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Re: [atheists-93] Fwd: BREAKING NEWS: Sen. Inhofe vows to filibuster Judge David

From: Dave
Sent on: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 2:27 AM
Shane,
?
Its "amoral hedonism" guy from the last meetup. hehe. I just wanted to clarify that I didn't?mean that?amoral hedonism was the "only option" but that it was a valid option among many valid options. My point was that we have the free choice to do whatever we want and?receive whatever rewards or punishments?that result.
?
I don't believe in absolutes or black-and-white truths.?If I want to suspend my reason for the sake of pleasure I'll do that sometimes. Thats what happens when I read a work of fiction, watch a movie or look at a piece of art. Thats about as hedonistic as I get but if someone else wants to go to orgies or do coke every weekend why should I care? I am not going to?encourage them because their behavior doesn't benefit society (and by extension, myself) but I am not going to try and stop them from indulging in their selfish?pleasures?as long as they aren't limiting my freedoms.?If the?hedonists are affecting my freedoms, e.g. a criminal,?then I?will be for punishing them but?if they are just stupid (e.g. druggies who sacrifice their long-term health) or pigs?(people who take any pleasure to excess) but not harming anyone?than?the most I'm willing to do is ridicule them. I'm not going beat them over the head with moral absolutes?whether?those absolutes are?god-based or reason-based.?
?
Anyways I agree with the sentiment that the only thing all atheists can agree on is that god doesn't exist--thats it. Beyond that its a free-for-all. If?you want to?construct a?reason-based morality minus god/religion that works for you thats great, but I don't have to agree with it (even though in actuality I agreed w/ alot of what you were saying,?I just like playing devil's advocate sometimes). I don't want to characterize your position because I don't want to accidently mischaracterize it but what I sort of got from talking to you is that you are for a reason-based morality. I'm sure you would agree with that but what I'm not sure you would agree with is that from what I could tell you seemed to hold it as an absolute. I'm also for reason-based morality but I don't hold it as an absolute but see it as just a contract. I'm not going to follow it absolutely. If the other guy isn't holding up his end of the contract then neither will I. Maybe I'll even try to tilt the contract a little bit in my favor. Maybe I'll just disregard the contract altogether.?Who knows what the best thing to do is? I guess if you believe the game theorists the optimal?strategy is initial cooperation followed by tit-for-tat. I don't know and frankly I don't think the answers matter all that much...
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dave
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On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 9:32 PM, Shane Webb <[address removed]> wrote:

Hello all,

?

I'm a member of the group and have been following the email banter.? I joined the group for the same purely social reason Lindy did, and am a lifelong Atheist.? Unfortunately, I have found many Atheists are as fanatical as the fundamentalist religious crowd.? For me, Atheism is not a system in itself, but the starting point to finding a reasoned and truthful way to live.? Religion serves a deep rooted psychological and cultural role to so many, and Atheism is such a great threat to them for that very reason.? Atheism does not and cannot answer their questions and needs.? All Atheism offers to a Theist are negatives, empty spaces where they used to derive so much comfort and social connection.?

?

The most common confusion I hear from Theists is "without God how do you know how to live your life?"? I had a conversation with a professed Atheist recently (yes, Atheist) who suggested that without some divine moral direction the only option is amoral hedonism.? I wholeheartedly disagree with that assessment and was especially surprised at the source.? When you tell a Theist, ?There is no God!? you are actually telling them ?Not only are you wrong but everyone you have cared about and loved since childhood has lied to you!?? Add to that a healthy dose of elitism and intellectual arrogance and the outcome is effectively pre-determined.? Consider the titles of two of the most recognizable Atheist books; The God Delusion and The End of Faith.? I love both of these books and agree with nearly all of subject matter and conclusions, however, the titles alone will set a Theist firmly on the defensive before any discussion begins.? Again, rather than offering something Atheism simply takes away.

?

The only way to replace superstition and mystical thinking is to understand what creates it, what human needs it serves, and find a reasoned way to meet those needs based on verifiable truth.? The Theist has followed dogma their entire lives and will need an example from which to learn to live without it.? An angry Atheist, holding derisive signs, pointing fingers at them and screaming ?You?re wrong!? isn?t very inviting.? That is not the person I want to be or the contribution I wish to make.? Mainstream acceptance and change will come with Atheists proving we have a positive way to live life, rather than being a constant attack on how Theists live theirs.

?

Shane



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