Atheism

Jim

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A very-good 2019 informal antitheism-as-atheism conversation (published just last week on Youtube by the Centre For Inquiry and the Richard Dawkins Foundation) mainly between Richard and Ricky Gervaise.

Ably-facilited by the great Professor Richard Wiseman (who I have met in person... @gordonrutter many thanks again for that excellent event, here's hoping the next one will not be too far off in the future)


RG- "the periodic table of non-existent things is infinite"
#crocoduck
Good post but to be honest these type debates will never end. Can't prove Jesus, Buddha, Taoism, Moses, etc were diviny enlightened or not. It's really up to who wants to believe or not believe in what, if that makes any sense.
 

Trevp666

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I don't have any religious leanings of any sort. If that is termed 'atheism' then that's someone else giving it a name, not me.
Likewise I don't support a football team.
It doesn't mean I am a supporter of 'not supporting a team', if you will, I just have no interest in it.
(If I don't like 'Andy' or 'Dave', it's not because Andy supports Palace United, and Dave supports City Wanderers, it's more likely it's because they're both twats)
 

ramonmercado

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DEath threats and more.

Somali atheists in the diaspora are running a Facebook group to challenge their community's Islamic beliefs, but they often receive death threats, writes journalist Layla Mahmood.

"I am going to kill you. I am going to find you. I am going to cut your head off," was one of the threats that Ayaanle, a Canada-based Somali atheist, received.

"[But] that's kind of normal," the founder of the True Somali Freedom Page (TSFP) says sardonically as he talks about the death threats that clog his inbox.

The popular Facebook group, which has more than 80,000 members, is predominantly led by atheists, or "ex-Muslims", as they refer to themselves.

It was initially inspired to create a safe space for religious discussion and now promotes all forms of freedom for Somalis who feel marginalised by mainstream Somali culture.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52620433
 
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MrRING

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An interesting article:
Atheists Are Sometimes More Religious Than Christians
Second, the researchers found that American “nones”—those who identify as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular—are more religious than European nones. The notion that religiously unaffiliated people can be religious at all may seem contradictory, but if you disaffiliate from organized religion it does not necessarily mean you’ve sworn off belief in God, say, or prayer.

The third finding reported in the study is by far the most striking. As it turns out, “American ‘nones’ are as religious as—or even more religious than—Christians in several European countries, including France, Germany, and the U.K.”

“That was a surprise,” Neha Sahgal, the lead researcher on the study, told me. “That’s the comparison that’s fascinating to me.” She highlighted the fact that whereas only 23 percent of European Christians say they believe in God with absolute certainty, 27 percent of American nones say this.


 

MrRING

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Then those atheists are not really atheists at all. Just not affiliated with any religion.

It's atheists who still gather and sing and talk... Maybe this further bit will help explain it a bit more:
America is a country so suffused with faith that religious attributes abound even among the secular. Consider the rise of “atheist churches,” which cater to Americans who have lost faith in supernatural deities but still crave community, enjoy singing with others, and want to think deeply about morality. It’s religion, minus all the God stuff. This is a phenomenon spreading across the country, from the Seattle Atheist Church to the North Texas Church of Freethought. The Oasis Network, which brings together non-believers to sing and learn every Sunday morning, has affiliates in nine U.S. cities.
 

ramonmercado

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Atheistophobia: It’s time to talk about the most persecuted minority in the world
By Aki Muthali


While apologists create mendacious claims of the “New Atheist” threat that is persecuting Muslims – very little attention is given to how atheists have been a persecuted minority for centuries

When I wrote ‘Death to Infidels’ – I had two questions.

“How many more Avijit Roys, Washiqur Rahmans and Ananta Bijoy Das are required before the world accepts the issues with Islam? How much more should the body of proof weigh before society admits Islam is in need of reform in the most desperate way?”

The questions were based on the probability of the answer. So I wasn’t shocked to hear about the murder of Niloy Neel – although I was deeply saddened and I continue to remain in a place where I have no doubt these bloggers are targeted for their critique of Islam.

The Guardian also published details regarding the release of a global Islamist hitlist that vows violence on prominent Islam critics, atheists, secularists, non-Muslims and liberal Muslims. Remember, this is all emerging from Bangladesh – the same Bangladesh Reza Aslan had deceitful described as secular, 100% equal nation to suit his own dishonest narrative – but then again, I don’t expect much integrity from a privileged man living in the comforts of Western secularism while vilifying atheists, secularists and Islam-critics just to protect a cherry picked interpretation of Islamic scripture. As I had previously exposed – Reza Aslan is an apologist for Islamism – because he holds firm in the claim that Islamism is the antidote to Jihadism.

While apologists create mendacious claims of the “New Atheist” threat that is persecuting Muslims – very little attention is given to how atheists have been a persecuted minority for centuries. Both in historical and present-day context – atheists and secularists are scorned and dehumanised by society worldwide. ...

http://nation.com.pk/blogs/27-Sep-2...out-the-most-persecuted-minority-in-the-world

Update on Avijit Roy case:

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced five men to death and one to life in jail for hacking a secular blogger to death six years ago in Dhaka.

Avijit Roy, based in the US and of Bangladeshi origin, was attacked with machetes as he left a book fair in the capital in February 2015. It was one of a spate of attacks on secular figures, which were blamed on Islamist militants. Roy, an atheist, had angered hardliners with his writings on religion. His wife Rafida Ahmed was with him when the attack took place as they left the Dhaka University campus. She was critically wounded, but survived.

The assault was carried out by a banned group, Ansar al-Islam, which is believed to be linked with al-Qaeda, the court heard. ...

Police believe the group were behind the murders of more than a dozen secular activists and bloggers. A string of deadly such attacks took place in Bangladesh between 2013 and 2016, and were blamed on groups inspired by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. ...

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56082108
 

Mikefule

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The behaviour of religious believers or of atheists is no guide to anything. People are people: some are bad and some are good, whether they are religious or not. Religion helps many people by providing a consistent framework for their interactions with the world. Some other believers have found in their religion a spurious justification for the worst behaviour imaginable.

Agnosticism is not simply the state of being undecided about the existence of God, nor is it the state of reserving judgement in the absence of evidence. Technicaly, "agnosticism" is the belief that it is fundamentally impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God. This is itself a respectable religious position: that as you cannot prove that God exists, there is virtue in believing through faith alone.

The idea of god(s) includes covers a spectrum of beliefs. At one end of the spectrum is the pagan god of a waterfall, pond or cave: one god among many. Such a god has powers that may be very limited and specialised. At the other end of the spectrum is the sophisticated modern concept of the monotheist's God who is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent.

There are also some beliefs that sit to one side of this spectrum, one example being pantheism: the belief that all of reality is identical with divinity. Instead of God creating and ruling the universe, God actually is the universe.

An omnipotent God would have the power to do absolutely everything, all at once, everywhere.

Somewhere part way along the spectrum is the god, such as Zeus, who has what you might call "limited omnipotence". He can do any single thing he chooses, but not everything. He can cause an earthquake or a tidal wave, or change himself into a bull — but while he's busy doing that, he can't be doing something else as well. It's like having a million Pounds to spend: you can buy any car you want, but not every car you want.

When considering an atheist's position, you first need to ask which of the above sort of god(s) they reject, and why.

I imagine most of us here (but perhaps not all) would reject the idea of a "god of thunder" who causes the thunder with his big hammer. Most of us would reject the idea of the god of the sun, riding across the sky in his fiery chariot.

We reject this type of god because we have better, evidence-based, theories for why there is thunder, and why the sun crosses the sky as it does.

An important aspect of these modern theories is that they enable us to make reasonably accurate predictions. We have a scientific model, we can feed in data and produce a forecast. We can observe what really happens and then refine the theory. Belief in a thunder god does not enable us to predict when or where there will be thunder. Meteorology allows us to make pretty good weather forecasts. Therefore, the belief in thunder gods has been replaced by a demonstrably better explanation.

Now, let's look at this idea of the best theory being the one that helps us to make predictions.

The sophisticated modern view of the monotheistic God is that He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. He is everywhere, knows everything, and can do everything. He is also considered to be ineffable: we cannot possibly know His thoughts or understand his motives. The Lord works in mysterious ways: he causes the devastating tsunami but saves one child who is swept away — and we can never know or understand why.

If you have such a concept of God, then absolutely every possible set of circumstances, every possible event, can equally be explained by the existence of God, and by God's will. The child dies, God called him home; the child lives, God saved him.

If every possible set of circumstances can equally be explained by the existence of God, and by God's will, then our belief in God does not enable us to make any predictions of any kind, about anything. The existence of this type of God is not a testable hypothesis because there is no conceivable set of circumstances that could only occur if God did not exist.

If you follow this line of argument, then it is not a case of whether or not God exists, it is a case of "a stupid question". You might as well ask what Otzi the Iceman's real name was; whilst it is likely that he had a name, because personal names have been used in all or most societies, there is absolutely no way of either verifying or falsifying one name or another.

And that is why I consider myself to be an atheist: because "Does God exist?" is not a useful question.
 

Aurora Newman

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I do believe in other peoples religions as its all very similar histories. I worship Goddesses. And included in them are the Earth, Sun and Moon and the rest of the Solar System. But mainly Earth, Sun, Moon. In my eyes they're the Deities who didn't abandon us because they're still there shining life(Sun), taking hits from asteroids(Moon), creating breathable air for us(Earth).
 
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ramonmercado

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I'm agnostic towards those who push such a strict definition of Agnosticism.

I also admire the Celtic and Norse Pantheons, I don't think of them as actually existing; rather as archetypes and inspirations.
 

Mikefule

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I'm agnostic towards those who push such a strict definition of Agnosticism.

I gave a fairly strict definition of agnosticism above. It is a technical term and if any concept or is to be debated at all, a useful first step is to define what the concept is.

That is not to suggest that the other things that are also sometimes less formally described as "agnosticism" are not also valid and important positions in their own right.

Whatever labels we use, there is an important qualitative difference between, "It is fundamentally impossible to know whether God exists" (a strict definition of agnosticism) and "I do not consider it to be proven whether or not God exists" (a less strict definition in common use).

Further upthread, some people have argued that atheism is a "belief" or even a "faith" analogous to religion. I personally disagree with this.

I was recently reminded of the way that Sartre argued that "nothing" is a special sort of "thing".

"Nothing" is treated as a noun, and a noun is famously a "person, place, or thing". Sartre spent a lot of time trying to define and argue exactly what "nothing" is.

I would say that "nothing" is not a thing in its own right, but simply the absence of a thing. Similarly, "atheism" is not a religious belief, but simply the absence of a religious belief.

If my wife asks, "Is there someone at the door?" I may look and say, "There's nobody there." It does not mean that nobody is a special sort of person who is actually at the door.
"There's nobody there, darling."
"There was nobody there yesterday. I wish he'd piss off."

However, as "Nothing works faster than Anadin," whenever I have a headache, I take nothing for it...:hahazebs:
 

Frideswide

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Similarly, "atheism" is not a religious belief, but simply the absence of a religious belief.

fair enough :)

However, some (definitely not all) atheists behave in the same sorts of ways as some sorts of people with a faith. Walks and quacks like a duck and so, for certain purposes it is useful and valid to treat it as one. Faith rather than duck!
 

ramonmercado

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fair enough :)

However, some (definitely not all) atheists behave in the same sorts of ways as some sorts of people with a faith. Walks and quacks like a duck and so, for certain purposes it is useful and valid to treat it as one. Faith rather than duck!

You are welcome to join The First Church Of Richard Dawkins, The Conciliator; I am his Vicar on Earth.
 

Comfortably Numb

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Is there an elemental dilemma with athiesm?

Either a God exists, or it doesn't.

You are a believer, or an atheist.

Die and as a believer and if there's no God, will never know you were wrong.

Die and as a believer and if there is a God, then happy days.

It's a win-win situation.

Die and as an atheist and if there's no God, you will never have the satisfaction of knowing you were right.

Die and as an atheist and if there is a God, then 'up sh*t creek without a paddle'.

It's a lose-lose situation.

:popc:
 

PeteByrdie

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Is there an elemental dilemma with athiesm?

Either a God exists, or it doesn't.

You are a believer, or an atheist.

Die and as a believer and if there's no God, will never know you were wrong.

Die and as a believer and if there is a God, then happy days.

It's a win-win situation.

Die and as an atheist and if there's no God, you will never have the satisfaction of knowing you were right.

Die and as an atheist and if there is a God, then 'up sh*t creek without a paddle'.

It's a lose-lose situation.

:popc:
This is just Pascal's wager. I dismiss it for two reasons.

Firstly, I don't see how playing the odds equates to genuine faith; it seems to me to treat any potentially existing deity as though it were an idiot (although much religious doctrine seems content to scare people into belief).

Secondly, it's based on a false dichotomy, as suggested by @Xanatic* . The possible options are not that there is no god or that the Christian god exists. The options are; there is no god or afterlife, which is in line with scientific evidence, or that, if we're going to accept the possibility that the Christian god exists in spite of the lack of evidence, then infinite other possibilities that have been, have not been and perhaps could not be imagined by humanity could also be true, in spite of a lack of evidence. Should we all walk backwards on thursday afternoons in case the universe is ruled by an omnipotent marmot who insists on that before she'll let us into her cosmic burrow after death? Should we read the works of Homer and deduce from them how we should live to gain the favour of the Olympians? Literally, if we're going to accept as a possibility something unsupported by evidence, we have to accept infinite unknowable options.
 

Alchymist

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. . . . Not to mention the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Great Chulhu an the rest of HPL's Elder Gods, Eris, goddess of chaos and confusion . . . . I'm (officially) a Fourth Degree High Priest of POEE, the Paratheoanametamystikhood of Eris Esoteric, but I don't talk about that very much.
 

Mythopoeika

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I'm (officially) a Fourth Degree High Priest of POEE, the Paratheoanametamystikhood of Eris Esoteric, but I don't talk about that very much.
Probably because it's a rather long word?
 

charliebrown

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The question that I can not resolve is if there is a God, why do bad things happen to truly good people ?

Also, religious wars have destroyed civilizations, example The Crusades or Spanish Inquisition, etc.)

I am still trying to figure the religious “ thing “ out.
 

JaneD

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if you get interested in religions (and it should be recommended as a Fortean pastime) you realise very early on that they can’t all be right. So it would tend one towards being agnostic at the very least? It’s all about the needs of society at the time. Your god(s) don’t fit the bill any more, you find a new one, or your god has to change. All you can believe in really is there is a need for religion in most societies. Beyond that it’s just window-dressing
 

Alchymist

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Probably because it's a rather long word?
Well, partly that. POEE schismed (is that a word? Well it is now) from ELF, the Erisian Liberation Front, which schismed from Erisianism, which schismed from Discordianism, in accordance with the Discordian principle, "We Discordians should stick apart." There is at least one other schism claiming to be the One And Only True And Genuine POEE (or TOAOTAGPOEE), but they're a breakaway sect and not to be trusted: I'm sure you see how it is . . . .
 

Mythopoeika

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Well, partly that. POEE schismed (is that a word? Well it is now) from ELF, the Erisian Liberation Front, which schismed from Erisianism, which schismed from Discordianism, in accordance with the Discordian principle, "We Discordians should stick apart." There is at least one other schism claiming to be the One And Only True And Genuine POEE (or TOAOTAGPOEE), but they're a breakaway sect and not to be trusted: I'm sure you see how it is . . . .
Aren't Discordians, by default, never in agreement?
 

Mungoman

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if you get interested in religions (and it should be recommended as a Fortean pastime) you realise very early on that they can’t all be right. So it would tend one towards being agnostic at the very least? It’s all about the needs of society at the time. Your god(s) don’t fit the bill any more, you find a new one, or your god has to change. All you can believe in really is there is a need for religion in most societies. Beyond that it’s just window-dressing

What sits well in my mind, is that the majority of our fanciful ideas of God, along with the supposed conversations that some people have with the Diety/s...and who go on to create a religion (please send your cheques to...)have the best of intentions in mind - for themselves.

For me there is a divine force that powers the Universe. Let's call it Joanna. Because it's what we do - names, Masks...

Joanna has an indifference to mankind because we are always second guessing Her - we quote lines of peurile self interest and claim that these words came from Joanna...and then claim anything that goes against the Tenets of Joanna, done by the Acolytes of Joanna can be forgiven.

Joanna lets this stuff happen because it's none of Her business, and because when the F*^K are we going to wake up to ourselves and be sensible about life and be nice to each other.

So endeth the lesson of Joanna. (youropinionmayvary)
 

m fidget

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I don't have any religious leanings of any sort. If that is termed 'atheism' then that's someone else giving it a name, not me.
Likewise I don't support a football team.
It doesn't mean I am a supporter of 'not supporting a team', if you will, I just have no interest in it.
(If I don't like 'Andy' or 'Dave', it's not because Andy supports Palace United, and Dave supports City Wanderers, it's more likely it's because they're both twats)
^^^^^
h/t to Trev666 for nailing it

simply because one isn’t into something doesnt mean they oppose it - awesome enjoy your vegan cauliflower rice pizza but please accept it when folks say no thanks I dont want any
 

Jim

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^^^^^
h/t to Trev666 for nailing it

simply because one isn’t into something doesnt mean they oppose it - awesome enjoy your vegan cauliflower rice pizza but please accept it when folks say no thanks I dont want any
exactly!!!
 

charliebrown

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I question how religious are religious leaders.

I saw a religious leader ask his congregation to build him a house and they did.

Is religion a business, all about money and not about religion ?
 
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