Insulting Religion

Discussion in 'Religion' started by (Q), Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I think that belief in 'God' (however that word's defined) is a religious belief, simply by definition. So anyone who believes in God can be said to possess at least one religious belief. In other words, I'm inclined to think that it's impossible to completely separate 'I believe in God' from 'I have a religious belief', such that it's logically possible for the first statement to be true while the second is false.

    But it's certainly possible to believe in God without belonging to an established religious denomination. It's possible to be a thoroughly secular person in day-to-day life, while still believing in God. It's probably harder to believe in God without being influenced by the religious traditions that have historically used that word, since those uses have provided the word with the variety of meanings that it bears. But certainly people can and do arrive at their own unique ideas of what they think God is.
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    That probably depends on the context, on the motivation, and on how the judgement is expressed.

    It certainly can be.

    If I tell you that I think that you're an idiot and an asshole, that's just my opinion, right? But I'm guessing that you will hear it as an insult, and probably rightly so.

    I think that hell-fire evangelists are sadistic bastards too.

    Telling somebody that they are going to burn in hell expresses an implicit judgement that the person deserves to burn in hell. It's the worst kind of condemnation. You can't expect people to ignore that.

    Telling somebody that they are going to burn in hell is also typically a rhetorical attempt to emotionally manipulate the listener through fear, so that the listener will behave as the speaker desires. That's apt to elicit hostility.

    And in my opinion, telling non-theists that they are going to burn in hell for eternity is an implicit announcement that the God being preached is the worst kind of moral monster, essentially indistinguishable from mythology's Satan, and not a suitable object for our human religious emotions. It's the worst sort of insult towards God himself, pretty close to the ultimate blasphemy in my opinion. (Luckily I'm an atheist with regards to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God, so that doesn't bother me a whole lot. I'm just pointing out the defect.)

    Hellfire preaching certainly communicates to me that the speaker isn't on a religious path that I'd be interested in following.
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    That's like asking somebody if they've stopped beating their wife. You're apparently trying to establish yourself in the position of the board's instructor on the subject of religion, the person who is qualified to give everyone else "pop quizzes", and no doubt the one qualified to grade everyone's responses as well. It isn't surprising that people aren't willing to grant you that.

    What I'd suggest is that you start one or more threads here in the 'religion' forum in which you ask whatever questions you like, and let people have the opportunity to post their ideas and then discuss and/or argue about them. Most of the threads here in the 'philosophy' fora already start out with questions after all, that's how philosophical discussions work.

    So again, I invite you to post any questions that you like, preferably in new threads devoted to them. Nothing is preventing you from doing it. If your questions are well-crafted, then they might generate some good threads and some interesting discussions. I look forward to it.
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  7. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    The ignorance illustrated by Tiassa's post not being more than sufficient grounds for you to learn how to differentiate terms.

    What, so you can play cheerleader for others, but I cannot simply let Tiassa know that I agree? If you are so sure you are right, why would you be worried about people knowing how widely you spread your conflation of terms?

    And no, my thread has plenty attention, but perhaps this gives us insight as to why you crop up in multiple threads to insist on the same conflation of terms.
  8. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Yet you studiously avoided addressing deism, which is a belief in god without any significant trappings of religion.
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Why argue excessively about the definitions. Do you really care? Does it make any real difference to any significant topic?

    Deism is a belief in a God without any significant trappings of religion (as you say) however that's talking about religion in an organized sense. In another sense belief in a God is a religious belief. It's just not an organized religion.

    What greater point is there to really make here however other than to acknowledge the obvious and that is that words usually have several meanings.
  10. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    Because it fits his agenda of giving mysticism a cloak of reason.

    A way to help avoid future disagreement over intended descriptions of religion is to qualify them when used.

    These descriptions may be useful.
  11. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    The second clause in the post that you quoted (the part that you snipped out) addressed individuals who believe in God, and hence possess at least one religious belief (in God), but otherwise live secular lives with little or no religious adherence or observance. That's certainly possible, in fact people like that are extremely common in our modern Western world.

    What I'm saying is that the existence of nominal theists who otherwise live secular lives in which their belief in God plays little or no role, doesn't imply that belief in God isn't a religious belief.

    You apparently want me to write something about deism, so I'll do that. The word 'deist' originally was a synonym for 'monotheist'. In the 1600's the word acquired a new meaning, referring to what we might call Christian free-thinkers. The earlier 17'th century 'deists' were all over the map, holding all kinds of different ideas, and historians of religion today still disagree about what sort of doctrines they held in common.

    The main thing that held them together seems to have been their skepticism towards revealed theology, while still acknowledging natural theology. In a way, it was kind of an intellectual outgrowth of the Protestant reformation, thrusting it in a direction that the Protestant reformers would have absolutely loathed.

    The 16'th century reformers had already ridden the new skeptical currents that had arisen in Europe during the renaissance, employing them to cast doubt on Catholic tradition, with its sacraments, saints and miracles. The reformers dismissed all these as superstition. In place of all that, they chose to follow the tendency of renaissance thought back to the earliest textual sources in antiquity, to the Bible in Christianity's case. The reformation arose as a family of 'back-to-the-Bible' movements (that quickly acquired political overtones).

    Once that religious skepticism cat was out of the bag, it couldn't be corralled. A century later, in the 1600's, more and more European intellectuals were directing their skepticism towards all varieties of religious revelation, including the Bible. It was entirely predictable.

    But the arguments of natural theology, particularly the design arguments, still seemed to be undeniable. Things like the eyes of animals obviously appeared designed so as to see, and it seemed obvious to the deists along with everyone else that some kind of creator had originally designed them.

    Beyond the general observation that the early deists questioned revealed theology but accepted natural theology, they were a diverse bunch. Each of them possessed his own unique ideas and their personal religious observance varied. They were far less of a single unified movement than is later supposed. There was certainly no single set of deistic doctrines. Many deists still continued to attend church. Some of them continued to worship and pray. They didn't even universally reject revelation, though they often interpreted it in unorthodox ways. What they did generally do was to argue that individual faith was a personal matter and not the kind of thing whose truth can be objectively and factually demonstrated. So the deists became big champions of freedom of religion and conscience.

    By the early 1700's, deism had spread from the avant-garde intellectuals into the general educated population. Deist stars appeared, first in Britain (Collins and Tindal), then even more popularly in France (Voltaire and Rousseau). While most educated people probably weren't deists themselves and many even opposed it, they certainly had heard of it and many were influenced by it. The American founders obviously weren't all deists, but deist ideas were powerfully expressed in the founding of the United States.

    In the 1800's we see deism declining as a cultural force. The single thing that finally put it to rest might have been Darwin's theory of natural selection. The deists had always embraced natural theology because they thought that its conclusions simply couldn't be denied. In particular, there just didn't seem to be any plausible naturalistic alternative to supernatural design. Just as encountering a watch implies the existence of an intelligent and capable watchmaker, encountering a living organism seemed to imply the existence of a super-powered, super-intelligent and super-natural agent that had originally designed their kind as well.

    Suddenly, there was a plausible naturalistic alternative.
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps. Religion is a "collection" of cognitive and social orientations about sacred / spiritual affairs, origins [anthropic and cosmological], deities [optional], moral themes [optional], etc. If deism can be confined to a lone belief or not sporting additional framework, or even slotted more along the line of either a philosophy or theological rationalism (if it is a multiple belief / principle bundle) -- then at least "religion" as a folk-system or a loose folk-aggregation of beliefs might be eluded as a label. [Which does not mean such cultural traditions cannot augment themselves with an apologetics discipline, branching out with intellectual endeavors that specialize in defending and justifying its parent religion with reasoning / arguments.]
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    The Holy Trollie and His Faithful Sidekick, Corntrollio

    Don't see what? Doesn't say what?

    Look, (Q), if you want to keep pretending you're that stupid, I'm happy to believe you.

    Tell me how you know what death is like.

    Testable hypothesis, and all, you know.

    Rational science?

    You're claiming knowledge, so tell us how you know.

    I mean, I'm pretty certain, as well, that death ain't so grand, but I'm also comforted by the notion that I won't care.

    You, on the other hand, are making a statement that, while I generally agree with, cannot be asserted as fact. You cannot know that death is not better than life.

    I mean, duh.

    • • •​

    It's called acknowledging the record. Duh.

    You know what really makes me laugh about that excrement? The fact that you're complaining about the relevance of a proper definition of religion. What would you have said to holding up an entire thread for the pop quiz?

    Arbitrarily? What do you call someone who says the whole of physics literature doesn't matter, and they know why Einstein was wrong and this is it and you're blind if you don't see it?

    Definitions of religion are, of course, considerably more flexible than physics, but ... well, you've got a point:

    And what else was that you said?

    "I mean, what's so hard to understand about 'Religion insults us, so we should be able to insult them?'"

    You're right. I really shouldn't get in the way of such childish pursuits.

    I'll take the note: Atheists should not be held to any standard of reasonable integrity, since it's all about paying back perceived bigotry and hatred in kind.

    Thank you for clearing that up.

    Like I said, I reject atheism as a petty excuse for bigotry. If this is all about hate for the sake of hate, you're right, there really is no point in expecting honesty from you or (Q).

    If he's going to invest so much effort as you suggest in hatred, he really should have a clue what he's hating.

    Life goes on, but your insistance that this is a hate-thread against religion and therefore not subject to any standard of integrity is pretty compelling.


    "There's that word again. T, you've watered that word down so much it doesn't even mean anything anymore. I used to get upset by it, but at this point it's about as impactful as one of LG's shrugs."

    On a superficial level, one might suggest you're a hypocritical weasel, but that would be incorrect: You are not bound by any obligation to integrity, so being a hypocrite doesn't make you a weasel, and it certainly doesn't make you a hypocrite.

    No, seriously, try dealing with the issues instead of focusing on me. I might be flattered by the attention if it wasn't so sickly obsessive .....

    Really, you opened our part of the discussion with three sentences, none of which were aimed at the discussion, and all of which were aimed at me.

    Let's see, and then you spent a post on what you think of me in response to (Q); five sentences with no response to the issue itself.

    Your next post was entirely about what you think of me.

    You did start to break the mold in the post after that, including a couple of fascinatingly droll notions:

    • To present the fact of a scholarly record against a definition that disagrees with it is somehow an "arbitrary" standard.

    • This thread is about insulting religion.​

    But there is a reason that neither you nor (Q) will address the issue itself; it's because you are incapable of doing so. Addressing the issue would mean putting some effort into knowing what you're talking about, and that's just flat unfair to expect atheists to not make up random shit for themselves to believe instead of attending the scholarly record on the subject.

    But, you know, we get it. You're atheists. That makes you special.
  15. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    I already told you, I don't see anything supporting your claim.

    I don't care how many times you wish to insult me, it doesn't support your claims.

    Dead means a lack of life, T. The body starts to decay because it no longer functions, that's why it gets buried or burned.

    I know that it means I can no longer enjoy life. Duh.

    It appears you've given up with trying to argue your claims. Was this a classic misdirection tactic?

    Seems you don't know squat about atheism or bigotry.

    We all have a clue, it's you who doesn't.

    What issue are we supposed to address, T?

    So far, you've made a claim and have failed to support it.
  16. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    Do you really think you're being clever? It's quite apparent why you're afraid to actually use the words.

    Non sequitur. Do you have anything other than fallacy and hatred to offer?

    At this time, there isn't much of a substantial argument to address. You've got Balerion trying to get this discussion shut down by declaring it a hate thread, and you're simply trolling.


    It's funny in a way. Usually we have a word for people who insist on their own definitions in order to accommodate their own needful theories while ignoring the vast bodies of academic literature available to them.

    But since you're an atheist, we have to find a new word, apparently, because atheists are specifically exempted.

    Well, you know, as I noted to Balerion, it's my fault for thinking this thread was anything other than hate speech and propaganda.

    But if our neighbor is wrong in trying to get this discussion shut down and its starter punished because it's a hate thread, then perhaps you might want to try something other than crackpottery.
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    This little exchange is kind of ambiguous and can be interpreted in (at least) two different ways.

    First, Arauca can be read as having suggested that it's possible to separate 'believing in God' from 'having a religion'. (Q) seems to have been expressing the opinion that it's not possible to believe in God without having any religion, since believing in God is a prototypically religious belief.

    Read this way, I side with (Q).

    Tiassa may have read (Q)'s remark as an assertion that 'belief in God' is synonymous with 'having a religion'. I would emphatically agree with Tiassa in rejecting that version. It's obviously possible for people to be very religious, without believing in God. Imagine a Buddhist monk.

    Again, I'm inclined to largely agree with (Q) on that one.

    But... if the issue wasn't whether or not it is possible to believe in God without possessing any religious beliefs, but rather whether or not 'belief in God' is synonymous and coextensive with 'religion', then I'd definitely side with Tiassa.

    In other words, I think that (Q) and Tiassa might both be correct, but they are addressing rather different questions and are arguing past each other.

    Imagine nesting Venn diagrams: two circles, one within the other. The larger circle represents 'religion', the smaller circle inside it 'belief in God'. My view is that it's possible to be religious without having any belief in God, but it's impossible to have a belief in God without that belief being a religious belief.

    Of course Arauca may have originally had something a little more subtle in mind. I'd guess that he was raising the possibility of having a belief in God without adhering to any established religious denomination or tradition. Being a religious 'free-agent' in other words, being somebody with his/her own unique and individual religious ideas.

    I'd still classify individual religiosity as being an instance of religion in the widest abstract sense. But by definition, it wouldn't be adherence to any organized and socially-defined form of religion.

    The question that Arauca might have meant to raise was whether atheist broadsides at "religion" in general would even strike so elusive a target.

    It's also interesting to think about how well the many academic attempts to define 'religion' over the years would apply to unique and highly individualistic forms of religiosity.
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Even the dictionary does not demand that a religion include one or more gods, although it admits that this is common:
  20. Balerion Banned Banned

    What record? The one that only you can see? We're gonna need some help with that one, chief.

    It must be gallows laughter, since my objection to your smokescreen has revealed your false pretenses for what they are. Sorry I burst your bubble.

    And here, again, is why nobody trusts you. You said it's just one question, and now several people have given you the green light. Yet here you are, still asking for permission. What's the hold up? Why not just include it in this post?

    Oh, right, because that wouldn't be spectacle enough. It wouldn't serve what is sure to be its only purpose, which is distracting from the actual topic of conversation and giving you the opportunity to act superior.

    That's not what's happening here. Religion is not science, and there is no theological analog to Einstein. Religion is myth. Its stories are easily traced to their origins, which consist of ignorance and superstition. And no one would have a problem with others believing in such drivel if they would just keep it to themselves, or at the least keep it friendly. But that's never going to happen, so we as nonbelievers ask for the right to call a spade a spade.

    You're right, it's definitely childish to battle back against groups that want to retard our children's education, or blow up our buildings. It's actually socially acceptable for a person to say homosexuality is morally wrong--morally wrong--on national television because they believe in God.

    I can't imagine the level of stupidity it takes to think that criticizing the beliefs that inform such hatred is bigotry. World-class ignorance, no doubt.

    And you consider reasonable integrity to amount to keeping quiet while people impose mythology on us?

    And like Q said, you clearly don't have any real grasp on the concept of atheism or bigotry.

    This is about being able to criticize those who attempt to harm us. I know this point isn't lost on you, otherwise you wouldn't be avoiding discussing the actual topic.

    I ask again: Do you really not know who he was talking about?

    Religion is ideology. This is no more a hate-thread than your anti-Conservative threads are hate-threads.


    Incorrect. All of which were aimed at your lack of an argument. Your points were pedantic, not constructive, and had no apparent relevance to the discussion. Hence me asking you to get to your overall point, if one even existed. And as I've learned, one does not.

    Not to mention the fact that the post I was responding to was a thinly-veiled ad hominem attack, in which you accused "evangelical atheists" (whatever that means, and however it's supposed to apply to Q, who knows) of not knowing what they're talking about and refusing to acknowledge this alleged fact.

    I had already addressed the "issue" in my first response to you, inasmuch as there was no apparent issue to address.

    Goodness, do you think lying boldly distracts people from the fact that you're, well, lying?

    I deconstruct every point you raise in that post. And because your "argument" does not come from actual contention but malice instead, you make yourself a topic of discussion. When you make fatuous points obviously intended to distract and offend and nothing else, we have two options: Ignore you, or wonder what makes you act the way you do. Since you're a (cough) moderator, Option 1 isn't on the table.

    Again, how does the "scholarly record" disagree with what Q said? You still haven't made that clear. You haven't even attempted to do so. And others here have already debunked your "scholarly record" without ever agreeing with the OP of the thread (though, I suppose you'll now call them atheist co-conspirators, or bigots, or whatever it takes to diminish them to the point where you can simply pretend their arguments are of no value).

    And yes, this thread is about insulting religion. I thought that was made clear by the topic title: "Insulting Religion."

    Again: Irony.

    Once you actually qualify your presence in this thread, then perhaps you can start throwing stones. Until then, you're just blowing smoke, and everybody here knows you're full of shit.
  21. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

    Well, i'm not telling this person anything, this person been through more than i have. It does not matter what your faith is, i'm not religious, i have no agenda and would not lie to you.

    What i am asking you is or maybe telling you is that what if you are wrong? What if there is more than you can see?

    You dont have an answer, but that does not mean there is no answer. What if our knowledge can fill but a thimble? are going by what you know, what about what you dont know? What about what there is to know? One thing i will say, the human mind is very powerful and i hate to say it but the answers to everything is at your feet. It's there because reality is the only truth. Now, i dont mean you personally, but did you ever think that we know may be just a few percentage points of what is real, what is true? And...i ask you, what is truth? Truth is reality, but reality is not your own. reality just exists, regardless of your belief.

    So...if i take a little piece of this puzzle and tell you that "well, maybe i can watch t.v and tell you what the person is going to say before they say it" not at will just a feeling and something deeper, not for my amusement, but it is knowing. Knowing that something exists that...well, we aint gonna crack that nut unless we believe in it. You have to have belief in order to understand.

    I will tell anyone here: ask me a question and i'll tell you no lies. Why lie? Deception will only hold you back.
  22. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

    Perhaps i should be more clear.

    I ask you, what is attainable that you do not posses?

    It's's right there, in your reach. Now, you are never going to know (in this life time) what comes next after you are gone. Why worry about that?

    But, what do you not know that you can know NOW and deny it? Say your brain is like an engine, it controls your movements, your breathing, your motor skills etc., etc., etc., friend, even a rat is capable of these things - instinct...ho, hum. You cannot control this. Therefore, your brain controls you. Now, what do you control? You control your feelings. Expand on what i am telling you i not giving you some answer? Or are you nothing more than a rat or some computer?

    Rely on your brain and you will be but a guppy waiting for for food...a mere beggar looking for a hand out. THAT, my your destiny...revel in it. That is your choice...your choice. I sugarcoated. That is my weakness...and now know, because...i have told you. Makes no difference.

    As an aside, i'm open for debating anyone here. Just ask, at you leisure and i will comply. It'll be fun. You choose the subject and we go one on real time, no cheating, just what we know.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  23. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Sylvester, what are you talking about?

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