4/24/2008                                                                                       View Comments

The Good For Nothing Type of Christianity

And the Egalitarian Myth

By Brian Worley

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. -- Matthew 5:13


When one asks me for a positive thought or idea from Christ, immediately this verse comes to mind. Within the context of this verse, the preserving quality of salt is discussed and a frank evaluation of Christianity is rendered. Now if you only want to fight, just “sound bite” this title without any further reading. If you are positive and want to do something constructive with your life, I want to challenge you!

Missionary Chatter

I have an English speaking Christian missionary for a neighbor here in Latvia. Some native local people find it ironic that they have one American in town that builds up religion and yet another that tears it down! Stranger yet, I am familiar with his home sending church in America. So far, I respect him and his lovely family. When I say that I “respect him”, it is only within the context that he appears to be a good father, husband and is sincere to his invisible friend. I don’t want to mislead anyone, we are not that close but we are civil to each other and we talk on occasion. No, this isn’t the same guy that I mention in Letter 5 of the “In Two Minds” series.

I still have an old friend from my Bible college days that is on a foreign mission field. From a human standpoint, when you view a man that is sincere enough to pack up his family and go to a place that most people would view as undesirable, it would be cold blooded to question their heart or dedication. Furthermore, the falling dollar really changes the economic dynamics of staying on a foreign missionary field. The increased financial tension calls for greater sacrifices from their families than what they had initially budgeted for prior to leaving their home in America.

I Don’t Care for Christian Bashing

It is repulsive to me that some skeptics make a sport out of Christian bashing. I speak of it here because some might think that this is what I am doing if they “sound bite” the title. I am defining Christian bashing as disrespect towards the individual person, rather that their position. When you are not personally acquainted with sincere Christians, I suppose this juvenile behavior of Christian bashing is easier to justify as acceptable. Some atheists embarrass me when they “smack talk” to a Christian! Why they need to make asses out of themselves is beyond me. It is similar to the way that some sports radio talk show personalities operate. Some like to rant like a mad man, and grin thinking that they are clever. We need to be polite and not lose our humanity while destroying the Christian myth.

Egalitarian Attempts to Soften the Voice of Reason

Some might think I am just being amicable here; the truth is that I am not that passive at all! There is something much deeper under the surface that skeptics need to start discussing. I find it amazing that virtually nobody has introduced the subject of egalitarianism into the skeptic’s treatment of Christianity! Egalitarian is defined as “advocating full political and social equality for all people” (1982 edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary). I want to voice my disapproval to those that assert that Christianity deserves egalitarianism status in society. This spreading of the Christian egalitarian myth is a subtle attempt to soften the voice of reason in society.

As a religious atheist, I am a proponent of fighting fairly with competing ideologies. I do realize that this title “ Good for nothing Christianity” is considered offensive to false Christians, so be it! Much of Christianity, not all, has lost its savour and is therefore good for nothing in our communities and society in general. I do not wish to denigrate those who practice true religion (James 1:27) and those whom truly make the world a better place to live in due to your positive contributions!

Too Heavenly Minded to be of any Earthly Good?

In the course of discussion with my missionary neighbor, I introduced a desire to work towards community projects and wanted to gauge his interests in participating. I had contemplated approaching him for weeks, but I felt like I would get the same simplistic Christian answer for societies problems which is sin! Christians believe that the real problem within society is sin, and that getting people “saved” is the solution to all of the world’s problems.

Sure enough, this was the response that I got when I asked for his help!

I took a deep sigh, scratched my head and asked him to consider working with us sometime in the future. In a microcosm, this is precisely where the problem lies within Christianity. Christians feel that belief in their creed and imaginary friend is the solution and that this paralysis keeps them from utilizing their talents towards doing earthly good. Atheists have a question to ask the Christians, “What if you are wrong?” If you are wrong, then haven’t you lived your life in vain? Your legacy will be that you wasted your life promoting a fairy tale!

During this same discussion, something else of note was discussed. He asked, “Wouldn’t you be safer by just keeping quiet about some things?” Now certainly for temporary security, a man could shrivel in his own personal “cocoon” while society rots around him. Sure, you can procrastinate and allow small problems to grow into bigger ones, but eventually you must face the problems. Should a man and his family move every time problems arise? If Christianity was the answer, then their belief system would have “preserved” society and we would have our heaven here on earth.

Living as a Dead Man

After all according to the Christian mindset, an atheists only has only one life to live! I don’t have that imaginary life insurance that he thinks that he has. My response to this idea is that yes, I only have one life to live and that I am not going to waste it by trying to please a conjured figment of man’s imagination! Christian’s speak of the second death; I think that a majority of Christians today are living now as dead men! They gave their lives to Jesus and they have since ceased to live the only life that they will ever have the opportunity to live! Perhaps it is they who will experience the second death?

Christian elitism

Part of the Christian package is the assertion that believers are special people, while unbelievers are subjects for the wrath of God. Their belief system makes them the elitists! They have their mansion waiting for them on a street made of gold when they get to heaven. They’re the enlightened ones to understand the truths of scripture that is denied to us “heathen”. This is all within the Christian fantasy mindset, but let us take a casual look at the reality!

This egalitarian assumption is a myth

This elitism of Christianity is a dangerous fantasy. This egalitarian assumption is a myth, just like their religion is. So where does that leave Christianity? My conclusion is that so many believers are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good. Christians are dragging society down. This is the reality of Matthew 5:13. While they are all in their clubs celebrating, the world rots around them. The world could use their contributions, but that heavenly train has built its momentum and isn’t about to stop until it has reached its final destination. As I have written elsewhere, I value and acknowledge those Christian’s that are actually doing something significant!

Beware of the “sucker trap”

No I am not in a bad mood, it is important to see the world as it actually is, not as you wish it were in our fantasies. It is difficult to succeed in life without taking ownership and responsibility for our actions. The truth is that I fell into a “sucker trap” called Christianity. I remained there for 23 years until the light of reason showed me the way out! I am not claiming that atheism is the answer either, first of all atheism doesn’t tell you how to live your life. Think of atheism as an illuminated road sign that warns you not to fall into that big “sucker trap” of religion!

The perpetuation of the Christian egalitarian myth is protectionism against practical reason. Christianity is so brittle, that it cannot stand against reason and still remain on its feet. This is why Christianity needs skilled public relations specialists that they call apologists to speak, as opposed to an individual believer on their own! How many individual Christians actually dare to think for themselves? When they do, many will do what Dan Barker did, they will lose faith in faith! I challenge any believer to read a short, exceptionally well-written article by Dan named, “Dear Christian”. Should a Christian take me up upon this challenge, you will see the beauty of reason and a key to free you from your mental prison.

Can You Handle the Truth?

We do not live in an egalitarian world, but this isn’t the place to address this claim. When someone exposes a truth like this, the accusations of elitism begin to fly! The rhetoric that proceeds is just a diversionary tactic to protect the fragile beings that cannot handle the truth. It is much more soothing to throw a pity party and lash out against those who have achieved something in life. If you feel envy and hatred towards those that have surpassed you or were already ahead of you in life, maybe it is you who needs to work longer, harder, and smarter. I would rather give them their “due” and maybe try to learn something from them! If you feel that they have reached that level unfairly, then maybe you need to work for justice! . There is danger in the ideas of those that are filled with jealousy, envy, and hatred. People often pick their group to hate whether it be rich people, white people, Jews, atheists, Christians or another group. Sound reason and education should be able to keep these ideas in check!

Signs of Ignorance


It must be a shock for a Christian to read this, you have lived life as an elitist, and yet the reality is that you have gotten as far as you have by avoiding reason! Many skeptics see this, and this is why we avoid those of you that display your signs of ignorance like the fish symbol, bumper stickers, etc.. Yes it is annoying for the rest of us, but we are grateful that you have given us a clue to how your mind operates, so that we can avoid your businesses. This is a sample of what I mean when I speak about denying Christian’s egalitarian status! I could not imagine going to a “Christian lawyer”. You must question the competency of anyone holding a position of public trust if they cannot operate without consulting their invisible friend before they make decisions. Do you want these people making important decisions when so much is at stake?

Christian’s aren’t my enemy, but Christianity is a foe! The reason that Christian’s should be denied egalitarian status is that acceptance of their ideology is detrimental to the remainder of us that live under the domain of sound reason! Christianity is a very seductive trap for under developed minds. When reason isn’t allowed access into the human mind, failure often becomes the teacher. We are living in difficult times, and I see dark clouds approaching over the horizon. Jesus isn’t going to save anybody from his or her problems. You need to break free from this “sucker trap”.

Who Do You Listen to?

You might dislike what I say, but I have never forgotten that I was once a Christian! Often, society esteems the wrong people. Frequently people look at a person that might be “attractive” and will believe most anything that they have to say because they “look good”. Some of the brightest people with something of value to say might not look good but their minds are beautiful, and their hearts are pure! These are the types of people that we should be listening to, not some suave polished mental midget that stands in the pulpit on Sunday mornings!

Delusion, and Evasion: Getting Back to a Moment of Truth

In closing, I know that I have been very tough on Christianity. I strongly feel that those who still want to practice their religion should be able to do so. But when you make it public, beware of people ridiculing your stupidity! If Christians kept their silly beliefs to themselves, the voice of reason wouldn’t need to roar as often or as loudly! There is a difference between Christian bashing and using sound reason. Personally, I prefer to isolate someone and talk to Christians as a friend. I feel it is best to get their permission to discuss things, instead of initiating a public confrontation or forcing the issue. With this said, often when a calm yet civil discussion is in process Christians revert to delusion and evasion of logic and truth. In moments like these, don’t expect us to back down or allow you to violate logic and truth. This is where direct confrontation is necessary and we should name your game! Naming your game is different than calling you names! You are not dealing with sheep like minds anymore. The things that work with them, don’t work with us!

This is perhaps my most controversial article ever! So please forward it to any thinking Christian that you know! Society certainly could use the potential contributions that Christians could make if they were not so caught up in the “sucker trap”!


Brian Worley
Exminister.org
April 24, 2008
All rights reserved.

50 comments:

Stephen_Richard_Webb said...

My father's a north eastern fundamental baptist and we often get into heated arguments when I bring up the apparent inequality in his congregation. I'm not a Christian, and am pro-equality - while he is Christian and only claims to be pro-equality. One major issue that I point out is rooted in his churches practice of not allowing woman to preach OR teach. I continue to point out that his church ALSO supports a doctrine called "The priesthood of the believer" which states that each and every believer is endowed with "priesthood" and thus the ability to preach and teach. The Believers Priesthood is an essential evangelical doctrine because without it, the missionary field would be crippled. However, since the evangelical baptists do not allow their woman to teach or preach in the chruch [or hold any authority really], there seems to be a definate contradiction somewhere in the mix of things. It appears as though the evangelicals pick and choose [as they do with sooooo many other things in doctrine] what to follow - I think that woman have the same capicity to believe as men, and therefore teach or preach as men do...there really is no church equality at all...its all an illusion...

Rich said...

Brian, you write:
I am not claiming that atheism is the answer either, first of all atheism doesn’t tell you how to live your life. Think of atheism as an illuminated road sign that warns you not to fall into that big “sucker trap” of religion!
--end of quote--

But nowhere in your article do you mention secular Humanism. This philosophy most assuredly tells us how to live our lives. It is safe to say that most atheists subscribe to secular Humanism. The most prominent advocate is Paul Kurtz and his organization Center for Free Inquiry (CFI). In recent years, there has been a phenomenal growth internationally of the CFI.

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/

godsfavoritecolor said...

I enjoyed your post and agree with your arguments. However, there is one phrase in it that makes me cringe, “religious atheist.” The term religious may serve as a legitimate adjective for atheist, but the connotations are terrible.

Atheism is certainly not a religion, but that will not prevent religionists from seizing upon the term “religious atheist” and saying,

“See, I told you. Atheism is a religion. Even the atheists admit it.”

The charge that atheism is just another religion is thrown at me every time I argue with a religionist about religion vis a vis atheism. Let’s not provide them with the ammunition to shoot us with.

So, please, if you re-publish this article change the phrase “religious atheist” to something maybe like “dedicated atheist” or “committed atheist” or something, anything!

muttmutt said...

"religious atheist" sounds like youre still a minister. Theres a lot of people on here still trying to convert others to christianity. I keep an eye out for those people. Perhaps you are not trying to preach, but lightening up on christians is the worst thing to do. They want total control of every aspect of our lives. If you are as I presume you to be, you remind me of a Jew for Jesus or a Christo pagan, both of which I have no tolerance for. How can you be tolerant of people that have none for others that do not believe as they do? Respect is earned, not given freely.

Joann said...

I'm not an ex-Christian yet, and I don't know if I ever will be, but I am struggling with my Christian faith. I'm afraid to leave because I've been conditioned to believe that I'll go to Hell if I do. However, I've also been conditioned to believe that thinking for oneself is bad, therefore keep your mouth shut if you disagree with another Christian's viewpoint unless you want to be ignored, interrupted, talked over as if you're not even there, called a naysayer or a heretic, or maybe you're a lukewarm Christian with very little faith, or you're simply not a Christian at all. So, I guess the point I'm trying to make is this: If you're a devout Christian who loves Jesus with all your heart, mind, and strenghth, and you are determined to keep the faith no matter what, be prepared to conform and be like everybody else. Those like me who dare to think for themselves and have their own viewpoints are apparently not welcome. Also, I've noticed recently that fundamentalist Christians apparently don't care about the environment, because they drive around in their huge, gas-guzzling Hummers, SUV's, and pick-up trucks, which pollute the air, they're anti-Humanitarian, and they don't seem to support any efforts to clean up our environment. They also seem to like having a lot of babies. Whatever happened to that Bible verse in the Book of Genesis, where God instructed Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and take care of the Earth?" Funny, isn't it? These Christians tell us that it's wrong for us to pick and choose what we like out of the Bible, and yet, they're doing the same thing! I guess caring about the environment is wrong, too.

ryan said...

xristian bashing is nothing new. Among my favorite bashers are Thomas Paine; Thomas Jefferson; Robert Ingersoll; Fredrich Nietzsche, and Ayn Rand.

I do not deal in gratuitous insult. When I deal with a xristian, I do not tell him/her to get fucked. However, when they start to unload their hillcountry theology, they make themselves fair game. How much respect do they deserve when they tell you that you're going to hell without jesus? Yes, that is a rhetorical question.

I support bashing if it keeps them in their place. If our response is disrespect and laughter, they will be less eager to preach.

I have met the occasional xristian who is actually capable of rational argument. I'm willing if he is. But he can put away his bible stories or all bets are off.

boomSLANG said...

I Don’t Care for Christian Bashing

Good grief, this subject has been cropping up a lot by non-believers lately. Honestly, the subject is tired.

Okay, if you don't like Christian bashing?...then the solution is at your immediate disposal: Don't do it. 'That simple---yes, 'that simple.

Frankly, I just left the "one-size-fits-all" mentality, so whenever non-believers, former ministers, agnostics, "soft" Atheists, or what-have-you, come along and tell me how to handle believers, they are implicitly, if not explicitly, reminding me of one of the things that I despise about Christianity....i.e..telling other people how to act, and using their worldview as the "authority".

For those who can't seem to remember, "Atheism" means one thing---I don't have a belief in "God"/gods. The end. Aside from that, people are people are people.

Yes, some non-believers come out swinging and make it a point to get personal, that is, before giving the benefit of the doubt. Well, in a couple of words....tough shit. Again, "Atheism" is lack of belief in deities---it doesn't now, and it never will, claim to be a "trend-setter" for outstanding diplomacy skills. In other words, human behavior has zero relevance to whether "Gods" exist, or not.

There is something much deeper under the surface that skeptics need to start discussing.

In the wake of what I just said--please stop telling me what I "need" to do.

As a religious atheist, I am a proponent of fighting fairly with competing ideologies.

While I support your right to label yourself exactly as you please, I have to echo Ryan on this one, and say that calling yourself a "religious Atheist" is misleading, and in the context of religion itself, it is essentially an oxymoron.

Additionally, if it is your mission to dispell the Christian religion as "myth", by calling yourself a "religious Atheist", you are giving Christians ammo' which they will inevitably try to use against you, as if - even if Atheism were a "religion" - that that would some how bolster their position, and/or, lend credence to the existence of their biblegod. But we know that mentality, don't we?

Brian Worley said...

Hey everybody,

The article by Dan Barker is named Dear Believer.....my mistake! Everyone should read it!

Stephen,

I think that you are deviating a little from the subject here. Your father does have chapter and verse bible rights to his claim. I Cor. 14:34 says "women keep silence" in context this refers to WOMEN NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK IN TONGUES. Some may apply this to teaching...whatever! I Tim 3:2 says "husband of one wife" and it isn't possible for a woman to be a "minister" because scripture doesn't allow it(this is what the Bible says). The OT priesthood was only for men, not women!

There shouldn't be any heated debates between you about this point. He uses HIS reason which is from the Bible.....you need to properly show him the problems of HIS Bible. Yes, the Bible is denegrating to women which is another subject!

Brian Worley said...

Rich,

I think Paul Kurtz is a brilliant man. I believe that he has something important to say. But I don't like the idea of telling people how to live their lives. From what I have read from him, it is written as advice or wisdom. This is the way that it should be in my eyes.

Brian Worley said...

For all against "religious atheist"

I wrote an article last fall named, "Whar are you? Agnostic or Atheist?". You can read it if you like BEFORE you attack the concept. Basically, there is a rather large communication break down between skeptics and theists. I think reason is much stronger than faith's dogma. We should easily be winning, and at a much greater pace than what we are currently achieving now.

I have already begun to write a sequel to the "What Are You" article. I strongly disagree with some of the ways that skeptics and theist interact when in discussions or debate. How anybody (muttmutt) could read what I have written and think that I am some type of "closeted believer" is mind boggling to say the least. Either I question their reading comprehension or they haven't read what I have written. Yes, some people disagree with me...this is healthy and OK......I don't claim to be the pied piper. But LET US STICK TO THE SUBJECT EXPRESSED HERE!!!! We can re-visit this later and you guys can take your shots at me on the proper stage in the near future. Fair enough? LET'S DISCUSS THE EGALITARIAN MYTH and other points of this article for now.
Thank you!

boomSLANG said...

I wrote an article last fall named, "[What] are you? Agnostic or Atheist?"

Yes, it seems vaguely familiar. Without navigating there(in order to refresh my memory), I'm thinking that I might've made the distinction that "Atheism" deals with "belief"(specifically, lack of), and "Agnosticism" deals with knowledge(also, lack of).

If I didn't interject that distiction then, I will do it now, nonetheless. Okay, here we go....

"Atheism" deals with "belief"; "Agnosticism" deals with knowledge. In other words, it is quite possible to be an "Agnostic Atheist", which, that is the case with myself. It simply means that while I cannot know with absolute certainty whether an invisible, disembodied consciousness exists, or not(nobody can)...I can, however, lack belief that such a thing does exist. 'Fair enough? Frickin' awesome!

Rich said...

Brian,
I do not get your criticism. Why shouldn't Paul Kurtz offer advice? It certainly is better advice than you'll get down at your local Christian church or from a mystic, or an Indian Guru. The world is full of advice givers, Dr Laura, Dr. Phil, and so on. Just because advice is on offer no one is holding a gun to your head. Except possibly the Christians who are full of blandishments no one can possibly deliver on. Eternal life, anyone? Pray for the sick?

You need to do some splainin, mister. You did not touch my point that atheists mostly support Humanism (except the rabid atheists who think Humanists are all a bunch of wimps).

Telmi said...

Brian,

I agree with boomSLANG. If you don't care for Christian bashing, then stop doing it. I have read several posts of yours and I can recall a common theme in them - Christian bashing!

I don't understand these statements you made:

"I think that a majority of Christians today are living now as dead men! They gave their lives to Jesus and they have since ceased to live the only life that they will ever have the opportunity to live!"

If these Christians are living true to their faith, by believing implicitly in Jesus' teachings, are they not doing the right thing?

" I do not wish to denigrate those who practice true religion (James 1:27"

Would you please explain who are those who practice the true religion? Also, please explain what this true religion is?

"I remained there for 23 years until the light of reason showed me the way out! I am not claiming that atheism is the answer either, first of all atheism doesn̢۪t tell you how to live your life" -

Have you forgotten the meaning of atheism? Of course, it doesn't tell you how to live your life. But I am sure you will agree there are atheists who think/argue rationally, and that itself is a pro for living one's life here on Earth.

Brian Worley said...

A 6 foot tall healthy man can drown in the waters of a kiddie swimming pool......IF THEY WANT TO!

Select Atheists can make an arguement and keep it alive by not listening to what someone else says......IF THEY WANT TO!!

Rich can take what normal people would view as a nice compliment to Paul Kurtz and turn it into criticism......IF HE WANTS TO!!!

If you don't like my articles then you don't have to read them. I think that those who have graduated from "Reason 101" can understand some simple comments that I have made Telmi, and not ask for further explanation.

Boomslang, can you give it a rest?

To ALL:
Can we discuss the good for nothing type of Christianity and the egalitarian myth?.....or shall we allow certain people to pirate this time and space and ruin an opportunity to discuss a fresh topic that is worthy of greater discussion?

Brian Worley said...

Joann,

Have you read Dan Barker's "Dear Believer"? Dan allowed me to post it at exminister (if you need to know where to find it). Can you tell me what you think of it? I applaud your desire to think for yourself. I am encouraging you to take it further! Often, people try to get someone else to change their way of living. They feel that they need to control another and if they are denied this desire they will "act up". I know I am not saying anything new with this, but do we really need the approval of some people? Personally, I care about what solid, reasonable and loving people think....the rest can fend for themselves.

Rich said...

Brian,
I stand corrected. I returned to your comment and I see you were not saying anything negative about Paul. But there was a qualifier in the middle of your post that I apparently seized on.

"But I don't like the idea of telling people how to live their lives."

You were trying to express unrelated ideas in one paragraph without making it clear you were comparing and contrasting opposing ideas, a perfectly legitimate exposition technique. The difficulty is the ideas in your paragraph are contradictory, and so they needed more explication.

Or a more careful reader.

Brian Worley said...

Rich,

Thank you, I respect your correction. Meanwhile, I will try to communicate more clearly.

In my university years, people like Jerry Falwell came to lecture and inspire us. Back then, his visits were "big events", I heard him 2-3 times. Falwell didn't like secular humanists. This got me looking into the subject prior to the days we had the wonderful internet that would have made this task easier. Eventually I found Kurtz "Humanist Manifesto" and read it. I don't know how much credit I will give him, but he deserves an "assist" in my departure from Christianity. My point is that reason is what I would identify as my teacher and what I am most loyal to.

boomSLANG said...

Worley...Boomslang, can you give it a rest?

Sure I "can"...but frankly, I fail to see why I should. You are the one frequently posting articles here, and even encouraging feedback. Further, it is my observation that you are also one, who, if you should see the fallacy of a Christian's argument, have no qualms about offering your opinion, corrections, etc.

That said, if I, an non-theist, can correct a fallacy of a fellow non-theist's argument, it seems to me that that is something that you would encourage... that is, unless you feel I'm wrong, then of course, by all means, challenge it back. But tell me to be quiet?

In any event, I'd like to further point out that you are also the one who recently said, "Yes, some people disagree with me...this is healthy and OK".

And for the record, I don't altogether disagree with your views; we're both exchristians--- that's the common denominator. Notwithstanding, I reserve the right to challenge anything on this blog, as do you. If you only desire to read responses that agree with your views, or, if you don't want the discussion to deviate from your chosen topic, then maybe you should preface your articles with a disclaimer of some sort.(not that every person would honor it)

Best regards, and good afternoon.

Boom'

Brian Worley said...

Boom,

I mention my position, a religious atheist and you and a few others go bonkers. We debated it back then, I think that I had a very strong point and evidentially you thought your point was strong as well. I said that I would do a sequel in the near future and THEN we can have an entertaining debate about it. You will have your chance to put me down then (WHEN IT IS THE MAIN TOPIC).

But there is a time and place to deal with things. This article is about the egalitarian myth and frankly your "lack of belief posse" have not contributed ANYTHING to this subject. I think that it is rude to ignore the main thesis and trump your favorite topic. Is the egalitarian concept over your heads?

ryan said...

Worley, why don't YOU give it a rest? You seem to be really miffed because we do not want to discuss "egalitarian concepts" or "egalitarian myths". I do not speak for the others, but my response was to the only thing in your post that was even remotely interesting.

Your post is long, repetitious, and blows more hot gas than an F-16.

You stated that we are "pirating time and space". No we are not. We belong here as well as you. You are upset because we fail to take you seriously.

And as for " a topic worthy of discussion", why don't you suggest one?

boomSLANG said...

Worley...Boom, I mention my position, a religious atheist and you and a few others go bonkers.

Good grief. Okay, here I am, going "bonkers":

Originally to Brian Worely:

While I support your right to label yourself exactly as you please, I have to echo Ryan on this one, and say that calling yourself a "religious Atheist" is misleading, and in the context of religion itself, it is essentially an oxymoron.[bold added]

If you call that going "bonkers", then I'd say you're being mellow-dramatic.

Worley...I said that I would do a sequel in the near future and THEN we can have an entertaining debate about it. You will have your chance to put me down then (WHEN IT IS THE MAIN TOPIC).

For some mysterious reason, you're evidently not getting one of the small criticisms I have have of your words, however constructive I try to make it. You see, you don't get to determine when a subject becomes "debate", or not. Okay? Post all the articles you want. If they contain what I believe are fallacious arguments, and/or, misleading information, then I'll chime in, and I'll do it when I please.

You know, time and time again, I encourage people to correct me if I misspeak, or write something questionable. Lard knows, I don't want to sit here and forever defend my errors. I would think you'd feel the same, but perhaps I'm wrong. In any event, I guess we'll find out soon how many want to discuss the "egalitarian myth".

mtbdude1 said...

"If you don't like my articles then you don't have to read them."

Bryan,

If you don't like people reading your articles and commenting them, then you don't have to post them.

I thought you made some good points, and others brought out some valid points of their own. It sounded like dialogue, as opposed to the dogma we all have escaped. But it seems like you still have some appreciation for the latter.

Chill, my friend.

Steve

godsfavoritecolor said...

Brian,
You seem to be having some problems with the comments you are getting about your article. Maybe I can be of assistance.

First, some clarification. Who is the intended audience of your article and what kind of comments are you looking for?

From your last paragraph it appears that “any thinking Christian “ is your intended audience. Is that the case, or is there a different or additional audience?

Are you looking for constructive criticism of your article. If you are, you have received some. Constructive criticism is not always positive. Mine was superficial and so were others, but if you wish I can comment in more depth on your article. However, I am only one person with my own set of opinions and prejudices.

If constructive criticism is not what you are looking for, then what? I will wait to give my analysis until you clarify what you are looking for.

AtheistToothFairy said...

godsfavoritecolor said to Brian,
First, some clarification. Who is the intended audience of your article and what kind of comments are you looking for?
-----
Brian,

I've read your post at least twice since it first appeared and frankly I have to agree with GFC here, in that I couldn't figure out what you were really looking for, and from whom.
What you wrote, seems to ME I guess, more like a 'political' speech of sorts, rather than an article seeking some brainstorming ideas from us.

Don't get me wrong, you posit some good thoughts in your article but it's not really clear what you were expecting back, okay?


ATF (Who thought he was the only confused one, till now)

Dave8 said...

I have found articles that are ambiguous to hold significant risk to a respondent; because, a respondent must inherently make assumptions to even engage an article.

Ambiguity is the elixir of life for Christianity, it is what keeps it alive, and has up to this point in history.

When ambiguity dissolves, so do the emperor's clothes.

The ambiguity that readily jumps out to me, in this particular article...

-"The Good for Nothing Type of Christianity."
**Literal statement inherently suggests there are Good for Something Types of Christianity.

-"And the Egalitarian Myth."
**Literal statement inherently suggests that only the Good for Nothing Types of Christianity hold to a pseudo-egalitarianism; presumably, the Good Types of Christianity are more egalitarian in their traditions and customs.

-"We need to be polite and not lose our humanity while destroying the Christian myth."
**Literal statement inherently suggests a plea to other fellow myth busters; that there really isn't a Good for Something type of Christianity... unless doting on myth to advance a society is a valid method for accomplishing such an endeavor.

Ambiguity turned me away from Christianity, as ambiguity prevents a single "context" discussion and any potential for finding a concrete topical answer.

The ambiguity that is constantly "fertilized" by apologists, etc., is not limited to just religious texts, etc.

Reason, is the tool to undo ambiguity, and those using reason, should have little ambiguity in their presentations.

When I hear the term "religious atheist", I sense ambiguity as well.

When a statement can be interpreted in "multiple" contexts, then it is ambiguous.

Is religious atheist a metaphor, simile, etc? If so, why couldn't someone preface their religious atheism with "Metaphorically speaking... I'm a religious atheist". More clearly, "I'm a convicted atheist", as the term religious speaks to conviction, not spiritual affiliation, ritualistic practice, etc.

I suppose what many expect, as they continue to move away from Christianity, is a continual release from ambiguity - no matter what point of view is presented, or... what label one may choose to express their point of view.

And, although my own statements should not be construed as authoritative in nature, perhaps descriptive... they are lucid. Ambiguity is the fuel of miscommunication; and antithetical to those seeking a meaningful conversation .

Brian Worley said...

ATF, & TO ALL

ATF, I have respect for your comments. My intended audience is the exchristian crowd, who else desires to reach back into the Christian world with reason? For those who can attain the ear of thinking Christians BECAUSE they know how to talk with people (because they talk with them like people and not because they are angry under the surface and are impatient with the pace of some Christian’s understanding what for them is a "foreign" or difficult concept to grasp at the time. Several people like myself are turned off by these crude, trash talking types on ex-c. To these crude mad men who don’t like my taking a shot at their lack of diplomacy I say….you can kiss my ass! They don’t like the criticism, since they know my style and that I will touch upon this subject when I feel it is needed…TO THEM I say….if you don’t like my writing then don’t read it! Yes, they may know the deconversion arguments, but it is difficult for Christians to listen to them because they are so caustic. There are those of us who don't like this crowd on ex-c. Boom's reply to this was "tough shit".

BOOM
Yes, some non-believers come out swinging and make it a point to get personal, that is, before giving the benefit of the doubt. Well, in a couple of words....tough shit. Again, "Atheism" is lack of belief in deities---it doesn't now, and it never will, claim to be a "trend-setter" for outstanding diplomacy skills. In other words, human behavior has zero relevance to whether "Gods" exist, or not.

Yes, I took a shot at this type of moronic activity.......where are the rest of the ex-c crowd? Has the "cat got your tongues" or has this become a place where this is the norm and renegade behavior is the norm?

So the intended audience is both us de-converted souls and thinking Christians. I admit, this whole subject wasn't so easy to write about. But I think that it needed to be said with the message contained within. This crude crowd needs to separate their anger for me scolding them and the main thesis of this article. It is that plain, these guys refuse to see this!

The message is the RETREAT from the world by Christians. Many Christians are of NO earthly good and since they take up a rather large part of the population this retreat is strongly contributing to the decline of our society!!!

I contrast their elitism and show it for what it is. Their position (Christians) deserve no respect except for those who truly practice their beliefs (when they do...the world is a better place for this).

I am a big boy, I do not mind criticism AT ALL if it is from someone that has character, compassion....since I think that this (compassion) from the "crude tough shit" crowd is lacking THEIR criticism doesn't carry that much weight with me. I am prone like anybody else to make errors in analysis or in reasoning, those criticisms are healthy and I have learned much from them. Part of the reason I post here at ex-c is for that very reason of constructive criticism (. I could add comments to my exminister, but I frankly like the idea that of ex-c being the "center of the exchristian universe".

Another reason I write and this post is that I feel that I have something to say. This I get honestly, I used to be able to say these things or messages to the church congregation.

I do not like bullies and I fight for things that I believe in. The “fight or flight” response is natural and I realise that others will run away (flight) from any conflict. It is at this point that I feel that this crude crowd is SO VERY dangerous because many people don’t want to venture into a combative zone. Maybe they come and listen and tune out this negativity, but maybe not! Maybe they get turned off and stay away from arenas like this. This is an indirect way that the voice of reason doesn’t get heard. I think that others who care should get vocal and put this crude crowd in their rightful places. Speak up and speak out!

Furthermore, I think that it is rude to take any main thesis from any contributing writer and turn it into your own personal favorite “pet subject”. In this case it is the definition of atheism. Yes, sometimes we deviate from the main thesis because it is natural, but I do not care for this when it is by force.

About this egalitarian article, I could say several other comments about Christians wasting their lives and etc., but I have already said these things in the article. If it is boring then I can accept this. But when the criticism is from those who are lacking in the humanitarian skills, I just think that those expressing the boring criticism just exposes their shallowness.

I am making some personal evaluations here about the people that read what it is that I have to say when I post here. I can accept it if the reality is that this is a crude crowd…if so my attitude changes and I will adjust. Who wants to identify with this crowd?

riley_jensen said...

Reading this brought to mind the "grand scheme". Religion is truly supported by the rich and powerful (while they are closet athiests) because they can wreak havoc, do what they want, set back and count their money, while the masses use faith of a better government in religion someday. Religion then perpetuates more wrong doing through the excuse of sin. Believers are so dupped. They don't realize how dupped they are that is silly. Their imaginary friend keeps them from killing the rich and powerful. They are leashed like a pitbull with a muzzle. The powerful are sitting back laughing, sipping margharitas, while worrying about us pesky athiests who can think for ourselves. Again, the powerful like most to be irrational because they would be found out, while they want the religious to police up us athiests. "The Government does sincerely find religion useful."

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

I must say, I find it remarkable how this whole hoopla had started with a few criticisms of the original article, and now the author seemingly seeks to turn it into a cyber witch-hunt. This is very telling, especially when we consider which group of people were notorious for weeding-out people who opposed their views, labeling them as witches, and dealing with them accordingly.

Anyway, here we go...

Worley...Several people like myself are turned off by these crude, trash talking types on ex-c. To these crude mad men who don’t like my taking a shot at their lack of diplomacy...[Edit]

Again, this is small, but allow me to point out that three bloggers who preceded me, also took issue with some things said in the original article. One such issue was over the term, "religious Atheist".

Okay, to review, here again, is my original comment regarding that subject:

Me, to Brian Worley:

While I support your right to label yourself exactly as you please, I have to echo Ryan on this one, and say that calling yourself a "religious Atheist" is misleading, and in the context of religion itself, it is essentially an oxymoron.[bold added]

One correction--it was "godsfavoritecolor" who I was echoing, not "Ryan".

In any event, if the above-quoted response lacked "diplomacy", I'm eager to know how, as to avoid being undiplomatic, or going "bonkers", in the future.

Brain Worley(to the "crude mad men" who don’t like his taking a shot at their "lack of diplomacy")...I say….you can kiss my ass!

'Got it. Okay, evidently, being "crude" is not beneath you. In other words, you can justify, per your own anger and frustration, when it's "appropriate" to hurl a crude comment, yet, others need to squelch their own anger and frustration, for fear of offending Brian Worley, and/or, any visting Christian. This all speaks for itself, IMO...but I'll continue on...

Worley...They don’t like the criticism, since they know my style and that I will touch upon this subject when I feel it is needed…

NO. Speaking only for myself, I never said I "don't like" criticism. In fact, here's what I said previously, regarding that very subject:

You know, time and time again, I encourage people to correct me if I misspeak, or write something questionable. Lard knows, I don't want to sit here and forever defend my errors. I would think [Brian] you'd feel the same, but perhaps I'm wrong.

And yes, I'm evidently wrong. It is plain to see, at least to me, that you cannot handle criticism of your words, no matter how constructive.

Worley...TO THEM I say….if you don’t like my writing then don’t read it!

Honestly, why the "black and white" mentality? A few people took issue with a few statements within your writings. That's the extent of it, yet, you evidently see it as much more, and in turn, have gone into a full-blown tweak. By the above comment, it seems that you are prepared to let any potential readers miss out on what you say, for fear that they might take issue with one or two things. My initial impression of that, is that it doesn't seem entirely fair to yourself, as a writer. It's like you are putting your ego above your message.

Worley...There are those of us who don't like this crowd on ex-c. Boom's reply to this was "tough shit".

Yes, that's correct. To be clear, "tough shit" is metaphorical for "I don't care".

Here it is in context:

Yes, some non-believers come out swinging and make it a point to get personal, that is, before giving the benefit of the doubt. Well, in a couple of words....tough shit. Again, "Atheism" is lack of belief in deities---it doesn't now, and it never will, claim to be a "trend-setter" for outstanding diplomacy skills. In other words, human behavior has zero relevance to whether "Gods" exist, or not.[bold added]

Now, Mr. you-guys-can "kiss my ass", would you like to focus on why I don't care?....or would you like to circumvent the issue at hand(again), and harp on the fact that I used a "crude" word?

Worley...... has this become a place where this is the norm and renegade behavior is the norm?

To my understanding, first and foremost, this is "a place" to support exchristans. Again, the common denominator is those who left the Christian faith. Nowhere in the site purpose/disclaimer does it say that exchristians must disagree with Christians the same way. Further, nowhere is there an Atheist "mandate" that seeks to instruct all Atheists how to act when dealing with Christians. No, it is you who is "recommending" what everyone "needs"(see below) to do.

Worley...This crude crowd needs to separate their anger for me scolding them and the main thesis of this article. It is that plain, these guys refuse to see this![bold added]

Look, "scold" me all you like---until you stop telling people what they "need" to do, and instead, do it in a way that suggests, I will not "give it a rest", which of course, said statement is you, essentially telling me to be quiet.

Worley...I am a big boy, I do not mind criticism AT ALL if it is from someone [who] has character, compassion....since I think that this (compassion) from the "crude tough shit" crowd is lacking THEIR criticism doesn't carry that much weight with me.

I don't mind criticism, either. Admittedly, I prefer it to come from the "crowd" who can back it with sound reasoning, although, I also accept it from the "kiss my ass" crowd. Speaking of.... I STILL haven't seen anything that resembles a relevant counter to my, or anyone elses, initial criticisms.

'Nevermind, though...the writing's on the wall.

Brian Worley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Worley said...

GTF,
You asked me what I was looking/hoping people would comment on. There is a lot of “meat” on this “egalitarian myth bone”. Here are some thoughts that would be interesting to talk about!

1. The Christian retreat from society…in some ways this is great….notice what Jesus said about it.
2. I admit to falling for a “sucker trap”, sure would like to hear what many of you feel in retrospect about your experience.
3. From “signs of ignorance”…For example while living in the US, I would notice scripture references from places like: In & Out Burger and Chick Fil-A on the paper cups….how do you feel about it? Does it make you not want to patronize them?
4. Do you feel this world is egalitarian? Should Christian’s be considered as equals?
5. Should Christian’s be voted for since they are lacking in reasoning skills? This would be from a school board, local government, from a judge to any top political leader?
6. I know how much “crude” people respect individual Christians, what about people who get along with others feel about this?

Brian Worley said...

GFC & ATF,

This was meant as a challenge to thinking Christians. I suppose many of us ex-c have read Franky, Edith & Francis Schaeffer. They wrote about Christian's retreat from society. I could use some help with community projects here in Latvia. After Matt 5:13 and Jesus pronouncement about this as good for nothing, I am simply agreeing with Jesus and using a real life experience to illustrate this.

Now, I personally know of some fundamentalists who actually do some humanitarian good in society. These guys don't rub Jesus in their faces either! I don't care for these guys POSITION of Christianity, but HOW can decent people TRASH them as a person?

I sincerely respect people who give of themselves to others and worthy causes. I wrote about Tony Dungy's dilemma a few months ago, I don't care for his Christianity, but he gets involved in his community and that is respectable! But the majority of Christian's in their elitism status do nothing!

AtheistToothFairy said...

Brian Worley asked for answers:

Okay Brian, I'll answer a couple of these.

3. From “signs of ignorance”…For example while living in the US, I would notice scripture references from places like: In & Out Burger and Chick Fil-A on the paper cups….how do you feel about it? Does it make you not want to patronize them?

I don't really see this type of biblical outpouring from the retail industry, in my area of the country. However, if such a business were to ever arise, you can bet your bottom dollar that I would totally avoid patronizing such establishments !!

I'm told in the southern US, that christianity has even infiltrated the non-retail businesses. I would be very much against ANY religious beliefs being brought into the workplace of a non-religious organization.

Hope that answered that question?

Next...

5. Should Christian’s be voted for since they are lacking in reasoning skills? This would be from a school board, local government, from a judge to any top political leader?

In general I would sway my vote away from such xtian leaders, that is, if there was a choice in the matter; which most times there is not.

I think it would also depend on how strong such a leader's god beliefs were.
If their idea of being a xtian is seeing god, as a sort of spare-tire-god, then I would wouldn't have too much heartburn voting for that person.

On the other hand, a leader who....

1. Dismisses evolution as bad science

2. Believes the universe/earth was created in 6 days

3. Believes we need not spend much time tending to our future, as jesus is coming back soon to save the xtians

4. Believes praying to god will result in getting solutions, within the scope of their job.

5. See's no reason to invest money in the sciences; including medical research, astronomy, and even the exploration of space---not for just curiosity purposes, but for it's resources and eventual human habitation. (Yeah, I'm big on science and progress...LOL)

Such a potential leader who fits all of these descriptions would never get ATF's vote !!

I often wonder why we can't seem to find leaders today, that actually have brains that know how to "reason"; versus leaders who merely learned how to do the PR-Dance-Steps well, which sadly seems to impress the majority of the voters.


ATF (Who also wouldn't vote for a leader who gets their answers from astrology, ghosts, tarot cards, magic-8-balls, or tea leaves etc..)

Rich said...

No matter how generous or how self sacrificing such Christians are, I can never erase the doubt in the back of my mind that their motive is self-aggrandizement. I see them as having a deep psychological need for approval from their pious co-believers. They operate under the self deception that they can be Christ-like. What power, just humble yourself, wash some feet and you can be like Christ!

I cannot respect this. In the Philippines some Catholics flay themselves and actually suffer crucifixion, in an effort to become like Jesus. Religion is unhealthy for the mind.

Brian Worley said...

This will have to do until I can finish my follow up article to What Are You?

I find it amazing that people like Dave8 and Boomslang group all people who lack belief in gods as atheists. This fallacy would have to include my 1 year old daughter or any other baby as an atheist. This fallacy would also include those who cannot reason due to mental defects, and those who can reason but have never been presented the concept of god. Now, none of the above proclaim that they lack belief in gods, yet Dave8and Boom’s position defaults to these people being atheists. What is Dave and Booms definition of an agnostic?

Speaking of being ambiguous, here is Dave 8 in our dialogue during last fall. Notice how he would define being agnostic.

THIS IS FROM the NOV. 2007 archives, the article is WHAT ARE YOU?

Obviously, there are multiple domains/contexts that can be entertained when discussing theism, agnosticism, and atheism; logical, social, cultural, psychological, etc.

Regarding, the logical/epistemological domain.

If a person doesn't accept a theological first principle to establish the existence of a God(s)... they fall under the atheism category. Agnostics fall within the category of atheism, because they don't affirm a theological first principle to establish the existence of a God/s.

However, they do presuppose a theological first principle, and cite human limitations in the area of knowledge, as being the key stumbling block to ever elevate the presuppositional theological first principle, to an established theological first principle that affirms the existence of God/s.

As a naturalist that falls under atheism I don't entertain a theological presupposition, to establish my position. My position is established independently of theological assumptions. The primary first principles I hold, don't necessitate the need to establish a theological first principle.

I'd also like to note; that agnostics can differ in their practice. While it may be true, that an agnostic is an atheist in terms of the logical domain/context, I have known agnostics to practice social or cultural theism.
End of Dave8’s quote.

This is clear as mud, isn’t it? . Let’s make it simple, theist believe in at least one god, atheists don’t. and the agnostic isn’t sure about it. Ryan, ask Dave8 to refuel that F-16 you mention.

My religious atheist position steps forth and rejects all religion, creeds and faith, nothing ambiguous about this! I am against and have no belief in any of the gods from ANY so called religious books, gurus or whatever. Since a theist and atheist cannot prove that god exists or doesn’t exist, I won’t try to answer this unanswerable question. Christians use the definition of almost or maybe all major dictionaries that atheism means there is NO god. The lack of belief atheist crowd will only be talking to themselves about how great their definition is. They have many members on their membership list that don’t even know that they are members. This is brilliant!

When you cannot prove something, you try to answer a question by formulating a theory. Theism and atheism are theories about the existence of god. Theories are BELIEFS. Christianity is a belief system and atheism is a belief system. When you believe one of these two systems, you are accepting it on faith. If you don’t like me saying this dear atheist, then step forward with PROOF that god does not exist! Until then Dave and Boom are members if the church of atheism by faith. Exminister doesn’t give a damn about faith in atheism!

.:webmaster:. said...

For all intents and purposes, babies are atheists. Babies lack a belief in a god.

It's quite simple, really, either someone is a theist with a belief in a god or one is an atheist with a lack of belief in a god.

For my definition of agnostic, see Wikipedia's definition.

.:webmaster:. said...

I would also take sharp issue with you that theism and atheism are both belief systems. Lacking a belief in god is not quite the same as categorically saying "THERE IS NO GOD!" I'm sure you see the difference.

Theism is possessing a belief in a god or gods. Atheism is lacking said beliefs. That's all there is to it.

You might want to brush up on the meaning of agnosticism. It is certainly NOT descriptive of someone on the fence between the two positions

Brian Worley said...

Webmaster,

Yes, babies lack belief in gods but they don't proclaim this! If you want, I can ask my daughter about this?....I am certain she will answer da da though.

Didn't you like Dave8's clear definitions? Does Dave8 need a mouthpiece? Embarrassing for those holding a "lack of belief definition" isn't it?

Yes, Wikipedia is in your corner, but what about the rest of the world? Is wikipedia speaking ex cathedra?

You can take sharp issue all you want. But where is your proof that god doesn't exist? I missed that press clipping!

Webmaster:
Lacking a belief in god is not quite the same as categorically saying "THERE IS NO GOD!" I'm sure you see the difference.

end of quote

Yes, but I am an atheist. To reach this same conclusion I have to use YOUR definition which IS NOT IN MOST or the MAJORITY of dictionaries. One of the things that I will mention in my follow up article is that you have to take a unified, clear definition to all who are producing dictionaries. Until this happens, the common usage definition stands.

An agnostic isn't certain if a god exists or not. Some dictionaries define it is impossible to know. This has at least 2 definitions depending on who you are speaking with.

The big question is who are we talking to? Currently, we appear to be at the "tower of babble" because the language has been so scrambled! I would join the "lack of belief side if the following criteria was satisfied: 1) unified definition.....well the rest is in a future post!

.:webmaster:. said...

Brain,

Regardless of your irrational emotionalism over this issue, I'm afraid you are mistaken.

"Basic atheism is not a belief. It is the lack of belief. There is a difference between believing there is no god and not believing there is a god--both are atheistic, though popular usage has ignored the latter." -- Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist, p. 99. Freedom From Religion Foundation, 1992.


"The word 'atheism,' however, has in this contention to be construed unusally. Whereas nowadays the usual meaning of "atheist" in English is "someone who asserts there is no such being as God," I want the word to be understood not positively but negatively. I want the originally Greek prefix "a" to be read in the same way in "atheist" as it customarily is read in such other Greco-English words as "amoral," "atypical," and "asymmetrical." In this interpretation an atheist becomes: someone who is simply not a theist. Let us, for future ready reference, introduce the labels "positive atheist" for the former and "negative atheist" for the latter." -- Antony G.N. Flew and Paul Edwards, God, Freedom, and Immortality p. 14. Prometheus, 1984.

"If you look up "atheism" in the dictionary, you will probably find it defined as the belief that there is no God. Certainly many people understand atheism in this way. Yet many atheists do not, and this is not what the term means if one considers it from the point of view of its Greek roots. In Greek "a" means "without" or "not" and "theos" means "god." From this standpoint an atheist would simply be someone without a belief in God, not necessarily someone who believes that God does not exist. According to its Greek roots, then, atheism is a negative view, characterized by the absence of belief in God." -- Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, p. 463. Temple University Press, 1990.

Martin goes on to cite several other well-known nontheists in history who used or implied this definition of "atheism," including Baron d'Holbach (1770), Richard Carlile (1826), Charles Southwell (1842), Charles Bradlaugh (1876), and Anne Besant (1877).

"The average theologian (there are exceptions, of course) uses "atheist" to mean a person who denies the existence of a God. Even an atheist would agree that some atheists (a small minority) would fit this definition. However, most atheists would strongly dispute the adequacy of this definition. Rather, they would hold that an atheist is a person without a belief in God. The distinction is small but important. Denying something means that you have knowledge of what it is that you are being asked to affirm, but that you have rejected that particular concept. To be without a belief in God merely means that the term "god" has no importance, or possibly no meaning, to you. Belief in God is not a factor in your life. Surely this is quite different from denying the existence of God. Atheism is not a belief as such. It is the lack of belief.

When we examine the components of the word "atheism," we can see this distinction more clearly. The word is made up of "a-" and "-theism." Theism, we will all agree, is a belief in a God or gods. The prefix "a-" can mean "not" (or "no") or "without." If it means "not," then we have as an atheist someone who is not a theist (i.e., someone who does not have a belief in a God or gods). If it means "without," then an atheist is someone without theism, or without a belief in God."
-- Gordon Stein (Ed.), An Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism, p. 3. Prometheus, 1980.

.:webmaster:. said...

Brian,

Baron D'Holback wrote the first openly atheistic book, The System of Nature, in 1770. In Good Sense, which he wrote in 1772 he states, "All children are atheists, they have no idea of God."

In a nutshell, the burden of proof for the assertion of a supernatural entity floating about somewhere falls to the one making the assertion. The same goes for those who assert the existence of fairies, UFOs, magic, and leprechauns.

Anne Besant, in The Gospel of Atheism in 1877 wrote, "The position of the atheist is a clear and reasonable one. I know nothing about God and therefore I do not believe in Him or it."

I do not believe in UFOs. Does that mean my disbelief in UFOs is a position of faith? I do not believe there are pink unicorns flying around Uranus. I do not have the ability to prove there are no unicorns flying around Uranus, but surely you would agree that my doubts in the matter are reasonable.

Webster wrote the first American dictionary and his Christian faith is well known. It behooves theists to make atheism a "faith" in order to shift the burden of proof. But that reality is, all men are atheists to one degree or another. Surely Christians do not believe in Allah! Yet can a Christian prove that Allah is not a god? Christians do not believe in any of the thousands of gods believed on in history, and dismiss them all with barely a thought, because they lack a belief that any of those gods are anything more than imaginary!

You may want to read up a bit more on atheism. The word is much maligned and vilified by religionists, but really it's just a word. It is helpful, however, to understand what the word means outside of church.

Dave8 said...

Brian, the fact you mention I need a mouth piece, exposes your defensive nature - it really doesn't matter who responds to a post, that's the point of communication on a public web site.

Thanks for the quote from my previous post, if you want, you can go ahead and put a link to the article as well, so the entire context is presented, and your inputs on the topic as well :-)

And, the mention of an F-16 is really... off topic, and emotionally laced.

Brian Worley: "My religious atheist position steps forth and rejects all religion, creeds and faith, nothing ambiguous about this!"

So, "your" religion, trumps all other religions...

You have chosen to start the Brian Worley Religion, as senior pastor - not based on Holy Doctrine, just the words of Brian Worley, no doctrine, no creeds, etc. An absolute religion... free... of "religious" doctrine. Like, an automobile without an engine.

So, do you call an automobile without an engine, an "automobile" Brian? Or, do you call such an object, a car body?

I prefer to call it a car body, or personal belief, not capable of moving a 'body' of people... however, you may prefer to call it an automobile/religion - ambiguously.

A religion has a following; if one claims a religion without a body of followers, then, they use the term religion as a synonym for personal belief - ambiguously.

Brian Worley: "Didn't you like Dave8's clear definitions?"

Yep, makes total sense to anyone who is educated enough to "read" and make historical analysis. Reading the entire article would help as well.

Brian Worley: "Does Dave8 need a mouthpiece?"

:-) So, Brian, as a "religious atheist", per his belief... accuses the WM as being my "mouth piece", on his personal and public web site.

Brian Worley: "Several people like myself are turned off by these crude, trash talking types on ex-c."

I know, it seems productive to basically tune out the noise of those crude trash talkers.

Brian Worley: "To these crude mad men who don’t like my taking a shot at their lack of diplomacy I say….you can kiss my ass!"

Okay, well, not much we can do except give credit where credit is due.

Brian Worley: "Who wants to identify with this crowd?"

You?

Brian Worley: "Embarrassing for those holding a "lack of belief definition" isn't it?"

:-) Well, I'm sure there is embarrassment being harbored by someone; but not me.

Dictionaries provide singular descriptions of individual entries.

Definitions in dictionaries require "context", in order to provide meaning. You know, like providing a link to the article that you pulled my quote from, kind of context.

Yes, in the dictionary, one doesn't always get an "operational" or "functional" application of definition; application comes from training and education ;-)

Here, let me provide an example. If you were to look up an entry in the dictionary, like "2+2=4", would you find one?

No. You wouldn't.

However, you would find sum, equal, number, operation, arithmetic, etc., but you will not be given specific operational/functional entries that give exhaustive applications.

The ability to "apply" definitions, with "contextual" meaning, requires the ability to think logically and with reason. In theory, that is why a person goes to a university; to learn the skill of "reason".

Brian Worley: "I find it amazing that people like Dave8 and Boomslang group all people who lack belief in gods as atheists."

Emotional, but, nonetheless, theism has an antonym; atheism.

If a person feels it necessary to "describe" the nature of belief, another person has; then they have a selection; theism or atheism.

If not one, then the other applies.

Now, if someone doesn't feel that applying a dictionary entry to the contextual belief of another person has merit; then, they can drop "all" labels, to include theist, so antonyms aren't required to provide contextual meaning.

Brian Worley: "This fallacy would have to include my 1 year old daughter or any other baby as an atheist. This fallacy would also include those who cannot reason due to mental defects, and those who can reason but have never been presented the concept of god."

:-) If you take the notion that the term theism has merit in use; then you legitimize the antonym.

If you choose to "not" use the term theism, religion, etc., then, obviously your religious atheism seems to have a problem; contextually speaking.

If you choose to use the term theism and atheism, as opposites, then, they are concepts first and foremost, and are applied by the one wielding the words in a "descriptive" manner.

The "application" of the terms, should be logically supported.

Regarding a child, or someone mentally incapable of making a self-proclamation... and how someone could "possibly" make an assessment on their position, descriptively.

I was "born" a "native" of the U.S. I didn't have a "choice" of being a "native" to the U.S., I entered into that "category", or "domain" by birth.

If you ask your daughter if they are a native of "x" country, and they don't know how to respond, then... does that make them any "less" a "native" of their associated "country"?

They are a "native" to a specific geographical region; because they descriptively hold a position - geographically, with or without their cognitive consent - by birth.

It really doesn't matter if a child or someone mentally incapable provides a self-proclamation; they inherently hold a "native" position nonetheless.

A child may grow up, and even deny their native position... but of course, one can't logically deny their history. They can claim, to be "born again", in a "new" native skin/position, but, of course, they will never escape their native birth position of atheism.

While it makes sense to give "descriptive" meaning to a native position, it is a fallacy to suggest that a native position is a "religious" position - because to be religious, requires a self-proclamation.

How "your" self-proclamation of "religious" atheist, is somehow more "noble", "virtuous" or "desirable", than let's say all of the other 30K religious denominations out in the world - is for you to provide, to remove "ambiguity".

Brian, I haven't deconstructed your article, because I was hoping you would actually be forthright by providing your objective. However, at this point, you have become increasingly conflicted and confrontational.

If you have something productive to provide, then I will respond... if not, then I may respond anyway, without sagination.

Brian Worley said...

Riley,

I almost chocked on a pretzel while reading your comment. (wink)

Brian Worley said...

Rich, GFC, ATF,

I am so glad that we can talk about the main thesis here. Rich I basically agree with your self-aggrandizement comment. But you mean the majority of Christians, not all Christians, right?

I think that all of us might know of some Christians that do kind and noteworthy deeds. Some of these same people would have problems leading someone else to Christ. Perhaps in their search for the meaning of life they surrender their lives to their best understanding of what Christianity is.

People are just people trying to do the best that they can do with the "equipment" that they have at their disposal. I don't think you would disagree with this, would you?

So as a humanist, shouldn't we respect their person (if they are truly a good person)and disrespect their Christian position? With this said, we keep working towards promoting reason and destroying religious myths....this is how that I see it.

Now, there are atheists whose position I respect, even if I disagree with them on smaller details. But I do not respect them as a person because they are crude and in my judgement are lacking in humanitarian skills. This "one size fits all" mentality isn't fair as Boom mentions.

Brian Worley said...

Dave8,

Good sales managers can spot someone that falls into the "paralysis by analysis trap".
As kindly as I know to say this, can you try to get to the point without using a 1,000 words when others may only use 35 to effectively communicate? I really tune you out because you have exhausted my patience with you!.

Brian Worley said...

Webmaster,

I get emotions when I laugh with my daughter; make love with my wife; and disagree with people who don't believe in gods when we both are atheists. This is normal everyday type of behavior for ALL of us here. I sure hope that everyone is getting laid and laughing as often as you can!

All whom you quote above are atheists.So we basically agree AS ATHEISTS in a disbelief of gods. My point is that this doesn't sell to Christians. What good is a product that sits on the self of the unintended audience? Atheist have some work to do, can we agree on this?

The lack of belief is a better definition in several ways....but, but, but. I want to work on a follow up and can we discuss this later once I am finished?

I really want to discuss this egalitarian concept at the present time. I think this is fair and reasonable as well as being polite.

.:webmaster:. said...

Brian,

The only reason your discussion keeps getting sidetracked is because you are posting comments that demand a response. If you don't want the conversation sidetracked, quite sidetracking it with provocative comments. And when those comments are contradicted don't angrily defend them with dashes of Ad Hominem.

I'm afraid because of your approach and attitude in all this you've entirely lost me on any point -- valid or otherwise -- you might have originally been badly attempting to make. Whining and complaining because people aren't cooperating in a conversation in the way you want them to is NOT an effective technique for getting a message across or developing a receptive audience.

If what the eventual mysterious point you are trying to lead up to is a way to convince Christians their religion is crap, then there is no one right way to do it. And quite frankly, I could care less what my neighbor believes about magical beings in the sky, so long as he doesn't harm me with it.

There are a large variety of differing types of believers with an accompanying diversity of mental and emotional skill-sets. To even hint at some uber-ultra-A+-de-conversion-formula is asinine.

You've filled this thread with so many fallacies and foibles that your frustration is almost funny.

I suggest you scrap the entire conversation and take it all back to the drawing board. I doubt you'll have much further success at this point.

Brian Worley said...

Webmaster,

That was a nice dance routine, avoid answering questions that you cannot answer. Then mislabel and bring out your "dimestore psychology". Refuse to see reality for what it is and keep preechin to the congregation. Please spare me the patronage! I understand how things work and I will make adjustments. I wish you well!

boomSLANG said...

I'll attempt to produce some counter-arguments, while doing my best to not go "bonkers".

Let's begin....

Brain Worley...I find it amazing that people like [ ] and Boomslang group all people who lack belief in gods as atheists.

Wow. Okay, then I suppose you'd be equally "amazed" to know that we group all people who lack belief in gremlins as people who don't believe in the existence gremlins. It's wacky, isn' it?

Worley...This fallacy would also include those who cannot reason due to mental defects, and those who can reason but have never been presented the concept of god.

Irrelevant conclusion. If someone has never been presented with said concept, they still don't have the belief, regardless.(more on this below)

Worley...What is [ ] and Booms definition of an agnostic?

One who believes that it is impossible to know, with absolutely certainty, whether there is a God.

Worley...My religious atheist position steps forth and rejects all religion, creeds and faith, nothing ambiguous about this![bold added "!"]

No, nothing ambiguous---the contradiction is quite clear, actually. You are a "religious" Atheist, and you reject "all religion". Uh huh. So, you reject your own Atheism, as well, if your world view is "religious"(as you clearly state that it is).

Worley...Since a theist and atheist cannot prove that god exists or doesn't exist, I won't try to answer this unanswerable question.

Irrelevant premise. Whether you try to answer it, or not, says nothing as to whether you believe a "God" exists, or not.

Worley assesses...The lack of belief atheist crowd will only be talking to themselves about how great their definition is.

Um, we'll be talking to ourselves because Christians will hold to their convictions that Atheists "deny God". And Christians will do this, regardless of who agrees on what "definition".(more on this below)

Worley...Theism and atheism are theories about the existence of god.

No, I'm so sorry---"Theism and Atheism" are belief in God, and non-belief in God, respectively. Yes, both may have "theories" as to why they believe/disbelieve. However, that is immaterial to the what it means to be a Theist, or A-theist.

(Honestly, I have to wonder where Worley gets his misinformation. I feel like I'm debating a Christian half the time. Could it be? Nah...or wait, could it?)

Worley..Christianity is a belief system and atheism is a belief system.

Why yes!..of course!...similar to how collecting depression era glass is a hobby, and NOT collecting depression era glass is a hobby. See? I love it when there's unity of thought!

Worley...When you believe one of these two systems, you are accepting it on faith.

Oh, good grief. Okay, so it takes "faith" to dismiss Poseiden? How about Shazam? Mithra?

Worley continues....If you don’t like me saying this dear atheist, then step forward with PROOF that god does not exist!

Repeat: I don't need "proof"(knowledge) to disbelieve. Stick it in your memory-bank, dear "Atheist".

Worely...Until then [ ] and Boom are members [of] the church of atheism by faith.

Let's entertain this idiotic hypothesis for a second:

If my Atheism were based on "faith"; if I made a weekly appearance at the local "First Temple of Atheism"; if I tithed in the name of "no god"; if I kept a copy of the Atheist hand-book on my nightstand; if I stood on the street professing "there is no god!"; if I demanded that "In God We Trust" should be changed to "In NO God we trust"...

HOW THEN, at the end of the day, does that negate my position, which, again, is that I don't BELIEVE that God/gods exist, and or, how does it bolster the Theist's position???? Please feel free to explain it, preferably with good sound reasoning, if you should respond, and if it's not too much trouble.

Worely...Exminister doesn’t give a damn about faith in atheism!

Evidently, "Ex"-minister doesn't give a damn about much, except peddling his own unique, grossly misinformed brand of "Atheism", and coming unglued when people don't conform to it. Good luck with that.

===============================

Pt: II

Worley....Yes, babies lack belief in gods but they don't proclaim this! If you want, I can ask my daughter about this?....I am certain she will answer da da though.

Yes, by alls means, ask your daughter. And then after that, follow-up with another simple question about belief: Ask her if she believes in purple, transparent elephants.

The point being, the fact that she cannot "proclaim", one way, or the other, her position regarding the existence of purple, transparent elephants, is irrelevant to the fact that she, as of now, does not hold a belief in such a creature. In other words, she is a passive non-believer in purple, transparent elephants. The same applies to invisible deities: Babies, and/or, people who are mentally handicapped, are passive Atheists, which again, is the default position of "lacking belief". They lack belief---period. The reason why they lack belief is irrelevant.

Worley...Didn't you like Dave8's clear definitions? Does Dave8 need a mouthpiece? Embarrassing for those holding a "lack of belief definition" isn't it?

Aside from the personal insult, is there a sound refutation to anything Dave8 said? Let me look...

...

...

Nope.

Worley, to Dave8......Good sales managers can spot someone that falls into the "paralysis by analysis trap". As kindly as I know to say this, can you try to get to the point without using a 1,000 words when others may only use 35 to effectively communicate? I really tune you out because you have exhausted my patience with you!

Again, checking for a sound refutation...

...

...

Again, nothing; nadda. Imagine that.

Worley, to Webmaster...You can take sharp issue all you want. But where is your proof that god doesn't exist? I missed that press clipping!

These press clippings are slipping by us, arent they? Yes, I missed the one that offered "proof" that Gumby doesn't exist. Of course, I suppose that since I "missed that clip", that I must I entertain the thought that Gumby just "might" exist, huh? Yes, I further suppose that I would be deemed an irrational, unstable adult to not hold a belief in "Gumby". In other words, we're technically "not allowed" to disbelieve in "Gumby", according the the "reasoning" of "Atheist" pastor, Brian Worley.

Worley...One of the things that I will mention in my follow up article is that you have to take a unified, clear definition to all who are producing dictionaries. Until this happens, the common usage definition stands.

No. 1, Theists are the ones insisting that their respective "Gods" exist. As long as there are Theists, they will stubbornly insist that Atheists "deny" god. In other words, if every dictionary entry on earth were consistant, in that "Atheism" is simply "A"-theism(non-theism), Theists would still insist that Atheists "deny" God, which of course, presupposes that "God" exists to begin with.

If a "militant Atheist" should come along and proclaim "God doesn't exist!!!", as wrong as we may see it, they've still done nothing to negate the fact that they "lack belief" in deities--the definintion is still applicable.

Worley...An agnostic isn't certain if a god exists or not. Some dictionaries define it is impossible to know. This has at least 2 definitions depending on who you are speaking with.

Yes? And?...did you happen to notice the common denominator between the two? Evidently not. Here it is: Lack of knowledge.

To be uncertain of something implies, "I don't know enough on the subject to make an absolute determination." Notwithstanding, just because the existence of something cannot be known with absolute certainty, that fact does nothing to disqualify one's personal choice/freedom to not hold a belief in said unknown "thing". Perhaps purple, transparent elephants exist on a remote planet 8 million lightyears away. We cannot "know" for sure if they exist, or not. However, we are perfectly free, sane, and rational to lack belief in such a "thing", despite we are agnostic by default. But strangely, for some reason certain groups of people(and individuals) don't see it that way when a flying disembodied 'mind' is the topic...::cough::...compartmentalization.

.:webmaster:. said...

Worley,

This is pathetic. Good luck in the future. I'm out.

riley_jensen said...

That mental game xtians play is getting old. I have caught on to their mental gymnastics. I find there is group of non-believers who say the same thing. They all say that atheism is a faith and/or religion. It pisses me off. But let's reverse the same thing to teach the weak minded something.

Xtians who have faith in their belief/religion, will always say that a person who does something unchristian is not a christian at all (denying the xtian backslider any self definition). Since they are not an xtian by xtian perspective anymore, does that mean they no longer have belief and religion? Of course they do by the xtian view. Since everyone according to xtians have a faith/religion, what is the backsliders now? Are those backsliders athiests?

Since the backsliders did something against xtianity, does that mean they really didn't believe in god? Since every xtian does things that contradict their professed belief, does that make them a part atheist? If xtians all make mistakes, how can holier than thou xtians say backsliders are not xtians.

Is that to say when I do something unatheist like, I am not an athieist? Its always word games and definitions with xtians.

I know this is hardcore philosophy for xtians. So if they don't get it, I understand.

Again, that whole atheism is a faith is bullshit. Its like xtianity came up with biggest bullshit ever and said nanny nanny boo boo.

They are either trying to hit push our button or keep people from leaving. I still can't figure it out. Its funny how preachers come up with this bull, other preachers use it, and xtians then say it like its straight from their imaginary friend. As though their imaginary friend told them first and its a revelation.

I am starting to realize after five years as an atheist that not only does bullshit walk, but it walks on water too. You can't discuss or talk logically to the disillusioned. Its like trying to reason with an infant when they can't talk or understand. Its like talking to the deaf, dumb, and blind.

Worely, stop taking the words hope, life, and view and making everyone who has them have a faith/religion. You are playing the xtian patsy. Atheism should be left the atheist to define, not the xtian.

I think the angle of the xtians is to make atheism a religion so they can say, "since everything is a religion, you might as well join ours." Or since people hate the word religion, xtianity is trying to turn the definition on its ear. People started saying in the
90s that they are not religious, but spiritual. Perhaps, that is when religion stepped in and started to assert its definition on everyone. I guess the animals have a faith now. They are religious too. I was wondering where the jump in attendance came from.