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June 26th, 2005


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03:11 am - New
Hello to all. I just want to say straight off the bat that I don't wish to offend anyone, and I'm not finger pointing. I just need some clarification. First off, I feel that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, or lack thereof. However, I don't think anyone should mock what anyone else believes or doesn't believe in. I know not everyone does this, but some people do.
*I've seen a lot of Christianity-bashing on the internet. First off, it's wrong. Why do people, including many atheists, equate atheism with anti-catholocism? There are quite a few religions out there, some more far-fetched than Christianity, but some atheists insist on mocking Christianity. What about Islam and Zaoism? Atheism is the lack of belief in all religion, correct? Hmm.
*Now, is atheism based on the fact that there's no concrete evidence proving the existance of any god or supernatural being? If so, isn't it fair to say that there's no concrete evidence that disproves that there's a god? I think the word Atheist is a strong word and is misused and thrown about too freely.
*What do atheists talk about in communities and in get-togethers? What is there to talk about? If you don't believe in anything, then there's nothing to talk about, right? I know that there could be talk of how it's hard being an Atheist because of discrimination and prejudice. But how the hell do Atheists get caught, so to speak. It's not like you're practicing any rituals or worshipping in public. And there's no official symbol for atheism that you can wear around your neck, is there? If you're in a religion-drenched town, and people knock on your door asking why you didn't come to the church/mosque/temple, then yeah, I understand that you'd be discriminated against. But maybe it'd be best to consider re-locating. No one should have to. They should be able to live where ever they want. And a girl should be able to wear skimpy clothes and walk down a dark alley at night without getting raped. But that's not how the world works. You have to protect yourself. I'm sure I have more to say but I'll leave it at this for now and if I get comments, I'll continue any discussion there. As I said before, I wish not to offend.

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From:allisburning
Date:June 26th, 2005 08:08 am (UTC)
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Hello to you. :-)

- "some atheists insist on mocking Christianity."

Something like 85% of people in the USA and Canada identify as Christian. People normally discuss (and in some cases mock) what they're familiar with and encounter every day.

- "Atheism is the lack of belief in all religion, correct?"

"Theism" means "belief in God" (and is used specifically to mean, "belief that God is interested in and interferes with human affairs")

"A-" is the Greek for "not" or "without" (like non-).
So "atheist" means "doesn't believe in God".

It doesn't specifically mean "lack of belief in all religion"


- "isn't it fair to say that there's no concrete evidence that disproves that there's a god?"

Sure, but this isn't relevant.

Do you really believe that there an exact replica of Cinderella's Castle from Disneyland on the far side of the Moon?

No? Can you prove that?
No, but with the evidence that you have now, it's not reasonable to believe that there is.

So you're an "A- Cinderella's Castle on the Moon -ist" right now.


- "What do atheists talk about in communities and in get-togethers?"

Mostly, "Why do people believe silly things?" and "How silly they are!"

The second of these isn't very nice. The first is often an honest attempt to try to understand why people do believe silly things.


- "If you don't believe in anything, then there's nothing to talk about, right?"

Very few people "don't believe in anything".

If you don't believe in the Cinderella's Castle on the Moon that I mentioned earlier, you can still talk about science, politics, sports, movies, music, TV shows, art, cooking, etc, etc.

- "But how the hell do Atheists get caught, so to speak."

Frequently, when somebody asks, "Which church do you belong to?" and you say, "I am an atheist. And proud of it."

.
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From:randomquote
Date:June 27th, 2005 02:57 am (UTC)
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Thanks for responding rather quickly. I first want to say that I am in fact an amiga, and I just shat out the second thing that came to my head when I threw Zaoism out there. I learned about different world religions last year and didn't have the best high school experience so I'm trying to block things out. I do hope my lack of knowledge in Taoism/Daoism and the new Zaoism won't be held against me. Anyway, if Atheism is the lack of belief in a specific God or gods, then is it fair to say that Atheism is a blanket term? Buddhists are Atheists of sort, yes? No, I do not really believe that there is an exact replica of Cinderella's Castle from Disneyland on the far side of the moon. And I can't prove that there isn't due to economic limitations. But if I had the money, and the tolerance for space training, I probably could. I am totally on board with Atheists talking about people believing in silly things, even though it's unfair and as you said, not very nice. But atleast that's the ground of your disbelief in God/gods. I'm Catholic and you and I can talk about all those things you mentioned without meeting up somewhere. And we'd probably agree on a lot of things. You don't have to have similar beliefs or disbeliefs to talk about those things. I'm glad you're proud of your atheism.
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From:allisburning
Date:June 27th, 2005 04:15 pm (UTC)
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-- "I do hope my lack of knowledge ... won't be held against me."

Well, not by me, amiga :-)

But IMHO the important thing is for people to be humble about their level of knowledge -- to be honest about it when we don't know something.

Atheists frequently see religious people making guesses about things they don't know -- and then insisting that they are right!


-- "Buddhists are Atheists of sort, yes?"

Some are, some aren't. Belief in God isn't necessary in Buddhism, so people decide this for themselves.

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From:randomquote
Date:June 28th, 2005 01:43 am (UTC)
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Hmm. Interesting. Thanks for the response.
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From:allisburning
Date:June 26th, 2005 08:14 am (UTC)
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- "What about Islam and Zaoism?"

I think you've got a typo here, amigo.

There's Taoism (also spelled Daoism) and there's Zoroastrianism.

Google gives 13 hits for "Zaoism", but I think they're all typos for "Taoism".

On the other hand, if there is a "Zaoism", can you tell me something about it? Thanks.
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From:fallenthursday
Date:June 26th, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC)
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And after all, isn't Taoism really more of a philosophy?
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From:allisburning
Date:June 26th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
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Sometimes yes, sometimes less so -- and isn't Atheism really more of a philosophy?
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From:chemoelectric
Date:June 26th, 2005 11:01 pm (UTC)
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I've seen a lot of Christianity-bashing on the internet. First off, it's wrong. Why do people, including many atheists, equate atheism with anti-catholicism? There are quite a few religions out there, some more far-fetched than Christianity, but some atheists insist on mocking Christianity.


I have no knowledge of these atheists who mock Christianity. I, for one, will state that Christianity is childish, but so are the other religions -- and this is not mockery, it is an opinion. It is merely an extension of the commonly held opinion that it would be childish for a grown-up to believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Bogeyman.

Now, is atheism based on the fact that there's no concrete evidence proving the existance of any god or supernatural being? If so, isn't it fair to say that there's no concrete evidence that disproves that there's a god? I think the word Atheist is a strong word and is misused and thrown about too freely.


Sound, modern atheism is IMO based on the principle that 'faith' is an inferior method for obtaining knowledge, compared to scientific method or just about any method of making actual observations and inferences from observations. To me, calling someone 'a person of faith' is a insult, equivalent to saying that this person is in a way incompetent at learning.

If an engineer builds a bridge, and has 'faith' in that bridge, without scientific research and calculation, and if the bridge falls and people die, then that engineer will rightly go to prison. If we held religions to similar standards, our prisons would be full of clergy folk. We keep religions, which are based on a known-inferior method of knowing, by holding the professionals of these religions to extremely low standards.

What do atheists talk about in communities and in get-togethers? If you don't believe in anything, then there's nothing to talk about, right?


I believe lots of things, but I believe them in the scientific way, where what I believe may change dramatically and suddenly on the basis of new evidence. To put it picturesquely, instead of kissing and revering my old, obsolete books, the bible and whatnot, I throw them out and get more up-to-date books. Or, more accurately, I (metaphorically) file bibles next to Bulfinch's mythology and the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual, because there is no difference as far as I am concerned.

Can you tell me any reason not to file bibles next to Bulfinch's mythology or the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual?
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From:randomquote
Date:June 27th, 2005 03:14 am (UTC)
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If you look, you'll find a lot of people out there mocking Christianity. I think Christianity and the Tooth Fairy are a little different, but I see what you're saying. When I say this, I'm basing this on those around me. So forgive me if what I'm saying is incorrect as far as statistics go. But faith isn't a substitute for obtaining knowledge, and calling someone a person of faith is not an insult. Not for me and not for those around me. We believe what we believe, then we go to school and learn factual knowledge. My uncle's an engineer. He also believes in God. He wouldn't have faith in a bridge he helped build unless he had done scientific research and calculation. Only an idiot would go on faith alone. And if that idiot happens to be a devout Christian, then he's a devout Christian idiot. Religion was based on a quest for knowledge, yes, and the answer that came up was God. But as time went on, that wasn't enough, and so people are searching further for more concrete answers. And some of those people are Christians. And Muslims and Jews. I believe scientific things the same way you do. What good is a science book from 1957? I believe in other things the Christian way, however. And just as there are different versions of a book on Chemistry, there are different versions of the bible. There are also
some Christians who believe that the bible is rather mythological. And they don't take the bible literally. And whatever we do belief, we don't belief soley because it's there in black and white, but because of the way it makes us feel.
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From:chemoelectric
Date:June 27th, 2005 03:38 am (UTC)
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I believe scientific things the same way you do. What good is a science book from 1957? I believe in other things the Christian way, however.


See, my point is, you have no reason for there to be other 'things'. Why would someone think there were other 'things' than what should be studied scientifically?
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From:randomquote
Date:June 27th, 2005 07:27 am (UTC)
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Science only gets you so far. We're not going to live long enough to learn what created the universe scientifically. Sure, maybe someone down the road will but I'm already dead, what the fuck do I care? Sometimes you need answers that are available to you in your own lifetime.. And religion answers those questions. Maybe that seems like a shit answer, but I feel a lot better thinking that I'm here because God, along with my parents, made me and not just because some cell started multiplying.
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From:chemoelectric
Date:June 27th, 2005 07:50 am (UTC)
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See, I have real problems with that. To react to not knowing something, and not really having a hope of knowing, by declaring that gap filled by what feels good, is not a very advanced reaction. Isn't it supposed to be the grown-up and ethical thing to say 'I don't know' when one doesn't know? And not to give a fuck about future generations is to me immensely unethical, and perhaps this attitude from earlier generations is why the young people of today will have to endure the Global Warming. Also it is antithetical to a scientific orientation, because the work of a scientist is to leave the next generation a gift of knowledge, so the next generation can begin where the old one left off. That's a beautiful and wonderful way to live, and I consider it a mature and ethical one. You don't have to be a scientist to live that way, either, although it helps to have a scientific education.

I might mention, also, that I have no idea what is wrong with coming about because an egg was fertilized and started multiplying. Especially given that we know this is how you make a human! Same as making a chicken. What's the problem?
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From:randomquote
Date:June 27th, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC)
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Well I'm not going to start explaining while so many people have faith in certain things. But, fine, I'm unethical. People like we are why my grandchildren will have to endure global warming. I'm not currently a scientist, so I won't have many gifts to leave to the next generation. I'm being sarcastic. Forgive me. You can be a scientist and be religious at the same time. It's called multi-tasking. I feel that trying to find answers to immediate problems are more important than looking to the cosmos for answers as to why life on this planet exists. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with coming about because an egg was fertilized and started multiplying. It's how it works, right? I just hate to think that that's all it was, as amazing as it is. It's cold.
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From:chemoelectric
Date:June 27th, 2005 04:52 pm (UTC)
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I once had faith. I used to go to temple on Shabat. It's nothing compared to the elimination of spirituality. Spirituality IMO blocks warmth, blocks humanity, breeds unethical behavior (discouragement condom use, for instance), etc. One doesn't know warmth before having purged spirituality, having thrown away that musty old torah or bible that was written by and for primitive goatherds.

This is what I believe, having been on both sides of the issue.
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From:randomquote
Date:June 28th, 2005 01:53 am (UTC)
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I don't know how it feels to be Jewish. So I wouldn't know how it is compared to the elimination of spirituality. I just don't see how it could block warmth and humanity. Usually spirituality promotes that. In my opinion, of course. I suppose I'm not a devout Catholic because I don't care what the pope says, no way in hell am I getting pregnant if I can't afford to at the time. It's possible to have common sense and be theistic. I don't read the bible enough to be held back by it. Eep.
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From:chemoelectric
Date:June 28th, 2005 02:18 am (UTC)
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You've heard 'There are no atheists in foxholes'? I like to turn it around and point out how when in trouble people often abandon their religion and go in search of scientists. The Catholic Church gets a lot of this with regard to sex; Judaism gets it regarding the dietary laws. More dramatically, there was Jim Henson, the Muppet originator, who became infected with flesh-eating bacteria but was Christian Scientist and so 'could not' go to a doctor. When he was really falling apart, however, Henson ditched his 'faith' and went to a hospital -- too late, however. He died.

I like to read bible stuff now and then. I don't hate the bible or anything like that. I couldn't hate it any more than the iliad, and I don't hate the iliad, I like it.
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From:randomquote
Date:June 28th, 2005 03:32 am (UTC)
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I've actually not heard the expression. And I just don't know. It's an empty debate because neither of us will win. You've got your example of Jim Henson who couldn't go to the doctor then he said, "Fuck this, I'm out," but it was too late. And I have every Christian I know who high-tail it to the doctor when they have a cough. And I have people I've known that have denied religion most of their life but when they were scared it was about to end they were saying all types of Hail Mary's and Our Fathers. So we'll just go around in circles. Let me just say I respect your atheism, opinions, and your scientific quest for knowledge. No sarcasm. That's about it.

I tried reading the bible, I was set on reading the whole thing over a year, maybe. And I got got a few pages into the old testament. I'm not down with incest and harlotry. And rape.
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From:randomquote
Date:June 27th, 2005 03:14 am (UTC)
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P.S-

My Physics teacher was a nun and we never talked about God in that class.
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From:therunwaylights
Date:July 17th, 2005 12:42 am (UTC)
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Thanks for posting, this thread poses a lot of interesting questions. I am an atheist, and I have always wondered whether it was ethical to look down on someone if they are religious. I certainly never vocally oppose religion, only when someone pushes it on me do I defend my atheism. My atheist friends and I normally don't even think or discuss the topic of religion. For one thing people's belief in any religion is all open to their interpretation. My best friend, like me is an ethicist at heart. He believes in god, yet his actions are not dictated by religious texts. He has his own personal image of what god is, eventhough he susbscribes to Judiasm.

I suppose its when religion interferes with individual thinking that I feel I can criticize it.
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From:randomquote
Date:October 2nd, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC)
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I have a lot of respect for you.
From:swimminstar
Date:October 2nd, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC)
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*atheism based on the fact that there's no concrete evidence proving the existance of any god or supernatural being? If so, isn't it fair to say that there's no concrete evidence that disproves that there's a god?
-yes, of course: but i equate it this way: theres no concrete evidence proving or disproving the existence of the tooth fairy/santa claus/lochness monster/dragons/unicorns those kind of things.

*What do atheists talk about in communities and in get-togethers? its partly moral support, social things, fun things, social issuess...its nice to be with a group of people who you can be open with because you know they share your beliefs.

*Why do people, including many atheists, equate atheism with anti-catholocism? well, to tell the absolute unflattering truth: making fun of christians (we dont bash catholics more than other demnominations) its basically a joke : and easy target because we see it as a made up story, and so many people believe it.

Katie
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From:randomquote
Date:October 2nd, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC)
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It's always lovely to know your faith is being compared to believing in the tooth fairy. I know it's exactly the same thing.

*its partly moral support, social things, fun things, social issuess...its nice to be with a group of people who you can be open with because you know they share your beliefs.

Moral support. Hmm. I agree, it's nice to be with a group of people who you can be open with because you know they share your beliefs. ...What beliefs?

Making fun of Christians is a joke because it is an easy target, for so many people believe in a made up story. I suppose moments of Christian bashing are filler for moments of silence in deep, intellectual conversations. Hmm.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 3rd, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)

TOLERANCE

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Why can't people just accept that not everybody has the same beliefs as them. There is no need to bash a persons beliefs or religion, or to force your religion on a non believer. I also think it is wrong to generalise as well. Not all athiests have get togethers and a lot don't talk about not believing in God as it would be a very short discussion. Personally I have friends of many faiths and beliefs and it adds interest to moral and ethical discussions when there is more than one view point. However I do not feel the need to belittle them or compare there religions to a belief in the tooth fairy or bogey monster.
From:panhellenios
Date:July 20th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
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"I've seen a lot of Christianity-bashing on the internet."

It's the most popular religion of the West. It's also a very political religion in America. However, I agree that it seems most atheists have a disproportionate amount of disdain for Christianty then other (much more dangerous, mind you) religions. I attack Islam much more than Christianity since I feel its rise is one of the biggest problems facing the world at the moment

"Now, is atheism based on the fact that there's no concrete evidence proving the existance of any god or supernatural being?"

Depends on the person, I guess. There are two real camps in the atheist belief system. Implicit and explicit (negative and positive; weak and strong). The first does not believe in any gods (and most likely in supernaturalism in general). The second, the group I consider myself a part of, believes there is no such thing as gods (or anything supernatural, at least that's me). A slight difference, but an important one with respect to the question of being agnostic.

"If so, isn't it fair to say that there's no concrete evidence that disproves that there's a god?"

I think there is. Logic. Rational inquiry. The use of science. Et cetera.

"What do atheists talk about in communities and in get-togethers? What is there to talk about? If you don't believe in anything, then there's nothing to talk about, right?"

Don't believe in anything? What? We have beliefs, just not in gods and whathave you. Often atheists talk about... well... whatever. I'd say its mostly political (stoping creationism from being taught in school; making the government more secular; etc) at least with respect to our actual atheistic beliefs.

"But how the hell do Atheists get caught, so to speak."

Alot of atheists are proud to be so and want to convert people (or at least make society more secular in general). It's an annoyance to see all the religious crap everywhere and hear it on the TV, radio, etc, without wanting to show one's own beliefs. Also, there are lots of religious organizations that are trying to use their faith to inhibit other persons from doing as they wish (which I think really angers most atheists and civil libertarians in general).

"But maybe it'd be best to consider re-locating."

Or changing things. That seems to work as well.
[User Picture]
From:choclytgremlins
Date:October 14th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
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Hi Jess, happy to answer...

*Unfortunately, there are nasty, intolerant fundamentalists in every belief system, and that includes atheism. Believe me, most of us don't like the "Let's nail him again!" bunch any more than you do; for one thing, they make the rest of us look bad, much in the way that Fred Phelps and Osama bin Laden have made their faiths look terrible. That said, it's mostly retaliation. As a young child living in a conservative area, I was, pardon the pun, put through hell whenever someone found out that I came from a family of the hellbound. It's hard not to become a little bitter when that's being constantly shoved at you, and I'll admit (not proudly) that I was one of the atheist fundies for a few years. So while I don't condone it, I understand why it exists.

*"Atheist" just means "without God." It doesn't necessarily mean (though it can) that you are firm and have faith in your belief that there is no God and nothing will convince you otherwise. I count myself as an atheistic agnostic - I have no concrete proof that there is no God, but from what evidence I have, I don't think there is one, and therefore, I am without God. The moment I get some real, hard, personal evidence that there is a God and so-and-so is his son/prophet, I'll be in the baptismal pool or equivalent in a heartbeat, no questions asked. But since, as you correctly pointed out, we have no evidence of anything, I don't think anyone can be so cock-sure of how things are as many people claim to be.

*Atheists don't really have Community Nonbeliever Get-Togethers, per se. The closest thing I can think of to an atheist society near me is the Science Olympiad team at my school. As to how we get "caught", however - I don't speak for everyone, but I don't trumpet or hide my beliefs any more than religious people do. If someone asks me for my opinions on religion, whether it be a direct question or simply asking me mistakenly what church I go to, I will not lie to them. It has a way of getting out, especially if you live in a small and/or conservative community, and when it does, there will be certain people who treat you like you have the plague. And you'll never be able to run for political office. But you can't help what you think, and it honestly doesn't matter so much to me that I'd have to relocate over it or something, unless someone actually attacked me.

Hope that helped :)
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