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Minnesota Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › The Modern Atheist And End Of Religious language

The Modern Atheist And End Of Religious language

A former member
Post #: 28
Have you ever noticed how a lot of Atheist's just talk about religion and how to debate creationists? I think it's time to get that dogma out of our heads and think about science technology and modern times. Who cares about some desert god book from 2000 years ago. After all this is the 21st century and we need to focus on the hear and now. So the next time some creationists wants to talk to you about some deity wouldn't telling them I am a modern Atheist and that is no longer in my vocabulary be a better response? And then politely tell them if you would like to discuss science and modern technology I would gladly like to talk! So instead of keeping your mind clouded in gods and meaningless religious language get with the modern world learn more Evolutionary biology, Chemistry, Technology etc. And wouldn't more meet ups talking about the most recent transitional fossil finds and more updates on recent discoveries be more interesting than more of the same old dogma! After all religious language is unverifiable and hence factually meaningless.
A former member
Post #: 13
I think no ideological concept or movement can ever afford a one dimensional approach for proffering its message. I agree that we should spend more time on science, (i.e. micro mutations, explaining how magnetic fields can cause auditory and visual hallucinations in the brain, thus explaining all those visits from Jesus and the virgin Mary and angels, etc), but over 70% of Americans believe in some literal interpretation of the bible and its supernatural stories...debunking these "divine" tales also has to be a concern, and we must use science to show those who believe in the supernatural how untenable their positions are...
justin c.
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 4
I think no ideological concept or movement can ever afford a one dimensional... we must use science to show those who believe in the supernatural how untenable their positions are...

ramen to that!
August B.
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 16
We have found that our "Atheists Talk" radio audience likes a mix of detailing modern scientific discoveries and also critiquing religion.
A former member
Post #: 7
I'd like to suggest that one of the best "arguments against religion" is a happy, productive, non-bitter, ethical atheist.

And I'd like also to suggest that the Bible is probably my best friend in engendering skepticism about God. Many people seem to think that the Bible represents a definitive zenith in theological sophistication, and demonstrating to them that the Bible is a fatally flawed anthology of profound contradictions, factual errors, and logical absurdities undermines the entire notion of a personal god acting in the world. I am sometimes put off at the dismissive attitude some atheists show toward biblical knowledge in their midst. It's no good pretending that the Bible is irrelevant and we can safely ignore what it says and the influence it has on so many people. I suppose it's fine to say one is a "modern atheist" and then go on to snub the Bible, if personal satisfaction in one's superiority is the main goal. But to be persuasive or merely to demonstrate a common humanity with the person whose biblical dependency we all find perverse and troubling, perhaps two other approaches could be preferred:

1. Admit frankly that while science gives us much, not least the best method we have of understanding the natural world, science alone cannot solve problems of the human condition, and for that we recognize the need for friendship, the arts, philosophy, community, and so forth; and...

2. Be familiar enough with the Bible that one does not have to resort to dismissing it with a wave of the hand and a string of insults. The Bible has not loomed as monumental influence in the West for 20 centuries because everything in it only sucks all the time. There are things in the anthology that attract people and inspire them. The overall case with the Bible is that is a confused and immoral mishmash that has little of significance to offer modern humanity. But we misunderstand the appeal of community, of ritual, of divine love and the promise of forgiveness at our peril. It is no good for us to say they are like the Scarecrow, heads stuffed with straw, if they can point back at our hollow Tinman chests. If we seek to understand the real human needs that drive many people to torture their own minds in an effort to believe the incredible, just for a small dose of dubious comfort, perhaps our sympathy and understanding can help wean the religiously afflicted away from their delusions and dependency.

Just a couple of thoughts.
A former member
Post #: 1
Hi Eric. Hi August. smile

We need atheists of all different flavors, expertise, and those with a new angle and a new idea. We need the guys who write the bible criticism (Hector Avalos) in exquisite detail, the fun-to-read writers (Christopher Hitchens), and the uncompromising Richard Dawkins.

On a more local level, we need the master at letter-writing and public speaking - that's August, and more of the intelligent writing of Eric, and others. Everyone has something to contribute to the cause, even if it's just a friendly face and the courage to admit you don't attend church.
A former member
Post #: 29
Everyone has something to contribute to the cause, even if it's just a friendly face and the courage to admit you don't attend church.

Since science has disproven that the earth was once flat and also that the earth isn't at the center of the universe, and microorganisms was the cause of peoples diseases instead of some entity invading the body. Wouldn't using science and history be enough to disprove religion? And why do we have to have courage enough to say we don't go to church? Instead we should be proud to say I don't follow christian dogma or use christian language and I am a proud supporter of science and reason!
A former member
Post #: 8
Carl, I hope I don't sound as if I am disagreeing with your central thesis in any way. Science and reason are our crucial bedrock, no question. What I hope to suggest--and perhaps this is something you just put under the "reason" heading, so it doesn't strike you as a separate category--is that people have existential needs that reason and science alone do not and can not address. When I lie on a blanket in the middle of a field and look straight up into the sky and feel myself in some transcendent sense to be a tiny dot of consciousness in a vast, vast cosmos, and this sensation fills me with awe and makes me weep just from the sheer wonder of it, would you say that this is an unreasonable reaction and thus illegitimate? When I look at my kids and feel that I am just crazy about them, that there is very little I would not do for them, is this irrational and out of bounds? When I hold my girlfriend and just wish time would stand still and that a bubble would surround us and keep out the world forever, is that just anti-science? I am a proud support of science and reason as well, and a proud opposer of superstition and irrationality. But are transcendent experiences irrational, just because they are non-rational? And is the deep exerience of crazy love out of bounds because it is by definition unreasonable? I hope not, because those are part of what it is to be fully human. Please don't misunderstand what I am saying is that science has nothing to say about such experiences--I realize that blood chemistry helps explain the feelings associated with being in love and brain wave patterns reliably depict transcendent states. I am saying that as qualia, as subjective experiences, they neither require nor benefit from those kinds of qualificaton. And I am suggesting that religion is, for many people, a reliable provider of those kinds of non-rational, unscientific experiences. We do not by any means need to give up our unshakeable base of rationality and scientific thinking to understand the desire, the existential need, for something more than naked scientism can provide. I am suggesting that our pride in being rational modern atheists be tempered with some sympathy for the human needs that keep so many dependent on religion. And I am further promoting the idea that brute reason is less likely to persuade religious people to embrace reason than are examples of fulfilled, happy atheists living ethical, productive, meaningful lives. The truth is, a lot religious people know damn well their beliefs don't make much sense. But they are afraid--they have been coached and even brow-beaten into being afraid--that without those beliefs, they will miserable and adrift, with no basis for morality or purpose and an overwhelming terror of death. This is of course pure crap. But if they can see that such fears are unfounded, that will create a space for their natural, indwelling doubts to take root and blossom.

Again, just thinking "out loud" here. But until a lot of people feel confident that not being in the grip of religious dogma doesn't mean their kids are going to end up on drugs and pregnant, they frankly don't give a shit what the shape the planet is or what its position in the universe. Once they come to understand that such fears are unjustified, rationality will be much easier to sell. Rationality plus compassion is, to my mind, likely to accomplish much more than blunt reason alone could ever do.
A former member
Post #: 1

I completely agree with your approach. Compassion and reverence for life and beauty do not simply disappear because one no longer believes in God. Leading by example may, indeed, be the best beacon to living a life without making excuses for the unexplained. Is a sunrise any less beautiful if one does not attribute it to God?

The fear of the unknown may be the driving force behind organized religious belief. In order to vanquish fear, one must learn to simply accept the inevitable - life ends in death, whether that life is a loved one, an ant, a relationship or a mighty Sequoia.
A former member
Post #: 2
" Wouldn't using science and history be enough to disprove religion? "

One would think so, but instead they just become suspicious of history books, and of science (until they become sick). If the history and science books don't align with their beliefs, then the books must be biased.

"Attack a fact and--even if right--we may merely be laughed at. Attack a myth and we place ourselves in grave danger." Steve Allen Dumbth

(You're welcome Gregg for bringing you to this site).
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