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Old 01-13-2012, 12:11 PM
 
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How would American Atheist feel if the U.S. has similar Christian culture as in Scandinavia how I told you it is in our countries, like having Christian public holidays, taking children to church on high holidays, singing Jesus song on St. Lucia Day (Dec 13) but had NO "In God We Trust" as motto? Would you accept it and like the way it is in Scandinavia? Or do you want to get rid of religion totally from the U.S. such as getting rid of Christian holidays, tax religious places, got rid of religion being taught in school, no Christmas decorations at public places etc. being 100% free from religion?!
I have a small problem with having Christian holidays to the exclusion of all other religions, but I'm not particularly invested in the issue.

Churches getting tax breaks does irk me - they should pay like any other business, because that's what they are. However, they should be able to enjoy the same tax benefits as other charities for their charitable operations (assuming they have any).

Teaching religion in school is fine with me, so long as it's taught as an interesting bit of history and culture, and so long as one single religion (fundamentalist Christianity) is not taught to the exclusion of all others, or presented as factual. Religion has a place in philosophy class and history class, but it has absolutely no business in science (e.g. teaching creationism as an alternative to evolution).

Christmas decorations in public places should be allowed, but only if they're not overtly religious. So hanging up lights and decorating a tree should be fine, but putting up a nativity scene at Christmas or a giant cross at Easter is not. Basically, no public dollars should be used to promote a particular religious belief, nor should states be allowed to skirt this by letting private citizens put up religious displays on public property.

But all those things are really pretty minor. Get rid of religiously-motivated laws like bans on gay marriage and restrictions on alcohol sales on Sundays and I'll be pretty happy to let the rest of it mostly slide (although obviously I would like to see the pledge changed back and the national motto changed).
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
We theists aren't any more a monolithic group than atheists are. You can think whatever you want, it really is up to you.
But it really isn't up to the individual, when they have been indoctrinated, inculcated and brain-washed the first 20-odd years of their lives.

Religion wasn't a big deal in our family, so we never discussed it, didn't really celebrate religious holidays, and only went to church occasionally, so I can't say I was brain-washed.

If children were barred from any kind of religious instruction until they were 18, what would the US be like? Nothing like it is now. There'd be more atheists and agnostics than anything.

Non-monolithic...


Mircea
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:30 PM
 
8,680 posts, read 13,306,012 times
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Originally Posted by Lille Ida View Post
Greatly appreciate everybody's respond. I want to point out that just because there are some Christian extremist evangelical does not mean they presents all 249 million American Christians or 2.2 billion Christians worldwide. The majority of Christians don't really care about theocracy, and many of them are cultural Christians (like in Scandinavia).

How would American Atheist feel if the U.S. has similar Christian culture as in Scandinavia how I told you it is in our countries, like having Christian public holidays, taking children to church on high holidays, singing Jesus song on St. Lucia Day (Dec 13) but had NO "In God We Trust" as motto? Would you accept it and like the way it is in Scandinavia? Or do you want to get rid of religion totally from the U.S. such as getting rid of Christian holidays, tax religious places, got rid of religion being taught in school, no Christmas decorations at public places etc. being 100% free from religion?!
So are you saying there are no extremist religious right-wing nut-jobs in Scandinavia? Sounds wonderful! Unfortunately, there are a LOT of them in the U.S.

Christmas is a federal holiday in the U.S., which means the government closes. That doesn't bother me.

However, I do think that churches should be taxed and that religion should not be taught in public schools unless it is a comparative class in which kids learn about different kinds of religion (meaning, not to indoctrinate them into a belief). I tend to think that the government has better things on which to spend taxpayer money than nativity scenes, menorahs, and the like, as well. I'd rather that money go toward health care, education, and scientific research. The private sector does enough decorating for everyone.
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:22 PM
 
Location: TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lille Ida View Post
Being from Scandinavia - Norway, Sweden and Denmark are among the most secular western nations in the world. We have large number of Atheists/Agnostics with religious people being the minority.
If this is true, you answered your own question. Generally, the minority (feels like it) has to work harder to achieve some measure of equality, respect, or representation; whereas the majority need not feel threatened and so sees no need for "extremism". Everything I've read tells me that self-proclaimed atheists are the minority in the U.S. That's not to speak on the difference between religious and nonreligious people, mind you, but perhaps this is more relevant to the question in your subject title.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:20 PM
 
164 posts, read 161,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
While people are dying?

We have political leaders who make decisions based or influenced by religion which results in wars and death, and you say laugh at that. That's very interesting.

Perhaps when you are getting bombed by the US and having your regime changed, you'll be thinking differently.

We have political leaders who enact laws and make policy based or influenced by religion.

We have employers who hire and fire based or influenced by religion.

We have academicians who posit theories that are foisted on people based or influenced on religion, and that blinds people to the truth so that we do not truly understand our past or waste money (often tax payer money) pursuing fruitless scientific endeavors.

All of those things have a negative impact on me personally, as well as millions of other people here and abroad.

Shall I continue?

Not leaving christians alone...

Mircea
What do you think the truth is?

I have read your posts on various topics and you are very well educated, and a very intelligent thinker, but you deny every topic of what could be, from religion to conspiracy stories, and I often don't see you in initial agreement.

How do you know what you know? How can one be so well educated on so many topics?

You are as if topics have been sequestered into your mind in an almost computer like fashion.

There may not be one man on this board who is intellectually capable of keeping up with you on any topic.

So how do you know the truth? What is your source? How can one man seemingly be the most educated person on what I imagine is a very popular forum with a high numerical membership?

From where do you receive such wisdom? Why has such a gift been bestowed upon you and for what purpose?

Why though, with all your wisdom, can you not perceive ways to move the entire world in a positive direction?

Or is this something I have not witnessed? If you are capable of such thoughts and in the goodness of your heart and humbleness for the gift that has been bestowed upon you, will you choose to use your ability to stop starvation, educate society to love eachother, remind them that the fundamental principle of economics is scarcity, and help them to be selfless under their own free will?

But if your society becomes a prison where each man envisions their perception of hell as a reality, then you have failed to create what man has failed to create in generations before.

Time is a limitating factor when you consider the age of the earth and events that can occur when society is connected in a way where all can become affected with a single significant event of great fortitude.

All men are capable of emotional responses, where we ignore what is righteous and perform acts we know are wrong and will fill us with regret and shame us when we conjure up a memory of what occured.

Some men are taught to stifle our emotions, ignore the call of righteousness, and then what we have, we suddenly have not.

Can you eliminate evil, and restore goodness without commiting evil yourself in either your thoughts or your actions?

These are the tasks at hand, and they only strike the surface, for we have many obstacles to obtain eternal bliss. Do you feel that men are capable of doing such great things as this without the help of that which is not of this world?

Last edited by Kansarado; 01-13-2012 at 08:45 PM..
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:22 PM
 
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
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Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
Well.. with one critical difference, Thomas... You guys all believe in a God and therefore there's some commonality and mutuality there.

Not so with atheists. No creeds, rules or limitations of how or what we are allowed to think. No biblical guidebook or list of sins and commandments, thank God! (pun intended...)
"No creeds, rules or limitations of how or what we are allowed to think" could describe certain forms of madness as well.

Reality has rules and limitations. The human mind does too. Try to really think of an eight-dimensional object with an ultraviolet pattern on it. Or what the core of the Sun smells like. Or even just think of things your cultural conditioning or life history would not likely allow you to think. Like singing in a Samoyedic language, experiencing Arctic hysteria, understanding the desire to eat your dead loved ones, etc.

Limitations can be good things. Many forms of art are about working within the possibilities of limit. This is especially true in many forms of poetry, music, and probably architecture in some ways. And in other cases certain areas of thought are blind-alleys not necessary to explore. Sure you can think of new ideas about phlogiston, but what would be the point?

In any event limitations are necessary.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:32 PM
 
8,680 posts, read 13,306,012 times
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Originally Posted by Kansarado View Post
Do you feel that men are capable of doing such great things as this without the help of that which is not of this world?
Not only do I believe humanity is capable of doing such great things without the help of an imaginary deity, I believe humanity is capable of doing such great things in spite of the obstacles thrown up by those who believe in such deities.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:04 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
2,942 posts, read 4,392,564 times
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Originally Posted by Lille Ida View Post
Being from Scandinavia - Norway, Sweden and Denmark are among the most secular western nations in the world. We have large number of Atheists/Agnostics with religious people being the minority. However, our holidays and culture are still Christian. Most of our national holidays are religious Christian with few secular ones'.

Despite us having very large nonbelievers population, we are never against the religious people. Sweden also has separation of church and state.

Our public schools still teaches religion, and on some high holidays many schools take students to churches. On St. Lucia's Day, students sing also about Jesus Christ. Many schools also teaches bible lessons after class if students are interested.

From what I've seen and read, it seems like Atheists in the U.S. are very Anti-religion. They try to take away all religious things in America, despite the U.S. having 80% Christians and only 1.6% Atheists/Agnostics. Yes, around 16% are Non-religious but that does not mean they don't believe in God, they are just not members of any religious places. So America could be considered a religious nation.

Why not leave religious people alone and let them keep or make religion in the U.S. as much as possible.... ignore and laugh at them (My tips).
Yes, I understand it could be annoying when religious people get mad and angry at nonbelievers, but if you guys ignore them then they wouldn't say anything hopefully. In Scandinavia I never heard any fight between religious and non-religious people at all, maybe because us non-believers don't care what they do in our country, because we like Christian holidays and culture.
It's the same here in the Netherlands. The vast majority is atheist, agnostic or non-religious but we still maintain the Christian traditions. Around 80% of all schools are Christian and they are funded by the government, just as other faith-based schools and public schools are. Of course, I have to add that most of these "Christian" schools are only Christian in name and don't follow the doctrine. I went to a Christian school myself and I didn't notice any difference from a public school. We studied evolution as fact (no controversy), we didn't have religious education but instead a class called "Life Reflection" which taught about all kinds of religions and philosophies (the Abrahamic religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, Humanism, etc.), we also had a class called "General Natural Sciences" (different from regular science class) and I remember one of the assigments was that we had to research the creationist stories of different religions and discover all the scientific impossibilities or improbabilities. I'm not sure that would go over well in a Christian school in the USA My whole family is atheist (apart from my deceased grandfather, who was a Catholic) but everyone did the baptism, holy communion and confirmation, including myself. In Western Europe, Christianity is seen more as a cultural tradition and most atheists and agnostics are fine with it or even enjoy it.

That said, I can perfectly understand why American atheists tend to be a bit more intolerant towards religion. A significant majority sees Christianity as much more than a cultural tradition, they actually believe this stuff and some even want to impose their religious beliefs on others (gay rights, abortion, euthanasia, evolution vs. creationism, etc.). Religious fundamentalism is virtually non-existent in WE but in some parts of the US it's very common. Atheists are a minority and often demonised as being immoral and cold. It's understandable why atheists would get frustrated with that but I don't think most are "extremist" in any way.
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Old 01-14-2012, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 11,374,932 times
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Red face A possible accounting for our behaviours...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yzette View Post
So are you saying there are no extremist religious right-wing nut-jobs in Scandinavia? Sounds wonderful! Unfortunately, there are a LOT of them in the U.S.

I tend to think that the government has better things on which to spend taxpayer money than nativity scenes, menorahs, and the like, as well. I'd rather that money go toward health care, education, and scientific research.

The private sector does enough decorating for everyone.
How true! As to religious extremism in the Scandinavian countries, was there any component of religious zealotry in that right-wing shooter's rifle killing all those kids last year at the beach? I'm just asking for clarification, I don't know. But if he did harbor those feelings (since he was quite surely anti-Islam...), then I'd say you have some of the same problems as we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
"No creeds, rules or limitations of how or what we are allowed to think" could describe certain forms of madness as well.

Reality has rules and limitations. The human mind does too. Try to really think of an eight-dimensional object with an ultraviolet pattern on it. Or what the core of the Sun smells like. Or even just think of things your cultural conditioning or life history would not likely allow you to think. Like singing in a Samoyedic language, experiencing Arctic hysteria, understanding the desire to eat your dead loved ones, etc.

Limitations can be good things. Many forms of art are about working within the possibilities of limit. This is especially true in many forms of poetry, music, and probably architecture in some ways. And in other cases certain areas of thought are blind-alleys not necessary to explore. Sure you can think of new ideas about phlogiston, but what would be the point?

In any event limitations are necessary.
Well, OK Thomas, it's easy to list such impossibilites and claim we have to therefore limit our thinking, but you did raise an interesting question: the smell of the interior of the sun.

Specifically: Since smell is based quite simply on our nasal & buccal cavity sensory reactions to specific molecules, there will, yep, be some sort of characteristic smell in there indeed, and I'm now working on the problem! It's an "open-mind" kind of thing you understand!

You didn't separate out the pesky-est little problem to this new study; the heat I'd have to endure! But then, in my Superman Suit (I have just had it slightly retailored due to my increasing girth, but hey: it'll work, and it IS made of Krypto-Kloth after all!).

Image Detail for - http://www.fatmanunleashed.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/fat-superman.jpg

The thing is, religion, as opposed to atheism, has long-held and, as I was sternly told, unquestionable limitations to all who are entangled into its' various creeds and requisite morés. Independent thought is simply not tolerated, except by the senior church administrators chanting it out down at The Holy See, etc.

And why is that pray tell? The reason is obvious: independent thinking leads to critical thinking, which leads inexorably to The Greater Universal Truths about everything in it's time.

Meantime, the obvious advances that the SM has produced in a remarkably short time is staggeringly obvious (from men strapping feathers to their arms and running off cliffs (THUD), to us landing a robot on Mars; from self-flagellation to drive off the plague, to gene-specific targeting drugs as disease modifiers; and from horses and chariots to a Bugatti Veyron. All of this dazzling array of new-think ONLY came about because of an unfettered and classically unlimited mentality that fully characterizes atheism.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LindavG View Post
It's the same here in the Netherlands. The vast majority is atheist, agnostic or non-religious but we still maintain the Christian traditions.

√ Around 80% of all schools are Christian and they are funded by the government, just as other faith-based schools and public schools are. Of course,

√ We studied evolution as fact (no controversy), we didn't have religious education but instead a class called "Life Reflection" which taught about all kinds of religions and philosophies (the Abrahamic religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, Humanism, etc.),

√ we also had a class called "General Natural Sciences" (different from regular science class) and I remember one of the assigments was that we had to research the creationist stories of different religions and discover all the scientific impossibilities or improbabilities.

I'm not sure that would go over well in a Christian school in the USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by rflmn™
(rflmn: let me tell you how that would go over here in the US! )
That said, I can perfectly understand why American atheists tend to be a bit more intolerant towards religion. A significant majority sees Christianity as much more than a cultural tradition, they actually believe this stuff and some even want to impose their religious beliefs on others (gay rights, abortion, euthanasia, evolution vs. creationism, etc.).

Religious fundamentalism is virtually non-existent in WE but in some parts of the US it's very common. Atheists are a minority and often demonised as being immoral and cold. It's understandable why atheists would get frustrated with that but I don't think most are "extremist" in any way.
Indeed! Some well-respected pollsters have told us that, as a rule, atheists are not held to be (generally..) trustable individuals (though that's more common in the less-educated groups of our highly variant cultures here, unlike the far more homogenous citizenry you enjoy...). wailing Southern Baptists, JWs going door to door, "End Times!!!" street chanters with their placards, that increasingly demented fiscal faker Pat Robertson admonishing us to make our tithes even if our family can't afford food or a car; all those various TV Evangelical fakers that end up in jail for theft, fraud, tax evasion & spiritual corruption, and so on...).

Yep; such are the minor disadvantages of the wonderful First Amendment protections in our truly amazing Constitution, and therefore our fearless approach to airing our many differences for all to see and comment on. All of which, btw, makes us incredibly strong as a culture, when the real trials on this globe might come down on us.

(btw, isn't it fascinating that such potentially great countries as China & N> Korea and the once-powerful USSR, are all eager to pounce on anything they see in our press about our intrernal social issues! But then they carefully and often forcefully & brutally hide anything even slightly critical in their society? Such baltant cultural fakery is not fooling anyone (except some puppet types in their administrations, and their writhing population) who must bow and scrape, or go to jail! See: The Funeral of Our Dear Leader in N. Korea last week. "Sobbing on Demand". V. Phunny Shhhtuff, neh?)

Let's certainly never forget the role and enthusiasm to help others out, as expressed by those "loud, braggin' & arrogant Yanks" in the late European WW-I, WW-II "socio-cultural events"! It's a direct result of our inner spiritual strength, not of some godly help.

Perhaps our cultural in-fighting just keeps or makes us stronger? Yah think?
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Old 01-14-2012, 07:50 AM
 
Location: FL
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Originally Posted by jackmccullough View Post
I don't want to be too offensive, but you really don't know what you're talking about.

Atheists in the United States, even the most militant atheists, do not "try to take away all religious things in America." That's just false.

Atheists do "leave religious people alone and let them keep or make religion in the U.S. as much as possible."

As long as religion is a private matter for believers we have absolutely no problem. Where we have a problem is where the religious majority (and the religious extremists aren't even the majority) is constantly trying to make their religion more powerful not by persuading their fellow Americans that they are right, but by using the power of government to impose their religious views on the entire country.

Examples of this include the insertion of "under god" into the Pledge of Allegiance, putting "in god we trust" on currency and adopting it as the official motto of the United States, and forcing public schools to teach the religious doctrine of creationism/intelligent design in government-run schools.

You may know that the United States has a Constitution that provides that the government shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, yet the extremely conservative Republican Party, and the slightly less conservative Democratic Party are all too willing to give religion the dominant place not only in public affairs but also in government actions.

If religious, or religio-political groups would content themselves with practicing their religions in peace, and would refrain from using the government to impose their religious views on the rest of the country, there would be little conflict, and the situation here would probably look more like what you have in Scandinavia.

Finally, although you may not know it, many of the people who are opposed to the religious domination of the government are religious themselves, but consider that it not only violates our Constitution but is also bad public policy to use government to harm and disadvantage religious minorities. There are still some who remember that any oppression that can be visited on one minority group can, when the political balance of power changes, be visited on another minority group. The main target these days seems to be Muslims, and to some extent atheists, but in our history religious bigotry has also targeted Catholics, Jews, practitioners of Santeria, and undoubtedly other religious minorities.

For as long as the religious groups here try to use the government to impose their will on us atheists, and we recognize we are a relatively small minority, the conflict will continue.

How private of a matter do you think religion should be?
I do get the concerns of atheists not wanting certain laws to be based on religions beliefs and I understand people who feel the need to stand up against those things. But still, I wonder about the question I posted above.
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