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Why is atheism seen as such a threat?


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"Our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers," he said. Personally, I thought that was lovely. It's something that everybody knows is true, yet seldom acknowledged.

Imagine my surprise to find out that adding "and non-believers" didn't sit well with some people.

-k

I for one am completely outraged that the word "non-believers" wasn't capitalized like the rest. I'd like to know if this was the way the speech was actually written or if it was just reported this way. In either case, this doesn't sit well. It does not sit well at all.

:angry:

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I for one am completely outraged that the word "non-believers" wasn't capitalized like the rest. I'd like to know if this was the way the speech was actually written or if it was just reported this way. In either case, this doesn't sit well. It does not sit well at all.

:angry:

I don't capitalize nonbeliever, atheist or agnostic either, because these terms don't represent a philosophical position or a set of beliefs like the belief structures included in that sentence-- that is unless someone views being part of an atheist movement as being a belief system. I capitalize Naturalist and Secular Humanist though, because they are becoming comprehensive belief systems as they continue to develope.

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I for one am completely outraged that the word "non-believers" wasn't capitalized like the rest. I'd like to know if this was the way the speech was actually written or if it was just reported this way. In either case, this doesn't sit well. It does not sit well at all.

:angry:

No they ARE believers..they like all other religions are plainly a belief system - they believe in the great nothing. What is secure in my mind regarding atheists is that they all have this idea that all of the worlds problems are because of religion - and that nasty "sky god" . Meanwhile all of mans problems are caused by man...not GOD and God has nothing to do with mans horrific behavour and now his new found freedom called moral neutrality. Religious nuts are all awaiting the anti-christ and the proverbial beast..when in fact they as a collective bunch of germs are the beast incorporated and the anti-christ is them. Simply put all that goes against goodness or Godness is anti-christism - and secular humanist are humans and humanity stands firmly convicted of all the worlds sinisterisms. Atheist do not have the answer - in fact they are the problem along with orgainized religion - now the atheist want to be orgainized as if they will save the world - what a joke!

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Atheists are not organized because they're nothing more than the people who are sick of having religion rammed down their throat. Nothing unifies them because they don't follow a belief system. Why is that so difficult to understand?

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Atheists are not organized because they're nothing more than the people who are sick of having religion rammed down their throat. Nothing unifies them because they don't follow a belief system. Why is that so difficult to understand?

IF they could they would ram their concepts of godlessness down our throats...what's so hard about that to understand.

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Atheists are not organized because they're nothing more than the people who are sick of having religion rammed down their throat. Nothing unifies them because they don't follow a belief system. Why is that so difficult to understand?

I think atheism is best described as the acceptance that there is no god.

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Yeah Oleg, you've got it all wrong.

I am an atheist. I guess technically I am an agnostic atheist. I don't know if there is a god, and to be honest, I don't really care. So I have an absence of belief - I don't believe something like a god exists, nor am I convinced something doesn't exist... all I know is I don't know (Plato).

I will disagree with and fight against religion because a lot of religions like to try and push their beliefs on others - either directly or indirectly. I don't appreciate people who don't know what the hell they are talking about trying to convince me of their delusional beliefs, or even worse, forcing me to obey their delusional beliefs through law or custom.

In the category of same shit different pile I don't like when guys like Suzuki preach about conservation yet are complete hypocrites in their own lives. The difference between conservation and religion, however, is that conservation may have some merit - but I still don't like hypocrites.

That is why I do and will continue to fight against religion. If religion would get out of my face, I would get out of it's.

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IF they could they would ram their concepts of godlessness down our throats...what's so hard about that to understand.

That's pretty hard to understand because it's not true. Atheists just want to be able to be non-believers without being treated as outsiders or immoral. A lot of people have to hide their atheism because of how they would be treated if friends, family and their community knew. This atheist movement that has been gaining steam over the last few years is more about making it ok for people to admit their atheists, than it is about converting the religious. Atheists are just looking for tolerance and acceptance. But, still to this day, you have people who believe atheism is the cause of all immorality. It's not true and atheists are sick of having myriad social ills attributed to them by religious zealots.

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No they ARE believers..they like all other religions are plainly a belief system - they believe in the great nothing.

Actually, if I had to really define what I am I'd say I'm a disbeliever, a sarcastic one at times I admit. I do believe in some things but what I don't do is deliberately suspend my disbelief the way religous people do. I do my best to carefully choose what I believe in and I keep my hope and faith rooted in what's feasible. Your view of disbelief is unbelievable to be perfectly honest. To me it seems that religous people don't have beliefs so much as their beliefs have them. The more they suspend their disbelief the greater the hold their beliefs have on them.

What is secure in my mind regarding atheists is that they all have this idea that all of the worlds problems are because of religion - and that nasty "sky god" . Meanwhile all of mans problems are caused by man...not GOD and God has nothing to do with mans horrific behavour and now his new found freedom called moral neutrality. Religious nuts are all awaiting the anti-christ and the proverbial beast..when in fact they as a collective bunch of germs are the beast incorporated and the anti-christ is them. Simply put all that goes against goodness or Godness is anti-christism - and secular humanist are humans and humanity stands firmly convicted of all the worlds sinisterisms.

Its certainly correct to say that the problems people have are often of their own making but sometimes shit just happens all on its own that isn't anyone's fault. One thing I do believe is that believers and disbelievers truly are worlds apart in the way they look at things and think. Lets face it in most human societies disbelievers are almost universally regarded as being like aliens that are to be feared and reviled as such.

Atheist do not have the answer - in fact they are the problem along with orgainized religion - now the atheist want to be orgainized as if they will save the world - what a joke!

No, disbelievers have far more questions, everything else in your final statement is neither here nor there. Its interesting that you should mention saving the world though because I can't think of anything that will wreck it faster than believing there is an afterworld that is more real and important than this one. Save the world? I'd rather savour it while I have the chance, I want to enjoy my life while trying to live it well and make the world a better place along the way, something that's...feasible. If you can see anything systematic or sinister in that then I'd suggest you're only seeing what your beliefs want you to see.

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I wonder if muslim extremists drive their children around town in order to point out virgins and teach rewards of blind faith?

Firstly the mother of the Christ was not a virgin as we know it...she had a baby for God's sake! You can not have a baby unless you have sex. God is not a smoke and mirrors sort of entity. The virgin birth thing was adopted from old pagan beliefs in order to up the membership of the early church. Blind faith is not blind - just natural ---or should I say an extention of the natural - or super natural. Religion has wrecked it for believers - it made things unbeliveable...That's always been the man made weakness that harmed religion - fantacy thinking... "I am the truth the light and the way" - truth is also defined as reality and logic - atheists can be as dellusional as most believers...as for rewards - God does not run a payroll company..there is no reward for being good or godly -- why should there be? Now the only problem I have with atheists in this secular humanist society is that they will indoctrinate children - before the frustrated tradionally active Christian parents can indoctrinate them...that's a problem - Children are your property and not the property of the state which forcefully supports atheism...the atheists have an agenda - and a stupid one because they are not intelligent enough and to bitter to concieve the concept of God.

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Oleg, I tend to ignore your posts, because after the first three words I can't figure out what the hell you're talking about! But I'll try again because it seems like you have a lot of beliefs that you have accepted on faith alone, and have no good reason to believe them otherwise.

First of all, I've read your attacks on religion before, and have always been bewildered by your own adamant certainty that the syncretic mishmash of beliefs that you advocate should be accepted as truth by others. You are condemning religion because you have created your own little religion with a congregation of one! As soon as you get a roomfull of likeminded followers, you will have a cult; and if your cult flourishes and takes in many more adherents and lives on after your death, then you will be like Joseph Smith, Muhammed, L. Ron Hubbard, the Maharishi, and many other cult leaders whose cults were developed into established religions. Some cynical anthropologist determined many years ago that the best way to tell the difference between a religion and a cult is the amount of real estate they own!

You hate "religion" because they were personality cults started by others, and you want your very own! For myself, I want good reasons to believe things, so I want a philosophy that is based on the findings of empirical evidence, and not the ramblings and rantings of a delusional charismatic....and that's why I am a Secular Humanist. The methodology and even core values of Secular Humanism can be changed if they are found to be in error. That sort of thing cannot happen with religious systems.

They often try to uphold outdated and dangerous values from the past, like Catholics, Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims, are doing today with their "family values" agendas, that want to keep women subordinated and breeding more and more children in a dangerously overcrowded world. They stand in the way of bringing population growth rates in Third World countries under control, even though there is not enough food or fresh water, or other necessities of life for all of the new children coming into the world. The rhetoric and propaganda of family values, which values embryos and fetuses above the needs of child-bearing women has also caused unnecessary harm in fighting against embryonic stem cell research. A primitive belief in immaterial souls turns a fertilized egg into a person and puts a roadblock in front of stem cell research in the nation where most advanced biological research is done, and needlessly delayed the development of cures and medical treatments that could save lives.

And when they do change, like they did over the slavery issue 150 years ago, it is under a weight of evidence that finally forces them to ignore the doctrines that sanctified slavery as an institution.

A Secular Humanist has to stay current with scientific and other evidence, and be willing to change opinions and strategies when needed.....and that's why it is a superior worldview than ones steeped in religious dogma.

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Darkness is, by definition, the absence of light...

Calling it 'just another kind of light' doesn't wash.

That's like saying "I did not kill him I simply changed him"....darkness is darkness and has nothing to do with light....same as death is death and life is life. Those re-rationalizing phyisic and natural moral law irk me. What is even further afield and amiss is "just another kind of light" ....I guess this is akin to the new concept of dark matter - an theory of the existance of the non-existant...This is useless and troublesome thinking. Just as in the courts today - a lawyer will say - "it is immoral but it is legal" - THAT thinking is why we are going to hell in a lawless basket. If it is immoral (evil) it should and is damned well wrong and SHOULD be illegal. Once we tamper with language then communication changes and dellusion sets in - much like the same sex marriage thing....It is non-existant and dellusional.

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I for one am completely outraged that the word "non-believers" wasn't capitalized like the rest. I'd like to know if this was the way the speech was actually written or if it was just reported this way. In either case, this doesn't sit well. It does not sit well at all.

:angry:

Apparently nobody got the joke. I did, and I laughed heartily.

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That's probably religion's greatest problem right there, it seems to have no sense of humor whatsoever.

I would say that's true not so much of religion as a concept, but of fundamentalist mindsets of any stripe -- religious, political, social, you name it. JC once said "let he who is without sin cast the first stone"...it strikes me that a lot of people have a real hard time slinging mud in the direction of their own glass houses. But if you can't laugh at yourself, you can't laugh at anything else either (in my opinion).

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Which is precisely why I believe atheists should stop labeling themselves as such. They should use the term Barack Obama used in his inaugural speech: "non-believers"--the preceding theological understood. Atheist carries a connotation now. People assume all atheists have the same set of "beliefs" because they mistakenly believe it is a belief system. Since, by definition, it is simply a way of saying you don't believe in a specific belief system, it would probably be better if the label is avoided altogether.

Everyone is an atheist in one way or another. For instance, other than a few neo-pagans, just about everyone in the world is an atheistic on the existence of Odin. In modern nonclemature, of course, atheist is reserved for those who don't believe in the existence of any gods.

Non-believer is more in line with the more restrictive definition of an atheist. A non-believer in Judeao-Christian society would be someone who doesn't believe in the Hebrew god, so that would apply to Buddhists, Hindus, and all sorts of other religions. However, an atheist, does not accept the existence of Krishna, Zeus, Yahweh or any other deity. Atheist seems a perfectly good tag for my world view, so why should I water it down?

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That's like saying "I did not kill him I simply changed him"....darkness is darkness and has nothing to do with light....same as death is death and life is life. Those re-rationalizing phyisic and natural moral law irk me. What is even further afield and amiss is "just another kind of light" ....I guess this is akin to the new concept of dark matter - an theory of the existance of the non-existant...

That's not what dark matter is, but at any rate, I doubt you know or care what dark matter theory is about.

This is useless and troublesome thinking. Just as in the courts today - a lawyer will say - "it is immoral but it is legal" - THAT thinking is why we are going to hell in a lawless basket. If it is immoral (evil) it should and is damned well wrong and SHOULD be illegal. Once we tamper with language then communication changes and dellusion sets in - much like the same sex marriage thing....It is non-existant and dellusional.

First of all, who decides what's moral? Morality is pretty much what a society decides it is. We collectively decide the murder and stealing are bad, so it is. We can make-believe, if we like, that some Cosmic Alpha Male decreed these things, but at the end of the day what is right and what is wrong is a matter of social contract, and that contract can and does change over time. Five hundred years ago, enslaving people based on the color of their skin or where they came from was perfectly moral.

The purpose of the law is not to uphold every moral declaration out there, because such declarations can and do collide with individual liberties. For instance, laws against fornication might uphold a moral precept, but the notion that two consenting adults should be prevented by force of law from having sexual congress is completely incompatible with the notions of individual liberty and minimal interference by the State in the lives of its citizens (not to mention that such a law would be utterly unenforceable).

No one is forcing you to marry someone of your sex. No one is forcing any church to do so. No one is forcing you to like it. The notion of individual liberties, that the individual should be constrained as little by the state, and that all should be treated equally by the state, pretty much precludes what amounts to a religious ban on same-sex unions.

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First of all, who decides what's moral? Morality is pretty much what a society decides it is. We collectively decide the murder and stealing are bad, so it is. We can make-believe, if we like, that some Cosmic Alpha Male decreed these things, but at the end of the day what is right and what is wrong is a matter of social contract, and that contract can and does change over time. Five hundred years ago, enslaving people based on the color of their skin or where they came from was perfectly moral.

Yes, as we have moved beyond enslavement to kings and priests, democratic principles have led to deciding the value of laws based on the consequences of their application, rather than looking them up in the divine rule book. You won't have any luck explaining this to someone who accepts morality as god-given, since they are following the Divine Command Theory of ethics (whatever God says is the law). The trick now is to convince even religious adherents to move away from using 2,500 year old books as the guide for deciding how to live today. Actions have consequences in society, and consequences should be the guideposts for deciding what rules to follow and the merits and demerits of the laws we have.

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Yes, as we have moved beyond enslavement to kings and priests, democratic principles have led to deciding the value of laws based on the consequences of their application, rather than looking them up in the divine rule book. You won't have any luck explaining this to someone who accepts morality as god-given, since they are following the Divine Command Theory of ethics (whatever God says is the law). The trick now is to convince even religious adherents to move away from using 2,500 year old books as the guide for deciding how to live today. Actions have consequences in society, and consequences should be the guideposts for deciding what rules to follow and the merits and demerits of the laws we have.

But do they really use the Bible all that much? It seems to me that, as a civilization, we have, over the centuries, become quite adept at picking out which Biblical laws are to be enforced and which are not. Of course, the writers of the Gospels gave a convenient out. Christ "fulfilled" the Law, which seems to translate into "Any Biblical law that seems tyrannical or barbaric doesn't apply to us anymore." Thus, despite all the hullaballoo about "Judeo-Christian" morals, the fact is that a fair chunk of the laws found in the Pentateuch are viewed as either idiotic (laws about what men should wear on the bottoms of their robes or all the menstruation-is-unclean laws) or outright monstrous (stoning children who don't listen to their parents and the execution of witches). Killing disobedient children clearly went out of vogue a looong time ago, and witch burnings in most of Christendom ended in the 17th and 18th centuries.

So, Bible or no Bible, the morals of our civilization have changed over time, and religion has often had to adapt to those changing morals, either by simply declaring outmoded moral tenets as "not applying to Christians" or coming up with some bizarre theological twisting to make it all make sense.

Look at slavery in the US. Baptists, who have long been one of the major Christian groups, split between north and south over slavery. In the North, it was clear to God-fearing Baptists that slavery was wrong, and it was equally clear to God-fearing Baptists in the South that slavery was fine. The Southern Baptist Convention was formed by angry Southerners; a classical example of theology and religion as slaves to economics and prejudice.

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Atheists are not organized because they're nothing more than the people who are sick of having religion rammed down their throat. Nothing unifies them because they don't follow a belief system. Why is that so difficult to understand?

I'd say is that atheists follow their own belief system indeed. I really think atheists just do not need to congregate and convince others or other atheists why they beleive the way they do. It is an individual thing. Like most religions in some ways, and it should be for all religions, is that it is a personal thing. Religion or your faith is personal and should always stay that way.

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