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Old 01-31-2013, 08:15 AM
 
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As an atheist I have found that while it is all well and good to look down on religion, it is becoming more and more evident that there is a vocal minority (well i hope it's a minority!) of atheists who seem to have just chosen to be atheist without any actual reasoning or reason to do so.

What i mean is they are atheist not because they feel strongly in the concept and ideals but because it was a coin toss.

They will be quick to rant and rave "it's science!" but have no actual experience in observation and accept the opinions of others with as much belief as if their were fundamentalists standing before a preacher.

Anyone else experience this?
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:53 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,271 posts, read 19,566,600 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mainelander View Post
As an atheist I have found that while it is all well and good to look down on religion, it is becoming more and more evident that there is a vocal minority (well i hope it's a minority!) of atheists who seem to have just chosen to be atheist without any actual reasoning or reason to do so.

What i mean is they are atheist not because they feel strongly in the concept and ideals but because it was a coin toss.

They will be quick to rant and rave "it's science!" but have no actual experience in observation and accept the opinions of others with as much belief as if their were fundamentalists standing before a preacher.

Anyone else experience this?
A bigger issue I think is that there are some atheists (a vocal minority) that are outright anti-religion and are actively engaged in trying to eradicate religious belief and expression in society. This is something which I strongly disagree with. It is counter-productive and dangerous.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:18 AM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
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Yes, I agree mainelander, if we solve the problems which we see in the religious simply by having them accept atheism, then atheists will get saddled with the problems the religious used to have. That was the mistake of you people labeling yourselves that. Agnosticism, on the other hand, actually implies something about "behavior." It basically allows one to understand the Enlightenment notion of non-attachment to ideas (and perhaps even to "self"). Agnosticism almost disallows fundamentalism and closed-mindedness right of the bat.

The issue of atheist leaders standing up for atheist rights and atheism as an idea has never been about "eradicating religion" BigCityDreamer. I don't know why you are so confused into seeing it that way. Standing up to Religionist corruption and oppression is the only way to actually make any headway as a rational-grounded society. No atheists I've seen want to break and burn all the religionist idols. In a democracy, those who don't stand up for themselves parish underfoot. Religion today (especially fundamentalism) is a shame, and it should be looked down for what it is. However, I believe its continued existence points to deeper problems in our society... in the sense that it seems to continue to be necessary for some people and communities.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
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Yes, I find some atheists to be just as unreasonable and dogmatic in their beliefs as any religious person. I also know some (liberal/non-fundamentalist) religious people who are as reasonable and open to changing empirical evidence as any atheist. I suspect that much of this has more to do with personality, temperament, etc., than it has to do with the beliefs as such.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
A bigger issue I think is that there are some atheists (a vocal minority) that are outright anti-religion and are actively engaged in trying to eradicate religious belief and expression in society. This is something which I strongly disagree with. It is counter-productive and dangerous.
How?
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Do some people embrace life philosophies without first subjecting them to scrutiny? Of course, keep in mind that if the average national IQ is 100, then half of the people are going to be below that and more likely to be the sorts who need others to do their thinking for them. That such a person could latch onto atheism as easily as religion requires no stretch of the imagination. That it does not happen with anything like the frequency of unthinking acceptance of religious beliefs is a matter of cultural distribution. Most of the non thinkers get exposed to religious rather than non religious instruction.

During the time of the Soviet Union, about 66% of the population identified themselves as atheists and about a third clung to the old religions. That probably wasn't a matter of that 66% sitting down and examining the possibilities and concluding that atheism was the correct path, it is far more likely a consequence of ...that was the instruction which they received and it was good enough for them. Those same people could have just as easily received religious instruction and gone that way.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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Hmmm.... I think demanding people have prerequisites to make a self-identifying existential statement sounds quite a bit like religion if you ask me.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:49 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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Originally Posted by logline View Post
How?
Like having "God is a myth" messages on billboards and buses. Totally unnecessary and counter-productive.

What are we going to have next? Anti-UFO messages? Anti-Lochness Monster messages? It's silly and helps nothing.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
Like having "God is a myth" messages on billboards and buses. Totally unnecessary and counter-productive.

What are we going to have next? Anti-UFO messages? Anti-Lochness Monster messages? It's silly and helps nothing.
On the contrary, I think that there may be people who are in fact atheists but are scared that perhaps they're the only ones who feel that way. Billboards have actually done a lot to increase awareness of the atheist community and the atheist movement. But, the billboards actually do a lot more work than talking to people driving by on the road. Think about it. Every time one of those billboards goes up, it's reported all over the national news. Fox News, CNN, MSNBC... They all report on it. The cost of the billboard more than pays for itself due to the fact that every media outlet covers it. So, the total number of people who see it is vastly increased.

It has been a major factor in the increase in the number of people willing to call themselves atheists. I'd say that's far from counter-productive. Implying that anti-UFO messages or anti-Lochness Monster messages are part of the "slippery slope" is a bit of a false dichotomy. The majority of people in America (or the world) are not believers in things like UFO's or the Lochness Monster. It's also socially acceptable to say that you don't believe in such things. What is typically not socially acceptable is to say that you don't believe in god.

The intended use of a billboard is to advertise a certain message. It's a form of marketing. They're proven marketing tools that provide results. Having atheist billboards is nothing more than a marketing tool and it's reasonable to suspect that they've been very effective. Religious apologists tend to find everything that doesn't directly "glorify" a deity offensive in the first place and, quite frankly, I could care less if they actually are offended by words on a sign.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,091,096 times
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Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Do some people embrace life philosophies without first subjecting them to scrutiny? Of course, keep in mind that if the average national IQ is 100, then half of the people are going to be below that and more likely to be the sorts who need others to do their thinking for them.
It's not strictly a matter of intelligence. Perhaps, not even primarily. Intelligence often is highly compartmentalized. It can be confined to the intellect, such that a person has low emotional intelligence or is very fearful or dependent and/or unassertive ... preferring to go along to get along. It can be confined just to parts of the intellect, as with the handful of brilliant scientists who are also, nevertheless, ardent theists.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
During the time of the Soviet Union, about 66% of the population identified themselves as atheists and about a third clung to the old religions. That probably wasn't a matter of that 66% sitting down and examining the possibilities and concluding that atheism was the correct path, it is far more likely a consequence of ...that was the instruction which they received and it was good enough for them. Those same people could have just as easily received religious instruction and gone that way.
And/or, they may have simply been pragmatic ... didn't the Soviets frown on religion and encourage atheism? Wasn't atheism the politically safe way to go? Didn't a lot of people revert to religion when that regime was no longer in place? Culturally, the Russian Orthodox Church was / is a big deal there. My guess is that observance was simply driven underground for a couple of generations, only to re-emerge in the light of day. How many of that 66% were really being honest?

It would be interesting to study very atheistic countries like Norway to see if atheism as a default position is taken for granted with minimal awareness brought to it.
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