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Old 03-14-2014, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post



No. But I did think about starting a thread about whether or not an atheist must accept secular humanism. Humanism at its core is focused on the human, so it may be plausible to accept Confucian humanism or Christian humanism. Besides, Confucianism by itself is really just a philosophy.

It probably would have been better for you to have begun with that, it clarifies your general interest here.

All that is required to be an atheist is to not believe in some specific intelligence which created and is operating the universe which we know. In the same manner that you can believe in god without belonging to any organized religion, you may not believe in god without belonging to any other systems of belief, including humanism.

My inclination is to be as label resistant as possible, it avoids trapping oneself in a box when encountering phenomena which does not fit with the prevailing philosophy behind this or that label. For example, I do not pretend to know the answers to the riddles of cosmic origins and operations, and the whole god business strikes me as a relatively puny guess given the immensity of the universe and the insignificance place the Earth occupies within it, and the even less significant place an Earth individual occupies. So, no, I do not believe in a god, so that makes me an atheist. I do not have the cosmic answer however, so some might say that really makes me an agnostic. But if you wish to truly understand my view, you need to read my explanatory sentences, not extract it from a label.

Your concerns here might be described as "What happens when labels collide?" And as noted, by avoiding labels I also avoid those collisions.
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Old 03-14-2014, 11:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
I posted this thread about a year ago and was surprised that a couple of people really took exception to the result because they didn't fit into the 'Humanist box'. (It was supposed to be a bit of fun.. I didn't even get 100%)

How 'Humanist' are you?
I took the short quiz and got 80% Humanist. However, I felt the quiz was biased and framed, because it leaned toward Judaism and Christianity, and because the quiz seemed to reduce the story into a mere belief, which appeared irrational. If I were to examine the beliefs in the context of Genesis story of the Bible, then I would say that would make sense, and I would agree with the truthfulness of the story in the same way I would regard Aesop's fables. I observe that the God of the Bible is a character of the Bible, interacting with the people. He is the product of what people believed. Yet, I find his character a likeable and interesting in the same way I would find The Joker in Batman a likeable and interesting character.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,876 posts, read 3,797,576 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
I took the short quiz and got 80% Humanist. However, I felt the quiz was biased and framed, because it leaned toward Judaism and Christianity, and because the quiz seemed to reduce the story into a mere belief, which appeared irrational. If I were to examine the beliefs in the context of Genesis story of the Bible, then I would say that would make sense, and I would agree with the truthfulness of the story in the same way I would regard Aesop's fables. I observe that the God of the Bible is a character of the Bible, interacting with the people. He is the product of what people believed. Yet, I find his character a likeable and interesting in the same way I would find The Joker in Batman a likeable and interesting character.
Which specific questions did you think leaned towards Judaism and Christianity?

Which 'story'? Genesis? The quiz mentions no such story.

The only question to me that might lean towards Christianity is the one about afterlife (with a vague statement about punishment if I have been bad). But plenty of religions believe in an afterlife.

There is also a statement about aliens. I don't think the quiz 'leans towards' a belief in aliens.


Seems you have answered the questions with a religious bias in mind.
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Old 03-14-2014, 02:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
Which specific questions did you think leaned towards Judaism and Christianity?
This Question: How did the Universe begin?
A) I don't know.
B) It was set up as an experiment by extremely intelligent aliens from another universe, who drop in every now and then to see how we're doing.
C) God created it.
D) The scientific explanations are the best ones available. No gods were involved.

I would choose A. I do not know, and I think nobody really knows up to this point. Why does it matter that we know the truth about the beginning of the universe anyway? This question seems to take the presumption that such matters are important enough to fit into one's cosmology. B fails to convince me, because it implies that there is matter in the early Universe... and um... I thought the early Universe was just nothing and then expanded. C is ambiguous. What is "God" here? What does "created" mean? D has the unnecessary "No gods were involved", implying that gods have something to do with the beginning of the universe. Scientific explanations, as far as I know, have only explained how the Universe evolved since the beginning. We don't know what happened at the beginning of time or before the beginning. At least we know that the Universe has a beginning.

And This Question:The theory that life on Earth evolved gradually over billions of years is...
A) Likely to be true, but I think God had a part in it too.
B) Probably true, because my Science teacher said it was true.
C) Just a theory. My religion tells the true story.
D) True. There is plenty of evidence from fossils, DNA and many other sources showing that this is how it happened.

I did not pick A, because "God" is ambiguous. I did not pick B, because that's just faulty reasoning. Just because your science teacher says it's true doesn't mean it's true. You nevertheless trust your science teacher for teaching you known scientific facts and the way to find the facts. C uses the term, "Just a theory," a phrase with subtle meaning. C then shifts attention to how the person's religion tells the true story, as if the theory is false in some way, implying somehow the scientific theory is against religion in some way. I answered D, because a scientific theory must be supported by evidence, not religious dogma.

And This Question:Other people matter and should be treated with respect because...
A) They are useful to me.
B) They are people with feelings like mine.
C) God created us all in his image.
D) We will all be happier if we treat each other well.

A doesn't make sense to me. C has a similar wording to a biblical verse. D seems to suggest that the purpose is to make people happy. Although I would agree with B and D, I like B better than D, because B implies empathy while D implies somehow knowing that the other person will feel happier if we treat each other well. I think the ability to feel empathy is the reason why we can perceive happiness in others. Therefore, I believe that B holds true.

I am familiar with the wording. I can recognize certain key words and phrases that English-speaking creationists would use.
- God created it.
- Likely to be true, but I think God had a part in it too.
- Just a theory. My religion tells the true story.
- God created us all in his image.

The wording by itself is meaningless and can mean anything, but people don't live in a box. Whoever has made the poll probably knows how Creationists would answer and pop in a few responses in there. You must examine the questions and answers holistically, and identify the underlying assumptions people are making in the questions AND the answers. For the question, "How did the Universe begin?", I would answer "I don't know." For the question, "How did the Universe evolve?", I would give the scientific explanation from what I learned in my science classes. For the question, "According to the biblical narrative found in Genesis, how did the world begin?" I would answer, "God created it." My answers are based on context.

Last edited by McDweller; 03-14-2014 at 02:38 PM..
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Old 03-14-2014, 02:36 PM
 
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I always thought "HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD" was the phrase you use when you're shocked about something.

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Old 03-14-2014, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Summit, NJ
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One of the last times I said a full Rosary (and out loud at that) was at my great-grandmother's funeral, when I was 14. To break the monotony, I would change the emphasis on words: hail mary, full OF grace, the lord IS with thee. It made my mom laugh, and give me a nudge.

There's a slight chance, depending on your life experience, that reciting the rosary while thinking of stressful experiences would be calming for you. If I need to burn negative energy, I like writing in a journal, or going for a long walk.

Is it "compatible" with atheism? Most nonreligious people would find it to be a waste of time. But it's not like we'll say it's sacreligious or anything.
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,876 posts, read 3,797,576 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
This Question: How did the Universe begin?
A) I don't know.
B) It was set up as an experiment by extremely intelligent aliens from another universe, who drop in every now and then to see how we're doing.
C) God created it.
D) The scientific explanations are the best ones available. No gods were involved.

I would choose A. I do not know, and I think nobody really knows up to this point. Why does it matter that we know the truth about the beginning of the universe anyway? This question seems to take the presumption that such matters are important enough to fit into one's cosmology. B fails to convince me, because it implies that there is matter in the early Universe... and um... I thought the early Universe was just nothing and then expanded. C is ambiguous. What is "God" here? What does "created" mean? D has the unnecessary "No gods were involved", implying that gods have something to do with the beginning of the universe. Scientific explanations, as far as I know, have only explained how the Universe evolved since the beginning. We don't know what happened at the beginning of time or before the beginning. At least we know that the Universe has a beginning.

And This Question:The theory that life on Earth evolved gradually over billions of years is...
A) Likely to be true, but I think God had a part in it too.
B) Probably true, because my Science teacher said it was true.
C) Just a theory. My religion tells the true story.
D) True. There is plenty of evidence from fossils, DNA and many other sources showing that this is how it happened.

I did not pick A, because "God" is ambiguous. I did not pick B, because that's just faulty reasoning. Just because your science teacher says it's true doesn't mean it's true. You nevertheless trust your science teacher for teaching you known scientific facts and the way to find the facts. C uses the term, "Just a theory," a phrase with subtle meaning. C then shifts attention to how the person's religion tells the true story, as if the theory is false in some way, implying somehow the scientific theory is against religion in some way. I answered D, because a scientific theory must be supported by evidence, not religious dogma.

And This Question:Other people matter and should be treated with respect because...
A) They are useful to me.
B) They are people with feelings like mine.
C) God created us all in his image.
D) We will all be happier if we treat each other well.

A doesn't make sense to me. C has a similar wording to a biblical verse. D seems to suggest that the purpose is to make people happy. Although I would agree with B and D, I like B better than D, because B implies empathy while D implies somehow knowing that the other person will feel happier if we treat each other well. I think the ability to feel empathy is the reason why we can perceive happiness in others. Therefore, I believe that B holds true.

I am familiar with the wording. I can recognize certain key words and phrases that English-speaking creationists would use.
- God created it.
- Likely to be true, but I think God had a part in it too.
- Just a theory. My religion tells the true story.
- God created us all in his image.

The wording by itself is meaningless and can mean anything, but people don't live in a box. Whoever has made the poll probably knows how Creationists would answer and pop in a few responses in there. You must examine the questions and answers holistically, and identify the underlying assumptions people are making in the questions AND the answers. For the question, "How did the Universe begin?", I would answer "I don't know." For the question, "How did the Universe evolve?", I would give the scientific explanation from what I learned in my science classes. For the question, "According to the biblical narrative found in Genesis, how did the world begin?" I would answer, "God created it." My answers are based on context.

What your response tells me is that you have answered the questions with a specific Christian bias in mind and are reading things into the questions that aren't there. I absolutely don't see that any of the questions are aimed at Christian 'creationists'.


As an atheist I don't see anything there specific to Christianity or with any Christian or Judaic bias whatsoever.
All of those questions are very general about 'god' or 'creation' - there are no specifics attaching them to any religion. Practically every religion has a 'creation' story attached, not just Christianity.


You haven't stated so far where your religious leanings lie but it seems to me you are not an atheist. That's fine, not a problem - I'm happy to answer any questions. But if you really want to understand how an atheists mind works, you would perhaps find it easier to come at it with a clean slate. You are attaching preconceived notions where there are none.

For example;
Quote:
D has the unnecessary "No gods were involved", implying that gods have something to do with the beginning of the universe.
How you draw that conclusion from that statement I have no idea. Clearly it means the exact opposite.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,102,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
Is reciting meaningless noise in order to focus and center oneself compatible with atheism? Of course. Atheists do not avoid practices that religious people do just because religious people do them.

But why in that case the Hail Mary? If all you are doing is reciting meaningless noise you could just as validly use a recipe for dip. The Bene Gesserit in Frank Herberts Dune have some nice litanies that are worth of recitation.
Exactly. The rosary is simply a form of meditation. The ritual, formulaic repetition of words and manipulation of the beads facilitate the meditation. I'm sure that many Catholics find reciting the rosary soothing, although the original intent was to encourage people to ponder "the mysteries" regularly.

The OP admits himself that the rosary is perhaps a poor example, and I agree. A better question is whether there is anything about meditation generally that's incompatible with atheism. So long as meditation isn't motivated by god beliefs then it's not incompatible.

I am with Cruithne on this, I don't understand the purpose of the question and wonder what the OP is really getting at.
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Old 03-14-2014, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,102,293 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
I took the short quiz and got 80% Humanist. However, I felt the quiz was biased and framed, because it leaned toward Judaism and Christianity, and because the quiz seemed to reduce the story into a mere belief, which appeared irrational. If I were to examine the beliefs in the context of Genesis story of the Bible, then I would say that would make sense, and I would agree with the truthfulness of the story in the same way I would regard Aesop's fables. I observe that the God of the Bible is a character of the Bible, interacting with the people. He is the product of what people believed. Yet, I find his character a likeable and interesting in the same way I would find The Joker in Batman a likeable and interesting character.
I got 93%.

I don't understand why you'd say it leaned Judeo-Christian. Or why you'd be surprised even if it did, given that it's a British-authored survey.

What story does it reduce to mere belief? The only way for me to explain that question is that you saw religious assertions in the context of multiple choice questions and they look silly compared to the others ... but I don't think this is because of a deliberate attempt to make them look silly. They just ARE silly.
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:44 PM
 
181 posts, read 177,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne View Post
You haven't stated so far where your religious leanings lie but it seems to me you are not an atheist.
My parents are atheists, with a leaning towards religious skepticism. Growing up, I've always identified myself as such. I think the more accurate term is Unaffiliated, because I am not affiliated with any religious tradition at all, and I don't really practice anything, and I don't really pray or worship or chant. In my spare time, I find myself learning about religion and spirituality by going to EbscoHost and searching through academic databases, even though my learning is really just focused on Christianity and Judaism to better understand American culture, and Confucianism and Taoism to better understand my Chinese heritage. I feel like Kovu from the Lion King II, wherein he has his own motivations for Pride Rock, but then as he follows Simba to the den, he is perceived to be a traitor by his own pride who then rejects him. When he goes to Simba, Simba rejects him too. Like Kovu, I think I belong nowhere, so I just call myself Unaffiliated.
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