Should atheism be recognised?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by S.A.M., Mar 9, 2009.

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Should atheism be recognised?

  1. Yes, I want to be recognised for the stuff I don't believe in

    4 vote(s)
    44.4%
  2. No, its stupid to have a category for NOT believing in something

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Got better things to think about

    5 vote(s)
    55.6%
  4. My opinion, which is better than yours, is given in a post below

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    What rights?
     
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  3. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    "Rights" are something that someone gives to someone else ....and then expects others to enforce those "rights".

    Personally I think "rights" were invented by journalists so they could write sensationalist articles about others abusing those "rights".

    Baron Max
     
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  5. Tyler Registered Senior Member

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    4,888
    Well, you're be wrong. The idea of 'rights' in the modern sense is at least as old as the Greeks, and extends further back with the Hebrews. For that matter, it's most likely as old a concept as civilization; a citizen would have been granted different rights than a slave, a man different from a woman.
     
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  7. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Which is, of course, exactly what I said ....rights are something that someone gives to others. You seem to think because it was known to the Greeks, then it was, what, god-given?

    Who gives out "rights"? Go ahead, answer that question. Then ask yourself who can take away those rights.

    Baron Max
     
  8. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,888
    Do you have reading comprehension problems, Sam, or are you just doing this for the sake of annoying people?

    Quote where Tiassa said that atheists are trying to ban AA, change it to not include God or remove it for those who want to use God in AA. Either that or - since I don't think I've ever seen you do it before - admit that you were wrong. I thought atheists were supposed to be the arrogant pricks and those of faith were supposed to be humble. Yet I've never seen you take something back.

    Oh, and I'd still very much like an answer to my question. Or at least a reply telling me why you keep ignoring me.
     
  9. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,888
    Not journalists. I was responding to your claim that journalists invented rights. The concept of "rights" (secular) existed at least as long ago as the Greeks, which is roughly 1700 years before anything resembling a 'journalist' appeared.
     
  10. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    23,053
    Hard, rough men with weapons protects those "rights" ........and hard, rough men can take them away just as easily.

    Concepts are sorta' like dreams ....they can go up in smoke at the drop of a hat.

    Baron Max
     
  11. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    72,825
    Then what was tiassa's point? Since you seem to know it better?

    Its inconsistent to say aliens do not appear in set of all things that exist, since there is no way of knowing. Its also not currently answerable since perception is reality.

    When I'm ignoring you, you'll know it.
     
  12. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    20,855
    It's consistent to say gods do not appear in set of all things that exist.

    Reality IS reality, despite it's perception.
     
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Messages:
    37,329
    You're kidding, right?

    Going back to your experience in India doesn't necessarily help. The scenario pertaining to AA is more complicated than simply starting your own Islamic-based chapter. Imagine, please, that you are ...

    • ... arrested for an alleged alcohol-related offense.
    • ... tried in a court and found guilty.
    • ... sentenced to various measures, including alcohol rehabilitation.​

    With me so far? Now, then, in order to successfully complete the rehab, and thus get the state off your back, you must ...

    • ... acknowledge God (step 2).
    • ... surrender to God (step 3).
    • ... confess to God (step 5).
    • ... pray to God to remove your character defects (steps 6, 7) because you are incapable of doing anything for yourself (step 1).
    • ... continually pray and meditate, beseeching of God to give you the knowledge and power to do what only God can do. (step 11).​

    And I left one out earlier. More than half the steps pertain to God. You must also pledge to evangelize your "spiritual awakening" (step 12).

    Being forced to do this by a court is a bit different from choosing to attend a pooja or mass.

    The problem with this answer is a common one. We often pretend that certain things don't affect us because we have the luxury of doing so. For instance, my father. When I was younger, he was a law-and-order Reagan Republican who despised the Miranda Act because "criminals shouldn't have rights". Never mind that they weren't convicted yet.

    But when it was his son's—e.g., my—turn, he put down the money and hired a shark. He may despise lawyers in general, but when it's close to him, he wants someone who's willing to pull every last damn trick out of the hat.

    In other words, when it was mere theory, he could afford to stand on what he considered a noble position. But when it became reality, he came down off that hill and was ready to play in the dirt.

    So I hope you're correct in your self-assessment. I admit I'm not sure, though, whether I hope you're made of the stuff that can accept forced religious re-education. On the one hand, I would be glad to see you cope with such absurdity. To the other, though, I don't think you should have to go through it.

    And what if the government was forcing you for whatever reason to accept the authority and pray for the guidance of Satan? Or the Mother Goddess? Or the goddamn Flying Spaghetti Monster? Is God so meaningless to you that it's just a word that represents nothing?

    (Don't get me wrong; that's fine if it is, but it's an unorthodox theistic position. To the other, I don't believe you would really claim to be all that representative of theists, monotheists, or Abramists in general.)

    What makes you think it's about removing God from AA?

    In the end, what it's about is that forcing someone to convert to a religion—any religion—in order to satisfy the state is simply wrong. And, in the United States, it's against the law.

    The AA example is extrapolated from a 1997 federal court decision:

    "The district court agreed with Mr. Warner's argument that these meetings involved a substantial religious element. Participants were told to "believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us," and that they must "turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him." In addition, the "Step" program ordered those participating to "Admit to God ... the exact nature of our wrongs," be "entirely ready to have God remove all these defects ... (and) ask Him to remove our shortcomings," and to seek "through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we (understand) Him. The meetings were also punctuated with frequent prayers of a Christian nature."

    Four months into the program Mr. Warner complained that, as an Atheist, he found the meetings objectionable due to their religious nature. It was then that his probation officer determined that Warner lacked sufficient commitment to the idea of learning the techniques of remaining sober, even though he apparently had not been found in violation of his probation orders to remain sober!


    (Clark)

    In other words, Mr. Warner had to convert in order to successfully complete the program.

    And don't give us any shit about Guantanamo, or else I'll ask if you would think it fair to only release the terror suspects after they convert to Christianity.

    The AA case, as a general point in the context of this thread, offers an example of why identifying as an atheist is important. Think of it this way: Abramic religions, at least, tend to have certain community outreaches. Would a judge send a Muslim to a Christian rehab program when there was a Muslim one available? In the meantime, few if any rehab programs identify specifically as atheist, but when there are facilities available where the regimen has nothing to do with God, why send an atheist to a religious conversion program?

    This example directly answers your topic question. If you don't identify as an atheist, people will never stop trying to force you to pray, worship, believe, convert, or whatever. If a minority does not assert its rights, it will be trampled. You are part of less than 1% of the American population. You've seen how your fellow Muslims have been treated in recent years. And you've seen how people respond to those who advocate the rights and dignity of your fellows. I find it difficult to believe you're unable to see the point.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Alcoholics Anonymous. "The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous". AA.org. Accessed March 11, 2009. http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/smf-121_en.pdf

    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
     
  14. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,888
    Right. Not journalists. I'm glad you see how you were wrong.
    In some states (I believe this is still the case, though as a Canuck I'm less familiar with Yankee law) when one is caught drinking and driving or with drugs there is the option of rehabilitation or jail time. Rehabilitation, however, is often only offered as AA. Therefore, citizens are offered the choice of "accept God and religion, or go to jail." Being an atheist and doing some other form of rehabilitation (perhaps exactly the same as AA but without the 'God' part) is not an option. This is the State explicitly deciding that religion is greater than no religion. Which is State interference in personal beliefs. Which is unconstitutional.

    If you still think Tiassa was saying that atheists are trying to ban AA, change it to not include God or remove it for those who want to use God in AA, then please show where. I'm confused as to why this is difficult for you.
    No, you've misunderstood. I suggest you'd do well to read up on ontological theories.

    Each person has an ontology, whether they know it or not. Some may have a fuzzy one, some may have a strictly defined one, some may even have a contradictory one (we often call these people psychopathic), but everyone has an ontology.

    Your (Sam's) ontology is the Set Of All Things Sam Believes To Exist. Aliens, most likely, are not in there. You have not seen proof or evidence, and so you have not placed them in that set. Ontology does not concern itself with whether or not a question is answerable, it concerns itself only with what one posits to exist. Some people, though, may well have aliens in their ontology, though it would most likely be a 'fuzzy' notion of alien, as we have not exactly met very many.

    In your sentence you mixed up ontology (set of things that exist) with epistemology (answerable or not). You'd do well to brush up on the difference between the two. Or, perhaps you are simply the greatest philosopher of all time and have managed to be the first person to (rightly!) assert that there is no distinction between the two.

    My money, though, is on the other option. No offense, I would just need more than a few sentences before I'd agree that 2500 years of philosophy is all baloney. (And that includes all the greats of Islamic philosophy, I might add, who were rather fond of the Greek distinction between epistemology and ontology.)
     
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    72,825
    Is there a law against starting an alcohol recovery program for atheists?

    I'm pretty sure AA cannot be the only one.

    That said, it seems to me that the entire attitude towards problem solving between theists and atheists in the US is confrontational and ends up benefiting neither. You'd think at some point people would realise it does not work and look for alternatives that do work.
     
  16. John99 Banned Banned

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    22,046
    Why cant people just believe what they want and STFU about it?
     
  17. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    23,053
    When has anyone tried to "...force you to pray, worship, believe, convert or whatever"? Or for that matter, to "force" anyone else?

    Baron Max
     
  18. Tyler Registered Senior Member

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    4,888
    I forgot to add: this is an extremely debatable philosophical position and entails a phenomenal amount of argument to back it up. If I asked you "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" You would be forced to answer "No."

    Is that really the side you're on?

    Also, Tiassa, I think Sam may have no interest in seeing the point or answering the question. Her main goal seems to be annoying people. I'm still waiting for the day when she says "good point" to someone or "that's true" or "now I understand" or "you're right". So far all I've seen is a continued stubbornness.
     
  19. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    72,825
    Perhaps I cannot fathom why atheists do not simply start their own AA. However I am Indian and perhaps some resolutions are easier in Indian society. We even had a mother's group in some state that beats up sons who drink. Not sure how that turned out.

    I suppose I consider that things one believes to exist cannot overlap with those that are answerable. If that makes any sense.
     
  20. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    72,825
    You clearly haven't read the thread in which I responded to that question.

    And yeah, that was my answer.

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    http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=58276
     
  21. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    23,053
    SAM, don't let these people confuse you ....there are plenty of such programs all over the USA. People just like to bitch n' moan about religion and religious programs, that's all.

    Baron Max
     
  22. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,888
    That's a fair question, why they don't start their own. (I don't know the answer, I've never needed rehab and have no real knowledge on the issue.) But it doesn't negate the point that the State has explicitly made a decision that God is better than no God. Atheist rehab programs were not included in the option, therefore the state was offering the choice of "God or jail."
    One (agnostic) is a position on whether or not knowledge is attainable (hypothetical). The other (atheist) is a position on whether or not something is - in a given person's mind; not in the objective sense - included as one of the things that definitely exists.

    I don't believe in a god or gods. I also acknowledge what I believe to be blindingly obvious; that it's impossible (at this time) to prove one exists, and impossible to prove one doesn't exist. I think Russell is right to say that a certain benevolent creator myth is provably false, but it is impossible to prove that all or any (even ones not yet defined by humans) god in particular does not exist. That is why, and how, Russell famously declared himself both an agnostic and atheist.
     
  23. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,888
    Well, it's a perfectly tenable position in some people's minds. Some people really are total subjectivists. But I think you ought to read up on that position before you adhere to closely to it! It's a very difficult position to maintain.
     

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