On Strategy in the War for Sanity
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01-10-2011, 10:09 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
Liberal intellectuals? Isn't that an oxymoron?
Big Grin

Just kidding, just kidding. I know smart people can disagree on both religion and politics.
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02-10-2011, 04:59 AM
 
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
This may be the last post I make on this Forum. I spent 2 days writing it and rewriting it. If I can’t get this idea through to at least a few of the members, then I am at the wrong place.

Before I came here, I was at another Forum that was the nicest and most sensitive Forum you have ever seen. You could not say fuck or shit without being severely reprimanded. They had hundreds of taboo words you were not allowed to use, even in a metaphor. One member was banned when sarcastically referring to us poor people (him included) as “the unwashed masses”. I was reprimanded for starting the same thread I started here: “Options in a Mental Institution” for insulting mental patients.

When I discovered this Forum, it was like a breath of fresh air to me: I felt free to discuss anything in honest, clear language. Everything was fine until fatihbarut paid us a visit. Then I started hearing the all too familiar voices. These are the voices of the democratic party in the US that Michael Moore was referring to. The voices of defeat.

Here I was accused, ever so politely and indirectly, of wanting “an eye for an eye”, of “inventing wars” of “being like them”.

There is a big confusion in people’s minds between the concept of “defense” and “attack”. It is understandable, considering the deliberate misnomer of things like the “Defense Department” that spent practically all its existence on attacking other countries.

When I say: defense – I mean exactly that.

When somebody comes to attack you and wants to poke your eye out, you raise a steel shield in front of your face and, if he hurts his fingers poking at your shield, you don’t apologize for causing him hurt his fingers. This is not an “eye for an eye” but defending your own eyes against an unprovoked attack.

This is the reason our side always loses at the end: we are too nice for our own good. We don’t want to hurt people, even in self defense. We wring our hands when we think we may have insulted someone. We apologize. We turn on each other and find the guilty party who may have caused some pain to our attacker. We bicker. We lose focus of what it is about.

I called it a war. Many disagreed. I am tempted to ask: if this isn’t a war, why are there so many casualties? In our camp? The atheists, many of whom don’t dare to “come out” for fear of reprisal against themselves or their children?

OK, what is a war? It is not necessarily an armed conflict between armies with tanks and flamethrowers. However, war is violent (not necessarily physical) confrontation between two groups of people with different and irreconcilable goals.

Our goals as atheists: be left alone in peace, to think freely and speak our minds freely. Their goal is to force us into hiding, convert us, silence us, intimidate us into pretending that we believe in their lunacy. They force us to defend ourselves against their goals.

I call it war: a defensive war.

However, it does not matter what we call it – the name we stick on the ‘conflict’ will not change the fact that we have to defend ourselves or surrender.

fatihbarut could have been a harmless fool who poked his nose in where it did not belong. We did not call him terrible names, we only made fun of him, hoping that either he would settle down into a rational debate or go away. He went away. His feelings even may have been hurt and he will, hopefully, learn from it.

On the other hand, he may have been a skillful troll who came here with a program designed to confuse us, set us against each other, disrupt our unity and thus our effectiveness.

Regardless of what his aim was: he achieved what a skillful troll would have wanted to achieve. We apologized, we reprimanded each other we may have caused the loss of some of our members who do not want to be part of a losing battle.

If he was a troll, imagine the gloating he and his buddies are enjoying at this very moment: seeing the spectacle of us bickering about how we may have hurt his feelings?

Believe me, this happens all the time. Not necessarily in this case, but all the time, nevertheless. No wonder the “forces of evil” always win at the end. We may win a battle or two, here or there, but they always win the war because they are united, focused on the goal and they are ruthless. We are divided, confused about our goals and squeamish about the methods we use in our self defense. No wonder they have nothing but contempt for our side. We deserve it.

If you think I am paranoid, that’s fine with me. I think I am a realist, with many decades under my belt studying and observing humanity and the patterns of history. I am not very optimistic about the future because I see the same pattern playing out over and over again. The cycles of confrontation between progressive forces and the insane, power-hungry, greedy, ruthless forces keep repeating over and over again.

Every time a little progress is made, it is almost immediately unmade by the next tyrant who comes along. We may think we are making progress because we don’t live in mud huts any more and don’t use leaches for bleeding our sick. But our comfort level is not what the war is about. The war is about our minds and our freedom to think and talk and to live by rational self interest. And, in this regard, we are on our way back to the middle ages.

Sorry for the long post, I tried to keep it as short as possible, without missing any important aspect of the topic. I believe I said everything I wanted to say and will now step back and let you guys discuss it (or ignore it) if you wish. I won’t participate in this discussion any longer because, honestly, I feel very old and very tired at the moment.

As I said before: it is too much work and I am supposed to be retired. I have no personal interest in this war any longer because I live in a nice enough bubble and it will probably last a few more years. It just hurts to watch young people walk into a fast deteriorating future, without the shields and armor they would need to defend themselves.

I stopped watching the news a long time ago because it hurts me seeing the forces of evil walk all over us everywhere. I may stop watching forums for the same reason.

If I won’t be back, I wish all of you good luck and good strategy in this war of self defense.

Smile
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02-10-2011, 06:56 AM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
Quote: Zatamon:
This is the reason our side always loses at the end: we are too nice for our own good. We don’t want to hurt people, even in self defense.

I wonder whether there is such a thing as "our side". From context, i assume you mean secular progressives, or even possibly oxymorons, (ha ha) like Noam Chomsky and Kenneth Galbraith. If so, i count myself in that "we" - both politically and philosophically.
On forums, though, sides are far more difficult to identify. Certainly, not everyone here is of your "we", or mine.

Atheists don't really have a side. There is no collective, no organization, no leadership, no program. We belong to many other groups, as well. The only common identifier is the tar from the broad xtian brush - feathers to follow shortly.

As you say, all we [atheists, agnostics, scientists, secularists, humanists] wanted was what the constitution/ bill of rights is supposed to have guaranteed: freedom of and from religion. "They" [religious right] hate our freedom, and i'm not exaggerating when i say hate: just listen to their leaders! That freedom is being lost, along with freedom of association and information and rights to privacy, in an increasingly paranoid, violent, authoritarian world. But a large portion of the comfortable, insulated middle class is 20-25 years behind in awareness.
Some think prayers in the senate might be inappropriate... Imagine a teapot using language as mild as that!
Some think it's nice that a couple of obscure tv stations air science documentaries.... while the fundies force creationism into the public schools.
Some think they're making progress through appeasement and retreat.

The problem isn't so much that they're too nice, i think, as that they're optimistic. They've haven't experienced the full force of the adversary's power. Yet.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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02-10-2011, 07:01 AM
 
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(02-10-2011 06:56 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  From context, i assume you mean secular progressives, or even possibly oxymorons, (ha ha) like Noam Chomsky and Kenneth Galbraith. If so, i count myself in that "we" - both politically and philosophically.

For clarification: The “we” refers to the group of us, sharing one sane conviction: opposition to religion -- philosophically, psychologically, socially and politically (whatever else our differences are).

In the broader sense it refers to what I quoted from you.
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02-10-2011, 09:53 AM (This post was last modified: 02-10-2011 09:58 AM by Glaucus.)
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
The war is far from lost. The fight is tough here in America, but we're making progress across the globe.

While the internet allows any fool with a computer to create videos peddling religion, it also has allowed people like us to realize that we are not alone. We're better organized and science has given us more advances to support our cause. We've learned the mistakes of being docile, and now we must start fighting back. We've already seen the fruits of our labor as atheism has risen in America and Europe since 1975.

More people are becoming aware of atheism because of people like Harris and Dawkins. We've got podcasts from atheists all over the internet. We've got a TV program in Austin, Texas. There are countries in Europe where the religious are the minority. The highly religious are alienating the moderates, gaining more support for us.

From yesterday's Guardian.
We have them on the defensive in some places.
An NPR report from a few years ago about the growth of secularism.

Don't forget, we have Hitchens and all the people that he has inspired.

And for those who don't think this is a war, there are people who would rather see us burned alive than allow us to continue living. Those who are active atheists will often be confronted with death threats, Sam Harris sometimes travels with bodyguards, and we have to fear for our livelihood if we think to speak out against the faithful. War is upon us, whether we wish it or not. Our worldview conflicts with theirs at the foundation, so they fight with everything they have.

Of all the ideas put forth by science, it is the principle of Superposition that can undo any power of the gods. For the accumulation of smaller actions has the ability to create, destroy, and move the world.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." -W. E. Henley
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02-10-2011, 10:23 AM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(02-10-2011 04:59 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  "sour grapes... sour grapes... etc."

Well, zippity doo dah!

First of all, I will argue any way I see fit. So ram it.

Now, I think you are a great creative writer. Some of the stuff you have written is very inspirational and it has been appreciated by me in giving you a +1 at one time... deservedly so. But, as a person who argues well, your are shit sometimes. (does that wording make you feel better?) You like to pigeon hole people just like the worst of the fundies in here. E.G. if I say, "I believe in A and I do not believe in B" you turn around and say, "You don't believe in A or B". Well, fuck that Zatamon! Just like Theo, you hear what you want to hear, and disregard what you don't and only argue your point based on what you wanted to hear, not on what was said. Then you kick your feet, cry and scream because you didn't get your way... "I'm gonna take my ball and go home!"

I have no reason or desire to euthanize atheists who don't agree with me any more than I desire to do the same with fundies that disagree with me. (You seem so fond of the word war I thought I would use the same emphasis in my last sentence.) You are the typical, "can't hear anyone but myself" kinda guy who refuses to learn from others... "is unteachable or is unwilling to learn".... does that thread quote ring a bell with you or anyone?

OK... now that the warmonger in me has spewed....

I think you need to re-read a lot of threads with an open mind. If what is being said "sticks in you craw", read it again and THINK. Then make a good case if you think it needs to be argued... and be willing to change your mind if you find yourself in error... like a good person of reason. If others disagree, so the hell what! (I'm still warmongering)

As far as the war thing.... semantics semantics.... OK. it's a war! Feel better? I don't like the word because it congers up many pictures of things I don't want in humanity. I want "war" to devolve from us. But a Battle.... I like that. It's what we are doing now... and that is healthy... and we learn, grow, rebuild, heal our wounds, and we are still there to fight another day. We don't just kill and die.

Now... my confession.....

I left the forum as an active member a day ago for some of the same reasons as you have stated. I was wrong. And don't be so puffed up that it was because of big bad you... it wasn't. I just don't think there is much use for me in this venue and I would rather lurk than "be thought of as a fool and remove all doubt". Now... Look at your reputation rating.... look at mine.... Who do YOU think belongs here? Don't leave this forum. Stay and argue and piss and laugh and have a good time. These are your own kind and they need you here.

But goddammit, stop acting like you have the only opinion on this measly, stinkin planet.

Zatamon... I love you... kiss, kiss, kiss and see you later.

Who can turn skies back and begin again?
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02-10-2011, 10:33 AM
 
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
What a wonderful rant! Big Grin
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02-10-2011, 10:34 AM (This post was last modified: 02-10-2011 11:00 AM by RubyHypatia.)
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
There are Christians who would like to see us burned to death? What Christians? And what pastor wants an Atheist registry?

http://religions.pewforum.org/reports
16.1% of Americans are unaffiliated with any religion. When young adults 18-29 were polled, that number jumped to 25%. So basically, religion is diminishing in America an we should take solace in that. Heck, a lot of Christians I know are far from devout, go to church maybe twice a year if at all, and don't bother anyone with their religious beliefs. So, not only is religion being diminished, it's being watered down.

As for the devout who'd like to inspire a revival in this country, the best thing we can do is ignore them.

Oh, and marrying Atheism to Liberalism is not helpful. Please understand that just because I'm an Atheist, it doesn't mean I'm on the Left.
How about we come up with a top ten list of books every public library should have that would promote the diminishing of religion, and then make sure our public libraries have those books? Here's some that come to my mind:

Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman
Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman
The Biblical Cosmos Verses Modern Cosmology by David Presutta
101 Myths of the Bible by Gary Greenberg
The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Ashersilberman
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Donald R. Prothero

And for the kids:
Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be by Daniel Loxton
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02-10-2011, 11:25 AM (This post was last modified: 02-10-2011 11:33 AM by Glaucus.)
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(02-10-2011 10:34 AM)RubyHypatia Wrote:  There are Christians who would like to see us burned to death? What Christians? And what pastor wants an Atheist registry?

I didn't mean to imply that all christians feel that way, but there are many who do. Here is a screenshot of the Fox News facebook page after they had someone on talking about the cross found in the steel at Ground Zero. Death Threats
TTA made a video of this story as well, but a pastor compared Atheists to sex offenders, and suggested a registry be made so believers could proselytize or boycott them. Atheist Registry

Of all the ideas put forth by science, it is the principle of Superposition that can undo any power of the gods. For the accumulation of smaller actions has the ability to create, destroy, and move the world.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." -W. E. Henley
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02-10-2011, 12:01 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(02-10-2011 09:53 AM)Glaucus Wrote:  The war is far from lost. The fight is tough here in America, but we're making progress across the globe.

I'm glad you see it that way. As far as the globe is concerned, so do i, but not because of inroads against christian militancy in the west, but because of rising China and an infant but robust secular faction in the middle east. Maybe more established in South America.

Quote:While the internet allows any fool with a computer to create videos peddling religion, it also has allowed people like us to realize that we are not alone.

True, but while you will look at both sides and try to be fair, they are unhampered by any such considerations... or by facts. That gives them a huge advantage, both in what they purvey and in how it's presented.
Propaganda is entirely on their side.

Quote: We're better organized

In this, i must demur. The hard right fundamentalists have clear, loud, ruthless leaders and flags to follow, and very little intellectual nuance, very few ideological issues, to worry about.
Now, as to the old mainstream moderate churches - yes, they are disorganized. Whether they will ever take a stand... if the slavery issue was any indication, i wouldn't hold my breath.

Quote: and science has given us more advances to support our cause.

Information, yes. Excellent information. You didn't need it, because the method itself would have sufficed... had it, as well as the information, not been so far denigrated and obfuscated as to be unavailable to the masses.

Quote: We've learned the mistakes of being docile, and now we must start fighting back.

I'm not convinced that you have learned enough to be effective. I see you fighting a rear-guard action - valiant, but futile. You should have stopped turning the other cheek long ago. The militant religionists have already consolidated their power- base. Depending partly on who becomes president next year, your best people may be in real, physical danger, and will almost certainly be silenced.

Quote: We've already seen the fruits of our labor as atheism has risen in America and Europe since 1975.

Reporting on polls has risen. A little. I can't take the time to look this up now, but i bet the rise in the number who filled in "unaffiliated" rose more sharply during 1950-75 than 1975-2000... and is slowing again, if not reversing, post-2000.

Quote:More people are becoming aware of atheism because of people like Harris and Dawkins.

More targets for them to demonize and threaten. These people have some enthusiastic supporters, admirers, fans... but they're not reaching the vast majority of populations, and they have zero power.

Quote: .... The highly religious are alienating the moderates, gaining more support for us.

The moderates have been silent for quite a while now. They may well be afraid of the extremists, but they're probably more alienated from "us" - or, anyway, they would not want to be seen in public with the likes of Harris or Dawkins, and the few i come across who have actually heard of these fellows, actively disdain both - not because they know which is which, or what each said in what style, but simply for being high-profile atheists. Don't, please don't, look to moderate theists for support!

Quote:...And for those who don't think this is a war, there are people who would rather see us burned alive than allow us to continue living....Our worldview conflicts with theirs at the foundation, so they fight with everything they have.

This is perfectly true. Extremists are not hindered by truth, fairness, tolerance or scruples... and certainly not by debating protocol. They have wrought much havoc, bloodshed and destruction on their enemies - foreign and domestic - many times before; fanaticism has not changed; our times are not exempt.

There were two issues in the OP, on which people disagree:
Is it war?
If so, what should be our strategy?
Until agreement is reached on both of those questions, i don't see how you can organize at all, or even defend yourselves as a group. It seems to me you're each individually arming yourselves with an assortment of laboratory instruments waiting to be cornered before you'll raise a hand.

That's why i think this war has been lost: most of you didn't even hear it declared.
I think you'd be wiser to go underground, consolidate and build your resistance movement, rather than wasting manpower on skirmishes out in the open. but i know that's unrealistic - never going to happen. All the same, you - who are young enough to be here for it - will probably win the next one.

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