Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
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11-10-2011, 09:53 AM
 
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
(11-10-2011 08:06 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  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.

Peterkin, I agree with most of what you said, but it did not quite answer my question.

Let me rephrase it.

First of all, I assume that you allow some believers to be intelligent, even highly intelligent, yet still believe in some kind of a god.

What, specifically do you consider an immediate sign of either stupidity or dishonesty (or both) when talking to believers.

For example, as I mentioned in the OP: in my opinion, any believer who denies evolution and sticks to the literal time-table of the Bible (6000 years?) is one or the other or both (defense of ignorance is very hard to believe in, in the 21st century).

So what are your minimum set of issues that you think both believers and non-believers should agree about, provided they are both intelligent and honest?
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11-10-2011, 10:36 AM (This post was last modified: 11-10-2011 10:42 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Zatamon's 10 Commandments regarding religion
(11-10-2011 09:53 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  Peterkin, I agree with most of what you said, but it did not quite answer my question.

OK, i'll try.

Quote:First of all, I assume that you allow some believers to be intelligent, even highly intelligent, yet still believe in some kind of a god.

Yes. It never ceases to astonish me, the amount of theological literature produced by great minds who could more profitably have been breeding petunias, solving mathematical puzzles, or drawing epicycles instead.

Quote: What, specifically do you consider an immediate sign of either stupidity or dishonesty (or both) when talking to believers.

First sign of stupidity: pointing to an underlined passage in an abridged bible (or linking to its internet counterpart). Second sign: repeating the same thing after i've disputed its veracity, applicability or morality.
First sign of dishonesty: changing the frame of reference
Second sign: deliberate misconstrual of my response, usually in the form of substituting extreme or/and inflammatory words for my reasonable ones

Quote:For example, as I mentioned in the OP: in my opinion, any believer who denies evolution and sticks to the literal time-table of the Bible (6000 years?) is one or the other or both (defense of ignorance is very hard to believe in, in the 21st century).

Fundamentalists and literalists are rarely worth talking to. Check carefully for ear-plugs before you waste any breath. They can't understand and don't even want to consider their professed faith in the larger context of human culture - which is what interests me.

Quote:So what are your minimum set of issues that you think both believers and non-believers should agree about, provided they are both intelligent and honest?

I respect those of any or no faith who have a profound, personal conviction, upon which they act. They don't debate or try to convince others - they're too busy saving earthquake victims. That, i would eagerly do side by side with any of them.

Except for fun or the edification of any youthful doubters in the audience, i don't think religion requires studious attention below the level of, say, Tom Harpur or Northrop Fry, who have striven with considerable mental resources, to peel away the layers and layers of dogmatic nonsense to reveal something divine in the human psyche.
I have, in the past, discussed religious matters with liberal clergymen, but only on a superficial level - not touching upon either of our souls.
That is probably as it should be - certainly how i prefer.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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11-10-2011, 01:10 PM
RE: Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
Just having some half-serious fun with this.
I have answered as a Christian for you, though not one, but formally as and fully aware of the mindset.

1. There is no conclusive proof for either belief or non-belief – both are speculative based on personal inclination and experience.
There is absolute proof in the resurection of Jesus Christ

2. For non-believers, belief seems silly; for believers, non-belief seems barren
To consider the ministry of Jesus Christ silly is completely unacceptable.

3. Personal belief or non-belief is harmless unless it stops being personal
Your lack of acceptance of Jesus as your savoir is unacceptable. God punishes entire nations for their unbelief

4. Neither side has the right to aggressive proselytization
It is my mission to convert as many souls as possible to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I cannot accept your offer

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
God commands us to enforce his laws. If this means killing heretics then we obey completely. I cannot substitute man's law for God's law

6. Much harm and hurt may result from attempting 4. or 5. from either side
God did not ask us to consider harm or hurt. He simply commands us to obey his word. Harm or Hurt is a human observation.

7. Organized religion at the highest level usually becomes a power-structure, often contrary to the teaching of their religion
This is simply not true. Religion is man's expressed love for God and to speak against it is unacceptable.

8. Non-belief is usually unorganized and powerless
You are dangerous. Your beliefs, even just one person alone, threatens the imortal souls of all believers.

9. Logical contradictions within religions, and between competing religions, contribute to non-belief.
There are no contradictions with Christianity or the Bible. Only the word of God. Other religions are false religions and God will address them in His time.

10. Contradictions between dogma and action in many religious camps contribute to non-belief
Non-belief is the result of Satan's influence in the world. There are no contradictions in God's word.
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11-10-2011, 02:11 PM
 
RE: Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
(11-10-2011 01:10 PM)Thomas Wrote:  Just having some half-serious fun with this.
I have answered as a Christian for you, though not one, but formally as and fully aware of the mindset.

Thomas, your half-serious answers were in a way funny, in a way depressing (if they truly represent the typical Christian mindset, if there is such a thing).

I have known intelligent and honest people who were also religious and they had no problem with agreeing with my 10 points in the OP.

What I have been wondering is: do others have additional points they consider a make-or-break test for discussion with believers?

Do you have anything to add/delete/modify regarding the points I listed in the OP?

Just curious. Smile
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11-10-2011, 02:47 PM
RE: Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
I agree with all of your points Zat. You cant deny the logic behind them. I try to Live and let live but to be honest it is very very tough.

When I see women wearing burkhas I just want to go up to them and say "come on......you wasnt born with that on.....how dare somebody "own" you and not let anybody else see you.......dont be a possesion"

However if I do that I am then transfering my belief system onto somebody else......and whilst in my society it would seem illogical to cover yourself up apart from your eyes.......to the person it is there life....so who am I to say???

Can we really coexist peacefully side by side with our beliefs......I dont think we can if I am honest and im trying my best to be optimistic.

I dont know where to begin to start listing the religions that treat women as secondary citizens.....that use fear to control.....that basicly violate simple human rights. I cant co-exist next to these barbaric and outdated traditions, I dont want to see people get treated that way full stop, never mind in my community.

Like I said before though who am I to say anything.........because i wouldnt like it if people started attacking the way I live.........after all its all I know Huh

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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11-10-2011, 02:59 PM
 
RE: Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
(11-10-2011 02:47 PM)bemore Wrote:  I agree with all of your points Zat. You cant deny the logic behind them. I try to Live and let live but to be honest it is very very tough.

bemore, I also said in the OP the following:

Quote: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.

The "Live and Let Live" was a summary of the 10 points I made: the points every religious person needs to agree to in order for me to consider them both honest and intelligent.

I fully sympathize with you feelings regarding the abuse and dehumanizing effect religion can have on people (especially women in some cultures). Demanding adherence to prescribed attire being the least of the offenses.

I am looking for possible common grounds intelligent and honest people may agree on -- believers and non-believers alike. Beyond this common ground we both may have a LOT more deep convictions and feelings that we could never share.
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12-10-2011, 03:00 AM
RE: Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
Hi Zataman and everyone else.

What a great post! I agree with all of Zataman's points... except no 3, which states
"3. Personal belief or non-belief is harmless unless it stops being personal."

Firstly, and Zatamman implies this in no 4, Christian belief rarely remains personal. The belief itself commands the followers to spread the "good word." Jesus says "he who is not for me is against me." Intolerance of others is an integral and fundamental part of Christianity. If the "Christian" doesn't proselytise, he is not being a true Christian.

Secondly, I believe it is a wrong and dangerous assumption that personal belief does no harm. I can't explain all my reasons for that on this post, but if anyone is interested I have two blogs, one at
http://www.markfulton.org/the-psychologi...ristianity , the other at
http://www.markfulton.org/christianity-a...al-society , which explain the damage to individuals and to society that Christianity engenders.
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12-10-2011, 06:08 AM
 
RE: Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
(12-10-2011 03:00 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I agree with all of Zataman's points... except no 3, which states
"3. Personal belief or non-belief is harmless unless it stops being personal."

My mother was a catholic and she believed in god all her life, in a quiet unassuming way. She seldom went to church, seldom mentioned it and never tried to convince anyone, even her children. She kept it personal and it gave her great comfort late in life when she had to cope with unexpected setbacks.

I have known many similarly religious people who did not bother anybody with their belief, kept it to themselves and were very nice, helpful people. Some christians, as Peterkin said, try to live up to the true tenets of christianity: helping the poor and the sick and not harming anyone.

I guess I should have said: "Personal belief or non-belief is not necessarily harmful"
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12-10-2011, 06:36 AM
RE: Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
(12-10-2011 06:08 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  
(12-10-2011 03:00 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I agree with all of Zataman's points... except no 3, which states
"3. Personal belief or non-belief is harmless unless it stops being personal."

My mother was a catholic and she believed in god all her life, in a quiet unassuming way. She seldom went to church, seldom mentioned it and never tried to convince anyone, even her children. She kept it personal and it gave her great comfort late in life when she had to cope with unexpected setbacks.

I have known many similarly religious people who did not bother anybody with their belief, kept it to themselves and were very nice, helpful people. Some christians, as Peterkin said, try to live up to the true tenets of christianity: helping the poor and the sick and not harming anyone.

I guess I should have said: "Personal belief or non-belief is not necessarily harmful"

Yes....Ok.......good point. A discussion such as this makes generalisations. My generalisations don't apply to all Christians either.

Bear in mind I basically agree with you. I hear it that your mum, and some of your acquaintances were and are good , nice people. I have to make the point again though that "the true tenets of Christianity" are NOT about loving people and getting on with others. Yes..."Jesus" did say this on occasions, but also, in the bible, hated the outsider and threatened violence. Paul, the creator of Christian theology, did the same, and loathed homosexuals and women, and had some really fucked up ideas about sex and sexuality. Yahweh bashed, killed, raped and pillaged. The Bible bad mouths rational thinking and science. I could go on.....

Yes...some people get some comfort from their imaginary friends, but along with that often inherit awful prejudices and unhealthy thinking. If you are bought up as a Christian you are inevitably tainted to varying degrees by this. The phrase "a good Christian" is an oxymoron. Churches promote the propaganda that Christianity is aimed at promoting good will between men, but if you look closely at the guts of the dogma the opposite is true.
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12-10-2011, 06:57 AM
 
RE: Common ground between intelligent and honest believers and atheists
(12-10-2011 06:36 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I have to make the point again though that "the true tenets of Christianity" are NOT about loving people and getting on with others.

You are right, Mark, I was imprecise again.

I should have said: "what they considered to be the true tenets of christianity".
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