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4/19/2008                                                                                       View Comments

Does it really make any difference what so-and-so believes?

By Dave, the WM

Nearly every day I read another opinion piece in the press on how the "raging, militant proponents of the New Atheism” are destroying the framework of our society. Most harshly denigrated in these articles are typically one or more of
the Four Horsemen: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.

The atheistic authors and speakers who hail from Christian cultures and backgrounds are not the only voices in the world to be shouted down for criticizing theism. From ancient times, those who stood up and voiced skepticism against the prevailing theistic superstitions had a good chance of being demonized, or worse.

A little history from Wikipedia:

Diagoras of Melos (5th century BCE) is known as the "first atheist". He blasphemed by making public the Eleusinian Mysteries and discouraging people from being initiated. The Athenians accused him of impiety, and he was forced to flee the city. He died in Corinth.

The efforts of modern day believers to soften, squelch, or even silence the voice of reason is nothing new. It's also not just something that only happens in “Christian countries.” Most people are well aware of the penalties imposed against those who resist the current religious tide in Muslim lands. But apparently it's not just Christians and Muslims that are offended by atheism.

I read an interesting article this week. A portion of it is quoted here:

Thanks to Hindu Munnani the launch of this movie “Vanakkammaa" has been stopped. Police say that it is postponed.

The poster of this movie shows Hindu Gods attending to nature’s call in public place.

This movie is supposed to contain characters posed as Hindu Gods (Rama and Hanuman) who will be smoking and drinking alcohol.

The producer of the film, Anbu Thenarasan, is an atheist.

What basically happened is that an angry mob of Hindu zealots scared the government into shutting down production of this movie before filming even began. And what are they all up in arms about? Because these "gods" are supposedly being portrayed in a disrespectful manner by none other than an evil atheist.

Belief in a god seems to be a pervasive part of the human experience. Christians might say that this quality is a clear indication that there is a "god hole" in our hearts that only God can fill. In contrast to that opinion, others speculate that our tendency toward god belief is the result of a long chain of survival struggles. In other words, god belief helped our earliest ancestors gain evolutionary advantage and although this quality may no longer be needed for survival, its a quality we've retained as a sort of vestigial organ, much like the tonsils and the appendix.

If it is true that god belief is part of our evolutionary makeup, it seems to me that god belief will not be going away any time in the foreseeable future. Evolution is slow.

At the conclusion to the opinion piece quoted above, the author asked this question:
An atheist doesn't believe in God. Does it mean that they have to denigrate God?

That's the question I'd like to ask here. Is it profitable to make fun of the gods or goddesses worshiped and adored by our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.? Should we, as ex-Christians, be understanding, tolerant and respectful of those who stubbornly cling to faith? Or, should we be more open about our non-belief, even provoking confrontation with our Christian associates, using whatever means available to extract their spiritual vestigial appendages?

And, since we are all going to die anyway, what's the difference whether other people believe in a god or not?

Any takers?

59 comments:

Michael said...

"Tolerance" for religion does not mean that we atheists simply roll over when confronted by what is, absolutely, delusional thinking.

We don't hate or hassle someone who is mentally ill -- but that does not mean that we simply nod our heads and meekly agree with their delusions, especially when they can be so dangerous -- except, possibly, when one's personal safety is at stake.

"In my opinion, "freedom of religion" means that we are free to mock someone's religious beliefs -- but that doesn't give us carte blanche to discriminate against them on the basis of their beliefs. On the other hand, when those delusional beliefs cause personal hardship or pain, those beliefs deserve to be mocked. Isn't it an xtian thing to "hate the sin, but not the sinner?"

~~ Mikey

Byron said...

As Richard Dawkins might say, we should voice our opinions but not confront. We do need to hold the theists attention and the only way to do that is discuss, not argue. IMHO

Trancelation said...

Belief determines action. If one's beliefs remained solely in the realm of their minds, we wouldn't have a problem. But that's the problem: belief affects people to such an extent that they must act on them. History has shown us, repeatedly, that belief is the most dangerous weapon in the human arsenal. Forget swords and guns and bombs: these objects have no meaning without the will of the believer behind them. And since belief translates so very easily into will and action, these objects are synonymous with belief. How easy is it to picture the Crusader with his sword, the Evangelical with his gun, the Islamic with his bomb?

Belief should not be treated after the fact. It is naive to think that a person's beliefs are harmless until they cause that person to do harm. A psychiatrist does not report their patient's plans to hurt someone AFTER they have done it. Why should we?

Belief is only effectively countered head-on. History has shown us that belief left unchecked, uncountered, will only result in suffering. Empires have been built from the stones of silence. When the first pebbles of that foundation begin to loosen, that empire will do everything in its power to hold itself together. Why let it get that far? Why question AFTER THE FACT?

People's beliefs are not harmless. They should be treated as such.

Brother Jeff said...

What Trancelation said. I couldn't have said it any better myself. Glory!

Stephen_Richard_Webb said...

Hmmm, good question. I don't think that anyone benifits from the denegration of anyones ideals no matter how silly they may be. In fact, most athiests that I have met try to be more conciderate of others ideals just as long as those ideals aren't forced down their throat. By poking fun, the movie makers give the religious peoples another reason to denegrate the athiest...so proper morality needs to start somewhere right? And for some reason it seems to fall short every time on the religious side - now is a golden opportunity for the athiest to show everyone how tolerant and proper they can be - without the beleif in god.

Stephen_Richard_Webb said...

someone once told me that success is the best revenge - proper living, morality, and success in an athiests life may very well be the best form of revenge against those who believe that you need god to do that...but making some hurtful display about someones belief actualy denegrates the individual doing it, because then they are no better than the ones they protest.

stronger now said...

It depends on the situation and the people involved. If they knock on my door, and tell me that I and my wife and kids are headed for hell...the "gloves" come off!

If they ask honest questions and are polite I'll be polite as well.

If they don't say anything about it, it usually doesn't come up.

I recently went back to work and one co-worker has made small comments like "the Lord protects me" and "I only have to listen to the Lord". I think it bugs him that I respond with things like "Think what you want" or "whatever" then carry on with what the real topic was. I know he can't stand my non-responsiveness and he'll eventually snap. Untill then, we'll get along great. Whether we get along afterwards depends on his attitude about my non-belief, and how he responds to it.

To steven,

I don't think it matters to christians whether or not you're successful because of the beliefs they hold. If you are successful and are a christian...it's god's blessings. If you are not a christian and you're successful...it's the devil keeping you from god's humbling instruction. If you're an unsuccessful christian...it's gods humbling instruction. If you're an unsuccessful non-christian...it's because you don't have god's blessings(and it serves you right you filthy heathen)

Also, they tend to redefine success as achieving and maintaining a state of delusion.

At least that's how I thought when I was a fundy.

Stephen_Richard_Webb said...

To Strongernow:

Very good point, but the focus of my post was on the successful atheist showing that those without belief in god can still succeed and live happily, and not the warped perception of a christians view of the successful atheist [who they say satan empowers]. You are absolutely right in your statements, but we are talking about the truth, and not some christian delusion. Deep down inside, people that loathe atheists also loathe their success because it tresspasses on their belief that only god can provide the providence needed for true success. IMO.

muttmutt said...

I think the Hindus should lighten up, Im a Pagan and I wouldnt mind seeing the video. Its like that Joan Osborne song: What if God was one of us? I think sometimes, atheists can go overboard though, I mean you can call people delusional, but ive heard of an actual news article, where an atheist called someone delusional for a disease that they couldnt figure out or cure. The woman had black bruises all over her body, and it turns out she couldnt flush her body of toxins very well. Im not an atheist, there are people who like to say its rational and logical, but its not logical if you dont have any proof EITHER WAY! its like saying a fox doesnt exist because youve never seen one, I hope you get my analogy (dont worry Pagans are harmless, unless they are the Aztec volcano sacrificing kind, I admit those guys are creepy...) Dawkins is cool, I may not agree with him 100% but why should I? Im entitled to my own beliefs, not his.

muttmutt said...

trancelation said: People's beliefs are not harmless. They should be treated as such.

to trancelation: Thats a very slippery slope, on that alone, EVERYONE can be locked up, you because youre an atheist, me because im a pagan etc. anyone can get locked up because thier beliefs doesnt conform to someone elses, I hope you understand that.

CarlK said...

The biggest problem with religion in general is a lack of tolerance for what others believe. Tolerance being the ability to follow what you believe is right for yourself, and allowing others to do as they wish for themselves, with the society we both live in sorting out when that crosses the bounds of what is necessary for the society to survive.

The reaction to the satire on Hindu Gods is one form of intolerance, another is well exemplified by the Moslem reaction to the Danish cartoons.

One would have thought that the American experience would have proven that tolerance is the only way for multiple religions to survive and prosper, but sadly, the delusionists do not see this. And of course, neither do many other parts of the world.

If we could just get to tolerance, we'd be a long way to a better world.

Stephen_Richard_Webb said...

To Trancelation:

(Belief is only effectively countered head-on. History has shown us that belief left unchecked, uncountered, will only result in suffering.)

But beliefs can only be treated AFTER they are known to exist. You can't treat someone for something that you don't know exists in their mind - for example, you can't put restraints on a sufi peace loving muslim who would never commit terrorism just because there are fundamental sunni muslims that derive an extremist attitude from the very same doctrine!
What you are proposeing is absolutely preposterous and destroys the very essence of freedom.

Stephen_Richard_Webb said...

To Trancelation:

You do know that many of the great greek philosophers of the past think that knowledge is immpossible without belief right? So you would combat knowledge as well? That makes no sence. Many concider knowledge to be justified true belief, so if you are "treating" or countering belief then you are asserting control over what is acceptable knowledge - that is no better than the fundamental ideology that you are protesting.

Brian Worley said...

Dave,

I am definitely with you in your expressed question, "Should we, as ex-Christians, be understanding, tolerant and respectful of those who stubbornly cling to faith? ".

I have been wrestling with this question but I couldn't find a way to express myself with some long held views about egalitarianism. Society and our skeptic community too often allows Christians egalitarian status that is NOT deserved!

I think we should start talking about this! I will post/send you an article that I am almost finished with in a few days. In researching this, I only found this word mentioned 4 times on exchristian. Never as a topic, just the word within an article.

I like what you said about believers wanting to soften, squelch or silence the voice of reason. I don't like the way that many Christians try to portray us. I think we should turn up the heat against their silly beliefs!

Hellbound Alleee said...

First of all, let's stop all this bullshit about "denigration of others' beliefs" as if the fact that they are beliefs makes them sacred, and therefore above criticism.

Who says?

So what if someone accepts something in spite of the evidence that it is not true? What, am I supposed to think that this in itself is a positive in society, and I cannot go near such a sacred thing?

People can believe any bullshit you can think up, and I don't care how reverent they feel about it, it's not now my responsibility to feel the same goddamned reverence. So they believe that black people are stupid and Mexicans are lazy--is this something I have to tolerate? Hell, no. So what if they believe that everyone I love and I are going to suffer forever in a lake of fire--I'm required to cry a tear for the fucking loveliness of that.

Let's cut out this shit and deconvert, please.

chuckyjesus said...

Humor -- satire is often what "gets the idea across." Why should freethinkers be denied that tool?

If nothing else, being able to laugh helps maintain our sanity in a world of humans whose beliefs and practices border on the psychotic, and definitely cross the border into delusion.

mtbdude1 said...

"Belief is only effectively countered head-on. History has shown us that belief left unchecked, uncountered, will only result in suffering."

Trancelation, I noticed a couple of people trying to distort your point. That's unfortunate.

What you say is absolutely correct.

Truth is what this struggle of ideas is about. The dominant culture in this society is pumping out bullshit. They have the means to control the media and the government, and they're doing it without apology. It has to be confronted head on.

Ride on, four horsemen! Step aside, pussyfooters.

Steve

Telmi said...

"An atheist doesn't believe in God. Does it mean that they have to denigrate God?"

We don't have to, if denigration is something uncalled for. But if the discussion is about the Bible God, then we are not estopped from talking about this god in the context of his portrayal in the Bible. That's when I can describe him in terms of his so-called actions/speeches as recorded in biblical text. And I cannot be accused of denigration for calling the Bible God an oxymoron or a malevolent, genocidal maniac. As long as my description of him can be supported with textual evidence, I can't be accused of making a false or an unjustifiable denigration. On the other hand, I can be considered to be merely offering a truthful description of how the Bible God is porytrayed, no more no less.

And this is a challenge for Christians, to attempt refuting our allegations as something untrue. Otherwise, they have to admit the falsity of the attributes [the 3Os, for example] they have heaped on the Bible God and of certain other beliefs about him, for example, that he is all-loving.

As atheists we should expose lies wherever we find them.

The AntiChristian said...

The problem is that people of reason have been tolerating religion for too long. Religious people have a sense of righteousness and holy authority that they feel is given to them by God, which allows them to go around engaging in idiotic behavior. (Westboro Baptist Church is an extreme case of this.)

Religious people need to know in no uncertain terms just how silly they are. The attitude that we should take towards our treatment of Christians is demonstrated on Brother Jeff's sight www.christianityisbullshit.com

As Christopher Hitchens says, "Religion should be treated with hatred, ridicule, and contempt."

SUPERNOVA & AUBREYDAWN said...

Look, for anyone who didn't notice; after posting the dissapointed piece, reading the comments on it and checking out the site alot more, I posted another comment. This comment was an apology for my hasty and ill-informed review of the site. It was also an affirmation of my stance. The same stance that a few of you, who gave me a good keyboard lashing, are claiming. Check yourself.

"People's beliefs are not harmless. They should be treated as such." -Translation

Also, a few of you have a problem with my writing skills. Well, complain on...

SUPERNOVA & AUBREYDAWN

Jackie said...

I've always had the belief of "be the better person" and "rise above". We shouldn't lower ourselves to standing on street corners with signs that there is no heaven. I do think, though, that we should encourage those around us to use logic and reason and to think critically. For example... my sister-in-law claims to be a born again xtian but doesn't go through any of the motions. She wants to start going to church when she has kids so they have a moral compass and learn between right and wrong. My response: It's your job as a parent to teach your children the difference of right and wrong. People have been doing this for eons without religion. In fact, some of the most civilized and progressive countries have very little religion. etc, etc.
We don't like it when they push their beliefs on us so neither should we to them. Unless they try to put their beliefs into the government realm, then I don't think that should be allowed b/c you can't honor every belief system in America.

boomSLANG said...

We don't like it when they push their beliefs on us so neither should we to them

At face-value, this policy seems reasonable enough. However, let's back up and remember that passive Atheism is simply the default position. We are born passive Atheists. It only becomes active Atheism because of the fact that the majority of Theists actively insist, that not just A "God" exists, but specifically, the "God" of their chosen religion. Other than that, Theists dismiss all the same gods as the Atheist.

So, again, if Theists kept their god-beliefs to themselves(as a couple of people already mentioned), then there'd be no need for active Atheism. To illustrate with analogy, we wouldn't need a flu vaccine, if there was no influenza.

Trancelation said...

To Brother Jeff and mtbdude1:

*bows* You honor me with gracious comments. I don't quite know how to respond to people agreeing with me on this site, as it doesn't happen very often. It's just good to know that I'm not alone.

To muttmutt:

I never said that people should be locked up. I read over my own post five times to be sure of that, and not once did I even remotely imply that people should be locked up for their beliefs. My whole point was that belief is not just what a person believes; belief is the catalyst for a person's actions, and therefore we should treat people's beliefs in accordance with their nature. How you got the idea that I said we should lock people up for their beliefs from that is beyond me.

There are a great many people out there that believe (or purport to believe, which is just as dangerous) that anyone that does not believe that a Jewish zombie sent himself down from the sky to sacrifice himself to himself in order to appease himself of OUR wrongdoings, which are in fact HIS wrongdoings, then we will be sent to a place of eternal punishment and pain and misery and woe and suffering and that we are horrible, miserable wretched SINNERS that DESERVE it.

That is F*ED UP. And no matter how much they might claim that they love the sinner and hate the sin, that type of thinking WILL influence their behavior. It can be something as simple and subtle as not holding the door for a person they know is an atheist, or something as extreme as bombing an abortion clinic or having sex with a 12 year old girl. Why are we ignoring the possibility that the belief I listed above will result in these actions? History has shown us that such belief always results in these actions on a grand scale. So why are we pretending that it's okay to think that way?

On the other hand, there are a great many people out there that believe that the secret to enlightenment, to inner freedom, lies with observing the natural cycles of the universe, the natural balances of the earth and the stars and the oceans, that we as humans have a responsibility to nurture the world around us, the livie in balance and peace with the life around us. That can affect someone's actions as simply and subtly as them planting a tree in a run-down neighborhood, or as can be something as extreme as blowing up a Ford factory or tossing pig blood on a celebrity wearing fur.

Belief is the catalyst for people's actions, muttmutt. They shouldn't be locked up for it, but we have to acknowledge that ALL belief has the potential to be simple or extreme. For that reason, we should cut the person out of it - focus on the belief, on the environmental factors that cause or contaminate. We have to communicate, protest, educate, speak up, speak out, stand out, stand up, and NEVER BE SILENCED. We have to stop pretending that delusional beliefs are okay, that we should silently nod our heads. But those things are not locking people up. The whole point is to not treat belief as if it is the sole property of a person's thoughts and nothing else.

Stephen Richard Webb:

You know I don't like you, right?

First of all, you're right when you say we can't effectively deal with a belief until we know it's there. That's just common sense. Why diagnose cancer when you see no symptoms of it? :)

But where, oh, where, did I say to put restraints on people?

Secondly, belief is not knowledge. This is why you and I can't get along; you offhandedly drop names (Greek philosophers? Please) and expect your words to have some sort of impact. But guess what? I disagree with the names you've dropped here. Belief and knowledge are different on so many levels it's oxymoronic to consider that they might be the same. Belief ASSUMES; knowledge OBSERVES. Knowing and believing are different. Believers WANT to know, HOPE they know, but they DON'T know. That is the nature of belief. It is not uncommon to find writings from the ancient world that confuse the two. To this day, influenced by the Bible, Christians believe that we have control over every aspect of our being - from our physical processes to our mental ones. The reality is that we don't. These people believe that we can control ourselves completely; we know that we can't. See the difference?

The WM didn't ask WHAT we should do about believers; he posed a question on the fundamental nature of how believers are PERCIEVED. He asked if it matters. I say it does. That's it. I said nothing on HOW that matter should be addressed. YOU were the one that ASSUMED I had a set way of dealing with the matter. And that is just one of many reasons why I don't like you and never will. Stephen, you need to stop pretending to be an intellectual (Greek philosophers? I'm never gonna get over that one) until you learn to be more observant and unassuming. Maybe then you'll stop BELEIVING I said something I never did :)

warren said...

If it wasn't for my good friends, who are atheists, making fun of my beliefs, I wouldn't have tried to prove them wrong. It was when I got so angry that I began researching, and as most of ya'll know, when you research the bible you learn that it is a bunch of bs. So in my case, mocking freed me.

Journeyman said...

Why should we be nice or tolerant? Look at the way some of the most vocal of Christians speak of those who do not believe. They speak in terms of warfare, the Christians are calling what is happening a cultural warfare. And it is. They have declared war, they have declared war on freethinking, the y have declared war on dissent, they have declare war of freedom and they have declared war on you as a conscious individual.

And if you don't take that declaration of war seriously, then you have already lost.

The AntiChristian said...

Do Christians respect atheist's beliefs? Aren't they always telling us that we are going to hell for our beliefs?

resonate11 said...

It matters what we believe because our beliefs inform our choices and our choices determine our behavior.

As Trancelation so cogently points out, "belief affects people to such an extent that they must act on them. History has shown us, repeatedly, that belief is the most dangerous weapon in the human arsenal. Forget swords and guns and bombs: these objects have no meaning without the will of the believer behind them."

The ascent of humankind has come from verifiable knowledge, not mystical or religious "knowledge". Often, if not usually, our knowledge gains have been retarded by those whose beliefs are threatened by what we learn.

Therefore, we shouldn't allow those with incredible--not credible--beliefs to dictate humanity's frames. So yes, we should and must speak our truths. We must not be intimidated. We must not allow ourselves to be crippled by religious beliefs.

However, though Christians should be ashamed of their beliefs, derision is seldom fruitful. Anger and aggression begets blow back.

Truly, we need to win the hearts and minds of those who hold irrational beliefs. Denigrating religious people for their beliefs doesn't help.

So, as Max Ehrman wrote, "As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others...."

Journeyman said...

resonate - what can we possibly benefit from doing things quietly?

The fundamentalist of this world are doing us real harm and they intend to do more. I think the days of being quiet and respectful are over. Now is the time to get LOUD

The AntiChristian said...

Resonate11,
c.f. "warren" above: "mocking freed me"

It would be unreasonable to expect religion to be entirely expunged from the face of the earth. However, religious people should fall into the category of a disrespected minority, like the Neo-Nazis or the KKK.

Certainly, feeding Christians to the lions, even tar and feathering them, would be a bit over the top. Besides, it's been done before, and it didn't achieve the desired results. Nevertheless, sincere ridicule, short of public taunting, would be quite acceptable.

Another thing, many fundamentalists would like to have their religion taught in public schools. I think it would be instructive to have a course in high school on world religions, in which an objective analysis of Christianity would appear alongside Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and the other great world religions, including a discussion of each religion's creation myth. Putting religion into perspective at a young age might help adolescents cope with their personal decisions about it.

twincats said...

Stephen_Richard_Webb wrote:

“someone once told me that success is the best revenge - proper living, morality, and success in an athiests life may very well be the best form of revenge against those who believe that you need god to do that...”


That doesn’t seem to work with xtians, if you haven’t noticed. How many successful, happy families headed by same-sex couples have they been able to ignore? Same-sex parents have happy, healthy and well-adjusted children in ratios at least as good as, if not better than hetero couples, but all we hear from the hard-liners is how same-sex marriage will destroy all marriage and further the “homosexual agenda.” They continue to work hard to ensure same-sex couples never attain parity with every other marriage in our country.

How will it be different with atheists?

Actually, same-sex unions and atheists living well, doing good and being successful are the fundy’s worst nightmare because it makes their beliefs look silly and their god look either indifferent or ineffectual.

As far as how to behave? I believe that no one approach will do it alone and that there is room for most of them.

Regardless of what I said above, some WILL be swayed by atheists who are "doing well by doing good" and others, like Warren, will be goaded into real introspection by having their beliefs mocked.

There will never be a consensus, but we don't really NEED one!

resonate11 said...

"The fundamentalist of this world are doing us real harm and they intend to do more. I think the days of being quiet and respectful are over. Now is the time to get LOUD"

Maybe so. Good luck with that.

Christians, like everyone else, do actually live in the real world. Few of them whole mindedly believe nonsense. For example, my mother is in debilitating pain. She and my father are lifelong committed believers. Yet when they pray, they don't ask their god to cure her or even to remove her pain. The rational parts or their brains know that their god really can't heal. No, they pray for God to help her manage her pain.

The point is that reality forces religious believers to adjust their beliefs. Scientific knowledge is steadily shrinking any and all gods.

dedhed said...

When my lack of belief is respected, I will then begin to respect their beliefs.

Jackie said...

well i hate being passive... but if we all remember when we were deep in our faith, there was nothing that could move or shake us. Unless they try to deny us our rights b/c of their religion, then being vocal about what we believe is just noise. They won't change til they do the research and decide for themselves. That's why I say encourage reason and critical thinking. If we can't have a civilized discussion with them, they will only view us as angry atheists that desperately need a savior.

There are certain things that I won't be quiet about:creationism vs evolution in schools, discrimination, civil rights, etc.
If confronted by someone trying to preach to me I will tell them what I think... in a very civilized way but I will go telling strangers that they believe in fairy tales and need an education.

Eric said...

...Most harshly denigrated in these articles are typically one or more of the Four Horsemen: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens...

I guess you could say they are the apotheoses of atheism :)

-Eric

.:webmaster:. said...

To Eric:

That would be bit of a dichotomy, wouldn't it? The gods of atheism?

So, Eric. How do you make your living now that you quit practicing law?

Eric said...

I swear I'm not the Eric you think I am. I'm also not an ex-Christian, but I never was one in the first place. I like this site, it helps me find ways to deal with the theists. I want to be confident in my knowledge and opinions.

I meant the apotheoses as a joke. In fact, if you look at the second definition at dictionary.com, it says "the ideal example; epitome; quintessence". I think that applies as well.

My oldest child (11) got the word from a spelling site that donates 20 grains of rice for every word he gets correct. It was also in an episode of "The Tick"

I'm no lawyer either, although I took one class about the law and how it applies to freedom of expression in college.

Cheers!

-Eric

Trancelation said...

resonate11:

Still sounds deluded to me. Whether you pray to an invisible being to make it rain everywhere in the world at the same time, or pray to an invisible being to restore your broken air conditioner, you are still praying to an invisible being that is not going to intervene in your life no matter how trivial your request is. Believers love to claim that small things are accomlished by their gods, knowing that people will demand fantastic evidence for fantastic claims. If not that, then certainly your mother is trying to seem humble by asking for a small thing instead of a miracle. Either way, no god is intervening on her behalf. I wish her the best, and hope she finds recovery, but she's still deluding herself, and reality is not informing her beliefs. I'm not trying to be harsh; just pointing out the facts. Whether or not self-proclaimed Christians BELIEVE what they sar esaying, and no matter how humble and simple their prayers may be, these are still dangerous delusions.

resonate11 said...

Trancelation,

Yes, you are correct. They are deluded. But I believe--and maybe I am deluded about this--that some part of them knows that their god won't/can't heal their ailments. So they don't even ask to be cured. They certainly don't eschew medical treatment.

My sister died of cancer. But the prayers offered on her behalf were pleas for God to be with the care givers, not entreaties to miraculously heal her.

OTC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephen_Richard_Webb said...

To Trancelation:

Hello. I hope this message reaches you well, and in better spirits than you must have been in when you misinterpreted my original replies to your point of view. You say that belief determines action - I, as well as many more well known peoples before me claim that KNOWLEDGE determines action, and also that JUSTIFIED [reprovable] TRUE BELIEF defines valid possession of knowledge. One other more well known person of the past that shares this definition is PLATO [in fact you can get a neat little diagram from wikipedia on the subject *see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justified_true_belief].

Moving on to the next staetment:
-If one's beliefs remained solely in the realm of their minds, we wouldn't have a problem.

-If one's beliefs determines their actions, and their beliefs JUST stayed in the realm of their mind, then no one would BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING AT ALL. That's right, there would be NO ACTION according to your own definition of what the prerequisite for action is.

Trancelation said...

Stephen Richard Webb:

My 'spirits' have nothing to do with it. I could have just won the lottery, been published, had my book soar to the No. 1 spot on the NYT Bestsellers list, AND had my hearing loss completely reversed . . . the mere mention of your name would be enough to bring my joy crashing down beneath the torrent of your pussyfooting, flip-flopping, wishy-washy name-dropping bullcrap.

There are so manyt things wrong with your post that I don't know where to begin. But, as with the Bible, I suppose the best place to start is the beginning.

In the beginning, Stephen Richard Webb was wrong about . . .

KNOWLEDGE DETERMINING ACTION.

Since you never define what "knowledge" is, we're going to have to go with the idea that people act only when they KNOW something. If you look up any oher definition of knowledge, you're not going to find a strict response. If we go with THAT, then we have to admit that believers acting according to their beliefs are NOT acting according to what they KNOW - but rather according to what they BELIEVE.

And as such, BELIEFS DETERMINE ACTION.

Since I was talking about believers, you are implying that a believer KNOWS something. Stephen, if belief had anything to do with KNOWING, then it would be belief. by its very nature, belief requires that a person NOT know. That's why it's called FAITH. The two are so diametrically opposed that it would be like saying that water is dry, or that lava is cold. Belief implies that there is direct evidence or proof AGAINST something, yet a person BELIEVES in it anyway. That is not knowing - that is belief, and they are different.

People have been acting off of things they do not know for as long as man has existed. A long time ago, innocent men and women were burned at the stake because other people thought they KNEW that they were witches and warlocks - people with magical powers that could directly control the environment around them. What you are suggesting, Stephen, is that the burners were correct - since they acted, they HAD to have acted out of knowledge, because knowledge determines action. By your own admission, anyone that has ever done anything - Hitler, the Christian Crusaders, Muslim Jihadists - are CORRECT, simply because they acted.

You are a buffoon.

Next, your wishy-washy, pussyfooting, name-dropping,bullcrapping self tries to sneak in the term TRUE BELIEF.

This is too easy. But I had a long day, so I'm going to bring the axe down anyway.

Again, belief requires that somethingnot be provable - i.e., TRUE. If something is TRUE, thus PROVABLE, then it doe snot need belief! Faith is the vehicle upon which the nonsensical bullcrap of man is transported, Stephen. There is no such thign as TRUE BELIEF. This is an oxymoron.

People have been acting out of their beleifs for as long as man has been around, Stephen. And beliefs are dangerous.

Finally, you've completely missed the point of people's beliefs staying in the realm of their minds. Determined to have oe small victory, you continue to suggest that I am some sort of callous dictator that would rather people think exactly as me than in accordance with their own beliefs.

Once again, Stephen, show me where I said that.

I'll wait.

. . .

Yep, any day now.

No? Nothing? That's because I DIDN'T say that, did I?

I never suggested that people not act according to their beliefs, because unlike you, I'm intelligent enough to know that that's not going to happen. Unlike you, I have the mental maturity to see that people DO act according to their beliefs, and am not so moronic that I first say that people act according to KNOWLEDGE, and then turn around and say that people act according to belief, as you did!

Stephen, might I suggest a preteen nail salon at the mall? You might find more stimulating conversation that you'd like there, because clearly you're not equipped to deal with anything here.

Sincrely,

Trancelation

P.S. Thank you for admitting that you misunderstood my post! It was nice of you to admit that you took my words completely out of context, and will strive to REAd before SPEAKING next time.

webmdave said...

delete this photo immediately otherwise ........

webmdave said...

Just so everyone knows... Stephen Richard Webb is a complete moron who works for, or at least used to work for, Staples. He is also a convicted criminal (3 such separate convictions) who tries to go around spewing this shit to everyone he sees thinking that any of them care....

In reality, Stephen is a complete loser and should be disregarded....

webmdave said...

To Trancelation:

You do know that many of the great greek philosophers of the past think that knowledge is immpossible without belief right? So you would combat knowledge as well? That makes no sence. Many concider knowledge to be justified true belief, so if you are "treating" or countering belief then you are asserting control over what is acceptable knowledge - that is no better than the fundamental ideology that you are protesting.

webmdave said...

To Trancelation:

Hello. I hope this message reaches you well, and in better spirits than you must have been in when you misinterpreted my original replies to your point of view. You say that belief determines action - I, as well as many more well known peoples before me claim that KNOWLEDGE determines action, and also that JUSTIFIED [reprovable] TRUE BELIEF defines valid possession of knowledge. One other more well known person of the past that shares this definition is PLATO [in fact you can get a neat little diagram from wikipedia on the subject *see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justified_true_belief].

Moving on to the next staetment:
-If one's beliefs remained solely in the realm of their minds, we wouldn't have a problem.

-If one's beliefs determines their actions, and their beliefs JUST stayed in the realm of their mind, then no one would BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING AT ALL. That's right, there would be NO ACTION according to your own definition of what the prerequisite for action is.

webmdave said...

To Trancelation:

Hello. I hope this message reaches you well, and in better spirits than you must have been in when you misinterpreted my original replies to your point of view. You say that belief determines action - I, as well as many more well known peoples before me claim that KNOWLEDGE determines action, and also that JUSTIFIED [reprovable] TRUE BELIEF defines valid possession of knowledge. One other more well known person of the past that shares this definition is PLATO [in fact you can get a neat little diagram from wikipedia on the subject *see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justified_true_belief].

Moving on to the next staetment:
-If one's beliefs remained solely in the realm of their minds, we wouldn't have a problem.

-If one's beliefs determines their actions, and their beliefs JUST stayed in the realm of their mind, then no one would BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING AT ALL. That's right, there would be NO ACTION according to your own definition of what the prerequisite for action is.

webmdave said...

Trancelation,

Yes, you are correct. They are deluded. But I believe--and maybe I am deluded about this--that some part of them knows that their god won't/can't heal their ailments. So they don't even ask to be cured. They certainly don't eschew medical treatment.

My sister died of cancer. But the prayers offered on her behalf were pleas for God to be with the care givers, not entreaties to miraculously heal her.

webmdave said...

Trancelation,

Yes, you are correct. They are deluded. But I believe--and maybe I am deluded about this--that some part of them knows that their god won't/can't heal their ailments. So they don't even ask to be cured. They certainly don't eschew medical treatment.

My sister died of cancer. But the prayers offered on her behalf were pleas for God to be with the care givers, not entreaties to miraculously heal her.

webmdave said...

Look, for anyone who didn't notice; after posting the dissapointed piece, reading the comments on it and checking out the site alot more, I posted another comment. This comment was an apology for my hasty and ill-informed review of the site. It was also an affirmation of my stance. The same stance that a few of you, who gave me a good keyboard lashing, are claiming. Check yourself.

"People's beliefs are not harmless. They should be treated as such." -Translation

Also, a few of you have a problem with my writing skills. Well, complain on...

SUPERNOVA & AUBREYDAWN

webmdave said...

resonate11:

Still sounds deluded to me. Whether you pray to an invisible being to make it rain everywhere in the world at the same time, or pray to an invisible being to restore your broken air conditioner, you are still praying to an invisible being that is not going to intervene in your life no matter how trivial your request is. Believers love to claim that small things are accomlished by their gods, knowing that people will demand fantastic evidence for fantastic claims. If not that, then certainly your mother is trying to seem humble by asking for a small thing instead of a miracle. Either way, no god is intervening on her behalf. I wish her the best, and hope she finds recovery, but she's still deluding herself, and reality is not informing her beliefs. I'm not trying to be harsh; just pointing out the facts. Whether or not self-proclaimed Christians BELIEVE what they sar esaying, and no matter how humble and simple their prayers may be, these are still dangerous delusions.

webmdave said...

resonate11:

Still sounds deluded to me. Whether you pray to an invisible being to make it rain everywhere in the world at the same time, or pray to an invisible being to restore your broken air conditioner, you are still praying to an invisible being that is not going to intervene in your life no matter how trivial your request is. Believers love to claim that small things are accomlished by their gods, knowing that people will demand fantastic evidence for fantastic claims. If not that, then certainly your mother is trying to seem humble by asking for a small thing instead of a miracle. Either way, no god is intervening on her behalf. I wish her the best, and hope she finds recovery, but she's still deluding herself, and reality is not informing her beliefs. I'm not trying to be harsh; just pointing out the facts. Whether or not self-proclaimed Christians BELIEVE what they sar esaying, and no matter how humble and simple their prayers may be, these are still dangerous delusions.

webmdave said...

I swear I'm not the Eric you think I am. I'm also not an ex-Christian, but I never was one in the first place. I like this site, it helps me find ways to deal with the theists. I want to be confident in my knowledge and opinions.

I meant the apotheoses as a joke. In fact, if you look at the second definition at dictionary.com, it says "the ideal example; epitome; quintessence". I think that applies as well.

My oldest child (11) got the word from a spelling site that donates 20 grains of rice for every word he gets correct. It was also in an episode of "The Tick"

I'm no lawyer either, although I took one class about the law and how it applies to freedom of expression in college.

Cheers!

-Eric

webmdave said...

To Eric:

That would be bit of a dichotomy, wouldn't it? The gods of atheism?

So, Eric. How do you make your living now that you quit practicing law?

webmdave said...

I swear I'm not the Eric you think I am. I'm also not an ex-Christian, but I never was one in the first place. I like this site, it helps me find ways to deal with the theists. I want to be confident in my knowledge and opinions.

I meant the apotheoses as a joke. In fact, if you look at the second definition at dictionary.com, it says "the ideal example; epitome; quintessence". I think that applies as well.

My oldest child (11) got the word from a spelling site that donates 20 grains of rice for every word he gets correct. It was also in an episode of "The Tick"

I'm no lawyer either, although I took one class about the law and how it applies to freedom of expression in college.

Cheers!

-Eric

webmdave said...

...Most harshly denigrated in these articles are typically one or more of the Four Horsemen: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens...

I guess you could say they are the apotheoses of atheism :)

-Eric

webmdave said...

well i hate being passive... but if we all remember when we were deep in our faith, there was nothing that could move or shake us. Unless they try to deny us our rights b/c of their religion, then being vocal about what we believe is just noise. They won't change til they do the research and decide for themselves. That's why I say encourage reason and critical thinking. If we can't have a civilized discussion with them, they will only view us as angry atheists that desperately need a savior.

There are certain things that I won't be quiet about:creationism vs evolution in schools, discrimination, civil rights, etc.
If confronted by someone trying to preach to me I will tell them what I think... in a very civilized way but I will go telling strangers that they believe in fairy tales and need an education.

webmdave said...

"The fundamentalist of this world are doing us real harm and they intend to do more. I think the days of being quiet and respectful are over. Now is the time to get LOUD"

Maybe so. Good luck with that.

Christians, like everyone else, do actually live in the real world. Few of them whole mindedly believe nonsense. For example, my mother is in debilitating pain. She and my father are lifelong committed believers. Yet when they pray, they don't ask their god to cure her or even to remove her pain. The rational parts or their brains know that their god really can't heal. No, they pray for God to help her manage her pain.

The point is that reality forces religious believers to adjust their beliefs. Scientific knowledge is steadily shrinking any and all gods.

webmdave said...

To Trancelation:

(Belief is only effectively countered head-on. History has shown us that belief left unchecked, uncountered, will only result in suffering.)

But beliefs can only be treated AFTER they are known to exist. You can't treat someone for something that you don't know exists in their mind - for example, you can't put restraints on a sufi peace loving muslim who would never commit terrorism just because there are fundamental sunni muslims that derive an extremist attitude from the very same doctrine!
What you are proposeing is absolutely preposterous and destroys the very essence of freedom.

webmdave said...

To Trancelation:

(Belief is only effectively countered head-on. History has shown us that belief left unchecked, uncountered, will only result in suffering.)

But beliefs can only be treated AFTER they are known to exist. You can't treat someone for something that you don't know exists in their mind - for example, you can't put restraints on a sufi peace loving muslim who would never commit terrorism just because there are fundamental sunni muslims that derive an extremist attitude from the very same doctrine!
What you are proposeing is absolutely preposterous and destroys the very essence of freedom.