The Raving Theist

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We All Don’t Worship The Same Non-God

August 29, 2005 | 42 Comments

There is an element of syncretism in every faith. The problem is particularly serious in atheist religions. Newsday asked a group of Unitarian Universalists whether they believe in God. Michael O’Neill teased them with this answer:

A sky god who willed the chemical origins of the cosmos and Earth’s evolving life? The jealous Zeus of massive temper tantrums that is Yahweh on a bad hair day? The vindictive, wantonly cruel God of Christian fundamentalists, who sadistically watches people burn in hell or promises mass slaughter for most of Earth’s people in a grand finale of rapture . . . is an unlikely God for Unitarians. In our congregation, half the people are atheists who do not believe in imps, incubi, Satan, archangels, holy or unholy ghosts; the other half believes in some kind of “God.” Both believe we are hard-wired to a spiritual dimension that seeks meaning and metaphor through the passage of life and death, which compels us to compassion and justice.

But which half is Gentle Mike in? He doesn’t say. Janet Hanson is probably in the other half, though:

I have to believe in God because I see so many things — both good and bad — done in God’s name. God exists in the minds of people. To say that I don’t believe in God would be absurd.

So God exists in her mind because it exists in the minds of others who say He does things. But what if those people are all doing the same thing — basing their beliefs on Ms. Hanson’s conviction that God exists, a conviction that itself is based only upon her opinion of what’s in their heads? God might just be a belief about what other people believe you believe about what they believe.

Comments

42 Responses to “We All Don’t Worship The Same Non-God”

  1. Oliver
    August 29th, 2005 @ 5:48 pm

    That’s a real non-answer by Janet Hansen. I think she’s just evading the issue. To say ‘God ‘ exists because the CONCEPT of him exists in people’s minds is just playing with words.

  2. Oliver
    August 29th, 2005 @ 5:51 pm

    And while I prefer the UU kind of religionist to most kinds, their vague ‘some kind of God’ comes under the type of meaningless belief that you were talking about in the agnosticism post. Just to say I believe in God because there must be ‘something else’ lacks much intellectual credibility when you examine it.

  3. Kooz
    August 29th, 2005 @ 6:18 pm

    Does Santa Claus exist? No and Yes. He doesn’t really exist, but the words “Santa Claus” fill my head with imagery, and probably yours too. Something called “Santa Claus” exists, although it’s not a person. Perhaps this is what Ms. Hanson is saying about God. The notion of God is possibly the most powerful force affecting humanity. It’s absurd, in a sense, to say that God doesn’t exist simply because he’s not a real deity. Depends what you mean by “exist”, I guess. Oh, all right… just playing with words. :-)

  4. Vernichten
    August 29th, 2005 @ 6:19 pm

    It’s more dangerous than that, Oliver. I’m not very articulate, but I’ll try to explain. Tolerating others’ beliefs that can not be backed up by evidence allows increasingly fanatical elements to put forth increasingly radical, faith-based ideas, until you end up with a government that takes zygotes that could be used for research, but because of a belief system that is believed by some and tolerated by others, they simply destroy them.
    If you allow everyone their crazy beliefs, eventually they will attempt to impose them on you.
    I’m not advocating any sort of ban on stupidity or religion, it’s just a shame that it always seems to be winning.

  5. jahrta
    August 29th, 2005 @ 6:44 pm

    …she has to concede the existence of vampires, goblins, werewolves and the boogey man – not the mention the ill-defined “thing under the bed” – because so many children believe in them. oh, wait…she said “people” right? do children count as people to ms. hanson? She seems to simplify matters in a similar way with wide brush strokes, so it MUST be true.

  6. AK
    August 29th, 2005 @ 7:12 pm

    Brilliant!

    Its like third party subjectivism. If you believe in something, then I believe its real. But what if I dont believe that you believe in something?

    Eitehr way, it makes for a messy reality check. Reality is NOT defined by whims or desires or “beliefs” no matter how much these geniuses want it to be.

    They should read a book about Objectivism, for starters. Sheesh.

  7. glenstonecottage
    August 29th, 2005 @ 8:50 pm

    I am an atheist who attends the Unitarian church. I would guess that our congregation has roughly 33% outright atheists, 33% agnostics of the type interviewed in the article above and 33% theists.

    Unitarians tend not to argue about “God” too much at church and many tend to keep their true beliefs or feelings to themselves, except for pagans or wiccans or followers of Native American spirituality who tend to be more outspoken.

    Trying to get Unitarians to agree on just on most propositions has been described as “herding cats”.

    The only time you will get unanimous agreement is if you discuss the lunacy of fundamentalist leaders like Pat Robertson, or current political issues such as the Mess In Potamia.

    They are a nice bunch of people and you can meet some real interesting people if you go to the Unitarian church. I encourage you to do so and of course, be outspoken about your atheism!

  8. Jennifer
    August 29th, 2005 @ 9:18 pm

    Hey, glenstonecottage. My mom goes to Unitarian Church. Here is a link to make you laugh. The Unitarian Jihad Name Generator.

  9. Dick Durata
    August 29th, 2005 @ 9:49 pm

    Catch-22:
    “Stop it! Stop it!” she screams, beating Yossarian with her fists.
    “What the hell are you so upset about?” responds a surprised Yossarian. “I thought you didn’t believe in God.”
    “I don’t,” she weeps. “But the God I don’t believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He’s not the mean and stupid God you make Him out to be.”
    Yossarian laughed and turned her arms loose. “Let’s have a little more religious freedom between us,” he proposed obligingly. “You don’t believe in a God you want to, and I won’t believe in a God I want to. Is that a deal?”

  10. Mister Swill
    August 30th, 2005 @ 12:05 am

    What Janet Hanson said is technically correct, although I don’t know if it’s correct the way she thinks it is.

    The concept of “God” certainly exists. This website would not exist without it. Just as the concepts of “good” and “evil” exist, even though they have no intrinsic reality. (Oops, did I just get more Atheistic than the Raving Atheist?)

  11. LucyMuff
    August 30th, 2005 @ 1:23 am

    just acept JESUS and GOd you imciele fools. What is so hard to understand that GOD is GREAT and GOOD??? You’s all must bve dumb as the sack of stones not to get thisd, for it be most simple. for reAL

  12. LucyMuff
    August 30th, 2005 @ 1:24 am

    just acept JESUS and GOd you imciele fools. What is so hard to understand that GOD is GREAT and GOOD??? You’s all must bve dumb as the sack of stones not to get thisd, for it be most simple. for reAL

  13. Michael Trefry
    August 30th, 2005 @ 7:19 am

    Lucy just keeps getting dumber and dumber.

    It was funnier, Lucy, when your fake comments had the grammatical composition of a fairly intelligent, yet honestly deluded individual.

  14. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 8:26 am

    Vernichten said: If you allow everyone their crazy beliefs, eventually they will attempt to impose them on you.

    The entire political process is about arguing a given set of mores, based on what one believes, and working to get them enacted as policy/law. Are you pretending that atheists aren

  15. Vernichten
    August 30th, 2005 @ 8:41 am

    My agenda as an atheist is only this: to stop crazy, unsubstantiated bullshit that others believe from interfering with my life.
    Atheists are not some cabal of subversive anarchists. In fact, the only thing that many of us have in common is a lack of belief in god, period.
    Is attempting to create a shadow organization of atheists in your mind the first step towards generalizing them and vilifying them? How many atheists run successfully for public office? Can you name an “atheist” law?
    Freedom of choice is really a law that prevents the process from being interfered with by others. I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with lots of “atheist” laws and politicians and other ways that atheists impose their agenda though, so please, list away.

  16. Jennifer
    August 30th, 2005 @ 8:49 am

    The Atheist Agenda, like the Gay Agenda, is a subversive…..request for respect.

  17. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 8:59 am

    Freedom of choice is really a law that prevents the process from being interfered with by others. I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with lots of “atheist” laws and politicians and other ways that atheists impose their agenda though, so please, list away.

    You missed my point. I wasn’t speaking of some shadow organization, or even a concerted effort per se. I am talking about each individual (atheist or theist) and how all in some way are trying to ‘impose’ (as you suggest) their beliefs on others…

    If you allow everyone their crazy beliefs, eventually they will attempt to impose them on you.

    …Atheist are not exempt from this desire to see their mores enacted in law and policy (however successful or unsuccessful they’ve been). You seemed to imply some nefarious agenda in this imposition of beliefs (by believers), when in fact it’s simply they way any moderately democratic process works. You may think that your libertarianism (correct me if I am wrong in seeing that in your comments) is of a different nature, but it is not. It’s a set of mores, based upon your beliefs, which you are arguing should be the societal norm. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

  18. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 9:07 am

    That last sentence probably wasn’t all that clear. What I mean is that it seems pretty reasonable to me on BOTH sides. That we both are desiring to actually vote/act/behave in line with our values. My point was that it seems a bit disengenous to single us out for condemnation in that effort, while pretending you aren’t doing the same (i.e. voting for, acting, arguing for the enactment of what you beleive).

  19. Vernichten
    August 30th, 2005 @ 9:36 am

    I understand more clearly now Steve, thanks (not sarcastic).
    I have Libertarian leanings, but I am pragmatic enough to understand the need for social programs and some governmental regulation.
    My point is that the issue of atheism is not the motivating factor in an atheist’s agenda, unlike many religidiots. Are there crazy atheists making bad decisions? Sure. But their atheism is not usually the reason.
    Also, there is a method by which you can prove or at least give evidence that certain useful, non-faith related decisions can be made for society using rational thinking. Forcing people to recognize an unprovable creator is not rational, nor is forcing people to take Sunday off, or any day for that matter. It can’t be proven that these things actually benefit society, and an argument can be made that any unnecessary imposition on the will of another is actually harmful to society.

    In short, atheism isn’t the driving factor for many atheist’s decisions, but faith in unprovable nonsense is the driving factor for many people who are attempting to be religious.

    Also, could you explain why marriage between consenting adults is any of the government’s business? I’m not suggesting you agree with it, but that’s a faith based idea that hurts society when enacted into law. That’s not my opinion as an atheist, it’s my opinion as a rational, free-willed individual.

  20. hermesten
    August 30th, 2005 @ 9:39 am

    “…Atheist are not exempt from this desire to see their mores enacted in law and policy (however successful or unsuccessful they’ve been). You seemed to imply some nefarious agenda in this imposition of beliefs (by believers), when in fact it’s simply they way any moderately democratic process works.”

    This is sophism. You’re attempting to equate political movements with entirely different ends. It’s like saying both the fascists and the democrats in Nazi Germany desired to see their “mores” enacted in law and policy, as if this were simply a neutral process, or like a disagreement about whether there should be a Department of Education.

    It’s a funny way to look at “imposition” to claim that what a “libertarian” wants to do is equivalent to what a fundamentalist, who wants to impose Biblical “values,” or Bibilical Law, wants to do. “Libertarian” values don’t preclude the fundamentalist from practicing his religion but “fundamentalism” denies choices to other people who aren’t fundamentalists.

  21. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 10:37 am

    Also, there is a method by which you can prove or at least give evidence that certain useful, non-faith related decisions can be made for society using rational thinking.

    I’d argue that there are as well that the are certain useful, faith related decsions that can be made for society using rational thinking. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    Forcing people to recognize an unprovable creator is not rational, nor is forcing people to take Sunday off, or any day for that matter.

    Yikes! I would never want to force people to recongize a creator that they didn’t believe in. It’s a given for me that freedom of religion means the freedom to have no religion as well. I am an orthodox Catholic, and deeply believe in the teachings of my church, yet I’d not want to impose them on anyone. It’s easy enough to see that any form of Government which did so could just as easily be turned against me in a way I dind’t care for.

    In short, atheism isn’t the driving factor for many atheist’s decisions, but faith in unprovable nonsense is the driving factor for many people who are attempting to be religious.

    Our moral system is certainly the driving factor in our decisions (atheist or religious). Being that your moral systems is informed by your atheism, it’s as much a driving force as my religious beleifs. This now quickly devolves into the issue of morality in general. When I was a non-beleiver, and to this day, it’s always troubled me how an atheist can hold any moral position whatsoever. If all is randomness, then by definition nothing is better or more moral than anything else.

    Also, could you explain why marriage between consenting adults is any of the government’s business? I’m not suggesting you agree with it, but that’s a faith based idea that hurts society when enacted into law. That’s not my opinion as an atheist, it’s my opinion as a rational, free-willed individual.

    Caus it’s sahs so raht der in da bible. Yeesh! ;-)

    Seriously, this is a can of worms you open that I am not sure I can it treat fairly in a comment box. Nonetheless I’ll try to give a ‘some’ of logical rational as to why I think that it’s beneficial sans religious arguments….

    *Heterosexual relationships are clearly the norm for the human species.
    *The obvious primary bilogogical purpose of sex is the propogation of the species.
    *Over time, the social consensus was that in general monogomous, committed, heterosexual relationships were best for raising children.
    *The evidence in at least this society is overwhelming clear that this arrangement is still best for the raising of children by nearly any measure (from health, to mental health, tho educational achievement, etc.)
    *Ensuring survival, propogation and progress of the next generation is a fundamental element in the survival of society.
    *Encouraging, even advocating that family unit, and discouraging ‘less healthy’ forms, is something that will generally make for a healthier, better educated citizenry and is something the government should endorse as policy.

    …This is at best a poor sketch of what I’d say if we had a more detailed conversation, or if I were writing a treatise on the subject, so please take the limitations of the comment box format (and the few free minutes I had to compose this) into consideration before trying to smash it to bits. The point is not that this is a perfect argument, only that a rational argument can be made.

    In truth, my own opinion is that I’d rather see the government get out of the marriage business altogether. I’d be just as happy if the government was blind to such issue and treated everyone on an individual basis with regard to tax policy, etc. and leave marriage up to the relgious institutions altogether.

  22. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 11:03 am

    >>It’s like saying both the fascists and the democrats in Nazi Germany desired to see their “mores” enacted in law and policy

    This most certainly was the as. You and I would likely agree that those morals espoused by nazism are inferior, but that’s a value judgement, and is a different issue than what I was raising. We can discuss whether atheism or Christianity has a superior moral claim, but that both sides are naturally advocating for their claim should be a given. The only thing I was commenting on is the seeming singling out of this as not valid on the religious side by calling it an imposition, when the same is true of Liberarianism, atheism or any other moral system being advocated.

    >>It’s a funny way to look at “imposition” to claim that what a “libertarian” wants to do is equivalent to what a fundamentalist, who wants to impose Biblical “values,” or Bibilical Law, wants to do. “Libertarian” values don’t preclude the fundamentalist from practicing his religion but “fundamentalism” denies choices to other people who aren’t fundamentalists.

    Would libertarinism not make any impositions if it were to gain ascendency? Would you limit the abilities of rapist, pedophiles and murders to do what they view as acceptable? I am not saying that the impositions are the same. Certainly, the lines are drawn in far different places, but any moral system (other than perhaps anarchy) must draw lines. The enforcing of those lines will be seen as an imposition by at least some of the population. The details between the two systems are vastly different, but the principle is the same.

  23. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 11:04 am

    the ‘as’ in the first sentence should be ‘case’ as in ‘This most certainly was the case.

  24. Vernichten
    August 30th, 2005 @ 11:11 am

    It’s the first day of school for me so I can’t take the time to refute your arguments regarding controlling gay people’s reproductive rights because they can’t raise kids as well as welfare moms and deadbeat dads. But I will try to sum up how we disagree fundamentally.
    Nothing has value until humans put value on it. I put the highest value on my freedom, because it’s through my freedom that I can express any other values I create.
    You, or maybe not you but people very similar to you, may or may not put a value on freedom, but you, or people like you, place the highest value on rules that come from an irrational belief in god or the bible or wherever your irrational beliefs come from.
    The fact that you place a higher value on these rules than freedom is a serious threat to me and my freedom. This could not be more clearly evidenced than in the destruction of useful zygotes that could be used for research which may benefit me. I don’t mind if you don’t want any part of progress, or even if you want to cherry pick which parts of progress are okay with god so you can participate or not. But the problem comes from the fact that when you don’t believe something is okay with god you don’t want me to do it either, and that’s not just bullshit, it’s a deadly threat.
    I keep referring to you because, since I have to tolerate your mild beliefs regarding the relegation of gays to second-class citizens and other issues, I end up having to tolerate others’ even more radical beliefs and that’s why you’re partly culpable.

  25. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 11:24 am

    >>Nothing has value until humans put value on it. I put the highest value on my freedom, because it’s through my freedom that I can express any other values I create.

    But your fundamental valuing of freedom as the highest good is an irrational belief as far as that goes. Why is that you think it

  26. hermesten
    August 30th, 2005 @ 12:25 pm

    “Why is that you think it

  27. jahrta
    August 30th, 2005 @ 12:46 pm

    Steve G.

    I just thought I’d take a few minutes to counter your societal observations:

    “*Heterosexual relationships are clearly the norm for the human species.”

    Yes, just as it is the norm that roughly ten percent of these relationships are of a homosexual nature. This percentage value, as near as it can be assessed with any degree of certainty, has held relatively constant in just about every survey or census I’ve ever seen. Does the fact that fewer relationships involve same-sex partners make those relationships less valid than heterosexual relationships? If 90 percent of people in a given community are christians and the rest of the population is hindu, does that mean those people should stop what they’re doing or be given fewer rights because they’re not christian? This is dangerous thinking, to put it mildly.

    “*The obvious primary bilogogical purpose of sex is the propogation of the species.”

    This may be true, but we’re hardly living in a day and age where people are a scarce commodity. that whole “go forth and multiply” thing comes from an era where life was a short and brutal undertaking. people didn’t live past 30 or 40 for the most part, and large families were considered a good thing because more people meant more free labor (free beyond what it costs to feed/clothe and house them). We are now at around 7 billion strong and growing. the world will soon be at carrying capacity and if you think it’s crowded in the subway now, try thirty years down the road when our population, if not challenged by outside factors or internal sanctions, will reach around 14 billion, using the rule of 72. our concern is not with the gay community. for all we know, homosexuality could be a species’ built-in mechanism to help control the population.

    “*Over time, the social consensus was that in general monogomous, committed, heterosexual relationships were best for raising children.”

    It’s also the “social consensus” that there’s an invisible sky daddy that loves you infinitely but will not hesitate to send you to hell forever if you fail to recognize his existence. next.

    *The evidence in at least this society is overwhelming clear that this arrangement is still best for the raising of children by nearly any measure (from health, to mental health, tho educational achievement, etc.)

    That’s only because people can’t allow ignore their pervasive feelings of disgust and/or general disapproval of the lifestyle of the gay parents. it has nothing to do with that person’s ability to raise a child. any mental anguish over having gay parents would come from scorn and mockery from the child’s peers and even adults in positions of authority over said child. I’d like to see a study that states that gays aren’t as effective in overall parenting as a straight person.

    “*Ensuring survival, propogation and progress of the next generation is a fundamental element in the survival of society.”

    Again, as stated before, there’s hardly any threat to the propogation of the species coming from the gay community. there’s INFINITELY more of a threat coming from our own ultra right-wing government’s harsh domestic environmental policies and laughable foreign affairs. Since when has war ever served to replenish the population? it doesn’t restock the coffers as much as fill the coffins.

    “*Encouraging, even advocating that family unit, and discouraging ‘less healthy’ forms, is something that will generally make for a healthier, better educated citizenry and is something the government should endorse as policy”

    The current government is as disinterested in producing an educated citizenry (as evinced through their “just say no policy” for sex-ed which has actually resulted in MUCh higher teen pregnancy numbers, and decision to allow ID to be taught alongside evolution in biology classes) as it is in acknowledging we have no business in Iraq. This whole gay bashing fest of the bush administration is nothing more than a pitiful attempt to divert attention from this festering wound.

    So maybe you don’t actually believe in what you stated above – maybe you were just regurgitating the “rationale” given by others for thinking as they do that gay marriage is a threat to love, puppies, picnics and the american way – whatever the hell that is anymore. I hope you are smart enough to see through the idiocy of fundies to realize that the points you listed stem from unbelievable ignorance and prejudice.

  28. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 12:53 pm

    I guess you didn

  29. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 1:01 pm

    So maybe you don’t actually believe in what you stated above – maybe you were just regurgitating the “rationale” given by others for thinking as they do that gay marriage is a threat to love, puppies, picnics and the american way – whatever the hell that is anymore. I hope you are smart enough to see through the idiocy of fundies to realize that the points you listed stem from unbelievable ignorance and prejudice.

    Again, I was only proposing a few (admittedly sketchy, quickly thrown together) hypothetical argument using specifically non-religious statements. I was just trying to show that such exist. That you disagree with them was a given in my mind and I wasn

  30. Kafkaesquí
    August 30th, 2005 @ 1:29 pm

  31. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

    I realize that there would be complications to work out with such a policy, but I can’t think of any reason why they couldn’t all be handled via other means than marriage. While it would be real shift, everything you mention can be handled by looking at all the parties involved as individuals.

    The process of buying a house should be blind to whether any two (or three, four) or five individuals are married or not. It

  32. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 1:59 pm

    that not in the 1st sentence of the last paragraph shoudl be note. I need to proof read better. *sigh*

  33. Kafkaesquí
    August 30th, 2005 @ 2:08 pm

    Steve G., as long as you also *note* that most Catholics and those of other Christian sects have no problem with your proposition of placing marriage back in the hands of religion, and only their hands, while I’m for making it even more secular by opening it up to consenting couples of any persuasion*. Who exactly is on the “conservative” side here?

    [* If anyone wants to railroad this off into polygamy, cats and dogs living together and whatnot, first make your case and nod to the affirmative before saying “But how about…”]

  34. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 2:15 pm

    With regard to my fellow believers, I don’t think that it would be accurate to say that they’d agree with me. I honestly don’t think many people (at leas on the religious side) have pondered it as an option because folks are so locked in arms over this. In my own circle, I’ve gotten a roughly 50/50 response when I float the idea.

    The truth is that we are all conservatives. It just depends on what we are trying to conserve.

  35. jahrta
    August 30th, 2005 @ 2:27 pm

    Steve – i may have jumped the gun a bit but i wasn’t so much attacking you as the arguments you listed which OTHERS use to defend the whole “gays shouldn’t marry” stance. I suppose i should have read your post more carefully.

  36. a different tim
    August 30th, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

    Well I liked the unitarian jihad name generator.

    from now on I wish to be known as “Sabre of Rational Discussion”.

  37. hermesten
    August 30th, 2005 @ 5:12 pm

    “The point is not that this is a perfect argument, only that a rational argument can be made.”

    I wasn’t attempting to reveal the imperfections of a perfect argument, I was refuting your entire claim to making a rational argument against homsexual marriage. I don’t see where you have given even one “rational” justification for prohibiting homosexual marriage. You haven’t shown how you, or anyone else, is injured by homosexual marriage; or, how you, or anyone else, is injured more by homosexual marriage than by heterosexual marriage. Your arguments, such as they are, are just as applicable to old people beyond child-bearing years, infertile males, or females who can’t get pregnant or give birth, as well as to heterosexual couples who simply choose not to have children. Perhaps you would like to prohibit these kinds of marriages as well?

    Your entire “argument” is essentially nothing more than saying that in the past, only heterosexuals have been married, so that’s the way it should be in the future.

    And your response to Kafkaesqui –“I am not sure that marriage offers us any kind of silver bullet anyway.” is what’s called a “strawman” argument –attacking a claim that wasn’t made.

    “I am the Catholic, arguing, arguing that civil marriages should be done away with all together, and you are the atheist arguing in the defense of marriage.”

    From my standpoint, I’m not arguing for or against marriage, per se. Personally, I don’t care whether the Catholic Church refuses to marry homosexuals, or blond couples, or Californians. When the State gives rights and privileges to one class of people, and denies these same rights privileges to another class, based simply on the fact that they are part of a “minority,” or “unconventional,” or because it is part of some ancient religious dogma, I object, because this is not equal treatment under US law.

    Me: “One of the most fundamental rights of every individual is to be able to choose who to love, and how two or more individuals relate, or how they love, is not your business or the business of the state.”

    SG: “I

  38. Paul
    August 30th, 2005 @ 9:15 pm

    Nice post, Herm.

  39. Steve G.
    August 30th, 2005 @ 9:22 pm

    I wasn’t attempting to reveal the imperfections of a perfect argument, I was refuting your entire claim to making a rational argument against homsexual marriage.

    But I wasn

  40. MBains
    August 31st, 2005 @ 8:16 am

    There are two kinds of homo sapiens sapiens:

    Those who think Reality is objective (though dynamic) and empirically verifiable
    and
    Those who think Reality is subjective and only verifiable by committee if at all.

    I’m one of those two kinds (I hope it’s obvious which one…)

    God might just be a belief about what other people believe you believe about what they believe.

    I believe you don’t believe that RA. Do you believe me?

    What Kooz said: in #3. Niiice!

  41. MBains
    August 31st, 2005 @ 8:53 am

    In short, atheism isn’t the driving factor for many atheist’s decisions, but faith in unprovable nonsense is the driving factor for many people who are attempting to be religious.

    Steve G and Vernichten had an excellent conversation going. Thanks to both of you.

    The above quote is at the – hhhmmm – gravitational core of any discussion on the nature of politics and religion. Stalin was, by nearly all accounts, atheist. He had no belief in gods. His religion though was Communism. It fulfilled the same irrational function as any god. That is why Reason was out of his reach.

    Submit any atheistic dictator (Pol Pot, Maddy O’Hare, Mao…) and their actions can be seen as derived from a religious base; ie, unReasonable.

  42. hermesten
    August 31st, 2005 @ 9:35 am

    “His religion though was Communism. It fulfilled the same irrational function as any god. ”

    Our focus here is usually on “religion,” and our attacks are normally directed at Christianity because most of us live where it is the dominant religion. However, I consider religion just one manifestation of the greater enemy: dogma (and tribalism). For the most part, I don’t think it makes much difference whether the source of the dogma is The Bible, economic theory, or the communist manifesto. There are atheists who worship the imaginary “free market” just as reverently, and who attack any perceived economic heresy just as vigorously and single-mindedly, as any Christian fundamentalist. Human beings like the clarity and simplicity of dogma and “us and them.”

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