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Author Topic: [BLOG] Religion and Morality  (Read 24080 times)
Heq
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« Reply #45 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.
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"No common man could believe such a thing, you'd have to be an intellectual to fall for anything as stupid as that."-Orwell
Blue Boy from Red Country
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« Reply #46 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. Tongue

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.

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Bringerofpie
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« Reply #47 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.
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Economic Left/Right: -7.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.21

Does anyone else get more liberal every time they take the political compass test?
wodan46
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« Reply #48 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.
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Medivh
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« Reply #49 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...
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And if i catch you comin' back my way
I'm gonna serve it to you
And that ain't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do
-- "Seven Nation Army", The White Stripes

So what you're telling me is that LTV's fudge factor means more than it's independent variable?
Yes...
Medivh
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« Reply #50 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.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2008, 19:55:34 EST by Medivh » Logged

And if i catch you comin' back my way
I'm gonna serve it to you
And that ain't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do
-- "Seven Nation Army", The White Stripes

So what you're telling me is that LTV's fudge factor means more than it's independent variable?
Yes...
wodan46
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« Reply #51 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.
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rwpikul
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« Reply #52 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.
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« Reply #53 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.
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« Reply #54 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.
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Comrade Ogilvy
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« Reply #55 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...
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Heq
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« Reply #56 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.
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« Reply #57 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.
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Heq
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« Reply #58 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.
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« Reply #59 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.
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