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An Atheiest Pov On Religion

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All,

Just some links from an atheist pov, for your discussion and comment.

Within the narratives their are some interestingly profound thoughts and pov's.

politics and religion

whats good about religion?

hello angry christians

god bless atheism

was jesus gay?

what have I got against religion?

united states of jesus

why are we friends with saudi arbia?

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Well, I had to look. And guess what? Hehehe. I watched them all.

The man speaks with a lot of wisdom but I really think that he is a bit too harsh on religion.

But then, I am sure that there are a lot of religious folks who are a bit harsh on him too.

So I guess that leaves us with the old saying, "What goes around comes around."

It is my opinion that one's religion or irreligion is a personal and private matter and no one had the right to try to force their belief on others.

Too bad we can't just accept or reject people according to their humaneness and not bother with asking them about their personal, private beliefs.

Peace & Love!

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I didn't watch any of the videos, but wanted to point out that it's "an atheist's pov", not "an atheist pov". Atheists do not share a common point of view on these issues.

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I didn't watch any of the videos, but wanted to point out that it's "an atheist's pov", not "an atheist pov". Atheists do not share a common point of view on these issues.

Sorry, but I beg to differ. "An atheist pov" is quite correct -- it allows that there are other atheist views. "The atheist pov" would be incorrect.

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Well, irregardless, ;)

I still think that Pat, the comedian/atheist, presented some pretty good thoughts for consideration.

Peace & Love!

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Sorry, but I beg to differ. "An atheist pov" is quite correct -- it allows that there are other atheist views.
That's just it. There aren't any "atheist views" on these subjects. When a baseball player wears a glove, that glove is not automatically a baseball glove. When a Christian has an opinion on a subject, that opinion is not automatically a Christian opinion. And an atheist's point of view is not automatically an atheist point of view.

I do not expect this to be understood, but it is true.

Edited by mererdog

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I do not expect this to be understood, but it is true.

Well, just to make you feel bad, I fully understand what you just said. And yes, it really truely is true, to the best of my knowledge, and in my personal opinion.

Peace & Love!

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He definitely is eloquent. And I have to admit a few of his lines made me smile, even chuckle. The "nothing in common" line made me out right laugh. And he sure is not afraid to speak his mind.... wow. Food for thought... Although I may not agree with everything he says, I respect that he at least appears to have done his homework before he rants. That's saying a lot in this time of more and more people becoming sheeple. (just my 2 cents)

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He definitely is eloquent. And I have to admit a few of his lines made me smile, even chuckle. The "nothing in common" line made me out right laugh. And he sure is not afraid to speak his mind.... wow. Food for thought... Although I may not agree with everything he says, I respect that he at least appears to have done his homework before he rants. That's saying a lot in this time of more and more people becoming sheeple. (just my 2 cents)

It's the high british accent. make everything sound smart and friendly. If the guy who came to america hadn't had a cockney accent, we probably wouldn't have objected to the stamp tax..

:cool:

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OK, just some (longish) comments on the first two.

politics and religion

I like how he compares religions and politics to the two components of gunpowder. This has been my argument against those who accuse religion of killing more people than anything else: it's always required the state to do so on any large scale. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch burnings, etc. were carried out with the support or at least permission of the political authorities.

I dislike how he assumes that getting rid of religion is the answer, though. What he thinks will require secularism, I think will require only pluralism -- the understanding that one's religious beliefs are non-rational and therefore should not be forced upon others. (Of course, pluralism may prove unstable and we end up with secularism. That's fine. I just don't want to jump to such a radical conclusions as anti-theists do.) And why get rid of religion instead of politics? (And before you answer that politics can't be gotten rid of, I invite you to read up on anarchism. You may not agree with it -- and I'm not sure I do -- but I think you'll see my point.)

Thirdly, he completely ignores the purely political ideologies (fascism, Stalinism, etc.) that inspire religious-style zealotry that lead to the deaths of tens of millions of people in the 20th century. Most anti-theists I have seen have responded by simply calling them secular religions. They're right, but that's an evasion.

The root cause of problems in both religion and politics is, in my opinion, authoritarianism. It's the tendency to think that because we're so obviously right, it's OK to abuse people who disagree with us or stand in our way.

Which leads me to my final complaint. The authoritarians are the ones causing the problems, but also the least likely to be influenced by anti-theistic rants. The people the anti-theists are most likely to convert are the moderates and liberals, most of whom are already on their side, just as pluralists instead of secularists.

whats good about religion?

I don't usually get offended at things (I wasn't offended by the last video; I just strongly disagreed with it), but I found this mildly offensive. The idea over and over again seemed to be that best thing he could say about religion was that it's not as bad as it could be. Some compliment.

At any rate, I want to focus on his insistence that "the purpose of religion is the suck all the pleasure out of life." I understand that many atheists feel that religion wasted their time, and I sympathize with them and wish them all the best. But at the same time, I think it should be understand that many religious people see atheism as a waste of a life.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that atheists are right and there is no God, and in particular no afterlife. Now let's imagine that no religion teaches any belief in supernatural (or institutional) punishment/reward so that that cannot be an influencing factor in a person's decisions; that is, any benefit of being religious is intrinsic, pays off in this world only, and is not based on fear of punishment by the religious authorities. Now let's imagine a person, Terry, finds that a religion, Ismism, gives him/her hope, purpose, and in general improve his/her life.

My question here is, is it inherently wrong for Terry to be an Ismist? Certainly I would disapprove if Ismism advocated racism, hatred, or violence. But would it be wrong if Ismism's only flaw was that its claims were untrue?

Here is where I think anti-theism can become life-denying and harmful. If it objects to religion merely on the basis of it being untrue, then it is placing truth as being more important than quality of life. (I have seriously seen an atheist, on YouTube, say that he wouldn't encourage a friend to be religious even if it would keep him from killing himself.) It is, in fact, guilty of one of the same crimes that it accuses religion of. It is made all the more life-denying by the fact that it does this despite asserting that people get only one life, with no reward for being right or punishment for being wrong.

Edited by yarvin

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I like how he compares religions and politics to the two components of gunpowder. This has been my argument against those who accuse religion of killing more people than anything else: it's always required the state to do so on any large scale. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch burnings, etc. were carried out with the support or at least permission of the political authorities.

How would you explain the current "War on Terror" then? The United States has effectively declared war on a particular ideology sect of radical Islam and vice versa. There is no state on the latter side of the conflict, there is only religion.

I also take issue with your assertion that:

The root cause of problems in both religion and politics is, in my opinion, authoritarianism. It's the tendency to think that because we're so obviously right, it's OK to abuse people who disagree with us or stand in our way.

To accept this is to blame the (usually) small group of people in control for the actions of the many. Most authoritarian systems began as democracy and changed the system by convincing a majority of people to support their ideology. I think that dogma (the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from) is the real problem. When a large group of people hold the same dogma, it becomes very easy for them to band together to "defend" those who seek to oppose it.

About your other point, I have two responses.

First, your scenario suggests that the current world religions do not give hope, purpose, and improve people's lives or that they cannot do so to the same extent a theist religion could.

Secondly, I do not think that Terry's belief in untrue things is inherently wrong in the same way that I do not believe that a child's belief in fairy tales are inherently wrong. When Terry began to act according to his beliefs, I would question him for acting in a manner that did not make sense to me, but it still would not be wrong. If Ismism demanded tribute from Terry in the form of cash, labor, or blood sacrifice, I would strongly counsel Terry against belief and might even attempt to dissuade him from belief. If Terry rejected my advice because he was perfectly happy with the situation, I would stop advising him on this matter. I do not believe that Ismism or Terry is inherently wrong. However, if Ismism required Terry to convert or kill non-Ismists, that would be inherently wrong. If Ismism told Terry that non-Ismists were inferior to Ismists and could not be trusted, that would be wrong. It all depends on what Terry believed in. The fact that what he believes in is untrue does not make it wrong, the content of his beliefs makes them wrong. Please note that I do not think that convincing others of your beliefs is wrong, but to have a religion in which a central tenement is that all people MUST be converted is wrong.

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How would you explain the current "War on Terror" then? The United States has effectively declared war on a particular ideology sect of radical Islam and vice versa. There is no state on the latter side of the conflict, there is only religion.

I'm not quite sure how this changes things. Modern technology has given religious (and political) zealots better weapons, but it's given government even better weapons, so I don't expect religious violence to exceed war in terms of harm any time soon. Plus, the terrorists have to live somewhere and buy their weapons somewhere, so the governments of various nations are involved in the issue. They can, and I hope they are, taking reasonable measures to stop the terrorists, or they can turn a blind eye, or they can even actively support the zealots.

Again, I'm not quite sure I understand your objection. If you'll clarify, I'll be happy to respond.

To accept this is to blame the (usually) small group of people in control for the actions of the many. Most authoritarian systems began as democracy and changed the system by convincing a majority of people to support their ideology. I think that dogma (the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from) is the real problem. When a large group of people hold the same dogma, it becomes very easy for them to band together to "defend" those who seek to oppose it.

I actually think we're saying pretty close to the same thing here. I just focused on the application (authoritarianism) while you focused on the ammunition (dogma). I have no love of dogmatism, and think that religion should always allow question and dissent. At the same time, dogmatism is not inherently harmful -- it only becomes harmful in the way it's applied. And, as Sam Harris has pointed out, Jain dogma leads Jains to be less violent.

About your other point, I have two responses.

First, your scenario suggests that the current world religions do not give hope, purpose, and improve people's lives or that they cannot do so to the same extent a theist religion could.

I'm not sure how you got this from what I said. I just made a few assumptions for the sake of argument, to avoid having to address objections like, "What if someone is only in a religion because of fear of damnation?", which I do think is a bad reason to be religious.

I also don't understand why you set up a contrast between "current world religions" and "theist" religions. I thought most world religions were theistic?

Secondly, I do not think that Terry's belief in untrue things is inherently wrong in the same way that I do not believe that a child's belief in fairy tales are inherently wrong. When Terry began to act according to his beliefs, I would question him for acting in a manner that did not make sense to me, but it still would not be wrong. If Ismism demanded tribute from Terry in the form of cash, labor, or blood sacrifice, I would strongly counsel Terry against belief and might even attempt to dissuade him from belief. If Terry rejected my advice because he was perfectly happy with the situation, I would stop advising him on this matter. I do not believe that Ismism or Terry is inherently wrong. However, if Ismism required Terry to convert or kill non-Ismists, that would be inherently wrong. If Ismism told Terry that non-Ismists were inferior to Ismists and could not be trusted, that would be wrong. It all depends on what Terry believed in. The fact that what he believes in is untrue does not make it wrong, the content of his beliefs makes them wrong. Please note that I do not think that convincing others of your beliefs is wrong, but to have a religion in which a central tenement is that all people MUST be converted is wrong.

I agree with just about everything you said here. That's why I asked the question with the stipulation that untruth was the only thing wrong with Ismism, and said that I would disapprove if it supported immoral things like violence or hatred.

Edited by yarvin

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I thought an atheist's point of view was a lack thereof. Sorry, I get non-belief denominations mixed up.:mellow:

Edited by rev.daniel

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~ What? Like it's not obvious yarmin & Karmina should meet?

Caffein or alcohol, looks like a wonderful conversation! :drinks:

I do appologise if I offend! I just do so enjoy wonderful conversations :gathering:

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I'm not quite sure how this changes things. Modern technology has given religious (and political) zealots better weapons, but it's given government even better weapons, so I don't expect religious violence to exceed war in terms of harm any time soon. Plus, the terrorists have to live somewhere and buy their weapons somewhere, so the governments of various nations are involved in the issue. They can, and I hope they are, taking reasonable measures to stop the terrorists, or they can turn a blind eye, or they can even actively support the zealots.

To clarify my point: the current war on terror isn't war on a particular state. It is a war against a particular religion, or more accurately, a war against a particular subset of a religion. It is like declaring war on the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican is a state, but it is subservient to the Church. Destroying the state does not destroy the Church; the Church has no need of the state to organize its membership and field combatants. Although you are correct that religion is often supported by the state, you seem to be ignoring the possibility that it is the state that is supported by religion.

I actually think we're saying pretty close to the same thing here. I just focused on the application (authoritarianism) while you focused on the ammunition (dogma). I have no love of dogmatism, and think that religion should always allow question and dissent. At the same time, dogmatism is not inherently harmful -- it only becomes harmful in the way it's applied. And, as Sam Harris has pointed out, Jain dogma leads Jains to be less violent.

The difference between our opinions is mere perspective on cause and effect. I don't think either of us could ever convince the other. That said, I would rather not have any dogma at all, regardless of how it is applied. But I am more accepting of the risks, perhaps the truth is more harmful.

I'm not sure how you got this from what I said. I just made a few assumptions for the sake of argument, to avoid having to address objections like, "What if someone is only in a religion because of fear of damnation?", which I do think is a bad reason to be religious.

I also don't understand why you set up a contrast between "current world religions" and "theist" religions. I thought most world religions were theistic?.

I did make some assumptions about the thoughts behind your words in the last post. It appears I was wrong, so I retract my comment.

Also, if the religions in the hypothetical world did not have a god, would that not make them atheist by definition? By contrast, the hypothetical untrue religion was assumed to have a god, thus making it theist by definition.

I hope that cleared it up a little.

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To clarify my point: the current war on terror isn't war on a particular state. It is a war against a particular religion, or more accurately, a war against a particular subset of a religion. It is like declaring war on the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican is a state, but it is subservient to the Church. Destroying the state does not destroy the Church; the Church has no need of the state to organize its membership and field combatants. Although you are correct that religion is often supported by the state, you seem to be ignoring the possibility that it is the state that is supported by religion.

Fair enough.

The difference between our opinions is mere perspective on cause and effect. I don't think either of us could ever convince the other. That said, I would rather not have any dogma at all, regardless of how it is applied. But I am more accepting of the risks, perhaps the truth is more harmful.

Like I said, I actually agree that dogma is a bad thing.

Also, if the religions in the hypothetical world did not have a god, would that not make them atheist by definition?

Yes and no. Are those flavors of Taoism, Buddhism, and Paganism that lack gods atheistic? What about non-realist Christians who don't literally believe in God but use the idea as a symbol? You could certainly call a religion without gods "atheistic," but I think a lot of atheists wouldn't consider their followers as fellow atheists.

Edited by yarvin

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Are those flavors of Taoism, Buddhism, and Paganism that lack gods atheistic?

Just want to speak regarding philosophical Taoists.

No, I do not hold to the concept of a personified god. No, I do not consider myself an atheist. Although "Tao" is sometimes used in the noun form and is sometimes used equal to the word "God", in Taoism even Tao follows a non-thing call Tzujan which can be stated to be the process of change (the cause of all things doing what they do). This is sometimes referred to a things "Nature".

Peace & Love!

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