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Old 04-27-2014, 12:30 PM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,372,662 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travric View Post
And pehaps that is fueling the rise of the so-called 'New' atheism where proselytzing is of a more 'in your face' type that residng in the heart? Looks to me like something out of the Who's 'Tommy' where the mantra is sort of a, 'We're not gonna take it' kind of thing. And all due perhaps to the apparent jealousy arising from those 'privileges'?

I'd think belief constructs should be taken on their merits without resorting to a barrage fueled by seeming anger and frustration. It seems a certain segment had that pugnacious 'style' that appealed to those 'new' atheists. That din really affects the propagation of the message. I'd say atheists can take a page from the early Christians in their quest for a singular atheistic society, i.e. go quiet and slow, keep the 'noise' down and let people come to it as they may. If its destined to be a hit it'll happen. But you can't beat things into people. People I'd say don't 'learn' that way.
I agree with you up to a point. But I think it is way too soon to take it "quiet and slow."

Granted, atheism has to learn to pick their battles. Some battles have been wholly ridiculous, like atheists suing to get crosses on individual graves taken down because the cemetary is government-run. That sort of stupidity doesn't do atheism any favors.

Yet quiet and slow at this stage simply means we'll be walked over like doormats and many folks will not even realize we (atheists, agnostics and non-religious deists) are even here. Part of the problem with atheistic growth is that no one really knows who else might be an atheist. If a person feels he/she is alone they will most likely go through the motions of belief to avoid being ostracized in certain ways from the community.

I think that those who will come to atheism will come on their own volition regardless of the method used by atheists. I know you really can't brow-beat someone into a belief system. You'll only get acquiescence. However some people will gravitate towards "slow and quiet" while others will gravitate towards giving religion a good thump on the head. Both approaches are equally valid.
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Greenbelt, MD
9,003 posts, read 6,535,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
I agree with you up to a point. But I think it is way too soon to take it "quiet and slow."

Granted, atheism has to learn to pick their battles. Some battles have been wholly ridiculous, like atheists suing to get crosses on individual graves taken down because the cemetary is government-run. That sort of stupidity doesn't do atheism any favors.

Yet quiet and slow at this stage simply means we'll be walked over like doormats and many folks will not even realize we (atheists, agnostics and non-religious deists) are even here. Part of the problem with atheistic growth is that no one really knows who else might be an atheist. If a person feels he/she is alone they will most likely go through the motions of belief to avoid being ostracized in certain ways from the community.

I think that those who will come to atheism will come on their own volition regardless of the method used by atheists. I know you really can't brow-beat someone into a belief system. You'll only get acquiescence. However some people will gravitate towards "slow and quiet" while others will gravitate towards giving religion a good thump on the head. Both approaches are equally valid.
Can you post a link to that story?

I did a Google search and couldn't find it.

Thanks.
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Old 04-28-2014, 12:10 PM
 
16,161 posts, read 17,988,305 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John13 View Post
Can you post a link to that story?

I did a Google search and couldn't find it.

Thanks.
That's because it didn't happen.

ACLU and Cemetery Crosses

There have been some suits to remove memorials along roadsides though which I also think is frivolous.
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Old 04-28-2014, 05:19 PM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,121,274 times
Reputation: 3972
Quote:
Originally Posted by travric View Post
And pehaps that is fueling the rise of the so-called 'New' atheism where proselytzing is of a more 'in your face' type that residng in the heart? Looks to me like something out of the Who's 'Tommy' where the mantra is sort of a, 'We're not gonna take it' kind of thing. And all due perhaps to the apparent jealousy arising from those 'privileges'?

I'd think belief constructs should be taken on their merits without resorting to a barrage fueled by seeming anger and frustration. It seems a certain segment had that pugnacious 'style' that appealed to those 'new' atheists. That din really affects the propagation of the message. I'd say atheists can take a page from the early Christians in their quest for a singular atheistic society, i.e. go quiet and slow, keep the 'noise' down and let people come to it as they may. If its destined to be a hit it'll happen. But you can't beat things into people. People I'd say don't 'learn' that way.
Nice post, and as for your suggestion in the latter few sentences, I actually pretty much entirely endorse this approach to the issue, myself. Hence my "staunch-but-not-militant atheist" response to the religion/worldview prompt on the CD profile.

My motivations on this are twofold:

1.) Science speaking for itself already provides more answers than any human mind can fully grasp, and many more are of course in the offing as history continues to unfold...point is, there is no shortage of answers available for anyone willing to listen to them. If someone hasn't demonstrated a willingness to listen to reason, then is it reasonable for me to assume that my efforts will be the ones to penetrate the irrational shield? As many delusions of grandeur as I may sometimes harbor, I think the answer to that is, in nearly all cases, no. Yes, sure, I've influenced the thinking of others through argumentation...but in nearly all of those cases, I've influenced people who were already somewhat like-minded to begin with, or people who were eager to be convinced for other reasons. Unless you are reasonably certain that someone's entire belief system will dependably collapse if you argue successfully against one point X, then, well, what is the point?

2.) I am not at all optimistic about what a hypothetical future without religion would look like (I don't much like my self-concept as a Nietzschean "last man", and I am in no rush to enlighten for the sake of enlightening--because there is no purpose to convincing others that there is no purpose. I also don't have enough faith in humanity to entertain a notion of a future of Nietzschean ubermensches living "in harmony" (if that's even definitionally possible) with one another. I think I'd rather have the artificial constraints imposed by religion. I could be wrong, and the US might be a utopia if only for its being anomalously religious, but...I'm skeptical of the idea. The places in the world that seem (from afar) more appealing to me than the US also happen to have higher numbers of atheists, but I tend to think of that more as a result of other forces that help make those places more appealing. I don't think forced atheism is going to make members of the Tea Party movement any more palatable, for example, if that were the one and only change that they as a group underwent. In fact, in this artificially constructed scenario, I'd shudder to think of the consequences. Maybe people would be humbled, or maybe militias' membership ranks would swell to far greater heights. Please excuse my false dichotomies and sweeping generalizations--there's no other alternative available to me if I am to confine my speculative concerns to a paragraph. No one can predict the effect of loss of religion in a vacuum, so it's not worth it to devote greater detail to this, anyway. So, sure, if I thought the values of secular humanism would dependably rule the day post-religion (even if I myself don't identify as a secular humanist), then I'd probably start getting combative with religious people. As of now, I never really have done that (with the exception of a few angry exchanges with family, and I'm sure there's been the occasional stray remark made online, heh), and can't see myself ever doing so. On those numerous occasions where I've been told (usually by Christians) that I look like Jesus (the version that exists in the popular imagination, anyway), I never once took that as an opportunity to espouse atheism. Hell, the people I'm most combative with tend to be fellow atheists, because I generally hold them to a higher standard.
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:57 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,372,662 times
Reputation: 4056
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
That's because it didn't happen.

ACLU and Cemetery Crosses

There have been some suits to remove memorials along roadsides though which I also think is frivolous.
Hmm, I didn't even know it was such a big rumor.

But I was thinking of a more local issue in North Carolina where some atheist was going to sue a government cemetery for allowing those little flag holders that were in the shape of a cross (or any religious symbol). I'm not sure if you know what kind of flag holder I'm talking about. Anyhow, it never went anywhere.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:36 AM
 
12,540 posts, read 12,581,863 times
Reputation: 28902
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
I agree with you up to a point. But I think it is way too soon to take it "quiet and slow."

Granted, atheism has to learn to pick their battles. Some battles have been wholly ridiculous, like atheists suing to get crosses on individual graves taken down because the cemetary is government-run. That sort of stupidity doesn't do atheism any favors.

Yet quiet and slow at this stage simply means we'll be walked over like doormats and many folks will not even realize we (atheists, agnostics and non-religious deists) are even here. Part of the problem with atheistic growth is that no one really knows who else might be an atheist. If a person feels he/she is alone they will most likely go through the motions of belief to avoid being ostracized in certain ways from the community.

I think that those who will come to atheism will come on their own volition regardless of the method used by atheists. I know you really can't brow-beat someone into a belief system. You'll only get acquiescence. However some people will gravitate towards "slow and quiet" while others will gravitate towards giving religion a good thump on the head. Both approaches are equally valid.
We're all born atheists. I think what JrzDefector said about being inclined toward seeking explanations is spot on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
I would say rather that homo sapiens is wired with an inclination towards explanation and inquiry. In the stone age, deities were the obvious explanation for natural events. As empirically based science has expanded, it has generally taken up spaces previously occupied by religion, except in the case of extremists or those who do not have access to or the education to understand scientific findings.

We want answers. I don't think we have much of a biological preference as to whether those answers are produced via religoin or via science.
Yep. It's just that many of us were indoctrinated by well-meaning, if ultimately misguided, parents, elders, and clergy to believe in a deity.

Those who break away tend to do so on their own. Like any other shift in thinking in a physically healthy person (meaning not incarcerated, deprived of nutrition and sleep, and brow-beaten to drink Kool-Aid, hop on the nearest comet, or screw the leader), it comes from intense searching, reflection, and introspection.

Sometimes other atheists help it along. I always questioned, even as a kid. At the time both my father and my Catholic school teachers would tell me it's good to question. But there was always that pressure that I'd better come up with the "right" answers: God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, etc.

My ex-husband (whom I met through a sports BBS online, yay, Internet), not so much. He was a hardcore atheist in school for a degree in biology at the time and would ask questions that got me thinking even more. And just in the course of talking about his day, he would veer off into discussions of genetic expression, the origins of life, etc. Between that and being disgusted with the Roman Catholic Church for all the usual reasons people get disgusted with the Roman Catholic Church, I wound up converting to Unitarian-Universalism, which is all about questions and not answers. At the time of my divorce, I was waffling between atheism and agnosticism. Since then, with further thought on my own, I've come to identify with atheism.

Best part is, I learned about UU online (so yay, Internet, again). On a lark I took a silly quiz, something like "What religion should you be?" It would assess what percentage of a religion you agree with, and mine came up 97% UU. I had only heard of UU once before, on a blind date with a guy who was UU and described it as "a bunch of liberals going out and doing liberal things," so I thought, "Oh, heck, run a search for it." (Yay, Internet, once more.) The more I read about it, the more I thought, "Hmmmm," and when my ex and I decided to marry, we married in a UU church.

So I would have to say that in my own life, yes, the Internet nudged my atheism along. It put me into contact with atheists and people who encouraged the free thinking required to break free of indoctrination.

But the questioning began within me, way back when I was a kid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
That's because it didn't happen.

ACLU and Cemetery Crosses

There have been some suits to remove memorials along roadsides though which I also think is frivolous.
They did sue over crosses at Ground Zero.

I have to say that I agree with removing roadside memorials, not because of any religious issue, but because they are a distraction to drivers.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:49 AM
 
16,161 posts, read 17,988,305 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilac110 View Post

They did sue over crosses at Ground Zero.

I have to say that I agree with removing roadside memorials, not because of any religious issue, but because they are a distraction to drivers.
Yes, but the issue was acknowledging that there were many others killed who were not Christian.

Quote:
"This shrine is a cross," Silverman told CBS News on Thursday. "It was picked up, trimmed, polished, the word 'Jesus' was carved on top of it, it was prayed over in front of a church for five years, and then it was installed in the WTC memorial with no warning by a priest in a religious service where in the ground was consecrated. This is a working Christian shrine in the memorial and then they had the gall to say it's not religious in nature, that it represents everybody. That's not true. It does not represent Jews, Muslims, Mormons or atheists, and they all had deaths on 9/11."

Silverman said that the museum should either remove the cross or acknowledge everybody else who died in the tragedy in a manner equal to Christians. "We're talking about public lands, we're talking about public funds, we're talking about congressionally ordered public funds. We're talking about an 18-foot memorial, this is grossly inappropriate. We feel very strongly that this is an attempt to Christianize 9/11, to make it about Christians, even though it's not about Christians at all."
The battle is still going on for this one.

Atheists Continue Battle Against Steel Cross Display Inside 9/11 Museum | Video | TheBlaze.com

Atheists Are Not Offended by a Cross, They Are Offended by Discrimination*|*Dan Arel

Quote:
The museum has claimed that it plans to include a Jewish star and Hindu holy water in the museum, yet nothing for atheists. As Muscato points out in his Facebook post, statistics tell us one in six people that died on 9/11 were not religious.
Note - no Muslim symbol even though there were Muslims killed as well.
The cross was modified from the original beam found at the site, so it is no longer the historical symbol that Christians want to believe it is.
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:24 AM
 
4,456 posts, read 3,720,838 times
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Quote:
We're all born atheists
Wow, if that is true then apparently its system is an also-ran in the competition of ideas. Then it follows that A-theism then apparently starts from an overhwelmingly 'built-in' advantage. So which is it? That it squanders that advantage due perhaps to some 'vacuousness' in its belief system or it simply isn't 'taught' well or that perhaps it is a system that can't escape from say an unconscious lack of confidence within itself. Further, maybe that new 'militancy' is just a mask to cover it up?

Fom the looks of it, I'd suggest that human existence in life itself makes that 'advantage' superfluous. If it was so great to be 'born' A-theist why 'leave' it to take into account something else, something entirely different and enitrely opposite unless it just wasn't a viable system to believe in? The argument then would be 'there has to be something else. If a-theism was always in each of us from the get-go it just looks like it has poor moorings to enable it to withstand the passage of experience in the course of human lives. Just my take......if we are 'born' a-theist.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,198 posts, read 9,129,015 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
Science speaking for itself already provides more answers than any human mind can fully grasp, and many more are of course in the offing as history continues to unfold...point is, there is no shortage of answers available for anyone willing to listen to them. If someone hasn't demonstrated a willingness to listen to reason, then is it reasonable for me to assume that my efforts will be the ones to penetrate the irrational shield? As many delusions of grandeur as I may sometimes harbor, I think the answer to that is, in nearly all cases, no. Yes, sure, I've influenced the thinking of others through argumentation...but in nearly all of those cases, I've influenced people who were already somewhat like-minded to begin with, or people who were eager to be convinced for other reasons. Unless you are reasonably certain that someone's entire belief system will dependably collapse if you argue successfully against one point X, then, well, what is the point?
In practice I don't remember ever having tried to convince someone in meatspace to turn atheist, for pretty much the reasons you state. But places like this forum are a special case in my mind. I do believe that since people come here specifically to argue their case for god, I have no obligation to coddle them or to excessively filter my thoughts and feelings. Also, theists have a tendency to claim victory on the field of debate if they simply keep their unearned respect. I have found it effective to deny them that by refusing to say -- to borrow from The Oatmeal -- "Kudos to your magnificence, thank you for your thoughts and sorry if I have in any way come on too strong." Most theist arguments are absurdly ridiculous and fact-averse, and I treat them as such.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
I am not at all optimistic about what a hypothetical future without religion would look like.
There are limits to the rate at which any form of change can be absorbed by an entrenched system, and I agree that the sudden disappearance of all theism / religion would be a disaster. It would be like stopping a speeding car by driving it into a ten foot thick block of iron at 100 miles per hour.

However, having just gotten back from Europe, and having all the rotting skeletons of old churches and castles fresh in my memory, it's fairly obvious that wide swaths of the West are much less in thrall to religion and theism now than they were 500 years ago, and there's no question in my mind that the world is a far better place for it. We no longer subscribe to the divine right of kings, for instance, and the church and the state can no longer manipulate each other to erase inconvenient people with impunity -- just to name a couple of minor points.

I am very optimistic about a nearly theism-free environment, but it will just be 500 to 1000 years in the future, that's all.
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Old 05-04-2014, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Dallas,Texas
1,378 posts, read 1,473,045 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
As soon as I came across Atheist sites like those of Farrell Till and Cliff Walker, I knew that there was an outlet that simply hadn't been there before.

If the Atheist Avalanche is really happening, the Internet is the biggest single weapon put into the hellspawned hands of the legions of the damnable.

Let's hear it for the Internet.
Here...Here!! The internet is a factor in young people especially leaving faith and identifying as non religious or part of no faith. This will only continue. Exposure to information and differing ideas is a great way to reduce the influence of faith and religion. It's certainly one good thing the internet has brought.
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