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Old 08-04-2013, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Just over the horizon
8,143 posts, read 2,796,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCSTroop View Post
People always assume there's a bunch of atheists sitting around in a state of complete shock and emotional distress over some words on currency. The reality is much further from that. No one finds it offensive and most atheists I know have no scruples on offensive language either. So, to attack this from the angle that we're all just a bunch of wimps for being offended by words on currency is really looking at this from the wrong perspective entirely. Before I continue on, let me reiterate that there is nothing offensive by the language on the currency. Clear?

OK... Let me explain the problem now...

The problem with the language on the currency is several-fold but really has its roots elsewhere. The main problem is that for centuries, our supposedly secular government has held the hand of religion, bent over backwards for it, established horrible laws and regulations based on it, and upheld downright hate and bigotry in association with it.

In the mid-1800's, the largest proponents of upholding slavery, often southern white men, held the Bible high above their heads in proclamation that because the Bible talked about slavery in a fashion they could translate to their modern day existence, they were somehow ingratiated by "The Word" to do such things.

Fast forward to the 1950's and 1960's with racial segregation and the abolishment of Jim Crow Laws. You'd have thought, based on the comments of many of the people and elected officials at the time, that there was some sort of "Biblical Justification" for keeping blacks and whites segregated. A number of our elected officials agreed completely.

Even now, the struggle for marriage equality amongst gays and lesbians has been met with vociferous opposition - mostly due to a bunch of people claiming that they somehow have "divine knowledge" that marriage between a man and a woman is the only way to get married - or some crap like that.

This sort of interweaving complex finds its way into the laws our lawmakers write and the judgments our judges make. Were it not for the obstinate barriers of antiquated laws and regulations religion has erected to stop progress, I suspect that things would be a lot better off in this country. At the very least, equality would be much less of an issue.

My point is that religion's influence seeps into governmental decisions in virtually everything. One can't go fifteen minutes without hearing some stupid GOP lawmaker talk about his redneck district and how everything would be so much better if everyone went to church. One can't turn CSPAN on for five minutes without some babbling moron blathering on about how it's a sin to teach evolution in school or how not paying our debt is a sign of the apocalypse.

There are even some who think a very large part of the decision by Baby Bush to invade Iraq was made because he thought it resembled something out of the Bible. Whether that is true or not, I have no idea, but I don't find it far-fetched.

You're right in the sense that you don't believe in ghosts so why would you start non-profits against them? If it was that simple, it wouldn't be a problem. People in your government are legislating based on 2,000 years of ghost mythology and lore. Imagine the absurdity if people made decisions strongly based on their alleged interactions with the ghosts you don't BELIEVE in. In fact, what if they were decisions that had the potential to enact rules of law over you or even tax you further or take away certain liberties?

The attack on things like the writing on our currency is NOT about being offended by what's written. It is, if anything, a symbolic act to remind the people running this country, and those who wish to inject religion into everything, that this is a secular nation, and really more a nation of people with a multitude of beliefs and that no single belief system should be chosen over another.

I'll put it this way:

Imagine if for nearly three centuries, our country illegally payed homage to Casper the Friendly Ghost. A huge chunk of our laws and freedoms depended entirely on people's interpretations of their reading of the Casper books. Finally, a few people in the rational future decided that enough is enough and that Casper didn't really exist and that our laws and freedoms should not be hindered by a bunch of stupid ghost whisperers.

Would you not find it reasonable to, for example, remind the people that their country is not supposed to be run by Casper and, therefore, we probably shouldn't have "In Casper We Trust" on our currency? If anything, it would be a symbolic move and the truth is, it brings up dialogue, much like what we're discussing. It brings the issue to the forefront and it gets people talking about it - much like how you posted this thread. And that's what is important... That we talk about the issues of religious theocracy and oppression that religion has enjoyed in this country for centuries and that we realize that, no, we don't want an invisible magic man running this country.


A good post, if a bit wordy for me....sorry.

This is the way I see it, there is a big difference between denying the existence of Casper and denying the existence of any higher power in the universe.
Just because I don't subscribe to the notion of a Christian God does not mean I don't have respect for those that do.
Like it or not, (and I'm guessing you don't based on your examples of the bad parts of the history of Christianity in this country) this is largely still a Christian nation with customs and traditions that have become so intertwined with our culture as to become woven into the fabric of America.

But your post and others brings out another point that often gets left out of these debates, the fact that Atheists always seem to have a bigger beef with Christianity than any other religion.

Interesting....Why is that?

Also interesting is that some who are posting here don't seem to define Atheism as the complete denial of any deity or higher power but more as a lack of proof to that existence.
That seems more like an Agnostic position to me, anyone can acknowledge a lack of proof but that does not make them an Atheist in my book.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Just over the horizon
8,143 posts, read 2,796,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper03 View Post
I'm agnostic and what I don't understand is why does this even matter?
I suppose in many ways it doesn't....but it is a question that irks me, so I ask it.

Like I said, I can somewhat understand what motivates people of faith even when I don't agree with them. (terrorists for example)
BUt I don't understand what motivates an Atheist who is by definition actively without faith but yet still full of passion in their non belief.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:01 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,333 posts, read 19,603,768 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dooleys1300 View Post
Also interesting is that some who are posting here don't seem to define Atheism as the complete denial of any deity or higher power but more as a lack of proof to that existence.
That seems more like an Agnostic position to me, anyone can acknowledge a lack of proof but that does not make them an Atheist in my book.
Pretty much all of the atheists on this forum, including myself, are agnostic atheists.

We don't believe in a supernatural God. Still, we grant the possibility - however remote - that some kind of God exists. For many of us, it's about the same possibility that fairies and unicorns exist.

We don't rule out God completely. But we definitely consider God to be a fictional being.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:49 PM
 
Location: Just over the horizon
8,143 posts, read 2,796,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
Pretty much all of the atheists on this forum, including myself, are agnostic atheists.

We don't believe in a supernatural God. Still, we grant the possibility - however remote - that some kind of God exists. For many of us, it's about the same possibility that fairies and unicorns exist.

We don't rule out God completely. But we definitely consider God to be a fictional being.
I guess I don't get that.
How can you not rule out something you believe is fictional?
To me the term Agnostic Atheist is an oxymoron....like saying you're a Hindu Muslim.

Even as an Agnostic, I don't view anyones deity as a fictional being just because I'm not certain of their existence.
Again, to me there is a big difference between fairies and unicorns and a possible creator of all that is.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:08 PM
 
16,108 posts, read 17,935,404 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dooleys1300 View Post
I guess I don't get that.
How can you not rule out something you believe is fictional?
To me the term Agnostic Atheist is an oxymoron....like saying you're a Hindu Muslim.

Even as an Agnostic, I don't view anyones deity as a fictional being just because I'm not certain of their existence.
Again, to me there is a big difference between fairies and unicorns and a possible creator of all that is.
This has been explained many times in this forum. Agnostic refers to knowledge and there is no way we can *know* that there is not a god of some kind just as we cannot *know* that there is no celestial teapot or that Nessie does not exist. We are skeptical of these claims, but we are agnostic because we don't know for a fact that there is nothing like it in the universe.

OTOH, atheist refers to belief. I don't believe any god exists. I am an atheist with respect to unicorns, Santa, gods, fairies, the celestial teapot, etc. I am certain that the Bible God does not exist because of the contradictions in the Bible. I am certain that Allah does not exist because of the contradictions in the Quran.
I am agnostic though about whether or not some supernatural being *might* exist even though I do not believe it does.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Rivendell
1,387 posts, read 2,168,576 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dooleys1300 View Post
I guess I don't get that.
How can you not rule out something you believe is fictional?
To me the term Agnostic Atheist is an oxymoron....like saying you're a Hindu Muslim.

Even as an Agnostic, I don't view anyone's deity as a fictional being just because I'm not certain of their existence.
Again, to me there is a big difference between fairies and unicorns and a possible creator of all that is.
I will try to explain this for you again. I am not sure if you have been reading all the replies.
Atheists believe god/s are fictional that have specific properties, likes and dislikes, defy logic and the natural laws, and care about what people do with their genitals.

A general sort of deist god that no one makes unprovable claims about is vague enough that there is nothing to argue about. It could exist. I see no need for a god that has nothing to do with us.

I think whether or not such a god exists is not now nor ever will be knowable. That is why I am agnostic. Agnosticism is a position of knowledge, not a position of belief.

As an atheist, I do not have a specific god that I believe in. A-theist= without theism. I have no god belief.

So, it is very possible to be an agnostic atheist.

I ask you again, which god do you believe in?
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:20 PM
 
Location: USA (dying to live in Canada)
1,034 posts, read 1,563,736 times
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In God We Trust will never be removed from the currency and official motto. Congress and presidents have declared it as constitutional.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Just over the horizon
8,143 posts, read 2,796,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sizzly Friddle View Post
I will try to explain this for you again. I am not sure if you have been reading all the replies.
Atheists believe god/s are fictional that have specific properties, likes and dislikes, defy logic and the natural laws, and care about what people do with their genitals.

A general sort of deist god that no one makes unprovable claims about is vague enough that there is nothing to argue about. It could exist. I see no need for a god ythat has nothing to do with us.

I think whether or not such a god exists is not now nor ever will be knowable. That is why I am agnostic. Agnosticism is a position of knowledge, not a position of belief.

As an atheist, I do not have a specific god that I believe in. A-theist= without theism. I have no god belief.

So, it is very possible to be an agnostic atheist.

I ask you again, which god do you believe in?
I have been reading the replies, but they don't all make sense to me.
I suppose I see the difference between agnostic and atheist as more black and white...or maybe more accurately black and gray.

Also I don't have the energy to type out a reply to every part of every post but I am reading them.

I don't belive in any one God in particular ....that's what makes me an Agnostic...But if I had to pick one, I suppose you could say that I'm sympathetic to the idea of a Christian God of the Presbyterian variety simply because thats how I was raised.
However I don't see that as the only possibility...I also lean towards the possibility of reincarnation or just nothing at all.
That's my definition of Agnostic.
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Chesapeake Bay
6,048 posts, read 3,881,093 times
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Well, if it makes some of you feel better there is an atheist who has applied to become a Navy Chaplain. Not sure how he would fit in but it is interesting to think about.
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:07 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,104,852 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dooleys1300 View Post
Just because I don't subscribe to the notion of a Christian God does not mean I don't have respect for those that do.
I subscribe to HL Mencken here ... one must respect the other fellow's religion in the same way that one must respect his belief that his wife is beautiful and his children clever. I arrived yesterday in Istanbul, and the fact that I "respect" the guy who walked past me in the airport holding a fistful of passports, followed by several women in black burkas, doesn't mean I wasn't seriously creeped out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dooleys1300 View Post
But your post and others brings out another point that often gets left out of these debates, the fact that Atheists always seem to have a bigger beef with Christianity than any other religion.

Interesting....Why is that?
As you say, it "seems" that way. If I spent any length of time here in Turkey I would talk mostly about Muslims because that is what I would mostly encounter every day. As it is, living in the US, I mostly encounter Christians.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dooleys1300 View Post
Also interesting is that some who are posting here don't seem to define Atheism as the complete denial of any deity or higher power but more as a lack of proof to that existence.
That seems more like an Agnostic position to me, anyone can acknowledge a lack of proof but that does not make them an Atheist in my book.
That is the most common position, actually. (A)theism is about belief and (a)gnosticism is about knowledge. The two influence each other but are not joined at the hip.

If I am 100% sure god(s) don't exist or I am 99.99% sure, what difference does it make in practice? You are probably 99.99999% sure there are no unicorns, not so arrogant as to suggest there could not be unicorns somewhere in the universe, and yet, you conduct your life as if you were 100% sure.
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