How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
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11-04-2013, 10:26 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(11-04-2013 10:12 PM)amyb Wrote:  ^I think, among the indoctrinated, a lot of people value comfort over fact, yes. And if you were told you'll never die, you'll hang out with Jesus on a cloud and listen to angels playing shitty harp music for eternity, then you might want to hang on to this comforting, "death doesn't exist" fantasy no matter what.

But still, if a child was never indoctrinated, was never told he was immortal in a sense, he wouldn't believe that. He'd grow up understanding that death happens, EVEN IF he feared it and didn't want it to happen. He would have no comforting fantasy repeated to him over and over by authority figures and his peers, he would accept reality. And I don't think it would be all that traumatic (on the other hand, deconversion can be traumatic to some for this reason).

@Ghost: religion isn't the only thing that gives people a sense of community though. It's true that it does, but so do other things. People would bond with each other over other things. Certainly, people tend to act in tribalistic sorts of ways, in-group/out-group, and so on, but since religion isn't the only thing bonding people together, getting rid of it wouldn't matter much.

Seeing as those other things that bond people together may very well be many times less the source of hatred and bigotry and divisiveness as the bond of religion, then getting rid of religion, and consolidating those other bonding things together in, at least, an attempt to supplant religion, could matter ALOT!!

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12-04-2013, 07:06 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
Hey, Amy.

I think that the notion that a clinical and literal relationship with the world is viewed as "a good" because that view allows for things like medicine... which keeps us alive longer... That's all anyone is talking about when all is said and done.

It's not an issue of fact vs non-fact. It's just a matter of the nature of a relationship. Some relationships are utterly literal, and some are utterly poetic, and most fall somewhere in between.

It's not an issue of being afraid of fact, it's an issue of what place does fact have in your worldview. I could equally say that some people are afraid of poetry and the abstract, but it's not a matter of fear, it's a matter of what place they have in one's worldview.

You are absolutely correct that religion is not the only thing that gives people a sense of community. Nationalism does the same thing. In Quebec, during the Quiet Revolution, the intensely Catholic Quebecois people abandoned Catholicism for nationalism inside of a decade. Many of them are more intense about their nationalism than they ever were about their religion. And there's still others on the list. Atheism is the bond that keeps the community on this forum together. Hell, I know a guy that flies to Reykjavik every year with his wife just to spend a weekend with the people he plays Eve Online with. Even the Marine Corps are Semper Fidelis. It doesn't matter what it is that brings communities together, it's just the fact that like-mindedness is what does it.

Tribalism gets a bad wrap, but that's another discussion.

And it's not a matter of, something else can do it, so it's cool if we get rid of religion. Diversity matters. Domination is bad. So I'm all for reducing the domination of the major religions (and of any special interest group for that matter), but I don't much care for their outright elimination.

But yeah, I think all the OP is asking is what sort of thing can Atheists use to bring Atheists together in the same sort of tightly-knit community way that religion does; with the bake sales and the helping the elderly and the raising a barn and the alms for the poor and the singing songs and the huhglayvin!

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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12-04-2013, 02:07 PM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(12-04-2013 07:06 AM)Ghost Wrote:  But yeah, I think all the OP is asking is what sort of thing can Atheists use to bring Atheists together in the same sort of tightly-knit community way that religion does; with the bake sales and the helping the elderly and the raising a barn and the alms for the poor and the singing songs and the huhglayvin!

This was my understanding of the question too. I don't necessarily want to get together with *atheists* exclusively to have that community, but it's something I notice that I don't have now that I've left the church. Every now and then I go (e.g. with parents at Easter) and that's the only attraction to church that I feel. I guess things like community centres etc are intended for that purpose. Here in SA they barely exist though, or are affiliated with a church.
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13-04-2013, 11:10 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
Ghost Wrote:And it's not a matter of, something else can do it, so it's cool if we get rid of religion. Diversity matters. Domination is bad. So I'm all for reducing the domination of the major religions (and of any special interest group for that matter), but I don't much care for their outright elimination.
I don't feel like getting rid of religion would eliminate diversity in the world though. It is one thing that bonds people together, but it's not the only thing. A person who is attends a certain church also belongs to other groups, they have a group of coworkers, they have family, friends, hobbies, maybe they belong to a certain subculture, maybe their ethnicity/culture is a large part of their identity, or they're involved in politics. You don't necessarily need imaginary friends to have diversity.

speaking personally, i don't feel like I'm missing any sort of community due to being an atheist. I suppose I have strong ties to certain subcultures and nerdy people with similar interests. It's difficult for me to imagine what is "missing,' even for other people. I just feel like if you think something is missing, you need to find a group of people to hang out with or get a hobby. I once had a Korean roommate that dragged me to a Korean church, and I know about 3 words in Korean so I had no idea what was going on,but I could appreciate the way they hung out and socialized after, and the food was awesome. But as I see it, you could accomplish all that by hosting a barbecue, except for the singing in Korean part.
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15-04-2013, 06:31 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
I was raised jehovahs witness and became atheist in my early teens. I watched my grandma get sick and all the people in their church organization come to visit her, bring her food, give her spiritual blessings, etc. constantly. As an atheist, I have rejected a lot of that as meaningless to me, especially in my early life. However, it has been because of their reliance on what felt like voodo magic to me. None of it made sense. Reverence for bullshit just really turned me off early on.
However, the sense of community these churches have built is undeniably amazing. It is beautiful. Even as an atheist, i revere the ability of massive amounts of people to come together and feel a common sense of identity and create inclusion amongst one another. Atheists dont seem to have that except through reverence for nature, for science, for uncertainty which is undoubtably amazing, but it doesnt speak to purpose or community. If we talk about darwinian evolution, it comes down to the fact that communities of people function better than people who are alone. The truth is, in my opinion, that we tell everybody to rely on logic and reason, but only those who really no how to do that can understand the messages of this community.

We are not the type of poeple who would create a church, but i do believe that we do need to take care of each other the same way religious people seem to be able to come together to take care of each other. There are organizations that already exist that would bring forth our message. I believe we should bring these out into the mainstream by actively attending, brainstorming, doing social health. Religion will have no leg to stand on if we as a community create a moral equivalent that is as readily accessible as organizations such as the salvation army, catholic churches etc. Simply tearing down these organizations does not result in helping people make their lives better. We need to change the image of atheism and fight for our own moral imperatives by helping people through atheist organizations. Its not just about "truth". Its also about people. Without people, we have no message. I truly believe it is powerful to see atheists speaking on youtube thanking christopher hitchens for making them feel more motivated to speak out about how they think.

Anyways, i hop some people reply, i know i am rambling, but we are too cerebral as a community and it harms us in my opinion. Of course, like any body, we can be good people. but we need to find ways to communicate it effectively.

Thanks Smile
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15-04-2013, 08:21 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
Hey, Amy.

You are correct insofar as it would not ELIMINATE diversity. But, by definition, it would REDUCE diversity. And that's where the problem lies in terms of the health of the system. Diversity protects the system. Homogeneity makes it vulnerable to collapse.

I do agree wholeheartedly that an agent (an individual within a culture) has the cultural equivalent of a genome (I've used the term memome before, but there's no widely accepted term that I'm aware of). That memome is made up of a series of co-adapted meme complexes, or memeplexes, just as a genome is made up of a series of gene complexes. Religion is just one memeplex in the memome. The memetic makeup of each individual is rather complex. But that being said, the more memeplexes in the system, the more variation, the more diversity.

Sup, MDog?

Do you think this is a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

I think that religious organisations have a long history of community involvement for two reasons. One, it bolsters affiliation. Two, part of their mandate is to give back to the community. Boy Scouts (Lord Baden Powell style, not the modern US "No Homosexuals" BS), the YMCA, YMHA, Salvation Army, just a few that spring to mind, are community organisations with religious origins.

Perhaps the start point in all of this is not to think about how Atheists can make organisations to bring people together. Perhaps the start point is for Atheists to determine how it is that they want to serve their community and build an organisation around that. If you build it, they will come.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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15-04-2013, 09:08 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(15-04-2013 08:21 AM)Ghost Wrote:  If you build it, they will come.

Yeah but I just wanna be a happy clappy member Tongue I don't wanna do the hard work of building it.
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16-04-2013, 03:31 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
(15-04-2013 08:21 AM)Ghost Wrote:  ... it would REDUCE diversity. And that's where the problem lies in terms of the health of the system. Diversity protects the system. Homogeneity makes it vulnerable to collapse.

I do agree wholeheartedly that an agent (an individual within a culture) has the cultural equivalent of a genome (I've used the term memome before, but there's no widely accepted term that I'm aware of). That memome is made up of a series of co-adapted meme complexes, or memeplexes, just as a genome is made up of a series of gene complexes. Religion is just one memeplex in the memome. The memetic makeup of each individual is rather complex. But that being said, the more memeplexes in the system, the more variation, the more diversity.
Why can't you just introduce new memeplexes, then? Why does it have to be religion that gives people this sense of community and affiliation? I can't say I see it as destructive, getting rid of this particular thing that puts people into groups. If people like affiliation and belonging, which they seem to, they will find other ways of achieving it.

And I'm still not seeing how the way religion provides community is so terribly different from the way other things can provide community/belonging.
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16-04-2013, 07:38 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
Hey, Amy.

Because evolution doesn't require a designer.

Again, it has nothing to do with something else does the same thing, so we don't need religion. That's like saying, well Eagles fly so let's eradicate hummingbirds, flying squirrels, bats, moths, bees and ducks.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association were enshrined to make sure that no one had the right to say, "Well, I don't like this belief or this group, so I'm going to eliminate them."

I mean by all means, introduce new memeplexes because religion certainly is not the only one that gives people community and affiliation. The more the merrier, because diversity is good. Just don't campaign to eradicate existing ones.

In the end, it only seems destructive when you yourself are a member of the group targeted for eradication.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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16-04-2013, 11:02 AM
RE: How can we Atheists provide an alternative?
What? I never suggested outlawing religion. I am saying if there was no religion, I don't think society would collapse due to lack of diversity (because new groups could be introduced which would replace whatever need religion fills for people). The only way to get people to leave religion is of their own free will, which is why it certainly won't happen in my lifetime.
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