On Strategy in the War for Sanity
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03-10-2011, 03:46 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(03-10-2011 02:32 PM)RubyHypatia Wrote:  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.

You have a point in that we don't need to fear what we don't know... But, we do need to understand the possibilities available and be vigilant. I cannot say this with more pressing importance... Never, ever underestimate the utter vulnerability of the Internet.

As far as yard work on Sunday, 20 years ago, people made different choices in their practice of religion, like keeping the sabbath holy. That has given way to political practices which are less ritualistic and less personal. I think I will disagree with you about religion being diminished. That's not my experience.

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03-10-2011, 05:27 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
Doesn't matter what you call yourself it's what you believe that matters.
Also everyone comes from somewhere and they usually start at zero. Don't count anyone out I can guarantee that is a mistake.

"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, 06:58 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(02-10-2011 12:01 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  
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.

I would bet against that, seeing as 1950's and 60's were the time when we the "atheist" became synonymous with "communist," but let me know if you find anything (if you get a chance to look).

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

They may do whatever they like, but those "targets" are helping to make atheism mainstream. The God Delusion, god is Not Great, Letters to a Christian Nation, and many more books talking about atheism have been best sellers in the last few years. All this works to get rid of that taboo where religion is not allowed in "polite company".

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

Why not? It's the moderates who criticize the radicals from their own camp. While the moderates are slow to react, their voice does carry weight that ours cannot. Look at Bishop John Shelby Spong, or the pastor from Michigan that said Hell was not real. While they may be demonized as well, they do get more support from their own followers than we could ever hope for. Many Christians in my life no longer believe in Hell, and none of them came to that conclusion because of an atheist.

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

Sometimes it does feel like a resistance movement, but we are making progress, with our small skirmishes on internet forums, facebook profiles, or Youtube comments. The fact of the matter is that there is too much information out there that can easily be accessed, it is harder for the religious to maintain their hold on the children who reach the age of reason.

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, 08:33 PM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(Don't, please don't, look to moderate theists for support!)

Quote:Why not? It's the moderates who criticize the radicals from their own camp. While the moderates are slow to react, their voice does carry weight that ours cannot.

Look at their record. Any country, any crisis. The mainstream established churches, the ones with large numbers, esteemed leaders, real power, usually sit back and wait for some fringe group and fruitcakes to stand up against wrongs - to take the lumps. They criticize a bit here and there, pass a resolution here and there, wring very public hands - and do nothing. The extremist element, the fanatics take action.

If you think you can stop them, go, do it! I hope you're right and i'm wrong.

As for the statistics, i've had trouble tracking down the numbers i want. Even my local library has reorganized the reference material* so it's damn hard to find. Therefore, i've shelved that project. For lack of proof, i withdraw the suggestion of slowing decline, and accept your data as valid for this discussion.

(*They buried it in among a roomful of undifferentiated non-fiction - no signs, no hints: have to find the Dewy decimal number of the one you want in a catalogue... What madness is this?)

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03-10-2011, 09:01 PM (This post was last modified: 03-10-2011 11:39 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(30-09-2011 12:36 PM)Glaucus Wrote:  Education. That's where they are unable to hold ground.

That's it. And they're not stupid. That's why in the US they are currently attacking teachers and our public education system. They realize that they cannot indoctrinate and manipulate an educated mind. But it won't work, it's too late. Just a last ditch death throe doomed to fail because too many of us are already educated and enlightened and know how to educate and enlighten others. Kinda pathetic if you ask me. I hope I personally go into that abyss with far more grace and dignity than the desperation religion is showing in its dying days.

(02-10-2011 04:59 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  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.

Your doormen and bouncers still lack sufficient training to keep Frustration out of your club. He really is an insidious asshole who should be refused entry on sight. Nothing good has ever come out of that prick. Wink

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
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04-10-2011, 07:26 AM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
Attack, defense. Neither will get us anywhere by themselves. We must treat this with the upmost care. There are people depending on us to succeed. One only has to look at the introductions on this forum to know the horrors that take place.

As a upholder of justice I cannot let this continue, I will not let this continue. If it's an all out war they want then I will gladly show them who holds the true conviction around here. I don't like the war but we connot sit on our asses and let this continue on.

I and others like me will gleefully deal with the physical part of this fight, but we will not win on our own. We need people to cover our flanks. By flanks I mean the social and education part.

I don't know the situation in the U.S. but I don know that it's laready started in my community. I've already been in four confrontaions with religious fanatcis. Needless to say they are weak and learned their place.

As long as there are people that need defending my fight will not end!

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04-10-2011, 09:29 AM
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
Hamata K's post illustrates with shocking clarity why I feel that, without saying that religion is above reproach, it is of the utmost importance to avoid blaming religion for everything and believing that the Atheist is above committing the same transgressions as the much hated Theist.

The same rules affect all humans and if we continue to focus on the what rather than the how, then the how will guide us down the same path that it has since its genesis.

Don't believe that you are an original.

Competition and conflict are indelible aspects of what it means to be a living organism. War is a human invention that begins with the assumption that the best way to deal with conflict is to wipe out your competitors. There is a conflict, important things are at stake, contests will be won and lost, but that isn't war, it's Tuesday. Champion war if you feel that you must, but understand what it is that you, like all those that came before you, are imposing on this world. Above all else, understand why.

Quote:But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.
— Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and The Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance)

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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04-10-2011, 10:22 AM
 
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(04-10-2011 09:29 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Competition and conflict are indelible aspects of what it means to be a living organism. War is a human invention that begins with the assumption that the best way to deal with conflict is to wipe out your competitors.

... in spite of my better judgement and, against my resolution, I have to remind you all that the intended topic of this thread was STRATEGY in our self DEFENSE and why our current strategy is failing.

Defense does not imply destroying the enemy. It only implies not letting the enemy destroy you. HUGE difference!

Everybody, so far, ignored this point and would not touch my post (#12) elaborating on it, with a 10-foot pole.

I am curious why.

Now back into my foxhole, observing the action from a safe distance....

Tongue
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04-10-2011, 10:38 AM (This post was last modified: 04-10-2011 11:00 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
(04-10-2011 09:29 AM)Ghost Wrote:  The same rules affect all humans and if we continue to focus on the what rather than the how, then the how will guide us down the same path that it has since its genesis.

The what what? The what how? Guide us to where?
I honestly don't understand this statement.
Do you mean we should think about means [how] rather than ends [what]? or strategy, rather than the basis of the conflict? So, if we are more concerned with ends than means, we will repeat the same patterns that humanity has enacted since ? "it" humanity? the path? the how? the what? began. If that's what you mean, the introduction and conclusion are probably accurate, whichever way around the middle section goes; whether what-how or how-what.

Quote:Don't believe that you are an original.

I will, though. Not a new species, not a new type, but unique within the genre. As a Van Gogh, while still one of many, many paintings, is nevertheless original.

Quote: Competition and conflict are indelible aspects of what it means to be a living organism. War is a human invention
well, sort of. Ants do it without ordnance.
Quote: that begins with the assumption that the best way to deal with conflict is to wipe out your competitors.
maybe not best, but certainly most effective (BTW Who says war begins with that assumption? Some wars begin with just wanting to make the other tribe fork over its gold, cattle and virgins. Some begin with the assumption that god told us to take the holy land from strangers - then maybe give it to our friends.)
Quote: There is a conflict, important things are at stake, contests will be won and lost, but that isn't war, it's Tuesday.
Today, about a thousand species of flora and fauna will become extinct. Forever.
Quote: Champion war if you feel that you must,
"Well, why'd he bring his kids into a battle-zone?" Because that's the street he lives on, and there was no battle there until you brought it there. He championed nothing, chose nothing: he simply has no other place to live or die.
Quote: but understand what it is that you, like all those that came before you, are imposing on this world.
The other peaceful, ordinary people who came before me, and tried to live quietly, with some dignity and comfort, also had things imposed on them. Some were able to defend themselves; most were not.
Quote:Above all else, understand why.
We rarely understand why other people want to punish us; why they hate us, why they insist we change. Maybe they don't like our pigmentation, our occupation, our rituals and culture... or the shape of our genitals, or what shape we like to rub them against, or how we cover them, or how we regulate their ultimate function.

Why what? defend ourselves? Fight back?
My personal reason is that it's distasteful to pretend belief under duress. My social reason is that the belief system they are trying to foist on all fellow citizens is hurtful to a great many fellow citizens, and will continue to be so for a generation, before sanity is gradually restored. That's no big deal in philosophical or historical terms, but an awful lot of misery at ground-level.

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04-10-2011, 11:19 AM (This post was last modified: 04-10-2011 11:23 AM by Ghost.)
RE: On Strategy in the War for Sanity
Hey, Zatamon.

Quote:... in spite of my better judgement and, against my resolution, I have to remind you all that the intended topic of this thread was strategy in our self defense and why our current strategy is failing.

Well, the thread is called On Strategy in the War for Sanity, not On Strategy in Our Self Defence.

That, and your opening statement was:
Zatamon Wrote:If someone has not realized it yet: this is a war we are in the middle of.

If you need proof: go to the Introduction Forum and read the heart-wrenching stories of people coming here, looking for help.

Now that we agreed: it is a war -- what is the best strategy for self defense?

So while you did ask what the best strategy of self defence was, you framed the issue as a war. That's where the contention stems from, in my opinion.

Speaking personally, I have no issue with you or anyone else defending themselves, whatever that might mean, I just have issue with the idea that a war is going on, both from the standpoint of that not being the case and from the standpoint that I feel it's dangerous to approach it as if it was a war.

Also personally, I avoided responding to your post #12 because 1 - I felt that you were emotionally hijacking this particular conversation and 2 - because I disagreed with some of what you said and didn't want to offend you given your volatile state. I have no interest in chasing you out of here but I have no interest in being held hostage either. So I just bowed out.

I agree that there is a big difference between defence and attack, but there is equally a big difference between conflict and war. Even Gandhi wanted to defend himself, so I have no issue with that and I applaud your denouncement of attacking. That being said, the use of the word war creates a very negative and very dangerous frame. Conflicts are to be resolved. Wars are to be won. That, to me, is a staggering difference.

Sticking with Gandhi, the manner in which he defended himself was laudable, but you were calling for a defence that accepted and even called for harming the attackers. I took issue with that.

Then you said this:
Quote: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?

I think that this is, to be polite, an exaggeration of the situation. Exaggerating the case in and of itself is not an issue, but, when one is trying to use exaggerated statements to rally a populace, then that's demagoguery. I'm not calling you a demagogue; I'm just trying to warn you away from a path you may have stumbled down inadvertently.

Quote: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.

Ok. Here's the meat. This paints a picture in which Atheists are just twiddling their thumbs, minding their own business, when along come the big bad Theists. The reality is that two groups co-exist. The fact that they’re different is true by definition because if they were the same, they'd be the same group. They both have wants and needs and try to fulfil them and they both lay claim to ideas, resources, political influence, the list goes on. Those two groups, because of these overlapping claims, are in conflict with one another. With one another is the operative part of that sentence.

The truth is, you BOTH want to live in peace and think freely and speak your minds freely. To assume that of yourself and to deny that in them is to deny their humanity and be separated from reality. Both sides contest things on two levels:
-On the level of resource control
-On the level of conversion

Both groups want to control things like money and land and the presidency. That goes without saying.

And both groups are actively trying to make converts of the other because that undermines the other group while it bolsters your own. Conversion through proselytising is easy to spot. But trying to eliminate creationism from schools in favour of evolution is the same shit, different pile.

There is a conflict. End of story. And it takes two to tango. End of story.

The conflict will never go away as long as the two groups exist. So trying to somehow win the conflict, to me, is a silly notion. I do not fault anyone, on either side, for wanting to defend themselves. But perhaps the emphasis should shift from winning the war, to resolving conflict. Reach out and resolve as a way of living in peace with one another. Recoil and entrench will only one day lead to an actual war between the so called Red States and Blue States and Americans should be terrified, from sad experience, of civil war.

In the end, in your third sentence you made the assumption that everyone agreed that this is a war. I think the responses showed that people don’t actually agree with that. And that’s cool. And it doesn’t mean that no one wants to discuss defensive strategies. It just means that they wish to stay away from incendiary frames.

For me, I think the difference in approach is this. Take lions and hyenas. They are in a constant state of conflict. But neither species dreams of the day when the other will cease to exist. They simply live their lives, sometimes being aggressive, sometimes being defensive and sometimes just walking away, and they accept (insofar as an animal can accept something) that sometimes they win and sometimes they lose and that the conflict will persist and that the conflict is not zero sum.

Humans are smarter than lions and hyenas, so there’s no reason we can’t work things out.

When children in daycare have a conflict, what do we tell them? You two are just going to have to figure out how to get along despite your differences. I think we should ask that of ourselves too.


Hey, Peterkin.

I'm just going to accept that your tongue was planted firmly in your cheek Cool

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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