@Jason Webb - I'm not sure what you are talking about with the "arena of ideas". There are a lot of places like that. I'm not sure why you aren't seeing them.
As for a place where everyone is entitled to their opinions, I think this is very much such a place. However, no one is entitled to a special and different set of facts. And that's what most xians claim to have. Opinions are one thing, and as long as people understand and accept that what they are asserting is opinion, that's great. But when someone presents opinion as undisputable fact (such as Kelly did), that's when the problems start.
I don't particularly care if a xian ever admits that they are wrong or not. What I care about is that xians cease trying to legislate their religion down my throat. It doesn't "threaten" me that xians believe in their delusional superstition. It "threatens" me when they try to force it down the throats of vulnerable school children as though it were a valid scientific "alternative" to real-world facts.
Your comment about only frightened and uncertain people slinging insults is just complete bullshit. Frustrated and angry people do so as well. It's a nice thought, but in reality it is just a strawman argument. Not that I don't agree that the less emotional we make our arguments, the stronger our position is, and it really does no good to insult people, but your statement is completely fallacious.
"I choose to believe something you don't" sounds like a very mild statement. However, belief is not a "choice". That is the fallacy that a lot of xians operate under. They believe they can scare you into "believing" by threats of eternal damnation. They also think they can coarse people into believing by just stating that this “must” be true. But without some sort of evidence that something exists, there is no chance that someone can just spontaneously "choose" to believe something, outside of having an emotional need that overrides reason, rationality and common sense. The problem with religion is that people believe in it through an emotional process, not a rational one. But, secondly, that actually IS most atheists’ mindsets. Actually, more accurately it is "I choose to NOT believe something that you do". Most of us have no problem with that. It is the xians that blast us for not believing the same. Just look at Kelly. He wasn't overtly malicious about it, but he was certainly passive-aggressive and condescending. We just have a tendency to point out the irrational nature of religion. But very few of us actually care whether we strip religion from other people or not.
I think your last statement is somewhat true, in that it is many xians that don't give a voice that should be heard. Most of them are happy to practice their superstition in the confines and privacy of their home and church and leave everyone else alone. However, atheists are not out to proselytize or necessarily convert. We are vocal very much because we ultimately want to be left alone. It is the vocal xians that will not let that happen. There is a great need for atheists to stand up and say that we will not be treated as second-class citizens, simply because we don’t buy into a delusional superstition. Following your logic, the man who is nearly beaten to death several times but then finally decides to stand up for himself and fight back is just as guilty as the bullies that started beating him in the first place. And, in my opinion, you would be so incredibly wrong, it is shocking that someone could even think that way.
@Joseph Nicola - The problem with your statement is that religion and belief in a deity REQUIRES blind faith. Because there is and never has been any evidence that supports any religion, and because the evidence that is their (e.g. the bible) actually proves the falsity of religion, there is no way to "believe" except through blind faith.
And the problem with that is that it teaches people to believe thing just simply because they *really want* then to be true. That is a huge part of why our country is going to hell in a handbasket. The same people who are delusional enough to believe in a personal deity also believe that our government is still working in our best interest. Why? Because they are told so and don't bother to look at the evidence that belies that assertion. Or, as in the right, they are manipulated into believing that, if we just "gave ourselves to god and let him direct our nation", we'd all be just fine. How stupid, irrational, and irresponsible is that?
I am a staunch Atheist. But you argument is full of holes.
Religion creates both good and bad consequences. Both good and bad outcomes. The problem comes in when you follow without questioning. That when you transfer from a religion to a cult
You have come to an irrational conclusion that all religiosos have blind faith. Many of them have questioned there beliefs studied far beyond your level of education and come to the conclusion that even though there is no evidence for God, they choose to believe anyways.
I personally have no issue with that. It is an informed choice. Not one I agree with, but informed nonetheless. And just becuase I don't agree with it doesn't make it right or wrong.
@Joseph - And I would have to respectfully disagree. I don't believe that religion has ever had any good effects. I believe that you are confusing the acts of good people with the religion that they associate themselves with.The religion itself has little to do with it outside of having an organization to funnel money through.
I also don't believe that anyone has ever made an "informed", rational decision to start believing a religion. Those that have studied religion and still accept it as truth only study and accept evidence that supports the delusion and reject evidence that disproves it.
I have never heard of, nor can I imagine an atheist who studied religion and did not have a driving need to fill some sort of "spiritual" gap that they feel, but still bought into the nonsense that religions spew. Every single time I hear about someone getting sucked into a religion, it is because of emotional reasons, not rational, logical ones.
Your post also doesn't address what I claim is the biggest danger of religion: that of those that justify their religion despite the evidence proving it false, learn to evaluate evidence based on emotions rather than rationality, reality and logic. Religion teaches people to reach a conclusion and then search for evidence supporting that conclusion, rather than looking at the evidence and determining a conclusion that fits the evidence. And before someone extrapolates something from that that I'm not saying, I am NOT saying that it is impossible for religion people to think critically. What I'm saying is that religion teaching people that it's okay to ignore critical thinking when the conclusion goes against something that they *really* want to be true. This is reflected in the support of our government's actions that are actually detrimental to a free society, but that the religious support. A perfect example of this is the attempted enslavement of gay people to precepts that have nothing at all to do with governorship of the people. Religion teaches people that it's okay to deny other people civil rights and personal liberties if they are doing something that the religion doesn't "approve" of, when otherwise it would be an atrocity. My brother professes to believe in freedom, liberty, he highly respects our troops fighting for our freedom and the freedom of others and would be appalled and insulted if anyone accused him of repressing anyone else's rights. He would put himself in harms way to help an innocent person in a heartbeat. And he voted YES on Prop 8 because he is a mormon. He isn't a good person because he's a mormon, that is simply his nature. He's an asshole that is all for stripping away the rights of other people because of his religious belief that it is acceptable to impose his self-righteous morals on other people. All because the the "sanctity of marriage". Oh, and did I mention that he is divorced and remarried? Sanctity my ass!
I love mythology and find the meaning of the sign above facinating. In the absence of light is dark, therefore virtue requires far more energy than evil. I enjoy the metaphors, it's when people take them literally that the world falls apart. As for Kelly...
Why bother catering to Kelly as she and her christian friends don't like us and perhaps never will. Again...argument is a perfect way to affirm/reaffirm ones beliefs. Don't Christians love martyrs and strive to become martyrs? Beat up Kelly and let her go away happy to her friends "I fought the evil atheists and lived to tell the tale!" On the other hand perhaps she came to this site because she is a closet atheist? Best of luck Kelly; I'm still atheist.
@archaeopteryx - Yes, those are good examples of what I'm talking about. If not for atheists speaking out and them trying to defend their religion (whether externally or internally, it doesn't really matter), they probably would have never questioned their beliefs. You are absolutely right in that we are seldom able to deconvert anyone, we can only plant the seed that will get them to start questioning and start them on the path to rationality and freedom.
Oh sorry, I didn't realize I was dealing with the know it all angry atheist who accepts no other opinion other then his own.
Sounds like most of the irrational religosos I speak with.
I'll concede the argument on the basis that I am dealing with an irrational person. Just as I concede most arguments to religiosos once I realize they too are irrational.
Now go argue with yourself, or find another patsy to be angry with. I have better things to do
Propounding a multiplicity of magic immaterial "beings" of pure consciousness is not warranted because the materialist-reductionist paradigm of reality is securely in place. There is no need to violate Occam's Razor/Parsimony to posit magic because there is no a priori reason to think any of the gods real and certainly no empirical evidentiary trajectory to justification for thinking magic.
The issue at hand is what has metaphysical primacy, consciousness or existence. Everything we know says the later. Here is the strongest argument I know of against all gods and supernaturalism, The Argument From Existence.
Best Wishes and Have a Nice Day.
Now go argue with yourself, or find another patsy to be angry with. I have better things to do
You sound angrier and more irrational than he does though. This has nothing to do with your position (to which I have some sympathy), and everything to do with behaviour. I could certainly be mistaken that the tone of your post is angry, but the same could be said for your reading of Keith's post.At any rate, try to stick to attacking people's arguments and not the individuals themselves. Personal attackas are against the site guidelines (which can be found here).
@archaeopteryx Hello Friend: Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you and all the good people who use ThinkAtheist for who you are rather than for whichever religious culture is or was imposed upon you due to accident of birth. If I had been born in Thailand, I'd most likely be a Buddhist, if in Bombay, a Hindu, if in Saudi Arabia, a Muslim, if in Israel, a Jew, if in Salt Lake City, a Mormon, and so on. Our religious cultures control us through peer pressure, belief indoctrination, and our social environments. For some really good stuff along those lines, read "The Christian Delusion" http://www.amazon.com/The-Christian-Delusion-Faith-Fails/dp/1616141... Its well worth the price.
I was very fortunate to have joined the US Navy as a young man. There I was isolated from religious culture and Church society and had time to think and question basal presuppositions that define doctrines, and so I was able to deprogram myself from Protestantism and eventually theism. Now I live a much happier life having deeper more meaningful family relations and friendships. I've replaced religious activities with meditation and proactive kindness, benevolence towards others and a relentless drive for self improvement.
Times up. Best Wishes and Regards
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