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Old 05-29-2003, 07:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
Shodan
 
An Atheist's Views

I am an Atheist. I consider myself a good person who does the right thing most of the time.

I look around at all the people I know who are religious people and I see how they live their lives.

Some of them are very good people, some of them are scum, some of them hide behind religion to have control and power.

Why is it that people who don't believe in God or whatever kind of theory you may have are considered better people just because they belong to a church?


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Old 05-29-2003, 08:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Considered 'better' by who? Jerry Falwell? Pat Robertson?

I don't consider myself "better" than anyone. This isn't a competition. So be happy in yourself and don't worry about what "others" think about your considered life choices.

I do think that human beings have a spiritual side. And like the other human aspects, it needs to be nourished in its own right.

So if there is anything you're missing, I think its that.
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Old 05-29-2003, 08:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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And, on the bright side, you can be religious and not belong to a church. Not all religion is formalised, thankfully.
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Old 05-29-2003, 09:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
Shodan
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
Considered 'better' by who? Jerry Falwell? Pat Robertson?

I don't consider myself "better" than anyone. This isn't a competition. So be happy in yourself and don't worry about what "others" think about your considered life choices.

I do think that human beings have a spiritual side. And like the other human aspects, it needs to be nourished in its own right.

So if there is anything you're missing, I think its that.
I was making a statement about society that obviously you can't understand. I am a very happy person who enjoys life and I don't judge others by what they believe in. I also don't care what others think about me or my life choices. The only thing I am missing is the understanding of why people get so defensive about topics like this.
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Old 05-29-2003, 09:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Easytiger
And, on the bright side, you can be religious and not belong to a church. Not all religion is formalised, thankfully.
I agree
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Old 05-29-2003, 09:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey since this is a philosophy thread I have a question for queedo. You say that you are an atheist and this is cool because it implies that you do not believe that there is a/are god/s. Ok so here is the philosophical question. Do you deny the possibility that there is/are god/s or is it that you personally believe that there is/are no god/s? It is a technical question to be sure. I myself am unsure if there is/are a god/s so I have to claim to be an agnostic, which by definition means that I do not believe that there can be any proof for the existance of a god, but I do not deny that one/many could exist. So I suppose that all the TV evangilists want to save my soul or curse me to hell too, but hey thats the life of a philosopher I suppose. Cheers.
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Old 05-29-2003, 09:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Publius
Hey since this is a philosophy thread I have a question for queedo. You say that you are an atheist and this is cool because it implies that you do not believe that there is a/are god/s. Ok so here is the philosophical question. Do you deny the possibility that there is/are god/s or is it that you personally believe that there is/are no god/s? It is a technical question to be sure. I myself am unsure if there is/are a god/s so I have to claim to be an agnostic, which by definition means that I do not believe that there can be any proof for the existance of a god, but I do not deny that one/many could exist. So I suppose that all the TV evangilists want to save my soul or curse me to hell too, but hey thats the life of a philosopher I suppose. Cheers.
Publius,

Good questions.

I think that there is no God at all. Of course I don't judge others for their beliefs in a God or Gods. But to me the belief that a supreme being is a little ridiculous. The Egyptians believed in the Sun God RA, but now people think that is funny and that they were just backwards. I wonder what people will think of Christianity in 1000 years?
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Old 05-29-2003, 11:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by queedo
I was making a statement about society that obviously you can't understand. I am a very happy person who enjoys life and I don't judge others by what they believe in. I also don't care what others think about me or my life choices. The only thing I am missing is the understanding of why people get so defensive about topics like this.
Hmm, I might ask you the same question. Why so defensive when I made an honest attempt to answer your question?

Or perhaps I did understand?
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Old 05-30-2003, 05:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
Shodan
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
Hmm, I might ask you the same question. Why so defensive when I made an honest attempt to answer your question?

Or perhaps I did understand?
No you attackd me because I don't believe what you believe.
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Old 05-30-2003, 05:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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*cough*

um, queedo... you just judged lebell by what he believes in.
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Old 05-30-2003, 06:00 AM   #11 (permalink)
Shodan
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Loki
*cough*

um, queedo... you just judged lebell by what he believes in.

No he is trying to judge me for what I don't believe in. How else can you explain his agressive posts.

All I wanted was to post my views someplace where they wouldn't be attacked but I guess that is imposible even her in the TFP.
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Old 05-30-2003, 06:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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hey Queedo . . stay focussed. I agree with your point of view 100%. You seem to think like I do. You asked a valid question . . . why are religious people often perceived as occupying the moral high ground? Its that feeling that they maybe know some 'secret' that we non-believers don't . . . but your insecurity says more about you than them . . . . . . . just relax in the confidence that you know that your opinion is correct.

Aggression is borne out of fear . .

In Queedos defence, Lebell . . I think it was slightly unfair of you to suggest that he was missing a 'spiritual side' on account of his not being religious. I am very fond of music and find that it can lift my spirits tremendously. Driving along on a sunny day through nice scenery with good music on my car cd can be a spine-tinglingly spirtual experience . . as can climbing a mountain or skiing fast through the trees.
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Old 05-30-2003, 09:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Ok, duckznutz,

Perhaps I should have just stayed out of the conversation. I certainly did not mean to "attack" anyone.

Anyway, I'm sorry if you felt I attacked you, Queedo.
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Old 05-30-2003, 09:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
Shodan
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
Ok, duckznutz,

Perhaps I should have just stayed out of the conversation. I certainly did not mean to "attack" anyone.

Anyway, I'm sorry if you felt I attacked you, Queedo.


No problem, this issue is one that can breed emotions.
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Old 05-30-2003, 11:43 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I too am an atheist, and as such, do not belief in a god. I don't think that means I am not "spiritual", whatever that may be...

Which leads to the obvious question: what is "spiritual" anyway?

Dictionary.com gives a list of vague descriptions, but none of them really make a lot of sense to me. Most of them seem to focus on religion and belief in a god. So in that sense I'm not spiritual. On the other hand, how could I ever be spiritual if that has anything to do with a religion/god I do not belief in? And if spirituality is so closely related to religious, I don't see what I could be missing...

Perhaps I'm simply incapable of understanding how anyone could possibly belief in a god. I just don't get that whole mind-set - to me, it's akin to someone believing in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.

FYI.
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Old 05-30-2003, 12:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
Shodan
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Dragonlich
I too am an atheist, and as such, do not belief in a god. I don't think that means I am not "spiritual", whatever that may be...

Which leads to the obvious question: what is "spiritual" anyway?

Dictionary.com gives a list of vague descriptions, but none of them really make a lot of sense to me. Most of them seem to focus on religion and belief in a god. So in that sense I'm not spiritual. On the other hand, how could I ever be spiritual if that has anything to do with a religion/god I do not belief in? And if spirituality is so closely related to religious, I don't see what I could be missing...

Perhaps I'm simply incapable of understanding how anyone could possibly belief in a god. I just don't get that whole mind-set - to me, it's akin to someone believing in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.

FYI.

Dragonlich,

I totaly agree with you on every point.

Queedo
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Old 05-30-2003, 04:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Here is an interview by the american athiest society with Douglas Adams (of Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy fame).

I think most of you will find it illuminating, even if you dont' agree with him. Or at least interesting.

While I dont' agree with some of the things he says, his beliefs pretty much parallel mine.

Enjoy:

http://www.americanatheist.org/win98...silverman.html

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: Mr. Adams, you have been described as a ďradical Atheist.Ē Is this accurate?

DNA: Yes. I think I use the term radical rather loosely, just for emphasis. If you describe yourself as ďAtheist,Ē some people will say, ďDonít you mean ĎAgnosticí?Ē I have to reply that I really do mean Atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god - in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one. Itís easier to say that I am a radical Atheist, just to signal that I really mean it, have thought about it a great deal, and that itís an opinion I hold seriously. Itís funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly. In England we seem to have drifted from vague wishy-washy Anglicanism to vague wishy-washy Agnosticism - both of which I think betoken a desire not to have to think about things too much.

People will then often say ďBut surely itís better to remain an Agnostic just in case?Ē This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that Iíve been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would chose not to worship him anyway.)

Other people will ask how I can possibly claim to know? Isnít belief-that-there-is-not-a-god as irrational, arrogant, etc., as belief-that-there-is-a-god? To which I say no for several reasons. First of all I do not believe-that-there-is-not-a-god. I donít see what belief has got to do with it. I believe or donít believe my four-year old daughter when she tells me that she didnít make that mess on the floor. I believe in justice and fair play (though I donít know exactly how we achieve them, other than by continually trying against all possible odds of success). I also believe that England should enter the European Monetary Union. I am not remotely enough of an economist to argue the issue vigorously with someone who is, but what little I do know, reinforced with a hefty dollop of gut feeling, strongly suggests to me that itís the right course. I could very easily turn out to be wrong, and I know that. These seem to me to be legitimate uses for the word believe. As a carapace for the protection of irrational notions from legitimate questions, however, I think that the word has a lot of mischief to answer for. So, I do not believe-that-there-is-no-god. I am, however, convinced that there is no god, which is a totally different stance and takes me on to my second reason.


I donít accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me ďWell, you havenít been there, have you? You havenít seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally validĒ - then I canít even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation weíd got, and weíve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I donít think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I donít think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: How long have you been a nonbeliever, and what brought you to that realization?

DNA: Well, itís a rather corny story. As a teenager I was a committed Christian. It was in my background. I used to work for the school chapel in fact. Then one day when I was about eighteen I was walking down the street when I heard a street evangelist and, dutifully, stopped to listen. As I listened it began to be borne in on me that he was talking complete nonsense, and that I had better have a bit of a think about it.

Iíve put that a bit glibly. When I say I realized he was talking nonsense, what I mean is this. In the years Iíd spent learning History, Physics, Latin, Math, Iíd learnt (the hard way) something about standards of argument, standards of proof, standards of logic, etc. In fact we had just been learning how to spot the different types of logical fallacy, and it suddenly became apparent to me that these standards simply didnít seem to apply in religious matters. In religious education we were asked to listen respectfully to arguments which, if they had been put forward in support of a view of, say, why the Corn Laws came to be abolished when they were, would have been laughed at as silly and childish and - in terms of logic and proof -just plain wrong. Why was this?

Well, in history, even though the understanding of events, of cause and effect, is a matter of interpretation, and even though interpretation is in many ways a matter of opinion, nevertheless those opinions and interpretations are honed to within an inch of their lives in the withering crossfire of argument and counterargument, and those that are still standing are then subjected to a whole new round of challenges of fact and logic from the next generation of historians - and so on. All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.

So, I was already familiar with and (Iím afraid) accepting of, the view that you couldnít apply the logic of physics to religion, that they were dealing with different types of Ďtruthí. (I now think this is baloney, but to continue...) What astonished me, however, was the realization that the arguments in favor of religious ideas were so feeble and silly next to the robust arguments of something as interpretative and opinionated as history. In fact they were embarrassingly childish. They were never subject to the kind of outright challenge which was the normal stock in trade of any other area of intellectual endeavor whatsoever. Why not? Because they wouldnít stand up to it. So I became an Agnostic. And I thought and thought and thought. But I just did not have enough to go on, so I didnít really come to any resolution. I was extremely doubtful about the idea of god, but I just didnít know enough about anything to have a good working model of any other explanation for, well, life, the universe and everything to put in its place. But I kept at it, and I kept reading and I kept thinking. Sometime around my early thirties I stumbled upon evolutionary biology, particularly in the form of Richard Dawkinsís books The Selfish Gene and then The Blind Watchmaker and suddenly (on, I think the second reading of The Selfish Gene) it all fell into place. It was a concept of such stunning simplicity, but it gave rise, naturally, to all of the infinite and baffling complexity of life. The awe it inspired in me made the awe that people talk about in respect of religious experience seem, frankly, silly beside it. I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: You allude to your Atheism in your speech to your fans (ď...that was one of the few times I actually believed in godĒ). Is your Atheism common knowledge among your fans, friends, and coworkers? Are many people in your circle of friends and coworkers Atheists as well?

DNA: This is a slightly puzzling question to me, and I think there is a cultural difference involved. In England there is no big deal about being an Atheist. Thereís just a slight twinge of discomfort about people strongly expressing a particular point of view when maybe a detached wishy-washiness might be felt to be more appropriate - hence a preference for Agnosticism over Atheism. And making the move from Agnosticism to Atheism takes, I think, much more commitment to intellectual effort than most people are ready to put in. But thereís no big deal about it. A number of the people I know and meet are scientists and in those circles Atheism is the norm. I would guess that most people I know otherwise are Agnostics, and quite a few Atheists. If I was to try and look amongst my friends, family, and colleagues for people who believed there was a god Iíd probably be looking amongst the older, and (to be perfectly frank) less well educated ones. There are one or two exceptions. (I nearly put, by habit ďhonorable exceptions,Ē but I don't really think that.)

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: How often have fans, friends, or coworkers tried to ďsaveĒ you from Atheism?

DNA: Absolutely never. We just donít have that kind of fundamentalism in England. Well, maybe thatís not absolutely true. But (and Iím going to be horribly arrogant here) I guess I just tend not to come across such people, just as I tend not to come across people who watch daytime soaps or read the National Enquirer. And how do you usually respond? I wouldnít bother.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: Have you faced any obstacles in your professional life because of your Atheism (bigotry against Atheists), and how did you handle it? How often does this happen?

DNA: Not even remotely. Itís an inconceivable idea.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: There are quite a few lighthearted references to god and religion in your books (ď...2000 years after some guy got nailed to a treeĒ). How has your Atheism influenced your writing? Where (in which characters or situations) are your personal religious thoughts most accurately reflected.

DNA: I am fascinated by religion. (Thatís a completely different thing from believing in it!) It has had such an incalculably huge effect on human affairs. What is it? What does it represent? Why have we invented it? How does it keep going? What will become of it? I love to keep poking and prodding at it. Iíve thought about it so much over the years that that fascination is bound to spill over into my writing.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: What message would you like to send to your Atheist fans?

DNA: Hello! How are you?
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Old 05-31-2003, 07:01 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Greg700! . . . . . . . . . . .Brilliant!
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Old 05-31-2003, 10:45 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Hmm. I love Douglas Adams but I got a bit of ADD and only read like two answers. Any way first thing I want to do is ask Queedo a question. For someone who must have spent many hours studying the various religons and doing soul searching. You know what I mean. Reading the bible,koran and torah. Talking to priest,rabbis,gurus and the like. And basing your very strong opinon on much thought and research... How can you be so defensive about your religion(And you,and everyone else, DOES have a religion and I am not having this conversation again)? I mean I will say that maybe Lebell assumed to much to say that you are "missing" something but the fact is probably 80% of people (or atleast americans) DO feel like they are missing "something". That includes atheists,christans and budahists alike. But I think you used that as an excuse to avoid a legit question. Who are you around or talking to that makes you think that christians (or whoever) are automatically better then you? I have known alot of christians as well as alot of secular humanists. Let me say that the vast majority of christians just want to live there life. It is the fringe minority that feel the need to go on tv or to you directly and try to "save" you. They DO exist but they make up a small percent of the total christan society. And you probably ignore all of the times a christian get called "stupid" or "ignorant" or any other names I have been called (Just because people who call me ignorant think I am christian just because I am religious!) or friends of mine have been called for thier bliefs. I mean as many people who think they have the moral right just because they are religous there are aleast as many people who think they are so smart because they are not. Also, all humans DO have a spirtual side. That does not mean that spiritual side can not be fullfilled with secular humanism but you do need to aleast acknowledge it every now and then. And I can just see you attacking me for this because you are very defensive over your beliefs BUT anyone who never acknowledges their spirtual side WILL feel empty, in the long run. And again I am not saying the only way to feel "full" is to convert to christanity. As I allready stated many (probably close to half) of christians feel empty too. What you need to do is THINK about what you blieve and ASK yourself WHY you believe in what you believe. (And I capitlized those three because I think those are the three main things you need to do)
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Old 05-31-2003, 12:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by BBtB
Hmm. I love Douglas Adams but I got a bit of ADD and only read like two answers. Any way first thing I want to do is ask Queedo a question. For someone who must have spent many hours studying the various religons and doing soul searching. You know what I mean. Reading the bible,koran and torah. Talking to priest,rabbis,gurus and the like. And basing your very strong opinon on much thought and research... How can you be so defensive about your religion(And you,and everyone else, DOES have a religion and I am not having this conversation again)? I mean I will say that maybe Lebell assumed to much to say that you are "missing" something but the fact is probably 80% of people (or atleast americans) DO feel like they are missing "something". That includes atheists,christans and budahists alike. But I think you used that as an excuse to avoid a legit question. Who are you around or talking to that makes you think that christians (or whoever) are automatically better then you? I have known alot of christians as well as alot of secular humanists. Let me say that the vast majority of christians just want to live there life. It is the fringe minority that feel the need to go on tv or to you directly and try to "save" you. They DO exist but they make up a small percent of the total christan society. And you probably ignore all of the times a christian get called "stupid" or "ignorant" or any other names I have been called (Just because people who call me ignorant think I am christian just because I am religious!) or friends of mine have been called for thier bliefs. I mean as many people who think they have the moral right just because they are religous there are aleast as many people who think they are so smart because they are not. Also, all humans DO have a spirtual side. That does not mean that spiritual side can not be fullfilled with secular humanism but you do need to aleast acknowledge it every now and then. And I can just see you attacking me for this because you are very defensive over your beliefs BUT anyone who never acknowledges their spirtual side WILL feel empty, in the long run. And again I am not saying the only way to feel "full" is to convert to christanity. As I allready stated many (probably close to half) of christians feel empty too. What you need to do is THINK about what you blieve and ASK yourself WHY you believe in what you believe. (And I capitlized those three because I think those are the three main things you need to do)


First of all I never said I thought religious people were better then me, and I don't think I am better then them. I think all people are equal and there actions set them apart. To answer you as far as do I feel something is missing in my life, the answer in NO. I feel very fulfilled in my life, I have a great wife, I enjoy my job, and I have good friends. I do live my life they way I was brought up by my parents who taught me to make decisions for myself. I also am an avid martial artist and I enjoy Eastern Philosophy and thought. I think people who feel the need to be in a religion, are the ones that have something that is missing and they fill it with that religion, which is fine, but sometimes they never do find what they were really looking for in the first place, but feel somewhat fullfilled due to the presence of the Church.
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Last edited by queedo; 05-31-2003 at 12:37 PM..
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Old 05-31-2003, 12:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I will more formally address your reply later for I am running late. I do just want to say a few things though. One I think it is very all inclusive to say that everyone who is in a religion is "missing something" and trying to fill the void with religion. I do defintly feel that there are alot of misguided people out there who ARE doing that but there are also those who are defintly very fufilled. I would like you to elaberate on the statement about eastern philopshy if you could. By which I mean who you actully read and what philosophys do you follow. Last thing I want to add is you added the word church at the end of your statement. I just wanted to add that Church deal with christanity and that is one of the biggest things I am trying to do. Try to get people to see the difference between "Religion" and "Christanity" There are so many agnostics and athiests out there who have been turned off by christianty (I used to be one of them) that they refuse to look at any other religion despite the fact that they are so differn't and might touch you in another way.
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Old 05-31-2003, 01:30 PM   #22 (permalink)
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BBtB... perhaps you're right about the Christianity thing, perhaps not. From my personal experience, many people think there's "something" between heaven and earth we can't see/understand; they just can't say what. There has to be "something"... they never can seem to give me a reason for that feeling (as is logical, it being a feeling and all...)

I do not belief in a god, period. For me there is no reason to introduce a mystical creature into the explanation of everything around me. I just accept it as given. Scientific theories go a long way to explain my reality, and religion doesn't seem to add anything. People sometimes say that religion adds a "reason" to reality, but to me, that's just wishful thinking - why should reality have a reason at all? If I want a reason to live, I might look at certain non-religious philosophies, but that'd be a personal choice, not a belief.

And no, atheism is not a religion, nor is it a belief. Rather, it is a lack of belief, an absence of belief if you will. There is simply nothing god-like to belief in.
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Old 05-31-2003, 01:34 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I will more formally address your reply later for I am running late. I do just want to say a few things though. One I think it is very all inclusive to say that everyone who is in a religion is "missing something" and trying to fill the void with religion. I do defintly feel that there are alot of misguided people out there who ARE doing that but there are also those who are defintly very fufilled. I would like you to elaberate on the statement about eastern philopshy if you could. By which I mean who you actully read and what philosophys do you follow. Last thing I want to add is you added the word church at the end of your statement. I just wanted to add that Church deal with christanity and that is one of the biggest things I am trying to do. Try to get people to see the difference between "Religion" and "Christanity" There are so many agnostics and athiests out there who have been turned off by christianty (I used to be one of them) that they refuse to look at any other religion despite the fact that they are so differn't and might touch you in another way.

You are right I should have said "some" of the people look for religion to be fullfilled and aren't. And by Church I meant religion, I will try to be more literal in the future.
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Old 05-31-2003, 03:23 PM   #24 (permalink)
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As one who bracketed out the God/Heaven question... that is, I just shelved the question but continued to go to church for family etc, I can only add that when you get away from the Western idea of a unity of reason that we possess...you still encounter the question on a primitive level...How are we humans connected with each other and the ulimate realities? And especially so if this we experience is the ultimate reality...and each experience is still imperfect...we learn how imperfect are our daily life simple experiences as we grow older...and thus we still seek to know more or better.
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Old 05-31-2003, 03:27 PM   #25 (permalink)
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On some level I can assuredly relate to Believers and God language...and will always...I am too close to too many people to do otherwise. See Victor Frankl. But I love reading Nietzsche.
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Old 05-31-2003, 06:27 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dragonlich

And no, atheism is not a religion, nor is it a belief. Rather, it is a lack of belief, an absence of belief if you will. There is simply nothing god-like to belief in.
So you believe that Buddhism is NOT a religion? Just trying to calrify.

Quote:
Originally posted by queedo
And by Church I meant religion, I will try to be more literal in the future.
Please do. Our choice in words in this matter is very important. The reflect our true thoughts. So many people want to trash Christanity and in the process trash all religions. Many of which they have very little or no knowledge of. Which is sad.
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Old 05-31-2003, 06:37 PM   #27 (permalink)
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from another thread, see "religious age conesnt" Originally posted by morlock
Exactly, I was forced by my father to go to church all the time, and then put in catholic school where they were shoving everything down my throat, now i really hate religion. I'll go to church if I feel like it, not because of anyone else or anything.
See that is exactly my point. He was forced catholicsm (which in my book is a seperate religion from both Eastern Orthodox and Protestantism) so much that now he hates all religions based on the flaws of one. I doubt he has even given other forms of christanity (like Eastern Orthodox and Protestantism .. which as I allready mentioned are SO differn't from catholiscm I atleast see them as seperate religions) a chance. Much less completly differn't religions. Now my question for all of you is can you say the same? Have you REALLY given Christanity a chance? What about Catholiscm? What about Hinduism and all its sects (sadly I do not know enough about hinduism to say all the sects but I am still learning)? What about Buddhism? Islam? Taoism? LDS? Judaism? Have you ever taken a REAL good look at any of them? And by a good look I don't mean.. looking at a website or maybe reading one book. I mean spending a few years researching them. Maybe even reading their actully offical holy documents. This is my point to .. well anyone that reads this. You HAVE to question your faith. You HAVE to look at other religions. If you don't (and I know many of you havn't.) you will look like nothing but a fool to me. It dosn't matter how well you know your own beliefs. If you never compare them to the other side how are you so absolutly sure? I am not saying I am perfect. I am still studying other religions. I have no offical religion right now although I am leaning a bit towards Judaism. But you must constantly look at what the other guys have going on. I am not saying that Secular Humanism is not right. It may very well be. But I am not going to stay on that till I know what else is out there.
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Old 05-31-2003, 11:38 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by BBtB
So you believe that Buddhism is NOT a religion? Just trying to calrify.
I did not say that. I said that <u>atheism</u> is not a religion.

dictionary.com:

<b>a∑the∑ism</b>
- Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
- The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
- Godlessness; immorality.

(Note: I specifically added that last one, because of the - to me - wrong notion that atheism = immorality. Bullocks.)

Religions do not necessarily have anything to do with a god, as Buddhism shows. I'm an atheist because I do not believe in a god, which apparently means I can be a Buddhist. However, I am not.

Again, atheism is NOT a religion. It means a-theism, as in non-theism, meaning "do not believe in a god". Nothing more, nothing less.

In my case, one could say that I am an atheist, with a large amount of down-to-earth humanism thrown in for that morality thing, combined with a "belief" in modern science. (Note: do not make the mistake of comparing this belief in science with a belief in the religious sense of the word. Science doesn't work that way.)
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Old 06-01-2003, 12:39 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Dragonlich
(Note: do not make the mistake of comparing this belief in science with a belief in the religious sense of the word. Science doesn't work that way.)
Accept for the fact that if often does but not I will not go that way.


Okay fine. Lets meet half way. Athiesm itself is not a religon. But it is part of a religious thought process. Now before I go into defining how I see a religion I want to ask you something. How do YOU define religion. First off we have allready eliminated God as a factor. We all know there is a religion covering every side to that. Pro one god is your Christanity and Islam. Pro many gods is your Hindu and acient Greek religions. Atheism has Budhist and other eastern religions. So what is a religion? A belief? But everyone believes in something. I mean what is belief if not "Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something" so everyone has beliefs. So that can't be it. So again I ask, how do YOU define religion? What is a religion? What makes one person religious and another not?


Edit: And on thing I will say about your "belief" in science. Don't put to much faith in science. Or have you forgotten the fact that there are still many many unanswered questions. Beyond that we now laugh at the science of just 200 years ago. Bleeding people? 4 biles? Atoms have shapes and fitting together like puzzle pieces? Actully all of those are over 200 years old but were still in use till about 200 years ago. 60 years ago a doctor would have recomended smoking for your health! I am not trashing science. Many people (normally on the pro science side) want to turn this debate into a religion vs science debate. I do not see any reason why the two can not coexist peacfully. Considering the fact that they really deal with two differn't (Albiet simular at times) areas of humans lives. Now just one last thought on science though. Look back 500 years. Look at the religous thought of the time and the scientific thought of the time. Now tell me. Which one has stood the test of time better? Just saying is all.
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"I would like about three fiddy"

Last edited by BBtB; 06-01-2003 at 12:46 AM..
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Old 06-01-2003, 01:13 AM   #30 (permalink)
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First: NO, atheism is NOT part of a religious thought process. Just because Buddhism may be an atheist system does not mean that all atheists are Buddhists! Atheism is simply what I said: The doctrine that there is no God or gods. That does not in any way link me to any religious system at all. In fact, it limits the number of religions I could be part of.

Again, dictionary.com:

<b>re∑li∑gion</b>
- Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
- A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
- The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
- A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
- A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.


Religion seems to be a rather fixed idea: it *must* have something to do with supernatural things, or a spiritual leader. If one does not belief in any supernatural stuff, nor follows the teachings of a spiritual leader (nor pursues something with devotion), one is NOT religious.

I define religion as dictionary.com defines it: belief in supernatural things, and/or beliefs derived from a spiritual leader, and/or a principle pursued with devotion. All of this means that I am not religious.

As for beliefs: one might say that (by your definition) I do not belief in anything at all - as a scientist I am not convinced anything is true/actual/valid. I must accept that anything I see as true today might be proven false tomorrow - that's the whole basis of scientific research. I must, in fact, accept the possibility that nothing is real, philosophically speaking.
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Old 06-01-2003, 11:56 AM   #31 (permalink)
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I did NOT say all athiests are Budhists. I said that the philosphy of atheism is just as religious as the thought of theism. And I asked for YOUR defintion. With my own intent for you to think about it and NOT run to dictionary.com. I personally disagree with that defintion. It looks good at first accept when you realize it accepts conventional western thought and dosn't accept several generally accepted relgions as relgions because not all religions have specfics about creation or a creator. So again I ask. What is YOUR definition of religion? What makes this one person religious and this other person not? What did this person do or not do?

Quote:
Originally posted by Dragonlich
I must accept that anything I see as true today might be proven false tomorrow - that's the whole basis of scientific research.
Thats the truest thing I have heard said on this entire thread. But let me ask you this. How is that the sound logical thing to do? How is it the logical thing to base your whole life on something that you KNOW may and probably will be proven wrong tomorow? Its happened time and time again. I am not saying that science has nothing to teach us. I am just saying there is only so much we can learn from science (same as there is only so much we can learn from philosphy) I think those are the two most important things in the world but should be kept seperate. Science shouldn't be used to answer philosophical question and Philosphy shouldn't be used to answer scienctific questions.

One last thing. Athiesm is and always had been philosophical. Philosphy and religion are that nice grey area. Wether you see all oh philosphy as a form of religion (as I do) or not is moot. They are both in that same grey area of non science. That is the simplest but also best answer I can come up for how I define religion. Non-science. Not that its a bad thing. Science explains the how. Philosphy explains the why. No matter how much you try science can NOT explain the why. Thats the problem when people want to bring science into a philosphical debate. It makes no never you find to me wether we came from monkeys,an ancestor of monkeys,birds or were created in 7 days. None of that (with the exception of the last one) has anything to do with proof of the excistance of a higher power. If you came to me tomorow and showed me proof that no one could dispute that we came from aliens that looked like alf and have since evolved to what we are now. That would not change my philosphical thought one bit. There is not a scientfic princple out there that if true or false proves or disproves any of my own philosphical thought.
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"I would like about three fiddy"
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Old 06-01-2003, 02:02 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Originally posted by BBtB
Athiesm is and always had been philosophical. Philosphy and religion are that nice grey area.
Agreed. Perhaps rather than debating what religion is it should be discussed if philosophy is religion.

I say no because philosophy relies on logic and mathematics to exist. Those are scientific methods...not mere beliefs based on "faith" as religion is.

BBtB...You mentioned something about science & religion 500 years ago and compared their track record.

Science improved. It is man made and accepts errors.
Religion is also man made and dictates rules.
Science accepts changes and "evolution" which fortunately requires throwing away old 'beliefs' for the new.
Religion dictates rules.

If we had ditched science we'd still be convinced the earth was flat and bleeding someone or performing exorcism was "modern medicine." Science should be (and is) used to answer philosophical questions. Science is what began the Copernican revolution.

This rock spinning around a star is changing, this universe is changing. Existence as we know it is about change. The only thing that helps me to stay up to date with the change is Science.

Hell, what you and I call "superstitious" or "silly" was religion to someone. It is seen as such to us because it did not adapt to change or did not accept what science revealed."

Dragonlich, I agree 100% with your definition of religion.
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Old 06-05-2003, 11:31 AM   #33 (permalink)
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originally Said by Douglas Admas, Originally posted by Greg700
I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one.
This does not mean that he has evidence to disprove God, either. It simply means we have no proof either way. This is what agnosticism is all about. Its not a just in case philosophy as he suggests, its an I cannot dtermine it philosophy.
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Old 06-05-2003, 12:26 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by madsenj37
This does not mean that he has evidence to disprove God, either. It simply means we have no proof either way. This is what agnosticism is all about. Its not a just in case philosophy as he suggests, its an I cannot dtermine it philosophy.
Ah, but can one proof that there isn't a Santa Claus, an Easterbunny, or a Clown named Bob, living in a thrashcan, orbiting the planet Zuul-3 in the Alaxias System, who controls our every move?

It is not "our" job to disprove God; it's the job of the believers to prove him. If they cannot do so, there isn't a lot to talk about, really.
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Old 06-05-2003, 01:11 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by BBtB
. . . . . . . . . . Science explains the how. Philosophy explains the why . . . . . . . . . . .

Philosophy ponders, guesses and 'considers' the why . . . . . . . . . if it could 'explain' the why then it would be science!
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Old 06-05-2003, 01:31 PM   #36 (permalink)
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As an atheist I was wondering . . .

lets assume for a minute that God does exist . . and he made us all.
Presumably, he has decided that 'believing' in him is optional . . otherwise we would all beleive?

My question - What real advantage in life (of any consequence) do 'believers' have over non-beleivers? None.
Lets assume the only advantage (if any) manifests itself in the afterlife (and we shall assume for the sake of argument
that also exists) . . . . . to all intents and purposes, it is therefore entirely irrelevant to our lives on this earth whether god actually exists or not!
If you want to beleive then beleive . . if you dont then dont. Neither view has an advantage nor disadvantage over the other.


Now lets assume that God does NOT exist. Once again, there is no disadvantage to be suffered in believing that he does.
And again it is of no material consequence whatsoevr whether you are a beleiver or a non-believer?

Or am I missing something?
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Old 06-05-2003, 01:53 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by duckznutz
As an atheist I was wondering . . .

lets assume for a minute that God does exist . . and he made us all.
Presumably, he has decided that 'believing' in him is optional . . otherwise we would all beleive?

My question - What real advantage in life (of any consequence) do 'believers' have over non-beleivers? None.
Lets assume the only advantage (if any) manifests itself in the afterlife (and we shall assume for the sake of argument
that also exists) . . . . . to all intents and purposes, it is therefore entirely irrelevant to our lives on this earth whether god actually exists or not!
If you want to beleive then beleive . . if you dont then dont. Neither view has an advantage nor disadvantage over the other.


Now lets assume that God does NOT exist. Once again, there is no disadvantage to be suffered in believing that he does.
And again it is of no material consequence whatsoevr whether you are a beleiver or a non-believer?

Or am I missing something?
*shrug* Maybe its a game. i know if i had absolute power, id be doing stuff like this, otherwise its all a bit boring =)
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Old 06-05-2003, 03:22 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dragonlich
Ah, but can one proof that there isn't a Santa Claus, an Easterbunny, or a Clown named Bob, living in a thrashcan, orbiting the planet Zuul-3 in the Alaxias System, who controls our every move?

It is not "our" job to disprove God; it's the job of the believers to prove him. If they cannot do so, there isn't a lot to talk about, really.
We cannot prove that algebra works within the context of algebra. Logic dictates that if you can prove consistency for a system then that system is inconsistent. I believe the same goes for God. We cannot prove or disprove him, which may not leave much to be debated.
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Old 06-06-2003, 03:58 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Algebra is a good analogy for God . . . both are conceptual 'relative' notions which do not physically exist outwith their own terms of reference . . . . . . . like love, peace, hope, fear, jealousy and so on. Even people who believe in God do not purport that he/she/it/they 'physically exists as mass or energy.
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Old 06-06-2003, 03:58 AM   #40 (permalink)
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God exists as certainly as Algebra exists.
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