On Strategy in the War for Sanity
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02-10-2011, 02:45 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(02-10-2011 12:01 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  
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.

Their misuse of facts and data is undermining their position. While it may work on some of their congregation, younger people are concerned about faith and find the arguments against it all over the internet. My religious friends are more pantheistic or culturally christian, but they don't like it when people try to shoe-horn scripture to conform with scientific findings. I would say that the moderately religious use faith as a guide, but not as the literal truth. It's just that the radicals are the ones who make headlines.

(02-10-2011 12:01 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  
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.

My mistake, I didn't mean we're better organized than them, I meant that we're better organized than we were 30 years ago. We now have organizations like American Atheists, Secular Student Alliance, etc.

(02-10-2011 12:01 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  
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.

I agree, the main problem is education and how science is taught to the public. We've actually had a few lectures at my university (it specializes in science and engineering) in how to solve this problem. And from what I've heard from other universities, it's finally becoming an issue that Academia is confronting.

That's all that I have time to respond to now. But you do raise some valid concerns.

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, 04:05 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
In the battle against fundamentalist power in the U.S., I see reasons to be hopeful. The biggest one is the increase in the acceptance of homosexuality and the successes of the gay rights movement.

On July 24 of this year, same-sex marriage became legal in New York State. On Sept. 20, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was history, and gay people can now serve openly in the U.S. military. Both those steps are HUGE.

Take a look at this report published a couple of days ago by NORC (the National Opinion Research Center) at the University of Chicago. It’s pretty amazing. Some highlights:

Quote:Although sharply divided, public attitudes toward gays and lesbians are rapidly changing to reflect greater acceptance, with younger generations leading the way . . .

In addition to a plurality who now approve of same-sex marriage, Americans overwhelmingly support basic civil liberties and freedom of expression for gays and lesbians, in contrast to sharp division on such issues in the 1970s. Taken together, the results show a clear "trend toward greater tolerance regarding homosexuality" . . .

The rise in support for same-sex marriage has been especially dramatic over the last two decades. It went from 11 percent approval in 1988 to 46 percent in 2010, compared to 40 percent who were opposed, producing a narrow plurality in favor for the first time. . . .

There is a large generation gap on the issue [of same-sex marriage]". . . While 64 percent of those under 30 back same-sex marriage, only 27 percent of those 70 and older support it. [Emphasis added]

It’s that last stat that makes me smile the most. My own 60+ generation is hopeless, but we’ll be gone soon enough. And the young people are a helluva lot more tolerant than their grandparents. I like how that trend is going.

Not that the battle is won. There’s still plenty of anti-gay oppression to fight against. But to paraphrase the YouTube campaign, it’s getting better.

Since demonizing “the gay lifestyle” is one of the main goals of the religious right, I don’t see why we shouldn’t consider public attitudes towards homosexuality as a barometer of fundamentalist power. If that connection is legit, then we have at least one good indicator that fundie pressure is falling.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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02-10-2011, 06:49 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
Glaucus, anonymous people say all kinds of things online that they don't really mean. I'm not going to take them serious. And that pastor doesn't even have a congregation. What he said about creating an Atheist registry was no more than a publicity stunt. Let's not imagine a threat where there is none.
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02-10-2011, 07:02 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
I think anyone saying something is listened to by someone. Everything said that is antagonistic should be taken seriously an as a threat. To ignore such "trifles" can lead to major disturbances in the future. In life you cannot just scoff at everyone who sounds like an idiot with no support because as is witnessed every election year, every idiot has support. The more public the figure, the more attention gained.
that one pastor over estimated his power, but do not assume that because he did that, that he has no power.
You're right of course in saying he is no genuine pastor as far as that goes, but what makes a pastor anyhow? and how many americans who are deeply rooted in the religion he claims to be a pastor for actually care enough to look and see if he is a genuine article, or for that matter how many care if he is so long as they like what he has to say?
I'm not saying this guy is an actual threat but I wouldn't brush off anyone lightly when they want me to register like a sex offender. I was proud of the americans who decided to out themselves in response to this joker. But next time I wonder if the results will work in the atheist favor. If more people sit back and just assume that the idiots will sort themselves out I can only assume it won't.
I personally feel that if we care about our kids future at all it is our responsibility to make things better for them in any way we can. That means things such as taking better care of our environment and making sure our kids know how to do it even better than we can. Making our standards for education rise every year, and placing a great deal of importance on education. Helping solve the economic crisis as a world not individual nations, and of course attempting to make peace. Also something that may not seem like such a big issue in our neck of the woods, but making sure religion has absolutely no foot hold in society. This means getting it the hell away from school, and politics. Restricting it's rights as far as taxation, and dodgy criminal behavior. And making religious figures accountable for the words and actions they cause.
Every time someone says that we should register, it should be called out for it's egregiousness, not left to simmer. The pot will eventually boil over.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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02-10-2011, 07:27 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(02-10-2011 07:02 PM)lucradis Wrote:  I'm not saying this guy is an actual threat but I wouldn't brush off anyone lightly when they want me to register like a sex offender.

And how hard do you think it would be to start collecting data on atheists on the Internet? All it would take is a little bit of determination and some knowledge of data collection. It's done all the time by much less aggressive or spiritually inclined. Not hard at all. If he can't do it, someone could.

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02-10-2011, 11:29 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(02-10-2011 06:49 PM)RubyHypatia Wrote:  Glaucus, anonymous people say all kinds of things online that they don't really mean. I'm not going to take them serious. And that pastor doesn't even have a congregation. What he said about creating an Atheist registry was no more than a publicity stunt. Let's not imagine a threat where there is none.

If it was on some fundie forum, I wouldn't think anything of it. But there is very little anonymity from a facebook account. They made those comments fully aware that the world would be able to see them and tie them to their names. That is why I think that those threats are a bit more credible. Any threat is wrong, even if they "didn't mean it".

Whether it was a publicity stunt or not, it could have repercussions for both sides. Look at Terry Jones who wanted to burn the Qur'an, riots started across the globe because he was doing a publicity stunt.

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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03-10-2011, 12:30 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(02-10-2011 07:27 PM)defacto7 Wrote:  
(02-10-2011 07:02 PM)lucradis Wrote:  I'm not saying this guy is an actual threat but I wouldn't brush off anyone lightly when they want me to register like a sex offender.

And how hard do you think it would be to start collecting data on atheists on the Internet? All it would take is a little bit of determination and some knowledge of data collection. It's done all the time by much less aggressive or spiritually inclined. Not hard at all. If he can't do it, someone could.

I agree. It wouldn't be hard whatsoever. The only challenge would be to rout out the closeted atheists. I also think that if it began to reach serious proportions it would definitely draw the line in the sand, and would force atheists to take a stand. A lot of atheists took this guy serious and used it as a launching pad to come out as an act of defiance.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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03-10-2011, 12:40 PM (This post was last modified: 03-10-2011 12:46 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
Imagine what would happen in the media if an atheist - it wouldn't even have to be a major spokesman - made a threat against christians? Or used anything like the hateful words they use against us? Reporting and law-enforcement are severely bent in one direction. You can take that lightly and hope it goes away, but i see it growing worse.

As for organization, 30 years ago, we didn't perceive any need for it, because we didn't expect to be attacked. Until almost the end of last century, most communities of mixed affiliation and non-affiliation were able to live and let live. In the north, anyway - i don't know about the south. This confrontation has been escalating for about 3 decades now, and doesn't look like approaching any resolution - rather, entrenchment, more over-heated rhetoric, and more outrageous demands for power on the extreme religious end.
That, by the way, is the single most basic, most intractable issue: non-believers want only to be free of religion; religionists will settle for nothing less than the imposition of their world-view on everyone.

The statistics don't look all that rosy to me.
78+% identify as christians: that kind of majority, especially if led by rabid power-freaks, draped in the flag and armed to the teeth by the almighty hisself, can mow down all other believers and non-believers, without effort. The moderate religious will throw up a few heroes - a priest or rabbi who will rescue a handful of atheist and muslim children out of the concentration camps. But the vast majority will see nothing, hear nothing, rock no boats, keep their heads down and their noses clean. That is what they do.
They will also keep voting for lower taxes, not better schools.

Of the 16% unaffiliated, 12% say no particular religion, but don't reject the god idea, so they can go either way, but more likely toward the winning side. Less than 4% identify as agnostic and atheist, combined - and i'm guessing less than half of those are outspoken. That's not a huge organization - even if they all wanted to be organized - and won't make a huge weight in the balance of power. If it's true that 25% of youth are unaffiliated, and even if that bloc resolves into more atheist/ agnostic than nothing-in-particular, and even if it's a more outspoken bloc of unbelievers than their parents were, these are the people who have least financial, social or political clout.

Maybe when they're older, if they haven't sold out or broken by then, today's university students will turn things around again. Meanwhile, the de-fundies just keep marching on, denouncing people, destabilizing communities, imposing their doctrine on school-children, intimidating opposition, revoking laws they don't like, making new ones.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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03-10-2011, 12:56 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(03-10-2011 12:40 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  ... Meanwhile, the de-fundies just keep marching on, denouncing people, destabilizing communities, imposing their doctrine on school-children, intimidating opposition, revoking laws they don't like, making new ones.

... and possibly appointing supreme court justices who have no opposition whatsoever... for life. In the US, they reign almost supreme.

Who can turn skies back and begin again?
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03-10-2011, 02:32 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
When people like Pat Robertson, Rick Warren, or Joel Osteen start calling for the registration or killing of Atheists, then I'll worry. Obscure people online doing this isn't worth a second's worth of anxiety.

BTW, not all Atheists refer to themselves as Atheists. Anyway, religion is being watered down and diminished in this country so take comfort in that. I live in the Bible Belt and have noticed that people do yard work on Sunday, something that usually didn't happen 20 years ago. People just aren't as religious today as they were 100 years ago.
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