U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-17-2014, 12:29 PM
 
Location: "Arlen" Texas
2,384 posts, read 1,559,961 times
Reputation: 9255

Advertisements

It's perfectly acceptable to "respect" our ancestors. Knowing what they went through in their lives can be educational and even quite moving. "Veneration" would only become a problem if it crossed over into some form of blind worship or obsessive devotion.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-17-2014, 01:05 PM
 
39,207 posts, read 10,887,543 times
Reputation: 5096
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Not necessarily. Rituals are not necessarily connected to supernatural or superstitious beliefs. Technically all any ritual is, is something repetitive that aids one's mental focus. It is in that sense a valid tool for aiding some people with focus and calmness. It is only when people think the ritual has some sort of inherent power or mojo of its own that it acquires irrational aspects.
Point taken.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-17-2014, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,699 posts, read 8,501,190 times
Reputation: 4898
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Not necessarily. Rituals are not necessarily connected to supernatural or superstitious beliefs. Technically all any ritual is, is something repetitive that aids one's mental focus. It is in that sense a valid tool for aiding some people with focus and calmness. It is only when people think the ritual has some sort of inherent power or mojo of its own that it acquires irrational aspects.
Agreed, this is how I practice ritual. I find it a fulfilling activity to meditate on my gods, which I consider personifications of abstract non-supernatural concepts present in the universe, and to get in touch with the manifestations of those ideas within my own being. That sounds like irrational supernaturalism, but in fact I hold a strictly scientific view of the universe, it is rather a culturally non-western way of interacting with and meditating upon the abstract concepts that matter to human lives. It then becomes a semantic point whether or not I'm an atheist if I identify concepts like endings and yogic asceticism with the personality of Shiva and find meaning in meditating on that personality through ritual, if at the same time I do not believe that personality exists as a being, or as any independent thing separate from those ideas.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2014, 01:12 PM
 
Location: SGV, CA
816 posts, read 1,557,673 times
Reputation: 1243
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelDragon View Post
The only thing that is compatible with atheism is the suspension of a belief in a deity. Atheism doesn't tell anyone to do anything. So yes, you can 'venerate' your fallen ancestors, believe in the loch ness monster, flying spaghetti monster, and bigfoot and no one can make the claim that you are not being a good atheist!
What about a belief in spirits and the afterlife? Such things do not automatically assume the existence of God, but they do cross into the supernatural realm. I'm of Chinese descent, but I'm not well versed on Eastern religions and customs. I do know from what my parents told me that Chinese people traditionally burned fake money at funerals so that the deceased would have money in the afterlife. Further confounding to me is that traditional East Asian religions do not understand 'God' in the same way as the Western Judeo-Christian tradition. If one 'worships' their ancestors, does that necessarily mean they believe their ancestors to be Gods?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2014, 01:59 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,202 posts, read 11,015,524 times
Reputation: 7431
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
Cool. Tell me more how you remember and reflect on the positive aspects and memories of your own deceased family members (i.e. keeping cremation urns; food offerings; burning spirit money; making requests to a spirit, not a god, on behalf of family, performing some sort of ritualistic behavior in remembrance of the deceased person).
I've heard of people keeping cremation urns, and I've even heard that soome people keep them on display, out on the mantle for everybody to see. I've never heard of people making food offerings to a dead guy, probably because dead people have no need for food. I've never heard of anybody burning spirit money (whatever that is) for dead people either. I guess anybody can make a request to a spirit if that's what they want to do.

Most people I know, if they do anything visible to remember their dead relatives, go to cemeteries and leave flowers. (I don't know what they think the dead people are going to do with flowers.)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2014, 10:10 PM
 
39,207 posts, read 10,887,543 times
Reputation: 5096
Quote:
Originally Posted by red4ce View Post
What about a belief in spirits and the afterlife? Such things do not automatically assume the existence of God, but they do cross into the supernatural realm. I'm of Chinese descent, but I'm not well versed on Eastern religions and customs. I do know from what my parents told me that Chinese people traditionally burned fake money at funerals so that the deceased would have money in the afterlife. Further confounding to me is that traditional East Asian religions do not understand 'God' in the same way as the Western Judeo-Christian tradition. If one 'worships' their ancestors, does that necessarily mean they believe their ancestors to be Gods?
I suppose the answer is that they are not gods as they are not the bosses, but to us they would be gods if they could do something we thought of as supernatural - like predict the future or tell us where buried treasure was hidden. But then a lot of sprites and ghosts can do that sort of thing.

No, they might be able to fool some of the people some of the time if they pretended to be gods, but they wouldn't be.

At least as the belief goes. In reality they might be as near gods (or one god) as makes no difference. We really have no idea.

Which is why venerating ancestors is not really compatible with being atheist, just as not believing in leprechauns is not compatible with the mindset that goes with atheism. But one could rationalize the practice as just showing respect for one's ancestry. After all, without them, we wouldn't be here.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2014, 02:46 AM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
15,511 posts, read 13,299,862 times
Reputation: 7407
I never heard of anyone being excommunicated from Atheism for any reason. If a person has not found any reason to believe in the existence of a deity they are an Atheist. The only thing Atheists have in common is they do not believe in the existence of God. Outside of that there probably are as many individual practices as there are atheists.

There is no designated category box all atheists have to fit in.

Why us humans think we have to ascribe labels to people still confuses me. If we went for truth in labeling every person would require a custom made label.

There is no single answer for the OP's question.

Just my opinion, but then again I am not an atheist and have no business speaking for any.
__________________
When posting as a MOD my posts will be in red

No advertising, no copyrighted material, no personal attacks


MODERATOR OF: Buddhism: Judaism: Paganism:

When in doubt read the TOS MOD LIST FAQ's
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2014, 03:24 AM
 
7,802 posts, read 5,286,683 times
Reputation: 2973
While building an altar in your house with pictures and posessions of someone dead strikes me as a little creepy.... the actual idea of veneration of ancestors strikes me as a good thing and I see no incompatability with atheism. In fact so little incompatability do I see that I am not even sure what the grounding of even asking the question is or why it has bothered you for so long.

Humans seem to like having an ideal to strive towards. Religions like Christianity use this fact to perpetuate themselves by creating an unattainable perfection ideal, such as the mythical Jesus Christ character, to strive towards. The failure to attain this idea is then coupled with a "Well Jesus loves you anyway, despite your failures" mentality to capture the mark in an almost Stolkholm Syndrome love of their slave over lord.

But taking example from our past and holding them up as ideals to strive towards, and venerating our direct and societal ancestors as examples of those ideas.... this strikes me as a good thing.... without any of the mental stokholm manipulation inherent in the Christianity version.

I am all for it in other words. Take the best of our memories of people from the past and laud praise on them and hold them up as examples of the kinds of ideal we should strive towards.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2014, 05:51 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,094,403 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
But taking example from our past and holding them up as ideals to strive towards, and venerating our direct and societal ancestors as examples of those ideas.... this strikes me as a good thing.... without any of the mental Stockholm manipulation inherent in the Christianity version.
I think it is possible for any practice to be unhealthy and ancestor veneration is no exception. It's one thing to keep their memory alive, especially the good bits, but it's another to literally think they are watching and perhaps judging or influencing you or your possible position in the afterlife or whatever. Then they become denizens of an imaginary realm and you are living your life for irrational motivations. If this becomes a system of belief within society then you can be manipulated by others via that belief just like with religion. In fact I'd argue it ends up becoming a religion or at least a quasi-religion.

That said if you simply want to create rituals to help you remember and learn from the example of your ancestors, period, then that could be a very healthy thing.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-21-2014, 06:52 AM
 
39,207 posts, read 10,887,543 times
Reputation: 5096
LI's remark is of course a valid one. This is just musing about it. What one does and how or why they may do it and whether or not the doing of it may compromise their atheism is a matter for the individual.There is no sort of Atheist Star chamber whence the goddless erring from the dogma are dragged by hooded acolytes to explain themselves, which if they are not able to do so in a satisfactory manner, they are excommunicated from the heathen fold.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top