Am I becoming a fundamentalist?
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25-06-2011, 05:23 AM
RE: Am I becoming a fundamentalist?
(25-06-2011 04:53 AM)Sweetpea Wrote:  
(24-06-2011 10:19 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  It is great that you have the self awareness that you may be becoming opinionated.

My take on this issue is as follows.

There is no doubt that we are over exposed to Christian ideas. Christians have invaded the media and schools. Nearly no one blinks when a president says "god bless you", or "let's pray for..."

We should make a stand against this. Not a shouting, aggressive stand, but we should be proudly proactive in voicing our objections. If someone says "god bless you" to me when I sneeze, I reply that I genuinely thankyou for your concern but I don't believe in god. When I hear "I/we will pray for you/ them", I point out that it would be more beneficial to actually physically help the person in some way.

I encourage my brothers and sisters to teach their children about all religions but to make it clear to the children's teachers that there is to be no praying or hymns.

I make a stand against misogynists, racism and homophobia.

I do try, however, to genuinely listen to Christian's points of view, and I acknowledge that I have heard them before I reply with my own version of truth.

Cheers, Mark

Is there really a need to point out (or maybe you are correcting them) to people
that you don't believe in god?

It is good to see you acknowledge it is your version of the truth.

Sign of a mature minded person.

I think we should point it out. It may make them think about saying something similar to the next person, and may help them realise that atheists are not the evil people they might imagine
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25-06-2011, 11:30 AM (This post was last modified: 25-06-2011 11:33 AM by Ghost.)
RE: Am I becoming a fundamentalist?
I would say that fundamentalism has more to do with a belief system than an individual belief. I say that because an individual belief can be ubiquitous across cultural divides, like the belief that murder is wrong for example; whereas, belief systems offer discrete borders that define unique societies or cultural groups and that differentiate them one from the next.

My opinion on the matter is that a belief system can be represented by a spectrum and that the individual constituents of the cultural group can be plotted on that spectrum based on their relationship to those beliefs. I don't think that the spectrum is a line with 0 in the middle and +/- to either side, but a wheel with 0 in the centre, in which individuals can be plotted in a 360 degree relationship to 0. In extremely complex modeling it would be a sphere.

To me, 0 represents the pure moderate. Those plotted near 0 are still considered moderates, but there is differentiation between them. The further away from 0 an individual is plotted, the more extreme their views. Extremists are plotted the furthest distance from 0, but the relationship to 0 is relative. Some cultures might have people plotted a great distance from 0 while others might have their fringe plotted closer to 0. In both cases, those that are plotted the furthest from 0 represent the extreme position within that cultural group.

Where the individual is plotted on the spectrum is governed by two factors: direction and distance from 0. Direction from 0 has to do with the individual's interpretation of the belief system. An Ashkenazi Jew is plotted in a different direction from Sephardic, Beta and Yemenite Jews. Catholics and Protestants are different. Suffi, Shia and Suni are all plotted in different directions. These distinctions in interpretation within the social group continue to sub-divide. This is why the spectrum is represented by a wheel because the possible interpretations of the belief system are near limitless. The distance from 0, as far as I am concerned, is governed by the degree to which the belief is more important than people. The pure moderate believes what they believe, but people are always considered more important. At the extreme position, the belief has absolute importance and individuals have little to no value in comparison. This is why extremists are more prone to harming individuals in defence of their beliefs because the individual is of secondary concern. Also, the more important the idea, the more rigid and inviolable it is. This is why a moderate Christian might say that Jesus either existed or he didn't and probably isn't the Son of God; whereas, someone at the extreme might consider Jesus to be the literal Son of God and his story to be absolute truth.

Normally, the lion's share of individuals are plotted close to 0, meaning that most of them are moderates. But when the cultural group experiences an attack, or perceives that they are being attacked, the society as a whole undergoes the Zed Effect. Because the attack represents a threat to the belief system itself, people begin to migrate from the centre towards the extreme. They stop taking their beliefs for granted, they harden their stance and increase their investment in the fundamentals of the belief; hence, fundamentalism, and begin to place the idea above the individual. This effect has been recently observed both in the Islamic world and in the United States. The Islamic world perceives a threat against Islam and this has resulted in a mass migration of Muslims towards the extreme. Similarly in the US, the perceived attack against America has resulted in a migration to the extreme manifested as increased patriotism (sacrificing freedoms in the process).

So, Borka, if you are feeling that your views are becoming increasingly rigid and if you are feeling that you are beginning to view them as more important than other people, then yes, you are migrating away from 0 and towards the extreme of the spectrum. This doesn’t automatically make you an extremist, or a fundamentalist, but it means that that is your current trajectory. But based on the fact that you are, as others have rightly pointed out, self-aware of what is going on within you and that you are concerned about it, I doubt you’ll go too far. Most of us are plotted away from 0, so don’t sweat it. As long as you’re mindful, you’ll be fine. Just remember to be laid back and to put people first as much as possible.

I believe that Dawkins and Hitchens are prime examples of men who have undergone the Zed Effect. They perceive an attack against their belief system (being careful to note that a belief system is not the same thing as a belief: belief values, +, -, neutral, undecided, uninformed, are nodes within the system and not the system itself) from Theists (I think primarily in the form of Theist lobbying for legislation change in their favour) and they have migrated quite far from 0.

In terms of taking a stand, all one ever needs to do is be themselves. The belief of other peoples has nothing to do with you. But the power base of other peoples does. So when we talk of standing up to other groups, what we really mean is to protect the erosion of our power base, to weaken their powerbase and/or expand our own. This is one of the purposes of the Zed Effect. It prepares the individuals within the group for the coming battle (battle either being metaphorical or referring to actual warfare). Moderates are much less willing to endure the hardships of conflict because they are not as invested in their belief system; whereas, extremists cannot imagine life without it and will make incredible sacrifices for the effort.

In terms of minority groups, marginalised people, or the disenfranchised gaining power, respect and legal protections, it is true that no group has accomplished anything by being silent, but outside of the cases in which those groups simply seized power (like the Americans did against the British), most groups (I want to say every, but that’s always dangerous) do not accomplish this by attacking the belief system of those they are subordinate to. That’s not effective because if victory is achieved, there is no structure there to fill the vacuum. It is protest, rather than the attempt to create.
Rollo May, Ph.D. Wrote:In relatively normal persons… the beleaguered will takes refuge in half-measures that temporarily promise it some viability. Thus, at the time of a crisis of will, we observe the dilemma of the protest… Now protesting is partially constructive, since it preserves some semblance of will by asserting it negatively – I know what I am against even if I cannot specifically know what I am for. Indeed, the capacity of the infant of two or three to take a negative stand against his parents is very important as the beginning of human will. But if the will remains protest, it stays dependent on that which it is protesting against. Protest is half-developed will. Dependent, like the child on its parents, it borrows its impetus from its enemy. This gradually empties the will of content; you always are the shadow of your adversary, waiting for him to move so that you can move yourself. Sooner or later, your will becomes hollow, and may then be forced back to the next line of defense.

This next defense is projection of blame… The self-righteous security that is achieved by means of this blaming of the other gives one a temporary satisfaction. But beyond the gross oversimplification of our historical situation which this exhibits, we pay a more serious price for such security. We have tacitly given the power of decision over to our adversary. Blaming the enemy implies that the enemy has the freedom to chose and act, not ourselves, and we can only react to him. This assumption, in turn, destroys our own security. For in the long run, we have, against our intention, given him all the cards. Will is thus further undermined. We see here an example of the self-contradictory effect of all psychological defensiveness: it automatically hands the power over to the adversary.
-Rollo May, Ph.D., “Love and Will”, pages 192-193.
What these groups do do, is that they promote their own self-worth. Civil rights leaders told blacks that black is beautiful and that they could say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud. Women’s rights groups said that we have the same worth as anyone else. Through these affirmations of self-worth, the strength of their social group increased as their willingness to be subordinate decreased, and they eventually reached what Malcolm Gladwell refers to as a tipping point, at which time they simply became an irresistible force. Change at that point was inevitable.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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25-06-2011, 05:03 PM
 
RE: Am I becoming a fundamentalist?
Well, as an atheist, I don't feel the need to build a huge fucking building to glorify what I believe in, and I'm sure you lot feel the same way too. So it's alright to say that you dont believe in god cause that's as far as most of us go in promoting our beliefs in society.
I would define a fundamentalist as someone who is so into their belief system as to ignore anyone elses point of view.
It may be not the strict true definition, but for me it serves.
Its good to worry whether you are a fundamentalist or not, and I think worrying about it shows that your probably not one as you are willing to take another look at what you believe.
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25-06-2011, 06:38 PM (This post was last modified: 25-06-2011 06:57 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Am I becoming a fundamentalist?
(25-06-2011 01:16 AM)daemonowner Wrote:  Why? "No marginalised group of people in history have ever won their rights and recognition by sitting down and quietly waiting for it to happen." - VoodooSix (youtuber Tongue)
(25-06-2011 04:36 AM)hotrodmike Wrote:  Keeping quiet and looking the other way while the thugs do their worst is the best way to become the next victim, as was demonstrated in Germany in the 1930's. We need "fundamentalists" like Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens to fight for reason against ignorance and intolerance for humanity to progress.

I feel anything but marginalized, more like empowered. We don't have privileged access to any secret doctrine as atheists. It's just reason playing itself out. The rest of us will catch up sooner or later. Or not, don't matter either way. If they feel they need to believe in a postmortem preservation of identity in order to continue to exist and contribute instead of just offing themselves, who am I to burst their bubble - it's no skin off my scrotum. I feel no burning desire to pop their ignorance cherries, it'll happen of its own accord in due time. ... Now if they turn into thugs looking to eradicate me and mine for our lack of belief, well they will find us well-armed. Wink

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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26-06-2011, 06:44 PM
RE: Am I becoming a fundamentalist?
(25-06-2011 06:38 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(25-06-2011 01:16 AM)daemonowner Wrote:  Why? "No marginalised group of people in history have ever won their rights and recognition by sitting down and quietly waiting for it to happen." - VoodooSix (youtuber Tongue)
(25-06-2011 04:36 AM)hotrodmike Wrote:  Keeping quiet and looking the other way while the thugs do their worst is the best way to become the next victim, as was demonstrated in Germany in the 1930's. We need "fundamentalists" like Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens to fight for reason against ignorance and intolerance for humanity to progress.

I feel anything but marginalized, more like empowered. We don't have privileged access to any secret doctrine as atheists. It's just reason playing itself out. The rest of us will catch up sooner or later. Or not, don't matter either way. If they feel they need to believe in a postmortem preservation of identity in order to continue to exist and contribute instead of just offing themselves, who am I to burst their bubble - it's no skin off my scrotum. I feel no burning desire to pop their ignorance cherries, it'll happen of its own accord in due time. ... Now if they turn into thugs looking to eradicate me and mine for our lack of belief, well they will find us well-armed. Wink

I agree in essence with what you are saying, however there are some provisos.

When George W Bush and his fundamentalist Christian colleagues in government invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, part of their motivation was derived from their intolerance of Islam. Hence powerful Christians are playing with the world we all live in. If governments are basing their policies on Christian prejudices, a stand should be made.

It also concerns me that innocent children in the western world are having their heads filled with Christian prejudices, not that I can, or should, do anything about that because it is what their parents have chosen.

It also concerns me that the Vatican is denying people the use of condoms in Aids ravaged countries.

Somebody has to rock the boat, or else injustices will keep happening.

I could go on, but do you agree with this in principle?
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26-06-2011, 07:28 PM (This post was last modified: 26-06-2011 09:38 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Am I becoming a fundamentalist?
(26-06-2011 06:44 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Somebody has to rock the boat, or else injustices will keep happening.

I could go on, but do you agree with this in principle?

I most assuredly do. I just feel like right now, at this point in our development, it's more productive to fight the injustices rather than the root cause of them which is just plain ignorance and delusion. I realize I am talking about just treating the symptoms rather than curing the disease but I see the disease resolving itself, albeit much more slowly than any of us would like. But the symptoms definitely need to be addressed and alleviated while the organism is healing.

From a practical perspective, rattling the very foundations of their reality and belief system is likely to just get you discounted and ignored, at best. And from a moral perspective, it just feels wrong to me. I personally don't want to feel responsible if someone I pointed out the truth to just says fuck it all and offs themself. That very well might fuck me up royally. They need to come by the truth all by themselves. Wink

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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