One of Us
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03-03-2011, 07:55 PM
RE: One of Us
I am one of those that argue the meaning of the word "atheist" is "not theist". What I am unsure of is, I don't know that a person can actually act as a "not theist". I have been pondering this, and trying to figure out if atheism is a way of being, and not just a way on NOT being. Unfortunately, I think there is a majority who do in fact act like atheists. And I fear it goes beyond a natural inclination to want others to think the same as ourselves. Truth be told, I see alot of atheists who appear to be trying to "muscle" people into atheism by using less than kind tactics. Often I hear theists stereotyped as "dumb" or "stupid" for believing. When challenged, the response is always, "I'm not saying theists are stupid, just that their belief is stupid". Which is, in my opinion, a bullshit cop out. And just so you all know, I'm not singling anyone out here, nor do I even mean that I see this happening here. (Of course I do, but it's not my only sampling to draw from).

I don't even know if this is remotely related to the topic at hand, because to be honest the whole "meme" thing is still a little beyond me. It sparked a rant that I think has been stewing for a while though, and lucky for you, I spewed it out here! I dunno, I think it's just that the whole atheism vs theism argument is getting tired for me. I don't see a whole heck of a lot of difference in the good that's being done by either side. And don't fool yourselves, they are most definitely sides. Some manage to straddle that line, but they are a very select few. To be one would be a noble aspiration if you ask me.

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03-03-2011, 11:19 PM
RE: One of Us
(03-03-2011 07:55 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  I am one of those that argue the meaning of the word "atheist" is "not theist". What I am unsure of is, I don't know that a person can actually act as a "not theist". I have been pondering this, and trying to figure out if atheism is a way of being, and not just a way on NOT being. Unfortunately, I think there is a majority who do in fact act like atheists.

I agree with this, but see it like this:
Atheism is on the level of Theism. You can be a Theist, but being a theist does not define your belief systems, how you act, etc. The subset, usually a religion on the side of theism, is what molds such things.

Those subsets aren't so clearly defined on the atheist side, but I'm sure it's easy for everyone to agree there are lots of different kinds of atheists. There are the anti-theists, the "Old Guard" as it was called in another thread on here, Buddhists, and I'm sure others. Using the term "atheist" is just as general as the term "theist", encompassing all the subgroups, I think it's unfair to make general assessments on either, considering all the diversity.


As for my contribution to the topic and following from the above, I don't think there's an "atheistic stance" on deconverting others, just as there's not a "theistic stance" on converting others. I'd say there wouldn't even be consensus in the subsets (aside from perhaps the anti-theists), and would say it's an individual's personality rather than a societal meme. Controlling people will be controlling. Followers will do what their controllers demand of them. Those who don't care are likely to not care. Seeing as capitalists tend to want to make the world capitalist and communists tend to want to make the world communist, I don't think this really has anything to do with a theistic/atheistic mindset.

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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04-03-2011, 12:49 AM
RE: One of Us
(03-03-2011 05:59 PM)Ghost Wrote:  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
I don't believe there is ONE right way to live man. "To each his/her own", is my belief, coupled with "consenting adults, not hurting anyone..." Atheism is my way of living, and I will defend it when it's attacked. But on the flip side, I don't appreciate conversion attempts, so I don't attempt to convert. As far as the minority/majority, I don't honestly know. I have stated before, this forum is the most active I have been in the atheist community thus far. I'm trying to get to know you all but it's not what I would regard a fair, random sampling of the atheist community so I can't give an informed judgment.

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04-03-2011, 01:11 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2011 01:22 AM by No J..)
RE: One of Us
(03-03-2011 05:59 PM)Ghost Wrote:  [quote]Atheism isn't a worldview.

' Wrote:Perhaps. But it is a part of a lifestyle.

Atheism is a lifestyle? NO. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. Bill Gates, a homeless man and I are atheists. Our lifestyles have nothing in common.
(03-03-2011 05:59 PM)Ghost Wrote:  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.

Fairer to me means to treat others better than they would treat you. Plain and simple.

Memes are not made of genetic material so I don't see how man made ideals and genes act the same way.

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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04-03-2011, 05:05 AM
RE: One of Us
Really Ghost.

"Atheism is the way we should live..."

Really? Every time you state something like this I just can't help but question what you think the definition of Atheism is. There are likely hundreds of millions of different people out there who are non religious but lead vastly different lifestyles.

There is no way to live like an Atheist. Unlike a lot of groups there is no broad stroke of the brush to cover all people of a particular type of belief or lack thereof.
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04-03-2011, 07:39 PM
RE: One of Us
I was thinking about this thread today Ghost, and I do have some concessions to make.
1) I am anti-fundamentalist/evangelical christian. In many cases they deny their children an education that contains a good basis in science and the scientific method. I think it is a terrible hypocrisy to enjoy all the good things science gave the world, only to attack it when it differs from your worldview. I also don't like their current attack on our country, especially in regards to education and our natural resources/environment.

2) Following from numero uno, I think it may be a decent idea to wait to teach children about whatever god you believe in until they are a little older and able to understand the implications of said belief.

How do you like that?

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05-03-2011, 10:22 AM
RE: One of Us
Hey, Seasbury.

I agree that Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris are advocating evangelical Atheism (conversion to Atheism) but I was unclear about your stance. It kind of seemed like you did and you didn't. Could you clarify?

Hey, SecStu.

Quote: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.

Why is that?

Quote: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.

I've been to mass. Doesn't make me a Catholic. I don't lead my life even remotely like a Catholic and I don't interract with the world like a Catholic does. More on the living like a non-Theist below.

Hey, Cdf50.

Quote: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.

Some murderers do it out of rage: crime of passion. Some people do it in a premeditated manner for financial gain. Some people do it because they have a psychotic break. Some schitzophrenics might do it because they think they're being told to. Sexual sadists do it because it's the only way they can achieve sexual satisfaction. But Amurderers don't murder people. Anyone who doesn't murder other people is an Amurderer. That's the single thing that binds them. And they all share one single property. They don't murder people. That's a important part of their lifestyle.

Don't murder people is a ubiquitous meme. It's so widespread that many people think it's a universality. Not true, but tempting. Don't be a Theists, similarly, is a meme. It is the kind of meme that defines a memeplex. The question is, is the meme in question present in Atheist memeplexes?

Quote: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.

The question isn't, do Atheists feel attacked? That's a seperate issue. Self-defence is easily understandable. But attacking in retaliation for being attacked isn't self-defence.

It's abundantly clear that the meme Ours is the one right way for people to live and everyone should live like us is represented in the meme pools of several religions. It's also present in most States and in most corporations. It's clear that the meme is not unique to religious memeplexes. It has a wide representation across the globe. The question is, does it have an equally wide representation among Atheists?

Quote: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.

The operative word there being history. The meme in question is at least as old as writing and recorded history. It has been present in the vast majority of civilisations for the last 5 000 years, with a few exceptions that are now defunct. But before that time and even during it, there are plenty of examples of societies that didn't carry and express that meme. If not everyone is doing it, it can't be human nature.

Hey, Stark.

Quote:I have been pondering this, and trying to figure out if atheism is a way of being, and not just a way on NOT being.

Humans need to interract with other humans, with other organisms, with their environment and with, shall we call it, the unknown. We do it every day. Our beliefs, our understandings, are the basis of the schema that we use to interract with the world around us. If you, as an Atheist, are confronted with a situation in which you don't know whether or not you'll succeed, you won't wait around for God to save you because you believe that there is no God. The way that you deal with that situation is different than the way that a Theist will. That's just one example.

Quote: Often I hear theists stereotyped as "dumb" or "stupid" for believing. When challenged, the response is always, "I'm not saying theists are stupid, just that their belief is stupid".

Ours is the one right way for people to live and everyone should live like us

Hey, ebilekittae.

Quote:You can be a Theist, but being a theist does not define your belief systems, how you act, etc. The subset, usually a religion on the side of theism, is what molds such things.

Those subsets aren't so clearly defined on the atheist side, but I'm sure it's easy for everyone to agree there are lots of different kinds of atheists.

I agree.

Theism is more of a category that is defined by the presence of some generalised memes, like belief in Theos. The religion is the real memeplex.

The various Atheist memeplexes have yet to be properly identified but I agree, they exist.

Quote:As for my contribution to the topic and following from the above, I don't think there's an "atheistic stance" on deconverting others, just as there's not a "theistic stance" on converting others.

The presence of an overt, implied, codified or unwritten stance is ultimately irrelevant. What is important is whether or not the activity is being engaged in. The only question then is, is it the result of human nature or the presence of a meme? But for now, the important thing is to determine whether or not there are Atheists trying to make Theists into Atheists (or just to eliminate them). If the behaviour is present, that's significant. If it isn't, that's significant too.

Hey, cfhmagnet.

Quote:I don't believe there is ONE right way to live man.

I'm with ya, brother Big Grin

Quote: But on the flip side, I don't appreciate conversion attempts, so I don't attempt to convert. As far as the minority/majority, I don't honestly know.

Cool. So the question is, are you red hair or black hair. The majority of human beings have black hair. A small handful express the gene for red hair. That's just cause the black hair gene has a much wider representation. So is the meme in question or the meme you carry the more widely represented among Atheists? I feel ya when you say you don't know and I dig your honesty.

As for your final post, the 2-parter, I didn't quite pick up what you were putting down.

Hey, No. J.

Quote:Ghost Wrote:
Perhaps. But it is a part of a lifestyle.

Atheism is a lifestyle? NO. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. Bill Gates, a homeless man and I are atheists. Our lifestyles have nothing in common.

You're right. Atheism isn't a lifestyle. Good thing that's not what I said.

Quote:Fairer to me means to treat others better than they would treat you. Plain and simple.

Say you and I are both rapists (which of course we are not). When I rape you, I tie you up and beat the shit out of you. When you rape me, we have a candle light dinner first and when you're done, you caress my hair and listen to my feelings. That's much better treatment, but ultimately, it's not different. We're both still rapists.

Fairer conversion attempts are still conversion attempts.

Quote:Memes are not made of genetic material so I don't see how man made ideals and genes act the same way.

Read anything on memes, memetics, replicators and Universal Darwinism (1) (2).

The basic idea is that Darwinism does not just apply to genetic evolution, it applies to the evolution of all replicators everywhere in the universe. Memes and genes are both replicators.

Hey, Godless.

Quote:Really? Every time you state something like this I just can't help but question what you think the definition of Atheism is. There are likely hundreds of millions of different people out there who are non religious but lead vastly different lifestyles.

Yeah. Really.

Not-Theist.

There are hundreds of millions of different people out there who are religious but lead vastly different lifestyles.

Quote:There is no way to live like an Atheist. Unlike a lot of groups there is no broad stroke of the brush to cover all people of a particular type of belief or lack thereof.

Do you worship? Do you devote any of your time to a deity? Do you trust in the care of a deity? Do you allow a deity's rules to govern your behaviour?

These are all things that you do not do as a direct result of being an Atheist. These are all things that separate the way you prosecute your everyday life from the way Theists do. There are all the sorts of things that you would eliminate if you believed that your way was the right way and that everyone else should live the way you do.

The question is... it's not even 'is it going on', cause it is. The question is, is the belief that the way Atheists live their lives (free of supernatural control, skeptically, critically, rationally, whateverelsily) is the right way to live life and that everyone else should be made to live that way, a widespread belief?

If it is, we already have an explanation for why that is.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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05-03-2011, 11:19 AM
RE: One of Us
(05-03-2011 10:22 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Stark.

Quote:I have been pondering this, and trying to figure out if atheism is a way of being, and not just a way on NOT being.

Humans need to interract with other humans, with other organisms, with their environment and with, shall we call it, the unknown. We do it every day. Our beliefs, our understandings, are the basis of the schema that we use to interract with the world around us. If you, as an Atheist, are confronted with a situation in which you don't know whether or not you'll succeed, you won't wait around for God to save you because you believe that there is no God. The way that you deal with that situation is different than the way that a Theist will. That's just one example.

Yes. I suppose my struggle is that I have always been very insistent that being an atheist isn't really being anything at all, but simply NOT being something. That idea I have carried for so long is something I am now questioning. That's because (like you said above) being an atheist DOES affect how I do/act/cope/deal/approach things in life.
What this comes down to for me, is that being an atheist isn't necessarily a "belief system" but perhaps it is more of a factor in my life than I have thought. Perhaps my atheism affects who I am more than I thought. I'm not even saying it's a good or bad thing, but it is something that I have been resistant to in the past. It's not just a matter of religion not affecting things, it's also a matter of atheism actively affecting things. If religion were non-existent, then the point would be moot, but since we live in a world with religion, being non-religious does affect the things we do.


Quote: Often I hear theists stereotyped as "dumb" or "stupid" for believing. When challenged, the response is always, "I'm not saying theists are stupid, just that their belief is stupid".

Ours is the one right way for people to live and everyone should live like us
[/quote]

Precisely. Again, this is a struggle within myself, since I have championed the idea that atheists don't think, "Ours is the one right way for people to live and everyone should live like us" but I am seeing more and more of this type of thinking among the very atheists I defend as free thinkers. In my perfect world, no one would feel this way, especially those with which I associate. Unfortunately, more and more this proves not to be the case.

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05-03-2011, 11:48 AM
RE: One of Us
I don't think "atheist" is specific enough to even be used as an "everyone should think as we do" thing.

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05-03-2011, 12:05 PM
RE: One of Us
(05-03-2011 10:22 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Seasbury.

I agree that Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris are advocating evangelical Atheism (conversion to Atheism) but I was unclear about your stance. It kind of seemed like you did and you didn't. Could you clarify?

Matt - I thought it was pretty clear.

There is a difference, in my opinion, between evangelical atheism and a militant atheism.

Evangelical atheism views religion as dangerous and the more people you can "convert" (or deconvert?) to a nontheistic view the safer we as a species are. I see the logic in that view, but I also think it is near impossible.

Militant atheism stands as a watchdog - along the lines of Freedom From Religion to ensure that the rights of all are protected from a uber-religious right that seeks to inject their religious mores on the rest of society. Pushing back against that mindset is not the same as seeking to convert people to non-theism; however, if you can make a convincing counterargument, that may end up happening as a matter of course.

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