I had an argument with a Facebook friend the other week that led to others joining in with her against my expressing my views about her beliefs, and the politics attached to them.

She is Catholic, and was expressing support for the bishops who are suing the US government to stop them "being forced to supply contraceptives".

I linked some article about the absurdity of people - particularly women - who allow their lives (and in particular reproductive lives) to be dictated to be a bunch of celibate men. She deleted my post, and a row ensued, whereby I said that the Catholic church was "founded on a lie which has been allowed to fester for the past 2000 years".

It subsequently lost me more Facebook friends who, I imagine, see me as some kind of "monster" for criticizing this woman's "beliefs". I think I'm just making the woman think.

Am I alone in thinking there are more ways than one of putting an atheist message across? And that although gentle discussion has its place, the occasional blast of "This is how it is" is necessary?


Personally, I'm tired of treading on eggshells around religion. I think it's time to let the Emperor know in no uncertain terms that his new clothes don't exist, and that he's making a fool of himself - even if it means losing friends doing so.

I'm of the opinion that religion isn't just some benign nonsense, but that it has political consequences, and it's an absurdity that causes a lot more problems than it fixes. And that it's about time we made more noise about it.

Opinions, please.

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no rituals, no tenets, no holy book, no congregations, no glue.

And what exactly is crappy about not being a sheep?

Humans need to belong. I think the need to belong is just below the need to eat and the need to fuck.

Yes sheep bleeting, but we are not all as independent of thought as maybe you are. Most people need to be led. So what does atheism offer?

What does atheism offer? Nothing in and of itself. It doesn't have to. Not believing in fairies offers nothing, either, and yet none of us do. If you need something to believe in, or a cause to fight for, or a reason to live... find a passion. Mine is increasingly becoming feminism. What about Humanism? Skepticism? There are lots of "isms" to buy into that don't involve religion and can make you feel like a part of a group or a cause worth fighting for.

There's no reason for anyone to be religious in order to "belong". There are too many other causes in this world that could easily occupy their time... and ones with leaders if they truly need to be led. If they want rituals, there are rituals. If they want holy books, how about a manifesto instead? Instead of a congregation, a group of people who gather to talk about [fill in the blank]. Jeez, I mean, there are bicycling clubs, chess clubs, clubs for people that like to dress in Renaissance gear or Star Wars gear, clubs for people that like to talk about philosophy, clubs for people that care about the environment.

Religion does not exclusively offer any of the things people crave (community, belonging, traditions, causes), and I have to say I'm tired of the lie that perpetuates that myth. One has to be really lazy and uncreative to think the world has nothing to offer those who don't need or want imaginary friends telling them what to do.

No, I'm sorry... no one needs religion. They may be uncritical and lazy as hell, but they don't need religion... just like a heroine addict doesn't actually need heroine. It may feel like they need it, they may have withdrawals if they try to quit, it may be easier to give in to the cravings, but their life actually depends on staying clean. In this case, the life of the planet depends on religion going the way of the dinosaur.

Specifically, it is Evangelical Christians that deny Global Warming; they feel entitled to the planet and its "infinite" bounty and refuse to curb their appetites, and refuse to admit we've over-fished the seas, destroyed the rain forests and those vital ecosystems that sustain all of us. Ya know, maybe a heroine addict has the right to destroy his/her own life. But so many religions are destroying the life of everyone else. 

If they need to belong, there are other causes that will accept them with open arms.

People believe the bullshit because it's convenient to do so.

I would too, if it didn't insult my intelligence the way it does.

We just maybe have to face it: some people are content to be sheep. They'd probably be unthinking atheists as well, if atheism was ever the dominant ideology.

I'm increasingly thinking that the wise atheist just accepts people are idiots, becomes someone high up in one of the religions, and just lords it over everyone in the biggest bullshit job in history.

Nobody can possibly tell me L. Ron Hubbard actually believed all the bullshit he spouted. Why do we expect the "pope" to believe all the bullshit HE spouts?

He's probably no different to any salesman who doesn't believe in the product, but is in it because of the benefits.

I mean seriously...who knows?

I don't think we should liken insulting someones mother and insulting someones religion either. I know many people draw that connection to give others an example of how equally disrespectful it would look, but that is ridiculous and we should not accept the premise

The idea is that we are supposed to think of something that is "sacred" to us, and then think about how the religious might feel when we insult something that is sacred to them. The premise being that it's ok to see religion as something sacred. I don't accept this.

Muslims do this very often, when you tell them how retarded they are for retaliating when someone draws muhammad.

"Oh how would YOU react if someone insulted your mother?!" Yeah great point, muslim scumbag. Except that muhammad is not your mother.

If your religion is that important to you that you liken it to your mom then

1) you're an indoctrinated fucking idiot, and

2) that still doesn't mean you get a free coupon not to get ridiculed.

They use analogies like that as an excuse because they know it works on most people and it covers their filthy religion in moral teflon.

I think I remember an interview of Hitchens, where he said that mockery of religion is an essential thing, as not to do so would imply that there is something sacred and untouchable about religion, and that he simply does not accept this premise. I don't remember where I saw that anymore though, I'm sorry.


edit: here it is! :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnoKYnonw3Y

They use analogies like that as an excuse because they know it works on most people and it covers their filthy religion in moral teflon.

Ha! Classic, I love that.

I do agree with you near 100% and if you see me on another forum I am far more aggressive with my mockery.

My issue is this. I see stupid everywhere. Christians, muslims, and others too. But I also see the inner strength it gives them, the compass with which it guides them, the rock to which it secures them. And, as I flounder in stormy seas with my inability to surrender to things that make no sense, I am a little envious.

It's false inner strength, that's all.

Religious people are like someone who's standing on a railroad track but they don't know what it is and don't bother to look at it. They're ignorant of the truth, and so they're perfectly content - until the train comes at the last minute.

The religious are happy sacrificing their entire lives to something meaningless because they'll never know how wrong they were. Since death is just death, they'll never experience the non existence of "afterlife".

They're just victims of a massive con, and don't dare look at how conned they've been for fear they just might be so angry it'll send them over the edge.

But the "strength" is mere denial. It's why they can't stand to hear the truth, and need all the rituals to feel OK about everything.

you are completely right Jack but completely missing the point.

It does not matter if it is false or not. Faith (by the very definition of the word) is only answerable to itself.

With faith a person has

  • direction
  • inner confidence
  • inner strength
  • structure
  • guidance
  • a constant companion
  • an answer to big questions
  • comfort
  • many friends/like-minds
  • and many more things that help one get through the trials of life.

All of it may be bullshit, fanciful claptrap, fantasy-fiction, a complete lie, but that does not matter in the slightest.

They don't want to listen to truth because the so-called truth will not empower them.

Religious empowering corrupts reality, absolute religious empowerment corrupts reality absolutely.

I agree with everything you say, just don't think it is quite as black and white.

Well maybe, but you also have to consider all the weakening effects of faith.

  • direction in the wrong direction
  • constant guilt
  • inner strength which in reality is pure weakness and angst
  • a prison ward constantly watching over you
  • less intelligence (yes, deal with it)
  • being surprised at your own helplessness in the face of actual threats (god's not going to help you out of a beating)
  • a crippled sense of judgement
  • boosted emotions, which correlates to the above point but is a huge weakness even in it's own right
  • being gullible
  • getting taken advantage of
  • waste of time
  • waste of money
  • waste of life
  • denial of your own happiness
  • the friends that you do get are just other indoctrinated plebeians such as yourself

I think I'll take the atheist deal man.

Hey, don't get me wrong, me too. At least I won't take nonsensical, attempts to modify my behaviour based on 2,000+ year old ignorance and/or fantasy.

I have been a part of a religion (not christian) and I miss very much certain aspects of it. Aspects that atheism will never offer. 

It was the difference between being anchored in a safe harbour and being tossed about on an angry open sea.

I hear what you're saying, diggerbanks, but then why did I change from a believer to a non believer? Why does anyone?

Truth is that people CAN be swayed, as was I. I know plenty of people who used to follow some religion or other (usually Christian) but now they don't.

So who exactly are "they" that don't listen to the truth?

Is there such a thing as a totally unshiftable position for some believers?

What makes some shift, and others not?

Speaking for myself, it was a gradual process, then a final avalanche of sense.

I reckon it is the ability for critical thinking. The old adage "ignorance is bliss"

You should come to lunaticoutpost for a bit of fun. It is quite incredible how middle america condones the medieval mindset.

Like...Scientific theory Vs the Ussher Chronology. Just unbelievable. 

Meet you there? I'm under the same moniker.

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