Lamenting Present Day Atheism

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by pseudonymous, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    Given the track record of several high profile evangelical fund-raisers that have been 'outed' it would be an extremely interesting exercise to see what percentage of funds raised ever actually reaches anyone in need.

    TE
     
  2. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    pseudonymous,

    I must say, as a Christian, I do find your demeaner quite refreshing. I've been to plenty of forum site where the kind of thing you've describe is rampant, on both sides.

    But the thing about Brian's site is that I feel much freer speaking to athiests/agnostics where I'm not always bashed for what I believe in. In fact, I've been able to better understand where people are coming from and why they believe or don't believe.

    I get what mean by community. There's really no offical "denomination" where athiests can go and not worship God with others of your same persuasion. There is something about being in a group of like-minded people working for a common goal in helping our fellow man. And there is fellowship where we can share experiences together.

    Anyway, welcome back.

    Regards,

    Dondi
     
  3. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    Ardenz,

    Yes, I was born a Christian, but one day I found out Christianity is not my "cup of tea". (I have since found something that works for me elsewhere.)

    Tao, You said,
    "I could believe that many atheists are luke-warm Christians that find what the more extreme Christian groups to be saying and doing deeply upsetting and troubling. Yes."
    --> Wow. (I agree.) It just makes you wonder what it would have been like, if Christians had not been so "deeply upsetting and troubling".

    Will,

    It would be fascinating to find out how wide-spread this phenomenon is.

    Pseudo, You said,
    "...i think most atheists are simply people without the belief in deity...."
    --> The funny thing, I also do not believe in an Almighty God ... and I am not an atheist. Then there are those people who might have believed in an Almighty God, but were pushed away by the Biblical depiction of an Almighty God. And, you are right, some people just use the title of atheist to do negative things.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Here here! Raise your glass in hopes of more G-dly Atheists, and a church for them to assemble! After all a real atheist couldn't deride or blaspheme something they don't believe in!

    While were at it lets get some more G-dly evangelicals, heck more Christlike Christians...and more G-dly Muslims, and....and....and...

    What the world needs now, is love, sweet love!

    But seriously we all know those TV preachers needed the cars and the mansions and G-d told them they needed another hundred million....they said so, they had tears in their eyes and grandma sent a check.
     
  5. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    :p:D:D
     
  6. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Sadly, grandma had tears in her eyes, too....after she found out how much she got swindled.
     
  7. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    I'm a member of the Fellowship of Reason, an ethical community that caters to atheists. I'll admit, we are a tiny minority among atheists, and yet we do exist.



    We offer opportunities for personal growth and fellowship.



    No, which is why I don't personally waste my time with such things. It's no wonder that atheists like me don't register on your personal radar screen. That doesn't mean we don't exist, though.



    Didn't you just say that there is no atheist community? You are correct. There is no "atheist" community just as there is no "theist" community. There is no monolithic block of atheists.



    There are heroes cited by atheists. I'll cite one right now -- Madame Curie.



    I agree with you, but I think the perception of atheists is not in line with the reality. Online discussion boards are a poor window into reality.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  8. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all..

    just an observation if i may..

    isn't it just a *tad* of cultural eliteism to suggest that atheism, per se, arose due to a rejection of Christianity? that would seem to suggest that Buddha Dharma arose due to the Christian paradigm.. which i can assure you is not the case :)

    as for what a person contributes to the world.. i think that has less to do with ones religious beliefs that it may seem and much more to do with their actions than one would hope.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  9. Impqueen

    Impqueen Queen of the Imps

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    Before I start I'll just say I have no problem at all with atheism as a belief, but have noticed something about those atheists I have come across in my personal life and those I've heard talking on the radio. Atheists often talked as anti-monotheists, they don't address polytheism as an option at all. More specifically they 'disprove' Christianity (and sometimes the other Abrahamic faiths too) and stop there. It's a more complex version of something a kid once said to me; the bible contradicts itself, therefore the bible is false, therefore God doesn't exist.

    Also there seems to be quite alot of scorn for anyone 'dumb' enough to believe there's anything spiritual about the world at all. Those of us who believe only do so because we are poor weak minded souls who need faith to stop the world being so scary. :rolleyes:

    I'm not suggesting all atheists are like this, especially not those who are atheist within a spiritual framework of some kind. As with any belief, there are those who have carefully thought and felt it through and there are those who take it on as a cheap mantle which allows them to look down on others.
     
  10. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    Impqueen,

    You said,
    "Atheists often talked as anti-monotheists, they don't address polytheism as an option at all."
    --> That is a fascinating observation to me, as I am a pantheist.
    "It's a more complex version of something a kid once said to me; the bible contradicts itself, therefore the bible is false, therefore God doesn't exist."
    --> Perhaps the kid would have done well with some study in the field of logic. His conclusion is/was invalid.
    "Also there seems to be quite alot of scorn for anyone 'dumb' enough to believe there's anything spiritual about the world at all."
    --> I think this is because of the horrible religious polarization in the world today. This is the exact reason I started this thread in the first place. Yes, the religious world is horribly ploarized, but there is room for beliefs between the two extremes.
    "Those of us who believe only do so because we are poor weak minded souls who need faith to stop the world being so scary."
    --> Perhaps we can learn to develop more compassion towards such people.
    "As with any belief, there are those who have carefully thought and felt it through and there are those who take it on as a cheap mantle which allows them to look down on others."
    --> You are correct, we need to divide them into two groups. The way we should handle the first group is quite different than the way we should handle the second group.
     
  11. Impqueen

    Impqueen Queen of the Imps

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    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    --> That is a fascinating observation to me, as I am a pantheist.

    They don't tend to address pantheism either. (Naughty Impqueen, forgetting pantheists! :eek:)

    --> Perhaps the kid would have done well with some study in the field of logic. His conclusion is/was invalid.

    Lol. He was amazed when I destroyed his argument with a sentence :p it had worked so well on his schoolmates. (Not to be unfair to him - at least he was thinking about these things, so few do.)

    --> You are correct, we need to divide them into two groups. The way we should handle the first group is quite different than the way we should handle the second group.

    Generally the second group betray themselves the moment they open their mouths....
     
  12. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    Once pagans become the majority and start criticizing atheists for not believing in their gods, then atheists will suddenly start talking as "anti-polytheists". Speeches are tailored to the audience.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  13. Impqueen

    Impqueen Queen of the Imps

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    Very true :) but when I am in the audience I can't help feeling faintly peeved at being ignored, although as I'm in such a small minority it's quite reasonable behaviour on the part of the speaker.

    Gods help us if Pagans ever become the majority! No-one will ever agree on anything! :p
     
  14. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    Ermmmmmm they do now?
     
  15. Impqueen

    Impqueen Queen of the Imps

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    Lol, no but generally I find ten Pagans means at least fifteen opinions. :D
     
  16. spiderbaby

    spiderbaby New Member

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    The prime ingredient for atheism is a lack of faith just as the prime ingredient for faith is....faith. The overwhelming majority of atheists (defined here as people who lack faith and are not simply agnostic) are not interested on impinging their own logical belief system on others. Like myself I think most atheists employ something like the maxim: “Don't piss on my Pogonias and I won't piss on yours.”
    Those sufficiently motivated to take on religion directly are bound to be vociferous because of the combative zeal that drove them to do so in the first place.
    Being ashamed to be an atheist because some atheists are a bit too rude seems mildly eccentric to me.
     
  17. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Pseudonymous,

    I am a Humanist (and therefore also an atheist). I prefer 'Humanist' instead of atheist because I prefer to focus on what I DO believe rather than what I DON'T. I can relate to your frustration. I am president of my local Humanist group and we definitely try to provide a positive community for nontheists, which works to promote Humanist values rather than bashing religion. This is a constant effort to direct our community in this direction, but it seems to be working well.

    I would provide the following as an example of that positive approach:

    DT Strain Philosophy: The Humanist Contemplative

    And as for our Humanist Community, here is our website.

    Humanists of Houston

    I hope you find the community you're looking for and find these links refreshing. :)

    With Compassion,
    Daniel
     
  18. DrFree

    DrFree In Pluribus Unum

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    Hi, pseudonymous,

    It may be that the reason you have no community is similar to the reason I no longer call myself an atheist: there is no community in a negative.

    Atheism is the belief that there is no god, i.e., that it is not the case that there is a god. This proposition has two weaknesses:
    1. It does not declare what it is you do believe, and hence provides no basis for individual growth or communal support.
    2. It makes a general claim that apparently is intended to apply regardless of what is meant by the word "god". In other words you declares that whatever it is that the word means, you doesn't believe in it.
    Much of what you say suggests that atheism is held most dear by those who were raised as children of the book, i.e., in Jewish or Christian or Islamic families. I can't testify as to whether that's true. But it does raise the question whether one who has lost his faith in the deity of one faith cannot find it in another.

    The problem is that there is no catalog of god-candidates out there to turn to when you find your initial purchase unsatisfactory. And they don't come unbundled. You can't buy one ala carte. They all come packaged in dinners that have unappetizing elements. They have mythologies and religions attached. And while I might like that god, I might find the mythology incredible and the religion uncomfortably restrictive.

    In my case my background in philosophy gave me some tools to back away from unrelenting atheism. You've probably studied the various arguments for (and against) God's existence (capitalization required here, since these arguments were about the God of a particular religion (or family of religions). One of them, the so-called Cosmological Argument, argues that God is the first, uncaused cause of the universe. There are two standard responses to this argument:
    1. There might be an infinity of causes, each caused by a prior, without a first cause.
    2. Even if there is a first cause, there is no reason to believe it is still around.
    Descartes offered an enriched form of this argument, intended to reply to the first of these responses. He said that if there is an infinity of causes, there must at least be a principle by which each of these causes leads to another. He suggested that there cannot be an infinite series of principles for causation, presumably because being a principle for is essentially a higher order of explanation.

    Descartes laid down this enriched Cosmological argument rather quickly without much development. I got the impression that he felt the his other arguments had really sealed the matter, and that this particular reasoning was supplementary but superfluous.

    When I first read this argument, I found it wholly unsatisfactory. Even if sound, the argument failed to prove that it was the God of the Old and New Testaments that was the principle of causation. The argument might have proved something, but not what was intended.

    In later years however, I've found the Cartesian approach more intriguing. Can we find in it something worthy of the name "God"?

    First we need to explicate what might be meant by the word "principle". What is it for a thing to be a principle for something. Taken in one direction, it can be understood as the laws of nature. This would turn God into a pure abstraction. Taken in another direction it becomes Tillich's ground of being (whatever that is). I don't know about you, but I find such an abstruse abstractions completely unsatisfying as a god-concept. My god has to be a bit more personal and accessible.

    An alternative approach is to adapt Descartes argument by defining God as the whole of which we are a part. Technically I guess this turns it into a mereological argument (from mereology, the study of parts and wholes). That is, God is the universe. But more than that, God is the whole system of the universe, of which you and I and everything else are subsystems.

    What does this modification achieve? Perhaps the following:
    1. God is an individual being, not an abstraction.
    2. God, i.e., the universal system, is the cause of everything. It might even be that some of what happens is God's intentional actions. I've argued elsewhere (e.g., spiderbaby's solving consciousness thread) that conscious choice is whole system behavior that arises as animals evolve to respond to complex situations. God as the whole system doesn't evolve, but is the collection of evolving systems. That this process might lead to the consciousness of the whole system is at least conceivable.
    3. God is in a sense in a higher plane of existence, being to us as we are to the components of our bodies. One might speculate that the communications and information systems that now interconnect people and computers around the globe are analogous to the axons and dendrites that interconnect the neurons of our brains. This fact, along with the research of Lovelock and Margolis on the Gaia Hypothesis, suggest that it might be reasonable to think of the earth as a living, maybe even conscious being.
    4. God is all-powerful. Everything that can be done can be done by the universal system.
    5. It at least reasonable to think of one's obligations to God as one's obligations to the whole. Morality becomes not an arbitrary set of rules, but instead a very practical matter of making the whole work better.
    This of course is just speculation that I find captivating. What I would ask you is why, even if you find the God of your youth as no longer credible, you conclude that there can be no other concept of God in this universe worth thinking of as both credible and divine?

    Namiste.
     
  19. The Adept

    The Adept New Member

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    The Sunday Assembly
    The Sunday Assembly Home The Sunday Assembly
    This might interest you. It is secular.
     
  20. Thepasserby

    Thepasserby Thepasserby

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    To this believers eyes and ears you are a breath of fresh air and proof that Dawkins and his unsophisticated, boneheaded ilk do not have a monopoly on Atheism!
     

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