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  #241  
Old 21.01.2011, 10:48
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Most probably you won't.. cause you know... you'll be dead!!!
Here you go! If you are dead and that's it, you'll get your answer but won't know about it. If you are dead and see something, you got the illumination!
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  #242  
Old 21.01.2011, 10:50
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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You've obviously never heard of the Dawkins guy then. He is the living proof that there such a thing as an Atheist Fundamentalist, the atheist equivalent of Augustine and Ignatius rolled into one.
See, this is shows just how often the "hurt feelings card" is played by religious people because I always see Dawkins compared to an angry fundamentalist. I find the claims made about Dawkins being a "fundamentalist" or a "bully" really quite peculiar. I would really like to see a video where Dawkins says or does something extreme or overtly mean. He can be a bit crude and matter-of-fact, but nothing I've seen him say is unworthy of a good intellect and generally tolerant individual. It's ignorant to suggest otherwise. I guess he could display more tact when discussing religions, but I can't blame him. He thinks it shouldn't be given special treatment in a rational debate, and he's absolutely right. Every claim he makes, he makes sure to base it in verifiable and documented data, and I've never seen him pretend to have answers that he doesn't. You could have personal reasons to think he's a jerk, but he doesn't deserve to be treated like a common fundamentalist. You don't have to agree with every point he makes to recognize that he makes them well and without much hostility, certainly not with the vitriol that some people falsely claim he does.

Just because someone is passionate about something and has made something their pet subject, doesn't mean they should be compared to the extremists. A man specializing in a certain field of philosphy that goes against other philosphical views is not considered a "fundamentalist" and marginalized. Rational and calm debates are still able to take place. Dawkins is just treated like a fundamentalist because religion is still a taboo subject for many people to criticize. And he's simply trying to change that.
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  #243  
Old 21.01.2011, 11:13
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Yes, and some of my best friends are black...

just joshing with ya'
Well done for spotting my joke and highlighting it for those who aren't as clever as you.
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  #244  
Old 21.01.2011, 11:14
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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An atheist, however, believes that God does not exist, aka a belief system. (Wasn't I clear enough the first time?)
Does that make theism a belief system? Not as in christianity, muslim, hindu,and so on, but just believing that there is or are things called gods. How is that a belief system? You have no system of anything, you just choose to believe in a thing(or non thing, as usualy god is placed outside of the realm of things that you can know in a tangible sense, because that would require evidence).

What does a theist even believe in when you put it like that, without the framework of a religion to put a god into context?
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Old 21.01.2011, 11:26
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

According to Wikipedia, the desciption of religion is as follows: Religion is often considered a cultural system that creates powerful and long-lasting meaning, by establishing symbols that relate humanity to deeper truths and values.

Therefore, atheism can only be the true religion as humans constantly establish symbols that relate humanity to deeper truths and values.
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  #246  
Old 21.01.2011, 11:49
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

Thanks Russkov- I was very disappointed nobody had challenged the comment made about Dawkins. I tried but didn't send. Our Laws, schools, government, etc, (more in some countries than others) are still deeply steeped in religious influence of one kind or another- and that is of great concerns because it stops us going forwards, and continues to feed wars. Dawkins faces huge opposition form many many sides - no space for pussy footing around.
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Old 21.01.2011, 11:56
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

Thanks Russkov- I was very disappointed nobody had challenged the comment made about Dawkins. I tried but didn't send. Our Laws, schools, government, etc, (more in some countries than others) are still deeply steeped in religious influence of one kind or another- and that is of great concerns because it stops us going forwards, and continues to feed wars. Dawkins faces huge opposition form many many sides - no space for pussy footing around. When you think that in the USA an agnostic/atheist/humanist President would be un-electable- you can see the point surely. It will be interesting to the see the shape the reformed House of Lords will take - but it does seem incredible that a good proportion are from the official Church. Surely, in a multicultural Society either all religions are represented in proportion to the population supporting said religion - or none at all.
On a personal level, I had to swear my allegiance to the Queen with the Bible when I acquired British nationality. And my children who went to a village school in the UK had no choice but to go to a CofE school - they were regularly taught by the local Vicar. 'Of course you've been baptized- your parents would not be so cruel not to, as you would not be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven if you died'. How do you explain THAT to a child who wakes up in tears night after night, terrified! If religion was a private matter and did not impinge so strongly still on our everyday life, then it would be fine. Look at the use of condoms and abortion for instance. As a member of Exit, in favour of people having the choice to die with dignity at the moment of their choosing in case of a debilitating disease- I do strongly resent religious lobbies trying to prevent voluntary euthanasia, as is still the case in the UK and most countries.
I met a really nice Czech couple in the UK, who worked for one the Evangelical Churches. She told me 'but how do you know how to act in life, if God does not tell you?' - surely you don't need anybody not to kill your neighbour, or to treat others as you'd like to be treated, etc. It just makes human sense.
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  #248  
Old 21.01.2011, 11:59
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

Yeah, once religion starts to try to work its way into our daily lives (which, admittedly, is less than case than almost ever, but it's making a comeback), it's normal that they should expect some pushback. Having differing beliefs is no reason to not be civil with people. And I've never seen Dawkins be uncivil or mean with people. Problem is, there are no degrees of "light--->extreme" questioning of faith with many religious people. Put it in doubt in any way, and you cut to the core of what many are as people. All Dawkins is trying to do is bring it down the level of anything else in a debate. And he certainly would never call for hurting people or denying them their rights.

George Bush, president of the United States, however, said this only a few decades ago:

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

Fundamentalist, indeed.
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  #249  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:06
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Our Laws, schools, government, etc, (more in some countries than others) are still deeply steeped in religious influence of one kind or another- and that is of great concerns because it stops us going forwards, and continues to feed wars.
I find that an astonishing proposition. What about officially atheist countries like the former Soviet Union and China? There is absolutely no proof that when a state turns it's back on religion, it becomes any less warlike or somehow becomes more progressive. Politics, self interest and dogma (religious or secular) feeds wars surely?.
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  #250  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:11
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Does that make theism a belief system? Not as in christianity, muslim, hindu,and so on, but just believing that there is or are things called gods. How is that a belief system? You have no system of anything, you just choose to believe in a thing(or non thing, as usualy god is placed outside of the realm of things that you can know in a tangible sense, because that would require evidence).

What does a theist even believe in when you put it like that, without the framework of a religion to put a god into context?
Good point about the "belief system" garbage. I noticed it too but ignored it since you can't really expect them to have any precision in their use of language. It's clear what they mean though.

Anyway, to respond to some of the very poorly thought out responses, some people who call themselves atheists might (incorrectly) say that it is their belief that no god(s) exist, sure. Which can sensibly be contrasted to agnostics, who "don't know." I know the various definitions of atheism, agnosticism. I said there is no meaningful distinction, not that distinctions aren't alleged. And i explained why there is no meaningful distinction, which people either purposefully ignore or else are just incapable of understanding ((yet they still reply, and thoughtlessly reference said definitions).

This is clarified all the time by the likes of Hitchens. (Considered, rational) atheists merely claim that there is no evidence for the existence of god(s). There is no evidence for the existence of smurfs. I won't say that i don't believe in smurfs, because it's silly, even though it makes sense, and it makes a mockery of legitimate uses for the word "belief." I also quoted Douglas Adams who i think very eloquently explains why it's wrong to call atheism a belief [system]. Try reading it if it's still unclear. He's such a delight to read. How could anybody not enjoy reading anything said or written by Douglas Adams?
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  #251  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:12
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Ooooh, how evil of you.
bow before me!!!!


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He's such a delight to read. How could anybody not enjoy reading anything said or written by Douglas Adams?
word. Not just reading, though.

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  #252  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:14
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

Well I'd have to.
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bow before me!!!!
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Old 21.01.2011, 12:14
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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See, this is shows just how often the "hurt feelings card" is played by religious people because I always see Dawkins compared to an angry fundamentalist. I find the claims made about Dawkins being a "fundamentalist" or a "bully" really quite peculiar. I would really like to see a video where Dawkins says or does something extreme or overtly mean.
And that's why I compared him to Ignatius and Augustine and not to Bin Laden or some Koran-burning jerk from Florida. The people I mentioned didn't bully either. They used logics as their tools rather than some claims to knowing better "because I'm telling you". But in the method and the result I see certain parallels
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  #254  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:20
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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And that's why I compared him to Ignatius and Augustine and not to Bin Laden or some Koran-burning jerk from Florida. The people I mentioned didn't bully either. They used logics as their tools rather than some claims to knowing better "because I'm telling you". But in the method and the result I see certain parallels
Your answer was to daboy's comment that atheists don't get angry, I guess I misunderstood.
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  #255  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:28
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Your answer was to daboy's comment that atheists don't get angry, I guess I misunderstood.
Because uneducated people burn Korans, or Bibles, or flags or whatever and intellectual people use nice words to package their vitriol but the sentiment is the same. Ultimately Dawkins is saying

1) religious people are bad because
1a) they don't agree with me and
1b) sometimes even tell others what to do

2) I, Dawkins
2a) disagree with them and
2b) I'm telling them to stop
2c) but that's not bad and don't you dare think that what I'm doing is the same as what they're doing.
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  #256  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:39
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Does that make theism a belief system? Not as in christianity, muslim, hindu,and so on, but just believing that there is or are things called gods. How is that a belief system? You have no system of anything, you just choose to believe in a thing(or non thing, as usualy god is placed outside of the realm of things that you can know in a tangible sense, because that would require evidence).

What does a theist even believe in when you put it like that, without the framework of a religion to put a god into context?
Does 'belief system' imply that it operates without facts to back up the beliefs?

Otherwise normal scientific rationalism is a belief system, i.e. I believe that the Earth goes around the Sun etc though I do have facts/unfalsified hypotheses to back this up.

Although science strives to be objective it is also part of culture.

What I've always found puzzling about religion isn't basic faith in a deity (or whatever). It's how you can make the leap from that simple belief to a range of other beliefs, from certain texts being the 'word of God' or some individuals (the Pope) having a direct line to God. Or being certain that God wants us to behave in certain ways, e.g not being gay.

In Christianity the other thing that gets my goat is the language or lordship and praise. Even if You did create us, are You so insecure that You need all that affirmation? Do biologists stare down into their petri dishes longing for hymns from their cultures?
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  #257  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:42
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Because uneducated people burn Korans, or Bibles, or flags or whatever and intellectual people use nice words to package their vitriol but the sentiment is the same. Ultimately Dawkins is saying

1) religious people are bad because
1a) they don't agree with me and
1b) sometimes even tell others what to do

2) I, Dawkins
2a) disagree with them and
2b) I'm telling them to stop
2c) but that's not bad and don't you dare think that what I'm doing is the same as what they're doing.
Dawkins doesn't claim authority from some unknowable power and expects proper explanations on why people don't agree with him.
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  #258  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:45
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Because uneducated people burn Korans, or Bibles, or flags or whatever and intellectual people use nice words to package their vitriol but the sentiment is the same. Ultimately Dawkins is saying

1) religious people are bad because
1a) they don't agree with me and
1b) sometimes even tell others what to do

2) I, Dawkins
2a) disagree with them and
2b) I'm telling them to stop
2c) but that's not bad and don't you dare think that what I'm doing is the same as what they're doing.
Isn't this how all progress and change ultimately happens? Through debate and disagreement? Should politicians not say that they disagree with the other side's political views, which they kind of have to do in order to get their initiatives and laws passed. Are they necessarily hiding their vitriol and thinking that the other is "bad" in parlement halls? Are film critics or philosphers who have differing views and engage in debate ultimately just trying to hide that they hate each other and mutually consider each other bad people? We never think this way about other subjects. Only when it's religion or belief/lack-thereof do people feel insulted to the core when disagreement happens. He's saying that he disagrees with your point of view, but he's certainly not saying you should stop. He's telling you "I disagree and here's why. You're free to do it, as long as it doesn't infringe on my rights."

If you think he has some deep seated vitriol towards religion, that's your view, but I've never seen him refer to his religious peers with anything but the highest respect. He just disagrees with one aspect of their worldview. And articulates why.
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  #259  
Old 21.01.2011, 12:46
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Well done for spotting my joke and highlighting it for those who aren't as clever as you.


You'll have to explain it to me, as I'm still not seeing the joke.

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Does that make theism a belief system? Not as in christianity, muslim, hindu,and so on, but just believing that there is or are things called gods. How is that a belief system? You have no system of anything, you just choose to believe in a thing(or non thing, as usualy god is placed outside of the realm of things that you can know in a tangible sense, because that would require evidence).


Sure, not a system as in a structure. But a belief based on evidence (or lack thereof).

That said, many atheists I come across IRL put the fact that they don't believe in (a) God at the centre of their lives in a perverse or ironic kind of way, kinda like "look at me, look at me, I'm free because I don't believe in God, look at me, aren't I great and clever!".

Now, by no means do I believe that all atheists are like that. But at the same time, not all Christians (religious folks) are religious nut jobs either. We don't all flagellate ourselves when we go home and say 10 Hail Marys. We don’t all believe that the earth is flat or that it was created 6000 years ago.

Some of us just believe in God and get on with our lives.

Fundamentally, to ask a religious person to justify or, especially, prove that their God exists is, IMO, a fundamental fail. Faith is about believing something without the empirical proof that atheists demand. It is another (small) irony, that in science one cannot prove a hypothesis, we just accept a hypothesis until it is disproven.

An atheist, again IME, will counter this by saying that we are therefore "just weak-willed and need a crutch", with a smug grin of scientific superiority. Whatever. Nevermind that some of the greatest scientific minds of past and present remain(ed) firmly rooted in their religious belief. Furthermore, there's plenty of people who have religious faith, and I would not (dare) describe them as weak-willed.

GG earlier suggested that one can disassociate personal abuse from abuse of a belief. Well, I'm sorry if it is news to you, but in the case of religion, this is very hard, as this is a very personal thing. With this in mind, I've usually found that atheists, from the most moderate to the hard core amongst them, really aren't interested in faith. They love nothing more than a good faith-bash. They just want to poke fun and ridicule. Look at the start of this thread for example. Can't really think of a better example.

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What does a theist even believe in when you put it like that, without the framework of a religion to put a god into context?


I don’t have a straight answer to this. However, I would point to the fact that there are many people, the world over, who believe in a greater power in the universe without having any affiliation to a particular religion or any particular religious context.

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…When you think that in the USA an agnostic/atheist/humanist President would be un-electable- you can see the point surely. It will be interesting to the see the shape the reformed House of Lords will take - but it does seem incredible that a good proportion are from the official Church. Surely, in a multicultural Society either all religions are represented in proportion to the population supporting said religion - or none at all.


In brief:
· Most religious folks I know would agree with you
· The UK is, theoretically, a religious country (CoE), so it is somewhat understandable that there is a representation in the government
· Who said that the UK is a real multi-culti society? Debate is generally moving towards the fact the “western” multi-culti just doesn’t work, look at your own example of electability in the US and more recently German politics

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George Bush, president of the United States, however, said this only a few decades ago:
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"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
Fundamentalist, indeed.
I don’t think it is fair that you should use GWB as a representative example of Christianity.
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Last edited by Carlos R; 21.01.2011 at 12:50. Reason: quotations gone funny
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Old 21.01.2011, 12:49
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Re: Pope on Fast Track to Sainthood

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Because uneducated people burn Korans, or Bibles, or flags or whatever and intellectual people use nice words to package their vitriol but the sentiment is the same. Ultimately Dawkins is saying

1) religious people are bad because
1a) they don't agree with me and
1b) sometimes even tell others what to do

2) I, Dawkins
2a) disagree with them and
2b) I'm telling them to stop
2c) but that's not bad and don't you dare think that what I'm doing is the same as what they're doing.
I don't think that Dawkins is saying that religious people are bad. And he's not criticising them because they don't agree with him. He's examining the justification for their beliefs and behaviour. If someone asks him to give an explanation of his scientific/empirical approach, he can do that without a problem.
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