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Anonymous

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The Hitch said:
I think you misunderstand. This isnt about science versus religion. Yes there are many great scientists who believe in God. Francis Collins for example - a devout christian is possibly the greatest scientist of our time,
Iam not claiming otherwise.

But deism vs religion is a completely different thing.

Theists believe that God created the universe and most importantly cares about and controls what goes on today.

Atheists and deists reject that God cares about or controls the universe. They disagree on how the universe was created but that is of minor importance. Deists arent going to spend any time engaging in any religious acts or follow any religious rules or systems.

Deists like Jefferson, have very little in common with religion in the first place. They are moving rapidly away from it. They reject 99 % of its ideas.

In "Age of reason" Jeffersons great friend and fellow deist Paine challenges religion quite fiercely. He rejects that there is any divinity whatsoever to the bible and claims christianity is man made. This idea is incompatible with christianity. The idea that the bible is the word of God lies at the heart of Christianity and similarly in iSlam and Judaism with their texts.

Im not going to say that i know whatt Jefferson would have believed in this day and age.
But dont you think its highly unlikely that people who reject the authority of the bible, reject the miracles, and dont even believe that God can hear or see us, would in todays world find themselves as christians - believing the authority of the bible, believeing in the miracles, believing that God can hear and see us. ?
That is the thing with Jefferson (among his many conflicting beliefs). He firmly believed in the principles behind the actual teachings of Jesus. I would venture to say that his ideas of the divinity of those teachings is a bit more complex than saying that he was fully a deist. I know he said those things, but he also believed in the equality of man...well, sort of. I would proffer that the fact that he took the time to write the Jeffersonian Bible (which I personally love) suggests that his actual beliefs were somewhat more complex, and not clear enough to term him a true deist as you prescribe. That is however opinion.

What I find troubling is the usage of his beliefs to further an atheist agenda, when clearly his writings and opinions had to do with the separation of church and state.(a principle I find second in importance only to freedom of speech) I find modern evangelical atheism as distasteful as I do evangelical Christianity. I think the message espoused by Jefferson is "leave me the **** alone when it comes to my religion or lack thereof." Unfortunately, I see a disturbing trend in atheists to mirror the intolerance spread by many Christians. I think that is a natural thing, but it isn't going to be an effective. You will never convert the populace of the earth to atheism (I do find Hitchens' statement that he would not convert the last theist if it came down to that interesting)

I don't want to get into a recitation of the problems implicit in atheist belief, but I will say that using people like Jefferson as being reflective of modern atheism is clearly fraught with problems.
 
Thoughtforfood said:
That is the thing with Jefferson (among his many conflicting beliefs). He firmly believed in the principles behind the actual teachings of Jesus. I would venture to say that his ideas of the divinity of those teachings is a bit more complex than saying that he was fully a deist. I know he said those things, but he also believed in the equality of man...well, sort of. I would proffer that the fact that he took the time to write the Jeffersonian Bible (which I personally love) suggests that his actual beliefs were somewhat more complex, and not clear enough to term him a true deist as you prescribe. That is however opinion.

What I find troubling is the usage of his beliefs to further an atheist agenda, when clearly his writings and opinions had to do with the separation of church and state.(a principle I find second in importance only to freedom of speech) I find modern evangelical atheism as distasteful as I do evangelical Christianity. I think the message espoused by Jefferson is "leave me the **** alone when it comes to my religion or lack thereof." Unfortunately, I see a disturbing trend in atheists to mirror the intolerance spread by many Christians. I think that is a natural thing, but it isn't going to be an effective. You will never convert the populace of the earth to atheism (I do find Hitchens' statement that he would not convert the last theist if it came down to that interesting)

I don't want to get into a recitation of the problems implicit in atheist belief, but I will say that using people like Jefferson as being reflective of modern atheism is clearly fraught with problems.

An atheist's agenda. Now that's a confounded historical analysis. If anyone has had an agenda (and for the past 2000 years or so), it has been the religious. Those who demand that their beliefs, and I emphasize the word belief, should be the basis for all social comportment and in many ways the very laws which inhibit individual choice and freedom among all people: believers and non-believers alike.

I think, consequently, that it is a base fallacy which says atheists have an agenda. If anything we simply want reason to be the guiding principle behind policy making and the law in a State that accommodates religion, yes, without however making a tool of it for political gain and as excessive leverage for impacting upon policy making of the lay State, which is what we have in America today. And nobody's telling the religious that they can't practice their faith, but we don't want their faith to impose upon us in terms of if we are terminally ill whether or not we can decide to pull the plug, or if we can utilize all the scientific methods for fighting disease, or if a women can become artificially impregnated by whichever science permits, etc.

To say that atheists have an agenda, given the history of religious institutions and how their hierarchy's have controlled and manipulated society for the past 2000 years (at times using the most horrible forms of torture and injustice), is to falsify history and mystifies and distorts this contemporary moment. The religious will simply have to accommodate us and they can't rely on witch trials any longer. Show me an atheist today who has burned someone who believes in God at the stake, simply for believing in God, and then we can begin to discuss an atheist's agenda.

And in the America of today with the bigoted and self-righteous within both political parties, or the so called Moral Majority and now Tea Party controlling the republican agenda for the past 30 years and all the devastating consequences that this has had on American society in terms of obscurantism and keeping the public ignorant to better be able to pass a bellicose agenda...Atheist's agenda please!

Evangelical atheism? This is an oxymoron. And just a bit of advice if someone is preaching to you, whatever the creed, you can always simply turn away if not interested. ;) Though I don't think the US body politic is under any threat from being taken over by a atheist coup. I'm quite sure, however, with the strength of the religious block (for example in forcing the agenda of "creationism") that America is much more at risk of reverting back to much, much more ignorant times. In America we have had a formal separation of Church and State, but God is still very much a part of politics. This is a most disturbingly serious matter to me. Whereas after the French Revolution, Darwin, Marx, Wittgenstein, the Bolsheviks, the Dadaists, Einstein, Sartre, the Beat Generation, the Simpsons :D, in short the entire lessons of modernity, no politician in Europe would pronounce the word God when addressing the State and the Public. That's the task of priests not the layman's.
 
The reality is that the faithful of the post-post modern world of today are terribly afraid and insecure, about their beliefs, which runs into conflict with nearly everything we have learned for the past three, four centuries. And they only deceive themselves in trying to reconcile belief, which by nature is irrational, with reason. Whereas I am quite confident in my own ignorance and complete misunderstandingof everything. Though this lack of having to uphold and maintain any dogma, is precisely what allows me to be tolerant of others, except when the intolerance of others becomes a tool of repression against freedom of thought. It also has permitted me to be more humane with my neighbor (whomever my neighbor may be). This is not a "blessing" of faith, but the result of an enlightened principle of reason and rationalism that is at the true foundation of any non-ideological based layicism of the State. It's about having the humility to admit one's own ignorance of the unknowable, which is something that religion has always tried to override in the form of claiming exclusive ownership to the Truth. A the Truth, moreover, that has quite often become the "irrefutable" alibi (precisely because it defies reason and thus can't be rationally argued against - though also not rationally proven, which the religious conveniently forget) to the religious institution and the political power structure, to destroy anything and anyone that dares to challenge their hegemony over controlling society and in repressing free, non-dogmatic thought. Indeed it has been religion, not atheism, which has been the single greatest tool of intolerance, repression and war in the history of the world. It is therefore a the Truth based upon the most irrational and consequently indemonstrable, of means; because, in point of fact, founded exclusively upon Faith. Nonetheless this the Truth, because of the sway that the religious institutions have always held over society and governments, has always succeeded in bringing the necessary pressure to bear in finding a so called just recourse to the most barbaric forms of intolerance, repression and war. Ever since the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius forbade paganism in 380 and then made any form of pagan sacrifices punishable by death in 391, the world has come to know the cruel and repressive side of religion, which since that moment in a variety of forms has more often than not brought the sword, nothing else, rather than humane and civil practices. I will try to now give you a precise description of my profound ignorance that has set me free and thereby allowed me to be more compassionate and tolerant. Just the other day on the Pincio in Rome I had made what now strikes me as some rather inept comments on Nietzsche to my students, and on this occasion I had been unable to say anything apposite about him. Look, I told them, I've been wrestling with Nietzsche for decades, but haven't gotten any further with him. Nietzsche has always fascinated me, but I've never understood him properly. To be honest, it's the same with all the other philosophers, I told them, with Schopenhauer and Pascal, to name just two. All my life I've found them difficult and done no more than begin to understand them. They've always been Greek to me, though I've always been attracted and excited by them. The more I study these men's writings, I told my students, the more helpless I become. It's only in moments of megalomania that I can claim to have understood them, just as it's only at such moments that I can claim to have understood myself. The more I study myself, the farther I get from the truth about myself, the more obscure everything about me becomes, I told them, and it's the same with the philosophers. When I think I've understood them I've actually understood nothing. This is probably true of everything I've studied. But now and then, in moments of megalomania, I venture to say that I've understood something about these philosophers and their writings. None of these men or their works can be understood, not Pascal, not Descartes, not Kant, not Shopenhauer, not Schleiermacher, to name only those who preoccupy me at present, those who I'm working on at the moment. With the greatest ruthlessness toward them and toward myself, I added. With the greatest audacity and the greatest impudence. For when we work on one of these philosophers, I said, it's impudent and presumptuous to take hold of them and, as it were, tear the philosophical guts out of the living body. It's always impudent to set about a work of philosophy, but without such impudence we can't approach it and get anywhere philosophically. We actually have to attack these philosophical writings as roughly and toughly as possible--and the writers themselves, whom we must always think of as enemies, as our most formidable opponents, students. I have to pit myself against Shopenhauer if I want to understand him, but I fail, against Kant, against Montaigne, against Descartes against Schleiermacher--you understand--but with these I also fail. I have to be against Voltaire if I want to get to grips with him properly and have some prospect of success. But so far I've been pretty unsuccessful at getting to grips with the philosophers and their works. Life will soon be over; my existence will be extinguished, I told them, and I'll have achieved nothing. Everything will have remained firmly closed to me. In the same way I've been pretty unsuccessful in getting to grips with myself. I treat myself as an enemy and go into philosophical action against myself, I told my students. I approach myself with every possible doubt, and I fail. I achieve absolutely nothing. I have to regard the mind as an enemy and go into philosophical action against it if I am actually to enjoy it. But I probably don't have enough time, just as none of them had enough time. Man's greatest misfortune is that he never has enough time, and that's what's always made knowledge impossible. So all we have ever achieved is an approximation, a near miss. Anything else is nonsense. When we are thinking and don't stop thinking, which is what we call philosophizing, we come to realize that our thinking has been wrong. Up to now all their thinking was wrong, whoever they were and whatever they wrote, yet they didn't give up on their own violation, I told my students: they gave up because nature forced them to because of sickness, madness, and finally death. They didn't want to stop however great their privations, however grievous their sufferings; they carried on against all reason and despite all warnings. Yet they all committed themselves to false conclusions, I told my students--ultimately to nothing, whatever this nothing might be, which, though we know it is nothing and therefore cannot exist, still dooms everything to failure, halts all progress, and finally brings everything to an end. And yet this end is at once a new beginning, their failure and mental violation, our salvation and way to toleration and treating others humanely, without violating their dignity and purpose in this world and this life which ultimately fades away into the dark ebony of the inscrutable abyss.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
rhubroma said:
The reality is thatblah blah blah blah and purpose in this world and this life which ultimately fades away into the dark ebony of the inscrutable abyss.
I cant read that. Can you hit return every now and again please. :confused:
 
Just for TeamSkyFans:

The reality is that the faithful of the post-post modern world of today are terribly afraid and insecure, about their beliefs, which runs into conflict with nearly everything we have learned for the past three, four centuries. And they only deceive themselves in trying to reconcile belief, which by nature is irrational, with reason.

Whereas I am quite confident in my own ignorance and complete misunderstanding of everything. Though this lack of having to uphold and maintain any dogma, is precisely what allows me to be tolerant of others, except when the intolerance of others becomes a tool of repression against freedom of thought. It also has permitted me to be more humane with my neighbor (whomever my neighbor may be).

This is not a "blessing" of faith, but the result of an enlightened principle of reason and rationalism that is at the true foundation of any non-ideological based layicism of the State. It's about having the humility to admit one's own ignorance of the unknowable, which is something that religion has always tried to override in the form of claiming exclusive ownership to the Truth. A the Truth, moreover, that has quite often become the "irrefutable" alibi (precisely because it defies reason and thus can't be rationally argued against - though also not rationally proven, which the religious conveniently forget) to the religious institution and the political power structure, to destroy anything and anyone that dares to challenge their hegemony over controlling society and in repressing free, non-dogmatic thought. Indeed it has been religion, not atheism, which has been the single greatest tool of intolerance, repression and war in the history of the world.

It is therefore a the Truth based upon the most irrational and consequently indemonstrable, of means; because, in point of fact, founded exclusively upon Faith. Nonetheless this the Truth, because of the sway that the religious institutions have always held over society and governments, has always succeeded in bringing the necessary pressure to bear in finding a so called just recourse to the most barbaric forms of intolerance, repression and war. Ever since the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius forbade paganism in 380 and then made any form of pagan sacrifices punishable by death in 391, the world has come to know the cruel and repressive side of religion, which since that moment in a variety of forms has more often than not brought the sword, nothing else, rather than humane and civil practices.

I will try to now give you a precise description of my profound ignorance that has set me free and thereby allowed me to be more compassionate and tolerant. Just the other day on the Pincio in Rome I had made what now strikes me as some rather inept comments on Nietzsche to my students, and on this occasion I had been unable to say anything apposite about him. Look, I told them, I've been wrestling with Nietzsche for decades, but haven't gotten any further with him. Nietzsche has always fascinated me, but I've never understood him properly.

To be honest, it's the same with all the other philosophers, I told them, with Schopenhauer and Pascal, to name just two. All my life I've found them difficult and done no more than begin to understand them. They've always been Greek to me, though I've always been attracted and excited by them. The more I study these men's writings, I told my students, the more helpless I become. It's only in moments of megalomania that I can claim to have understood them, just as it's only at such moments that I can claim to have understood myself.

The more I study myself, the farther I get from the truth about myself, the more obscure everything about me becomes, I told them, and it's the same with the philosophers. When I think I've understood them I've actually understood nothing. This is probably true of everything I've studied. But now and then, in moments of megalomania, I venture to say that I've understood something about these philosophers and their writings. None of these men or their works can be understood, not Pascal, not Descartes, not Kant, not Shopenhauer, not Schleiermacher, to name only those who preoccupy me at present, those who I'm working on at the moment. With the greatest ruthlessness toward them and toward myself, I added. With the greatest audacity and the greatest impudence.

For when we work on one of these philosophers, I said, it's impudent and presumptuous to take hold of them and, as it were, tear the philosophical guts out of the living body. It's always impudent to set about a work of philosophy, but without such impudence we can't approach it and get anywhere philosophically. We actually have to attack these philosophical writings as roughly and toughly as possible--and the writers themselves, whom we must always think of as enemies, as our most formidable opponents, students.

I have to pit myself against Shopenhauer if I want to understand him, but I fail, against Kant, against Montaigne, against Descartes against Schleiermacher--you understand--but with these I also fail. I have to be against Voltaire if I want to get to grips with him properly and have some prospect of success. But so far I've been pretty unsuccessful at getting to grips with the philosophers and their works.

Life will soon be over; my existence will be extinguished, I told them, and I'll have achieved nothing. Everything will have remained firmly closed to me. In the same way I've been pretty unsuccessful in getting to grips with myself. I treat myself as an enemy and go into philosophical action against myself, I told my students. I approach myself with every possible doubt, and I fail. I achieve absolutely nothing. I have to regard the mind as an enemy and go into philosophical action against it if I am actually to enjoy it.

But I probably don't have enough time, just as none of them had enough time. Man's greatest misfortune is that he never has enough time, and that's what's always made knowledge impossible. So all we have ever achieved is an approximation, a near miss. Anything else is nonsense. When we are thinking and don't stop thinking, which is what we call philosophizing, we come to realize that our thinking has been wrong.

Up to now all their thinking was wrong, whoever they were and whatever they wrote, yet they didn't give up on their own violation, I told my students: they gave up because nature forced them to because of sickness, madness, and finally death. They didn't want to stop however great their privations, however grievous their sufferings; they carried on against all reason and despite all warnings. Yet they all committed themselves to false conclusions, I told my students--ultimately to nothing, whatever this nothing might be, which, though we know it is nothing and therefore cannot exist, still dooms everything to failure, halts all progress, and finally brings everything to an end.

And yet this end is at once a new beginning, their failure and mental violation, our salvation and way to toleration and treating others humanely, without violating their dignity and purpose in this world and this life which ultimately fades away into the dark ebony of the inscrutable abyss.
 
Thoughtforfood said:
I find modern evangelical atheism as distasteful as I do evangelical Christianity. I think the message espoused by Jefferson is "leave me the **** alone when it comes to my religion or lack thereof." Unfortunately, I see a disturbing trend in atheists to mirror the intolerance spread by many Christians. I think that is a natural thing, but it isn't going to be an effective.
What do you mean by modern evangelical atheism? Atheism is very very vague. The atheist position is simply - we dont see any proof that God exists.

Many atheists such as myself would call themselves secularists as much as atheists. Free speech and freedom of religion are at the heart of secularism.

Sure there are slightly more extreme atheists. Richard Dawkins and Danniel Dennet, 2 great scientists in their own right, say that atheists should call themselves "brights" as in "we are brighter thant you". Personally i reject such a position, as there are some very "bright" religious people too. There are those (mainly on the internet) who look down at religion, see it as a sign of stupidity or backwardness, but this too is very rare and essentially harmless.

But these fantasies are hardly comparable to the extreme wings of major religions. No matter how extreme an atheist gets he will not try to tell people that sleeping with someone is immoral. Dawkins may have said some stupid things but gay and lesbian rights groups dont protest at his speeches. An atheist wont tell people in hiv stricken africa that condoms are evil either

There is no sacred book to follow. There is no claim of divine backing. Religious fundamentalist can and do justify absolutely anything by simply claiming that God is on their side.

Moreover, no matter how extreme an atheist, he does not believe his enemies will go to hell, and more importantly he does not tell them in glee that they deserve this.

There are many other examples of what religious extremists can do that a wayward atheist would not - genital mutilation, suicide bombing, Sharia law, oppression of women etc.


Ps yes i do understand that the religious fundamentalists above are in the minority. Most religious people dont believe they will go to heaven if they kill people. Most religious people dont wish that people from other religions will go to hell etc etc.
But im just making the point that it is a tad unfair to compare ideologues with a bit of an ego, to religious extremist around the world, who believe they are doing Gods work when they force others to follow their laws.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The Hitch said:
What do you mean by modern evangelical atheism? Atheism is very very vague. The atheist position is simply - we dont see any proof that God exists.

Many atheists such as myself would call themselves secularists as much as atheists. Free speech and freedom of religion are at the heart of secularism.

Sure there are slightly more extreme atheists. Richard Dawkins and Danniel Dennet, 2 great scientists in their own right, say that atheists should call themselves "brights" as in "we are brighter thant you". Personally i reject such a position, as there are some very "bright" religious people too. There are those (mainly on the internet) who look down at religion, see it as a sign of stupidity or backwardness, but this too is very rare and essentially harmless.

But these fantasies are hardly comparable to the extreme wings of major religions. No matter how extreme an atheist gets he will not try to tell people that sleeping with someone is immoral. Dawkins may have said some stupid things but gay and lesbian rights groups dont protest at his speeches. An atheist wont tell people in hiv stricken africa that condoms are evil either

There is no sacred book to follow. There is no claim of divine backing. Religious fundamentalist can and do justify absolutely anything by simply claiming that God is on their side.

Moreover, no matter how extreme an atheist, he does not believe his enemies will go to hell, and more importantly he does not tell them in glee that they deserve this.

There are many other examples of what religious extremists can do that a wayward atheist would not - genital mutilation, suicide bombing, Sharia law, oppression of women etc.


Ps yes i do understand that the religious fundamentalists above are in the minority. Most religious people dont believe they will go to heaven if they kill people. Most religious people dont wish that people from other religions will go to hell etc etc.
But im just making the point that it is a tad unfair to compare ideologues with a bit of an ego, to religious extremist around the world, who believe they are doing Gods work when they force others to follow their laws.
Interestingly, when you came on this board, your signature was a quote regarding atheism by Hitchens (someone I personally think is great in many respects. What a fascinating man, and great thinker. I disagree with his propositions on religion-I believe the genocide, etc pointed out by atheists as evidence of the failings of religion are actually failings of humans and would occur regardless of belief or lack thereof {see Stalin for clarification}, but I do admire genius regardless). I objected to that quote to the moderators. I don't come on here pushing my beliefs regarding religion because I don't like to be evangelized to by anyone (I am a Christian, but many Christians would not recognize me as such because my beliefs regarding Christ are not derived from being taught. My relationship with God is of a very personal nature and based on personal experience, so I neither believe anyone else has the right to tell me what is and is not right, nor do I believe that I can translate that to a proposition that you should believe. Your experience is yours, and mine is mine, and I want those two to remain separate.), and when I see someone come in with a signature like that, I find it as objectionable as I would someone who had "Jesus Saves" as their signature.

The evangelical aspect of atheism is on full display in this thread in many ways. Its existence is best demonstrated by contrasting my writings regarding my beliefs with your writings and those of rhubroma. I feel no need to delineate why I think you are wrong about the existence of God. My belief in God does not rely in any way on whether or not you believe in God, nor whether or not I can convince you that you should believe in God. I believe firmly in a separation of church and state precisely because I believe that one's thoughts on religion or lack thereof are the most subjective mental constructs in existence. Most people wish it to be objective because they need others to validate their beliefs, or are lazy and want others to do the heavy lifting for them. Either way, I don't really need to hear what anyone believes regarding what they do or do not believe in regards to God.

You pointed to two of the people on the forefront of the evangelical atheist movement (Dawkins and Dennet), and I would submit that the movement for atheism is following their footsteps much more than the ones you suggest. I see it frequently now, and I laugh a little because the "brights" don't seem to understand the mirror examples of the methods of persuasion/delineating of beliefs they share with evangelical religionists. Adopting the rhetorical constructs of your opposition (constructs you claim to detest) is not terribly "bright," but it sure is ironic.

Anyway, you guys be atheists all day long. I am completely cool with that. I have no desire to tell you what to believe or why what you believe is wrong. I just don't want to be evangelized to on this forum regarding religion or lack thereof. Its pretty simple really.
 
May 23, 2010
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duh

""""We noticed that the intellectual level of the (US president) was exceedingly limited," Uwe-Karsten Heye, Schröder's former government spokesman, told the television news station N24 on Wednesday in reference to Bush. "As such, it was difficult for us to communicate with him."
"""
 
Thoughtforfood said:
Interestingly, when you came on this board, your signature was a quote regarding atheism by Hitchens (someone I personally think is great in many respects. I objected to that quote to the moderators.

I don't come on here pushing my beliefs regarding religion because I don't like to be evangelized to by anyone (I am a Christian, but many Christians would not recognize me as such because my beliefs regarding Christ are not derived from being taught.

The evangelical aspect of atheism is on full display in this thread in many ways. Its existence is best demonstrated by contrasting my writings regarding my beliefs with your writings and those of rhubroma.
I feel no need to delineate why I think you are wrong about the existence of
God. Most people wish it to be objective because they need others to validate their beliefs, or are lazy and want others to do the heavy lifting for them. Either way, I don't really need to hear what anyone believes regarding what they do or do not believe in regards to God.


Anyway, you guys be atheists all day long. I am completely cool with that. I have no desire to tell you what to believe or why what you believe is wrong. I just don't want to be evangelized to on this forum regarding religion or lack thereof. Its pretty simple really.
Im sorry but i think you have me mixed up my posts. Where have i tried to push my beliefs?

Firstly My original signature was as follows

I ask Catholics if they believe in the virgin birth. One guy said yes. Btw the virgin birth as catholic dogma dates back to 19th century. The guy said “yeah I didn’t know that”. Its come to something where I have to tell these ****** what they believe
Yes i probably shouldnt have used it but this comment doesnt in anyway challenge the existence of God, or any Christian teaching. It mocks the ignorance of a guy who claims to be religious, without knowing much about his actual beliefs. Its not only atheists who jest about this. In fact the devoutly religious are far more concerned by this than any atheist.

This is not the equivalent of saying "Jesus Rocks" (though that would be a funny signature). There are plenty of great quotes used by the religious against atheists, such as this gem from Dinesh D souza

Dawkins usual rebuttal to the crimes of Stalin is to say that atheists didn't commit their murders “in the name of atheism”. This is Richard Dawkins and it clearly shows what happens when you let a biologist out of the lab
Though he does use that one a lot. Point is, neither quote is challenging anyones belief. Dsouza is mocking Dawkins. Hitchens is mocking a unidentified individual, but they are not mocking the religion or its believers.

Secondly, this is the only thread where i have, in my exessive ammount of posting on this forum, said anything about religion. And i dont see where anywhere on this thread i have pushed forward my beliefs or tried to convert anyone.

In the first post i praised Jefferson, said the US constitution was secular (which you agreed with), and hinted that Jefferson would have been an atheist (which you disagreed with)

In the 2nd post i confessed to being an atheist (though it was a bit obvious) and explained why i felt Jefferson and other deists are the ideological predeesecors of atheists.

In the 3rd post I conceded that Many great thinkers are religious and looked at the similarities between deism and atheism. I said that Paine challenged the authority of the bible, but did not make that challenge myself.

In the 4th post , I made clear that i am not one of the atheists who looks down on religious people, and challenged the suggestion that arrogant atheists can be compared to religious fundamentalists.

Nowhere in here have i made the case for atheism, or challenged any christian teaching. While I do enjoy going through the whole theism vs atheism argument i have not done so anywhere on this forum

Maybe rhurobruma has, i havent yet had the chance to read his post, but i certainatly have not.

If i have somewhere subcontiously made the case for atheism and challenged your beliefs or tried to push my beliefs on you, then I apologise, and please do point out that incident to me.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The Hitch said:
Im sorry but i think you have me mixed up my posts. Where have i tried to push my beliefs?

Firstly My original signature was as follows



Yes i probably shouldnt have used it but this comment doesnt in anyway challenge the existence of God, or any Christian teaching. It mocks the ignorance of a guy who claims to be religious, without knowing much about his actual beliefs. Its not only atheists who jest about this. In fact the devoutly religious are far more concerned by this than any atheist.

This is not the equivalent of saying "Jesus Rocks" (though that would be a funny signature). There are plenty of great quotes used by the religious against atheists, such as this gem from Dinesh D souza



Though he does use that one a lot. Point is, neither quote is challenging anyones belief. Dsouza is mocking Dawkins. Hitchens is mocking a unidentified individual, but they are not mocking the religion or its believers.

Secondly, this is the only thread where i have, in my exessive ammount of posting on this forum, said anything about religion. And i dont see where anywhere on this thread i have pushed forward my beliefs or tried to convert anyone.

In the first post i praised Jefferson, said the US constitution was secular (which you agreed with), and hinted that Jefferson would have been an atheist (which you disagreed with)

In the 2nd post i confessed to being an atheist (though it was a bit obvious) and explained why i felt Jefferson and other deists are the ideological predeesecors of atheists.

In the 3rd post I conceded that Many great thinkers are religious and looked at the similarities between deism and atheism. I said that Paine challenged the authority of the bible, but did not make that challenge myself.

In the 4th post , I made clear that i am not one of the atheists who looks down on religious people, and challenged the suggestion that arrogant atheists can be compared to religious fundamentalists.

Nowhere in here have i made the case for atheism, or challenged any christian teaching. While I do enjoy going through the whole theism vs atheism argument i have not done so anywhere on this forum

Maybe rhurobruma has, i havent yet had the chance to read his post, but i certainatly have not.

If i have somewhere subcontiously made the case for atheism and challenged your beliefs or tried to push my beliefs on you, then I apologise, and please do point out that incident to me.
You are correct. You have not pushed your atheism in you recent posts. I am in error.

As to the original signature, that however I do disagree with. The quote may not specifically deny the existence of God, but to try to disengage that quote from the totality of Hitchens' beliefs is disingenuous. It was absolutely a strike out at religion (not just Catholics) from my view. Hitchens doesn't confine his views of religion to one religion, and that quote is emblematic of his attitude towards most religious people. I took it as a statement against religion, and if you cannot see why, I suggest that you are denying something implicit in quoting anything of a religious/atheist nature. To submit that you posted that quote in reference to a tiny sliver of the overall debate regarding the existence of God is simply not honest in my opinion. You are obviously extremely intelligent, but don't insult mine by suggesting there wasn't a larger context to your quote.
 
Thoughtforfood said:
Interestingly, when you came on this board, your signature was a quote regarding atheism by Hitchens (someone I personally think is great in many respects. What a fascinating man, and great thinker. I disagree with his propositions on religion-I believe the genocide, etc pointed out by atheists as evidence of the failings of religion are actually failings of humans and would occur regardless of belief or lack thereof {see Stalin for clarification}, but I do admire genius regardless). I objected to that quote to the moderators. I don't come on here pushing my beliefs regarding religion because I don't like to be evangelized to by anyone (I am a Christian, but many Christians would not recognize me as such because my beliefs regarding Christ are not derived from being taught. My relationship with God is of a very personal nature and based on personal experience, so I neither believe anyone else has the right to tell me what is and is not right, nor do I believe that I can translate that to a proposition that you should believe. Your experience is yours, and mine is mine, and I want those two to remain separate.), and when I see someone come in with a signature like that, I find it as objectionable as I would someone who had "Jesus Saves" as their signature.

The evangelical aspect of atheism is on full display in this thread in many ways. Its existence is best demonstrated by contrasting my writings regarding my beliefs with your writings and those of rhubroma. I feel no need to delineate why I think you are wrong about the existence of God. My belief in God does not rely in any way on whether or not you believe in God, nor whether or not I can convince you that you should believe in God. I believe firmly in a separation of church and state precisely because I believe that one's thoughts on religion or lack thereof are the most subjective mental constructs in existence. Most people wish it to be objective because they need others to validate their beliefs, or are lazy and want others to do the heavy lifting for them. Either way, I don't really need to hear what anyone believes regarding what they do or do not believe in regards to God.

You pointed to two of the people on the forefront of the evangelical atheist movement (Dawkins and Dennet), and I would submit that the movement for atheism is following their footsteps much more than the ones you suggest. I see it frequently now, and I laugh a little because the "brights" don't seem to understand the mirror examples of the methods of persuasion/delineating of beliefs they share with evangelical religionists. Adopting the rhetorical constructs of your opposition (constructs you claim to detest) is not terribly "bright," but it sure is ironic.

Anyway, you guys be atheists all day long. I am completely cool with that. I have no desire to tell you what to believe or why what you believe is wrong. I just don't want to be evangelized to on this forum regarding religion or lack thereof. Its pretty simple really.
A couple of things. First if we take an objective look at history the oppressive aspect of religious institutions has in fact led to the elimination of entire cultures and people. It happened first when the orthodox Christian Church seized power of the Roman State in late antiquity and annihilated the still strong remains of the pagan world, then, not satisfied with such a repression, began to wage war on the so called heretical beliefs: Arians, Monophisites, Donatists, etc. Subsequently in the Early Middle Ages the advancing Islamic Arab tribes decimated the Middle Eastern Frigian pagan civilization and then Greek Orthodox Christians in the Near Eastern and African Byzantine territories. Then there ensued a series of Church backed Crusades to reclaim Jerusalem from the Infidel that butchered hundred's of thousands. With the Protestant Reform and the Counter Reformation that flowed out of it, two centuries of religious wars decimated Northern and Southern Europe, this amidst an ongoing Inquisition that tried to obscure Enlightenment and scientific thought. Thousands were tortured by the Roman Church and/or burnt at the stake, like the Copernican philosopher Giordano Bruno in 1600. Protestant puritan fundamentalist persecuted and brutalized so called "witches" while effecting a sinister genocide of the native Americans tribes, which they justified because beholders of the true religion and God. Catholic Spanish conquistadors annihilated the entire South American native tribal populations under the "holy" cause of putting an end to "idolatrous" and "heathen" beliefs (but really to take their gold back to Europe). Muslim and Christian slave traders supplied the American colonies with the manpower that in the future would build the US nation, a slavery which continued even when under the Enlightenment principles of liberty, equality and democracy. Protestant and Catholic Jesuit missionaries evangelized Africa and Southern Asia at times while turning a blind eye to mass torture and murder by the Western colonialists, while cleaning their consciences with the God alibi of exporting a superior Faith to the heathens. Protestant British imperialists with protestant and Catholic Irish support, enforced hegmony over Northern Irland using torture and violence. Subsequently Irish Catholic resistance used violence and murder as a retaliation-vendeta struggle against their oppressors. Today in Africa millions are being slaughtered in religious wars, or exploiting religion among the ignorance of the masses for resource control and economic deals with Western corporate multinationals, fought between Muslim and Christian Africans. Radical Islamic fundamentalists wish to realize a panarab Islamic regime in the Mideast, while the American armed forces witness an increaing religious calling to justify war and Western hegmony over the region's oil resources and believe they are doing God's will, as president Bush openly claimed. This is just a short list.

Thus compared with the circa 80 years of Soviet repression following the Bolshevik revolution, though only partly aimed at religion, the 16 centuries of death and destruction intimately connected to religion and faith is astoundingly less vast in scope. And it is hardly a very honest intellectual juxtaposition. In any case the Soviet case made a "religion" of the State and oppressed in identical ways as the religious institutions have for centuries throughout history.

My point was different. Rationalism and layicism when not forced into an ideological fanaticism, is completely tolerant and humane. It only does not tolerate the repression of reason and free thought coming from any religious or political faction. Nobody who practices it would every challenge your right to believe in whichever god you choose and to be able to practice your faith as you see fit. I have never seen that serious openness and tolerance coming from any of the organized religions and rather can site a million cases when they have acted in just the opposite fashion. With all the devastating consequences that resulted.
 

Barrus

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To be quite honest the worst atrocities in the last 100 years were not based on any religious grounds, ideological perhaps in certain cases, but not religious. I believe that these atrocities are a failing of man and not a failing, or intrinsic value of religion. Perhaps one could state that political ideas have taken over the role of religion, and perhaps they are right. Yet I still believe that it is a failing of man, rather than anything else.

Also concerning religious wars in Africa, in all reality most of these wars are not religious wars, but are more delineated by ethinc or tribal boundaries. See for examples of these the current crisis in Darfur, the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the prior and subsequent problems in Rwanda and neighbouring countries, the troubles, especially last year, in the Congo.

Also it appears as though the atrocities carried of in the last century are far systematicaly organized, better equiped, and far more efficient and large scale. Look at the genocide in Rwanda and the Holocaust, it became an entire industry, something which was only made possible by current inventions and current societal built. Exactly the lesser influence of religion makes many things possible that never were possible. Off course it has still played a role in certain conflicts, but a much lesser role than many other factors. Man is intrinsically flawed, whether he is religious or not, and these flaws make these atrocities possible.
 
Barrus said:
To be quite honest the worst atrocities in the last 100 years were not based on any religious grounds, ideological perhaps in certain cases, but not religious. I believe that these atrocities are a failing of man and not a failing, or intrinsic value of religion. Perhaps one could state that political ideas have taken over the role of religion, and perhaps they are right. Yet I still believe that it is a failing of man, rather than anything else.

Also concerning religious wars in Africa, in all reality most of these wars are not religious wars, but are more delineated by ethinc or tribal boundaries. See for examples of these the current crisis in Darfur, the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the prior and subsequent problems in Rwanda and neighbouring countries, the troubles, especially last year, in the Congo.

Also it appears as though the atrocities carried of in the last century are far systematicaly organized, better equiped, and far more efficient and large scale. Look at the genocide in Rwanda and the Holocaust, it became an entire industry, something which was only made possible by current inventions and current societal built. Exactly the lesser influence of religion makes many things possible that never were possible. Off course it has still played a role in certain conflicts, but a much lesser role than many other factors. Man is intrinsically flawed, whether he is religious or not, and these flaws make these atrocities possible.
No religion has also been a decisive factor. It is mystifying to say otherwise. Because we can't separate religious belief from the tribal conflicts or the political ideology or the economic objectives. They're all interconnected. And in any case, religion has historically more often than not been a protagonist (at times in collaboration with other factors it's true) of the wars between societies, nations and civilizations.
 
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rhubroma said:
No religion has also been a decisive factor. It is mystifying to say otherwise. Because we can't separate religious belief from the tribal conflicts or the political ideology or the economic objectives. They're all interconnected. And in any case, religion has historically more often than not been a protagonist (at times in collaboration with other factors it's true) of the wars between societies, nations and civilizations.
I would go so far as to say that religious strife has been since the dawn of time the number one reason for war.
In your prior post I would only find fault with one minor point
A couple of things. First if we take an objective look at history the oppressive aspect of religious institutions has in fact led to the elimination of entire cultures and people. It happened first when the orthodox Christian Church seized power of the Roman state in late antiquity and annihilated the still strong remains of the pagan world
as I think the Romans were doing a pretty good job of feeding the Christians to the lions before they lost the upper hand. Your version makes them seem like innocent victims. Not to mention their hoisting that nice jewish boy up on that cross.
 

Barrus

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rhubroma said:
No religion has also been a decisive factor. It is mystifying to say otherwise. Because we can't separate religious belief from the tribal conflicts or the political ideology or the economic objectives. They're all interconnected. And in any case, religion has historically more often than not been a protagonist (at times in collaboration with other factors it's true) of the wars between societies, nations and civilizations.
Show me one thing that clearly shows that religion was a decisive factor. It is often that there are religious differences, but these are not the cause of many of the conflicts in the 20th century, most of these conflicts have been created due to ethnic differences. Religion is but one part of these ethnic differences. And how would you characterize the simple fact that both the Hutus and the Tutsi had the same religion, yet they both did attempt to slaugther the other?

Historically, I do agree with you, however since the turn of the last century not as much. (I could even argue that the agressively atheist regimes of "Communism" have ensured more horendous crimes in the last century than any other ideological movement in the last century)
 
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rhubroma said:
A couple of things. First if we take an objective look at history the oppressive aspect of religious institutions has in fact led to the elimination of entire cultures and people. It happened first when the orthodox Christian Church seized power of the Roman state in late antiquity and annihilated the still strong remains of the pagan world, then, not satisfied with such a repression, began to wage war on the so called heretical beliefs: Arians, Monophisites, Donatists, etc. Subsequently, in the Early Middle Ages the advancing Islamic Arab tribes decimated the Greek Orthodox Christians in the Near Eastern and African Byzantine territories. Then there ensued a series of Church backed Crusades to reclaim Jerusalem from the Infidel that so butchered hundred's of thousands. With the Protestant Reform and the Counter Reformation that flowed out of it, two centuries of religious wars decimated Northern and Southern Europe, this amidst an ongoing Inquisition that tried to obscure Enlightenment and scientific thought. Thousands were tortured by the Roman Church and/or burnt at the stake, like the Copernican philosopher Giordano Bruno in 1600. Protestant puritan fundamentalist persecuted and brutalized so called "witches" while effecting a sinister genocide of the native Americans tribes, which they justified because beholders of the true religion and God. Catholic Spanish conquistadors annihilated the entire South American native tribal populations under the "holy" cause of putting an end to "idolatrous" and "heathen" beliefs (but really to take their gold back to Europe). Muslim and Christian slave traders supplied the American colonies with the manpower that in the future would build the US nation, a slavery which continued even when under the Enlightenment principles of liberty, equality and democracy. Protestant and Catholic Jesuit missionaries evangelized Africa and Southern Asia at times while turning a blind eye to mass torture and murder by the Western colonialists, while cleaning their consciences with the God alibi of exporting a superior Faith to the heathens. Protestant British imperialists with protestant and Chatholic Irish support, enforced hegmony over Northern Irland using torture and violence. Subsequently Irish Catholic resistance used violence and murder as a retaliation-vendeta struggle against their oppressors. Today in Africa millions are being slaughtered in religious wars, or exploiting religion among the ignorance of the masses for resource control and economic deals with Western corporate multinationals, fought between Muslim and Christian Africans. Radical Islamic fundamentalists wish to realize a panarab Islamic regime in the Mideast, while the American armed forces witness an increaing religious calling to justify war and Western hegmony over the region's oil resources and believe they are doing God's will, as president Bush openly claimed. This is just a short list.

Thus compared with the circa 80 years of Soviet repression following the Bolshevik revolution, though only partly aimed at religion, the 16 centuries of death and destruction intimately connected to religion and faith is astoundingly less vast in scope. And it is hardly a very honest intellectual juxtaposition. In any case the Soviet case made a "religion" of the State and oppressed in identical ways as the religious institutions have for centuries throughout history.

My point was different. Rationalism and layicism when not forced into an ideological fanaticism, is completely tolerant and humane. It only does not tolerate the repression of reason and free thought coming from any religious or political faction. Nobody who practices it would every challenge your right to believe in whichever god you choose and to be able to practice your faith as you see fit. I have never seen that serious openness and tolerance coming from any of the organized religions and rather can site a million cases when they have acted in just the opposite fashion. With all the devastating consequences that resulted.
A lot of words, yet you have failed to convince me that in the absence of religion, atrocities would not have been committed for different reasons. It is a condition of mankind, not religion. Sorry.

As for evangelical atheism, I guess you are not reading much current atheist rhetoric. There is plenty of talk of eradicating religion.(not violently...yet)
 
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rhubroma said:
No religion has also been a decisive factor. It is mystifying to say otherwise. Because we can't separate religious belief from the tribal conflicts or the political ideology or the economic objectives. They're all interconnected. And in any case, religion has historically more often than not been a protagonist (at times in collaboration with other factors it's true) of the wars between societies, nations and civilizations.
No, human selfishness (etc.) has been a decisive factor. Religion is just the clothing on the body of the problem. The problem is that we are very flawed biological entities, and will kill each other regardless of rationale.

You can dismiss Stalin (like Dawkins), but the fact remains, he was an atheist acting in the absence of religion. He killed millions. Without God. Or religion.
 
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Hugh Januss said:
I would go so far as to say that religious strife has been since the dawn of time the number one reason for war.
In your prior post I would only find fault with one minor point

as I think the Romans were doing a pretty good job of feeding the Christians to the lions before they lost the upper hand. Your version makes them seem like innocent victims. Not to mention their hoisting that nice jewish boy up on that cross.
See, thats why I like you. You are freaking hilarious!
 

Barrus

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Thoughtforfood said:
No, human selfishness (etc.) has been a decisive factor. Religion is just the clothing on the body of the problem. The problem is that we are very flawed biological entities, and will kill each other regardless of rationale.

You can dismiss Stalin (like Dawkins), but the fact remains, he was an atheist acting in the absence of religion. He killed millions. Without God. Or religion.
Not even only Stalin, there is still Mao, the militaristic regimes in South America, Kim-Jong-Ill, Charles Taylor, Milosevic, Apartheid in South Africa, the Dutch in Indonesia, just to name a few situations, and I could go on
 
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Barrus said:
Not even only Stalin, there is still Mao, the militaristic regimes in South America, Kim-Jong-Ill, Charles Taylor, Milosevic, Apartheid in South Africa, the Dutch in Indonesia, just to name a few situations, and I could go on
All very good points. I honestly believe, as a species, we will continue to commit atrocities regardless of beliefs or lack thereof. It is just convenient to blame religion when you don't believe in religion. Interestingly that is a great example of a symptom of the actual reason behind human strife and atrocity.
 
Barrus said:
Show me one thing that clearly shows that religion was a decisive factor. It is often that there are religious differences, but these are not the cause of many of the conflicts in the 20th century, most of these conflicts have been created due to ethnic differences. Religion is but one part of these ethnic differences. And how would you characterize the simple fact that both the Hutus and the Tutsi had the same religion, yet they both did attempt to slaugther the other?

Historically, I do agree with you, however since the turn of the last century not as much. (I could even argue that the agressively atheist regimes of "Communism" have ensured more horendous crimes in the last century than any other ideological movement in the last century)
With regard to Rwanda, I agree religion was not the instigator of this. Personaly I blame imperialism. It was the Belgians which created the differences, and more importantly the French which had a very dark relationship with the Hutu militias, as it does with much of Africa

I will however make a few points. There were infamously priests which offered sanctuary to Tutsis only to let the interhamwe come in to massacre.

There were on the other hand priests who helped as well.

Also food for thought. 1 Rwanda is the most Christian country in Rwanda. 2 Rwanda is now the probably the most peaceful country in Africa.

But to see an example where religion is causing problems in Africa the least peaceful area in the continent is atm in the nearby, Congo, Sudan, Uganda border region. There the Lords Resistance Army, a group based on a semi Christian semi voodoo beliefs is presiding over a reign of terror which makes thomas Torquemada look like The good samaratan.
 
Hugh Januss said:
I would go so far as to say that religious strife has been since the dawn of time the number one reason for war.
In your prior post I would only find fault with one minor point

as I think the Romans were doing a pretty good job of feeding the Christians to the lions before they lost the upper hand. Your version makes them seem like innocent victims. Not to mention their hoisting that nice jewish boy up on that cross.
And you would be wrong, Hugh, because the greatest misconseption is that the pagan Romans persecuted the Christians on religious grounds. In reality it was all political. The pagans were extreamly religiously tolerant, indeed the ancient Romans welcomed other religious cults within their empire, were extreamly religiously tolerant, which isn't something that I can say for the monotheistic cults of today that profess an unquestionable Truth. The Christians, and Tacitus tells us directly, were condemned because they disrupted the harmony of the State, not because they believed in the Christ. In any case there is a quote from Flaubert that sums it up perfectly, but I'll have to get back to you on that.

You should read Margerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian.
 
Thoughtforfood said:
No, human selfishness (etc.) has been a decisive factor. Religion is just the clothing on the body of the problem. The problem is that we are very flawed biological entities, and will kill each other regardless of rationale.

You can dismiss inStalin (like Dawkins), but the fact remains, he was an atheist acting in the absence of religion. He killed millions. Without God. Or religion.
l
And you can dismiss the billions who have been condemned in the name of God.
 
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