Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
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29-09-2011, 03:43 PM (This post was last modified: 11-10-2011 07:47 AM by Stark Raving.)
 
Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
It should be easy to summarize what every intelligent and decent human being (believer or non-believer) ought to agree about regarding religion.

Please feel free to add your own.

The following are my own Ten Commandments (obeservations)

1. There is no conclusive proof for either belief or non-belief – both are speculative based on personal inclination and experience.

2. For non-believers, belief seems silly; for believers, non-belief seems barren

3. Personal belief or non-belief is harmless unless it stops being personal

4. Neither side has the right to aggressive proselytization

5. Neither side has the right to force/pressure/intimidate the other to change their way of life solely based on belief or non-belief

6. Much harm and hurt may result from attempting 4. or 5. from either side

7. Organized religion at the highest level usually becomes a power-structure, often contrary to the teaching of their religion

8. Non-belief is usually unorganized and powerless

9. Logical contradictions within religions, and between competing religions, contribute to non-belief.

10. Contradictions between dogma and action in many religious camps contribute to non-belief


Of course, I could have summarized all 10 into one:

"Live and Let Live!"


ETA: These are not all of my own convictions (I am a lot more prejudiced than that on the atheist side), I only listed those statements that I thought both parties ought to agree about, without tearing each other to pieces.
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29-09-2011, 05:16 PM
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
(29-09-2011 03:43 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Of course, I could have summarized all 10 into one:

"Live and Let Live!"

Word.
Good post.

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29-09-2011, 05:24 PM
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
#8 is wrong.
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29-09-2011, 06:33 PM
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
(29-09-2011 03:43 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Of course, I could have summarized all 10 into one:

"Live and Let Live!"

GirlyMan lives with only 3 commandments:

Commandment #1: Don't be an asshole.
Commandment #2: Unless it's called for.
Commandment #3: See Commandment #1.

Formulated these some 3 decades ago. Haven't found cause to alter them yet.

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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29-09-2011, 06:47 PM
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
I prefer the Flying spaghetti monster's "The Eight I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts"

1. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Act Like A Sanctimonious Holier-Than-Thou Ass When Describing My Noodly Goodness. If Some People Don't Believe In Me, That's Okay. Really, I'm Not That Vain. Besides, This Isn't About Them So Don't Change The Subject.
2. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Use My Existence As A Means To Oppress, Subjigate, Punish, Eviscerate, And/Or, You Know, Be Mean To Others. I Dont Require Sacrifices, And Purity Is For Drinking Water, Not People.
3.I'd Really Rather You Didn't Judge People For The Way They Look, Or How They Dress, Or The Way They Talk, Or, Well, Just Play Nice, Okay? Oh, And Get This Through You Thick Heads: Woman=Person, Man=Person. Samey-Samey. One is Not Better Than The Other, Unless We're Talking About Fashion And I'm Sorry, But I Gave That To Women And Some Guys Who Know The Difference Between Teal And Fuchsia.
4. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Indulge In Conduct That Offends Yourself, Or Your Willing, Consenting Partner Of Legal Age AND Mental Maturity. As For Anyone Who Might Object, I Think The Expression Is Go F*** Yourself, Unless They Find That Offensive In Which Case They Can Turn Off The TV For Once And Go For A Walk For A Change.
5. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Challenge The Bigoted, Misogynist, Hateful Ideas Of Others On An Empty Stomach. Eat, Then Go After The B*******.
6. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Build MultiMillion-Dollar Churches/Temples/Mosques/ Shrines To My Noodly Goodness When The Money Could Be Better Spent (Take Your Pick): A. Ending Poverty B. Curing Diseases C. Living In Peace, Loving With Passion, And Lowering The Cost Of Cable. I Might Be A Complex Carbohydrate Omniscient Being, But I Enjoy The Simple Things In Life. I Ought To Know. I AM The Creator.
7. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Go around Telling People I Talk To you. You're Not That Interesting. Get Over Yourself. And I Told You To Love Your Fellow Man, Can't You Take A Hint?
8. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You If You Are Into, Um, Stuff That Uses Alot Of Leather/Lubrication/Las Vegas. If The Other Person Is Into It However (Pursuant To #4), Then Have At It, Take Pictures, And For The Love Of Mike, Wear A CONDOM! Honestly It's A Piece Of Rubber, If I Didn't Want It To Feel Good When You Did It I Would Have Added Spikes, Or Something.

RAmen.

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30-09-2011, 04:26 AM
 
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
In my experience there are intelligent believers and very stupid believers (with everything in between.)

I could always talk to intelligent believers because we are speaking the same language (up to a point): reason.

For example, in my opinion only stupid believers can deny evolution, while many intelligent ones readily admit it and attribute it to their god's design.

I started this thread (and now I am sorry I named it my commandments) to try to find a common ground with intelligent believers. I told myself: there must be something that intelligent and well meaning members from both camps can agree about.

Or, to put it another way: what is the minimum we should expect from religious people to agree with if we have any hope at all for a meaningful exchange of views.

I came up with those ten, thinking that: unless we can agree about them, I do not want to continue the conversation because the other side is either stupid or dishonest -- or both.

I would be curious to hear where other members draw the line, if they do it at all.
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30-09-2011, 08:34 AM
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
Hey, Zatamon.

A very insightful list. Good post.

I don't go as far as Gawdzilla to say that #8 is wrong, but, this forum is proof positive that disbelievers can form communities. Then there's Atheist advocacy groups, etc... People form groups. We can't help it. The rest of it is pretty ironclad. You may want to revisit #8.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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11-10-2011, 05:34 AM
 
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
(30-09-2011 08:34 AM)Ghost Wrote:  A very insightful list. Good post.

Thank you, Matt.

I am surprised a bit that nobody else joined this thread (probably the thread title is misleading) because this should really be discussed at length.

There has to be some common ground intelligent and honest people could agree on.

I would like to hear from both sides (atheists and theists) about what they consider the minimum the other side should agree with.

In the OP I listed my minimums, but I am sure others have different sets.

For a change, wouldn't it be refreshing, if we had a mutually civil and respectful discussion between the two sides, looking for things we can agree on and agree to disagree about the rest?

I know that we have all kinds of friendly debates going on with theists, but they are usually about one specific issue. This time I was hoping we could have a mapping exercise, finding some overlap between the two worlds. I am sure it is not a null set.
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11-10-2011, 07:49 AM
RE: Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
Hey all. Just a heads up. The name of the thread has been changed to better reflect the topic. (At Zats request of course)

Just so ya'll know.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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11-10-2011, 08:06 AM (This post was last modified: 11-10-2011 08:48 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
(29-09-2011 03:43 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  1. There is no conclusive proof for either belief or non-belief – both are speculative based on personal inclination and experience.

Many non-believers would disagree with this. My view is that proof is defined variously and admitted selectively by different minds; that there is no objective or impartial arbiter of proof.
More to the point, that proof is not really the issue; it's merely a sticking-point, an indefinite and intractable bone of contention.
Personally, i don't think it's relevant, but rather misleading as to the nature of belief/ faith/ spirituality/ whatever.

Quote:2. For non-believers, belief seems silly; for believers, non-belief seems barren

Maybe so. I'm not sure this is relevant, because neither side seems willing to concede the other, or sympathize with it.

Quote:3. Personal belief or non-belief is harmless unless it stops being personal

I agree, but this isn't how it works for communities of believers.

Quote:4. Neither side has the right to aggressive proselytization
5. Neither side has the right to force/pressure/intimidate the other to change their way of life solely based on belief or non-belief
6. Much harm and hurt may result from attempting 4. or 5. from either side

These three are really the same thing.
Again, i agree, but am not in a position to grant or withhold rights, nor to set limits on anyone else's idea of aggression. I only know what sort of approach i accept from a missionary.
I certainly don't go one centimeter out of my way to convince anyone that their belief is wrong.
There is no "both sides" : i allow them to come a lot more than half-way, even listen politely to uninvited strangers at my own door, while they have nothing to tolerate from me.

Quote:7. Organized religion at the highest level usually becomes a power-structure, often contrary to the teaching of their religion

Not only at the highest level, but even to individual congregations, to various extents, depending on the degree of grass roots participation and the severity of doctrine. In judaism, christianity and islam, the hierarchy was well established in the founding documents; it brings the same patriarchal power structure all the way down to the family, so that oppression is exercised over minds too young to defend themselves. The same structure of coercive dominance has been solidified and militarized for almost two millennia.
Only in the past two centuries had churches been losing political power over nation-states, but in the past 3 decades, they have laboured mightily to regain those losses, with considerable success: as once popes held moral sway over kings, religious leaders now hold voting-blocs over presidents.

Quote: 8. Non-belief is usually unorganized and powerless

Yes, even though lots of people look at Hitchens' (the unholy one, ironically called Christopher) videos, or admire Dawkins, or attend lectures by Shermer, these are not leaders in anything like the sense in which Billy Graham or the infallible nazi are leaders.
And, while organizations of non-believers may form to mount legal opposition to religious takeover of government, educational and public facilities, their power stops at the constitution/ bill of rights; it can be exercised only in the courts. Once the law has been suborned and the politically appointed judges are openly prejudiced in favour of religious ascendency, the anti-religious groups have no power at all.

Quote: 9. Logical contradictions within religions, and between competing religions, contribute to non-belief.
10. Contradictions between dogma and action in many religious camps contribute to non-belief.

Either point is a good start for young doubters. But they then proceed to personal conviction of right and wrong and conclude that religious dogma is just plain wrong - wrong morally, wrong as applied to one's own relation to the world, the wrong way to organize a society...
While inconsistency is forgivable, wrongness is much harder to stomach.

Quote:"Live and Let Live!"

That worked for a little while in Canada and, from what i've heard, in Europe. It still works at ground-level in some places, but is very difficult in others, and growing increasingly difficult as religion takes hold at the level of state and national policy.

My own rule has always been to respect good people and despise bad ones, regardless of their philosophy, political affiliation or avowed belief.
or:
By their actions shalt thou know them.

If they don't bother me, i won't bother them. If they do bother me, i politely hear out approximately 15 minutes of blather, so long as the blatherer stays out of my personal space - no leaning in, no stepping forward, no shouting, no slurs on my character. After that, i politely accept literature (which will remain unread until fire-starting time) and politely but firmly show the missionary toward the street whence they came. If, however, they overstep those boundaries, i feel entitled to mock, belittle or jeer. Not hit or threaten.
Never do i try to convince them of my belief.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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