how religions view atheism
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08-02-2013, 12:51 PM
RE: how religions view atheism
I think a brief, general outline of all and then a focus on two, would do well for comparison. A statement that the further one delves into the inner workings of each religion reveals the complexity of assessment.
(08-02-2013 12:19 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  In Christianity, at least, it's varied, and more or less depends on the community, person, or denomination.
True that. A favorite - frustrated denial:
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08-02-2013, 01:22 PM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2013 01:26 PM by Luminon.)
RE: how religions view atheism
I'd say religions view atheists as any tribal group views outsiders. Dehumanization, deprecation, denigration. To deconvert is not to change one's mind, it's betrayal of the tribe.
There are a few more simple equations
Religion = morals, atheism = immorality.
Religion = happiness, atheism = unhappiness, depression, anger at life and God
Religion = afterlife reward, atheism = fear of death or hell, denial
Religion = Truth, atheism = delusion

It's basically all about promoting the in-group and making the outcasts look bad or lost. Sometimes they're seen as a threat because they prove by their very existence that we can live a godless life.
Of course, it's always a question of degree, I have used extreme examples to show the point. Most of Christian congregations are rather tame, self-focused and do not mention atheists at all, they're simply communities for fellowship and company, they don't do much with theology. They simply pronounce views they all agree with, sing songs they all know, read passages they like, rehashing that old stuff and whipping up their emotions. Then they go to have some fun or arrange something for kids.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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08-02-2013, 01:52 PM
RE: how religions view atheism
Building on what Luminon said:

All groups have survival mechanisms. Things that make the members feel like they are in the best group and should remain in this group. I've said some of this before:

Group Thinking

Each religion seeks to survive. For this definition, surviving means maintaining and increasing membership - losing membership means declining and eventually ceasing to exist as a group or religion when there are eventually no more members or believers. In order for this to happen, the group (religion) must instill within its members (believers) that they are in the right place, in the right group, believing the right thing.

Why?

If members of group X believe that group Y is a better group, no matter what the reason, then those members are likely to leave their inferior group X and become members of group Y instead, especially when it's impractical or impossible to be a member of both groups simultaneously. For example, in religions terms, if a Catholic decides that Islam is a better religion, he can't be both, so he'll convert to Islam and stop being a Catholic. If every Catholic did this, then Catholicism would cease to exist.

For the group (religion) to survive, it must grow, or at the very least, not shrink. This means that it must convince its members that they are in the best possible group.

One way to do this is to be the best, obviously, but that is not always easy to do. Even if, theoretically, one group could truly be the best, we humans always see things from the age-old adage that "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence", so members of the best group might still look around and perceive that other groups are better.

So an even simpler way to convince members of the superiority of their group is to make all non-members look bad. Teach your members that everyone else is bad, wrong, deluded, naughty, or whatever - truly convince them - and then they will automatically believe they are in the superior group.

Automatically.

It is very difficult to be the best, but it is very easy to sell the idea that everyone else is screwed up.

This is what all groups do. All of them. Even if the group itself doesn't deliberately teach that all others are bad, the members of any group automatically begin to believe this. It's human nature. We want to know that we're doing the right thing, so we automatically tell ourselves this. We make it true in our own minds, and the most successful groups (and every religion) reinforces this self-image through specific doctrine.

This is necessary for any group, any religion, to survive and to thrive and they all do it.

The most obvious example is that Christians believe they will be rewarded by god for their faith and that everyone else will be punished for lack of faith. This obviously means that Christians are in the superior group and everyone else is in the inferior group - it very strongly reinforces the idea that Christians are superior to everyone else.

This is why everybody in every religion looks at everybody else as if they are all inferior, dehumanized, even sub-human. It's one of the fundamental survival behaviors of all religions.

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08-02-2013, 06:50 PM
RE: how religions view atheism
Until the 1960s in many states atheists could not testify in court. In a recent poll people said they'd more likely vote for a gay political candidate than an atheist. I live in Mississippi, and they treat us (if they know, I don't say much publicly because I'd like to keep my job) like crap in general. Here in the Bible Belt you have to, much like gays must, stay in the closet. Most of my friends, my bf and some of my family are theists. Thankfully it's not an issue with my family, they believe that's your personal business. My brother is church of god and kept trying to convert our agnostic mother since he believes we are going to hell. Most in depth conversations I have with hardcore religious people about this subject ends up, even if civilly said, that basically I'm deficient somehow because I just don't have faith and that yes I'm going to hell. In the south, if they find out, you can easily be treated differently. Plus our stupid legislature wastes our tax money passing stupid ass bills about school prayer, which is nine kinds of unconstitutional. So being an atheist in the south means you have to stuff your non-southern-baptist thoughts down and shut up, but the double standard allows them to pray and talk about god all they want. Otherwise I love the south, but this issue makes life difficult for me at times.

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09-02-2013, 09:09 AM
RE: how religions view atheism
I'd describe the group thinking as sort of an egregore, a "collective spirit". That is, because it relies heavily on contact between members, on constant communication, so it's a virtually simultaneous presence. These emotional viruses live in the subjective reality of people, but they spread objectively.
The egregore wants two things only.

- STIMULATION. Emotional life.
- SELF-PRESERVATION. Through asserting itself in minds of members and through spreading through converting the public.

Egregore could be seen sort of like an emotional infection. The dynamics of such groups may make no logical, intellectual sense, because they contradict themselves and can't think straight. First they crucify Jesus, then they teach his words on non-violence and then they do crusades in his name.

However it makes perfect sense in terms of subjective, positive "logic" that knows no true and false, one and zero, only self (good) and otherness (bad). The egregore only acts in its own interest - emotional stimulation and self-preservation (brainwash and spread)

The egregore is consistent in nothing but these two rules. It stimulates the hosts up to the point of death, but tries not to kill them until it can spread. Egregores are emotional parasites, they feed on emotion and if they are fed, they don't need to compete. They need regular stimulation, regular feding, regular conflict and emotion. If they don't get it, they get hungry, hungry for fellowship at first, then easy to irritate and pick a fight.

They may even tolerate a colony of lesser delusions as bottom feeders in the group, they also provide some stimulation. But big egregores with their own groups, they compete fiercely. The only reason to unite is against something that is a foreign, stronger egregore or not an egregore at all, not emotional at all. Atheism - non-tribalism, for example. They sure hate each other, but they hate non-believers more. There is a saying, when a smart man appears, all idiots will unite against him.




In many ways, egregore infection is like a viral infection. People get into a sect, they believe it, they pay it. It sucks, they suffer, they see what an emotional bullshit it is, they get out of it and they get wiser. They get immune to that particular kind of emotional hocus pocus.

Egregores are not benign as our history shows, but they usually know when to stop. Things can get ugly, but egregores invented moderate religion, even if the book is not moderate. That does not matter at all, egregores are emotional, objective logic has no meaning. The believer himself can not justify that, but it makes perfect sense if the egregore is in a situation favorable to have near monopoly on people, so they can afford to oppress them peacefully (Catholics), while smaller groups need to be more aggressive to have any staying power (Westboro Baptist Church).

Egregores are a lot like living organisms, they're as alive, as our brains allow. The culture is made out of them. They make people cultured, they bring a bit of unity where was none or little before. For example, my nation would not exist if it wasn't revived by the egregore of nationalism after Hapsburg takeover. In other cases, if a Gypsy from ghetto becomes a Jehovah's witness, he renounces his old ways of terrorizing the city and gets much cleaner. Egregores are like a crab bucket, they'll pick you out of the mud, but if you try to climb higher than them, the other crabs will drag you back.

The egregores are our ancient symbionts/parasites - we all know them as "human nature". They're not human nature, they're simple stupid brain viruses with vast quantities of unguarded human intellect and imagination at their disposal. They use it to disguise under various names and symbols (religions, soccer clubs, political parties), but they all want the same thing, stimulation and self-preservation.

Egregores are a manipulative force. They can gain control of all the emotional and intellectual parts of brain that we don't have under control. If we don't know how to think properly, how to formulate ideas that they make objective sense, our emotional nature will invent its own subjectively meaningful, always positive syntax.
They violate the relationship between concept and reality, word and reality, or word and concept.
Religions typically circulate many words and communications that have subjective meaning.





When you encounter a group or a person that might be controlled by an egregore, remember, that you have just met a flock of sheep. Sheep are clueless, but they may be dangerous. However their behavior will not make sense, unless you understand the invisible presence of the shepherd. No matter how colorful is the wool of the sheep, there is always a shepherd and he wants two things only,
- to enlarge the flock (make you conform - and your family)
- a mutton for lunch.

To fight against an egregore is diffcult, seemingly impossible. Every sheep in flock is a hostage of the shepherd. Outsiders are seen either as stray sheep, or wolves. There are however allies in this guerilla warfare.
- Logic. The person's ability to draw a logically consistent conclusion from premises - true or false. The ability to connect the triangle of concept, reality and word - the ability to define a word. If the person has a logical thinking, then it is only a question of applying it in a different area of his life.
- Generational revolt - oppressive religious parents have rebellious children.
- Communication beyond the borders of the flock, with various people from all around the world. (the internet)
- Discipline and self-awareness - sweep your computer regularly!

There is yet another form of warfare that the atheist movement is only beginning to discover. Emotions are our equipment, they are a very human thing. We only allow egregores to exploit them, because we don't control all our equipment. To get rid of emotions and focus on academic sphere is a tactics of scorched earth, not really worth it. Instead, we can generate emotion and meaning, our emotional presence is just as valid as presence of any egregore. We can show that we are good people, wise, humble.. Humble is important, lest we get the egregore's unwanted attention. Instead of defeating believers with brute force of logic, we can make them like us or love us, subjectively and illogically, but nonetheless really.
That is another way to dissolve the barrier that the egregore builds and bring people into contact with reality. In many cases egregore is not strong in itself, it relies on isolation of members to stay the strongest factor.

PS: I think the greatest egregore of them all is the egregore of greed/commercialism/money. Very few people are atheists towards this god.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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09-02-2013, 09:24 AM
RE: how religions view atheism
(09-02-2013 09:09 AM)Luminon Wrote:  I'd describe the group thinking as sort of an egregore [...]

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09-02-2013, 09:35 AM
RE: how religions view atheism
Edit: Ignore this post, resulted from a friggin weird bug.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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09-02-2013, 09:38 AM
RE: how religions view atheism
And this one too. Gad, why can't we delete our own posts?

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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09-02-2013, 11:36 AM
RE: how religions view atheism
To me, Atheists fall into two categories: the decieved and the decievers.

The decieved are your average everyday Atheist. These are conditioned from childhood with two mutually contradictory doctrines. One of supposed "unbelief", a rejection of God and Two a hatred of God and his followers (why do you have to hate something that you don't believe exists, Atheists?). This group are only dangerous in numbers but will feign reasonability or even friendliness when outnumbered.

The second group are far more dangerous, these are the leaders of the Atheist movement worldwide. Some of these are inductees into the higher echelons of the belief structure, others are merely talented outsiders. At a glance it's hard to tell the difference, but inevitably one such as Christopher Hitchens spewing out vicious slanders against a God he claims not to believe in would be an insider of the Cult of Atheism.

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09-02-2013, 11:39 AM
RE: how religions view atheism
(09-02-2013 11:36 AM)AtheismExposed Wrote:  To me, Atheists fall into two categories: the decieved and the decievers.

The decieved are your average everyday Atheist. These are conditioned from childhood with two mutually contradictory doctrines. One of supposed "unbelief", a rejection of God and Two a hatred of God and his followers (why do you have to hate something that you don't believe exists, Atheists?). This group are only dangerous in numbers but will feign reasonability or even friendliness when outnumbered.

The second group are far more dangerous, these are the leaders of the Atheist movement worldwide. Some of these are inductees into the higher echelons of the belief structure, others are merely talented outsiders. At a glance it's hard to tell the difference, but inevitably one such as Christopher Hitchens spewing out vicious slanders against a God he claims not to believe in would be an insider of the Cult of Atheism.
Atheists, by and large, don't hate God. Why do you think they do?

What I dislike is the fact that people believe without evidence. That kind of belief is irrational and dangerous.

Please tell me more about "the higher echelons of the belief structure" because I'd sure like to join.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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