The Philosophy of CYA
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24-05-2013, 08:53 PM
The Philosophy of CYA
The philosophy of covering your ass.

You see a poll every now and then about the percentage of religious quac--- people vs the number of Atheists. The latter number has to be too low in the US.

My reasoning...

I live in the lower end of the bible belt and we have, believe me, plenty of churches, but I seldom run across much fanaticism from people. They go to church on Sunday, pray before meals and vote Republican, so that most are, at least nominally, Christians. (Very few Jews and Muslims around here, for whatever reason.)

I suspect that many just go through the motions so as to not lose friends, jobs and family.

Case in point. By the time I got my first real job, I was already a confirmed non-believer, although I was also a very un-thinker-about-it. I didn't really identify as an Atheist - it was just that religion didn't ever cross my mind on its own. On the first day, as my new manager drove me around town to explain job stuff, he just suddenly asked, "What church do you attend?" Not, "Do you attend church" - he just assumed that I went. Fortunately, I knew better than to just blurt that I don't believe that shit, so I managed to come up with the statement that "My family is Methodist," which was true. It was a good reply and we moved on.

But, my point is, that I was young, brand new on the job and even then, knew full well that if I came across as one of those Madelyn Murray O'Hair creeps, it could and probably would put a pothole in my career path. In this part of the country, that worships the idea Do Unto Others... and so forth, people who are outed, lose jobs, friends, property and sometime, their lives. That last, not often, but it isn't unheard of.

I suspect that many people are still in the same mindset that I was - don't borrow trouble and what people don't know, won't hurt them. So, that is my theory that if a real and unbiased poll could be taken by a omniscient questioner (God, maybe?) that you would find a bunch of real believers, church-goers who aren't going to let church get in the way of a beautiful golfing Sunday, people who flat don't believe but pretend they do, and us. And that the last two categories, added together will come to a much higher number than official polls.
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24-05-2013, 09:04 PM
RE: The Philosophy of CYA
I've often thought the same thing.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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24-05-2013, 09:23 PM
RE: The Philosophy of CYA
There's a big definitional issue going on here. What is a Christian, if not simply someone who identifies as a Christian? Any other standard we wish to impose would have some group of excluded "Christians" protesting that no, they ARE Christians, how dare you say otherwise. Think of the "is Pluto a planet" crisis, with more religious fanaticism and less of an objective basis.

Besides, what standard WOULD we impose?

Church attendance on Sundays? NONSENSE! Ain't required in the Bible! They can just kick back and read a chapter each Sunday and call it good. Or not even that!

How about church membership at all? Nope! Don't have to attend to be a Christian!

Biblical inerrancy? You're ruling out most of liberal Christianity with that one and, frankly, Christianity with LESS of a moderate wing is a terrifying thought.

Belief in the existence of God? What about someone who figures that Christ (be he literary or actual figure) is a good role model and follows him in that sense, and doesn't really pay much attention to the metaphysical mumbo jumbo one way or the other? How dare you say that a follower of Christ is not a Christian!

For that matter, how do you even define belief? Yeah, okay, if God's existence was giving 50-50 odds most days they'd bet for, some days they'd bet against, and some days they're just don't know which way to jump? Does that count as belief?

Or what about those who believe pretty much any day, but are all believing in a different concept of God? Should they all be grouped into the same religious category?

But of course, if we just go by whether a person identifies as a Christian (and most surveys do)... is that all? Shouldn't there at least be some MEANING behind the word?

So, yeah, go on and add yet another definition to the brew. See how that works out. I sympathize. Honest. But I don't expect it'll do anything but confuse matters even more. Sometimes it helps to define the problem before you go hunting for the solution, but not here, I don't think. If anything, I think it'd drive the "Sunday golfer Christian" crowd into church and make hating atheists even more popular.

As for your omniscient survey, we can talk when you actually manage to conduct it. I'd be interested to hear about your methodology. =)

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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25-05-2013, 07:50 AM
RE: The Philosophy of CYA
Morlock, I live in Mississippi and wonder about this too. Here they ask you which church, not if you go, and I too have had this happen at work.

As far as real belief in their hearts, I know many Christians who really believe but don't feel the need to be part of an organized church, my BF and his family for example. They say the blessing before eating, BF posts Christian crap on his FB page, and they really think they are going to heaven. Years ago I had a guy that used to fornicate with me look me in the eye and tell me I'm going to hell unless I accept Jebus as my personal savior. Apparently our activities outside the bonds of matrimony are somehow ok because of his "relationship" with his imaginary friend in the sky. I see gay-haters who cite the Leviticus verse with a quickness but have no problem watching girl-on-girl. I've pointed out that blatant contradiction, but they just laugh. Porn itself is evidently not an issue either for some. Watching football or playing gold on Sunday are tradition even here.

The only ones I know who walk the talk are my Pentecostal brother and his wife and some of their church members. They do not drink, smoke, or curse. They pitch in and help people in need. They live a good moral life. We have to agree to disagree about the core issues, but I respect their not being hypochristians.

So while I'm sure there are nominal social-reasons-only Christians, many professed Christians I know seemingly cling even to the actual beliefs but do NOT walk the talk. Yet they do not see that this is hypocrisy or intellectual dishonesty and would condemn me because I can't and won't drink the koolaid. They've been so strongly indoctrinated that they can't let go.i have one friend who says she's a Christian but I think she's really like a deist, but I think she's afraid of hell and may be doing the Pascal's wager deal.

It looks to me like they're cherry-picking in the extreme. They really believe but only pay attention to those verses that agree with what they say and do and rationalize my saying that the other stuff is outdated or that they don't think god would really want x or y. It's the strangest emperor's-new-clothes deal I've ever seen.

Godless in the Magnolia State
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26-05-2013, 09:31 AM
RE: The Philosophy of CYA
(25-05-2013 07:50 AM)cjs Wrote:  I see gay-haters who cite the Leviticus verse with a quickness but have no problem watching girl-on-girl. I've pointed out that blatant contradiction, but they just laugh. Porn itself is evidently not an issue either for some.

You are absolutely correct. From my point of view (straight), even since I was a kid and "knew" that homosexuality was a mortal sin, girl on girl, was... well, just two girls showing off parts that I liked to look at. I never connected girl-girl with being gay. Still don't actually - I just enjoy the scenery. I am fairly certain that same attitude carries over to most straight men who aren't in fundamentalist mode.

Boy on boy didn't interest me and I never cared one way or another about their "sinning." I just turned the page hoping to find more girls.

But you are right about the hypocrisy between porn and sin and how the first will usually override the other. Maybe it's because the interest in another body, whichever sex it is, is natural, and belief in a non-body is made up.
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26-05-2013, 09:37 AM
RE: The Philosophy of CYA
(24-05-2013 09:23 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  There's a big definitional issue going on here.

Yep. You're right. Even if my pollster comes through for me (he/she hasn't got back to me yet, though), the results are not going to be four nice clean distinct categories - just one graph starting at white and going through every shade of gray to the solid black other end.
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26-05-2013, 09:46 AM
RE: The Philosophy of CYA
Aside from the gay and witch hate verses in Leviticus, which Christians quote, they conveniently overlook the detailed instructions for animal sacrifice and women being unclean 1/4 of the time. They brush these aside saying the NT negates the need for kosher food and sacrifices. Yet they keep the witch/gay-hater verses, which have had deadly consequences over the centuries. Why didn't the NT obviate the new for the entire OT? If it did, why don't they just scrap it? I've asked these questions to Christians, but have gotten the usual lame answers of god's ways not being ours, working in mysterious ways, gotta have faith, etc., all non- answers.
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