One of Us
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03-03-2011, 10:04 AM
One of Us
Hey.

Daniel Quinn introduced the idea many years ago that certain memes (unfortunately) have a very high representation in the global meme pool. One of these memes in particular is: Ours is the one right way for people to live and everyone should live like us.

The consequences of this meme have been felt throughout history.

Which brings us to today.

The Atheist way is to be not-Theist. It is a personal choice. I get the sense from my time here that a number of people belive that Atheism is the way that people should live. Not just themselves, but everyone. That the Theist way to live should be eliminated and Theists made to live like Atheists either by the gentle influence of education or by more direct means.

Do people feel that this is a fair assessment, or that it is way off base, or any point in between?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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03-03-2011, 12:27 PM
 
RE: One of Us
I do agree that it's basically the common feeling amongst non-theists. I recognize the point that's being made here about how that logic/want is faulty and is hypocritical, seeing as how most atheists point at theists for their tendency to push their religion unto others. However, it's a little different. For me, at least, it's more of a "If all people were non-theists, maybe people would be a little smarter, less homicidal, etc. etc."
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03-03-2011, 01:58 PM
RE: One of Us
The United States constitution says seperation of the church and state. It also allows freedom of religion. It was designed to keep religion out of politics, not to destroy religion. This is a secular idea. Religion would have tried to destroy atheism if it got serious political power. So, I fail to see your argument as a fair assessment. According to the history that I know, secularists and atheists have always been a hell of a lot fairer to everyone than religious groups have been. Plus we won't force people to believe lies, or kill them because they have a different view.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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03-03-2011, 02:04 PM
 
RE: One of Us
That's not the point, I don't think. This is a question that is made all the time by many theists when they're just pissed off with atheists as a whole and want us to just shut up.

"Why do you care so much about making people believe in evolution? Why are you trying to convince me there's no god? It's like you're obligated to do it. Atheism is a religion"

I've had that hurled at me a few times, which is funny because i don't usually force my views on anyone. It's just that when you explain something to somebody, and that something is completely opposite of what that somebody believes, they take it rather personally. Especially when you have more points and arguments and logic than they do.

But really, it's a human nature thing. Everybody wants everybody to think the way they do. Nihilists want more Nihilists, vegetarians want more vegetarians, conservatives want more conservatives, liberals with liberals, christians with christians and atheists with more atheists.
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03-03-2011, 02:52 PM
RE: One of Us
Us vs. them mentality. I think it falls in line with the egoistic way we live in the west. There are a lot of atheists who do seem to display this attitude. I don't buy into it and I want to see peace and understanding among all. I'm sure many on this forum would agree, though my personal thought is that education is a big part of what fosters understanding, but I'm not sure if everyone would be on board with that so I can't speak for everyone.

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03-03-2011, 02:59 PM
RE: One of Us
Atheism isn't a worldview. However, as an atheist I do want people to think more independently, more critically and more skeptically. Beyond that, I don't care if they are nihilists, optimists, existentialists or any other ist.

Now, was your title choice a reference to Freaks?
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03-03-2011, 05:59 PM
RE: One of Us
Hey, Gamutman.

Quote:Atheism isn't a worldview.

Perhaps. But it is a part of a lifestyle. Atheism's single notion is that one should live their life as a not-Theist. That notion is not present in any other lifestyle. If that notion is spread to or forced upon anyone living another lifestyle, that lifestyle will become the Atheist lifestyle and those people made Atheists. This is the central point of "Ours is the one right way for people to live and everyone should live like us." The way that we live our life is the correct way, not for us, but for everyone and it is our duty to make anyone not living the way we do, live the way we do. Simply put, if Atheism is the one right way, Theism cannot be; therefore, Theists need to be made Atheists.

The question is, are Atheists trying to make non-Atheists into Atheists and is that activity justified by the idea that people are supposed to be Atheists?

PS: I've never seen Freaks.

Hey, Cdf50.

You get my point.

Quote:I recognize the point that's being made here about how that logic/want is faulty and is hypocritical, seeing as how most atheists point at theists for their tendency to push their religion unto others.

My interest is not so much in judgement, but understanding. If it's true, then a hypocrisy exists, but that's not as significant as the widespread representation of the meme itself. The danger the meme represents trumps hypocrisy so thoroughly I can't overstate the matter. The meme is maladaptive. That which is maladaptive is also self-eliminating. The process of self-elimination can result in the extinction of the survival machine, in the case of memes, humans. Not good.

I simply want to know, among Atheists, is it I am I, you are you, or is it I am I and so must you be made to be. My assumption is that it is the latter. I'm asking for confirmation.

Quote: However, it's a little different. For me, at least, it's more of a "If all people were non-theists, maybe people would be a little smarter, less homicidal, etc. etc."

That's more of a justification of, or apology for, the behaviour that is the result of the expression of the meme. But it does support the premise.

Quote:But really, it's a human nature thing. Everybody wants everybody to think the way they do.

If it's a human nature thing, then that means that human beings are soft-wired, that they have a gene that impels them to make everyone else live the way their particular social group lives. There is no evidence of this but there is evidence against it. There are many cases where people have no interest whatsoever in making their competitors live the way they do. The better explanation is that it is nurture, not nature. Memetic, not genetic.

Hey, No. J.

The one thing you said that I feel speaks directly to the point is "fairer". Not differently, but fairer. Memes, like genes, are expressed. There is a memotype, the meme expressed purely, and a phenotype, the particular expression of a meme in a given environment. Fairer, to me, simply means a slightly different expression of the same meme. The thing is, the environment in which the meme was expressed in a fairer way is in motion. It can change. When it does, the phenotypic expression can change.

Quote:Plus we won't force people to believe lies, or kill them because they have a different view.

That sentence is biased. That's not a condamnation by any means.

It implies that Theists use force to make people believe things and that Atheists cannot. It implies that Theists spread lies and that Atheists spread truth and it implies that only Theists are capable of killing. All I'm pointing out is that this is a viewpoint that is disputed by others. It's not a statement of facts. Furthermore, killing is the result of an escalation of conflict. It is the last resort of the expression of this meme. If you can't turn them, then kill them. The question is, is the meme represented in the Atheist population?

Hey, cfhmagnet.

Quote:don't buy into it and I want to see peace and understanding among all. I'm sure many on this forum would agree, though my personal thought is that education is a big part of what fosters understanding, but I'm not sure if everyone would be on board with that so I can't speak for everyone.

So do you believe that the Atheist way is not the one right way to live and do you believe that others should not be made to live that way? If that is at all true, do you feel that you are in the minority or the majority among Atheists?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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03-03-2011, 07:23 PM
RE: One of Us
Matt - It's an interesting topic you raise.

A couple days ago I wrote a cousin-in-law who is having a semi-crisis in his faith. Here's an excerpt of what I sent:

I know this all to be true - that all religions throughout our history are nothing more than our feeble attempt as human beings to make sense of our place in the world. And most important, because we are such a special species, that this life can't be what it's all about and a better place must be waiting for us when we die. This consoles us when our loved ones pass and makes our passing easier to bear and eases our fear of the unknown.

In many ways I envy those that can overcome all their personal doubts and continue to have faith; although, to be honest, I don't think the majority of Christians are truly familiar with the doctrine they adhere to. I know most Catholics have never read the bible cover to cover - didn't have to - that's why we pay the priests Smile And who has the time or energy to explore theology? I know what I believe in and it works for me...those are good answers I guess...

Not saying that is true for everyone. And I respect those that take that journey and come away with their faith strengthened. I'm not saying I got all the answers - but I BELIEVE, for lack of a better word, that it is correct beyond refute. Just as most devout Christians would argue their point the other way. I think the biggest difference is that I'm not evangelical about atheism - maybe militant - but not evangelical. I don't believe in everlasting life or a soul - so why would I want to convert anyone? I don't get extra brownie points at St. Peters gate for it Wink

Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris all advocate for evangelical atheism, largely because they all believe that religion is evil and will ultimately bring forth the destruction of the species. I'm coming around to this way of thinking - especially when jihadis with nuclear weapons and 72 virgins waiting on them in the afterlife is not as remote a possibility as it might otherwise be. That said, I've tended to view religion as a salve for people. If having a relationship with god through prayer helps get you through the day and makes you a better person - then it's harming no one - more power to you. But it doesn't seem to stop there for some. When people try to interject their faith and mores into our political conversations and the national political discourse, that goes beyond their personal relationship and does impact me personally - that's where I've drawn the line - hence my militant atheism Smile

Anyway, that's a peak inside the madness, or the calm in the storm so to speak, of my mind. It's what makes me tick and unlike faith, or belief, I know this to be true....doesn't make it good or bad, or me special or not special - it just is...

I love talking about religion - I've spent so much of my life steeped in it and studying it - but it's such a sensitive subject. I'm still looking for a way to discuss these things without making fun of, or belittling faith of others - because I still do respect personal beliefs and choices, even if I may find those choices misguided - we all have to do what makes sense for us to make sense of the world around us. Smile

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03-03-2011, 07:28 PM
RE: One of Us
I don't believe at all that all people should be atheists, but I do believe that everybody should critically analyse their beliefs and understand why they believe what they do. Where I grew up, theists were in the minority, and it was pretty damn hard to tell the difference between theists and agnostics/atheists unless you knew the person quite well. Otherwise, the subject never came up. None of us analysed our belief/non-belief systems; we simply inherited our parents' worldviews for the most part.

That's really what I object to: indoctrinating children into one worldview. I'm not sure if it is religion itself that is intolerant, or if it is the "us vs. them" mentality that you mentioned that is being taught to children that makes them intolerant once they are older. I feel that as long as theists can be accepting of others, then there is no need to take away their religion or their belief system.

On a side note, I don't think that if someone is an atheist they have to live like a not-theist. When I was living in southern Alberta, I went to quite a few religious functions with theist friends, and I've read some stories on this forum of people participating in religious functions/rituals.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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03-03-2011, 07:34 PM
 
RE: One of Us
(03-03-2011 05:59 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Gamutman.

Quote:Atheism isn't a worldview.

Perhaps. But it is a part of a lifestyle. Atheism's single notion is that one should live their life as a not-Theist. That notion is not present in any other lifestyle. If that notion is spread to or forced upon anyone living another lifestyle, that lifestyle will become the Atheist lifestyle and those people made Atheists. This is the central point of "Ours is the one right way for people to live and everyone should live like us." The way that we live our life is the correct way, not for us, but for everyone and it is our duty to make anyone not living the way we do, live the way we do. Simply put, if Atheism is the one right way, Theism cannot be; therefore, Theists need to be made Atheists.
I think you're still missing the "atheistm isn't a world view" thing. There is no atheist mindset or atheist notion, other than the accepting of the fact that there is no divine power. Claiming that many atheists try to force their lack of belief onto others is one thing, but calling it an atheist quality or atheist ideal is just not correct.

Quote:The question is, are Atheists trying to make non-Atheists into Atheists and is that activity justified by the idea that people are supposed to be Atheists?

PS: I've never seen Freaks.
It's more that atheists are just being atheists. I think ultimately, the main reason why many atheists are so forceful with their beliefs(or lack thereof) is because of the fact they're attacked for it. Many religious people attack atheists for their views without having any reason other than disagreeing. The atheist in question might not even have force their ideas or even explained them; merely saying you're atheist is enough to get rushed by many religious people who seem to have a moral obligation to rid us of our ways. Because of that, most atheists already have to be ready to have to defend and argue their viewpoint whenever the topic comes up, since odds are, they'll be attacked for it. And from that, stems a more hostile attitude amongst people who share equal atheistic views, making it seem as if they're out on a mission to convert the world.

Quote:Hey, Cdf50.

You get my point.

My interest is not so much in judgement, but understanding. If it's true, then a hypocrisy exists, but that's not as significant as the widespread representation of the meme itself. The danger the meme represents trumps hypocrisy so thoroughly I can't overstate the matter. The meme is maladaptive. That which is maladaptive is also self-eliminating. The process of self-elimination can result in the extinction of the survival machine, in the case of memes, humans. Not good.

I simply want to know, among Atheists, is it I am I, you are you, or is it I am I and so must you be made to be. My assumption is that it is the latter. I'm asking for confirmation.
I think it's, I am I, you are you, but let me explain who I am more thoroughly and reply with a bit of hostility when you criticize me for it.

Quote:If it's a human nature thing, then that means that human beings are soft-wired, that they have a gene that impels them to make everyone else live the way their particular social group lives. There is no evidence of this but there is evidence against it. There are many cases where people have no interest whatsoever in making their competitors live the way they do. The better explanation is that it is nurture, not nature. Memetic, not genetic.

Maybe, but if you go back in history, a grand majority of time, the trend seems to suggest that something innate in humans pushes them to force their beliefs onto others.
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