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BS: 'Militant Atheism' is a propaganda term

John P 17 May 13 - 09:33 PM
Joe Offer 18 May 13 - 12:51 AM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 18 May 13 - 04:59 AM
Stringsinger 18 May 13 - 10:40 AM
Stringsinger 18 May 13 - 11:01 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 18 May 13 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Musket on a Saturday 18 May 13 - 12:46 PM
Joe Offer 18 May 13 - 03:08 PM
Steve Shaw 18 May 13 - 08:27 PM
Jack the Sailor 19 May 13 - 02:01 AM
Joe Offer 19 May 13 - 03:35 AM
GUEST,Musket sans respectability 19 May 13 - 03:41 AM
Joe Offer 19 May 13 - 04:26 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 19 May 13 - 04:58 AM
Steve Shaw 19 May 13 - 08:31 AM
Steve Shaw 19 May 13 - 08:34 AM
Stringsinger 19 May 13 - 10:18 AM
Stringsinger 19 May 13 - 10:35 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 May 13 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Musket sans reality check 19 May 13 - 02:34 PM
Stringsinger 19 May 13 - 02:35 PM
Stringsinger 19 May 13 - 02:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 May 13 - 03:27 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 May 13 - 04:06 PM
Joe Offer 19 May 13 - 05:44 PM
Steve Shaw 19 May 13 - 07:59 PM
Joe Offer 19 May 13 - 08:53 PM
Steve Shaw 20 May 13 - 07:09 AM
Stringsinger 20 May 13 - 10:36 AM
Stringsinger 20 May 13 - 11:03 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 May 13 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 20 May 13 - 02:52 PM
Stringsinger 20 May 13 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 20 May 13 - 04:12 PM
Ebbie 20 May 13 - 04:12 PM
Steve Shaw 20 May 13 - 06:04 PM
Ebbie 20 May 13 - 08:54 PM
Joe Offer 21 May 13 - 03:07 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 21 May 13 - 05:01 AM
Joe Offer 21 May 13 - 05:17 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 21 May 13 - 07:05 AM
Steve Shaw 21 May 13 - 09:10 AM
Stringsinger 21 May 13 - 09:54 AM
Stringsinger 21 May 13 - 09:59 AM
Stringsinger 21 May 13 - 10:07 AM
Steve Shaw 21 May 13 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 21 May 13 - 11:19 AM
Steve Shaw 21 May 13 - 11:35 AM
GUEST 21 May 13 - 08:32 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 22 May 13 - 05:29 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: John P
Date: 17 May 13 - 09:33 PM

CS, these topics are relevant to discussions about these topics. Occasionally they become relevant to other discussions. These are important topics that ought to be discussed. But when they are thrown in the face the Christians in every single thread about religion or atheism, it starts to look like someone is changing the subject in order to conduct an attack. How do these topics relate to a discussion of someone's faith? How do they relate to a discussion of whether or not atheism is a belief system? Why should perfectly normal people who happen to be Christians have to answer for the crimes of other people? And yes, it really does appear that some people think the Christians should answer for them. They act like by bringing up the Spanish Inquisition they have scored some point against the religious folks, like these crimes are relevant to any and all religious discussions. From a purely selfish standpoint, I get tired of trying to have conversations when other people are lobbing bombs into them. It makes the conversation a good deal less meaningful and fun, and distracts everyone from the subject at hand.

Yes, I was essentially saying that "bringing all the incredibly bad things that religion has caused into every discussion about religion is not only rude, but really stupid." Save it for when it means something. And don't attack people simply for being Christian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 May 13 - 12:51 AM

So, here's what CS says, in answer to John P:
    John P: "Bringing rapist priests and the history of religious intolerance and violence into every discussion of religion is not only rude but really stupid."

    Do you actually think that? Because I find it incredible that you would think that these huge issues are not relevant.

    ]It's essentially saying, "bringing all the incredibly bad things that religion has caused into every discussion about religion is not only rude, but really stupid."]


First, take note that John P does not practice a religion, but he does seem to be very balanced in his approach. Since I'm Catholic, I am constantly held to task in this forum for the molester priests and Magdalene Laundries and the inquisition and bishops opposing gay marriage and anti-condom prejudice and all sorts of other things that some people in the Catholic Church are guilty of - even though the vast majority of Catholics do not support such things. So, yeah, I am constantly challenged to defend my church for these offenses - offenses for which there is no defense. As a matter of fact, I have fought against these offenses all my life. I consider these offenses to be abhorrent, and not to be part of the legitimate practice of religion.

But lots of people go to church, and some of them are likely to be criminals - and their fellow church-goers should not be held to answer for their crimes unless they have participated in or encouraged those crimes. When I lived in the city, I had a number of neighbors who committed crimes - should I be held to answer for their misdeeds?

If you want to discuss a shortcoming in the Catholic Church, I'm happy to discuss it - but don't blame me for it unless I did the deed. And don't tell me what I believe and then then condemn me for it - most likely, that's not what I believe.

Hell, Steve Shaw won't even let me call myself "progressive," despite my peace demonstrations and civil rights marches and social justice work and my having the only Obama bumper sticker in the parish parking lot (and I have one favoring gay marriage, too).

It really distresses me that in recent years I have seen so much intolerance on the part of those who call themselves "liberals." Back In the Day, tolerance was deemed to be one of the major aspects of liberalism, and I could proudly call myself a liberal without anybody trying to push me out the door because of my religious beliefs. No more, I guess. Now liberals want to grow up to be bigots, too.

-Joe Offer-

P.S. Oh, and Steve - I'm a really, really big fan of Marilyn Monroe. Are you going to try to say that's not allowed because I'm Catholic?


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 18 May 13 - 04:59 AM

well said john.construtive comments.i have sometimes posted on crimes and atrocities by atheists, but i think always in response to the tactics you describe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 May 13 - 10:40 AM

Joe, all that would be well and good if Christians didn't leave it at that. They make foolish remarks about non-belief is a religion which is Orwellian to say the least.

Again and again, if Christians really believed in what they say they do, then it wouldn't matter how much criticism they receive and they would curb their self-righteous pompous arrogance.

I have seen more intolerance on the part of those who consider themselves religious than I ever have found in the atheist community.

It's true, however, that criminality isn't confined to one point of view over another.

Intolerance in one person' book just might be a justifiable criticism of religiosity when it attacks atheists, which you can't deny, happens more than not. Just look at the reactions of some of the religious bullies on Mudcat. They complain because they want to shut up those who have a negative position on religion whereas the give themselves the right to attack atheists with impunity.

BTW, any pseudo phony psychological appraisal of atheists as a general class is specious.
Not all Catholics are alike nor are all atheists.

Again, I use the term atheist when I feel that religious people are attacking me for my non-belief. I don't think it's the best term. I prefer FreeThinker.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 May 13 - 11:01 AM

"I like living a life filled with mystery and awe and wonder. I hope I never lose my habit of gazing and something wonderful and not being able to say more than simply, "Oh, wow!"

You don't have to be religious to do this Joe. Fine non-believing scientists say this all the time. It just doesn't require a god to have this experience. Scientists are more able to do this because they are constantly in exploration through reality channels.



"I agree with you, Joe. I think the song says enough that it should bring an end to just about any disagreement on the subject."

No it won't, Ebbie. It resolves nothing but avoids the discussion of the issue.

"I know what you mean, Steve Shaw, but I disagree; to me DeMent is clearly shrugging when she says that. She just chooses not to make it an issue."

There is no virtue in that. It may not be an issue for her. For others, it may well be an important issue particularly when it engenders vituperative and violent responses by those who claim to be religious and try to do a number on atheists.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 18 May 13 - 11:07 AM

""Bringing rapist priests and the history of religious intolerance and violence into every discussion of religion is not only rude but really stupid.""

As rude and stupid as quoting Leviticus on homosexuality?

It's a two way street.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: GUEST,Musket on a Saturday
Date: 18 May 13 - 12:46 PM

Hey Joe!

Fair enough. However, saying the vast majority of Catholics don't support anti gay marriage or condom restrictions etc is somewhat confusing. If the vast majority of an organisation think something is wrong, then change it. Simple .

John. I use the term god botherer and I use it a lot. It adequately describes those who run down the batteries on my door bell and describes those whom wish to inflict religious clauses into legislation. It is a term of ridicule and is used to denote that I don't recognise their aims whilst concerned that ther aims are for their hobby to affect me.

I love to enjoy and when I can even celebrate the altruism and dedicated commitment to helping others that I see in so many people. Only last night I was at an awards ceremony where people who go that extra mile to help others were recognised and admired for their good deeds. Many were reluctant to be feted and some were happy that the work they do, as opposed to them themselves was recognised. But the common link was doing good for goodness sake. So refreshing to spend a night hearing of good deeds with no reference to a higher cause forcing them, or saying it is their duty as a Christian, Muslim, hindu, etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 May 13 - 03:08 PM

Well, Musket, there's no provision for voting on the teachings of the Catholic Church - and I'm not sure I'd like to have non-theologians vote on theological issues, anyhow. My friend the Lutheran pastor says their method of voting on doctrine gets really weird at times. What usually happens in the Catholic Church is that with teachings that don't work, people just start ignoring them. And then a century after the unworkable teaching is forgotten, it's abolished. Limbo went away a little quicker. It was something that was taught into the 1960s, and then was forgotten. A couple of years ago, Pope Benedict said it didn't exist. The right-wingers in the Catholic Church are making a last stand on gay marriage, but most Catholics just don't care if gays get married or not. Surveys show that 98 percent of American Catholics ignore the Catholic Church's restrictions on birth control. Most likely, other places will follow that trend.

And while the rules may be on the books, most of the controversial topics are rarely spoken of from the pulpit - which means they're probably not as important as critics seem to think they are. Yeah, some parishes have "natural family planning" classes to present rhythm as an alternative to birth control, but these really aren't pushed very hard. And yes, the Catholic bishops in California put money into the Proposition 8 attempt to prohibit gay marriage, but it appears that gay marriage will become legal in California any day now. And I have only once heard a negative word about homosexuality in a sermon - that was from a rather right-wing deacon, and he got a tongue-lashing from the pastor.

My local and national governments have lots of laws on the books that I don't favor, and so I work to change them with the realization that I will not be 100% successful. Same with any institution - not every aspect will be favorable to me, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I can't live and prosper within the structure of the organization.

Stringsinger, my statement about the song "Let the Mystery Be" (Iris DeMent) was that the song expresses what I feel about things, that it's good to be able to enjoy the mystery of things and not argue about them or over-analyze them. I think we ALL should be able to drop the constant arguments and look for things that unite us. Whether or not we're religious, you and I and even Steve Shaw should all be able to look together at a flower and simply enjoy the beauty of it.

In the "Militant Atheism" thread, Stim brought up Edie Brickell's song, "What I Am" to counter what I said about the DeMent song, but "What I Am" also speaks very strongly to me. I find that here at Mudcat, too often I'm forced to whimper, "but I'm not like that," when I'm being condemned for the Spanish Inquisition and molesting priests and the Magdalene Laundries. "What I am is What I am" - don't go blaming me for all that shit unless you hear me supporting it.

The basis of bigotry, is blaming all members of a group for the actions of a few. Mudcat is full of that sort of bigotry. In an ideal discussion forum, people would address the substance of what other people have said. Do we do that here as much as we should, or do we rely too much on labels and bigotry?

And on the topic of this thread and the militant atheism thread, perhaps the idea is that certain militant or strident atheists have recently been guilty of some of the more obnoxious traits of religions - intolerance and exclusion, and making money by playing on the intolerance and fear that people have of groups other than themselves. Strident atheism can be every bit as strident and obnoxious as strident religion - and it's the stridency and obnoxiousness we should criticize, not the religion or atheism.

Let's all go out and look at flowers this lovely spring day, and together enjoy the mystery of beauty that they bring to us.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 May 13 - 08:27 PM

you and I and even Steve Shaw should all be able to look together at a flower and simply enjoy the beauty of it.

This looks good and harmonious until you delve a little more. I saw a programme about Richard Feynman the other evening and they had him saying this (this is verbatim):

"I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts."

Of course you can "simply" enjoy the beauty of a flower. If you like, you can marvel at this perfect creation of your God. But why let your intellect stop running there? You don't need God. You need curiosity and study and scholarship, executed to the best of your mind's abilities. You'll find a lot more beauty in that flower that way than you ever imagined possible. That's what some of us strident atheists are trying to tell you. All without having to praise God for making it (which, of course, he didn't). God, to reinterpret Feynman, may not subtract, but he sure stops you from adding.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 19 May 13 - 02:01 AM

>>You don't need God. You need curiosity and study and scholarship, executed to the best of your mind's abilities. You'll find a lot more beauty in that flower that way than you ever imagined possible.<<

The point I have been making is not that strident atheist/non-believers, whatever are religionists, I'm just saying that some of them are every bit as irritating and have the same bad habits as those they condemn.

For example look at the preaching and condescension in the above.

There is a lot of evidence that the three most dogmatic and evangelical people on this forum are atheists.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 May 13 - 03:35 AM

I dunno, that Steve Shaw still sounds pretty darn much like an evangelical atheist to me.

He assumes that since I'm Catholic and I like flowers, I must not have studied botany.

Harumpf!


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: GUEST,Musket sans respectability
Date: 19 May 13 - 03:41 AM

Amen to that brother! zzzzzz. Thought he had gone quiet. Ah well.

Joe. Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I know that democracy and doctrine don't go hand in hand but someone decides what parts of Scripture are silly or embarrassing and those parts adherents should observe. Is it too radical to open the question up to those who are affected by it? National elections in government are based on asking those affected what they wish to be bound by so why not faith if it shapes you and your life?

Religions speak of moving with the times to remain relevant. Some become coercive whilst others reinvent themselves. My concern based on what I see and hear is that if people feel fulfilled without it they don't crave it despite peer pressure. Tobacco and recreational drugs have an affinity with religions on that score.

Surely there is more to it than that? Rhetorical question really because the more I see around me the more I am convinced that whatever the fulfilling role faith has it begins with either peer pressure or vulnerability.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 May 13 - 04:26 AM

Hi, Musket -the "canon" of Scripture was more-or-less set by general acceptance by 150 AD, and officially accepted in the 300s. Many people here have questioned why other writings such as the gnostic gospels were not accepted into scripture. Most of the gnostic writings were newer, maybe 150-200 AD. The decision was based mostly on what people used among the religious writings of the time. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of a plan for what should and should not be accepted as Scripture.
There's lots of embarrassing stuff left in the bible, so I don't think that "bad stuff" was intentionally edited out. Some of the Hebrew
Scriptures, particularly Genesis, show signs of heavy editing. As centuries passed, people added their own stories and customs. I think it might be most accurate to say that the Scriptures went through the
Folk Process, not through heavy, intentional editing.

Steve Shaw, despite your preconceived notions about what and how I believe, my faith really doesn't work that way - and it certainly doesn't impair my ability to study the science of things. My faith give me joy - that's why it's part of my life. If it doesn't work for you, that's fine - but let me have my joy, unmolested.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 19 May 13 - 04:58 AM

I'm something of a neutral in this discussion, believing in some form of deity, but emphatically not believing in any of the organised religions with their agenda of thought control.

I think we ought all to be able to accept that Joe is sincere in his faith and not responsible for the past, present, or future actions of the lunatic or criminal fringes of the Catholic Church.

In many ways this is a non discussion.

It is, or should be self evident that non belief cannot be be a belief system.

The constant bickering and mud slinging both between believers and non believers, and also between believers in different faiths, is the major reason for my having ditched the bloody lot as soon as I was clear of the influence of my grammar school teachers.

There is only one human race and we are all stuck on the same ball of dirt floating through space, and instead of getting together to ensure that this existence continues, we actively seek and manufacture methods to divide us into spitting, swearing, warring factions.

How bloody stupid is that?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 May 13 - 08:31 AM

Steve Shaw, despite your preconceived notions about what and how I believe, my faith really doesn't work that way

The only notions I have about what and how you believe are what you tell me.

and it certainly doesn't impair my ability to study the science of things.

Well I think you may be wrong about that. Do you believe that God creates things? Started everything off? That he's the guiding light behind the laws of the universe? A force that ramifies through everything? The spirit that breathes life? If so, I think your ability to see nature for what it really is is seriously impaired. If you see that beautiful flower and even think of thanking God for it, you're seeing things all wrong. But if it gives you joy, so be it.

My faith gives me joy

Maybe so. But no faith can trump edification and joy through knowledge. And knowledge takes endeavour and hard work to achieve, never achieved by having it poured over you, unlike accident-of-birth faith.

The life so short,
the craft so long to learn,
Th' assay so hard,
so sharp the conquering.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 May 13 - 08:34 AM

I dunno, that Steve Shaw still sounds pretty darn much like an evangelical atheist to me.

Evangelical? Well I don't start threads about it and all I ever do is respond to what people say. Show me an evangelist that operates that way, please!


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 May 13 - 10:18 AM

Ya' wanna' know why atheism has become strident?

Religious bullies

Sure, non-belief is irritating to religious bullies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 May 13 - 10:35 AM

Joe, being "impolite" is not defaming you in any way personally. There is no reason that religion should be treated any differently than political or social views. Remember that in the South, desegregation was considered to be "impolite". Women were subject to that label for wanting to exercise their political rights. Corporate CEOS think "liberals" are impolite for challenging their ideas of the pseudo-free market.

One's faith is one's own business until it becomes other people's business. Then to refute it is "impolite".


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 May 13 - 12:18 PM

The problem with religion is that people inculcate their own beliefs in their children, both at home and by sending them to church and separate schools.

Here in Alberta, two main separate school systems exist, one public and one Catholic; both funded by public money.
In the States, at least, separate schools are largely funded by those using them, a little better.

Children are separated in their learning and activities. They are not free to develop their own views .


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: GUEST,Musket sans reality check
Date: 19 May 13 - 02:34 PM

Aye but try saying there is no such thing as a Christian child and watch the buggers spring from the woodwork.

Catch em young.

As ever, I boast about two things.

1. My ability (fading) to drink 7 pints before needing a pee.

2. Tried with what I consider success to teach my boys how to think not what to think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 May 13 - 02:35 PM

Why don't you religionists police your denominations instead of wasting time going after atheists? We are faced in this country today with a Christian Taliban with people of "faith" who are as misogynistic, cruel and violent in the name of Jesus as they are in the Mid-East.

Stop trying to demonize atheists by insisting that they are bigots or dogmatic and go after the reprehensible clerics, priests, imams, rabbis in your own religions.

Fortunately, there are some Christians et. al. who do care about their "faith" cleaning up their act. But not enough. This same criticism leveled at Islam can be said for Christians.

You wonder why atheism is strident? Look no further from the reprehensible acts of members of your religious denominations.

You can choose to keep your head in the sand and ignore and excuse this behavior and watch atheism grow as a movement for peace and justice. You call this evangelical,
I call it an appeal to justice and civil rights.

Also, you can use a familiar canard, "religion doesn't kill people, people kill people."


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 May 13 - 02:39 PM

When I say "your own religions" I mean to exclude non-belief as a religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 May 13 - 03:27 PM

Separate schools are part of the "catch 'em young" operation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 May 13 - 04:06 PM

Why don't you religionists police your denominations instead of wasting time going after atheists? We are faced in this country today with a Christian Taliban with people of "faith" who are as misogynistic, cruel and violent in the name of Jesus as they are in the Mid-East.

Stop trying to demonize atheists by insisting that they are bigots or dogmatic and go after the reprehensible clerics, priests, imams, rabbis in your own religions.

Fortunately, there are some Christians et. al. who do care about their "faith" cleaning up their act. But not enough. This same criticism leveled at Islam can be said for Christians.


Well said, Frank!

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 May 13 - 05:44 PM

Stringsinger says (and SRS repeats):
    Why don't you religionists police your denominations instead of wasting time going after atheists? We are faced in this country today with a Christian Taliban with people of "faith" who are as misogynistic, cruel and violent in the name of Jesus as they are in the Mid-East.

    Stop trying to demonize atheists by insisting that they are bigots or dogmatic and go after the reprehensible clerics, priests, imams, rabbis in your own religions.


I can't do anything about them, Frank - despite the fact that I despise their misconduct. They're your neighbors and your fellow Americans. Why don't you do something about them? Why don't you control what they think and what they say and what they do?

Because you can't.

And neither can I.

And if you blame me for their misconduct, then I think that's just about a perfect fit with the definition of bigotry.

C'mon, Frank. Use some logic. How is it that I'm supposed to be able to control these people any better than you can? How is it that I should have more of an obligation to control these people than you have?

I understand why you despise them. I despise them, too. Your bigotry is not in your being annoyed by these hateful and obnoxious people. Your bigotry is in blaming me and other believers for the conduct of people we have no ability to control.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 May 13 - 07:59 PM

Oh, but you do have the control. You can leave the club. I've listened to you complaining about all the wrongs of your club. But you're still in it. That's what gives succour to to the bigots in your club. That decent people like you are right in there with them. You are their veneer of decency. You are the reason they'll prevail.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 May 13 - 08:53 PM

Yes, Steve, I can leave the club. The trouble is, the Catholic Church is MY club, part of who I am. I find the Presence of God within that Catholic Church, flawed though that church may be. So, I should leave is simply because you think I should?

And would my leaving the Catholic Church stop certain Catholics from being unjust and obnoxious and molesting children and whatever else you find atrocious? And mind you, I also find those things atrocious.

Do you move out of the neighborhood every time you don't like the neighbors?

But, as we've said in discussing the Edie Brickell song earlier in these threads, "What I am is What I am." I am not your conception of me. I am not your conception of the Catholic Church. My faith is not what you conceive to be faith. And my conception of God, is not your conception of God - in fact, there's a good chance that my conception of God is the exact opposite of what you conceive.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 May 13 - 07:09 AM

So, I should leave is simply because you think I should?

Did I say that? Really, there's no need to join the pete 'n' Jack misrepresentation brigade, you know.

OK, so you stay in. But where's the fight from within? You think that sitting there quietly disobeying the rules you don't care for is a fight? What does that do for the millions of women in Africa and Latin America who get no choice in the matter? Where's your fight for them? Where was the fight from within when Mother Teresa was telling the poorest people in the world not to fight their poverty? If there's a big fight going on in the Catholic church about contraception, gay marriage, poverty, etc., well where are the signs of it for us to see?


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 May 13 - 10:36 AM

"C'mon, Frank. Use some logic. How is it that I'm supposed to be able to control these people any better than you can? How is it that I should have more of an obligation to control these people than you have?"

Joe, I don't blame you for your faith or attitude. Here is an answer to your question. You can stand up and criticize the role your Church has played over the decades and speak out if you are sincere. The sexual molestation of children, the subjugation of women by a male hierarchy, the authoritarian edicts of the Popes, the denunciation of those who don't agree with the principles of the Church, the unnatural human demands put upon priests and nuns sexuality, the denunciation by the Popes of "Liberation Theology", a bad precedent, and not be afraid to take a moral stand in defense of what you believe and not allow it to be corrupted by an institution that has lost its way. Contraception and abortion may be areas in which people are entitled to disagree but to accept a blanket condemnation by those who don't agree it a form of religious bigotry and bullying.

What do you really believe Joe? And why do you believe it?

I have respect for Dorothy Day, Ammon Hennessey and others (not Mother Theresa)
for their interpretation of Catholicism. I also respect the actions of the recent nuns who were incarcerated for taking a moral stand in going after nuke weapons. So I am not totally critical of all actions by religious or Catholic people. The Berrigans were heroes to me.

You can do something about it if you want. Speak out! That is logical.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 May 13 - 11:03 AM

Subject: RE: BS: Militant atheism has become a religion
From: GUEST,Blandiver - PM
Date: 20 May 13 - 08:19 AM

"I must admit I find all this personal stuff a tad specious. I don't come here to judge or be judged, much less 'understood' - stick to the topic, chaps."

Thanks Blandiver. You are so right. This isn't about personal issues.

Joe, Martin Luther King and Ghandi were both called "impolite" in their day. Sometimes, to take a moral stand, you have to be thought of as being "impolite" and to judge certain ideas to be specious. The great movers and shakers of democracy were also accused of being "impolite" and "irritating".

I'll say it again, it's not meant to be personal unless it's taken it that way. This is an examination of ideas, not personalities. Some ideas just suck.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:31 PM

There are a lot of things a moderte could do.

In Canada, work against the separate (RC) schools by opposing their taxpayer funding. With their influence from local primates and organizations like the Newman Club, and the Canadian Catholic students Assn., their teachings oppose much of recent scientific findings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:52 PM

Just received an hilarious leaflet c/o SPUC through my letter box proclaiming the collapse of the known universe if the government legalise Same Sex marriage. There really ought to be a law to the effect that Free Speech does not mean the freedom to promote such hateful propaganda in the suppression of actual hard won freedoms.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 May 13 - 04:03 PM

Actually, Blandiver, the Free Speech violation that you mention does fall into the category of "yelling fire in a crowded theater." Unfortunately, the First Amendment, as you know, has been trounced upon by the Limbaughs, Santillis, Hannitys, and other Wing Nuts who for some reason are allowed spew their hatred on the air waves while dissenters and gay rights advocates are censored. The problem with laws in the US is that at the convenience of the power brokers, (corporate owned media stooges), these laws are ignored or repealed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 20 May 13 - 04:12 PM

Thanks Blandiver. You are so right. This isn't about personal issues.

Too true! But it gets personal pretty quick around here. Jack the Sailor even opened a thread trying to 'get to know me' FFS - I humoured it, but really ought to have told him to feck off. Too polite! This is not what we're here for. Others have similar tactics - gets a bit cloying & awkward, you end up feeling embarrassed just for posting - as I did with the the 'getting to know you' thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 May 13 - 04:12 PM

I suspect, Stringsinger (love that name!), that Joe O. is doing from withIN what you do from withOUT. More, actually, because his is a constant effort; from what I am aware of, you don't have as big a venue. To me, that implies that what Joe does has, and will have, a bigger impact than you in both the short term and long term. A believer who criticizes AND has constructive comments may have more validity than a nonbeliever who never took any stock in it in the first place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 May 13 - 06:04 PM

But by their fruits shall we know them, Ebbie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 May 13 - 08:54 PM

There ya go, Steve. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 May 13 - 03:07 AM

So, Frank, you want to know what I believe?

Well, I don't believe in proselytizing. My faith is sacred and precious to me, and I don't want to argue about it - and I'd never dream of forcing it on somebody who doesn't want it. You'll find many believers who study "apologetics" so they can defend what they believe, but that's a closed-fist, legalistic approach to faith that makes my stomach churn - very often, I think that these "apologists" don't really have a clue what faith is, either. I prefer to just be who I am, and not defend myself. I believe that people who have faith, receive it as a gift - and that people who do not have faith (and that includes a whole hell of a lot of "religious" people) cannot fathom what this faith thing is all about. So, I can't preach or explain my faith. All I can do is live it, and maybe people will see that my living a life a faith makes sense.

I believe in social justice, and I work probably 40 hours a week in social justice causes - working at a respite center for women in poverty, working with homeless people, and working for a more humane and effective criminal justice system in California. I work primarily through what you might call "faith-based" organizations (because I am a "faith-based" person), but these organizations never preach and are open to a broad spectrum of people - anyone can volunteer, and anyone can receive services.

I don't believe in Management, and I particularly don't believe in Upper Management. Management is necessary in an institution, but it is rarely the seat of wisdom or effectiveness in the institution. I work with Management when I have to, but always warily. And I am particularly wary of Upper Management in the Catholic Church. I am an associate member of the Sisters of Mercy, and I have worked for the IBVM (Loretto) Sisters and the Sisters of Social Service. Those orders are members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which is being investigated for paying too much attention to social justice and to little to issues like abortion and fighting gay marriage. Sisters of these orders were part of the Nuns on the Bus campaign, led by Sister Simone Campbell of the Sisters of Social Service.

But if you find what's good about a group of people, don't look to its leaders - look to the people who do the work. And the people I work with, are marvelously effective in handling the social ills of our society that the taxpayers are too tight-fisted to pay to resolve.

Please take good note that I fully believe that atheists do all sorts of wonderful things, in social justice and everything else that matters in this world. I have never once said that religious people are better or more moral that non-religious people. They live in different contexts, whichever is meaningful for them.

I live in a religious context. That is who I am, and I like living in that context.

I fully acknowledge all the bad that is and has been done in the name of religion. There's bad there, no doubt about it; but hey, there's bad everywhere. People condemn me because they say I should be out there fighting all those bad guys every minute of my life, but you know what? I've found that it does very little good to fight bad guys. I get that all the time in my jail reform work. People condemn me for "siding with the bad guys" when I campaign for education and drug and alcohol treatment and job training for jail and prison inmates "who don't deserve to be treated well after all the horrible things they've done." Well, if you give those inmates a chance when they're released after a too-long prison sentence, maybe they'll get a job and settle down and make something of themselves. And I've worked with convicts enough, that I've taken a liking to many of them.

And take a look at all those issues. In any society, there is disagreement on issues, and the disagreement has to stew for some time before the issues are resolved. The issue of contraception has just about wasted itself away, although it raises its head once in a while. Homosexuality and homosexual marriage have come into discussion much more recently, and those issues are still stewing. There seems to be more progress on the political scene, but there is more progress in the religious context than you might suspect - but the issue is still stewing. Hearts and minds are changing, but slowly - if you try to fight those hearts and minds while they're in the midst of changing, you'll set them back decades.

The issue of molester priests has more-or-less been resolved in the U.S., and it is on its way to resolution in Europe. It's just beginning to be acknowledged in the Catholic Church in Africa, so there will be more scandals. And it's still a matter that is simply not understood by anybody - nobody has answers, so the only thing being done is the imposition of heavy restrictions and heavy penalties for misconduct. That's a start, but we really need to learn what causes our epidemic of child molestation in all aspects of society, and we need to learn how to stop it.

Oh, and the Spanish Inquisition? It's a dead issue. Nobody defends the Inquisition, so there's no reason to condemn anybody for it. All those people who should be condemned for it, have been dead for centuries. Get over it.

There's only so much that can be done to "fight" things. Far more effective, to my mind, is to work in positive ways to better the lot of people in need. Far better to offer "good" alternatives, rather than to fight evil.

And as for faith, believers believe what they believe, and it's sacred to them. And Frank and Steve, what I'm calling "impolite" is attacking people for what they believe - both of you have done it, continually. Don't try to refute what they believe - it's part of them, and it really isn't doing you any harm if they don't think the way you do. If they do actual harm, that's another matter; but that's really not often the case. Yeah, it happens - but not nearly so often as the screamers would have you think. So, leave them alone.


-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 21 May 13 - 05:01 AM

""You can do something about it if you want. Speak out! That is logical.""

Really Frank? Speak out?

It was you that psted that link to what happens to those who speak out against the fundies in Joe's neck of the woods.

Trying to persuade him to lay himself open to that kind of misery is at best unkind, at worst somewhat loony.

Would you do that yourself?

I doubt it, and neither would I. Individuals cannot prevail. What is required is a grass roots uprising and that is almost impossible to achieve.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 May 13 - 05:17 AM

Wait! Wait!!

What happens to us who speak out against fundies in my neck of the woods? Where's that link?

I do remember once when I said something nice about Obamacare in the barber shop. Everything went silent, but I swear I could hear the "click" of guns being cocked....

The barber was cool about it, though. He's a friend of mine.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 21 May 13 - 07:05 AM

I wasn't spinning that tight a loop Joe.

Your neck of the woods in this case referred to the US of A in its entirety.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 May 13 - 09:10 AM

And Frank and Steve, what I'm calling "impolite" is attacking people for what they believe - both of you have done it, continually.

I think you've got that wrong. We certainly attack your belief system, because it is deluded and it has done much harm on this planet. That is not in any way to say that every adherent of your belief system has done harm or sets out to do harm. Far from it. But you often give the impression that the critical side of your consciousness has not been raised anywhere near enough. Whilst acknowledging that you have done a lot of good in your community, and show your own children how to be open-minded, in the big world of religious faith you are in a small minority. Yet your leave-us-alone mantra seems unshakeable, and that's worrying. You and people like you might fully deserve to be left alone. An awful lot more believers, though, have got a lot to answer for, and many of them are in the mainstream, not just on the lunatic fringe. and if the questioning seems impolite that's only because religion has, for millennia, set its face against ever accepting criticism. It's very unhealthy, and, if your faith is as sound as you say, you should be able to shrug us off - intellectually, preferably.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 May 13 - 09:54 AM

We don't attack people for what they believe.

We do however, criticize those beliefs systems.



An attack on us personally might be construed as an attempt to classify our non-beliefs as a religion and is "impolite" if we follow that logic. Religious ideas are not sacrosanct and above scrutiny for their efficacy or reality. Non-religious ideas as well.

If non-belief is held up to scrutiny by zealous religionists, than we who are forced into calling ourselves atheists have the same right to scrutinize religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 May 13 - 09:59 AM

Joe, despite the word wrangling over "impolite" I have to say that you and I are on the same page in our social outlook.

I think that our system of government is broken and unfortunately religion as well as politics plays a role in this. I'm not blaming you for that. You're a good guy and I respect that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 May 13 - 10:07 AM

"But Don, if some people want to hold onto a literal view of the biblical creation story, does it really matter?"

Yes, it matters greatly, Joe. People are still being persecuted by violence and ugliness by those who question the legitimacy of the bible. Religion is being forced fed in small towns that allow prayer meetings in government buildings in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Also, scientists are being denigrated by these so-called creationists who arrogantly claim they have the answers to life's conundrums and all people have to do is believe. This is errant BS.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 May 13 - 11:10 AM

On top of that, literal readings (or, more correctly, misreadings) of the Qurʼan have misled millions of Muslims down a very wrong path. Misreadings of religious texts which are then acted upon are dangerous, as we have seen to our cost. Religion has no right to avoid scrutiny, from outside as well as from within. I wish it didn't have to be true, but religion affects everyone, adherents or not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 21 May 13 - 11:19 AM

If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.

― Penn Gilette, God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 May 13 - 11:35 AM

I've just had a déjà vu.


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: GUEST
Date: 21 May 13 - 08:32 PM

Again?


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Subject: RE: BS: Strident atheism not a religion
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 22 May 13 - 05:29 AM

According to Les Barker, the first time we experience deja vu is the second.

Don T.


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