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Old 11-05-2009, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Victoria, BC.
24,367 posts, read 17,419,003 times
Reputation: 9792
Quote:
Originally Posted by justamere10 View Post
Below are extracts from an article about "the new atheism" published November 5, 2009. The article refers to a talk given by Dinesh D'Souza, a writer and speaker on the subject of atheism. The article is one-sided but it does present the major "arguments" the new atheists are putting forth from D'Souza's point of view, and we've got plenty of atheists on this board who are likely to present their own side of the story.

So I think this is a fair addition to the subject of this thread. And for Christians who have been seeing the three arguments listed below pop up frequently in various ways of presenting them, it helps identify what is going on as atheists become much more militant and apparently focused on a common agenda. These extracts may also provide a few common sense responses for Christians to respond with should they choose to engage in the discussion.
It is no help at all considering that most of this mans ideas are tripe.

Quote:
"The old atheism focused on separation of church and state and wasn't all that appealing to the masses, D'Souza said. The new atheism is different.
I don't believe there is a new atheism. What you see is atheists reacting to the recent popularity of extreme literalist religions....That is relatively new.

Quote:
"It's not content with policing the bounds of church and state, it wants to attack belief in God and wants to attack religion in the private sphere also," D'Souza said.
Private sphere? What does this mean?

Quote:
It wants to make the believer feel like a total idiot for believing in God. So it's more ambitious, it's more aggressive in its agenda."
Not at all true except that some beliefs could only be believed by the willfully ignorant. If the believer feels like a total idiot, then that is his own doing...I don't believe there is an agenda, unless you consider saying things like It's ok to not believe in god some kind of agenda

Quote:
The first argument against religion is that God is not needed to be good... D'Souza turned this argument around by listing the most prized virtues of atheists: science, the individual, the right to dissent and to criticize, the equal dignity of women, compassion and the abolition of slavery. "All these virtues came into the West, and arguably into the world, because of Christianity."
Key word arguably...He lists the right to criticize...(just so it is not god or religion) that is criticized I guess...The rest is simply not true...Christianity supported slavery, their compassion in most cases only extends to fellow Christians. Christianity has always been a patriarchal religion.

Quote:
The second new atheist argument is that religion stands in the way of science. D'Souza said the new atheists point to such stories as how religion insisted the earth was flat.

But D'Souza said the flat earth idea is a legend and that educated people knew it was spherical even in Christ's time and in ancient Greece. "All you need to do is go observe an eclipse," D'Souza said. "You can see the shadow of the earth on the moon. Hey guys! It's round!"
In many cases religion DOES stand in the way of science...We see it all the time on these forums..."evolution is only a theory" is something I see a lot.

Quote:
D'Souza finds it curious that the new atheists hearken back to old controversies in science, but seem to ignore recent discoveries that may support a divine creator -- such as the way the laws of the universe are so precisely tuned as to allow the development of life.
D'Souza has been reading too many apologist sites....This argument has been blown apart here many times


Quote:
The third argument is that religion isn't just wrong, it is pernicious and dangerous. To prove this, the new atheists point to the Inquisition, the Crusades and the Salem witch trials.

It is a matter of degree, however to D'Souza. The Spanish Inquisition, for example, lasted about 375 years and killed about 2,000 people -- about five a year. The Salem witch trials killed 19 people. He said this was 2,019 too many, but these crimes are pretty much unrepeatable today.

The atheist death toll is not only larger, it is more recent and is ongoing, according to D'Souza. He said that in seven decades the atheist regimes of Stalin, Mao and the Nazis killed 100 million people.

"Atheism has amassed a massive body count. A mountain of bodies. An ocean of blood," D'Souza said. "Atheism, and not religion, is responsible for the mass murders of history."
First of all this is nothing but a pack of lies...The man needs to get a grip on history. I'll give him the inquisition numbers, but disregarding the fact that Hitler was a Christian all of these deaths were a result of political idealism, not atheism.

Quote:
"The belligerence of the new atheism is an important clue that something deeper is going on here," D'Souza said. It has to do with divine ultimate justice.
What exactly is this man afraid of?

Quote:
"How do you get out from out of the shadow of unceasing accountability, of unremitting moral judgement?" D'Souza said. "Well, abolish the judge. If you can somehow get rid of God, then all his preachments and commandments become optional."
Utter and total bullcrap...Atheists on the whole are more honest, and have a deeper sense of morality than the religious.

http://www.mormontimes.com/studies_doctrine/doctrine_discussion/?id=11536&preview=1[/quote]

I see statements of this kind here all the time. I also see a lot of anger expressed when some beliefs of Christianity are criticized. Since I believe that anger is the child of fear, let me ask you...What are Christians afraid of?
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:48 AM
 
4,175 posts, read 3,933,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanspeur View Post
.......I see statements of this kind here all the time. I also see a lot of anger expressed when some beliefs of Christianity are criticized. Since I believe that anger is the child of fear, let me ask you...What are Christians afraid of?
Logic, truth, lack of blind faith, secular constitutions, science, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, other Christian sects that do not completely agree with their sect, atheists, etc etc.
Other than that , their extreme nutjobs are actually very loving people.

Last edited by calmdude; 11-05-2009 at 10:00 AM..
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:56 AM
 
4,529 posts, read 3,071,670 times
Reputation: 727
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maia160 View Post
I'm an atheist but I enjoyed reading this article. His technique is interesting but has been done by others before him, such as slavery advocates. Instead of critiquing the atheist message, he attacks the messenger with hyperbole intended to de-humanize the atheist. We are compared to plagues of moths and frogs coming in bulk and, later, to 'crops'. I'm reminded of language that slave holders used to de-humanize black people; they were animals, brutes, and savages.

He also uses war imagery and not so subtly compares the church to a state being attacked by terrorists. I'm reminded of the scaremongering that gave rise to the KKK to 'protect' whites from liberated slaves.

Finally, he provides his vision of the acceptable atheist; an eccentric man that keeps his mouth shut. Again, I'm reminded of the slave owners view of an acceptable black person; a person that accepts their lot in life, keeps their mouth shut and doesn't try to change the system.

This type of article will resonate with those that want to infringe on the rights of others. It does not attack the atheist message; it only attempts to attack the atheist. Reasonable people have seen through this nonsense before and I'm confident they will see through this tripe.
Well said.

I found the author to be quite hypocritical as well, assigning qualities to these "militant atheists" that he himself quite obviously utilizes in the very article in which he attempts to demonize the opposition.

Unfortunatly, his "message" will resonate with a significant number of Evangicals, at laast here in the US if media outlets like Fox News, Newsmax, and WND picks up on it.

I'm uncertain of the level of the religious right (sic) style of movement Down under.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Western NC
651 posts, read 755,663 times
Reputation: 487
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve1282 View Post
^ good one but I would have tried and scared her told her I was the devil or somethong. LOL personally I think what ever religion u r u should keep it to ur self and respect other people.
lol, I didn't need to do anything other than announce myself as an atheist to scare them. Pushing it too far might have resulted in the unpleasant job of cleaning pee off my front porch.

My two big goofy labs didn't help with the fear factor. They were barking like crazy when I was talking to them. The girls probably thought I had the hounds of hell in my house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JetJockey View Post
Now you've marked yourself. I used to get Christians (run of the mill evangelicals and of course, mormons) at my house once a month or so. I'd usually tell them I worshipped in my own way etc etc, never mentioning I was an Atheist. A while back they started coming once every other week or so and leaving stuff all over my porch, which would then blow into my yard and I'd have to spend time searching for it and cleaning it up. I live near to an estuary and nature preserve, so it irritated me.

Finally, I said I was an Atheist (quite nicely) and that I wasn't interested, but thanked them again. Now, I find literature 2 or 3 times a week, and they come by EVERY WEEKEND to 'talk to me about Jesus'. One of these days I'm going to get pissed off enough to REALLY give them a piece of my mind, then they can go back to their flock and talk about how mean and vile Atheists are...

I hope you aren't marked like I am
I've been half expecting a prayer vigil outside my house but I haven't heard from them in about a week. I guess your proselytizers are more dedicated than mine. I'll be moving out of state in a few months so I'm not too worried about being harassed.
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:39 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 13,162,570 times
Reputation: 6447
Quote:
Originally Posted by calmdude View Post
Yup! The MO seems to be
1. Portray oneself as a reasonable person
2. Create a "New Atheist" category for the people who are a thorn on your side
3. Do not bring up the millions of religious nut jobs in the world.
4. Tar and feather these "new" militant atheists who are being pesky about things like prayers in schools etc (never mind the constitutional aspects)
1. I'm sure I have my unreasonable side, everyone does.

2. I did not invent the term, but I don't see how one denies that there is a difference between P. Z. Myers and Chris Hitchens from Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan. Every other group on Earth has had new trends at times. American Christianity has had several "Awakenings" and revival movements, some of which were more militant than ones in times past.

3. If I'm talking about something I'm going to talk about it. This is like a kid in trouble saying to his parents "but my older brother does worse." We're not talking about your older brother, we're talking about you. I'm quite willing to talk about crazy religious people when that is the subject. In fact I am even somewhat critical of this Catholic's description of atheists as I think it's poorly thought-out and in its way just as juvenile as many a militant atheists' portrayal of Christians. One of the first things I did here is argue against a Creationist obsessed with Ica stones and woo-woo stuff.

4. I've never said I believed in prayer in public school. Or for that matter swearing on a Bible. What I'm against is the idea that a person's religious views must be solely private and not influence how they live their public lives. I think it's unreasonable to demand say a Catholic vote for anything that forces people to betray their faith. That would include voting for Protestant prayer in school. Or for a Quaker to vote for war even when it's in national interests. And I'm opposed to tactless attacks on other religions. If a Catholic wrote "Let's Eliminate Shinto", or urinates on some sacred stone of theirs, I would be very unhappy with them.
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:54 PM
 
4,175 posts, read 3,933,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
1. I'm sure I have my unreasonable side, everyone does..
Agree - just ask my kids how unreasonable I am.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
2. I did not invent the term, but I don't see how one denies that there is a difference between P. Z. Myers and Chris Hitchens from Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan. Every other group on Earth has had new trends at times. American Christianity has had several "Awakenings" and revival movements, some of which were more militant than ones in times past. .
I am probably one of the few atheists who has not read the works of any of these authors - didn't need to. My reference was to the pointing out of only the "New" (read militant) atheist. It is a matter of balance and perspective to also point out the many peace-loving humanist atheists too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
3. If I'm talking about something I'm going to talk about it. This is like a kid in trouble saying to his parents "but my older brother does worse." We're not talking about your older brother, we're talking about you. I'm quite willing to talk about crazy religious people when that is the subject. In fact I am even somewhat critical of this Catholic's description of atheists as I think it's poorly thought-out and in its way just as juvenile as many a militant atheists' portrayal of Christians. One of the first things I did here is argue against a Creationist obsessed with Ica stones and woo-woo stuff. .
... again, look around this world. The number of crazy religious people dwarfs their crazy atheist counterparts. Was only putting things in balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
4. I've never said I believed in prayer in public school. Or for that matter swearing on a Bible. What I'm against is the idea that a person's religious views must be solely private and not influence how they live their public lives. I think it's unreasonable to demand say a Catholic vote for anything that forces people to betray their faith. That would include voting for Protestant prayer in school. Or for a Quaker to vote for war even when it's in national interests. And I'm opposed to tactless attacks on other religions. If a Catholic wrote "Let's Eliminate Shinto", or urinates on some sacred stone of theirs, I would be very unhappy with them.
I support the live and let live attitude. Nice to see that you support the wall between church and state.

When nations go to war, one of the first things they do is to make the enemy seem evil. It seemed that a similar playbook was being used against atheists. Maybe I am mistaken but I do not see atheists as a huge problem - nothing like the plague described by OP

Last edited by calmdude; 11-05-2009 at 05:26 PM..
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:45 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 13,162,570 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calmdude View Post
... again, look around this world. The number of crazy religious people dwarfs their crazy atheist counterparts. Was only putting things in balance.
True, but the number of religious people dwarfs the number of atheists. I'm not really sure which group has more nutty people per-capita or if there's anyway to quantify the matter. For that matter "religious people" or even "atheist people" are both pretty broad groups of people. Some religions, say Scientology or Fundamentalist Mormons or Wahhabi Islam, likely have a great deal of nuts per-capita. Whereas the Moravian Church or the United Methodists mostly seem pretty bland or calm. Some schools of philosophy that embrace atheism, like Randian Objectivism or Maoism or even the Raelians (an atheistic UFO religion), strike me as pretty well nuts. Many Humanists on the other hand strike me as fairly reasonable as do many atheists in general.

I'm not even sure this is a matter of disagreement, most of your response is fine by me.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:18 AM
 
Location: London, UK
15,498 posts, read 7,275,875 times
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Good post by sans above. Pwned the hoary old HMG arguments for theism by Justamere.

Just noted the title again

According to one writer, a "plague" of Atheists has descended upon his Church. Do you agree?

I think it is little arrogant to suppose that the atheists (if they are 'plague' who sent it?) are bothered about his Church enought to 'descend' on it. We have a whole world to descend on.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:39 PM
 
4,529 posts, read 3,071,670 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Good post by sans above. Pwned the hoary old HMG arguments for theism by Justamere.

Just noted the title again

According to one writer, a "plague" of Atheists has descended upon his Church. Do you agree?

I think it is little arrogant to suppose that the atheists (if they are 'plague' who sent it?) are bothered about his Church enought to 'descend' on it. We have a whole world to descend on.
I've noticed, over the years, that a Church only gets "decended upon" when they attack others.

A local Church here put some very anti-gay rhtoric on their sign in front of their church. Even though it was surely expected, I was never the less flabergasted at the level of their victimized stance these people took when they were called to task.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Victoria, BC.
24,367 posts, read 17,419,003 times
Reputation: 9792
I think a bigger problem is the plague of extreme fundamentalist bible literalists that has taken over Christianity. They infest the schools, politics, the courts and laws. They impede progress in the sciences. They are the real problem in your country.
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