UnderGround Forums
 

HolyGround >> Christian dogma


1/30/12 11:25 AM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13451
TheStewedOwl - 
Ah here it is again, the tired old arguments from the theist that what drove Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. to commit the atrocities they did was that they didn't believe in god. When in fact, in the case of Hitler, he did in fact believe in god and in the divine origin of the Aryan race, or Pol Pot who though himself a god. This is just an empty-baseless cop-out. The Tamil Tigers may not believe in a particular religion, but they do believe in the superiority of their ethnicity. That is not atheism, that is a particular kind of theism that is not grounded in rational ideas or facts.


Your post can be used as an object lesson in the dishonesty of some of the standard New Atheist debating strategies, in this case: “Moving the Goal Posts,” a strategem for which Harris is also particularly known (perhaps it should be called “The Harris Shuffle”). If trapped by a particular historical fact, the atheist can simply attempt to re-define the inhuman acts of particular atheists and, hey-presto, that inconvenient atheist becomes a theist!

Thus, the atheists of the Soviet Union become a peculiar type of theist to Christopher Hitchens, because those old Commie God-Haters also venerated their dead leaders and believe in things they couldn’t see (like the Labor Theory of Value), despite the historical fact that they created and supported state-sponsored atheist organizations with melodramatic and comic-bookish names like “The League of the Militant Godless,” seized and destroyed churches, temples, and synagogues, sponsored worldwide atheist conventions at great expense, spent an enormous amount of state funds printing atheist books, pamphlets, and posters which mocked theism and discouraged the young from church attendance, provided state medals to young people who best advicated atheism, and imprisoned and tortured believers and denied them employment. Nooooo, they weren’t really atheists. You see, they were actually THEISTS, and so you can’t blame atheists for their crimes.

Granpa, Granpa, Granpa. Pol Pot did NOT in fact literally think of himself as a god. Pol Pot was a hard-line Marxist atheist who did not believe in God.

Hitler was a psychopathic politician who would say different things at different times to different audiences, depending on what would benefit him. (He coddled the neo-Pagan fancies of some his top staff members, like Himmler, but he was fanatically anti-Christian and anti-Theist, and was not himself a neo-pagan, despite what you may have learned from watching Indiana Jones movies: “But there will never be any possibility of National Socialism's setting out to ape religion by establishing a form of worship. Its one ambition must be scientifically to construct a doctrine that is nothing more than a homage to reason...Of course, open opposition to Christianity would have to await the end of the war.”)

The overwhelming evidence, based on what Hitler said to those who followed him when in private and once he had secured power, was that his atheist views were well in line with what most of the “New Atheists” have written (this is not to say that New Atheists are genocidal fascists.) (At least, not until they gain political power...) (j/k) (no, not really) (okay, maybe)

Consider the following quotes. Which were written by Hitler, which were written by Sam Harris, and which were written by Christopher Hitchens?

A. “Religion has run out of justifications. Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, it no longer offers an explanation of anything important.”

B. “The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advance of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble.”

C. “Every scientific domain -- from cosmology to psychology to economics -- has superseded and surpassed the wisdom of Scripture.”

D. “One cannot succeed in conceiving how much cruelty, ignominy and falsehood the intrusion of Christianity has spelt for this world of ours.”

E. “What could be more fanatical, more exclusive and more intolerant than this religion which bases everything on the love of the one and only God whom it reveals?"

(Answers: A - Hitchens; B - Hitler; C - Harris; D - Hitler; E - Hitler)

You can Google if you want, but be honest and ask yourself: would I have been able to answer without doing so or checking the answers?


Thank you for entirely missing the point of what I was trying to point out. So let me put it a different way:

- Did Hitler slaughter Jews, the cripple, etc. because he was an atheist? What his non-belief in god what drove him to commit these atrocities? Or was the believe of the superiority of the Aryan race behind his crimes?

- Did Pol Pot commit genocide because he was an atheist? Was his lack of belief in the supernatural what drove him, or was it his Juche ideology?

- Are the Tamil Timers slaughtering people because they lack belief in the supernatural? Or is it because they believe in the superiority of their ethnicity?

I could go on and on. It's clear to anyone that has studied any of these psychopaths that their motives for committing the atrocities they committed was not caused by a lack of belief in the supernatural, but always driven by their own sense of superiority.
1/30/12 12:13 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 26977
 The issue isn't atheism, which amounts to nothing since it contains no postive content.  All of those people were anti-religious or at least anti-Christian.  That is the positive content.  It is part of a Progressivist ideology whereby humanity will continue to get better (whatever that means) and religion stands in the way so religion and religious people must be moved out of the way, even if that means murdering them.  In every situation where anti-religious people have ascended to power they have murdered on a scale unseen in human history.  They even make Muslims look like softies.

You, Granpa, are clearly anti-religious and are therefore the ideological cousin of all those great murderers of history.  And you should be ashamed because you engage in the same rhetoric that they do, only you have no power (and possibly no nerve) so you won't do anything but post on religion forums.
1/30/12 2:17 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13456
Ridgeback -  The issue isn't atheism, which amounts to nothing since it contains no postive content.  All of those people were anti-religious or at least anti-Christian.  That is the positive content.  It is part of a Progressivist ideology whereby humanity will continue to get better (whatever that means) and religion stands in the way so religion and religious people must be moved out of the way, even if that means murdering them.  In every situation where anti-religious people have ascended to power they have murdered on a scale unseen in human history.  They even make Muslims look like softies.

You, Granpa, are clearly anti-religious and are therefore the ideological cousin of all those great murderers of history.  And you should be ashamed because you engage in the same rhetoric that they do, only you have no power (and possibly no nerve) so you won't do anything but post on religion forums.<br type="_moz" />


Yes you clearly know me so well. Genocide is exactly what I'm after.

You really know nothing about what it is to be an atheist. To say that there is nothing positive in not believing in a supernatural dictator is just absurd. It is religion that has led to the poisoning of the world we see today. It is religion that gives people the idea that they are superior among all the creatures of the earth (and possibly the cosmos depending on how egotistical a religious person you are). That what happens in this world is of no real consequence as long as we stay devoted to our cosmic dictator. This attitude is what has led to humans raping the planet and having no respect for the sanctity of life.

It's the belief in a chosen people, those held the dearest by the cosmic dictator over all others, that have led to the slaughter of millions and the persecution of homosexuals that exists even to this day. Religion is the reason why after millions of years of human toil and discovery, life-saving research is being denied to millions because it goes against baseless unfounded ideas about the afterlife.

Atheism is the complete opposite of that. The understanding that WE are responsible for our fate, that there is no daddy figure that's going to clean up our mess. The understanding that we are no better than the apes we evolved from. That all life is connected, and as far as we know, is the rarest and most precious thing in the cosmos and we must treat it as such. The realization that the universe is far more mysterious and wonderous than the imaginations of some bronze age sheep-herders could conceive. Atheism is understanding that good deeds are to be done on their own merit and not because of promise of eternal reward or eternal damnation.

I don't have to pretend to know what's going to happen to me after I die to be happy and live a good life. If you have to lie to yourself to be happy, then your life is just that, a lie.
1/30/12 3:43 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 26979
Granpa - 
Ridgeback -  The issue isn't atheism, which amounts to nothing since it contains no postive content.  All of those people were anti-religious or at least anti-Christian.  That is the positive content.  It is part of a Progressivist ideology whereby humanity will continue to get better (whatever that means) and religion stands in the way so religion and religious people must be moved out of the way, even if that means murdering them.  In every situation where anti-religious people have ascended to power they have murdered on a scale unseen in human history.  They even make Muslims look like softies.

You, Granpa, are clearly anti-religious and are therefore the ideological cousin of all those great murderers of history.  And you should be ashamed because you engage in the same rhetoric that they do, only you have no power (and possibly no nerve) so you won't do anything but post on religion forums.<br type="_moz" />


Yes you clearly know me so well. Genocide is exactly what I'm after.

You really know nothing about what it is to be an atheist. To say that there is nothing positive in not believing in a supernatural dictator is just absurd. It is religion that has led to the poisoning of the world we see today. It is religion that gives people the idea that they are superior among all the creatures of the earth (and possibly the cosmos depending on how egotistical a religious person you are). That what happens in this world is of no real consequence as long as we stay devoted to our cosmic dictator. This attitude is what has led to humans raping the planet and having no respect for the sanctity of life.

It's the belief in a chosen people, those held the dearest by the cosmic dictator over all others, that have led to the slaughter of millions and the persecution of homosexuals that exists even to this day. Religion is the reason why after millions of years of human toil and discovery, life-saving research is being denied to millions because it goes against baseless unfounded ideas about the afterlife.

Atheism is the complete opposite of that. The understanding that WE are responsible for our fate, that there is no daddy figure that's going to clean up our mess. The understanding that we are no better than the apes we evolved from. That all life is connected, and as far as we know, is the rarest and most precious thing in the cosmos and we must treat it as such. The realization that the universe is far more mysterious and wonderous than the imaginations of some bronze age sheep-herders could conceive. Atheism is understanding that good deeds are to be done on their own merit and not because of promise of eternal reward or eternal damnation.

I don't have to pretend to know what's going to happen to me after I die to be happy and live a good life. If you have to lie to yourself to be happy, then your life is just that, a lie.

 I don't need to know you in order to understand your many anti-religious posts on the OG.  I didn't say that you supported genocide.  I stated that you share the same rhetoric and sentiments of those who do.  That is the thing you need to come to grips with e.g. that many anti-religionists who did murder talk about religion the exact  same way as your heroes like Sam Harris.

The way I used the term "positive" means not "good elements" but rather "contains something tangible."  It is the forum atheists themselves who endlessly point out that atheism is merely the lack of belief in a deity and nothing more.  The point is that declaring you don't believe in something is of little consequence because it is your theories of reality or your metaphysical assumptions that will frame how you actually live.  I really don't care if a person lacks a belief in the Christian God but I do care if part of his ideology is that people who follow the Christian God are standing in the way of utopia.  

I have never said anything bad about atheists or atheism on this forum.  I can respect that a person may be an atheist.  I think rational warrant can be achieved for both atheism and theism so it really doesn't come down to who is the smartest, the most educated, or the most rational (and many brilliant people are not particularly rational).  My issue is strictly with those atheists who have constructed a world view whereby human religion is the single greatest cause of misery and the single greatest hindrance to paradise/utopia.  These people are very dangerous indeed and have proven themselves to be very bloody when they get real power.  They are worse than Muslims, who at least didn't try to invade the inner world of the Dhimmis who lived under their reign.  The anti-religionist tries to go into your very soul to dig out religion as can be attested to in the example of Pitesti.

Religion leads to a wide variety of views as to man's place in the universe.  It is true that only humans would ask about their place in the universe.  The other animals seem to be uninterested.  It certainly isn't a necessity of Christianity to consider one's self the sole focus of the universe.  In the OT the Lord lets the Israelites slay the inhabitants of a land but tells them to leave the trees alone.  And in Christian cosmology all of nature awaits a new creation, not just humans.  In traditional Christian cosmology man is a priest of creation, meaning he is the mediator between the material and the spiritual, not more important.  Certainly, many Christians have held to the subdue nature view, but then again so have an endless number of secular atheists.  The Industrial Revolution is largely the outcome of the Enlightenment, which is a decidedly non-religious movement.  As far as "sanctity of life" goes do I really have to bring that up considering the anti-religionists of the world?

You are explicating your own metaphysical world view below.  Atheism has come in all kinds of different varieties and not all atheists have looked to science or believed in evolution or saw a connection to nature of any of those things.  Meanwhile, you have Christian philosophers like Alasdair McIntyre arguing that humans are rational and dependent animals who are intimately connected to the creation.  So you are simply constructing a straw man here whereby atheists get everything right and religious people get it all wrong.  The irony of course is that the anti-religionist basically thinks most of humanity is delusional but if most of humanity simply gave up religion they would magically become "brights" and remedy all their problems.  

The rest of your post is just more strawman stuff.  Why not find the best and brightest in religion and judge that?  You seem to be looking for the weakest links and the people who know the least about their own faith.  Then again, this is common tactic of the anti-religionist so what should I expect. 
1/30/12 4:17 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13468
Ridgeback - 
Granpa - 
Ridgeback -  The issue isn't atheism, which amounts to nothing since it contains no postive content.  All of those people were anti-religious or at least anti-Christian.  That is the positive content.  It is part of a Progressivist ideology whereby humanity will continue to get better (whatever that means) and religion stands in the way so religion and religious people must be moved out of the way, even if that means murdering them.  In every situation where anti-religious people have ascended to power they have murdered on a scale unseen in human history.  They even make Muslims look like softies.

You, Granpa, are clearly anti-religious and are therefore the ideological cousin of all those great murderers of history.  And you should be ashamed because you engage in the same rhetoric that they do, only you have no power (and possibly no nerve) so you won't do anything but post on religion forums.<br type="_moz" />


Yes you clearly know me so well. Genocide is exactly what I'm after.

You really know nothing about what it is to be an atheist. To say that there is nothing positive in not believing in a supernatural dictator is just absurd. It is religion that has led to the poisoning of the world we see today. It is religion that gives people the idea that they are superior among all the creatures of the earth (and possibly the cosmos depending on how egotistical a religious person you are). That what happens in this world is of no real consequence as long as we stay devoted to our cosmic dictator. This attitude is what has led to humans raping the planet and having no respect for the sanctity of life.

It's the belief in a chosen people, those held the dearest by the cosmic dictator over all others, that have led to the slaughter of millions and the persecution of homosexuals that exists even to this day. Religion is the reason why after millions of years of human toil and discovery, life-saving research is being denied to millions because it goes against baseless unfounded ideas about the afterlife.

Atheism is the complete opposite of that. The understanding that WE are responsible for our fate, that there is no daddy figure that's going to clean up our mess. The understanding that we are no better than the apes we evolved from. That all life is connected, and as far as we know, is the rarest and most precious thing in the cosmos and we must treat it as such. The realization that the universe is far more mysterious and wonderous than the imaginations of some bronze age sheep-herders could conceive. Atheism is understanding that good deeds are to be done on their own merit and not because of promise of eternal reward or eternal damnation.

I don't have to pretend to know what's going to happen to me after I die to be happy and live a good life. If you have to lie to yourself to be happy, then your life is just that, a lie.

 I don't need to know you in order to understand your many anti-religious posts on the OG.  I didn't say that you supported genocide.  I stated that you share the same rhetoric and sentiments of those who do.  That is the thing you need to come to grips with e.g. that many anti-religionists who did murder talk about religion the exact  same way as your heroes like Sam Harris.

The way I used the term "positive" means not "good elements" but rather "contains something tangible."  It is the forum atheists themselves who endlessly point out that atheism is merely the lack of belief in a deity and nothing more.  The point is that declaring you don't believe in something is of little consequence because it is your theories of reality or your metaphysical assumptions that will frame how you actually live.  I really don't care if a person lacks a belief in the Christian God but I do care if part of his ideology is that people who follow the Christian God are standing in the way of utopia.  

I have never said anything bad about atheists or atheism on this forum.  I can respect that a person may be an atheist.  I think rational warrant can be achieved for both atheism and theism so it really doesn't come down to who is the smartest, the most educated, or the most rational (and many brilliant people are not particularly rational).  My issue is strictly with those atheists who have constructed a world view whereby human religion is the single greatest cause of misery and the single greatest hindrance to paradise/utopia.  These people are very dangerous indeed and have proven themselves to be very bloody when they get real power.  They are worse than Muslims, who at least didn't try to invade the inner world of the Dhimmis who lived under their reign.  The anti-religionist tries to go into your very soul to dig out religion as can be attested to in the example of Pitesti.

Religion leads to a wide variety of views as to man's place in the universe.  It is true that only humans would ask about their place in the universe.  The other animals seem to be uninterested.  It certainly isn't a necessity of Christianity to consider one's self the sole focus of the universe.  In the OT the Lord lets the Israelites slay the inhabitants of a land but tells them to leave the trees alone.  And in Christian cosmology all of nature awaits a new creation, not just humans.  In traditional Christian cosmology man is a priest of creation, meaning he is the mediator between the material and the spiritual, not more important.  Certainly, many Christians have held to the subdue nature view, but then again so have an endless number of secular atheists.  The Industrial Revolution is largely the outcome of the Enlightenment, which is a decidedly non-religious movement.  As far as "sanctity of life" goes do I really have to bring that up considering the anti-religionists of the world?

You are explicating your own metaphysical world view below.  Atheism has come in all kinds of different varieties and not all atheists have looked to science or believed in evolution or saw a connection to nature of any of those things.  Meanwhile, you have Christian philosophers like Alasdair McIntyre arguing that humans are rational and dependent animals who are intimately connected to the creation.  So you are simply constructing a straw man here whereby atheists get everything right and religious people get it all wrong.  The irony of course is that the anti-religionist basically thinks most of humanity is delusional but if most of humanity simply gave up religion they would magically become "brights" and remedy all their problems.  

The rest of your post is just more strawman stuff.  Why not find the best and brightest in religion and judge that?  You seem to be looking for the weakest links and the people who know the least about their own faith.  Then again, this is common tactic of the anti-religionist so what should I expect. <br type="_moz" />



Once again, thank you for proving you fail to understand what atheism and most atheists are about. I am going to once again deny your claim that lack of belief in the supernatural (which is all that atheism is) is what leads people to commit certain atrocities committed by lunatics who also happen to be atheists.

I promise you, if we were able to somehow look back on history at the number of people killed by atheists than by those killed specifically because of religious belief (note: I'm not even saying religious people, but those whose murder was motivated strictly by religious beliefs), you would find that murders due to religious beliefs would trump all.

1/30/12 4:31 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 01/30/12 4:35 PM
Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13469
What you and most religious fail to see is that the real problem with religion is that because it has no real base in reality, you will never be able to do away with the murderous kind in favor of the benevolent kind. Your interpretation of the Bible may be one of pure love and kindness to your neighbors, but you will always have those like the Westboro Baptist Church that cling to the murderous ideas of the old testament (and yes they are there, as much as I'd wish it were different, the WBBC is not making their beliefs up).

So how do you resolve this, by continuing to give unwarranted importance to books written by bronze-age sheepherders? Or by admitting that the people that wrote these books had no real concept of how the universe works, and their ideas of morals were twisted and wrought with fear and ignorance?

Why do some Atheist speak out against religion? Because it's place in the world is far too damning. Religion prevents us from honestly addressing the real problems of this world. How can we answer real moral questions if we pretend the answers are already written down for us? How long will homosexuals be persecuted because the old testament says they are an abomination to some cosmic dictator? How can we honestly address the abortion issue when some people believe, without a shred of evidence, that a zygote has a soul we must preserve? How can you tell lunatic that slaughters innocent Muslims, because he heard the voice of god, that he's wrong, when the founding fathers of your faith were no different?

There is no intellectual honesty in religion. Every religion cherry picks whatever is most convenient for them to believe in, and this will continue forever. Or do you really believe that at some point everyone on earth will be an Evangelical Christian, or a Catholic, or a Jehova's Witness, or a Muslim, or an Orthodox Jew, or a billion other denominations that each think are the only ones doing EXACTLY what god wants?

If we are ever to progress as a species, religion needs to be left behind along with human sacrifice, alchemy, and all other base-less ideas that serve no useful purpose.
1/30/12 5:11 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
RoidsGracie
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/23/11
Posts: 781
Granpa - 
Ridgeback -  The issue isn't atheism, which amounts to nothing since it contains no postive content.  All of those people were anti-religious or at least anti-Christian.  That is the positive content.  It is part of a Progressivist ideology whereby humanity will continue to get better (whatever that means) and religion stands in the way so religion and religious people must be moved out of the way, even if that means murdering them.  In every situation where anti-religious people have ascended to power they have murdered on a scale unseen in human history.  They even make Muslims look like softies.

You, Granpa, are clearly anti-religious and are therefore the ideological cousin of all those great murderers of history.  And you should be ashamed because you engage in the same rhetoric that they do, only you have no power (and possibly no nerve) so you won't do anything but post on religion forums.<br type="_moz" />
Atheism is the complete opposite of that. The understanding that WE are responsible for our fate, that there is no daddy figure that's going to clean up our mess. The understanding that we are no better than the apes we evolved from. That all life is connected, and as far as we know, is the rarest and most precious thing in the cosmos and we must treat it as such. The realization that the universe is far more mysterious and wonderous than the imaginations of some bronze age sheep-herders could conceive. Atheism is understanding that good deeds are to be done on their own merit and not because of promise of eternal reward or eternal damnation.



 Atheism is simply the lack of belief in any gods, as many of the OG atheists have stated many times over and over again in many religion debates on this very forum. None of the things you mentioned about life being connected or being precious or how amazing the universe is follows from atheism. Atheism is a negation and does not stand for any sort of values.

Thinking that the universe is a cruel and uncaring place and that life is pointless would just be as compatible with atheism as what you wrote above.
1/30/12 5:19 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
RoidsGracie
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/23/11
Posts: 782
Granpa -

I promise you, if we were able to somehow look back on history at the number of people killed by atheists than by those killed specifically because of religious belief (note: I'm not even saying religious people, but those whose murder was motivated strictly by religious beliefs), you would find that murders due to religious beliefs would trump all.

Lust for wealth and power is what is responsible for the majority of murder and mayhem in the world. Religious belief was simply used to justify whatever actions were taken. I think even if religion didn't exist, the same actions would have happened regardless.
  
1/30/12 7:39 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 26983
 RoidsGracie,

Those are my thoughts as well.

The thing that many atheists will not admit is that they stand on the exact same ground as theists and deists and pantheists and panentheists and agnostics.  No matter which of these designations you claim for yourself, you will still approach life through some kind of framework of reality that will be based on metaphysical assumptions that can't be proven.  Now a lot of people simply adopt the frameworks given to them without thinking about the ontological underpinnings of those frameworks, but they are still on the same ground.  Many atheists have deluded themselves into thinking that they alone have based their world view on the empirical simply because they associate atheism with science in their minds.  

And of course it is very convenient to poach certain elements of Christian morality, wipe the historical slate clean, claim science as  your own (even though it was created by theists), and then crown yourself one of the "brights" who alone have achieved enlightenment.  You can claim connections to all the people in history who did the right thing as atheism and blame the rest on religion.  This is some of the most dishonest and delusional thinking you could come across.  Then again, I have believed for a long time that the anti-religionists are simply religious fundamentalists under another name.
1/30/12 8:47 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13475
RoidsGracie - 
Granpa -

I promise you, if we were able to somehow look back on history at the number of people killed by atheists than by those killed specifically because of religious belief (note: I'm not even saying religious people, but those whose murder was motivated strictly by religious beliefs), you would find that murders due to religious beliefs would trump all.

Lust for wealth and power is what is responsible for the majority of murder and mayhem in the world. Religious belief was simply used to justify whatever actions were taken. I think even if religion didn't exist, the same actions would have happened regardless.
  


This might be the case for the religious leaders, but do you really think that Muslims would be strapping bombs to their chest if they didn't honestly believe they would go to heaven? What about the millions of people of all ages slaughtered because people thought doing so would ensure that their crops would grow that season?

Yes, religious leaders lusting for power and wealth have used religion as a tool (and what a great tool it does make for those things), but that tool has been effective because the masses have believed they are doing the will of their god.

This sadly, continues to this day.

Atheism is simply the lack of belief in any gods, as many of the OG atheists have stated many times over and over again in many religion debates on this very forum. None of the things you mentioned about life being connected or being precious or how amazing the universe is follows from atheism. Atheism is a negation and does not stand for any sort of values.

Thinking that the universe is a cruel and uncaring place and that life is pointless would just be as compatible with atheism as what you wrote above.


The things I mentioned come from an understanding of the world around us and how it really functions. Which is the opposite of a lot of religions that still deny evolution for example. It may not be a direct result of atheism (there is no law that states one must be educated if one chooses to be an atheist after all), but when you look at the progress we have made as species to abolish things like slavery, these have been a direct result of secular thinking, not religious thinking. Religion encourages the separation of our species. It puts unnecessary labels on people. Why would anyone want that if not to satisfy their own ego?

The thing that many atheists will not admit is that they stand on the exact same ground as theists and deists and pantheists and panentheists and agnostics. No matter which of these designations you claim for yourself, you will still approach life through some kind of framework of reality that will be based on metaphysical assumptions that can't be proven. Now a lot of people simply adopt the frameworks given to them without thinking about the ontological underpinnings of those frameworks, but they are still on the same ground. Many atheists have deluded themselves into thinking that they alone have based their world view on the empirical simply because they associate atheism with science in their minds.

And of course it is very convenient to poach certain elements of Christian morality, wipe the historical slate clean, claim science as your own (even though it was created by theists), and then crown yourself one of the "brights" who alone have achieved enlightenment. You can claim connections to all the people in history who did the right thing as atheism and blame the rest on religion. This is some of the most dishonest and delusional thinking you could come across. Then again, I have believed for a long time that the anti-religionists are simply religious fundamentalists under another name.


Please do tell what metaphysical assumptions atheist make? I'm curious to hear this load of bull.

You have no evidence for what you believe. Your "truth" and the idea that we are all just avatars in a galactic computer simulation are just as valid without evidence. Why is that so hard for you to understand? The only thing convincing you of your "truth" is your ego. Plain and simple.
1/30/12 9:36 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 26984
Here are a couple of examples of statements that emerge out of metaphysical assumptions.  By all means construct an argument for these two assertions of yours that can be verified empirically or at least supported based on something the universe directs you to.  Bet you can't.  

That all life is connected, and as far as we know, is the rarest and most precious thing in the cosmos and we must treat it as such.


good deeds are to be done on their own merit 




1/30/12 9:36 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ali
703 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Edited: 01/30/12 9:58 PM
Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 8720
It seems to me that this thread went off the rails pretty early. Various reductionistic arguments about history, lots of bullying, a need (unmet, till now sort of) to invoke The Hitler Argument Rule... the list could go on.

There are a couple of things (to my reading, anyway) that seem like they'd be on topic. One is the issue of theodicy, which is what the video linked is primarily about. Whether the problems are "surmountable" (as TSO said) and have been "surmounted," and whether one needs to have an advanced degree in theology in order to feel satisfied about that remain an open questions.

The other is that -- again, I think -- pretty much everybody agrees that "superstition is bad"; which leaves the argument about whether religion is a subset of superstition, or something else altogether.
1/30/12 9:53 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13479
Ridgeback - Here are a couple of examples of statements that emerge out of metaphysical assumptions.  By all means construct an argument for these two assertions of yours that can be verified empirically or at least supported based on something the universe directs you to.  Bet you can't.  

<span style="font-style: italic; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(238, 238, 221); font-size: small; ">That all life is connected, and as far as we know, is the rarest and most precious thing in the cosmos and we must treat it as such.


good deeds are to be done on their own merit 


<br type="_moz" /></span><br style="font-style: italic; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(238, 238, 221); font-size: small; " />


That's based on the metaphysical? Wow. Amazing.

No sir, I'm sorry but that is based on the knowledge that all life evolved on this planet from simpler life, for which we have mountains upon mountains of supporting evidence. It is based on the understanding that we are all a part of this great tree of life, that no species came to exist spontaneously, on it's own as the religious erroneously postulate. It is based on the knowledge that for the last 60 years or so, in our search for life outside our own planet, we have yet to find any concrete evidence of any life elsewhere.

There is nothing metaphysical about that. Sorry, you are just plain wrong.
1/30/12 11:05 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
RoidsGracie
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/23/11
Posts: 783
Granpa - 
RoidsGracie - 
Granpa -

I promise you, if we were able to somehow look back on history at the number of people killed by atheists than by those killed specifically because of religious belief (note: I'm not even saying religious people, but those whose murder was motivated strictly by religious beliefs), you would find that murders due to religious beliefs would trump all.

Lust for wealth and power is what is responsible for the majority of murder and mayhem in the world. Religious belief was simply used to justify whatever actions were taken. I think even if religion didn't exist, the same actions would have happened regardless.
  


This might be the case for the religious leaders, but do you really think that Muslims would be strapping bombs to their chest if they didn't honestly believe they would go to heaven? What about the millions of people of all ages slaughtered because people thought doing so would ensure that their crops would grow that season?

Yes, religious leaders lusting for power and wealth have used religion as a tool (and what a great tool it does make for those things), but that tool has been effective because the masses have believed they are doing the will of their god.

This sadly, continues to this day.


 In the case of Muslim terrorism, yes I do think it would actually go on even without the promise of heaven. In fact, I think Muslim terrorism is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. The Muslim countries have many reasons for doing what they have, mostly related to US and Israel foreign policy and I do believe that is the main cause of Islamic terrorism; the religious parts just sweetens the deal.
1/30/12 11:10 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
RoidsGracie
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 2/23/11
Posts: 784
Granpa - 


The things I mentioned come from an understanding of the world around us and how it really functions. Which is the opposite of a lot of religions that still deny evolution for example. It may not be a direct result of atheism (there is no law that states one must be educated if one chooses to be an atheist after all), but when you look at the progress we have made as species to abolish things like slavery, these have been a direct result of secular thinking, not religious thinking. Religion encourages the separation of our species. It puts unnecessary labels on people. Why would anyone want that if not to satisfy their own ego?


 The example I gave also comes from an understanding of the world. Seeing the universe as a battlefield where all living beings are at constant war against each other for mere survival and the chance of reproducing is surely another point of view that can be derived from truth of evolution. The point i was trying to make is that  I think you were making an error by thinking that knowing more the universe necessarily leads to a greater appreciation of life and to moral goodness. In fact, I believe it was the Nobel physicist Steve Weinberg who said (paraphased) "The more we learn about the universe, the more pointless it seems".
1/30/12 11:28 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
TheStewedOwl
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/8/02
Posts: 7936
granpa: You do realize that most people at one time believed the earth was the center of the universe (or at the very least our solar system). But we know better now don't we? (no thanks to religion I may add).


Nicolaus Copernicus, who was a Catholic cleric and who first formulated the heliocentric theory upon which Galileo built his theory in his De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, would probably disagree with you. Galileo himself, who remained Catholic until his death, received communion until his death, and received Extreme Unction, and whose problems with the Church were more personal than theological, would also probably disagree with you. You owe religious people for the theory of genetics, for the formulation of the scientific method, for the science of geology, for the Big Bang Theory of Cosmology, and thousands of other scientific advances.


I promise you, if we were able to somehow look back on history at the number of people killed by atheists than by those killed specifically because of religious belief (note: I'm not even saying religious people, but those whose murder was motivated strictly by religious beliefs), you would find that murders due to religious beliefs would trump all.


You promise me?

How many wars were fought because of religious belief? And how do they stack up to those who died in non-religious wars, and those who were murdered by atheists?

Let’s look at an authoritative reference, instead of Sam Harris’ simple bigotries. The 3-volume, 1,502 page “Encyclopedia of Wars”, edited by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod, lists 1,763 wars. The following are identified as religious wars or campaigns by the editorial staff:

Albigensian Crusade, Almohad Conquest of Muslim Spain, Anglo-Scottish War (1559–1560), Arab
Conquest of Carthage, Aragonese-Castilian War, Aragonese-French War (1209–1213), First Bearnese
Revolt, Second Bearnese Revolt, Third Bearnese Revolt, First Bishop’s War, Second Bishop’s War,
Raids of the Black Hundreds, Bohemian Civil War (1465–1471), Bohemian Palatine War, War in
Bosnia, Brabant Revolution, Byzantine-Muslim War (633–642), Byzantine-Muslim War (645–656),
Byzantine-Muslim War (688–679), Byzantine-Muslim War (698–718), Byzantine-Muslim War (739),
Byzantine-Muslim War (741-752 Byzantine-Muslim War (778-783), Byzantine-Muslim War (797-
798), Byzantine-Muslim War (803-809), Byzantine-Muslim War (830-841), Byzantine-Muslim War
(851–863), Byzantine-Muslim War (871–885), Byzantine-Muslim War (960–976), Byzantine-Muslim
War (995–999), Camisards’ Rebellion, Castilian Conquest of Toledo, Charlemagne’s Invasion of
Northern Spain, Charlemagne’s War against the Saxons, Count’s War, Covenanters’ Rebellion (1666),
Covenanters’ Rebellion (1679), Covenanters’ Rebellion (1685), Crimean War, First Crusade, Second
Crusade, Third Crusade, Fourth Crusade,10 Fifth Crusade, Sixth Crusade, Seventh Crusade, Eighth
Crusade, Ninth Crusade, Crusader-Turkish Wars (1100–1146), Crusader-Turkish Wars (1272–1291),
Danish-Estonian War, German Civil War (1077–1106), Ghost Dance Uprising, Siege of Granada, First
Iconoclastic War, Second Iconoclastic War, India-Pakistan Partition War, Irish Tithe War, Javanese
invasion of Malacca, Great Java War, Kappel Wars, Khurramite’s Revolt, Lebanese Civil War, Wars of
the Lombard League, Luccan-Florentine War, Holy Wars of the Mad Mullah, Maryland’s Religious
War, Mecca-Medina War, Mexican Insurrections, War of the Monks, Mountain Meadows Massacre,
Revolt of Muqanna, Crusade of Nicopolis, Padri War, Paulician War, Persian Civil War (1500–1503),
Portuguese-Moroccan War (1458–1471), Portuguese-Moroccan War (1578), Portuguese-Omani Wars
in East Africa, Rajput Rebellion against Aurangzeb, Revolt in Ravenna, First War of Religion, Second
War of Religion, Third War of Religion, Fourth War of Religion, Fifth War of Religion, Sixth War of Religion, Eighth War of Religion,11 Ninth War of Religion, Roman-Persian War (421–422), Roman-
Persian War (441), Russo Turkish War (1877–1878), First Sacred War, Second Sacred War, Third
Sacred War, Saladin’s Holy War, Schmalkaldic War, Scottish Uprising against Mary of Guise, Serbo-
Turkish War, Shimabara Revolt, War of the Sonderbund, Spanish Christian-Muslim War (912–928),
Spanish Christian-Muslim War (977–997), Spanish Christian-Muslim War (1001–1031), Spanish
Christian-Muslim War (1172–1212), Spanish Christian-Muslim War (1230–1248), Spanish Christian-
Muslim War (1481–1492), Spanish Conquests in North Africa, Swedish War, Thirty Years War,
Transylvania-Hapsburg War, Tukulor-French War, Turko-Persian Wars, United States War on Terror,
Vellore Mutiny, Vjayanagar Wars, First Villmergen War, Second Villmergen War, Visigothic-Frankish
War.

That’s 123 wars. Gosh, that’s a lot. That’s also only 6.92% of all the wars recorded in the encyclopedia.
Moreover, half of those religious wars cited were initiated by one particular religion, and it ain’t mine. (Another atheist tactic is to attempt to argue that ALL religious people must share guilt for the actions committed by ALL religions, because they are all “theists”. This is absolutely inane, and as I said earlier, if Christian doctrine must be held to account for the actions of Muslims, we can quite reasonably hold Granpa’s atheist beliefs to the fire for the actions of Robespierre, de Sade, and Pol Pot.)
1/30/12 11:32 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
TheStewedOwl
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/8/02
Posts: 7937
The number of wars fought between religious adherents is even less because many groups that are popularly supposed to be involved in conflict due to religious conflict may simply use religion as a marker for geographic, tribal, linguistic, and other conflicts. The long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict would seem to be a good example of the type of conflict that many atheists think is of religious origin. In Israel, About 50% of Israeli Jews who were born ethnically Jewish consider themselves "secular" or hilonim, who may maintain some religious traditions for cultural reasons. This includes most of those in the military and government, who make military decisions. 15% describe themselves as atheist, and 37% describe themselves as agnostics. Palestine, during the more active periods of bloody conflict with Israel, was largely secular, with dominant organizations such as Fatah and the PLO espousing a largely Marxist/atheist orientation. (This is also true of most of the transnational terrorist organizations of the 1960s through 1980s, such as Black September, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Abu Nidal Organization, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Weather Underground, etc.) Only after the Oslo Agreement and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority recently have younger Palestinians begun to show much interest in religious-based organizations)

So hey, we can ACTUALLY chalk up the many killed and maimed in the various Israeli-Palestinian conflicts as due to atheism. Nice going, Granpa. I hope you and your atheist brethren are proud of your murderous selves…

How about Granpa’s claims that more people have died in violence originated by the religious than atheists?
Obviously, most people in history have been believers in one kind of religion or another, but based on the evidence cited above, religious-based violence is miniscule in total world history. It is ridiculous, as noted above, to blame Christians for the actions of Muslims, Pagans, Shintoists, etc. So let’s look at just the last century, when the first officially atheist states began to arise. Should have ushered in a new golden age of peace and prosperity, right?

Between 1917 and 2007, fifty-two atheist leaders have been responsible for the deaths of 148 million dead, which is three times the number of all those killed by war, civil war, and interpersonal crime in the entire 20th century. That’s 182,716 times worse, on an annual basis, than the total deaths from the Spanish Inquisition, the usual whipping boy for Christian violence by the atheists.
If we look at the 28 countries that had regimes ruled by an avowed atheist, from the First French Republic (1793 – 1794, 40,000 murdered) to the 4 current atheist regimes (PRC, DPRK, LPDR, and the SRV), those 28 regimes were ruled by more than 89 atheists, of whom more than half (58%) murdered 20,000 or more of their own citizens.

It would be hard for an atheist to argue that the greater lethality of 20th century technology accounted for the higher lethality of atheist governments, as most of these murders committed against their own citizens were done the old-fashioned atheist way – with pistol bullets, truncheons, hypothermia, and starvation.
1/30/12 11:33 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Ridgeback
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 7/3/07
Posts: 26986
Granpa - 
Ridgeback - Here are a couple of examples of statements that emerge out of metaphysical assumptions.  By all means construct an argument for these two assertions of yours that can be verified empirically or at least supported based on something the universe directs you to.  Bet you can't.  

<span style="font-style: italic; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(238, 238, 221); font-size: small; ">That all life is connected, and as far as we know, is the rarest and most precious thing in the cosmos and we must treat it as such.


good deeds are to be done on their own merit 


<br type="_moz" /></span><br style="font-style: italic; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(238, 238, 221); font-size: small; " />


That's based on the metaphysical? Wow. Amazing.

No sir, I'm sorry but that is based on the knowledge that all life evolved on this planet from simpler life, for which we have mountains upon mountains of supporting evidence. It is based on the understanding that we are all a part of this great tree of life, that no species came to exist spontaneously, on it's own as the religious erroneously postulate. It is based on the knowledge that for the last 60 years or so, in our search for life outside our own planet, we have yet to find any concrete evidence of any life elsewhere.

There is nothing metaphysical about that. Sorry, you are just plain wrong.

 Please make an argument for why we must treat life as precious.  You only described evolutionary development, which says nothing about how life should be viewed.  It would be just as reasonable for an atheist to believe that life was insignificant and of no more value than anything else in the universe.  In fact, some atheists do believe this.  You seem not to understand that atheism is not a positive philosophy.  You are smuggling an ideology into the term instead of talking about the philosophical and historical underpinnings of that ideology.

You may simply fall into the category of person who accepts the frameworks of other people on faith (Sam Harris maybe?) without exploring the ontological underpinnings of these frameworks.  For the record, you are just spouting 19th century Positivism, which is an odd blend of Christian eschatology and Enlightenment rationality.  The New Atheists all spout this as well.  Positivism is most certainly rooted in non-provable metaphysical assumptions, often including Naturalism.

Then point out how you know without making metaphysical assumptions that "good deeds are to be done on their own merit."

Let me also point out that you continue to make strawman arguments.  The vast majority of Christian writers I read or listen to believe in evolution and the vast majority of Christian writers I read or listen to argue that doing something only to get a reward or to avoid a punishment is a lowly motivation.  The term in ancient Christianity for this is "mercenary heart."  You are simply stealing from religion and pretending it was an atheist discovery.  
1/30/12 11:36 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
TheStewedOwl
1 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/8/02
Posts: 7938
It may not be a direct result of atheism (there is no law that states one must be educated if one chooses to be an atheist after all), but when you look at the progress we have made as species to abolish things like slavery, these have been a direct result of secular thinking, not religious thinking.


Are you on crack? Sorry, that just slipped out.

Slavery existed in every human society and no one ever questioned it until the rise of Christianity. The first edicts against human trafficking were issued by papal orders throughout the centuries, and the first international legal actions against human trafficking were enforced through Canon Law Courts, forming the basis for modern international law.

The anti-Christian writers of the Enlightenment, Edward Gibbon, Immanuel Kant, and David Hume, much beloved by atheists, justified slavery as regrettable but necessary to civilization, and justified by what they saw as the subhuman status of African men and women.

With the noble exception of a few Enlightenment writers like Rousseau and Thomas Paine, the Abolitionist movement in America and England was almost without exception the result of devout Christians, like Dr. Beilby Porteus, Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce, Daniel O’Connell, William Lloyd Garrison, the Abbe Guillaume Thomas Francois Reynal, George Fox, John Wesley, Levi Coffin, and Calvin Fairbank. The abolitionists who literally risked their lives helping slaves escape were almost entirely Christian and provided the vanguard for those who sought to end slavery.

While some ignorant racists subverted Christian teachings to support their positions, the Civil Rights movement in the 20th Century was largely fought by Christians, and religious doctrine and imagery were responsible for the commitment (even unto death) of the leaders and followers of the movement, most of whom were black Christian preachers. Look at the last speech the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King gave just before his assassination

(You can read and watch the whole speech here: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm, and if you haven’t read it, you should, it’s one of the key speeches in American history.)

Aside from being a brilliant speech, even better than the more-often quoted “I have a dream” speech, it is implicitly religious, relies on the religious imagery of the Old Testament, and lays claim on the religious duties required of all Christians as a means of redress: “We don't have to argue with anybody. We don't have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don't need any bricks and bottles. We don't need any Molotov cocktails. We just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, "God sent us by here, to say to you that you're not treating his children right. And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God's children are concerned.”

(…)

“And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.

And I don't mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I'm happy, tonight.

I'm not worried about anything.

I'm not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!”

Somehow, I doubt that speech would have had the power, or the effect, or the Truth, if the Reverend King had stood on that platform and instead quoted Bertrand Russell on the supposed True Nature of Things, in the atheist worldview:

“That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins – all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's salvation henceforth be safely built.”

That grim vision is the actual end-result of the atheist worldview.
1/31/12 1:14 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13483
RoidsGracie - 
Granpa - 


The things I mentioned come from an understanding of the world around us and how it really functions. Which is the opposite of a lot of religions that still deny evolution for example. It may not be a direct result of atheism (there is no law that states one must be educated if one chooses to be an atheist after all), but when you look at the progress we have made as species to abolish things like slavery, these have been a direct result of secular thinking, not religious thinking. Religion encourages the separation of our species. It puts unnecessary labels on people. Why would anyone want that if not to satisfy their own ego?


 The example I gave also comes from an understanding of the world. Seeing the universe as a battlefield where all living beings are at constant war against each other for mere survival and the chance of reproducing is surely another point of view that can be derived from truth of evolution. The point i was trying to make is that  I think you were making an error by thinking that knowing more the universe necessarily leads to a greater appreciation of life and to moral goodness. In fact, I believe it was the Nobel physicist Steve Weinberg who said (paraphased) "The more we learn about the universe, the more pointless it seems".


You make a very good point. I can't argue with that. However, the way I and many atheists see it is, what is better: To try and understand the universe on it's own terms, and make lemonade out of lemons as it were, or to accept the barbaric damaging teachings of primitive ignorant, fearful cultures simply because some of those teachings make us feel better about our place in the universe?
1/31/12 1:23 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13484
Ridgeback - 
Granpa - 
Ridgeback - Here are a couple of examples of statements that emerge out of metaphysical assumptions.  By all means construct an argument for these two assertions of yours that can be verified empirically or at least supported based on something the universe directs you to.  Bet you can't.  

<span style="font-style: italic; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(238, 238, 221); font-size: small; ">That all life is connected, and as far as we know, is the rarest and most precious thing in the cosmos and we must treat it as such.


good deeds are to be done on their own merit 


<br type="_moz" /></span><br style="font-style: italic; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(238, 238, 221); font-size: small; " />


That's based on the metaphysical? Wow. Amazing.

No sir, I'm sorry but that is based on the knowledge that all life evolved on this planet from simpler life, for which we have mountains upon mountains of supporting evidence. It is based on the understanding that we are all a part of this great tree of life, that no species came to exist spontaneously, on it's own as the religious erroneously postulate. It is based on the knowledge that for the last 60 years or so, in our search for life outside our own planet, we have yet to find any concrete evidence of any life elsewhere.

There is nothing metaphysical about that. Sorry, you are just plain wrong.

 Please make an argument for why we must treat life as precious.  You only described evolutionary development, which says nothing about how life should be viewed.  It would be just as reasonable for an atheist to believe that life was insignificant and of no more value than anything else in the universe.  In fact, some atheists do believe this.  You seem not to understand that atheism is not a positive philosophy.  You are smuggling an ideology into the term instead of talking about the philosophical and historical underpinnings of that ideology.

You may simply fall into the category of person who accepts the frameworks of other people on faith (Sam Harris maybe?) without exploring the ontological underpinnings of these frameworks.  For the record, you are just spouting 19th century Positivism, which is an odd blend of Christian eschatology and Enlightenment rationality.  The New Atheists all spout this as well.  Positivism is most certainly rooted in non-provable metaphysical assumptions, often including Naturalism.

Then point out how you know without making metaphysical assumptions that "good deeds are to be done on their own merit."

Let me also point out that you continue to make strawman arguments.  The vast majority of Christian writers I read or listen to believe in evolution and the vast majority of Christian writers I read or listen to argue that doing something only to get a reward or to avoid a punishment is a lowly motivation.  The term in ancient Christianity for this is "mercenary heart."  You are simply stealing from religion and pretending it was an atheist discovery.  <br type="_moz" />


Ridgeback, I understand (and so do you) that life is precious because I live, because I love, because I feel compassion. I do not have to attribute those qualities to the existence of a supernatural being watching over my every step. As a matter of fact, to think so would make your compassion, your love, your kindness insincere. It would imply that if god wasn't looking over your shoulder, you would be a selfish, murderous bastard.

I truly don't think that's the case for most people on this planet. When you look at the evidence from the animal kingdom, especially our primate cousins, (of which none has read the bible or any other religious text), you will find that compassion, and caring for other creatures even of different species, is intrinsic. And the degree of this seems to correlate directly with the aptitude of the creature, meaning that the more intelligent the creature is, the more likely he is to exhibit these qualities.
1/31/12 1:40 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13485
TheStewedOwl - The number of wars fought between religious adherents is even less because many groups that are popularly supposed to be involved in conflict due to religious conflict may simply use religion as a marker for geographic, tribal, linguistic, and other conflicts. The long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict would seem to be a good example of the type of conflict that many atheists think is of religious origin. In Israel, About 50% of Israeli Jews who were born ethnically Jewish consider themselves "secular" or hilonim, who may maintain some religious traditions for cultural reasons. This includes most of those in the military and government, who make military decisions. 15% describe themselves as atheist, and 37% describe themselves as agnostics. Palestine, during the more active periods of bloody conflict with Israel, was largely secular, with dominant organizations such as Fatah and the PLO espousing a largely Marxist/atheist orientation. (This is also true of most of the transnational terrorist organizations of the 1960s through 1980s, such as Black September, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Abu Nidal Organization, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Weather Underground, etc.) Only after the Oslo Agreement and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority recently have younger Palestinians begun to show much interest in religious-based organizations)

So hey, we can ACTUALLY chalk up the many killed and maimed in the various Israeli-Palestinian conflicts as due to atheism. Nice going, Granpa. I hope you and your atheist brethren are proud of your murderous selves…

How about Granpa’s claims that more people have died in violence originated by the religious than atheists?
Obviously, most people in history have been believers in one kind of religion or another, but based on the evidence cited above, religious-based violence is miniscule in total world history. It is ridiculous, as noted above, to blame Christians for the actions of Muslims, Pagans, Shintoists, etc. So let’s look at just the last century, when the first officially atheist states began to arise. Should have ushered in a new golden age of peace and prosperity, right?

Between 1917 and 2007, fifty-two atheist leaders have been responsible for the deaths of 148 million dead, which is three times the number of all those killed by war, civil war, and interpersonal crime in the entire 20th century. That’s 182,716 times worse, on an annual basis, than the total deaths from the Spanish Inquisition, the usual whipping boy for Christian violence by the atheists.
If we look at the 28 countries that had regimes ruled by an avowed atheist, from the First French Republic (1793 – 1794, 40,000 murdered) to the 4 current atheist regimes (PRC, DPRK, LPDR, and the SRV), those 28 regimes were ruled by more than 89 atheists, of whom more than half (58%) murdered 20,000 or more of their own citizens.

It would be hard for an atheist to argue that the greater lethality of 20th century technology accounted for the higher lethality of atheist governments, as most of these murders committed against their own citizens were done the old-fashioned atheist way – with pistol bullets, truncheons, hypothermia, and starvation.


Clearly many of you have missed my point about religion as a cause for atrocities. First off, I never claimed the Palestinian/Israeli conflict was religious in nature. I am fully aware that it is not. Secondly, when I refer to atrocities committed in the name of religion, I am not simply referring to wars. I am also talking about ignorance that has existed before recorded history. I am referring to human sacrifice in it's many gruesome forms. I am referring to the persecution of the Jews and people deemed as witches and warlocks during the Inquisitions. I am also referring to the millions of people who signed up for war during the Crusades based PURELY on the religious beliefs that they were doing the work of god. I'm speaking of the average soldier, not the Cleric who schemed to acquire more power or wealth.

People have been murdering, torturing, persecuting other people from the beginning of time solely because of the ignorance brought about by religious thinking. You cannot, in all sincerity, possibly deny this. And though I cannot provide that number (for obvious reasons), I am quite confident that if you were to add that up, it would dwarf the number of people killed by any one or group who claimed to be atheist.

Furthermore I will repeat what I've already said, atheism, the lack of belief in the supernatural, has NEVER, EVER, been a motivating factor for murder. The idea that Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, etc. thought "well I don't believe in god so I'm going to go exterminate the Jews" is just plain retarded and YOU KNOW IT.

And if you try and argue that belief in god prevents people from committing crimes, I have some very eye opening statistics that will shut your argument down quite quickly.

Here's a reading assignment for you if you choose to continue to adhere to this false idea:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion
1/31/12 1:52 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Granpa
111 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/29/06
Posts: 13486
TheStewedOwl - 
It may not be a direct result of atheism (there is no law that states one must be educated if one chooses to be an atheist after all), but when you look at the progress we have made as species to abolish things like slavery, these have been a direct result of secular thinking, not religious thinking.


Are you on crack? Sorry, that just slipped out.

Slavery existed in every human society and no one ever questioned it until the rise of Christianity. The first edicts against human trafficking were issued by papal orders throughout the centuries, and the first international legal actions against human trafficking were enforced through Canon Law Courts, forming the basis for modern international law.

The anti-Christian writers of the Enlightenment, Edward Gibbon, Immanuel Kant, and David Hume, much beloved by atheists, justified slavery as regrettable but necessary to civilization, and justified by what they saw as the subhuman status of African men and women.

With the noble exception of a few Enlightenment writers like Rousseau and Thomas Paine, the Abolitionist movement in America and England was almost without exception the result of devout Christians, like Dr. Beilby Porteus, Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce, Daniel O’Connell, William Lloyd Garrison, the Abbe Guillaume Thomas Francois Reynal, George Fox, John Wesley, Levi Coffin, and Calvin Fairbank. The abolitionists who literally risked their lives helping slaves escape were almost entirely Christian and provided the vanguard for those who sought to end slavery.

While some ignorant racists subverted Christian teachings to support their positions, the Civil Rights movement in the 20th Century was largely fought by Christians, and religious doctrine and imagery were responsible for the commitment (even unto death) of the leaders and followers of the movement, most of whom were black Christian preachers. Look at the last speech the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King gave just before his assassination

(You can read and watch the whole speech here: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm, and if you haven’t read it, you should, it’s one of the key speeches in American history.)

Aside from being a brilliant speech, even better than the more-often quoted “I have a dream” speech, it is implicitly religious, relies on the religious imagery of the Old Testament, and lays claim on the religious duties required of all Christians as a means of redress: “We don't have to argue with anybody. We don't have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don't need any bricks and bottles. We don't need any Molotov cocktails. We just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, "God sent us by here, to say to you that you're not treating his children right. And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God's children are concerned.”

(…)

“And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.

And I don't mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I'm happy, tonight.

I'm not worried about anything.

I'm not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!”

Somehow, I doubt that speech would have had the power, or the effect, or the Truth, if the Reverend King had stood on that platform and instead quoted Bertrand Russell on the supposed True Nature of Things, in the atheist worldview:

“That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins – all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's salvation henceforth be safely built.”

That grim vision is the actual end-result of the atheist worldview.


First off, you attribute too much to Christianity. Slavery was though of as perverse by the Jains in India thousands of years before Christ was ever born, and that's just one example of many cultures who where vehemently opposed to slavery that pre-dated Christianity.

Secondly, there were many Christians who were part of the abolitionist movement yes, but there were many more who would defend slavery citing biblical text and verse. Passages in the Bible have historically been used by both pro-slavery advocates and slavery abolitionists to support their respective views. This again, points to the religious cherry-picking that has always existed because, as much as god tried, it's clear he wasn't very good at communicating his point across ... or maybe he just enjoys the chaos and confusion.
1/31/12 2:06 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
samcarr6
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/12/11
Posts: 329
This video is one of my favourite Phone Post
1/31/12 2:38 PM
Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up
Grakman
Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile

Member Since: 6/21/08
Posts: 4257
It seems more extraordinary to me, given life itself, to claim that there is no Creator, rather than it's opposite. The nature of the evidence for God itself may be debated, but there is certainly no lack of it. Phone Post

Reply Post

You must log in to post a reply. Click here to login.