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Thread: The Evangelical Atheist

  1. #321
    Any view of the world which does not premise the existence of something supernatural is a philosophy, or a theory, or at worst an ideology. If it is either of the two first, at its best it proportions what it accepts to the evidence for accepting it, knows what would refute it, and stands ready to revise itself in the light of new evidence. This is the essence of science. It comes as no surprise that no wars have been fought, pogroms carried out, or burnings at the stake, over rival theories in biology or astrophysics.

    A.C. Grayling

  2. #322
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    Any view of the world which does not premise the existence of something supernatural is a philosophy, or a theory, or at worst an ideology. If it is either of the two first, at its best it proportions what it accepts to the evidence for accepting it, knows what would refute it, and stands ready to revise itself in the light of new evidence. This is the essence of science. It comes as no surprise that no wars have been fought, pogroms carried out, or burnings at the stake, over rival theories in biology or astrophysics.

    A.C. Grayling
    Clearly wars are fought by people, not methods of understanding the universe and the communists fought for a more "enlightened and scientific society (led by atheists, of course)" and killed millions in their quest for it.

  3. #323
    I am not a member of the communist club. I believe only that there are natural explanations for things.

    Millions were not killed in the name of atheism, you exaggerate, but I have no doubt many were persecuted for their beliefs by the government. Many religions were allowed to operate, even if they couldn't do so publicly. Some religions were identified with certain brands of nationalism, and were viewed as a threat to the state. Religion was justifiably linked to the upper class. Churches used religion to get rich, with the nod of the Tsars, while the people suffered in poverty.

  4. #324
    SAM:

    What "religious" views? Surely educated people from secular households should know better? Except for their lack of knowledge about religion, that is.
    Being educated isn't a talisman against religious indoctrination. In fact, it may even make some people more susceptible to it. Take yourself, for example.

    What happens is that educated people are more likely to question the deeper meaning of their life, and search for answers. Religion provides ready-made easy answers to the question of meaning. For some, that is irresistable.

    Debating in London on the subject: “Are we better off without religion?”, he said religion was like “a child with a dummy in its mouth. I do not think it a very dignified or respect-worthy posture for an adult to go around sucking a dummy for comfort.”

    When his opponents, who included Rabbi Julia Neuberger and philosopher Roger Scruton, argued that “the religious gene” is in all of us, and it was part of the human condition to search for meaning, Dawkins replied: “Speak for yourself. It is not a part of me. It is not a part of the great majority of my friends in universities in England and the US and elsewhere.”
    And your point is... what? This is the second time you've posted this like it means something.

    Try to stay on topic. Specifically, we were talking about suicide bombings. Here, you are drifting into a discussion of warfare in general.
    You mean there are suicide bombers in places without war or conflict? Where?
    Don't put words in my mouth, please.

    Since this sidetrack is a waste of time, I won't bother responding.

    These tribal societies aren't atheistic.
    Because they worshipped the skulls of the people they ate?
    Does this mean that even the neanderthals who were bashing in skulls and collecting mass graves were theistic?
    Religion takes many forms. Tribal religion is religion nonetheless. Religion can be animistic. Tribal peoples often believe in spirits who live around them. They do certain things to appease the spirits, or at least not to anger them. This is religion as much as Islam is religion.

    Briefly, he does regard indoctrination of children as a form of child abuse. I am surprised that you appear to think that indoctrination of children is not an abuse. Perhaps you would like to comment further on your views on that matter.
    So my parents were abusing me. I see.
    According to Dawkins, yes. And look where you are now - convinced that Islam is the One True Religion, and unwilling to consider seriously why you dismiss all other faiths as nonsense. Your indoctrination worked well.

    Does he distinguish between theism and religion?
    I can't recall. Why do you think the distinction is important?

    As an aside, do you know ANY Christian who believes there is a bearded man in the sky? Because I don't. Does it matter? Not to Dawkins apparently.
    Actually, Dawkins discusses that very point in detail. You ought to read his book rather than making uneducated assumptions.

    Except that in all places that athiests "decided" to create this athiest utopia, they achieved exactly the same results: ban religion, kill theists, destroy all religious literature, worship and icons or statues.
    I don't think anybody has ever set out with the explicit aim to create an atheist utopia. The same cannot be said for religious utopias. There are hundreds of religious cults, but not one atheist cult, as far as I know.

    All of it. He is not doing anything EXCEPT misrepresenting theism and thiests; if you watched the link from BBC I gave you earlier, you can see him admit it himself. (Yes most theists are not like that, yes I don't emphasize that enough, because it does not help my polemic, etc)
    From my reading of his book, which you refuse to read, I think he treats theists very fairly. Again, he explicitly concedes the point you are complaining about in the book. You ought to read it, rather than making uneducated assumptions.

    Dawkins doesn't advocate getting rid of anybody.

    Really, I find your comparison immensely distasteful and dishonest. You must be able to see that yourself, too, which makes it all the worse.
    Why? Because he does not advocate violence? He advocates intolerance and intolerance invariably leads to violence.
    He doesn't advocate intolerance.

    Can you claim that without the anti-theist propaganda, there would still have been such massacres, such destruction of books, statues, the re-reducation of priests, the ban on religion? Without an athiest at the helm would any of the societies under the communist black book have led to such destruction?
    Communism, as formulated, sought to bring about by force what Marx thought should have been a natural, unforced progression in society. The atheism of the communist leaders was an incidental adjunct to their idea of communism, and a useful tool to justify oppression and control of the people. In that sense, the communist version of atheism was used in a similar way that religion has been used for political purposes throughout history.

    Would there have been destruction and massacres without the communist leaders being atheists? Who knows? You can't easily disentangle one part of an ideology from the rest. What is clear, however, is that communist oppression has never been carried out solely in the name of atheism. The same cannot be said for religious pogroms.

    You claim that Russian priests were killed "for being theists". I say they were killed for being a political threat.

    Have you read any Leninist ideology? Its ALL atheism.
    Hardly. The vast majority of it is about the workers and the proletariat.

    Lenin wrote; "Marx said, ‘Religion is the opium of the people' - and this postulate is the corner stone of the whole philosophy of Marxism with regard to religion. Marxism always regarded all modern religions and churches, and every kind of religious organisation as instruments of that bourgeois reaction whose aim is to defend exploitation, stupefying the working class." (The Attitude of the Workers' Party towards religion, May, 1909)
    Interesting point of view to consider, isn't it? Do you think Lenin was wrong? Obviously you do. Is that just an automatic reaction against communism, or is there some deeper reasoning involved? I wonder.

    But there's plenty of examples of theists failing to create compassionate societies.
    Except for all the ones that do exist.
    Such as?

    Athiesm, by definition has no moral code. Religion, by definition does.
    So, you'll agree that atheism is not immoral, per se. Right?

    There's no particular lack of morality attached to atheism.

    Too bad that a cursory glance at the history of shamanism proves otherwise. Witch doctors were the first healers, did you know?
    Witch doctors often did more harm than good. The good that they did happened when they accidentally did something scientific, which had nothing to do with their religious beliefs.

    That is totally at odds with the reality that many self-declared atheists are also self-declared secular humanists.
    Like (Q)?
    (Q) can speak for himself. I don't know whether he would call himself a secular humanist or not. If he does, then he is one example who supports my point that you can be both atheist and a secular humanist.

    Secular humanism, on the other hand, is a moral philosophy.
    The kind that says religion is like sucking a dummy and the religious are delusional child abusers who need to be re-educated out of their stupidity?
    If you know nothing of secular humanism, why not try looking at one of the many websites of secular humanist organisations?

    Pontificating about something you obviously know next to nothing about makes you look stupid.

  5. #325
    What would a [non-evangelical] atheist look like? Someone who does not mind that other people hold profoundly false and primitive beliefs about the universe, on the basis of which they have spent centuries mass-murdering other people who do not hold exactly the same false and primitive beliefs as themselves- and still do?

    A.C. Grayling

  6. #326
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    What "religious" views? Surely educated people from secular households should know better?
    You're saying those individuals were not drawn, attracted or lured into more radicalised forms of their particular religion?

    Are you certain?
    If you read his book, you would realise he questions and discusses scientists he respects and are friends with, who are in fact religious.

    I did. I see dead priests, destroyed statues and places of worship and massacre of theists. Pretty similar to the Inquisition under Isabella who also got fame and power under similar conditions.
    You mean like the Taliban's destruction of the statues? There are other examples, but you get my drift.

    You mean there are suicide bombers in places without war or conflict? Where?
    Bali and the Australian embassy in Jakarta. The UK (train suicide bombers).

    Because they worshipped the skulls of the people they ate?
    Does this mean that even the neanderthals who were bashing in skulls and collecting mass graves were theistic?
    Yes. Just because they were not worshiping the 'God' you worship or others worship today does not make them any less theistic.

    So parents passing on values and culture is abuse. I see.
    It can be. When threats of violence, abuse, hell is used to force children into staying in one particular culture or adopting a value system or religion, then it is considered abuse. When parents refuse to allow their children to have the freedom of choice in regards to religion, then yes, it can be construed as a form of abuse.

    Does he distinguish between theism and religion? Because his deliberate and careful discrimination between fuzzy and nonspecific concepts seems to keep overlapping the nonfuzzy parts.
    I would suggest you read the book.

    Except that in all places that athiests "decided" to create this athiest utopia, they achieved exactly the same results: ban religion, kill theists, destroy all religious literature, worship and icons or statues.
    What exactly is an "atheist utopia"?

    Communist rulers who claimed to be atheists and attempted to ban religion and every single other form of organisation, be it religious or otherwise, did so because they viewed any other form of authority over people as being a threat to their own power. In other words, all aspects of the community that could be construed as competition for power over the people were banned, be they religious organisations, sporting clubs, associations, etc.

    Why? Because he does not advocate violence? He advocates intolerance and intolerance invariably leads to violence.
    On the contrary, he points out that religions create intolerance which can and does at times lead to violence or threats of violence. His example of the experiences of David Mills shows just how intolerant some can be when it comes to their religion and how they can and do threaten others with violence if they dare speak out against it.

    Except when its theists, apparently. I see anti-theist propaganda directly leading to mass murder of theists, which apparently is insufficient association for you.
    As an atheist, I can assure you, I have never once in my life seen any propaganda calling for the culling of theists. So which propaganda is currently doing this?

    Can you claim that without the anti-theist propaganda, there would still have been such massacres, such destruction of books, statues, the re-reducation of priests, the ban on religion? Without an athiest at the helm would any of the societies under the communist black book have led to such destruction?
    You are confusing atheism and communistic despots (many of whom were bought up as theists or come from theist's homes). Do you honestly think all atheists believe in what you are proposing?

    You are arguing this from a ridiculous standpoint. It is akin to someone saying that because there have been terrorists who were Muslims, it would make all Muslims terrorists.

    They were killed for being theists.
    No. They were killed for rejecting the power of the State. They were killed because they refused to bow down to the dictator, and the dictator viewed that refusal as being a threat to his regime... replace 'dictator' with name of despot of choice...

    I assume being theists is sufficient? Since people being killed as "infidels" are assumed as being killed for being atheists?

    North Korea:
    Religion is an interference in the power structure of despots.

    There is no need to. Athiesm, by definition has no moral code. Religion, by definition does.
    I disagree. You are basically stating that all atheists somehow lack morals. A bit far fetched, don't you think?

    Like (Q)?
    You are saying atheists cannot be humanists? That we are somehow all uncaring and cold individuals who only care about ourselves?

  7. #327
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    Creating awareness of a long and increasingly festering problem is not the same as creating the problem. ”

    Not if his "evidence" is tainted by bias.
    What difference would that make ?
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Seems to me there is more big market corporation at play here than religion. I would not be surprised if the people in the white house were athiests looking out for number one.
    Or theists looking out for number one. So what? Again you seem to have completely misread Dawkins: he nowhere locates the evils of religion in the personal beliefs of the privileged few. He's not worried about reading the mind of Fearless Leader. If the Pope is an atheist, none of Dawkins's arguments change. If Stalin were shown to have been a theist, the atrocities of Stalinism would make no better examples for or against Dawkins's arguments than they do now.
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Nope, I have heard too many of Dawkins diatribes to ignore his bent.
    More thought, before making assumptions about bents, is in order. You are repeating basic and fairly simple misunderstandings of Dawkins's arguments throughout, here.
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Stalin was a socialist so he used socialist arguments. Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, so he uses those arguments. Otherwise there is no difference in the propaganda.
    Uh, otherwise ? Besides, different people criticising the same evil are quite likely to hit on some similarly based arguments against it - big deal.

    Btw: if you want some interesting parallels, compare the form and rhetoric of Stalin's arguments to those he was trained in, in the seminary, during his formative theistic youth.
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    One could argue that there were no school shootings where young boys killed children because they wanted to cull the population and aid natural selection before the militant atheists came in.
    I couldn't. I nominate you, to make that argument.
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    So he replaces one form of indoctrination with another? Stalins anti-religious propaganda caused MUCH greater harm than any religion.
    That's probably not true, on a percentage basis, even if all the harm done by Stalin was caused by his anti-religious propaganda ( a very silly hypothesis). The Catholic religion in the New World comes to mind.

    No, he is simply not arguing that the influence of personal theism on the powerful is at the core of the harm done by it. So when you keep attacking him as if he were, you are missing major points of his arguments. Essentially, every mention of Stalin on this thread is a straw man, irrelevant to Dawkins's approach.

    Maybe start here, since the subject has come up: Russia just prior to Stalin's rise to power was a strongly and oppressively theistic country. According to Dawkins, what are the likely effects of that on the political ideologies of the citizenry, in particular the ease with which they can be coerced and persuaded to mass evil ?
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Thats probably the effect of atheism in these countries (those professing to be religious, I mean). Knowledge and religion have always gone hand in hand.

    Its a known fact of history.
    You need a sarcasm emoticon - that's too close to stuff the nutcases claim sincerely.

  8. #328
    Sam, you're getting pwned and making yourself look silly. Give it up.

  9. #329
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    spidergoat:

    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    I am not a member of the communist club. I believe only that there are natural explanations for things.

    Millions were not killed in the name of atheism, you exaggerate, but I have no doubt many were persecuted for their beliefs by the government. Many religions were allowed to operate, even if they couldn't do so publicly. Some religions were identified with certain brands of nationalism, and were viewed as a threat to the state. Religion was justifiably linked to the upper class. Churches used religion to get rich, with the nod of the Tsars, while the people suffered in poverty.
    I'm not a fundamentalist either, but that does not change the fact that 200,000 priests were murdered by the Soviets. For following their religion and to wipe out God from the society.

    As for millions killed in the name of athiesm, Stalin wrote a 5 step plan of Atheism for soviet society. Anyone against his atheist utopia for religious, political or other randomly assigned reason, became a target.
    http://www.atheisms.info/atheisms/soviet.html

    In the 1930s Stalin initiated a Purge of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which has become known as the Great Purge, an unprecedented campaign of political repression, persecution and executions that reached its peak in 1937.
    See also "Society of the Godless"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_the_Godless


    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    What would a [non-evangelical] atheist look like? Someone who does not mind that other people hold profoundly false and primitive beliefs about the universe, on the basis of which they have spent centuries mass-murdering other people who do not hold exactly the same false and primitive beliefs as themselves- and still do?

    A.C. Grayling
    Very nice. Another secular humanist, I take it.

    James:


    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    SAM:

    Being educated isn't a talisman against religious indoctrination. In fact, it may even make some people more susceptible to it. Take yourself, for example.
    Or Dawkins.
    What happens is that educated people are more likely to question the deeper meaning of their life, and search for answers. Religion provides ready-made easy answers to the question of meaning. For some, that is irresistable.
    IOW, educated people are more susceptible to extremism in religion? I see.


    And your point is... what? This is the second time you've posted this like it means something.

    Don't put words in my mouth, please.

    Since this sidetrack is a waste of time, I won't bother responding.
    Now you see why Dawkings frustrates me. These are his idea of what constitutes reasonable debate on religion. ie the beliefs of people like Collins and the "religious extremism" of the educated.

    Religion takes many forms. Tribal religion is religion nonetheless. Religion can be animistic. Tribal peoples often believe in spirits who live around them. They do certain things to appease the spirits, or at least not to anger them. This is religion as much as Islam is religion.
    Did these tribals do that? Or are we generalising what we believe again?


    According to Dawkins, yes. And look where you are now - convinced that Islam is the One True Religion, and unwilling to consider seriously why you dismiss all other faiths as nonsense. Your indoctrination worked well.
    Like you've decided all of it is nonsense, you mean? Oh wait the atheists position is the more intelligent one, so of course, one is not allowed to have an opinion on their beliefs. Clearly, one can only come to conclusions about the universe in one way.
    I can't recall. Why do you think the distinction is important?
    Because organised religion is very distinct from theism.
    Actually, Dawkins discusses that very point in detail. You ought to read his book rather than making uneducated assumptions.
    I see no reason to wade through 400 pages of the rhetoric that he continually makes in his articles and lectures. From what I have heard him say, although he kindly sets aside Einsteins metaphorical God, ascribing metaphorical explanations for all that Einstein and the like ever said about God (its ALL in the interpretation), he seems to believe that he has the right to decide what religious scholars have debated for thousands of years and make judgments of all people on the basis of his opinion of what people should think.

    I don't think anybody has ever set out with the explicit aim to create an atheist utopia. The same cannot be said for religious utopias. There are hundreds of religious cults, but not one atheist cult, as far as I know.
    Perhaps you would care to look up Stalins Five Step plan for Atheism or ask any Chinese person what declaring themself as religious entails in their country.

    The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is guided by the conviction that only the conscious and deliberate planning of all the social and economic activities of the masses will cause religious prejudices to die out completely. The Party stands for the complete dissolution of the ties between the exploiting classes and organized religious propaganda, and facilitates the real emancipation of the working masses from religious prejudices by organizing the widest possible scientific, educational, and antireligious propaganda.

    Thus religious beliefs will be destroyed not primarily by anti*religious propaganda, but by the conscious and deliberate planning of all the social and economic activities of the masses.

    This does not imply that the Party should or does ignore the use of antireligious propaganda, which helps to form the new atheist conceptions of the broad toiling masses. Tile basis of this movement, however, rests on the fact that the working class is winning in its struggle against the capitalist forms of economy that the working class is rebuilding the whole of the country in accordance with socialist ideas that it is not the old Russia, but the workers, 'the most suitable standard-bearers of atheism, the leaders of the socialist revolution, who are building giant state farms, who are building the mighty Dnieper Dam and the large tractor works, who are marching to victory despite the malevolent plotting of the exploiters of all the world: The Pyatifetka (Five-Year Plan) in the realm of construction embodies that "conscious and deliberate planning of all the social and economic activities of the masses" which the party program refers to as the greatest force which will bring in its wake "the dying-out of religious prejudices."

    Link
    From my reading of his book, which you refuse to read, I think he treats theists very fairly. Again, he explicitly concedes the point you are complaining about in the book. You ought to read it, rather than making uneducated assumptions.
    Perhaps you ought to give him the same advice. I hear he does not consider it necessary to study the religions he rants against.


    He doesn't advocate intolerance.
    Clearly, calling people stupid and delusional because their beliefs are unlike yours, given that neither is falsifiable is a new form of tolerance. Most of the criticism against Dawkins has come from his own peers including atheists. And none of them have considered his form of polemic against theists as evocative of tolerance.

    Communism, as formulated, sought to bring about by force what Marx thought should have been a natural, unforced progression in society. The atheism of the communist leaders was an incidental adjunct to their idea of communism, and a useful tool to justify oppression and control of the people. In that sense, the communist version of atheism was used in a similar way that religion has been used for political purposes throughout history.
    A movement by atheists using anti-religion propaganda to suppress religion and leading to the massacre of millions of people based on random criteria including religion.
    Would there have been destruction and massacres without the communist leaders being atheists? Who knows? You can't easily disentangle one part of an ideology from the rest. What is clear, however, is that communist oppression has never been carried out solely in the name of atheism. The same cannot be said for religious pogroms.
    Because of course, all religious pogroms have NOTHING to do with power equations or conflict for land or resources.

    You claim that Russian priests were killed "for being theists". I say they were killed for being a political threat.
    All theists are a political threat in a society that has a Five Step Plan to wipe out God. Thats just semantics.


    Hardly. The vast majority of it is about the workers and the proletariat.
    Isn't that what Dawkins is addressing? The masses who are blindly followiing the duplicitous leaders? Being led around by someone other than him?


    Interesting point of view to consider, isn't it? Do you think Lenin was wrong? Obviously you do. Is that just an automatic reaction against communism, or is there some deeper reasoning involved? I wonder.
    I think in India we have managed to get more mileage out of communist theory than the Soviets. The lack of a 5 step program to wipe out God perhaps.


    Such as?
    All socities today. Regardless of differences in outlook and random acts of unkindness, most societies today are comprised of compassionate people looking out for each other.
    So, you'll agree that atheism is not immoral, per se. Right?

    There's no particular lack of morality attached to atheism.
    Its what I have been saying all along. Atheism is amoral.



    Witch doctors often did more harm than good. The good that they did happened when they accidentally did something scientific, which had nothing to do with their religious beliefs.
    I did not imply they were brain surgeons, merely the connection between religion and scientific curiosity.


    (Q) can speak for himself. I don't know whether he would call himself a secular humanist or not. If he does, then he is one example who supports my point that you can be both atheist and a secular humanist.
    Or call yourself that. Anyone can.


    If you know nothing of secular humanism, why not try looking at one of the many websites of secular humanist organisations?

    Pontificating about something you obviously know next to nothing about makes you look stupid.
    Because of the disconnect between words and actions maybe. "I am a secular humanist" means nothing to me when its accompanied by " you're a delusional liar for having beliefs that differ from mine"

    Bells:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bells View Post
    You're saying those individuals were not drawn, attracted or lured into more radicalised forms of their particular religion?
    I don't think they were religious, from what I have read in Dying to Win, its more like a group of young men getting together or being recruited by people they already know (and trust) into converting their frustrations into a statement. Since most of them are educated and from secular families, it would appear that there are elements of marxism involved, rebellion against the state etc. Religion is unimportant since Pape found that even atheists, Christians and Marxists are involved, the common factor being occupation ot perceived occupation and a desire to force a state to leave a land. This was true in Lebanon, Palestine as much as in Sri Lanka. Its an evolving phenomenon that appears to be a symptom of conflicts in modern society.

    If you read his book, you would realise he questions and discusses scientists he respects and are friends with, who are in fact religious.
    He does that
    You mean like the Taliban's destruction of the statues? There are other examples, but you get my drift.
    Or the destruction of thousands of churches/mosques/temples/statues by athiests in Russia, China, Cambodia etc? Oh wait, its only significant when thiests are doing it. Which is why there is no oooh and aaah over the bulding of a miliatry base on the ruins of the oldest city in the world in Babylon or the loss of irreplaceable treasures and historical documents from the many museums in Iraq.

    Bali and the Australian embassy in Jakarta. The UK (train suicide bombers).
    US embassies. UK troops bombing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is there any disconnect?

    Yes. Just because they were not worshiping the 'God' you worship or others worship today does not make them any less theistic.
    So does Dawkins worship science?
    It can be. When threats of violence, abuse, hell is used to force children into staying in one particular culture or adopting a value system or religion, then it is considered abuse. When parents refuse to allow their children to have the freedom of choice in regards to religion, then yes, it can be construed as a form of abuse.
    Ah but thats your qualifier. According to Dawkins all religious parents are child abusers.
    I would suggest you read the book.
    Does he misrepresent himself in person?
    What exactly is an "atheist utopia"?

    Communist rulers who claimed to be atheists and attempted to ban religion and every single other form of organisation, be it religious or otherwise, did so because they viewed any other form of authority over people as being a threat to their own power. In other words, all aspects of the community that could be construed as competition for power over the people were banned, be they religious organisations, sporting clubs, associations, etc.
    Claimed to be atheists? They called their form of government officially athiest, dispersed propaganda for godlessness, established groups for militant atheism, named so by themselves, wrote a 5 step plan to wipe out God from their society, destroyed all forms of religious edifices, sculptures, books, exiled, incarcerated, tortured and killed priests and nuns or sent them to re-education camps forcing them to deny their religious beliefs.

    If this is not militant atheism, what is?
    On the contrary, he points out that religions create intolerance which can and does at times lead to violence or threats of violence. His example of the experiences of David Mills shows just how intolerant some can be when it comes to their religion and how they can and do threaten others with violence if they dare speak out against it.
    See previous comment.
    As an atheist, I can assure you, I have never once in my life seen any propaganda calling for the culling of theists. So which propaganda is currently doing this?
    So if you were living in a society where there was a call to instigate reeducation of atheists into theism, you would not fight it?
    You are confusing atheism and communistic despots (many of whom were bought up as theists or come from theist's homes). Do you honestly think all atheists believe in what you are proposing?
    You are arguing this from a ridiculous standpoint. It is akin to someone saying that because there have been terrorists who were Muslims, it would make all Muslims terrorists.
    So in your opinion, the people who committed those atrocities in communist countries were not atheists? Seems odd to me when they constantly called themselves athiests. Were they lying?

    No. They were killed for rejecting the power of the State. They were killed because they refused to bow down to the dictator, and the dictator viewed that refusal as being a threat to his regime... replace 'dictator' with name of despot of choice...
    Religion is an interference in the power structure of despots.
    So now people calling themselves athiests and banning religion are not atheists. Okay.

    I disagree. You are basically stating that all atheists somehow lack morals. A bit far fetched, don't you think?
    Athiesm per se has no requirement for morality.
    You are saying atheists cannot be humanists? That we are somehow all uncaring and cold individuals who only care about ourselves?
    I think simply calling yourself a secular humanist while imposing your beliefs on others is an oxymoron.
    Last edited by S.A.M.; 03-24-08 at 08:18 AM.

  10. #330
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    What difference would that make ?


    Or theists looking out for number one. So what? Again you seem to have completely misread Dawkins: he nowhere locates the evils of religion in the personal beliefs of the privileged few.
    Ah, he wants to lead the masses. So did Stalin.

    He's not worried about reading the mind of Fearless Leader. If the Pope is an atheist, none of Dawkins's arguments change. If Stalin were shown to have been a theist, the atrocities of Stalinism would make no better examples for or against Dawkins's arguments than they do now.
    God Save Us from those who think they know whats best for us.
    More thought, before making assumptions about bents, is in order. You are repeating basic and fairly simple misunderstandings of Dawkins's arguments throughout, here. Uh, otherwise ? Besides, different people criticising the same evil are quite likely to hit on some similarly based arguments against it - big deal.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein
    Btw: if you want some interesting parallels, compare the form and rhetoric of Stalin's arguments to those he was trained in, in the seminary, during his formative theistic youth.
    Dawkins was educated in an Anglican school

    I couldn't. I nominate you, to make that argument.
    I already did.

    That's probably not true, on a percentage basis, even if all the harm done by Stalin was caused by his anti-religious propaganda ( a very silly hypothesis). The Catholic religion in the New World comes to mind.
    How about on a per capita basis?
    No, he is simply not arguing that the influence of personal theism on the powerful is at the core of the harm done by it. So when you keep attacking him as if he were, you are missing major points of his arguments. Essentially, every mention of Stalin on this thread is a straw man, irrelevant to Dawkins's approach.
    He is using the same arguments that Stalin was. The idiocy of the masses that needs liberation.

    Maybe start here, since the subject has come up: Russia just prior to Stalin's rise to power was a strongly and oppressively theistic country.
    Like society today?
    According to Dawkins, what are the likely effects of that on the political ideologies of the citizenry, in particular the ease with which they can be coerced and persuaded to mass evil ?
    So he wants to inspire the next Stalin. I see.

    You need a sarcasm emoticon - that's too close to stuff the nutcases claim sincerely.
    No, I don't. You need objectivity to not dismiss the efforts of so many.

  11. #331
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    I don't think they were religious, from what I have read in Dying to Win, its more like a group of young men getting together or being recruited by people they already know (and trust) into converting their frustrations into a statement. Since most of them are educated and from secular families, it would appear that there are elements of marxism involved, rebellion against the state etc. Religion is unimportant since Pape found that even atheists, Christians and Marxists are involved, the common factor being occupation ot perceived occupation and a desire to force a state to leave a land. This was true in Lebanon, Palestine as much as in Sri Lanka. Its an evolving phenomenon that appears to be a symptom of conflicts in modern society.
    And what is the statement? How about the following, which appeared in the papers today:

    In the sermon, organised by an Islamic youth organisation and delivered a few kilometres from the home village of convicted Bali bombers Amrozi and Mukhlas, Bashir likened tourists in Bali to "worms, snakes, maggots", and specifically referred to the immorality of Australian infidels.

    The address was caught on video by an Australian university student.

    "The youth movement here must aspire to a martyrdom death," said the cleric, who was convicted of conspiracy over the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, but was later cleared and released from prison.

    "The young must be first at the front line - don't hide at the back. You must be at the front, die as martyrs and all your sins will be forgiven. This is how to achieve forgiveness."

    Source
    Do you think this particular cleric is saying that religion is somehow unimportant? Do you think he is not somehow 'preaching' when he says that one is absolved or forgiven of all sins if they kill "infidels"? What statement do you think Bashir is trying to get across when he made the following comment?

    Bashir likened non-Muslims to crawling animals. "Worms, snakes, maggots - those are animals that crawl. Take a look at Bali ... those infidel tourists. They are naked."

    I'm guessing there is morality that stems from theism somewhere in there...?



    He does that
    Gah! You need to read the book, Sam.

    Or the destruction of thousands of churches/mosques/temples/statues by athiests in Russia, China, Cambodia etc? Oh wait, its only significant when thiests are doing it. Which is why there is no oooh and aaah over the bulding of a miliatry base on the ruins of the oldest city in the world in Babylon or the loss of irreplaceable treasures and historical documents from the many museums in Iraq.
    What makes you think there isn't?

    US embassies. UK troops bombing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is there any disconnect?
    Last I checked, the Australian embassy was not a US embassy. The attacks in Bali was not on an Australian 'interest' target. The attacks in Bali killed more Indonesians then they did anyone else and caused Indonesia more pain. Is Indonesia involved in Iraq or Afghanistan? No. And what about good old Bashir? Do you think he is somehow connecting "infidels" or foreigners with Iraq and Afghanistan when he referred to them as:

    "Worms, snakes, maggots - those are animals that crawl. Take a look at Bali ... those infidel tourists. They are naked."

    As he said, "take a look at Bali.. those infidel tourists".. Do you think he is making a political connection there? Somehow, describing them as "infidels" kind of tells me he is not.

    So does Dawkins worship science?
    Can anyone worship science?

    Is it even possible?

    Is there an altar of science that one can light candles on for the science "Gods' to grant a new discovery?

    Ah but thats your qualifier. According to Dawkins all religious parents are child abusers.
    You really do need to read the book Sam. He qualifies parents who use "hell" as a threat to children are abusing their children because of the psychological damage such fear can cause to a child (as one example). He quotes passages from interviews, books and movies of the experiences of people who have had to seek professional help from the damage their parents had caused them in the name of their religion and the constant fear and terror they felt growing up about going to hell if they did anything wrong at all. Personally, I think Dawkins is right. It is child abuse when you cause such psychological fear in children. Are you saying he is wrong about this?

    Do you think a parent is abusing their children if they force them to think or believe a certain way? Denying them the right to determine or question aspects of their lives, culture or society, threatening them with hell if they dare question or doubt? That is what Dawkins mentions in his book.

    Does he misrepresent himself in person?
    I have never met him. Have you?

    But I am curious. How can you comment on his book and critique it if you have never read it?

    Claimed to be atheists? They called their form of government officially athiest, dispersed propaganda for godlessness, established groups for militant atheism, named so by themselves, wrote a 5 step plan to wipe out God from their society, destroyed all forms of religious edifices, sculptures, books, exiled, incarcerated, tortured and killed priests and nuns or sent them to re-education camps forcing them to deny their religious beliefs.

    If this is not militant atheism, what is?
    Why do you think they did it? Could it be they did it because they viewed religion as being a threat to their power or rule?

    Dawkins actually mentions how the Catholic Church used to forcibly remove children from Jewish and Muslim homes if the parents dared not convert their children or themselves into Catholicism, and those children were forced into re-education camps. Is one any different to the other?

    So if you were living in a society where there was a call to instigate reeducation of atheists into theism, you would not fight it?
    Of course I would.

    But again, where is this "anti-theist propaganda directly leading to mass murder of theists" of which you speak? Is it current? Or is it from history and involves power mad despots?

    Did I miss the atheism memo?

    So in your opinion, the people who committed those atrocities in communist countries were not atheists? Seems odd to me when they constantly called themselves athiests. Were they lying?
    They may have been atheists. As I said, many were brought up in theist homes. But what does it matter if they were? Does their atheism somehow make their crimes against humanity and theists worse then when someone like Bashir calling for the killing and bashing of "infidels"? Or when a Christian Hitler massacred millions.. That's not so bad because he was a theist, but an atheist doing it.. well!

    Athiesm per se has no requirement for morality.
    Doesn't it? Does morality have to come from God? Or are individuals somehow unable to be moral on their own? Tell me something Sam, do you think you would be lacking in morals if you were an atheist? Or did you only learn about morality or morals from your religion?

    I think simply calling yourself a secular humanist while imposing your beliefs on others is an oxymoron.
    Is Dawkins imposing his atheism on you? Is he attempting to force you to become an atheist? Am I? Is anyone?

  12. #332
    So Bells Dawkins is your Priest. Halleluaia. Hitler was not a Christian, everything the Nazi's did points to their viewpoint on natural selection. This is diametrically opposite of Christian beliefs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism



    And i can show you absolute proof from papers much more involved than that Wiki link. Go search for yourself and you will see what motivated the Nazi's. And these are not Christian sites either but written by Ph.D's who are subjective and not Evangelical Atheist's. The truth is the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts.

    If a Christian follows the teaching of Jesus Christ then Hitler was the anti-Christ.

    And where did the Catholic church ever take away Jewish and Muslim children? What a load of bullshit.
    Last edited by John99; 03-24-08 at 09:39 AM.

  13. #333
    And you claim that you were once a Christian, weather that is true or not is debatable. So Hitler was once a Christian also. Are you still a Christian just because you once were? You should study and read about the Nazi's, you will be surprised when you find out what the truth is.

  14. #334
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bells View Post
    ]And what is the statement? How about the following, which appeared in the papers today:

    In the sermon, organised by an Islamic youth organisation and delivered a few kilometres from the home village of convicted Bali bombers Amrozi and Mukhlas, Bashir likened tourists in Bali to "worms, snakes, maggots", and specifically referred to the immorality of Australian infidels.

    The address was caught on video by an Australian university student.

    "The youth movement here must aspire to a martyrdom death," said the cleric, who was convicted of conspiracy over the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, but was later cleared and released from prison.

    "The young must be first at the front line - don't hide at the back. You must be at the front, die as martyrs and all your sins will be forgiven. This is how to achieve forgiveness."

    Source
    Do you think this particular cleric is saying that religion is somehow unimportant? Do you think he is not somehow 'preaching' when he says that one is absolved or forgiven of all sins if they kill "infidels"? What statement do you think Bashir is trying to get across when he made the following comment?

    Bashir likened non-Muslims to crawling animals. "Worms, snakes, maggots - those are animals that crawl. Take a look at Bali ... those infidel tourists. They are naked."

    I'm guessing there is morality that stems from theism somewhere in there...?
    Pretty much the same one that the mass media makes every day since 9/11 with Islamofascism, Islamic terrorism, Muslim terrorists, Mohammed cartoons and films like Wilders and van Goghs. Demonising people is not relegated to the west.

    Aren't those all covered by freedom of expression? Besides, its only the secular educated that blow themselves and you won't find most of those in a mosque. In fact, I believe that of the odd 400 suicide bombers, only two have come from a mosque and both from the same one in SE Asia.

    Gah! You need to read the book, Sam.
    I mean, he does that, I saw his debate with Collins.

    What makes you think there isn't?
    I must have missed it. Did they put it in the last page in fine print? Cos with all the

    TALIBAN DESTROYS BUDDHIST SCULPTURES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I never saw an equivalent

    US DESTROYS BABYLON!!!!!

    Last I checked, the Australian embassy was not a US embassy. The attacks in Bali was not on an Australian 'interest' target. The attacks in Bali killed more Indonesians then they did anyone else and caused Indonesia more pain. Is Indonesia involved in Iraq or Afghanistan? No. And what about good old Bashir? Do you think he is somehow connecting "infidels" or foreigners with Iraq and Afghanistan when he referred to them as:

    "Worms, snakes, maggots - those are animals that crawl. Take a look at Bali ... those infidel tourists. They are naked."

    As he said, "take a look at Bali.. those infidel tourists".. Do you think he is making a political connection there? Somehow, describing them as "infidels" kind of tells me he is not.
    A priest calling a nonbeliever a nonbeliver is as political as the western media defining only Muslims by their religion.

    And sorry about the Australian embassy, I believe there was some land conflict involved, where a country that has taken its entire landmass by occupying and genocide of an aboriginal population was telling another country they dare not occupy another or something like that.
    Can anyone worship science?

    Is it even possible?

    Is there an altar of science that one can light candles on for the science "Gods' to grant a new discovery?
    Apparently one can, because it competes with religion and is mutually exclusive according to Dawkins.

    You really do need to read the book Sam. He qualifies parents who use "hell" as a threat to children are abusing their children because of the psychological damage such fear can cause to a child (as one example). He quotes passages from interviews, books and movies of the experiences of people who have had to seek professional help from the damage their parents had caused them in the name of their religion and the constant fear and terror they felt growing up about going to hell if they did anything wrong at all. Personally, I think Dawkins is right. It is child abuse when you cause such psychological fear in children. Are you saying he is wrong about this?
    And there are no atheist parents who do the same?
    Do you think a parent is abusing their children if they force them to think or believe a certain way? Denying them the right to determine or question aspects of their lives, culture or society, threatening them with hell if they dare question or doubt? That is what Dawkins mentions in his book.
    Again, are there no athiest parents who do the same?

    I have never met him. Have you?

    But I am curious. How can you comment on his book and critique it if you have never read it?
    I like attending public speaking sessions. I think people are more honest when they don't have time to coach their responses in language. You should hear him speak sometime.

    Why do you think they did it? Could it be they did it because they viewed religion as being a threat to their power or rule?

    Dawkins actually mentions how the Catholic Church used to forcibly remove children from Jewish and Muslim homes if the parents dared not convert their children or themselves into Catholicism, and those children were forced into re-education camps. Is one any different to the other?
    You tell me, I'm the one with teh God Delusion, remember?


    Of course I would.
    But again, where is this "anti-theist propaganda directly leading to mass murder of theists" of which you speak? Is it current? Or is it from history and involves power mad despots?

    Did I miss the atheism memo?
    The first country to officially declare itself athiest was the Soviet Union. They killed over 20 million people in an effort to establish their officially atheist society. If this had been done to form a Christian, Muslim or Jewish society, there would be no argument behind the reasoning.

    All the rest who followed this manifesto, repeated the same results. China, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea.

    And for some reason, militant atheists devolve into eugenicists.

    Also a pattern in all of the above places.

    They may have been atheists. As I said, many were brought up in theist homes. But what does it matter if they were? Does their atheism somehow make their crimes against humanity and theists worse then when someone like Bashir calling for the killing and bashing of "infidels"? Or when a Christian Hitler massacred millions.. That's not so bad because he was a theist, but an atheist doing it.. well!
    I believe Hitler was an athiest. If you read his unofficial conversations its pretty clear that he had no love for the church. But he was a master of propaganda and used words that he knew would aid his cause. Just like the Soviet Union, after realising he needed the Christians to fight a losing battle, he made statements supporting Christianity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Table Talk
    When National Socialism has ruled long enough, it will no longer be possible to conceive of a form of life different from ours.

    On a question from C. S., whether this antagonism might mean a war, the Fuehrer continued:

    No, it does not mean a war. The ideal solution would be to leave the religions to devour themselves, without persecutions. But in that case we must not replace the Church by something equivalent. That would be terrifying! It goes without saying that the whole thing needs a lot of thought. Everything will occur in due time. It is a simple question of honesty, that's what it will finally boil down to.

    In England, the status of the individual in relation to the Church is governed by considerations of State. In America, it's all purely a matter of conformism.

    The German people's especial quality is patience; and it's the only one of the peoples capable of undertaking a revolution in this sphere. It could do it, if only for the reason that only the German people has made moral law the governing principle of action.

    The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. Bolshevism practises a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty to men, whereas in reality it seeks only to enslave them. In the ancient world, the relations between men and gods were founded on an instinctive respect. It was a world enlightened by the idea of tolerance. Christianity was the first creed in the world to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love. Its key-note is intolerance.

    Without Christianity, we should not have had Islam. The Roman Empire, under Germanic influence, would have developed in the direction of world-domination, and humanity would not have extinguished fifteen centuries of civilisation at a single stroke.

    Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things.
    http://davnet.org/kevin/articles/table.html

    Doesn't it? Does morality have to come from God? Or are individuals somehow unable to be moral on their own? Tell me something Sam, do you think you would be lacking in morals if you were an atheist? Or did you only learn about morality or morals from your religion?
    I don't know. As an indoctrinated member of a 5000 year old religious society, I have no comparison. However I see that rape, murder, pedophilia are not immoral in animals.

    Is Dawkins imposing his atheism on you? Is he attempting to force you to become an atheist? Am I? Is anyone?
    Hate the sin and love the sinner? How did that work out for homosexuality?
    Last edited by S.A.M.; 03-24-08 at 10:08 AM.

  15. #335
    Sam, is somebody disagreeing with you about something and explaining why they disagree with you evangelism? If I argued what caused WWI and gave some explanations which indicate why I'm right, would you call it evangelism?

    I would be arguing for a position of something that happened and says something about the world. The same as atheists do. They argue their points about the universe and religion, both of which pertain to things that happened and say something about the universe. God is a scientific hypothesis, a very bad one. A hypothesis which argues about the causes of WW1 is a scientific hypothesis. There's essentially no difference.

  16. #336
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Sam, is somebody disagreeing with you about something and explaining why they disagree with you evangelism? If I argued what caused WWI and gave some explanations which indicate why I'm right, would you call it evangelism?

    I would be arguing for a position of something that happened and says something about the world. The same as atheists do. They argue their points about the universe and religion, both of which pertain to things that happened and say something about the universe. God is a scientific hypothesis, a very bad one. A hypothesis which argues about the causes of WW1 is a scientific hypothesis. There's essentially no difference.
    There is no scientific hypothesis without falsifiability.

  17. #337
    Encephaloid Martini (Q)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    If you'd read carefully, you'd know they wanted to re-educate the people in their own belief systems. The existing institutions were corrupted by Buddhism I suppose.
    And, if you'd read carefully, you'd know that whatever Pol Pot did was not in the name of atheism or had anything to do with atheism.

    He destroyed those ministries with equal abandonment.

  18. #338
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q) View Post
    And, if you'd read carefully, you'd know that whatever Pol Pot did was not in the name of atheism or had anything to do with atheism.

    He destroyed those ministries with equal abandonment.
    Pol Pot was an athiest. He banned worship, tore down temples and killed or reeducated priests.

    maybe he did it all because he had indigestion. The fact remains, nothing he did was opposed to his beliefs.

  19. #339
    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    There is no scientific hypothesis without falsifiability.
    A good hypothesis is testable. But the theory of a god is one that attempts say something absolute about this world. A world with a god is much different from one without. So I'll repeat my point from before:

    Is somebody disagreeing with you about something and explaining why they disagree with you evangelism? If I argued what caused WWI and gave some explanations which indicate why I'm right, would you call it evangelism?

  20. #340
    Encephaloid Martini (Q)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Pol Pot was an athiest. He banned worship, tore down temples and killed or reeducated priests.

    maybe he did it all because he had indigestion. The fact remains, nothing he did was opposed to his beliefs.
    Everything he did had nothing to do with the claims of theists.

    Yours is a twisted deranged view, unfounded and biased in every way.

    But, you are free to demonstrate that Pol Pot did what he did in the name of atheism.

    You're on deck, sam, go for it...

    "The Khmer Rouge targeted Buddhist monks, Western-educated intellectuals (apart from themselves), educated people in general, people who had contact with Western countries or with Vietnam, people who appeared to be intellectuals (for example, individuals with glasses), the crippled and lame, and ethnic minorities like ethnic Chinese, Laotians and Vietnamese."

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