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Old 04-02-2013, 02:39 AM
 
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Apologies if this has been done, but I was intrigued by this as these are the kinds of atheists I used to see pretty often online but don't see much nowadays.

http://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyl...live-our-souls


Any of you like these atheists or agnostics? Any of you rather appalled by them? (I do find Derbyshire appalling, but for his racism. I mean he's a bit Anti-Catholic too, I'm Catholic, but he's an old Englishman so that's almost inevitable. Also I discover less of these are atheists than I thought.)
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:58 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
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First of all, I believe you have your Derbyshire's mixed up. Jonathan Derbyshire is editor of the New Statesman. He is a humanist, like myself. I believe you have him mixed up with John Derbyshire. Also, I take exception to your statement that if you are English you are 'almost inevitably' anti-catholic. A sweeping statement if ever I heard one - clearly you know nothing about the religious make-up or culture of Britain.

The rest of your question also appears to be a very generalised sweeping blanket statement. Are we like any of these atheists or agnostics? I don't know. Are you like the Pope or more like Hitler - both Catholics after all, at two ends of a scale. Are you asking if we are like the 'New Atheists' or the 'New New Atheists?' Perhaps choose just one atheist or agnostic. I think you need to clarify your question.
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Old 04-02-2013, 05:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAJR View Post
Apologies if this has been done, but I was intrigued by this as these are the kinds of atheists I used to see pretty often online but don't see much nowadays.

After God: What can atheists learn from believers?


Any of you like these atheists or agnostics? Any of you rather appalled by them? (I do find Derbyshire appalling, but for his racism. I mean he's a bit Anti-Catholic too, I'm Catholic, but he's an old Englishman so that's almost inevitable. Also I discover less of these are atheists than I thought.)
“New, New Atheists”,

The thing to bear in mind is that atheists come in all sizes. This is because there is no atheist dogma, creed or set of commandments to be adhered to. The only thing that we have in common as atheists is a lack of belief in any god.

We may as a result of not ascribing morals or Life or perception( ) to 'God' come to the same conclusions about society and politics and we may tend to opt for rationalism, materialism, skepticism and science as the best methods of arriving at conclusion. We may well apply those methods to other claims, such as Ghosts, Homeopathy,UFO's or Atlantis but those are not god - claims, so it falls outside the area of what we think as a-theists.

I may well be appalled. I would not join in a Zombie Jesus parade with plastic trumpets. Nor would i approve a campaign to pull down any Christmas decorations deemed 'Promoting the Mythical'. And I don't always agree with Dawkins. That is one of the good things about atheism. we are allowed to think and disagree and argue, no matter how many numbers or authority the other side has.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:28 PM
 
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I said elderly English people. But I was being too snarky.

Still Anti-Catholicism, whether one thinks its justified or not, was very much part of English culture for many centuries. And even though I'm Catholic I might be willing to agree some of that makes since as many Catholic nations were aghast England went Protestant so tried, sometimes by violence, to switch it back. So there was a lot of bitterness for a long time.

I should have done this thread nicer though and apologies if I messed up.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:03 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAJR View Post
I said elderly English people. But I was being too snarky.

Still Anti-Catholicism, whether one thinks its justified or not, was very much part of English culture for many centuries. And even though I'm Catholic I might be willing to agree some of that makes since as many Catholic nations were aghast England went Protestant so tried, sometimes by violence, to switch it back. So there was a lot of bitterness for a long time.

I should have done this thread nicer though and apologies if I messed up.

Well I always have the greatest admiration for a person who can apologise so respect and hats off to you there


As for the rest of it, that could be a conversation that could go on and on forever. I've had many conversations about it in the UK forum. Suffice to say that I was brought up in Liverpool which had the highest Catholic population per capita outside of Ireland, a sort of microcosm of Catholicism and Church of England mix, so I can speak with experience on the subject. I was brought up in the times of the 'troubles', when IRA bomb threats were so commonplace in England, that we were all extremely complacent about it. We never took the threats seriously at all. So complacent that I once watched an entire shopping center in Manchester being blown sky high to smithereens where I had been standing only minutes before. But all the violence was always being done by extremists. My Church of England primary school was exactly adjacent to the Catholic one. We shared playtimes and all went to the same high school. We shared the same soccer (football) teams. There was absolutely no animosity whatsoever between the religions. My friends growing up particularly by the time we got to secondary school were indistingishable from one another unless you specifically asked about which school you previously went to. Liverpool has often been coined the real capital of Ireland because Irish of both Catholic and Protestant religions settled there in harmony. My first boyfriend was from a large Catholic family and my parents loved him to bits (we were lukewarm C of E though to say the least) they couldnt give two hoots that he was Catholic.
The troubles in England and Ireland were more about a rejection of sovereignty and government than religion although the two were always intiminately linked. Since the Good Friday agreement things have been peaceful (in relative terms) and lets hope they stay that way.
The anti Catholicism you talk about stems from Henry VIII who rejected it because he wanted his way with the ladies. All that is long gone. Please don't paint us all with the same brush as that guy.


As to your original post, and because you seem like a nice guy after all, I'll tell you that the atheist I relate to most from the link is Jim Al-Khalili. He's a thoroughly nice guy, bright, a great presenter too. Also heads the UK Humanist Association. This pretty much sums up how I feel:

Quote:
Believing in a god is fine by me, if it is important to you. If you firmly believe this as an ontological truth, then it is rather pointless having a theological debate about it. But what I, and many other atheists, take issue with is the arrogant attitude that religious faith is the only means of providing us with a moral compass – that society dissolves without faith into a hedonistic, anarchic, amoral, self-gratifying decadence. This is not only nonsense, but intellectually lazy. We still have a long way to go if we are to rid the world of the bigoted attitudes held and injustices carried out in the name of religion. But the tide is turning. I would argue that to be an atheist in Britain today is so mainstream that we can afford to become less strident in our criticism and more tolerant of those with a faith. I say this not because I am less committed to my secular views or because I have weaker conviction than others, but because I believe we are winning the argument. We should not have to defend our atheism any longer.
Believing in god is fine by me too and I share Jim's view of tolerance. I also don't feel a need to defend my atheism.


I think that is what you were asking?
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:21 PM
 
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Something like that. On Anti-Catholicism I think partly I was thinking of things in the Autobiography of Fred Hoyle I once read. However he would have been a kid in 1920s Yorkshire and few to no "old English" person of today was born in 1915 so I was more than a little off-base.

And yeah I like tolerance. Tolerance means you can think something else is wrong, or even wrong in a somewhat negative way, but feel intolerance to it can lead to a greater evil. Like I think Mormonism has a view of history or even race (I don't think they've rejected their teachings on American Indians) that's kind of wacko and I'm not even totally closed to the idea that Joseph Smith was some kind of con artist. But the few Mormons I've met are pleasant and I'm not interested in "de-converting" them. If they want to explore other options themselves I might go with that, but I don't feel any desire to preach at them.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
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Well then we are entirely on the same page - I like your attitude TAJR. I think what Mormons believe is absolutely bonkers, coming a fairly close second to Scientology. But I don't care what they believe as it has zero impact on my life. As long as people are not hurting, upsetting, or insulting others then so what? And most people are good people with their hearts in the right places - this is what is important.

In fact, while on the subject, there was a thread about tolerance very recently on the R and S forum and it was a Mormon who wrote one of the best posts I have ever read on this board. I think it's worth a link here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
Then maybe you should ask yourself why. I seldom get upset with people for disagreeing with my religious beliefs. What does upset me is when the conversation goes something like this...

Questioning poster: You (i.e. Mormons) believe [such and such].
Me: No, that's not what we believe. We believe [such and such] instead. I can understand the misunderstanding, but allow me to clarify; (offers further explanation).
Questioning poster: You're wrong. You do believe [such and such]. [So and so] said it. I read it on [such and such] website.
Me: That website isn't accurately explaining our doctrine. It's wrong when it says [such and such]. A better explanation would be [such and such].
Questioning poster: Nope. You're wrong. You believe [such and such] and that just is incompatible with Christian doctrine.
Me: If we really believed what you claim we believe, I believe it would indeed be incompatible with Christian doctrine. But we don't. As I've explained twice already, we believe [such and such].
Questioning poster: No you don't. You apparently have no idea what you really believe.

That kind of conversation does upset me. It upsets me more the second time I have the same conversation with the same poster. It upsets me even more the third time, and even more the fourth.
Not strictly a post about tolerance but I loved the way Katspur explained her view and made me think about how we judge others with our own preconceived notions.

Trying to convert someone on city data is absolutely futile anyway. Everyone always walks away just as strong as before so you arguing about nothing and with no purpose. It is far better just to put your own point of view across and hope people see your point and maybe you can get into a conversation with someone like minded and actually have a rational conversation.
There is a big difference between expressing a point of view or disagreeing with a point of view and stooping to insulting someone if they disagree with you. It is also important to recognise that people have lived an entirely different life from yours and may see things very differently because of it.

This would always be my starting point anyway. It doesn't always work, but that's usually because someone has wound me up or turned nasty first and I admit, I'm not one for taking nastiness lying down - in these cases I can be as argumentative and intransigent as the next person.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:43 PM
 
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I agree with Katspur's post (as reported ... Duh... I mean repeated...above) As an atheist I battle all the time against those who slag off atheism for being a religion - claiming to know for certain that no kind of god could possibly exist, being Nihilist..etc. and when I explain it what it really is, am told that that I am wrong and what they think it is is right.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Hyrule
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Since as you've stated you are asking from a Theists view, it's hard to get an honest feel from the post but I'll try. Usually Theists post have an agenda hidden by a well meaning tone. My first thought is you're really asking us if we are anti Catholic more than we are anti any other religion. The fact is we aren't anti anything, including the anti Christ. lol

I lack a faith in a God, I lack a belief one exists. It's across the board. People often get upset when I tell them I view all religions as cults. Certain religions hold themselves in higher regard than others when relating their believability. From my view, that simply isn't true.

I often laugh inside me little body when a Catholic tells me they think a Mormon, or Scientologist is nuts, crazy, wacko for their beliefs. I'm thinking they are just as nutty, crazy and wacko but I also think it's their right to do what they want to some degree.

But, watching someone who thinks they'll float in heaven with a God and believe in the Devil, tell me someone who believes they'll say float in space or be reborn into a new path cracks me up. I see them all the same. I have no vested interest to distinguish them from each other. It can be entertaining I admit but all in all I just think that's how they deal. Like having an invisible friend.

To each his own until it creeps over to my own, then I'm not so tolerant. I'm not sure if this post qualifies me as a new atheist, or a new, new atheist, or just an old atheist. Let me know how I did.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,097,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAJR View Post
Apologies if this has been done, but I was intrigued by this as these are the kinds of atheists I used to see pretty often online but don't see much nowadays.

After God: What can atheists learn from believers?


Any of you like these atheists or agnostics? Any of you rather appalled by them? (I do find Derbyshire appalling, but for his racism. I mean he's a bit Anti-Catholic too, I'm Catholic, but he's an old Englishman so that's almost inevitable. Also I discover less of these are atheists than I thought.)
I think there's merit in seeing religion as a source of myth that captures symbols / archetypes / the human condition / whatever. This can be illuminating. "Things are the way they are because they got that way" and mindlessly railing against the evils of religion, by itself, fails to recognize why religious memes prevail so much. It isn't because they are rational, but because they scratch certain itches. People are often not interested in being separated from theism if it means letting go of the value of myth, ritual, community and continuity that religion currently mediates. People need to take those things back for themselves and realize that these myths are timeless not because of holy water being sprinkled on it or because of the blessings of an imaginary sky-god, but because they give us ways to embrace and manage what it is to be human. In addition, there are many myths that are not religious or Christian in nature (the Parsifal myth for example, or Greek mythology, etc). There are people like Jung and Schopenhauer who plumbed the meaning of existence from a secular perspective, who could utter words like "divine" and "sacred" in a completely different sense from how, say, an evangelical Christian would use the terms.

A friend of mine is a retired Unitarian minister and he regards the Bible / Christianity as a rich repository of the shared human experience throughout history. If you approach it that way rather than literally / dogmatically, there are things to be mined from it. The problem is that so many insist on approaching it with a degree of literalness and credulousness that I think sometimes exceeds the naiveté of the era it was written in. Sometimes I wonder: was the intent of the original authors of these ancient tomes strictly to deceive and control people, or was it not at least in part an effort to capture a much more ancient narrative tradition / wisdom for posterity? If you don't try to make these texts and traditions bear more than they were intended to, (or at least more than they are naturally able to), much of the human suffering they can cause would be neutralized and for some at least, actual benefits would accrue.

Because of my personality and how I came to be where I am in life, I probably would never delve very deeply into such things but I can see how they would be enormously useful to more subjectively oriented thinkers. I have no quarrel with people who want to feel transcendence and mystery, and I think humanity can have that without the nasty bits that much of religion currently layers atop it.
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