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Old 03-13-2014, 10:10 PM
 
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I have this thought stuck in my head about knowing the Catholic rosary by heart and reciting it over and over again. In Catholic tradition, there are 10 Hail Marys. Despite the 10 Hail Marys, Catholics assert that this does not necessarily mean they are treating Mary above God or even treating her like a god. Instead, the purpose of the Hail Marys is to help with the meditating on the mysteries. So, the main point is that, a person may recite the Hail Marys over and over again, but in his mind, he may be contemplating the mysteries, while Mary is praying for the Catholic. Now, if we remove God from this practice and replace the mysteries with more secular elements of our life, but retain the vocalization of the 10 Hail Marys (because Mary is not God, and your recitations are meaningless anyway since you may not believe that Mary is praying at all), then would that be compatible with atheism? Or must atheism steer away from all overt religious practices? Is it ok to say a prayer even when the words are meaningless for the atheist, or would that undermine the atheism?

Here's the format:
1. Instead of making the sign of the cross, you just cross your fingers, a common/cultural yet superstitious way to wish for good luck.
2. Instead of the Apostle's Creed, you make the Atheist Creed. "I believe in no deities."
3. You keep the 3 Hail Marys.
4. Announce the most stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
5. You keep the 10 Hail Marys while contemplating on that really stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
6. Announce the 2nd most stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
7. You keep the 10 Hail Marys while contemplating on that really stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
8. Announce the 3rd most stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
9. You keep the 10 Hail Marys while contemplating on that really stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
10. Announce the 4th most stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
11. You keep the 10 Hail Marys while contemplating on that really stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
12. Announce the 5th most stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
13. You keep the 10 Hail Marys while contemplating on that really stressful thought that has plagued your mind.
14. Finish by crossing your fingers.

Like my previous threads, I'm just asking for opinion. There are no right/wrong answers, so feel free to answer however you like.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:10 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
40,823 posts, read 18,553,245 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post

Like my previous threads, I'm just asking for opinion. There are no right/wrong answers, so feel free to answer however you like.
Then I would like to point out the prevailing redundancy of your approach. The same answers you received in the post about venerating ancestors, will cover this thread's question as well. Further, the specific presentation here is of non phenomena, who recites the rosary over and over in the secular manner you describe? Why would anyone do so?

Do you have future such threads planned? Such as "Is getting baptized into an organized religion incompatible with being an atheist?" or "Is being ordained a priest incompatible with atheism?"

Fortunately there is an all purpose answer for these questions....

No...religion and atheism are not compatible and removing the religious element from some religious dynamic makes it no longer religious, and therefore no longer subject to your question about incapability.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:19 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
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^^^^^^

What Grandstander said.
I can't for the life of me fathom why you would think an atheist would have the slightest interest in reciting Hail Marys. What a waste of time. Why on earth would they want to do that?

In answer to your question, reciting the rosary is not compatible with atheism


I can't help thinking there must be something else you are trying to get at?
Maybe you think atheists don't really exist, something like that? That we are all secret believers who say Hail Mary to themselves in secret?

What's the real question if there is one? We are here to help.

Last edited by Cruithne; 03-14-2014 at 12:28 AM..
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Old 03-14-2014, 01:18 AM
 
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If you look at the words of the Hail Mary, there is no taking God out of the equation.

"Hail Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus

Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners now
And at the hour of death
Amen"

Yeah. No. That right there has deity written all over it.

If you are Catholic, go and be Catholic. But you're not going to convince us, even sideways, to give credence or use to your prayers. Take it from an ex-Catholic.
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Old 03-14-2014, 02:43 AM
 
Location: USA
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Personally I find memorizing Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on First" routine a great way to relax. It's much longer and more work to memorize, true, but it's a good deal more of a giggle, and there's no dealing with images of "womb fruit" and the like. But of course I wasn't raised Catholic, so I'm not mired in tons of self loathing and guilt.
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Old 03-14-2014, 03:54 AM
 
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It isn't compatible with atheism as not believing in God is not compatible with holding down a job as a churchman, but I suppose that it does happen.

P.s as a form of lingering inability to kick the habit, or perhaps taking Pascal's wager but not moving on from pretending to believe to belief - which is what the wager is intended to do.

But of course the method could be used by unscrupulous theists to peddle the habit of saying the rosary or making atheists look like they were doing it though replacing Catholic (or Buddhist(1) prayers with atheist shibboleths.

This sort of activity is totally foreign to the mindset of atheism and no Real atheist would touch the practice with a 10 foot dungfork.

(1) they have rosaries, too - so do Muslims, I believe.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:26 AM
 
181 posts, read 176,811 times
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Thanks for your replies, everybody!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander
Then I would like to point out the prevailing redundancy of your approach. The same answers you received in the post about venerating ancestors, will cover this thread's question as well. Further, the specific presentation here is of non phenomena, who recites the rosary over and over in the secular manner you describe? Why would anyone do so?
It's a hypothetical scenario. Even in a secular culture, it seems people have no problems with yoga (derived from Hinduism) or qigong (derived from Chinese philosophical thought) or TaiChi (derived from Chinese philosophical thought), secularizing the habits. The example I have given above may not be good, but at least the base intention is to borrow the structure and outline of the rosary, while removing the God part. I figured that it'd just be strange behavior. It may be best for one to just contemplate about the thought in his mind than go through the entire process of the rosary. Eh, it's a thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander
Do you have future such threads planned? Such as "Is getting baptized into an organized religion incompatible with being an atheist?" or "Is being ordained a priest incompatible with atheism?"
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne
What Grandstander said.
I can't for the life of me fathom why you would think an atheist would have the slightest interest in reciting Hail Marys. What a waste of time. Why on earth would they want to do that?
Yeah, I figured. See above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne
I can't help thinking there must be something else you are trying to get at?
Maybe you think atheists don't really exist, something like that? That we are all secret believers who say Hail Mary to themselves in secret?

What's the real question if there is one? We are here to help.
It's not that I believe "atheists don't really exist" or "that [they] are all secret believers who say Hail Mary to themselves in secret". I actually thought atheism, by itself, was just a "lack of belief in deities". I didn't really think about the fact that it's supposed to accept certain philosophical doctrines, such as the separation of the immaterial and the material, emphasis on the material and physical universe assuming that the universe can be separated into the immaterial and material components, or secular humanism. By de-emphasizing the material and immaterial, one may practice qigong while believing there really is a qi in the universe. qi is not a god, but it is immaterial and cannot be tested and not observable. It's not a rationalistic approach to viewing the universe, more like a cultural one. Instead of secular humanism, an atheist may accept Confucian humanism and show filial piety toward one's ancestors. There is no god in Confucianism. And maybe it would be acceptable in the atheist community for an atheist to cite biblical stories in the same way people would cite Aesop's fables, because the atheist may agree with the underlying human experience, which can neither be quantified nor tested. I don't think using "God" metaphorically to describe the weather or nature would be so bad. It's not like the atheist really believes there is a god, when an atheist says, "Oh, my god". An example of using God metaphorically to describe weather or nature would be "God blows the rain in our direction" or "God nursed the little seed to grow, and it grew," to refer to Mother Nature, a personification of nature.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:39 AM
 
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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.
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,857 posts, read 3,781,164 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDweller View Post
It's not that I believe "atheists don't really exist" or "that [they] are all secret believers who say Hail Mary to themselves in secret". I actually thought atheism, by itself, was just a "lack of belief in deities". I didn't really think about the fact that it's supposed to accept certain philosophical doctrines, such as the separation of the immaterial and the material, emphasis on the material and physical universe assuming that the universe can be separated into the immaterial and material components, or secular humanism. By de-emphasizing the material and immaterial, one may practice qigong while believing there really is a qi in the universe. qi is not a god, but it is immaterial and cannot be tested and not observable. It's not a rationalistic approach to viewing the universe, more like a cultural one. Instead of secular humanism, an atheist may accept Confucian humanism and show filial piety toward one's ancestors. There is no god in Confucianism. And maybe it would be acceptable in the atheist community for an atheist to cite biblical stories in the same way people would cite Aesop's fables, because the atheist may agree with the underlying human experience, which can neither be quantified nor tested. I don't think using "God" metaphorically to describe the weather or nature would be so bad. It's not like the atheist really believes there is a god, when an atheist says, "Oh, my god". An example of using God metaphorically to describe weather or nature would be "God blows the rain in our direction" or "God nursed the little seed to grow, and it grew," to refer to Mother Nature, a personification of nature.

Okay I think I see the point of your question. You are trying to establish whether atheists need to reject all religious traditions to still be able to call themselves 'atheist'. The answer to that is no they don't.

Atheism is a very individual thing - there is no atheist community in the same sense you have religious communities. I mentioned in your other thread that I identify with Humanism, but that doesn't mean all atheists identify with Humanism. When I discovered what Humanism was, I was already living with those ideals / that philosophy. 'Humanism' just put a name to it.

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?

But then maybe they weren't atheists - I don't know....


Religion has been woven into society for 2000+ years so whether you were brought up atheist, or rejected religion at some point later on, religion is hard to ignore, so of course one way or another we are all influenced by the culture. We are not living in an atheist bubble.

I say 'oh my god' all the time without thinking, but it's just an expression like 'oh my word'. There is no god meaning attached to it.
There are some parts of Christian culture I enjoy like Christmas and Easter and yet I have always been atheist. Like Richard Dawkins is fond of saying, I am a cultural Anglican. I like the music and the architecture of English churches. I just see it as historical tradition. Something that built up around something people believed in once, and I appreciate it for that.


Here is an article that might help. Someone posted it ages ago (might have been me now that I think about it). I like the overall tone of the piece. It gives 4 different viewpoints on what as atheists we could potentially take from religion in a positive way (not saying I agree with all of it). Most of us are not belligerant atheists that think your should start pulling down crosses.
Most of us are interested in a harmonious society.

Jim Al-Khalili in the piece is someone I very much identify with:


New Statesman | After God: What can atheists learn from believers?


I hope that helps.


Going back again to your Hail Mary scenario, obviously you would have to have been brought up in the Catholic tradition for that to have any meaning (which I wasn't) so you narrowed your audience from the off. I realise you were just using it as an example.
Speaking personally, no reciting anything would help me concentrate on anything. I'd just be distracted from the thing I really wanted to think about.....

Last edited by Cruithne; 03-14-2014 at 09:43 AM..
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:42 AM
 
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Yes....I can see the value of some religious traditions- notably Buddhist ones- as a way of keeping certain spiritual or philosophical questions in front of our eyes. I actually do have the Buddhist altar I made (on the Siamese patters) with the Burmese buddha for the use of Mrs Arq and I have a collection of religious literature and references and also images. And that i guess would be the extent of my going in that direction.

But going as far as prayers and a rosary- no. That would be going too far for me.
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