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Thread: Why do Americans still dislike atheists?

  1. #261
    had a mod but let him go spidergoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yazata View Post
    My biggest objection to Dawkins is that he poses as some kind of authority on "religion", has written several rather sophomoric books on it and teaches something related at Oxford, when in reality he's a complete layman who's largely ignorant of the deeper subtleties of the subject. I don't believe that he's ever sat through a university religion class or done very much serious and extended study of it.
    If, as one self-consciously intellectual critic wished, I had expounded the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus, Eriugena on subjectivity, Rahner on grace or Moltmann on hope (as he vainly hoped I would), my book would have been more than a surprise bestseller, it would have been a miracle. I would happily have forgone bestsellerdom had there been the slightest hope of Duns Scotus illuminating my central question: does God exist? But I need engage only those few theologians who at least acknowledge the question, rather than blithely assuming God as a premise. For the rest, I cannot better the “Courtier’s Reply” on P. Z. Myers’s splendid Pharyngula website, where he takes me to task for outing the Emperor’s nudity while ignoring learned tomes on ruffled pantaloons and silken underwear. Most Christians happily disavow Baal and the Flying Spaghetti Monster without reference to monographs of Baalian exegesis or Pastafarian theology...

    Richard Dawkins

  2. #262
    Quote Originally Posted by Fraggle Rocker View Post
    I agree. You guys have hijacked this discussion and turned it into a name-calling contest.
    Well i said it was an immature thread to begin with. May as well ask why does anyone dislike anyone

  3. #263
    Optomistic and Pessemistic standpoints usually differ.

    It takes many sheep to pull the wool over a blind man.

  4. #264
    Quote Originally Posted by John99 View Post
    Well i said it was an immature thread to begin with. May as well ask why does anyone dislike anyone
    Agreed, the thread was effectively started as name calling / to stir up trouble.

  5. #265
    Valued Senior Member gmilam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NietzscheHimself View Post
    Optomistic and Pessemistic standpoints usually differ.

    It takes many sheep to pull the wool over a blind man.
    Like... Wow... Dude...

  6. #266
    what?

    Did I hit the nail on the head?

  7. #267
    Don't immanentize the eschaton Hesperado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraggle Rocker View Post
    ...in the military we are rated as potentially deficient in our psychological evaluations...
    Evidence please. Merci.

  8. #268
    Quote Originally Posted by Hesperado View Post
    Evidence please. Merci.
    That was in the original article. The Post's editorial staff was responsible for reviewing the evidence. They usually do a good job but everybody screws up once in a while.

  9. #269
    Don't immanentize the eschaton Hesperado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraggle Rocker View Post
    That was in the original article. The Post's editorial staff was responsible for reviewing the evidence. They usually do a good job but everybody screws up once in a while.
    The Washington Post article you linked makes the claim --

    Atheist soldiers are rated potentially deficient when they do not score as sufficiently “spiritual” in military psychological evaluations...


    -- but provides zero evidence for the claim.

    And you repeat the claim, linking it to the Washington Post as though to imbue the claim with some authority; though those of us who have become jaded about the mainstream media know better than to think their prejudiced claims (and the claims of their slavish followers) are backed up by evidence.

    The claim comes from that wing of the Washington Post called "Post Opinions" -- as though virtually everything in the Washington Post these days is not an "opinion"; of course skewed one way.

  10. #270
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hesperado View Post
    The Washington Post article you linked makes the claim --

    Atheist soldiers are rated potentially deficient when they do not score as sufficiently “spiritual” in military psychological evaluations...


    -- but provides zero evidence for the claim.

    And you repeat the claim, linking it to the Washington Post as though to imbue the claim with some authority; though those of us who have become jaded about the mainstream media know better than to think their prejudiced claims (and the claims of their slavish followers) are backed up by evidence.

    The claim comes from that wing of the Washington Post called "Post Opinions" -- as though virtually everything in the Washington Post these days is not an "opinion"; of course skewed one way.
    Better report Fraggle to Media Matters.

  11. #271
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    Here is an example of the sort of thing that goes on, no reliance on an opinion piece required. Who knows how much of this sort of thing flies under the radar?

    FORT RILEY, Kan. — When Specialist Jeremy Hall held a meeting last July for atheists and freethinkers at Camp Speicher in Iraq, he was excited, he said, to see an officer attending.

    But minutes into the talk, the officer, Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. “People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!” Major Welborn said, according to the statement.

    Major Welborn told the soldiers he might bar them from re-enlistment and bring charges against them, according to the statement.

    Last month, Specialist Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group, filed suit in federal court in Kansas, alleging that Specialist Hall’s right to be free from state endorsement of religion under the First Amendment had been violated and that he had faced retaliation for his views. In November, he was sent home early from Iraq because of threats from fellow soldiers.
    But Mikey Weinstein, a retired Air Force judge advocate general and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said the official statistics masked the great number of those who do not report violations for fear of retribution. Since the Air Force Academy scandal began in 2004, Mr. Weinstein said, he has been contacted by more than 5,500 service members and, occasionally, military families about incidents of religious discrimination. He said 96 percent of the complainants were Christians, and the majority of those were Protestants.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/26/us...pagewanted=all

  12. #272
    Don't immanentize the eschaton Hesperado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repo Man View Post
    Here is an example of the sort of thing that goes on...
    The last sentence of that New York Times story has one most curious word (which I will bold):

    Since the Air Force Academy scandal began in 2004, Mr. Weinstein said, he has been contacted by more than 5,500 service members and, occasionally, military families about incidents of religious discrimination. He said 96 percent of the complainants were Christians, and the majority of those were Protestants.


    A "complainant" in legal terms is the person bringing the complaint -- in this context, the complaint being "religious discrimination". How is it that 96% of those being discriminated against are Christians ("and the majority of those were Protestants")? That's a most curious wrinkle that needs to be smoothed out before this article can be digested as coherent.

    For, you see, the primary example used in this New York Times piece is of the freethinking atheist Specialist Hall acting precisely as the complainant (indeed, through an advocacy group the article says he "filed suit") against the Christian bigot Major Welborn -- but then (as I said above) the article goes on to cite statistics that indicate that 96% of complainants are Christian. I thought the stuff that "goes on under the radar" was stuff like what Major Welborn did -- informal peer pressure, bigotry, implicit threats by Christians in the military against atheists in the military; not formal legal complaints by Christians in the military against atheists in the military.

    Very odd.

  13. #273
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    Is your Google broken? It's not at all mysterious. The overwhelming majority of protestant Christians in the US don't take it all that seriously. They join the military, and find themselves being very aggressively proselytized by fundamentalist Christians in positions of authority. And they don't like it, hence the complaints.

    From its inception, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has advocated for and assisted thousands of active duty U.S. servicemen/women and veterans who have contacted the MRFF[5] regarding alleged religious discrimination, harassment and aggressive proselytizing by Evangelical or Fundamentalist Christians. The MRFF reports that more than 90% of the servicemen/women and veterans who contact the MRFF with complaints are Christians.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militar...dom_Foundation

  14. #274
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    Here is how I see this. Atheism does not believe in God or the afterlife; there is only this life. The Christians and other religious faiths have a longer perception of life that includes an afterlife of sorts.

    Due to the different perception of the time until death, the amount of background fear is different between the two groups, with the shorter perception of life generating more unconscious fear. If you knew you had one year to live or fifty years, it impacts you differently. The net result is atheism will need to water down morality; eat, drink and be married for tomorrow we die, so they can get the most out of their shorter stay on earth. The religious, are less stressed by death, and tend to sacrifice the present for the future, taking less net liberties in terms of iimmorality. Since atheism doesn't believe in the afterlife, they see no reason to sacrifice their short finite life, with church based morality that is not maximizing this short stay on earth.

    These different approaches to life, although a matter of choice (live and let live) nevertheless creates a conflict, because the more open morality of th shorter life perception, tends to generate social costs. For example, divorce can help get one out of a bad relationship, so one can be happier over their short life. But on the flip side, in the bigger picture that has created the need for government assistance to help all the women and children that get lost in the cracks.

    Since this extra social cost was created due to the atheist philospophy of live for today, logically, the atheists should be the one's footing the bill for the cause and effect. But the way it works, those who don't accept the looser morality standard, even if they remain in marriage, have to pay for something they did not buy, through broad based taxes.

    The analogy is two neighbors. One stays within their means saving their money for the future. The other decides to live for today and buy a new swimming pool with a loan. Both decisions are fine, if each pays their own way. But what ends up happening, the bill for the atheist pool is given to both neighbors. The frugal neighbor is given the option to swim in the atheist pool; recruits. But if he does not choce to swim, he still has to pay through taxation. This creates a immune response to a virus infection, from a less than willing host, who is forced to feed the virus.

    The solution to peace is simple, all extra social costs that can be attributed to atheist philosphy, should be isolated from the collective taxes and and paid in full by a separate tax on the atheists. If they paid for their own pool, their neighbor would not be as hostile. But the neighbor will get hostile, if he is feels he is being forced to pay for what they did not buy into.

    Currently the separation of church and state will not allow any church to use the broad based tax, to tax atheism to support expense due to church choices. If a church created a social expense, atheists are exempt from being force to buy into it.

    The idea is to separate church and atheism from the general tax. Without a host to pay the tab, atheism would see the need to thinker smarter to lower their induced social cost, since too much atheists tax burden means less oney to live in the now. But with a host, like in the present, there is no reason to think smart, since it can feed off the host. But the host will not go away quietly, but will continue to send white blood cells to attack the virus, with the virus wanting its right to feed off the host protected by law.

    The situation is sort of like someone deciding that cancer is a life form and therefore should be put on the endangered species list. This makes it illegal to hurt the poor little cancers, since they have feelings. People with cancer infecting their body and wallet,can do nothing, but need to let the parasite feed until they both die or else go to jail. Many will think they should have the right to chemo or radiation zap the parasite to heal the body. The third option and compromise is to surgically cut out the cancer and let it grow in a beaker. This allows both to the right to exist, but as independent agencies that cover their own tab.

    As a topic of discussion, consider the hypothetical situation of atheism accountable for social costs their philosophy induces. How would atheism evolve so it could exist without a host to cover the tab? Too much tax and cost means less money to practice the free life, so you would need to cut down costs; moderate morality.

  15. #275
    Cecelia's Splendid Unadventure C C's Avatar
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    Why? As in the topic title requesting speculations?

    Perhaps because America tends to consider itself (rightly or wrongly) to be the birthplace of militant atheism, in the highly visible to the public sense. As a result, there may be a sense of responsibility for it and that Americans (or the majority theists among them) must therefore correct "what our nation unleashed upon itself and the world".

    To clarify: Before this socially and politically active template of atheism that historical individuals like Madalyn Murray O'Hair might be slotted in, people with antitheist enthusiasm tended to be semi-visible to the average Christian, obscured by the philosophical and scientific walls that they lectured in. Back then, Emil the farmer might only catch a glimpse of an atheist when the Church was burning one at the stake or something, or he encountered ones locally that seemed passive or non-threatening to his dogmas (Example: "I just have no belief in God -- end of story. I either can or am forced to tolerate your larger group sprinkling its nonsense around the countryside and cities, so far as it doesn't enter my home directly.")

    But once a few atheists adopted some of the crusading intensity of the shouting fire and brimstone preachers themselves, and started influencing legislative decisions with the activism, even the average American Christian suddenly got conscious, roused, and pulled out his shotgun. That is, atheism was no longer just a target that higher-up Church intellectuals or other fallacy-prone argument technicians were intermittently trying to stomp on.

  16. #276
    Don't immanentize the eschaton Hesperado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repo Man View Post
    Is your Google broken? It's not at all mysterious. The overwhelming majority of protestant Christians in the US don't take it all that seriously. They join the military, and find themselves being very aggressively proselytized by fundamentalist Christians in positions of authority. And they don't like it, hence the complaints.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militar...dom_Foundation
    Very interesting. One wonders if the ratio (at least 96%, according to Mikey Weinstein, a retired Air Force judge advocate general and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, cited by that NYT article) of "Christians" in the U.S. military who are so secularized they actually file actions against Evangelicals for annoying them reflects a similar ratio of the general population of the U.S. I don't see why not. In fact, one would assume (particularly if one were a Leftist) that the military should attract a higher percentage of gung-ho "right wing fundies" than what exists in the population at large.

    At any rate, if 96% of U.S. military are secularized and don't like fundies, why all the griping and moaning? It's the tiny minority, 4%, who have a right to gripe and moan about a surrounding culture overwhelmingly hostile to their worldview.

    Finally, however, the allegation I disputed when I first entered this thread has yet to be proven with evidence: that the U.S. Military officially discriminates against atheists. Not only is the evidence for that claim wanting, it seems the U.S. Military provides redress for innumerable complainants (most of them "Christian") alleging harassment in the form of religious proselyizations and veiled threats.

    The only sense one can make out of this amorphously general claim would be if this alleged harassment is mostly being wielded by officers who have influence and power of authority (thus the logic of people afraid to report said harassment, also implied in that NYT article: "...the official statistics masked the great number of those who do not report violations for fear of retribution..." -- though it's always hard to prove a negative; unless you've got a tendentious bone to pick and don't need evidence to prove your point; but at any rate, what kind of "retribution" is Mr. Weinstein talking about here? The only "retribution" mentioned thus far was the case of Major Welborn, who used his rank and influence to threaten two atheists with the threat that he would bar their re-enlistment).

    And finally, isn't this thread about "atheists"? Why are we using evidence about 96% "Christians" ("mostly Protestant")?

  17. #277
    Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle CptBork's Avatar
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    Hesperado, do you agree that it would be criminal for a military official to use their authority to promote their personal religious beliefs? Let's forget about whether it's actually being done or not, do you agree that only an intrusive a-hole would use their command position to push non-military views on the troops? I'm not talking about an officer discussing their religion off duty in private, I'm talking about officers who attempt to proselytize while in uniform- where do you stand on that?

  18. #278
    Don't immanentize the eschaton Hesperado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptBork View Post
    Hesperado, do you agree that it would be criminal for a military official to use their authority to promote their personal religious beliefs? Let's forget about whether it's actually being done or not, do you agree that only an intrusive a-hole would use their command position to push non-military views on the troops? I'm not talking about an officer discussing their religion off duty in private, I'm talking about officers who attempt to proselytize while in uniform- where do you stand on that?
    I think you mean to ask "do you agree that it should be criminal for a military official to use their authority to promote their personal religious beliefs?"

    It seems it already is, or these "complainants" would not be taking the offenders to military court (J.A.G.) and suing them. What Major Welborn did, if accurately described, sounds like something that, to me, should be illegal.

    The real issue here, as telegraphed by the NYT article, is not so much what is officially going on, but what is going on unofficially. Again, that's not what the commenter was claiming or implying. The ex-J.A.G. guy who's on a mission to right this unofficial wrong may be, like many who are on a mission, a bit skewed in his perception of things. He's convinced that many cases go "unreported". That's all well and good; but like the tree that falls in the forest with no one hearing it, one needs proof.

  19. #279
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    There is no after life. There is only death, a after life of sort, maybe. The ying to my yang. For life to happen, death must. For death to be, life must have occurred.

  20. #280
    Quote Originally Posted by wellwisher View Post
    As a topic of discussion, consider the hypothetical situation of atheism accountable for social costs their philosophy induces. How would atheism evolve so it could exist without a host to cover the tab? Too much tax and cost means less money to practice the free life, so you would need to cut down costs; moderate morality.
    Can we treat religion the same way? Please??? Especially the Abrahamic varieties? Abrahamic communities rise up in paroxysms of violence every three or four generations and cause so much harm that it's virtually impossible to even put a dollar value on it!

    How much can we bill the Pope and his minions for totally obliterating the Aztec and Inca civilizations? To the point of actually burning the "heathen" Aztec libraries and melting down the "pagan" Inca art, so they lost their own histories and we only know a tiny fraction of them? What are all those lost ideas, images, stories, and ways of seeing the world worth?

    How about the millennium and a half of violent antisemitism that virtually defined European Christendom, culminating in a very earnest effort to completely exterminate them?

    Or the hundred years of non-stop war between the various sects of Christianity that we now euphemistically call "the Reformation?"

    How about what the Jews are currently doing to the Palestinians and Bedouins? (I'm not sure there are any Muslims on this thread so I'll leave them out of it, and Rastafarianism is still in its honeymoon period so they're all about love and peace.)

    You pay your taxes and then we'll talk about mine!

    This is what I don't get about religious folks. I despise religion and the net unspeakable evil it promulgates so much that sometimes I just stand up and scream. But I don't for one second harbor thoughts of killing people or destroying their culture!

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