Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by S.A.M., Mar 9, 2009.
I think I can answer this one: not at all.
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well if we were discussing the value of an opinion, it might be helpful to determine where it exists (or even whether it exists) don't you think?
If there were no atheists at this forum, how much discussion of the atheist POV would there be?
We were discussing your assertion that being an atheist requires declaring it :bugeye:
Its like the tree in the forest argument.
If no athiest ever declares himself, does atheism exist?
No atheist ever ?? :bugeye:
We are not discussing that highly hypothetical question.
then I guess you have just confirmed a prerequisite for atheism .....
If an opinion (or a value) is never stated in a social context, and never fought for in a social context,
then that opinion (or a value) has little chance to be respected and recognized by the wider society.
For example: If the early feminists would not loudly state their position and would not fight for it to be recognized and respected -
what do you think would happen with women's rights? Do you really think that women would be given the right to vote, to earn an equal salary for doing a work equal to men's and so on?
Whatever the hell that means, yeah ...
And who is it that declares 'morality is subjective'?
Someone or something other than man?
All of it spoken by a man!
Or do you wish to declare that someone or something else said it?
It's not that you would 'have to' believe in other things if you don't believe in God.
It's that you already believe in other things if you don't believe in God.
Of course, unless you think that it is possible to get by in life without believing in anything. For instance, if you think that it is possible to get by in life without believing that your senses are a reliable source of information, or that your reason is a good guide for you in your life, or that in order to get money you need to work or steal.
Do you manage to go by in life without believing this or that to be the highest or at least most reliable instance?
Nope. There are all kinds of beliefs running around among the atheistic humans on this planet.
I don't believe either of those things, and I'm atheist.
Among the societies in which astrology was/is central to the local theism, they have a category name.
They are atheists.
Or to deliever the sermon.
A small but significant percentage of the clergy in every theistic religion is atheist.
Nope. It hardly exists anyway - these catchall categories are always a source fo confusion.
But you don't know what they are, unless you ask the atheistic person.
Of course, in the case of things that do not form hierarchies easily or informatively.
I happen to believe that natural humans have a built in tendency to develop moral codes of a certain pattern or kind. Is that obscure to you, or difficult to understand?
The tree still makes noise even if there is no one there to hear it.
So as a theist, you should have absolutely no opinion and not be considered as existing when a discussions about atheism are held on this forum or in any other social context, correct?
After all, how could you possibly understand how one could have "(anti) religious beliefs or leanings" when you believe in God and religion, etc?
Does the word 'opinion' mean anything to you? I can have an opinion about atheism, theism, horses, cows, cats, dogs and any number of things without being or believing in any of those things. To say that it is impossible to discuss, and to go to the extent to say that one's existence is dominated by one's beliefs is a bit silly in my opinion.
Nonsense. I don't need to state my personal beliefs to be able to give an opinion about something. I can, for example, agree with both sides, thereby making me a fence sitter or I can agree with the arguments of one side while being a believer of the other side.
Do atheists need to stand up and fight for their rights in society like women had to against a patriarchal society who denied them their fundamental rights? There were many women who firmly believed in the women's rights movement and who did not believe they should have to fight for it, instead thinking that it should come to them as a matter of course, in short, expecting society to do what is right without having to be reminded of what is right.
Just as I could believe in God and believe in other things as well.
Which has what to do with religious or atheistic leanings?
There are people who are neither here nor there about the whole thing. Does that mean their opinion does not count if they don't state their exact position in regards to their personal beliefs? Do they cease to exist? No, they do not.
At the end of the day there are those who demand to know the personal beliefs of others so that they can then categorise them in their minds and in how they behave towards those people.
Good luck with that.
Why would it need to be something else that declares it?
What are you (failing and) trying to imply?
Why are so many people on this forum so lazy? Why can't you just state your opinion and make a logical argument? What's with all this unhelpful attempt at sarcasm rather than real discussion?
God vs. the Tooth Fairy?
Excepting Christmas, because, yes, there are festivals for other people, I think you're making a bit of a mistake.
I don't actually know how religious you are, but you are culturally sensitive along a religious boundary, and that's where I think your question hits its first wall.
Maybe you think God is the equivalent of UFOs, stamp collecting, or faeries, but most people apparently don't. And, presently, we do not have civil rights issues in front of society defined by whether or not someone collects stamps or has seen a UFO.
We do, however, in terms of religion. And you know this. Creationists in Kansas, premillennial dispensationalists attacking the Middle East, abortion, homosexuals, prayer in schools, &c. In Islamic nations, there is the question of whether you should be able to buy underwear without some man leering over you. Or the question of whether a newspaper should be shut down for not being Islamic enough.
Nobody's shutting down a newspaper because of the Tooth Fairy. If your bra doesn't fit, it's not some mischievous garden sprite. It's not the freakin' Reticulan Greys trying to teach children bad science.
Yes, atheism requires an identification because it represents a certain comparative condition. I mean hell, this has made it to federal court before because some idiot somewhere decided to argue that since atheism isn't a religion, it has no First Amendment protection and thus can be suppressed. In 1997, for instance, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (NY, CT, VT) ruled that a county correctional system could not force a man to enter a religious-based alcohol treatment program against his beliefs.
Religious people, S.A.M., made this important. Consider Alcoholics Anonymous. Fully half of the twelve steps involve God (2-3, 5-7, 11). So imagine that a person who happens to be an atheist is sentenced in a public intoxication case to undergo AA counseling. Well, in order to pass the program—to be successful to the Court's satisfaction—that atheist would have to acknowledge the existence of God, beseech Him to help, and constantly pray to Him for understanding.
Now, what if it was you? And what if it was Jesus Christ? Could you fake your way through? Should you have to?
"Re-education" is often a sinister term. It would be in this case, too.
If people's ability to sustain themselves in society did not, from time to time, hinge on whether or not they believe in God, then I could agree that the atheists were out on a limb. But they're not, because the world doesn't work that way.
Something a little more concrete, the U.S. Supreme Court:
At one time, it was thought that this right merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism. But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all. This conclusion derives support not only from the interest in respecting the individual's freedom of conscience, but also from the conviction that religious beliefs worthy of respect are the product of free and voluntary choice by the faithful, and from recognition of the fact that the political interest in forestalling intolerance extends beyond intolerance among Christian sects -- or even intolerance among "religions" -- to encompass intolerance of the disbeliever and the uncertain.
(Stevens, accent added)
And in an even earlier case:
The constitutional inhibition of legislation on the subject of religion has a double aspect. On the one hand, it forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship. Freedom of conscience and freedom to adhere to such religious organization or form of worship as the individual may choose cannot be restricted by law.
(Roberts, accent added)
Choosing no religious expression is still a form of religious expression; it is relevant and defining in religious terms.
The answer, then, to your question—
"Why even have a separate category for atheism?"
—is that it's that important to the religious people. If they could just let certain things go—say, the fact that someone doesn't believe in God—it would be a lot easier to get along.
Clark, Curtis E. "Atheism Is Protected As a Religion, says Court". The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blog. September 15, 2008. http://freeassemblage.blogspot.com/2008/09/atheism-is-protected-by-law-austin.html
Alcoholics Anonymous. "The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous". AA.org. Accessed March 11, 2009. http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/smf-121_en.pdf
Stevens, J. John P. "Opinion of the Court". Wallace v. Jaffreee 472 U.S. 38. Supreme Court of the United States. June 4, 1985. Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School. Accessed March 11, 2009. http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0472_0038_ZO.html
Roberts, J. Owen J. "Opinion of the Court". Cantwell v. Connecticut 310 U.S. 296. Supreme Court of the United States. May 20, 1940. Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School. Accessed March 11, 2009. http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0310_0296_ZO.html
And just as ignorant.
So the fact that, religious people started AA with God in it is a sign that they cannot let go? Thats an odd form of reasoning.
Did you just miss the point, or did it require some effort?
Nay, m'lady. And I know you're not so superficial as that.
Here's a question I would appreciate a straight answer to: Under what circumstances should you be forced to worship a God you don't believe in?
Let's try that for starters and then work back to the larger context.
How are you forced to worship?
Going back on my experience in India, if I attend and participate in a pooja or mass with my friends am I being forced to worship their God?
Its all one God to me, so I really don't get nitpicky about what people say.
If I were attending an AA started by Catholics, I would not be surprised to find Jesus Christ there.
If I was paranoid about being contaminated by their worship, I would start my own Islamic AA.
I don't understand why atheists would want to remove God from AA for those that find it helpful to have religion as an aid rather than starting their own.
Hey Sam, trolling again about atheism??
You know a definition by you for recognition would have been helpful. Certainly in Muslim countries atheists are not recognized...
But to answer your question, because they are the MINORITY in most countries and they usually don't enjoy same rights....
Separate names with a comma.