Why Do So Many Believers Think Atheists Are Worse Than Rapists?

Looking for answers at the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C.

“We’re here! We’re godless! Get used to it!,” chanted the crowd of 20,000 or so atheists at this past weekend’s Rally for Reason in Washington, D.C. As the chant suggests, the protesters styled their event on the National Mall (which was not affiliated with Reason magazine in any way) as a “coming out” party for atheists. One participant even carried a sign ripped off from the heyday of gay rights demonstrations: “Hi Mom. I’m an Atheist!"

The rally was advertised as the largest ever gathering of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, and other assorted faithless folks. The relatively young crowd was treated to talks, rants, and routines by such faithless luminaries as biologist Richard Dawkins, American Atheists president David Silverman, professional skeptics Michael Shermer and James Randi, mythbuster Adam Savage, profane musician Tim Minchin, and (via video) comedian Penn Jillette. Off to the side was a small collection of Christian counterprotesters (including members of the truly awful Westboro Baptist Church) who assured the assembled nonbelievers that Christianity’s loving God would consign them all to everlasting fiery damnation unless they changed their wicked ways.

But it is not just Westboro Baptist kooks who dislike atheists. Polls show that most Americans are uneasy (to say the least) with unbelievers. Consider a Pew Research poll from June 2011 that found that 33 percent of respondents said that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who was homosexual and 62 percent said that it would make no difference. For atheist candidates, the numbers were basically flipped: 61 percent of respondents said that a candidate's atheism would make them less likely to vote for them and only 33 percent said it would make no difference. A June 2011 Gallup Poll reported that only 49 percent of voters would vote for a “well qualified” presidential candidate who was an atheist. The next lowest vote percentage went to a gay candidate for whom 67 percent would consider voting. The good news for atheists is that the trends are moving in the right direction: in a 1958 poll only 18 percent said that they'd vote for an atheist. 

In fact, a side-by-side comparison of polling data finds that tolerance for theological deviance is evolving slower than acceptable of what used to be called sexual deviance. In 1977 a Harris poll reported that 55 percent respondents thought that gays should not be allowed to be teachers but 80 percent said they could work in factories; now 69 percent say it’s OK for them to be teachers and a later survey finds that 89 percent believe that gays should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. Atheists as a group lag behind in acceptance when compared to gays; a recent study found that only 33 percent of respondents would hire an atheist as a day care worker, but 65 percent would hire them as a waitress. 

It’s no wonder that atheists poll so badly—religious folks believe that the godless are about as trustworthy as rapists, at least according to a recent study. In “Do You Believe in Atheists? Distrust is central to anti-atheist prejudice” [PDF], published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in December. The researchers reported that religious participants in the study regarded atheists as being more criminally untrustworthy than rapists. "Outward displays of belief in God may be viewed as a proxy for trustworthiness, particularly by religious believers who think that people behave better if they feel that God is watching them," explained University of British Columbia psychologist Ara Norenzayan, one of the researchers on the study. "While atheists may see their disbelief as a private matter on a metaphysical issue, believers may consider atheists' absence of belief as a public threat to cooperation and honesty." In a 2003 study [PDF], 48 percent (the highest of disapproval rating of any group) of Americans said that they would disapprove of their children marrying an atheist.

This distrust prompts one to wonder if believers really do worry that people would engage in rampant murder and mayhem if they thought that there was no vengeful deity monitoring their behavior at all times. In fact, psychological research does confirm that a lot of religious believers do tend to think this way. In light of those fears, one prominent slogan featured on placards at the Rally for Reason, “Be Good for Goodness’ Sake” must appear nonsensical to believers.

Distrust of atheists has an long intellectual pedigree. After all, Athenian philosopher Socrates was convicted for, among other crimes, preaching atheism (which he artfully denied). Eighteenth century liberal British philosopher John Locke is thought to have jumpstarted the notion of the separation of church and state in his A Letter Concerning Toleration. However, even Locke believed that atheists were not to be tolerated. “Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist,” he wrote. In addition, Locke asserted, “Those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can have no pretence of religion whereupon to challenge the privilege of a toleration.” Only believers have the standing to demand that their beliefs be tolerated by the state.

“God and government are a dangerous mix,” warned Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation at the rally. Believers especially would do well to keep this fact in mind. Locke’s proposal for the separation of church and state was an idea devised to prevent the legal domination of one sect over other dissenting sects. As Locke well appreciated, mixing government and God has proven to be a sure recipe for civil strife and often war. The government should be secular, reserving civil society as the non-coercive arena for religious practice and contention.

Unfortunately, some politicians, most especially including this season’s flock of would-be Republican presidential candidates want to inject a little more God into government. Their loud professions of faith may, however, be provoking a backlash among voters. Another Pew poll reported earlier this month that the percentage of Americans who say that there is too much public expression of religious faith among politicians rose from 12 percent in 2001 to 38 percent now. Sadly, 30 percent still think there is too little faith-mongering by politicians and 25 percent believe the amount is just about right. Even better news: 54 percent now say that churches should keep out of politics, whereas only 40 percent think that they should express views on social and political questions. Back in 1996, 54 percent thought churches should meddle in politics and only 43 percent wanted them to butt out.  

Voters will certainly bring their religious convictions (or lack thereof) into the voting booth with them. But what the constitutional principle of separation between God and government prevents is setting religious tribes against one another in a fight over political favors and the distribution of tax dollars.

In its March 12 issue, Time magazine listed “The Rise of the Nones” as one of the biggest trends in the U.S. It turns out that fastest growing religious group in the United States are Americans who list their religious affiliation as “none.” A Pew survey found that 16 percent of Americans are unaffiliated with any religious group; about of whom half could be described as secular unaffiliated. Twenty-five percent of Americans aged 18 to 29 are unaffiliated with any particular religion. If this trend toward nonbelief continues, it’s going to be harder and harder for believers to “hate” atheists because the damned nonbelievers are going to turn out to be people they already love and value, their children, other relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

See the Reason.tv video, "What We Saw at the Reason Rally," by my colleagues Joshua Swain and Lucy Steigerwald below:

Disclosure: I have been “out” as an atheist since by early teens, and as far as I know I have never suffered discrimination based on my lack of belief in an omniscient Sky God.

Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Thank you so much for saying irreligious. For Christs sake I'm tired of hearing that athiests are religious too crap.

  • Bingo||

    But in order to not believe in God there has to be a God to not believe in! Game, Set, Match!

    /Kennedy

  • ||

    That was the stupidest stuff I've seen in forever.

  • Moogle||

    I can't be the only one to realize Bingo was not serious. [scans down many huffy and insulted posts] OK, maybe I am.

    Did not "Game, set, match" give it away?

  • voxpo||

    Forever's a long t--never mind..you're right.

  • ||

    I'm seriously growing weary of this nonsensical debate.

    Atheism is not a religion. Faith does not equate to religion. Shut the fuck up!

  • SouthernAnCap||

    Some atheists, like many who attend these events, seem to practice atheism as a religion. It seems like the only logical form of atheism is apatheism.

  • ||

    I can strongly believe in something without it being a religion.

  • ||

    Yes. Hitler strongly believed in the 'Final Solution' and that didn't qualify as a religion...

  • ||

    Not so fast.

    The vagabond from Vienna worshipped Messrs. Lincoln and Sherman and he faithfully applied their teachings on implementing final solutions.

  • ||

    i'll have Ethics for $500...

  • ||

    'This world leader so strongly believed in his "Solution" that he could be considered very ethical but most people consider him to be a monster.'

  • ||

    Atheism is a "religious" beleif, but not a "religion" per se.
    Just as Christianity is a "religious" beleif but not a religion like say, Methodist or Episcapalian.

  • ||

    Christianity IS a religion..... It is the religion taught by Jesus and the Apostles, and the religion practiced by the the early "Christians". What were the early Christians practicing except "Christianity"?

    One does not have to be in a denomination to be a Christian....

  • Reality||

    No. Atheism is a lack of religious belief. That's the very heart of it. I *don't* believe in a god or gods. You see? You're trying to cast "bald" as a hair color. There's no hair. Stop doing that, please.

  • Bruce||

    Actually there were a lot of atheist Lovecraft fans at this rally carrying Cthulu posts demanding that you worship Him.

  • JB||

    I think that's what many people claim: atheism also relies on faith.

    Saying 'it's not religion' doesn't really address the point.

  • Coeus||

    I think that's what many people claim: atheism also relies on faith.

    Many people claim that. Many people are also functionally retarded. I suspect a venn diagram would show a lot of overlap between those two.

  • Godfrey||

    Not having faith requires faith.

    Got it.

  • ||

    Not having faith is Agnosticism.
    If you have a definite beleif one way or the other that requires faith. Maybe not as much, but some.

  • Coeus||

    Words have definitions. I suggest you look up the one for agnosticism.

  • Teve Torbes||

    To paraphrase Dawkins... Do you believe in Thor or Zeus? No? Then you are an atheist in regards to ancient Norse and Greek religions.

    If you push the most ardent atheist, you will find that he is unwavering regarding all of the world's religions. They are myths. But on the ultimate question of how the universe came into existence, what caused the big bang, etc, he must honestly answer that he does not know. So in regards to the ultimate question, he is an agnostic. He is comfortable not knowing all the answers yet.

    Atheist vs agnostic is somewhat situational/contextual.

  • Bruce||

    Why would an atheist care if a theist wanted to call her an agnostic?

  • ||

    Dawkins is trying to be clever, but as usual, fails to be so.

    An atheist is one that believes there is no deity. I don't believe in Thor or Zeus, but do believe in the God described in the Bible. So, who will call me an atheist?

  • ||

    While you're looking up agnosticism, look up epistemology. There is a difference between belief and knowledge.

  • Reality||

    "Not having faith is Agnosticism."

    Sigh. No. Agnosticism, as you'll see if you actually look it up, is the position of "not knowing" about something. This doesn't even address the issue of belief. Theism is "belief in a god or gods." Atheism is "without belief in a god or gods."

    Agnosticism is not a position that can stand separately along the same spectrum: just ask the professed agnostic, "do you believe in a god or gods?" The answer will either be yes, or no. And that puts the respondent firmly into the theist or atheist camp.

    The attempt to use agnosticism as a third position is almost always either social cowardice or straight-up ignorance.

    Every person who can think their way out of a paper bag is either theist or atheist.

  • ||

    Agreed. There are sooooo many atheists that are more obsessed over the topic of religion than actual hardcore religious people. However I fail to understand why this is a topic on a libertarian/conservative POLITICAL website-magazine....

    During the biggest three days in decades of restricting the growth of government, this is the non-libertarian story that Reason has decieded to headline?!?!

    Ridiculous.

    This is an argument that will never end or someone will win. Stop wasting our time with crap like this because this is certainly dividing, distracting, and disenfranchising libertarians and conservatives over a topic that doesnt matter.

  • ||

    i'm with you. when i saw the picture again i thought it was reruns on the internet...
    maybe we can consider it a 'green' article...

  • MWG.||

    "libertarian/CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL website-magazine..."

    Barf.

  • Bruce||

    This is when the rally happened so that is why they covered it then. There are many issues they do not discuss: Trayvon, Cato, Rosie's show being cancelled. Aren't the focused enough already?

  • ||

    please stop. as if the Reason protest is a many faceted jewel...

  • Andrew Hall||

    I don't believe in unicorns, does that mean unicorns exist?

  • ||

    Absolutely! For you to not believe in unicorns, there have to be unicorns for you not to believ in! Perfect logic!

  • ||

    It means the idea of unicorns exists....

  • UvalDuvalCuckoo||

    So let me get this right.. I don't believe in Nuclear Powered Purple Unicorns, so that means they exist? Why would not believing in a concept mean that the concept's physical manifestation has to exist?

  • ||

    So let me get this straight.

    Your'e a condescending asshat.

    Seriously, why is it that so many Atheists have to be so damn insulting when it comes to other people's beleifs? Even the author couldn't just say he doesn't beleive in God, no he had to say "an omniscient Sky God."

    Add to that the current obsession with tearing down other people's freedom of expression and you wonder why people don't like you?

    Just live and let live man, isn't that what Libertarianism is supposed to be all about? Want to pray in school? Go ahead.
    Don't want to? That's fine too.
    Want to put up a statue of Jesus? Fine, do it.
    Want to put up a plaque saying there is no God? Fine, do it.

    Everybody has the right to speak their minds or erect monuments to their beleif, but you DON'T have the right to silence others or tear them down.

    In other words, grow the fuck up.

  • Coeus||

    Nothing in that comment was in was in any way silencing of anything you touchy, whiny little fuck.

  • ||

    Another Winner!

  • Reality||

    "Seriously, why is it that so many Atheists have to be so damn insulting when it comes to other people's beleifs?"

    Because they're fucking ridiculous? Because your absurd sky-fairy never shows up at parties, funerals, accidents, hospitals, wars or house foreclosures? Because of all the harm bogus religious ideas do in our daily lives, and all across history? Because it's downright painful to listen to the creepy, self-referential, tail-eating attempts at justifications of the faithful flocks? Because bombing clinics, flying into buildings, burning "witches", and gluing ridiculous slogans to everything in sight exposes the crayzytardedness for what it is?

    I'm just going to go with "All of the above."

    Science -- it works. It describes reality. Religion is an engine for social manipulation.

    That's why. Idiot.

  • Bruce||

    Hmmm. I almost don't believe in bisexual men. Though I suppose I am often to proofs.

  • WWNGD?||

    The woman holding a sign in the video is worshiping her atheism. Penn writes a book about his atheism. The atheists sprinkling non-holy water are worshiping their atheism.

    As libertarians, I thought we wanted to be left alone so we left other people alone. Even if they followed an organized religion.

  • The Derider||

    There's a difference between worship and proselytizing.

  • ||

    PWNED!

  • ||

    I mean, you're PWNED, Derider.

  • ||

    True, Atheists don't try to convince others. They just use the power of government to silence all who disagree and tear down any reference to any religious beleif other than Athesim in the public square.

    That's so much better...

  • Coeus||

    So not wanting to pay for religious imagery with our tax dollars is silencing. Got it. Shit man, do you think at all before you post?

    Most christians don't want to just have their religious imagery paid for by tax dollars. They also want their own religious imagery to have sole access to it. They bitch just as much when you sue them to not put up a giant ten commandments as they when someone tries to hand out pagan literature.

  • Bruce||

    You know, prayer does seem to make people recovery faster, so prayer rugs and chapels must be made available in all government hospitals.

  • ||

    Ummmm... I have seen a lot of attempts by atheists to "convince others" of the superiority of atheism.

    Where have you been?

  • ||

    Perhaps you were being ironic?

  • ||

    "Flaunting", "advertising", "rocking", lots of other terms make sense, but not, "worshiping."

    Atheists would counter that they feel threatened by folks like, oh, Rick Santorum. But you already knew that. You're no doubt being disingenuous about it.

  • MWG||

    This.

  • tim||

    Most people feel threatened by Rick Santorum

  • ||

    I grew up Catholic and Rick Santorum scares the ever loving spaghetti monster out of me.

  • ||

    SPELL CHECK FOR NON-GOD'S SAKE: WORSHIPPING!!!

  • Godfrey||

    While you're at it, hit the caps lock button.

  • Bruce||

    I do not mind people being religious, as long as they are not blatant.

  • get a clue James Ard||

    I'm tired of hearing that athiests are religious too crap

    What most people who claim that atheists are religious mean is that atheists can be just as fanatical in promoting their beliefs and values as any religious fanatic. Atheists do tend to be pricks about pretending that they don't have agendas and don't try to force their values on others.

    I'm sure that challenges your worldview, but you're just an asshole with an attitude so why don't you just go fuck yourself.

  • Southerner||

    To answer the original question, the reason believers think Atheists are worse than rapists is that rapists don't have institutions. Rapists are a menace to individuals, but not to society as a whole. Granted, NAMBLA and GLSEN do lobby in favor of certain rapists, but they're the exceptions that prove the point: the child molesters in those groups all insist that pedophiles are not rapists, but just "different" the same way homosexuals and zoophiles and BDSM enthusiasts are different.

    Atheists have lots of institutions, some government-funded (public schools come to mind), and are a menace to our whole country's freedom of religion and religious expression. Even as they try to establish themselves as the state religion, they keep insisting that Atheism is not a religion, using arguments that are just as convincing as NAMBLA and GLSEN's claims that pedophiles are not rapists.

  • Godfrey||

    Wow, are you being intentionally idiotic?

  • Southerner||

    Nice YouTube page. Looking to prove my point and discredit your religion even further by linking to your rabid hate site, Atheist? Internet Atheists are already known to be the dregs of your wretched religion, but you YouTube Atheists are the absolute worst of the lot.

  • ||

    [Some irrelevant and ineffective wisecrack about the Civil War to distract people from Southerner's having convinced me to change the link from that retarded YouTube page to my email address.]

  • ||

    The above comment is not by me. Pathetic.

  • ||

    The above comment is not by me either. Lame.

  • ||

    The above comment about the comment abot it is not by me either. This is bullshit!

  • ||

    The abobr comnet abor teh abodr commnt abut thw abve... ah, fck ths! npw my typng is sufffering!

  • protefeed||

    "Atheists do tend to be pricks ... but you're just an asshole with an attitude so why don't you just go fuck yourself."

    The lack of irony and self-awareness ... it BURNS!!

  • Amakudari||

    I don't have an agenda, at least beyond working toward acceptance. I don't care what kind of god or gods or juju someone worships.

    Some add the teaching of real science to that, whereas I believe in the abolition of mental slavery public schools. But as long as we have public schools, I can't think of a good reason to avoid discussing the diversity of life to the best of human knowledge.

    And then there are dickish types, like in all religions. Enough said.

    I think people don't realize exactly how common atheists are among the people they know and love. I was a churchgoing atheist for all of high school. 1 in every 10 or so Americans is atheist, and higher still for college graduates. We are extremely tolerant of other religions but disbelieve in one more god than you, but rarely say so to avoid anything from discrimination to a believer's hurt feelings.

  • k2000k||

    Not on reddit. Seems like those asshates try to highjack every thread and turn it into a god v spaghetti monster debate.

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  • GILMORE||

    Ronald Bailey on Atheists and Rapists

    Im sorry, but isn't that redundant?

  • Sean Connery||

    "THE ATHEISTS" for $400, Trebek.

  • GILMORE||

    Well played sir, well played.

    http://www.lolbucket.com/video.....he-Rapists

    ref @ 1:45

  • Rectal Stack||

    Shrike fag finna throw yet another temper tantrum.

  • shrike||

    I do believe in myself (borrowing from Rene Descartes).

    If that makes me a shrike-fag - I plead guilty.

  • Rectal Shrike||

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    Christ fag.

  • ||

    How to respect the religion of others...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChKfoe-RpFk

  • SIV||

    20,000 or so nonbelievers

    They believe very strongly in the non-existence of a deity.Just attending the revival suggests they are "fundamentalist Atheists".

  • Sevo||

    "They believe very strongly in the non-existence of a deity."
    ...
    "Just attending the revival suggests they are "fundamentalist Atheists"."

    Non sequitur

  • Sevo||

    Put it another way:
    I don't believe in the non-existence of Santa Claus. I simply don't believe in that fantasy.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Only nine comments into an atheist thread, and already Santa Claus has shown up!

    Shouldn't you have mentioned the Easter Bunny, in honor of the season?

  • Sevo||

    Eduard van Haalen|3.27.12 @ 8:45PM|#
    "Only nine comments into an atheist thread, and already Santa Claus has shown up!"

    And it didn't take even one comment before a (take your pick of many) sky-daddy showed up! How about that?
    But the easter bunny will serve as well.

  • KPres||

    I'm agnostic. I just love winning arguments. Like I did with you.

  • F Hart||

    Wait wut? It's time for the Easter Bunny, not Sanity Claus.

  • ||

    Hey! There ain't no such ting as da sanity clause!

  • Herman Cain||

    I shot that little bastard.

  • Bruce||

    Actually when I was 4 I told my parents there was no Santa and they would not agree. Then there was a sermon at their very strict church on how one should not teach children about pagan entities like the Easter Bunny and Santa. I am sure that minister was sacked.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    I don't believe in the non-existence of Santa Claus. I simply don't believe in that fantasy.

    I'm not sure that those aren't the same thing. But it's late here and I'm too tired to parse the logic. It is a fascinating topic to ponder though. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  • ||

    No, it's actually a pretty god explanation of the three basic religious beleifs.
    Beleiver; I beleive in God/gods
    Agnostic; I don't beleive in God/gods
    Atheist; I beleive there is no God/gods

  • ||

    Wrong.

    Theist: Has a belief in a god or gods.
    Atheist: Has no belief in a god or gods.
    Agnostic only applies to knowledge, as in not knowing (being the opposite of Gnostic, which mean to know).

    Of course this also ignores those that consider themselves to be spiritual, they may believe in a higher-being/life-force but may not refer to it as a god.

    Here's a corrected list for you:
    Agnostic-Theist: One who doesn't know a god or gods exist, but believes they do.

    Agnostic-Atheist: One who doesn't know a god or gods exist, and has no belief that they do.

    Spiritual: One who believes in a god like being, but doesn't always ascribe a title to what they believe.

  • Coeus||

    Winna winna chickin dinner. Here's the thing, they don't want that knowledge. They will promptly forgot it anyway, cause it contradicts their oh-so-clever snark.

  • ||

    Show me a reliable lexicon that shows that definition for "atheist"?

    All I have seen say an atheist is one who believes that no deities exist. This is the direct opposite of "Has no belief in gods".

    They have a belief. They believe gods don't exist.

  • Bruce||

    You mean ain't no God/gods

  • ||

    I before e, except after c.

  • Spelling Fascist||

    It's i before e, except after c,
    except sounding a as in neighbor and weigh
    and as in e as in either and weird...
    ...and atheist.

    Yeah, yeah, I know: that last line doesn't scan or rhyme. I'm a spelling fascist, not a poetry fascist!

  • KPres||

    But you BELIEVE its a fantasy. You haven't proven its a fantasy.

    No way out for athiests. Athiesm is based on faith.

    Your disbelief in God can't be based on lack of evidence, because absense of evidence is not evidence of absense. If you take it as such, you're committing a logical error.

  • Joe M||

    because absense of evidence is not evidence of absense

    It sure as fuck isn't evidence of presence.

  • KPres||

    Of course it isn't. But people that believe in God generally admit that their belief is an article of faith.

  • Sevo||

    And non-bleevers make it clear there is no "faith" involved.
    Sorry, trying to equate your silly bleefs with evidence is a logic fail.

  • KPres||

    Except their is belief involved. You have not proven God does not exist, therefore your belief that god does not exist is based on faith.

  • Joe M||

    You have not proven God does not exist

    Okay, sure. Now prove there isn't a teapot orbiting the Sun in the asteroid belt.

  • KPres||

    I do not believe there is a teapot orbiting the sun around the asteroid belt. I can't prove that though.

  • Joe M||

    What would it take to prove there's no teapot out there?

  • KPres||

    Prove that its not possible for a teapot to be orbiting the sun around the asteroid belt. That's the only way we can know things.

    For instance, I don't believe the Earth is flat because its not possible for the earth to be flat. If it were flat, an airplane flying east could not return from the west.

  • Bruce||

    Prove that God wasn't murdered by rebellious angels.

  • shamalam||

    So, should we give those who believe in orbiting tea pots a seat at the table with the adults?

  • KPres||

    Depends on the cost/benefit. Newton believed in God. Had we not given him a seat, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

  • Sevo||

    KPres|3.27.12 @ 9:16PM|#
    "Except their is belief involved."

    You are obviously ignorant of what that word means.

  • KPres||

    Good thing we have ol' Webster...

    Belief - conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.

    Yep. I'm right. You BELIEVE the proposition "God does not exist" is true.

  • Sevo||

    KPres|3.27.12 @ 9:35PM|#
    "Yep. I'm right. You BELIEVE the proposition "God does not exist" is true."

    If you're really that stupid, there's no further comment.
    Are you really *that* stupid?

  • KPres||

    OK I win.

  • Bruce||

    And of their vs there

  • Sevo||

    "You have not proven God does not exist, therefore your belief that god does not exist is based on faith."

    Oh, and how is ol' Santa?

  • KPres||

    I don't know. I don't believe Santa Clause exists. My disbelief is an article of faith.

  • KPres||

    I don't know. I don't believe Santa Clause exists. My disbelief is an article of faith.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Guess who has the burden of evidence? It's not us!

  • KPres||

    The burden of proof depends on who makes the proposition. If I say "God exists" the burden is on me to prove that God exists. If I say "God does not exist" the burden is on me to prove that God does not exist. If I say God is a fantasy then I have to prove that.

    ...or at least offer evidence.

  • Joe M||

    The people who said "God exists" have the burden of proof. Atheists didn't start this conversation.

    Otherwise, if I said "Unicorns don't exist," I'm now bound to prove it?

  • KPres||

    You're not bound to prove anything. You can say you don't believe in unicorns all you want. Its just that if you don't offer convincing evidence, your disbelief is an article of faith.

  • Joe M||

    But wait. What if you said "Unicorns exist" first? The burden is then on you, and I'm not faithfully disbelieving if I keep my mouth shut?

  • KPres||

    Sounds right to me.

    "On things I cannot speak I shall pass in silence."

    You just can't say "God does not exist" without putting yourself in the same position as the thiest, ie, requires evidence.

  • Joe M||

    There is a creature named the Anskweroid. It is green, two feet tall, has four tentacles and sixteen legs, and its rubbery skin is covered in a thin poisonous slime. It lives on my computer desk.

    I am now stating that the Anskweroid does not exist. Do I need to prove that statement? Do I have faith that such a thing does not exist until I prove it doesn't? How do I prove it doesn't?

  • KPres||

    I don't know how to prove it. Its your proposition. Do you think that because a proposition is difficult to prove that the burden of proof is lifted? I'm sure the thiests will be glad to hear you say that.

  • Joe M||

    I'm not claiming an Anskweroid exists. I'm claiming it doesn't. But I can't prove it, so by your logic, I only have faith that it doesn't exist.

  • Bruce||

    I recommend copies of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Roll them up and use them as a suppository. Preferably hardcover copies.

  • ||

    Since you are making an assertion, then yes the burden of proof is on you. The burden of proof is always on the one making the assertion.
    Why is that even difficult to understand?

  • Moogle||

    Otherwise, if I said "Unicorns don't exist," I'm now bound to prove it?

    You'd have no time before Princess Celestia sent you to the Moon.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Newton actually believed that he is God.

  • Bruce||

    Prove he wasn't.

  • ||

    "But people that believe in God generally admit that their belief is an article of faith."

    I have NEVER admitted such a thing. I'm not religious because I've never had cause to believe in it. You don't need faith to lack belief in something, how absurd.

  • KPres||

    But you need faith (or evidence) to claim that God does not, in fact, exist. This means the kind of athiests who are athiests because they don't give a shit and avoid the discussion are in the clear. However, those that argue that athiesm is the correct position need to demonstrate that.

  • ||

    "But you need faith"

    No, I don't. I have never had a reason to believe any god exists. If I had never even been introduced to the idea of god, I would still not believe in god, no "faith" required.

  • KPres||

    You do if you're claiming that god does not exist.

  • ||

    No I don't. I don't need faith in order to lack a belief. Do I need faith to lack a belief in invisible dogs jumping around me? No, the idea is patently absurd unless evidence can be found that there are invisible dogs jumping around me.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    KPres spends hours arguing that you can prove a negative. Wow, whatta dipshit.

  • Pinker's ocelot||

    I don't think he's saying that you *can* prove a negative, just that the burden of proof rests equally upon the shoulders of those asserting a positive and negative proposition for the existence of something. I don't see why the burden of proof should ever fall on those simply rejecting the positive assertion (the positive, tacitly, always comes first).

  • URK||

    Can I just say- "I don't give a sh*t if god does or does not exist? Is there any burden of proof to make that statement?

  • Bruce||

    Prove you are not a rapist.

  • k2000k||

    Definition of faith based off of a google search.

    1.Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
    2.Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

    If using the first point alone then KPER can indeed make the argument he is making. In this aspect the trust is in the belief that there is no diety, i.e the individual inquestions trusts that their reasoning and gathered evidence to make a conclusion about the lack of a deity. I think most of the objection coming from athiests comes from the fact that we reguarly interpret the word faith to mean point 2.

  • k2000k||

    Definition of faith based off of a google search.

    1.Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
    2.Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

    If using the first point alone then KPER can indeed make the argument he is making. In this aspect the trust is in the belief that there is no diety, i.e the individual inquestions trusts that their reasoning and gathered evidence to make a conclusion about the lack of a deity. I think most of the objection coming from athiests comes from the fact that we reguarly interpret the word faith to mean point 2.

  • Sparky||

    Wha?

  • Xenocles||

    "...absense of evidence is not evidence of absense..."

    Yes it is. It's just not a sufficient amount of evidence to prove absence. That said, if all you are able to find - even after years of searching actively - is absence of evidence, it becomes a bit more reasonable to presume the thing you are looking for does not exist and to act accordingly.

  • KPres||

    It does not. On a universal scale, "years" is just the blink of an eye. Why should you expect to ffind something after searching for such a short time?

    Its very reasonable to assume the entire cannon of human knowledge is just a tiny fraction of what could be known. Who knows what could lurk in the unknown?

  • Xenocles||

    In the abstract, you're right. In the concrete, where we live, you have to take an inductive step at some point - and relatively quickly, at that - or else reality just runs you over while you gather evidence.

    If I see something different, I reserve the right to revisit the matter. Until then, I'm going to go with what fits the available evidence.

  • KPres||

    Agreed. Which is why I generally tend to act as if God does not exist. But not always. In many of life's foxholes, I'm a believer.

  • Xenocles||

    "... I generally tend to act as if God does not exist. But not always. In many of life's foxholes, I'm a believer."

    You're going to have to explain how it is that your belief with respect to gods changes with the situation. Do you just keep getting conflicting evidence, or what?

  • KPres||

    Cost/benefit?

  • Xenocles||

    Most gods are said to require somewhat consistent faith, so believing only when it benefits you would seem to be counterproductive if it's effective at all.

    It's your thing, and I'm not too interested in poking holes in it tonight. I was just curious, and I'd appreciate any detail you'd care to give.

  • KPres||

    Meh. Gods are forgiving. :)

  • KPres||

    Actually I have a more nuanced idea about God (should god exist) and I don't believe my sometimes only belief is all that much of a problem. The anthropomorphic God is an approximation of a more abstract metaphysical concept. A mental tool,if you will, to be used when useful.

  • Moogle||

    You just described String Theory.

  • ||

    so, where does Quantum Physics fit in?

  • Sevo||

    "Its very reasonable to assume the entire cannon of human knowledge is just a tiny fraction of what could be known. Who knows what could lurk in the unknown?"

    I'd say we have a case-study in the 'argument from ignorance' right here.

  • KPres||

    It is not arguing from ignorance because I'm not arguing the proposition "God exists", I'm arguing the proposition "athiesm is based on faith".

  • ||

    Which is utterly retarded, but you'll just keep repeating it anyway. This is the new HitAndRunpublican argument style now: state something incredibly retarded, and then when you get called on it, demand the other person explain why it's stupid. When they do, the next step is to repeat the first assertion, which causes it to get called stupid again, and then repeat ad nauseum.

    If you cannot distinguish between faith and lack of faith, you can't be helped. I'm sorry, but you're a dumbass.

  • KPres||

    What the hell are you talking?

  • Sevo||

    "I'm arguing the proposition "athiesm is based on faith"."

    Yes, you're 'arguing' it from the logical fallacy of ignorance.
    It doesn't help.

  • Xenocles||

    "I'd say we have a case-study in the 'argument from ignorance' right here."

    Nope. KPres did not use the ignorance to arrive at a conclusion related to gods; therefore (s)he did not commit the fallacy.

    In fact, if we limit ourselves to the logical realm, you are committing the fallacy by asserting that the proposition "God exists" is false because it has not been proven.

  • Sevo||

    "Nope. KPres did not use the ignorance to arrive at a conclusion related to gods; therefore (s)he did not commit the fallacy."

    Yep, KPres did exactly that.
    KPres suggested that since we can't know ('we are ignorant'), therefore any conclusion is equally valid.

  • Xenocles||

    That's not the argument from ignorance. It's a technical fallacy where one reaches a definite conclusion based on the inability to prove the opposite.

    "God exists because you can't prove he doesn't," or
    "God doesn't exist because you can't prove he does."

    Take your pick, it's the same coin.

  • Sevo||

    ""God exists because you can't prove he doesn't," or
    "God doesn't exist because you can't prove he does."

    Take your pick, it's the same coin."

    If you are really that stupid, I have no further comment. Enjoy your stupidity.

  • Xenocles||

    Look it up. I did. These fallacies have actual defined meanings, they aren't just whatever you think they are.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:
    "you are committing the fallacy by asserting that the proposition "God exists" is false because it has not been proven."

    Nope. I'm arguing that if you claim existence, prove it.
    I do not have to prove non-existence; the burden in on those who claim otherwise.

  • KPres||

    All I'm arguing is that if you claim non existence prove it. That's not the same as saying both positions are equally valid. That is a strawman.

  • ||

    You can't prove that something DOESN'T exist, only that something DOES exist. I don't have to "prove" God doesn't exist any more than I have to "prove" there aren't aliens: it's up to the person making a positive claim to show evidence, or else there is no good reason to believe in it, no faith necessary.

  • KPres||

    Of course you can prove something doesn't exist. All you have to do is prove that its existence is impossible or a contradiction.

  • ||

    And how do you prove something is impossible or a contradiction?

  • KPres||

    Square circles do not exist. They are a contradiction.

  • ||

    I'm not asking how a specific idea is disproved, I'm asking how stuff IN GENERAL is disproved. You claim that any lack of belief that does not have "evidence" is based on faith. So how do you show things you don't believe in don't exist?

  • KPres||

    I just told you how. Show that its existance is impossible or a contradiction.

  • ||

    "Square circles do not exist. They are a contradiction." Prove it.

  • KPres||

    I don't feel like thinking about it. But a mathemetician could do so easily. Who can disprove god?

  • ||

    You can't do it, can you? Thanks for showing us you operate on faith for basic mathematical assumptions.

  • ||

    Hypocrisy at it's finest.

  • ||

    And who can disprove the magical invisible jumping dogs all around me right now? It's all on faith, after all...

  • KPres||

    Right. That's what I said.

  • KPres||

    Its not hypocrisy. It would only be hypocrisy if I said there was somethingwrong with having ideas based on faith and then you showed that I held such ideas myself

  • KPres||

    I'm not sure basic mathematical/logical intuition = faith but maybe so. If so then reason is hopeless. Fine by me but it might represent a problem for, say, an athiest who thinks his position is the reasonable one.

  • ||

    For that matter, isn't the claim that there is a god really the LACK of a belief that there ISN'T a god? How does someone justify their lack of belief that something isn't true except by faith? And why should I accept your argument except on faith? For that matter, I'm accepting that what I'm seeing right now is true, isn't that entirely on faith? Now I'm thinking you don't exist, and are just a figment of my imagination. After all, I don't have any evidence that you actually exist.

  • KPres||

    Yeah it all devolves into solipsism in the end.

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    There you have it: "all you have to do is prove that its existence is impossible or a contradiction." That there is exactly why there is proof that god does not exist. As formulated, it is an impossible being. One that is all knowing, all powerful, existed throughout all eternity, existed outside of the Universe (else how could it have created said Universe?), is timeless etc etc etc.

    There are plenty of contradictions there and even more impossibilities. Nanny-nanny-boo-boo.

    Unless your god is Thor... That one is harder to refute.

  • ||

    It's easy to say that God exists when it isn't defined. Fortunately, the Abrahamic religions do define him as a logically contradictory being that refutes his own existence. Omniscience, omnipotence, and being perfectly Just and Good do not jive with the creation and allowance of evil in the world. One of the characteristics is incorrect. The Greeks taught us that millenia ago, but dumb is dumb. I don't think KPres is dumb, just an argumentative jerk.

  • Bruce||

    Is an absence like an abscess on your sense?

  • smartass||

    Your disbelief in God can't be based on lack of evidence, because absense of evidence is not evidence of absense.

    It is also impossible to prove a negative.

    Nonetheless we have Santa Clause, the Easter Rabbit, and myriad other imaginary entities, all contrived by the human mind. I believe in none of them, and it is not incumbent upon me to accept even the pretense that they are real simply because someone (or even nearly everyone) asserts them.

    The burden of proof falls upon he who asserts.

    Random assertions are not my problem.

    So much for The Idiot Who Claims There Must Be a God For Atheists To Not Believe In. For this same flawed logic would bring Santa Clause and Freddy Kruger both to life in the blink of logic fallacy.

  • KPres||

    Once again, its not impossible to prove a negative. If you prove the existence of God is impossible or a contradiction, then you've proven God doesn't exist.

  • smartass||

    But, once again, other people's random assertions and other brain farts aren't my fucking problem.

    If you care them, then you go prove them, positive-negative-null.

    I for one have an immense dislike for the smell of other's brain farts.

  • KPres||

    Go away [dumb]ass, you're not making any sense.

  • smartass||

    Go away [dumb]ass, you're not making any sense.

    Adult logic is for adults, my child.

  • smartass||

    Or we could put it this way.

    I do not believe in, or care about, other people's random assertions. None of your attempted arguments on this thread has established any rationale as to why I should care about them.

    There are not enough hours in one human life to dispel all the things people may assert. Children may imagine there are monsters under their beds, but does that make the monsters real? Don't forget that religion started with animism, if you dig far back enough in history.

    I have never heard anyone say that we should teach children to spend the rest of their existence disproving the existence of their childhood bed monsters -- unless perchance, you are the very first lunatic of this persuasion that I've encountered?

    I'm really starting to wonder if maybe you are.....

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    If you prove the existence of God is impossible or a contradiction, then you've proven God doesn't exist.

    no problem: can God make a rock so heavy he cannot lift it?

    I have, at least, logically proven the impossibility of an omnipotent God, which is the standard god-model these days.

    Bye bye, sister.

  • Amakudari||

    If God is all-powerful, why did he need to fertilize a virgin and raise his son such that he would be put to death in a blood sacrifice for the sins of the world.

    Look, I'm not a "hard atheist." I can very much grasp the possibility of god-like beings or a Prime Mover or the God of Spinoza. But the particular religions that have something to say about how you must live your life, what you may eat, with whom you may copulate and in which position, and whom you may punish are a different matter altogether. And as the sphere of our understanding and empathy has grown, Western religion has shrunk from those areas to where it would be almost atheistic to a crusader or a modern state/radical Islamist.

  • ||

    Ummmm... show that He "needed" to? Being "all powerful" implies He can do anything consistent with His nature. He has no "needs".

    Try again?

  • ||

    Christ's advent and death/burial/resurrection is a gracious act, not driven by any "need" on God's part.

    You got in dutch with God when you chose to reject His fellowship. God graciously draws you back, and as part of that, shows that He loves you in the most extreme way He can show it in a material world.

    Perhaps He could have chosen other ways to demonstrate His love for you... I don;t know what His options were. But grace is not offered because the gift giver has a need. It is you that has the need.

    So, how one behaves has nothing to do with the effect they have on others? On their behavior being in any way "moral"? You will brand ANY behavior as "acceptable"? Or will you become god and define what is moral, and what should be included in moral instruction to others?

  • ||

    When will you graduate middle school?

    Yes, you rightly acknowledge there are some imponderables in our mathematics....

    As soon as you can tell me the value of this ratio...

    (infinity)/(infinity)

    you will have your answer.

    This is not a problem with the definition of God, but with our inability to find the value of this ratio....

    Next? And can you be more interesting in your next question?

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    Believers claim that God is omnipotent. Can he create a rock too heavy for him to lift? Yes? Can he lift it? Yes? Hmmm... So at least the Omnipotent god has been dealt with. Good enough for me.

  • Counter-Paradox||

    If God can create a rock too heavy to lift, and then lift it, that means God can even do what is logically impossible, which is a power greater even than the power to do the physically impossible. Therefore, all your paradox proves is God's true omnipotence through super-rationality (def.: abstract quality of existing above and beyond the constraints of rationality).

    Thus is an old cop-out refuted: the God who can create a rock too heavy to lift and then lift it is indeed omnipotent.

  • ||

    Ummmm... It is NOT impossible to prove a negative.

    For instance, an example negative statement might be "Abraham Lincoln did not speak about the fuel efficiency of jet airplanes."

    Will you suggest that this "negative" can't be proven?

  • ||

    No Freddy Kruger! Oh, I hate growing up.

  • MWG||

    One cannot prove that god doesn't exist any more than you can prove that you're not a pedophile or any other negative. This is logic 101.

  • ||

    "I don't believe in the non-existence of Santa Claus. I simply don't believe in that fantasy."
    Aren't those sentences saying the same thing?

  • ||

    Hope you like coal, destroyer of childhood dreams!

  • ||

    North Korean kids are happy when they get coal.

  • ||

    It's hilarious that you don't understand how stupid saying that makes you look. I suggest you continue to repeat it, a lot.

  • Joe M||

    No post on atheism would be complete without someone saying "atheists have faith just like believers."

  • KPres||

    But how often do they then demonstrate that effectively, as I did?

  • Joe M||

    You haven't.

  • KPres||

    I did so resoundingly.

  • Sparky||

    Let me just say, I hope you don't choke on your stupid when you go to bed tonight. I almost feel sorry for you.

  • KPres||

    Let me just say, I hope the dumbfuck fat whore who gave birth to you chokes on my jizz tonight asshole. I feel sorry for her having to go to sleep every night knowing she shat you out.

  • Sparky||

    OK, let me amend my statement. I hope you don't choke on your stupidity and childish anger when you go to bed tonight. I won't go so far as to actively hope you die tonight, even though the world might be better off in the morning.

  • KPres||

    Lol you're the pissy one Sparky. And I don't hope you die either, just the fat whore who gave birth to you.

  • ||

    These are the kind of arguments that I come here to read. Good work, guys.

  • ||

    Not really. As an atheist, I believe that it is overwhelmingly likely that there is no god, just like I believe that it is overwhelmingly likely that there are no trolls. But belief in gods isn't something that really concerns me all that much, and it wouldn't concern me at all if it weren't so common.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    No trolls? Then what have I been seeing all over H&R lately?

  • ||

    Ah, was thinking of the Norwegian sort, not the internet sort. Those certainly do exist. :)

  • shrike||

    Same culture wars as always:

    Red Vs Blue

    South vs North

    Bible vs Science

    Faith vs Reason

    Culture Warrior! (Bill-O from FNN - protecting the little guy!)

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Batman vs. Joker

  • ||

    Shriek vs. Reason

  • icgamblers||

    Cookie Monster vs. Cookies

  • Moogle||

    PC vs Consoles

  • Anyway||

    Their loud professions of faith may, however, be provoking a backlash among voters.

    It has always been thus. Historically, the "saving grace" of this nation, in regards to religion (and individual rights), has been not a battle of atheists vs. theists, but rather a conflict between competing religious sects, each distrusting the other while tenaciously grasping its own concept of religious "freedom" (the freedom to be irrational). Ironically (and perhaps fatally) our freedoms rest, in part, on the whims of superstitious Bible/Torah/Koran-thumpers.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "“God and government are a dangerous mix,” warned Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation at the rally."

    So what does she intend to do about the HHS mandate, which tries to involve the government in how church schools and charities administer their own affairs?

  • ||

    Well, what I'd advocate is that church schools and charities can administer their own affairs however the hell they want to.

    However, a church school that doesn't teach basic biology ("plants and animals, including humans, evolved from more primitive forms over billions of years") and anatomy ("sex feels good and makes babies, but you can prevent the latter") shouldn't satisfy the legal requirement for compulsory public education.

    In other words, you can set up your church school and run it however you like, but it doesn't count as "school" unless it actually gives a comprehensive basic education.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Fascinating idea!

    As for your sex-ed, can you think of any religion which *denies* that sex feels good or makes babies, or that contraceptive methods *exist* (your summary says nothing about endorsing contraception)?

    Also...I presume you're aware that a government with the power to crack down on private schools because they don't teach evolution would also be able to crack down on private schools which teach about the downside of religion (wars, crusades, jihads, blue balls, etc.). Given majority sentiment in the USA, which kind of crackdowns would be more likely once the government is empowered to protect its school monopoly against rivals...oops, I mean enforce standards against private schools.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    A sex ed curriculum, as you conceive it, can be built solely from the Bible:

    "sex feels good"

    This is acknowledged in the book of Proverbs, with its frequent warnings against the allurements of adulteresses.

    "and makes babies,"

    This is plainly indicated by the fact that when so-and-so "knew his wife," a baby follows.

    "but you can prevent the latter"

    Acknowledged in the story of Onan.

    A complete curriculum in sex ed, covering all the points you mentioned, using only the Scriptures!

  • ||

    Because the government should totally be in charge of school curriculum. I like the way you think.

  • Apatheist ಠ_ರೃ||

    As a fellow non-believer I going have to say fuck you to this. People should be able to educate their kids any way they want.

  • Dawkins||

    But...! But...! Nobody will believe in evolution anymore if we don't force people to subsidize teaching it! And people might stop believing in manmade global warming--er, climate change and inborn homosexuality if we don't force them to subsidize teaching their kids those things too!

  • Colonel_Angus||

    It does not appear that you are familiar with the definition of anatomy, which you are confusing with "sex-ed" or preachy "health" classes.

  • k2000k||

    There shouldn't be compulsory education.

  • Half the Rs and all the Ds||

    Oh, yes there should!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Incidentally, what percentage of atheists would be willing to vote for a libertarian?

  • Sevo||

    What percentage of god-talkers will?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The relevant comparison is to the 49% of the public who would be willing to vote for a qualified atheist.

    What percentage of the atheist population would be willing to vote for a qualified libertarian? Would it be 49%?

  • Sevo||

    Eduard van Haalen|3.27.12 @ 8:55PM|#
    "The relevant comparison is to the 49% of the public who would be willing to vote for a qualified atheist."

    That's a very interesting answer to a question I didn't ask.
    "Hey, look over there!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Technically, I didn't ask about "God-talkers" either. So it's a wash.

    An article in a libertarian publication berates the public for supposed bigotry against atheists, based on a mere half of the public being willing to support a qualified atheist. I would be *very* interested in knowing whether atheists show the same kind of "bigotry" against libertarians.

  • Sevo||

    "I would be *very* interested in knowing whether atheists show the same kind of "bigotry" against libertarians."

    And I'd be interested in the answers to all sorts of questions. Would you like to answer them all?
    Or would you just like to offer one other misdirection?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    There's something about the whole subject of religion which gets some people worked up, I suppose.

  • Sevo||

    Eduard van Haalen|3.27.12 @ 9:47PM|#
    "There's something about the whole subject of religion which gets some people worked up, I suppose."

    Yes, there is. Stupid bleevers *fervently* want to direct the lives of anyone who doesn't share their fantasies, and I'm sick of it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Really? You struck me as a very even-tempered sort of guy.

  • Sevo||

    Stupd bleevers like that entropius fag, for one.

  • k2000k||

    "Yes, there is. Stupid (dis)bleevers *fervently* want to direct the lives of anyone who doesn't share their fantasies, and I'm sick of it."

    FTFY Sevo, as if there aren't athiests who haven't tried to use the state to enforce their vision of the world on others. Eitherway your mortal squabbling has grown tiresome. I am off to joing Bacchus in a feast of revalry, there shall be the valkaryan maids and we will drink ambrosia atop the most silver studded clouded peaks whilst your flesh rotteth and soul fadeth away.

  • Amakudari||

    Libertarianism is a political belief. Atheism is irrelevant.

    If I unwilling to vote for a Democrat/Republican/communist/libertarian, I'd be like every other American with some understanding of politics. If I were unwilling to vote for a black or a woman or a homosexual, I'd be a bigot. Period.

    How do you not understand this?

  • Amakudari||

    Of course, Libertarianism depends on believing in the existence of free will, which neuro-science has pretty conclusively proven cannot be derived from the neuro-chemical reactions in one's brain or any of the deterministic laws of physics governing atoms and sub-atomic particles. Don't worry, though: science has nothing to do with politics or religion! Nothing at all! Because I say it doesn't!

  • ||

    Have some humility about the capabilities and state of the art in neuro-science?

    How would science show that something "cannot be derived" from a physical system that is not fully understood?

  • ||

    And, from an atheistic point of view, why is bigotry universally "wrong"?

    Or, is is something you can choose to dislike and I can choose to like, and both of us be "moral"?

  • shamalam||

    I really don't understand the point of your question, but, speaking as an atheist, Libertarians are just about the only politicians I am likely to vote for.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I was suggesting that you might not get a majority of atheists to say they'll vote for a qualified libertarian, which would mean that atheists have the same lack of "tolerance" (the post's term) toward some groups that the general public has toward atheists.

    And the intolerance of the atheists toward libertarians (which I posit from the descriptions in Reason of the statist proclivities of unbelievers) can't even justify itself by citing millions of murders committed in the name of libertarian ideologies.

    In contrast, Americans have a cultural memory of millions of memories committed, and world destruction threatened, by avowed atheists.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    (I should say that I'm not endorsing the sort of reasoning indicated in the previous paragraph, simply saying that it has more historical basis than the atheist prejudice against libertarians. That nuance will probably vanish as I provoke angry comments - oh, well) :)

  • Realist||

    Most atheists are libs.

  • The Derider||

    Most atheists are Democrats, certainly. Shit, George HW Bush said atheists shouldn't be citizens!

  • The Derider||

    By their own admission, atheists have no rights: Nature and Nature's God have not endowed them with any rights whatsoever. Therefore, they do not have a right to citizenship. Damn! I just proved that what I claim George H.W. Bush said is right! Atheists shouldn't be citizens if they can't find any proof they have a right to be citizens, should they?

  • ||

    A Christian that believes that God gave everyone equal rights would be committing blasphemy to claim otherwise.

  • .||

    No, he'd be lying, not committing blasphemy. Keep your sins straight there. However, the actual belief is that all men (i.e. mankind, i.e. humanity including the women and children) are created equal, and that they are endowed with certain rights. (Note that there's nothing about "equal rights" anywhere in there.) Therefore, the actual claim is that God created everyone equal, and gave everybody certain rights.

    Of course, to enjoy all these rights, you pretty much have to hold on to them; God has always allowed people to give up those rights and go take their chances with whatever the other unbelievers will grant them. If you're not a Christian, you've pretty much forfeited all these rights in favor of whatever you can get from the people around you; the fewer Christians that includes, the less anything you get will be at all like the rights you've forfeited.

  • ||

    I know I'm only one person (although it seems there may be others on here) but I'm a "god-talker" or whatever and I most definitely will be voting for libertarians on the ticket.

    This whole divide between believer and non-believer is fucking retarded.

  • ||

    At the rally there were people everywhere on the spectrum from hard-core libertarian to pretty socialistic. The nonbelief in fairy tales hasn't got all that much to do with one's attitudes about individual vs. state.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But if it's bias against your group you're worried about, and you're fretting because only half of the general public would vote for a qualified atheist, shouldn't you also fret if less than half of atheists would vote for a qualified libertarian? Why is one form of "bigotry" worse than another?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Would you vote for a libertarian who would allow parents to send kids to a private school which doesn't teach evolution?

  • Sevo||

    Eduard van Haalen|3.27.12 @ 9:05PM|#
    "Would you vote for a libertarian who would allow parents to send kids to a private school which doesn't teach evolution?"

    Yes.
    But why do keep posting irrelevant questions and answers?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Mr. entropius wants the government to penalize private schools if they fail to teach evolution. I was indulging in snark based on that particular position of his.

  • Sevo||

    OK

  • ||

    "Would you vote for a libertarian who would allow parents to send kids to a private school which doesn't teach evolution?"

    Yes, it's the parents' choice, not the state's.

  • Sevo||

    "Why is one form of "bigotry" worse than another?"

    Uh, you seem to be ignorant of what that word means.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You seem completely innocent of the context in which I was speaking.

  • Sevo||

    And that is?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    see responses to other posts in this thread.

  • ||

    Bullshit. Political representation at the rally notwithstanding, atheists tend to lean not just left, but hard, "Why does everybody say "socialist" like it's a bad word?" left. Libertarianism is about as well represented in the atheist community as hedonism is in the Souther Baptist Convention.

  • Sevo||

    PM|3.27.12 @ 9:06PM|#
    "Bullshit. Political representation at the rally notwithstanding, atheists tend to lean not just left, but hard, "Why does everybody say "socialist" like it's a bad word?" left."

    And therefore?

  • ||

    "The nonbelief in fairy tales hasn't got all that much to do with one's attitudes about individual vs. state."

    Is not a correct statement. Did you lose track of the nesting or something?

  • Sevo||

    PM|3.27.12 @ 9:21PM|#
    "The nonbelief in fairy tales hasn't got all that much to do with one's attitudes about individual vs. state."

    Is not a correct statement."
    Prove it.

    "Did you lose track of the nesting or something?"
    No, I'm trying to track all the gymnastics that bleevers go through to show that others are as silly as they are.

  • ||

    WTF are you talking about dude? Somebody said that atheism is not a good indicator of political leanings. I retorted that the vast majority of atheists share a leftist political leaning - which was discussed at length in a recent article right here at Reason. This has nothing to do with your ill fated attempt to root out religiosity in the libertarian community and squash it. Find something relevant to your interests - there's about 40 other posts here that should do the job.

  • Sevo||

    "This has nothing to do with your ill fated attempt to root out religiosity in the libertarian community and squash it."

    Aww, poor bleefer-griefer! Peddle bullshit, get called on it, and claim victim hood!
    What a novel idea!
    Go pray to your sky-daddy; maybe he can help.

  • ||

    If by "peddling bullshit" you mean contending that the atheist community is over-represented on the leftist scale of American politics, I guess the author of this article is a "bleefer griefer" as well - check out his previous correspondence from the Moving Secularism Forward conference.

    But way to act like a total fucking asshole for absolutely no reason based on a snap judgment you made with absolutely no supporting facts and building a persecution narrative around it. Maybe you're not so different from your religious brethren after all...

  • Moogle||

    Incidentally, what percentage of atheists would be willing to vote for a libertarian?

    Small sample size, but most of the science sites I visit that are openly atheist tend to be heavily (sickeningly, even) Progressive. Massive skepticism for anything religious, but zero critical thinking on anything political. "Tax more, spend more. End of analysis."

    I assume it's because there's a lot of State funded academics in that crowd, but I also wonder if they haven't simply substituted religion with rebis ideology.

    The word "libertard" shows up a lot.

  • Moogle||

    rabid ideology, rather, but rebis ideology is an interesting brain fart.

  • Joe M||

    “We’re here! We’re godless! Get used to it!,”

    So we should gain acceptance in only a few more decades.

  • F Hart||

    Jesus Christ. A post that isn't about Obummercare. Hallelujah.

  • Dolly Parton||

    Hart, honey, fo'get about yo' wahf! Yer mah boy from nahn to fahv!

  • Joe M||

    biologist Richard Dawkins, American Atheists president David Silverman, professional skeptics Michael Shermer and James Randi, mythbuster Adam Savage, profane musician Tim Minchin, and (via video) comedian Penn Jillette

    You can't deny that is an awesome slate of speakers, whatever the quality of the actual audience.

  • ||

    The problem with language is that there is no way to say effectively that I haven't a belief in something.

    When I say that I am an atheist, I am not intending to convey that I identify with a position but rather that I am not identified with something.

    I do not believe in God, which is to say, that I do not have an identification with that belief system of any sort.

    Believers, think that I identify as an atheist, which I don't at all, I simply do not identify with anything at all, especially not a belief system.

    God, by it's very nature, is ineffable, incomprehensible and infinite, which means that any belief in God, no matter how sophisticated, far reaching, logical or rational or other wise, will always, always be false. This means that believers, the faithful and their kind, believe not in God, as that would be impossible but instead believe only in the belief itself.

  • God||

    God, by it's very nature, is ineffable, incomprehensible and infinite, which means that any belief in God, no matter how sophisticated, far reaching, logical or rational or other wise, will always, always be false.

    Sorry, you lost Me there.

  • Sevo||

    Yeah, well, that may have to do with the fact that you don't exist.

  • Never Metaphysics Didn't Like||

    Weird. How can one lose something that doesn't exist?

  • Mofo||

    I would say that irreligious is what you are:

    ir·re·li·gious
       [ir-i-lij-uhs] Show IPA
    adjective
    1.
    not religious; not practicing a religion and feeling no religious impulses or emotions.
    2.
    showing or characterized by a lack of religion.
    3.
    showing indifference or hostility to religion: irreligious statements.

    Irreligious is not synonymous with atheist

  • ||

    Of course there is adequate language to say you "haven't a belief in something".

    The term you are searching for is that you are an "unbeliever" in that thing.

    The inadequacy is apparently in your vocabulary, not in the language.

    And when you say you are an "atheist", you make a very definite assertion, because "atheist" has a crisp meaning.... consult any good dictionary to see that it means one that "believes there is no deity".

  • ||

    The reason for these stats could very well be that atheists engage in the type of group-think that would have any religious leader vying for their patronage if only they would divert their worship from secular institutions to the church. And then on top of being equally as obnoxious as demagogic faith crusaders, they are also arrogant pricks who refuse to treat anyone who disagrees with their ostensibly private views on metaphysics as an intellectual equal. Top that off with the fact that the US is a relatively center-right country and that most vocal atheists are raving leftists whose missing religious fervor has been redirected toward the state, with religion being the sole area of life where they don't want the government to meddle. It's really a bit much when you then have to drag out the "minority victim" card too. People get sick of that shit no matter who is doing it.

  • ||

    The reason for these stats could very well be that atheists homosexuals engage in the type of group-think that would have any religious leader vying for their patronage if only they would divert their worship from secular institutions gay rights to the church. And then on top of being equally as obnoxious as demagogic faith gay rights crusaders, they are also arrogant pricks who refuse to treat anyone who disagrees with their ostensibly private views on metaphysics sex as an intellectual equal. Top that off with the fact that the US is a relatively center-right country and that most vocal atheists gay activists are raving leftists whose missing religious fervor has been redirected toward the state, with religion being the sole area of life where they don't want the government to meddle.

  • ||

    It's really a bit much when you then have to drag out the "minority victim" card too. People get sick of that shit no matter who is doing it.

  • Vlad Lenin||

    I have your secular institutions right here!

  • ||

    Libertarian ideas about how government should be run are essentially creed-neutral. This creeping atheist litmus test will do nothing but ensure future irrelevancy for the movement.

  • shrike||

    There is no atheism requirement for the LP - only a secularist one.

  • MWG||

    This. Damn, I can't believe I have to agree with teh shrike on this.

  • ||

    The fact that the number of people who vote libertarian is about half the size of the number of people who would vote for a convicted pedophilic serial killer has already ensured the future irrelevancy of the "movement" as it were - libertarians are an infinitesimal minority by any measure. Unconditionally siding with people who, by and large, despise your political viewpoints is the distressing thing - whether they're atheists, lutherans, or hindus.

  • KPres||

    Not true. Libertarians are a large minority. They just choose not to vote for the Libertarian party for strategic reasons, ie, voting libertarian is not the best way to effect libertarian outcomes. Truth is libertarians have somewhat significant influence, which is why other idiologies are always wailing about us.

  • ||

    That's definitely true. But look at a guy like Ron Paul. His following is fiercely loyal, but most people think he's a kook. I don't think most big party candidates worry much about which way the libertarian vote is going to go.

  • Sevo||

    "This creeping atheist litmus test"
    What?

  • ||

    The fact that if you aren't outrightly hostile to religion generally, and the currently un-politically correct ones in particular, you aren't really treated to a terribly welcoming experience in the libertarian community is what I think he was referring to.

  • Sevo||

    PM|3.27.12 @ 9:23PM|#
    "The fact that if you aren't outrightly hostile to religion generally, and the currently un-politically correct ones in particular, you aren't really treated to a terribly welcoming experience in the libertarian community is what I think he was referring to."

    So you have more than one fantasy going?
    The poster above claims that non-believers are all socialists, now you claim they're libertarians.
    My goodness, it's just horrible how those with silly bleefs are treated!

  • ||

    You seriously must have the reading comprehension of about a 4 year old. Jesus fucking Christ. Try to keep up.

  • Sevo||

    PM|3.27.12 @ 9:36PM|#
    "You seriously must have the reading comprehension of about a 4 year old."

    Real shame when you're called on your bullshit, isn't it?

  • ||

    Real shame that you are quixotically fighting against some bizarre argument that you've concocted in your mind that nobody in reality actually advanced, isn't it?

  • ||

    Not that it really makes a difference, because you are quite obviously incapable of any semblance of rational thought, but what I was trying to do was clarify JMXG's contention, since it seemed to confuse you. I believe what he intended to say is that excluding religious people from libertarian politics is not a good way to advance libertarian politics. I agree with his contention. Despite the fact that libertarianism seems to favor atheism to theism, the atheist community, by and large, rejects libertarian politics and tends to lean left. Clear enough now?

  • Sevo||

    PM|3.27.12 @ 9:39PM|#
    "Real shame that you are quixotically fighting against some bizarre argument that you've concocted in your mind that nobody in reality actually advanced, isn't it?"

    Right:
    PM|3.27.12 @ 9:01PM|#
    "The reason for these stats could very well be that atheists engage in the type of group-think that would have any religious leader vying for their patronage if only they would divert their worship from secular institutions to the church"

    I guess I "concocted in [my] mind". Or did some bozo post that?

  • ||

    Since that wasn't the comment you were replying to, and since it still doesn't really relate to what you were saying, I still don't get it. A lot of people dislike atheists for the same reason they dislike Christians, Muslims, war protesters, gay pride vents, and even (perhaps especially) libertarians - they don't share the same values and it makes them uncomfortable. Atheists have a PR problem is all I was pointing out. You might also note that I concluded with: "People get sick of that shit no matter who is doing it." - nobody likes having somebody else's values pushed at them, especially when the approach is from arrogance and derision.

  • ||

    In other words, more flies with honey than vinegar, and all that.

  • ||

    Somehow, the religious people are always being persecuted, even when they are the colossally vast majority, and being persecuted by the atheists, who are the vast minority. Yet they're being persecuted. Amazing how that always is.

  • ||

    Unless you mean to say that religious people comprise the "colossally vast majority" of libertarians, I think you need to go back and re-read that post.

  • ||

    The entire post is about how much people hate and distrust atheists. I went back and reread it and it's still about that. Yet somehow you're still talking about the persecution of religious people by atheists.

    You can't make this shit up. Your persecution complex is stunning.

  • ||

    The article is about that - the post to which you replied said:

    "Libertarian ideas about how government should be run are essentially creed-neutral. This creeping atheist litmus test will do nothing but ensure future irrelevancy for the movement."

  • ||

    You can feel free to correct me where I've erred here, but I interpreted that post to mean: "Excluding religious people from libertarian politics is not going to help advance libertarian causes".

  • ||

    And my point is that religious people are not being excluded from libertarian politics, so that comment was just another example of the endemic persecution complex that religious people have and that is so fucking absurd.

    Religious people never fucking stop blathering about how they're being discriminated against, maligned, excluded, what have you. It never fucking ends, even though they are the vast majority.

    As someone who is non-religious, I think I speak for all (few) of us that it is tiresome beyond belief.

  • ||

    Lol. The irony of that comment is that the article you just read and your response to it could just as easily be said to be emblematic of a persecution complex among non-theists. I think everyone tends to exaggerate the perceived tribulation of whatever ideology they identify with, be it political or religious.

    To your other point, the snark directed at the Christian concept of deity right at the beginning of this article kind of undermines the contention that the religious are welcomed in the libertarian community.

  • Ryan||

    He didn't say they're welcomed. He said they aren't excluded.

    I wasn't 'welcomed' when I became a libertarian, and people have disagreed with some of my ideas, but I don't whine about it.

    Also, I think atheists are generally accustomed to the pervasiveness of religious belief, so it doesn't bother most. In my experience, religious people are indeed hypersensitive to disagreements. In the sense that any belief should be worthy of defense, that's normal. But it's hard to defend anomalous faith, when otherwise presenting oneself as a rational conversationalist.

  • ||

    I'd venture to say that's kind of a distinction without a difference though. "We don't like you, but you're welcome to stay and sit in the corner with the dunce hat on while we mock some things that you consider extremely important" isn't exactly exclusion, but it tends to derail other points of shared ideology. It's the reason why people like my parents, for example, identify as "conservative" and not "libertarian" even though if you sit down and discuss actual policy issues with them, they fall about 90% on the libertarian side.

    To your second point, you're right: religious people are hypersensitive to disagreement because they place such importance on their faith and it becomes such an ingrained part of their identity. Challenge their faith and they perceive it as a challenge to their identity. Which is why bothering to argue the point with them is usually fruitless.

  • Ryan||

    "We don't like you, but you're welcome to stay and sit in the corner with the dunce hat on while we mock some things that you consider extremely important"

    Who said that? I suspect you might be imagining things, like Christians do with God.

    The fact that you, or whomever you're referring to, consider something extremely important doesn't make it any more immune to scrutiny, and it certainly doesn't make it right.

  • Ryan||

    Disclaimer: I'm unabashedly insensitive most of the time, and I like it that way. I don't believe I'm doing anything wrong, and whether or not it hurts someone's feelings isn't something I often consider.

    I'm young, and I've noticed that older people have a tendency toward politeness, empathy, etc. In some cases, that behavior is definitely meritorious, but I've also noticed a lot of ways in which it perpetuates common psychological issues a lot of people have. For that reason, at least, I avoid it.

  • ||

    It's sort of implied when you come to libertarian discussion sites and get told things like: "Aww, poor bleefer-griefer!" or "Go pray to your sky-daddy; maybe he can help." when you haven't even advanced an argument in favor of religion.

    I didn't say that considering something important made it immune to scrutiny, but it's stupid to pick fights just for the sake of picking them and turning off people who otherwise might agree with you. That's the kind of shit that Catholics and Protestants do about the meaning of a syllable or the position of a punctuation mark in a holy book, even though they both believe exactly the same thing for all intents and purposes.

  • Ryan||

    Well, my only suggestion is that you not take a sample of a few people and associate their beliefs with libertarians in general.

    Atheists have their own beliefs to defend, and I guarantee that they won't be stopping any time soon. Still, you shouldn't interpret that as outright dismissal. And besides, libertarians aren't infallible.

    I can't speak for others, and I only know a tiny fraction of the billions of people who exist, but I try not to let irrelevant information corrupt my opinion of a person or their ideas. IOW, I don't care if someone believes in God unless and until it becomes a subject of conversation. I presume there are plenty of people of a similar mind.

  • ||

    I guess what I'm saying is that since libertarianism is basically an a-religious political doctrine, it doesn't make much sense to associate with the "atheist movement".

  • ||

    PM, I'm not sure what he said can be interpreted to what you mean. That he "wasn't welcomed" does not necessarily mean "stay and sit in the corner with the dunce hat while we mock" (though he certainly COULD have meant that).

  • ||

    No, you're right; I didn't mean to say that was what he was suggesting, but that's kind of the practicality of it.

  • ||

    That's quite the meat of what I was saying, so thanks for the vigorous defense, PM.

    As a very hands-off ideology, I can't fathom why the informal libertarian platform seems to hold more of a place for atheism than some form of religiosity. What place do either of them have? Fracturing libertarians over religious differences serves as much purpose as arguing over music preferences. I'd love to hear someone explain why this isn't an asinine and counterproductive point of contention to raise so often.

  • ||

    There IS a music litmus test. If you can't handle any of the bands that Warty links to, you have to turn in your monocle and decoder ring.

    /sarc

  • SIV||

    "non-religious"?
    lol

    Are you now trying to claim you're just a nominal Atheist?

  • Joe M||

    Even better news: 54 percent now say that churches should keep out of politics, whereas only 40 percent think that they should express views on social and political questions. Back in 1996, 54 percent thought churches should meddle in politics and only 43 percent wanted them to butt out.

    I dunno, that's kind of a funny question. Everyone and every organization has a right to participate in politics. I suppose I would want everyone that disagrees with my views not to participate, but they clearly have a right to try to advance their interests.

  • shrike||

    Are you thinking what we're thinking?

  • shrike||

    fuck you, shrike. I am tired of your shit.

  • shrike||

    British Conservative Party slogan under Michael Howard in the 2005 general election

  • Al Qaeda||

    Everyone and every organization has a right to participate in politics.

    Fiddle-dee-dee-BOOM!!

  • ||

    I've been reading articles about atheism here and elsewhere for years and there is a really easy-to-understand reason why atheists get such a bad rap. All the crap and name-calling like "Sky-Daddy" and "Bible-Thumpers" isn't going to make the believers like you a lot. Perhaps less name-calling and consigning to hell on all sides would be a good idea. This won't work for the Westboro Baptist types, but nothing will work for them anyway. I suspect that if God himself appeared to the Westboro nutcakes and said "Stop it" they would tell God he was going to hell.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That is not why we're disliked.

  • Sevo||

    "All the crap and name-calling like "Sky-Daddy" and "Bible-Thumpers" isn't going to make the believers like you a lot."

    And I don't give a shit. Silly bleevers aren't going to change their bleefs based on evidence, so why should I worry about offending the bozos?

  • ||

    Wow, that's a really mature, well reasoned and logical position.

  • KPres||

    Where is your evidence that God does not exist?

  • MJ||

    Then you disagree with Bailey's pearl-clutching over atheists being disliked and distrusted as a group?

  • Sevo||

    Waaah! I can't understand why people hate and distrust me and won't listen to my "evidence" and join my party just because I insulted them!

  • Mary's Stacked||

    Warty, SugarFree, and Epi are my trinity.

  • ||

    "Off to the side was a small collection of Christian counterprotesters (including members of the truly awful Westboro Baptist Church) who assured the assembled nonbelievers that Christianity’s loving God would consign them all to everlasting fiery damnation unless they changed their wicked ways."

    I like Ron Bailey, but has he ever talked to an actual, normal, reasonably well-educated religious believer? You really do not ever hear this. It's not about a loving God subjecting you to a fiery hell. It's about rejecting a loving God who offered you a way out of that hell.

    But all we believers ever get credit for is the Phelpsians and occasionally Jerry Falwell.

  • ||

    The normal people weren't counterprotesting.

  • MJ||

    Just as the normal people who happen to be atheists were not at this rally. This sort of demonstration is for zealots on all sides.

  • Amakudari||

    To be fair, though, I would have gone for the speakers if I lived in the area. Dawkins and Krauss are witty and illuminating on science, Penn is fucking Penn (although I think he only did video), Adam Savage is Adam Savage, etc. Fact is, there are some atheists out there deeply involved in science and entertainment, so it would at least have been interesting, even if I'm not much up for the activism.

    I mean, it was a joy to listen to or read Christopher Hitchens, even if he was speaking extemporaneously about a topic where we couldn't have had more divergent views.

  • Apatheist ಠ_ರೃ||

    One of the reasons I'm both a soft atheist (don't believe in any of the gods religions have come up with) and an apatheist beyond that is the concept of hell. I refuse to believe that some being would give me a rational mind and then punish me for using it. What kind of asshole does that?

  • MJ||

    If God exists, it is not His fault if your misuse of rationality has led you to turn away from Truth.

    If you are wrong and end up in Hell, it would be because that was the path you obstinately chose. What kind of asshole blames others for the consequences of his choices?

  • Amakudari||

    So God has reduced the question of eternal torment down to a guessing game and has littered the universe with hints at a naturalistic explanation for our existence. The more we study and apply rigorous methods to determine truth, the more we are able to fill in the gaps, and so God has hidden evidence of his providence in some cranny in the quantum realm.

    Sorry, this just strikes me as a dick move.

  • ||

    The idea that knowing more eliminates the role of God in creation and maintenance of the universe is just silly.

    You may as well say "If I learn more and more about how a car operates, I can conclude the car had no designer."

    Just silly.

  • rhambus||

    I should have specified Christian believer - I won't speak for other religions.

  • Mary Stack, Atheist||

    Hi everybody!

  • Kennedy||

    Abstinence is a form of rape.

    Also, "No" is just another way of saying "Yes," when you really think about it.

  • Apatheist ಠ_ರೃ||

    Everybody in the thread needs to chill the fuck out.

  • omnibot||

    and have a sandwich

  • Sevo||

    PM|3.27.12 @ 9:55PM|#
    If by "peddling bullshit" you mean contending that the atheist community is over-represented on the leftist scale of American politics, I guess the author of this article is a "bleefer griefer" as well...

    Compared to:
    PM|3.27.12 @ 9:23PM|#
    The fact that if you aren't outrightly hostile to religion generally, and the currently un-politically correct ones in particular, you aren't really treated to a terribly welcoming experience in the libertarian community is what I think he was referring to"

    One or the other; are you victimized by the left or by libertarians?
    Or maybe by your silly bleefs?

  • ||

    Those aren't mutually exclusive points. Most libertarians can be atheists without most atheists being libertarians. I tend to think of libertarianism as a-religious - a purely political ideology. So I don't think hostility toward religious people, who we readily acknowledge comprise a majority of Americans, is a great way to put the libertarian message across.

  • Sevo||

    PM|3.27.12 @ 10:39PM|#
    "So I don't think hostility toward religious people, who we readily acknowledge comprise a majority of Americans, is a great way to put the libertarian message across.

    Yep, those darn non-bleevers really show hostility, don't they?
    PM|3.27.12 @ 9:01PM|#
    "The reason for these stats could very well be that atheists engage in the type of group-think that would have any religious leader vying for their patronage if only they would divert their worship from secular institutions to the church"

  • ||

    Lol. Coming from a guy who turned into a hostile cunt and accused me of being a "bleefer griefer" for suggesting that there is a tendency toward leftism among the atheist community? Well certainly not. But bear in mind that not all atheists are as cool-headed and open minded as you are.

  • itsnobody||

    It's time for me to teach the atheists just like how Jesuit priest astronomers taught the flat earth believing Chinese.

    There are a variation of reasons why atheists are hated:
    - Atheists are racists (100% of atheist countries are racist)
    - Atheists intentionally spread lies (like the Dark Ages lie [in reality modern historians don't believe in the Dark Ages as portrayed])
    - Atheists control the media to spread anti-religious lies
    - Atheists take pleasure in telling lies
    - Atheists take pleasure in making fun of others but then become upset if they are criticized in the exact same manner

    Maybe if atheists weren't such hateful racist people who take pleasure in telling lies and making fun of others they would be much less hated.

  • ||

    Yeah, I'm not too sure on some of those.
    First off, I thought The JOOZ ran the media.
    And I know a bunch of atheists, and the % of them that are racists is similar to the population on aggregate.
    And I can name a President and a few candidates for his job who take great pleasure in telling lies. They also all claim to be religious.
    As far as the making fun of others, there are too many thin-skinned assholes out there on both sides of the discussion.

  • ||

    A lot of the reasons you list sound like block quotations lifted out of Alfred Rosenburgs 'Myth of the 20th Century'. You just took out the word Jew and replaced it with atheist.

  • ||

    Hahahahahahahahahah!

  • Amakudari||

    You missed the part where we rape people of different races while telling lies about them.

  • ||

    Some atheists do.... and you can't criticize their morality in doing so.

  • ||

    I believe in God. I am a libertarian and I want religious people of all faiths to be free to worship what they believe in and I want atheists/apatheists/the irreligious to to be free to ignore what they don't believe in. And I want all of us to do so without infringing or imposing our beliefs on anyone else.
    Jesus Christ. We all have so much more in common than we don't. Let's end these purity tests and mocking. There are assholes who would run your life from religious stands and assholes who would do it from a secular humanist stand. We'd be well to distance ourselves from either group.

  • ||

    Could this be the most rational post on this thread?

    Yes.

  • ATHEIST ACOLYTE||

    THERE IS NO "REASON" (DRINK!!) THAT LEADS TO GOD!!! RAPE THIS PERSON!!

  • STEVE SMITH||

    THERE ONLY ONE CHARACTER RAPE PEOPLE AT REASON AND TALK IN CAPS. THAT CHARACTER STEVE SMITH. STEVE SMITH FILE GRIEVANCE WITH INTERNET MEME UNION THEN RAPE ATHEIST ACOLYTE.

  • Ryan||

    I want atheists/apatheists/the irreligious to to be free to ignore what they don't believe in

    I think they'd rather talk about what they believe in too. You're not the only one who should get to do it.

  • ||

    I don't think anybody suggested taking away anyone's right to talk about their beliefs. The thing is though, if atheism is not a religion, how do you go about "practicing" it in a way that is analogous to religious people? And what implications does that have for the 1st Amendment?

  • Ryan||

    I don't think anybody suggested taking away anyone's right to talk about their beliefs.

    We haven't been discussing rights, here. I don't believe a single person has said that people of any beliefs should not have equal protection under the law, or that they do not have equal rights.

    It's not a matter of whether we are "practicing" anything. Everyone is free to talk about anything, and that includes criticizing religion.

    I think it's silly for someone to gleefully exercise their right to insult in some circumstances, but when the insults are targeted at their own valued beliefs they suddenly become offended and moralizing. Last time I checked, believing in God is no more equal than the belief that religious people are crazy. So why not talk about it? I don't see a good reason.

    That was my only motive to respond.

  • ||

    I get your point from a philosophical perspective, but is there any practical benefit in religious and secular people bludgeoning each other for the things they disagree about rather than embracing the things they might agree about?

  • Ryan||

    is there any practical benefit in religious and secular people bludgeoning each other for the things they disagree about rather than embracing the things they might agree about?

    The weird thing about the religious debate is that it has advanced to such a rare degree of complexity and intensity. It's gonna go on for awhile.

    Is it meaningful? I'd say it's not worth my time, but if other people want to go at it then that's fine with me too. Getting the government out of our shit is definitely a bigger issue, but I've accepted the fact that each individual chooses their own way to live and it's sometimes blatantly self-destructive.

    However when I'm being reasonable I usually conclude that trying to direct people's actions for their own good, even on the smallest scale, and in the least obtrusive manner, isn't worth my time either.

  • Ryan||

    Furthermore, the effects and causes of passion are interesting to analyze, so I like these debates.

  • ||

    But the nature of libertarianism is letting people live lives that may be self-destructive from our point of view, as long as it doesn't infringe on our ability to do likewise. In the context of libertarianism, it seems like kind of a stupid discussion - all it's going to do is alienate or piss off somebody. We're the people who get into arguments in favor of letting people take heroine. What could possibly be our motivation for giving a shit whether people agree to privately submit to some particular religious authority?

  • ||

    Fair enough, Ryan. That was an oversight on my part, and wasn't in any way meant to slight those groups' beliefs. I was merely discussing one part of their belief/non-belief system: the part regarding God/no God.

  • Ryan||

    I didn't think it was, but be careful with the use of generalizations. It's usually best to just avoid them, because they almost always have false implications.

  • ||

    I agree with your entire statement except for the first sentence, haha.

  • ||

    +1 Nicely played.

  • GILMORE||

    I'm sorry, but I've been reading this thread, and still learned absolutely nothing about the well-established Rape-tendencies of Atheists. I call false advertising.

  • Almanian||

    Second.

    Reason, I am disappoint.

  • ||

    I'm sort of relieved, I didn't want my favorite publication to prove that I'm a closet pervert; it would have been sort of a shock to me.

  • MJ||

    What would have been the shock, the pervert part or the closet part?

  • ||

    During the biggest three days in decades of restricting the growth of government, this is the non-libertarian story that Reason has decieded to headline?!?!

    Ridiculous.

    This is an argument that will never end or someone will win. Stop wasting our time with crap like this because this is certainly dividing, distracting, and disenfranchising libertarians and conservatives over a topic that doesnt matter.

  • Almanian||

    u mad, bro?

  • Some Guy||

    During the biggest three days in decades of restricting the growth of government

    To which three days are you referring?

  • ||

    SCOTUS arguments on the Affordable Care Act.

  • SIV||

    It's a Ron Bailey post. He is from the Scientism denomination of Atheists.

  • Ron Bailey||

    I can find the ought in is!

  • ||

    And there was certainly no "20,000 or so" at that joke of a rally...

  • The Shat||

    What does "God" need with a starship?

  • Almanian||

    Who wouldn't want a starship? Forget need!

  • Some Guy||

    Most of them probably have no idea how many atheists they know, since it generally doesn't come up and in some communities it would be much easier to just lie.

    I have been an atheist since 1st grade, and my mom still doesn't know (though she's made an effort to avoid that knowledge, so deep down she's probably aware.)

  • Almanian||

    Well - I think we've all learned a lot tonight, haven't we? And I think everyone's clearer on everyone else's positions, aren't they?

    Sure - wasn't this a great way to spend an evening?! Sure! Yeah it was!

    I'm glad "Justified" was on.

  • ||

    Is that about the Trayvor Martin case?

  • Almanian||

    It's about the Timothy Olyphant case.

  • omniblot||

    I've been watching Sons of Guns on Netflix.

  • Almanian||

    Anybody seen rectal?

  • SIV||

    Night Elf Mohawk says he lives like 3 blocks from her.

  • Ryan||

    Give it up, man! He's already dead.

  • ||

    Ahhhhhhh!

  • ||

    I don't really like anyone who stages public sign-holding parties, regardless of belief.

  • KPres||

    I like when libertarians do it.

  • SS||

    An ironic title, since the god of the bible is, in fact, a rapist.

  • Amanda Marcunt||

    I said it first, copycat!

  • Mr Whipple||

    Leda and the Swan?

  • omniblot||

    Apropos of nothing: Night of the Hunter starts on TCM in about 20 minutes.

  • ¢||

    Implied rape/murder by a fake minister. Propos.

  • SIV||

    FUCK

    I'm in a shitty non-smoking Hampton with no TCM.

  • ||

    I'll pray for you.

  • Dan||

    Probably for the same reason that so many atheists think "believers" are worst than rapists.

    It's a nonsensical generalization of a group that attempts to justify an irrational hatred of people who don't share your views.

    I'm an atheist myself, but honestly I can't say I support the atheist movement that has become so en vogue these days. I really have no interest in fighting against religion. I don't believe in it, but it doesn't offend my sensibilities when I see a cross or a nativity scene either. People just aren't rational anymore, everything is life and death and the most insignificant issue has people at each other's throats.

  • ||

    As a theist who similarly gets highly irritated by the political soapboxing of other believers, +1 to you, sir.

  • Amakudari||

    Probably for the same reason that so many atheists think "believers" are worst than rapists.

    Wait, what? It's the other way around; Christians think atheists are as trustworthy as rapists (in spite of prison statistics demonstrating that self-declared atheists are rare). What kind of atheist would rather pal around with or vote for rapists than Christians?

    I mean, it's kind of a default assumption that a person is a Christian.

  • ||

    Lying with statistics again?

  • MJ||

    "...a recent study found that only 33 percent of respondents would hire an atheist as a day care worker,..."

    Is it really irrational for a religious person to not want an atheist to have direct influence over their child's moral development? Given that vocal atheists seem bent on mocking organized religion.

  • NAMBLA||

    Funny thing, only 3 percent of respondents would hire a boy lover as a day care worker, and that's in a poll with an error margin of plus or minus 5 points. Come on, shouldn't boy lovers be allowed to have direct influence over your child's moral development? They'll teach him to be tolerant!

  • Stan||

    Dude, you have sex with little boys!

  • Kyle||

    Yeah. I mean, I believe in equality for nearly everyone, and diversity, and all that gay stuff, but dude, f*** you!

  • Bruce||

    And expand his horizons

  • Andrew Hall||

    I think leaving them with you local priest is a good idea.

  • Andrew Hall||

    As long as he's not part of the Lavender Mafia, that is.

  • ||

    Whether or not there is "GOD", a person in this society at this time hears MUCH more pro god propaganda than anti god propaganda. Non believers have mostly chosen that non belief in the face of a constant storm generated by believers. Non belief is winning, but there will be little evidence until an abrupt colapse. Same thing in the Muslim world.

  • ||

    Someday, history will vindicate us, the same way it vindicated Josef Stalin, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, and so many more of the world's greatest non believers. Atheist states have always been glorious bastions of religious liberty and tolerance everywhere they've been tried.

  • Larry David Sandwich||

    I have absolutely no belief in God but refuse to call myself an "atheist" for fear of being lumped in with whiny, attention-whoreing, sanctimonious assholes like Bill Maher.

  • The Maherg||

    We are the Maherg. Your independent existence as you knew it is over. You shall be assimilated and your theological and doctrinal distinctions shall be added to our own. Resistance is futile.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Which is why I call myself "Agnostic".

  • ||

    Lack of belief is not atheism. An atheist believes no deity exists.

  • Some Guy||

    False.

  • Amakudari||

    Then Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc. are not atheists.

    I am yet to meet an atheist who claims certainty that a god does not exist.

  • ||

    Ummmmm.... Belief does not require certainty, does it? Doesn't certainty eliminate belief?

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/believe

    intransitive verb
    1
    a : to have a firm religious faith
    b : to accept something as true, genuine, or real
    2
    : to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something
    3
    : to hold an opinion : think
    transitive verb
    1
    a : to consider to be true or honest
    b : to accept the word or evidence of
    2
    : to hold as an opinion : suppose
    — be·liev·er noun
    — not believe
    : to be astounded at

  • ||

    Are you suggesting that these lightweights don't believe that there are no gods?

  • David Emami||

    This recent deluge of atheism articles is starting to make me empathize with those folks who were complaining "dammit, not another Ayn Rand article" during the run-up to the Atlas Shrugged movie.

  • ||

    I know who god is. This guy:

    http://nelson-haha.api-meal.eu/

  • ||

    When Christians ask "doesn't your lack of faith mean that you lack a moral anchor?", I get worried. If the Christian ever has a crisis of faith, will he or she suddenly turn into an ax murderer? Is their morality that fragile? I am good for goodness' sake, not for God's sake.

  • ||

    Tell me how you determine what is "good"? And why should I make that same choice?

    Why is one choice of "good" any more valid than any other choice? And if there is no way to rank these choices, why can't what is "good" to you be "evil" to me?

    Was Stalin objectively evil? Why or why not?

  • ||

    I don't know who that fake was, but you need only ask "what sort of ethics would be suitable if I were treated just the same as everyone else?"

    This rules out "It's OK for me to be an ax murderer, but not for thee."

    I am still waiting for a Christian to tell me if their moral beliefs are so fragile that they are just one crisis of faith away from becoming ax murderers, thieves, and rapists.

    Judging by the behavior of many so-called Christians and Jews, I believe they are actually devotees of Mars, God of War; they believe organized murder is OK as long as they perpetuate it, but not if others do. Hence, I understand their deep confusion about how atheists might think. They are projecting their "exceptionalism" on to others.

  • ||

    There is a more fundamental question, though....

    Why is being "treated equally" a good thing? Is this an intrinsic good, that atheists are somehow bound to respect? Or just your opinion about what is good?

    And if only your opinion, what makes it "better" than an opinion that says "Let's get 51% of the society together and ax murder the remaining 49%, and take their stuff"?

  • ||

    What does the answer to that question ("are they so fragile...") get us? I would say that some are, some aren't. So what?

    Play it out... assume I say "yes"... What then?

    Or, if "no"... what then?

  • ||

    "Suitable" involves a value judgement... suitable for what purpose?

    If the purpose is to propagate my genes as widely as possible and get fat, dumb and happy while alive, then treating others as I would like to be treated is "unsuitable".

    So, why would any atheist deny another atheist these purposes in life? Is there some transcendent value that deems these "bad" or "wrong", so that they shouldn't be adopted?

  • ||

    And by "good for goodness' sake," I mean ax murder is good as long as I'm the only one doing it; it wouldn't be good to have everybody be an ax murderer. Anything I can get away with doing is good and anything I can't is bad.

  • ||

    Go away, you fraud.

  • ||

    A perfectly rational choice, once you become an atheist.

    I don't see where any atheist could criticize your logic.

  • ||

    being an atheist and being lumped in with the likes of maher and dawkins is kind of like being pro-choice and being lumped in with the "my body, my choice" "anti-choicers hate women" "what a woman does with her body is her choice" (from people who believe prostitution should be illegal, organ sales should be illegal, and drug use should be illegal) people

    iow, it sucks to be lumped in with people who may agree with your overarching belief, but who use either assmunch debate tactics or specious logic to arrive at the same conclusion you do

    maher and dawkins just suck

  • Tony||

    Have you even read any Dawkins? The Ancestor's Tale is a masterpiece.

  • Panhandler||

    Have you heard the Word of God?

    I used to be all messed up on drugs. Now, I'm all messed up on the Lord.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    This is a church of satan, this isn't a waste paper basket can.

  • ||

    Lets rock this place one time dude I mean heck yeah man I like it.

    www.Anon-Works.tk

  • ||

    The agnostic, but Roman Catholic raised, that I am finds this rally as silly as the likes of Glenn Beck's rally.

    There is nothing reasonable in the discourse you report here. (In particular Dawkins who is a world class biologist but a total illiterate in all other subjects.)

    Why Do So Many Believers Think Atheists Are Worse Than Rapists? You ask. Because they make the same mistake as average non believers make. Taking the extremist rantings of self proclaimed leaders as representative of a whole group.

  • A mathematician||

    Being a religious person is like claiming the continuum hypothesis is true. Being a gnostic atheist is like claiming the continuum hypothesis is false. Being a agnostic atheist is the way to go: It is undecidable you retards.

  • ||

    Ummmmmm... I'm glad you are a mathematician, since you fail as a linguist.

    An atheist is one that believes there is no deity.

    An agnostic is one that does not hold a firm belief about the existence of a deity.

    One cannot be an "agnostic atheist", any more than one can be a believing unbeliever.

  • Coeus||

    Hehe. Damn, you look like a moron here. Try looking up words before you correct someone else on their meaning. I mean, yeah, he's wrong, but you are as well. Go ahead, google the word "gnostic". You definitely got it wrong in both of these posts.

  • ||

    Ummmm.... I DID look up "gnostic" in reliable lexicons....

    And, since I made no assertion about what "gnostic" meant, nor did I use it in my post.... I wonder what you are objecting to?

    Are you objecting to my definitions of "atheist" or "agnostic"? If so, offer references to the lexicons you have as authorities to suggest I misrepresented their meanings?

  • Coeus||

    And, since I made no assertion about what "gnostic" meant, nor did I use it in my post.... I wonder what you are objecting to?

    Oh really?

    gnostic - possessing knowledge, especially esoteric knowledge of spiritual matters.

    I hate to use wikipedia as a reference, but it's usually a good place to start, and be sure that the same definition is available from many sources.

    Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact. The agnostic atheist may be contrasted with the agnostic theist, who does believe that one or more deities exist but claims that the existence or nonexistence of such is unknown or cannot be known.[1]

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

  • ||

    Since you "hate" doing so, I must assume your lethargy kept you from finding a credible source?

    And, I now see that you were referring to BOTH my posts, and that I did, in fact, quote the result of my inquiry to a reliable dictionary in the second one. Do you quibble with that definition?

    One cannot make words mean whatever they want hem to mean. It is very simple that an atheist is one that believes deities do not exist.

    It is therefore oxymoron to say one is "atheist" and also "do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity". The do hold such a belief. They believe deities do not exist.

  • Coeus||

    And, I now see that you were referring to BOTH my posts, and that I did, in fact,

    Yes, that's why I said "both of these posts". Try to keep up. And your're right in the second post, as there is a definition of gnostic that meets that. But you are still wrong in your snarky reply where you defined agnostic.

    One cannot make words mean whatever they want hem to mean. It is very simple that an atheist is one that believes deities do not exist.

    And here you go completely off the rails. A theist is one who has a belief in a deity. An atheist is one who does not have a belief in a deity.
    As you said, one cannot make words mean whatever they want them to mean. Yet oddly enough, you keep doing just that.

    On the off chance that you're sincerely confused, and not just doubling down out of wounded pride, this should help:

    http://atheism.wikia.com/wiki/Atheist_vs_Agnostic

  • ||

    Again, I call for a reliable authority about meanings of words.

    I don't think you "hate" citing wikipedia... you do it often.

    And you used the definition you are now objecting to....

    I quote... "Gnostic-Atheist:believes that no god exists and claims to know that this belief is true"

    Isn't the "atheist" part of this conflation "believes no god exists"?

    Why didn't you say "someone who does not have a belief in a deity, and claims to know this belief is true"?

    You didn't say it because saying so is nonsense. You can't "know" that a non-existant belief is "true".

    You can't even stay consistent with your own ramblings.....

  • ||

    And "gnostic" is used as an adjective here? It would be oxymoron to use it in it's noun form, since a Gnostic was a member of a Christian sect. "Christian" presumes one is not an atheist, of any description.

    And as an adjective....

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/.....&q=gnostic

    gnostic - "of or relating to knowledge, especially esoteric mystical knowledge."

    So, where did my post use "gnostic" in some strange sense?

  • Coeus||

    And "gnostic" is used as an adjective here? It would be oxymoron to use it in it's noun form, since a Gnostic was a member of a Christian sect.

    As the sect is no more, there are no more Gnostics. The religion was called Gnosticism. Lower case gnostic refers to the belief of the Gnostics that that god is unknowable. Much like christian refers to the belief in Christ, but Christianity is a religion.

  • ||

    Ummmm... let's quibble about the Gnostics constituting a religion?

    They were a heretical sect of Christianity. And "Gnostics" did not believe that "God was unknowable". Get an education.

    You can start here...

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06592a.htm

    So, you agree "gnostic" is used as an adjective?

  • Coeus||

    They were a heretical sect of Christianity. And "Gnostics" did not believe that "God was unknowable". Get an education.

    I have one, albeit learned long ago. I was not familiar with any Gnostic sects that felt that they could know the mind of God. Thanks for that. I didn't realize that there such varied belief systems residing under that label.

  • ||

    gnostic - possessing knowledge, especially esoteric knowledge of spiritual matters.

    atheist - a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

    So, is a "gnostic atheist" a person who possesses esoteric knowledge concerning his denial or disbelief in the existence of a supreme being?

    What is the nature of this "esoteric knowledge"? How does one acquire this knowledge?

  • Coeus||

    ... Robert Flint, in his Croall Lecture of 1887–1888.
    The atheist may however be, and not unfrequently is, an agnostic. There is an agnostic atheism or atheistic agnosticism, and the combination of atheism with agnosticism which may be so named is not an uncommon one.[3]
    If a man has failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist... if he goes farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist – an agnostic-atheist – an atheist because an agnostic...

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

  • ||

    Ummmm... my question was "What is a 'gnostic atheist?'".

    If you don't have an answer, it's OK to admit it.

  • Coeus||

    Ummmm... my question was "What is a 'gnostic atheist?'".

    Gnostic-Atheist:believes that no god exists and claims to know that this belief is true (i.e. facts about God are knowable)

  • ||

    And I still invite you to refer to reliable lexicons to supply the best definitions of "atheist", "gnostic", et. al.

    Citing folks that use terms in a "special pleading" way does nothing to support your case, or bring clarity to discussion.

  • Coeus||

    I just cited the first known usage of "agnostic". By reliable lexicons do you mean ones that agree with you? Is this a global warming thread?

  • ||

    Are you suggesting there is wide variation in the lexicon entries on these terms?

    I am not aware that there is.

    You could supply some data here, but you won't.. since you are not interested in real discussion, but only slander....

  • Bruce||

  • Gadianton||

    If you choose not to believe in God, that's your choice. We'll find out who's right when we wake up on the other side of the veil (or don't as the case may be).

    I do have to ask you, though, why would I want to associate with (much less hire) someone who went out of their way to ridicule my most deeply held beliefs? When you denigrate me, my beliefs, and my God simply because you hold a different viewpoint, you move from the class of "OK guy/gal with a different POV" to the class of "arrogant jerk to be avoided."

  • Tony||

    It's not a choice not to believe in God. (Often, it's not a choice to believe either, but childhood indoctrination, which isn't the same.)

    It's the default position of every human when they are born. It's your default position with respect to every other god but the one you were raised to believe in.

    For rational people, it's the only option available.

    It is rude to denigrate anyone for any reason, but truly the only difference between God and Santa Claus is that adults believe in the former. If you want to live your life as a mental manchild, that's your business, but don't expect rational people to accept irrationality as equally deserving of respect in discourse or public policy.

  • Gadianton||

    If it's rude to denigrate, then why do you refer to me as "irrational," and "a mental manchild?"

    Also, can you please cite the source for your claim that atheism is the default position? What was the methodology used to come to this conclusion?

  • ||

    Because he's rude?

  • Tony||

    Because I was being rude. But it's better than millenia of war over invisible friends.

  • ||

    To lack a belief is not the same as asserting a belief is erroneous.

    What infant believes that there is no deity? How did you interview this infant to determine her belief?

  • Tony||

    Atheism is a lack of a belief in any god, which every infant has.

    The claim you want to make is that atheists would claim a disbelief in a god even if the existence of a god were demonstrated, which is a strawman.

  • ||

    Your assertion is simply untrue. Find any reliable lexicon that defines "atheist" as "one who lacks a belief in any god"?

    Don't presume to know what claims I would like to make?

  • ||

    Don't you think it should have been called the rally for the willfully ignorant and those disconnected from their souls? BTW, you were a few days early. Isn't your holiday April 1st?

  • Snaporaz||

    My impression is that vocal atheists tend to be huge statists. The government as replacement for religion angle works for me. I hope Reason continues to work the "atheists are dicks" beat. I'm curious what the actual demographics were at the rally.

  • ||

    I would be willing to wager that 90+ percent of Atheists at the rally were also die-hard big-government Leftists. Every ardent Atheist I have ever met was.

  • ||

    Now here's a little poser for you: assuming your impression is accurate, would you say that huge statists are worse than rapists? If you do, that might answer the whole question right there.

  • ||

    Trust is developed, in part, through finding commonality of values.

    Among believers, there is a commonality of values, at least that there is a Being to which we are accountable.

    If this Being has spoken to us, there is a rational basis for asking the question "What is good?" Atheists have no such platform. "Good" is only a personal preference to an atheist. Good and bad simply become labels for value systems I like or don't like.

    This destroys a basis for developing trust, if all I know is that a person is an atheist. I might develop trust if I know more about what that individual considers "good", but he might just as easily call "good" what I believe to be "bad". If all I know is that he is an atheist, there is no BASIS for trust. How is it rational to trust someone that I don't know, beyond the fact that he believes he is not accountable to any higher power?

  • ||

    A better question might be "Why do atheists think rapists are bad?" Such is a pretty irrational belief, if there is no objective moral standard. An atheist can say "I don't like rapists", but they can also say "I like rapists", with equal moral authority.

    Saying "Be good for goodness sake", coming from an atheist is puzzling, since it is a meaningless and irrational statement. It is similar to "Be blue for blueness sake", when there is no way to define "blue". Can we share in saying "Be blue for blueness sake" if we make arbitrary choice about the optical spectrum implied by the word "blue"? No.

  • ||

    Dan, do you think you are special? That rules should apply to others, and not to you?

    If not, then you need only ask "would I like to live in a world where I can be raped at any time?"

    You have a brain. You are actually permitted to use it. Waste not, want not.

  • ||

    Define "special"... I am "unique".

    I accept that some rules that apply to others should apply to me, but not every rule.

    So, you do seem to be saying that my values should be determined solely by what I "like"... since you base your appeal for "universal rules" simply on what I "like".

    Suppose I liked a society where I could rape as much as I wanted, but could not be raped and was willing to strive to create it. And I found enough supporters to enforce such a society. (This has been done!) Would what I "liked" in that case be a moral basis for a society?

  • ||

    It's true! Back in ancient Greece, a guy could rape all the little boys he liked, and they didn't get to rape him unless he let them, and it wasn't really rape if he let them, was it?

    The thing to be in a godless world is the one doing unto others before they can do unto him.

  • ||

    More identity theft above. What a pathetic attempt at silencing an opposing viewpoint.

  • ||

    Will some atheists here tell me how "Be good for goodness sake" differs from "Do what you like, because it's what you like"?

  • ||

    They won't like this, but one of the best explanations I've heard is in CS Lewis' book Mere Christianity. He posits that our "concience" is the work of God, and that humans are born with an innate understanding of "right" and "wrong" that reflect the absolute moral dictates of our creator.
    Not sure I buy that (I'm an Agnostic) but he does make an eloquent argument and it's a good read.

  • ||

    Yes, I know Lewis.

    But the atheist gives this argument up. To him, we are only chemistry... complex chemistry to be sure, but still only chemistry.

    Why is what one chemical system prefers superior to what another chemical system prefers? What in chemistry creates an objective good?

  • Amakudari||

    Why does the existence of ultimate cosmic purpose matter regarding truth? It might give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside to hope it's true, but that doesn't make an atheist wrong to recognize the vanishingly weak support for such a purposive existence.

    If right and wrong are the tools necessary for a more prosperous society -- and derived from empathy and the Golden Rule -- what does that matter?

    And here's the thing: there's only objective good if God exists, not whether you believe in him or not. A Christian may claim objective goodness here only if he proves that much. In the meantime, I'm satisfied that simple heuristics like the Golden Rule and Non-Aggression Principle are sufficient, and I live my life accordingly.

  • ||

    Did I assert that "the existence of ultimate cosmic purpose matter(s) regarding truth"?

    I don't think so.

  • Amakudari||

    No.

    But I have only heard this asserted in a few contexts:

    1. God is the only way we have purpose (defined narrowly), therefore we should believe in God. It's a variant of Pascal's wager, although it usually gets more emotive than that.

    2. Atheists can't justify any moral systems because we're all just chemicals.

    And yes, we are all chemicals -- working in tandem to produce consciousness and intense feelings of love, hate, happiness and sadness. Yes, we have building blocks.

    Our construction doesn't matter. We can think and feel, and we can know roughly what other think and feel. We require value systems for that interaction with others. It doesn't matter whether these determine an absolute good.

    The easier argument, of course, is that most Christians disregard many (most, if we're going OT) Biblical teachings, so there's picking any choosing within religion as well.

  • ||

    "Justify" means to demonstrate a thing to be just. Without objective justice to appeal to, how do you "justify" anything?

    So, no, atheists cannot justify any moral system, since they deny objective justice.

    Chemistry and physics know nothing about justice. Or free will.... or love, or happiness.... Chemistry and physics can't create what is beyond their boundaries.

  • ||

    What does poor practice of either group of adherents have to do with the philosophy of that system?

  • Amakudari||

    "Justify" in the sense of "defend as well-grounded."

  • ||

    Well grounded in what?

    Where would "moral systems" be "well grounded" if there is no ultimate morality? In physics? Utility? Utility towards some valued goal? Where does the "value" judgment come from?

  • ||

    I note you don't try to define "good" or tell me why an atheist's choice of "good" is actually good. Because you can't. To do so would require adoption of a transcendent standard, outside the individual.

    Do you accept or deny that an atheist can "Be good, for goodness sake"? Is his definition of "good" objectively correct, or is it simply his personal choice? And if it is only personal choice, why can't my "good" involve, say, theft, because I like stealing? Many atheists engage in theft, because they think it is "good".

  • Amakudari||

    Many atheists engage in theft, because they think it is "good".

    Hot damn that's stupid. I don't steal.

    First off:

    1. Cite? Show me that self-declared atheists steal more. An easy way to do this would be to find atheists in higher proportions in US prison populations.

    2. I don't steal from others because I don't want others to steal from me.

    And your "good" can be whatever you want it to be, and I and the rest of society will still consider you bad if you do things we consider bad. Just like how things work right now.

  • ||

    I didn't say "self declared atheists steal more". Please respond to my post.. not a straw man?

  • Amakudari||

    I quoted you. I'll do it again:

    Many atheists engage in theft, because they think it is "good".

    Cite.

  • ||

    All the atheistic communist societies to date....

    I made no statistical claim....

    But the atheists that ruled communist societies stole (and continue to do so) and said their theft was a good thing.

  • Amakudari||

    And I could make claims about all the stupid crap religious societies have done to date. (Note, first of all, that I haven't, won't and don't consider them the only logical conclusion of religion or something with which American Christians agree.)

    My focus is only on atheists and Christians in the societies we actually live in. Few of them want communism, and the "converts" to atheism are, in my experience, being drawn from groups historically hostile to atheism. Any overrepresentation of leftism among atheists will be distilled as numbers increase.

    My point is that very few atheists in the US actually just up and steal things. This is a strange occurrence if religion better restrains theft than atheism.

  • ||

    You can't deny that Lenin and Stalin were atheists, and explicitly made atheism the official and practical policy of the societies they dominated. Thus, the largest experiments implementing atheism as an organizing principle in society are associated with wholesale theft, murder, slavery, political domination, etc.....

    And such was possible in these societies to a great extent because atheism provides no mechanism to appeal to a "right" or "human rights" granted by God.

    Their might made right. And you, as an atheist, cannot say they were "wrong", in any way except that perhaps their tactics were somehow "suboptimal" in a productive sense.

    What if a little murder and rape "improves" society in a profound way? That makes it "right"?

  • Amakudari||

    I'm sorry, but communism's fundamental principle was worship of the State. It's just plain disingenuous to say atheism was the organizing principle. Communism's organizing goal (in practice) was establishing a mostly classless oligarchy in service of the State.

    Medieval Europe was filled with torture, murder, genocide and all sorts of violence and oppression. The 20th century touched less of Europe in percentage terms than medieval violence. It was also very religious, and some of the highest institutions were part of the Church. I don't blame that on Christianity because it's disingenuous. The largest experiments in implementing Christianity as official policy also ended in horrendous bloodshed.

    And again, I can judge something as right because of my own principles. It doesn't matter whether those are the product of reason or revelation.

  • ||

    Again, you must distort my posts to criticize them... bad form... but maybe you are an atheist that "likes" dishonesty, so that makes it right?

    I didn't say atheism was "the" organizing principle, bat was "an organizing principle". And, since atheism was the official moral system, the power centers in the communist countries abandoned any notion of acts such as theft, murder, lying, etc. being inappropriate, if it served the interests of the powerful. They were "right" if the powerful deemed them convenient. This was impossible in a system that calls all men to be accountable to a moral standard established by God, that made murder wrong, whatever the reason.

  • Amakudari||

    Continue to be uncivil, if that is what you must do to convince yourself. I have not intentionally misread any of your arguments and have responded in good faith.

    In any case, the better point is that organizing a society with mandated religious views -- as I quite clearly pointed to with medieval theocracies and could do as easily with modern ones -- will, yes, produce horrors. This is not a deficiency of atheism. The religious can manipulate their ideologies to support the exact same kinds of oppression.

    And it's why I value the separation of church and state and freedom of religion. You can argue against State-enforced atheism all you want, but it's not what I or other atheists advocate.

  • ||

    Nothing uncivil done..... I AM needling you a little, since atheists are free to choose to be dishonest, if it advances their purposes.... Nothing wrong with a little useful dishonesty, right? If so, WHY is that universally "wrong"?

    I am enjoying the discussion, and find you generally responsive. I do wish you would be more careful summarizing my argument?

    Ummmm..... Who has suggested organizing society with mandated religious views?

    I think we have agreed that since atheism does not provide an ethical framework, any system of "ethics" can be adopted by an atheist, for whatever motivations he likes?

    So, again, I ask..... What does an admonition to "do good" mean, to an atheist?

  • Amakudari||

    Again, I can only say what "good" means to me. I have never stated otherwise, merely that it's an arbitrary distinction because most Christians would agree that I'm good (except for the God part and adjusted for the we're-all-fallen bit).

    But that does not mean ethical or cultural relativism. Your source for calling someone bad is divine revelation viewed through the lens of your own reasoning. Mine is my own reasoning. No, in an absolute sense I can't call someone evil, but the rub is that I don't think you can either because I don't think scripture is divinely inspired.

    As for organizing society with mandated religious views, I could point you to historical Catholicism or modern Islam.

  • ||

    So, the injunction to "Be good, for goodness sake" is just meaningless chatter?

    Since it is not encouraging me to do anything except what I think is good?

    And I don't call people "good" or "bad". I assert they are sinners, loved by God, as am I.

    And, unless there are absolutes, relativism is all that is left.

    And who suggested historical Catholicism or modern Islam as a system to admire or strive to maintain?

  • ||

    You are simply ignorant of the facts concerning the percentages of murder and mayhem in medieval Europe and the 20th century devastation. It took the industrial killing technology coupled with the modern nation-state to do really serious murder and mayhem. You need to read some more history.

    I am unaware of any experiments that attempted to implement Christianity as official policy. Perhaps Catholicism or some other degenerate religion far removed from Christianity.....

    But the point is that even the corrupt and disgraceful Catholicism of the day provided a morality and notion of justice that condemned the worst abuses as wrong and inappropriate because they were objectively wrong. Atheism cedes this moral authority.

  • Amakudari||

    First off, the key word is "percentage." Increased deaths in WW2 are largely due to increased population. The more relevant question is what a given person should expect.

    After reading through Pinker's tome on violence throughout history, I'm pretty sure I have a decent grasp on what a person born in the 20th century could expect and what a person born in darker centuries could. The 20th century was also host to the Long Peace.

    The Crusades killed about a million people, around the same percent of the world's population as the Holocaust. The Thirty Year War had double the death rate of WW1. For much of the 1500s and 1600s every major power was at war.

    And we have better killing technology now than ever, but our wars are smaller.

  • ||

    Even on a percentage basis, medieval Europe was far more benign than the 20th century Europe. You need to check your sources.

    Ummmm.... did the Crusades kill folks in Europe?

  • Amakudari||

    Well, yes, or at least led Europeans to die elsewhere. IIRC the Crusades lost around 500,000-600,000 Europeans. It's shocking to see how few returned (and most were lost to disease, starvation or battle, not desertion).

  • ||

    What is your estimate of the total killed in the horribles you cite? And the overall percentage of population in the areas where there was conflict?

    Do you know of the edicts handed down by the RC church regarding the limitations on the conduct of the medieval wars in Europe? Probably not, since it doesn't further the atheist narrative about the evils of "religion".....

  • ||

    You call them principles..... I suspect they are your irrational biased choices about what you like.

    And, even if they are "principles" in some sense, they are entirely arbitrary, and if my principles call for your murder, you can't condemn my principles......

  • ||

    What examples of "horrendous bloodshed" connected with "experiments in implementing Christianity as official policy" can you cite?

  • ||

    I don't think I made a claim that religion better restrains theft?

    Again, please respond to my arguments?

    I AM saying that atheism provides no mechanism to condemn theft as wrong. Thus, if you punish someone for theft you are doing so arbitrarily, or at least for some reason other than theft being "wrong".

    Again, you will punish theft only because you don't like it. For whatever reason you choose, but it still is only because you don't like it happening.

  • Amakudari||

    Yes, atheism contains no mechanism to do that. Neither does left-handedism. It's not a system of ethics.

    I'm saying it's a pointless distinction if people have reached the same conclusion for slightly different reasons.

    And the reasons are slight. Find me a Christian who believes in and follows the Bible to the very letter without any interpretation or reconciling to his own morals, and I'll show you a psychopath. Christians may be informed by the Bible, but they still have their own reasons for not killing or stealing.

  • ||

    Don't be silly.... you are starting to sound childish.....

    All documents require interpretation.... all communication requires interpretation. And one of the strengths of Christianity is the individual moral imperative to create your own moral standards, being informed by the text of the Bible. It's called "internalization" of the message.

    The difference is that atheism ALLOWS a large (or even small and powerful) segment to make moral choices that consume and harm others, since it does not constrain them. Those influenced by Christianity cannot make this choice while maintaining their Christian convictions.

  • Amakudari||

    So the Crusades were restrained by doctrine? The Inquisition? The witch hunts? Martin Luther's screed against the Jews? The genocide of the Cathars? The Wars of Religion? Heck, World War I was mostly between Christians.

    Someone can happily maintain his Christian faith and do terrible things, and I can hardly see an instance of restraint.

    I'm not blaming religion here. I'm just saying, where is the restraint? It seems like religion is a good bit more malleable than you're saying.

  • ||

    Yes, they were..... Not as much as they perhaps SHOULD have been, but there is a lot of outright lies told in your community about what happened in the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc..... For a critique of what some of the prominent atheists of today say about these periods, you might enjoy "Atheist Delusions", by David Hart.

  • ||

    I have no illusions that many (perhaps most) that subscribe to "religions" fall short of the moral imperatives of their religion. I know that I do.....

    But bad behavior does not make religion malleable..... Christianity certainly is not.

    Do you surmise that Christianity (which is distinct from the corrupt mixture seen in medieval Catholicism) called for or justified the Crusades?

    Book, chapter, and verse on that?

  • Amakudari||

    No.

    I only think Christianity failed to restrain the Crusades. Now, the organization of Christianity (the Church) probably helped it along, but the actual teachings, no. The Bible verses were picked after the fact. Now, if these were open societies, I don't think you could have justified a crusade, for the same reason that US and Europe aren't attacking or even distrusting each other now that we're open democracies, so my points is this:

    State religion, state atheism, personality cults, etc. are fundamentally the same. None of them provide restraints and inflame divisions.

    I am arguing only against the idea that atheism is dangerous to a free society, that the acknowledged lack of an absolute morality has negative practical effects. In my experience, it can function well: people here trust each other, speak openly, trade freely and refrain from crime.

  • ||

    And what % of Japan is atheist?

    As I understand it, the dominant philosophical and religious systems are Buddhism and Shintoism? This is hardly atheism.

    You must find a society that is dominant atheist to make any empirical claims about the widespread adoption of atheism? I think you have to look back in history to find this? And paganism is about as close as you get, even in a historical survey?

  • Amakudari||

    First off, Buddhism is technically agnostic. So it can overlap with atheism.

    Shinto is state religion designed solely for emperor worship and everyone knows it's bullshit. Seriously, no thinking person believes it and its bizarrely phallic creation myth. People who say they do I peg as having heard from their parents that they're Shinto and never thought about it. Importantly, Shinto contains only rituals, no moral codes, so it's not a source of absolute values.

    People go to a shrine once a year for hatsumode. For the most part shrine and temple visits are for tourism.

    At this point, 84% of Japanese claim no personal religion.

  • Amakudari||

    I will note that people do believe vaguely in animism, but again, that doesn't point to a source of values.

    Most values here extend from either the empathy that you generally see in literate, prosperous countries or as remnants of the hardcore oppression for much of Japan's history (e.g. honne to tatemae).

  • Amakudari||

    As for Buddhism, I'll just say that the only form that actually seems to inspire its members is Soka Gakkai, an offshoot of Nichiren Buddhism. It makes no claims on God, no punishment for transgressions and how to live your life remains your own responsibility.

    It's almost impossible for missionaries to get much work done here because in Japan religion is rarely thought about or practiced, and people are surprised to learn that Judeo-Christianity actually mandates how people live their lives and what punishments they might expect.

    As far as irreligious societies go, it's really, really hard to exclude Japan. And society has held steady because it nonetheless has social and cultural institutions to instill values in place of religion.

  • ||

    But how many are atheist?

  • Amakudari||

    The sizable majority, perhaps two-thirds. Japan is extremely, firmly atheist, behind only a thimble-full of countries. Further, it's irrelevant as you're specifically talking about an absolute morality, which is foreign to what vestiges of Japanese religion remain.

  • ||

    OK, so you like Japan as a "nearly atheist" society.

    Now, isn't atheism in some sense responsible for the militarism and brutality of that approach to society (as exhibited by the treatment of American POWs in WWII and the worse treatment of Koreans, Chinese, et. al.)?

    How can you say that Japan organized itself for mutual benefit and cooperation, in this instance? Or, that what they did was "wrong"?

  • Amakudari||

    Erm, pre-War Japan did have a religion with a god: Shinto. The moral code was simply to follow the Emperor. The Emperor was forced to renounce his divinity (and thus Shinto lost its god, moral guide and almost all of its appeal). Afterward, society had to reorganize itself along two important dimensions: pacifism and the Emperor's renunciation of godhood.

    (Also, I don't "like" Japan for its atheism any more than I prefer America for its Christianity. I hold it out as a pretty good nation where theism and revealed moral codes are, by choice, completely absent in the public/private/business/political/you-name-it spheres.)

  • ||

    So, you WILL punish someone who does not believe he is doing wrong, if you can gin up a majority that agrees with you that they are wrong?

    Will you consent to live in a society that operates that way? I'm pretty sure I could get a majority to force you to do some things you find morally wrong, or that supports those you disagree with.....

  • Amakudari||

    I will live in a society that values freedom of speech, expression, religion, commerce, as best possible. Those societies are thankfully abundant if imperfect.

    Further, you're making it sound as if people have radically divergent views on basic ethical principles. They don't. Most people despise murder, rape and theft, and most people like those who serve the disadvantaged, work hard, and treat others well. Again, the distinctions here are irrelevant.

  • ||

    What you fail to realize is that these values are grounded in certain Christian ideas, primarily the equality of all men before God, and our ultimate accountability to him.

    When the Christian values are discarded in wholesale, these values you like go with them.....

    And, yes, most people that have a CHRISTIAN HERITAGE (even if recent generations have tried to move away of deny it's influence) have a remarkably homogenous ethical compass......

    Go back before the triumph of Christianity and make the same argument? You can't.

  • ||

    Answer my question about sanctioning someone only on the basis that you think they are doing wrong?

  • ||

    And it is ludicrous to deny that "people have radically divergent views on basic ethical principles". Even a piddling student of history would grant that in an instant.

    If atheism was adopted in a significant percentage, we would be right back to those bad old days, before Christianity triumphed. You would not like to live in such world.

  • Amakudari||

    Within a society, no, I don't see huge divisions. Between Afghanistan and the US, yes, but again, moderate American Muslims would find little in common as well. I can only speak from my longstanding friendship with a devout Mormon that we share many views on personal ethics (not politics), even if we got there from different starting points.

    And again, I now live in just such a place. It's almost impossible to find a highly religious person in Tokyo.

  • ||

    And not "highly religious" is equivalent to "atheist"?

    Get real.

  • Amakudari||

    No, not equivalent, but I can clarify and say non-religious.

  • ||

    You started down this path trying to find a society that was dominantly "atheist".

    You are apparently having a hard time, and now want to back it down to "non-religious"?

    The point is that, thankfully, atheism is and has always been and will always be a small minority pathology. So, you can't have any empirical data about how a society that was predominantly atheist would work.

    About the best you can do is find some societies from that past that were not informed by Christianity or Islam. And those examples don't help your case much. They were predominantly culturally stratified, with the powerful consuming the weak, built on slavery and conquest.

  • ||

    The point is that it denies that there can be a system of ethics. There may be a million different systems of ethics, since each person builds his own WITHOUT constraint about how he constructs his ethics.

  • ||

    And the Christians and Jews that run Wall Street aren't like that.

  • ||

    Re 2. And why should anyone else consider your choice "good"?

  • Amakudari||

    Because I convince them of the same.

    I live in a firmly secular society (Japan). The state meddles little at the personal level and law enforcement is weak. I have had friends lose wallets, bikes and smartphones, all of which invariably turn up at a police station. I have left $300 at an ATM in a rush during the building's off-hours and retrieved it later at the lost-and-found. The person who found it would have been the only person on that floor, and thus capable of stealing with impunity.

    Why is this so? Shouldn't "might makes right" have dictated a sizable portion of the above? Or is it possible that atheists can use empathy and logic to inform their treatment of others under the confidence that they will receive the same?

  • ||

    So, Lenin was "right" because he convinced many folks of the rightness of his values?

    A thing is "wrong" if only 49% believe it is "right", but becomes "right" at 51%?

  • ||

    So "good" and "bad" are simply conventions adopted by "society". You are granting my case.

    Atheism can only give support to "might makes right". Since society would only reflect the values of the mighty, unless they are informed by the objective "good".

  • Amakudari||

    No, I'm granting that there is no ultimate, objective, absolute good. I'm not granting that we cannot have an ethical good in all the ways that make the other good relevant.

    Atheism can "only" give support to "might makes right"? How do you feel about Rand, Rothbard or Hayek? What about me? I believe (no, am certain) that increasing prosperity depends on cooperation, the kind of which "might makes right" cannot accomplish. Thus people organize themselves in ways that ensure mutual benefit and cooperation.

  • ||

    But without the ultimate, you can't know any other synthesis is "good". The term becomes meaningless. All that is left is what you think is good.... but no one is obliged to respect that opinion.

  • Amakudari||

    The importance of this distinction is what again?

    If most people don't steal because they believe it's absolutely wrong or humanistically wrong, why does it matter?

  • ||

    Will you sanction someone for doing something they do not believe is wrong, just because you (or you and your thugs that agree with you) think it is?

    So much for "don't force your values on me!"

  • Amakudari||

    If someone murders a Jew because he believes in Aryan supremacy, yeah, you're damn right I'll sanction him. He thinks it's right, I think it's wrong, and so do "my thugs" (that is, those enforcing the law under which both of us live).

    And if that upsets you for "forcing values on him," I don't know how to deal with that.

  • ||

    I don't think that upsets me.....

    Now, if belief in Aryan supremacy becomes dominant in society, and killing Jews becomes policy, you will accept that policy, since they were successful at recruiting? Or will you maintain they are "wrong" and oppose them?

    In other words, you will still try to "force your values" on others, even if you are only a small minority? Why? Because you REALLY believe some things are objectively "wrong".

    I have enjoyed our conversation tonight. God bless.....

  • Amakudari||

    I believe they're wrong, and that's all I can say. I have arrived at that conclusion through my own reasoning. It is independent of Christian views but fortunately coincident.

    Whether others do or don't is, I should probably say, irrelevant, but to effectively sanction such a person I suppose it would be difficult (consider the futility of protest in 30s-40s Germany).

    To say it's subjectively wrong or wrong to me feels wrong as a defect of language: "to me" and "subjective" sound so permissive. I am not permissive: some of my views I expect others to share and would die fighting for. They may not be absolute, but they're indistinguishable in practice.

    Uh, Science bless...

  • ||

    Science can't bless.....

  • ||

    But, history makes you a liar.

    What society has ever "organized itself in ways that ensure mutual benefit and cooperation" apart from a motivating religious principle? The pagan Greeks and Romans certainly didn't.

  • Amakudari||

    Parts of Europe have a more pervasive welfare state, but nonetheless have free trade and freedom of speech. Japan has a much weaker welfare state, free trade, freedom of speech. Historically such societies did not exist anywhere, which makes your claims about Greeks or Romans irrelevant.

    And our own Constitution doesn't even mention God. To claim that God nonetheless informed our nation's construction is partly true, but we're talking about the God of Spinoza when referring to deists like Jefferson. There is a stark difference between the Declaration and Constitution when compared to the Ten Commandments.

  • ||

    So "welfare state" is now somehow "good"? Or that it is an "organization that insures mutual benefit and cooperation"?

    I cite the Romans and Greeks, because those are the latest examples of societies that were not significantly informed by a Christian ethic. Perhaps the feudal societies in Japan, China, India (before British domination) are more recent.

    And where are your examples of societies that organized themselves for mutual benefit, without having been heavily influenced by Christian values?

  • Amakudari||

    "Parts of Europe have a more pervasive welfare state, but nonetheless have free trade and freedom of speech."

    And where are your examples of societies that organized themselves for mutual benefit, without having been heavily influenced by Christian values?

    Modern democracy was formed in a Christian country, which spread to a Christian continent colonizing the world. It is impossible to remove Christianity from influence, just as it is impossible to remove the Catholic Church from discussion of Fascism.

    I will say this: Japan is <1% Christianity. It never accepted missionaries (captured best in Endo's Silence). Democracy arose through prosperity and contact with the West. Although overtaken by militarism, those institutions rebuilding post-War. Now, the country is firmly non-Christian and free.

  • ||

    Are you asserting that "free trade and freedom of speech" are somehow intrinsic "goods"? By whose assessment? By what metric?

    Democracy in Japan was IMPOSED on them in reconstruction following WWII.

    Are you suggesting Japan pre-WWII was organized "in ways that ensure mutual benefit and cooperation"? I doubt those on the Battan Death March would agree with you. There was not a hierarchical system organized to benefit the upper scum before "Western" ideas took root? Western ideas that are at their core Christian ideas?

  • Amakudari||

    I'm saying that the reason Japan became a democracy but Afghanistan won't is because it already had a democratic tradition (cf. Taisho democracy) and the secular institutions to accompany it. Western-style democracy itself was brief, but established many of today's institutions, like the Diet. I am not excusing WW2, but the biggest changes afterward revolved around crippling the military and having the Emperor renounce his divinity.

    And again, the Christian influence here is constrained to the Christian influence on democracy in general. Reconstruction had no religious element. And further, you really need to consider the influence of deists on democracy as well, and I'd be hard-pressed to just call them Christian or say that revelation played a role in their ethics.

  • ||

    What you won't address is that the acts in WWII have to be accepted as "good", by atheists (by your standard of "good"), since it was an expression of the underlying values of the society. It was "acting as others want" with the full acceptance that the soldiers would accept the same treatment.

    What wasn't the Bataan Death March "do what others like if you are to harbor the expectation that they do what you like."?

    The Japanese military was "doing what Japanese society liked"....

    And the fact that the American prisoners didn't like it also shows up the inconsistency of your standard. There were irreconcilable notions of what different groups would "like". So, which group defines for me what "good behavior" is? Which set of "likes" governs?

  • ||

    And a 14 year period compared to the sweep of history of Japan is hardly a blip.....

    More like an "experiment" with Western ideas, than something that grew out of the philosophical milieu of Japanese history.

    So, more properly, Japan had had a failed experiment in something like democracy, before something similar it was imposed by her conquerors.....

  • ||

    12 years does not a "tradition" make, my friend!

  • ||

    Are you suggesting that the Europeans are not motivated by some religious imperative? You DO remember the Reformation and where it occurred?

    In the last few generations, there has been less explicit religious practice in some European countries, but you are simply being dishonest if you deny the influence of Christianity in Western Europe in formulating societal values.....

  • Amakudari||

    I am stating that modern Europeans are relatively secular but still free. The historical influence of Christianity does not mean people are still Christian. You asked which free societies exist without religious principle. If you mean only which were established, I'd say that's impossible.

    Further, on the question of adopting historical Christian values, many passages in the Bible are considered cultural or allegorical and thus modern Christians don't follow them. Many timeless values (don't kill/steal) could also be argued as essential to any society, and others essential to the kind we have now (Golden Rule). Did Christianity cause those values, or was it the only kind of religion that could survive shifts in such attitudes?

    Further, Christianity can accommodate genocide and oppression, so I find it difficult to Christian morality simply caused free societies.

  • ||

    The extent of freedom in Europe is debatable... but irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion.

    I did NOT ask "which free societies exist without religious principle". Again, please address my posts, not what you would like them to be?

    Make the case that Christianity "can accommodate genocide and oppression"? Christianity is what Jesus and the Apostle taught. You will have a hard time "justifying" your wild assertion......

  • ||

    What I feel about you is entirely irrelevant.

    You may live your life in a way not compelled by atheism, but if you behave well, it is in spite of atheism, instead of because of it. Atheism does not instruct you on what "good behavior" is.

  • Amakudari||

    I have never claimed otherwise. It does inform my ethics insofar as I can't claim revelation as an argument, but no more.

    Yes, atheists can be communists or libertarians or Team Purplers. It's not ethically restrictive any more than being right-handed is. But it is false to imply that "be good for goodness sake" and "do what you like, because it's what you like" are equivalent. While both are possible to an atheist (and heck, both apparent in Christians I know), the latter is hedonism and is in no way a) good according to my ethics, or b) the only natural conclusion.

  • ||

    Until "good" means anything more than "I like this", there is no difference in the statements.

    And you have no basis for deeming something "good", other than it seems good to you.

  • Amakudari||

    No, it's not. The latter statement says that everyone is free to do whatever he wants. The former, stripped of its tautological silliness, is more akin to "do what others like if you are to harbor the expectation that they do what you like."

    And these are almost opposite worldviews.

  • ||

    No, it is not saying "everyone is free to do whatever he wants". There can be all sorts of reasons or mechanisms to self-constrain or be constrained by others to keep you from doing "whatever I want". "Might" is one of those things, and ultimately society will use it's might to enforce it's will.

    But constraining yourself or others on the basis of a thing being "wrong" cannot be among one of those reasons if one accepts an atheist world view. At best, an atheistic society could make a utility argument (which assumes maximizing utility is "good", which is irrational) or relying on the distilled biases of a large segment of the society.

    Now, if the distilled biases of a large segment of society makes "right", you must accept that the Spartans were "right" in how they organized their society. And they most certainly did not organize their society on "mutual benefit" or "cooperation".

  • ||

    So, in what atheistic society has the rule ever been "do what others like if you are to harbor the expectation that they do what you like."

    How has that worked, in these societies?

  • Amakudari||

    Again, I live in Japan. Some people claim Shinto or Buddhism, but it's purely ritualistic (born Shinto, marry Christian, die Buddhist), and no one believes in bollocks like the divinity of the Emperor or the virtues of poverty. In practical terms, values are not informed by religion.

    And it works quite well. I and others share an enormous trust in each other.

  • ||

    And what of the situations where there are heterodox ideas about "what others like"? A group of 100 may have 5 different opinions about what various subsets would "like" to see me do..... Some of these may be contradictory, so I can't do all these things.

    So, to "be good" I have to behave in 5 different ways, some of them contradictory to others? When I am doing "A" which is contradictory to "B", am I doing "good" or not? The devotees of B probably won't think so?

  • ||

    How would I know I was "being good", if I chose to be good for it's own sake?

    Can I deceive myself and honestly think I am doing good when I am in actuality doing evil?

    Can anyone make the assessment that I am actually doing evil, if I think I am doing good? On what basis would they make this assessment?

  • ||

    You are making my case for me.... and granting my assertions.

    "It's not ethically restrictive any more than being right-handed is."

    So, atheism encourages selection of ANY ethical system, based on arbitrary values. Thus, it does not differentiate between Stalin and Mother Theresa. Both are equally "good", except that individual atheists might like one or the other better, for irrational "reasons".

    How will you organize a society in such an environment? Seems to me, all that's left is "might makes right".... and "might" is decided at the ballot box, or with bullets. And atheism is OK with either choice.

    So,

  • ||

    Are you denying that any atheists have ever stolen, because they thought it good to steal?

    Lenin and Stalin call you ignorant, if you deny that.

  • Amakudari||

    Japan is also doing WAY better than other nations economically... At least, it will be just as soon as this Lost Decade (going on two decades now) is over. Atheism brings liberty everywhere it goes and turns everything it touches to gold, just like it did in Russia, China, and Vietnam, and just like it's doing in California right now (where recent surveys indicate Atheists outnumber Christians). Yeah, who needs advice from God on anything when those places are so good at running their own affairs?

  • ||

    The fact that you admire Russia, China, et. al. speaks volumes....

    Or, perhaps you are being ironic. It's hard to tell.

  • Amakudari||

    It was a spoof.

  • Amakudari||

    That is, I almost never use SCREAMING CAPS, ellipses, capital "A" atheism or Oxford commas. Troll harder, Mary. Or comfort yourself with a Botox injection.

  • Amakudari||

    Of course, I forgot the best part: California is 30% Catholic, 20% evangelical Protestant and 15% mainline Protestant. Only 20% are unaffiliated.

  • ||

    Bernie Madoff calls you ignorant.

  • ||

    And since you "don't steal", that implies that "Many atheists engage in theft, because they think it is "good"" is untrue?

    You know the logical fallacy you fell into here?

  • ||

    And Lewis is quite wrong here.... Perhaps that fact that we can develop a conscience is a work of God, but the variety in specific instances of individual consciences cannot be a work of God, since they are contradictory.

    At least, cannot be the work of the God of the Bible. He is consistent. His works do not contradict.

  • Coeus||

    Consistent? You must have a different bible than I do.

  • ||

    Most likely I have studied it more....

    Where does any Bible paint a picture of God's works as contradictory?

    I'll need book, chapter, verse, please?

  • Coeus||

    Most likely I have studied it more...

    Bullshit. Not if you believe that. This is the problem with most Christians. They have no idea what's in their own sacred books. I was raised in a religion with confirmation. As part of that confirmation, I had to read and write reports on the bible (had to read the whole thing more than once). After I finished it the second time, I was pretty sure I was an atheist, cause that shit was ridiculous. Oh, and I also have 7 collegiate semester hours of biblical history classes.

    Where does any Bible paint a picture of God's works as contradictory?

    I'll need book, chapter, verse, please?

    Here ya go, you biblical scholar. This is a good place to start:

    http://www.infidels.org/librar.....tions.html

  • ||

    Wow.. twice through, and 7 semester hours in "biblical history".....

  • ||

    Which of this scatter shot are you asserting shows that God's actions are contradictory?

    Pick one, and we can discuss it.

  • Coeus||

    Twice through at thirteen. Which is obviously more than you have at this point. As I thought, you have no retort. Ok I'll give you one:

    The sins of the father

    ISA 14:21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.

    DEU 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

  • ||

    This is an "act of God"?

    Really?

    OK.... even granting that I might be interested in discussing contradictions in Bible DOCTRINE show the contradiction involved here?

  • Coeus||

    This is an "act of God"?

    So God commanding people to do stuff in his name isn't an action? You are seriously reaching here.

    God says "every man shall be put to death for his own sin." Yet he commands "Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers;".

    That clear enough for you?

  • ||

    Ummmm... you ASSERT this is God giving instruction to kill someone..... now.. your proof?

    That is not what a fair reading of the text indicates. The very basics of hermeneutics requires one to ascertain WHO IS SPEAKING when evaluating a passage.....

    Try again?

  • ||

    Some preliminary remarks about your burden....

    You MUST show that the Isaiah passage is God instructing someone to kill innocents, only because their fathers sinned.

    So, show that this is an explicit instruction by God?

    After you prove that, you can show that those that were to be killed were innocents.

    After you show that, you can show that they were being killed only because their fathers sinned.

    This is an insurmountable burden, if you read the text in context.

  • Coeus||

    You MUST show that the Isaiah passage is God instructing someone to kill innocents, only because their fathers sinned.

    They were the words of an acknowledged prophet. You know, the people who the bible says God speaks through?

    After you prove that, you can show that those that were to be killed were innocents.

    Bullshit. It says nothing about innocence or guilt. It says "Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers" and " every man shall be put to death for his own sin.". Innocence doesn't even enter into it, as the stated reason for the killing is clear.

    After you show that, you can show that they were being killed only because their fathers sinned.

    Bullshit again, and for the same reason.

  • ||

    Yes, Isaiah wrote these words.... but that does not indicate that God was instructing anyone to kill anyone else.

    Make the case that God was giving instruction....

    You DO recognize the poetic nature of this passage? It is not dealing with a judicial code, as is the Deut passage....

    WHO is speaking the words of Is 14:21? The "kings off the nations" of vs 9 & 10? Those that "see" the king of Babylon in v. 16? Someone else? It IS a song of taunting sung by Israel.... not doctrinal instruction.

    Note that God begins speaking in v 22. And says that HE, Himself will do the "cutting off".....

    But, since all you knew was what your skeptic site said.... you missed the overall import of the passage. Typical.

  • ||

    I suppose you will ALSO assert that God is saying...

    " I will make myself like the Most High."

    in v 14?

    Or will you acknowledge that there are many parties "speaking" in this chapter? And that it is a poetic conversation?

    Or is God literally saying that the king of Babylon had "fallen from heaven"? Or that the king of Babylon thought he could literally "raise his throne above the stars of God"?

  • Coeus||

    Yes, Isaiah wrote these words.... but that does not indicate that God was instructing anyone to kill anyone else.

    So when it's convenient, God isn't speaking through the prophets? God told him to say it, and then proceeded to do it. Or was God lying?

    Note that God begins speaking in v 22. And says that HE, Himself will do the "cutting off".....

    So that's not an action by God? That's even more direct than telling someone to do it.

  • ||

    Why are you avoiding making a case that Isaiah is quoting God in 14:21? Oh, yeah.... because you can't.

    Are you saying all that is recoded in Is 14 is being spoken by God, to someone? This is a simple yes or no....

  • Coeus||

    This is stupid. The prophet commanded them to do something. The whole idea behind prophets is that God speaks through them. A prophet giving orders involving god is accepted as having god speak through them. This is what prophet means in the bible.

    You can't just pick and choose which orders are from god and which are from just the prophet.

  • ||

    You raise another assertion and then don't support it.

    There is no command in this passage.

    "Prophet" simply means one who speaks for God. And in Is 14, the prophet is telling Israel it will rejoice if and when the king of Babylon is overthrown. And that their rejoicing will be like singing a song of taunt against him. And, that part of that taunt is that the king of Babylon's sons will not reign following him. 14:21 uses vivid imagery (which is throughout the song) to make that point.

    Where is there a command?

  • Bruce||

    Good thing they know what God sounds like. There are prankster ventriloquists out there.

  • ||

    Of course the "cutting off" God says he will do is His action....

    But Him doing what he said He would do in Is 14:21 is not a contradiction of Deut 24, which is judicial code for the Hebrews, concerning how the Hebrews will administer justice. Deut is telling HUMANS what they can and can't do....

    Again.... not much thought going on with you. This is getting tiring.

  • ||

    Perhaps you will have the courage to exchange e-mails, so this can be fully explored?

    dan_herbison@yahoo.com

  • Coeus||

    Pass. I live in the bible belt in an at will employment state. Just stating my opinions here is enough to get me fired.

  • ||

    Typical.... make an unsupported assertion, then run....

  • Coeus||

    I ain't running nowhere, son. I'm your huckleberry.

  • Coeus||

    And I further note, that every time I refute one of your mad up burdens of proof, you just drop it without a thought. Could it be that you knew that they were specious?

  • ||

    You have yet to "refute" anything.

    Are you denying that you are asserting that God is giving instructions to kill innocents in 14:21?

    If you ARE making this claim, you must show from the text that He is the one speaking.

    Go ahead... take your best shot!

  • ||

    Make sure to deal with the fact that this is a song of taunting, to be sung by Israel, directed towards the king of Babylon.....

    You will have a hard time connecting this to an explicit doctrinal statement that contradicts a prose section of judicial code in Deut....

  • Coeus||

    You have yet to "refute" anything.

    Incorrect. You made 3 burdens of proof. The first one is the only one you keep harping on, as I apparently haven't refuted it to your satisfaction. The final two I showed wrong and you dropped them like a hot rock.

    I'm curious, is there any way you'd believe that god really meant what he said there? What is it? Maybe the fact that afterward he actually fucking did it? Or are the sons of Babylon still around?

  • ||

    I continue to ask you to deal with the first, since you refuse to do so.

    It is simple. If God is not giving explicit instruction to someone to do something to a specific person, there is no contradiction with Deut 24.

    Can we at least agree on THAT point?

  • Coeus||

    So God was just talking out of his ass?

  • ||

    Do we agree that if God is not giving explicit instruction to someone to do something to a specific person, there is no contradiction with Deut 24?

  • ||

    Do you mean "sons of the king of Babylon"?

    And, if the first burden is not met, the others are irrelevant. Once you show that God is speaking and giving instructions to kill the children of the king of Babylon, we can move to the other points.

  • Coeus||

    So God said to kill them for this reason, but just decided to do it for another reason? You are reaching so far you're gonna hurt yourself. Since there is obviously no way you will concede this point (too much personal investment in it) I'm gonna have to bid you adieu. Anyone reading this who isn't emotionally invested in the argument can see I've made every attempt. You can lead a horse to water...

  • ||

    You keep asserting that God said to kill someone.... You realize that is what you have to prove?

  • ||

    So NOW you run... after we get the issue defined?

    Pretty weak huckleberry, if you ask me....

    But, typical.

  • ||

    I don't know how you "refute" a burden....

    Perhaps you can deny that you have such a burden (i.e. "No, I DON'T have to show that God is speaking in 14:21"), but you "refute" assertions....

  • ||

    I deny that God is saying

    "Prepare for his sons a place of slaughter
    Because of the iniquity of their fathers.
    They must not arise and take possession of the earth
    And fill the face of the world with cities.”

    And I further deny that if He WAS saying this, that it is a literal instruction to kill anyone, for any reason.

  • ||

    And what of Numbers 31? There are some literal instructions in that chapter - killing men, women and boys. Naturally, the young girls were ordered to be saved for another use.

    If Yahweh were a modern human, he would have been executed by now. Or he'd own a small country in the Middle East.

  • ||

    Or I'd be kowtowing to him, the same way I do to the Muslims so they don't whack off my head with a scimitar after they conquer the West. We godless boylovers don't really respect anybody's religion until they start chopping heads. Can't understand why God would order his people to kill off nice guys like me.

  • ||

    Haha, and again, the above comment is fraudulent.

  • ||

    If you want to assert a different contradiction, feel free to lay it out....

    I consider the one about Isaiah and Deuteronomy to have been answered. The assertion of contradiction could not be maintained, as it could not be shown that God was instructing anyone to kill anyone in Isaiah.

  • Bruce||

    Over a good merlot.

  • Coeus||

    I really hate God for ordering assfucking child sacrificers like Godfrey here put to death just for a little pedosexuality and post-birth abortion, and for sentencing other nice people like me to burn in Hell for all eternity just because we dared to tell him we're so much smarter and better at running the universe than he is.

  • ||

    And I'm assuming Coeus's comment directly above is also fraudulent.

    This is a time-tested theistic method: quell dissenting voices through whatever means are available.

    The true Biblical theist--who worships an authoritarian god--does not tolerate open discussion unless he has to.

  • Coeus||

    And I'm assuming Coeus's comment directly above is also fraudulent.

    It was.

  • Amakudari||

    You're not alone. This thread's full of it.

    Let's all take a moment and ponder what the Bible, declared source of that person's absolute morals, says about false witness.

  • Amukudari||

    Let's all take a moment to ponder why we atheists should have any objection whatsoever to blatant spoofs of ourselves obviously intended to mock and parody our methods of "reasoning" through ad hominems, guilt by association, equivocation, and question-begging, not to mention our appeals to fake neutrality and pretended failure to understand why sneering foul-mouthed mockers dedicated to the destruction of so much that so many people hold dear might be ranked lower than rapists in the moral estimation of some of those people.

  • Amakudari||

    ad hominems

    "foul-mouthed mockers"

    guilt by association

    "Russia, China, and Vietnam"

    question-begging

    "dedicated to the destruction of so much that so many people hold dear"

    Try harder.

  • ||

    You might enjoy reading "Atheist Delusions" by David Bentley Hart.

    ISBN 978-300-16429-9

  • ||

    Some modern atheists are trying to redefine the term "atheist" to mean one who lacks a belief in gods. This is hardly the historical use of the term.

    But, if you want to be described that way, there is a perfectly good term, that stays within usual linguistic traditions. That term is "unbeliever".

    Can we just agree to use the term "unbeliever" for one who lacks belief, and continue to use "atheist" in it's traditional sense, i.e. one who denies the existence of gods?

    Why do you want to distort the language?

  • ||

    Your crusade should probably begin with Dictionary.com:
    ______

    a·the·ist [ey-thee-ist]noun - a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
    ______

    Good luck with that.

  • ||

    That's my point.....

    The "simply lack of belief" folks need to direct their energies towards the linguists that put together the dictionaries?

    When a respected dictionary adopts a different definition, I'll quit calling you out.....

  • ||

    Show me a well regarded lexicon where "atheist" is defined as one without any belief about deities?

  • Combaticus||

    If I don't care that you're an atheist, then why should you care if I'm not? Why are you trying to cram your lack of belief down my throat? Some of these militant atheists are worse than evangelicals. Do your thing and let me do my thing, whatever it is (or isn't).

  • Ballz||

    an apatheist is someone who considers the question of the existence of gods as neither meaningful nor relevant to his or her life.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apatheism

    paraphrase: if god exists, who gives a shit?

  • ||

    Depends on which God. Hopefully it's a nice one and not the bloody raving psychopath in the Bible.

  • ||

    I'm just mad at that God because he outlawed assfucking little boys and then sacrificing them to Molech, mind you. Things were way better before he came along saying all that shit about not raping and not murdering.

  • ||

    Directly above, another fraudulent comment by an intellectual giant.

  • ||

    Directly above, another fraudulent comment by an intellectual giant.

  • ||

    And how many believers did you find at the rally?

    Perhaps you should talk to believers about this topic? Did you expect to find believers that were representative or able to outline their case at this rally?

  • Theistic Paleolibertarian||

    The reason that theists distrust atheists is because the majority of atheists--at least, the wave of "new" atheists inspired by Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens--are aggressively anti-theistic, stupidly progressive, and indefensibly obnoxious. (LOL SKY WIZARD ZOMBIE CHRIST MIGHT AS WELL BELIEVE IN UNICORNS)

    The overwhelming majority of people subscribing to the neo-Marxist concepts of "privilege" and "cultural hegemony" are secularists. Naturally, these same secularists are intent on destroying Western society in the name of radical egalitarianism.

    Yes, there is a reason that theists don't trust atheists, and it's not just tribalism.

  • Tony||

    Sooo how is a god different from a unicorn?

  • ||

    Unicorns have one horn, Jesus has two.

  • ||

    (always fun to play into a mindless stereotype)

  • DarrenM.||

    Wow! 422 comments. Some people are just sooooo sensitive.

  • Theist||

    Yep. Atheists get pretty mad when you make fun of their religion.

  • ||

    Unlike theists, who remain calm, cool and collected as they assfuck young boys.

    Oh, sorry, was I generalizing?

  • ||

    Me, I get mad as hell when I assfuck young boys, especially when they're toddlers and even my little weiner just doesn't fit.

    Y'know, we godless boylovers really had a good thing going there until we started getting competition from the Lavender Mafia...

  • ||

    Why dont you ask a hard question?

    The answer to the title is easy. The only athiests that people get exposed to are the ignorant malicious bigoted intolerant hate filled pricks who are as zealotous and evangelical as the worst of the actual evangelicals. They take great joy in making the lives of other people worse in their own special brand of sociopathy. Nobody likes a jerk, and in many cases modern athiesm is about as civil wahhabism.

    That said, there are plenty of very nice people who are athiests with whom reasoned and civil conversation is possible, just not on the internet.

  • Bruce||

  • ||

    At what point does "reason" involve that ridiculous study that was supposed to show that atheists are less trusted than rapists. The question as stated was nonsensical. Unless, I suppose, it says something that someone wants to hear, at which point reason is rather inconvenient.

  • Maggie||

    As an apatheistic yet devoutly lapsed Catholic, I can say without a doubt that I prefer atheists to rapists as long as they're non-evangelical about it.

  • ||

    Anecdotal of course but among the believers I know, it is not the disbelief that worries them as much as the intensely passionate contempt of belief. I can hardly imagine why.

    "The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness." Karl Marx

    "Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image" Vladimir Lenin

  • .||

    "I'm not like those guys! Power will never corrupt me!" --Every atrocious atheist ever back before they committed their atrocities.

  • ||

    It worries me that some people believe that atheists are less trustworthy as they don't believe "god" is watching... surely by that logic the only thing preventing religious people from "acting out" is the fear of God watching... i.e. getting caught? I personally don't kill people because I cannot morally justify it, not because I think there is a chance I'd get caught. Oh dear.

  • ||

    It worries me that some people believe that atheists are less trustworthy as they don't believe "god" is watching... surely by that logic the only thing preventing religious people from "acting out" is the fear of God watching... i.e. getting caught? I personally don't kill people because I cannot morally justify it, not because I think there is a chance I'd get caught. Oh dear.

  • .||

    The reason atheists are not trustworthy is not just that they believe God is not keeping score, but that following their logic to its bitter end means there's no score keeping at all: whether you do good or evil, you die, and then nothing matters to you anymore. Good times and good company may keep people from committing terrible atrocities, but when the bad times and bad company arrive, atheists are the first ones to fall in with that bad company and start committing horrible atrocities.

    Every atheist, if provided the power, is another Josef Stalin; all that keeps this from happening to the nicest atheists anyone knows is the fact that most of them never do get their hands on that kind of power. As soon as you or anyone within reach of you does get that kind of power, you'll be just as monstrous and capable of morally justifying mass murder as Stalin and any of his lackeys ever were.

  • ||

    And yet the ratio of atheists to Christians who are incarcerated for violent crimes suggests the opposite.

  • ||

    Ummmm.... source please?

    And do you adjust for the various other statistical and socio-economic factors that would make a statistical analysis meaningful?

    No, I didn't think so.

  • ||

    Of course, in prison, self-proclaimed atheists are almost impossible to find, since no parole board is likely to believe that conversion to atheism is going to reform anyone.

    "Oh yes, I used to like to strangle cute little five-year-old boys and rape their corpses, but that was before I decided God doesn't exist and realized that I had to figure out morality for myself!"

    "So how does that convince you not to murder and rape little boys?"

    "It doesn't! It just made me realize you guys have every reason to keep me here since your personal morality has you not wanting me to be free to murder little boys and rape their corpses. If I ever do escape, though, I am so going to murder your little bastards and rape their corpses! Of course, I'm going to have to kill you first so that you won't be there to object."

  • ||

    Please don't grant the atheists the use of the concepts "good" and "bad".

    They have rejected these concepts, except as labels for their personal preferences.

  • .||

    Well, "personal preferences" is in good part what I mean by "good" and "bad" here. A lot of atheists, whether they admit to it or not, tend in practice to subscribe to the "boo-yay" theory, which says that the good/right/moral is what one approves and lauds ("Yay!") and the bad/wrong/immoral is what one despises and denounces ("Boo!"). This theory, however, is the very thing that's wrong with atheism: doing unto others as you would not have them do unto you (e.g. murdering people so you can take their stuff) makes perfectly good sense when all that matters is what you want. This in turn leads to what's known as the power philosopy: whatever I can get away with doing is what's right, and whatever I can't is what's wrong, and to hell with everything else. That's why every civilization that adopts atheism destroys itself and the atheists along with it, which proves that atheism is stupid.

  • ||

    I don't "believe" that a libertarian atheist would do that.

  • ||

    But his choice to act in any particular way is arbitrary. It cannot be guided by any notion that he was acting "good", except in a personal, irrational sense.

    The rapist can call his rape "good" and atheists have no way to object to this assertion. If they are free to choose their morality, then so is the rapist.

  • Amakudari||

    If anyone wants to know why atheists sometimes act "anti-Christian," it's because of attitudes like the above.

    When one of my friends got drunk and passed out after the party, I didn't rape her; I summoned an ambulance. When I found a wallet in the street, I didn't take out the cash and throw it in the trash can; I took it to the police station. When I find a damn spider in the house, I don't kill it; I trap it in a box and let it go outside.

    I mean, fuck, what does it take for people like you to realize that without God we're not cold psychopaths? I'm a libertarian, not a libertine and certainly not a fascist. And I'm accountable to myself.

  • ||

    And these were your irrational, personal choices, which you cannot urge on anyone else, except on the basis that you liked them.

    No one is saying or has said that atheists can't adopt a moral system that is close to that of Christianity. Since you came to adulthood in a society permeated with Christian values, it would be hard NOT to adopt these values, to some degree.

    BUT, as a belief system, that is one possible choice among an infinite number of them, and none are preferable to others, since there is no absolute "good" to measure your choice of "good" against. Stalin's choice was as "good" as yours, and you have no rational way to say otherwise.

  • .||

    You're not cold psychopaths yet is all that means. The vast majority of history's most monstrous monarchs and despotic dictators and their willing lackeys didn't start out as cold psychopaths either. Rejection of God is merely the start of the process by which one comes to worship power and the powerful more and more, and to subordinate all other causes to this worship. Atheism and anarchy have the same ridiculously short half-life because they're both based on the belief that no one is more powerful than oneself, a belief doomed to be swiftly refuted the moment one runs into any entity that is more powerful, such as government. That's why there weren't any atheists in ancient times and won't be in the post-modern times to come: atheism inevitably gives rise to paganism, which then tolerates no dissent from the dictates of its psychopathic god-kings.

  • ||

    Why should we trust someone who does not share a world view? You make up your own rules as you go along. Until I get to know these "rules", it is hard to trust you.

    If ALL I know is that you are an atheist, that HAS to be a net negative on the trust scale. It tells me:

    1. You do not feel accountable to a Creator or Master. Many people behave badly when they are in unaccountable situations. Therefore, you ARE more likely to behave badly. This is supposed to make me trust you?

    2. You are either ignorant of the evidences of God, or have some sort of difficulty reasoning to valid conclusions about the evidence. Either is also a net negative on the trust scale.

    Now, if I get to know you individually, there might be other factors that will offset these two negatives. But, if the only information I have is that you are atheist, my rational choice is to not place trust in you.

  • ||

    Your second point is amusing. There is no evidence for "god". You can't even properly define "god" without lapsing into incoherence or ending up with an anthropomorphic or contradictory definition.

    Theists twist the notion of "evidence" to fit a pre-concieved notion. There is no "evidence" that gods exist.

    Apologetics is evasion.

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    You are just showing your ignorance.

    I can respect someone that looks at the evidence, and concludes it is insufficient. But to simply deny that it exists is laughable.

    ANOTHER reason to not trust atheists that deny there is evidence of God. They are doctrinaire and irrational. Hardly characteristics that build trust.

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    I notice you haven't attempted to define "god". Smart move.

    But it illustrates my point: apologetics is evasion. Nothing more.

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    You are in doubt about what I mean when I say "God"?

    Really?

    Another dishonest atheist, but why should I be surprised?

  • ||

    And another evasion.

    Why should any of us be surprised?

    You want people to believe your position is "rational" and you can't even define elements within your own hypothesis.

    Please stop pretending you're smarter than you are.

  • ||

    Tell me who or what you think I am referring to when I say "God"?

    You won't answer, because it will show you up as the evader.

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    I notice you did not challenge Beth to define what she meant when she used the term "God".

    I am sure she and I mean the same thing, and could discuss this in a spirit of understanding and mutual good will.

    We all see the attitude you reflect here....

    And you are one of the reasons believers don't trust atheists. A given atheist might behave like you do.

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    Wow, your thinking is muddled. Is Beth positing the existence of a god? Am I? If not, why should we attempt define it? What a completely moronic approach.

    You are EVADING the question. Again, this is what apologetics is: EVASION and obfuscation. That's what you're doing.

    You've done it again and again. Stop trying to derail the discussion. You've said there is "evidence" that gods exist, so you should be able to at least define the terms of your assertion. If you can't, your assertion deserves to be summarily dismissed.

    It doesn't matter what you think about me or what you think my attitude reflects or how you feel about anything. You are being dishonest.

    You can't define THE crucial element in your hypothesis, so you don't HAVE a hypothesis. You're just pretending you do.

  • ||

    Beth said:

    surely by that logic the only thing preventing religious people from "acting out" is the fear of God watching

    You and I both know what she was referring to. Yet you choose to obfuscate and try to move the conversation to a ground you prefer by semantic silliness.

  • ||

    Wow. You've done this five times now. The definition of "god" is not central to Beth's point. And she's not claiming the existence of or evidence for anything.

    You really don't have the faintest idea how to define "god", do you?

    Don't you find it astounding that you can pretend to have evidence for something you can't even define? You try to use the language of science and logic, and you continuously evade the implications (or proper application) of both.

    You are being completely dishonest.

  • ||

    You interjected yourself in a conversation between Beth and me, demanding that I define a term she used and I used in the same sense she used.

    Quit being a rude troll?

  • ||

    I'm not a troll. I've posted here for years. And it's a public forum, as it turns out, so I can join any conversation I want to.

    But again, you are evading. You said there is evidence for a god. I said "what's a god?". And you can't address that simple question.

    Which means--rather obviously, at this point--that you realize how incredibly weak your position is.

    Your ass has officially been handed to you.

  • ||

    I can address or decline to address any question I choose.

    And since your tactics here are rude and distracting, I choose to not be led down that path.

    You, Beth and I all know what we mean when we say "gods" and "God". If you don't then quit using the terms?

  • ||

    What IS Beth's point, without putting a meaning on what she means when she says "gods" and "God"? If the meaning of that term is is not central?

    Perhaps we can replace "gods" and "God" with some meaningless word, like "hpowqern".

    Now, summarize what she is saying without assigning a meaning to "hpowqern"?

    You are fun to play with....

  • ||

    Fine, I'll spell it out for you:

    Beth's point is that people who expect supernatural reprisal for their actions aren't actually "good", they're just obeying our of fear. She also appears to think that such a definition of goodness is trumped by goodness just for the sake of being good.

    It doesn't matter how Beth defines "god"; it's irrelevant to her point.

    You, on the other hand, say there is evidence for god. You have made a claim. Now you should support it, don't you think?

    Or will you evade further.

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    Supernatural reprisal from whom?

  • ||

    The libraries are full of works on the evidences for God. If you are interested, you can visit a library.

    But, you are not interested in evidence or discussion...

  • ||

    Dan: I'm interested enough in evidence to ask for it. But you won't provide any. Referring me to the library is simply further evasion on your part.

    You have no point.

  • ||

    Liar

  • ||

    The bloodthirsty tribal war deity concocted by ancient Hebrew sheepherders, for one. But it doesn't matter: it's the idea of fear as a motivation to be good that was central to her point.

    Will you be defining "god" now? Or will you evade yet further?

  • ||

    I mean it in exactly the same sense used by Beth....

    You have difficulty knowing what she meant? Really?

    You use the term, too....

    "You, on the other hand, say there is evidence for god."

    I mean it in exactly the same sense you use the term....

  • ||

    And you keep using "good", without defining what you mean by that?

    What does make someone "good" if it not a particular behavior, motivated by fear of reprisal?

  • ||

    And...

    He evades again.

    I think my point is made: you cannot even support your most basic claim. Hell, you can't even define it.

    You lose, Dan. Goodbye.