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iamnotaparakeet
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18 May 2011, 8:01 pm

ryan93 wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
ryan93 wrote:
Ironically, the current US Government does play the role of regulating the freedom of religion; it decides which religion is a religion, in order to grant them tax-exemption. It's an awkward fit.


Yes, and private schools, if they receive any federal or state funding, have to allow the federal or state governments to select their curricula.


Seems fair; "our money, our rules". Although frankly state education sucks in all forms.


Yeah, it does. Government control of education is like having the efficiency of the Social Security Administration combined with the essence of political correctness along with myriad games of musical chairs, show-and-tell, and boxing. It's about as effective at educating children as putting them in a box and droning on for a few hours about stuff that they'd know if they read the textbook but wont be able to remember since "education" essentially is treated as paying one's time in a box rather than learning. It tends to do the opposite of encouraging anyone's desire to learn, since "learning" consists of being treated like cattle rather than human beings.



Philologos
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19 May 2011, 12:29 am

You got BOXING?

By us it was squaredancing [ever been an uncoordinated 4th-grader forced to square-dance with your teacher?].

I would have killed for boxing instead.

Oh, and I have said much the same thing on other issues, I AM a bit broken record, but while the topic may play SOME role strident atheists are - I would say - strident people who are atheists.

Even about Chomsky I am not all that strident.



91
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19 May 2011, 1:24 am

I really do not know why atheists are so strident. It appears that over the last few years they have absolved themselves of their requirement to be polite. While many of the atheists I know and interact with are quite polite, there is a large and growing number of quite aggressive atheists. This is not to say that many people do not have good reasons for disliking religion, there certainly are good reasons.

What the strident atheists do not seem to understand, really at all, is that debate does not favor their position. I personally attribute the rise of atheism to a general, but quiet, lowering of the importance of religious thought in society. Many young people today, take the message as be good, figure that they got it and don't really see the need to go to church on Sunday to appreciate it. That is the message that has been going out from mainstream Christianity for decades. It has been this factor, really more than any other, that has prompted the rise in atheism, agnosticism and apatheism.

While this has been happening, the debate really has gone to the extremes. Atheists have become increasingly intolerant and seem to have laid siege to moderate religious people. Before I took to studying apologetics in any serious way, seldom did a week go by when people would attack me, a Catholic backslider with a center left political membership (who lobbied for rights for same-sex couples). The new atheists basically decided it was time for me and those like me, to go.... I have to say, that I disagree.

What is striking to me, is that it was the general apathy towards religion, especially in my own country, that really produced the downward spiral in numbers. People in Australia really do care more about the football than politics and religion. The problem is, that the new atheists picked a fight, when it was the peace that was killing us. That is ok though, because now its pretty much game on. Atheistic philosophy peaked with Russell and Ayer and the subject been dominated the Christian resurgence ever since. The fight is at the wrong time for atheism, they have next to no good arguments, it probably has never been a worse time to be an atheistic philosopher than now (at least since St. Thomas Aquinas put pen to paper).

Secondly, they completely missed the point of the martyrdom of St. Steven. When it was no longer safe to be Christian in Jerusalem, the Christian faith exploded all over the place. People could not hide anymore and as a result, the didn't.... So basically, thank you new atheism for shining a light on the Christian faith... its the best opportunity we have had in decades.


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CaptainTrips222
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19 May 2011, 3:17 am

91 wrote:
I really do not know why atheists are so strident. It appears that over the last few years they have absolved themselves of their requirement to be polite.


Or because it's the internet. People can say whatever they want (following terms of service of the forums) at a safe distance. I attend a free thought alliance club at ASU with its share of athiests, and having talked to them over time, they are nowhere near as forceful as on wrong planet. And I've got a gut feeling some of them here wouldn't be quite so strident in person.



91
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19 May 2011, 3:32 am

CaptainTrips222 wrote:
91 wrote:
I really do not know why atheists are so strident. It appears that over the last few years they have absolved themselves of their requirement to be polite.


Or because it's the internet. People can say whatever they want (following terms of service of the forums) at a safe distance. I attend a free thought alliance club at ASU with its share of athiests, and having talked to them over time, they are nowhere near as forceful as on wrong planet. And I've got a gut feeling some of them here wouldn't be quite so strident in person.


I would agree that the internet certainly is a factor. Many of the most aggressive atheists are raised on the internet and forget how to switch it off in person. Though, it has been my experience that there are a many aggressive atheists, in the west, than there used to be.


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TheBicyclingGuitarist
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19 May 2011, 3:47 am

Perhaps it is because in this age of information, many people no longer have to take their preacher's word for what God says or means, but can look up the history of their religion and holy books for themselves much easier (click of a mouse) than it was possible to do in the past. Many atheists know the Bible much better than most Christians do, and that is WHY they are not Christians!

It doesn't help that so much evil is committed in the name of God, flying airplanes into skyscrapers, etc. As Steven Weinberg points out, "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

It also doesn't help religion that so many religious faiths are so out of touch with reality. I don't know if anyone anywhere still insists the earth is flat, but many of those who did in the past used selected verses from the Bible to "prove" it. In the USA there are insane amounts of people who deny the fact of evolution based on LIES they have been told by their preachers or so-called Christian web sites that shame Christ by spreading lies and distortions of the truth. As Augustine of Hippo wrote a long time ago, when Christians make ignorant assertions about the physical world that unbelievers can easily see are false, it destroys their credibility on spiritual matters.

When the safety of our country, of humanity or even of the planet are at stake, then of course atheists are going to speak up stridently to try to inject a little reason into the debates involved. The sad thing is you can't use reason, logic or evidence with people for whom faith trumps all.


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Moog
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19 May 2011, 4:00 am

TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:
Perhaps it is because in this age of information, many people no longer have to take their preacher's word for what God says or means, but can look up the history of their religion and holy books for themselves. Many atheists know the Bible much better than most Christians do, and that is WHY they are not Christians!


People read what they want in such texts. I read the Bible very differently after my exposure to eastern religion than I did when I was an atheist.

It's all very well having access to information, but understanding it is a different matter, and because of the nature of religious texts, they are very easy to interpret in many different ways. A religious text isn't anything like a technical manual.


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TheBicyclingGuitarist
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19 May 2011, 4:17 am

Moog wrote:
People read what they want in such texts. I read the Bible very differently after my exposure to eastern religion than I did when I was an atheist.

It's all very well having access to information, but understanding it is a different matter, and because of the nature of religious texts, they are very easy to interpret in many different ways. A religious text isn't anything like a technical manual.


I agree. I read the Bible and see the teachings of the Buddha expressed by Christ. I disagree with rabid atheists who make claims as extreme and unsupported as equally ridiculous claims by fundamentalists of different religions.

Spiritual teachings are by their nature ineffable, and cannot truly be communicated by language alone. Such teachings use metaphor and imagery to hint at, point at, methods by which one can have mystical experiences, but once such teachings are put into words they become subject to misinterpretation, translation errors, and personal contexts and prejudices. That is why I really respect Buddhism for placing no reliance on concepts or dogma, but then, Buddhism goes so far in that direction as to create potential for misunderstanding.

I think it is an upaya (teaching technique), to overemphasize one side of an idea to compensate for its being too much emphasized the other side. The middle way makes sense to me, transcending pairs of opposites. Even Western mythology has this middle way teaching, such as in the Parzival stories of the Arthurian cycle as explained by Joseph Campbell in the video series Transformations of Myth Through Time.

I attended a comparative mythology course in the 1990s that used that thirteen hour PBS TV series as the course material, and taught by a colleague of Joseph Campbell. I understand that series was patched together rapidly without permission from the Campbell estate and has been unavailable for many years now. I haven't seen all of the new Campbell series Mythos, but in general, while I like Campbell as a storyteller, I have slightly less respect for him as a scholar. I think sometimes coincidences in different people's mythologies ARE just coincidences. OTOH, as G.K. Chesterton pointed out, "Coincidences are spiritual puns." LOL


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CaptainTrips222
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19 May 2011, 4:21 am

TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:
The sad thing is you can't use reason, logic or evidence with people for whom faith trumps all.


I agree. I have faith we are reincarnated mortal enemies, and we will destroy each other one day, you using your guitar and bicycle as a weapon, me using sharp objects against your tire walls......

and to hell with those who insist I need antipsychotic drugs.



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19 May 2011, 4:44 am

TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:
I agree. I read the Bible and see the teachings of the Buddha expressed by Christ. I disagree with rabid atheists who make claims as extreme and unsupported as equally ridiculous claims by fundamentalists of different religions.

Spiritual teachings are by their nature ineffable, and cannot truly be communicated by language alone. Such teachings use metaphor and imagery to hint at, point at, methods by which one can have mystical experiences, but once such teachings are put into words they become subject to misinterpretation, translation errors, and personal contexts and prejudices. That is why I really respect Buddhism for placing no reliance on concepts or dogma, but then, Buddhism goes so far in that direction as to create potential for misunderstanding.


Being of a mystical bent, I believe that only experience can elucidate the meanings of certain teachings/texts/words. You can certainly use words to teach, but they won't really make sense until you taste what they pertain to. Then the words make sense. The words are hints, signposts.

It's no wonder to me that people write religion, spirituality and mysticism off, because from the outside, it does seem a bit wacky. It's like trying to experience drugs by watching someone else on 'shrooms.

People who've not bothered to follow a bone fide, actually effective religious/spiritual/mystical path at least some of the way, have no business commenting on any of it, except to say that they don't really understand it.

Quote:
as G.K. Chesterton pointed out, "Coincidences are spiritual puns." LOL


Ahh, interesting quote.


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19 May 2011, 4:48 am

TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:
The sad thing is you can't use reason, logic or evidence with people for whom faith trumps all.


If it was healthy only to believe the provable, then we would not have an imagination.


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19 May 2011, 6:42 am

91 wrote:
TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:
The sad thing is you can't use reason, logic or evidence with people for whom faith trumps all.


If it was healthy only to believe the provable, then we would not have an imagination.


I kinda agree. Either extreme has never seemed healthy to me. If people can find a sense of oneness with the universe through prayer, or some kind of belief enhances their well being, then go for it, but the more rabid atheists immediately scoff and shoot it down. Wanting to commune with something beyond us is highly individual, and unique to each person's experience, and automatically dismissing or demanding scientific reasoning for things of this nature is pointless. People have claimed near death experiences, and studies have shown benefits of having a sense of spirituality in your life, but those aren't actually proof. But when you argue with some of these people, it becomes extremely obvious they're just here to argue. Their trump card is always the proof card. WE GET IT. You can't prove it, so why pull a Sean Hannity and ask for evidence that you know doesn't exist?

As for religion, I have tried it. I like the sense of community, but I'm not comfortable with the rigidness. I'm equally uncomfortable with the rigidness of some the athiests here. It's one thing to argue, and something different to mock somebody's intelligence for being open minded. Of course I don't believe in pink unicorns or a moon made out of cheese. Even in jest, this is completely unproductive way to discuss things.

I'm fed up with the ugliness here. Take care.



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19 May 2011, 9:18 am

^^^^

Yeah, this place can be a bit much sometimes.


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19 May 2011, 9:28 am

Moog wrote:
Being of a mystical bent, I believe that only experience can elucidate the meanings of certain teachings/texts/words. You can certainly use words to teach, but they won't really make sense until you ["taste and see"] what they pertain to. Then the words make sense. The words are hints, signposts.

It's no wonder to me that people write religion, spirituality and mysticism off, because from the outside, it does seem a bit wacky. It's like trying to experience drugs by watching someone else on 'shrooms.

People who've not bothered to follow a bone fide, actually effective religious/spiritual/mystical path at least some of the way, have no business commenting on any of it, except to say that they don't really understand it.

Quote:
as G.K. Chesterton pointed out, "Coincidences are spiritual puns." LOL

Great post, Moog!


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19 May 2011, 9:40 am

Moog wrote:
TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:
I agree. I read the Bible and see the teachings of the Buddha expressed by Christ. I disagree with rabid atheists who make claims as extreme and unsupported as equally ridiculous claims by fundamentalists of different religions.

Spiritual teachings are by their nature ineffable, and cannot truly be communicated by language alone. Such teachings use metaphor and imagery to hint at, point at, methods by which one can have mystical experiences, but once such teachings are put into words they become subject to misinterpretation, translation errors, and personal contexts and prejudices. That is why I really respect Buddhism for placing no reliance on concepts or dogma, but then, Buddhism goes so far in that direction as to create potential for misunderstanding.


Being of a mystical bent, I believe that only experience can elucidate the meanings of certain teachings/texts/words. You can certainly use words to teach, but they won't really make sense until you taste what they pertain to. Then the words make sense. The words are hints, signposts.

It's no wonder to me that people write religion, spirituality and mysticism off, because from the outside, it does seem a bit wacky. It's like trying to experience drugs by watching someone else on 'shrooms.

People who've not bothered to follow a bone fide, actually effective religious/spiritual/mystical path at least some of the way, have no business commenting on any of it, except to say that they don't really understand it.

Quote:
as G.K. Chesterton pointed out, "Coincidences are spiritual puns." LOL


Ahh, interesting quote.


i agree that religion can hold meaning for the individual,

the reason i am outspoken against religion is because of the prize whole of humanity is paying.
i find it extremely self centered when a religion starts spreading teachings that hurt people, all people, then say they have a right to do so because {insert historical/scriptural meme}
when i was younger i still found religion iffy, but i actually started my confirmation teaching as a protestant, half way through i was sure so when my mother asked if i really wanted to go with it i answered i wouldnt want the ceremony.
when i turned 18 i got officially removed from the danish church(state religion, you have to actively get out, when youre born youre in)


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