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Carlos Allende

Religion versus Fiction

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Carlos Allende

This is something that's been playing on my mind a lot, recently (I don't post stuff frivolously, me). Recap -- with my last effort into this arena, I got into all sorts of trouble with my fellow UM users --

 

-- for a lot of different reasons. Mainly, for the tacit implication that militant atheists are somehow neurotic (like everyone else), but secondarily for the idea that _any_ atheism can legitimately be accused of being militant. I enjoyed the debate greatly. But to clear up my thinking on this matter --I still think atheism as a matter for public discussion is inherently a militant subject. In Britain (where I live), religion is by no means a force of oppression. For sure, you get heavy-handed Jehovah's Witnesses, and the supposedly ubiquitous Muslim patriarchy -- but I don't think these groups can be fought head-on by any kind of atheist intent on putting the world to rights. As I was trying (and failing) to suggest in '10 Questions', the whole matter of theism and atheism is a universal tug-of-war between _everyone._ It's like arguing wabbit season / duck season, and why are you getting worked up, Daffy? 

So, in the (maybe unlikely) event that you dig the above, can we agree on one of the other big aspects of atheism versus theism --that it's all about a war between truth and fantasy?

The question I want to ask today --again, of atheists-- why do you object to people spending so much time thinking about religion ...and yet _people reading and writing novels_ goes completely uncommented on? There _is_ an intellectual double-standard, in my opinion.

Maybe this question wouldn't have been so striking a couple of decades ago, when people like Aldous Huxley, Samuel Beckett, JG Ballard and Anna Kavan were writing _genuinely meaningful novels,_ but go into the fiction section of any high street bookshop nowadays, and the most popular novels will be _tripe._ Just really, really terrible tripe. Chewing-gum-for-the-mind thrillers involving generic 'troubled' cops or housewives investigating a mystery. Look at it this way: no airport or train station has a tiny church affixed to the side, but they _all_ have shelves upon shelves of generic thrillers. And people will spend _hours_ upon _hours_ devoting the processing power which your precious evolution fought so hard to give them ...on completely meaningless stories. 

But, yeah. Perhaps I'm being hard on, say, James Patterson, Alexander McCall Smith, Tom Clancy and the like by calling their 'work' meaningless. But let me ask you guys: if truth is so important to you, why doesn't it make you angry that, instead of reading a ham-fisted _novel_ about the Cold War, they could -- just as easily -- read an entertaining _non-fiction_ book by Ben MacIntyre or the like?  Why an Assassins Creed cash-in novel when they could equally read 'Millenium' by Tom Holland? Why 'The Martian' by Andy Weir, while 'Magnificent Desolation' by Buzz Aldrin goes unread? There's an example in any field of human interest you care to mention. People just prefer fantasy: this isn't a good thing (in my opinion).

 

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XenoFish
Just now, danydandan said:

It's all bloody fiction.

That some believe in more than others. 

 

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XenoFish
34 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

The question I want to ask today --again, of atheists-- why do you object to people spending so much time thinking about religion ...and yet _people reading and writing novels_ goes completely uncommented on? There _is_ an intellectual double-standard, in my opinion.

It's not the objection of religion, only the negative effect that it can bring. In some cases people find ways to justify horrible things. There are those who find meaning in life through religion. Same can be said by philosophical works, even the negative can be said of philosophy. If a book were to openly promote hate or ignorance, I'd think some of us would stand up against it. It's not a double standard. Some written works are just entertainment and that's all they are.

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Desertrat56
Posted (edited)

@Carlos Allende  It doesn't matter to me how much time and brain power anyone devotes to fiction of any kind as long as they don't tell me I am wrong to prefer a different fiction.  I have found on this forum site that both sides, the religious and science acolytes do that and the most annoying thing is the ones who claim that science proves... don't know anything about science except what they were taught in grammar school, just like those who claim the bible says... haven't read the bible.  The people who have true faith don't try to shove it down anyone's throat and the people who know science don't insist that anything is impossible.

 

P.S.  I find the title of this thread hilarious! 

Edited by Desertrat56
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DebDandelion
10 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

above, can we agree on one of the other big aspects of atheism versus theism --that it's all about a war between truth and fantasy?

Good morning! 

I want to say that I am one of those open minded people, and have been on an immense journey these past few months. Amaaaazing journey truly. What I have to point out, for me, is who decides what side is truth and which one is fantasy. 

We as humans here on earth like to point to another group that is not of the same opinion and label them differently cause it makes the one group feel more superior than the other. Think about it. Why is it needed to brand a group religious and another atheist. It's a label. 

Why do we feel the need to differentiate? So the one group can stamp their feet and go we are right and u are wrong.... Okay.... But why do we feel the need to do that? 

Ego.... That's why

Meh, I think I didn't answer what was asked, but I have given my two cents. 

Awesome day 

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DebDandelion
10 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

why do you object to people spending so much time thinking about religion ...and yet _people reading and writing novels_ goes completely uncommented on? There _is_ an intellectual double-standard, in my opinion.

I haven't had any conflict from atheists questioning my religion, they usually say if it makes you happy. I have always had a level of acceptance and niceness (is that a word?). 

I have however seen many religious people banging into atheists demanding they accept a religion.... 

Meh... Again...my two cents

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Rlyeh
10 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

The question I want to ask today --again, of atheists-- why do you object to people spending so much time thinking about religion ...and yet _people reading and writing novels_ goes completely uncommented on? There _is_ an intellectual double-standard, in my opinion.

I don't.  You can think about what ever you like.

But is it a double standard?  Fiction is mostly for entertainment, religion on the other hand pushes an agenda.  

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XenoFish
12 hours ago, Desertrat56 said:

the most annoying thing is the ones who claim that science proves...

A lot of that actually comes from believers trying to validate their beliefs. Which in my eyes tosses out that whole, "I have faith" aspect of belief.

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Carlos Allende
20 hours ago, eight bits said:

Maybe you personally don't like fiction, or recent fiction, or the mystery genre, etc etc, but those judgments don't follow systematically from disliking religious works. Even if they do follow from some general principle for you ("I dislike everything except non-fiction and post-enlightenment but pre-1970 fiction"), why couldn't another atheist have different tastes?

 

18 hours ago, Desertrat56 said:

science acolytes do that and the most annoying thing is the ones who claim that science proves... don't know anything about science except what they were taught in grammar school

Let me try to clarify my opinion a bit more. Quite often, one of the distinguishing features of the atheist position is that religion stands in the way of scientific progress, or intellectual progress, or just _truth._ That suggests, to me, that atheists think the human race has a finite amount of mental processing power, that mustn't be wasted. And if that's the case, why doesn't it equally irk them that people are reading something that's a fantasy? 

You could say something like, 'Ah, but look at Animal Farm - look how clever Orwell was to use animals in lieu of the war-time leaders -- he would've got lynched otherwise'. Well, my counter-argument is, it doesn't matter if the overall theme of the novel is noble, or has real facts concealed in the story -- it's still an abstraction and therefore an act of intellectual cowardice on the author's part. This argument can be applied to _any_ novel.

Full disclosure, I don't have a problem with any religion or any novel (per se), but I honestly don't see how an atheist can disentangle the two things.

Thanx for all the replies, though, everyone. 

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Desertrat56
3 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

 

Let me try to clarify my opinion a bit more. Quite often, one of the distinguishing features of the atheist position is that religion stands in the way of scientific progress, or intellectual progress, or just _truth._ That suggests, to me, that atheists think the human race has a finite amount of mental processing power, that mustn't be wasted. And if that's the case, why doesn't it equally irk them that people are reading something that's a fantasy? 

You could say something like, 'Ah, but look at Animal Farm - look how clever Orwell was to use animals in lieu of the war-time leaders -- he would've got lynched otherwise'. Well, my counter-argument is, it doesn't matter if the overall theme of the novel is noble, or has real facts concealed in the story -- it's still an abstraction and therefore an act of intellectual cowardice on the author's part. This argument can be applied to _any_ novel.

Full disclosure, I don't have a problem with any religion or any novel (per se), but I honestly don't see how an atheist can disentangle the two things.

Thanx for all the replies, though, everyone. 

I have never heard a scientist say anything like that, that religion gets in the way of science.  If you are interacting with people who call themselves scientists who say something like that then you could question whether they really are scientists or not.  Some are religious, some aren't but believe in a higher power than the human mind and some are atheists.  You can't lump all scientists into one ball of wax any more than you can lump all christians or all muslims or all buddhists into one ball of wax.  No more than you can lump all atheists into one ball of wax as they are not all scientists and they are not all atheists for the same reason.  AND a lot of religious people consider someone an atheist if they don't believe in Jesus or Mohamed or Buddha or whomever their prophet is.

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Carlos Allende
3 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

I have never heard a scientist say anything like that, that religion gets in the way of science.  If you are interacting with people who call themselves scientists who say something like that then you could question whether they really are scientists or not.  Some are religious, some aren't but believe in a higher power than the human mind and some are atheists.  You can't lump all scientists into one ball of wax any more than you can lump all christians or all muslims or all buddhists into one ball of wax.  No more than you can lump all atheists into one ball of wax as they are not all scientists and they are not all atheists for the same reason.  AND a lot of religious people consider someone an atheist if they don't believe in Jesus or Mohamed or Buddha or whomever their prophet is.

Message received and understood. Although I was referring to atheists championing scientific progress, rather than scientists themselves. 

I do think --and in this 'Spirituality v Skepticism' section in particular-- that people are too overprotective of their respective positions. In my opinion, you _can_ legitimately lump together all atheists the moment the bring their position into a public debate. They're about, broadly, a rejection of religion. What's wrong with drawing the argument line there? And then just expanding it a bit to delineate other things that are a bit _like_ religion?

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danydandan
3 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

Message received and understood. Although I was referring to atheists championing scientific progress, rather than scientists themselves. 

I do think --and in this 'Spirituality v Skepticism' section in particular-- that people are too overprotective of their respective positions. In my opinion, you _can_ legitimately lump together all atheists the moment the bring their position into a public debate. They're about, broadly, a rejection of religion. What's wrong with drawing the argument line there? And then just expanding it a bit to delineate other things that are a bit _like_ religion?

Actually they aren't you need to look up what Atheism actually means. 

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Carlos Allende
8 minutes ago, danydandan said:

Actually they aren't you need to look up what Atheism actually means. 

I won't, and you can't make me. Would you make Ornette Coleman look up what 'Saxophone' means?

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danydandan
Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

I won't, and you can't make me. Would you make Ornette Coleman look up what 'Saxophone' means?

Yeah. I would. 

Atheists reject the notion of God. Obviously most Religions are affiliated with a God of some description. But there are a number of Religions that are atheistic by definition.

You are conflating being Irreligious and Atheist. These are two different perspectives, kind of ironic that you tagged a lazy description on your thread don't ye think?

Edited by danydandan
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Desertrat56
26 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

Message received and understood. Although I was referring to atheists championing scientific progress, rather than scientists themselves. 

I do think --and in this 'Spirituality v Skepticism' section in particular-- that people are too overprotective of their respective positions. In my opinion, you _can_ legitimately lump together all atheists the moment the bring their position into a public debate. They're about, broadly, a rejection of religion. What's wrong with drawing the argument line there? And then just expanding it a bit to delineate other things that are a bit _like_ religion?

No, atheists are about a rejection of a supreme being that  people call god, not a rejection of religion.  Many Non-Atheist reject religion.  You can't lump them all together.  The line is in the wrong place when you draw it based on a rejection of religion.

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Desertrat56
2 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

No, atheists are about a rejection of a supreme being that  people call god, not a rejection of religion.  Many Non-Atheist reject religion.  You can't lump them all together.  The line is in the wrong place when you draw it based on a rejection of religion.

:lol:  I saw that title on the thread and thought it was a joke.

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Tatetopa
23 hours ago, Carlos Allende said:

The question I want to ask today --again, of atheists-- why do you object to people spending so much time thinking about religion ...and yet _people reading and writing novels_ goes completely uncommented on?

If it makes you happy, or inspires you, or makes you feel stronger in the face of adversity, Great!  But,if someone told me I had to live like characters in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings or that women should be treated like they are in the Handmaid's Tale; then I would say you have gone too far into the novels you are reading.  If you want to be kind, or opposed to abortion for yourself (presuming you are a woman) or spend your free time learning Elvish or Klingon, that is OK too.  Don't force me to learn Klingon.

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XenoFish
Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Carlos Allende said:

I won't, and you can't make me. 

This is why it's difficult to hold a conversation with you. Granted none of us can "make you", but it wouldn't hurt for you to try.

Edited by XenoFish
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danydandan
17 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

This is why it's difficult to hold a conversation with you. Granted none of us can "make you", but it would hurt for you to try.

Xeno would you like to discuss something, the focal point of our discussion will be about something only I understand and you are wrong no matter what you say. Also I won't actually tell you what I mean or define the focal point. Also I'll refuse to be enlightened about the subject as I already know it all.

Lol.

That's the exact premise of this thread.

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XenoFish
1 minute ago, danydandan said:

 you are wrong no matter what you say. 

You mean like every other thread.:lol:

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danydandan
Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

You mean like every other thread.:lol:

You're mostly never wrong. 

"Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time." 

I can't remember who said that, I think Klosterman???.

Edited by danydandan
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XenoFish
20 minutes ago, danydandan said:

You're mostly never wrong. 

"Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time." 

I can't remember who said that, I think Klosterman???.

Believe me or not, but I've been told I'm wrong a lot. 

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