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Old 03-05-2014, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,883,343 times
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http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/1...about-atheism/ - video link

Nyad, 64, who swam from Cuba to Key West last month, said “I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity — all the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt.”

Winfrey responded, “Well I don’t call you an atheist then.”

Winfrey went on, “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery then that is what God is… It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.”

Nyad clarified that she doesn’t use the word God because it implies a “presence… a creator or an overseer.”

Winfrey’s response may have been well intended, but it erased Nyad’s atheist identity and suggested something entirely untrue and, to many atheists like me, offensive: that atheists don’t experience awe and wonder.

Do you find that people lack understanding that an atheist, or non believer can experience wonder, or be moved by all of humanity or astounded at the beauty of the world?

I don't personally think Oprah meant to ditch Nyad but I do think she illustrated what Theists believe they hold the keys to. I find myself going overboard to explain this to believer when they assume I have no awe inspiring moments without a God.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:47 AM
 
Location: CA
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"When I ask how many of them actually have a relationship with an atheist, few raise their hands."

I think that's what it comes down to. People are going to have preconceived notions of what an atheist feels. I can't speak for all atheist but I feel what everyone else feels (awe, wonder, spirituality, etc.) I just don't interpret those feelings as god talking to me or whatever.

I recall an atheist saying to me (before I was an atheist myself) that they were spiritual but didn't believe in god. I was perplexed by that statement because I couldn't imagine an atheist being spiritual about anything. But now I understand of course.

Nyad did use the word "god" at the end of the initial quote, "...my definition of god is humanity and is the love of humanity." That statement can be confusing. I can't speak for all atheist of course but, I believe god isn't anything except a concept created by humans. That's it. I have said to my kids that "god is different for different people." But that's my own definition, and we all have our own definition. Nyad may have just been trying to relate atheist to theist in our appreciation of life/spirituality. She may have been trying to dispel a myth but Oprah ruined it.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:19 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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For most Christians, it is a rather fine line going from "awe and wonder about the universe" directly to "Jesus died for our sins so that we may all have eternal life."
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Vermont
10,305 posts, read 11,212,063 times
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I think this is more evidence, along with her credulous acceptance of "The Secret", that Oprah Winfrey is pretty soft-headed.

I know there are people who say they are atheists but hold onto some concept of spirit or spirituality. In general I think they're mostly talking about emotional or psychological experiences, but if they are really talking about the existence of some kind of spirit that has some kind of existence independent of the human organism then they aren't thinking clearly enough about things. If you're willing to believe in some kind of soul or spirit, for which there is literally no evidence, then why wouldn't you believe in whatever god appeals to you?
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:45 PM
 
39,020 posts, read 10,812,637 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppySead View Post
What Oprah gets wrong about atheism – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs - video link

Nyad, 64, who swam from Cuba to Key West last month, said “I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity — all the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt.”

Winfrey responded, “Well I don’t call you an atheist then.”

Winfrey went on, “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery then that is what God is… It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.”

Nyad clarified that she doesn’t use the word God because it implies a “presence… a creator or an overseer.”

Winfrey’s response may have been well intended, but it erased Nyad’s atheist identity and suggested something entirely untrue and, to many atheists like me, offensive: that atheists don’t experience awe and wonder.

Do you find that people lack understanding that an atheist, or non believer can experience wonder, or be moved by all of humanity or astounded at the beauty of the world?

I don't personally think Oprah meant to ditch Nyad but I do think she illustrated what Theists believe they hold the keys to. I find myself going overboard to explain this to believer when they assume I have no awe inspiring moments without a God.
I think that is absolutely right. Believers cannot imagine anyone having the sense of awe, wonder and beauty w2ithout labelling it 'God', which it is not.

I can imagine that it is a sense of wonder awe and sense of beauty at nature- which it can be said is the work of God- I understand that, but to claim that this feeling IS somehow to be regarded as negating atheism is denying atheists the respect that Christians expect from us.
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Mill Valley, California
275 posts, read 393,422 times
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I think the Nyad-Winfrey interview hilighted a rarely talked about fundemental difference that most atheists are, at least, vaguely aware of, but (as Winfrey's unintended insult belies) virtually no one on the other side seems to have a clue about. The phenomenon of false-attributions to religious concepts. So much time is wasted in debates without ever addressing the heart of the matter (whether God is real, or rational, or myth, or possible, or ...etc.) because atheists have to first wade through and beat down a huge shrouded of false-attributions that theists have been thinking were acceptable all of their lives -- God is awe, God is love, God is forgiveness, God is Goodness, God is everything,...which implies those of us without God can't feel awe, love, forgiveness, goodness...or anything?). Sorry to be prosaic, but I thought you were claiming God was a THINKING BEING of some sort...how does love or awe create a universe?

Theists cling to this kind of sloppy thinking for years -- until they are abruptly challenged by an atheist who not only doesn't share their core belief in God, but is actually justifiably OFFENDED by the implications of their simple-minded and clearly false attributions that they have about their alleged deity....and down the rabbit hole we go, without ever getting back to any kind of real discussion over the actual core belief that defines the theist/atheist divide. We are reduced to mental janitors, spending all our time sweeping out their dusty offensive and thoughtless drivel, rather than getting down to brass-tacks, rolling up our sleeves and actually hammering out our real differences.

Last edited by HopOnPop; 03-05-2014 at 02:28 PM..
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,883,343 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopOnPop View Post
I think the Nyad-Winfrey interview hilighted a rarely talked about fundemental difference that most atheists are, at least, vaguely aware of, but (as Winfrey's unintended insult belies) virtually no one on the other side seems to have a clue about. The phenomenon of false-attributions to religious concepts. So much time is wasted in debates without ever addressing the heart of the matter (whether God is real, or rational, or myth, or possible, or ...etc.) because atheists have to first wade through and beat down a huge shrouded of false-attributions that theists have been thinking were acceptable all of their lives -- God is awe, God is love, God is forgiveness, God is Goodness, God is everything,...which implies those of us without God can't feel awe, love, forgiveness, goodness...or anything?). Sorry to be prosaic, but I thought you were claiming God was a THINKING BEING of some sort...how does love or awe create a universe?

Theists cling to this kind of sloppy thinking for years -- until they are abruptly challenged by an atheist who not only doesn't share their core belief in God, but is actually justifiably OFFENDED by the implications of their simple-minded and clearly false attributions that they have about their alleged deity....and down the rabbit hole we go, without ever getting back to any kind of real discussion over the actual core belief that defines the theist/atheist divide. We are reduced to mental janitors, spending all our time sweeping out their dusty offensive and thoughtless drivel, rather than getting down to brass-tacks, rolling up our sleeves and actually hammering out our real differences.
Yes, I feel like this a lot. Most times I don't bother because I don't have the time to teach a Theist. Since it offends them, and I have to tread ever so lightly, it can take hours. By then I cannot remember the point I was making in the first place.

Hardly ever do I stand in a group of people I'm with and voice my awe of mother nature or a miraculous birth because I know what comes next. Ah, yes, isn't God wonderful for giving us all these pleasurable gifts. (even when they know I'm a non believer)

Of course at that time I become Satan and my eyes roll back as I think up my next line. lol So, I find it best to think the awe inspiring thoughts to myself and leave it at that. I'm good with it.
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,883,343 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
I think that is absolutely right. Believers cannot imagine anyone having the sense of awe, wonder and beauty w2ithout labelling it 'God', which it is not.

I can imagine that it is a sense of wonder awe and sense of beauty at nature- which it can be said is the work of God- I understand that, but to claim that this feeling IS somehow to be regarded as negating atheism is denying atheists the respect that Christians expect from us.
Nope, they don't seem to be able to. At least the bible based Theists here. I really don't think they equate what they say with disrespect, or they're really good at acting like they don't.
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,883,343 times
Reputation: 7441
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmccullough View Post
I think this is more evidence, along with her credulous acceptance of "The Secret", that Oprah Winfrey is pretty soft-headed.

I know there are people who say they are atheists but hold onto some concept of spirit or spirituality. In general I think they're mostly talking about emotional or psychological experiences, but if they are really talking about the existence of some kind of spirit that has some kind of existence independent of the human organism then they aren't thinking clearly enough about things. If you're willing to believe in some kind of soul or spirit, for which there is literally no evidence, then why wouldn't you believe in whatever god appeals to you?
Indeed!
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,883,343 times
Reputation: 7441
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommabear2 View Post
"When I ask how many of them actually have a relationship with an atheist, few raise their hands."

I think that's what it comes down to. People are going to have preconceived notions of what an atheist feels. I can't speak for all atheist but I feel what everyone else feels (awe, wonder, spirituality, etc.) I just don't interpret those feelings as god talking to me or whatever.

I recall an atheist saying to me (before I was an atheist myself) that they were spiritual but didn't believe in god. I was perplexed by that statement because I couldn't imagine an atheist being spiritual about anything. But now I understand of course.

Nyad did use the word "god" at the end of the initial quote, "...my definition of god is humanity and is the love of humanity." That statement can be confusing. I can't speak for all atheist of course but, I believe god isn't anything except a concept created by humans. That's it. I have said to my kids that "god is different for different people." But that's my own definition, and we all have our own definition. Nyad may have just been trying to relate atheist to theist in our appreciation of life/spirituality. She may have been trying to dispel a myth but Oprah ruined it.
Yea, I think she should have made it clear. For me, belief in humanity and the natural process is enough to be as awe inspiring as God is for you. Something clearer because once people have the concept of a God being responsible for "all" it's hard for them to conceptualize anything other than that. Which has become a fact to them through conditioning. I agree. But, she was probably shocked Oprah brought out the "God" card to easily in public. Oprah obviously didn't do her research, maybe she feels above that now given her status lately. lol
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