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Print Page - [BLOG] Religion and Morality

I Read This

I Drew This => Today's Editorial => Topic started by: Eon on November 20, 2008, 08:51:34 EST



Title: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Eon on November 20, 2008, 08:51:34 EST
http://www.idrewthis.org/2008/11/religious-conservatives-are-all-worked.html (http://www.idrewthis.org/2008/11/religious-conservatives-are-all-worked.html)

Hurray for cans of worms and the opening thereof! I can already see the battle lines being drawn.

I, of course, agree with Seagull.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Kaerius on November 20, 2008, 10:23:11 EST
I do as well, I'm a deeply moral man who is also about as religious as Stephen Hawking's toenail clippings.

In fact, you can turn the argument around, that the religious people who only do good because they fear the consequences of not doing it are of weaker moral fiber than the atheists who do good because they feel it's the right thing to do.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: johndmes on November 20, 2008, 11:29:36 EST
IMHO, most of the problems come from confusion between morals and ethics.

As Heinlein once said, ethics are social rules that coem from within a society, and help define how people interact from within a society,  As such, you cannot escape or deny them, as they are the bedrock of that society.

Morals, on the other hand, are social rules imposed from a external source, such as a religion.  Being that they usually have little congruence towards the way a scoiety actually works, there are often conflicts and rationalizations that have to occur.

BOTH can be beneficial to a society - when they are congruent.  it's when they becoe too dissimilar that major conflict can arise.

This should sound familiar to anyone who's stuided history


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 20, 2008, 11:33:44 EST
In fact, you can turn the argument around, that the religious people who only do good because they fear the consequences of not doing it are of weaker moral fiber than the atheists who do good because they feel it's the right thing to do.
That is my precise attitude actually.  Religious people act moral because if they don't, the big spectral policeman in the sky will kick their ass, and that as the monkeysphere article said, are made to feel upset when they violate the big spectral policeman's edicts.  I act moral because if I don't the big burly policeman at the local police department will kick my ass, and because I feel upset when hurting others because I was raised to emphasize my already existent empathy.  The difference between those two approaches is that mine is far more grounded in reality.  If a Religious person had their mental defense mechanisms that justify their ridiculous beliefs fail, all of the sudden their entire moral framework goes kablooey and they run around blowing up nuns or somesuch.  The same shouldn't occur to me, because my feelings are not directed towards ethereal concepts and my actions are not held in check by those same ethereal concepts.

Also, if you are only moral because God tells you to be, and you only do what God tells you to do because you want to go to Heaven, you aren't even the slightest bit moral, and in fact, near sociopathic.   The systems which emphasize that you do actions not because God would punish you otherwise, but because you love God and wish to do what God loves, that's somewhat better, but still dependent on non-physical concepts for your morality.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 20, 2008, 11:35:24 EST
IMHO, most of the problems come from confusion between morals and ethics.

As Heinlein once said, ethics are social rules that coem from within a society, and help define how people interact from within a society,  As such, you cannot escape or deny them, as they are the bedrock of that society.

Morals, on the other hand, are social rules imposed from a external source, such as a religion.  Being that they usually have little congruence towards the way a scoiety actually works, there are often conflicts and rationalizations that have to occur.

BOTH can be beneficial to a society - when they are congruent.  it's when they becoe too dissimilar that major conflict can arise.

This should sound familiar to anyone who's stuided history
You are wrong on your definitions.  Morality has 3 meanings, one of which is the exact same thing as Ethics.  We are not confusing the two.  They are overlapping.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Heq on November 20, 2008, 11:59:59 EST
I would argue a good degree of dislike for atheists is the same as the dislike for vegans.  It's not that people -really- think that it's a neccessary requirement, but the majority of such people they have encountered have been preachy, judgmental pricks.

Just like how when people think of gays they think of those douchebags for Queer Eye rather then a guy eating breakfast and reading the news.

It isn't neccessarily thier fault, either, atheists have done a piss-poor job of picking their spokespeople or ever saying "This guy doesn't speak for me", bless their angry little hearts, people on the hard religious right distance themselves from people who say things that are really racist or crazy, but atheists still let Dawkins off the leash in public (Hitchens is at least witty, Dawkins is a dabbler at best [and seems to be a proponent of biological determinism, ala Walden II]).  Am I the only one who remembers the open antagonism of the early movement?

With bellicose asshats doing all the talking, is it any wonder people assume atheists tend towards jerkdom?  Given their defining trait is the lack of faith, it is not illogical to draw the connection that a lack of faith equals more jerkdom.  If you act like Louis Farrakhan, expect to be shunned.  If you let Farrakhan claim you as a follower and say nothing to contradict him, expect people to assume you agree.

Off the top of my head, only MBLA (Man Boy Love association) has a worse PR campaign then atheism.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Himatsu on November 20, 2008, 18:29:02 EST
Wow, so the reason people don't like atheists is because they're preachy, judgmental pricks? Last time I checked, atheists weren't the ones consigning others to an eternal lake of fire for imaginary "sins".

We're not cowering in the corner and letting the religious treat us like dirt, so that makes us "militant" in their eyes.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: John on November 20, 2008, 18:54:48 EST
In fact, you can turn the argument around, that the religious people who only do good because they fear the consequences of not doing it are of weaker moral fiber than the atheists who do good because they feel it's the right thing to do.
This is how I feel, yes. However..
Religious people act moral because if they don't, the big spectral policeman in the sky will kick their ass
I don't make the mistake of assuming all religious people only do good because of this. It mainly covers those who think atheists can't be good people.

atheists still let Dawkins off the leash in public
How am I suppose to say Dawkins doesn't speak for me when I don't even know who he is. Its not like atheists have a church that we are members of. Each atheist is a separate person who most of the time doesn't belong to an atheist group (I can only imagine what crazy groups you have in America so I said almost).


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 20, 2008, 19:17:06 EST
People like Dawkins make a religion out of atheism, just like vegans make a religion out of dieting.  Normal atheists (and vegetarians) lack such pseudo-religious zeal for their ideas.  As a result, they don't try and force it down the throats of others, which in turn means that no one will hear about their beliefs, whereas we'll hear plenty about Dawkins.  Having a PR campaign by normal Atheism would go against its very nature.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: purplecat on November 20, 2008, 19:54:33 EST
So the conversation has immediately segued into the usual accusations about being too forceful or too angry.

Someone else replied to these in a far better way than I could.  (http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html)

and since we're onto morality, and the difference between morality and ethics, I feel obliged to quote myself at one of my more snarky times.
Quote
Morality is Ethics for the hard-of-thinking. A path that replaces the need to think coherently about actions and consequences with Arguing By Capital Letters.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Icedragon on November 20, 2008, 22:47:59 EST
Ethics and morality are totally separate things.  Why, two words, Alignment grid. (http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/6833/alignmentstu2.jpg)



Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Medivh on November 21, 2008, 00:25:47 EST
It isn't neccessarily thier fault, either, atheists have done a piss-poor job of picking their spokespeople or ever saying "This guy doesn't speak for me", bless their angry little hearts, people on the hard religious right distance themselves from people who say things that are really racist or crazy, but atheists still let Dawkins off the leash in public (Hitchens is at least witty, Dawkins is a dabbler at best [and seems to be a proponent of biological determinism, ala Walden II]).  Am I the only one who remembers the open antagonism of the early movement?

Dawkins is our Malcolm X. Only less overbearing, and more tolerant. PZ Myers makes a decent go of the same kind of behaviour.

We've yet to get an MLK Jr., but the BHA and AHA are making a half-decent go of that role.

Ethics and morality are totally separate things.  Why, two words, Alignment grid. (http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/6833/alignmentstu2.jpg)

Ha, the image of solid snake is taken from super smash bros. brawl videos. They could have at least taken it from a metal gear game...


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Archae on November 21, 2008, 02:31:41 EST
All any of us have to do is look into where the scummiest of the scum live.

Prisons.

The biggest religion in prisons is Christianity.

Next, Islam.

The tiniest group in prisons?

Atheists.

Speaks volumes, doesn't it?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 21, 2008, 03:10:42 EST
So the conversation has immediately segued into the usual accusations about being too forceful or too angry.

Someone else replied to these in a far better way than I could.  (http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html)
I'm not angry about Galileo though.  Let me show you a picture of Galileo's thought processes:
Galileo: Let's see, my incredibly rude douchbagness has pissed off everyone in the scientific community, and Kepler is still crying after I made fun at him.  You know what I should do now?  Rudely make fun of my personal friend the Pope during the Protestant Reformation in a book.  Even after the church told me that I should either collect valid scientific evidence, present the book as theory, or write it in Latin, whereupon they wouldn't mind what I said, I did none of the above.  DURR! LOLZ! IM SO SMART.

Quote
Morality is Ethics for the hard-of-thinking. A path that replaces the need to think coherently about actions and consequences with Arguing By Capital Letters.
I'd say that pretty much sums it up.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: paddyfool on November 21, 2008, 05:50:41 EST
This is an important issue.  However, it has to be kept clear that this is not an anti-religion issue, but rather an anti-anti-Atheist bigotry one (there has to be a better way of saying that).  Most religious people, in my experience, are not first-and-foremost moral cowards who do the "right" thing only for hope of eternal reward and/or fear of damnation, but, like atheists, are guided primarily by compassion, respect for others, our shared human experience and social mores.  And most thinking people who are morally driven in that way should in theory have no problem with an ethical atheist.  In practice, however, they've often been taught differently, and only by being open about who we are can we hope to change this.

I've lived in cultures where I was usually the only openly atheist person around (principally Uganda).  My religious friends fairly quickly figured out that I wasn't evil; many of the more considerate did, however, persist in worrying about my going to hell, but that's not quite the same thing.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Chris Stalis on November 21, 2008, 06:07:50 EST
Ok, gonna warn ya guys right now, this is not going to be short.  Get comfortable.

Part 1:  Religiosity
Has anyone here ever actually pondered what it means to be a "religious person"?  How do you know when someone is "religious"?  Can you not be "religious"?  Because I've never really been able to understand what makes a person "religious".  I can point to someone and say that "Joe the Priest" is religious, but that's not because he has done anything "religious" to me... it's just how I understand him to be.

The problem arises from the fact that the West is very strange in its notion of how the spirit woks.  Since the Enlightenment, we have striven to what we feel is 'superior intellectual understanding', assuming inherently that we know what that entails (specifically, a logical argument [defined by what was acceptable in Greek debate] used to relate empirically observed events).  Now, I've said this elsewhere on the board, but I must point out that this deifies logic, and imbues it with a control over the universe.  That which is not logical, that which does not ascribe itself to our arbitrarily defined sense of what is right cannot be, and will not be correct.  Not unless the sense of what is right is fundamentally altered.

Now, functionally, this has led Europe (and by extension America, Canada and Australia) to where it is today.  This does not validate the assumption that we know how the world works, it only provides for the notion that we aren't idiots.  Because it is an assumption that is being made when an Atheist says "there is no God", just as there is an assumption made when a non-atheist says "God is this" or "the Universe acts like so".  It is also a fully rational argument, as it is internally logically consistent.  Whether it is universally true... that is impossible to say or judge until the end of time occurs and the great curtain hiding All Knowing Truth is pulled away to tell us all how The Universe was programmed by the dev team.  Until then, unless you can hack into the fabric of nature itself, you cannot be sure that the data you gather has meaning.  This is similar to the notion of The Matrix, only I am trying to be broader in my implications here.

As a result, I must view any attempt to distance yourself from religion as impossible.  No known society on earth has existed without religion, no person has been observed to be without personal ceremony and belief.  And yes, belief in nothing is belief in something.  If you would like to say there is a demarcation in how you follow your belief, if you would like to say that your notion on what "Is" is different then that stated by a Judeo-Christian sect, this is fine.  But you are commenting on something you can never prove, you are believing in something that can never be demonstrated.  You cannot claim as irrational the views of the "religious" because yours is also a religion: it is a statement on the nature of the universe.

Note that I do not say this derisively.  My sole aim with this line of thought is to point out a logical flaw driven by our societal need to be both different and/or better then each other.  Which is fine if that's how you want society to work.  But while Americans (and by extension our allies in Western society) would like to perceive a difference because they don't want to be 'tarnished' by a taint carried by their neighbors, there is no taint or flaw here that is not carried by all participants.  So long as you are making statements that cannot be proven empirically, you are not making use of logic in forming your understanding of the universe, and are acting in a manner I have only seen defined as "religious".

Part 2:  Judeo-Christian Morality
This will be shorter.  In regards to whether Christianity and the 10 commandments have influenced legal thought, it would be absurd to argue that they have not.  Your parents spend 20 years telling you not kill bunnies and at the age of 21 you say that had no impact on you?  Please... we would never believe that of anyone in another discussion, why believe it here?

Now, in my bunny killing scenario, is it the only reason you don't do it?  That is a more interesting question, yet one I think would have to answered with 'no'.  I have never observed anyone who did something for one reason and one reason alone. Maybe it happens, but usually there is a thousand different reasons all in the back of your mind, dictating how you say "friend" instead of "best friend", bring a rose instead of a carnation, play a movie instead of a video game...  Perhaps you were influenced by how cute you thought bunnies were, perhaps you just don't like the taste of meat.  Maybe it's cause you secretly want to be a bunny.  Regardless, there's always more then one reason why anyone does anything no matter what the subject matter.

Generalizing outwards, there's more then one reason why I don't kill people, or steal, or do a thousand different little things.  But my parents made me receptive to these morals/ethos based upon what they were taught by people who were taught by people who were taught by people who, if you go far enough back, were taught by people who believed in the legal wisdom of Jewish law.  So the Jewish law and Christian belief did influence my acceptance of these American laws and values.  Whether it will continue to do so, or whether it will be foremost in my mind (now or in the future) is open for debate.  Which is what I think makes people defensive when the topic comes up, in addition to the desire to be 'different' then those 'religious people' that they don't like.  I dunno... it seems really straightforward to me.

To summarize: Christianity isn't the only reason why we follow or created the law, but it cannot be denied that it contributed to creating the law by contributing to the society that created it.  By extension, it also contributed to a nonbeliever's willingness to accept the notion, regardless of if it was the ultimately convincing argument.

Part 3:  Centuries Old Abuse of Atheists
I do not see evidence for it, even in all the ranting done on the blog that was linked.  I see maybe 100 years abuse, but that's largely because I do not believe there was ever an "organized" atheist movement until quite recently.  There are those who questioned god individually, those who as individuals felt proud for telling the Church to shove it.  But the systematic eradication of a Supreme Being from logical thought... Darwin didn't do it, Galileo didn't do it, Occam didn't do it... Nietzsche did it, but really, how many other names stand out in history like that?  How many people have argued prior to the late 19th century that there was no supreme power?  I will bet hard currency that any of the 'fathers' or 'mothers' of atheism and science from before this time would be demonstratively believing in something that their 'followers' contend does not exist.

I do not purport, though, that this excuses the stark treatment that has been given to a non-centralized religion such as Atheism.  But, if you really want to understand why the 'faithful' get so overworked about you folks believing differently... walk up and punch a military serviceman who just got back from Iraq in the face while calling him a "disgrace", and see what happens.  It is entirely possible that you will be killed, and I think there are few here who would mourn your passing.  But, the important question is: why?  If you punched some punk in a street alley who was threatening you with a knife, you'd be called 'brave' or 'a hero'.  The serviceman, though... he's special.  He's "different".  The entire social structure of America has made him not like that punk, and therefore a specific social code of respect and honor has been built up around him.  Violate that, and you violate the very fabric from which society is woven, and people react violently to that.  No one likes it when you disrespect everything they stand for.

So, similarly, atheism posits there is no God.  Christianity and all its sects depends on the existence of a God.  By saying "no, you're wrong", even passively, you have just punched their serviceman in the face.  Until you can do this in a nonthreatening manner or with greater respect (as defined by them, not you), they will react in an extreme fashion.  I'm not saying this is right, I'm not saying you have to like it, but if their opinion for any reason matters to you, then this is the nature of the beast and you need to take it into account some how.  Of course, if you don't care what they think, then you can just tell them to go screw themselves.  Generally, I find this to be counter productive, but that's just me.


Ok, I've typed a heck of a lot.  Thanks to any who read all of it.  I eagerly await hearing what y'all have to say on my thoughts, as other people's opinions of the world matter to me.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Hephaestus 16 on November 21, 2008, 06:44:32 EST
Quote
I would argue a good degree of dislike for atheists is the same as the dislike for vegans.  It's not that people -really- think that it's a neccessary requirement, but the majority of such people they have encountered have been preachy, judgmental pricks.

Just like how when people think of gays they think of those douchebags for Queer Eye rather then a guy eating breakfast and reading the news.

It isn't neccessarily thier fault, either, atheists have done a piss-poor job of picking their spokespeople or ever saying "This guy doesn't speak for me", bless their angry little hearts, people on the hard religious right distance themselves from people who say things that are really racist or crazy, but atheists still let Dawkins off the leash in public (Hitchens is at least witty, Dawkins is a dabbler at best [and seems to be a proponent of biological determinism, ala Walden II]).  Am I the only one who remembers the open antagonism of the early movement?

With bellicose asshats doing all the talking, is it any wonder people assume atheists tend towards jerkdom?  Given their defining trait is the lack of faith, it is not illogical to draw the connection that a lack of faith equals more jerkdom.  If you act like Louis Farrakhan, expect to be shunned.  If you let Farrakhan claim you as a follower and say nothing to contradict him, expect people to assume you agree.

Off the top of my head, only MBLA (Man Boy Love association) has a worse PR campaign then atheism.
It might not be that belicose asshats do all the talking its that belicose asshats get all the listening too by theists, that is they sneek out the most asshatty dude they can claim to be promenient and they claim he is a leader of the group.  They proceeded to quote those people out of context in the least flattering way.

Quote
So, similarly, atheism posits there is no God.
I take issue with that, many self described atheists posit that the existence of the standard monotheist diety is incredible unlikely but still possible, and certainly not worth changing behavior over, for example read douglus adam's the salmon of doubt, it think one of the chapters in Dawkins book is titled as such.  The people who say there is no God are Antitheists those beleifs I also find rediculous.  Unfortnately many theists cannot understand the naunce and simply round down. 


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: paddyfool on November 21, 2008, 07:01:20 EST
@Chris,

Wow, you did write a lot.  I'm going to respond to you number by number, splitting up number 3 on two issues.

1) Religiosity, noun.  Two meanings: 1. The quality of being religious; 2. Excessive or affected piety.  Here, we're talking about the first.  This has three meanings: 1. Having or showing belief in and reverence for God or a deity; 2. Of, concerned with, or teaching religion: a religious text; 3. Extremely scrupulous or conscientious: religious devotion to duty.   The meaning referenced under religiosity is obviously number 1.

Now, if religion is concerned with gods, then, fundamentally, your argument would have to be that atheists are making a god out of human reason.  I would contend that, actually, we don't hold up our rational faculties to be some beautiful, perfect, all-solving thought-constructs.  We simply think that they are the best tool in the box for understanding the world, which is not the same as perfection.

2) Judeo-Christian morality.  This is where your argument got a tad confused, but in short, your proposition seems to be that "Judaism and Christianity are fundamental to how our culture views morality".  Well, they had their share of the input along the way.  But many other cultures have, along the way, come to hold many of the same things independently as good (honesty, respecting one's parents, not killing people, etc.).  The question becomes, then, did these rules, derived independently many different times by many different people, come from man or from god?  Is religion originally a channel for god(s) to pass on these rules for us, or is it rather an after-the-fact rationalisation for such guidelines (with its fair share of good philosophers and legislaters to codify them, admittedly)?

3) Centuries old abuse of atheists.  

Regarding your doubt as to whether this occurred, read the Wikipedia article on the history of atheism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_atheism.  Look up what happened to heretics of any stamp in the dark ages.  There's much more to this story than what happened to the (Catholic) Galileo.  Carl Sagen's "This Demon-Haunted World" might also address this nicely.

Also, regarding your statement that our viewpoint is offensive to many as it intrinsically casts doubt on something at the core of their beliefs.  Well, yes.  Many believers do get offended when we say what we believe; there are ways to ease that by how we say it, but it's practically impossible to avoid completely.  However, the analogy with slapping some random (and well-respected) stranger in the face over a political disagreement is flawed.  How many atheists do you hear of physically attacking Christians, anywhere, even under provocation of the "you're evil" variety?  We say what we believe, people get offended, and a very few attack us.  Those few who do are breaching the mores of civilised society far more gravely than atheists.  And they do not have a right to be protected from knowing that other people believe differently to them.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: John on November 21, 2008, 07:17:52 EST
Quote
So, similarly, atheism posits there is no God.
Well there's lots of people. There's:
* Those who say there is no god.
* Those who say they don't know if there's a god.
* Those who say they don't know if there's a god, but they're damn sure the god(s) of religion X don't exist.

But in all honesty Christians and Atheists are almost identical in what they believe. Christians don't believe in hundreds of gods, atheists just don't believe in one more.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on November 21, 2008, 09:20:25 EST
Regarding ethics and morality....

I've heard these words defined in so many ways it makes my head spin.  In their normal usage I usually see no difference.  So, when being precise I recommend defining words to mean what you mean, rather than relying on people understanding the differences you see in them.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Somber Ghost on November 21, 2008, 09:46:45 EST
I'd also like to note something...

How many blocks can you travel without seeing a cross, church, billboard, or other advertisement for christianity?  For me it's usually about a dozen when I'm not looking hard.  In one spot in town we have no less than eight churches side to side.  It's like a spiritual strip mall.  And theists are going nuts about atheists putting up signs on busses?  How many signs have they put on busses?  But when atheists do it its wrong, and when they do it its okay.  Just another streak of hypocracy brought to you by theists.

I've almost lost my job over being an atheist.  Not for "preaching" about atheism or reading the Nichezie riot act but simply because a rumor got started that I was an atheist, and when I confirmed it, my students told their mommies and daddies who told the principle.  Fortunately he had my back, but I had to endure a lecture in which I was told that I really should keep such things like that to myself.

The fun of being contraversial.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Somber Ghost on November 21, 2008, 10:28:53 EST
Also, I was wondering, if you were to have a 10 commandments of atheism, what would they be.

What would your contrabution be?  Please, don't list all 10 or more... just which are the most important to you.

Mine: Thou shalt not be ashamed of being atheist.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on November 21, 2008, 11:14:01 EST
Nobody has to speak of the commandments of atheism in hushed and serious tones.

Nobody has to lecture anyone on the commandments of atheism.

Nobody has to know the commandments of atheism.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Medivh on November 21, 2008, 11:23:52 EST
All any of us have to do is look into where the scummiest of the scum live.

Prisons.

The biggest religion in prisons is Christianity.

Next, Islam.

The tiniest group in prisons?

Atheists.

Speaks volumes, doesn't it?

Correct for the proportions outside of prison, and you'll find those statistics have much less impact, if any at all.

Also, I was wondering, if you were to have a 10 commandments of atheism, what would they be.

What would your contrabution be?  Please, don't list all 10 or more... just which are the most important to you.

Mine: Thou shalt not be ashamed of being atheist.

I've only got the one, and it's not specific to atheism; thou shalt not be a pushy arsehole.

Quote from: Chris Stalis
large swath

To part 2: where are the laws on blasphemy? Coveting? Work on the sabbath?

The culture is affected, no doubt. The laws? Not so much. The only parts of the ten commandments that are also part of the law are the parts that are common sense to have in the law.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Eon on November 21, 2008, 11:52:24 EST
To those who would berate atheists for being angry, I have this to say: why the hell do you think we wouldn't be angry considering the way many of you fanatical religious bastards treat us?

Props to Greta Christina. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Quote
So, similarly, atheism posits there is no God.
Well there's lots of people. There's:
* Those who say there is no god.
* Those who say they don't know if there's a god.
* Those who say they don't know if there's a god, but they're damn sure the god(s) of religion X don't exist.

But in all honesty Christians and Atheists are almost identical in what they believe. Christians don't believe in hundreds of gods, atheists just don't believe in one more.

In terms of God belief, yes. However, it's the baggage that comes with Christianity (or any theistic religion) that truly sets atheists and believers apart.

Although I've noticed that most people are functional atheists in their day to day lives, since most of us act as if there isn't a God, whether or not we believe there is one.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Schmorgluck on November 21, 2008, 12:01:23 EST
All any of us have to do is look into where the scummiest of the scum live.

Prisons.

The biggest religion in prisons is Christianity.

Next, Islam.

The tiniest group in prisons?

Atheists.

Speaks volumes, doesn't it?
I'm not an expert of logical fallacies, but I think we have a Texas Sharpshooter here. Am I mistaken?


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Andrei on November 21, 2008, 12:07:33 EST
Quote from: Eon
To those who would berate atheists for being angry, I have this to say: why the hell do you think we wouldn't be angry considering the way many of you fanatical religious bastards treat us?
I'm pretty sure I'll regret it, but let me give you a Heq-esque argument here:

Religious people are, at least nominally, the majority and are culturally associated with good things. Atheists are a fairly small minority and are culturally associated with bad things. Until both these things change, the religious side is ultimately in a position of power.

If the gloves come off, it'll be the atheist side spitting its teeth and begging the referee to stop the match. Atheists should be civil because they have the most to lose from open confrontation.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 21, 2008, 12:41:36 EST
I take issue with that, many self described atheists posit that the existence of the standard monotheist diety is incredible unlikely but still possible, and certainly not worth changing behavior over
That is pretty much my exact attitude.  It may be possible, but to me, it is simply not relevant enough to act as though it were true.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 21, 2008, 12:45:10 EST
I'm not an expert of logical fallacies, but I think we have a Texas Sharpshooter here. Am I mistaken?
Is a fallacy, but not the Sharpshooter one, which deals with more purely random stuff.  In this case, it is simply the choice to use the flat number rather than the proportion for a given group being in jail.  More Christians may be in Jail, but there are more Christians, the question is whether or not a greater percentage of Christians are in jail than Atheists in jail.



Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 21, 2008, 12:47:35 EST
Quote from: Eon
To those who would berate atheists for being angry, I have this to say: why the hell do you think we wouldn't be angry considering the way many of you fanatical religious bastards treat us?
I'm pretty sure I'll regret it, but let me give you a Heq-esque argument here:

Religious people are, at least nominally, the majority and are culturally associated with good things. Atheists are a fairly small minority and are culturally associated with bad things. Until both these things change, the religious side is ultimately in a position of power.

If the gloves come off, it'll be the atheist side spitting its teeth and begging the referee to stop the match. Atheists should be civil because they have the most to lose from open confrontation.
If we are forced to spit out teeth, then maybe people will begin to realize which group is the one with the violent amoral assholes who use scripture to justify their bullying and their desires.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Eon on November 21, 2008, 13:51:43 EST
Is a fallacy, but not the Sharpshooter one, which deals with more purely random stuff.  In this case, it is simply the choice to use the flat number rather than the proportion for a given group being in jail.  More Christians may be in Jail, but there are more Christians, the question is whether or not a greater percentage of Christians are in jail than Atheists in jail.

I might be wrong, but my understanding is that the numbers are disproportionate and there is a larger percentage of Christians and Muslims in prison than atheists. Hardly surprising really... if I'm right, that is.

If we are forced to spit out teeth, then maybe people will begin to realize which group is the one with the violent amoral assholes who use scripture to justify their bullying and their desires.

For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America). Strangely enough, few (if any) religionists can claim to have suffered similarly at the hands of atheists1. Yet, somehow, they still feel like they're the ones being oppressed. How the hell are you being oppressed when you're the majority and you're in control? The fact that you don't always get your way and that some people openly disagree with you is not oppression.

So, I think we're already at that stage, Wodan. And it was the Christian fanatics who drew first blood. Funny how no prominent atheists have advocated violence in response to our treatment, isn't it?

This is the problem with religious morality. It's a standard of morality that is totally disconnected from reality and that no sane person could possibly adhere to.

1. For reasons that actually concern an atheist's disbelief in God, people. So don't give me the same old tired and thoroughly refuted bullshit about how the atrocities committed by men like Stalin is where atheism ultimately leads us.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Hephaestus 16 on November 21, 2008, 14:38:07 EST
Quote
This is the problem with religious morality. It's a standard of morality that is totally disconnected from reality and that no sane person could possibly adhere to.
That depends on what memeplex you get saddled with, theres alot of them.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Chris Stalis on November 21, 2008, 15:44:54 EST
Quote
So, similarly, atheism posits there is no God.
I take issue with that, many self described atheists posit that the existence of the standard monotheist diety is incredible unlikely but still possible, and certainly not worth changing behavior over, for example read douglus adam's the salmon of doubt, it think one of the chapters in Dawkins book is titled as such.  The people who say there is no God are Antitheists those beleifs I also find rediculous.  Unfortnately many theists cannot understand the naunce and simply round down.
Wikipedial atheism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism) as contrasted with Wikipedial theism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theism).  The categories defining it in the common mind are:

1)  Nonexistence of gods
2)  Rejection of the existence of current gods

By terminology, most people I've known reclassify the second as "agnostic", due to the existence of common ground between the second class and theists.  Functionally, then, I refer to those who feel a strong connection to the first category.  If that's not an accurate description of your beliefs, then we've just run into a language barrier, and our words mean two different things.  In that sense, then, what I said likely won't apply to you without at least some rewrite on interaction.  This will change only the logic I must wind through to show it to be a religious belief (my primary concern right now), not that it is not a religious belief.

1) Religiosity, noun.  Two meanings: 1. The quality of being religious; 2. Excessive or affected piety.   Here, we're talking about the first.  This has three meanings: 1. Having or showing belief in and reverence for God or a deity; 2. Of, concerned with, or teaching religion: a religious text; 3. Extremely scrupulous or conscientious: religious devotion to duty.  The meaning referenced under religiosity is obviously number 1.

Now, if religion is concerned with gods, then, fundamentally, your argument would have to be that atheists are making a god out of human reason.  I would contend that, actually, we don't hold up our rational faculties to be some beautiful, perfect, all-solving thought-constructs.  We simply think that they are the best tool in the box for understanding the world, which is not the same as perfection.
Ah, but you do hold it up as perfect.  If a process of thought cannot be framed in the logical framework you have created (please stop using rational, it is entirely the wrong word), it will be inherently inferior until either the idea has been reworked or the framework has been reworked.  Now, that framework may undergo more revisions then the Christian framework, but neither is static.  Look at how we have evolved from the Puritans, for instance.

Further, defining religion by the existence of gods is insufficient in the greater world.  I can start another thread to discuss this more fully once I pull some research material together if you'd like, but people have religion without believing in a conscious manifestation of unseen power.  The power of magic held by men is a common aspect of religion, yet it is not supported implicitly by belief in a deity 9 times out of 10.

2) Judeo-Christian morality.  This is where your argument got a tad confused, but in short, your proposition seems to be that "Judaism and Christianity are fundamental to how our culture views morality".  Well, they had their share of the input along the way.  But many other cultures have, along the way, come to hold many of the same things independently as good (honesty, respecting one's parents, not killing people, etc.).  The question becomes, then, did these rules, derived independently many different times by many different people, come from man or from god?  Is religion originally a channel for god(s) to pass on these rules for us, or is it rather an after-the-fact rationalisation for such guidelines (with its fair share of good philosophers and legislaters to codify them, admittedly)?
I am not questioning whether there were other influences, only attempting to state that Jewish and Christian law is such an influence and remind everyone of its importance to the people who taught us law.  I don't care if the laws we have now are derived from God or not.  It is one instance where I agree with Seagull and think the two people quoted are being idiots.  But the feeling that I got from his blog post is that history is being subtly rewritten to ignore the value that was placed in these beliefs by our forefathers.  Though we do not need to continue to use it as the basis for legal belief, it contributed to creating an environment that has allowed these ideas that we justify by other means to flourish.  This is the whole of my point, and the only comment I was trying to make.

3) Centuries old abuse of atheists. 

Regarding your doubt as to whether this occurred, read the Wikipedia article on the history of atheism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_atheism.  Look up what happened to heretics of any stamp in the dark ages.  There's much more to this story than what happened to the (Catholic) Galileo.  Carl Sagen's "This Demon-Haunted World" might also address this nicely.
Interesting.  This will give me something to think about.

Also, regarding your statement that our viewpoint is offensive to many as it intrinsically casts doubt on something at the core of their beliefs.  Well, yes.  Many believers do get offended when we say what we believe; there are ways to ease that by how we say it, but it's practically impossible to avoid completely.  However, the analogy with slapping some random (and well-respected) stranger in the face over a political disagreement is flawed.  How many atheists do you hear of physically attacking Christians, anywhere, even under provocation of the "you're evil" variety?  We say what we believe, people get offended, and a very few attack us.  Those few who do are breaching the mores of civilised society far more gravely than atheists.  And they do not have a right to be protected from knowing that other people believe differently to them.
You are misunderstanding the physical act for the symbolic act.  I am not discussing the physical violence of the act (punching) that was perpetrated, I am discussing the symbolic assault (derision) on what people hold to be centrally important.  The problem is that, culturally, symbolic assault on a western belief tends to be intertwined with physical or ideological assault (character assassination).  This isn't the only way to insult someone, though.  I must reiterate, you are perceived as denigrating and destroying the very fabric that their world is based upon.  With the degree of belief invested in it, these individuals take even the passive existence of belief as an attempt to force them to do something because of the perceived challenge it offers.  Whether you are trying to do this or not is immaterial: a threat is perceived, and so a threat is acted against.  This notion ties in very much to what I started trying to discuss in my thread on "When to Help (http://www.ireadthis.org/index.php?topic=4184.0)"

To part 2: where are the laws on blasphemy? Coveting? Work on the sabbath?

The culture is affected, no doubt. The laws? Not so much. The only parts of the ten commandments that are also part of the law are the parts that are common sense to have in the law.
Common sense is defined by culture.  To the Azande of North Central Africa, determining legal guilt by poisoning a chicken and posing questions to the poison (not the gods) on whether someone is metaphysically harming someone else is common sense today.  You just said culture is affected by religion.  How then is the law not affected too?

Law is the codification of what culture deems important.  If the culture is based upon a particular ideology, then it becomes the codification of that ideology.  I will not say if it is functional or not, I am merely stating what is.

For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America). Strangely enough, few (if any) religionists can claim to have suffered similarly at the hands of atheists1. Yet, somehow, they still feel like they're the ones being oppressed. How the hell are you being oppressed when you're the majority and you're in control? The fact that you don't always get your way and that some people openly disagree with you is not oppression.

So, I think we're already at that stage, Wodan. And it was the Christian fanatics who drew first blood. Funny how no prominent atheists have advocated violence in response to our treatment, isn't it?

This is the problem with religious morality. It's a standard of morality that is totally disconnected from reality and that no sane person could possibly adhere to.

1. For reasons that actually concern an atheist's disbelief in God, people. So don't give me the same old tired and thoroughly refuted bullshit about how the atrocities committed by men like Stalin is where atheism ultimately leads us.
But you have been violent.  You may not have recognized it as violence or intended it as violence, but it was perceived as abuse.  You have been in league with the people who gave black people rights, you have attempted to wash away the meaning that two people have in the marriage they have... Atheism is seen to have been ready to devour and rend in two the beliefs and things that fundamentally did good things in the world.  If the religious didn't take control, didn't make themselves the majority, you would have destroyed the world they loved.  At least, that is the perception.

Remember, Eon, you are fighting against a perception of events, not against the history of events.  This is much harder to do, and one I do not envy you in.  What you do, what I do, what anyone does will never truly matter to how people interact with us: only what is perceived to have occurred.  And so, ignorant of what you have done wrong, you have offended people who are still waiting for you to appropriately apologize.  If their opinion has meaning to you, then you must act according to how they dictate you can act (note how that can be negotiated if you do it properly).  This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, but one I'm glad I learned before I tried to 'come out of the closet' about my bisexuality.  Like it or hate it, it is what it is.  Until these people are persuaded to not see atheists as a threat, they will continue to believe they are a threat because of past perceptions coloring their view. 


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Heq on November 21, 2008, 22:18:26 EST
Anti-props to Greta Christina.

Atheists are treated very similarly to other groups in religious feuds who have been on the losing side in political struggles (most religious struggles are, at their heart, political-social struggles).  Over the last score of years aethists have risen in prominance, made many political plays, and lost badly.

Ah-ha, non believers cried in the 90s, the end of faith cometh soon!  Of course, it didn't and when prominant atheists tried to flex their newfound political muscles they found out that they are of just a little more strength then, say, seperatists.  That being said, most of the issues she raises are just standard injustices of power, not specifically directed at atheism so much as, well, directed at people who buck the system.

I'm not sure I agree, but that is how power has worked for a very long time.  Try shopping in a nightshirt.  Most of the issues encountered by non-bellicose atheists are often the result of simply being different.  I'm sorry we're social animals, we don't really get on well with individualism. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_atheism

This article is claptrap.

Nietzsche (as a side note) was actually very religious, just anti-Christian.

Buddhism is nihilism revisted, is not properly a philosophy either.  It is a simple statement of belief and a course of action.  It is more correct to call original Buddhism a self-destruction cult.  It would later be modified to become a religion, but originally it does not belong in this category.

Speaking of which, nihil belief (what we would now call nihilism) is not an uncommon postulate.  It was fairly widely accepted in intellectual circles, it was -public- atheism which was prosecuted.  Not mentioned in the article are the such thinkers are Diogenes of Cyniop, Gorgeus, etc.

Socrates was not killed for being an atheist, that Gadfly was killed for consorting with Sparta, but because there were a bunch of spartans around he was whacked in a show trial.  It's obvious throughout the Apology he understands the show nature of the trial, and is, true to form, a total dick about it.

The claims about epicurians are designed to imply they were prosecuted because of Atheistic belief, this is again not true.  Like cynics, epicurians value monastic actions and truth-telling, neither of which is very condusive to making friends.  Epicurus did not believe in gods, or anything so much like them (and Daimons are not god-spirits), they "feel" very much like Descartes god, a "Yeah, sure, uh...yeah, there's your gods, they don't do anything though and have no revelationary powers."

Blah-blah blah, most of the supposed prosecutions for atheism are not prosecutions specifically against atheism, but against many of the other attributes which tend to coincide with atheism.  Most prominant atheists who were persecuted through history were also guilty of the more common crime of -not shutting up when you're told to-, we can't look back in time and wonder why they didn't adhere to the concept of free speech, because we in North America don't.

It's nice to get all mad and such, but if you're going to make an argument based on logical thought, apply some to the argument.  It is not an argument against faith to yell "I can't accept people are rubes and others take advatage of that fact!", it is an argument against how power works in our culture.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Himatsu on November 22, 2008, 01:20:58 EST
Golly, Heq's right. Us atheists should just shut up and accept that religious leaders have power and we don't.

That is so fucking stupid.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Medivh on November 22, 2008, 08:29:41 EST
If the gloves come off, it'll be the atheist side spitting its teeth and begging the referee to stop the match. Atheists should be civil because they have the most to lose from open confrontation.

It's more of a rope-a-dope thing. Atheism as a political class would fail in direct confrontation, but at this very moment, we're content to let religious organisations make themselves look like fools. Sure, we dig the boot in when they do so, but that's how this game is played.

To part 2: where are the laws on blasphemy? Coveting? Work on the sabbath?

The culture is affected, no doubt. The laws? Not so much. The only parts of the ten commandments that are also part of the law are the parts that are common sense to have in the law.
Common sense is defined by culture.  To the Azande of North Central Africa, determining legal guilt by poisoning a chicken and posing questions to the poison (not the gods) on whether someone is metaphysically harming someone else is common sense today.  You just said culture is affected by religion.  How then is the law not affected too?

Bad choice of words, sorry. Though I can't find others, right at the moment.

Law is the codification of what culture deems important.  If the culture is based upon a particular ideology, then it becomes the codification of that ideology.  I will not say if it is functional or not, I am merely stating what is.

No, law is the codification of what those in power deem important, and important enough to bring force. Law is typically behind culture.

Anti-props to Greta Christina.

Atheists are treated very similarly to other groups in religious feuds who have been on the losing side in political struggles (most religious struggles are, at their heart, political-social struggles).  Over the last score of years aethists have risen in prominance, made many political plays, and lost badly.

You speak as if the battle is over. Far from.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Hephaestus 16 on November 22, 2008, 08:46:12 EST
Quote
Wikipedial atheism as contrasted with Wikipedial theism.  The categories defining it in the common mind are:

1)  Nonexistence of gods
2)  Rejection of the existence of current gods

By terminology, most people I've known reclassify the second as "agnostic", due to the existence of common ground between the second class and theists.  Functionally, then, I refer to those who feel a strong connection to the first category.  If that's not an accurate description of your beliefs, then we've just run into a language barrier, and our words mean two different things.  In that sense, then, what I said likely won't apply to you without at least some rewrite on interaction.  This will change only the logic I must wind through to show it to be a religious belief (my primary concern right now), not that it is not a religious belief.
I think that your definition of Religious belief is so broadthat it has become absolutely useless


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Heq on November 22, 2008, 11:04:45 EST
Himatsu, what I am recommending is that people stop bitching and saying "I'm persecuted, wah!" and go about finding ways to become more palatable to the majority.

Engaging in the standard game of "UR dumb", "UR dumb 2", "let's fight" almost assures a big loss.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Chris Stalis on November 22, 2008, 18:33:12 EST
Law is the codification of what culture deems important.  If the culture is based upon a particular ideology, then it becomes the codification of that ideology.  I will not say if it is functional or not, I am merely stating what is.

No, law is the codification of what those in power deem important, and important enough to bring force. Law is typically behind culture.
Again, this is logically impossible.  No one can gain power unless the culture propels them to it.  The !Kung bushmen of Africa (can't remember their exact geographic location) have a system of authority where no one is allowed to order anyone around.  Egalitarian debate is the only method for establishing a plan of action.  Granted, when they go out hunting, the !Kung will turn to their best hunter in the party and say "where do you think we should go?"  The hunter must then phrase it as a suggestion, for if he phrases it as an order everyone will ignore him.  If he should try to enforce the order, everyone will band together to evict him from the tribe or kill him, depending on the threat posed.

"Power" as we have envisioned it is enforced by neither law nor force nor divine mandate.  It is granted by the people of a society allowing it to be had by someone through actions and interaction, if not through democratic decision.  This is how dictators and presidents alike are turned into what we would call "lame ducks", where while the authority of the society technically rests with them, no one actually listens or recognizes the person when they exercise that authority.

Ergo, even if law is not the direct codificaiton of what society deems important, the power that codifies your law is propped up and created by the culture that created your power.

I think that your definition of Religious belief is so broadthat it has become absolutely useless
I am taking the academic approach to religious definition, as I understand it to be defined by anthropologists.  I am not attempting to say that everything is religious, nor does everything have religious significance.  What I am saying is that the basis for something to attain religious significance is that it must make an unverifiable assertion about the world.  This is not the whole of it, though.  Interaction with this assertion is key to the existence of belief, for a belief that isn't interacted with is functionally nonexistent anyway.  Both Atheism and Agnosticism fit this definition.  Also, there are common threads linking individuals in both of these collectives on how they interact with 'supernatural' (a term I use with serious reservation because of how loaded it is intellectually) material, principally their penchant for imposing Greek logic on anything they come across in this field.  "Logic" becomes imbued with an importance similar to "Faith", and some of the 'spiritual' rituals in wending through logical interpretations recognized as important by the group as a whole.  After all, while an atheist or agnostic is recognized positively for having rejected the idea of any particular deific figure, a true Atheist or Agnostic will have "contemplated" how it is illogical or inappropriate to hold as higher above you a broad subset of 'supernatural' powers.  Really, 'contemplate' for yourself who you would value the opinion of more, despite not being 'religious' about it.

Also, by broadening the definition of belief, it becomes possible to analyze religious symbolism in groups of people that do not see the demarcation between 'religious' and 'secular' belief (which consists of most societies that I have read up on).  The post Renaissance West is unique in its conception of what a "religion" is; to most people, they do not believe in religion, they accept the nature of the universe as it is.  This is no different then how academics and scientists accept gravity, quantum mechanics, electricity, relativity...  Without this reclassification, religion loses meaning the moment we leave our own culture.

I can begin accumulating a list of examples for this if you would like.  I will also point out that there is a difference still maintained between religion and science in academic communities.  I personally don't understand why and strongly suspect social indoctrination rather then a true difference, but there it is.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Himatsu on November 22, 2008, 22:18:07 EST
Himatsu, what I am recommending is that people stop bitching and saying "I'm persecuted, wah!" and go about finding ways to become more palatable to the majority.

It's not our problem that the majority find atheism unpalatable. We're not going to apologize for not believing--what do you think we are, agnostics? :P


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: hitchkitty on November 22, 2008, 22:42:29 EST
Himatsu, what I am recommending is that people stop bitching and saying "I'm persecuted, wah!" and go about finding ways to become more palatable to the majority.

I'm going to be very, very charitable here and assume that you're including "change what the majority finds palatable" in that, not just "change to be what the majority currently finds palatable".


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: richardf8 on November 22, 2008, 23:14:49 EST
Forgive me if I'm redundant, there's just too much of the usual for me to wade through.
I'm a religious Reform Jew.

I do not see God as the ultimate moral authority.  Indeed, when I read the bible I see God walking with us on the same journey of moral discovery that we all must make.  It's not a comforting God image for those who want to be able to derive morality from religion, but religion is NOT a divine endeavor; it is a human endeavor.  Religion is what happens when humans try to reify the ineffable, to systemitize the mystical experience, to build the infrastructure for the divine encounter.  It is post-hoc.  It tries to turn memory into reality, but memory fades, and in its fading becomes idealized.  The bible teaches me that we are all in this together, God and man, nation and nation, kin and kin.

Because of this, there is nothing intrinsic to religion from which morality can be derived.  And sometimes my morality comes from my holy book telling me that the poor-man's dove and the rich-man's cow are received by God with equal joy, and sometimes my morality comes from my being appalled at the idea that gays should be stoned.  But engaging my holy text, whether to agree or disagree with it, never fails to give me moral quandaries to ponder.  But the morality does not come from the text.  Rather it comes from my encounter with the text.  Meaning is constructed in the space where text and reader meet, and that is a space in which, whatever you may believe about notions of divine or inspired authorship, authorial intent becomes subservient to what the reader brings to the table.



Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 22, 2008, 23:36:07 EST
Himatsu, what I am recommending is that people stop bitching and saying "I'm persecuted, wah!" and go about finding ways to become more palatable to the majority.

I'm going to be very, very charitable here and assume that you're including "change what the majority finds palatable" in that, not just "change to be what the majority currently finds palatable".
Actually, I think both interpretations you offer are wrong.  I think it is that even though the actual nature of Atheists is palatable, they are not viewed as such.  Hence, the question is to change how Atheists are perceived and represented, rather than changing either group's attitudes.

Stuff
I am also a Reform Jew which is a polite way of saying that we are Jewish Culturally but no Religiously, though in my case my interest in Jewish Culture is limited to the consumption of Challah.

However, your post reflects my general perspective on religion, which is that it doesn't change people to match it, but people change it to match them. The violent fanatic and the peaceful saint are reading from the same book, but they choose to focus on the parts that match what they already believe.  The only beliefs that tend to appear universally are the ones that allow the Religion Meme to sustain and replicate itself, primarily that of faith over reason and a variety of carrots and sticks.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: John on November 23, 2008, 02:44:50 EST
go about finding ways to become more palatable to the majority.
I hear hating on gays does that pretty well


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: richardf8 on November 23, 2008, 09:34:36 EST
I am also a Reform Jew which is a polite way of saying that we are Jewish Culturally but no Religiously, though in my case my interest in Jewish Culture is limited to the consumption of Challah.

Actually, this is not a polite way of saying anything.  It is actually deeply troubling to those of us in the Reform movement who are active in our synagogues, observant of Shabbat and the festivals, studying Torah, and engaged in the various endeavors of repairing the world that we see our theology prompting us toward.  If you are culturally Jewish, then you are culturally Jewish, not Reform.  If you are culturally Jewish, and affiliated with a Reform synagogue, then that synagogue has opportunities for engagement to offer that you are not taking advantage of.

I don't want to hijack thread, so if you want to discuss the meaning of Reform, feel free to PM me, or join me at my blog (http://reformbaaltshuvah.blogspot.com/).

Quote
The only beliefs that tend to appear universally are the ones that allow the Religion Meme to sustain and replicate itself, primarily that of faith over reason and a variety of carrots and sticks.

The carrot and the stick doesn't really fly in Reform theology, and the book of Job really does a nice job of deconstructing that type of theology, present though it may be in Deuteronomy.  As for the question of faith over reason - I know there are many who will object, but I regard reason as something that is always deployed in the wake of belief, to justify it after the fact.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Heq on November 23, 2008, 12:22:47 EST
Wodan, yeah, that's about it.  People aren't so much threatened by Atheists as threatened by the image they have of them, when communism was big, evil Russia it was scarey, now, well, not so much.

People are motivated by thier perceptions moreso they by the facts behind things.  Let us take the homosexual movement, to co-opt two topics.  In Canada gay and lesbians have managed to change them from being thought of as the guys dancing on floats in chaps screaming "I'm here, I'm queer, get over it." and moved away from bellicose dickcheeses like Dan Savage.  Once it was seen that homosexuality was not a threat to the status quo, acceptance naturally followed.

Americans will often say this is because Canada is more liberal, but this is not true.  My area of Canada (that I am currently living in) is more right-wing then most of the country of Texas, and my home country of Newfoundland is xenophobic to the extreme.  It is that people only fear things which they can concieve of as a threat.

I think minority movements in America need to learn how to get along rather then rail and bitch and whine, and they will find that you get a lot more progress flowing water over rock then burning it.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Blue Boy from Red Country on November 23, 2008, 18:41:06 EST
People aren't so much threatened by Atheists as threatened by the image they have of them, when communism was big, evil Russia it was scarey, now, well, not so much.

...

I think minority movements in America need to learn how to get along rather then rail and bitch and whine, and they will find that you get a lot more progress flowing water over rock then burning it.

It appears I can agree with you from time to time Heq. :P

Antagonism tends to turn things into shouting matches where people start trading barbs and getting into defensive postures and forget that the people they are arguing with are still human.

I had a conversation today with a friend of mine that touched on this... He couldn't appreciate why anyone would be opposed to gay marriage, stating that the government's definition is not culturally specific. He also argued that it was hypocritical of Christians to accept people married under other religions, but not to accept gay marriages.

Personally, I think the resistance is largely cultural - conservative Christians have come to accept marriages outside their religion for two reasons. One is that they more closely resemble Christian marriages. The other, though, is that religious minorities (to my knowledge) have never had to fight for the right to marry. Proponents of gay marriage have - and in fighting for such rights, there are those who've become belligerent and only served to galvanize their opponents into thinking they need to protect marriage for themselves. (Granted, the more extreme conservatives would have anyway - but they wouldn't have much weight if it weren't for their liberal counterparts.)

It's difficult, but if you can be patient and understanding of those who persecute you, you're far more likely to be accepted. The average person is far more considerate of a good neighbor than they are a mortal enemy.



Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Bringerofpie on November 23, 2008, 18:46:26 EST
Let me preface, I'm an atheist...or a nontheist...or something like that, I lose track of all the termonology used on the forum. Either way, I don't feel like I'm being oppressed.

An oppressed group is forced to go into hiding. An oppressed group is killed for their beliefs or, at the very least, denied basic civil rights. Atheists have the luxury of going online and writing a blog about their woes or getting into a debate in a public place. That's not oppression. It may not be full acceptance, but I think oppression is being used lightly in this case.

Also, I agree with Heq. You can't win if you don't play.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 23, 2008, 18:55:03 EST
You can't win if you don't play.
That also summarizes how I feel about third parties.  Neither of the 2 main parties are homogeneous.  The Neocons are just as much a fringe group from old school Republicans as Libertarians are, but one of them has been able to shape the party around themselves, while the other refused to play at all.  Ron Paul tried, but you need to do more than run presidents.  If the Libertarians tried to get strongly Libertarian Republicans seats in the Congress, they might get somewhere.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Medivh on November 23, 2008, 19:03:18 EST
Wodan, yeah, that's about it.  People aren't so much threatened by Atheists as threatened by the image they have of them, when communism was big, evil Russia it was scarey, now, well, not so much.

People are motivated by thier perceptions moreso they by the facts behind things.  Let us take the homosexual movement, to co-opt two topics.  In Canada gay and lesbians have managed to change them from being thought of as the guys dancing on floats in chaps screaming "I'm here, I'm queer, get over it." and moved away from bellicose dickcheeses like Dan Savage.  Once it was seen that homosexuality was not a threat to the status quo, acceptance naturally followed.

Americans will often say this is because Canada is more liberal, but this is not true.  My area of Canada (that I am currently living in) is more right-wing then most of the country of Texas, and my home country of Newfoundland is xenophobic to the extreme.  It is that people only fear things which they can concieve of as a threat.

I think minority movements in America need to learn how to get along rather then rail and bitch and whine, and they will find that you get a lot more progress flowing water over rock then burning it.

It doesn't matter how well atheists fit into society, the megachurches will always see them as competition. And because atheism is as far from megachurch as possible, they're the first against the wall.

IOW, Heq: We aren't spoiling for a fight. Not as a group anyway. There are arsehole atheists just as there are born-agains. However, even if we stop fighting, our self-styled opponents wont.

From personal experience: I worked along side a fundamentalist Calvinist for a year. When a friend of mine told him that she was non-practising Catholic, he vaguely looked down his nose at her and would have made weak attempts to get her into church on a weekly basis. But when he heard that I was atheist, suddenly there was 11 months of preaching, rhetoric, regurgitated crap and argument. When I trapped him in his own bad logic, he'd say I was wrong, but wouldn't come to the party with the details. Pretty much what I was expecting, in other words. For the remaining month, he ignored my presence. Which I was thankful for.

However, at no point did I start off a conversation with an entry to a religious discussion. It was enough for him that I was atheist to justify attacking my beliefs. And while anecdotes are not data, every time I've run up against this type of personality, the word "atheist" is enough to unleash a barrage of venom and bile. Even the more moderate faithful say something like "oh... err... is that so?"

At least they don't attack on sight...


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Medivh on November 23, 2008, 19:52:21 EST
Law is the codification of what culture deems important.  If the culture is based upon a particular ideology, then it becomes the codification of that ideology.  I will not say if it is functional or not, I am merely stating what is.

No, law is the codification of what those in power deem important, and important enough to bring force. Law is typically behind culture.
Again, this is logically impossible.  No one can gain power unless the culture propels them to it. <snip tangent to !Kung tribes>

Not at all, if you think about it; few people will vote for someone more radical than themselves. It usually comes out like this: "While the guy from the Boring-Grey-Hair-No-Change party refuses to let society progress any further, the guy from the Let-Murderers-Run-Free-And-Damn-The-Consequences party go too far." I suspect this is why the Republican party is still relevant at all; there are a lot of people who like most of the Democratic platform, but find one item to go too far. Gay marriage, at the moment, seems to be that one issue.

"Power" as we have envisioned it is enforced by neither law nor force nor divine mandate.  It is granted by the people of a society allowing it to be had by someone through actions and interaction, if not through democratic decision.  This is how dictators and presidents alike are turned into what we would call "lame ducks", where while the authority of the society technically rests with them, no one actually listens or recognizes the person when they exercise that authority.

Sometimes, you're right. Sometimes, the dictator has the loyalty of the army, and the people daren't resist openly. Regardless, from the above, it often goes "well, my health care sucks. But at least the sanctity of marriage is safe while the Republicans are in power."

Ergo, even if law is not the direct codificaiton of what society deems important, the power that codifies your law is propped up and created by the culture that created your power.

To an extent. It's at least twice removed from what society deems important, though. And for that, it's very much a lagging indicator of society.

EDIT: Errgh... double post. Sorry about that.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: wodan46 on November 23, 2008, 22:53:54 EST
Stuff
That's why you say you are a secular humanist instead of an atheist.  I mean, for practical purposes, you probably are.  Look at the general directives offered:

* Need to test beliefs – A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
* Reason, evidence, scientific method – A commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
* Fulfillment, growth, creativity – A primary concern with fulfillment, growth and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
* Search for truth – A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
* This life – A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
* Ethics – A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
* Building a better world – A conviction that with reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: rwpikul on November 23, 2008, 23:08:39 EST
Wodan, yeah, that's about it.  People aren't so much threatened by Atheists as threatened by the image they have of them, when communism was big, evil Russia it was scarey, now, well, not so much.

People are motivated by thier perceptions moreso they by the facts behind things.  Let us take the homosexual movement, to co-opt two topics.  In Canada gay and lesbians have managed to change them from being thought of as the guys dancing on floats in chaps screaming "I'm here, I'm queer, get over it." and moved away from bellicose dickcheeses like Dan Savage.  Once it was seen that homosexuality was not a threat to the status quo, acceptance naturally followed.

Being out in the boonies you probably missed it, but getting to the point of not being seen as a threat took riots over police harassment, decades of court fights and decades of marches will the full "get over it" message.  Just being nice doesn't get you very far in this kind of fight, and even less if "being nice" means pretending you don't exist1.

Thus far, the worst thing the atheist movement has done is to stick a nail through a cracker and throw it in the trash, (in response to religious based death threats over a similar cracker).

Your advice is, to use an older term, for atheists to be less uppity.


1:  Militant atheist, n.  One who does not believe in gods and who does not at least pretend to participate in religious ritual.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Chris Stalis on November 24, 2008, 05:44:46 EST
Again, this is logically impossible.  No one can gain power unless the culture propels them to it. <snip tangent to !Kung tribes>
Not at all, if you think about it; few people will vote for someone more radical than themselves. It usually comes out like this: "While the guy from the Boring-Grey-Hair-No-Change party refuses to let society progress any further, the guy from the Let-Murderers-Run-Free-And-Damn-The-Consequences party go too far." I suspect this is why the Republican party is still relevant at all; there are a lot of people who like most of the Democratic platform, but find one item to go too far. Gay marriage, at the moment, seems to be that one issue.
First off, we are discussing how society works in general.  Please do not treat as tangential evidence for societal operations that I bring up, as it is very annoying and mildly insulting to me.  If I say it, I have a reason for it, and it's not just to make my posts longer.

Next, directly on topic, your example continues to prove my point, and I am very confused why you think it doesn't.  The American society doesn't want a 'best fit' leadership, it wants a true leadership to take it where it wants to go.  The Republicans are fortunate because, for the last 20 or so years, the American society hasn't wanted to step away from what it has been unless it likes where it is stepping towards.  Things were, for the majority, fine as long as the money was growing nicely.  Now that people feel where they were standing ain't so grand, they want "change".  So they move over to the Democratic side.  Obviously, this isn't a universal move, but societies rarely move in lockstep anyway.  The power in America comes more obviously from the people due to how our elections are organized, but it is still the power created by the society, rather then anything created by the government.

I will also remind you that in statements directly and Grand Political Strategy, George W Bush advocated what we all want:  Better schools, more money, safer lives... it was in the details that he bungled it, and this is why he will be treated as a worthless waste of presidential portrait space for the next decade or two, at least.  Until the details came out, he represented what Americans wanted.  Once he stopped representing that, he was fittingly crucified for it to a great deal.  While many who have gravitated here might think that the details came out sufficiently well back in 2002 or 2003, the society disagreed and kept him in power until 2006ish, when people stopped caring about his opinions directly, and started just seeing him as an obstacle.  Now, by peculiarity, we couldn't evict him in legal name then like he was in spirit, but make no bones about it:  almost no one cared about Bush's opinions for most of the second half of his presidency here, and so he had to actually convince people to listen to him rather then just tell them what he was going to do.  This is a major blow to power compared with how he was set up in 2001.

"Power" as we have envisioned it is enforced by neither law nor force nor divine mandate.  It is granted by the people of a society allowing it to be had by someone through actions and interaction, if not through democratic decision.  This is how dictators and presidents alike are turned into what we would call "lame ducks", where while the authority of the society technically rests with them, no one actually listens or recognizes the person when they exercise that authority.

Sometimes, you're right. Sometimes, the dictator has the loyalty of the army, and the people daren't resist openly. Regardless, from the above, it often goes "well, my health care sucks. But at least the sanctity of marriage is safe while the Republicans are in power."
This is why I mentioned the !Kung.  A dictator rolls in with his army in tow.  The people say "no, you can't command us" either by direct opposition or ignoring the dictator.  The dictator orders people to get shot.  The people fight back, and either kill said dictator, get them to stop wanting to order people around, or agree that their lives are more valuable then not having a dictator ordering them around.  In the last case, it is only the value you place on your own life that gives a dictator the power to control you.  Otherwise you would leave, ignore him, or do as you please in some other way.  The power of the gun only exists if death is an inherently negative result, which it need not be universally.

This also assumes the existence of a standing army or potentially similar militaristic group of individuals.  How then does your little coup scenario work if the military either doesn't exist or won't support the dictator?  Really, you're not a dictator if everyone you try to order around just locks you up in a nuthouse.

Ergo, even if law is not the direct codificaiton of what society deems important, the power that codifies your law is propped up and created by the culture that created your power.
To an extent. It's at least twice removed from what society deems important, though. And for that, it's very much a lagging indicator of society.
Not really.  Law is actually surprisingly easy for people to change.  Look at how the PATRIOT Act was turned into law.  Look at the Espionage Act.  All you have to do is convince people that it's a good idea.  Once they are convinced, the process takes care of itself and it either becomes legal law or cultural law.  And cultural law is even stronger then legal law, as there is no 'court' to truly appeal it to.  See my discussion on what happens when you punch a serviceman in the face if you need a concrete example on it.

The art, of course, is convincing people that it matters, and that's another beast entirely.  This may be where you're getting hung up in my statement, or it may not.  I'm not 100% sure.  I will try to suffice it to say that just because something seems like it should "make sense" to one person doesn't mean the society is going to agree with the notion, no matter how logical it is to the native system of logic the society uses.  Unfortunately, that starts to tangent off, so let me know if you'd like me to elaborate more.

Now, if I may just take a moment...
Being out in the boonies you probably missed it, but getting to the point of not being seen as a threat took riots over police harassment, decades of court fights and decades of marches will the full "get over it" message.  Just being nice doesn't get you very far in this kind of fight, and even less if "being nice" means pretending you don't exist.
rwp... are you your parents child in spirit as well as by blood?  Do you believe every idea with exactly the same fervor, with exactly the same attachment or detachment, with exactly the same emotion invested into each and every belief on each and every topic?  No.  Is it even going to be functionally identical?  For the most part, I would doubt it.  Oh, you might have a negative view where they do, but to the same extent, and for the same reasons?  Really, really unlikely.

As such, do not assume that the children of the people who were being rebelled against in the 60s are the same as their parents.  Do not assume that the same arguments, the same methods are going to arouse the same level of emotions.  Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't, but right now it's not going to work because the shock appeal has died off a long time ago.  Atheists cannot recreate the same level of concern for their plight just as homosexuals and bisexuals cannot.  If anything, non-emotional discussion (don't even phrase it as an argument) of the topic might carry more emotional shock value and get your opinion listened to more right now then any overt action of dissent.  Apathy towards 'uppity' behavior and a general disdain for it is more likely to make the reaction extremist when you would actually like to be listened to.

If you beat someone in the US down until they listen to you, they will never respect you.  Further, they will stab you in the back the first moment they get.  This is how American pride works.  Be careful that it doesn't get you ideologically or physically killed.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on November 24, 2008, 06:06:15 EST
Quote from: Eon
For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America).
I think it's important to differentiate between appearance and reality here too.  The media in the UK go out of their way to present America as a land of ignorant hicks.  Certainly some of it is.  Much of it though is not.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Comrade Ogilvy on November 24, 2008, 08:21:34 EST
I wonder if LaVeyan Satanists get more or less crap from religions than vanilla atheists. I mean, technically that has a morality...


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Heq on November 24, 2008, 13:33:09 EST
I was actually a Laveyan Satanist during my "hog fucking wild" phase, and I must say they are treated with more respect then atheists by clergy.

It's simple really, they clearly care abou spirituality, while the atheist rejects it outright.  Kinda like how I can disagree with a collegue about political parties intensely, but both of us will turn up our noses at someone who states they just don't see why it's important.

There is no bigger dis then apathy, and that's part of the rep against atheists.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Bocaj Claw on November 24, 2008, 14:31:15 EST
On the other hand and in my experience, people prefer that you don't care about football rather than supporting a team they hate.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Heq on November 24, 2008, 16:26:53 EST
Do you mean wussball or Real Football?

It's only acceptable for people who care a lot about hockey to not care about Real Football.  Not caring about a sport where the cheif requirement for a cup is grabbing one's one knee and feigning an injury, or going down like a ton of bricks when one gets shoved is a sign of good character.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Bocaj Claw on November 24, 2008, 16:59:06 EST
American football. What with the non-spherical ball and the tight pants and the fourth downs and the truffle shuffle.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Bringerofpie on November 24, 2008, 17:55:00 EST
I've noticed that there's a level of respect between die-hard fans, regardless of team.

P.S. I'm proud of the Dolphins for breaking 500 this year.
P.P.S. The Eagles should find a new quarterback.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Blue Boy from Red Country on November 24, 2008, 17:56:58 EST
Quote from: Eon
For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America).
I think it's important to differentiate between appearance and reality here too.  The media in the UK go out of their way to present America as a land of ignorant hicks.  Certainly some of it is.  Much of it though is not.


Yes, and many of the "hicks" aren't extremely hostile... There are those who will demean or harass people who aren't "normal", but very few are genuinely violent. They are far more apt to just give you a cold shoulder and try to ignore you, saving their criticisms for when they're out of ear shot.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: PyRoFoXiE on November 24, 2008, 18:30:24 EST
With Richard Dawkin's name having been brought of in this thread, I want to ask the athiests in the audience if they believe that the "faithful's" distrust of atheists and atheism in general is because of Richard Dawkins, Christoper Hitchens, and their ilk to some degree. When you have books titled "God is Not Great" and "The God Delusion" published, that sounds a lot like throwing rocks at a hornet's next if you ask me.

And for the record: I worship the magical platypus. Why? Because it's a mad mad mad mad mad mad world!


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Medivh on November 24, 2008, 19:46:42 EST
Again, this is logically impossible.  No one can gain power unless the culture propels them to it. <snip tangent to !Kung tribes>
Not at all, if you think about it; few people will vote for someone more radical than themselves. It usually comes out like this: "While the guy from the Boring-Grey-Hair-No-Change party refuses to let society progress any further, the guy from the Let-Murderers-Run-Free-And-Damn-The-Consequences party go too far." I suspect this is why the Republican party is still relevant at all; there are a lot of people who like most of the Democratic platform, but find one item to go too far. Gay marriage, at the moment, seems to be that one issue.
First off, we are discussing how society works in general.  Please do not treat as tangential evidence for societal operations that I bring up, as it is very annoying and mildly insulting to me.  If I say it, I have a reason for it, and it's not just to make my posts longer.

I snipped it and called it tangental because it's evidence of how one society works. Evidence of one, without some sort of induction or deduction, does not constitute proof of all.

I'm sorry if you take insult, but I'm a fairly blunt person and will point out error where I find it.

Next, directly on topic, your example continues to prove my point, and I am very confused why you think it doesn't.  The American society doesn't want a 'best fit' leadership, it wants a true leadership to take it where it wants to go.  The Republicans are fortunate because, for the last 20 or so years, the American society hasn't wanted to step away from what it has been unless it likes where it is stepping towards.  Things were, for the majority, fine as long as the money was growing nicely.  Now that people feel where they were standing ain't so grand, they want "change".  So they move over to the Democratic side.  Obviously, this isn't a universal move, but societies rarely move in lockstep anyway.  The power in America comes more obviously from the people due to how our elections are organized, but it is still the power created by the society, rather then anything created by the government.

I don't follow from "'best fit' leadership" to "American society". You're essentially defining a 'best fit' leadership with that next sentence.

I will also remind you that in statements directly and Grand Political Strategy, George W Bush advocated what we all want:  Better schools, more money, safer lives... it was in the details that he bungled it, and this is why he will be treated as a worthless waste of presidential portrait space for the next decade or two, at least.  Until the details came out, he represented what Americans wanted.  Once he stopped representing that, he was fittingly crucified for it to a great deal.  While many who have gravitated here might think that the details came out sufficiently well back in 2002 or 2003, the society disagreed and kept him in power until 2006ish, when people stopped caring about his opinions directly, and started just seeing him as an obstacle.  Now, by peculiarity, we couldn't evict him in legal name then like he was in spirit, but make no bones about it:  almost no one cared about Bush's opinions for most of the second half of his presidency here, and so he had to actually convince people to listen to him rather then just tell them what he was going to do.  This is a major blow to power compared with how he was set up in 2001.

Incorrect. Despite people having had enough of Bush in 2006, they hadn't had enough of him that they elected a veto-proof majority to the Senate. Thus, a quirk in the legal system of the US grants Bush the power to stop anything he wants to. While he lost power over congress, that's not the only power available to the POTUS.

"Power" as we have envisioned it is enforced by neither law nor force nor divine mandate.  It is granted by the people of a society allowing it to be had by someone through actions and interaction, if not through democratic decision.  This is how dictators and presidents alike are turned into what we would call "lame ducks", where while the authority of the society technically rests with them, no one actually listens or recognizes the person when they exercise that authority.

Sometimes, you're right. Sometimes, the dictator has the loyalty of the army, and the people daren't resist openly. Regardless, from the above, it often goes "well, my health care sucks. But at least the sanctity of marriage is safe while the Republicans are in power."
This is why I mentioned the !Kung.  A dictator rolls in with his army in tow.  The people say "no, you can't command us" either by direct opposition or ignoring the dictator.  The dictator orders people to get shot.  The people fight back, and either kill said dictator, get them to stop wanting to order people around, or agree that their lives are more valuable then not having a dictator ordering them around.  In the last case, it is only the value you place on your own life that gives a dictator the power to control you.  Otherwise you would leave, ignore him, or do as you please in some other way.  The power of the gun only exists if death is an inherently negative result, which it need not be universally.

To some extent, you're right. Some people fight to free their country of a dictator. But, despite the majority of Iraqis hating Saddam, he wasn't toppled from within.

This also assumes the existence of a standing army or potentially similar militaristic group of individuals.  How then does your little coup scenario work if the military either doesn't exist or won't support the dictator?  Really, you're not a dictator if everyone you try to order around just locks you up in a nuthouse.

The same way that your internal strife scenario works if there's no-one willing to fight. It doesn't.

Ergo, even if law is not the direct codificaiton of what society deems important, the power that codifies your law is propped up and created by the culture that created your power.
To an extent. It's at least twice removed from what society deems important, though. And for that, it's very much a lagging indicator of society.
Not really.  Law is actually surprisingly easy for people to change.  Look at how the PATRIOT Act was turned into law.  Look at the Espionage Act.  All you have to do is convince people that it's a good idea.  Once they are convinced, the process takes care of itself and it either becomes legal law or cultural law.  And cultural law is even stronger then legal law, as there is no 'court' to truly appeal it to.  See my discussion on what happens when you punch a serviceman in the face if you need a concrete example on it.

The PATRIOT act wasn't up for general vote. If it was, it would have been defeated; the people that care about the act can be divided into two groups. Politicians and, for want of a better term, computer geeks. There are a lot more geeks who have a lot more people power than politicians. I can only assume that the Espionage act is similar.

Music pirating is culturally acceptable, or at least neutral, but illegal. Explain that.

The art, of course, is convincing people that it matters, and that's another beast entirely.  This may be where you're getting hung up in my statement, or it may not.  I'm not 100% sure.  I will try to suffice it to say that just because something seems like it should "make sense" to one person doesn't mean the society is going to agree with the notion, no matter how logical it is to the native system of logic the society uses.  Unfortunately, that starts to tangent off, so let me know if you'd like me to elaborate more.

Nope, I'm getting hung up on the fact that, for instance, the SCOTUS and most other courts on Earth are treating intellectual property like physical property. Clearly, from this angle, law is lagging behind culture. There are several other angles where law is clearly behind culture, but it's most obvious around technology.

Do you mean wussball or Real Football?

Wait, you're not calling Rugby With Armor And Fewer Rules, AKA gridiron, "Real Football" are you?

Quote from: Eon
For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America).
I think it's important to differentiate between appearance and reality here too.  The media in the UK go out of their way to present America as a land of ignorant hicks.  Certainly some of it is.  Much of it though is not.


Yes, and many of the "hicks" aren't extremely hostile... There are those who will demean or harass people who aren't "normal", but very few are genuinely violent. They are far more apt to just give you a cold shoulder and try to ignore you, saving their criticisms for when they're out of ear shot.

Trust me, I'd prefer the cold shoulder treatment to what I already get. I can deal with bastards who gossip, it's the ones who refuse to get out of my face that annoy me the most.

With Richard Dawkin's name having been brought of in this thread, I want to ask the athiests in the audience if they believe that the "faithful's" distrust of atheists and atheism in general is because of Richard Dawkins, Christoper Hitchens, and their ilk to some degree. When you have books titled "God is Not Great" and "The God Delusion" published, that sounds a lot like throwing rocks at a hornet's next if you ask me.

My anecdote earlier in the thread was from before either book was released. So, no, I don't think that these books are the cause of distrust. I think, though, that they are fanning the flames. Though, I think that this is because they're showing atheists that they're not alone. Groups that aren't actively antagonist, like CFI On Campus, are doing similar things to the proverbial flames.

"Oh thank the stars! I'm not alone! I don't have to take this shit!"


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Andrei on November 24, 2008, 22:04:53 EST
Quite a few people seem to have taken my "spitting teeth" comment more literally than I'd meant it. I really only meant it as an extension of the "taking the gloves off" metaphor.

To give an example, suppose an militant atheist group lobbied to have the Bible declared hate litterature (I don't know why, but it strikes me as something they might do); and a fundamentalist group lobbied to have "The God Delusion" declared hate litterature (again, I don't know why, but it strikes me as something they might do).

Which initiative do you think would have the highest chance of success...

Quote from: Eon
For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America).
... But you don't mind living in the UK, which has an official state church which you support with tax money... which I'd guess is still more intrusion of the church in the life of private citizens than people in the US have to suffer.

Quote from: Heq
Not caring about a sport where the chief requirement for a cup is grabbing one's one knee and feigning an injury, or going down like a ton of bricks when one gets shoved is a sign of good character.
You obviously haven't watched the last cup of Europe. Spain won it because...
wait for it...
brace yourself...
they ditched the tricks and played well.

I think at some point in the future, teams will realize that the best way to win at football (by which I mean real football, not american rugby) is to play well.

And as far as american rugby goes, it always struck me as very similar to what we call "lapte gros" (google it, there are fun videos on youtube)... only with tighter pants and more groping.

I'm not a huge football fan, but I'll take it over that anytime. Hockey's nice enough, quite similar to football actually...

(Yes, I can occasionally be a jackass like anyone else)


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Medivh on November 25, 2008, 01:02:17 EST
Which initiative do you think would have the highest chance of success...

Long or short term? Long term, I give them about equal probability.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: rwpikul on November 25, 2008, 02:20:10 EST
Being out in the boonies you probably missed it, but getting to the point of not being seen as a threat took riots over police harassment, decades of court fights and decades of marches will the full "get over it" message.  Just being nice doesn't get you very far in this kind of fight, and even less if "being nice" means pretending you don't exist.
As such, do not assume that the children of the people who were being rebelled against in the 60s are the same as their parents.

Your argument falls apart right here:  I wasn't simply referring to the fights of the 1960s.

For the homosexual issue alone, the Bathhouse riots were in 1981 and the court fights ran into the 21st century before they were all over, (although the serious wins were by the early 90's).

Once you start looking at other issues that are similar, you get a string of issues running right back into at least the _19th_ century.

"Being nice" didn't work for the suffragettes.
"Being nice" didn't work for the early labour movement.
"Being nice" didn't work for the blacks.
"Being nice" didn't work for the homosexuals.

And there is no reason to believe that "being nice" is going to work now.  Plus, the least nice that has come out of the atheists is putting a nail through a cracker.


Now, how about looking at what we can face if we were to, say, object to a proselytizing teacher who burns crosses on the arms of his students (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Freshwater):  Active harassment, and  assaults. (http://www.mountvernonnews.com/local/08/05/06/freshwater_upd.php4)  Things would have been even worse if the family had not been Christian.  Standard advice to atheist parents is to be ready to, at the minimum, switch your kids to another school should you complain about such flagrant illegality.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Eon on November 25, 2008, 06:55:47 EST
*sigh* Once more unto the breach...

Quote from: Eon
For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America).
... But you don't mind living in the UK, which has an official state church which you support with tax money... which I'd guess is still more intrusion of the church in the life of private citizens than people in the US have to suffer.

If you can find one example of anywhere on the internet where I have ever claimed that I "don't mind living in the UK", I'll show you a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. Go ahead, I dare you to search. I'm not happy with this country, and I am interested in leaving. Please refrain from making assumptions about people you do not know. The fact that I wouldn't want to live in America does not automatically mean that I'm perfectly content living where I am. Fortunately, there are other places in the world besides the UK and the USA. You appear to be slipping into the fallacy of the false dichotomy.

However, it is not for church/state reasons that I want to leave the UK. I shall not go into those reasons in this topic as they're not relevant. Furthermore, your opinion on the status of church and state in the UK betrays your ignorance on the subject. There is not a state church in the UK; there are state churches only in England and in Scotland, and they are different churches. Northern Ireland and Wales have long since disestablished what used to be their state churches.

Also, while there is a state church in England and one in Scotland, there is a de facto separation of church and state. None of our politicians stand on a platform of religious fundamentalism, nor do they seek to pander to the whims of any particular religious group. Indeed, one of the few things I admired about Tony Blair was his staunch opposition to mixing religion and politics. You'll notice that things that the Republicans use to energise their conservative Christian base like gay rights, abortion, etc., are not even issues over here (or at least not even close to the degree they are over there). Oh, occasionally some Catholic bishop will issue an opinion about some such issue, but it has little bearing on the politics here, and the response is usually quite damning.

Should state and church be legally separated? Absolutely. And I hope one day that they are, but in the meantime, no one of any significance in British politics is trying to use the agencies of the state to impose a particular religious ideology upon us all (it would be political suicide for them to try), and with an increasingly irreligious population (church attendance of any kind being down to about 8%), that is a trend that does not look like being reversed any time soon. But it'll take much more than that to keep me on this rock if I get the opportunity to leave. And if I really only had a choice between the UK and the USA, I'd go with the one with less people who'd be inclined to despise me simply because I don't accept ridiculous propositions without any evidence.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on November 25, 2008, 07:05:57 EST
Quote from: Eon
For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America).
... But you don't mind living in the UK, which has an official state church which you support with tax money... which I'd guess is still more intrusion of the church in the life of private citizens than people in the US have to suffer.
The Church of England is financially independent of the government, they aren't supported by taxes.  They are supported by donations and various financial investments that they acquired while they were much closer to the state.

That said, the part of the government that deal with preserving historic buildings often give them large grants for the repair of churches.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Eon on November 25, 2008, 10:07:38 EST
Quote from: Eon
For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America).
... But you don't mind living in the UK, which has an official state church which you support with tax money... which I'd guess is still more intrusion of the church in the life of private citizens than people in the US have to suffer.
The Church of England is financially independent of the government, they aren't supported by taxes.  They are supported by donations and various financial investments that they acquired while they were much closer to the state.

That said, the part of the government that deal with preserving historic buildings often give them large grants for the repair of churches.

And considering many churches are indeed historic buildings, I'm not sure I'm totally opposed to that.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on November 25, 2008, 11:30:44 EST
Quote from: Eon
For those of us living in the supposedly civilised United States, atheists are already harassed, threatened, assaulted, and murdered, not to mention having their property vandalised (indeed, this, more so than anything else, is why I would never want to live in America).
... But you don't mind living in the UK, which has an official state church which you support with tax money... which I'd guess is still more intrusion of the church in the life of private citizens than people in the US have to suffer.
The Church of England is financially independent of the government, they aren't supported by taxes.  They are supported by donations and various financial investments that they acquired while they were much closer to the state.

That said, the part of the government that deal with preserving historic buildings often give them large grants for the repair of churches.

And considering many churches are indeed historic buildings, I'm not sure I'm totally opposed to that.
Well, I'm suspicious of it.  I think that English heritage funding gives them a line of support that other churches with newer buildings don't have.  I think this is unfair, probably this is not abused currently, but I there is that risk in the future.

I think that it would not be a calamity if English Heritage were less generous.  In Ireland the anglican church (The "Church of Ireland") have similar problem with old buildings to that in England.  The difference is though that they are not liked by the government.  This doesn't mean though that their buildings are falling down.  Rather they are selling those churches they can't maintain.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on November 25, 2008, 12:11:25 EST
Quote from: Eon
However, it is not for church/state reasons that I want to leave the UK.
Curiously quite a lot of my side seem to be seeing things the same way (http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2008/11/so_which_countr.html).

There something ironic here.  Grumpy libertarians are talking about leaving and so are grumpy social democrats.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: PyRoFoXiE on November 25, 2008, 14:08:37 EST
Now, how about looking at what we can face if we were to, say, object to a proselytizing teacher who burns crosses on the arms of his students (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Freshwater):  Active harassment, and  assaults. (http://www.mountvernonnews.com/local/08/05/06/freshwater_upd.php4)  Things would have been even worse if the family had not been Christian.  Standard advice to atheist parents is to be ready to, at the minimum, switch your kids to another school should you complain about such flagrant illegality.

...hmm so this John Freshwater guy is one of the nutbars that believes humans and dinosaurs co-existed? Guess someone forgot to tell him that "the Flintstones" are fictional.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Eon on November 26, 2008, 11:01:44 EST
...hmm so this John Freshwater guy is one of the nutbars that believes humans and dinosaurs co-existed? Guess someone forgot to tell him that "the Flintstones" are fictional.

It's deeply troubling how many people actually believe that... or that dinosaurs never existed at all and that their "fossils" were created by Satan to lure unsuspecting people away from the truth of the scriptures. It's even more troubling that I knew someone in school (yes, in Nottingham, in England) who believed that. Fortunately, a year at university seemed to transform her entirely.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on November 26, 2008, 11:21:55 EST
...hmm so this John Freshwater guy is one of the nutbars that believes humans and dinosaurs co-existed? Guess someone forgot to tell him that "the Flintstones" are fictional.

It's deeply troubling how many people actually believe that... or that dinosaurs never existed at all and that their "fossils" were created by Satan to lure unsuspecting people away from the truth of the scriptures. It's even more troubling that I knew someone in school (yes, in Nottingham, in England) who believed that. Fortunately, a year at university seemed to transform her entirely.
Exactly, there are nutters everywhere.

Who of course considers who to be a nutter is another interesting aspect of the whole thing.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: boring7 on November 26, 2008, 15:57:14 EST
http://xkcd.com/154/ (http://xkcd.com/154/)

Pretty much my country. 

Of course then there's Dawkins.  Dawkins is so often decried as being mean or a jerk, but I just don't see it.  Yeah, he's said some douchey things and I have seen him get grumpy and short-tempered with people or things, but not much.  And that's the thing, when you're the most hated group (http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/ath1.htm) if you show the REMARKABLE restraint that Dawkins shows, you're doing pretty darned good.  There are a handful of out-of-context quotes where Dawkins says not-nice things.  There are a MOUNTAIN of in-context sermons where more religious leaders than I can count call for rape, torture, and murder of atheists.  It is a majority view the world over that atheists should be treated as less than human, why is it that the atheists are somehow "not nice enough." 

Now I agree with the general sense that a soft-hand should be taken, if only because 3% of the population is small enough to be offed in one night of rage-fueled riotous violence and lynch-mobbery.  I believe in playing nice with people who are nice, but this, "oh you atheists are too rude, you would be given the privilege of being treated equally by us theists if you'd only behave much better than we do," idea is a pile o' horse-hockey. 

But I feel I should take a moment to address the original topic and Richard Dawkins at the same time.  In his article, "I'm an atheist, BUT... (http://richarddawkins.net/article,318,n,n) he rejects the assumption that people NEED religion, the fear of punishment and the sense of belonging, to walk the paths of life without descending into hedonistic madness or depressed torpor.  He says, "I am tempted to say 'I believe in people' . . ." 

Well I don't believe in people.  I think there's a great many folk who cannot and never could handle the terrifying freedom of doing right for rightness' sake.  I believe that far too much of the population only "behaves" because an overbearing cosmic "daddy" is threatening to spank them from on high if they do not.  I believe that while there are those who overcome and self-actualize without the psychological fear of punishment too many never, ever will. 

As Seagull said, this is a pessimistic opinion, but I am a pessimistic person. 

And...seasonal non-sequitor (http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=106705&title=Preaching-and-Shooting), "and Rudolph wept." 



Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: PyRoFoXiE on November 26, 2008, 18:09:51 EST
Eh, some part of me wants to back to the polytheistic days when the gods were capricious, and had hammers.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Blue Boy from Red Country on November 26, 2008, 18:17:59 EST
Eh, some part of me wants to back to the polytheistic days when the gods were capricious, and had hammers.

lol, yes, when deities were there to be appeased and to be the subject of endless stories... not the crux of someone's system of morality.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Andrei on November 27, 2008, 09:54:23 EST
Quote from: Medivh:][quote="Andrei
Which initiative (atheist to ban Bible or religious to ban 'God Delusion') do you think would have the highest chance of success...
Long or short term? Long term, I give them about equal probability.[/quote]Short term. I agree with you about the long term.

Quote from: Eon
The fact that I wouldn't want to live in America does not automatically mean that I'm perfectly content living where I am. Fortunately, there are other places in the world besides the UK and the USA. You appear to be slipping into the fallacy of the false dichotomy.
Either that, or I was pointing out it is illogical to forcefully refuse to live in the US because of state/church relations while living in the UK, much of which has a state church.

Quote from: Current
The Church of England is financially independent of the government, they aren't supported by taxes.
Oh, sorry about that... I was mistaken about state/church relations in England.

P.S.
Quote from: Current
Curiously quite a lot of my side seem to be seeing things the same way (about leaving the UK).
FWIW, as someone who will (probably) officially expatriate at some point in the future, I find the reasons they give on that website extremely frivolous. I don't know what Eon's reasons would be, but I suspect I would feel the same about those too.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on November 27, 2008, 10:17:19 EST
Quote from: Current
Curiously quite a lot of my side seem to be seeing things the same way (about leaving the UK).
FWIW, as someone who will (probably) officially expatriate at some point in the future, I find the reasons they give on that website extremely frivolous. I don't know what Eon's reasons would be, but I suspect I would feel the same about those too.
I agree with you to some extent.  Citizens of the more developed countries often don't know how lucky they are.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Eon on November 28, 2008, 12:42:32 EST
Quote from: Eon
The fact that I wouldn't want to live in America does not automatically mean that I'm perfectly content living where I am. Fortunately, there are other places in the world besides the UK and the USA. You appear to be slipping into the fallacy of the false dichotomy.
Either that, or I was pointing out it is illogical to forcefully refuse to live in the US because of state/church relations while living in the UK, much of which has a state church.

I hope you'll admit to being mistaken since I thoroughly refuted your argument.

The existence of a state church is not enough to make this (or any) country a theocracy in any sense. There are some nutters who'll call up on radio shows and say: "This is a Christian nation and the Bible says homosexuality is wrong, so we should not be allowing gay people to have legally recognised civil partnerships." But, unlike America, the politicians here generally don't listen to them. Even the Conservative Party doesn't try to stand on a platform of religious fundamentalism, and not one of the three main parties came out as officially opposed to the legalisation of civil partnerships for gay couples in England in 2005.

The state church is going the way of many other unenforced laws. Did you know that blasphemy is technically still illegal in England? But despite the best efforts of Christian groups over here, no one has been prosecuted for blasphemy since 1985. I think unenforced laws should be repealed, but the fact that they're on the books doesn't hurt me or any other non-believer as long as they're not enforced.

The UK is not a Christian country anymore. Not really.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on November 28, 2008, 13:26:22 EST
I'd agree with Eon about that. (I'd point out though Eon that Blasphemy laws has been abolished this year AFAIK).

Britain has these established Anglican churches.  Those churches though don't have much more power than other churches.  I think the population are largely indifferent to the idea of rule based on Christian values.  Politicians are just as indifferent if not more.  This isn't a particularly new attitude either.

Thomas Babington MacAuley was an MP, Paymaster General and later a Baron.  He wrote this in 1830:
Quote from: MacAuley
Mr. Southey entertains....  The duties of a ruler are patriarchal and paternal. He ought to consider the moral discipline of the people as his first object, to establish a religion, to train the whole community in that religion, and to consider all dissenters as his own enemies.

Quote from: Robert Southey
    " Nothing," says Sir Thomas, " is more certain, than that religion is the basis upon which civil government rests; that from religion power derives its authority, laws their efficacy, and both their zeal and sanction; and it is necessary that this religion be established as for the security of the state, and for the welfare of the people, who would otherwise be moved to and fro with every wind of doctrine. A state is secure in proportion as the people are attached to its institutions; it is, therefore, the first and plainest rule of sound policy, that the people be trained up in the way they should go. The state that neglects this prepares its own destruction; and they who train them in any other way are undermining it. Nothing in abstract science can be more certain than these positions are."

    "All of which," answers Montesinos, "are nevertheless denied by our professors of the arts Babblative and Scribblative: some in the audacity of evil designs, and others in the glorious assurance of impenetrable ignorance."
The greater part of the two volumes before us is merely an amplification of these paragraphs. What does Mr. Southey mean by saying that religion is demonstrably the basis of civil government? He cannot surely mean that men have no motives except those derived from religion for establishing and supporting civil government, that no temporal advantage is derived from civil government, that men would experience no temporal inconvenience from living in a state of anarchy? If he allows, as we think he must allow, that it is for the good of mankind in this world to have civil government, and that the great majority of mankind have always thought it for their good in this world to have civil government, we then have a basis for government quite distinct from religion. It is true that the Christian religion sanctions government, as it sanctions everything which promotes the happiness and virtue of our species. But we are at a loss to conceive in what sense religion can be said to be the basis of government, in which religion is not also the basis of the practices of eating, drinking, and lighting fires in cold weather. Nothing in history is more certain than that government has existed, has received some obedience, and has given some protection, in times in which it derived no support from religion, in times in which there was no religion that influenced the hearts and lives of men. It was not from dread of Tartarus, or from belief in the Elysian fields, that an Athenian wished to have some institutions which might keep Orestes from filching his cloak, or Midias from breaking his head. 'It is from religion,' says Mr. Southey, 'that power derives its authority, and laws their efficacy.' From what religion does our power over the Hindoos derive its authority, or the law in virtue of which we hang Brahmins its efficacy? For thousands of years civil government has existed in almost every corner of the world, in ages of priestcraft, in ages of fanaticism, in ages of Epicurean indifference, in ages of enlightened piety. However pure or impure the faith of the people might be, whether they adored a beneficent or a malignant power, whether they thought the soul mortal or immortal, they have, as soon, as they ceased to be absolute savages, found out their need of civil government, and instituted it accordingly. It is as universal as the practice of cookery. Yet it is as certain, says Mr. Southey, as anything in abstract science, that government is founded on religion. We should like to know what notion Mr. Southey has of the demonstrations of abstract science. A very vague one, we suspect.
This wasn't a particularly unusual view at that time.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Eon on November 28, 2008, 18:00:26 EST
I'd agree with Eon about that. (I'd point out though Eon that Blasphemy laws has been abolished this year AFAIK).

Assuming that's true, that's good to hear.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: purplecat on November 28, 2008, 18:28:36 EST
I'd agree with Eon about that. (I'd point out though Eon that Blasphemy laws has been abolished this year AFAIK).

Assuming that's true, that's good to hear.

It's true- Here's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Justice_and_Immigration_Act_2008) the act that it came in.I'm not sure if the rest of that act is silly enough to counteract it, though.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Eon on November 28, 2008, 19:31:49 EST
Excellent. Thank you for the update. :3

Now if we can just officiate the de facto separation of church and state we have in the UK, we'll be sorted.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Current on December 01, 2008, 05:53:22 EST
It doesn't seem clear though if the bill applies to the whole of the UK or only parts.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: purplecat on December 01, 2008, 18:07:05 EST
It doesn't seem clear though if the bill applies to the whole of the UK or only parts.

This is complex. Given the nature of devolved power in various parts of the UK, some bits of the bill apply to different places. Criminal justice bills tend to be a hodgepodge of different tweaks and changes to law, so you get these sort of things.


Title: Re: [BLOG] Religion and Morality
Post by: Kaerius on December 09, 2008, 04:48:00 EST
http://www.viruscomix.com/page433.html

Reminded me of this thread.