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Subject: On a disturbing trend in topics to which "religion" is deemed relevant rss

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Moshe Callen
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I'm not going to name names here but I constantly see on threads whenever "religion" is deemed relevant an attitude among some atheist posters which bothers me and which should bother the people even expressing these attitudes.

Let an atheist be defined as a person for whom the sole member of the set "religious self-identification":={x} for any religous self-identification x is the empty set {0}. In other words, an atheist for this thread is someone who has no religious self-identification.

The trend is to blame anything which a person who is religious (by self-identification) does or any attitude a religious person has for which they use religion as a justification or excuse as cuased by "religion". Thus one gets inane comments like, "Religion has a lot to answer for." Yet at the same time, in the style of the true Scotsman logical fallacy, the actions or attitudes of any person self-identifying as an atheist or as being an adherent of an atheistic ideology must not be blamed on atheism, and if an atheistic ideology is unequivocably the excuse then that person is treated as not being "really" an atheist.

I contend that no ideology ever made anyone do anything. People choose to do things. Yes, some ideologies are simply abhorrent but even then the principle applies.

So then is perhaps "religion" an abhorrent ideology? No, some monlithic entity "religion" is a myth-- a way of speaking in broad strokes about a functionally infinite set of ideas and ideologies often with little or nothing in common for the intellectually lazy. A single thing "religion" is no more real than a single thing "atheism"-- both are functionally infinite sets of things with a single defining characteristic.

Why is the attitude I'm referring to disturbing then? Simply speaking, it leads to intolerance and outright bigotry. Those atheists who choose to despise "religion" all too often end up despising those they term "theists" as effectively not as intellectually or morally enlightened as they are. In other words, it's a "holier than thou" attitude; simply the people doing it are atheists and they should know better.
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lopsided wrote:

Say we show all the atheists doing things for "progress" or whatever too?
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whac3 wrote:
The trend is to blame anything which a person who is religious (by self-identification) does or any attitude a religious person has for which they use religion as a justification or excuse as cuased by "religion". Thus one gets inane comments like, "Religion has a lot to answer for."


I don't disagree with this. A lot of atheists are dicks about their atheism - perhaps pre-defensively so, but that's not really much of an excuse.

However.

Quote:
I contend that no ideology ever made anyone do anything. People choose to do things. Yes, some ideologies are simply abhorrent but even then the principle applies.


I don't disagree with this either, but the problem is that then "my religion says X" loses a lot of its power as an argument for anything - and "my religion says X" has been the basis for many arguments, particularly here in RSP. (Same-sex marriage would be the biggest but is far from the only one.)

Either ideology is viable as a reason people do things, or it is the excuse of the faithful to not argue with the secular. Religious people don't get to have it both ways.
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whac3 wrote:
lopsided wrote:

Say we show all the atheists doing things for "progress" or whatever too?


They won't acknowledge Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot in this context Moshe. I've tried for years and not one single atheist in RSP has ever admitted that the most depraved and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years, by atheists.

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Come on people now!
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DWTripp wrote:
whac3 wrote:
lopsided wrote:

Say we show all the atheists doing things for "progress" or whatever too?


They won't acknowledge Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot in this context Moshe. I've tried for years and not one single atheist in RSP has ever admitted that the most depraved and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years, by atheists.



Because whether they were or were not atheists was irrelevant to their crimes. They were not forcing people to 'convert to atheism or die' - they were just killing people who didn't support their regime (that didn't involve religion one way or another).

Nobody has killed anyone else in the name of atheism or to force conversion to atheism, which is patently and obviously NOT true the other way around. Mass murder as an alternative to forced conversion to a specific religion or mass murder as punishment for not following a particular religion to the right extreme is COMMON in human history.
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XanderF wrote:
they were just killing people who didn't support their regime (that didn't involve religion one way or another).


I disagree. Nationalism is a religion.
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XanderF wrote:
Nobody has killed anyone else in the name of atheism or to force conversion to atheism

That is completely false. Start here.
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DWTripp wrote:
whac3 wrote:
lopsided wrote:

Say we show all the atheists doing things for "progress" or whatever too?


They won't acknowledge Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot in this context Moshe. I've tried for years and not one single atheist in RSP has ever admitted that the most depraved and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years, by atheists.





(Source: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/atheism)
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whac3 wrote:
OP text here
This is why in another thread and in this thread again, I will keep on saying that you are the one that makes the logical falacie.

you are right in saying that people should not make comments about religion in general, but be more specific. This does not change the fact that your thread shows a clear lack of understanding of what atheism is.

You make the incorrect dichotomy between atheism and religion, as if they are opposites, but they are not. As soon as people start seeing these to things as opposites, they will start calling ideologies that have no theistic aspects as atheistic, instead of as ideologies without a religious aspect.

the opposites are atheism and theism. one is not believing in any gods, and the other is believing in one or more gods. Neither of these two are ideologies.

Then there are ideologies. These are views of what our society is like, what it should be like, and how it hould get to this ideal state.

ideologies can have a theistic or atheistic aspect, but many ideologies have or need neither.

You, and many other people have a tendencie to forget the latter group, even though it is many times bigger then the group of ideologies with an atheistic aspect.

As i have stated in another thread, there is one thing that religious people often can not understand. For a lot of religious people, their theism is an important aspect of their lives, and therefor they think that atheism is an important aspect of an atheists live.

The latter is off course not true. When people do not believe in Gods, then this usually is a very unimportant part of their lives, and defintily not an ideology. The only times when atheism plays a part in an atheists live, is when theists try to influence their live with, to them completely irrlelevant, religious based reasons (as happens in the gay marriage issue.)

I know that many theists hate the pink unicorn comparison, but it is the most simple explanation of what atheism is. atheism is exactly the same thing as not believing that pink unicorns exists, there is no significant difference between atheism and a-unicornism.

I assume that you do not believe in unicorns. Since you do nolt believe in unicorns, by your logic, I can call your ideologies a-unicornist ideologies. i can then go a step further, and say that Stalin was a a-unicornist, so you are like Stalin.

If you start comparing ideologies by the things that they do not believe in, then on most aspects, you can put all ideologies in one category, and then it becomes completely ridiculous to make a distinction between ideologies.
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DWTripp wrote:

They won't acknowledge Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot in this context Moshe. I've tried for years and not one single atheist in RSP has ever admitted that the most depraved and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years, by atheists.


But those people were all a-unicornists, therefore the most deprived and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years by a-unicornists. If you are an a-unicornist yourself, you have to admit to that.

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mag74b wrote:
DWTripp wrote:

They won't acknowledge Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot in this context Moshe. I've tried for years and not one single atheist in RSP has ever admitted that the most depraved and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years, by atheists.


But those people were all a-unicornists, therefore the most deprived and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years by a-unicornists. If you are an a-unicornist yourself, you have to admit to that.



Hey, so is...

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mag74b wrote:
But those people were all a-unicornists, therefore the most deprived and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years by a-unicornists. If you are an a-unicornist yourself, you have to admit to that.

Do you understand that Mao and Pol Pot killed people specifically because they were not atheist?
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bobby_5150 wrote:
mag74b wrote:
DWTripp wrote:

They won't acknowledge Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot in this context Moshe. I've tried for years and not one single atheist in RSP has ever admitted that the most depraved and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years, by atheists.


But those people were all a-unicornists, therefore the most deprived and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years by a-unicornists. If you are an a-unicornist yourself, you have to admit to that.



Hey, so is...



Is that the election promo for Dixit?
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Alaren wrote:
XanderF wrote:
Nobody has killed anyone else in the name of atheism or to force conversion to atheism, which is patently and obviously NOT true the other way around. Mass murder as an alternative to forced conversion to a specific religion or mass murder as punishment for not following a particular religion to the right extreme is COMMON in human history.


Wow, that's some religion you've got there. And people tell me my beliefs are crazy!

I suppose you're going to tell us that Stalin's purges of Russian Orthodox priests don't count because they were done in the name of communism instead of atheism? Yes, religion has been used to justify all manner of horrific misdeeds. But my own suspicion is that religion is just as often employed as a gloss--a "cover" for what people want to do because they thirst for power or prestige or resources or whatever. I'll leave it for you to decide how often atheism is a motivating force versus a gloss over simple human bastardy, but either way you are simply, utterly mistaken.


The arrests and murders were thus hardly 'in the name of communism', it was just bog standard "new dictatorship trying to suppress any and all discontent or opposition to its rule that it can find anywhere". If the church had been onboard with the communist leaders and supported the government (which would be somewhat ridiculous to do, sure, but they COULD have done so), there would have been no problem. Indeed, the 1936 constitution of Soviet Union guarantees religious freedom. It wasn't "religion" that was being suppressed in favor of "atheism" (or even "communism"), it was a specific church that was being attacked because - whether there was any legitimate reason for the belief or not - there was the opinion that it represented organized effort opposed to the government.
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XanderF wrote:

Oh that's a relief. I'm glad it was in their Constitution. That means religious persecution never happened.
Quote:
It wasn't "religion" that was being suppressed in favor of "atheism" (or even "communism"), it was a specific church that was being attacked

It was religion. All of it.
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I thought the link was very useful and made some good points.

However....

I think that the starting point for most of those countries antipathy to religion started with their dictatorships and oppression, not with their atheism.

The reason they are against religion is that it is an organizing force they did not control.

What I'm saying is they didn't start with atheism and go to dictatorship from there but did the reverse.

What I can grant is that many religious dictatorships and oppression did not start with religion and oppression, religion was just along for the ride.

However-- there are numerous examples where the starting point was religion and where the oppression, murder, torture flowed from religion.

So I'm not really swayed by the arguments above from feeling that religion is a root cause while atheism in most cases and religion in some cases are just tools used by the controlling powers as a means to an end.
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Thus far, this thread has managed to demonstrate that mass-murdering jackasses can wrap their actions in politics, nationalism, religion, or something else as an internally consistent justification for their horrible actions.

Now that we've determined that sociopaths are good at finding reasons for killing people, perhaps we can divorce the question of theism or atheism from whether or not someone is a mass-murdering sociopath?
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mightygodking wrote:
whac3 wrote:
The trend is to blame anything which a person who is religious (by self-identification) does or any attitude a religious person has for which they use religion as a justification or excuse as cuased by "religion". Thus one gets inane comments like, "Religion has a lot to answer for."


I don't disagree with this. A lot of atheists are dicks about their atheism - perhaps pre-defensively so, but that's not really much of an excuse.

However.

Quote:
I contend that no ideology ever made anyone do anything. People choose to do things. Yes, some ideologies are simply abhorrent but even then the principle applies.


I don't disagree with this either, but the problem is that then "my religion says X" loses a lot of its power as an argument for anything - and "my religion says X" has been the basis for many arguments, particularly here in RSP. (Same-sex marriage would be the biggest but is far from the only one.)

Either ideology is viable as a reason people do things, or it is the excuse of the faithful to not argue with the secular. Religious people don't get to have it both ways.

Agreed. Nonetheless a religious person saying that something is their religion' practice or belief means that practice or belief is important enough to them that if you want them to abandon it you need a pretty darned compelling reason better than "I just think you're wrong."
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XanderF wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
whac3 wrote:
lopsided wrote:

Say we show all the atheists doing things for "progress" or whatever too?


They won't acknowledge Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot in this context Moshe. I've tried for years and not one single atheist in RSP has ever admitted that the most depraved and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years, by atheists.



Because whether they were or were not atheists was irrelevant to their crimes. They were not forcing people to 'convert to atheism or die' - they were just killing people who didn't support their regime (that didn't involve religion one way or another).

Nobody has killed anyone else in the name of atheism or to force conversion to atheism, which is patently and obviously NOT true the other way around. Mass murder as an alternative to forced conversion to a specific religion or mass murder as punishment for not following a particular religion to the right extreme is COMMON in human history.

Frankly whether or not they are religious is equally irrelevant. Bush and bin Laden wanted power; religion was at most a vehicle.
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perfalbion wrote:
Thus far, this thread has managed to demonstrate that mass-murdering jackasses can wrap their actions in politics, nationalism, religion, or something else as an internally consistent justification for their horrible actions.

Now that we've determined that sociopaths are good at finding reasons for killing people, perhaps we can divorce the question of theism or atheism from whether or not someone is a mass-murdering sociopath?


Good luck with that.
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perfalbion wrote:
Thus far, this thread has managed to demonstrate that mass-murdering jackasses can wrap their actions in politics, nationalism, religion, or something else as an internally consistent justification for their horrible actions.

Now that we've determined that sociopaths are good at finding reasons for killing people, perhaps we can divorce the question of theism or atheism from whether or not someone is a mass-murdering sociopath?

I'm pretty sure that was the whole point of the thread.
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chaendlmaier wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
They won't acknowledge Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot in this context Moshe. I've tried for years and not one single atheist in RSP has ever admitted that the most depraved and massive slaughters were done within the last 100 years, by atheists.

"They won't?" - Let me be the first one to acknowledge it then? Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot were anti-religion and killed millions of religious people.

Agreed. Strangle the last king with the guts of the last priest, and all that.
 
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