a shit.

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Response to Evoman (Reply #149)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:49 PM

152. I guess it is important (to me at least) that you do give a shit. nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #152)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:08 PM

153. Oh please, no it's not.

You come here to get attention. You like talking, and you like people listening to you. Listening to others is not overly important to you....at least not on this message board. Moreover, you secretly love being "attacked", not only because it gives you attention but because it justifies your positions and confirms your beliefs.

As for myself, I love the hell out of you. In fact, when I see you post an OP, my hears skips a beat. Because I know a good time will be had by all. You never disappoint me...there will always be some small (or not so small) provocation in your post. Really, it's all so much fun.

I'd post more, but I have a way of killing posts. Besides, I start chemo again next week and I'll probably be too sick too put up too much of a fight. Two more months, then no more chemo. I'll probably be around more after that. Stick around...we'll have a good time!

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Response to Evoman (Reply #153)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:14 PM

156. Hey. Great! While you really don't know what is going on inside me, and have missed it by a mile,

I'm happy to provide you with entertainment. Sounds like you have a serious problem. Whether you accept it or not, I will hold you in my mind. Some call that prayer. At least i do. At any rare, you are not alone.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #156)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:27 PM

158. Haha.

Meh, it's only cancer. If you only knew how many times the universe has tried to kill me....it's almost enough to make you believe in god! Probably a bit different than the god you believe in.

Of course you are going to say that I'm wrong about you. Even if I was right. Which maybe I'm not? Bah, but who really cares.

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Response to Evoman (Reply #158)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:18 AM

160. Good luck in this fight. I hope this round is easier and knocks the cancer out for good.

 

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Response to Evoman (Reply #153)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 10:23 AM

161. Evoman......FOR THE WIN!!!!

You come here to get attention. You like talking, and you like people listening to you. Listening to others is not overly important to you....at least not on this message board. Moreover, you secretly love being "attacked", not only because it gives you attention but because it justifies your positions and confirms your beliefs.




Holy shit, man. That. Was. Perfect!

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #147)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:14 PM

150. Or

you might not.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #150)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:17 PM

157. Your snark is tedious and ignored.

 

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Response to laconicsax (Reply #157)

Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:28 PM

159. ha!

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Response to Taverner (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 05:32 PM

163. I think what would really help dialogue

is to have one. People are so caught up in their ego constructs that they cannot separate from them. We are not our beliefs, we have beliefs, right?

It has always bugged me to hear people say 'I am a ____, instead of saying 'I am someone who practices this, and at this point decided that this was true', ect. People have truly forgotten how to have--a dialogue.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"It is a mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotole

"Education is the ability to listen to just about anything without losing your temper or your self confidence." Robert Frost

"Discussion is an exchange of knowledge, argument is an exchange of ignorance." Robert Quillen

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Response to felix_numinous (Reply #163)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 09:08 PM

165. +10000

 

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