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11:30 AM on 07/17/12 
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jawstheme
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This is incorrect. If someone asks you whether or not you believe in God, there are only two suitable answers. You either do or you don't. If you don't, you don't believe in God and are therefore an atheist on the basis of that belief alone. Furthermore, that is how you're born. You don't enter the world with a belief in concepts you haven't been introduced to. If I had gone my whole life without having ever heard a single thing about the existence of giraffes, I wouldn't have concocted a belief in them at some point. I would've always had no belief. Additionally, atheism is not a 'belief system'. That would make it akin to religion. Atheism is just a response to a question. Anything you tie to it doesn't reflect upon it as a whole. There is no dogma that can be associated with it.

This is too simplistic , I think. Especially the comparison to giraffes. For example, say you're born into this world and no one even brings up religion, but you experience loss, and realize that everyone dies. Thus the mystery of life will probably enter your head; what's the "point" if we all just die? where do we go, if anywhere? Maybe you answer this by saying well there must be no point. But maybe you say there must be some meaning to all this and develop some type of religion.

Now there would be no reason a person would question whether giraffes exist with no evidence of them whatsoever, and no one bringing them up. But religion, or some deeper meaning, could easily be thought up without anyone mentioning it.
11:37 AM on 07/17/12 
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suicidesaints
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I could be wrong but isn't Atheism the DISbelief in God. If you say there is NO God then you are Atheist. If you say there may or may not be a God then you are Agnostic? Therefore, there are more than 2 suitable answers to the question "Do you believe in God?"
11:39 AM on 07/17/12 
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jawstheme
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The whole "we're born atheist" thing is getting really silly. We're born with little to no knowledge at all. Is that really the ideal state you want be arguing under anyway?
11:43 AM on 07/17/12 
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This is too simplistic , I think. Especially the comparison to giraffes. For example, say you're born into this world and no one even brings up religion, but you experience loss, and realize that everyone dies. Thus the mystery of life will probably enter your head; what's the "point" if we all just die? where do we go, if anywhere? Maybe you answer this by saying well there must be no point. But maybe you say there must be some meaning to all this and develop some type of religion.

Now there would be no reason a person would question whether giraffes exist with no evidence of them whatsoever, and no one bringing them up. But religion, or some deeper meaning, could easily be thought up without anyone mentioning it.
Perhaps the giraffe analogy is simplistic, but the thrust of the post remains in tact.
11:47 AM on 07/17/12 
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jawstheme
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You do understand that religion IS the issue, the cause of those problems? It seems like you think critics of religion are just being assholes. Of course people will be offended when you tell them that their worldview is ridiculous and damaging to society. There is no way to tiptoe around that. A divide is inevitable here, but being atheist and sharing your views does not create it since we are all born atheist.

Also, you are going to have to explain your negative criticisms for the website I provided, instead of just simply saying "lie, misunderstanding, straw grasping, and hypocritical!"

You can explain away those criticisms with the simple statement of correlation does not equal causation. Suppression of women could have underlying power and social issues that have nothing to do with religion. Suppression of gay rights could have more to do with economic issues than you think (traditional family thought to be better for a capitalist economy). In modern times there are more damaging lies done in the name of capitalism and western society than there are for religion.

Religion has proven to be adaptable for greater good or bad. That site you posted focuses solely on negative influences of religion but ignored the positive things done in the name of religion. There are religious groups fighting very hard for the rights you say they're trying to take away. Its much more practical to fight the causes of these problems. Take religion away and I bet you have other weapons used to fight (i.e. nationalism, party politics). You really don't think there'd be atheist disagreements over right and wrong? I think David hit the nail on the head with this intellectual blanket fight against religion, there's money in it.
11:47 AM on 07/17/12 
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perceptrons
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The whole "we're born atheist" thing is getting really silly. We're born with little to no knowledge at all. Is that really the ideal state you want be arguing under anyway?
Well, yes, the entire point is really silly to argue about. However, I don't see the arguments being made that "it's the default" shows "it's better," except by idiots.
11:48 AM on 07/17/12 
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This is incorrect. If someone asks you whether or not you believe in God, there are only two suitable answers. You either do or you don't. If you don't, you don't believe in God and are therefore an atheist on the basis of that belief alone. Furthermore, that is how you're born. You don't enter the world with a belief in concepts you haven't been introduced to. If I had gone my whole life without having ever heard a single thing about the existence of giraffes, I wouldn't have concocted a belief in them at some point. I would've always had no belief. Additionally, atheism is not a 'belief system'. That would make it akin to religion. Atheism is just a response to a question. Anything you tie to it doesn't reflect upon it as a whole. There is no dogma that can be associated with it.
11:50 AM on 07/17/12 
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jawstheme
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Perhaps the giraffe analogy is simplistic, but the thrust of the post remains in tact.

Maybe you could elaborate a bit more. I thought the thrust of the post is that without religion being introduced to us, we would never come across it. It could be that even if atheists did come across it on their own they would always reject it.
The latter is actually how I always thought atheists described themselves: They have never seen enough or any evidence of god or religious meaning, so they reject the conclusion.
11:52 AM on 07/17/12 
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jawstheme
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Well, yes, the entire point is really silly to argue about. However, I don't see the arguments being made that "it's the default" shows "it's better," except by idiots.

Haha, yeah I don't even know why I'm bothering. I must be bored.
12:01 PM on 07/17/12 
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Maybe you could elaborate a bit more. I thought the thrust of the post is that without religion being introduced to us, we would never come across it. It could be that even if atheists did come across it on their own they would always reject it.
The latter is actually how I always thought atheists described themselves: They have never seen enough or any evidence of god or religious meaning, so they reject the conclusion.
To me, J.C. was just correcting Sean about the default state. Everything he said, minus maybe the giraffe analogy holds. I don't think J.C. would disagree with you that some sort of religious/spiritual ideas can come out of nowhere (obviously they did). Of course, if no one ever introduced me to Catholicism, I would never have come up with Catholicism on my own. So, in that way, the analogy holds. Someone may find evidence of an animal and come up with an animal that is something like a giraffe, but would they ever come up with a giraffe without being introduced to one?

I assume that is how most atheists would describe it, but I don't know. I did, anyway.
12:11 PM on 07/17/12 
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You can explain away those criticisms with the simple statement of correlation does not equal causation. Suppression of women could have underlying power and social issues that have nothing to do with religion. Suppression of gay rights could have more to do with economic issues than you think (traditional family thought to be better for a capitalist economy). In modern times there are more damaging lies done in the name of capitalism and western society than there are for religion.

Religion has proven to be adaptable for greater good or bad. That site you posted focuses solely on negative influences of religion but ignored the positive things done in the name of religion. There are religious groups fighting very hard for the rights you say they're trying to take away. Its much more practical to fight the causes of these problems. Take religion away and I bet you have other weapons used to fight (i.e. nationalism, party politics). You really don't think there'd be atheist disagreements over right and wrong? I think David hit the nail on the head with this intellectual blanket fight against religion, there's money it.

Women are treated as second class citizens in many religious books. You should know that. And I won't even bring up the bible verse that condemns gays which is used to suppress their rights. I never said religion is the only negative impact on society, of course there are more. We simply don't need religion to do good, it does more harm than good. Also, You can use anything for the purpose of obtaining money, I don't think you have a point there.
12:14 PM on 07/17/12 
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J.C.
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This is too simplistic , I think.

Some would argue the concept of God is overly simplistic.

Originally Posted by jawstheme
Especially the comparison to giraffes. For example, say you're born into this world and no one even brings up religion, but you experience loss, and realize that everyone dies. Thus the mystery of life will probably enter your head; what's the "point" if we all just die? where do we go, if anywhere? Maybe you answer this by saying well there must be no point. But maybe you say there must be some meaning to all this and develop some type of religion.

If we define religion as merely man confronting the things he doesn't have the wherewithal to explain, that will always occur. However, that's not a justification for believing in something. What you're doing is concocting a belief out of thin air so as to provide you psychological comfort. In the short term that may prove to be a benefit, but in the long term it's a hindrance to actual truth and understanding of the world.
12:15 PM on 07/17/12 
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perceptrons
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Women are treated as second class citizens in many religious books. You should know that. And I won't even bring up the bible verse that condemns gays which is used to suppress their rights. I never said religion is the only negative impact on society, of course there are more. We simply don't need religion to do good, it does more harm than good. Also, You can use anything for the purpose of obtaining money, I don't think you have a point there.
Is it required to do good? Of course not. Do many religious organizations do good? Of course.

So, I guess I don't understand why you think it's necessary to remove religion wholesale? Why not just work to fight against the negative aspects of religion?
12:28 PM on 07/17/12 
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jawstheme
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Some would argue the concept of God is overly simplistic.



If we define religion as merely man confronting the things he doesn't have the wherewithal to explain, that will always occur. However, that's not a justification for believing in something. What you're doing is concocting a belief out of thin air so as to provide you psychological comfort. In the short term that may prove to be a benefit, but in the long term it's a hindrance to actual truth and understanding of the world.


See this is where you have already taken a stance. And that's fine. But is it really "a hinderance to actual truth and understanding of the world" to claim that it has meaning? That is the kind of assumption that is insulting. I have no qualms and even fully support and anticipate scientific understanding of the universe. That it no way answers the age old "meaning of life" question though. And if it someday, somehow does I'll certainly be open to that. It is much more philosophical and possibly metaphysical though than some hinderance to truth and understanding.

And I'm not at all sure how your first sentence applies to this discussion, unless we're talking about the good old spaghetti monster god, in which case I thought we were way past that at this point.
12:30 PM on 07/17/12 
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plyb
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You do understand that religion IS the issue, the cause of those problems?
actually for the most part that is untrue, and the issues where religion is part of the cause, they can be broken within the construct of their religion rather than deconscructing the entirety of Christianity.
Quote:
It seems like you think critics of religion are just being assholes. Of course people will be offended when you tell them that their worldview is ridiculous and damaging to society. There is no way to tiptoe around that. A divide is inevitable here, but being atheist and sharing your views does not create it since we are all born atheist.
I don't think disagreement and debate makes someone an asshole. I don't even think you are an asshole... I just think you are someone who correctly recognizes some societal problems but have mistakenly attached a simple and broad answer to a complex question while unable to accept anyone could possibly explore all the options, and be knowledgable and still reach a different worldview and way of thinking that you have. And if that is the case you are going to yelling at a brick wall because you dont currently grasp what propels religious people to make their choices and therefore can't make them question them.
Quote:
Also, you are going to have to explain your negative criticisms for the website I provided, instead of just simply saying "lie, misunderstanding, straw grasping, and hypocritical!"
Well they started off poorly with "Lying to the masses." considering they made a editorial choice to side with effective rhetoric rather than a correct statement of facts. They provide no backup for claims such as Christianity being the cause of the AIDs crisis (which is certainly an example of a complicated issue and fitting into a convienent box). They provide a statistic without a study "44 percent of Americans believe the world will end in their lifetimes and eagerly await it" without referencing it, and from a quick google search I found over 10 polls with numbers which don't even remotely represent that. (Most recent I found was 2 out of 10, with no mention of whether they eagerly awaited it). They applied ideas like stem cell research directly to religion/the Bible when the biggest issue is a continued attachment and misrepresentmemt of the media saying it is tied with abortion. They use scare tactics like suggesting there is some countrywide movement for a Christian Taliban. They paint broad brushes and grasp at straws by citing things like using an extremely small minority of Christians who reject modern medicine. It's a website pushing for logical and well defended decisions but fails to meet its own standard and makes baseless claims instead.



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