How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
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05-04-2013, 07:16 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(05-04-2013 07:55 AM)LostLocke Wrote:  As far as I'm concerned, atheists don't have to provide an "alternative"

Atheism deals only with with whether or not there is/is not gods, and whether or not you do or don't believe in them
That's it.

Whatever else you make of life beyond that is not within the scope of atheism.
Much in the same way the big bang/origin of the universe has absolutely nothing to do with evolution.

This, but I think that's part of the reason people think it should. They get the idea that because theism often deals with morality, afterlife, social issues, that atheism should do the same, or it's where they get the idea that the lives of atheists much be horribly dark and depressing because they are lacking something.

Anything religion does (except the believing in gods part) can be done without religion. You can get a hobby, join a group of some sort, do charity work, etc without religion. People just seem to think that without religion, people have no morality, feel no sense of purpose, and their lives are grim as fuck, and there is no basis for thinking that except that religion perpetuates this idea. I've often heard religious folks say things like a person HAS TO believe in some gods, has to pray sometimes, has to believe in an afterlife, "needs" god to have morality, "needs" religion to have any semblance of mental health, etc. Obviously they haven't thought things through very well, but that doesn't stop them from thinking that atheists are hateful bitter assholes with nothing to live for (which would potentially lead to the idea of needing an alternative or replacement for religion to fill this supposed void in our lives).
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05-04-2013, 11:20 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(03-04-2013 11:53 AM)TheGulegon Wrote:  I hear ya Derek, & Ghost, I simply wish there was a physical place to go and (don't discount this poolboy housecounter) "feel spiritual" with many other people without that place being a house of superstition. I can go to a planetarium and experience inner peace, someone else might plop a lawnchair down next to a waterfall to achieve it. But, as far as I know, religion has a lockdown on the whole "entire community comes together to laugh, commiserate, & share with one another" thing! Church is for the delusional, city hall's for the politically pissed, bars are for those looking for sex [which you gotta take a break from SOMEtimes Wink]. Not that I need it, but where the hell else can these people find acceptance from a large group of people (something they might not simply crave, but need....we ARE social creatures) without being asked at some point to believe in Santa Clause, or the Boogie Man? Because I'd like to see that cheerfulness happen somewhere outside a damn church. Just so someone better than myself can begin replacing church with superstitionless gathering places. I rant sometimes Tongue

Fucking housecounter?!?!

OP was different from the direction of the thread. You swindler. Tongue

I don't feel there is shit beyond science... besides gossip. Just cause the scientific method has not arrived, it is in route. FFS, I put the scientific method to being a prophet! Big Grin

But this direction... sure. The Church of Gwyneth Paltrow and All Mankind. I built it... in my head. I kinda hope I never make any money, cause I'd prolly build it for reals....

And it would be made of fail.

Because I don't need that stuff. That stuff just seems so... fake... to me. Even though I worship Gwyneth far more than the Christian worships god, it ain't transferable. So! I can see where you are going. I'm just not sure it is necessary to go there.

Lookit this crap. I'm in my pew, running my neck, and I'm here more than "hours of church." Perhaps there's a cultural "tipping point," past which the need for organized folklore crumbles.

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06-04-2013, 12:00 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
I don't need an alternative to religion; I'm an atheist. What I need is a gathering place where these people who need to feel a sense of granduer along with their community support gatherings can hang out & sing songs with one another that doesn't have a cross, or a star-n-crescent painted out front. Because I want less religious people in the world! Until everyone on Earth is guaranteed higher education to dispell their superstitions with knowledge they'll (theists, and potential theists) keep stumbling into beautifully engineered cathedrals ran by charismatic snake oil salemen. Until every starving orphan is guaranteed at least one day of utter jubilation, lets say...annually, they'll keep leaning into the arms of religion for the sense of familial ties and false hope that's to be found there. I don't have enough money, or skills, to slap sense into ALL of them. Which is why I was asking about alternatives. It could be as simple as a secular community center for kids with a playground done out to look like moon landers & space shuttles. But ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!!!! As a...um...ahhh...an alternative,... yeah that's it,.... to christian daycare. Obviously the "science daycare everywhere" thang is a bit of a dreamer's simplistic idea, and only one example of many different "types" of "alternatives", but it's better than sitting on our asses WAITING for theists to die off!

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06-04-2013, 12:35 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
And I guess I'm a bit sensitive on this issue, having been born in Arkansas. Every time I see a post from an Arkansas fella/gall on THIS forum, my heart goes out to them, and I can't help but want to aid them somehow. My friend never understood what I was talking about with "the south" until his woman got into a college in Tennessee, moved there, and their child began attending school there. Arkansas is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, & there's not a city, town, village, or loose nit-wide spread community in the place friendly to the "godless". Sure theists will die off, but evolution takes millions of years left completely on its own, and those poor folks of reason down there don't have that long. We need "alternatives": houses, programs, schools, institutions, any-damn-thing secular to start popping up in a hurry! The ignorant haters aren't going anywhere themselves except to preach on the street if they gotta!!!

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06-04-2013, 01:04 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(06-04-2013 12:00 AM)TheGulegon Wrote:  I don't need an alternative to religion; I'm an atheist. What I need is a gathering place where these people who need to feel a sense of granduer along with their community
Maybe the part I'm misinterpreting the "sense of grandeur." I'm really not sure what you mean by that, if you don't mean something like the awe one feels looking at nature, visiting the planetarium, etc. People create all kinds of communities, church is not the only social group there is (usually, I mean, maybe it's different where you are). Hell, a bowling league is a social group.

(06-04-2013 12:00 AM)TheGulegon Wrote:  It could be as simple as a secular community center for kids with a playground done out to look like moon landers & space shuttles. But ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!!!! As a...um...ahhh...an alternative,... yeah that's it,.... to christian daycare. Obviously the "science daycare everywhere" thang is a bit of a dreamer's simplistic idea, and only one example of many different "types" of "alternatives", but it's better than sitting on our asses WAITING for theists to die off!
Damn, well, where I live, and it's a shitty small town, there are quite a few playgrounds and daycares that have nothing to do with church. It's true that many of them don't explicitly promote science, but that's because there is more focus on swingsets and jungle gyms. But I can dig the idea of promoting the sciences more to children, but I think that starts at home and early in school. My dad bought me books on dinosaurs when I was a young kid; other parents buy their kids picture books on bible stories. I'm not sure an interest in science starts at the playground. When I was a kid, there was also this stigma attached to science and math, girls weren't supposed to like these things, which also needs done away with completely. There is also the fact that young kids interested in these things are often still made fun of and called nerds. We need to get rid of that attitude, the idea that learning is uncool. If a kid likes learning, they will seek out opportunities to learn on their own. What I worry is that anti-intellectual parents will stifle any desire to learn in their children, and tell them they're going to hell if they like science.

I also dislike the fact that groups like boy scouts and girl scouts tend to be religious-oriented. When I was a GS, our meetings were usually held in churches, there was prayer, etc.,but if groups like that weren't caught up in theism, if there were more science-promoting and learning groups that were also social, that would fill a need,also.
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06-04-2013, 01:28 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(06-04-2013 12:00 AM)TheGulegon Wrote:  but it's better than sitting on our asses WAITING for theists to die off!

We could always... Evil_monster assist. Evil_monster

Hey, you ever try that UU stuff? I used to converse with a couple of those peeps on the religiousforums... seemed alright. Thumbsup

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06-04-2013, 01:35 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
And that's what I'd like to see Smile That last part about the boy/girl scouts having NO affiliation with religion of any sort!!!
As far as the Bowling league is concerned, though? In some places everyone of them might go to church every sunday, and more than likely were attending church many years before learning to bowl. The one guy in it who's brave enough to say "you guys don't believe this shit do ya" might find, all of a sudden, he's not welcome to bowl with the team no mo. The Bowling league is for fun, the church thing is something else. I just wish that "something else" could be found in a setting similar to church, but not church, know what I mean? If you don't its awright, sometimes I don't know what I'm saying Wink
If they could find that "something else" in a place that didn't promote hate for infidels, and the belief in the invisible skygod, they'd spend their pre-game warmup practicing instead of praying, and the skeptic wouldn't have been kicked out.

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06-04-2013, 05:11 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
Yes, well then I agree about that. I mean, I can only speak about my own GS experience since I don't know much about BS or GS is other places. 99% of the time, we did stuff that was fun for kids: hiking in the woods, going camping, cooking dessert foods. There was even some science. I remember being on a stage, giving a presentation about human teeth and the different kinds and their parts, for a scouting badge. When I was a Brownie, meetings were held in the local Catholic elementary school (I went to public school, btw.). When I was a junior, my mom had become a scout leader for a while, and then they were held in a different church, methodist I think. And the other 1% of the time: prayers, songs that involved jesus, sometimes talk about religion. I remember, for one badge I think, everyone was required to write a report about the saint they were named after. I was the only person not named after a saint, apparently; I wrote about the virgin mary! (Mostly because my mom's name is Mary,.)

Sorry for rambling there, but I mean, even then I would have liked it better without the religious aspect. My hometown is largely catholic, though, and no one found a problem with it, even though I've read lately that GS is supposedly a secular group (secular, my arse).

I meant bowling in some places. The one my grandmother belonged to didn't, anyway. I'm so awful at bowling I can't say much else about that, but I mean that there are sports and hobbies people have which allow them to share things and have a sense of community, to make new friends, and so on, which seems to be a thing that some former theists miss about church. It's kind of like when I was college with a evangelical xian roommate. She went to church 3x/week. I went to "bad movie night" every week at the college with friends, where they showed bmovies and hung out after. That's the sort of thing I mean. For a long time I took up drinking, um, I mean playing pool as a hobby, and we'd go to the bar most nights, hang out, talk, and play pool. I dunno about the "grandeur" thing, but as far as activities and community goes, I've never really felt anything was lacking, except, as you said, secular things for kids.
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07-04-2013, 01:02 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
The science doesn't reduce anything for me. A bunch of neurons firing causing our emotions? Where is the reduction here? Think about that statement for a second...

We have this organ called a brain. It's basically a wrinkled hunk of meat inside our skulls. Within this meat, is a network of neurons. These neurons fire and receive information. All of this culminates to our emotions, thoughts, and actions. That's fucking amazing. Then to top it all off, it gives us the ability to even think about this as being "spiritual."

We got all this starting with a single cell? Again I ask, where is the reduction. The science only ADDS to my excitement. I equate that to a "spiritual" feeling. And here we are, still without a full explanation of how the brain works. But we are going to use this brain to understand the brain. WTF man? Isn't that some amazing shit?

I don't know if you're searching for a "spiritual" explanation or starving for a sense of community.

“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson
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07-04-2013, 01:32 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(02-04-2013 08:19 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  In a Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennet round table discussion, Sam Harris made the point that science doesn't really tackle, all too well, the "spiritual" aspects of the human experience. Now there's nothing about the concept that love, relief (etc...) is nothing more than a bunch of endorphines getting dumped in amongst our neurons that would cheapen the way I feel those emotions, but for some it would. First loves, first time a person is accepted by a large group of friendly people; there simply MUST be more to it than that for them. I'm an athiest, but even I think to take an awe inspiring, life changing moment and reduce it to a measured, clinical calculation takes something away from it. I don't know what that "it" is; just feels like somethings missing. That all being said, I guess I'm asking is there a way to meld the scientific, and the spiritual? If all the organized religions of the world were to disappear tommorrow, a new one would pop up the day after, and I doubt science could fill the void!
Suggestions/Thought?

I love this post! I am also an athiest. But their are times when I wonder if I wouldn't be happier if I weren't. Wouldn't it be nice to wake in the morning and have a guidebook for your day? When Mom and Dad pass away (and mine have) to think that they are someplace happy and wonderful! That when I follow them to the grave I will live in glorious happiness! Yes, if all religion dissapeared today another would pop up tomorrow. I don't think we can anihliate religion. But I think that our work is important, because religion has an ugly side too. Too many of our short lives are taken, sometimes in horrible, sadistic ways. Science offers a glimpse of reality. That's all it does. It can't do more. Death is something we must try to teach people to live with.
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