Curiouser and Curiouser, murmured the Elephant's Child

Page 1 of 2 [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

Philologos
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Age: 78
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,987

24 Dec 2010, 10:25 am

Ahoy there, ye Alpha Atheists [Beta through Omega can come in too, but my question is to the alphas].

I was just leafing through back postings and noticed that there was no special flurry of skeptical threads around Ramadan and the Eid. in fact, threads dissing the Mahometans [I feel archaic - do you realize it was over 50 years ago I moved to this region? Oy!] are few and far between. Even if one looks for proportionate representation, Islam is strikingly unexamined.

I can off the top of my head advance three working hypotheses:

A. WP PPR Alpha Atheists see no problems with Islam in validity of beliefs, excellence of morals, effect on scientific progress, or impact on the unbeliever.

OR

B. There is something special about Christianity which makes it the focus par excellence of antitheistic discussion.

OR

C. Muslims are not as firm believers in God as Christians.

I would fain hear your views, including any alternative hypotheses.



ruveyn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 84
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,502
Location: New Jersey

24 Dec 2010, 10:33 am

Philologos wrote:

C. Muslims are not as firm believers in God as Christians.

I would fain hear your views, including any alternative hypotheses.


When was the last time Christians validated their faith by suicidal acts of martyrdom? How many Christians are ready to die for Jesus?

ruveyn



skafather84
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Posts: 9,848
Location: New Orleans, LA

24 Dec 2010, 10:39 am

If you're against assault, you're more than likely against murder as well.

IE: if you're opposing christianity, which is relatively light-handed, of course you oppose islam which is much more heavy-handed. Plus that, it's enough of a target just by comparison with western culture rather less put under an atheist's observation.


_________________
Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings. ~Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1823

?I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.? - Hunter S. Thompson


naturalplastic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 66
Gender: Male
Posts: 25,859
Location: temperate zone

24 Dec 2010, 10:02 pm

And how many theists on this forum make posts promoting (or even defending) Islam?

Atheists dont bother bashing Islam for same reason the theists dont make posts promoting nor even defending Islam. Neither theists nor anti-theist in this forum have any first hand experience with Islam ( except in an indirect foriegn policy kinda way) becasue Islam is part of alien cultures on the other side of the globe from where most folks on this forum live.

Its like whining about how many posters bash Obama, or bash Bush, and then asking why "nobody bothers to criticize the prime minister of Lower Slobovia?"

Proximity is the main (and rather obvious) answer to your (frankly) rather silly question.

But there are other considerations as well.

Islam is to Christianity what Pepsi is to Coke- a latter day ripoff of the same product.
So if your defending/bashing one, youre pretty much defending/bashing the other anyway!
So it doesnt really make any difference.



Philologos
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Age: 78
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,987

24 Dec 2010, 11:15 pm

So - the antitheists here are not so much opposing THEISM as interacting oppositionally with theists? Seems to conflict with some statements, but possible.

Thing is, I do not in fact see that many posts promoting Christianity [a certain number defending. yes]. Posts wanting to DISCUSS Christian issues are not infrequently swarmed by hungry moaquitos - the point of which I fail to see.

But as for Islam being on the other side of the globe - oops. Don't know where you are, but a town near here has goodly neighbourhoods of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and more with corresponding cathedral size centers of worship. Check out London. Check Nairobi.

Major religiuons and major ethnic groups are not compartmentalized any more.

I know of Eastern Rite Arabic speaking Christians attacked because mistaked for Muslims - in the US.

On your final point - eeeeeh. I will let others talk on that if they wish



naturalplastic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 66
Gender: Male
Posts: 25,859
Location: temperate zone

25 Dec 2010, 11:31 pm

Philologos wrote:
So - the antitheists here are not so much opposing THEISM as interacting oppositionally with theists? Seems to conflict with some statements, but possible.

Thing is, I do not in fact see that many posts promoting Christianity [a certain number defending. yes]. Posts wanting to DISCUSS Christian issues are not infrequently swarmed by hungry moaquitos - the point of which I fail to see.

But as for Islam being on the other side of the globe - oops. Don't know where you are, but a town near here has goodly neighbourhoods of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and more with corresponding cathedral size centers of worship. Check out London. Check Nairobi.

Major religiuons and major ethnic groups are not compartmentalized any more.

I know of Eastern Rite Arabic speaking Christians attacked because mistaked for Muslims - in the US.

On your final point - eeeeeh. I will let others talk on that if they wish


I dont know what any of this has to do with the topic.
We have big temples to exotic religions in the washington area as well but minority religions are still minority religions.
The question is why do you find the unremarkable so remarkable?
If youre an anti-theist then by definition youre opposed to all religion so you have no choice but to attack whatever the mainstream religion of your society is and youre not going to bother with attacking a fringe religion because to do the latter would not be anti-theism- it would, in effect, be promoting mainstram religion.

Likewise Christians are going to stick up for their own faith and not have much to say in favor of Hare Krishnaism (nor of Islam). And christians are going to be the bulk of the theist posters..

Both theists and anti-theists act the way you would expect them to act.
Why do you consider that to be remarkable?



Awesomelyglorious
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 13,157
Location: Omnipresent

25 Dec 2010, 11:40 pm

B is closer to correct.

Christianity is the belief taken most seriously in our society. It is the most prevalent belief. It is also very very easy to encounter a Christian and to have a theological discussion with them compared to other beliefs. Christians are also the group most noted for opposing atheism in our society, so being that the two are so caught up in this ongoing disagreement, atheism will address Christianity more seeing it as the opponent. Atheists are most likely to be former Christians, and thus consider it when considering religion. Even further, even the philosophical literature on religion focuses predominantly on Christian theology, which will even mean that philosophically informed atheists are still mostly going to be exposed to Christian conceptions and issues within Christianity. Honestly, there is really no reason for an atheist to attack Islam(or Hinduism for that matter) unless that atheist really felt like it, but few people are even going to know what is being talked about.

Most atheists do believe Islam is problematic, and a number of the New Atheist authors have taken great offense to Islam. This includes Dawkins pointing out the punishment for apostasy in Islam. Harris claiming that Islam is one of the greatest threats to our society today. Etc... Given what Orwell has told me in the past about Islamic apologists, if we saw an influx of them, I would imagine that I, and others, would take the time to address their claims. However, although I own a Koran, and have tried to read parts of it, I don't have a good working knowledge of the Koran, and as such have a much weaker grasp of Islamic theology compared to Christian. (To be fair, I don't have the strongest grip on Jewish theology either, but I am opposed to Judaism as well as Christianity)

I'd say that Muslims are shown to be pretty serious believers. I can't personally verify this though, as I have really known very very very few Muslims. Possibly even a number I could count on one hand, although, I know a LOT of Christian believers.

Does that answer your question somewhat?



Inuyasha
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Jan 2009
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 9,745

26 Dec 2010, 12:16 am

No, your answer doesn't make sense because I don't see Christians strapping bombs to children and remote detonating them in crowded marketplaces. It seems more that you have more of a pathalogical hatred of Christianity.



Sand
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2007
Age: 95
Gender: Male
Posts: 11,484
Location: Finland

26 Dec 2010, 4:10 am

Inuyasha wrote:
No, your answer doesn't make sense because I don't see Christians strapping bombs to children and remote detonating them in crowded marketplaces. It seems more that you have more of a pathalogical hatred of Christianity.


There is a great deal of propaganda that apparently many people swallow whole that the violent reaction to the Israelis and the horrible murder of the innocents in 9/11 was basically religious. The Israelis have been wantonly butchering Palestinians, men, women, and children since the founding of Israel for the purposes of taking their land and nobody accuses the Israelis of religious fanaticism. I do not deny that some religious fanaticism exists on both sides but I have the strong impression personal retribution and political motivations are a much stronger force in the violence than religion. I in no way excuse this behavior on that ground since the slaughter of innocents is reprehensible under any circumstances but I would be somewhat cautious about making religion the only motivation.



Awesomelyglorious
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 13,157
Location: Omnipresent

26 Dec 2010, 8:54 am

Inuyasha wrote:
No, your answer doesn't make sense because I don't see Christians strapping bombs to children and remote detonating them in crowded marketplaces. It seems more that you have more of a pathalogical hatred of Christianity.

I don't see Muslims doing it either. I might occasionally hear about Muslims doing this on the news, but it is still far far far removed from my life. I've also heard about Christians killing abortion doctors, and inter-denominational strife in Ireland. So, to me, Islam is not a really big issue, even though I would consider the religion more negatively than the Christian religion. Certainly, there isn't much I can do about Islam at the current moment, other than promoting secular values.

I mean, the common answer works.
1) Atheists don't usually encounter many members of minority religions.
2) Atheists don't have their lives shaped much by actions by members of minority religions. Instead, we see the Christian churches of our coworkers, parents, etc, along with the political actions of the Christian right. Many atheists are also former Christians, but not former members of other religions.
3) Intellectually, our society takes Christian theism seriously, while other variants of theism and belief are not taken seriously. For instance, if a person "becomes religious" in our society, there is a good chance they will become Christian. If a person proselytes in our society, they are also likely Christian. Finally, if one does work in philosophy of religion, defending a notion of God, they are most likely going to be a Christian. In fact, the large number of Christians in philosophy of religion is noted, and the degree to which this shapes the direction of study is notable.

I mean are there often big centers of other religions? Yes, but I don't usually see them, I usually see churches. I also don't know anybody who goes to any of those, but I know LOTS and LOTS of people who go to church.

I mean, Philologos, the Republicans disagree with the Democrats, and they also disagree with the Green party. Which of the two do the Republicans attack more often? Well.... they attack the Democrats. They dislike the Green party and have ideological disagreement wit them, more so than the Democrats, but the Greens are so small in their part of the world, that they don't have much reason to spend any effort addressing the Green's position much. I dunno, what more is needed to make this point? It seems pretty basic.



ruveyn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 84
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,502
Location: New Jersey

26 Dec 2010, 1:03 pm

Sand wrote:
Inuyasha wrote:
No, your answer doesn't make sense because I don't see Christians strapping bombs to children and remote detonating them in crowded marketplaces. It seems more that you have more of a pathalogical hatred of Christianity.


There is a great deal of propaganda that apparently many people swallow whole that the violent reaction to the Israelis and the horrible murder of the innocents in 9/11 was basically religious. The Israelis have been wantonly butchering Palestinians, men, women, and children since the founding of Israel for the purposes of taking their land and nobody accuses the Israelis of religious fanaticism. I do not deny that some religious fanaticism exists on both sides but I have the strong impression personal retribution and political motivations are a much stronger force in the violence than religion. I in no way excuse this behavior on that ground since the slaughter of innocents is reprehensible under any circumstances but I would be somewhat cautious about making religion the only motivation.


You think it would be better if the Jews just let themselves be wiped out?

ruveyn



Philologos
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Age: 78
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,987

26 Dec 2010, 1:17 pm

Okay - useful. I get it. Different strokes. The way my mind operates - when I was atheist it was pretty catholic rejection of all divine entities. Though to be sure some required less thoiugh to reject as being more clearly stoopid. Like - come on - an octopus god? Gimme a break.

If I were to be antitheist - which God forbid - sorry, could not resists that one - I would be VERY detached. Not getting into arguments - just systematically demolishing each system in turn; I can kind of envisage a series of essays undermining the IndoEuropean pantheons, Semitic religions, Central American, East Asian, prime tetragrammaton based religions, upstart and offshoot cults.... like that.

I am told I don't get to the point easily, I have to cover the whole spectrum in answering.

BUT some people are designed to go straight to the point and mow down the big weeds first. And it seems that is the motivation here.

Noted.



Sand
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2007
Age: 95
Gender: Male
Posts: 11,484
Location: Finland

26 Dec 2010, 1:59 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Sand wrote:
Inuyasha wrote:
No, your answer doesn't make sense because I don't see Christians strapping bombs to children and remote detonating them in crowded marketplaces. It seems more that you have more of a pathalogical hatred of Christianity.


There is a great deal of propaganda that apparently many people swallow whole that the violent reaction to the Israelis and the horrible murder of the innocents in 9/11 was basically religious. The Israelis have been wantonly butchering Palestinians, men, women, and children since the founding of Israel for the purposes of taking their land and nobody accuses the Israelis of religious fanaticism. I do not deny that some religious fanaticism exists on both sides but I have the strong impression personal retribution and political motivations are a much stronger force in the violence than religion. I in no way excuse this behavior on that ground since the slaughter of innocents is reprehensible under any circumstances but I would be somewhat cautious about making religion the only motivation.


You think it would be better if the Jews just let themselves be wiped out?

ruveyn


Of course, it takes some imagination to understand that there are other alternatives.



Master_Pedant
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,903

26 Dec 2010, 2:51 pm

I started two threads about Islam, one outright mocking an Islamic Apologist, the other taking issue with a common occurence in Islamic-Western interactions (Conversions over Romance) and both fell to the bottom of the forum rather quickly. That might explain something.


_________________
http://www.voterocky.org/


Awesomelyglorious
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 13,157
Location: Omnipresent

26 Dec 2010, 3:30 pm

Philologos wrote:
If I were to be antitheist - which God forbid - sorry, could not resists that one - I would be VERY detached. Not getting into arguments - just systematically demolishing each system in turn; I can kind of envisage a series of essays undermining the IndoEuropean pantheons, Semitic religions, Central American, East Asian, prime tetragrammaton based religions, upstart and offshoot cults.... like that.

Wow, that sounds like a massive research project with little to no returns on the investment of time and energy. Sure, you get thoroughness, but you outright lose all relevance. You will never get much readership, as nobody really cares. I mean... it sounds mildly enjoyable, and I am willing to spend a bit of time studying different religious traditions, BUT, I am not willing to make this a major project, as I have a lot of different interests where satisfying them can help me significantly.



Awesomelyglorious
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 13,157
Location: Omnipresent

26 Dec 2010, 3:39 pm

Philologos wrote:
Like - come on - an octopus god? Gimme a break.

It is practically insane to not worship the octopus god. You see, if you worship and this god exists, then you receive infinite gains. If you do not worship and this god exists, then you suffer infinite losses. However, if this god does not exist, then by worshiping it, you lose very little.

So, let's just use the square "Do not worship, does not exist" as the baseline, and set it at 0.

Well, the expected utility of belief goes as the following:
Belief: Infinity(P) + X(1-P) (where X is the cost/benefit of worship if no such being exists)
Nonbelief: -Infinity(P)

Given that P is non-zero, as the octopus god is logically possible, believing is extremely more rational than not believing. This means that Philologos, you are being a FOOL for not worshiping the Octopus god.