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Author Topic: The Mystery of Evangelical Atheists  (Read 12073 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« on: October 29, 2009, 11:47:33 PM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist. If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions.

So what say ye?


Selam 
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2009, 11:55:27 PM »

Everyone is looking for love, to feel needed and wanted.
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2009, 12:09:38 AM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist. If there is no God, then their is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions.

So what say ye?


Selam 


Ooo! I like the wording.

yes, they are trying to convince themselves.  Or, as D'souza points out, atheism is the opiate of the immoral.
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2009, 12:12:16 AM »

yes, they are trying to convince themselves. 

When I flirted with Atheism some 7, 8 years ago, I remember that it took way more faith to be an Atheist than it does to believe in God.
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2009, 12:18:11 AM »

yes, they are trying to convince themselves. 

When I flirted with Atheism some 7, 8 years ago, I remember that it took way more faith to be an Atheist than it does to believe in God.

As a former Atheist, I agree 110%.
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2009, 12:28:04 AM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist.

I only know Carl Sagan by his name and a few quotes, but as for folks like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Dennett, I think it's pretty obvious they're opposed to theism because they see it as detrimental to human happiness and progress.

Quote
If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

I think for atheists, the "meaning" in this, or any other endeavor, would be helping others, themselves and the progress of society and the world.  I suppose they would find inherent meaning in this (which I do as well, even though I'm a theist).  I mean, whether I'm designed to or simply evolved to feel this way or not, helping others and the world at large seems to have inherent value- even if the whole universe is going nowhere in particular.  I feel that way even though I think the universe is created by a loving and personal God.  Even if I were to abandon that belief, I don't think I would be a nihilist.  Also, helping others makes us feel good... usually.  We don't realize that a lot, but it's axiomatic that it's hard to hate and be happy at the same time.

Quote
Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

I think this is a somewhat unfair treatment.  While it appears to be true that people who are religious and/or spiritual tend to be happier (though it's difficult to show which way the chain of causation goes), I don't think atheists are destined to be nihilists or that they're destined to depression and dispair.

Quote
But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions.

I think that Diogenes' point was that there's not an honest man to be found- if by honest, you mean someone who's operating one hundred percent in line with and awareness of their true motives.  And that seems to be what you're implying by saying that atheists are somehow not true to their belief system (since you say it's meaningless and hopeless).  Show me a Christian who fits that bill!  I don't mean that to sound like a challenge, but let's not cast stones.  I'm sure there are very self-aware, honest Christians, but I'm also sure that I'm a ball of confusion and I'm sure that my motives are often unknown to me and I don't think I'm a rarity in this.

Quote
So what say ye?

So says I.  I understand your frustration with this type of folk.  But, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I guess they're just trying to do the right thing as they understand it, however misguided they may be.  Maybe they're trying to convince themselves, justify their position or sell books, but then I bet a lot of Christians are too.

May God have mercy on us all and me especially who have often had my doubts which I've come to realize are more and more wishing God weren't there so I could have a license to sin and be my own boss.  
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2009, 01:02:08 AM »

Everyone is looking for love, to feel needed and wanted.

No doubt about it.

Whenever I see Richard Dawkins interviewed or lecturing, I sense that this man has never truly experienced love. I have no way of knowing of course.

In full disclosure, let me explain why I started this thread. Earlier tonight my father called me (he is 78 years old and in very poor health) and started raving about a "great book" he just finished reading. He said that any rational thinking person would love this book. The book was "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.

My Father is basically an agnostic who leans towards theism. I say this because he must have told me a thousand times, "I pray for you. My prayers probably don't get higher than the ceiling, and I don't know who or what I'm praying to, but I pray for you."

OK, this is getting hard to write. I love my father so much, and he is such a decent man and I know he loves me. I don't want to speak ill of him. None of us are perfect. He has always prided himself on his intellect, and yet all the books he reads are from the same point of view. He is essentially a brainwashed genius.

Years ago we used to argue terribly about religion and politics. I could never match his erudition or compete with his experiences (since he had travelled extensively to every continent). His "checkmate" in our debates was always something like, "You haven't read as much as I have, you've never been anywhere, so how can you be so certain," etc.. So over time I threw myself into the study of philosophy and Christian apologetics. I determined to increase my knowledge to the point where I could out-argue my father. And guess what? I did it! My father hasn't been able to win a debate with me in over a decade. And guess what? He's still not a Christian!

But I can also say that I quit arguing with him years ago. He still tries to bait me from time to time, but I won't allow myself to fall into that trap. I love him too much to waste my time in negative arguments that really come down to a battle of egos. He's my father and he loves me. And I love him too deeply for words.

When he called tonight to tell me about the book, I knew he wasn't trying to start a debate. He's old and frail, although his mind is still 100%. I think he truly respects my knowledge now, and really wants to run ideas by me. And it's tricky, because I have to walk on egg shells so as not to descend into an argument or debate. I have to try to find areas of agreement with him while also finding ways to defend the Truth.

I'm so sorry for rambling on about all of this. I revealed this personal info to basically say that you are absolutely right Gabriel. We are ALL looking for love and acceptance. Like with so many other things, I have sympathy and compassion for professed atheists, but I have little symapathy for atheists like Dawkins who spread their poisonous propaganda to people like my father. My dad is a sincere man who has always claimed to be "searching." So I see people like Dawkins as soulless predators under the manipulation of satanic forces.

Please pray for my father. Please pray for me. Pray for me to be humble, wise, and most of all loving in my words and actions towards my father.

And let us pray for all the atheists as well. They are not the enemy, they are victims of the enemy. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood..."

I doubt if anyone was ever argued into the Kingdom; but I imagine that many have been loved into the Kingdom.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for your prayers.


Selam
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« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2009, 01:29:00 AM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist.

I only know Carl Sagan by his name and a few quotes, but as for folks like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Dennett, I think it's pretty obvious they're opposed to theism because they see it as detrimental to human happiness and progress.

Quote
If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

I think for atheists, the "meaning" in this, or any other endeavor, would be helping others, themselves and the progress of society and the world.  I suppose they would find inherent meaning in this (which I do as well, even though I'm a theist).  I mean, whether I'm designed to or simply evolved to feel this way or not, helping others and the world at large seems to have inherent value- even if the whole universe is going nowhere in particular.  I feel that way even though I think the universe is created by a loving and personal God.  Even if I were to abandon that belief, I don't think I would be a nihilist.  Also, helping others makes us feel good... usually.  We don't realize that a lot, but it's axiomatic that it's hard to hate and be happy at the same time.

Quote
Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

I think this is a somewhat unfair treatment.  While it appears to be true that people who are religious and/or spiritual tend to be happier (though it's difficult to show which way the chain of causation goes), I don't think atheists are destined to be nihilists or that they're destined to depression and dispair.

Quote
But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions.

I think that Diogenes' point was that there's not an honest man to be found- if by honest, you mean someone who's operating one hundred percent in line with and awareness of their true motives.  And that seems to be what you're implying by saying that atheists are somehow not true to their belief system (since you say it's meaningless and hopeless).  Show me a Christian who fits that bill!  I don't mean that to sound like a challenge, but let's not cast stones.  I'm sure there are very self-aware, honest Christians, but I'm also sure that I'm a ball of confusion and I'm sure that my motives are often unknown to me and I don't think I'm a rarity in this.

Quote
So what say ye?

So says I.  I understand your frustration with this type of folk.  But, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I guess they're just trying to do the right thing as they understand it, however misguided they may be.  Maybe they're trying to convince themselves, justify their position or sell books, but then I bet a lot of Christians are too.

May God have mercy on us all and me especially who have often had my doubts which I've come to realize are more and more wishing God weren't there so I could have a license to sin and be my own boss.  

Thanks for the excellent and well-reasoned points, although I don't quite agree with all of them. You make an interesting point when you say that it is a bit like casting stones for theists to demand that professed atheists live 100% according to their beliefs. I guess the difference is that the basis of Christianity is faith, whereas the ostensible basis of the atheist is reason and evidence. Therefore, Christians live in a constant state of "Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief." [St. Mark 9:24]

But atheists like Dawkins assert that their worldview is based solely upon reason and evidence, and therefore is undeniable. In light of the fact that their belief system is not a "belief" system at all, but rather - according to them - a factual reality, then I feel justified in expecting them to live lives consistent with what they claim is such an undeniable truth. Our Christian faith implies the existence of doubts with which we must constantly wrestle. But what do the atheists doubt, since their worldview is based upon facts? And since they claim to have no doubts about their atheism (if they had doubts then they would be agnostic), then I find it odd that they so willingly endure an earthly existence which is much heavier laden with pain than with pleasure.

But I'm with you 100% when you say:
"May God have mercy on us all and me especially who have often had my doubts which I've come to realize are more and more wishing God weren't there so I could have a license to sin and be my own boss."

Amen!


Selam
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2009, 03:49:47 AM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist. If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions.

So what say ye?


Selam 


I once wondered the samething, but since got use to it after seeing most of the Atheists I argued with were into some type of Eastern Philosophy, Vampirism, Satanism, Eastern Religion, Judaism.......etc.

So most of the ones I argued with were Religious anyway.......only a few weren't. So I just came to accept the idea that there were very few "real" Atheists in the world, and that most of them were indeed searching for some type of "philosophical", "ritual" or "spiritual" tradition......of some form.

Some of the early greek and Roman "Materialist/naturalist" philosophers who lived before the birth of Christ share some of the same qualities as modern materialists. Even some of the concepts of evolution are seen in some of the early materialists, which tells me that "evolution" is not a modern "scientific" idea, but just another concept that was borrowed from the past and developed......just like the idea of the "atom". Well, it's not exactly the same, but enough common points to tell that modern westerners were reading these people and grabbing ideas from them......which is not a bad thing in and of itself, but we should be honest about it instead of lying and saying that "evolution" is a modern idea that came through science.....it's old.......it's an old idea.

But some of those philosophers were into "religious rituals" as well. Some of them were hedonistic, and some of them were known to mock and scoff at the beliefs of others, and so, at the end of the day, there is nothing new under the sun.

Good Observations  Gebre, although, not all atheists will agree that they are in the nihilistic camp.










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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2009, 03:55:51 AM »

Well, as someone who has been a part time atheist for the last 4 years, I'll throw my two cents in. I apologize if I repeat what has already been said.

Quote
I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist. If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

I believe Sagan was an agnostic, not an atheist. But as for Dawkins, Harris, et al., the main reason they seem to be up in arms is that they consider religion to be an obstacle to their goals. They want knowledge to prevail over ignorance, and as they define faith (a definition I disagree with), faith is the epitome of ignorance. They want a bright future for their species, and they would probably say that they were built--by evolution from the bottom up--to want that. Also, one might say that the purpose or meaning they've chosen for their lives is to combat what they consider to be ignorance, hate, etc. That's what fulfills them, however misguided they might be in the pursuit of the elimination of all spirituality.

Quote
Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

Not really. If you really believe that, you're showing a distinct lack of the ability to understand the motives and beliefs of other people. (see Theory of Mind). I noticed, though, when I glanced over the thread, that you might be in a state where you're simply venting a bit on here, which is fine. Or perhaps venting isn't the right word, more like reaching out for support, which is also fine.

Quote
But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions. So what say ye?

Actually, interestingly enough, many of the hedonists that I've looked at believed in God. There were the members of the Cyrenaic school in ancient Greece, for example Aristippus of Cyrene and his son Aristippus the Younger (4th century BCE). And then there were the early gnostic Carpocratians, for example Carpocrates and his son Epiphanes (2nd century CE). (Other personalities who are sometimes identified as hedonists, such as Epicurus and Democritus, weren't really hedonists in my opinion). As for myself, when I was an atheist I was also a hedonist, so you can call off the dogs, you've found your honest man, who followed his atheistic beliefs to what you consider to be their logical conclusion. I personally don't agree with what you're saying, however. If we make our own purpose, we could even consider asceticism to be what gives our life meaning, if that's what floats our boat, and that'd be perfectly fine. Atheism does not automatically lead to hedonism, nor does it automatically lead to nihilism, IMO.

PS. If you've ever wondered what the dryest book in the world is, I found it a couple years ago. It's The Epistemology of the Cyrenaic School by Voula Tsouna.
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« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2009, 08:46:21 AM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins)
Dr. Carl Sagan was not an atheist.

are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist.
Could you cite a quote where Dr. Carl Sagan has tried to convince you that God does not exist?



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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2009, 10:14:04 AM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist. If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.
I also frequently wonder about your question.  One can consider militant atheists leaders to be hate group leaders, These two groups share the characteristics of learned hatred/prejudice and the desire for power/peer validation, which is achieved through relational aggression.  Are some of these influential leaders demonically possessed? 
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2009, 11:26:49 AM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist. If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.


You're obviously not even remotely familiar with Carl Sagan's work. Smiley Carl Sagan in fact was NOT an atheist, and professed many, many times, (as has his widow since his death) that he was an agnostic, and not an atheist. If you actually listen to his lectures, and read his books you'll find that in fact Sagan in some sense did believe in "God", even if what he perceived to be "God" was simply not along the lines of dogmas that could be infallibly stated.

 I know certain Evangelical Protestants in America over the years have used Carl Sagan as a target and claimed things about him in an attempt to build a straw man version of Sagan, but the reality is he was not an atheist.  Ann Druyan his widow has often been asked about the "new atheism" that Dawkins and some others push, and she has repeatedly said that Carl would strongly disagree with their approach for many different reasons. Even some of the new atheists you meet in every day life distance themselves from Carl Sagan, and in particular find Sagan's novel Contact a stumbling block because unlike the movie, the book ends with essentially scientific evidence for God's (or a Creator/organizer of some sort) existence.


Quote
Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

Again, you're not describing Carl Sagan in anything you said here. I'm not even sure I'd describe Dawkins in that way exactly. Daniel Dennet, and a few others, like Chris Hitchens, I'd certainly say somewhat accurately fit that description, but the more I read/hear Dawkins, the more I see that some in the religious community have demonized him into someone that really doesn't exist. Sadly this seems to be the "Christian" way going all the back to the early heretics...Arius went from being a misinformed, quite likable guy (I believe some of the fathers talked about how likable of a man he was even though they thought his theology was seriously wrong) to being an evil man bent on destroying the Church of God and an enemy of the Gospel.


With that said, I think the reason people like Dawkins in particular are so outspoken and try to "prove" atheism, is because, at least for Dawkins, he truly believes religion has caused far more evil than good. He truly believes it is religion that is the cause of human tribalism, sectarianism and killing, mass war, slaughter, starvation, power hungry men in the control of the world etc... it's important to also note that many atheists (like Michael Shermer) in fact do NOT agree with his hypothesis that "without religion there would be no 9/11."

The problem we find so upsetting with Dawkins, is that there is some, even a lot of truth in what Dawkins says about religion. that religion and dogmatic statements where we humans KNOW everything about God, and that we just happen to be in that group of people who God revealed himself to, and YOUR NOT...is in fact, in part, true. And this DOES lead to wars, killing in the name of God etc...the problem is that Dawkins is sort of on the borderland between science, history, and philosophy and I believe he confuses all 3 things at times. Again, some atheists have even pointed this out over the last few years, and of course he doesn't see it.

But Dawkins really isn't the nasty, mean individual he's so often made out to be, and seems perfectly willing to sit down and debate, quite respectfully I might add, with religious folks.

Guys like Dennet, and Hitchens I have very little tolerance for, and Dennet in particular really does believe all religious people are just down right stupid...good intentioned, but stupid. Dennet in an interview once said that when he was going in for his bypass surgery, a friend said, "I'll pray for you" and he said to her, "I forgive you"....which I thought was pretty degrading to this woman, but he just did NOT like the idea of someone praying for him because he thought it was silly....but if it was so "silly" then what was to forgive? That raises flags for me because Dennet is just so opposed to even the idea people are praying for him, it does make me wonder if indeed he's simply in denial of his belief. I can't imagine Dawkins though getting worked up over someone praying for him to the point he felt inclined some need to "forgive" them. (Sagan for sure wouldn't because one of his dearest friends, who was at his side when he was dying was a religious friend, though I can't remember the guy's name)

Dennet OTH I don't think would WANT religious friends. For me that's the test...if an atheist has religious friends, then they're probably an "honest atheist" as you said. But if atheists hang only with other atheists, then they've turned it into a "club", group, or shall we say a sect where they are the only group who is "enlightened" while we're all silly superstitious people.

However Carl Sagan doesn't really fit in with any of these guys, and was critical of that style of speaking even when he was still alive.


Quote
But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions.

So what say ye?

I think that is true of some people....but not all. Having gone back and forth between belief and agnosticism, (flirting with atheism, but in the end I always accepted there was "something", some God at work....or a "force" or whatever....) I don't think it's true of everyone. Honest atheists IMO are indeed hard to find on the street, in every day life, but I do believe they exist. However your qualifications for finding an "honest atheist" will never be met, because in fact most atheists do not believe atheism leads to 24/7 pleasures, or seeking of pleasures. That, IMO is a religious person's understanding of how THEY would act if there was no God. (ie: if I knew there was no God I'd spend my life doing all the stuff I'm not allowed to do now because God says "thou shalt not"...) it's the proverbial concept of tell your kid NOT to get into the cookie jar, and the first thing they'll do is figure out how to sneak a cookie. but don't mention the cookie jar, the the kid basically doesn't care.

For an atheist, the "off limits" of a deity's commands don't exist, so it's basically a non issue, like the kid who knows the cookies are in the jar, but has no "forbidding" from having a cookie. Human nature is just that way. We want most we we think, or we know we simply cannot have. People who actually don't believe in God actually don't act like WE assume WE would act if all of a sudden WE had no limits. It's sort of like the problem St. Paul had with his Churches in Corinth where they thought "freedom in Christ" meant, "hey we have no rules, AWESOME lets do EVERYTHING".....he had to clarify that's not what he meant. Smiley But that's human nature I think.

Atheists don't have these do's and don'ts and so for the most part, they don't care. Now they might be doing things we find sinful, sex outside of marriage etc....but they aren't, for the most part, living heathen lives either. Again, I'm refering to informed atheists, or agnostics who are not simply 'rebelling' like Christian kids in college often do...I'm talking about people who truly either don't believe in God, or who truly, and honestly don't know one way or the other. There are plenty of people who are just in rebellion and so do everything and anything they want, but I would say they are really agnostic or atheist....but that's just me.

Great topic though.....


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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2009, 11:49:37 AM »



In full disclosure, let me explain why I started this thread. Earlier tonight my father called me (he is 78 years old and in very poor health) and started raving about a "great book" he just finished reading. He said that any rational thinking person would love this book. The book was "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.

That seems to be most people's reaction to reading that book for the first time. However it has also been heavily criticized even by fellow atheists for being more of a philosophical work than a scientific one. Fret not, there are good answers to points raised in the book, once people get over the initial shock from reading his arguments. I heard a great lecture about that book titled "the Dawkins delusion" by, I think an anglican priest.....trying googling and see if you can find it.


Quote
My Father is basically an agnostic who leans towards theism. I say this because he must have told me a thousand times, "I pray for you. My prayers probably don't get higher than the ceiling, and I don't know who or what I'm praying to, but I pray for you."

He's hardly an atheist if he's praying for you!


Quote
He has always prided himself on his intellect, and yet all the books he reads are from the same point of view. He is essentially a brainwashed genius.

Years ago we used to argue terribly about religion and politics. I could never match his erudition or compete with his experiences (since he had travelled extensively to every continent). His "checkmate" in our debates was always something like, "You haven't read as much as I have, you've never been anywhere, so how can you be so certain," etc.. So over time I threw myself into the study of philosophy and Christian apologetics. I determined to increase my knowledge to the point where I could out-argue my father. And guess what? I did it! My father hasn't been able to win a debate with me in over a decade. And guess what? He's still not a Christian!


Indeed. It's sad we have to learn the hard way about these issues. debating loved ones over religion always seems to go terribly wrong. I know, I've been there too. In the end, your observation is right, we must LOVE people into Christ's Kingdom, not debate, argue, harrass or anything of that sort. Nothing could be MORE true of our very own family members. I used to have arguments with my father, and still do sometimes over religion. I've found it best to let him ask a question, and then try and answer by saying "well my Church teaches....." and leave it at that. Even admit that your Church "could" be wrong. This might be hard for some Orthodox Christians to do, but I find it has made more headway than any insistence that "we're right darn it!" ever did.





Quote
I'm so sorry for rambling on about all of this. I revealed this personal info to basically say that you are absolutely right Gabriel. We are ALL looking for love and acceptance. Like with so many other things, I have sympathy and compassion for professed atheists, but I have little symapathy for atheists like Dawkins who spread their poisonous propaganda to people like my father. My dad is a sincere man who has always claimed to be "searching." So I see people like Dawkins as soulless predators under the manipulation of satanic forces.

Try giving him some of Sagan's works. Much better, and in fact, Carl Sagan helped lead me back to belief. His widow has a new book about science and the search for God, but I haven't read it yet but it's supposed to be good. Yes, Sagan was a skeptic, but as I said, (and his widow has said) he would never approve of these dogmatic atheists who degrade other people's beliefs. It has been said in fact, that Sagan knew the Bible better than many CHRISTIAN apologists....(he in fact was a student of all religions). I don't think Dawkins is as bad as he's made out to be, but most people dont get over that initial feeling of shock at the things he says because they find him so convincing right off the bat. But in the end, he's just recycling very old arguments, albeit in new ways.

Anyways, I'll try to remember you in my prayers as I'm sure others will to.

In peace, NP



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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2009, 12:10:11 PM »

The overwhelming majority of atheists couldn't care less about religion and only even address the issue when people are trying to shove their gods down their throat. The people you reference are the exception, not the rule, to atheism. Your typical atheist is an average citizen, a scientist, or a university professor who doesn't give two thoughts to metaphysical questions throughout their daily lives; they don't want to hear about religion and they don't want to talk about religion, it's a moot point to them. As for these 'professional atheists', my guess is that their primary motivation is the fact that their books sell so well. Heck, Dawkins has sold over 1.5 million copies of his book; I'd certainly publish an aggressive anti-religion book if I thought it would sell even a quarter as well. Hey, I'd even bite my tongue and write a book on spirituality if I thought I could sell that many copies.

There's no shame in advancing a cause for profit.
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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2009, 02:15:37 PM »

The overwhelming majority of atheists couldn't care less about religion

Unfortunately the same can be said of the overwhelming majority of Christians about evangelization.


Quote
and only even address the issue when people are trying to shove their gods down their throat.

Yeah, like those pesky people putting up a Cross in the Mojave desert:
http://www.examiner.com/x-10965-SF-Religion-in-the-News-Examiner~y2009m5d14-Mojave-desert-cross-controversial-case-slated-for-US-Supreme-Court

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_G9opoSsBTm8/SsIkRMTSd0I/AAAAAAAABUg/RD24UiAMZYk/s320/Mojave+Desert+Cross.jpg
There. Now the Republic is safe.

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The people you reference are the exception, not the rule,

Unfortunatley, so is St. Paul.


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to atheism. Your typical atheist is an average citizen, a scientist, or a university professor who doesn't give two thoughts to metaphysical questions throughout their daily lives;

or just a dolt in the herd of independent minds.


Quote
they don't want to hear about religion and they don't want to talk about religion, it's a moot point to them. As for these 'professional atheists', my guess is that their primary motivation is the fact that their books sell so well. Heck, Dawkins has sold over 1.5 million copies of his book; I'd certainly publish an aggressive anti-religion book if I thought it would sell even a quarter as well. Hey, I'd even bite my tongue and write a book on spirituality if I thought I could sell that many copies.

There's no shame in advancing a cause for profit.

Actually there is, but "if there is no God, all things are permitted."
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2009, 02:17:00 PM »

No doubt about it.

Whenever I see Richard Dawkins interviewed or lecturing, I sense that this man has never truly experienced love. I have no way of knowing of course.

In full disclosure, let me explain why I started this thread. Earlier tonight my father called me (he is 78 years old and in very poor health) and started raving about a "great book" he just finished reading. He said that any rational thinking person would love this book. The book was "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.


I am assuming you have never met Prof. Dawkins in person.  I've never been a huge fan of "professional atheists", and sometimes some of his books rub me the wrong way (yet I own at least 5 of them, including his latest 3), but he truly is an incredible man to meet in person.  I've had the opportunity to meet him twice, once this September for his latest book, and in the past when he visited my University's Freethought club years ago.  You can tell he has a zeal for life and what he is doing, and will hardly back down from what he is passionate about.  On top of that, he has a wit like no other, though that is likely more due to him being British than anything else.  Tongue  Atheists will tell you that they have a purpose and meaning to life that no theist could understand.  They live for this world, this tangible world, they look to advance themselves, their knowledge, their friends, their families, etc.  They don't live for another life, another world, but rather to make what is best with what they have in front of them and with what they know.  As GiC said, most atheists and agnostics couldn't care less about religion.  They will fight for the separation of Church and State, and for their protection from religion, but otherwise just look to live their lives.
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2009, 02:32:43 PM »

No doubt about it.

Whenever I see Richard Dawkins interviewed or lecturing, I sense that this man has never truly experienced love. I have no way of knowing of course.

In full disclosure, let me explain why I started this thread. Earlier tonight my father called me (he is 78 years old and in very poor health) and started raving about a "great book" he just finished reading. He said that any rational thinking person would love this book. The book was "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.


I am assuming you have never met Prof. Dawkins in person.  I've never been a huge fan of "professional atheists", and sometimes some of his books rub me the wrong way (yet I own at least 5 of them, including his latest 3), but he truly is an incredible man to meet in person.  I've had the opportunity to meet him twice, once this September for his latest book, and in the past when he visited my University's Freethought club years ago.  You can tell he has a zeal for life and what he is doing, and will hardly back down from what he is passionate about.  On top of that, he has a wit like no other, though that is likely more due to him being British than anything else.  Tongue  Atheists will tell you that they have a purpose and meaning to life that no theist could understand.  They live for this world, this tangible world, they look to advance themselves, their knowledge, their friends, their families, etc.  They don't live for another life, another world, but rather to make what is best with what they have in front of them and with what they know.  

And they differ from Stalin how?

Quote
As GiC said, most atheists and agnostics couldn't care less about religion.  They will fight for the separation of Church and State, and for their protection from religion, but otherwise just look to live their lives.
In a democracy in which over half the voters don't vote, I'm not sure this point of yours means much.
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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2009, 02:51:04 PM »

And they differ from Stalin how?
And Christians differ from previous theistic mass-murdering Emperors, Kings, and other statesmen how?  When they believe they are in the right, doing God's will, basic human rights no longer matter.

Of course, I don't actually believe all Christians are stark raving mad, but you seem to enjoy absurd and isolated examples.

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In a democracy in which over half the voters don't vote, I'm not sure this point of yours means much.

I'll agree, they are hardly have large, influential lobby groups or special interest groups like various religious organisations.  Though, the very fact that some schools actually flirt with the idea of Intelligent Design being taught in public schools shows the need for it.
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« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2009, 02:59:18 PM »

Like with so many other things, I have sympathy and compassion for professed atheists, but I have little symapathy for atheists like Dawkins who spread their poisonous propaganda to people like my father. My dad is a sincere man who has always claimed to be "searching." So I see people like Dawkins as soulless predators under the manipulation of satanic forces.
I agree.  The men and women, who have made it their "religion" to disprove God, have caused great pain here and in the afterlife.  Remembering your family in my prayers.

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« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2009, 03:58:29 PM »

I'm so sorry for rambling on about all of this. I revealed this personal info to basically say that you are absolutely right Gabriel. We are ALL looking for love and acceptance. Like with so many other things, I have sympathy and compassion for professed atheists, but I have little symapathy for atheists like Dawkins who spread their poisonous propaganda to people like my father. My dad is a sincere man who has always claimed to be "searching." So I see people like Dawkins as soulless predators under the manipulation of satanic forces.

One question for you, Gebre.  You say you have little sympathy for what many call "professional atheists", Prof. Dawkins being one of them.  What about other Christians (Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Protestants, etc.), Muslims, etc., that seek to convert others, even those who share core beliefs, to their personal branch of their faith?  Do you "resent" (sorry, probably not the best word) them too?  Atheists do not believe in hellfire, so they are not intentionally out to "damn" people, they are only out trying to help people and provide them with that they think is the "good news", provide a naturalistic, non-theistic way to life.  Their heart, more often than not, is in the right place.
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« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2009, 05:08:57 PM »

Sagan wasn't an evangelical atheist. Heck, he wasn't even atheist.
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« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2009, 05:25:58 PM »

Sagan wasn't an evangelical atheist. Heck, he wasn't even atheist.

I'd say he was more in line with believing in the "Einsteinian God".
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« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2009, 05:34:57 PM »

I apologize if I have erroneously labeled Carl Sagan as an atheist. I did so based on his statement:

"There is and has never been anything in the universe other than matter.”

Selam
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« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2009, 05:42:47 PM »

I apologize if I have erroneously labeled Carl Sagan as an atheist. I did so based on his statement:

"There is and has never been anything in the universe other than matter.”

Selam

Well, if you define an Atheist as someone who denies the Abrahamic God, or other "traditional gods", then I might agree that he was an Atheist.  But if you mean in terms of a general higher power, he would likely fall into the category of an agnostic or a sceptic.
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« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2009, 06:05:49 PM »

I apologize if I have erroneously labeled Carl Sagan as an atheist. I did so based on his statement:

"There is and has never been anything in the universe other than matter.”

Selam

Well, if you define an Atheist as someone who denies the Abrahamic God, or other "traditional gods", then I might agree that he was an Atheist.  But if you mean in terms of a general higher power, he would likely fall into the category of an agnostic or a sceptic.

You guys know more about Mr. Sagan than I do, but what about his statement above? This hardly sounds like skepticism or agnosticism. His statement is an unambiguous declaration which is presented as an undisputed fact.

Maybe he backed off of this statement later on in life, and moved towards agnosticism?

Selam
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« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2009, 07:05:31 PM »

Is there any chance you know where the quotation came from?  It might be from Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science, which I unfortunately do not own, but that is nothing but a guess based on the subject matter.
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« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2009, 08:41:34 PM »

Quote
I apologize if I have erroneously labeled Carl Sagan as an atheist. I did so based on his statement:

"There is and has never been anything in the universe other than matter.”

Quote
You guys know more about Mr. Sagan than I do, but what about his statement above? This hardly sounds like skepticism or agnosticism. His statement is an unambiguous declaration which is presented as an undisputed fact.

Maybe he backed off of this statement later on in life, and moved towards agnosticism?

I don't know that much about Mr. Sagan, and I'm still waiting for a couple books of his to arrive here. I also don't know the context of the quote. Because of these two issues, it's hard to know what to make of the statement. However, as long as you aren't thinking of a God associated with the Abrahamic religions, that statement doesn't exclude the possibility of there being a God. I think it leaves open the possibility of certain forms of a pantheistic God, though Christians might object to using the term God in such a case. I also think it leaves open the possibility of certain forms of a deistic God outside the universe that was never involved with the universe after the initial moment of creation. I could be wrong, and I don't accept either of those ideas about God, but I could see how someone else might.
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« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2009, 11:11:04 PM »

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As for these 'professional atheists', my guess is that their primary motivation is the fact that their books sell so well.

I don't know about that. Sure, Richard Dawkins has sold a lot of copies of The God Delusion. And Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens have probably also made a few bucks off their books, though I'm sure less than Dawkins. But after that, it's all downhill. I can't imagine that Dennett, Stenger, Barker, etc. are getting rich off the anti-religion books they're producing. There are dozens of new anti-religion books published every year now, and I'd bet that if you add together the numbers of all those books sold this year, they probably wouldn't equal the total number of The God Delusion that has been sold. In my opinion, if Richard Dawkins had not published The God Delusion in 2006, no one would be talking about "the new atheism" or the other guys covered by that term.

Btw, welcome back  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2009, 12:36:51 AM »

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As for these 'professional atheists', my guess is that their primary motivation is the fact that their books sell so well.

I don't know about that. Sure, Richard Dawkins has sold a lot of copies of The God Delusion. And Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens have probably also made a few bucks off their books, though I'm sure less than Dawkins. But after that, it's all downhill. I can't imagine that Dennett, Stenger, Barker, etc. are getting rich off the anti-religion books they're producing. There are dozens of new anti-religion books published every year now, and I'd bet that if you add together the numbers of all those books sold this year, they probably wouldn't equal the total number of The God Delusion that has been sold. In my opinion, if Richard Dawkins had not published The God Delusion in 2006, no one would be talking about "the new atheism" or the other guys covered by that term.
Militant atheist’s book sales:
 
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins: 1.5 million copies sold
The End of Faith by Sam Harris: 145,000 copies sold
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris: 123,000 copies sold
God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens: 58,000 copies sold
Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett: 52,000 copies sold
God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor Stenger: 60,000 copies sold
I Sold My Soul on eBay by Hemant Mehta: 99,213,912 copies sold (joke)

These atheists made approx. $2.00/copy sold. IMO, this verifies that Satan is a shrewd bargainer for souls.
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« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2009, 12:50:17 AM »

^^  They should have just wrote a mystery/thriller about Jesus, the mother of his child, and used a painfully elementary writing style; they'd have 80 million+ books sold then eh? Tongue
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« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2009, 12:53:46 AM »

I'll admit, if those numbers are accurate, I'm suprised that Dennett and Stenger have done as well as they have. Having said that, I would still take the bet I mentioned in my last post.
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« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2009, 01:05:44 AM »

I have to admit, I'm surprised Dennett's book did that well too.  Though I agree with what he is going for, I really didn't enjoy the book too much. 

Stenger, on the other hand, I was hoping would have sold more.  I suppose the technical nature cut down on the reading base though.
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« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2009, 02:26:02 AM »

As much as I disagree with the New Atheists (Vox Day calls them "The Four Horsemen of the B*kk*k*lypse), I prefer the "selling books and crafting offensive art" method of evangelism to "put bullet in head or send to Siberia" method...
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« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2009, 02:31:45 AM »

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As much as I disagree with the New Atheists (Vox Day calls them "The Four Horsemen of the B*kk*k*lypse), I prefer the "selling books and crafting offensive art" method of evangelism to "put bullet in head or send to Siberia" method...

Speaking of the latter form of persuasion, it's sort of funny, but in my former atheism, a writer like Solzhenitsyn had a larger impact than people like Harris or Dawkins ever did.
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« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2009, 11:55:06 AM »

Sagan on agnosticism:

Quote
In a 1996 interview with NPR's Talk of the Nation, Sagan said (when asked about religious beliefs): "Where's the evidence? Now, the word God is used to cover a wide variety of very different ideas, ranging maybe from the idea of an outsized light-skinned male with a long white beard who sits in a throne in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow--for which there is no evidence, none at all--to the view of Einstein, of Spinoza, which is essentially that God is the sum total of the laws of nature. And since there are laws of nature ... if that's what you mean by God, then of course there's a God. So everything depends on the definition of God."

The heroine of Sagan's novel Contact (1985) argues for an agnostic perspective concerning God. However, because she also calls herself a Christian (though of the Jesus-not-divine variety, reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson), she is a Christian agnostic.

Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan, has gathered some of his lectures on science and religion into a new book, The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God.
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« Reply #36 on: October 31, 2009, 01:59:35 PM »

And they differ from Stalin how?
And Christians differ from previous theistic mass-murdering Emperors, Kings, and other statesmen how? 

Tell me their explanation for this (Luke 9)
51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" F71 55 But He turned and rebuked them, F72 and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." F73 And they went to another village.

Quote
When they believe they are in the right, doing God's will, basic human rights no longer matter.

Without God, all things are possible, and human rights, basic or otherwise, don't exist.  No argument can be made to their existence without recourse to a higher authority.



Quote
Of course, I don't actually believe all Christians are stark raving mad, but you seem to enjoy absurd and isolated examples.

Just the facts that humanists like to sweep under the rug.  I used to tell a good atheist friend of mine, the problem is not that you are moral, the problem is that you don't have a basis to make your fellow atheists moral who don't want to be.


In a democracy in which over half the voters don't vote, I'm not sure this point of yours means much.

I'll agree, they are hardly have large, influential lobby groups or special interest groups like various religious organisations. 

Haven't been to Washington I see.


Quote
Though, the very fact that some schools actually flirt with the idea of Intelligent Design being taught in public schools shows the need for it.

The fact that the Darwinists continue to insist on their dogma being taught as truth surely shows the need for it.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15104.0.html
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« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2009, 02:17:53 PM »

Just the facts that humanists like to sweep under the rug.  I used to tell a good atheist friend of mine, the problem is not that you are moral, the problem is that you don't have a basis to make your fellow atheists moral who don't want to be.
One could always make rational/common-sense arguments for morality.
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« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2009, 02:50:05 PM »

Without God, all things are possible, and human rights, basic or otherwise, don't exist.  No argument can be made to their existence without recourse to a higher authority.
With God, all things are possible.  People will do things that violate all logical sense, in belief of "greater glory".

Humanism does not require a higher authority, yet you see people striving for individual and common good through secular means.

Quote
Just the facts that humanists like to sweep under the rug.  I used to tell a good atheist friend of mine, the problem is not that you are moral, the problem is that you don't have a basis to make your fellow atheists moral who don't want to be.
No one has a basis to make anyone else "moral".  An atheist can choose to be a humanist, or not.  A Christian can choose to follow their Church's/Christs teachings, or they can choose not to.  The only difference is when an Atheist is immoral, they are "godless".  When a Christian is immoral, they are "fallen".

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Haven't been to Washington I see.
Not my favourite place to be.  I've been there before when Clinton and then when Bush were in power.  Though I heard secular rabbling here and there, it was definitely the Jewish and fundamentalist Christian lobbies constantly trying to dictate the government's direction.

Quote
The fact that the Darwinists continue to insist on their dogma being taught as truth surely shows the need for it.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15104.0.html

A sound scientific theory vs a creation myth on part with that of the Hindu, Greco-Romans, etc?  Why not teach The Theogony of Hesiod in science class too?
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« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2009, 04:41:02 PM »

No mistery here.

There once was an angel named Lucifer who attempted to overthrow God using wordplay. He managed to draw to his support one third of the angels of God. This attempt was thwarted by Archangel Michael, who smote Lucifer with the fiery sword and threw him down fron Heaven. Since then Lucifer established himself in Hell and acquired the name Satan. The angels, whome he seduced, became demons.

Even in Hell Lucifer did not stop his attempts to overthrow God. For this purpose he organized the philosophers of Enlightment (who in reality are Illuminati-masons). Those learned folks spoke of bringing Enlightment into masses. In truth this meant that they want to substitute God with the Light one, that is with Luminous, that is with Lucifer.
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« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2009, 05:13:51 PM »

The Illuminati-Masons are at my door.  Wink

(This was posted on Halloween.)
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« Reply #41 on: October 31, 2009, 05:24:48 PM »

Even in Hell Lucifer did not stop his attempts to overthrow God. For this purpose he organized the philosophers of Enlightment (who in reality are Illuminati-masons). Those learned folks spoke of bringing Enlightment into masses. In truth this meant that they want to substitute God with the Light one, that is with Luminous, that is with Lucifer.

laugh  We also provide the world with holy martyrs like Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya; look at our evil plans...   Wooooooo *spooky, cliche ghost noise*

I'm going to have to report back to the Rothschilds, you are onto us and our connection to the Dark Lord of Terror, Diablo.   laugh laugh
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« Reply #42 on: October 31, 2009, 06:34:08 PM »

ialmisry,

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Without God, all things are possible,

I've never really heard for sure, did Dostoevsky actually say that, or is it simply an idea attributed to him? It's an interesting companion to Matt. 19:26. It's sort of like the combination of the verses in Matt. 12:30 and Mark 9:40. I guess you Christians like to have your bases covered! Smiley  Anyway, I don't see anything wrong with all things being possible without God, so long as you don't say "all things are morally permissable without God," which would be incorrect in my opinion.

Quote
and human rights, basic or otherwise, don't exist.  No argument can be made to their existence without recourse to a higher authority.

I don't think there is such a thing as absolute morality. Nonetheless, I believe that morality can be seen as being on a continuum, between very good and very evil. The good things wake us up out of our intellectual, moral and spiritual slumber, while the evil things sink us further into apathy and sleepiness. In that sense, I do believe that some things are good while others are evil, but this is a practical and naturalistic rather than a God-revealed or absolute morality. This morality was not handed down by a God in a revelation to mankind, but has been coded into humanity by nature, and has been figured out by humans as they have developed cultures and societies over thousands and thousands of years. Thus we know that you shouldn't murder, shouldn't steal from others, and so forth.

Now you may not agree with arguments of morality through nature, or morality arrived at through cultural evolution, but I can still make them, and I don't need to rely on a God to do so. What's more, I can still say that some of these moral rules should be enforced on everyone, and I don't need a God to do so. You may argue that I have no absolute or eternal basis for doing this, but that argument only has force if I think I need an absolute or eternal basis, which I don't. Essentially you're just preaching to the Christian choir with your argument that you need a God to have morality.
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« Reply #43 on: October 31, 2009, 06:50:10 PM »

ialmisry,

Quote
Without God, all things are possible,

I've never really heard for sure, did Dostoevsky actually say that, or is it simply an idea attributed to him? It's an interesting companion to Matt. 19:26. It's sort of like the combination of the verses in Matt. 12:30 and Mark 9:40. I guess you Christians like to have your bases covered! Smiley  Anyway, I don't see anything wrong with all things being possible without God, so long as you don't say "all things are morally permissable without God," which would be incorrect in my opinion.

Quote
and human rights, basic or otherwise, don't exist.  No argument can be made to their existence without recourse to a higher authority.

I don't think there is such a thing as absolute morality. Nonetheless, I believe that morality can be seen as being on a continuum, between very good and very evil. The good things wake us up out of our intellectual, moral and spiritual slumber, while the evil things sink us further into apathy and sleepiness. In that sense, I do believe that some things are good while others are evil, but this is a practical and naturalistic rather than a God-revealed or absolute morality. This morality was not handed down by a God in a revelation to mankind, but has been coded into humanity by nature, and has been figured out by humans as they have developed cultures and societies over thousands and thousands of years. Thus we know that you shouldn't murder, shouldn't steal from others, and so forth.

Now you may not agree with arguments of morality through nature, or morality arrived at through cultural evolution, but I can still make them, and I don't need to rely on a God to do so. What's more, I can still say that some of these moral rules should be enforced on everyone, and I don't need a God to do so. You may argue that I have no absolute or eternal basis for doing this, but that argument only has force if I think I need an absolute or eternal basis, which I don't. Essentially you're just preaching to the Christian choir with your argument that you need a God to have morality.

With respect, you can argue anything you want and from whatever basis you want. But so can Charles Manson (who makes some intelligent arguments actually, although in defense of pure evil) or anyone else. The point is that "good" is only intelligible in relation to best. The concepts of morality and good point to an ulitmate, eternal, and objective standard of morality and good. When you deny this eternal and ultimate Good (i.e. God), then you forfeit any claim to objectivity in your appeal for your morality.

Selam   
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« Reply #44 on: October 31, 2009, 06:55:59 PM »

Quote
When you deny this eternal and ultimate Good (i.e. God), then you forfeit any claim to objectivity in your appeal for your morality.

Now that I think about it, I suppose it depends on how you defiine the term objective. If by that word you mean "based on facts" or something along those lines, then I would say that my morality has some degree of objectivity to it. If, on the other hand, you are merely equating the term objective with absolute, then I'd agree that you can't have objective morality without God.

Btw, thank you for saying "with respect". I'm not always the nicest person, and sometimes I go off on people, but generally I value civility and try to remain peaceful.
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