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  1. #2266
    Gloriam Imperator kged's Avatar
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    Hello old thread!

    I can't say I've ever really struggled over that question. Perhaps I am a primitive creature, but it's never given me too much trouble. I am "for" the superficially simple code which I adopted many years ago: there are only two sins, cruelty and cowardice. Avoid those two, and your treatment of yourself and of the rest of the world should be irreproachable. And it's not as easy as it sounds, I assure you.

    Would I be attracted to a candidate who was openly rational and sceptical? Most certainly. And the faith-baiting which goes on amongst American politicians horrifies me, I must admit. But I would not vote against a person of faith for that alone; all the most intelligent and able people I know are religious. If it were two candidates of equal value, one a critical thinker and one a believer, I'd go for the former - but I'd never vote for an inferior candidate because they were irreligious.

    How do we get everyone on board - simple. It's pleasing that there really is a commonality between the religions of the world. Their core values in the end are much the same - compassion, kindness, doing unto others etc. Despite what many of the faithful believe, these ideas have been central to the best in human thought for as long as we have been thinking because of their value, and not because they are The Word. I find that offensive, if I'm honest; charity, selflessness, humane and decent treatment of each other - we invented those things. No supernatural Thing put them into us, WE did it. We should be proud of that. And that is what we rally around - fundamental human decency, which is just about universally agreed upon (albeit not so widely practiced). We don't need any deities marking our scorecards, we just need to try being nice to each other, for a change.

  2. #2267
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kged View Post
    Would I be attracted to a candidate who was openly rational and sceptical?

    ...If it were two candidates of equal value, one a critical thinker and one a believer

    ...irreligious.
    This is what I mean by defining what atheists are for. Are atheists "openly rational and sceptical" as a generic default? In my experience, a lot of atheists are hotheaded blowhards whose sole reason for being an atheist is that they are against religion. They can be extremely closed mined and in no way are "critical thinkers" -- they are "believers" too, in that they believe they are right and religious people are wrong, and that's about where the conversation ends. Rejecting God doesn't suddenly make the world, the universe, and existence in general suddenly make sense without some serious critical thought, but many atheists I run into haven't even tried to think about it critically. They just know everyone else is surely wrong. I don't want to vote for that atheist, and there's nothing I can point to give me a general sense of "atheist like me" or "atheist not like me."

    I find the idea of an atheist as irreligious uncomfortable. "Atheist," the word, etymologically includes "God" and being an atheist is defined basically as against God. Irreligiousness can range from a mere absence of religion to open hostility. I would contend that a simple absence of religion does not constitute irreligiousness -- again, it's defining atheism as the abnormal state, as if atheists are lacking a particular "normal" thing everyone else has. As an atheist, isn't it everyone else who is lacking? What is the language we should use to describe others? What is the language we should use to describe ourselves? I don't like using the religious world's terminology for what I think, feel, and believe. It describes me as inadequate, contrary, backward, incomplete, antagonistic....

    I don't think we can expect atheism to function in politics until we have words of inclusion to use. Someone with the barest smidgeon of religious belief has a range of inclusive terminology they can use to gain voter trust and rally the people to a cause. Why wouldn't you use that?

  3. #2268
    Gloriam Imperator kged's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    In my experience, a lot of atheists are hotheaded blowhards whose sole reason for being an atheist is that they are against religion. They can be extremely closed mined and in no way are "critical thinkers"
    *Sigh* All too true.

  4. #2269
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRMurdock View Post
    KONMING!

    I really need to stop by here more often. Last time I was here, I didn't have a book out LOL (I still have a full head of hair )
    Same here! But I don't have a full head of hair :P

  5. #2270
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Perfectly sound answer. And I agree.

    I don't think religion should play any part in public policy. If we want to have a discussion on ethics, then let's have one during the debates. But if you begin with God, you might as well end the debate right at the onset.

  6. #2271
    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    I was inspired by a TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_bo...heism_2_0.html) to write an Atheism 2.0 manifesto ("Ok, so you don't believe in God. Now what?"), and was thinking about this very topic.
    Can't wait to get started. I love the examination of any fool's errand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    I think the key is that there is a separation between Church and State, sure, but there is not a division between Church and Elected Official. No constitution demands an elected official act as if they are an atheist once they are elected. Secular government is not a-theist but non-theist -- or perhaps more accurately (theoretically) multi-theistic.
    First of all the separation between Church and State is a misused interpretation of statements made by the U.S. constitutional founding fathers (Jefferson and Madison) to explain the Establishment Clause, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion", which is then followed by the Free Exercise Clause, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". This is the first sentence of the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights, of the U.S. Constitution, the second greatest document created by Man. It is there not to marginalize religious practice, but to protect religious practice. In the U.S., religion and government aren't separated for the reason I think, you think they are.

    The 1st Amendment states, for the purposes of full disclosure,
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Freedom of religion comes before speech, press and assembly. Put what is really important up front.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    No constitution demands an elected official act as if they are an atheist once they are elected. Secular government is not a-theist but non-theist -- or perhaps more accurately (theoretically) multi-theistic.
    That's covered in the Constitution too. Article Six
    All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    If an atheist runs for office, should s/he make that part of his/her platform?
    In the U.S. the parties determine the party platform, therefore in order to have an "atheist" platform, the atheist candidate would need atheist delegates to vote on the atheist platform in order to allow the candidate to run with the a fore mentioned platform. Not very likely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    If you are an atheist, if you won the Presidency would you actively work against religion?
    What does this even mean? Is the President of the U.S. supposed to send the FBI to close Christmas? Or perhaps speak out against religion. Sorry, never going to happen. I'll give you one non-religious reason why. Christmas is good for the economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    If we want atheistic values (reason, rationalism, empiricism...?) to be part of the political conversation, as Mr. de Botton suggests, we have a lot to learn from religions. Right now atheists are largely stuck on being atheistic and haven't moved on to the next step. So you're an atheist -- now what?
    There are lots of religious people who value reason, rationalism and empiricism; Just as there are atheist and agnostics who are irrational idiots about subjects other than religion. Religion is here to stay, not sure if there is a next step for what is ultimately an individual's beliefs, ingrained into societies for thousands of years or part of the majority of human genetic stew.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    I don't think atheism ends with rejecting God -- it begins there. We need to figure out the next step and define what we're for rather than only being defined by what we're against.
    I don't understand your linking of atheism and rejecting god (see what I just did). Do you reject your belief in god? Or others belief? Presumably the religious could just reject your rejection. And clearly the religious are much more capable of spreading their beliefs than any atheist in the history of atheism has ever managed to do. It's just not that popular an idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    So I'm against religion politics...
    Cool
    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    but what am I for?
    I don't know, but you could just BE. And let everybody else Be whatever ever it is they are going to BE, even if they want to tell you and yours how you should BE, cause in the U.S. they can only tell you what to BE, they can't make you BE.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    And then, how do I get everyone on board?
    You can't, hence the initial fool's errand jab. Assuming religious predilection is either genetic or environmental (and I assume everything about humans is either genetic or environmental), you literally have no chance (genetics) or an impossibly small chance (environment, religious folks love to and are encouraged to have lots of little parishioners). In two hundred years you will be dead and no one will be alive who even remember you existed. Or maybe not, but the odds are...
    As Alexis de Tocqueville repeated, "Religion is an anvil that has shattered many hammers". In fact Alexis de Tocqueville linked the American democracy to its Puritanical founders ideas of equality and freedom. Religion in the United States is intertwined with social, cultural and political life, so completely that no manifesto is going to change anything.

    Time is short, too much wonderment to experience in the World to spend even a second on what other people think, or do, or believe. However, if you got a pocket of hundred dollar bills yo, and you are offended that they say In God We Trust on the back, send them to me, I'm not bothered in the least.
    Same with Christmas Trees.
    And I love after Easter candy sales. Fresh from the factory, pastel colored M&Ms, all at bargain bin prices. fantastic!
    Forget your generic end-of-the-year winter general citizen appreciation day. Only the birth of the Son of God, no matter how silly, can justify my wife receiving any presents from me, with all the trips, outings, projects and gatherings she makes me do on the weekends.
    What's atheism offering?, Except maybe having to work the week between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Awesome!
    The philosophic meanderings on the nature of the beast is always out-shined by the realities of the daily grind.
    And viola, I have systematic discovered why atheism has failed to catch on. I like a free week off at the end of December.

    This is my manifesto!
    "Vi veri veniversum vivus vici", except...
    "And what is 'truth'? Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths. Are mine the same as yours?"

    Signed
    Philzilla,
    atheist, agnostic when I swear, but generally happy U.S. citizen cause really, it's illegal for those religious types to forcibly convert me, so what do I care what they do. Americans complain about things because they are FREE to do so, not because they generally have anything to really complain about. If you are not an American, I suggest you move here. It's awesome. Even when it sucks, it is so much more awesome than whatever non-American country you come from. America is so awesome that you can be a Nazi or a Commie. You can even be a Nazi-Com, or maybe a Comazi. As long as you don't infringe on you neighbors freedom to be a Comazi.
    God Bless the USA :thumbs up:
    just kidding

  7. #2272
    Kiss my axe! kahnovitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    I don't think atheism ends with rejecting God -- it begins there. We need to figure out the next step and define what we're for rather than only being defined by what we're against.
    Religion sees God as the answer. Atheism sees God as a question.

    To believe in God would create more questions than answers for me because I can't just "accept" God.
    Whenever I ask devout believers about God they usually quote a bible passage at me rather than attempt to use their own reasoning and understanding to explain it to me in their own words.
    They fail to realise that deferring to a bible passage doesn't answer MY questions. If it did I'd already be a believer too.
    Atheism and religion do share some common ground though they both believe they are right and never the twain shall meet.

  8. #2273
    and I like to party. Seak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post

    I don't think religion should play any part in public policy. If we want to have a discussion on ethics, then let's have one during the debates. But if you begin with God, you might as well end the debate right at the onset.
    For someone who's very religious ethics and religion are essentially one and the same.

  9. #2274
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    One and the same thing, with a double standard.

    The difficulty with ethics is finding the starting point. God makes it all so easy and comforting. Useless essentially, but easy.

    If you don't accept the premise, the entire system falls apart.

  10. #2275
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    One and the same thing, with a double standard.

    The difficulty with ethics is finding the starting point. God makes it all so easy and comforting. Useless essentially, but easy.

    If you don't accept the premise, the entire system falls apart.

    My theology professor once said: "Buy the bit, buy the whole, dont buy the bit, don't buy the whole". Simple as that. And that was when we launched into the complex beast that was interpretive theological ethics.

  11. #2276
    and I like to party. Seak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    How do politicians invoke God? How do they run for office on a religious platform in a country who's constitution demands the separation of Church and State? Well, we all know that never happened anyway. But still, what is causing this regression? Science gets smarter and we get dumber. The disconnect is amazing.
    Separation of church and state has to do with keeping establishments of religion out of the state. "Separation of church and state" isn't even found in the constitution, but it comes from the establishment clause. You can't divorce religion from people's ideals.

  12. #2277
    Quote Originally Posted by Seak View Post
    Separation of church and state has to do with keeping establishments of religion out of the state. "Separation of church and state" isn't even found in the constitution, but it comes from the establishment clause. You can't divorce religion from people's ideals.
    Right, it's only been going on for 200,000 years or so.

  13. #2278
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Defining freedom. Such a difficult thing to do. We find ourselves defending awful things, like this insulting and primitive video inciting all the hatred, in the name of freedom. And we must defend the rights of those we abhor in order to sustain our own.

    And yet the world spins out of control, and the killing in the name of God never ends. For those who ardently believe that God exists, how could they also kill and sleep peacefully? Any God cannot belong to a religion. If He/She did that God would be limited and thus a contradiction.

  14. #2279
    It could be worse. ~tmso Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    If He/She did that God would be limited and thus a contradiction.
    Exactly. Which is why they (or They) don't exist. They are constructs of human minds, and therefore exhibit behaviors that are awfully human-like. If they truly did exist, as you said, they wouldn't be limited by our constructs.

    Oh, ah, I'm sorry. What is your post referring to?

    Did you want to discuss freedom? In a religious context?

    I'm not sure religion and freedom go together...imho...

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