Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
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23-07-2010, 03:55 PM (This post was last modified: 23-07-2010 03:58 PM by Kikko.)
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
Hello, Matt Ghost.

i dont have anything new to mention, but i would like to point out that even atheists can be superstisious and have faith on something, for example, in sweden over 70% of population are atheists, but over 50% of sweden beliefs in spirits or ┬┤life forces┬┤(what is an life-force?).
A better example would be estonia, over 80% of estonians are atheists, over 50% of estonians believe in spirits or ''life-forces'' and an amazing about 33% of estonian population beliefs that humen lived at the same time with dinosaurs!Big Grin (source eurobarometer 2005).

saying someones an atheist doesnt tell much... is there a word for the group of people with no superstision at all? a scentifically thinking person doesnt sound coolDodgy

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23-07-2010, 04:11 PM
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
Hey, everyone.

Thanks for the welcome.

I tend to prattle on so please inform me if my megaposting goes against the local convention.

Hey, Truth Addict.

Only one truth. Gotchya. Disagree wholeheartedly but I gotchya.

The Canadian government thought that the Native population of Canada were "wrong-minded" if I can be kind. So they targeted the children. It was a nightmare. What happens when a parent says, "don't teach my child that?"

For me, the desire to make someone think the way you do or even agree with the way you think is completely understandable. The big question for me is, what happens when they say no? When a group encounters resistance to the introduction of their worldview, what do they do? For me, any chance that the response will harm others mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally is too much and needs to be scrutinized.

Hey, Unbeliever.

Again. One truth. Got it. I'm very interested, generally speaking, with what happens in a social context when one group claims to have the only possible truth. Divine truth or scientific truth aside, it is that truth that is defended and also imposed on others. I'm curious about that process.

As far as whether or not Atheists choose to attack other viewpoints, people in this thread have suggested stopping people from immigrating. There's also a large section on this website dedicated to debunking the Holy Bible. So while I agree, a group of people is just that. A group. It has people at either extreme and most fall in the middle. I do think there is enough evidence to say that there are many Atheists, Dawkins and Hitchens included, that are engaged in actively attacking other viewpoints. I'm not singling out Atheists. I have many discussions with my devout Baptist and Catholic friends and with other agnostics and Atheists. It's just that this site is about atheism, so I don't see why I'd criticize the Torah here. I'm being critical of a question that, quite frankly, I find dangerous. I am also very aware of the difference between pointing out the potential dangers of a situation and saying that Atheists are dangerous. I do the first, not the second. So I'd just appreciate it if we could leave the, "well they did it," arguments in the sandbox.

(Incidentally, I've been posting in forums for years. I understand that someone's tone can be easily misunderstood. In fact, there's a new app called Tone Check that claims it can search posts and point out passages that might be taken the wrong way. I say all of this to point out that I have no interest in flaming or any silliness like that. I come here in the spirit of conversation and... well... generally speaking I have a smile on my face ;^)

As for my strawman argument, I disagree. Atheism is a memeplex. So is any given religion. One must disarticulate a theistic memeplex and then rearticulate the atheist memeplex into the target's mind. If you have other examples of how to do this I welcome hearing them, for instance, educating children before they adopt a theistic memeplex as was mentioned earlier. But please don't suggest that re-education and killing the host are not methods to eradicate existing memeplexes.

And as for Darwin, I didn't say he was incorrect. I said that interpreting his ideas as saying evolution is the process of going from simple to complex was incorrect. The question was, does progress as a good mirror that interpretation, not Darwin's actual work.

So my question is, is progress, in and of itself, a good?

As for why I think progress is bad, I'm no Luddite. I love my Blackberry. But I question the idea that the imperative of progress trumps all other concerns. I have the feeling that there must be cases in which progress can be a bad or destructive force and still other cases in which simplifying processes is a constructive thing.

As for genetics not being sociology, Universal Darwinism as proposed by Dawkins suggests that the rules of evolution by selection apply to all replicators that one might find in the universe. Because of this, it is my belief that an idea that applies to the gene replicator, the idea that diversity promotes health, applies to the meme replicator.

Secondly, if there were no religions anymore, just Atheism, the one idea, we'd have monoculture.

Hey, Carbon unit 1.

There is a huge cultural extinction occurring. Wade Davis suggests that fully half of the worlds languages will disappear inside of a single generation and with them a wealth of different cultures and ways to look at the world and our place in it. This, to me, is a horrifying proposition. I don't think one can do anything with a culture once it is gone.

On a personal note, I saw the Vatican last year for the first time and instantly I was like, "ah. That's why Catholics used to rule the world." It's position as hall of power seemed evident to me. But as unpalatable as Catholicism might be to me, I cannot imagine the benefit of eradicating it. But that's me.

Thanks for the Artran!

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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24-07-2010, 06:23 AM
 
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
First of all let me state that all are welcome to comment and post replies to my thread. I welcome all ideas, thoughts and experiences to the table to learn from.

So far some rather good, albeit off-topic discussions have propped up which is great. I won't go into addressing them here directly at this point but I would like to reiterate the point I was trying to make with my original post.

Let me start by clarifying my beliefs as that I am an atheist. I do not believe there is a god and I certainly do not follow or believe any of the religious dogmas such as 'the big three' that are god centric. It is fine to question and ponder the great mysterious of life looking for answers but it is completely ridiculous for one group or another to lay claim to 'the' absolute truth. You can't put god in a neatly tied little box that sums up his/her/its divinity. Although I believe there is no god I would hypothesize that if there was a god he would be so far beyond our comprehension to grasp that it would be futile to make the attempt. It would be the same as if an amoeba tried to conceptualize what is a human.

But that is another topic of discussion. I am not against peoples right to religion. They can believe what they want and how they want no matter how ridiculous (IMHO) but up to a point. In short their rights to religious freedom ends where my rights as a human being and citizen of our planet begins.

The entire point of my post is that too many religions are forcing their way into not only pushing their beliefs on all of us but seeking to have the right to make everyone bend to their world views and way of life according to their belief. For example the theists that push for a Christian government because their view of America is as (incorrectly) a 'Christian nation'. This is a gross affront to our founding fathers vision of America that no one religion is to be given special status over all others. The intrusions continue with the religious right that seek to legislate morality by denying gay citizens their due rights to marriage simply because it goes against their religion.

Our schools are under seize by Creationists that insist we teach in public forum to all students of all background their view of science. Over and over the bullying continues from the pew to the pulpit to the ballot box to push the Christian agenda on all of us. The separation of church and state is continually being stretched, tested and trampled by those theists that seek to use the law to impose their will on all Americans. Let's not even get into the Islamists that have a clear agenda if you study their beliefs to dominate and subjugate the entire world to their religion and tried under their harsh and brutal Shair'a Law.

This is what I am talking about in regards to whether we should tolerate or seek to expunge these religions because they are not content to their own personal practice and beliefs. Many of them want to strip away our rights as well as our very lives to propagate their religion. On how many levels can this seen as totally wrong? When will we stop navel-gazing and preaching to the choir of other like minded atheists and do something to stand up and safeguard the freedom from religion for the rights of all people?

I believe that reeducation and enlightenment in the hearts and minds of the worlds youth will greatly diminish these threats but if no one does nothing to combat the threat of religious indoctrination and yes poisoning the minds of our impressionable youth to further their cause then we are doomed to decades and decades more of conflict, strife and repression and what, if not how much more, freedoms while be lost in the meanwhile.
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24-07-2010, 08:56 AM
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
While I can appreciate the intended purpose of the thread, I think it drifts off topic for a reason. Though you put into words quite well what many of us think, you are not really proposing anything new to discuss. The origional topic is broad, and has been discussed in many previous threads. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying it's a poor choice of topics, but I do propose a new direction. What I would like to hear is some suggestions on how to solve the issue. It's been identified (again, it is a VERY broad issue, so perhaps identifying exactly what you propose to resolve would help) so the next step is to discuss not the problem, but possible solutions.
HOW can we prevent the church from imposing themselves upon the state?
HOW can we educate, or "re-educate and enlighten the hearts and minds" of our youth?
HOW can we stop child indoctrination?
HOW do we reinforce that the US is NOT a christian nation?

There's lots of questions in this thread. Enough to keep us all busy pondering for a very long time. Lets start suggesting solutions to the problems we see, both as individuals and as a group who share some basic similarities in thinking. (I know, I know.....god forbid I should suggest we are a group!).

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24-07-2010, 11:15 AM
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
Hey, Lotus view.

Sorry if I hijacked your thread. My apologies. And thank you for welcoming me.

I look at this from a political science point of view. The United States (I'm Canadian but most people here seem to be to the south of me so I'll talk about the US and feel free to correct my ignorance about your country) is made up of special interest groups. Each special interest group is exclusive to greater or lesser degree. Each one has an agenda. Parts of those agendas overlap, others do not. But there is no such thing as a United States where everyone is represented fully. Someone is always left out.

The special interest groups all jockey for control of, well, everything. Power is simply coercion, influence and authority. Each group seeks a greater share of each for their constituents.

There is only one law in the US. Atheists and Theists, in my opinion, represent two different special interest groups jockeying for control of that law.

So while it's absolutely true that the religious right in the US is trying to introduce Creationism (I don't think they're trying to abolish evolution at the moment) into the national curriculum (and I understand they have succeeded in certain regions), it is equally true that Atheists are attempting to either eliminate or prevent the teaching of creationism.

The conflict, to me, seems obvious. I think when questions like, how much should we take and how do we stop it and how do we advance our position further arise, it's important to look at what avenues a special interest group might take in order to answer those questions. There are historical precedents aplenty of attempts to grab power that have resulted in great suffering. So I stay vigilant.

The fact that Arabs the world over are jockeying for greater religious control is not shocking to me because Arabs the world over are seeing remarkable losses in military, territorial and economic power.

I think for me the ultimate question is, can a dialogue take place in which all cultures can find space to co-exist and if not, what is the consequence of each group trying to make their version of the truth the only truth allowed?

Hey, Stark Raving.

For a lunatic you speak quite eloquently Big Grin

You raise some interesting questions.

-HOW can we prevent the church from imposing themselves upon the state?
This for me is the all important question. It's framed in the combative. How do we stop? What if it was re-framed as, how do we create a country that operates under the rule of a single law and that accommodates as many conflicting cultural beliefs as possible?

-HOW can we educate, or "re-educate and enlighten the hearts and minds" of our youth?
My eyebrows are raised at this question. If you mean your children as in, the children of Atheists, then simply parenting will do it. If you mean all children, including the children of other world views, then you run into really dangerous territory.

Again I cite the example of the Canadian Residential School system as an example. The Canadian government wanted to assimilate the children of First Nations peoples and the experiment resulted in abuse, mortality rates of 35%-60% and ultimately in a 1.9 billion dollar apology.

-HOW can we stop child indoctrination?
I hear a lot of news stories about how Atheists are discriminated against in the US. I have no experience with this. So I don't understand how Atheist children are being indoctrinated in the US. Could you share some information? Generally speaking though, I don't like the idea of anyone indoctrinating other people's children.

I do ask the question though, why can't both creationism and evolution be taught with the preamble, "this is what some people believe and this is what other people believe?"

-HOW do we reinforce that the US is NOT a christian nation?
Political situations are fluid. I think you shouldn't focus on what was intended by the founding fathers, I think you should focus on what the country is. The separation of church and state includes Atheism in by belief. So how do you run the country today with a large population of Atheists (I hear 15% of the country, corrections???) and an evangelical population of, I hear, some 80 million (facts courtesy of the crack of my ass).

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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24-07-2010, 12:37 PM
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
Hey Matt,

Sorry, should have been a little more clear:
First off, I was drawing questions from the post before mine, not really posing questions of my own. I was just trying to illustrate that there were many questions being asked, and suggesting some people start offering answers to the questions they are asking. I am, in fact, a fellow Canuck, so some of the questions in my post don't really apply to me as an individual, and I don't have the information to offer answers. Nor are they nescessarily even questions for which I seek an answer.

Just to touch on Residential schools here in Canada; for those of you who don't know much about the subject, some reading on it may prove very enlightening for you. Thanks to Matt for making the connection. I am a former corrections officer, and in our training we learned extensively about the effects of residential schools. On the job, we actually SAW them. These effects reverberate through generations. This should serve as a word of caution to tread lightly when imposing beliefs on others. (I believe thats the point Matt is making, and a good point at that).


.....Just a little clarity.

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24-07-2010, 02:25 PM
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
Quote:I do ask the question though, why can't both creationism and evolution be taught with the preamble, "this is what some people believe and this is what other people believe?"

because creationism bases on faith and evolution bases on facts. ive been reading some arguments ''against evolution'' but there has been no good arguments against evolution, just some disagreement about some detail.

Q:why should the creation myth of christian mythology be taught, but not other creation myths?
A:because theres a christian plurality.
Q:how is the christian creation myth more credible than other creation stories?
A:i do not know.

im sorry, i wasnt going to take part in this discussion as i dont live in the US and therefore it would be wrong from me to assume that id know how things really are in north america, but this was a question so stupid i couldnt resist giving my answer.
evolution is not a matter of belief. theres more evidence for evolution than for the last ice age, and yet nobody is saying there was no ice age:F

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25-07-2010, 12:13 AM
 
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
I feel that all religions should be eliminated, but obviously, that will never happen because people choose to be either afraid of what the truth is or they are brainwashed to believe that is the truth.

In this country, the First Amendment protects all of us no matter what religion we are. We are free to pursue other religions or to follow none at all. However, I do not have any knowledge about toleration in the Amendment. It could be in there, but if it is, it is something I must wholeheartedly disagree with.

Toleration comes in many levels. Simply tolerating one's religion is different than tolerating crimes and horrid actions in the name of one religion. I can tolerate the former (doesn't mean I like to, but it's not like I bash every Christian or Muslim out there, I wouldn't have so many friends), but I can't stand the latter, and I'm sure none of you do either. The latter should be eliminated at all costs, although that is doubtful seeing as religion will never die due to what I stated earlier: fear and being brainwashed.

Religion should not be included in politics whatsoever, as stated by the First Amendment, and many politicians who say abortion shouldn't be legalized need to take the stick out of their asses and read the United States Constitution (obviously in the early stages of pregnancy should it be legalized and already is, but that's another argument for another day). This type of religious action should not be tolerated at any costs.

I hope that made sense. Obviously there's more to the argument but it's 11:15 and that's all I could think of. Big Grin
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26-07-2010, 03:27 PM
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
(24-07-2010 11:15 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Atheists and Theists, in my opinion, represent two different special interest groups jockeying for control of that law.

How so? Atheists, as a rule, want nothing more than to keep theists from making laws to advance their agenda. The atheistic agenda is nothing more than a rejection of the theist agenda. It has no other laws attached.

Quote:So while it's absolutely true that the religious right in the US is trying to introduce Creationism (I don't think they're trying to abolish evolution at the moment)

They are.

Quote:into the national curriculum (and I understand they have succeeded in certain regions), it is equally true that Atheists are attempting to either eliminate or prevent the teaching of creationism.

Well, duh. For the exact same reason that we're trying to eliminate geocentrism. Or do you think that we should teach that as well, simply because some people believe it?

Oh, and when I say "some people believe it", I mean that. I give you the mind-boggling idiocy of Red Sky Productions. So should we teach geocentrism because the folks at Red Sky believe it? Or should we stamp out idiocy so that it doesn't spread?

This isn't a matter of atheism versus theism. This is a matter of science versus not science, and which the students of the country should be taught as truth. Should they be taught that which is demonstrably incorrect and told that they should give it consideration simply because someone believes it, or should they be taught to think critically and to take into consideration that which has been proven to be true?

If you say the former, then there really isn't anything more to be said here. We have a fundamental disagreement, and nothing will change that. If you say the latter, though, then we may be able to discuss this.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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27-07-2010, 08:27 PM
RE: Should religious doctrines be tolerated or opposed to elimination?
Hey, Stark Raving.

Thank you.

Hey, Kikko.

34% of the US identifies itself as Evangelical Christian. That's a lot of people. They believe something. So why not teach it and say, that's what they believe, while scientists and Atheists believe this? It's factually correct. I don't understand why denying either belief is better for children. The situation has been made a zero sum game. Is there no way back from that?

Also, I see no reason not to teach other beliefs as well. For me, the sense that I get from my conversations with some of my Atheist friends is that science is looked at as the end of understanding. But science is only one way of looking at the world.

Quote:What we call "science" is only one particular science, a style of filtering experience that has been designed by and for a culture of uniformity and central control. It accepts only experiences that can be translated into numbers, that are available to everyone, and that can be reproduced on command. This is what scientists mean when they demand "proof." But this is only a tiny thread of all possible experiences, most of which are unique, not quantifiable, not reproducible, and not the same for all observers.
-Ran Prieur

Speaking in terms of memetics, there is an opinion that reason is the human baseline for understanding the universe and that any other belief is a viral infection. This idea undercuts the very idea of memetics. Science is a belief. It is a way of understanding the universe, not the way of understanding the universe.

At any rate, I'm not trying to convert you. I'm just championing the idea of cultural plurality.

I also don't know what was so stupid about my question.

Hey, Stanly.

I feel that your brainwashing statement smacks of hyperbole. Religion is not transmitted by brainwashing. It's transmitted by memes, same as science.

On a personal level, I don't believe in the idea of universal morality. I believe that morality flows from whichever culture one finds oneself in. So there are many moralities in the world. They overlap in places and are incompatible in others. The question is, if there is no universal morality, who decides which morality is the one that should stand? Scientists commit plenty of immoral acts. Some might call them atrocities. But it's accepted within the culture it lives (by and large). That's the problem. Which morality is free of monstrous acts?

I believe in the idea of The Prime Directive. All cultures must evolve naturally. Wiping out cultures or trying or alter them, as a scientist might try to genetically modify and organism can have unpredictable and even disastrous effects.

Hey, Unbeliever.

Quote:"Atheists and Theists, in my opinion, represent two different special interest groups jockeying for control of that law."

How so? Atheists, as a rule, want nothing more than to keep theists from making laws to advance their agenda. The atheistic agenda is nothing more than a rejection of the theist agenda. It has no other laws attached.

Quote:Special interest group

...any association of individuals or organizations, usually formally organized, that, on the basis of one or more shared concerns, attempts to influence public policy in its favour.

All interest groups share a desire to affect government policy to benefit themselves or their cause.
SOURCE

Quote:The participatory aspects of the modern state, however, must not blind us to its origins in warfare and conquest. Any state is fundamentally an enormous engine of coercion, even when that coercive power is restrained by the legal form of authority. States are still predatory in their relations with one another; whatever the pious pronouncements about sovereignty, weak states are often wholly or partly controlled by more powerful ones. Also, the state's internal machinery offers a temptation to the ambition and greed of social groups. Such concentrated coercive power can easily be used by one group within the state to elevate itself at the expense of another. Groups will try to protect themselves from taxation while loading taxes onto others, or campaign for official sponsorship of their language or religion, or argue that public services should flow in their direction rather than toward others. Such efforts by special-interest groups to use the state for their own purposes are as old as the state itself. Their existence should scarcely be surprising, since the original purpose of the state was to protect the spoils of conquest. The modern legal and participatory state is a delicate and sometimes fragile modification of a brutal enterprise.
-Dickerson and Flanagan, "An Introduction to Government and Politics," page 45.
-Bold emphasis added

There is, has not and never will be a state that is not composed of special interest groups. Special interest groups, by definition, are inherently exclusive. In some cases, they seek pockets of advantage for themselves. In others, they seek to wipe out competing groups. It is the wiping out of competition that makes me pause.

Atheists and Evangelicals are actively trying to affect the legislation of the United States. They are both special interest groups.

I didn't realize that there was a movement to ban the teaching of evolution all together. Thanks for the info. Are there places where they have been successful?

Quote:Well, duh. For the exact same reason that we're trying to eliminate geocentrism. Or do you think that we should teach that as well, simply because some people believe it?

Who, might I ask, is "we"?

And why not teach it? This is geocentrism. This is the history of the idea. These people believe it. Lesson concluded.

Quote:If you say the former, then there really isn't anything more to be said here. We have a fundamental disagreement, and nothing will change that. If you say the latter, though, then we may be able to discuss this.

Nothing will change that? I thought atheists were open minded and willing to change their mind if new facts came to light. Or are you telling me that you're clinging blindly to your beliefs because you have unwavering faith in them?

Of course critical thinking is important. Of course the scientific method is important. But that's it? No other method of understanding is valid?

My issue is this. The state functions a very simple way. A special interest group rules until the dissatisfaction of the excluded reaches a tipping point and a revolution replaces the ruling group with another group. The cycle repeats. When one group tries to eliminate another outright there is always great suffering. History is replete with examples of this. There is a mechanism that governs it. The question is, are Atheists somehow exempt from this mechanism? If so, why? I don't believe that they are.

All I'm trying to do here is raise a red flag. When a group of people talk about getting rid of a competing idea, invariably, it means entering into conflict with the people that host that idea. How will those people be treated?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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