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BS: Militant atheism has become a religion

Jack the Sailor 24 Mar 13 - 10:26 PM
Little Hawk 24 Mar 13 - 10:48 PM
Steve Shaw 24 Mar 13 - 11:02 PM
Steve Shaw 24 Mar 13 - 11:12 PM
Little Hawk 24 Mar 13 - 11:17 PM
Steve Shaw 24 Mar 13 - 11:29 PM
Jack the Sailor 24 Mar 13 - 11:35 PM
Jack the Sailor 24 Mar 13 - 11:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Mar 13 - 11:58 PM
Mrrzy 25 Mar 13 - 12:18 AM
Ron Davies 25 Mar 13 - 12:58 AM
Joe Offer 25 Mar 13 - 01:39 AM
MtheGM 25 Mar 13 - 02:10 AM
GUEST,Musket sans cookie 25 Mar 13 - 03:29 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Mar 13 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Musket sans cookie 25 Mar 13 - 05:18 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Mar 13 - 07:07 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Mar 13 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 25 Mar 13 - 07:32 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Mar 13 - 07:33 AM
Greg F. 25 Mar 13 - 08:13 AM
John P 25 Mar 13 - 08:49 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Mar 13 - 08:49 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 25 Mar 13 - 09:08 AM
Richard Bridge 25 Mar 13 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Musket sans cookie 25 Mar 13 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Jack Sprocket 25 Mar 13 - 09:59 AM
Lighter 25 Mar 13 - 10:14 AM
Bill D 25 Mar 13 - 10:54 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Mar 13 - 11:17 AM
Megan L 25 Mar 13 - 11:49 AM
pdq 25 Mar 13 - 12:58 PM
Jack the Sailor 25 Mar 13 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Stim 25 Mar 13 - 01:09 PM
Jack the Sailor 25 Mar 13 - 01:16 PM
Jack the Sailor 25 Mar 13 - 01:23 PM
Musket 25 Mar 13 - 01:32 PM
Jack the Sailor 25 Mar 13 - 01:34 PM
Jack the Sailor 25 Mar 13 - 01:35 PM
Musket 25 Mar 13 - 01:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Mar 13 - 01:53 PM
Jack the Sailor 25 Mar 13 - 02:02 PM
Musket 25 Mar 13 - 02:11 PM
Wesley S 25 Mar 13 - 02:18 PM
bobad 25 Mar 13 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Stim 25 Mar 13 - 02:35 PM
Greg F. 25 Mar 13 - 02:37 PM
Jack the Sailor 25 Mar 13 - 02:42 PM
Bill D 25 Mar 13 - 02:43 PM
Musket 25 Mar 13 - 02:57 PM
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Subject: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 10:26 PM

Very interesting article. Why are some atheists so militant.

Prominent non-believers have become as dogmatic as those they deride

"I like this analysis better than the usual approach to secularization, which just counts how many people believe and how many don't. It may one day help to test my thesis that activist atheism reflects trauma. The stricter one's religious background, the greater the need to go against it and to replace old securities with new ones."


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 10:48 PM

Yes, I've always said that everyone is really "religious" about something (It could be God, money, themselves, success, possessions, sex, fame, their body, their intellect, their profession, their country, their party, their sexual preference, their racial profile, their gender, their home team, their hobby, their drug of choice, etc.), atheists included. Everyone puts a lot of faith in a few particular favorite baskets. And if they're also dogmatic about it, and they want to attack or ridicule all religions, faiths, and obesssions which are different from their own...then they're a pain to be around.

There's a lot of good stuff in that article. This, for instance:

"Dogmatists (either religious or atheistic dogmatists) have one advantage (in a debate): they are poor listeners. This ensures sparkling conversations when different kinds of them get together the way male birds gather at "leks" to display splendid plumage for visiting females. It almost makes one believe in the "argumentative theory," according to which human reasoning didn't evolve for the sake of truth, but rather to shine in discussion."

One sees that in government all the time, specially when the cameras are running. And one sees it on discussion forums.

That's why I'm starting to prefer PMs for difficult subjects. I can talk to just one person then, and neither one of us is tempted to start grandstanding for the rest of the online audience. It makes for far better communication. Also, you don't keep getting interrupted constantly by other people who want to divert things in some other direction. Again, far better communication when it's just two people talking.

Which is why they say, "Too many cooks spoil the soup."


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 11:02 PM

It is actually of very little interest. What a bloody thing to waste time labouring through. It's the same old story. Certain persons of faith feeling so threatened by rational people disagreeing with them that they have to try to imagine that we over here have an alternative belief system, that we're angry, that we're militant, that we're equivalent, in effect, to some wacky religion or other. I have to call myself an atheist (annoying in itself) because I'm cast in that mould by believers. No invention of God, no believers, no atheists. The whole thing is your doing, not ours. We don't band together conspiratorially like Christians, Muslims and Jews do (cf. AIPAC). We don't capture people into our "cause" (by christening, for example) at least twenty years before they understand the notions that bind. We don't preach stuff because we have nothing to preach about. We are not equal and opposites to believers. That legitimises believers beyond all justification. You pontificate from the pulpit, claiming that myth is truth, via programmes on the radio and telly and by indoctrinating school kids from the age of five. We haven't got an opposing body of knowledge to you because there is not the information to possess one. That is a damn sight more honest than Christian belief, which deals in myth as truth, uncertainties as certainties and the entrapment and brainwashing of children. So don't come the old, worn-out "militant atheist" bollocks. We are pussycats without a central organisation, unlike the racist, authoritarian, misogynistic setups of the three major religions, and your false characterisation of us betrays not only crooked thinking but also an unhealthy, rampant, unjustified fear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 11:12 PM

Yes, I've always said that everyone is really "religious" about something

Ah yes, the usual bogus equivalence argument! It suits you to characterise people who have ardent disagreements with your cosy Christian line as "religious" in some alternative way. You do realise, don't you, that in so doing you are actually making "religious" into a dirty word? That is so laughable. So, in sum, no, we are not religious. Oh yes, we have certain convictions, hard-won (unlike religion, which is hard-received) that are based on the requirement for and critical assessment of evidence. I can't think of anything on earth as different from "religious" as that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 11:17 PM

Can I PM you about that? ;-)

Most of the people I've ever met worship money, not God. Just offer them a whole of it, and you'll see right away where their priorities lie. Money rules the world! (at present)   

Then there's sex...another major item of worship in our society...check out the latest issue of Cosmopolitan, and you'll see by the titles of the articles on the cover. Sex, sex, sex, and more sex. People worship it, and it's used to sell everything under the sun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 11:29 PM

You seriously need to inspect and extend your vocabulary. You worship God, you do not worship money. You may lustfully acquire it, steal it, bamboozle people out of it, hoard it, count it, fret about it. You do not do those things with your God. Choose a different word. You do not worship sex. You seek it, yearn for it if you can't get it, fail at it, dream about getting it, worry that God or your dead granny is watching what you get up to. Not worship. Wrong word. This stuff is completely symptomatic of the need of a certain type of believer to obsessively seek equivalence for other people's base, worldly desires with your assumed higher calling in order to make you look good. Live your life, stop making silly, spurious comparisons and get off your religious high horse. And we'll discuss in public if it's all right with you. I hate having to do things twice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 11:35 PM

Mr. Shaw, You said,

"It is actually of very little interest. What a bloody thing to waste time labouring through. It's the same old story. Certain persons of faith feeling so threatened by rational people disagreeing with them that they have to try to imagine that we over here have an alternative belief system, that we're angry, that we're militant, that we're equivalent, in effect, to some wacky religion or other. I have to call myself an atheist (annoying in itself) because I'm cast in that mould by believers."

The article doesn't say any of those things. The article was in fact written by an atheist. That is explained in the first couple of paragraphs. You obviously didn't read it. Tell me why should anyone care about your uninformed opinion of the article? Please also tell me where you find the arrogance to express it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 11:47 PM

Mr. Shaw,

"You seriously need to inspect and extend your vocabulary. You worship God, you do not worship money. You may lustfully acquire it, steal it, bamboozle people out of it, hoard it, count it, fret about it. You do not do those things with your God. Choose a different word. You do not worship sex. You seek it, yearn for it if you can't get it, fail at it, dream about getting it, worry that God or your dead granny is watching what you get up to. Not worship. Wrong word."

Pretty strong criticism from a man who said that Hell is minor discomfort and Heaven a sip of whiskey. Would you please apologize to Little Hawk because he did no more than take the same poetic liberties that you did.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 11:58 PM

I see the role of "atheist" much in the same way as I am a "non smoker." I was subjected to cigarette smoke against my will for many years, and when I protested I met defensive and angry put-downs. Now that that worm has turned, I insist that smokers take it elsewhere and not intrude on my space. The same with bible-thumpers.

Resisting the status quo doesn't make you militant or strident. Speaking your mind and making your preferences known is just that. If religious folk see that as militant, that is THEIR problem.

I've only glanced at the article, but the lines "I now draw a sharp line, based not on what exactly they believe but on their level of dogmatism. I consider dogmatism a far greater threat than religion per se" ring true.

This paragraph, though, is as far as one seems to need to read: "Religion looms as large as an elephant in the United States, to the point that being nonreligious is about the biggest handicap a politician running for office can have, bigger than being gay, unmarried, thrice married, or black. This is upsetting, of course, and explains why atheists have become so vocal in demanding their place at the table. They prod the elephant to see whether they can get it to make some room. But the elephant also defines them, because what would be the point of atheism in the absence of religion?"

A philosophy of life without reference to the judeo-christian or other industrial religions is entirely possible - as long as you don't let them control the discussion and define the terms. Humans are superstitious - chances are there has been some form of religion in most cultures going back a very long time. For many people today a combination of ethics and science takes care of how they deal with others and provides answers to how things work. Those people are observant of nature and the world around them and think about it without reference to a supernatural god. Philosophers come in all stripes, some are religious. Most of those I know or know of, aren't. Every so often some holy-roller comes to my door and wants to bring me into their fold. On the times that I have actually engaged them in any kind of conversation, I've suggested we drop the scripture they want to use to define the conversation and instead use the writings of some of the important 20th century French philosophers.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 12:18 AM

Although SOME atheists like churchiness, none are dogmatic; where would dogma come from?


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 12:58 AM

"none are dogmatic".   Right.   Just try reading some of the religion threads here.

Mudcat atheists are the soul of tolerance.    Sure they are.

Some (not including Bill D and Amos) believe as strongly that they are correct and that the religious have no clue as any fundamentalist believes his or her own view is the only correct one.

In fact at least one has confirmed the thesis of the OP.    I'll be glad to point it out when the next one does.

It will be interesting to monitor this thread and see just how tolerant the usual Mudcat atheists are.

Have at it, boys.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:39 AM

To Whom It May Concern:

If you don't doubt what you believe (or disbelieve) at times, then you and I may have a problem. A good dose of doubt, makes a person tolerant and willing to look at things from the perspective of others.

If you can tell me what I believe, without my telling you myself, then I think we probably have a problem there, too.

Respectfully,

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: MtheGM
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:10 AM

As usual, from the thread title on, it is definitions [or, rather, 'over-definitions'] that we are arguing about.

"You are making a 'religion' of atheism [or sex or food or Adele or sunbathing] by 'worshipping' them."

"No, that is not what 'religion' or 'worship' really mean."

"Well, what would you call it then?"

& so on [& on & on & on ...]

Let's have a little traditional song, shall we?, so we can move all this above the line. All together, now ~~

"Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mul...."

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 03:29 AM

Another misguided case of judging others by your own delusions I suppose.

I get rather fed up of saying I am not an atheist. Sailor boy's thread here makes my case perfectly.   Atheism is a word invented by superstitious people as a negative word. Me? Im irreligious. Not militant, just fed up with the social influence of fantasy and mind control of the lowest order.

Tolerant? Yes. Where it is reciprocated. To date that would be the Quakers and The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. (The reformed Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster can be chippy buggers though. )


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 05:03 AM

People constantly use the word "religion" as if it were equivalent to "faith". The Latin word "religio" from which it comes means obligation or bond, and the word still carries an implication of being part of a more or less ordered group, with a common set of beliefs and practice.

Atheism is clearly a faith, but it's hard to see how it really qualifies as a religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 05:18 AM

Sorry. Serious question for once.

How can you say atheism is a faith if those to whom faith is an irrelevance get tarred with the atheist brush?

I appreciate your dictionary and ancient interpretation of religio but as 99% of people bandying words around don't know or appreciate that, we are led to reading their words as intended.

I do exhibit faith. To Sheffield Wednesday. And looking at the league table I see many parallels. ..


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 07:07 AM

Ah, so much to come back at (and I will, but time is short this morning). But I couldn't help but pick up this gem:

Some (not including Bill D and Amos) believe as strongly that they are correct and that the religious have no clue as any fundamentalist believes his or her own view is the only correct one.

I have no time for any "atheist" who expresses their standpoint as a certainty. The world's most famous atheist puts himself at 6.9 on his own scale of 0 to 7 with 0 = certainly a God and 7 = certainly no God. He cheerfully subscribed to the London bus campaign that stated "There is probably no God..." I have never, in thousands of posts I've made about faith and religion, said that there is no God. I have said only that the evidence I can honestly glean, and my interpretation of it, suggests that the probability of his existing is vanishingly small. I can't say I don't believe in God because I honestly don't know whether there is one, though my conclusion is that I can happily get on with my life unconcerned about any influence he might have on me now, might have had in the past or may have in the future. Quotes such as the above represent the typically intolerant, ill-considered caricature of those poor souls who are perceived to be not in their camp. The cry of the scared Christian: those who criticise our faith and take a different world view (especially those who express it, and especially especially those who express it bluntly, as bluntly as faiths express themselves with their "certainties") are fundamentalist, we have an atheist faith, we have an atheist belief system, we are evangelical, we are militant, it's really just a perverted kind of religion. Actually, when you think about it, we are none of the above. We literally have nothing to get together and talk about and make plans over. We have no organisation. No schools in which to indoctrinate children. We nearly always merely react. Some of us are quite good at that (I always think it's easier to be good at it when you tell yourself you will not be derailed from rationality). This thread was started by a Christian. Just thought I'd mention it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 07:31 AM

The article doesn't say any of those things. The article was in fact written by an atheist. That is explained in the first couple of paragraphs. You obviously didn't read it. Tell me why should anyone care about your uninformed opinion of the article? Please also tell me where you find the arrogance to express it.

Excuse me, but I read it end to end. The writer, paradoxically, thinks that the type of atheist that he himself isn't (and I disagree vehemently with the classification he adheres to in any case) makes far too much noise, yet here he is making an awful lot of noise himself in telling us not to be so noisy. He is an atheist but he writes like many a Christian. The Vatican should be paying him a shilling or two. He has nothing new to say. Parenthetically, he is wrong in saying that the biggest disadvantage for an American politician is non-belief. The biggest disadvantage for an American politician is to want to open your mouth in criticism of Israel, indulgence in which is the certain way to end your career. Far worse. He attempts to stun us with his rhetorical mention of Hitchens favouring Dick Cheney over Mother Teresa. The pause at the end of that sentence was to accommodate some time for righteous tut-tutting and sanctimonious head-shaking from his "audience". Unfortunately, anyone who has ever looked in Mother Teresa's life knows that Hitchens was spot on with his choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 07:32 AM

As Steve Shaw said: "We are not equal and opposites to believers."

Exactly!


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 07:33 AM

"You seriously need to inspect and extend your vocabulary. You worship God, you do not worship money. You may lustfully acquire it, steal it, bamboozle people out of it, hoard it, count it, fret about it. You do not do those things with your God. Choose a different word. You do not worship sex. You seek it, yearn for it if you can't get it, fail at it, dream about getting it, worry that God or your dead granny is watching what you get up to. Not worship. Wrong word."

Pretty strong criticism from a man who said that Hell is minor discomfort and Heaven a sip of whiskey. Would you please apologize to Little Hawk because he did no more than take the same poetic liberties that you did.


The perfect embodiment of mischievous disingenuousness. And Talisker is whisky, not whiskey, ignoramus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Greg F.
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 08:13 AM

"Militant Atheism"" - an oxymoron if ever there was one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: John P
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 08:49 AM

What a bunch of utter bullshit. If you want to say that "some atheists care as much about their atheism as some Christians care about their religion" I might be able to go along with it. But saying that atheism is a religion, or that some atheists are religious, is like saying that I'm a stamp collector because I don't have a stamp collection. It is more logical and more true to say that all Christians are Satan worshipers.

Jack the Sailor, I think you are a really good person, but this thread is really offensive. Be ashamed.

Ron Davies, we're all tired of your bullshit response every time this subject comes up. You are wrong, you can't prove what you say, and you are exhibiting bigotry. Be ashamed.

Joe, I rather liked your response. I have to confess that I have no doubt whatsoever (speaking unscientifically) that the God described in the Bible does not exist. But if your words are taken to heart by any of the offensive "you're just like me" crowd, I will be glad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 08:49 AM

Yes, Greg, along with such characterisations as "bitter ex-Catholics" that we often have to endure. It's a casual and easy way of achieving instant demonisation. A good atheist putting his or her well-considered arguments has had to go against a massive tide. They have worked hard. They do not deserve to be shot down by the kind of resort to lazy thinking that is implied by the title of the thread, or by the writer of that article, or by the oft-parroted, by not just him I hasten to add, received wisdoms of Ron Davies. That's where the true noise in these conversations always comes from.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 09:08 AM

There was one nugget of real interest, which I would like to have had in a recent discussion.

""In Puebla, D'Souza featured near-death experiences as scientific proof of the afterlife. After a brush with death, some patients report having floated outside of their bodies or having entered a tunnel of light. This surely seems bizarre, but D'Souza failed to bring up new neuroscience of a small brain area known as the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ). This area gathers information from many senses (visual, tactile, and vestibular) to construct a single image of our body and its place in the environment. Normally, this image is nicely coherent across all senses, so that we know who and where we are. The body image is disturbed, however, as soon as the TPJ is damaged or stimulated with electrodes. Scientists can deliberately make people feel that they are hovering above their own body or looking down on it, or have them perceive a copy of themselves sitting next to them, like a shadow ("I looked younger and fresher than I do now. My double smiled at me in a friendly way"). Together with the hallucinogenic qualities of anesthetic drugs and the effects of oxygen depletion on the brain, science is getting close to a materialist explanation of near-death experiences.

Frans de Waal is the author of "Our Inner Ape," among many other works. He is the C.H. Candler professor in Emory University's psychology department. He has been named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People.
""

His credentials also seem impressive.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 09:10 AM

With all due respect (ie not much) it seems to me that what many object to about religion is not that the religious believe that there is a god but that they believe that they are entitled, in the name of their god, to demand that those who do not believe in that god obey its rules.

Look at all the evils committed in the name of religion, from the human sacrifices of old to the crusader invasions of the East Mediterranean to the fantastic repression and even genocide by the Roman Catholics to the religious cries of the (thankfully fairly atypical) Islamist bomber or proponent of stoning for "sex outside marriage" when in fact raped or challenge of morality rules by FEMEN.

Has not religion done and does not religion do more harm than good?


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 09:50 AM

Many worship money. Some worship football teams, me for instance. I used to worship Kate Bush but that's another matter.

Since when has the word worship been exclusive to your imaginary friend? At least money, football and Kate Bush exist.

Just as atheist is a word so is worship. No bugger has the monopoly on either.

When I signed up to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in order to take the piss out of the monitoring forms I have to declare in my work, a friend said it isn't real and as I was baptised as a baby I am a Christian. Bollocks. I signed up of my own free will which makes me a real pastafarian. Albeit one who believes the silly bits as much as an intelligent person who claims to be Christian does..


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: GUEST,Jack Sprocket
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 09:59 AM

If atheism is to be considered just another religion, as theists appear to be arguing, can we please have Richard Dawkins on Thought For The Day and Sunday Worship?


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 10:14 AM

Show me someone who "worships" money the way other people "worship" God, and I'll show you the lunatic asylum he's already in:

"Oh, cash of my fathers, please bless me and my family! Please give me the strength to face death! And, while I'm at it, thanks for teaching me how to behave and for creating the universe too!"

I detect significant differences.

By the way, atheism has never been so "militant" as in the USSR and its spin-offs. But people could still pray inside their heads. If religion could survive Stalin and Mao, it can survive democratic secular humanists.

I'm not endorsing or condemning either religion or atheism, by the way. Just observing the facts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 10:54 AM

well... since I am referenced above, I will say this: I prefer to be known as a skeptic, not as an atheist- meaning that I just doubt, because of lack of convincing evidence, the claims and language of most dedicated believers. If it were relevant, I would bet a dollar that the Universe has no intelligent designer, but the bet is silly as we just can't settle it. (I can list many ways in which a designer, if one existed and was so moved, could settle the bet, but lacking such intervention, I can only shrug).
It upsets frustrates me that some 'atheists' are so militant that they cause articles to be written. (he said, with a bit of irony implied)

I do agree that much of the argument here (and the title of the thread) is based in language and the logical fallacy called Equivocation. (For those who don't click on links, it just means that people are using words differently and thus talking past each other.)(I have debated Little Hawk on this for years.)

My personal attitude is that I fully understand why the history of humanity is laced with various religious threads, and therefore I try very hard to respect that basic feeling, as long as it is not accompanied by proselytizing. I will even say further that if I were given a button that instantly caused all humans to be convinced that their previous religious ideas were wrong, I would not push that button. If atheism/skepticism is the wave of the (far distant) future, I'd prefer it just gradually seeps in. .... and if there is a god who cares about being known AS a god, I'd pefer it not be so coy and wait thousands of years between messages.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 11:17 AM

Hmm. Assuming there was any Godly message in the first pace. Evidence, dear boy, evidence... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Megan L
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 11:49 AM

Oh hear the rabid turncoat
Just how he does rant and rail
He'd shoot the flaming lot of them
And hang them ower the pale.

He sees no good in others
Aye looking for the bad
He's shouting on street corners
He really looks quite mad.

There is good and bad in all men
It really gets my goat
When folk stop seeing people
And judge the blooming coat

Tis the thought of revolution
It allows a man to kill
The man who was his neighbour
And bore him no ill will


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: pdq
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 12:58 PM

The official American face of the religion of...

                                                                                              Atheism


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:06 PM

About Mr. Shaw...

Well it is clear that Shaw is on this thread for the mischief, Saying he read the article, referencing things that are not there then pretending he has read it by referencing things he has read on this thread. Then the final straw, When it was pointed out that he was attacking Little Hawk for an action very similar to his own, the childish insult over me using the common spelling for whiskey where I live was telling. Wasn't it.

I am not accusing Shaw of belonging to a religion. But he acts a lot like Meryl Streep The head nun in the movie Doubt doesn't he.

It seems quite the act of blind faith, very similar to religious martyrdome, on a small scale, to try to change the world by insulting non-believers (in what you believe) one at a time.

Which brings me to the point of the article.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:09 PM

Richard Bridge: when you say,"Has not religion done and does not religion do more harm than good?", it occurs to me that that same could be said of all of the institutions and enterprises constructed by humans. Regarding the acrimony that seems to underlie everything on this forum, might one not ask, "Has not Mudcat done, and does not Mudcat do, more harm than good?"

I think Mudcat is dying, since so much of what was good is gone, and so much of what is left is embodied in this thread. I, for one, will miss even the most contentious of you, so everybody, please leave a way that we can check up on you from time to time (though Steve Shaw, for instance, is one of a kind, there are many who use that name, so Googling doesn't help much).


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:16 PM

John P. If I bear shame it is for not explaining my opinion of the article more clearly. I do not fully buy the article's title which was chosen by the editors at salon, No doubt to stir controversy among readers and "trends" on the twitter. I do not think that "Militant atheism has become a religion" but it is really clear to me that some militant atheists take on some of the less appealing traits and tactics of religious zealots. You must know how difficult to have a non-confrontational talk about a religious subject on this forum without being called "superstitious" or "silly." I have been using the term "evangelical atheist" for a while, I don't know if I was the first to use it. But I think not. It is a pretty obvious term once you see one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:23 PM

I think that "Mudcat is dying" would be a good subject for discussion on another thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Musket
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:32 PM

Perhaps you will pray for it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:34 PM

The content of the article.

While I don't agree that the article proves the premise of the Salon.com title there are several gems in it that have enriched my understanding of evangelical atheism. There are also some interesting insights into primate behavior and into Mr Der Waal's upbringing. All in all I thought it was well worth the read and well worth bringing to anyone here who might care to. Including Mr. Shaw ;-)


Mrrzy asked...

"Although SOME atheists like churchiness, none are dogmatic; where would dogma come from? "


This is one of the places in the article where Franz der Waal addresses that point.

"Then there is the persistent myth that science trumps religion in every possible way, and that science distracts from religion, and vice versa, as in a zero-sum game. This approach goes back to nineteenth-century American polemists, who famously declared that if it were up to religion, we'd still believe in a flat earth. This was pure propaganda, however. Speculation about our planet's roundness began with Aristotle and other ancient Greeks, and every major scholar during the so-called Dark Ages was fully aware of it. Dante's "Divine Comedy" portrays the earth as a sphere, and the exterior panel of Bosch's Garden triptych takes an in-between approach by showing a flat earth floating in a transparent ball surrounded by a black cosmos. When it comes to evolution, too, there is a tendency to point at religion as a solid opponent while ignoring that the Roman Catholic Church never formally condemned Darwin's theory or put his works on the Index (the list of forbidden books). The Vatican has endorsed evolution as a valid theory compatible with the Christian faith. Admittedly, its endorsement came a bit late, but it is good to realize that resistance to evolution is almost entirely restricted to evangelical Protestants in the American South and Midwest."


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:35 PM

I pray for you Musket. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Musket
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:46 PM

Bless you my son.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 01:53 PM

The difference between agnostics and atheists is that the latter do have "a faith", by which I mean a settled belief about how the world works. If it's only provisional, a matter of "probably", or even "almost certainly", they are agnostics.

While in many parts of the world atheists may reasonably see themselves as battling against "a massive tide", that is hardly the case in England, at least in metropolitan England if anything it's the other way round, it. Is believers who are in that situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:02 PM

From the article.

"But I am not anymore. In my interactions with religious and nonreligious people alike, I now draw a sharp line, based not on what exactly they believe but on their level of dogmatism. I consider dogmatism a far greater threat than religion per se. I am particularly curious why anyone would drop religion while retaining the blinkers sometimes associated with it. Why are the "neo-atheists" of today so obsessed with God's nonexistence that they go on media rampages, wear T-shirts proclaiming their absence of belief, or call for a militant atheism? What does atheism have to offer that's worth fighting for?

As one philosopher put it, being a militant atheist is like "sleeping furiously.""


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Musket
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:11 PM

Just to be serious for a minute..

Religion is expanding and more people apply their religion to their everyday lives. Look at the rise of Islamic intolerance of others, look at Dumbfuckistan and their bible belt, look at UK religious leaders saying that discriminating against gay people isn't bigotry when you tell people Jesus thinks like they do...

No. It isn't militant atheism. It is seeing religious equality turning into religious privilege and that is worth resisting by intelligent people who prefer to be taught how to think rather than what to think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Wesley S
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:18 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that after several hundred posts that no one will change their viewpoints on this matter and nothing will be decided. But I could be wrong....


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: bobad
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:25 PM

"I once wanted to be an atheist but I gave up... they have no holidays." -Henny Youngman


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:35 PM

It's called the BS section, WesleyS, because no matter importance of the issue, the discussions themselves amount to...well, you know...


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Greg F.
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:37 PM

by which I mean a settled belief about how the world works

You're talking about science, perhaps? Science isn't a "belief" - its the way things are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:42 PM

Wesley. I started the thread, changing viewpoints was not a goal. I just wanted to talk about a subject that interests me and introduce a few interesting ideas from the article. That part, IMHO is going well. The noise of the Mudcat is what it is.

I have had tinnitus since the 70's when I went to too any rock music clubs. I complain about the tinnitus now and then. It does exactly as much good as complaining about the fighting on the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:43 PM

"Religion is expanding and more people apply their religion to their everyday lives."

That's a hard thing to pin down. One recent survey disagrees. It may be that many people are applying religious principles without strict adherence to a belief system.
I know that the polarization has been more obvious recently, and a number of issues have caused more confrontation in various cultures. I would not personally make any claims about an overall trend yet. It's easier to predict trends in climate change.

(That survey has been quoted and discussed on many different sites recently)


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Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: Musket
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 02:57 PM

Bang on Stim. It is called BS for a reason. Although look at those who complain when someone pisses on their bonfire. You'd think they were holding a real debate with real people.

We don't exist, silly.

Just like.........


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