Total Posts:62|Showing Posts:1-30|Last Page
Jump to topic:

Religion, the poor, and the unequal

Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 7:32:05 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I read an interesting BBC article on the explosion of Pentecostal churches in Latin America, particularly Guatemala, where people literally line up to give away their pets to the church, in order for the church to turn around and sell them to others.

The march of the Pentecostal church in Guatemala can be attributed to several things, but most agree that the big reason its experienced so much growth (estimates have that every 4 in 10 people in Guatemala are now Pentecostal) is because of its popularity among the country's poor and disenfranchised, namely those of Mayan descent, which face discrimination from those of European descent.

Not to get too much farther into it, but why do we think that is? Ideas range from the sects openness and lack of heavy authoritative structure (as opposed to Catholicism) to its ability to "level the playing field" within its community, since both those of Mayan descent and those of European descent are treated equally.

So, my question is, and this is aimed at atheist, agnostics, and dastardly secular humanists, how do we as individuals and groups and communities which oppose these religious organizations, provide the same services, especially since it seems so effective at getting members and keeping them?

I ask this because it seems that atheism and etc. are limited mostly to the intelligentsia, which is something that we need to worry about. How do we expect to spread our beliefs if we can't get the great mass of people to even consider what we're saying?
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 7:37:04 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 7:32:05 AM, Volkov wrote:
How do we expect to spread our beliefs if we can't get the great mass of people to even consider what we're saying?

beliefs that religion is silly?

I think if most unbelievers actually took the time to actually talk to the proselytizers who harass people as they go about their business... and tell them in plain terms what they think of their religion... then a lot of those people would be discouraged, and less people would end up buying into the stuff.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 7:45:19 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 7:37:04 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
beliefs that religion is silly?

I think if most unbelievers actually took the time to actually talk to the proselytizers who harass people as they go about their business... and tell them in plain terms what they think of their religion... then a lot of those people would be discouraged, and less people would end up buying into the stuff.

I doubt it. It isn't just about beliefs, you know?. With every religious group, no matter how kooky it is, there is always a sense of community there. Always a sense of belonging, a sense of appreciation and equality and friendship. The early Christian church was built on this. Paul's movements were less about beliefs and more about maintaining communitarian integrity. Its these senses that make religious organizations a promising prospect for those left out by society.

So, how can we, as non-believers, promote something similar, in order to detach people not only from the beliefs, but from the community as well?
marcusbrutus
Posts: 118
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 7:46:37 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Kanita Dervic, M.D., Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Michael F. Grunebaum, M.D., Steve Ellis, Ph.D., Ainsley K. Burke, Ph.D., and J. John Mann, M.D.

OBJECTIVE: Few studies have investigated the association between religion and suicide either in terms of Durkheim’s social integration hypothesis or the hypothesis of the regulative benefits of religion. The relationship between religion and suicide attempts has received even less attention.

METHOD: Depressed inpatients (N=371) who reported belonging to one specific religion or described themselves as having no religious affiliation were compared in terms of their demographic and clinical characteristics.

RESULTS: Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. Unaffiliated subjects were younger, less often married, less often had children, and had less contact with family members. Furthermore, subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide. In terms of clinical characteristics, religiously unaffiliated subjects had more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder. No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found.

CONCLUSIONS: Religious affiliation is associated with less suicidal behavior in depressed inpatients. After other factors were controlled, it was found that greater moral objections to suicide and lower aggression level in religiously affiliated subjects may function as protective factors against suicide attempts. Further study about the influence of religious affiliation on aggressive behavior and how moral objections can reduce the probability of acting on suicidal thoughts may offer new therapeutic strategies in suicide prevention.

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org...

The studies that Brooks cites in Gross National Happiness, which find that the religious are happier and more generous then the secular

http://www.amazon.com...
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 7:54:00 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 7:45:19 AM, Volkov wrote:
At 4/8/2010 7:37:04 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
beliefs that religion is silly?

I think if most unbelievers actually took the time to actually talk to the proselytizers who harass people as they go about their business... and tell them in plain terms what they think of their religion... then a lot of those people would be discouraged, and less people would end up buying into the stuff.

I doubt it. It isn't just about beliefs, you know?. With every religious group, no matter how kooky it is, there is always a sense of community there. Always a sense of belonging, a sense of appreciation and equality and friendship. The early Christian church was built on this. Paul's movements were less about beliefs and more about maintaining communitarian integrity. Its these senses that make religious organizations a promising prospect for those left out by society.

So, how can we, as non-believers, promote something similar, in order to detach people not only from the beliefs, but from the community as well?

I think the cult-like sense of community is reserved for cults, though I guess to some degree secular groups (peta, communism, nazi's) do manage to get such a cult-like following.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 7:56:41 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 7:46:37 AM, marcusbrutus wrote:

The studies that Brooks cites in Gross National Happiness, which find that the religious are happier and more generous then the secular

so... you'd advocate embracing a pleasant illusion rather than facing cold hard truth?

or, how else is this relevant?
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 7:58:26 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 7:56:41 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 4/8/2010 7:46:37 AM, marcusbrutus wrote:

The studies that Brooks cites in Gross National Happiness, which find that the religious are happier and more generous then the secular


so... you'd advocate embracing a pleasant illusion rather than facing cold hard truth?

I think this is why a lot of people cling to their religious beliefs, and try not to really question them.

BUT once you do, and you find them lacking... rather hard to put the cat back in the bag... dontcha think?
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 7:58:29 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 7:46:37 AM, marcusbrutus wrote:
The studies that Brooks cites in Gross National Happiness, which find that the religious are happier and more generous then the secular


A nation pumped full of Prozac is going to be extremely happy, but in reality they aren't, it's the drug that's causing it.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 7:58:36 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I don't trust anything called the "Gross National Happiness," so you'll have to find another source Askbob.

But that isn't to say you're wrong, either. I can definitely see those within religious communities being "happier," or at least having better deterrents against depression, suicide, and other things like that. I attribute that to the general feeling of community and inclusiveness, rather than the beliefs themselves. I somehow doubt the little ol' granny who lives alone and never comes out of her house, yet is a total Jesus freak, is truly happy.

Point is - how do non-believer organizations build up the same community feeling? This sort of thing isn't dependent upon having a bi-polar God or semi-idol worship of that God's son and concubine. Lots of secular organizations do this sort of thing, the problem is, you don't see atheists, agnostics and others doing the same in great numbers. Why not?
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:00:24 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 7:58:36 AM, Volkov wrote:
Why not?

Organisations such as Atheist Ireland exist, but the problem is the focus more on political activism (E.g. promoting secular laws) than a sense of community.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:02:30 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 7:54:00 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
I think the cult-like sense of community is reserved for cults, though I guess to some degree secular groups (peta, communism, nazi's) do manage to get such a cult-like following.

Why does it have to be a "cult-like" sense of community? Humans are not exactly loner creatures. Those of us that are well adjusted like having others around. We like the sense of community. Heck, it's probably something that is needed for good health, both mentally and physically.

Hyper-individualism doesn't work, yet no one seems to get it. Communities doesn't exist for no reason at all. People are drawn to social groups because of the connections we can make with others, knowing we have friends and people to depend on. That's the thing we as atheists and secular humanists should start emulating, because it ain't no religious concept.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:04:02 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:00:24 AM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Organisations such as Atheist Ireland exist, but the problem is the focus more on political activism (E.g. promoting secular laws) than a sense of community.

That's a problem, then. I don't know how a political activist organization can expect to be listened to when they don't promote any sense of community with their cause. You can't run a truly effective political organization without it.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:04:23 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:02:30 AM, Volkov wrote:
At 4/8/2010 7:54:00 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
I think the cult-like sense of community is reserved for cults, though I guess to some degree secular groups (peta, communism, nazi's) do manage to get such a cult-like following.

Why does it have to be a "cult-like" sense of community? Humans are not exactly loner creatures. Those of us that are well adjusted like having others around. We like the sense of community. Heck, it's probably something that is needed for good health, both mentally and physically.

Hyper-individualism doesn't work, yet no one seems to get it. Communities doesn't exist for no reason at all. People are drawn to social groups because of the connections we can make with others, knowing we have friends and people to depend on. That's the thing we as atheists and secular humanists should start emulating, because it ain't no religious concept.

mmm...

I like to have friends, but I don't want to join some group to sign up friends automatically.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:05:21 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:04:23 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
mmm...

I like to have friends, but I don't want to join some group to sign up friends automatically.

It doesn't have to be like that, though to point out, its a very effective tool in getting people to come in.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:05:49 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:04:23 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
mmm...

I like to have friends, but I don't want to join some group to sign up friends automatically.

and you're basically suggesting setting up a group with that exact purpose in mind.

seems rather manufactured. I'd find it uncomfortable.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:09:13 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:05:49 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
seems rather manufactured. I'd find it uncomfortable.

You would, but others won't. Besides, as I said, it does not have to be that way.

You can build this sort of community without making everyone friends automatically. It's also about causes. Maybe a personal cause, maybe a political cause, whatever. The point is that you need to create a sense of community, of kinship and of understanding and inclusiveness in order to build an effective organization like that. People don't all have to be friends, join hands, and sing merry songs - but you do need that sense that, if you join us, we'll help you, and you'll help us, and we'll all do this together. That's the sense of community we should promote, yet we don't.
Zetsubou
Posts: 4,933
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:15:35 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:09:13 AM, Volkov wrote:

You would, but others won't. Besides, as I said, it does not have to be that way.

You can build this sort of community without making everyone friends automatically. It's also about causes. Maybe a personal cause, maybe a political cause, whatever. The point is that you need to create a sense of community, of kinship and of understanding and inclusiveness in order to build an effective organization like that. People don't all have to be friends, join hands, and sing merry songs - but you do need that sense that, if you join us, we'll help you, and you'll help us, and we'll all do this together. That's the sense of community we should promote, yet we don't.

Kinda, like the DDO Community.

One Question: Why should atheism promote unity?, atheism is opposit to a man made concept(god), is exists to oppose not to unite. And even when it unites to oppose, it's opposing an human concept.
It's not a merry cause it a cold truth, it's designed to negate.

[Pist: speaking atheist is fun!]
'sup DDO -- july 2013
marcusbrutus
Posts: 118
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:15:50 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
What on earth would you do at an atheist meeting besides bash the religious? I mean there's a point to religious meetings, with atheist meetings most atheists probably think why go when I can make my own friends.

See an atheist meeting purpose would be to make friends which people just find ackward.

However a religious meeting's purpose is to worship God and while you're there you make friends.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:18:07 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Also, if you were to have stuff like the Atheist softball tournament, or Atheist Picnic!

I'd say (reminiscent of Godsands, if you will) that would be seen more as a negative thing than a Jesus picnic.

The ONLY thing that supposedly brings this group together to picnic is that they think that some other group of people are a bunch of silly ninnys.

what unifies this group other than the fact that they think others are silly?
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:18:46 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:15:50 AM, marcusbrutus wrote:
What on earth would you do at an atheist meeting besides bash the religious? I mean there's a point to religious meetings, with atheist meetings most atheists probably think why go when I can make my own friends.

See an atheist meeting purpose would be to make friends which people just find ackward.

However a religious meeting's purpose is to worship God and while you're there you make friends.

Damnit thanks for making my post redundant.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:23:14 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:15:35 AM, Zetsubou wrote:
Kinda, like the DDO Community.

One Question: Why should atheism promote unity?, atheism is opposit to a man made concept(god), is exists to oppose not to unite. And even when it unites to oppose, it's opposing an human concept.
It's not a merry cause it a cold truth, it's designed to negate.

It doesn't just have to be about atheism. Religious communities are rarely just about God. Their main concept might be about God, but the religious do not spend all their time praying and talking about God, despite what Askbob says. The group I was involved in did a lot more. They set up skate parks, study groups (for school, not biblical, though they had those too), camping trips, food drives, game competitions, etc. Communities are not singular points - they're all over the place.

So why is is so hard to have a community organization centered around the promotion of atheism, agnosticism, or secular humanism? It doesn't just have to be set on atheism. It can be your main goal, and it can be your purpose, but it doesn't need to take up every single second of your time. I feel atheism more than anything can benefit from this, because really, if there is no God, whats left? Each other. Other humans. Humans in general. Why can't atheist organizations, while debunking God myths, not promote a greater humanity?
Zetsubou
Posts: 4,933
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:34:29 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:23:14 AM, Volkov wrote:

It doesn't just have to be about atheism. Religious communities are rarely just about God. Their main concept might be about God, but the religious do not spend all their time praying and talking about God, despite what Askbob says. The group I was involved in did a lot more. They set up skate parks, study groups (for school, not biblical, though they had those too), camping trips, food drives, game competitions, etc. Communities are not singular points - they're all over the place.

It's an antagonistic ideology, It's like the KKK community.(Not saying athests=KKK)
You can only bash other people.

So why is is so hard to have a community organization centered around the promotion of atheism, agnosticism, or secular humanism? It doesn't just have to be set on atheism. It can be your main goal, and it can be your purpose, but it doesn't need to take up every single second of your time. I feel atheism more than anything can benefit from this, because really, if there is no God, whats left? Each other. Other humans. Humans in general. Why can't atheist organizations, while debunking God myths, not promote a greater humanity?

Humanist Celebrations are possible, to celebrate humanity and yourself.
However not an atheist one.
'sup DDO -- july 2013
marcusbrutus
Posts: 118
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:35:02 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:23:14 AM, Volkov wrote:
Their main concept might be about God, but the religious do not spend all their time praying and talking about God, despite what Askbob says.

I never said otherwise

Why can't atheist organizations, while debunking God myths, not promote a greater humanity?

It's a negative organization. Who wants to go somewhere where even 40% of what you do is debunk christianity or any other religious organization?

At Christian events you sing and pray for a majority of the time. Are you going to invent atheists songs to sing?

Oh come all ye nonfaithful
Intelligent skeptics
come ye oh come ye to debunk the theory of God
When we die nothing happens at all
We shall laugh at the poor Christians who waste all their time
needlessly, even though we are doing the exact same thing as they are.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:37:54 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Hm, alright. I suppose those are fair points, @ Zets and matt.

However, I refuse to believe that there is no way to work an atheist viewpoint into one of these community groups. The only group I suppose has a chance of doing it are secular humanists, whose ideology does include the celebration of humanity.

It's just annoying to see atheists and agnostics and others to fall behind on such an important factor. Its something that needs to be addressed.
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:42:51 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I believe atheists use the phrase "it's like herding cats". I think that explains why there aren't communities like Volkov wants. :P
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Puck
Posts: 6,457
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:52:15 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:15:50 AM, marcusbrutus wrote:
What on earth would you do at an atheist meeting besides bash the religious? I mean there's a point to religious meetings, with atheist meetings most atheists probably think why go when I can make my own friends.

See an atheist meeting purpose would be to make friends which people just find ackward.

However a religious meeting's purpose is to worship God and while you're there you make friends.

Will largely agree to this point. Look at atheist themed events - the speakers are generally of the anti - something variety. There is no underlying ethos to atheism besides the position on deities and as such 'atheistic' events will tend to focus on it.
Skeptic events, while of a similar vein at least tend to be a little more varied and interesting as it tends to cover a wider range of topics.

As for a community, I can't see it happening, at least in a coherent sense. I don't want to join a meeting of dawkins.net fans or the like. Since there is no set of underlying principles that arrive at atheism, those that express that sentiment tend to have varied metaphysical, epistemological, ethical and political views. It's simply not a coherent movement, modern humanism variants aside (which is a separate issue anyway). Sure there are atheist meets, like the ones you advocate, like social events, sports, even picnics. It's not however something I would seek out, nor would i actively promote for any real sense of 'good'. No underlying ethos undercuts any community basis for fellowship short of solidarity.
Puck
Posts: 6,457
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:55:55 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/8/2010 8:37:54 AM, Volkov wrote:
It's just annoying to see atheists and agnostics and others to fall behind on such an important factor. Its something that needs to be addressed.

What is your purpose though? Communication? There are simpler more effective means. Spreading of information? Again more feasible options. The only merit I can see may be in the fence sitters who won't mind the anonymity of a social event with a lot of people in order to assimilate the feel of a position they may not be entirely confident or assured on.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/8/2010 8:58:50 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Fair enough, Puck. Then maybe I should have focused on humanism more so than atheism as the core of any group like this.

However, as I said, there must be a way to work atheism into it. Its a good point to note that atheism is pretty much negative in its connotations. Anti-god, anti-religious, etc. If humanism can be the positive aspect, would atheism fulfill the role as the negative one? Because, after all, a community always needs an enemy, and atheism at its heart seems to be about making enemies. xD