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Old 02-14-2014, 08:40 PM
 
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Well in fairness an atheistic society/government doesn't HAVE to be benevolent. Atheism is just a philosophical stance, not a dogma.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by travric View Post
fishbrains et al...

Let me say this and then I guess we'll keep kicking the can down the road because this looks like an intractable subject. I know all of you have a 'moral' character just like me. We are all together like this. We are all thinkers here. So as usual there's that 'slippery slope'. Really I do think you are all 'honourable men'. I believe you. Yet I go with Antony brooding over Caesar's dead body and showing what 'honourable men' can do in the quest for an ideal.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”-Voltaire
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:37 AM
 
Location: "Arlen" Texas
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Someone who doesn't belive that their is a heavenly sky father looking down and helping kids win football games while other kids starve.
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:32 AM
 
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It seems to me that you have lost the debate though
.

In this court of inquiry?? With this loaded set of specific adjudicators?...Let's go with Alex Trebek maybe eh? At the least he, indibitably as the sun rises in the East, always has the 'answers'.....;-)...

Personally I do not see a 'debate'. I'm not concerned about winning. I am just expressing a viewpoint countering the notion of a god-less universe. I like turning over things seeing what's the story. From the story we got here, we're entrenched in our lines for sure and never will we meet. Battle looks like it's all we got and as for the speculation of what an atheistic universe would be like well you can convince yourselves to the best of your ability all you like but, at this point, all we can say with certainty is that it may or may not conform to the reality you envision.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,892,998 times
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Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
With all the banter going on about atheists i need to define myself.
I'm some one who never had an interest in going to church, thought the bible was a bunch of fairy tails, dont believe in God, think the idea of creationism is absurd, I dont think about religion,i dont talk about religion and religion plays no role in my life and i have no wish to convert any one to my non religious ways of thinking.
I've always assumed this way of life described an atheist but reading many posts seem to imply atheism as some kind of alternate religion If thats the case what designation am i if not an atheist?
This is how I describe myself, as a person who doesn't define myself by a religion or a heavenly father. When someone asks me if I believe or if I attend a brick and mortar building to worship a heavenly being I simply say, no. If they ask why, if I believe in God? I simply state, no, I have no idea if there is a God, I've never seen one.

It's ok to say you don't know because they don't know either. They hope, dream, fantasize, practice others hopes and dreams but they don't know. Nobody knows. There isn't any evidence of a Gods existence, we only have evidence that people like to group, and believe in what they cannot see or hear. Humans like to pick sides, and teams. Religion and Alien worship can be proven, but Aliens and God cannot.

Why I don't practice a belief is simply because I wouldn't practice anything I didn't have proof of. Alien worship, ghost hunting, Christianity, buying land I haven't stood on, or a car I haven't test driven.

It's not logical to believe in the unknown fantasy of another, I am logical.

Do I fantasize about an afterlife I dream of being real, why yes I do! Would I make it into a religious business, no, no I wouldn't. I have no need to judge others, nor the desire. I enjoy peoples differences, and embrace positive changes.

If I were to set aside my logic, and confirm judgement from a humans fantasy, then I would not expect to be a trusted part of society. I wouldn't expect to be a respected person. I would expect to be confronted, and would expect to be challenged by others fantasy business. Just like any other business some participate in, I would be standing by what they believed, and sold as a good product, a religion is the business of selling a made up story of a God to people for profit and power. Being of logical thought, I find no interest in this at all. As a matter of fact I find it an abusively gross practice.

WHY I WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT STAY PERSONAL, AND RID THE WORLD OF RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP:
To contribute to the second 1/2 of this thread. I live in America, and I would like to become president one day. So far Christianity has monopolized this process and only Theists, the majority Christian Theist have access to our government system. I'd like to get rid of the Christian monopoly.

Foreign countries, in my opinion, would benefit from logic. I hope one day religious beliefs are personally held, but not forced upon people. When large numbers of people in a society make people afraid to hold personal beliefs that are different, this is a problem.

I don't care to see a completely atheistic society but, I would like to see the dominant part of society (the one who governs) free from fantasy. When a fantasy answers serious questions, it stunts the growth of society as a whole and leaves no room for growth. I'll give an example of this:

Using God to heal
John has killed 4 people, he is evil, he has sinned against God, he needs to beg for forgiveness, if he accepts God he will become good and not murder people. God will save lives by putting fear into John.

Godless approach
John has killed 4 people, John might have a mental illness. Let's examine John and see if we can fix this. If we can't, then lets keep researching until we can find out what's wrong with John. Therefore we will save lives and treat people like John before they harm others or themselves in the future.

A Gods word can stunt growth, it can put an end to the search for real answers. I don't see this as a good thing, and it holds back scientific advancements like stem cell research, mental health cures, cancer treatments, etc. It takes money from these areas of life that actually prove to be useful. We use science everyday, all of us, including all Theists. I would like to see more faith in what we ACTUALLY do, then the faith we have in a God that has done nothing to ACTUALLY prevent disease or illnesses that are killing our population daily. Theists stunt this growth, and make it difficult to research real answers to our problems, at the same time they use what little science we squeak out despite. This is far from logical, IMO of course.

If Theists beliefs were just held as personal fantasies, then human beings could make scientific advances much faster than we do now. I don't have any drive to eliminate others dreams of their future with a God, none at all. But, I do have an issue with proselytizing it as truth to a society.

Last edited by PoppySead; 02-16-2014 at 08:42 AM..
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,892,998 times
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Originally Posted by PegE View Post
Someone who doesn't belive that their is a heavenly sky father looking down and helping kids win football games while other kids starve.
This is a good example. Imagine a society where God accepts the ignorance of his people in regards to starving children. Where God is praised for a good outcome of a large sports game, where all the players of this game made enough money, and people watching this game paid enough money to feed those starving children. Yet, God followed them to this game and helped foster the talent of these players for a win. Not hard to imagine in the U.S.A. is it.

God in the minds of the human race makes no logical sense. It's just a genie in a bottle, and we rub it depending on our desires, like a rabbits foot or a lucky charm. This isn't helping society free itself from it's ills. IMO.

Now, does it hurt us? Would another approach help us as a society? Logically to me, we should try it because what we currently have isn't solving hunger. Why not try a scientific approach?

Last edited by PoppySead; 02-16-2014 at 09:10 AM..
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:52 AM
 
39,127 posts, read 10,857,554 times
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Originally Posted by shaka aethelstan View Post
Well in fairness an atheistic society/government doesn't HAVE to be benevolent. Atheism is just a philosophical stance, not a dogma.

I am so wary of anything being ascribed to atheism other than 'no god -belief' that I immediately go into rejection -mode.

But, yes, a philosophical stance is what it is, so far as I can see. And you are right - atheism doesn't have to be benevolent, any more than science - it merely has to be the best explanation of the validated evidence.

At the same time, both science and irreligion (which is what atheism gives us, in practical terms) have implications outside of science and the rejection fo the god -claim. If you find that you can turn a human embryo into a Zaphod Beeblebrox, should you? There are moral and ethical considerations that are not science, but are important to society.

Similarly, without a divine TV with a scowling Ayatollah -god taking Our Names for Later Retribution, we can do whatever we like, right? There are moral and ethical considerations, not to mention legal and purely practical social ones.

While I believe that atheism being right (if evidence and logic counts for anything) draws a whole lot of water in terms of worldview (or it should) there is a big -indeed a total - fallout (If I may mix my metaphors) in terms of morality.

This is actually good, as it makes us look closely at it, and we find out - whodathunkit? - that morality was never God -given at all, but human evolved social codes which were Hi- jacked by religion, a few personal religious preferences (There is only one god; Me. Understand? You don't worship any of the others..who don't exist, of course. Got it?) added and sold onto the dupes as though they invented it. In fact, we use Human Morality (pardon me if you have heard this before ) to evaluate what is in the Bible as Good stuff and Bad that we need to justify God doing.

So trying work out a human - constructed moral social code that would be good for everyone is what we have been doing all along and religion in fact got in the way of it, and only made itself look Good by handing out free soup. Paid for with money it got from us under false pretences.

There is really no reason that I can see to suppose that civilization is going to collapse without Christianity. In fact, I can imagine that it would be better off, but like you say, Shaka, that is not what atheism is about, any more than science.

That is why atheists never gave much consideration to what a world would be like without religion (except in small group meetings, like Star -trek conventions) until the Atheist Avalanche, which I do hope is still rolling and it wasn't just a stats blip, made the idea seem more than just wishful thinking, about as likely to happen as the Second Coming.

'Elevatorgate', while theists of course tried to blow it up out of proportion, was an important question that we must never overlook... no, it's no use getting up...the doors are locked... . It is not good enough to say 'Men are always going to proposition Hot Chicks'. We have to do better. A secular society has to fully embrace women's liberation - just as women have to recognize that men will always lust after Hot Chicks (or at my age, hot or not - the only hot chick I can expect to enjoy is fresh off a rotissary) and not use it as a 'cut their balls off' man-hate tirade.

And that's where atheism comes in and the whole knock -on effect of where our morals and our instincts come from. Understanding what we want and why we want it will help the genders (all four of them (1) to understand themselves and one another and stop this uncomprehending gender - war that is the longest since the evolutionary arms race began when the first cell ate the first dinner.

Yes, yes, you can leave now. Toilets are on the left.

(1) or should that be five?

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 02-16-2014 at 10:25 AM.. Reason: Additional quip, free of charge.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:02 AM
 
39,127 posts, read 10,857,554 times
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Originally Posted by travric View Post
.

In this court of inquiry?? With this loaded set of specific adjudicators?...Let's go with Alex Trebek maybe eh? At the least he, indibitably as the sun rises in the East, always has the 'answers'.....;-)...

Personally I do not see a 'debate'. I'm not concerned about winning. I am just expressing a viewpoint countering the notion of a god-less universe. I like turning over things seeing what's the story. From the story we got here, we're entrenched in our lines for sure and never will we meet. Battle looks like it's all we got and as for the speculation of what an atheistic universe would be like well you can convince yourselves to the best of your ability all you like but, at this point, all we can say with certainty is that it may or may not conform to the reality you envision.
That sounds reasonable. And I agree that a debate or discussion ought not to be about winning, but about getting to some worthwhile conclusions.

I suggest that we have done so, in that I at least have taken on your pertinent misgivings about failed experiments in atheism and hopefully given some reasons why they are not a reason for us to draw back from the mission, but to bear them in mind. I suppose that it is only to be expected that answering your misgivings will still leave you with the misgivings. Lordy, the world is full of people that claim that the world is collapsing through turning our backs of Decency, Traditional morals and Victorian family Values right now and that when we atheists are still in a minority (last time we checked, anyway ). Do you at least get a glimmer that your questions have been addressed and all that is left is your refusal to take on the conclusions? And not through very cogent reasons.

That is why some may feel that you have no real case left other than residual prejudice.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:21 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,357,130 times
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Originally Posted by shaka aethelstan View Post
Well in fairness an atheistic society/government doesn't HAVE to be benevolent. Atheism is just a philosophical stance, not a dogma.
That's true, it doesn't have to be benevolent. I suppose the over-arcing point in this whole debate, though, is that if an atheistic society is not benevolent, it isn't because of atheism.

The reason, of course, is because atheism doesn't tell us to do anything. It doesn't have a holy book to consult, it doesn't have rules to follow, archaeic morality to adhere to, tenats to strictly obey, or any other command, demand, or expectation. Atheism doesn't define our lives nor would it be the first thing out of our mouths if someone asked us to describe ourselves. We don't make our decisions in life based on whether we're appeasing atheism, we aren't making irrational decisions based on our fear of atheism, and we aren't arbitrarily supporting or banning things based on a 3,000 year-old set of Arab customs.

In truth, that makes atheism rather difficult to live with ... because when you clear away God and religion, all that's left is, well. us. It means we are responsible for our own behaviors, so if we ended up with a tyrannical society, we would only have ourselves to blame.

If atheists, for some unfathomable reason, wanted to deny gays the right to marry, we can't say it's because that's what God wants or because it is written in the Bible. Nope, we can't hide our bigotry and hatred behind a shield of feigned righteousness. Our bigotry and hatred would be laid bare for our detractors to rightfully condemn us for.

If we decided to ban the Bible or execute Christians, again, it would be because we're mean and evil people. We don't have a God to hide behind. We can't shove a supreme being onto center stage and point at him saying, "He did it. He said to do it. We're just following orders." Yeah, shades of Nuremburg, I suspect. No, we can't claim to be good and decent while following the immoral depravities of a Bronze Age desert tribal god. There is just ... us and our own motives and shortcomings.

THAT would be the reason for a tyrannical society ... and I almost wrote here, "tyrannical society under atheism." Except it wouldn't BE "under atheism" because atheism, once again, doesn't tell us how to rule, how to live, or what kind of society atheism expects (under threat of eternal punishment if we fail). An atheist society is perfectly justified in letting Christians go about doing what they do. Nothing about atheism says we have to persecute anyone or ban religion. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. I can't say that often enough. Nothing.

This is why any arguments eluding to Stalin's atheism is patently irrelevant - because atheism didn't tell Stalin to do anything. It didn't tell him to commit mass purges or to create famines or to oppress Russian Orthodoxy. If an atheist commits evil, he did so because the person IS evil, not because atheism is directing him to commit evil acts. Stalin was not some nice and loving teddy bear who was misguided by the dogma of atheism. Nope. He was nasty to the core.

If someone is going to say that a ruler is tyrannical because he's an atheist, one may as well say Stalin was tyrannical because he had a mustache. There is no causality - and there can't be since atheism is merely a state of beleif and not a dogma, doctrine, or paradigm. It's why atheists can get mildly annoyed when Christians imply that evolution, the Big Bang, and similar scientific ideas are somehow a part of atheist dogma ... NO! They don't have anything to do with each other. While yes, it is true that most atheists accept evolution, it isn't because they're atheists. It's because it represents the best explanation for the diversity of life. If that atheist were a Christian, chances are, that person would STILL accept evolution.

But there is plenty of evidence, plenty of history, to show that theocratic government - or even other forms of government where religion exists too close to the halls of power - have not been benevolent.

America is NO exception to this.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:43 AM
 
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That is why some may feel that you have no real case left other than residual prejudice.
Well it looks like we're gonna have to ride all this out to the 'endgame' whatever that may be. As noted, 'beliefs', religious, spiritual, scientific in the post-modern age have changed probably irrevocably. All we can do is keep track and see how it all plays out in the intellectual interaction. Plenty to come!
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