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Author Topic: "This board leans to the left"....?
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Bonnie:
quote:
Originally posted by Signora Del Drago:

I read this somewhere and looked it up on-line before I posted it. I should have given a cite or two then. Sorry. [Smile]

No, sorry, never mind. (Besides, I don't think we're going to find a credible citation for this online.) It's just that I've never encountered this attribution before and to me it sounds, I dunno, a little off for Einstein. (Particularly since the earliest linking to him I've managed to find dates to 1991, 36 years after his death.)

-- Bonnie

Obligatory Einstein Anecdote:

quote:
During his stay in Princeton, New Jersey, Einstein used to play his violin in a string quartet. He enjoyed those sessions, but the other musicians were less enthusiastic about his skills. Complained one of the other players after a private performance, "He can't count." [From Oscar Levant's The Unimportance of Being Oscar (New York: Putnam, 1968); Reproduced in Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes (eds. Fadiman and Bernard; Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2000); N.B. Not all the anecdotes published in Bartlett's are based in fact.]

I'll take your word for it since I'm not an Einstein scholar. I do like the quote, though. If I quote it anywhere else, I'll just attribute it to "Unknown." That person seems to write a lot of things. [lol]

--------------------
"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

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Freshman
We Three Blings


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Tgirl: I think I know who the masturbating person is..

--------------------
"High-Five!" - Borat

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
[qb] No major religious sect that I know of teaches that people who disbelieve in God are screwed (damned). It's those who know what God wants of them and consciously reject it who damn themselves.

From the SaintAquinas.com article on "Mortal Sin"

quote:
Atheism—Because atheistic humanism falsely seeks man and human glory and rejects God, atheism is a grave sin (CCC 2125). It is a sin against the virtue of religion. St. Paul tells us, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unholiness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice" (Romans 1:18).
Now, true, it doesn't say that atheists are damned, because only God can decide who is damned and who isn't, and we can't necessarily know his will. But if you believe (as most Catholics -- not being old-school Calvinists -- do) that sin does correlate in some degree with damnation, then....

At the very least, an atheist who has been exposed to the 1st commandment (and especially an atheist who was once a believer) is a sinner. Or are you suggesting that "knowing what God wants you to do" is something revealed in a "personal" spiritual experience that each would-be atheist has the chance to affirm or deny?

"detain the truth of God in injustice" means a lot more than just to "disbelieve in God". It means to know the truth about God and deliberately hide it and lead other men away from it. And yes, Aquinas himself said (may not be exact wording, I can dig out the exact quote if you like) that God provides every man with the necessary means of salvation, provided there is no barrier deliberately thrown up by the man himself.
quote:

And as for the "accepting the atheist position" claim you've made, I'd say no. The response is not that we're admitting that our faith isn't "true" -- we're admitting that it is not provable, that it is in some ways irrational -- or, not irrational, but not subject to Occam's razor.

Again, Aquinas himself begs to differ: "All objections to the faith can be countered by reason."

Now granted, religious doctrines can not be mathematically "proved" in exactly the same way as you would prove Pythagoras' theorem. Neither can the purported "proofs" for atheism. But the proofs nevertheless stand or fall on reason, not faith.
quote:
There are compelling "natural," "atheistic" explanations for the existence of religious belief. That does not mean that one {i] must [/i] be convinced by them, though one ought to respect them.

And, for myself, I'd float this conception of faith: just as I can belive in a Creator God and a Big Bang explanation for the origin of the universe and evolution for the origin of humanity, I can also believe that religion can have developed through primitive paranoia and infantile psychology and other entirely non-divine mechanisms AND STILL BE the path by which we know and experience the otherwise inaccessible, unprovable Divine.

My belief in a Creator can coinincide with reality of evolution. My belief in the Divine can coexist with the explanation of religious experience as based in delusion.

--Logoboros

No argument from me there.
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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
. . . (as an aside, I've always struggled to consider "Authoritarianism" as anything other than a system of government where book authors are in control -- considering our own authors Silas, Nonny & Brad (among others) it sounds like a pretty nifty government to me).

We might not have *better* laws, but the laws we have would be much more fun to read.

(I once wrote a "constitution" for our local science fiction club which included such things as "Article IV: Lunch.")

Silas (never let the laws be written by someone who is hungry all the time)

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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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While I have great admiration for Aquinas, his "reasoning" is far from compelling in a lot of cases. His logic is always built on huge core assumptions -- I sincerely doubt you could convert very many people just by having them read the Summa. So much of Aquinas' conclusions depend upon the divine veracity of Scripture. If you don't accept that, especially if, for example, you have problems with Pauline Christianity, then the whole logical edifice of the Summa comes crashing down.

Not to mention, after all, that his reasoning process also gives us such nuggets as this: "As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence; such as that of a south wind, which is moist, as the Philosopher observes (De Gener. Animal. iv, 2)."

--Logoboros

--------------------
"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
. . . ISTM "religious" people are tolerated on this board as long as they prove willing to go along with the idea that religion is merely a private fantasy or an ethnic-cultural relic which can be quaint or cute, but is highly dangerous if taken at all seriously.

I think this is quite unfair. We tolerate all sorts of views here; your only obligation is to back up what you say with facts.

I used to believe that too. Whilst that may remain the intention of most posters, it doesn't work out that way in practice. Under certain circumstances a mob mentality takes over. A poster who admits to taking his religion seriously is subject to impossible demands to "back up" anything he posts, no matter how unrelated to religion, concerning "hot-button" issues which are popularly associated with "religious" standpoints, (left-wing or right-wing). No such demands are made on those of the contrary views, especially when attacking religion. When such attackers are rarely called, they generally in effect shrug and attempt to reduce it to absurdist humour, with a "you religious people can't take a joke" attitude
quote:
quote:

Many people for some reason which has always escaped me, tend to mistakenly correlate "religious" with "right-wing". IMO this board overall favours neither the Left or Right of politics.

In America, the right-wing has produced a particularly noisy (and ugly) variety of Christianity. It is sad, but true.
Maybe, but I would say that many non-religious people are misled by the media as to the nature of Christianity. Anything involving sex, conflict, or preferably both, sells papers. If you relied on the media you'd get the impression (as many seem to) that Christians spend most of their time fighting and arguing and isuing "right-wing" condemnations related to sex. In the real world this would represent a tiny proportion of Christian activity.
quote:
Just as we demand of moderate Islam that it repudiates the terrorism practiced by Islamic extremists, so we demand of moderate Christianity that it repudiate the terrorism practiced by Fred Phelps or Terry Randall.
Never heard of Phelps except on this board, and never heard of Randall even here. A bit tricky to repudiate people I've never heard of, just on hearsay. And I've read a lot here about Phelps' objectionable views, but I've never seen anyone accuse him of terrorism before.
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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Freshman:
Tgirl: I think I know who the masturbating person is..

Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

While I can understand the frustration that prompted Tgirl to make her original comment, I think it would be ill-advised to start trying to guess the identity of the person in question. That path is fraught with danger.

(I've also been dying to say 'fraught' all day, although I still believe it adequately describes the circumstances)

--------------------
"victory thru self-deception"

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
[QB] While I have great admiration for Aquinas, his "reasoning" is far from compelling in a lot of cases. His logic is always built on huge core assumptions -- I sincerely doubt you could convert very many people just by having them read the Summa.

I'm sure he wouldn't have claimed that you could. I only mentioned him because of your cite.
quote:
So much of Aquinas' conclusions depend upon the divine veracity of Scripture.
His arguments for believing in the reality of God do not. The argument for the veracity of scripture depends on the veracity of the Church which depends on the argument for the divinity of Christ who founded it.
quote:

Not to mention, after all, that his reasoning process also gives us such nuggets as this: "As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence; such as that of a south wind, which is moist, as the Philosopher observes (De Gener. Animal. iv, 2)."

--Logoboros

He was stating the common perception of the time as influenced by the Greek philosophers and perhaps the Chinese Yin-Yang theory. The conclusion that females are "defective" is not his own. He is re-proposing a purported mechanism to explain the supposed fact, which does not depend on his reasoning.
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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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What it shows is that his reasoning, like much medieval philosophy, is based on appeals to authority, not independent observation. Much of Aquinas -- including the "first mover" proof of God's existence -- can be boiled down to "and we know it's true because X (Aristotle, Scripture, Augustine), whom we respect, has said it."

And, as Silas pointed out earlier, classical and medieval philosophy may look pretty good until you actually read modern philosophy, which points out so many of the unquestioned assumptions of the former.

--Logoboros

ETA: Also, Aquinas has entered this discussion only because I cited a definition of mortal sin from a site using Aquinas' name (and, indeed, informed by a conception of sin informed by Aquinas' theology). I only did that to counter your broad generalization that no major religious sect that teaches that people who disbelieve in God are damned. I think, despite your response, that I've shown that the Catholic response to atheism is far from positive. And "disbelieve" would imply not mere absence of belief, but actual rejection of belief.

So my claims don't depend on Aquinas. I just have to show that Catholics can conclude that atheism constitutes mortal sin -- a conclusion that may or may not be based on Aquinas' conception of sin.

Now, if you're maintaining Aquinas as a model of the kind of "reason" that should naturally lead us to faith that you yourself hold, then it is worthwhile to consider (and critique) just what Aquinas' reasoning process is built on. But if your "reason" is not Aquinas' "natural reason," then we might as well drop Aquinas.

--------------------
"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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Fine, but you've failed to convince me that disbelief in God is itself a sin (let alone a mortal sin), unless the disbeliever deliberately chooses to foster atheism in himself or others.

Nice quote, btw.

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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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Well, I'm not trying to convince you of that, per se, just that it is a popularly held conviction, at least among individuals if not according to official church doctines. That is, this is my experience here in the U.S. Maybe we're suffering from the U.S./rest-of-the-world divide in our experiences. But I can guarantee you that if I went into my freshman composition class and asked my Midwestern, mostly conservative, almost entirely Christian students "Do atheists go to hell?" the majority of students would answer "Yes." Some might answer that a "good" atheist is rewarded with oblivion, but not heaven.

And we may even have very different conceptions of what constitutes Christianity. I remember being in Oxford as a visiting student and hearing an Anglican minister presenting on Anglicanism to us Americans. He told this anecdote (reconstructed): "I had a girl come to me the other day wanted to be confirmed in the church. She said she'd be baptized as an infant, but hadn't had any religious instruction nor any religious practice since she could remember. I asked her: "Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the pathway to salvation?" And she answered: "I don't know, but I believe that there is a great power for good in the universe." And I said, "Well, that's good enough for me!" And I set her up for confirmation."

Now, he told this story with an air of embarrassment, and he may have said something like, "I don't think my bishop would have been very pleased!" But it was nonetheless pretty shocking to a lot of the more religious students around me, who saw this as the worst kind of relativism -- and another reason not to take England seriously.

I don't know where you fit on the spectrum between this minister and someone hyper-doctrinaire like Phelps. But I think we can't underestimate or set aside the difference between religious people who believe that the small differences don't really matter (the kind who might say "Christians and Muslims belive in the same God" and not see that as problematic), and those for whom the small differences are the very grounds of true belief -- because (in such a view) if you start giving ground on small points of belief, what would stop you from giving way on big matters, like transubstantiation, or the Trinity, or the existence of the Devil, etc., etc.

--Logoboros

--------------------
"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
It amuses me that in this age when most people insist that everything from their diets to their holidays must be organised to the nth degree, it has become the done thing for the same people to declare their absolute horror at the idea that religion should be in any way organised.

I would suggest that "most people" here is a bit of a strawman, no?
Are you denying that the average person these days generally likes things more organised than did previous generations? I think the evidence clearly shows this.
quote:

But, there is a difference between the progressive (often falsely used as a synonym for "liberal") impulse to improve the organization of society from diet to government and the impulse to be increasingly doctrinal in religion. The former changes are (typically) based on empirically-based improvement in knowledge (such as in the fields of nutrition or economics). The latter primarily derive from what amount to a set of judgment-calls by church authorities. We can prove that certain foods or substances increase the likelihood of getting diabetes or cancer. But how do we prove that the Methodists get you closer to God than the Adventists?

--Logoboros

I think you mean "doctrinaire", not "doctrinal". But AFAIK the Methodists are about equally as organised as the Adventists. Choosing between them is not the question here, but whether religion should be "organised" at all.

My bemusement stems from the fact that in other areas of life most people would regard an attitude of "just do whatever you feel like whenever you feel like, in no systematic way, one person's advice how to do it is as good as any other's,... etc", as intolerable, harmful and pointless anarchy. If something is doing it's worth doing properly. But in religion, most nowadays seem to consider this anarchy a virtue.

The inconvenient thing is that Christ clearly intended the religion He started to be "organised" in order for it to survive intact, no matter how annoying we may sometimes find the organisational aspects of it.

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
[QB] Well, I'm not trying to convince you of that, per se, just that it is a popularly held conviction, at least among individuals if not according to official church doctines. That is, this is my experience here in the U.S. Maybe we're suffering from the U.S./rest-of-the-world divide in our experiences. But I can guarantee you that if I went into my freshman composition class and asked my Midwestern, mostly conservative, almost entirely Christian students "Do atheists go to hell?" the majority of students would answer "Yes." Some might answer that a "good" atheist is rewarded with oblivion, but not heaven.

And we may even have very different conceptions of what constitutes Christianity. I remember being in Oxford as a visiting student and hearing an Anglican minister presenting on Anglicanism to us Americans. He told this anecdote (reconstructed): "I had a girl come to me the other day wanted to be confirmed in the church. She said she'd be baptized as an infant, but hadn't had any religious instruction nor any religious practice since she could remember. I asked her: "Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the pathway to salvation?" And she answered: "I don't know, but I believe that there is a great power for good in the universe." And I said, "Well, that's good enough for me!" And I set her up for confirmation."

Now, he told this story with an air of embarrassment, and he may have said something like, "I don't think my bishop would have been very pleased!" But it was nonetheless pretty shocking to a lot of the more religious students around me, who saw this as the worst kind of relativism -- and another reason not to take England seriously.

I think if anything it reflects badly on Anglicanism rather than on "England". You'll probably find the Anglicans (Episcopalians) in the US are if anything generally even more free-and-easy on doctrinal matters than English Anglicans.
quote:

I don't know where you fit on the spectrum between this minister and someone hyper-doctrinaire like Phelps.

I certainly don't think that all Xtians sit on a linear progression along that line. An attachment to the basic Xtian doctrines which the vast majority of Xtaians have always believed, should not be associated with Phelps's repulsive antics. Indeed Phelps himself plainly rejects many of those doctrines.
quote:
But I think we can't underestimate or set aside the difference between religious people who believe that the small differences don't really matter (the kind who might say "Christians and Muslims belive in the same God" and not see that as problematic), and those for whom the small differences are the very grounds of true belief -- because (in such a view) if you start giving ground on small points of belief, what would stop you from giving way on big matters, like transubstantiation, or the Trinity, or the existence of the Devil, etc., etc.

--Logoboros

I have no problem stating that Xtians, Moslems, Jews and Sikhs all believe in and worship the same God. This is certainly not the same as the silly relativistic idea that the differences between religions don't matter. Where the doctrines of different religions contradict each other, then as the Koran says "Surely either we or you" [or possibly both]"are in manifest error."
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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
Are you denying that the average person these days generally likes things more organised than did previous generations? I think the evidence clearly shows this.

Care to indicate the evidence? I'm not shouting "cite!!" as such but I'm curious as to where you obtained the evidence you claim.

I would argue that we're not dramatically more or less interested in being organised than we ever were. I'm basing this entirely upon my circle of friends who are largely not the punctual type. If I really wanted to push the boundaries of anecdotal evidence I'd compare the tardiness of my friends to the crisp efficiency of my grandfather and say that the average levels of organisation have fallen over time (and then perhaps try and find a way to work entropy into the proof... which would ultimately be flawed because we're not a closed system).

--------------------
"victory thru self-deception"

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Logoboros
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
If something is doing it's worth doing properly. But in religion, most nowadays seem to consider this anarchy a virtue.

I think this is the very source of much of the reticence towards organized religion. What are the criteria for doing religious belief "properly"? In coming up with a diet, or trade statutes or whathaveyou, you can appeal to experimental, observable phenomenon to judge to effect? How do you judge the effect of right religious practice? How do you find out if God's happier that Christians are eating pork again as opposed to observing kosher rules? How can you test if God is happier that we follow ten commandments, or one commandment, or thirty? Or do you judge it based on how happy it makes the people, or how many people adopt the practice of any one religion?

I'm guessing that you'd disagree with this assessment. It seems to me you're saying (though do correct me if I'm misunderstanding it) that any rational person, sitting down independently and applying reason, would naturally work out for themselves what the one true religion is. That I can't agree with (though I hope it's a strawman), as a glance at the plurality of religions in the world today testifies to the number of different solutions people have come up with when facing this very problem.

I heard an interview not long ago with an important astronomer (he headed some major scientific agency and I think had just published a book about his faith), talking about his scientific career and his rediscovery of his faith later in life.

He said something like "Looking at the vast marvels of the universe, I realized in my heart that this must all be to a plan and purpose, and that there was a God..." All this seems perfectly fair to me -- subjective and individual (not necessarily "rational"), but fair. But then he added: "...And that Jesus Christ is his Son and our Savior."

Okay, where do you get to that point from marvelling at the beauty of creation? I cannot prove this, but I'm guessing if he had been born a Taoist in Japan, he may well have looked up at the stars and said "Yes! There is a Creator!" but I seriously doubt he would naturally further conclude "And his son is Jesus Christ!"

There's a leap in the first belief in the Creator, but it's a leap that I can credit with a kind of pseudo-rationality. It has an instictual, primitive sort of logic to it. But the second conclusion, is a real leap -- a jump into a very specific point of doctrine -- that, based on the way this fellow told his story, appears to me in no way rational.

But then, I only heard an interview. I didn't read his whole book.

--Logoboros

--------------------
"If Men were Wise, the Most arbitrary Princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the Freest Government is compelld to be a Tyranny."

--William Blake

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trollface
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
Tell that to the mother whose husband tells her he has fallen in "love" with his secretary.

Of course that happens. But I hardly think it's either as high-profile or as damaging as setting off a bomb in a crowded marketplace.

quote:
Depends what you consider "negative" I guess. Even Wahhabism and Phelps have a mixture of positive as well as negative effects.
Can you name some?

quote:
And you have picked two extreme negative examples which are vastly outnumbered by more "positive" religious movements/people.
I didn't say that they weren't.

quote:
ISTM by far the majority of the most far-reaching and monstrous evils the world has seen in the past 100 years have been caused by people/forces who are actively anti-religion.
But not by those who were driven by love?

I've not been arguing a "religion vs. atheism" position, but saying that religion has a worse reputation than love when it comes down to evil. I doubt many people associate Mao with love, but I'd say that the vast majority associate the Crusades with Christianity.

quote:
Mainstream Islam and Christianity agree exactly upon what God is per se.
Surely the "exactly" and the "per se" contradict each other here?

If Christians and Muslims agreed on exactly what and who God was, and therefore what he wanted, then they would be the same religion.

quote:
Though these days it's far more common for believers to pretend NOT to believe because of such pressure.
I find this very hard to believe.

This cite numbers the world's "Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist" population at 1.1 billion, and it says: "Half of this group are 'theistic' but nonrelig."

According to the more detailed text below the categories/pie chart, it states that this estimate is very close to the top of the scale (the top actually being 1.2 billion), wheras the actual range is "between 800 and 1 billion.[sic]" I presume they mean "800 million", rather than 800.

I think in a world where the President of the United States makes a big deal of his faith, as does the Prime Minister of the UK (which is a rare thing indeed), then it can't be said that most believers pretend not to believe, because of societal pressure towards the secular.

Is this just your own personal observation, or could you provide a cite?

quote:
Well you can count me as at least one. Whenever somebody loves somebody, he is involving God whether he believes in Him or not.
Certainly. It is still me belief, however, that this is not the common definition of "love".

[quote]

--------------------
seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
Are you denying that the average person these days generally likes things more organised than did previous generations? I think the evidence clearly shows this.

Care to indicate the evidence? I'm not shouting "cite!!" as such but I'm curious as to where you obtained the evidence you claim.

I would argue that we're not dramatically more or less interested in being organised than we ever were. I'm basing this entirely upon my circle of friends who are largely not the punctual type. If I really wanted to push the boundaries of anecdotal evidence I'd compare the tardiness of my friends to the crisp efficiency of my grandfather and say that the average levels of organisation have fallen over time (and then perhaps try and find a way to work entropy into the proof... which would ultimately be flawed because we're not a closed system).

I thought it was pretty much universally acknowledged that nearly everything in our society is more organised than it used to be. A few aexamples: We have many more rules and regulations about most things. When I was a kid we spent our afterschool time mucking around doing nothing in particular, but most kids these days seem to have organised sport/music/activities etc nearly every day.
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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Logoboros:
quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
[qb] If something is doing it's worth doing properly. But in religion, most nowadays seem to consider this anarchy a virtue.

I think this is the very source of much of the reticence towards organized religion. What are the criteria for doing religious belief "properly"? In coming up with a diet, or trade statutes or whathaveyou, you can appeal to experimental, observable phenomenon to judge to effect? How do you judge the effect of right religious practice? How do you find out if God's happier that Christians are eating pork again as opposed to observing kosher rules? How can you test if God is happier that we follow ten commandments, or one commandment, or thirty? Or do you judge it based on how happy it makes the people, or how many people adopt the practice of any one religion?

I'm guessing that you'd disagree with this assessment. It seems to me you're saying (though do correct me if I'm misunderstanding it) that any rational person, sitting down independently and applying reason, would naturally work out for themselves what the one true religion is. That I can't agree with (though I hope it's a strawman), as a glance at the plurality of religions in the world today testifies to the number of different solutions people have come up with when facing this very problem.

No my point is not about "which religion is right" but about the abbhorence of all "organised" religion. It's as if someone who wanted transport, said to himself. "Instead of deciding if I want to take a bus or a train, or buy a Ford or a Toyota, I'll sit down and see if I can invent the wheel, design and build an internal-combustion engine,..." In every field but religion, most people seem happy yo put themselves in the hands of "experts" who rely on years or centuries of previous discoveries and experience.
quote:

I heard an interview not long ago with an important astronomer (he headed some major scientific agency and I think had just published a book about his faith), talking about his scientific career and his rediscovery of his faith later in life.

He said something like "Looking at the vast marvels of the universe, I realized in my heart that this must all be to a plan and purpose, and that there was a God..." All this seems perfectly fair to me -- subjective and individual (not necessarily "rational"), but fair. But then he added: "...And that Jesus Christ is his Son and our Savior."

Okay, where do you get to that point from marvelling at the beauty of creation? I cannot prove this, but I'm guessing if he had been born a Taoist in Japan, he may well have looked up at the stars and said "Yes! There is a Creator!" but I seriously doubt he would naturally further conclude "And his son is Jesus Christ!"

There's a leap in the first belief in the Creator, but it's a leap that I can credit with a kind of pseudo-rationality. It has an instictual, primitive sort of logic to it. But the second conclusion, is a real leap -- a jump into a very specific point of doctrine -- that, based on the way this fellow told his story, appears to me in no way rational.

But then, I only heard an interview. I didn't read his whole book.

--Logoboros

I guess if the quote is accurate and he's being logical, he must have previously deduced that IF God is real, then Jesus of Nazareth must be God.
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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
[qb]Tell that to the mother whose husband tells her he has fallen in "love" with his secretary.

Of course that happens. But I hardly think it's either as high-profile or as damaging as setting off a bomb in a crowded marketplace.
Which of course is far more common, and usually done by religious people! [Roll Eyes]
quote:


quote:
Depends what you consider "negative" I guess. Even Wahhabism and Phelps have a mixture of positive as well as negative effects.
Can you name some?
You seem to think that just spreading any kind of religious belief is ipso facto a "negative" effect.
quote:


quote:
And you have picked two extreme negative examples which are vastly outnumbered by more "positive" religious movements/people.
I didn't say that they weren't.

quote:
ISTM by far the majority of the most far-reaching and monstrous evils the world has seen in the past 100 years have been caused by people/forces who are actively anti-religion.
But not by those who were driven by love?

I've not been arguing a "religion vs. atheism" position, but saying that religion has a worse reputation than love when it comes down to evil. I doubt many people associate Mao with love, but I'd say that the vast majority associate the Crusades with Christianity.

And you obviously equate "the Crusades" with "evil". [Roll Eyes]
quote:


quote:
Mainstream Islam and Christianity agree exactly upon what God is per se.
Surely the "exactly" and the "per se" contradict each other here?

If Christians and Muslims agreed on exactly what and who God was, and therefore what he wanted, then they would be the same religion.

Not at all. Two people living on opposite sides of a maintain range agree exactly that it is a mountain range, but each has a different view of it. They agree on the basic truth of what it is, but they each only have a partial truth of all of its attributes, and possibly mistake some of them.
quote:


quote:
Though these days it's far more common for believers to pretend NOT to believe because of such pressure.
I find this very hard to believe.
You've got to be kidding. The census figures don't show how socially acceptable religion is. Perhaps it's more acceptable in the USA to admit that you practise your religion, but most people practising a religion in Australia don't dare to admit it to most of their workmates or social acquaintances, or sadly often even members of their family, for fear of ridicule or worse.
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trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
Which of course is far more common, and usually done by religious people! [Roll Eyes]

Please don't put words in my mouth.

quote:
You seem to think that just spreading any kind of religious belief is ipso facto a "negative" effect.
No I don't. I asked you what positive effects Phelps and Wahhbism have.

From what I can see Phelps does nothing but spread hate. Wahhbism preaches genocide.

quote:
And you obviously equate "the Crusades" with "evil". [Roll Eyes]
I think that warfare is evil, yes. Sometimes a necessary evil, sometimes the lesser of two evils, but an evil nonetheless. I think most major religions come down on the side of killing being wrong, don't they?

However, you can get more specific with the Crusades. The Albigensian Crusade was launched as much to kill heretics as it was to extend France's power (which is hardly noble in and of itself), and had a part to play in the establishment of the Inquisition. The Northern Crusade was concerned with the subjugation and forced conversion of peoples.

But that's just a couple of specifics. As I said, all warfare is evil.

quote:
Not at all. Two people living on opposite sides of a maintain range agree exactly that it is a mountain range, but each has a different view of it. They agree on the basic truth of what it is, but they each only have a partial truth of all of its attributes, and possibly mistake some of them.
Which still means that they'd disagree on "exactly" what that mountain range is and what it looks like.

quote:
You've got to be kidding. The census figures don't show how socially acceptable religion is.
They show that 11/12ths of the world's population self-identify as having some flavour of religious belief. Are you saying that this vast majority is oppressed and ridiculed by the tiny minority to the extent that those who do have religious beliefs won't express them? Where is this society that doesn't accept religion?

And, not only have you not provided any evidence of your own to counter the evidence I have provided but have merely stated your opinion (which is a far less convincing argument), but you have neglected to take into account that the statistics weren't the only evidence I provided. George W. Bush is "the most powerful person in the world" (TM). He is a self-professed Christian. Blair is a high-profile, powerful global figure, he is a self-professed Christian. In fact, the majority of world leaders profess some form of faith. That includes John Howard.

quote:
Perhaps it's more acceptable in the USA to admit that you practise your religion, but most people practising a religion in Australia don't dare to admit it to most of their workmates or social acquaintances, or sadly often even members of their family, for fear of ridicule or worse.
The world is larger than Australia.

You seem to be taking your own limited experiences and extrapolating them to apply to not only your whole country, but the entire world.

Besides, here is a critique of a book about Howard. The author of the article disagrees with the author of the book on many points about Howard, but both agree that he is actively furthering the Christian cause in Australia.

Not being Australian myself, I can't say what it's like to be on the ground, but this certainly suggests that it's not half as bad or unacceptable as you're suggesting to be religious in Australia. Can you cite anything which supports your stance?

--------------------
seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
quote:
quote:
[QUOTE]Though these days it's far more common for believers to pretend NOT to believe because of such pressure.
I find this very hard to believe.
You've got to be kidding. The census figures don't show how socially acceptable religion is. Perhaps it's more acceptable in the USA to admit that you practise your religion, but most people practising a religion in Australia don't dare to admit it to most of their workmates or social acquaintances, or sadly often even members of their family, for fear of ridicule or worse.
In the U.S., anonymous surveys show fewer believers than signed surveys. i.e., you're exactly wrong. In the U.S., there is a social stigma against not displaying and avowing a religious affiliation.

I can't speak about Australia, any more than you can speak about the U.S., and I guess neither of us could serve as authorities on Oman, Malaysia, or Bolivia.

Silas

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Mistletoey Chloe
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Eisenberg:
. . . we then need to . . . support the cultural expectation that love can, with difficulty, be distinguished from, and preferred over, mere infatuation.

quote:
Flowy Chloe replied:
[qb] Why? Why is it our societal interest to cultivate that idea?

quote:
This is a tough question for me. I have nothing against arranged marriage, so long as the young people can meet each other a few times and veto the arrangement without repercussions.
I certainly not in favor of arranged marriage, and I'm not sure what it has to do with the question of whether or not we should value the concept of romantic love. I see no reason why a de-emphasis on romantic love would lead to other people choosing one's partner.
quote:
And I wouldn't approve of a married couple with children divorcing because they no longer love each other.
I differ here in that a) my approval hardly matters, and b) I would not force a couple to stay together against their will.

quote:
On balance, I think the realistic alternatives to society valuing romantic love are a good deal worse. Men and women coupling for financial advantage, or due to lust alone, is hardly likely to provide the basis for the family stability I value so greatly (and you, perhaps, less so).
I would like to point out that I value family stability enormously: I am lucky enough to come from an intact home, and I wish every child could have that advantage. But romantic love seems to be the worst possible basis for coupling (with the possible exception of lust, but the two are certainly connected). It is a highly addictive state of mind that in the vast majority of cases cannot withstand daily life, but can easily be achieved with a new person outside of that marriage. Talk about a recipe for disaster!

quote:
It was striking how you saw some similarity between the concept of romantic love and that of belief in God.*
Actually, it was TGirl who made that connection initially.
quote:
Religious teachings can, I think help families stay together even as men and women ineviatably change in their feelings and needs over time.
I see that you agree that romantic love does not last.
quote:
And it is hard to imagine many American religious leaders recommending that we toss out romantic love just because it is going to change over time.
Why not? What's in it for them?

--------------------
~~Ai am in mai prrrrrraime!~~

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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Trollface, it's called sarcasm, not "putting words in your mouth". That's what the little emoticon is for. Of course the world is bigger than any one country, that's the point I so often make to our American cousins here and elsewhere. I seriously doubt that religious practice is the social asset, rather than drawback, which you claim, even in the US and the UK. (Haven't been to the US, but it was certainly not my experience of the UK.)

The census figures as I said do not "prove" your assertion at all. Most people are willing to write their (usually nominal) religion on an anonymous census form. For many this is the only acknowledgement of their "religion" which they ever make. Many others have a religion only for the purpose of "hatches, matches and despatches".

Most of the remaining small minority who actually practise a religion are generally loath to admit to anyone that they go to church/synagogue/temple/mosque each week. Let alone that they try to put the principles of their religion into practice in their daily lives. Any politician who was brave/foolish enough to admit this would be metaphorically "crucified" in the media, in parliament and no doubt by voters. Even Bush feels the need to strenuously deny accusations that he has a "religious agenda". The general rule around the Western world at least is that if you want to be popular and avoid suspicion, ridicule, abuse etc, you should make it known that if you have a religion, it is purely nominal and you take no notice of it other than perhaps a vague "respect" for it which makes no difference to your behaviour.

It may be true that a vague agnosticism is somewhat more socially acceptable than an aggressive doctrinaire atheism, but in general the modern social rule is the less religion the better.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
It may be true that a vague agnosticism is somewhat more socially acceptable than an aggressive doctrinaire atheism, but in general the modern social rule is the less religion the better.

Not in the U.S. Heck, here, it is a social gaffe to state aloud that you believe in evolution, whereas speaking out loud about the literal truth of Noah's Ark or the Genesis account of creation is commonplace and broadly accepted.

The rest of the world really doesn't get how God-besotted the U.S. is. The snopes bbs is one of the very few places where I can discuss my atheism without sincere fear for my physical safety.

Silas

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by Salamander:
quote:
Originally posted by Freshman:
Tgirl: I think I know who the masturbating person is..

Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

While I can understand the frustration that prompted Tgirl to make her original comment, I think it would be ill-advised to start trying to guess the identity of the person in question. That path is fraught with danger.

(I've also been dying to say 'fraught' all day, although I still believe it adequately describes the circumstances)

Thanks Sal! That was an very good and proper of the use of the word "fraught". I agree we should not guess who it is. I actually said it because it has been sticking out in my mind for awhile, and I was afraid I was going to actually say it to the person hirself next time s/he exhibited this behavior.

And by love, I didn't think of romantic love. I was actually thinking more of dog-love actually. I love the Boutros. People tell me it is clear that he loves me. He certainly acts in ways that indicate he holds me in high esteem, according to dog behavior. But I do not even know if dogs are capable of feeling love (I suspect they are and I suspect that the Boutros is nothing but love wrapped in fur). In fact people have said "Well she's the one who takes care of him. That's all you need to do to get a dog to "love" you." And in the end,it doesn't really matter if he loves me-- he makes me laugh and smile no matter what the source or his behavior. I just hope he knows that I love him!

--------------------
There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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trollface
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
Trollface, it's called sarcasm, not "putting words in your mouth".

Whatever you call it, it was a casual dismissal of my argument by way of gross mischaracterisation.

quote:
I seriously doubt that religious practice is the social asset, rather than drawback, which you claim, even in the US and the UK.
I don't think I did claim that. In fact, I know that I didn't. You are putting words in my mouth.

quote:
The census figures as I said do not "prove" your assertion at all.
I don't know why you put "prove" in quotation marks like that, as it's not something that I've said. I have not claimed that the census figures, or the other evidence that I have provided proves anything.

I have, however, said that they are evidence which go towards supporting my claims, which is something you have yet to provide any of.

Yet again, you seem to be falling back on personal experiences and sweeping generalisations about what "most people" do without a shred of evidence to back up what you say, or an indication of what has lead you to believe as you do.

Like this:

quote:
Most of the remaining small minority who actually practise a religion are generally loath to admit to anyone that they go to church/synagogue/temple/mosque each week.
Can I have a cite for the fact that it's only a "small minority" of the world's population that actually practise a religion? And that those that do are "generally loath" to admit to it?

It's a bold claim to make and I can only assume that you got it from somewhere other than thin air.

Incidentally, can I take it that you, in fact, can't list positive effects Fred Phelps and Wahhbism have? I'm assuming that you agree with my characterisation of the Crusades, despite your earlier eye rolling.

--------------------
seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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keokuk
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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
Not in the U.S. Heck, here, it is a social gaffe to state aloud that you believe in evolution, whereas speaking out loud about the literal truth of Noah's Ark or the Genesis account of creation is commonplace and broadly accepted.

The rest of the world really doesn't get how God-besotted the U.S. is. The snopes bbs is one of the very few places where I can discuss my atheism without sincere fear for my physical safety.

I think this might be a bit of an overstatement. Maybe I'm looking at the US with a narrow lens because I've only ever lived in New Jersey and Washington, but even after being raised in a conservative Republican household, I've found that belief in evolution is the norm and creationism is the exception. In fact, I can't think of anyone that I have personally known who has ever suggested to me personally that they don't believe in evolution. (Some go with the evolution-as-God's-way-of-getting-things-done approach, but still go with evolution.)

I'm pretty indiscriminate about bringing up my agnosticism, and have never had anyone become hostile in a threatening way. Some people become a little miffed, but I've never felt physically at risk because of it.

But maybe I've just been fortunate in the places that I've lived and people that I've encountered.

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Mad Jay
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by keokuk:
quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
Not in the U.S. Heck, here, it is a social gaffe to state aloud that you believe in evolution, whereas speaking out loud about the literal truth of Noah's Ark or the Genesis account of creation is commonplace and broadly accepted.

The rest of the world really doesn't get how God-besotted the U.S. is. The snopes bbs is one of the very few places where I can discuss my atheism without sincere fear for my physical safety.

I think this might be a bit of an overstatement. Maybe I'm looking at the US with a narrow lens because I've only ever lived in New Jersey and Washington, but even after being raised in a conservative Republican household, I've found that belief in evolution is the norm and creationism is the exception. In fact, I can't think of anyone that I have personally known who has ever suggested to me personally that they don't believe in evolution. (Some go with the evolution-as-God's-way-of-getting-things-done approach, but still go with evolution.)
It could be the area, because, for the past year or so, I have the FSM on my desktop, and I haven't had any problems yet.

--------------------
Nico Sasha
In between my father's fields;And the citadels of the rule; Lies a no-man's land which I must cross; To find my stolen jewel.

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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
I thought it was pretty much universally acknowledged that nearly everything in our society is more organised than it used to be. A few aexamples: We have many more rules and regulations about most things. When I was a kid we spent our afterschool time mucking around doing nothing in particular, but most kids these days seem to have organised sport/music/activities etc nearly every day.

Zoinks!

I really don't know what to say... "the plural of anecdote is not data" does come to mind. Since we're flinging around anecdotes as if they held true in all circumstances, Sal Jr did do karate after school twice a week but he stopped that in November... so there is now a clear indication that all children engage in less organised activities. The amount of order in the world has clearly decreased.

--------------------
"victory thru self-deception"

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evilrabbit
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
originally posted by Steve Eisenberg And I wouldn't approve of a married couple with children divorcing because they no longer love each other.
:raises hand:
I would. Ever been in a room with two people who used to love each other, but now hate each other? Ever had your parents hate each other so much you don't want them in the same room? Ever spend the weeks before your high school graduation wishing you hide under the bed, because you're terified that one of them might say something to the other and start off a "whole big thing"?
Yeah. I had enough problems with my parents in two different states, thank you. I can't imagine what it would have done to me to have them in the same house, hating each other all time.

--------------------
"My sandwich choice is uncertain, until I actually order. It's like Schrodinger's Sandwich."
"Is plutonium involved in this sandwich in any way?"
"Maybe."

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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Trollface, please explain just what you meant by the crack about "setting off a bomb in a marketplace", if you claim you did not intend your apparent meaning that this is a typical result of belief in God/religion. And please explain what your references to Bush, Blair etc were about if, as you now claim, you weren't trying to show that having religion is a social asset in the US and UK.

I will give statistically valid scientific proof of my statements just as soon as you do. I've disposed twice of your invalid conclusions from census figures yet you keep bringing them up, and you haven't produced anything else remotely resembling "evidence".

And please stop asserting that people agree with you when they have clearly said they don't, just because they don't want to rehash a war of attrition over every detail of each side-topic. Your discussion "technique" leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth, even when you get something right.

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PeterK
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
It may be true that a vague agnosticism is somewhat more socially acceptable than an aggressive doctrinaire atheism, but in general the modern social rule is the less religion the better.

Not in the U.S. Heck, here, it is a social gaffe to state aloud that you believe in evolution, whereas speaking out loud about the literal truth of Noah's Ark or the Genesis account of creation is commonplace and broadly accepted.

The rest of the world really doesn't get how God-besotted the U.S. is. The snopes bbs is one of the very few places where I can discuss my atheism without sincere fear for my physical safety.

Silas

The news reports I see from the US show lots of Americans loudly and publicly ridiculing both religion and "creation science". I guess with the "anecdotal" sample I get, somehow I always manage to miss the reports of Christians beating up atheists in the streets. Or do they maybe tar and feather you, or burn you at the stake? [Roll Eyes] Don't worry Silas, if what you say is true you can claim asylum as a refugee in Australia.
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trollface
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
Trollface, please explain just what you meant by the crack about "setting off a bomb in a marketplace", if you claim you did not intend your apparent meaning that this is a typical result of belief in God/religion.

Why are you suddenly bringing this up again, after seemingly disposing of it?

Well, whatever, where did you get the bizarre idea that I thought it was "typical" of people who belief in God or religion? Seeing as I have posted figures that show that 11/12ths of the world's population are theists, that would have to make me believe that 11/12ths of the world's population were active terrorists, wouldn't it? Does that sound even slightly reasonable to you?

I meant exactly what I said. There are people who put bombs in market places, as a result of their religious views. A boss falling in love with his secretary is neither "as high-profile or as damaging" as this.

Am I wrong?

The point I was making was, as I explicitly said, that when it comes down to being thought of as "evil", religion ranks higher than love, because it's easy to think of high-profile acts that are easily identifiable as evil that are caused by, or center around religion, wheras it's hard to think of many that center around love.

Is it your contention that love has a worse reputation than religion in the world as a whole? Because it seems unlikely that you do to me, as you've been trying to persuade me that being religious is a huge social stigma.

quote:
And please explain what your references to Bush, Blair etc were about if, as you now claim, you weren't trying to show that having religion is a social asset in the US and UK.
Exactly what I said. That having religion was "socially acceptable" - something that you said it wasn't.

Why am I having to go back a few posts and repost what I've already said? And why, yet again, are you putting words in my mouth? Why not just use the ones I actually type?

quote:
I will give statistically valid scientific proof of my statements just as soon as you do.
Again you're using the word "proof" - one that I haven't used. All I've asked you to do is to provide some evidence - any evidence - that backs up what you're claiming to be true. If being religious is the huge social stigma that you paint it to be - to the degree that it is only a "small minority who actually practise a religion" on the planet, then surely there must be something you can provide that indicates that it's the case, even if only vaguely?

Even explain your reasoning. Tell me how you came to your conclusions. What is your thinking based on? Something other than repeatedly stating it. Because, just because you say something is so, doesn't make it true. It doesn't make it a fact. And the only evidence that has materialised at all indicates that you're wrong.

quote:
I've disposed twice of your invalid conclusions from census figures[...]
Um, no you haven't.

quote:
[...] you haven't produced anything else remotely resembling "evidence".
Yes I have. I've even drawn your attention to it after you ignored it. And I've discussed it for the third time in this post.

Which is two pieces of evidence more than you have provided.

quote:
And please stop asserting that people agree with you when they have clearly said they don't, just because they don't want to rehash a war of attrition over every detail of each side-topic.
Every detail? You've not backed up a single one of the claims you've made in this thread.

But, if you say that you don't agree with me, then are you saying that you can provide examples of positive effects of Wahhbism and Phelps? And are you saying that you don't consider warfare to be evil? You don't consider the slaughter of heretics to be evil? You don't consider the subjugation and forced conversion of people to be evil? You don't consider genocide to be evil? Because if you do, then you actually don't disagree with me.

quote:
Your discussion "technique" leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth, even when you get something right.
Which bit of it? The asking for evidence, the request for arguments to be based on facts, or the concept of backing up your claims?

--------------------
seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

Posts: 16061 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
evilrabbit
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by PeterK:
It may be true that a vague agnosticism is somewhat more socially acceptable than an aggressive doctrinaire atheism, but in general the modern social rule is the less religion the better.

Not in the U.S. Heck, here, it is a social gaffe to state aloud that you believe in evolution, whereas speaking out loud about the literal truth of Noah's Ark or the Genesis account of creation is commonplace and broadly accepted.

The rest of the world really doesn't get how God-besotted the U.S. is. The snopes bbs is one of the very few places where I can discuss my atheism without sincere fear for my physical safety.

Silas

The news reports I see from the US show lots of Americans loudly and publicly ridiculing both religion and "creation science". I guess with the "anecdotal" sample I get, somehow I always manage to miss the reports of Christians beating up atheists in the streets. Or do they maybe tar and feather you, or burn you at the stake? [Roll Eyes] Don't worry Silas, if what you say is true you can claim asylum as a refugee in Australia.
So you haven't heard about the bans on gay marriage? Or the "When does a fetus become a child?" debate? Or school districts outlawing the teaching of evolution? Or the "War on 'The War on Christmas'"? Or Bill O'Reilly? Or really, anything but a small sampling of media, which then led you to believe that "most Americans aren't [openly*] religious" despite the evidence of many, many Americans who do, in fact identify themsleves as religious?
*word added due to sudden suggestion by PeterK that there are large groups of secret Christians out there, hiding from...who, exactly, Pete?
I don't remember anyone saying atheist were tarred and feathered; just that it is, in fact much more common and "socially acceptable" in the US to belong to some religion or another.

--------------------
"My sandwich choice is uncertain, until I actually order. It's like Schrodinger's Sandwich."
"Is plutonium involved in this sandwich in any way?"
"Maybe."

Posts: 496 | From: Whitby, ON, Canada | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
keokuk
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by evilrabbit:
So you haven't heard about the bans on gay marriage? Or the "When does a fetus become a child?" debate? Or school districts outlawing the teaching of evolution? Or the "War on 'The War on Christmas'"? Or Bill O'Reilly? Or really, anything but a small sampling of media, which then led you to believe that "most Americans aren't [openly*] religious" despite the evidence of many, many Americans who do, in fact identify themsleves as religious?

How many places has the teaching of evolution actually been outlawed?
Posts: 345 | From: Washington, DC | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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