Amulet

What do you think is the biggest misconception...?

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Agnosticism, Atheism, Freethought, Humanism, Ietsism, Irreligion, Naturalism, Nontheism, Objectivism, Rationalism, Skepticism, Secularism

 

Question for this group:
In your experience with explaining your beliefs to someone, what do you run across as being the biggest misconception about your way of life?

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For all the diversity of American religion, there is the bedrock assumption that all religion, all spirituality, all morality and decency are aspects of Monotheism.

 

The standard Monotheist understands Atheism to be a rejection of God.  They do not understand the distinction between -- "I don't believe in God" -- and -- "I believe there is no God."'

 

It is one reason I have come to dislike using the Atheist label.  I got into way too many stupid arguments that I didn't care about.  I would be at a party.  Someone would make small talk by asking me what my religion was.  I would say "Atheist".  Next thing I would know, I would be getting a pleading for mutual tolerance.  It's not my idea of party small talk.

 

When I say "Agnostic" I use it in the traditional way.  Some things are not known or Knowable.  In particular, God.  Pious Monotheists and Hard line Atheists tend to twist that in the same way.  It is not that God's existence is not knowable.  It is that I don't know.  That I can't make up my mind.  That I need to grow a spine.  That I'm hedging my bets.  I catch the same crap from both sides.  

 

It doesn't help things along that I am often inconsistent.  In the course of my Reiki studies, I took an initiation to Sekhmet, the Lion headed goddess of the Egyptian pantheon.  I have used my Reiki -- and related training -- when I look at the Sekhmet statues.  It's like a book of theology to anybody who can look at her and see the obvious.

 

She sits, with a straight spine.  A serpent emerges from her third eye.  The ajna chakra.  She is engaged in a kundalini type exercise and her third eye is open.  Behind her head is the Sun disc.  In Western symbolism, it would be a halo.  Her crown chakra is open.  In her left hand, she holds the Ankh.  She is pulling in power from her symbol.  Her right hand rests flat on her right thigh.  She is sending energy into her root chakra.  All so obvious.  All on the level of mythology and not to be taken literally.  She is stiff.  Ridged.  Distant.  Not to be touched.  Then we look at Bast.  All soft, curvy sensual lines.  This is the one we snuggle with.  Not Sekhmet.  The difference between lioness and cat.  

 

I have also been initiated to Quan Yin.  She started off as Quan Yang.  A male figure, who became Quan Yin, after deciding that a female form was more conducive to mercy, comfort, compassion and healing.  

 

I also have initiations to Medicine Buddha and White Tara.

 

I am not Buddhist and I'm not Pagan -- but I understand a lot more than people expect.  

 

I also have a Jewish background.  My family religion and ethnicity.  I developed my own understanding.  "There is no God and we are his people.".  

 

Before I forget -- long time visitors to this site will remember when I advocated for Pantheism.  I have been through changes.

 

Try and stuff all that into a simple label.  It doesn't work.  This much I can say.  I do not suffer fools gladly.  Life is short.  I can't be bothered.  

 

:sigh2:

 

 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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On 7/15/2017 at 3:35 PM, Amulet said:

Agnosticism, Atheism, Freethought, Humanism, Ietsism, Irreligion, Naturalism, Nontheism, Objectivism, Rationalism, Skepticism, Secularism

 

Question for this group:
In your experience with explaining your beliefs to someone, what do you run across as being the biggest misconception about your way of life?

That belief and truth are the same as fact. The very idea that any one belief could possibly be absolute is mind boggling to me and could quite possibly be the root misconception across the board.  

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3 hours ago, AmberLF said:

That belief and truth are the same as fact. The very idea that any one belief could possibly be absolute is mind boggling to me and could quite possibly be the root misconception across the board.  

 

Interesting.  We have come to an important distinction.  Belief and Knowledge.

Knowledge is what we actually know, based on evidence.

Belief, for all the passion that belief and faith summon -- is just an opinion.

 

This is why I prefer Agnosticism over Atheism.

As an Agnostic, I can have an intelligent discussion about what we know; and how we know it.

As an Atheist, all I can say is -- I don't believe that.  It's valid, but not interesting.

 

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I think the worst misconception of Atheism is the deliberate misinformation pushed by those of the hardheaded nature, who often act as though it were a simple mistake with language.  You believe there is no God, vs you don't believe in God.  A subtle difference, but one of distinction often in debates with the religious.  The first, they can claim I have made a positive statement.  "There is no God" is a positive statement, and so when it comes to burden of proof, if that were my position I would need to provide evidence for a negative.  The second, "I do not believe in God" does not assert anything to the actual reality or unreality of a divine presence, and therefore I have no need to prove up.  Or, the most proof I need to provide is that I truly don't believe in God, which can be tricky with that whole "Written on the heart" thing that Christians insist I really do believe in God, I am just denying it.  That's quite simply a load of crap.  

Then there is the misinformation that Atheists are really working for the devil, or some other ludicrous statement along those lines.  Obviously, if we don't believe in God, it isn't very likely we believe in a devil either.  I understand that there is a large contingent of Satanists who use the label strictly in the rebellious sense and qualify themselves as Atheists.  I suppose this is a subdivision of Atheism that causes some of us minor irritation in dealing with those who believe all Atheists are Satanists.  "All squibs are squabs, therefore all squabs must be squibs" kind of fallacy.  

The short and simple of my Atheism, and I use the term "my" because I feel everyone has the potential for their own brand of it, is that I do not believe God exists.  

So far as stoicism goes, I am not certain there are misconceptions about it in truth.  I haven't come across any, in any case.  But again, it's one of those paths that the individual has a tendency to personalize within a few basic tenets.

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It's amazing, how many half wits begin by demanding -- Prove there is no God ! They can't even define God, but somehow, you are expected to disprove it.

 

Life is too short for silly arguments with true believers.  I can't be bothered.  I'm starting to think the best label is Apatheist.  As in, "Screw it all.  I don't care.",

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Thanks there are some really interesting points here.

 

I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that Atheist means Anti-theist. And unfortunately a lot of the arguments that come in come from ignorance. And also, there is a misconception that Atheism conflicts with ritual practice. For someone to learn that Buddhism is an atheist religion can confuse people. Satanists mentioning Atheism must make people's heads explode.

 

 

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21 hours ago, cuchulain said:

I think the worst misconception of Atheism is the deliberate misinformation pushed by those of the hardheaded nature, who often act as though it were a simple mistake with language.  You believe there is no God, vs you don't believe in God.  A subtle difference, but one of distinction often in debates with the religious.  The first, they can claim I have made a positive statement.  "There is no God" is a positive statement, and so when it comes to burden of proof, if that were my position I would need to provide evidence for a negative.  The second, "I do not believe in God" does not assert anything to the actual reality or unreality of a divine presence, and therefore I have no need to prove up.  Or, the most proof I need to provide is that I truly don't believe in God, which can be tricky with that whole "Written on the heart" thing that Christians insist I really do believe in God, I am just denying it.  That's quite simply a load of crap.  

Then there is the misinformation that Atheists are really working for the devil, or some other ludicrous statement along those lines.  Obviously, if we don't believe in God, it isn't very likely we believe in a devil either.  I understand that there is a large contingent of Satanists who use the label strictly in the rebellious sense and qualify themselves as Atheists.  I suppose this is a subdivision of Atheism that causes some of us minor irritation in dealing with those who believe all Atheists are Satanists.  "All squibs are squabs, therefore all squabs must be squibs" kind of fallacy.  

The short and simple of my Atheism, and I use the term "my" because I feel everyone has the potential for their own brand of it, is that I do not believe God exists.  

So far as stoicism goes, I am not certain there are misconceptions about it in truth.  I haven't come across any, in any case.  But again, it's one of those paths that the individual has a tendency to personalize within a few basic tenets.

and we agree for the most part,with the exception that not only do i not believe in deity(deities),i have no need for them on my path.

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14 hours ago, Amulet said:

Thanks there are some really interesting points here.

 

I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that Atheist means Anti-theist. And unfortunately a lot of the arguments that come in come from ignorance. And also, there is a misconception that Atheism conflicts with ritual practice. For someone to learn that Buddhism is an atheist religion can confuse people. Satanists mentioning Atheism must make people's heads explode.

 

 

keep in mind,not all buddhists are atheists.but yes buddhism does not teach about deities(tibetan may be the exception,but not for religious reasons).and most satanists will tell you they don't believe in god,nor the devil(or satan for that matter).

Edited by mark 45

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6 hours ago, mark 45 said:

keep in mind,not all buddhists are atheists.but yes buddhism does not teach about deities(tibetan may be the exception,but not for religious reasons).and most satanists will tell you they don't believe in god,nor the devil(or satan for that matter).

 

Tibetan Buddhists understand their gods.  Medicine Buddha personifies healing.  Wisdom Buddha personifies wisdom.  There is no worship.  

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20 hours ago, Amulet said:

Thanks there are some really interesting points here.

 

I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that Atheist means Anti-theist. And unfortunately a lot of the arguments that come in come from ignorance. And also, there is a misconception that Atheism conflicts with ritual practice. For someone to learn that Buddhism is an atheist religion can confuse people. Satanists mentioning Atheism must make people's heads explode.

 

 

 

Just so.  The two words have different meanings.  Some people are both.  It adds to the confusion.  

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On 7/15/2017 at 1:35 PM, Amulet said:

:In your experience with explaining your beliefs to someone, what do you run across as being the biggest misconception about your way of life?

The notion that being a pacifist means being passive, or that being an anarchist means being destructive. I suppose the biggest misconception is the notion that you can know who someone is by knowing who they are not.

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Greetings to you all my sisters and brothers,


Looking at the question from my particular perspective, I think that at least part of the problem is the same one that people of faith often face with how others view them.  People tend to generalize groups by what any one subset of the group proclaims the loudest.  Let me use my little corner of Wisconsin for an example.  In Madison, WI, there is a group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation.  This is a pretty militant atheist group that regularly puts up billboards speaking out against faith in general, and at least in Wisconsin led a crusade against cities that had religious symbology as part of their city seals.   Many Christians and other people of faith began to think of all atheists as intolerant and even prejudiced against them because of their beliefs.  Of course, that's nonsense because most atheists (IMHO) could care less about what others believe as long as no one tries to force them to hold those views.  But the Freedom From Religion folk gets all the press. So it is easy to make the generalization that Atheist = Anti faith.

 

On the other hand, in Milwaukee is a group called the Wisconsin Voice for Christian Youth. This is actually a media company that runs a Christian Television station and a few Radio Stations in the area. Their programming is very evangelical and fundamentalist, and in my view comes very close to the same kind of bigotry that the Westboro Baptist church spews out. Their viewpoint is very much at odds with what most of the mainstream Christian Churches teach, yet because their message gets spread every day via television and radio, many come to think that WVCY represents mainstream Christianity.

 

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli


 

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1 hour ago, Rev. Calli said:

Greetings to you all my sisters and brothers,


Looking at the question from my particular perspective, I think that at least part of the problem is the same one that people of faith often face with how others view them.  People tend to generalize groups by what any one subset of the group proclaims the loudest.  Let me use my little corner of Wisconsin for an example.  In Madison, WI, there is a group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation.  This is a pretty militant atheist group that regularly puts up billboards speaking out against faith in general, and at least in Wisconsin led a crusade against cities that had religious symbology as part of their city seals.   Many Christians and other people of faith began to think of all atheists as intolerant and even prejudiced against them because of their beliefs.  Of course, that's nonsense because most atheists (IMHO) could care less about what others believe as long as no one tries to force them to hold those views.  But the Freedom From Religion folk gets all the press. So it is easy to make the generalization that Atheist = Anti faith.

 

On the other hand, in Milwaukee is a group called the Wisconsin Voice for Christian Youth. This is actually a media company that runs a Christian Television station and a few Radio Stations in the area. Their programming is very evangelical and fundamentalist, and in my view comes very close to the same kind of bigotry that the Westboro Baptist church spews out. Their viewpoint is very much at odds with what most of the mainstream Christian Churches teach, yet because their message gets spread every day via television and radio, many come to think that WVCY represents mainstream Christianity.

 

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli


 

 

This is a great truth.  At the same time, it is not the peaceful majority, that make the laws and the wars and the social climate.  

 

The majority of Catholics were peaceful people who never wanted the Inquisition.  The majority of Muslims were never Islamists.  Yet here we are.

 

Consider the Mafia.  I remember a time when people insisted that the Mafia did not exist.  That the fantasy of the Mafia was a defamation against Italians.  In truth -- The Mafia was and is real.  It was only when Italians faced up to this that society made progress against the Mafia.

 

We are not going to deal with the Islamists -- or any other variety of religious extremism -- or organized crime --  or government -- until we can be honest about who is doing what to the world.  If we can't be honest, nothing will be resolved and things will get worse.  

 

 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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On 7/22/2017 at 2:22 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

  It was only when Italians faced up to this that society made progress against the Mafia

It had nothing to do with Italians facing up to anything. I suggest a quick search using the phrase "Apalachin Meeting". The Mafia had a very public unveiling, making it too embarrassing for people like J Edgar Hoover to keep saying there is no such thing. Why he denied it so fervently prior to that is a good question, and the start of many a conspiracy theory, but I find it highly doubtful that guys like Hoover were motivated by a desire to avoid being politically incorrect...

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 My memories are vague.  When I was growing up, there was a major protest rally in New York City, put on by an Italian Anti Defamation League.  At the high point of the rally, the mobster who was running things, was gunned down.

 

There was a reality shift.

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9 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 My memories are vague.  When I was growing up, there was a major protest rally in New York City, put on by an Italian Anti Defamation League.  At the high point of the rally, the mobster who was running things, was gunned down.

It makes perfect sense that Italians would take offense at all the negative stereotypes that get thrown at them, and that a "We're not all gangsters" movement would be started. It makes even more sense that gangsters would see such a movement as the perfect way to build a legitimate public image for themself while simultaneously bullying law enforcement into softening their tactics. Aren't group identity and guilt by association fun? The more we focus on groups, rather than on individuals, the farther away justice is.... 

 

Edited by mererdog

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It amazes me that many in each spiritual walk discount any other belief system as invalid. Each has its own dogma, own set of beliefs and traditions. These tenets tend to mold one's perceptions of the world, including their receptivity to others. There is a Hindu saying that "There are many paths up the mountain..." People oftentimes get focused on one path and discount others. In seeking proofs for one's chosen path, there are no absolutes, no concrete pillars to show. That is why it is called a belief. Christians have a whole library of work called apologetics, which I find offensive (the term, not the study). When giving reasons for my christian beliefs, I do not adhere to the term "apologetics" but do use the studies to help give reasons why I hold the beliefs I do.

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19 minutes ago, Windwalker said:

It amazes me that many in each spiritual walk discount any other belief system as invalid. Each has its own dogma, own set of beliefs and traditions. These tenets tend to mold one's perceptions of the world, including their receptivity to others. There is a Hindu saying that "There are many paths up the mountain..." People oftentimes get focused on one path and discount others. In seeking proofs for one's chosen path, there are no absolutes, no concrete pillars to show. That is why it is called a belief. Christians have a whole library of work called apologetics, which I find offensive (the term, not the study). When giving reasons for my christian beliefs, I do not adhere to the term "apologetics" but do use the studies to help give reasons why I hold the beliefs I do.

 

 

There are indeed many paths up the mountain.  It is very annoying when Christians line my path -- and insist on telling me that my path will take me straight to Hell.  

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1 hour ago, Windwalker said:

It amazes me that many in each spiritual walk discount any other belief system as invalid. Each has its own dogma, own set of beliefs and traditions. These tenets tend to mold one's perceptions of the world, including their receptivity to others. There is a Hindu saying that "There are many paths up the mountain..." People oftentimes get focused on one path and discount others.

 

Misconceptions of all types regarding beliefs and of course, with all sorts of stereotypes (cultural, etc.) remain fixed and static until perspective opens up through dialogue. It is so important to have dialogue for this reason. I don't think we have enough of it, and more than ever it is sorely needed. There is so much diversity. And so much knowledge and experience just sitting waiting to be tapped into.

 

 

I have always disliked the word apologetics. Since I'm sitting here I had to look up the etymology of the word and find out what on Earth would have the church using the term.

 

Quote

 

"late Middle English (as a noun denoting a formal defense or justification):

Latin apologeticus, from Greek apologētikos, from apologeisthei ‘speak in one's own defense,’ from apologia.

The current sense dates from the mid 19th century."

 

 

It is archaic, but that makes more sense to me. ^

 

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