Re: [atheists-55] Event for GBAC Meetup. "Both are the best approach"

From: user 6.
Sent on: Thursday, June 17, 2010 7:08 PM
Claire,

I don't think people are attacking religion for "the sake of it" -- at least I hope not. With a few exceptions (Jains, Buddhists etc), religions are overwhelmingly dangerous and have had huge negative effects, and continue to. Reason should replace superstition. 

Nineteen Muslim men would not have done what they did if they were freethinkers. Religion blocks science (souls don't "live in Petri dishes" as Sam Harris points out), blocks health (AIDS rampant in Africa; yet condoms are bad?) and to this day people are being hunted and killed FOR BEING WITCHES (mostly in Africa) strictly due to the several places in the bible that commands us to kill them. Slavery is never condemned in the bible, even the NT.

And children are being lied to about the most important things in the world. Some of them are then raped by priests. 

This is the tip of the iceberg, and it is morally wrong (or at least lazy and apathetic) NOT to criticize these acts of "faith." 

Michael


> When I describe myself as a passive atheist, that does not mean I will
> take
> direct attacks without response. I think the idea of a separation between
> church and state is a good one and speaking as a Brit, I'm rather
> bewildered
> that for all of that, the US is more religious than the UK where the
> church
> and state are officially one. But maybe that's the point, if a religion is
> officially mandated, nobody feels like a rebel to be a Christian. Here,
> freedom of religion means something, and I think that gives it more
> cachet.
>
> But, I wonder at the value in relentlessly attacking religion for the sake
> of it. Other than polarising the debate and pushing people in each camp to
> extremes, what exactly is gained by the more robust almost evangelical
> atheism? I had a conversation with a colleague recently, and she asked me
> about my beliefs. I told her I was an atheist and she exclaimed "Well
> *I*believe in God!" (You could actually hear the capital letter) and
> then went
> on "Doesn't that offend you?". I explained that it didn't, and wouldn't
> unless she tried to covert me. So, obviously I think we should campaign
> for
> equal treatment of people regardless of their religious beliefs, and any
> attempts to turn the US into some kind of theocracy should be resisted
> (although that may not turn out how they expect). But I don't support
> going
> around haranging religious people about their belief system can be
> anything
> but counter-productive. It entrenches people, even into a more extreme
> version than they actually would believe if left alone. After all, who
> likes
> to admit they are wrong, especially about big subjects? As an analogy,
> consider political beliefs. In a debate betweenRepublicans or Democrats,
> the two sides, both sides can become entrenched if they feel personally
> attacked by the opposition.
>
> I am a passive atheist in a second sense too, I think the question of "Is
> there a god or gods?" to be a meaningless one, because we cannot prove it
> one way or the other and it is clear that such beings if they exist do not
> interact with our universe in any measurable way. In which case, like the
> "multiverse" hypothesis, it is an attractive idea to many people, but
> ultimately tells us nothing about life, the human experience, the universe
> or anything else. I guess another term would be agnostic atheist. I don't
> know if gods exist, but I think it unlikely. Let's leave certainty to the
> "religious", I'm happy in my scientific world of uncertainty.
>
> Claire
>
> On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 3:12 PM, Michael <[address removed]> wrote:
>
>> Exactly - "both are preferable" as Dave Barry used to say.
>>
>> Coincidentally, another thing Dave said was " “The problem with
>> writing
>> about religion is yhat you run the risk of offending sincerely religious
>> people, and then they come after you with machetes.”
>>
>> And speaking of humor helping -- this short clip of Sam Harris is of
>> interest:
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZsobWW1pQQ
>>
>>
>>
>> > I'll take the middle position. Both are the best approach.
>> >
>> > You need to aggressively attack religion. Religion likes to presume
>> > itself
>> > off-limits to critique. Take a look at any of Bill Donohue's rants and
>> > you'll see that his job is to be offended at anything that doesn't
>> shed
>> > Catholicism in the best possible light. The same holds true of Muslim
>> > leaders who will call Jihad on anybody who even makes a cartoon
>> Mohammed.
>>
>> > Other examples abound. Without a loud voice, religions will continue
>> to
>> > keep their converts shielded from any alternative worldview. And there
>> is
>>
>> > a
>> > lot to rant about. Religion is causing increasing harm to society.
>> >
>> > One of the best tools for this is humor. Converts are tied to their
>> > religious beliefs by emotional hooks. Humor breaks through those
>> bonds,
>> > and
>> > opens their eyes to how others view them. This often makes them
>> rethink
>> > their beliefs and leaves them more open to reasoned arguments later.
>> >
>> > On the other hand, you also have to work with religion. There are
>> > religious
>> > groups that hold some of the same values we do as individuals. For
>> > example,
>> > I happen to be liberal and I have worked with a liberal Christian
>> group.
>> > The only issues where we differred were religious ones. In other
>> aspects,
>>
>> > we held the same views. For example, that Christian group was
>> staunchly
>> > for
>> > separation of church and state. The church and state issue is an
>> > important
>> > one to most atheists, but it is not just an atheist issue. The only
>> way
>> > to
>> > truly have freedom of religion in this country is for the government
>> to
>> > stay
>> > out of it.
>> >
>> > We have to show religious people that there is a common ground on
>> which
>> we
>> > can work. For example, when we talk about morality, we have to nudge
>> them
>>
>> > to think about why something truly is good or bad, other than just
>> "God
>> > said
>> > so". In addition, it is useful for us to work alongside them in
>> charity
>> > work. It gives us a chance to show our "good side" as well as
>> explaining
>> > our non-religious motivations for helping others. They can relate
>> those
>> > to
>> > their own reasons for doing so.
>> >
>> > So, both approaches have their uses. I wouldn't put either one of them
>> > above the other.
>> >
>> > Eric
>> >
>> >
>> > On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 1:23 PM, Kevin Grishkot <[address removed]>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> >> OK, since I don't have much in the way of official business and
>> >> updates,
>> >> I thought I'd spice things up by having a debate among ourselves. The
>> >> debate topic will be: Aggressive Atheism vs Passive Atheism, which is
>> >> the
>> >> better approach? So, I'll be taking the position endorsing
>> aggression,
>> >> who
>> >> wants to be moderator and who wants to take the counter position?
>> >>
>> >> RVSP
>> >> Thanks
>> >>
>> >> Skydivers don't knock on death's door; they ring the bell and run
>> >> away...
>> >> It really pisses him off.
>> >>
>> >> The World Famous Tink. (I never heard of you either!!)
>> >> AA #2069 ASA#33 POPS# 8808
>> >> EAC Chairman, Division of Skydiving and Sushi consumption.
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> --
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>> >
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Please Note: If you hit "*REPLY*", your message will be sent to
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>> This message was sent by Michael ([address removed]) from The
>> Baltimore Atheists Meetup Group
>> <http://www.meetup.com/Baltimore-Atheist/>
>> .
>> To learn more about Michael, visit his/her member
>> profile<http://www.meetup.com/Baltimore-Atheist/members/6236203/>
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>> Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York [masked] |
>> [address removed]
>>
>

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