Showing posts with label Atheism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atheism. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Saving Atheists from the New Atheism
Why are the New Atheists such jerks? Case in point: Richard Dawkins’ continuing pursuit of Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas 14-year-old humiliated in school after authorities mistook his homemade clock for a bomb.
Jeff Sparrow
The new atheists are jerks because being a jerk sells better than rational argument. P.Z. Meyers had a good science blog that was lost in blog space until he started bashing Creationism and atheist women.  At that point views and ad revenues went up to the point that he left science blogging entirely to create "Freethought Blogs" which was anything but free thinking space.  Not that bashing Creationism and Ken Ham is a bad idea, but being a jerk about it accomplishes nothing except creating an us vs them religious point of view that should be anathema to atheism, or at least humanism which should be the basis for atheism.  

As most here know J'Carlin under various usernames on beliefnet© was a host of the Atheism Debate board and moderator of several Science and Religion boards including "Origins of Life" the forum for discussions of Creationism.  Origins was my first experience having to deal with belief based thinking directly.  It was with great dismay that I found that the culture of belief based thinking and misogyny had permeated Western culture to the extent that even atheists were falling into the cultural miasma.  One would have hoped for better thinking from the freethinkers.

There always was a rift in the atheist community between the Skeptics (note Cap) and the atheists.  But the New Atheists created a new rift between dogmatic atheists (There is no God. Period.) and more flexible atheists who could discuss God beliefs without rancor although the satire was frequently confused with rancor by the believers.  An amusing example of the rift can be found in the following 200+ post thread.  I have quoted my OP as a hook.

I did indeed READ Dawkins' trashy tract

in its entirety ...teilhard

I too have read Dawkins’ trashy tract.  Although not yet in its entirety.  It is sitting beside the loo where I can try to get through the last few pages while I am in an appropriate place not to notice the stink.    

Dawkins makes the same mistake of all fundies in seeing the world in black and white.  He for instance insists that indoctrinating children in anything that he doesn’t believe in is child abuse.  He has a whole chapter (9) in which he suggests that some of the worst cases of abuse, the lead one dating from 1858 stand for all indoctrination of children in religious doctrine.  Dawkins seems to believe that indoctrinating children in the beliefs of the child’s parents, and the society in which hesh will live is somehow abuse if they are not beliefs that Dawkins shares.    

I think Dawkins like PZ Meyers has completely discredited a lot of valuable evolutionary education material with their virulent anti-God tracts.  I greatly enjoyed and used Dawkins early books, particularly the Blind Watchmaker and Climbing Mount Improbable to help people understand how evolution “gets there” although of course there is no there there for evolution.  I can no longer do so, since Dawkins with his self-immolation as fundie has been thoroughly discredited as a reasonable scientist.  

(12.26.15)Until very recently there were no atheists. Or at least those who lived through admitting it. Deists, those "Endowed by their Creator." and those who "believed" in a personal God which may or may not have had any resemblance to any existing supreme being including the freemasons' one. An out atheist is probably a later development than an out homosexual. If you liked having friends and associates in fraternal organizations you went along with the rituals whatever they might have been.


Monday, November 9, 2015

On Feminism, Activism and Isms

But sometimes those same activist cultures can be unnecessarily exclusive – and worse, inaccessible and elitist. I even feel myself doing it sometimes:

 Or why I abandoned the "Feminist movement" in the'70s in spite of being a milk feminist. My first mistake was suggesting that an attack on "man/men" as generic was a mistake. That they should have promoted a gender specific noun for males corresponding to women, something like heman or heeman. Nope. We got to get rid of man in chairman, workman, "All Men are created equal." etc. Look how well that worked several decades later.  Well, it is a fact that all the chairs are no longer chairman of this or that and that all of the significant chairs still have men's butts glued to them.  It is also a fact that "All people are created equal" unless they are female, or non-Caucasian.  (At least they changed the box from Caucasian to white and then fucked that up by including "Hispanic" for all non-Caucasian whites.)

Over the years I have discovered that anything that appears to be a meeting of anything resembling believers is almost certainly not user friendly for anyone but the organizers and true believers.  I find it much more useful to let others attend and read the blogs and reports of the attendees, which are either ignorable dogma or tales of exclusion, prejudice and harassment. Even "freethinkers" like skeptics and atheists are surprisingly dogmatic.  In discussing paranormal phenomenon I have lost count of the times I have heard that "Randi's million dollar prize proves that the paranormal cannot exit." Atheists are not content to ignore God and gods in their daily lives, they must prove that gods necessarily cannot exist for anybody and that all religions are horrible abusers of believers.   .  

The excuse for all the sins of the activists is that they are raising awareness, and that in order to do so the message must be focused and consistent, that is reflect the narrow and exclusionary views of the promoters.   

But it taught me a valuable lesson: the best way to support any -ism or activist is to walk their talk. It is not surprising as we see in the article, how many of the -ists don't.  I wonder how many people or corporations who wear pink ribbons on their persons or products have ever done anything at all to help with treatment or research into breast cancer except to throw some chump change into some charity without even running a Navigator on the charity?  Have the GLBTQ activists done anything but create reaction and hate for their GLBTQ neighbors walking their talk by living working, raising children, and proving to their neighbors and churches that they are simply human?  Does posting your Black Lives Matter vid of police brutality on the web do anything but insure the Police, their captive prosecutors, and the media will insure justice denied? See: what to do with your arrest video.

Activism works, but it does not involve going to meetings and talking tactics.  Get a bunch of your friends together go to the city council meeting, the planning commission meeting, or if you have a lot of friends to Washington DC (Social media helps coordinate things but use email and secret groups on Facebook.  It won't stay secret but it is hard to disrupt.) While you are there making sure all of your friends are registered to vote, and will do so if only to vote the incumbents out. 

The other form of activism is using any position of privilege you might have to affirmatively support any challenge to injustice you know about.  If your significant others are challenging the system make sure that you use your LinkedIn network to help even at the cost of burning some of your own bridges. If you have that video of brutality or bullying on your thumb drive, don't just tell the victim it is there, tell them you will appear on their behalf.     

Saturday, October 3, 2015

An Atheist Feminist Shouts Bullshit.


Atheists like most arbitrary groups tend to reflect the dominant mores of the society in which they are embedded.  I suspect that male feminists are as unusual in atheist groups as in any other that doesn't have misogyny as a central group tenet. 

Atheists generally have weak belief systems, and therefore might be influenced more by advocacy groups with a useful message.  Many won't listen, even weak belief systems are hard to counter, but I suspect that feminism will generally find fertile ground in the rapidly growing atheist and secular part of the overall society. 

And you're basing this on survey and polling data, right? Not just on anectdote and making shit up?   Fematheist
False dichotomy.  In any event survey and polling data finds whatever the constructor of the survey or poll wants to find.  See any partisan political poll.  Did you ever hear of or write a "push poll?"  If not why not?  You claim to be a social scientist, you must have been taught about them in something like Surveys 101.

Unbiased observation of convention activity, social functions, and comments of members of a study group are much more reliable than any poll or survey unless you have access to the actual questions asked in the poll, the demographic of the polling subjects, and the bias of the poll constructor.  Got any?  Or are all your observations and data biased by feminist activism?

I am sorry, are you suggesting that because some companies polls do push calling that gives you the right to just make bullshit up on these boards and pass it off as reality? Is that SERIOUSLY what your argument is?  Attacking bad polling instead of defending or evening acknowleding the bullshit you just MADE UP?

I would call that a fundy evasion tactic there, JC.Fematheist

You can call it anything you like from your social science ivory tower.  I am not talking about company or think tank push polls, I am talking about the biased polls and surveys from proper respected academic departments in economics and social science, two areas of interest for me.  I do read past the popular articles in the news to the published data and read the protocols and the questions themselves.  Some good, some garbage. 

In any event I have been living atheism and feminism for many more decades than you have been alive and I am not a convert to either.  Before you sling your projection of fundy on me you should at least identify the fundamentalism I allegedly identify with.  What is it? A convert's fundamentalist anti-theist beliefs?  A feminist activist's fundamentalism that all men are pricks?

I am a trained scientist and scholar although not working in either field I am able to observe behavior from a scientific POV generally without bias or belief based conceptual blocks.  It is a fact that I am a feminist man living in a male dominated world, and an atheist in a Christian dominated culture, but I do observe without bias how both of those positions of privilege affect me and the others around me. 

Shouting about making bullshit up does not make the assertion true. One must in academia or in the real world, take the bullshit apart and demonstrate that it is wrong.  So far you have done neither.  

To be fair to Fematheist she is promoting a feminist atheist channel on YouTube (Search Kristi Winters) that is well worth subscribing to if you are into Video.  I skip to the references to see whether the transcript is worth reading. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Atheists and the Traditional Faiths

I'm ROMAN CATHOLIC.    Your gonna tell me what my rules are "FOR ME"

HOW T F does that work?  RCCan

It doesn't.  And it doesn't happen with most humanists with the possible exception of ex-ROMAN CATHOLICS.  Even the ex-Catholics won't tell you what your rules are for you, they will tell you how those rules don't work anymore for them. 

Many milk humanists have at least studied the major religions, and may indeed appreciate the benefit for believers of the faiths.  It is kind of a fun argument among atheists about which proponents of the faith were actually atheists.  The musicians, artists, and craftspeople that provided the fundamentals of the ritual.  Since they had to understand the faith from the outside as it were to get commissions, they could focus on the "hot buttons" to make their work meaningful for believers.  Many of the famous Catholic masses and prayers, and even more of the protestant music were probably composed by non-believers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New Atheists Vs Progressives

The debate centers around how to criticize Islamic fundementalists who promote violent views.  New atheists point to the role of religion as a motivating factor, but multiculturalists and theists on left don't want to hold religion accountable for the evil it motivates. Kwinters

The human brain is necessarily a belief processor.  See The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer.  Even those of us who claim to have no beliefs, at best know what know what beliefs we have that are important and try with varying levels of success to compensate when necessary.  

New atheists want to destroy religion and just like any extremists don't care what collateral damage results.  Progressives have no issues with holding religion accountable for evil, they are just trying to rescue the good from all the wreckage. New atheists seem to believe that carpet bombing religion is necessary to get rid of the evil, and while it is true that carpet bombing will get rid of evil, the question remains is the cost/benefit ratio positive?  Progressives say no.  Believers will believe in something anyway, see any deconvert.  If the whole belief system is destroyed, good and bad, they will cling to some of the beliefs usually the bad ones that feed their ego, and the result may be worse than the religious belief system that was destroyed.

Fundamentalist Christianity has some saving graces.  Even though all are sinners and need to be saved by Christ they must be aware of their sins and beg for mercy. Fundamentalist Christianity was destroyed in part not by attacking the beliefs but by reinforcing the dysfunctional ones: We are all sinners and forgiven by grace so let's just wallow in sin.  The worst is the sin of Bibliolatry. 

Notice that Pope Francis is attacking specific sins leaving the Belief System intact.  A much more difficult row to hoe, but then he can't use the carpet bomb strategy. His target is Christianity and fundamentalist Christianity at that, but by focusing on and admitting to the evil that is part of Christianity.  Whether he will survive the campaign is an open question but that is par for the course for progressives.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Sing a Prayer.

The hard part for theists is admitting they have become the moral source they wanted to worship. In fact, they are now in a position to condemn their god as immoral based on secular principles of human rights. Kwinters

lt is not hard at all.  I know some Catholics and many Jews that for all intents and purposes are atheists.  It was a good Catholic that told me that the "Thy God" of the First Great Commandment is whatever you want Herm to be.  She describes her God as an inner voice that she can converse with as a friend to help her decide what to do in difficult situations.  It is easier to call it "Mary" than Raggedy Ann, because Raggedy Ann actually has a form.  (I did ask.)  Her indoctrination makes Mary the mother of all good things, and as a mother it is easy to transfer that voice inside her head from mom to Mary.

For many of the Jews I know, (a biased sample) God is an ancient guide no longer relavent to the modern world, and is nothing but a word in a prayer.  Comfort food for inner peace.  The Shema, commonly the Deuteronomy 6:4-9, is a centering ritual where G-d and "God's Kingdom" is whatever you want to make of your life. 

I have sung the Shema and Ave Marias, reverently as is mandatory to convey the meaning to believers, and using the interpretation of God from my friends I have no problem as an atheist attaching my own personal meaning to the word.  Mostly Pantheist, APOD is my worship focus, although in the Sierra, the "Range of Light" dominates.  If this makes me a believer, so be it.  I am in good company. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

On Transcendence

(And I'm leery of that word 'transcending' - it's too often an attempt to smuggle nonsense into conversations.) Blü
I find transcendence to be a perfectly good word for the natural ability of the mind to focus on a single task.  Normally physical, athletes and musicians call it the zone, but can be purely mental. The mental state is harder to achieve but can be trained just as the physical state is trained.  The problem is that it can be focused just as well on imaginary things as real ones, so it is important to recognize explicitly the focus of the transcendent state.  The Transcendentalists focused it inward, to discover what it is to live meaningfully as a human, and atheists should acknowledge our debt to their efforts.  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bible Study

No, it does not. Only the most superficial and facile reading ( and one which leaves out most of the narrative)  would support your contention.  rocketJew

Because you are used to, as are all believers, a heavily interpreted reading variously known as Apologetics, Commentary, Bible Study, or Lessons.  This consists of taking a small bit of Scripture, at most a few verses, studying the opinions of all that "explain" what it means and then claiming to understand what it says.  The verses are chosen carefully to teach what the Rabbi, Priest, Pastor, or other vuvuzela wants to teach about the religion. 

One of the many paths to rejecting the God of Scripture, quite common among women, is to sneak a copy of one's Scripture "under the covers" and read whole stories in context.  Sometimes even, God forbid, the whole thing.  It is amusing to read the stories of the Yahwist in one sitting as a novelette about God. I recommend Rosenberg's translation for English speakers.  It is short, but surprisingly contains most of the stories in the Bible that everybody remembers.  Whether or not as Bloom suggests in The Book of J the Yahwist was a highly educated female courtesan, the misogyny of God is laid on so thickly that only a man can believe it is actually the word of God.  But then again, for male believers "Too much is never enough." 

Almost as good is reading the 613 "commandments" straight up, no interpretation, in any language in one sitting.  Any woman who can make it through that, will need intensive therepy by a Rabbi, Priest, Pastor, or other vuvuzela to avoid running, kicking and screaming, from the God that spake them.  It is little wonder that women and girls were not permitted to even have their own copy of their Scripture to read unsupervised and were never permitted to study scripture without the associated "teachings" even then only in tiny slices of the original.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

George Carlin, Rudeness, Mockery and Ridicule

No one who engages in rudeness, mockery, and ridicule to try to affect oppression is doing so for personal gain of any sort, let alone an elevated personal opinion in the eyes of the oppressors or even the oppressed. 

What it achieves is getting people to think; even if only to think hateful thoughts.  Getting people to think about their beliefs in any way is the only way to change them. 

While you are correct that it rarely achieves an immediate positive change longer term it will make a difference.  I hold that rude, mocker and ridiculer George Carlin responsible for the fact that atheists can at least check that box on a poll without fear of reprisal at least in some countries and parts of the US, Fort Wayne excepted.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


I was a Boy Scout and an atheist and a Scoutmaster and an atheist.  Most of my ancestors that I know their religious inclinations were atheists or at least made fun of their clergy.  It is rumored that an ancestor that left England circa 1611 for Virginia was given the choice emigrate or die by his bishop.

Nonetheless, I grew up in a religious society and being an out atheist was neither important nor safe.  The Scouts provided a great experience for little money and my parents weren't wealthy enough for secular camps. So it was "Trustworthy, loyal, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, thrifty, brave, clean, irreverent" for me.  I was interested in religions by that time so going to church was no problem.  I even went to a Pontifical Mass at a Boy Scout Jamboree, certainly a first for an atheist. I could sing dominos with the best of them.

The scoutmaster was a different story.  My UU church wanted to sponsor a Boy Scout troop at a welfare hotel, the worst in NYC.  They forgot to tell the Scouts that I was an atheist so I became one of the scoutmasters.  A successful troop, as those things go.  One of our scouts was quite successful and had a nice Wiki write up courtesy of the Scouts until the church quit Scouts due to discrimination and founded the Navigators, a scouting experience for everybody.  The two troops they had, one in the South Bronx and one in Manhattan, became the first chapters in the Navigators.  I think BSA were relieved, as the scouts were generally the wrong skin color as well as not too loyal to God and the Republicans. 

Atheism on God


Atheists just don't care about God. 

If someone wants to believe in God that is their problem not mine.  It boils down to responsibility for actions.  Blü seems to be right that do what you are told to do is the default human condition.  It doesn't matter much who or what tells you what to do. When you do it it is their fault not yours if it turns out badly.  Even the vuvuzelas favorite dodge when they are caught with their dresses up is that "It was God's will."  In other words it is not my fault.

That is why theists want God to exist.  

Atheists, once they become adult realize that it is their fault.  Life is finite and what they do with it is their responsibility.

"Live a life worth dying for." Forrest Church

Or the thought attributed to Cherokee traditions:

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced,  Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."

There is no one to blame if you don't live your life, and if the world doesn't cry the failure is yours.  It is not necessarily a comfortable way to live, but at least you live.  As El Cid says on another thread if you believe in God you are dead when you are born, a puppet while you are alive, and thrown away when you die.  Maybe the dumpster will be comfortable or maybe not.  You will never find out.    

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Authority, Love, and God.

I suspect that the "Presence within" is part of the deference to authority genetic basic moral imperative you argue for.  
As noted that starts with do what mama tells you as she is a "loving presence" and generalizes as we get older to family and mentors.  If indoctrination starts early enough "Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so." that loving presence may get confused with authority.  The secret of Christianity is that it confuses the loving, merciful Jesus with the misanthropist in the sky who is the authority figure, and things go downhill rapidly from there.  

If you can limit the authority figures to those have earned respect if not love the confusion with mama is less important.  This is where atheists have a major advantage over theists.  We are able to pick our mentors without the help of the vuvuzelas.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Atheism or Anti-Theism?

Perhaps we can get around to actually discussing atheism?
We are discussing atheism that is: why we are not a believer in the various gods, God or G-d that we are respectfully asked to learn more about, distainfully demanded to learn more about, proselytized to believe in, forced to believe in, or forced to pretend to believe in to avoid ostracism at best.  Historically, non-belief is punishable by torture and death. Whether that continues today is, shall we say, arguable.   

Sunday, June 21, 2015

God and BS - Is there a Distinction


Ancient history but worth preserving

2/2/2004 1:52 AM
1 out of 26

Tr1nity, TheRaUch, Mas, and other advocates of BS (Belief System(s), thanks Acira and TheRaUch.).

First. I have no doubt that God exists for you. I have no doubt that for tr1nity Christ lives.

Second. When I open a mass I have no doubt that Kyrie is there to Eleison and that Christe is right behind Herm to help. Indeed it is proven each time it happens, as neither will strike dead the soprano with the atrocious vibrato that is destroying the beauty of the music. They are also able to make the believers in the audience, and yes, even the believers singing, not hear it. Just as they help believers not see the atrocious art in some of the crucifixes they have on their walls and around their necks.

Belief in God can be empowering. However, many threads on this board have been presenting a powerful demonstration of one of the greatest dangers of belief. They are trying to convince a rather skeptical group that a belief in God can be transferred to a BS that defies all reason, and then circularly use the BS to find God.

Mediators for God have exhorted people that if they believe, God will be real for them. Even though they must ignore the evidence of their senses, and must not expect rational evidence to believe.

So far, so good. If one stops with God advising and helping to manage one's life, and one trusts only God to sort out which parts of the BS that are being thrown at them are true, the chances are excellent that they will have a spiritually rewarding life.

Then the trouble starts.

The mediator says God inspires ME, Believe Me. This is easy to do, especially if God does inspire the mediator. Unfortunately, this is also semantically equivalent to the classic con man's "trust me."

At this point it is critical to understand that it is the mediator's interpretation of God's inspiration that hesh is preaching. A believer must check that interpretation with God directly before transferring belief to the mediator.

By the way this is where most atheists and agnostics part company with believers. It may be reasonable to ignore sensual and rational evidence for an omnipotent, omniscient entity, especially when the entity cares about everyone.
It is definitely not reasonable to ignore sensual and rational evidence to believe a guy in a fancy dress, no matter how impressive the pulpit is. Ultimately the balcony of the Vatican is no more persuasive if God (or the evidence) says bad BS than the dirty top of the cardboard box with three bent cards on it. Please note that neither is necessarily unpersuasive for some who wish to believe.

But once belief in an omnipotent, omniscient entity that cares about everyone is transferred to real people whose BS may have personal agendas that conflict the best interests of others, a BS can and does get real ugly.

Some threads here are advocating some really ugly BS. No God I have ever had occasion to believe in would approve anything about them. It is clear to me that some mediators behind them are pushing extremely antisocial BS. I find the motives to be pretty transparent: To acquire political power and bling-bling to impress the flock. The three-card monte dealer is at least honest about herm scam.


2/2/2004 12:44 PM
3 out of 26

In regards to BS, this needs to be credited to Robert Anton Wilson, who was the first I ever read use it in regards to Belief Systems. It's SUPPOSED to register in your mind as bullsh**... :P

Actually, I could go on and on for many posts explaining the mindset and perspective behind BS and why RAW uses that acronym, and why I happily adopted it, but it would be easier to just refer you to any RAW works. If you're interested, let me know, and I'll get you a title.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Whiite, Male, Middle Class, MBA Perspective

Jun 7, 2015 -- 7:01PM, LDS wrote:
My thing is that too many people - including certain posters - are so caught up in their pet projects that they're starting to lose perspective.

I lost the white, male, middle class, MBA perspective long before I even got the MBA. Despite the fact that I am white, male, middle class and have an MBA.  I lost it so long before I entered an elite university, that it was glaringly obvious in most of my classmates and somewhat uncomfortable for me although I could not avoid it or combat it and still participate as a student.  It was kind of like being an atheist in a Christian culture.  One had to find an unobtrusive way to remain true to your values without offensive behavior.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Religious, Spiritual, and Atheist.

I think Forrest Church's mantra is appropriate here. 
Religion is the human response to being alive and having to die.

 I had a chance to talk with him about that.  He had no problems with atheists in his church. 

His question to me was something like have you come to grips with the the fact that you are going to die, and what effect has that had on your life up to now, and in the future.  I said something like sure I will die and quoted Jeffers "Surely they must know that cultures decay and life's end is death."  The Purse-Seine (1937.) He waited silently for the "and"

Every moment is a gift that must be used intelligently to enrich the lives of those around me in ever widening circles.   His response was: Is God involved? I said no and he said you have just defined your atheist religion. I didn't like the term religion as that implied dogmatic to me, and asked if I could use spirituality instead of religion. He replied.  They are the same thing.

Christian Atheists

YEC:  I would think almost all of the Atheist living in a free society are to one degree or another.
 It is hard to be a Christian if not a theist.  The entire dogma of Christianity is centered around groveling at the feet of God whether it is Jesus, the Trinity, or "Thy God" of Jesus.  Atheists do not grovel at anything or anybody. Nice try at the Great Commission, but abject failure. 
YEC: For a Godless society there is no moral rule.  Natural evolutionism is the rule.  Survival of the fittest.  There is no absolute law in which a standard can be erected.
In a Godless society moral rules are derived from evolutionary necessity and its corollary tribal living necessities expanded to larger societies as required.  While there is no absolute law governing morality, humanistic empathy is a firm foundation.
YEC: You are born, live and die and "puff"'s all over.
Yep.  In the words of Forrest Church one had best live a life worth dying for.  It is all anybody has. Theist or atheist. 
YEC: In a free society the Atheist follow the moral teachings of Jesus and I might add, the bible.  They know the morals work.  They are tried and proven.   If Jesus never appeared, if the bible never existed....if our laws didn't reflect those morals, where would we be?  
Your remarks about Jesus are pretty close to the mark.  The rest of the Bible morality is either obsolete or dysfunctional in a modern society.

YEC: You said, "They're Out There, I Just Haven't Found Any Yet"...the truth is, you are one of them.
Sorry.  There are many atheist Christians, Jews, Muslims, and members of other theistic religions, that enjoy the traditions, rituals and tribal gatherings associated with the faith, but without the faith in God.  Atheists without a religion are not among them.  In general we (I include myself among them) have developed our own meaning and purpose for being alive and having to die.  But in the words of johnbigboote on the old boards it is a One Person Religion.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cultural Christians

Cultural Christian wrote:
The author opines that his situation and those of others similarly situated provide an opportunity to create a space for the culturally Christian - and possibly the culturally Jewish - nonbeliever.

So where do these folks fit in to or with atheism?  Do you consider them atheists?  Is their experience anything like your experiences?

I suspect that many churches are what I call Sunday Country Clubs.  People go there for the calming, familiar rituals, reconnect with their friends, and provide a safe mixer for their teens.  Although the hymns and rituals refer to God, God is some numinous higher power that can be used in place of meditation to focus thinking on important issues.  Reformed Jews and most UCC and UU churches take this to the extreme of God is whatever you need Herm to be, an imaginary friend that understands your joys and sorrows and helps you manage them. 

I suspect that most theists would call this atheism and atheists don't really care. 

The only God that gets atheists on their soap box is the patriarchal, controlling, and "other" defining God of the fundamentalist Abrahamics.  "We are The Lord's sweet chosen few.  The rest of you be damned.  There's room enough in Hell for you; We won't have Heaven crammed."

The humanistic varieties of the major Western faith groups, the "Back to Jesus' personal God and the Two Great Commandments" Christians, the reformed Jews and as I am vaguely aware some Islamic sects view God as a unifier of humans not a divider, and as an atheist I have no issue at all with their beliefs.  If they are willing to consider me a desirable neighbor, I will certainly reciprocate. I might well go with them to their services, pray with them and sing their hymns including all the God celebrations.  They don't affect my atheism since it is their God not mine that I am celebrating.  

I will even "Celebrate" the traditional Christian/Catholic God, although one might detect a bit of irony in my interpretation of the celebration, but that is a long tradition in the Abrahamics, and the true believers interpret the irony as faith so it is a win-win for all.  Three of the most famous and effective Requiem Masses were written by atheists along with some of the most beautiful interpretations of the traditional Mass and ritual prayers. The church paid artists well, and the artists knew that too much was not enough for believers.     

Monday, May 4, 2015

Growing Up Atheist and Feminist

I grew up as a secular feminist male in a Sunday Country Club society.  Everybody went to church but nobody took it very seriously.  At the university few went to church and so few took it seriously that I had to travel to a nearby Jesuit University to get a good religious discussion.

Nevertheless the echoes of male dominance and sexual entitlement were everywhere. Even the women at the university seemed to think that the Mrs. was as important as the BA.  The way to the Mrs. was universally understood as submissiveness in everything from academics to sex. 

There were a few women on campus that would whup yer ass in anything ya tried to compete in including finding them on top in sex. But the word on campus was that they were failures as women destined to a life of loneliness and frustration.  It generally didn't work out that way as there were some men in the academic world that respected that attitude and were looking for a partner rather than a "wife" and lived happily, if not ever after, long enough to propagate their genetic line. As might be expected their kids were awesome.

Working With Theistic Humanists

 christine3 wrote:
... I wouldn't dismiss believers. They have a strong feeling that it is possible a man in first century Jerusalem was doing things that nobody else could, and I don't doubt that at all. .....

  There are many smart people within Christianity that are going back to the man that was doing those things and was a theistic humanist.  They aren't making much progress in changing the institution that depends on keeping people dumb and believing in the God man, but they are becoming a significant minority in both Catholic and Protestant Christianity.  They are still theistic, the meme of something more encompassing than the individual whether it be Gaia or God is well ingrained in the modern psyche. 

Perhaps working with rather than against humanistic theists would be a better strategy for atheists.