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Science Friction

RoderickSpode
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1/10/2014 11:56:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/7/2013 9:17:12 AM, JonMilne wrote:
One thing I do often hear as a criticism of the atheist movement is that, to quote from something a religious friend of mine told me: "I find it a little funny that everyone sh*ts on religious groups for wanting sh*t their way (like keeping "marriage" between a man and woman), and while that's absolutely positively a fact, non-religious are the same way."

True enough point, but I mean, when you compare what the non-religious people want with what the religious people want, I really don't think that what people like me want is really that objectionable. Hell, it shouldn't even be controversial. Basically, when you look at all the stuff that I would propose here, it would demonstrate that religions can be a cause of huge divisiveness:

1) Proper Science Education (both evolution and global warming; the latter also has religious reasons for denial to some degree, and I'd also support cutting off the other religious "concerns" that sometimes stifle scientific progress, due to anti-scientific, semi-superstitious worries about "playing God".)

2) Less discrimination and hostility towards LBGT folk, with that discrimination at present being endlessly supported by religious tropes.

3) Stopping the subjugation towards women; lessening double standards and undermining the Biblical views of women as subservient.

4) Keep the separation of church and state. No more God to stamped on the money, no more pretence about how the founders apparently made the U.S. Christian, no more pretence that the laws of the country are based in their holy book, and no more of this sh*t where schools look indistinguishable from their churches.

5) Considerably less discrimination against atheists and other non-Christians. Anyone who isn"t Christian, or at least isn"t the right kind of Christian, should see the problem here. Hell, anyone who is a Christian but has the tiniest bit of reason and sympathy for the religious rights of minority religions should see the problem. Right-wing Christians are either too blind or bigoted to care, however.

6) The child abuse angle, which is a persistent problem. Child abuse arises both from those who refuse to spare the rod in 21st century society, and those who hide behind the guise of Moral Authority and dart from church to church to avoid being caught for sexual abuse. Secular Atheists like me really really hate this kind of abuse, and are especially apoplectic over the leeway given to the Holiest of Holyrollers on the issue. All too often the law turns a blind eye to this kind of stuff.

7) The issue with the Islamophobe warmongers needs solving, since these are the people who clamor for war based on the belief that Muslims are an Other, who all deserve death merely for being associated with a handful of people who killed Americans on American soil (or Brits on British soil) by a common, non-Christian religion. I'll certainly grant that some atheists happen to be just as Islamophobic as theists, and certainly Islam is at least as bad as Christianity. That said, we don"t appreciate the fact that religion was clearly used as a way to get so many in our respective populations in the UK and US and elsewhere that's relevant drooling over the prospects of war. To say nothing of the fact that religion is also used as a justification to continue using the death penalty in America, long past the point where other first world nations stopped such a barbaric practice.

8) The sexual politics are perverse, beyond even viewing wives and girlfriends as subservient and submissive, and beyond hating the gays due to the icky sex they have. Birth control and sex education are things that the a few among religious minded despise and will actively try to get legislation to oppose. Even if only a minority in the population have such tedious views, the people in power aren"t quite representative of the people they represent on this issue. There"s the refusal to have anything to do with abortions, even if women"s lives are at risk, because people believe foetuses have souls or because they feel slutty sluts need to be punished with pregnancy, like how the magical sky daddy intended when he first cursed Eve. And, of course, there is the need to actually do something goddamn sharpish about rape culture, which a good deal of theists boldly do sweet f*ck all about, preferring to sit on their arses because they are far too busy blaming the victims or dismissing the charges. Who would"ve figured that the fundies wouldn"t be up in arms about such an outrageous crime, given how "seriously" the Bible treats rape?

9) The big one of course is tolerance. No more arbitrary divisions based on differing ideologies that are almost all definitely false anyway. We want critical thinking, and no more of this bullsh*t where people think that blind faith is an accurate "way of knowing" . We want people to actually be informed, rather than misinformed. We don"t want people being regularly filled with lies and propaganda, especially if they aren"t properly equipped with the critical thinking skills to easily separate fact from fiction. We want people to believe that they can actually behave morally, and have that morality anchored in reality. No more of this "we are all sinful, and even the tiniest sin makes you as bad as a murderer" b*llocks that comes from Christian "morality" - the morality where belief is as important as action, and where (divine) might makes right. We want people who are capable of appreciating this life without drooling over an afterlife. No more kids fearing hellfire, and no more suicide bombers or wannabe suicide bombers. No more discrimination and violence in the name of God too, as well as no more treating non-believers as moral inferiors. I'd go further, but that would be a pipe dream.
I can address these specifics later, but for now I'd like bring up the fact that what Secular Humanists want varies. While there are things that are very typical with atheists/secular humanists (as well as any group), you are not all of the same frame of mind. I'll give an example:
RoderickSpode
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1/10/2014 12:05:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/5/2014 2:01:49 PM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/5/2014 1:05:13 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:


The term is "secular"? Maybe you can enlighten these folk.

http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com...

Well I'd criticise the headline and change it to "nations with higher percentage of atheists are more peaceful" because that is what the writer was conveying.

What makes you think you can claim to know what they actually meant to say? How do you know that they did not calculate their wording to express exactly what they mean?

The lower the religious population in a given nation, the lower the amount of crime? Wow! Have you been to China? You don't think crime is rampant in Vietnam? Wow!

Oh boy. I wondered when this might get brought up when I debated someone. So here goes: Let's talk about totalitarian countries since you brought up China. Here's the thing that people like you constantly miss when we have these discussions: None of us advocate for strictly "Atheist States", we advocate for "Secular States". Even as an atheist, I will admit I wouldn't want to live in an "atheist state" if that was state policy because then the practice would limit the freedom of other people who do want religion in their lives. Secular states on the other hand allow religion (or the lack thereof) to be left up to the private life of the people, where it belongs. A secular state is not influenced by the inhabitant"s religion or the lack thereof. But your argument breaks down where you essentially equate atheism with communism, which implicates the failed communistic regimes throughout history where religion was banned. But as I say, you miss a very important point here:

Most if not all of the regimes who embrace Communist natures (both present and former) have wanted to be totalitarian and so they allow no competition to them, not unlike religion in theocratic states. It was not the lack of religion in those regimes that was the problem, it was their attempt to be totalitarian. To put it simply: Religion was being replaced by communism, NOT by atheism. Besides, the first thing any totalitarian government does is go after the educated, who often are atheists. That"s if they are not already co-opting the local religion and bending it to their needs. See Constantine, King James, Hitler, and the Asian God-Kings.

Whatever you may say, the fact of the matter is that atheism only exists within Marxist Commie ideology as one tiny building block. It"s fairly well integrated, but it"s still small enough that if you take it out and replace it with something else or just leave a hole then the Commie system doesn't fall down. There's even an entire WP article on Christian communism for goodness sake!


Again, how do you know who (among all secular humanists) want/don't want a particular kind of State? How do you know the people in question do not want a literal Atheist State just because you and others do not?

I'll get into this further, including as I stated addressing the various points you made.

But for starters, you made some rather demanding statements that appear as a sort of ruling guidelines. I haven't read the thread I took this quote from, so I don't know if you addressed this, but what exactly do you think the solution to the problems are? When I say solution, I don't mean suggestions on how religious folk should change their minds, because that's probably not going to happen. But what real solutions would you propose?
JonMilne
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1/14/2014 11:18:56 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/10/2014 12:05:34 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
What makes you think you can claim to know what they actually meant to say? How do you know that they did not calculate their wording to express exactly what they mean?

Have you actually read the article? And the study it links to?

Again, how do you know who (among all secular humanists) want/don't want a particular kind of State? How do you know the people in question do not want a literal Atheist State just because you and others do not?

Because I've explicitly explained the difference between a secular state and a state that would prohibit religion. And again, all you've got is "possibilities".

I'll get into this further, including as I stated addressing the various points you made.

But for starters, you made some rather demanding statements that appear as a sort of ruling guidelines. I haven't read the thread I took this quote from, so I don't know if you addressed this, but what exactly do you think the solution to the problems are? When I say solution, I don't mean suggestions on how religious folk should change their minds, because that's probably not going to happen. But what real solutions would you propose?

I'll admit, I don't know entirely how exactly we can solve these issues. I don't even pretend to know. I think proper education about these sorts of issues would play a huge part, of course. And certainly I'd reverse current laws which are currently discriminatory towards the victims who are affected by said discrimination (so obviously I'd do stuff like legalising gay marriage on a federal level as well as allowing gay couples to be recognised as parents to kids, plus reopening all the abortion clinics that have been closed and stopping the procedures that are supposed to be guilt tripping women out of having abortions but actually statistically have next to no effect on the woman's decision to have an abortion).
RoderickSpode
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1/15/2014 6:19:41 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/14/2014 11:18:56 AM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/10/2014 12:05:34 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
What makes you think you can claim to know what they actually meant to say? How do you know that they did not calculate their wording to express exactly what they mean?

Have you actually read the article? And the study it links to?

Yes, I most certainly did read the article. And when you say the study it links to, are you including this here?

http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com...

He sure seems fairly decisive with his wording, and how atheism relates to secularism. You have to understand, (from what I recall) you implied that his usage of the term Atheist Nations was basically a mistake, and that he meant something else (Secular Nations I believe).
Again, how do you know who (among all secular humanists) want/don't want a particular kind of State? How do you know the people in question do not want a literal Atheist State just because you and others do not?

Because I've explicitly explained the difference between a secular state and a state that would prohibit religion. And again, all you've got is "possibilities".

That speaks for you. Not anyone else including the author of the blog. Now I don't know for sure that he wants a State that prohibits religion. But I also don't know that he doesn't. I can't read his mind. I do agree that he misuses the term Atheist Nations. And no doubt he knows that these nations like New Zealand are not official Atheist States. But his misuse of the term certainly causes me to wonder about his motivation for the article.
I'll get into this further, including as I stated addressing the various points you made.

But for starters, you made some rather demanding statements that appear as a sort of ruling guidelines. I haven't read the thread I took this quote from, so I don't know if you addressed this, but what exactly do you think the solution to the problems are? When I say solution, I don't mean suggestions on how religious folk should change their minds, because that's probably not going to happen. But what real solutions would you propose?

I'll admit, I don't know entirely how exactly we can solve these issues. I don't even pretend to know. I think proper education about these sorts of issues would play a huge part, of course. And certainly I'd reverse current laws which are currently discriminatory towards the victims who are affected by said discrimination (so obviously I'd do stuff like legalising gay marriage on a federal level as well as allowing gay couples to be recognised as parents to kids, plus reopening all the abortion clinics that have been closed and stopping the procedures that are supposed to be guilt tripping women out of having abortions but actually statistically have next to no effect on the woman's decision to have an abortion).

I'll get to that later, but for now, I'll continue to address the issue of what non religious people want.

Again, the problem is that what non-religious people want varies. You are not all in a sort of unified/universal frame of mind. And I think it's important to keep that in mind. For instance, an atheist activist group has claimed that the cross at Ground Zero in New York has caused sickness among some atheists who demand it be taken down. That's pretty questionable right there. But even if there are those who are actually getting sick from seeing the cross, and are demanding it's removal, what makes anyone think that they would stop at the removal of a cross at the memorial site in New York. Or the statue of Jesus in Montana that is a war memorial for veterans? What makes anyone think that demands won't eventually be made for cross removals from churches from public view? Or, even the removal of churches from public view?

I have no doubt that you don't want an atheist State. That doesn't mean that others don't. You may want certain laws where religion plays an active part implemented or removed without removal of religion, but that doesn't mean that others don't. The sentiment towards religion (aka Christianity) varies. Some of it is quite hostile. And if orgs like Freedom From Religion do gain some sort of authoritative foothold, it may appear ideal, but may not be at all.

For instance, there's this seemingly common view that Buddhists and Hindus are not a part of the religion problem in the west. Buddhists don't refer to any type of judgment, and Hindus are fairly ethnocentric. But....there's no guarantee that they wouldn't come under scrutiny, and possibly persecution just because many atheists and anti-theists don't have a problem with them. You may end up saying "I didn't want to see the Buddhists and Hindu temples getting closed down.", "I didn't want to see them getting arrested.". Or, since I believe that you stated that you were brought up in a good Christian home (which makes me question your view on religion being dangerous), you may end up saying "Wait a minute. I didn't want to see Christians get thrown in jail for their beliefs. Just wanted them to change their views of homosexuality and abortion." "I didn't want to see my uncle have his personal library confiscated just because he has a family Bible.", etc.

You have absolutely no control of what other non-religious people think. Yes, my scenario might be far off. Or, it might be closer than we think. I don't know. But there is no universal thought pattern among the non-religious. Just because you are only concerned about gay rights, abortion, etc., doesn't meant that others don't want a literal atheist State with strict laws on religion.
JonMilne
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1/16/2014 3:03:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/15/2014 6:19:41 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
Yes, I most certainly did read the article. And when you say the study it links to, are you including this here?

http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com...

He sure seems fairly decisive with his wording, and how atheism relates to secularism. You have to understand, (from what I recall) you implied that his usage of the term Atheist Nations was basically a mistake, and that he meant something else (Secular Nations I believe).

Fair enough, but obviously the author essentially does say that you don't need to be an atheist to be a secularist, though it does help.

That speaks for you. Not anyone else including the author of the blog. Now I don't know for sure that he wants a State that prohibits religion. But I also don't know that he doesn't. I can't read his mind. I do agree that he misuses the term Atheist Nations. And no doubt he knows that these nations like New Zealand are not official Atheist States. But his misuse of the term certainly causes me to wonder about his motivation for the article.

This is better addressed when I get to the key point we end up hitting in your response here.

I'll get to that later, but for now, I'll continue to address the issue of what non religious people want.

Again, the problem is that what non-religious people want varies. You are not all in a sort of unified/universal frame of mind. And I think it's important to keep that in mind.

You've done a switcheroo here, and hoped I wouldn't notice. The thread title for the quoted passage in the OP is "What do secular humanist atheists want?", and in retrospect, I could have also added to that thread title with "feminist" and "egalitarian", although I think I make those positions clear enough when discussing this stuff later on in the thread. In other words, I was referring to a specific (and pretty large) group within atheists, and what, if you asked them, they'd be likely to tell you. You're more than welcome to talk to other secular humanist atheists. I'm sure they'd agree with most if not all of what I considered the ideals to be.

For instance, an atheist activist group has claimed that the cross at Ground Zero in New York has caused sickness among some atheists who demand it be taken down. That's pretty questionable right there. But even if there are those who are actually getting sick from seeing the cross, and are demanding it's removal, what makes anyone think that they would stop at the removal of a cross at the memorial site in New York.

The issue with the 9/11 cross is that there is a certain element of dishonesty to it. Somehow we"re all supposed to pretend that their obvious religious symbol, erected by a church, used as a prop for religious instruction, is supposed to be a merely secular symbol.

Or the statue of Jesus in Montana that is a war memorial for veterans?

I'll direct you to this explanation of the issues there: http://www.patheos.com... . To quote: "Part of Judge Dana Christensen"s decision hinges on the fact that no one complained about Big Mountain Jesus for 60 years ------ much like no one complained about a Ten Commandments monument in Van Orden v Perry until it was too late." And also "Just because something has been around for a long time doesn"t make it okay. Just because no one complained about it before doesn"t mean it wasn"t worth complaining about. This is the same argument Christians used when Jessica Ahlquist tried to take down her school"s religious mural: It"s been there for decades and no one complained before, so it should stay!"

I'll also direct you to a similar issue and the problems that arise from that obviously religious monument on public property with Camp Pendleton, which also clearly violated the First Amendment: http://freethoughtblogs.com...
http://freethoughtblogs.com... .

What makes anyone think that demands won't eventually be made for cross removals from churches from public view? Or, even the removal of churches from public view?

Nope, Churches are private property and there's no prohibition against doing religious stuff in a religious avenue, and in schools as long as you actually follow constitutional procedure.

I have no doubt that you don't want an atheist State. That doesn't mean that others don't. You may want certain laws where religion plays an active part implemented or removed without removal of religion, but that doesn't mean that others don't. The sentiment towards religion (aka Christianity) varies. Some of it is quite hostile. And if orgs like Freedom From Religion do gain some sort of authoritative foothold, it may appear ideal, but may not be at all.

Many of us atheists have religious relatives and friends. It's that empathy and compassion we've talked about. You could of course just email someone from the FFRF and they could tell you probably exactly what I'm telling you. In the meantime, conspiracy theories aren't evidence.

For instance, there's this seemingly common view that Buddhists and Hindus are not a part of the religion problem in the west. Buddhists don't refer to any type of judgment, and Hindus are fairly ethnocentric.

Without diving into a Google search since I don't have the time, I do know that there at least some issues with those two religions, although certainly comparatively less than the others.

But....there's no guarantee that they wouldn't come under scrutiny, and possibly persecution just because many atheists and anti-theists don't have a problem with them.

Nothing wrong with some critical scrutiny, but "persecution"? Really? Are you telling me that that's how you feel about how Christians are treated? Seriously?

You may end up saying "I didn't want to see the Buddhists and Hindu temples getting closed down.", "I didn't want to see them getting arrested.". Or, since I believe that you stated that you were brought up in a good Christian home (which makes me question your view on religion being dangerous),

Well because the sheer lack of evidence for a God leads to them believing irrationally in something they can't demonstrate exists. Once you allow for belief in an irrational, and for all intents and purposes imaginary being, then when you expand from that and go into saying whatever this imaginary being is apparently telling you, that's kinda worrying really.

you may end up saying "Wait a minute. I didn't want to see Christians get thrown in jail for their beliefs. Just wanted them to change their views of homosexuality and abortion." "I didn't want to see my uncle have his personal library confiscated just because he has a family Bible.", etc.

Have the FFRF, or even any of the leading figures of any western secular atheist movement, actually given any kinds of demands of these sorts? Otherwise, this is just an emotional appeal as well as a faux slippery slope argument.

You have absolutely no control of what other non-religious people think. Yes, my scenario might be far off. Or, it might be closer than we think. I don't know. But there is no universal thought pattern among the non-religious. Just because you are only concerned about gay rights, abortion, etc., doesn't meant that others don't want a literal atheist State with strict laws on religion.

See above on the switcheroo you pulled here.
RoderickSpode
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1/17/2014 9:51:07 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/16/2014 3:03:02 PM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/15/2014 6:19:41 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
Yes, I most certainly did read the article. And when you say the study it links to, are you including this here?

http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com...

He sure seems fairly decisive with his wording, and how atheism relates to secularism. You have to understand, (from what I recall) you implied that his usage of the term Atheist Nations was basically a mistake, and that he meant something else (Secular Nations I believe).

Fair enough, but obviously the author essentially does say that you don't need to be an atheist to be a secularist, though it does help.

Yes, he did mention the United States/Denmark contrast I believe.

That speaks for you. Not anyone else including the author of the blog. Now I don't know for sure that he wants a State that prohibits religion. But I also don't know that he doesn't. I can't read his mind. I do agree that he misuses the term Atheist Nations. And no doubt he knows that these nations like New Zealand are not official Atheist States. But his misuse of the term certainly causes me to wonder about his motivation for the article.

This is better addressed when I get to the key point we end up hitting in your response here.

I'll get to that later, but for now, I'll continue to address the issue of what non religious people want.

Again, the problem is that what non-religious people want varies. You are not all in a sort of unified/universal frame of mind. And I think it's important to keep that in mind.

You've done a switcheroo here, and hoped I wouldn't notice. The thread title for the quoted passage in the OP is "What do secular humanist atheists want?", and in retrospect, I could have also added to that thread title with "feminist" and "egalitarian", although I think I make those positions clear enough when discussing this stuff later on in the thread. In other words, I was referring to a specific (and pretty large) group within atheists, and what, if you asked them, they'd be likely to tell you. You're more than welcome to talk to other secular humanist atheists. I'm sure they'd agree with most if not all of what I considered the ideals to be.

I understand your point, but it's sort of like me using a phrase like "what do compassionate Christians want", with the idea of referring to a specific group within Christianity. The problem of course being, which Christians, or denomination is that going to exclude? Or maybe, I should just come out and ask you, which group of atheists are you excluding?

For instance, an atheist activist group has claimed that the cross at Ground Zero in New York has caused sickness among some atheists who demand it be taken down. That's pretty questionable right there. But even if there are those who are actually getting sick from seeing the cross, and are demanding it's removal, what makes anyone think that they would stop at the removal of a cross at the memorial site in New York.

The issue with the 9/11 cross is that there is a certain element of dishonesty to it. Somehow we"re all supposed to pretend that their obvious religious symbol, erected by a church, used as a prop for religious instruction, is supposed to be a merely secular symbol.

The issue is not really whether or not the cross is a secular symbol as far as the court is concerned. Whether or not some who argue for the cross' continuance made dishonest claims is also not the issue. The cross is considered an historic monument. It does not violate anything constitutional. As far as honesty goes, what's in question are the claims to atheists getting mental pain and anguish and headaches.
Or the statue of Jesus in Montana that is a war memorial for veterans?

I'll direct you to this explanation of the issues there: http://www.patheos.com... . To quote: "Part of Judge Dana Christensen"s decision hinges on the fact that no one complained about Big Mountain Jesus for 60 years ------ much like no one complained about a Ten Commandments monument in Van Orden v Perry until it was too late." And also "Just because something has been around for a long time doesn"t make it okay. Just because no one complained about it before doesn"t mean it wasn"t worth complaining about. This is the same argument Christians used when Jessica Ahlquist tried to take down her school"s religious mural: It"s been there for decades and no one complained before, so it should stay!"


I'll also direct you to a similar issue and the problems that arise from that obviously religious monument on public property with Camp Pendleton, which also clearly violated the First Amendment: http://freethoughtblogs.com...
http://freethoughtblogs.com... .


You're missing the point. Actually with both scenarios I gave you. It's not really about whether or not there are some legal grounds to have either objects removed. If I looked hard enough, I might be able to find legal grounds to have Disney Land removed. The question is, why would I want to do that? The battle for the removal of both these objects are alleged to be a result of apparent personal injuries, where what is clear is that it's obviously hurt feelings. Are hurt feelings really grounds for removal for something like the Jesus statue which has served as a memorial of hope for WWII veterans? And considered a part of Montana history?

It's quite probable that a not all those complaining about the statue have even seen it (probably the majority have not). Just as it's doubtful that any members of the FFRF attended the Texas high school football game they got involved with over cheerleaders putting scripture on signs, thus taking it to court (and lost).

I would also venture to say that anyone who complains about the removal of the Ground Zero cross, Jesus Statue, high school cheerleader scripture signs also complain about Afghanistan's destruction of Buddhist statues. Even though technically it's really none of our business.
RoderickSpode
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1/17/2014 10:26:19 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/16/2014 3:03:02 PM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/15/2014 6:19:41 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:

What makes anyone think that demands won't eventually be made for cross removals from churches from public view? Or, even the removal of churches from public view?

Nope, Churches are private property and there's no prohibition against doing religious stuff in a religious avenue, and in schools as long as you actually follow constitutional procedure.

Yes, that's how the legal system works at the moment. You have to remember, the Bible at one time was used in American public classrooms .

The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. [The]Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.

BENJAMIN RUSH, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION (Click Here for more from Benjamin Rush)


Do you think that's legal today?

If atheist activists claim that the sight of a cross and a statue of Jesus causes them that much emotional pain, what makes you think that they wouldn't push for the removal of the cross anywhere else including churches? Or, the removal of churches? Again, what is legal now is not the issue. Because what is legal now can potentially change.

I have no doubt that you don't want an atheist State. That doesn't mean that others don't. You may want certain laws where religion plays an active part implemented or removed without removal of religion, but that doesn't mean that others don't. The sentiment towards religion (aka Christianity) varies. Some of it is quite hostile. And if orgs like Freedom From Religion do gain some sort of authoritative foothold, it may appear ideal, but may not be at all.

Many of us atheists have religious relatives and friends. It's that empathy and compassion we've talked about. You could of course just email someone from the FFRF and they could tell you probably exactly what I'm telling you. In the meantime, conspiracy theories aren't evidence.

Yeah, they probably would tell me the same things. I think all atheists are going to make a claim of humanitarianism, secularism, etc. Richard Dawkins is a member of the FFRF by the way. He has made references to militant atheism. But I'm sure he considers himself a humanitarian.
For instance, there's this seemingly common view that Buddhists and Hindus are not a part of the religion problem in the west. Buddhists don't refer to any type of judgment, and Hindus are fairly ethnocentric.

Without diving into a Google search since I don't have the time, I do know that there at least some issues with those two religions, although certainly comparatively less than the others.

I'm sure there is.

But....there's no guarantee that they wouldn't come under scrutiny, and possibly persecution just because many atheists and anti-theists don't have a problem with them.

Nothing wrong with some critical scrutiny, but "persecution"? Really? Are you telling me that that's how you feel about how Christians are treated? Seriously?

No there isn't anything wrong with some critical scrutiny. That's what I'm doing.

Are Christians persecuted in the West? No. I would say (unofficially) about 98% of what is being stated by atheist activists is hot air. About 2% (unofficially) we might say could be the actions of groups like the American Atheists, and the FFRF. Why? Did I say something that lead you to believe that I think that Christians are persecuted in the West?

Now I will say this, the mentality does exist in the western world that if placed in a position of power, would basically produce a totalitarian type of government. If the American Atheists, or the FFRF somehow took control, we would have a totalitarian government as far as I'm concerned. No reason that I can see to think otherwise.

How about you? Do you think it's possible that the U.S., or Britain could at some point become theocracies as was in historic Europe?

You may end up saying "I didn't want to see the Buddhists and Hindu temples getting closed down.", "I didn't want to see them getting arrested.". Or, since I believe that you stated that you were brought up in a good Christian home (which makes me question your view on religion being dangerous),

Well because the sheer lack of evidence for a God leads to them believing irrationally in something they can't demonstrate exists. Once you allow for belief in an irrational, and for all intents and purposes imaginary being, then when you expand from that and go into saying whatever this imaginary being is apparently telling you, that's kinda worrying really.

What exactly are you worried about? Are you for instance, worried about what your Christian family members might do? If so what? What about Christians in general?

you may end up saying "Wait a minute. I didn't want to see Christians get thrown in jail for their beliefs. Just wanted them to change their views of homosexuality and abortion." "I didn't want to see my uncle have his personal library confiscated just because he has a family Bible.", etc.

Have the FFRF, or even any of the leading figures of any western secular atheist movement, actually given any kinds of demands of these sorts? Otherwise, this is just an emotional appeal as well as a faux slippery slope argument.

That depends on whether or not supporting the citation of a minister holding a bible study in the privacy of his home in California, demanding cheerleaders refrain from placing scriptures on signs at high school football games, demanding the removal of crosses and Christian statues is a precursor or not. How about you? Do you see witches and heretics being burned in the U.S. and Europe?

You have absolutely no control of what other non-religious people think. Yes, my scenario might be far off. Or, it might be closer than we think. I don't know. But there is no universal thought pattern among the non-religious. Just because you are only concerned about gay rights, abortion, etc., doesn't meant that others don't want a literal atheist State with strict laws on religion.

See above on the switcheroo you pulled here.

And see my answer to the switcheroo.
Ramshutu
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1/17/2014 11:33:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/17/2014 10:26:19 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 1/16/2014 3:03:02 PM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/15/2014 6:19:41 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:

What makes anyone think that demands won't eventually be made for cross removals from churches from public view? Or, even the removal of churches from public view?

Nope, Churches are private property and there's no prohibition against doing religious stuff in a religious avenue, and in schools as long as you actually follow constitutional procedure.

Yes, that's how the legal system works at the moment. You have to remember, the Bible at one time was used in American public classrooms .

The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. [The]Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.

BENJAMIN RUSH, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION (Click Here for more from Benjamin Rush)


Do you think that's legal today?

Wow, that sounds like a rebuff of the first amendment! I think Jon should give up now!

Or, and I will save some effort, do some research.

So, I'm not too clued up by American history, but my interest was perked when you stated:

"signer of the declaration"

Rather than

"signer of the bill of rights"

So I googled it. As you should always do, and lo and behold Benjamin Rush wasn't part of the 1st United States congress that passed the bill of rights. The first amendment of which I believe you are discussing.

So I googled a key phrase and sourced it from a book written by Benjamin rush called "a defence of the use of the Bible in Schools" and occurred at a time bible instruction was being stopped in public schools rather than being a proposed law, or act of congress (that I can tell, I have searched, but feel free to show me the law)

So it seems it wasn't legal then, and isn't legal now.

But it is highly surprising how much one can discern from careful googling the ways in which opposition (mainly from the religious) arguments are subtly misleading.
RoderickSpode
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1/18/2014 7:49:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/17/2014 11:33:51 AM, Ramshutu wrote:
At 1/17/2014 10:26:19 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 1/16/2014 3:03:02 PM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/15/2014 6:19:41 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:

What makes anyone think that demands won't eventually be made for cross removals from churches from public view? Or, even the removal of churches from public view?

Nope, Churches are private property and there's no prohibition against doing religious stuff in a religious avenue, and in schools as long as you actually follow constitutional procedure.

Yes, that's how the legal system works at the moment. You have to remember, the Bible at one time was used in American public classrooms .

The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. [The]Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.

BENJAMIN RUSH, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION (Click Here for more from Benjamin Rush)


Do you think that's legal today?

Wow, that sounds like a rebuff of the first amendment! I think Jon should give up now!

Or, and I will save some effort, do some research.

So, I'm not too clued up by American history, but my interest was perked when you stated:

"signer of the declaration"

Rather than

"signer of the bill of rights"

So I googled it. As you should always do, and lo and behold Benjamin Rush wasn't part of the 1st United States congress that passed the bill of rights. The first amendment of which I believe you are discussing.

So I googled a key phrase and sourced it from a book written by Benjamin rush called "a defence of the use of the Bible in Schools" and occurred at a time bible instruction was being stopped in public schools rather than being a proposed law, or act of congress (that I can tell, I have searched, but feel free to show me the law)

So it seems it wasn't legal then, and isn't legal now.

But it is highly surprising how much one can discern from careful googling the ways in which opposition (mainly from the religious) arguments are subtly misleading.
I think you misunderstood me. My usage of the quote was not to make any particular claim about Benjamin Rush other than show that at one time the Bible was used in the American public classroom. The fact that at-some-point-it-stopped is the point I was making. I really could have edited what he was a signer of as that's not really important, except in showing that he was a significant person in American history for-whatever-the-reason-may-be. If I had been paying attention, what I would have deleted was the (Click Here for more from Benjamin Rush) as obviously it does no good.

I think why I used the quote should be discernible in the context of the conversation. If not, I can explain further.

As far as googling and it's benefits, yes it's a good tool. However, it can also cause confusion because not all sources are reliable. As a result of googling, it may seem to you that the Bible is illegal now, but it actually isn't. Basically, It cannot be taught as an instructional guide. And that really didn't happen until 1963. But because it's a controversial, and misunderstood issue, there have been all kinds of court battles over the subject. In Benjamin Rush's day, some schools stopped using the Bible as a textbook, and Rush believed that all schools should use it. It wasn't illegal, it just wasn't always used. I'd be interested in seeing the source you're using that states that the Bible wasn't legal.

The results with googling specifically on information concerning the history of religion in America has lead to major misconceptions. For instance, certain websites can lead people to believe that the Founding Fathers were deists (yes, some were, but a minority) including George Washington. And this confusion is not relegated to foreigners.
JonMilne
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1/18/2014 2:10:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/17/2014 9:51:07 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
I understand your point, but it's sort of like me using a phrase like "what do compassionate Christians want", with the idea of referring to a specific group within Christianity. The problem of course being, which Christians, or denomination is that going to exclude? Or maybe, I should just come out and ask you, which group of atheists are you excluding?

The difference here is that what you'd be appealing here if you actually used the hypothetical phrase are the Christians who are seemingly "nicer" without being specific about groups and denominations would fit under such a label, not to mention it's pretty much playing No True Scotsman where you'd be appealing to the notion that only the "compassionate" Christians are the real Christians. Not that you're making that argument, but the difference is that I'm actually pointing out specific philosophical groups and atheists who fit into all of them. Again, I'm not claiming all atheists would support the ideals I suggested from the quote in the OP, quite simply I said that the supreme majority if not all atheists who are Secular Humanist Feminist Egalitarians would support the ideals I mentioned. This is hardly difficult.

The issue is not really whether or not the cross is a secular symbol as far as the court is concerned. Whether or not some who argue for the cross' continuance made dishonest claims is also not the issue. The cross is considered an historic monument. It does not violate anything constitutional. As far as honesty goes, what's in question are the claims to atheists getting mental pain and anguish and headaches.

What is amounts to is violation of Separation of Church and State, it is something that clearly only panders to Christians and contributes to isolating anyone else who would either hold to a different religion or would not even have any God belief at all. It would have been one thing if this cross had been at some explicitly Christian institution, but at a public secular area the rules are different.

Also, there's this thing in the US called the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", and Thomas Jefferson used the phrase "separation of Church and State" in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Church to explain EXACTLY what this part of the 1stA meant.

We've also got the Lemon vs Kurtzman case of 1971, where the Supreme Court ruled that a Law is not constitutional unless it satisfies the following conditions:

1) It has a legitimate secular purpose, and
2) It's principal effect neither advances nor inhibits religion, and
3) It does not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.

So basically, the government has to remain neutral on religion, and it can't favour one religion over another, or indeed one religion over none at all.

You're missing the point. Actually with both scenarios I gave you. It's not really about whether or not there are some legal grounds to have either objects removed. If I looked hard enough, I might be able to find legal grounds to have Disney Land removed. The question is, why would I want to do that? The battle for the removal of both these objects are alleged to be a result of apparent personal injuries, where what is clear is that it's obviously hurt feelings. Are hurt feelings really grounds for removal for something like the Jesus statue which has served as a memorial of hope for WWII veterans? And considered a part of Montana history?

Because among other things, it clearly only panders to Christians. Not to mention, were there not American soldiers in World War II who were not Christians, say Jews or Atheists? Is it moral to represent them with a religious figure they didn't believe in?The original intent is clearly not secular, it was made to advance a religion, and indeed it entangled the public school in an explicit endorsement of ONE particular religion. Ergo, unconstitutional. Like I say, the Lemon test. Beyond that, I'd suggest you read this: http://www.alternet.org...


It's quite probable that a not all those complaining about the statue have even seen it (probably the majority have not). Just as it's doubtful that any members of the FFRF attended the Texas high school football game they got involved with over cheerleaders putting scripture on signs, thus taking it to court (and lost).

What part of unconstitutional do you not understand? And I'll also direct you here: http://freethoughtblogs.com... . Particularly this quote:

"they might recognize the problem if a group of cheerleaders held up a banner that said "There"s probably no god. Now stop worrying and play the game." A more apt example would be this. Imagine a majority Muslim community like Dearborn, Michigan had a similar situation, with the cheerleaders holding up a sign with a verse from the Quran and thanking Allah. All of these arguments about religious liberty would disappear in an instant.

Civil libertarians like me would be consistent; we"d be opposed to it in both situations. But the people who are screaming about how persecuted they are in this situation would be cheering us on when we filed a suit against the Dearborn school for doing the same thing they"re now defending. Because this isn"t about religious liberty, it"s about Christian hegemony. "

I would also venture to say that anyone who complains about the removal of the Ground Zero cross, Jesus Statue, high school cheerleader scripture signs also complain about Afghanistan's destruction of Buddhist statues. Even though technically it's really none of our business.

It's unconstitutional, and it amounts to shoving religion down people's throats. I'll also direct you here, http://www.alternet.org... , to this quote in particular:

"despite the law being unambiguous on the subject, public schools around the country are continuing to sponsor prayers and otherwise promote theocracy, in flagrant violation of the law... apparently in the hopes that nobody will want to make waves and speak out against it. There's the lack of understanding in the United States about fundamental civics: the all-too-common belief that "majority rules" in every situation, and the all-too-common failure to comprehend the principle that the minority has basic civil rights.

There are rants about religion to be had here as well. There's the level of not only hostility, but panicked hostility, when entrenched religion gets its privileged status threatened. There's the way that religion relies on social consensus to perpetuate itself -- and how, when that consensus is threatened, it commonly reacts by smacking down dissent and expelling dissenters. There's the idea that the unverifiability of religion -- the beliefs in invisible, inaudible, intangible gods promising an afterlife nobody can know anything about -- means that the harm done in its name has the unique capacity to spin off into the stratosphere... since there's no reality check. There's the image of religion as a colossal fortress protecting a house of cards: powerful, massive structures and institutions staunchly buttressed and hotly defended to ensure that nobody ever examines the ideas inside and sees how flimsy they are.

And of course -- duh -- there's separation of church and state. There's the principle that a public school should not be sponsoring prayers at graduations. What with that being a government establishment of religion and all, and thus being -- oh, what's that word?
JonMilne
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1/18/2014 2:18:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/17/2014 10:26:19 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
Yes, that's how the legal system works at the moment. You have to remember, the Bible at one time was used in American public classrooms .

The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. [The]Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.

BENJAMIN RUSH, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION (Click Here for more from Benjamin Rush)


Do you think that's legal today?

Probably not, and it shouldn't be.

If atheist activists claim that the sight of a cross and a statue of Jesus causes them that much emotional pain, what makes you think that they wouldn't push for the removal of the cross anywhere else including churches? Or, the removal of churches? Again, what is legal now is not the issue. Because what is legal now can potentially change.

They've been consistent and have only demanded the removal of religious monuments from public owned and funded places, not privately owned religious funded places like Churches, or Churches themselves. This is just scaremongering.

No there isn't anything wrong with some critical scrutiny. That's what I'm doing.

Are Christians persecuted in the West? No. I would say (unofficially) about 98% of what is being stated by atheist activists is hot air. About 2% (unofficially) we might say could be the actions of groups like the American Atheists, and the FFRF. Why? Did I say something that lead you to believe that I think that Christians are persecuted in the West?

Just the tone of your posts. And what do you mean by the bolded comment? Are you saying what they say about the level of harassment directed at atheists as well as issues religious bodies are causing are meaningless complaints?

Now I will say this, the mentality does exist in the western world that if placed in a position of power, would basically produce a totalitarian type of government. If the American Atheists, or the FFRF somehow took control, we would have a totalitarian government as far as I'm concerned. No reason that I can see to think otherwise.

Where's the evidence for this?

How about you? Do you think it's possible that the U.S., or Britain could at some point become theocracies as was in historic Europe?

Uh, theocracy means religious controlled dictatorships, and atheism ain't a religion. Nice try though.

What exactly are you worried about? Are you for instance, worried about what your Christian family members might do? If so what? What about Christians in general?

I'm gonna address this in a separate comment later on since I'm low on time.

That depends on whether or not supporting the citation of a minister holding a bible study in the privacy of his home in California, demanding cheerleaders refrain from placing scriptures on signs at high school football games, demanding the removal of crosses and Christian statues is a precursor or not. How about you? Do you see witches and heretics being burned in the U.S. and Europe?

Are you seriously comparing sadistic acts of torture and murder to atheist activists reminding religious bodies that they need to obey the First Amendment?
JonMilne
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1/18/2014 6:25:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 2:18:39 PM, JonMilne wrote:
What exactly are you worried about? Are you for instance, worried about what your Christian family members might do? If so what? What about Christians in general?

I'm gonna address this in a separate comment later on since I'm low on time.

Right, okay. So here's an analogy. Imagine there's people who are supremely convinced they get instructions on how to live, not from God, but from their hair dryer. Let's say Person A thinks their hair dryer is telling them to kill the any gay people they see in Trafalgar Square, London, while Person B think their hair dryer is telling them to volunteer for 3 days a week at a homeless shelter.

Now you and I would both agree that it's better to volunteer at a homeless shelter than to kill gay people. That's a given.

But there's still a basic problem: which is that you are thinking that your hair dryer is talking to you.

You are still getting your ethics from a hair dryer. You are still getting your perceptions of reality and your ideas about how to live your life, not from the core moral values that most human beings seem to share, not from any solid evidence about what decreases suffering and increases fairness and happiness, not from your own observations and experiences of what does and does not work to make the world a better place. No, you're getting it from a household appliance.

And that"s a problem.

It"s a problem for what I hope is an obvious reason: Hair dryers don"t talk to us. Thinking that they do is radically out of touch with reality. And I hope I don"t have to explain why we should care about reality, and about whether the things we believe are really true.

But it"s also a problem because, if you think your hair dryer is a valid source of moral guidance, what do you do if it starts telling you something different? Something a little less noble than "volunteer at the homeless shelter three times a week"? Something absurd (and not in a good way); something self-destructive; something grossly immoral?

What do you do if your hair dryer starts telling you to go to your blind date wearing a wedding dress and a hat made out of a rubber chicken? What do you do if your hair dryer starts telling you, not just to volunteer at the homeless shelter twice a week, but to donate your entire paycheck to the homeless shelter, every week, to the point where you become homeless yourself? What do you do if your hair dryer starts telling you to kill every gay person you see in Trafalgar Square, London?

If you don"t have a better reason for what you do than, "The hair dryer told me to do it," you"re in trouble. You have no reality check on your perceptions or ideas or decisions.

And if you do have a better reason for what you do than, "The hair dryer told me to do it", then why do you need the hair dryer?

So yes. If you"re volunteering at a homeless shelter three times a week, you"re doing better than the person who kills every gay person they see in Trafalgar Square, London.

But if you"re getting your ideas about reality and morality from a household appliance, then you"ve got a problem.

And if you"re getting your ideas about reality and morality from an invisible being who nobody can agree about and who you have no good reason to think even exists, then you"ve got a problem.

Faith without evidence is a bad idea. It"s a bad idea to believe things you have no good reason to think are true. Even if it sometimes leads to good conclusions, it"s still a bad idea. Period.
RoderickSpode
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1/18/2014 9:57:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 2:10:38 PM, JonMilne wrote:
The difference here is that what you'd be appealing here if you actually used the hypothetical phrase are the Christians who are seemingly "nicer" without being specific about groups and denominations would fit under such a label, not to mention it's pretty much playing No True Scotsman where you'd be appealing to the notion that only the "compassionate" Christians are the real Christians. Not that you're making that argument, but the difference is that I'm actually pointing out specific philosophical groups and atheists who fit into all of them. Again, I'm not claiming all atheists would support the ideals I suggested from the quote in the OP, quite simply I said that the supreme majority if not all atheists who are Secular Humanist Feminist Egalitarians would support the ideals I mentioned. This is hardly difficult.

It is the Secular Humanist Feminist Egalitarian branch of atheism that I am claiming are not all thinking in one universal mindset concerning things like religious rights, etc. I'll get more into that later.



What is amounts to is violation of Separation of Church and State, it is something that clearly only panders to Christians and contributes to isolating anyone else who would either hold to a different religion or would not even have any God belief at all. It would have been one thing if this cross had been at some explicitly Christian institution, but at a public secular area the rules are different.

No, they are not different. There is nothing in the constitution that requires the removal of religious symbols in the public square. That's why the case has been thrown out.

Also, there's this thing in the US called the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", and Thomas Jefferson used the phrase "separation of Church and State" in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Church to explain EXACTLY what this part of the 1stA meant.

And what exactly do you think Separation Of Church And State means?

We've also got the Lemon vs Kurtzman case of 1971, where the Supreme Court ruled that a Law is not constitutional unless it satisfies the following conditions:

1) It has a legitimate secular purpose, and
2) It's principal effect neither advances nor inhibits religion, and
3) It does not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.

So basically, the government has to remain neutral on religion, and it can't favour one religion over another, or indeed one religion over none at all.

What do you think they meant by religion?
RoderickSpode
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1/18/2014 10:36:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 2:10:38 PM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/17/2014 9:51:07 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
You're missing the point. Actually with both scenarios I gave you. It's not really about whether or not there are some legal grounds to have either objects removed. If I looked hard enough, I might be able to find legal grounds to have Disney Land removed. The question is, why would I want to do that? The battle for the removal of both these objects are alleged to be a result of apparent personal injuries, where what is clear is that it's obviously hurt feelings. Are hurt feelings really grounds for removal for something like the Jesus statue which has served as a memorial of hope for WWII veterans? And considered a part of Montana history?

Because among other things, it clearly only panders to Christians. Not to mention, were there not American soldiers in World War II who were not Christians, say Jews or Atheists? Is it moral to represent them with a religious figure they didn't believe in?The original intent is clearly not secular, it was made to advance a religion, and indeed it entangled the public school in an explicit endorsement of ONE particular religion. Ergo, unconstitutional. Like I say, the Lemon test. Beyond that, I'd suggest you read this: http://www.alternet.org...


No, the statue was not made to advance a religion. The statue was modeled after statues that soldiers saw while in Italy. As far as we know, there were no complaints made by anyone about the statue until recently. Again, the constitution states nothing about the removal of religious symbols from public view.

It's quite probable that a not all those complaining about the statue have even seen it (probably the majority have not). Just as it's doubtful that any members of the FFRF attended the Texas high school football game they got involved with over cheerleaders putting scripture on signs, thus taking it to court (and lost).

What part of unconstitutional do you not understand? And I'll also direct you here: http://freethoughtblogs.com... . Particularly this quote:

"they might recognize the problem if a group of cheerleaders held up a banner that said "There"s probably no god. Now stop worrying and play the game." A more apt example would be this. Imagine a majority Muslim community like Dearborn, Michigan had a similar situation, with the cheerleaders holding up a sign with a verse from the Quran and thanking Allah. All of these arguments about religious liberty would disappear in an instant.


Civil libertarians like me would be consistent; we"d be opposed to it in both situations. But the people who are screaming about how persecuted they are in this situation would be cheering us on when we filed a suit against the Dearborn school for doing the same thing they"re now defending. Because this isn"t about religious liberty, it"s about Christian hegemony. "

The atheist activists are not concerned about Christian hegemony when it comes to other religions. That's a contradiction. I don't think they could care less about Muslims. If Muslim cheerleaders in Dearborn placed Quranic scripture on signs, or a statue of Mohammed was placed in a ski resort, there's still a reference being made to a god. So either the atheists will complain anyway, because a god/religion is being promoted, or they won't mind because they may see it as an offense to Christians. The atheist activists are just as confused about religion as anyone else. Some may be more calculating in their goals, but I would say most are still more confused if anything. The atheists complain about an alleged Christian intolerance towards Muslims, simply because we don't accept their religion as being the ultimate truth, and Christians reject other religions as being the ultimate truth. Well, so do atheists. And atheists are one up on us Christians. You reject one more religion than we do. However......when Muslims commit acts of terrorism then the pseudo support given to them is out the window. And then all of a sudden it's not a Christian intolerance issue, but a danger of religion as a whole issue. Or, for those who want to kind of keep eastern religions like Buddhism out of the dangerous category, it becomes an Abrahamic Religion issue. It's not Islam, or factions of Islam alone that are dangerous; but religion-as-a-whole or Abrahamic Religion that is dangerous. But then when the issue comes back to something like a WWII Jesus monument, or Biblical scripture on high school football signs, then all of a sudden again there's this pseudo concern for the rights of the other 2 Abrahamic religions. It's sort of like the guy or girl who uses another guy or girl to get back at their boyfriend or girlfriend.

And besides, speculating on how Christians would react in hypothetical circumstances is rather silly.
RoderickSpode
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1/18/2014 10:46:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
: At 1/18/2014 2:10:38 PM, JonMilne wrote:

I would also venture to say that anyone who complains about the removal of the Ground Zero cross, Jesus Statue, high school cheerleader scripture signs also complain about Afghanistan's destruction of Buddhist statues. Even though technically it's really none of our business.

It's unconstitutional, and it amounts to shoving religion down people's throats. I'll also direct you here, http://www.alternet.org...... , to this quote in particular:

"despite the law being unambiguous on the subject, public schools around the country are continuing to sponsor prayers and otherwise promote theocracy, in flagrant violation of the law... apparently in the hopes that nobody will want to make waves and speak out against it. There's the lack of understanding in the United States about fundamental civics: the all-too-common belief that "majority rules" in every situation, and the all-too-common failure to comprehend the principle that the minority has basic civil rights.

There are rants about religion to be had here as well. There's the level of not only hostility, but panicked hostility, when entrenched religion gets its privileged status threatened. There's the way that religion relies on social consensus to perpetuate itself -- and how, when that consensus is threatened, it commonly reacts by smacking down dissent and expelling dissenters. There's the idea that the unverifiability of religion -- the beliefs in invisible, inaudible, intangible gods promising an afterlife nobody can know anything about -- means that the harm done in its name has the unique capacity to spin off into the stratosphere... since there's no reality check. There's the image of religion as a colossal fortress protecting a house of cards: powerful, massive structures and institutions staunchly buttressed and hotly defended to ensure that nobody ever examines the ideas inside and sees how flimsy they are.

And of course -- duh -- there's separation of church and state. There's the principle that a public school should not be sponsoring prayers at graduations. What with that being a government establishment of religion and all, and thus being -- oh, what's that word?


I've already asked you what you think Separation Of Church And State means. But I'll further the question by asking you, if prayer in schools and in government took place back in the day that this proclamation came about, then what were they thinking back then? Did they not understand their own constitution? Did we have to figure it out for them in 1947?

Not only prayer, but church services were held right in the Capitol every Sunday which was a practice that lasted up until some time during the Civil War. Thomas Jefferson himself attended church services. How do you explain that?
RoderickSpode
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1/18/2014 11:16:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 2:18:39 PM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/17/2014 10:26:19 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
Yes, that's how the legal system works at the moment. You have to remember, the Bible at one time was used in American public classrooms .

The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. [The]Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.

BENJAMIN RUSH, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION (Click Here for more from Benjamin Rush)


Do you think that's legal today?

Probably not, and it shouldn't be.

Well, we are talking about the U.S., not Great Britain. Independent nations still do exist (at least to some degree). Is there perhaps a bit of post colonial sentiment being stirred up?

If atheist activists claim that the sight of a cross and a statue of Jesus causes them that much emotional pain, what makes you think that they wouldn't push for the removal of the cross anywhere else including churches? Or, the removal of churches? Again, what is legal now is not the issue. Because what is legal now can potentially change.

They've been consistent and have only demanded the removal of religious monuments from public owned and funded places, not privately owned religious funded places like Churches, or Churches themselves. This is just scaremongering.

Of course. It would be rather silly at this point in time to attempt to have crosses removed from churches. They lose enough court cases as it is.

No there isn't anything wrong with some critical scrutiny. That's what I'm doing.

Are Christians persecuted in the West? No. I would say (unofficially) about 98% of what is being stated by atheist activists is hot air. About 2% (unofficially) we might say could be the actions of groups like the American Atheists, and the FFRF. Why? Did I say something that lead you to believe that I think that Christians are persecuted in the West?

Just the tone of your posts. And what do you mean by the bolded comment? Are you saying what they say about the level of harassment directed at atheists as well as issues religious bodies are causing are meaningless complaints?

I'm not sure what you mean by bolded comment. And if you're referring to my comment about hot air, I think there are a lot of anti-theists who are expressing resentment due to personal experiences. Usually bad church experiences. I don't think they're meaningless in and of themselves when put into proper perspective. But often times they are not. Often times logic gets thrown out the window. When bad church experience equals Christianity/religion is evil, there's a serious flaw in reasoning.
Now I will say this, the mentality does exist in the western world that if placed in a position of power, would basically produce a totalitarian type of government. If the American Atheists, or the FFRF somehow took control, we would have a totalitarian government as far as I'm concerned. No reason that I can see to think otherwise.

Where's the evidence for this?
I will use Richard Dawkins, a member of the FFRF as an example. He seems to wish to play an atheist priest of sorts.

Richard Dawkins, the UK"s most prominent atheist, will today call on Ofsted to force faith schools to bring religious education into the national curriculum. Professor Dawkins said that the move would be the first step in ending what he calls the "wicked" practice of inculcating children with religious belief, as he steps up his campaign against religious education with a film that calls for the abolition of faith schools.


http://old.richarddawkins.net...

This comes across as rather creepy. I'm glad he's not an American.

But I have to stress again that I think the sentiment is there, not the power to carry it out. At least not yet.


How about you? Do you think it's possible that the U.S., or Britain could at some point become theocracies as was in historic Europe?

Uh, theocracy means religious controlled dictatorships, and atheism ain't a religion. Nice try though.

Yes, I know. That's exactly what I meant with this question. Do you think it's possible that the U.S. or Britain could become theocracies as-was-in-historic-Europe?
What exactly are you worried about? Are you for instance, worried about what your Christian family members might do? If so what? What about Christians in general?

I'm gonna address this in a separate comment later on since I'm low on time.

That depends on whether or not supporting the citation of a minister holding a bible study in the privacy of his home in California, demanding cheerleaders refrain from placing scriptures on signs at high school football games, demanding the removal of crosses and Christian statues is a precursor or not. How about you? Do you see witches and heretics being burned in the U.S. and Europe?

Are you seriously comparing sadistic acts of torture and murder to atheist activists reminding religious bodies that they need to obey the First Amendment?
If I wanted to compare sadistic acts of torture with atheist activists, I would compare the old European theocracy atrocities with communist atrocities. Somehow you feel you can tie in historic European theocracy atrocities with modern (specifically American) Christianity; without including western atheist activists with anti-theistic communists. How you think you can get away with that, God only knows (pun intended).
RoderickSpode
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1/18/2014 11:26:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 6:25:35 PM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/18/2014 2:18:39 PM, JonMilne wrote:
What exactly are you worried about? Are you for instance, worried about what your Christian family members might do? If so what? What about Christians in general?

I'm gonna address this in a separate comment later on since I'm low on time.

Right, okay. So here's an analogy. Imagine there's people who are supremely convinced they get instructions on how to live, not from God, but from their hair dryer. Let's say Person A thinks their hair dryer is telling them to kill the any gay people they see in Trafalgar Square, London, while Person B think their hair dryer is telling them to volunteer for 3 days a week at a homeless shelter.

Now you and I would both agree that it's better to volunteer at a homeless shelter than to kill gay people. That's a given.

But there's still a basic problem: which is that you are thinking that your hair dryer is talking to you.

You are still getting your ethics from a hair dryer. You are still getting your perceptions of reality and your ideas about how to live your life, not from the core moral values that most human beings seem to share, not from any solid evidence about what decreases suffering and increases fairness and happiness, not from your own observations and experiences of what does and does not work to make the world a better place. No, you're getting it from a household appliance.

And that"s a problem.

It"s a problem for what I hope is an obvious reason: Hair dryers don"t talk to us. Thinking that they do is radically out of touch with reality. And I hope I don"t have to explain why we should care about reality, and about whether the things we believe are really true.

But it"s also a problem because, if you think your hair dryer is a valid source of moral guidance, what do you do if it starts telling you something different? Something a little less noble than "volunteer at the homeless shelter three times a week"? Something absurd (and not in a good way); something self-destructive; something grossly immoral?

What do you do if your hair dryer starts telling you to go to your blind date wearing a wedding dress and a hat made out of a rubber chicken? What do you do if your hair dryer starts telling you, not just to volunteer at the homeless shelter twice a week, but to donate your entire paycheck to the homeless shelter, every week, to the point where you become homeless yourself? What do you do if your hair dryer starts telling you to kill every gay person you see in Trafalgar Square, London?

If you don"t have a better reason for what you do than, "The hair dryer told me to do it," you"re in trouble. You have no reality check on your perceptions or ideas or decisions.

And if you do have a better reason for what you do than, "The hair dryer told me to do it", then why do you need the hair dryer?

So yes. If you"re volunteering at a homeless shelter three times a week, you"re doing better than the person who kills every gay person they see in Trafalgar Square, London.

But if you"re getting your ideas about reality and morality from a household appliance, then you"ve got a problem.

And if you"re getting your ideas about reality and morality from an invisible being who nobody can agree about and who you have no good reason to think even exists, then you"ve got a problem.

Faith without evidence is a bad idea. It"s a bad idea to believe things you have no good reason to think are true. Even if it sometimes leads to good conclusions, it"s still a bad idea. Period.
Maybe you can explain to me then, what are the agnostics that are members of the National Academy Of Sciences (that are a part of the 95% atheists and agnostics) agnostic about? Are they just not sure if a creator exists? Or are they also not sure (agnostic about) the ability of hair dryers to communicate with humans?

You stated that the existence of a creator is an hypothesis. Is the ability of hair dryers to communicate an hypothesis as well (that you only doubt due to lack of evidence)?

And again, if you think that believing in a personal God can be dangerous because the chemicals in our brain may cause an otherwise non-violent/non-homophobic man to think he's being commanded to kill gays, then you have to believe that your good Christian family members could do the same. Right?
Pareidolic-Dreamer
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1/19/2014 12:47:14 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Seriously?

"like how the magical sky daddy intended when he first cursed Eve."

This entire post seems as critical, judgemental, and angry-zealot-like, as any Christian writings I have seen.

What religion is this again?
Pareidolic-Dreamer
I see wall people.

When I argue against someone's truths, I always feel like I am arguing just as strongly against my own.
RoderickSpode
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1/19/2014 9:34:10 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 12:47:14 AM, Pareidolic-Dreamer wrote:
Seriously?

"like how the magical sky daddy intended when he first cursed Eve."

This entire post seems as critical, judgemental, and angry-zealot-like, as any Christian writings I have seen.

What religion is this again?
Is there any way you could be more specific? Or is this post a hit-and-run?
JonMilne
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1/19/2014 9:59:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 9:57:45 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
It is the Secular Humanist Feminist Egalitarian branch of atheism that I am claiming are not all thinking in one universal mindset concerning things like religious rights, etc. I'll get more into that later.

Any specific examples?

No, they are not different. There is nothing in the constitution that requires the removal of religious symbols in the public square. That's why the case has been thrown out.

Clearly there is. Again, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". It's exactly on that basis that the FFRF and the ACLU have won cases before. Doesn't matter how long the statue has been around. It's illegal, and being around for a long time doesn't magically make it legal.

And what exactly do you think Separation Of Church And State means?

That the civil government should not have any involvement in religious matters, and vice versa. The government should not be promoting and aiding one specific religion on public property nor establishing a state religion. It should either cater for ALL positions on religious beliefs or NONE of them.

What do you think they meant by religion?

Well, clearly as we've seen by law, groups like Christians, Jews, Muslims, Scientologists, and the Eastern religions would fit into that category.
JonMilne
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1/19/2014 11:01:03 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 10:36:33 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
No, the statue was not made to advance a religion. The statue was modeled after statues that soldiers saw while in Italy. As far as we know, there were no complaints made by anyone about the statue until recently. Again, the constitution states nothing about the removal of religious symbols from public view.

The complaints have been delayed because, well, atheists are often afraid to file lawsuits like these because it would "out" them and possibly hurt their families or careers. There are countless examples (among them Jessica Ahlquist and Damon Fowler) of atheists who have filed complaints against religious symbols on public displays and been harassed and threatened for it. And the statue is a big freakin statue of Jesus. Of course it advances a religion. If it's truly not a religious statue then no one should be offended if he's non-permanently altered with a cute hat on his head, some mittens on his hands, a dildo in his hand, or whatever. It seems that if someone did have a little fun with it and any religious people were offended, that would then indicate that it actually is a religious statue and isn't serving only a secular purpose.

I guess it depends on whether each individual soldier was a Catholic. I bet all of them weren't. That memorial shouldn't be a slap in the face to all the non-Catholic soldiers who crawled up frozen mountains and took bullets with them nor to all the non-Catholic citizens they did it for.

Also, does this mean that local atheists can erect a FSM statue right next to it? As long as they have soldiers who want it. The fact of the matter is however that most of the monument is a big shrine to Jesus, and makes little to no mention of the soldiers it is supposedly dedicated to.

The atheist activists are not concerned about Christian hegemony when it comes to other religions. That's a contradiction. I don't think they could care less about Muslims.

Well, that's unevidenced BS for starters. Why do you think a whole bunch of atheist activists have gotten behind Malala Yousafzai, for instance? Or the fact that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has become a friend of atheist activist movements? Or of course the problems in Muslim communities with severe human rights violations of homosexuals and women? And of course the controversies involving the Danish cartoons and how atheist activists have helped promote events like "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day"? If you seriously claim atheist activists don't care about Muslims and any wrongdoings they do, you're fvcking delusional, dude.

If Muslim cheerleaders in Dearborn placed Quranic scripture on signs, or a statue of Mohammed was placed in a ski resort, there's still a reference being made to a god. So either the atheists will complain anyway, because a god/religion is being promoted, or they won't mind because they may see it as an offense to Christians.

They'd do the first one, because it's a violation of Separation of Church and State. If you're really so sceptical about the FFRF's position on Muslims, I'll direct you here: http://ffrf.org...

The atheist activists are just as confused about religion as anyone else. Some may be more calculating in their goals, but I would say most are still more confused if anything. The atheists complain about an alleged Christian intolerance towards Muslims, simply because we don't accept their religion as being the ultimate truth, and Christians reject other religions as being the ultimate truth.

Well, that and Christian groups largely being at the forefront of the issues raised here: https://www.aclu.org...

Well, so do atheists.

We're well aware of the flaws in the likes of Dawkins's, Hitchens's, and Thunderfoot's views on Islam thanks. We do more to criticise our own than you guys do.

And atheists are one up on us Christians. You reject one more religion than we do. However......when Muslims commit acts of terrorism then the pseudo support given to them is out the window. And then all of a sudden it's not a Christian intolerance issue, but a danger of religion as a whole issue.

Well, yeah, just because we highlight issues of discrimination against Muslims, doesn't mean we don't also think that there are substantial problems within the religion of Islam that need resolving.

Or, for those who want to kind of keep eastern religions like Buddhism out of the dangerous category, it becomes an Abrahamic Religion issue. It's not Islam, or factions of Islam alone that are dangerous; but religion-as-a-whole or Abrahamic Religion that is dangerous.

In the Western world, the Abrahamic religions do currently pose a more major threat than Hinduism/Sikhism/Buddhism, but it's not like atheist activists haven't been extensively targeting Scientology as well for criticism. Besides, in the East, where there are also atheists, much attention has been raised by those Eastern atheists about the substantial issues religion is causing there. Get rid of your persecution complex already.

But then when the issue comes back to something like a WWII Jesus monument, or Biblical scripture on high school football signs, then all of a sudden again there's this pseudo concern for the rights of the other 2 Abrahamic religions. It's sort of like the guy or girl who uses another guy or girl to get back at their boyfriend or girlfriend.

Again, just because we do in fact care about the rights of individual Jews and Muslims (and indeed individual Christians), doesn't mean that we don't have the right to have serious concerns about the ideological nature of their religions, especially when they're breaking the law.

And besides, speculating on how Christians would react in hypothetical circumstances is rather silly.

On the contrary, we've observed Christians getting super duper outraged over stuff that promotes religions that aren't theirs. Case in point, the Ground Zero Mosque built on private property.
JonMilne
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1/19/2014 11:03:13 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 10:46:39 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
I've already asked you what you think Separation Of Church And State means. But I'll further the question by asking you, if prayer in schools and in government took place back in the day that this proclamation came about, then what were they thinking back then? Did they not understand their own constitution? Did we have to figure it out for them in 1947?

Well yeah, it's that whole "reevaluating our positions" thing we talked about in the other thread. Your argument is stupid since it can be used to claim that slavery, segregation, and the subjugation of women were legal once therefore they were okay.

Not only prayer, but church services were held right in the Capitol every Sunday which was a practice that lasted up until some time during the Civil War. Thomas Jefferson himself attended church services. How do you explain that?

See above.
JonMilne
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1/19/2014 11:31:30 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 11:16:13 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
Well, we are talking about the U.S., not Great Britain. Independent nations still do exist (at least to some degree). Is there perhaps a bit of post colonial sentiment being stirred up?

No, I'm just using facts.

Of course. It would be rather silly at this point in time to attempt to have crosses removed from churches. They lose enough court cases as it is.

And they win a whole lot of others. More than they lose, in fact. http://ffrf.org... , http://ffrf.org...

I'm not sure what you mean by bolded comment. And if you're referring to my comment about hot air, I think there are a lot of anti-theists who are expressing resentment due to personal experiences. Usually bad church experiences. I don't think they're meaningless in and of themselves when put into proper perspective. But often times they are not. Often times logic gets thrown out the window. When bad church experience equals Christianity/religion is evil, there's a serious flaw in reasoning.

No, we just have Biblical evidence, as well as Christians and other religious people committing evil acts. Like the Catholic Church actively covering up sex abuse cases. The entire fraudulent practice of attempting to get Creationism/ID into the classroom. The sheer level of harassment and threats atheists get when they file challenges against Christian monuments. The picketing of funerals by the WBC. The sheer level of bigotry espoused not just by the WBC but also by leading Christian politicians and pundits on FOX News. The entire anti-abortionist movement's tactics. The entire anti-LGBT movement's tactics. The blatant flouting of law by Christian groups who expect to get away with it because of Christian privilege. You don't think that's evil enough on the parts of Christian individuals and groups who have used their Jeebus beliefs to justify their evil actions?

I will use Richard Dawkins, a member of the FFRF as an example. He seems to wish to play an atheist priest of sorts.

Richard Dawkins, the UK"s most prominent atheist, will today call on Ofsted to force faith schools to bring religious education into the national curriculum. Professor Dawkins said that the move would be the first step in ending what he calls the "wicked" practice of inculcating children with religious belief, as he steps up his campaign against religious education with a film that calls for the abolition of faith schools.


http://old.richarddawkins.net...

This comes across as rather creepy. I'm glad he's not an American.

But I have to stress again that I think the sentiment is there, not the power to carry it out. At least not yet.

Well, I'll quote a review of his documentary "Faith School Menace?":

It's not just God he's got it in for this time, but faith schools. Of course, he's right. Faith schools are a menace. It's a disgrace that the state pays for our children to be divided and indoctrinated with irrational belief. And the hypocrite parents who go to church so their kids can get into supposedly better schools should rot in hell, or whatever the evolutionary equivalent is (turn into lizards and slither back into the primordial slime?). His arguments are faultless, his thinking crystal clear; it's fascinating. Most interesting is that children display a natural bias towards some kind of religion, to read meaning into something when there is none, to look for stories. Or, put another way, there's evidence to show that we are programmed not to look at the evidence. Dawkins has got a battle on his hands, but hell, he's going to fight it.

There's also this review, which also very nicely highlights the very real problems with faith schools: http://www.independent.co.uk...

Yes, I know. That's exactly what I meant with this question. Do you think it's possible that the U.S. or Britain could become theocracies as-was-in-historic-Europe?

No, I don't think so. Especially not since the number of people claiming a religious belief within populations drops every year according to statistics.

If I wanted to compare sadistic acts of torture with atheist activists, I would compare the old European theocracy atrocities with communist atrocities.

FFS Roderick, Marxist Commie belief is a big edifice of ideology that contains atheism as one little building block.

It"s fairly well integrated, but it"s still small enough that if you take it out and replace it with something else or just leave a hole then the Commie system doesn't fall down. Have you not bothered to view the entire WP article on Christian communism? Now I know you're either lying or ignorant!

I'm gonna keep saying it until I'm blue in the face, but the ONLY view expressed by atheism is a disbelief in a God. Totalitarian ideologies, for example the Commies and many religions, always want to eliminate all competition. The "atheistic" element is irrelevant to acts committed.

Somehow you feel you can tie in historic European theocracy atrocities with modern (specifically American) Christianity; without including western atheist activists with anti-theistic communists. How you think you can get away with that, God only knows (pun intended).

Dude, you do realise you can be a theist and yet nonetheless be anti-theist against other religious beliefs right? There is nothing exclusive about anti-theism that it can only include atheists. Much of the most prominent Christian groups at the moment are anti-theist towards Muslims, and likewise some of the most prominent Muslim and Jewish groups hate each others concepts of God and religion. In contrast, the atrocities in the name of theocracy CAN be traced directly to views Christian in nature.
JonMilne
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1/19/2014 11:38:13 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/18/2014 11:26:41 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
Maybe you can explain to me then, what are the agnostics that are members of the National Academy Of Sciences (that are a part of the 95% atheists and agnostics) agnostic about? Are they just not sure if a creator exists? Or are they also not sure (agnostic about) the ability of hair dryers to communicate with humans?

Precisely as the definition goes. They don't think anything is known or can be known about the existence or not of God, and of any other supernatural agencies like supernatural spirits existing in hair dryers. In the meantime though, they take the null hypothesis: that until solid, empirical, definitive, conclusive scientific evidence is provided of such supernatural agencies, then it is not scientifically justifiable to believe such entities exist.

You stated that the existence of a creator is an hypothesis. Is the ability of hair dryers to communicate an hypothesis as well (that you only doubt due to lack of evidence)?

Sure is. And I like the use of the word "only" here. That's kinda the major issue. If there isn't any compelling evidence for something, it's completely irrational to believe in its existence.

And again, if you think that believing in a personal God can be dangerous because the chemicals in our brain may cause an otherwise non-violent/non-homophobic man to think he's being commanded to kill gays, then you have to believe that your good Christian family members could do the same. Right?

Yep. I feel no shame about admitting that very real issue with those members of my family (namely grandparents, uncles and aunts, some cousins) who are Christians.
Pareidolic-Dreamer
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1/19/2014 5:23:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 9:34:10 AM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 1/19/2014 12:47:14 AM, Pareidolic-Dreamer wrote:
Seriously?

"like how the magical sky daddy intended when he first cursed Eve."

This entire post seems as critical, judgemental, and angry-zealot-like, as any Christian writings I have seen.

What religion is this again?
Is there any way you could be more specific? Or is this post a hit-and-run?

Yeah sure. The post starts out with a complaint about how unfairly Christians treat atheists, then goes on this angry tirade about everything that's wrong with Christianity.

It makes suggestions, some of which are quite valid, but most of which are one sided and unfair to christianity.

Furthermore, the post in general, is more like a put down rather than a rational discussion starter.
If I had been looking to learn anything significant about atheism, I wouldn't have found it in this post.
It seems as religious as any religious post I've read.

I agree that science should be taught properly in school.
Specific religious studies should be taught in theistic schools.
But there is no reason that there should not be an opportunity for children who do want to pray in school to do so. There should be no reason a child couldnt thank God during a school speech. There should be no reason that there is not a class (similar to world history, or sociology) that gives children an honest understanding of what religion is, and what different ones there are.
There is no reason that a representative of any particular religion should not be included in occasional visits to schools to answer questions the kids might have.
The only reason I see Is fear. It seems you are afraid that some children might choose religion over atheism, or some secular activity.

Then the op starts bashing Christians for how they treat women in the bible, but it does so at the same time as it ridicules the whole of Christianity (men, women, and children alike,) by calling their holiest figure a mysterious sky daddy. Tell me that wasn't meant to be offensive.

What you guys are doing, both the religious, and the non-religious seems, to those of us who observe without joining either side, is almost like a form of racism.
Each trying to destroy the other.

I go through these posts hoping to find a civil debate to get into. I accidentally made a post in the religion forum the other day, but most of the time I stay out of the religious forums for the same reasons evident in this post. The critical thinking aspect of a good debate is missing from posts like this one.

That's my opinion, feel free to ignore it.
Pareidolic-Dreamer
I see wall people.

When I argue against someone's truths, I always feel like I am arguing just as strongly against my own.
JonMilne
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1/20/2014 3:28:28 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 5:23:38 PM, Pareidolic-Dreamer wrote:
Yeah sure. The post starts out with a complaint about how unfairly Christians treat atheists, then goes on this angry tirade about everything that's wrong with Christianity.

Just so you know, the original author was me. Roderick quoted me.

It makes suggestions, some of which are quite valid, but most of which are one sided and unfair to christianity.

Such as?

Furthermore, the post in general, is more like a put down rather than a rational discussion starter.
If I had been looking to learn anything significant about atheism, I wouldn't have found it in this post.
It seems as religious as any religious post I've read.

It's only even remotely interpretable as a "religious" post if you highlight the fact that my post basically equates to having a passionate view of something. But let's face it, under that definition, soccer fandom becomes "religious." So if you want to call my views just as religious as those who would oppose the ideals I mentioned, go ahead, as long as you realize you pretty much have to strip the concept of religion of any real meaning to do so.

I agree that science should be taught properly in school.
Specific religious studies should be taught in theistic schools.
But there is no reason that there should not be an opportunity for children who do want to pray in school to do so.

Indeed, just as long as it's a public, official school board sanctioned prayer that takes no account of children who happen to not be of the religious belief the prayer is quite clearly aimed at.

There should be no reason a child couldnt thank God during a school speech.

As long as he's not preaching a sermon, sure.

There should be no reason that there is not a class (similar to world history, or sociology) that gives children an honest understanding of what religion is, and what different ones there are.

Yes, it's called Religious Education, and such views should be kept in a class.

There is no reason that a representative of any particular religion should not be included in occasional visits to schools to answer questions the kids might have.

As long as you're a) not using tax payers money to do it in public schools, and b) that you also either cater for all other religions or none of them.

The only reason I see Is fear. It seems you are afraid that some children might choose religion over atheism, or some secular activity.

Well, it IS kind of worrisome that schools can end up encouraging kids to make irrational choices. See the hairdryer analogy I gave to Roderick. Religion actively encourages the notion that you should suspend your critical thinking and if anything even remotely like it contradicts the Bible and shows any elements of the Bible to be wrong, then the new evidence should be disregarded. Many creationist websites say this in explicit detail.

Then the op starts bashing Christians for how they treat women in the bible, but it does so at the same time as it ridicules the whole of Christianity (men, women, and children alike,) by calling their holiest figure a mysterious sky daddy. Tell me that wasn't meant to be offensive.

Hey, I can't control how you feel about when I ridicule the institution of Christianity. The fact of the matter is that Christianity provides baseless claims of some mystical overlord devoid of any solid, empirical, definitive, conclusive scientific evidence that can't be interpreted any other way. So not only is it guilty of science fail, it's also guilty of human rights abuses including misogyny as mentioned with the women point.

What you guys are doing, both the religious, and the non-religious seems, to those of us who observe without joining either side, is almost like a form of racism.
Each trying to destroy the other.

If religion does get diminished, we'd like to do it through honest means, namely through the process of education. There's no kind of "racism" here. The only "bias" is towards the facts, and the only "discrimination" is against claims made (be it about morals or matters of science) that are basically utter BS on the part of theists.

I go through these posts hoping to find a civil debate to get into. I accidentally made a post in the religion forum the other day, but most of the time I stay out of the religious forums for the same reasons evident in this post. The critical thinking aspect of a good debate is missing from posts like this one.

Ad homs and no evidence to demonstrate your position. Rejected.

That's my opinion, feel free to ignore it.
Gladly.
RoderickSpode
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1/21/2014 12:05:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 9:59:40 AM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/18/2014 9:57:45 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
It is the Secular Humanist Feminist Egalitarian branch of atheism that I am claiming are not all thinking in one universal mindset concerning things like religious rights, etc. I'll get more into that later.

Any specific examples?


Yes, allow me to move a quote of yours over:

At 1/19/2014 11:01:03 AM, JonMilne wrote:
We're well aware of the flaws in the likes of Dawkins's, Hitchens's, and Thunderfoot's views on Islam thanks. We do more to criticise our own than you guys do.
These people with flaws that you are aware of are high profile examples I've been using. Do you not consider these men to be Secular Humanist Feminist Egalitarian?

No, they are not different. There is nothing in the constitution that requires the removal of religious symbols in the public square. That's why the case has been thrown out.

Clearly there is. Again, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". It's exactly on that basis that the FFRF and the ACLU have won cases before. Doesn't matter how long the statue has been around. It's illegal, and being around for a long time doesn't magically make it legal.

Apparently you feel you know more about American law and history than our American court system. The statue has nothing to do with Congress making law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof. There is nothing in the constitution declaring that religious objects need to be removed from public property. None. This is not an atheist State. In order for your statement to be true, the constitution would have to be modified. And our legal system in general has no intention of doing that.
And what exactly do you think Separation Of Church And State means?

That the civil government should not have any involvement in religious matters, and vice versa. The government should not be promoting and aiding one specific religion on public property nor establishing a state religion. It should either cater for ALL positions on religious beliefs or NONE of them.

Do you realize that Thomas Jefferson included a prayer in his letter to the Danbury Baptists when he assured them that their religious freedom would be protected?

What do you think they meant by religion?


Well, clearly as we've seen by law, groups like Christians, Jews, Muslims, Scientologists, and the Eastern religions would fit into that category.

This may be where some of the apparent confusion lies. The term religion was synonymous with denomination. When they talked about religious freedom, that's what they were primarily referring to. Muslims were a minority, consisting of some African slaves. There's very little mentioned about Hindus other than the evidence that there was a knowledge of them, whether the interaction was a result of international diplomacy, or domestic immigration.
RoderickSpode
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1/21/2014 12:31:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/19/2014 11:01:03 AM, JonMilne wrote:
At 1/18/2014 10:36:33 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
No, the statue was not made to advance a religion. The statue was modeled after statues that soldiers saw while in Italy. As far as we know, there were no complaints made by anyone about the statue until recently. Again, the constitution states nothing about the removal of religious symbols from public view.

The complaints have been delayed because, well, atheists are often afraid to file lawsuits like these because it would "out" them and possibly hurt their families or careers. There are countless examples (among them Jessica Ahlquist and Damon Fowler) of atheists who have filed complaints against religious symbols on public displays and been harassed and threatened for it. And the statue is a big freakin statue of Jesus. Of course it advances a religion. If it's truly not a religious statue then no one should be offended if he's non-permanently altered with a cute hat on his head, some mittens on his hands, a dildo in his hand, or whatever. It seems that if someone did have a little fun with it and any religious people were offended, that would then indicate that it actually is a religious statue and isn't serving only a secular purpose.

It's a shame that anyone is harassed for protesting. Where did most of the harassment come from?

And the mittens and so on scenario is rather silly, don't you think? What do you feel about painting a mustache on the original Mona Lisa?

I guess it depends on whether each individual soldier was a Catholic. I bet all of them weren't. That memorial shouldn't be a slap in the face to all the non-Catholic soldiers who crawled up frozen mountains and took bullets with them nor to all the non-Catholic citizens they did it for.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

Also, does this mean that local atheists can erect a FSM statue right next to it? As long as they have soldiers who want it. The fact of the matter is however that most of the monument is a big shrine to Jesus, and makes little to no mention of the soldiers it is supposedly dedicated to.

If local atheists want to erect an FSM statue, go right on ahead. And what exactly do you mean about the shrine making little to no mention of the soldiers? Would everything be okay if there was a placard next to the statue that did that?

The atheist activists are not concerned about Christian hegemony when it comes to other religions. That's a contradiction. I don't think they could care less about Muslims.

Well, that's unevidenced BS for starters. Why do you think a whole bunch of atheist activists have gotten behind Malala Yousafzai, for instance? Or the fact that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has become a friend of atheist activist movements? Or of course the problems in Muslim communities with severe human rights violations of homosexuals and women? And of course the controversies involving the Danish cartoons and how atheist activists have helped promote events like "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day"? If you seriously claim atheist activists don't care about Muslims and any wrongdoings they do, you're fvcking delusional, dude.

As far as atheist activists caring about Muslims; I was making a general statement based on observation. I would say however that it's going to vary individually. But isn't the amplified/extended version of this read as: "And Christians do not care anything about Musims!"? Right? And for those atheist activists who, let's say, do care (as I don't deny that some authentically do), their care involves the desire for Muslims to be rescued from their harmful religion. Right?

And you seem to be all over the map in that paragraph. Without of course googling, I have no idea why atheists have gotten behind Malala Yousafzai. I have no idea why Ayaan Hirsi Ali has become a friend with atheist activists. Without googling the info, I don't see any significance. What exactly is the significance? And then your next sentence is I believe a critique of Muslim law, so that adds to what seems to be an odd structured paragraph. And to add to it you described an event where they encouraged Muslims to draw Mohammed. I thought atheist activists did not want this sort of thing. Do they promote a "Draw Jesus Day"?
JonMilne
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1/21/2014 12:34:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/21/2014 12:05:40 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
Yes, allow me to move a quote of yours over:

At 1/19/2014 11:01:03 AM, JonMilne wrote:
We're well aware of the flaws in the likes of Dawkins's, Hitchens's, and Thunderfoot's views on Islam thanks. We do more to criticise our own than you guys do.
These people with flaws that you are aware of are high profile examples I've been using. Do you not consider these men to be Secular Humanist Feminist Egalitarian?

Not Tf00t since he's expressed some pretty backwards views on much of those topics, and Hitchens was ridiculously Islamophobic and anti-abortion. Dawkins sure however. He mainly got criticism for how he handled Elevatorgate with the "Dear Muslima" letter. But you're missing the point. We still do considerably more to criticise our own than you guys do.

Apparently you feel you know more about American law and history than our American court system.

No, just more than religious nuts who want to keep their privileged status at all costs.

The statue has nothing to do with Congress making law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof.

It has plenty to do with it. A governing body makes these decisions to put religious monuments explicitly endorsing one religion on public, tax-payer funded property, which is unconstitutional.

There is nothing in the constitution declaring that religious objects need to be removed from public property. None.

Except for the First Amendment, and a whole lot of precedent on the side of bodies like the FFRF and the ACLU.

This is not an atheist State.

Correct, it's a secular state, and a secular agenda has people simply keep their religion purely on individuals and not use tax payers money to have explicit endorsements of any one religion.

In order for your statement to be true, the constitution would have to be modified. And our legal system in general has no intention of doing that.

Nonsense, it's already in law.

Do you realize that Thomas Jefferson included a prayer in his letter to the Danbury Baptists when he assured them that their religious freedom would be protected?

Irrelevant. It has no bearing on whether such monuments and other religious violations of the law would be acceptable NOW.

This may be where some of the apparent confusion lies. The term religion was synonymous with denomination. When they talked about religious freedom, that's what they were primarily referring to. Muslims were a minority, consisting of some African slaves. There's very little mentioned about Hindus other than the evidence that there was a knowledge of them, whether the interaction was a result of international diplomacy, or domestic immigration.

And your point is?
JonMilne
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1/21/2014 1:01:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/21/2014 12:31:20 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
It's a shame that anyone is harassed for protesting. Where did most of the harassment come from?

From Christians within their communities of course.

And the mittens and so on scenario is rather silly, don't you think? What do you feel about painting a mustache on the original Mona Lisa?

Apples and oranges. The Mona Lisa doesn't have any dispute about what it is. It's something with a secular purpose, a piece of art-work to be looked at and admired and criticised and studied. You can't really justify why one would feel compelled to damage it, especially when stealing it and getting away with it would probably be a more profitable outcome.

The Jesus statue, however, there's no evident secular need for it. I mean, why couldn't the creators of the statue not have created a statue of a well dressed and valiant looking US soldier holding his weapon and clearly fighting for his country? That would have been a pretty patriotic and inspiring and all round SECULAR image, and yet curiously they decided to build a statue of something that just so happens to cater to ONE branch of a particular religion. If it really has an only secular purpose, then the above scenario I hypothesised is perfectly valid.

I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

It's a monument shoving Catholicism in people's faces and associating all the dead soldiers with Catholicism, even though it's a pretty safe bet that a good deal of them WEREN'T, and thus it's an insult to their memory.

If local atheists want to erect an FSM statue, go right on ahead. And what exactly do you mean about the shrine making little to no mention of the soldiers? Would everything be okay if there was a placard next to the statue that did that?

It would do more justice to the dead soldiers, sure. But I notice you haven't addressed the whole "Big clearly Christianity-promoting statue" issue.

As far as atheist activists caring about Muslims; I was making a general statement based on observation. I would say however that it's going to vary individually. But isn't the amplified/extended version of this read as: "And Christians do not care anything about Musims!"? Right? And for those atheist activists who, let's say, do care (as I don't deny that some authentically do), their care involves the desire for Muslims to be rescued from their harmful religion. Right?

I never said that Christians don't care. I just don't they're as big on the issue proportionate to their population as atheists are proportionate to their population. You might want to read through the Zuckerman study I've posted before from the Psychology Today link about bigotry and racism, and how statistically Christians are more likely to show such attitudes proportionate to their population than atheists. As for "rescuing Muslims from their religion". Well, again, the only way in which we would look to "rescue" them would be through education. Contrary to what you may think, the popular viewpoint about changing a Muslim's (or indeed a Christian's) mind is not through gunpoint, but through honest education.

And you seem to be all over the map in that paragraph. Without of course googling, I have no idea why atheists have gotten behind Malala Yousafzai. I have no idea why Ayaan Hirsi Ali has become a friend with atheist activists. Without googling the info, I don't see any significance. What exactly is the significance? And then your next sentence is I believe a critique of Muslim law, so that adds to what seems to be an odd structured paragraph. And to add to it you described an event where they encouraged Muslims to draw Mohammed. I thought atheist activists did not want this sort of thing. Do they promote a "Draw Jesus Day"?

We've gotten behind them because they are key figures in human rights and they help promote some serious issues within Islamic thinking. And what's wrong with criticising their human rights abuses? And I'll let this explain what EDMD is about: http://rationalwiki.org... . It's basically a matter of how people should be free to draw things without getting death threats or even indeed killed over it. And to quote Molly Norris, who started the campaign: "If artists have to be afraid of what they draw, then what"s the point of even living here? That's what really bothered me", and to quote someone else who got involved in the movement:

"I and members of my group feel that we, as citizens of the free world, should be able to discuss Islam openly and honestly, even if it means drawing Muhammad, being very critical of some of the elements of that religion and/or culture.............Our goal is to demonstrate that it's OK to talk about Islam specifically, and that if we want to draw Muhammad, we will not be intimidated or silenced by those who want to subjugate us simply because they find what we do offensive"