For starters, I’m an agnostic (pretty close to atheist), I don’t really have any thoughts on whether a God exists or not. I do however, have some thoughts on how this…”battle” between Atheism and Religion seems to be shaping out. I have many friends who are both atheist and religious, but almost all of them believe what they believe because they have researched their beliefs (to one degree or another) and have a decently solid basis for it. Now, it’s a well-known fact that most people are religious because their parents were, and they grew up with religion. With atheists, it’s quite a different story. Let me get to the point…
It saddens me to say this, but it seems like more and more atheists, especially internet atheists, are simply “converting” to atheism either because they hate religion (most notably Christianity) or are attracted by a lifestyle where the only rules of morality are the ones they themselves create. Whether they actually believe what they say they do, (or rather, disbelieve), is an issue that is put on the backburner. I feel that many of modern atheists simply accept disbelief of God on the basis of simple arguments, all too willingly, motivated mostly by their desire to be “free” of religion and its “restraints”. This growing propensity seems to be bolstered by the fact that many atheists (especially those on the internet (i.e. r/atheism) will openly support religions like Satanism, if only to piss of Christians. As I wandered from one atheist internet forum to another, I didn’t see any intellectual threads talking about something of value, such as “Why I choose to believe/disbelieve.” Instead, I saw scores and scores of threads discussing such topics as “The War on Christmas” and “The ignorance of Christians” and of course, the textbook “THINK OF THE HOMOSEXUALS” (Boo fucking hoo).
This trend has grown to such a degree that, to many people, atheism doesn’t mean “disbelief in God” or “disbelief in religion” anymore, as it should, but more markedly, “anti-religion”. People have literally come to equate atheism with liberalism, where the only form of morality is the Golden Rule and anything that is related to religion in anyway is evil. People have come to believe that being an atheist is simply giving yourself a license to do whatever you want (similar to the video below)
Nothing could be farther from the truth. As I said before, I am an agnostic with atheistic tendencies. However, I do not condone drinking, drugs, fornication, cursing, or (and I don’t care if this offends anyone) the practice of homosexuality. I condemn these things on a scientific basis. Jared Taylor, one of the foremost advocates of the far-right community, and a staunch atheist himself, holds the same set of moral (or as I call them, efficient) values.
I sincerely believe that this growing delusion that atheism = liberalism, that atheism = license, or that atheism = freedom (from more than just religion) flies in the face of the facts. Again, more and more people seem to be becoming atheists simply because they downright despise religion or are attracted by the idea of a life without any rules, where they can be “chill” and “nice” to everyone. This growing fad has left the atheist community with a shortage of real intellectuals who seek truth rather than license, and leaves us instead with the rabid, seething masses of ignorance, such as the kind that breeds at r/atheism. “I WANT TO DO WHAT I WANT WITH MY BODY, BREAK THE CHAINS OF STUPID RELIGION, FREE THE SEXUALLY AND THE PHYSICALLY REPRESSED, DOWN WITH THE OLIGARCHY” This is not atheism, this is barbarism and primitive, devolved man, seeking to gratify base desires and drag down society with him and using atheism/relativism as a shield to deflect all criticism and attack opponents with impunity.
That being said, I feel that atheism is being abused in modern society, our community has become starved for real intellectuals and filled to the brim with neck-bearded anti-religious whack jobs seeking to gain a vantage point so that they can unload their vengeance upon society for “holding them back”. And frankly, I’m tired of it.
Criticizing people for what they say doesn't violate anyone's free speech right. Also, below the college level students shouldn't expect to have a free speech right. They are minors. The college level is a different story as far as I'm concerned.
You have lost your free speech only when The State imposes sanctions on you for something you said or some way you chose to express your thoughts.
I love how people assume if a person has one thing in common with them (atheism in this case) then they must have everything else in common with you. The post that made me give up on this place originally was just such a post bemoaning those poor devils who had found their way to atheism yet were still so very wrong about a long list of basically liberal positions. The general attitude was those points had no rational other side. If you didn't want to tax the heck out of those who have to take care of those less fortunate or just plain lazy then you were not just having a different opinion but you were absolutely wrong with no wiggle room or compromise. Just plain wrong. As if the only reasoned approach was to agree with the Liberal. It seemed far too much like a religion to me so I left.
However my request to have my account deleted was not acted upon so I kept getting updates and after one of the Sunday Schools catching my eye I decided to drop in and see how things were going. Then I read the OP and was appalled. Here a budding atheist was making a point, not well I might add but then we all can't be liberal arts majors, about a problem he saw and was he greeted with open arms and aided on his journey away from religion while gently showing him the errors in his logical process? No, he was assaulted with insults and holier than thou attitudes about how absolutely wrong he was.
Now, if we treat everyone who comes here that isn't in lockstep with the liberal agenda like that how are we advancing the overall acceptance of atheism in society today? I'd say pretty poorly.
Now I'd like to ask, did any of you liberals like having your political philosophy compared to a religion? I'd say not judging by the bajillions of bytes spent spewing bile at me. Do you think that kid liked how he was treated? How many others who are sticking a toe into the pool here have been driven away without even setting up an account? Sure this is a private site and you can do what you want and treat people who come here however you want. But ask yourself, for those of you who either have kids or plan to have them, How are we going to make this country and the world they will live in accepting of real Freedom of Religion including the right to not have one if the only new atheists we accept are to the left of Marx?
In sales we have a saying. A customer who likes you will tell one person. A customer who doesn't like you will tell ten. Do we want prospective atheists to be so offended that they not only return to being wishy washy about faith but bad mouth us to ten of their friends who may be equally on the fence?
Each of us is a representative of our lack of faith (or supernatural juju, whatever you want to use as a working definition) for better or worse. We need to think about that before flaming a newby or noobe... whatever you crazy kids call it these days. We also need to remember that none of us really has access to the absolute truth. As a point of fact it is those who think they do have the absolute truth on speed dial that are the religious types we make fun of.
The point of all this, and the point I tried to make a year ago, is none of us have a monopoly on the Truth. If you are honest with yourself can you say with 100% certainty that if you were able to wave a magic wand (yeah, yeah no such thing as magic) to pass every Liberal position as law and make it so the laws can't be repealed for a decade that by the end of that decade most of the measurable statistics relating to human misery wouldn't rise exactly like conservative and libertarian economists predict they will. If you can say with that kind of certainty that you are right and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong I think you are walking on that fine line between political philosophy and religious ideology.
Did any of us say we were liberals? Some of us aren't the kind of liberals you are referring to. Talk about "monopoly on truth" some of us are simply pointing out what a caricature your "idea" of one kind of liberalism is. For someone who talks about a lack of certainty, a quest for the truth and bemoans crazy ideas...you certainly aren't able to differentiate disagreement with someone's claims with identifying with what you are defending.
When you say the word "libtard" it betrays your ignorance, the way your arguments tend towards caricatures and your non-concealed hatred towards an ideology you aren't even able to define. It doesn't make sense when someone says they are on a quest for truth or at least to understand how truth works...when they consistently break every fallacy and refuse to engage with the minimal standard of fair discourse.
The post that made me give up on this place originally was
What made you come back?
"Libtard" sounds like a Rush Limbaughism to me.
Rush was the first conservative "entertainer" that came to mind. Then I thought of a another guy talking at me in real life, calling all liberals "mentally ill". I didn't even realize until later that it was another one of those popular Fox News commentator talking points.
Scott, you are right that we don't want to discourage atheists to be public, express their views.
You are confusing discussion of whatever ELSE was also stated, with attack on the posters atheism.
IE: Some people can hold two conflicting ideas in their head at the same time, and work with them w/o their head exploding.
So, lets say we were all in favor of everyone on earth being given lollipops.
Its a free lollipop forum.
One guys says, are you all tired of the new free lollipop people who dilute lollipop giving with wanting to kill all the spotted owls?
And so some say, yeah, eff the owls, and others say, no, they're endangered, save the owls...and some say, wait, is that even a problem?
..and then one guy says kill all the owls because they spread rabies.
Everyone jumps on him because owls don't spread rabies, but he was on an eff the spotted owl forum, and they had articles about how spotted owls spread rabies.
Everyone spouts statistics and studies showing no rabies from owls...and the poster defends himself by saying he knows what he knows, and the rabies deniers are all brainwashed liberals.
And so forth.
It has nothing do do with everyone's view on lollipops...it has to do with someone making unsupported statements, and getting called on it.
You're wrong. He wasn't bombarded with insults - he was the one doing the bombarding - he got some insults back. Did you actually read his post? It was a vicious, opinionated tirade, accusing us all of only being atheists so we could snub our noses at Christianity, and so we could bring about anarchy and live free of rules.
I also wouldn't call him "budding atheist". He's a troll - pure and simple. He clearly posted here to get a reaction - and he got one.
Incidentally, I rather resent the conclusion you leap to that because I'm not right wing, I must automatically be a Communist. I am, indeed, very far from both.
I'm not here to "convert" anyone to atheism, and I don't believe anyone else here is either (with the possible exception of you). I don't care what other people think, unless they target me - but Christians, indeed, DO target me, and I'm getting rather sick of it. Indeed, that is one of the main reasons that I am an atheist - Christians targeted me, even while I was one of them.
One of the things that most offended me about Nate the Troll's post is that he presumed that as an atheist, I must somehow be extremely left wing and devoid of any morality, totally lacking in the altruism that fundamentalist Christians like to take the credit for. That's as bad as presuming that because I'm an environmentalist, I must be a Greenie (which I most decidedly am not - the Greenies would think I'm as right-wing as our troll friend).
Seriously, I'm quite happy for Nate to go back to his Christian friends and continue to be a blazing example of why I am not one of them. His presence here would drive away a lot more potential members than he could otherwise manage.
I expect his Christian friends go to church, and while they continue to do that, they will not convert to anything. Rest assured, they've all read the Bible many. many times. They all know it isn't true, but if they express that knowledge, if they seek what they know to be true, they will lose all their friends - the whole point of a religion is that it requires it's members to express belief in something they know is not true - that way they can tell immediately who to exclude.
I know. I know it for certain. It happened to me.
I'm going to go way, way back, to Scott Graves's original point.
He maintains that liberals cannot really be atheists because they have "faith" in social programs, redistributionist schemes, a progressive tax code, socialized medicine, socialized education (a/k/a "public schools"), etc. etc. and that none of these things actually work and liberals are ignoring that fact and continuing to push them anyway.
There's really two different categories of question going on here. Let's assume, purely for the sake of argument, that Scott is right about liberals continuing to push failed programs, ignoring the evidence that they fail. In other words, let's assume (for just a moment) that liberalism is basically people pushing stupid shit that has already been proven not to work, ignoring the evidence of how stupid it is. Would that make them not atheists?
I say no, because "Atheism" is not, "refusing to engage in the-pursuit-of-stupid-shit-in-spite-of-the-evidence-it's-stupid." It's very simply the refusal to accept the existence of a deity. One can refuse to believe in a deity and be an "atheist." That's the only requirement. You can be an atheist, and yet still believe a bunch of stupid other stuff.
If Scott is right about Liberalism, his indictment would (more sensibly) read something like "Liberals, like theists, make the mistake of believing in things without evidence. In other words, they are committing the same sort of error in a different situation."
So, Scott, I have to tell you, regardless of whether you are right about liberal positions on economic matters, you cannot maintain that they're not atheists on that basis. Rather, believing in something, and pushing the same programs over and over in spite of the evidence that all they do is cause net harm, would not make make them theists, it would make them irrational.
Now, as for the more interesting question of whether modern (as opposed to Jeffersonian classical, laissez faire) liberalism works or can work, that's a different question that you've already got into with many people, and I'd have to say the only way you will persuade people here is to provide them with good evidence. Unfortunately you are now holding about twenty different parallel arguments on different specific issues, some of which you might actually agree with them on, but you came out the gate on such a broad frontal assault you got yourself into that one.
I would have to ask that you drop the insulting tone, and I'd like to request that of others as well. (From me, as a non moderator, it truly is *just a request.*) Maybe a productive conversation can be had here if either people focus on a philosophical question or one specific issue.
Steve - I think you're right.
So, the answer to the OP is:
I think that about covers it.
Yeah, this has gone on long enough. I just wanted the far left of center types here to feel, just a bit, of what that poor kid must have felt when he posted his positions and got flamed like he was comparing Atheists to Nazis. (there I did it, Goodwins Law invoked! Bwahahaha!) We are all representatives, for better or worse, of our lack of superstitions. Jumping that kids poo like it was impossible to hold a contrary position isn't a good way to get new members. If the majority doesn't want non liberals here then they should post that at the front page and offer sites where other political philosophy atheists can hang out and discuss their common irritations with those who do have superstitions.
Do I think being a Liberal is a religion? No. The faith in failed programs was to only way I could manage to tie it all together. I do think they have their heads up their collective butts and ignore failures while remembering successes. But that's just human nature. It's why, in my never to be humble opinion, people think psychics can predict the future and it's how people can manage to see a difference between the major parties.
I'd say lock this thread since I doubt there's an insult or accusation that is left to be said. I'm done playing this game.
It truly is frustrating when people insist that things are defined and evidence is given and that discourse doesn't go towards the cruel and hate-like.
If the majority doesn't want non liberals here then they should post that at the front page and offer sites where other political philosophy atheists can hang out and discuss their common irritations with those who do have superstitions.
What you've failed to listen to and understand is that some users are non-liberals and they are totally welcome and respected. The grief that's been directed to you is not the fact that you are a non-liberal...but the fact that you aren't playing by even the most elementary rules of intellectual discourse. I've tried to refer you to critical thinking guides, examples of evidence you could give us, how to properly challenge an argument, when calling someone's wife a slut is not helpful to an argument and how defining ones terms is 100% necessary before anyone can take you seriously. You didn't step up to the challenge despite the numerous attempts to engage with you this way. Instead you take it all as some sort of non-liberal-badgering because you assume disagreement with bad arguments = hate towards them or unfair bullying. You haven't defending a thing and your posts are meeting resistance only because of this...and not because you have a certain point of view. We would welcome a radical-muslim-jihadist if they at least engaged in discussion respecting everyone else's intelligence and didn't toss out incomprehensible ideas and mean insults.
One of my workmates is a fundamentalist Christian, and he baled me up on the bus to deride me for being so stupid as to believe in climate change (he knows I read science magazines. He has seen the vast numbers of books I read on various topics including history, science, religion (a special interest of mine), psychology - I've even read the works of Jane Austen - that's a part of my life I will never get back. He assured me the Bible tells him it isn't real, and won't look at the evidence.
I told him a) that I have been persecuted by Christians; b) that I used to be a Christian and that I read the Bible cover to cover twice, so I KNOW it isn't true; and c) that I DID NOT WANT TO DISCUSS HIS RELIGION (as fundies get upset when you disprove their cult at work, even when they are the ones bringing it up).
I told him that my sister, who is a Christian, brutally physically abused me and got her Christian friends to join in the hatefest while I was caring for our late mother, who had Alzheimer's and cancer.
Did he back off? No, of course not.
I also mentioned that my other sister, who joined in the hatefest, but was not physically violent is a Wiccan.
He told me Witches are "dangerous".
Now, Keith (my fundie coworker) knows that I have been helping a woman from Thailand I met on the internet - yes, I know that it's not safe to send money to people you meet on the internet, but, rest assured, I can tell who is trustworthy and who isn't - heightened empathy is a little benefit I get from surviving abuse. So, naturally, he used that to try to convert me - he said that was a Christian act.
It's not. It's the act of a survivor of abuse who can't stand to see another being suffer. It is precisely because I know there IS NO GOD that I am altruistic.
If you need an example of a Christian act, try the ongoing child abuse by the clergy - there's a Royal Commission into many of the churches - Catholics, the Salvation Army, Hillsong - for decade after decade of child molesters being protected by them.
And how about the Holocaust? Are you going to do what Christians usually do, and which I'm sure your right-wing compatriots would want, and pretend that Adolph Hitler was an atheist and an "evolutionist"? (What's an evolutionist? Something Christians ,made up so they can pretend that science is just a belief ...)
I've read Mein Kampf and many of Hitler's speeches - he never mentions Darwin. I doubt he knew who Darwin was. He justified his atrocities with Jesus and the Bible. Adolph Hitler was a Christian from the day he was born until the day he died.
You need more? When I was a Christian, on of the books that floated around (and was instantly taken as gospel by the churchgoers I knew) was a small book called, "None Dare Call It Conspiracy".
It's a nasty piece of deeply anti-Semitic propaganda written by the then-president of the John Birch Society. I have no doubt you've read it, Nate, and believed every disgusting word of it.
I admit, I do hate Christianity, but that's only because I've been targeted by it for hate. I don't just dislike it because it's false. Hinduism is false, but I rather like it. Even Buddhism isn't exactly true (& the Buddha didn't want it to be a religion) - but still has useful parts, particularly as a path to inner peace, which I have not yet achieved. I don't need a religion to tell me what's right - I do what's right because it's right, not because I'd get some reward from some fool's imaginary friend in a mythical afterlife, .
I don't hate Christianity because it's stupid, though it is. I hate it because it is EVIL.
BTW - the Golden Rule would be really good if Christians actually followed it (which they rarely do). The Witches Creed ('An harm ye none, do as thou wilt') would be better - once again, if Witches actually followed it, which they don't.
I'm not too hot on Wicca either - I've been persecuted by pagans too. I've been everybody's punching bag . It'll be the Moslems next, I don't doubt.
I notice that 1 member liked your post, Nate. That would have been you, no doubt.
Yes, I know. You won't be back to read this. This was a "troll and run" post. I'm sure we won't see you again - you wouldn't want to run the risk of actually learning something about the people you're lying about. Run away, little troll.