Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
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08-05-2012, 02:11 AM
Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
Thiesm vs Athiesm....
Why do we continue to even bother with the deluded people? This question is posted to both sides here!
If your a theist ... why even bother to try and save the unbeliever that is conviced by evidence of their believes...
If your an atheist ... why even bother to try and argue your evidence of truth that has been deluded by thiests ?
....
I will start as an atheist..
I find that the truth of science is to frightening for theists to grasp... too real.
It contradicts everything they were brought up (taught) to believe. What were they taught to believe? ... Well that really depends on where they happen to be born at... what culture they were born into... if they were born in the U.S. Christian most likely, South America, ... Catholic.... Middle East... Muslim, .. Isreal... Jewish.. Russia... .. well Russia is best off because they don't really give a fuck.. Vodka is their God.!
Anyhow .. humor asside.... your faith .. your God is based on where you just happend to be born at ... accross the world.. If you happened to be born in Thailand ..or China.. your going to worship a giant penis...
If you were born in America .. your most likely to believe that some dude named Jesus sacrificed his life on a cross to save your sins in which your all powerful omipotent .. all knowing god knew in advance that he was creating a failure race that would need to be saved because he fucked up! .. And came back as Jesus (himself) because he was the ultimate sacrifice... to redeem our sins..
okay.. if your going WTF? yeah...
EXACTLY!! WTF??

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -- Voltaire
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08-05-2012, 02:26 AM
RE: Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
Well, as one of the more proactive atheists in the world, I'll give you the four main reasons I am a loud atheist.

1. I'm sick of all the wars inflamed by religion, and in a nuclear age I fear for the safety of the world

2. I see the psychological damage to individuals and to society caused by belief

3. I think the indoctrination of children with religion is child abuse

4. I see science, rational thought and genuine human empathy providing the solutions to the world's problems, and religion compromises this.
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08-05-2012, 04:30 AM
RE: Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
Because how can anybody stand on the sidelines and say, "yeah that's okay".
I do not and will never apologies for being a outspoken Atheist. Theist is the anchor dragging this boat down, I'm the dude with the axe and theists are all the idiots between me and that anchor line because they can't see that it's dragging us down. Kind of a lame metaphor but whatever, sue me, it's late.

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08-05-2012, 07:44 AM
RE: Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
Hey, Drew.

As always, I look at culture through the lens of the science of culture; memetics.

You're absolutely right. What you believe depends greatly on your environment (global telecommunications and ease of travel annihilate the old restriction of geographical space and broaden the scope of that which constitutes one's environment). That's called psychosocial development.

From a memetic standpoint, each and every environment in the world has a meme pool. You draw your individual beliefs from that pool. The ethnosphere (analogous to the biosphere) contains every single earthly meme and all of the meme pools. When meme pools are separated, we get memetic drift. When some sort of bridge is created, say the Internet, we get meme flow between meme pools. Some memes are exclusive to a single meme pool, some are ubiquitous throughout the ethnosphere.

Humans are not born with a worldview. One's worldview is constructed through social interaction. Indeed, our very understanding of reality is a social construction. When viewed memetically, it becomes instantly apparent why different cultures understand reality differently.

As in all Darwinism, the words "should" and "better" must never be used. There is simply that which flourishes and that which is self-eliminating. Memetics supports the notion of cultural relativity.

It has been proven by a Harvard University study, that what a given organisation believes, the manner in which they organise themselves and the manner in which they pursue their ends are all irrelevant. There is no single best or most efficient way to believe, organise of enact. This corresponds to what we know through Darwinism. The only thing of importance is that the majority of individuals within the organisation have bought into the system and are rowing in the same direction.

Thus, it doesn't matter if a culture group is religious, secular or any other configuration. There is no best.

All hierarchical groups are based on a system of inequality. The purpose of a hierarchical organisation is to accumulate and exert power. All hierarchical organisations, regardless of what they believe, how they organise or how they pursue their goals will be exclusionary, foster inequality, and repress, harm, imprison or kill those that stand in their way.

When it comes to those of us living within hierarchy, we're all in the same boat.

A socially constructed reality can be viewed as a memeplex. It is a complex system of interdependent memes. Our understanding of reality is an emergent property of that memeplex. Humans require that understanding in order to function. We cannot prosecute our lives without it. When you yank nodes out of any system (disarticulate them) it can have anywhere from a negligible to a catastrophic effect on that system. Yank a rear-view mirror off a car and not much happens. Rip the pistons out and you're dead in the water.

Meme's in a memeplex are interdependent and their relationships make the memeplex resistant to invasion. Each meme has a relationship with one or more other memes in the memeplex. The more connections, the harder it is to disarticulate. There are lines of tendential force holding it fast within the memeplex. While lines of tendential force make it more difficult for a meme to be disarticulated, it doesn't make it impossible.

When a religious minded person encounters memes that challenge the existing ones within their social construction memeplex, it can have the effect of ripping out the old memes. Sometimes this has a negligible effect, other times it causes a catastrophic collapse of that person's understanding of reality. The severity of that crisis cannot be overstated.

Part one of my answer is that one reason that Theists and Atheists bother with one another is to defend themselves from this sort of collapse. Theists need to be a little more aggressive about this because their memeplex is far less modular than a scientific one and that rigidity makes it more vulnerable to collapse due to invasion.

The various culture groups of the world live in close quarters. Sometimes they're separated by political borders, sometimes, as in cosmopolitan cities, they mingle among one another. This leads to meme flow.

There is a meme, identified 20 years ago by Daniel Quinn, that is ubiquitous in the meme pools of most contemporary hierarchical organisations. That meme can be stated as "there is only one right way to live." If there is only one way, then all other ways must necessarily be wrong. This leads to a number of interesting behaviours. The core action of all of these behaviours is trying to make other people into you.

This is why some religions make it their "mission" (see what I did there Cool ) to convert others. This is why neo-conservatives make it their mission to make everyone in the world good little capitalists. The list goes on. For a more detailed analysis, see "civilisation, history of".

So part two of my answer is that some Theists and Atheists bother with one another because they're trying to save the other from themselves; a deluded endeavour because no one needs saving because there is no one right way to live.

Then we get to Atheists in particular.

Atheism, at its core, is a protest. It is a rejection of Theism. Most memeplexes tell people what to believe and how to act how to pursue their goals. At it's core, Atheism makes no pronouncements and prescribes nothing. Atheism tells people what not to believe, how not to act and how not to pursue their goals. It rejects, it does not embrace.

Atheists cannot help but engage with Theism and Atheism because is exists only in relation to Theism. Like the Placebo album title suggests, "Without You I Am Nothing." True, if you buy the "Atheism is the default position" argument, then it can exist outside of that relationship, but there are conditions to that. 1 - If the Atheistic culture group has NEVER encountered Theism, then they are Atheists; however, they will most certainly have their own belief system. Atheistic yes, but one that makes pronouncements about something. We are only able to exist without beliefs if we are living in protest of some other belief. Our parameters are simply, "don't do what they do, anything else is kosher." Without that relationship, we simply must outline something for ourselves. 2 - The moment default position Atheists encounter Theism, consider it and then reject it, they then live in relation to Theism. 3 - The only way out of that relationship is to make some pronouncement for yourself; something many Atheists vehemently deny that any Atheist does.

The moment Theism disappears, Atheism disappears. Atheism owes its existence to Theism.

So part three of my answer is that Atheists cannot help but bother with Theists because that interaction is what gives Atheism substance.

Part four is relatively straight forward. Sometimes Theists and Atheists consider each other dangerous. To each other, to others, to the world itself. They also view each other as intractable. They decide that the other needs to be destroyed. Sometimes this can take the form of rhetorical battles, sometimes it means repressing them to the point that they can't practice what they believe and sometimes it means actually killing the other. Again, for a more detailed analysis see "civilisation, history of."

Part five has to do with myself because I consider myself neither Theist nor Atheist but rather as Agnostic. My wish is for a better world. My belief is that a better world consists of a diversity of cultures living alongside each other. To accomplish that, I want to replace, at the minimum, the meme "there is only one right way to live" with "there is no one right way to live." I don't want either group in
charge as long as they believe their way is the only way to live. I want to begin there because it will show people that no part of their own memeplex is "correct". That will lay the groundwork for the tougher work. There are other memes, ubiquitous in this world, that are maladaptive and that, on a long enough time line, will kill us all. Unlimited growth. The world belongs to us/was made for us and we can do whatever we damn well please with it. Annihilate your competition whenever you get the chance. Always produce at surplus levels. These memes and a small handful of others will kill us and are held in place by severe lines of tendential force. I won't be able to get diverse groups to sit down and have a constructive conversation about how we can all disarticulate those memes from their individual memeplexes, or at least severely restrict them to small pockets of the world, if everyone is locked in some irrational fight-to-the-death battle over the sanctity of their belief system. Disarticulating those memes will be viewed as capitulation, not progress. And so I engage with both sides, trying to show them that we're all humans and that we can all live together despite our differences. I try to desacalate the conflict between Theists and Atheists at the minimum and, one day, hope to resolve the conflict all together. Because the real work can't get done until that happens.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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08-05-2012, 08:11 AM
RE: Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
Quote: If you happened to be born in Thailand ..or China.. your going to worship a giant penis
Where the heck did you get that from? O_O As far as I know, most mainland Chinese are atheists. Chairman Mao discouraged religion. For Thailand, more of Buddhism.

The majority of theists I met are a fine bunch. Very sociable and nice to get along. I don't really bother now, did bother about it quite some time ago, led to a huge flame war...

The only time I get involved in such debates if such debates involve science (Evolution, Cosmology, Age of Earth). One reason is that I'm interested in knowing what they think. We share our points and point out why we think the other is wrong. You learn a lot through debating and researching. Makes you wiser every post you make against your opponent.

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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08-05-2012, 08:43 AM
RE: Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
While I am not a militant Atheist by any means, I am very vocal about my views on the Internet. I am a little introverted in real-life when it comes to the subject of religion because my family is religious, including my wife. I do constantly talk about astronomy with her as that's something that's been an interest of mine even when I was religious.

Another reason I am semi "in the closet" is because frankly, I only meet zealous theists on the net. The vast majority of the religious people in my life are laid back and couldn't care less what I believe. The subject just never comes up with them. I do have a group of friends that love to discuss religion with me and this group consists of spiritualists, religious, and atheists.

Why do I debate so much on the Internet?

1) I really have no one to talk to on a regular basis about this subject

2) The Internet draws in all types of people. This includes fence sitters (people genuinely looking for answers from both sides). I debate for these people. I could care less what the person I am debating thinks. If I am able to change the view of just one of those fence sitters, then I am content.

3) Debating the topic keeps my mind sharp on the subject. I polish my own thoughts and points while simultaneously gaining more insight into the mind of theists. I even learn more about my side of the debate. I've had many occasions where I felt stumped after a theist's rebuttal. I had to research and think about a counter. This means I learned something. I also learn that there are holes in some of my points that need addressing.

4) I genuinely enjoy these discussions/debates.

5) Last but definitely not least, it's my small way of contributing to, for lack of a better label, atheism.

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08-05-2012, 10:19 AM
RE: Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
Although I have become a bit more apathetic to the issue, I still think it's important.

I'm less for 'promoting atheism' as I am for promoting critical thought, intellectual honesty and I also what religion to lose it's protection from criticism. That is one of the worst things about it. I've had enough of people making really really really bad arguments for the existence of god. It's just ridiculous how little people address it. Some people have told me that the existence of the word god means he must exist in some form. I've also been told that I'm an idiot for not believing in god and I can't seem to criticise a belief without appearing like a 'militant atheist' (lol). Why should peoples brains be shut off because what they're dealing with is 'holy'?

Furthermore, I think reality is a wonderful thing. The attacks on science need to stop. Involving a god, to me, takes away from that feeling completely. It also takes away from the importance of life, it's the only life we are certain of, why waste it? It's sort of where Nietzsche was coming from on how religion (Christianity more importantly) takes this away from people so they can hope for another.

So yea, I'd prefer people think critically and honestly about their beliefs and although the god concept might leave them I think it'd be better. Religion might have to go with it. I'm fed up of lazy thinking.

(I also despise the concept of hell and a lot of the other shit that religion can do to people.)

Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own understanding!
Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.


Enlightenment is liberating.
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08-05-2012, 10:29 AM
RE: Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
I bother because religion teaches us not to think.
It teaches us to ignore contradictions.
It demands we adhere to ancient "truths," even in light of staggering evidence to the contrary.
It embraces circular logic, false arguments, and dishonest debate.
It offers nothing in the name of progress, social or scientific.
It causes psychological damage and justifies immoral behavior.
It preaches love, but gains its power from fear.

The moment I let go of the idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful God watching me and reading my mind as he worked in "mysterious ways," was like... here it comes... being born again.

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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08-05-2012, 10:54 AM
RE: Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
(08-05-2012 02:26 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  2. I see the psychological damage to individuals and to society caused by belief

(08-05-2012 10:29 AM)guitar_nut Wrote:  IIt causes psychological damage....


Some Psychologists are religious.

What a crazy world we live in : )
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08-05-2012, 12:11 PM
RE: Why do we even bother? Theism vs Atheism
(08-05-2012 07:44 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Drew.

As always, I look at culture through the lens of the science of culture; memetics.

You're absolutely right. What you believe depends greatly on your environment (global telecommunications and ease of travel annihilate the old restriction of geographical space and broaden the scope of that which constitutes one's environment). That's called psychosocial development.

From a memetic standpoint, each and every environment in the world has a meme pool. You draw your individual beliefs from that pool. The ethnosphere (analogous to the biosphere) contains every single earthly meme and all of the meme pools. When meme pools are separated, we get memetic drift. When some sort of bridge is created, say the Internet, we get meme flow between meme pools. Some memes are exclusive to a single meme pool, some are ubiquitous throughout the ethnosphere.

Humans are not born with a worldview. One's worldview is constructed through social interaction. Indeed, our very understanding of reality is a social construction. When viewed memetically, it becomes instantly apparent why different cultures understand reality differently.

As in all Darwinism, the words "should" and "better" must never be used. There is simply that which flourishes and that which is self-eliminating. Memetics supports the notion of cultural relativity.

It has been proven by a Harvard University study, that what a given organisation believes, the manner in which they organise themselves and the manner in which they pursue their ends are all irrelevant. There is no single best or most efficient way to believe, organise of enact. This corresponds to what we know through Darwinism. The only thing of importance is that the majority of individuals within the organisation have bought into the system and are rowing in the same direction.

Thus, it doesn't matter if a culture group is religious, secular or any other configuration. There is no best.

All hierarchical groups are based on a system of inequality. The purpose of a hierarchical organisation is to accumulate and exert power. All hierarchical organisations, regardless of what they believe, how they organise or how they pursue their goals will be exclusionary, foster inequality, and repress, harm, imprison or kill those that stand in their way.

When it comes to those of us living within hierarchy, we're all in the same boat.

A socially constructed reality can be viewed as a memeplex. It is a complex system of interdependent memes. Our understanding of reality is an emergent property of that memeplex. Humans require that understanding in order to function. We cannot prosecute our lives without it. When you yank nodes out of any system (disarticulate them) it can have anywhere from a negligible to a catastrophic effect on that system. Yank a rear-view mirror off a car and not much happens. Rip the pistons out and you're dead in the water.

Meme's in a memeplex are interdependent and their relationships make the memeplex resistant to invasion. Each meme has a relationship with one or more other memes in the memeplex. The more connections, the harder it is to disarticulate. There are lines of tendential force holding it fast within the memeplex. While lines of tendential force make it more difficult for a meme to be disarticulated, it doesn't make it impossible.

When a religious minded person encounters memes that challenge the existing ones within their social construction memeplex, it can have the effect of ripping out the old memes. Sometimes this has a negligible effect, other times it causes a catastrophic collapse of that person's understanding of reality. The severity of that crisis cannot be overstated.

Part one of my answer is that one reason that Theists and Atheists bother with one another is to defend themselves from this sort of collapse. Theists need to be a little more aggressive about this because their memeplex is far less modular than a scientific one and that rigidity makes it more vulnerable to collapse due to invasion.

The various culture groups of the world live in close quarters. Sometimes they're separated by political borders, sometimes, as in cosmopolitan cities, they mingle among one another. This leads to meme flow.

There is a meme, identified 20 years ago by Daniel Quinn, that is ubiquitous in the meme pools of most contemporary hierarchical organisations. That meme can be stated as "there is only one right way to live." If there is only one way, then all other ways must necessarily be wrong. This leads to a number of interesting behaviours. The core action of all of these behaviours is trying to make other people into you.

This is why some religions make it their "mission" (see what I did there Cool ) to convert others. This is why neo-conservatives make it their mission to make everyone in the world good little capitalists. The list goes on. For a more detailed analysis, see "civilisation, history of".

So part two of my answer is that some Theists and Atheists bother with one another because they're trying to save the other from themselves; a deluded endeavour because no one needs saving because there is no one right way to live.

Then we get to Atheists in particular.

Atheism, at its core, is a protest. It is a rejection of Theism. Most memeplexes tell people what to believe and how to act how to pursue their goals. At it's core, Atheism makes no pronouncements and prescribes nothing. Atheism tells people what not to believe, how not to act and how not to pursue their goals. It rejects, it does not embrace.

Atheists cannot help but engage with Theism and Atheism because is exists only in relation to Theism. Like the Placebo album title suggests, "Without You I Am Nothing." True, if you buy the "Atheism is the default position" argument, then it can exist outside of that relationship, but there are conditions to that. 1 - If the Atheistic culture group has NEVER encountered Theism, then they are Atheists; however, they will most certainly have their own belief system. Atheistic yes, but one that makes pronouncements about something. We are only able to exist without beliefs if we are living in protest of some other belief. Our parameters are simply, "don't do what they do, anything else is kosher." Without that relationship, we simply must outline something for ourselves. 2 - The moment default position Atheists encounter Theism, consider it and then reject it, they then live in relation to Theism. 3 - The only way out of that relationship is to make some pronouncement for yourself; something many Atheists vehemently deny that any Atheist does.

The moment Theism disappears, Atheism disappears. Atheism owes its existence to Theism.

So part three of my answer is that Atheists cannot help but bother with Theists because that interaction is what gives Atheism substance.

Part four is relatively straight forward. Sometimes Theists and Atheists consider each other dangerous. To each other, to others, to the world itself. They also view each other as intractable. They decide that the other needs to be destroyed. Sometimes this can take the form of rhetorical battles, sometimes it means repressing them to the point that they can't practice what they believe and sometimes it means actually killing the other. Again, for a more detailed analysis see "civilisation, history of."

Part five has to do with myself because I consider myself neither Theist nor Atheist but rather as Agnostic. My wish is for a better world. My belief is that a better world consists of a diversity of cultures living alongside each other. To accomplish that, I want to replace, at the minimum, the meme "there is only one right way to live" with "there is no one right way to live." I don't want either group in
charge as long as they believe their way is the only way to live. I want to begin there because it will show people that no part of their own memeplex is "correct". That will lay the groundwork for the tougher work. There are other memes, ubiquitous in this world, that are maladaptive and that, on a long enough time line, will kill us all. Unlimited growth. The world belongs to us/was made for us and we can do whatever we damn well please with it. Annihilate your competition whenever you get the chance. Always produce at surplus levels. These memes and a small handful of others will kill us and are held in place by severe lines of tendential force. I won't be able to get diverse groups to sit down and have a constructive conversation about how we can all disarticulate those memes from their individual memeplexes, or at least severely restrict them to small pockets of the world, if everyone is locked in some irrational fight-to-the-death battle over the sanctity of their belief system. Disarticulating those memes will be viewed as capitulation, not progress. And so I engage with both sides, trying to show them that we're all humans and that we can all live together despite our differences. I try to desacalate the conflict between Theists and Atheists at the minimum and, one day, hope to resolve the conflict all together. Because the real work can't get done until that happens.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Matt, that was an incredibly informative post! Well written, enlightening, excellent!

I'm curious about your personal aspect though (and I'm going to attempt, and probably fail, to speak in the same terms)- in your breakdown on memes you stress that there is no right way to live and then later you say that you consider yourself agnostic rather than an atheist or a theist because you don't want to take a side that says "there is only one right way to live". Isn't any position, even your position of wishing for a better world, a statement that suggests your position is a better or the best position? Especially since your goal is for a better world. That is, in a way, a rejection of both theism and atheism even while you wish to encompass both with diversity.

Additionally, light of your post, I think that atheism is not a statement saying "there is only one right way to live", but rather "a refusal of some possible ways to live"; and it retains its relationship with theism in that it denies that the theistic way of life is the correct way of life without necessarily making a claim about how one should live aside from not adhering to a theistic way of life. You yourself are a third member of the bunch, making a claim to the correct way of life. Not that I disagree with your position- I think you've got some great points. But you're one of us, like it or not! Evil_monster

There are some atheistic memes that arise as a result of rejection of theism, like secular humanism, or a Marxist-Leninist atheist. Not all atheists are secular humanists (from a political or philosophical standpoint), but it does lend itself naturally as a meme upon rejection of religion. Secular humanism is a more positive claim to beliefs about how one should live life, whereas atheism is simply a rejection of a set of others. Secular humanism is both a rejection of all other memes and a positive claim that it is "the one right way to live".

I think you're right about the default atheist worldview, but I wonder what examples of beliefs a default atheist would have. Do you have any examples? Genuine curiosity on my part! Big Grin
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