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socrates.junior

Atheists and Fundamentalists

294 posts in this topic

Selfish? you lost me there. I don't wail at effigies or bow to anything or anybody, I don't even go to Church or belong to one, I just believe in GOD.

Then you're missing one of my central points. To have extremism, you must also have moderation. In the words of Sam Harris, you are just as responsible.

Sounds like hyperbole to me. Western society is, to an extent, based on (or at least influenced by) Judeo-Christianity.

I couldn't give a monkey's bum what our society is based on, much as an astronomer couldn't care about astrology or a chemist shouldn't have to learn about alchemy.

Where are the "bad things"? I see science, knowledge and tolerance have flourished in the West.

At the cost of religion, the influence of which has fallen massively. Don't see a correlation here?

Secondly, I'm not singling out religions. I'm talking about a society who base their worldview on superstition. Any superstition. It just so happens the most prominent ones today are of the Abrahamic kind, and as Tiggs has pointed out, people are waving nukes in each others faces in his name (Abraham, not Tiggs).

bad things? Well I've mentioned before the witch burning, the child torturing, and there are countless other things that happen today in societies that base their ideologies on solely faith & superstition. I could go on, but don't anyone to think I'm being hyperbolic.

Majority-religious, yet science, tolerance and everything that religion allegedly destroys, are the norm.

Yes, we are scientific and tolerant now, but you only need to look at the American Christian right to see that if they had their way, the last 500 years of progress might as well not have happened.

What does that have to do with anything? How is that proof that "religion always leads to bad things"?

Don't misquote me or be so shortsighted. I said faith & superstition lead to bad things - religion happens to have just that at its core.

And it is perfectly relevant. Israel thinks it has a God given right to the land it occupies, while radical Islamic authorities are known for their view that war in the name of God is rewarded in the afterlife. A prominent Iranian cleric said recently "the trouble with the Jews is that they like life too much".

And these people want nuclear weapons.

This should terrify you.

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What does that have to do with anything? How is that proof that "religion always leads to bad things"? Again, you only need to take a look at the West. Majority-religious, yet science, tolerance and everything that religion allegedly destroys, are the norm.

Back in the 1930's no-one would have suspected that the Jewish people would be capable of destroying civilisation. Back then, the biggest threat from religion came from the Catholic Church getting in bed with Fascism.

30 years later, and Israel teetered on the brink of Armageddon. Ever since then, a small group of Christians from the US have been hoping it happens, to usher in Armageddon and the return of Christ.

A decade ago, Indian Hindu's and Muslims from Pakistan sat on the brink of nuclear war.

Today, Radical Islam is probably perceived as the biggest threat from religion. As you can see from recent History - it's impossible to predict which Religion will threaten civilisation next.

It's also impossible to even tell what line of scientific research religion will hinder next. Fifty years ago, the idea that the soul is created at the moment the egg is fertilised doesn't sound like a particularly harmful concept, but the delay in pursuing stem cell research that it caused condemned people to needlessly die because of it.

On the basis that the most religious Western country is a place where two thirds of people believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth, and still hasn't worked out that sexuality doesn't matter, you'll have to excuse me if I don't buy your assertion about Science and tolerance being the norm.

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I couldn't give a monkey's bum what our society is based on, much as an astronomer couldn't care about astrology or a chemist shouldn't have to learn about alchemy.

You said that a society based on faith always leads to bad things. Well, that's not the case in the West, is it?

At the cost of religion, the influence of which has fallen massively. Don't see a correlation here?

The overwhelming majority are still religious. What exactly do you mean by "influence"?

Secondly, I'm not singling out religions. I'm talking about a society who base their worldview on superstition. Any superstition.

Superstition is no worse than hyper-rationality. The key is moderation.

bad things? Well I've mentioned before the witch burning, the child torturing, and there are countless other things that happen today in societies that base their ideologies on solely faith & superstition. I could go on, but don't anyone to think I'm being hyperbolic.

And I could point out numerous atrocities committed by irreligious people due to irreligiousness. Does that mean irreligion is bad?

Yes, we are scientific and tolerant now, but you only need to look at the American Christian right to see that if they had their way, the last 500 years of progress might as well not have happened.

If they had their way? Western (or, at least, American) society is already heavily influenced by Judeo-Christianity.

Don't misquote me or be so shortsighted. I said faith & superstition lead to bad things - religion happens to have just that at its core.

Faith leads to bad things just as it leads to good things. Just as lack of faith leads to bad things as well as good things.

And it is perfectly relevant. Israel thinks it has a God given right to the land it occupies, while radical Islamic authorities are known for their view that war in the name of God is rewarded in the afterlife. A prominent Iranian cleric said recently "the trouble with the Jews is that they like life too much".

And these people want nuclear weapons.

This should terrify you.

Again with Islam. The part of Islam that's relevant here is political, not religious. In Islam, religion and politics are one and the same. True religions are personal. Islam is more of a pseudo-religious political ideology.

I was terrified by Soviet nukes, and I would be terrified by Cuban, Venezuelan, or North Korean nukes. This has nothing to do with religion.

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Back in the 1930's no-one would have suspected that the Jewish people would be capable of destroying civilisation. Back then, the biggest threat from religion came from the Catholic Church getting in bed with Fascism.

30 years later, and Israel teetered on the brink of Armageddon. Ever since then, a small group of Christians from the US have been hoping it happens, to usher in Armageddon and the return of Christ.

A decade ago, Indian Hindu's and Muslims from Pakistan sat on the brink of nuclear war.

Today, Radical Islam is probably perceived as the biggest threat from religion. As you can see from recent History - it's impossible to predict which Religion will threaten civilisation next.

What's the point behind pointing out cases of crazy religious people? That's not proof that religion is going to destroy civilization.

It's also impossible to even tell what line of scientific research religion will hinder next. Fifty years ago, the idea that the soul is created at the moment the egg is fertilised doesn't sound like a particularly harmful concept, but the delay in pursuing stem cell research that it caused condemned people to needlessly die because of it.

On the basis that the most religious Western country is a place where two thirds of people believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth, and still hasn't worked out that sexuality doesn't matter, you'll have to excuse me if I don't buy your assertion about Science and tolerance being the norm.

You'll have to excuse me too, then. I don't see how those things you pointed out are hindering progress, science or tolerance.

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Tiggs, I agree with you that there are “opposing groups of Theists” fighting each other (and fighting others of their own belief as well).

Where I’m not so sure about agreeing with you, is the idea that they are fighting mainly because they “literally believe that they have a God-given right to a particular tract of land.“

I think the fighting has more to do with the long-established human desire for control, power and supremacy, rather than for pure Theistic belief convictions -- not to mention the money trail either.

Karlis

Genesis 15

18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river [d] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates-

19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,

20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,

21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites."

Exodus 23

31 "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you."

The land is part of the covenant that God made with Abraham.

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Genesis 15

18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river [d] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates-

19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,

20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,

21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites."

Exodus 23

31 "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you."

The land is part of the covenant that God made with Abraham.

I don't think anyone would disagree with you here, but Karlis' point is that religion is not the main reason behind the tension in the Middle East anymore.

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What's the point behind pointing out cases of crazy religious people? That's not proof that religion is going to destroy civilization.

I think you'll find the clue is in your phrase "crazy religious people". Now with added Nuclear warheads.

You'll have to excuse me too, then. I don't see how those things you pointed out are hindering progress, science or tolerance.

Which is exactly my point.

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Severe Imbalances of resources and huge politcal economic social disparities amongst different people will likely trigger the next armageddon. It may possibly may even start within a previously rich and powerful nation rather than internationally.

There are several examples in histoy.

I can mention 2

The Fall of Rome came from within. There has been a lot of material written on this.

The repeated invasion and destruction of original land of israel by outside forces. After time people would tend to deviate from rules set forth. Classic example is the worship of the golden calf. After years of slavery people got freed yet some people chose to start worshipping a golden calf Imo how quickly can one forget ones past. The reason Jesus was sent to the jews was the corruption of the original message of God. There was widespread inequality. Rabbis had become powerful and corrupt to an extent common decency and mercy had disappeared. Social ills such as obsession with blood lines nepotism accumulation of wealth and power had become paramount. The common person whether be jew or non jew was suffering immensly. Now we are seeing this during modern times too. Just few years ago jews were being rounded up and shot or gassed by predominantly christian eurpeans and what was there crime only that they were jews. How despicable was that. Now in modern times what an ironic twist. We see Israelis kicking palestianians out of their homeland and based on what that they are non jewish.

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I think you'll find the clue is in your phrase "crazy religious people". Now with added Nuclear warheads.

What's the difference between, "Crazy religious people with nuclear warheads" and "Crazy irreligious people with nuclear warheads"?

Which is exactly my point.

It's a very bad one, then. I'm not even religious.

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You said that a society based on faith always leads to bad things. Well, that's not the case in the West, is it?

The West isn't a faith based society. When there's a drought, we don't sacrifice an animal. When someone catches HIV, they aren't advised to have sex with a virgin.

The overwhelming majority are still religious. What exactly do you mean by "influence"?

Yes, but the "religious majority" that I know couldn't tell you where the nearest church is. But as I said, the moderates are what make it impossible to criticise the extremists by wrapping their faith up in untouchable taboo.

And by influence, I mean influence. Political, social, legal. The church is not as powerful as it once was.

Superstition is no worse than hyper-rationality. The key is moderation.

The key is certainly not moderation, as I've pointed out.

And WTF is hyper-rationality? Rationality without religion doesn't suddenly take on some extreme form of evil super-atheism.

And I could point out numerous atrocities committed by irreligious people due to irreligiousness. Does that mean irreligion is bad?

No, because the atrocities weren't committed due to a lack of religion. The communists committed atrocities because of the brutalist structure of the regime, not because they didn't believe in God.

If they had their way? Western (or, at least, American) society is already heavily influenced by Judeo-Christianity.

Influenced? So what??? I've pointed out that is meaningless.

There are right wing American Christians who would stop all research into diseases, throw out everything we know about biology and demote women and those of different racial backgrounds to second class citizens, and try and base all science and history lessons on an Iron Age book. Some of these people do, or have until recently, advised on matters at a national level, including proposing the idea that a nuclear war in the middle east would trigger the second coming.

Faith leads to bad things just as it leads to good things. Just as lack of faith leads to bad things as well as good things.

Doesn't matter what dubious "good things" those of faith do because they think someone is watching over their shoulder and their everlasting life is at stake. It is no way to run a society, and no way to ensure our future as a civilisation.

Ooops, there I go with the hyperbole again.

Again with Islam. The part of Islam that's relevant here is political, not religious. In Islam, religion and politics are one and the same. True religions are personal. Islam is more of a pseudo-religious political ideology.

Islam is a religion. Islamic extremists believe in a life after death, and that death for God is glorious. You have it completely the wrong way round - it is a pseudo-political structure, informed entirely by the fact that they simply aren't scared of dying.

I was terrified by Soviet nukes, and I would be terrified by Cuban, Venezuelan, or North Korean nukes. This has nothing to do with religion.

No it doesn't, and it has nothing to do with this conversation.

In the 60s, the conflict between ideologies very nearly cost us our future. There were people who made damn sure that it didn't happen, and that people knew the dangers of such extreme ideas. That was then, and this is now, and something must be done. The taboo on criticising faith has to go, because otherwise theocracy will be the end of us.

Oh damn it, there I go again.

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I don't think anyone would disagree with you here, but Karlis' point is that religion is not the main reason behind the tension in the Middle East anymore.

If it was merely a dispute over land, without any religious connotations, it would have been resolved decades ago.

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What's the difference between, "Crazy religious people with nuclear warheads" and "Crazy irreligious people with nuclear warheads"?

72 virgins and a Messiah. Give or take.

It's a very bad one, then. I'm not even religious.

Your country, however, is.

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The West isn't a faith based society. When there's a drought, we don't sacrifice an animal. When someone catches HIV, they aren't advised to have sex with a virgin.

When a loved one is sick, what does the average Westerner (who is religious) do? Use both religion (prayer) and science (medicine). Religion and science aren't incompatible. A society can be religious and still advocate science, progress and tolerance.

Yes, but the "religious majority" that I know couldn't tell you where the nearest church is. But as I said, the moderates are what make it impossible to criticise the extremists by wrapping their faith up in untouchable taboo.

And by influence, I mean influence. Political, social, legal. The church is not as powerful as it once was.

You said it yourself. "Political", "legal." That's the political aspect. It's not religious.

The key is certainly not moderation, as I've pointed out.

Moderation is what you see in the civilized, modern, pro-science, pro-progress, tolerant West. That's not good? Or do you want a strictly irreligious society, with no hint of religion?

And WTF is hyper-rationality? Rationality without religion doesn't suddenly take on some extreme form of evil super-atheism.

This is from an article about Ayn Rand:

“Reason—really a kind of hyper-rationality—is the highest value; emotion, kindness, and compassion get nothing but scorn in the Randian scheme of things.”

That's no worse than superstition.

No, because the atrocities weren't committed due to a lack of religion. The communists committed atrocities because of the brutalist structure of the regime, not because they didn't believe in God.

Nobody said anything about Communists. But now that you mention it, you don't suppose the whole lack of an objective standard of morality had anything to do with all the evil the Communists committed, do you?

There are right wing American Christians who would stop all research into diseases, throw out everything we know about biology and demote women and those of different racial backgrounds to second class citizens, and try and base all science and history lessons on an Iron Age book. Some of these people do, or have until recently, advised on matters at a national level, including proposing the idea that a nuclear war in the middle east would trigger the second coming.

That's good and all, but one could also point out the many irreligious people who share very similar beliefs. We all know about those Atheist "environmentalists" who oppose modern medicine and science, don't we?

Doesn't matter what dubious "good things" those of faith do because they think someone is watching over their shoulder and their everlasting life is at stake. It is no way to run a society, and no way to ensure our future as a civilisation.

I don't find anything wrong with that. Why do people not rob banks? Nobody's going to miss 20,000 dollars in a bank with millions of dollars. It's fear (or, as you put it, thinking "someone is watching over their shoulder") that prevents them from doing it. Is law no way to run a society?

Islam is a religion. Islamic extremists believe in a life after death, and that death for God is glorious. You have it completely the wrong way round - it is a pseudo-political structure, informed entirely by the fact that they simply aren't scared of dying.

"Life after death" and "death for Allah is glorious" are the most basic tenets of Islam. It's not something exclusive to Islamic extremists.

That was then, and this is now, and something must be done. The taboo on criticising faith has to go, because otherwise theocracy will be the end of us.

Oh damn it, there I go again.

There's nothing stopping you from criticizing faith, Emma. Even in America, probably the most religious nation in the West, you're free to criticize (even insult) religion all you like.

Most Christians I know of don't advocate theocracy at all. I think your fears of theocracy and the death of progress, tolerance, and science should be focused on Islam, not true religions such as Christianity.

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Genesis 15

18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river [d] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates-

19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,

20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,

21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites."

Exodus 23

31 "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you."

The land is part of the covenant that God made with Abraham.

I am in complete,100% agreement with these Scriptures, Tiggs. The land is part of the covenant that God made with Abraham. :tu: The key point here (in this thread anyway) is that today these nations are fighting and bickering over what they can gain by force and by their own power.

According to Scriptures, it will be God through the actions of the returning Jesus, who again will re-establish the peoples into their own "Promised Land". But that's for the future ... not for the present time.

Karlis

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72 virgins and a Messiah. Give or take.

Still the same, in reality. Belief in an afterlife or lack thereof, they are still crazy people with nuclear weapons and an intent to destroy the world. Clearly this type of thinking isn't exclusive to religious people.

Your country, however, is.

Yes. But, again, I don't think those things aren't hindering progress or science. But that's another discussion, better suited to the political section of the forums.

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I am in complete,100% agreement with these Scriptures, Tiggs. The land is part of the covenant that God made with Abraham. :tu: The key point here (in this thread anyway) is that today these nations are fighting and bickering over what they can gain by force and by their own power.

How is that any different to what happened in the Old Testament after the Covenant God had made with Abraham?

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How is that any different to what happened in the Old Testament after the Covenant God had made with Abraham?

God gave the "Promised Land" to Abraham's descendants; they messed up and were disenfranchised -- went into captivity, and lost their land. That is only temporary, though.

The time is to come when God will bring them back into their own land a second time. And by the way ... God will also make another "New" covenant with the physical tribes/nations of Israel at that time.

Karlis

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http://www.kentucky.com/2010/06/12/1303777/paul-prather-new-atheists-embody.html

I think this guy has an interesting point. What does everyone else think?

I think Mr Prather is missing the point, not that "he has a very interesting point".

The ridiculing of religion is not the ridiculing of God, but the ridiculing of believing God is this, or God is that, or God wants us to believe (and/or do) this, or God wants us to believe (and/or do) that.

When someone believes something simply because someone else has told them to, then they deserve, imo, all the ridicule they get. When someone believes that certain actions and/or opinions are 'divinely sanctioned', the scope for those actions to bring about harm without the intervention of conscience, is increased by orders of magnitude.

They especially deserve that ridicule (and more) when their beliefs do bring actual harm to other human beings, whether that harm be physical, intellectual, emotional, etc, or whether that harm involves the lowering of another's quality of life for the purpose of gaining authority over that other.

Can ardent Atheists be as dogmatic as ardent Theists? Yes, of course they can. However, they [the Atheists] are not recommending we set aside our own moral and ethical judgement/responsibility for the sake of a supposed 'divine decree'. Even if the moral and ethical 'commandments' of that decree largely agree with natural humanistic ethics and morality, it is the surrender of personal responsibility to that 'divine law' which deserves ridicule.

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If it was merely a dispute over land, without any religious connotations, it would have been resolved decades ago.

I don't think anyone implied it was "merely a dispute over land". I just don't believe opposing religions are the main reason for the conflict anymore. I also don't believe it would have been resolved decades ago with or without religious connotations. There is an immense gap between the cultures of Israel and it's Muslim neighbors that goes beyond different religions. The Israelis are very westernized.

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Still the same, in reality. Belief in an afterlife or lack thereof, they are still crazy people with nuclear weapons and an intent to destroy the world. Clearly this type of thinking isn't exclusive to religious people.

Who do you currently believe is a non-religious crazy person with nuclear weapons and an intent to destroy the world?

If such a person existed - why aren't we dead?

Yes. But, again, I don't think those things aren't hindering progress or science. But that's another discussion, better suited to the political section of the forums.

Only in America would all of those be classed as politics, which ironically enough, is the point I was making.

But as you wish - we'll continue it in the American Politics section, I'm sure.

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God gave the "Promised Land" to Abraham's descendants; they messed up and were disenfranchised -- went into captivity, and lost their land. That is only temporary, though.

Really? I'm sure I remember lots of smiting and dashing and fighting and taking things by force.

The time is to come when God will bring them back into their own land a second time. And by the way ... God will also make another "New" covenant with the physical tribes/nations of Israel at that time.

And that time that is to come...that would involve a temple being rebuilt and a Red Heifer, right?

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Who do you currently believe is a non-religious crazy person with nuclear weapons and an intent to destroy the world?

If such a person existed - why aren't we dead?

Kim Jong-il.

Because he's crazy not stupid.

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Kim Jong-il.

Because he's crazy not stupid.

What makes you think Kim Jong-il is not religious?

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I don't think anyone implied it was "merely a dispute over land". I just don't believe opposing religions are the main reason for the conflict anymore. I also don't believe it would have been resolved decades ago with or without religious connotations. There is an immense gap between the cultures of Israel and it's Muslim neighbors that goes beyond different religions. The Israelis are very westernized.

Let me give you a link to the Hamas Charter. It's full name is actually The Charter of Allah: The Platform of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which might give you a slight clue as to the nature of it's contents.

If you really want to know what Israel is up against - take some time to read it.

It is pretty long however, but I think you'll get the general gist from this extract from Article 7:

Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion. It links up with the setting out of the Martyr Izz a-din al-Qassam and his brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood who fought the Holy War in 1936; it further relates to another link of the Palestinian Jihad and the Jihad and efforts of the Muslim Brothers during the 1948 War, and to the Jihad operations of the Muslim Brothers in 1968 and thereafter. But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).

Out of curiosity - what do you think the main reason for the conflict currently is?

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~~~~ ... (snip) ...

And that time that is to come...that would involve a temple being rebuilt and a Red Heifer, right?

Not needed, imo Tiggs; at least not according to the way I read Scriptures.

Karlis

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