A retrospective from my perspective
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25-03-2014, 04:31 PM
A retrospective from my perspective
So, I consider myself as "natural-born" atheist, even though having been raised in a religious country. I guess I was lucky that my family wasn't as devout. They do have some sort of a belief in a god, but they weren't fans of organized religion AKA churches. I let go of god when I was a kid, pretty much the same way I let go on santa claus and easter bunny. I did have a vivid imagination though and I often have "escaped" into my own little fantasy world. It was a great tool to cope with difficult times, or even just to have fun. Parts of it still remained in my adult life and show through my artworks.

I have been surrounded by believers pretty much most of my life and still am to this day. They all know that I'm not religious, yet we get along well. As long as they don't bring it up, I won't either. We just live and let live. If someone has a problem with me, either b/c I'm gay, a non-beliver or have a disability, well, I'd stay away from them, regardless of their religious background.

Here's the thing though: Stating that religion (as an entity) is the one to blame is wrong, pretty much like blaming the internets for the increase in kiddiepr0n and other atrocities. Now, before you let your imagination run wild on how to stone me, let me explain it first. One of the arguments we use in order to explain human morality, is that it is ingrained and doesn't come from any god(s), and rightly so. The responsibility lies within us alone. Having said that, isn't religion just a thing that can be twisted and bended by people to underline their already good or bad personalities? Just like the internets can be used for good and bad things? Now, many of us might not see anything "good" in religion, I personally don't see anything either, but many might not see my lifestyle as appealing. As long as people don't harm others, I don't see a problem with religion. And mind you, there are plenty of christians (that I also know personally) who support gay people and even are able to explain their attitude using the very same scripture others would use to argue against. There are also christians who accept evolution. All that it boils down to is to the human alone and what they make of it. Many find it convenient to provide themselves a framework in order to justify and banalize their actions, for better and for worse. Those for doing doing bad should be held accountable for their actions, no matter how they try to justify it. Putting it all on a deity is an excuse, but not a good one.

I've always wondered, if religion is really the root of evil, how come so few scientists are actually vocal about it? As a matter of fact, most of them are non-believers in the first place. I think the reason is b/c they rather focus on something they fight for, not against. As much as I like Dawkins, I think that his activism against religion disguises for what he should stand for, science and reason. His book "The god delusion" is great for those who are questioning their beliefs, but refuting religion to some degree might cause an opposite outcome than desired: The other side is even more determined to fight back, which unfortunately will strengthen the opinions they might have questioned otherwise at some point. It all depends on their personal characters and the choices they make what to know and/or believe. Not everybody is brave enough to drop a system they based their life on, but eventually they will come to realize that the world as it is doesn't match up to what they believe. They will then make a decision if they follow the path of the truth or faith, or keep a hybrid of both or whatever.

One thing that scientific community has done wrong for decades is to keep it separated from the general public. People got totally detached because of its complexity, and tried to fill the lack of knowledge and education with religion and other esoteric woo. Carl Sagan (and now Neil deGrasse Tyson) is trying to fill this gap, and they can do so w/o even directly referring to christian doctrines, but showing how the world as we know it actually works. Many will realize over time whether or not they can reconcile it with their held beliefs, but that is not a choice anyone should make for them. Again, it's their responsibility. Whatever they choose, they have to live with the consequences.
The atheist community in general is quite vocal on how religion is to blame if those who might have a problem with the way I am (homophobia, racism, etc). Having listened to many debates and talks from various high profile figures and regular activists, I realized something that might not be very popular with the common world view within the community. I do believe however, that it's important to educate people and give them a space in order to gather and get their questions answered (especially for de-converting adults). Another aspect is, that no belief should be put above another and be turned into law, as this would violate the freedom of religion.

Apart from all, the atheist community isn't without flaws as either. The dynamics fall pretty much to the same psychological mechanism as any other larger group of people, we have BS and drama, defamation and bullying: Some self-centered people trying to make problems where there aren't any, some get harassed because they dared to question their views (even though a sceptic should always do so), others are accusing people of being serial rapists based on nothing but hearsay... So much about rationality and skepticism, most is tinted with egocentrism, power-hunger and emotions. Human nature I guess, but when it comes to that, no one should throw stones from a glasshouse.

Lastly, I'd like to rephrase a famous motto within the atheist community: "Freedom from religion" to "Freedom of religion and the lack thereof". Now I'm ready to get stoned. Wink

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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25-03-2014, 06:34 PM
RE: A retrospective from my perspective
(25-03-2014 04:31 PM)pxlgirl Wrote:  So, I consider myself as "natural-born" atheist, even though having been raised in a religious country. I guess I was lucky that my family wasn't as devout. They do have some sort of a belief in a god, but they weren't fans of organized religion AKA churches. I let go of god when I was a kid, pretty much the same way I let go on santa claus and easter bunny. I did have a vivid imagination though and I often have "escaped" into my own little fantasy world. It was a great tool to cope with difficult times, or even just to have fun. Parts of it still remained in my adult life and show through my artworks.

I have been surrounded by believers pretty much most of my life and still am to this day. They all know that I'm not religious, yet we get along well. As long as they don't bring it up, I won't either. We just live and let live. If someone has a problem with me, either b/c I'm gay, a non-beliver or have a disability, well, I'd stay away from them, regardless of their religious background.

Here's the thing though: Stating that religion (as an entity) is the one to blame is wrong, pretty much like blaming the internets for the increase in kiddiepr0n and other atrocities. Now, before you let your imagination run wild on how to stone me, let me explain it first. One of the arguments we use in order to explain human morality, is that it is ingrained and doesn't come from any god(s), and rightly so. The responsibility lies within us alone. Having said that, isn't religion just a thing that can be twisted and bended by people to underline their already good or bad personalities? Just like the internets can be used for good and bad things? Now, many of us might not see anything "good" in religion, I personally don't see anything either, but many might not see my lifestyle as appealing. As long as people don't harm others, I don't see a problem with religion. And mind you, there are plenty of christians (that I also know personally) who support gay people and even are able to explain their attitude using the very same scripture others would use to argue against. There are also christians who accept evolution. All that it boils down to is to the human alone and what they make of it. Many find it convenient to provide themselves a framework in order to justify and banalize their actions, for better and for worse. Those for doing doing bad should be held accountable for their actions, no matter how they try to justify it. Putting it all on a deity is an excuse, but not a good one.

I've always wondered, if religion is really the root of evil, how come so few scientists are actually vocal about it? As a matter of fact, most of them are non-believers in the first place. I think the reason is b/c they rather focus on something they fight for, not against. As much as I like Dawkins, I think that his activism against religion disguises for what he should stand for, science and reason. His book "The god delusion" is great for those who are questioning their beliefs, but refuting religion to some degree might cause an opposite outcome than desired: The other side is even more determined to fight back, which unfortunately will strengthen the opinions they might have questioned otherwise at some point. It all depends on their personal characters and the choices they make what to know and/or believe. Not everybody is brave enough to drop a system they based their life on, but eventually they will come to realize that the world as it is doesn't match up to what they believe. They will then make a decision if they follow the path of the truth or faith, or keep a hybrid of both or whatever.

One thing that scientific community has done wrong for decades is to keep it separated from the general public. People got totally detached because of its complexity, and tried to fill the lack of knowledge and education with religion and other esoteric woo. Carl Sagan (and now Neil deGrasse Tyson) is trying to fill this gap, and they can do so w/o even directly referring to christian doctrines, but showing how the world as we know it actually works. Many will realize over time whether or not they can reconcile it with their held beliefs, but that is not a choice anyone should make for them. Again, it's their responsibility. Whatever they choose, they have to live with the consequences.
The atheist community in general is quite vocal on how religion is to blame if those who might have a problem with the way I am (homophobia, racism, etc). Having listened to many debates and talks from various high profile figures and regular activists, I realized something that might not be very popular with the common world view within the community. I do believe however, that it's important to educate people and give them a space in order to gather and get their questions answered (especially for de-converting adults). Another aspect is, that no belief should be put above another and be turned into law, as this would violate the freedom of religion.

Apart from all, the atheist community isn't without flaws as either. The dynamics fall pretty much to the same psychological mechanism as any other larger group of people, we have BS and drama, defamation and bullying: Some self-centered people trying to make problems where there aren't any, some get harassed because they dared to question their views (even though a sceptic should always do so), others are accusing people of being serial rapists based on nothing but hearsay... So much about rationality and skepticism, most is tinted with egocentrism, power-hunger and emotions. Human nature I guess, but when it comes to that, no one should throw stones from a glasshouse.

Lastly, I'd like to rephrase a famous motto within the atheist community: "Freedom from religion" to "Freedom of religion and the lack thereof". Now I'm ready to get stoned. Wink

Hi.
I believe religion is a root of evil.
I believe the 3 Abrahamic religions were invented as tools for crowd control, and there is no inherent truth in them.
I think belief damages the individual, the family, and society as a whole. Here are some of my reasons ...
http://www.markfulton.org/the-psychologi...istianity, http://www.markfulton.org/christianity-a...al-society
I'm interested to hear your feedback.
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25-03-2014, 06:53 PM
RE: A retrospective from my perspective
Specific religions facilitate atrocities large and small, from systematic genital multilation to social manipulation. Religion is something that can cause a good man to commit horrible acts.

You can play the personal responsibilty card, but many religious people are indoctrinated and brain washed into a way of thinking from an early age and then it's reinforced every day of their lives through nearly everyone they have contact with in their community.

There is a reason you don't see many Amish electrical engineers and I think you know why.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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25-03-2014, 07:30 PM
RE: A retrospective from my perspective
there will be no amish engineers b/c these people chose reject everything remotely technological. Although, in practice some of them actually own a few gadgets here and there, but that's a different can of worms. The whole "brainwashing" argument is a bit too simplistic in my opinion. That would just like a convicted murderer justifying their atrocities blaming it on their "difficult childhood". We all know that's pure BS, right? I do think that most people (unless medically diagnosed otherwise) are very well aware of what they do and think. Religion is often used as their excuse to get away with it.

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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25-03-2014, 09:20 PM
RE: A retrospective from my perspective
Hitchens hit the nail on the head...
"religion poisons everything"

while it may be true that sometimes people are inherintly bad, and then use religion to justify their bad behaviour, that doesn't change the above.
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25-03-2014, 11:18 PM
RE: A retrospective from my perspective
I do think religion is one of the evils in the world.

It makes people do stupid things, it almost always discourages free thought, and it ultimately actively segregates people, leading to wars and suffering on (for want of a better word) Biblical scales.

Those are the main beefs... There are many others.

The good in religion... Offers comfort and hope (albeit false), donates large sums of money to charity, and I can't think of anything else.

Ultimately, as Daniel Dennett has talked about, the good in religion can be retained. The bad needs to go... And that includes the delusional beliefs.

But, its hard to point to any particular bad guy... Religious extremists are 9 times out of 10 what they are because of upbringing, and the same goes for their parents. Religions evolve from simpler forms... If we were to go back in time to the 2nd century, Christianity would probably be unrecognizable. So it would be wrong to point to the founders of Christianity and blame them for the immorality and corruption of the Catholic church.

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26-03-2014, 10:47 AM
RE: A retrospective from my perspective
(25-03-2014 04:31 PM)pxlgirl Wrote:  So, I consider myself as "natural-born" atheist, even though having been raised in a religious country. I guess I was lucky that my family wasn't as devout. They do have some sort of a belief in a god, but they weren't fans of organized religion AKA churches. I let go of god when I was a kid, pretty much the same way I let go on santa claus and easter bunny. I did have a vivid imagination though and I often have "escaped" into my own little fantasy world. It was a great tool to cope with difficult times, or even just to have fun. Parts of it still remained in my adult life and show through my artworks.

I have been surrounded by believers pretty much most of my life and still am to this day. They all know that I'm not religious, yet we get along well. As long as they don't bring it up, I won't either. We just live and let live. If someone has a problem with me, either b/c I'm gay, a non-beliver or have a disability, well, I'd stay away from them, regardless of their religious background.

Here's the thing though: Stating that religion (as an entity) is the one to blame is wrong, pretty much like blaming the internets for the increase in kiddiepr0n and other atrocities. Now, before you let your imagination run wild on how to stone me, let me explain it first. One of the arguments we use in order to explain human morality, is that it is ingrained and doesn't come from any god(s), and rightly so. The responsibility lies within us alone. Having said that, isn't religion just a thing that can be twisted and bended by people to underline their already good or bad personalities? Just like the internets can be used for good and bad things? Now, many of us might not see anything "good" in religion, I personally don't see anything either, but many might not see my lifestyle as appealing. As long as people don't harm others, I don't see a problem with religion. And mind you, there are plenty of christians (that I also know personally) who support gay people and even are able to explain their attitude using the very same scripture others would use to argue against. There are also christians who accept evolution. All that it boils down to is to the human alone and what they make of it. Many find it convenient to provide themselves a framework in order to justify and banalize their actions, for better and for worse. Those for doing doing bad should be held accountable for their actions, no matter how they try to justify it. Putting it all on a deity is an excuse, but not a good one.

I've always wondered, if religion is really the root of evil, how come so few scientists are actually vocal about it? As a matter of fact, most of them are non-believers in the first place. I think the reason is b/c they rather focus on something they fight for, not against. As much as I like Dawkins, I think that his activism against religion disguises for what he should stand for, science and reason. His book "The god delusion" is great for those who are questioning their beliefs, but refuting religion to some degree might cause an opposite outcome than desired: The other side is even more determined to fight back, which unfortunately will strengthen the opinions they might have questioned otherwise at some point. It all depends on their personal characters and the choices they make what to know and/or believe. Not everybody is brave enough to drop a system they based their life on, but eventually they will come to realize that the world as it is doesn't match up to what they believe. They will then make a decision if they follow the path of the truth or faith, or keep a hybrid of both or whatever.

One thing that scientific community has done wrong for decades is to keep it separated from the general public. People got totally detached because of its complexity, and tried to fill the lack of knowledge and education with religion and other esoteric woo. Carl Sagan (and now Neil deGrasse Tyson) is trying to fill this gap, and they can do so w/o even directly referring to christian doctrines, but showing how the world as we know it actually works. Many will realize over time whether or not they can reconcile it with their held beliefs, but that is not a choice anyone should make for them. Again, it's their responsibility. Whatever they choose, they have to live with the consequences.
The atheist community in general is quite vocal on how religion is to blame if those who might have a problem with the way I am (homophobia, racism, etc). Having listened to many debates and talks from various high profile figures and regular activists, I realized something that might not be very popular with the common world view within the community. I do believe however, that it's important to educate people and give them a space in order to gather and get their questions answered (especially for de-converting adults). Another aspect is, that no belief should be put above another and be turned into law, as this would violate the freedom of religion.

Apart from all, the atheist community isn't without flaws as either. The dynamics fall pretty much to the same psychological mechanism as any other larger group of people, we have BS and drama, defamation and bullying: Some self-centered people trying to make problems where there aren't any, some get harassed because they dared to question their views (even though a sceptic should always do so), others are accusing people of being serial rapists based on nothing but hearsay... So much about rationality and skepticism, most is tinted with egocentrism, power-hunger and emotions. Human nature I guess, but when it comes to that, no one should throw stones from a glasshouse.

Lastly, I'd like to rephrase a famous motto within the atheist community: "Freedom from religion" to "Freedom of religion and the lack thereof". Now I'm ready to get stoned. Wink
I think there is some truth in what you said, but you have also gone to the opposite extreme. While I agree that religion isn't completely to blame, it also isn't completely blameless. It is true that responsibility always boils down at least in part to the people involved in religion and those people should never be considered blameless. However, good people do bad things because of religion.

For example, parents who deny their child vital medical treatment and ultimately allow them to die because their religion says the medical treatment is against god's wishes or because they simply believe god will take care of everything. The parents are certainly to blame because ultimately they make the decisions. However, their decisions also come from a sincere, heartfelt belief that they are doing what is truly in the best interest of their child - and that belief comes from religion. Without religion, they would be facing different choices and surely would choose something that is objectively more in their child's true interest. There are many, many examples like this where religion deserves the primary blame. And this is what Dawkins, Hitchens, and others have stood up against.

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26-03-2014, 11:21 AM
RE: A retrospective from my perspective
The issue is that religious organisations explicitly claim moral authority.

That they are, in practice, no better than other organisations at best, is very obviously understandable (they're just human like the rest of us!) but nonetheless consequently very hypocritical given that claim.

There are many religious groups who do tremendous good in the world (e.g. providing food and shelter to those lacking them). There are many religious groups who do incredibly useless things (e.g. you can't eat a fucking Book of Mormon and praying won't make it rain). There are many religious groups who do tremendous harm in the world (e.g. no condoms for you, Africa!).

Some work of the first category can be (and is) also done by others. Some work of the second and third categories is rooted in explicit religious motivations. Absent that motivation it simply wouldn't happen.

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26-03-2014, 12:06 PM
RE: A retrospective from my perspective
I do agree, that religion should not have all the blame for the evils that men do, but a very large part of it is directly the result of religion.

Yes they do good all over the world, but in a majority of the cases that aid is handed out with allot of proselytizing. Preying on people in a time of need so that they can be told the "good news".

In my own countries past the religion in general, and the christian church in particular is far far from blameless. Had it not been for the church preaching that African people are descended from Ham, and thus cursed to be servants to others the fascist government would not have had near the amount of power it did.

In my own life, religion has caused more harm than good. In my time of need instead of support and therapy I was prayed for because i had an unclean spirit in me due to what was done to me.

It was taught that woman must be submissive to their husbands, to the extent that my mother near ended up in a psych ward after the abuse my father put her through. Would he have been abusive without the reinforcement of religion? Yes, but it was religion that enabled it to go on for that long.

The requirement of evidence to back your claim does not disappear because it hurts your feelings, reality does not care about your feefees.
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26-03-2014, 07:00 PM
RE: A retrospective from my perspective
I don't deny that people do stupid shit in the name of their religion, but the one where some would deny certain medical treatments would classify as a cult according to my book. You won't see a catholic doing the same. Yet there are tons of branches and churches that identify as christian but are often times mutually exclusive. That lowers their credibility and relevance, but letting a child suffer or die b/c some imaginary friend told them so is a lame excuse for being an awful human being. They could easily fall for any other woo shit that "forbids" them to so something, just so they don't have to take care of their kids properly and fulfill their own selfish desires.

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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