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Getting Through : Lighten Up

Explains a lot

from rainy - Saturday, April 07, 2007
accessed 1198 times

Enjoy this site with me

Here's one for you SeanSwede:

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from figaro
Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 15:44

LMAO!! Oh man that site is great. *bookmarks site*
(reply to this comment)
from SeanSwede
Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 13:35

Rainy, why did you want me to see that link for? Please explain. I just saw it now for the first time.
(reply to this comment)
From rainy
Monday, August 06, 2007, 00:49

Because it's on a topic which you wrote an entire article about.(reply to this comment
from Ne Oublie
Sunday, April 08, 2007 - 10:48

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
This article reminded me of quite a few people on this site:
(reply to this comment)
From Jules
Sunday, April 08, 2007, 13:45


I just read the link above and all I have to say is: Crap! Did I actually just agree with you on something? (reply to this comment

From Ne Oublie
Sunday, April 08, 2007, 13:52

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
LOL! I don't think I expressed a view on this one yet, though... (reply to this comment
From conan
Monday, August 06, 2007, 17:22

NeO, when you find the time to express a view on the link you posted above, I'd be very interested to hear it. On a lighter note in the wonderful world of 'whose god is best?', may I present, The Onion's take: to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Tuesday, August 07, 2007, 05:50


What? And jeapordise my quintuple thumbs-ups?

Ok, had I attended that debate I would have voted against both times (reminds me, though, that I ought to check out my Intelligence Squared membership) as I don't think that religion is the problem. I do agree with Charles' description of atheists being the new 'evangelists' - essentially taking on many of what I consider to be the more negative properties commonly associated with religion, notably the attitude that theirs is the only 'right' or appropriate perspective.

This supports my view that religion is simply a response to a number of intrinsic traits of human nature, that were it not for 'religion' per-se would simply take on other forms which would be on balance neither better or worse. I would additionally say that I consider it logically inconsistent for an atheist or non-believer to classify religion with properties of its own - as to recognise religion as having either positive or negative traits would necessitate a belief that it exists in some realm beyond human consciousness.

There are a number of 'traits of human nature' which I think religion appeals to - to greater or lesser degrees within each religion - and all too often I think that detractors pick those which match their particular grievance in their criticisms, to the neglect of the others.

Ostensibly, religion provides people with a code to govern their lives and actions, this is typically through a 'greater power' - whether personified or not - and intertwined with both a 'rationalisation' or explanation of unknown phenomena and a series of 'cause and effect' moral associations. All of which address our need for some form of 'structure' around our lives and experiences.

Additionally, are the various 'peripheral' applications - which I would argue have at least comparable value - such as the sense of community which religion provides. This is much the same as you will find in any group of individuals with shared interests, be it football, politics, workplace, national or ethnic identity, or whatever.

Religion also provides a hierarchical structure - again a natural inclination, not only in humans but in much of the animal kingdom - of people to be followed or looked up to and the process by which to attain that status.

It also provides a motivating factor for human behaviour, which while used for both 'positive' and 'negative' actions is itself neither.

Ultimately, I view religion as a construct of human nature, it will exist so long as humanity does. Yes, there are elements of its application which I consider to be anywhere from mildly ammusing to seriously dangerous, but I do not for a second believe that the removal of 'religion' would in any significant manner change the balance of what I consider to be 'positive' or 'negative' actions - because I consider religion to be not the cause, but simply a justification for them.

Additionally, returning to my original point, I would say that I find ammusing - if not hypocritical - the way in which many atheists preach on against religion. I view their objections in essentially the same way as I would a member of one religion objecting to another - while some of the 'trimmings' may differ, ultimately they're cooking the same meal.(reply to this comment

From conan
Tuesday, August 07, 2007, 08:57

I’ll agree that religion is hardly the ‘problem’, although I find Moore’s position to be so far off-point as to negate its relativity. As I’m sure you’re aware by now, I’m a staunch ‘anti-theist’ in the sense that I believe all religion, and by default all gods, to be a fabrication of humankind’s social ineptitude dating back thousands of years. In defense of atheist ‘evangelists’, I would like to point out that vocalizing your anti religious (especially Christian) sentiments is something that has only recently become tolerated by theistic societies, and which is still repressed in autocratic religious states worldwide, and as such has many years of ‘catching-up’ to do in the grand scheme of ensemble equality of education and parity. Or not?

It is for these reasons that I can hardly consider their approach to be one that religious individuals could find fault with as religions have preached, proselytized, ballyhooed, and otherwise opined for centuries and millennia not to mention conquering civilizations (especially in South and Central America) in the name of religion only fearing prosecution or consequence if they failed to maintain the unequivocal power of their governing religion’s deity and of course becoming the chief persecutor of dissenting views in their own right as the majority and therefore instituting theirs as the only viable option.

Furthermore, the claim of these anti-theistic evangelists that religion is ‘morally wrong,’ has some valid consideration to it. For example, on the issue of the lack of atheists in prison, one could argue that religion provides ‘atonement’ of transgressions and therefore easily assuages the guilty conscience of the marginal criminal and actually serves as the reason for the perpetuation of many a ‘mad’ religious fanatic bent on using crime to further his/her religious agenda due to its indelible magnanimousness. Indubitably, these scenarios are the exception to the rule of religious fervor, but one can hardly argue the poignancy of these claims.

The allegation that atheism is something that the more cerebral members of society adhere to prior to the more ‘easily persuadable’ mass populace is not entirely accurate, but is also more statistically evident, at least among the vocal in today’s world. Before I get reamed for this, let me clarify that I do not for a second think that atheism is something exclusively for the intelligent and religion for the inept, but merely pointing out that the vast majority of scientific breakthroughs seem to be despite protestations from religious institutions, and the sanctimonious status quo, from Galileo’s heliocentric vs. geocentric hypothesis to today’s objectification of stem-cell research funding on a GOVERNMENT level.

Take for example, something as simple as condoms and sexual awareness. Religions worldwide frown on the teaching of safe sex and preventative measures for venereal diseases based on religious implications of the potential for sperm to form life in favor of ‘abstinence’ programs, which any hormonal adolescent would clearly struggle with in either a promiscuous or conservative society. This is something that only the incompetent, foolish and irresponsible could possibly support without knowing that their axiom is responsible for devastating proportions on an international scale.

But I digress. In Charles Moore’s article, he can’t help but take a swipe at a religion that he himself does not adhere to (Islam). I’m unsure of Mr. Moore’s personal beliefs, but I can only opine that after reading his article, he himself is not a religious man (based on his quote that essentially acknowledged the fictitious substance of the New Testament), but is trying to argue the ‘evolvement’ of anti-religious movements as one that is decidedly religious in nature; that of preaching to convert and self-importance/promotion. On this notion, he may be accurate. However, in the continued evolvement of the species, shouldn’t all religion (if one can consider non-religion to be a religion which is what many religious will try to argue to purport such claims) be given equal opportunity to present their ‘facts’? While I’m not in favor of proselytization, religious or otherwise, I find myself feeling that it is somehow necessary for the ‘balance’ of knowledge to be made available. While religion has been necessary for millions and billions of people throughout the young history of our civilizations, the fallacy that religion is either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ indeed authenticates it as a social and ethical solution to an unknown equation.

“Ultimately, I view religion as a construct of human nature, it will exist so long as humanity does. Yes, there are elements of its application which I consider to be anywhere from mildly amusing to seriously dangerous, but I do not for a second believe that the removal of 'religion' would in any significant manner change the balance of what I consider to be 'positive' or 'negative' actions - because I consider religion to be not the cause, but simply a justification for them.” That’s a great paragraph, NeO, and I couldn’t agree with you more. However irrelevant and obsolete I find religion to be in its application in today’s world, I have no desire to preach the benefits of ‘anti-theism’ to the religious in the same way that I have no desire to be preached at by men and women of faith. I do think that there is a place for men like Dawkins and Hitchens to ‘preach’ their non-faith in world that is still so intrinsically divided by religion that the idiot we Americans have in the White House called his ‘war on terror’ a ‘crusade’, which as we all know historically implies religious warfare, and is what our incursion into Iraq has become; Christian vs. Muslim on a worldwide scale.

I guess ultimately, I’ve talked in a circle here. I find religion to be both necessary for many, and also essentially something that hinders our progression as a people in out search for scientific progress as well as in the historical origins of our existence in such an unknown entity as the universe. I certainly don’t think religion is a ‘problem’ in its most simplistic forms, but its institutionalization is in my mind dangerous, and exceedingly problematic in our globalized and informative modern world. I suppose what I would like to see is a universal separation of church and state in the sense that I’d like to see policy dictated on necessities that our societies could benefit from instead of whose god would allow or disallow certain medical, scientific and cultural changes from aiding our advancement into the future. Do I think that religion has hindered our progression in the grand scheme of things along these lines? Absolutely! But as you said, it is not necessarily the cause of such detriments, merely the justification for them.
(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 03:47

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Your argument about 'catching up' on the freedom to oppose religion is a commonly referenced one, but one which I don't buy into for a few reasons. First of all, throughout history it has been the difference from - or opposition to - the orthodoxy that has been squelched, and not anti-theism in particular. Competing religions persecuted each other as much - if not more than - anti-theists. So the "we've been persecuted" argument can just as legitimately be used by pretty much every religion.
Also, just because you 'can' do something, doesn't mean that you 'should' do it. My point was never that anti-theist evangelism should be curbed or prohibited, much less that a 'fair' comparison would find their position in any way weaker than that of religious proseletysing, but rather that by doing so they were losing my respect by essentially taking on key characteristics of religion which I find to be distasteful.

The point of atheists in jail is one which I have heard commented on, but which I don't know sufficient data to properly comment on. What I will point out as potential considerations would be: the ratio of prisoners who 'convert' to religion once already in jail; the ratio of prisoners who would be described as religious from an unbiased perspective - or what exactly 'being religious' means to that individual (which could range from nominal 'yes I'm a Christian' to actual Bible-quoting devotee); the extent to which religion has played a role in that person's life &/or crime; the comparative ratio of religious vs atheist within the respective sub-sets of communities from which the prison population is drawn (we all know that certain demographics are massively over-represented in prisons).
Similarly with the statistic about Mensans religious views - speaking as a Mensan, I can say that I haven't found there to be a significant disparity between religious adherents. What I would say is that Mensans are perhaps better able to evaluate and define the extent of their religious views, and therefore while inclined to more critically define their views, which in practice are little to no difference from their lower IQ peers.

Ultimately, however, if as you've accepted, religion is no more than a construct of human nature then it would logically follow that it is the human nature which must shoulder the guilt for crimes or injustices in the name of religion.

Stem cell research is another commonly referenced issue, but one which I consider to have little resonance beyond the USA - apart from those who are already pre-disposed to an anti-American viewpoint. Additionally, I happen to agree that government should not be funding it, not because of it's 'moral' value, but because I don't think government should be funding research in general (but that's a different argument).
Another side issue I would introduce is the theory that nothing significant has been invented or discovered since the late 60s - everything that has been developed since can be traced back to earlier roots, and described as a 'refinement' or improvement, but not actually substantively 'new' - anyhow, that's another argument again :D

Sex Ed is another issue on which I have non-mainstream views - are there any on which my views are 'mainstream'? Your point regarding the lack of resonance of that approach with adolescents is one which I think only has a relatively recent appropriateness - my argument being that adolescence or 'teenage' is in fact a construct of the 20th Century. You would be hard-pressed to find contemporary accounts of 'teenagers' - or even of the supposedly 'normal' characteristics of which - from before the turn of the century. Modern teens behave the way they do because society tells them they can/should. As for the value of an 'abstinence' programme, what I like about it is that it emphasises the importance of taking responsibility for actions, the fact of the matter is that sex is an act which has specific results, and those implications should be properly evaluated - even when the outcome of such evaluation is the use of a condom or other birth control method.(reply to this comment

from Oddie
Sunday, April 08, 2007 - 10:33

Sublime, Rainy. Sublime.
(reply to this comment)
from Falcon
Sunday, April 08, 2007 - 05:15

I couldn't help but think how beneficial this comic might be to Samuel!
(reply to this comment)
From Samuel
Sunday, April 08, 2007, 05:36

How would that be beneficial to me, Falcon?(reply to this comment
from madly
Sunday, April 08, 2007 - 00:24

Thank you, rainy… really enjoyed reading that!
(reply to this comment)

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