COEXIST

I’m an atheist, but I’m pretty tolerant in my non-belief. I don’t mind people of faith, as long as they don’t start trying to convince me that their way is the right way. Conversely, I don’t try to impose my non-belief on others. It works for me, but I’m cognizant of the fact that some people derive comfort and strength from faith and religious practice.

I also realise that our Constitution stipulates complete religious freedom. We are free to worship where and how we like, or not to do so, if we so choose. And this selfsame document precludes anyone being denied a job or profession based on his faith, or lack of. Put simply, a person’s religious convictions or lack of such convictions, shouldn’t matter in any walk of life or in the pursuit of any profession, even unto the office of President of the United States.

I get, as I’m sure many people do, the nuance behind many people on the Right thinking that the President is a Muslim.  Not only is this a fear inculcated by repercussions surrounding events which happened on Bush’s watch, it’s fear of “the other,” encouraged by the Rightwing media machine.

Our President certainly is different than any other we have previously had. He looks different. His name is different. I can just about remember something similar occurring during President Kennedy’s term, when people worried that the President’s Catholic religion would mean he would defer to Rome first and the United States second. That’s a pretty silly fear to have, but we’ve not seen any Catholics in the Oval Office since, albeit the men who are one and two heartbeats away from the President practice that faith.

Like me, Bill Maher is a non-believer, and he doesn’t stint on criticism of anyone who adheres to a faith. People of faith, Bill says, are deluded.  More than that, he’s archly critical of that Rightwing demographic, who propagate the notion that the President is Muslim; and well he should be critical. It’s an assumption based on nothing more than Big Lie propaganda.

The Big Lie is a propaganda technique, introduced by Adolf Hitler and refined to an art by Josef Goebbels.  It’s a merciless and pejorative public relations operation meant to eviscerate a targeted opponent. It’s basically a lie, so totally outlandish as to be unbelievable; but repeated enough times, more and more people begin to accept it as the truth.

The obvious Big Lie of the 20th Century was the one which led to over 6 million people being gassed to death during World War II, when the German people were convinced that the core cause of all their problems was down to people of the Jewish faith, living amongst them.  Now we have to suffer the Right, aided and abetted by Fox News, casting doubt on, not only our President’s citizenship, but also his religious credentials.  It’s also demonisation of one religion in the land where the concept of “freedom of religion” was fostered.  Linking the President with the Muslim faith links him with those people whom many Americans identify as having been behind the single biggest terrorist attack in history – and we’ve all been told how Obama pals around with terrorists.

On Friday night’s Real Time, Bill Maher managed to get into a contretemps of sort with his guest, Dr Cornel West, when Bill remarked casually that he didn’t think Obama was a Christian. He elaborated the point by reminding Dr West that the President’s mother was a secular humanist, and he thought the President was as well. Never mind the appearance at the Prayer Breakfast, where the President took advantage of the situation to speak openly about his faith.  That was all for show; and furthermore, continued Bill, he didn’t believe Obama “struggled” with same-sex marriage either.

OK, I know what Bill thought or intended to mean.  Maybe he was trying to convey to the super-cool ueber Left, of which he’d like us to believe he is a part, the Left which derides and looks down upon religious faith, that the President really is “one of us” – nudge, nudge, wink, wink.  And, oh, he was pretending to be a centrist too, it seems, although Bill did admit that Obama was a pragmatist.

But in saying something off-the-cuff and totally unfounded on any fact, not only does he further establish the President as being part of “the other” syndrome, he also insinuates that the President is a liar.

On the one hand, he excoriates the fact that many on the Right refuse to accept the President’s word that he is not a Muslim, whilst on the other, Bill, himself, refuses to accept the President’s eloquent declaration of faith – something which, incidentally, our Constitution distinctly reiterates that he shouldn’t have to make at all.  It shouldn’t make any difference to us what the President’s faith is or whether he follows any at all, as long as he governs well and responsibly; the President’s faith is his personal matter.

And whilst I do accept that, to some people, it matters a great deal that their leader believes in a higher being, I would imagine it would matter a lot more to these people, and indeed to all of us, if our leader were found to be openly lying and deceitful about that which he purports to believe, himself.

So, my question is this: Was Bill just trying, after months of subtle racist insinuations masked as comedy, to big the President’s cool and au courant credentials up to the shallow sheeple of the ueber Left, whom he’d formerly convinced of Obama’s “weakness,” or was he indulging in a little bit of the Big Lie, seeking to propagate “Obama atheism” as a counter-fear to the President’s supposed penchant for Islam? After all, the only thing worse than a Muslim, in some people’s eyes, is an atheist.

As Dr West succinctly observed, somebody’s wrong here.

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whatsthatsound
Member

KevenSeven, I defy you to find ONE example of me “self professing” to be a Christian. I will happily wait.

bito
Member

WTS, isn’t it a bit odd that discussions on religion often become, regress, to “Oh yeah, my Dad is smarter than your Dad and he can beat up your Dad while it most times is very personal? Did not the Buddha, Christ Job and many not of the thinkers not question existence and the cause? I am more concerned with those that think they know the truth. The mystery is yet to be discovered and it is up to investigate or not. Some are satisfied with what they have been lead to believe, to think. Some need a “proof.” At one time it was a “proof” that the the world was flat and the earth was the center of th universe. It took the minds and bodies to explore, not concede to the given.
Questions remain and those that choose not to question remain, are certain, and I feel that they may be the lesser.

whatsthatsound
Member

Absolutely, bito. And although I may be guilty as charged in terms of one-upmanship, I do resent having words put into my mouth for me. When I screw up, I want it to at least be MY words, not somebody else’s.

As for what else you said, I couldn’t agree more. I’m not even sure I “believe” anything. I ponder, I question, I consider, I observe, and I experience. I think those are enough.

KevenSeven
Member

Well, I too resent having words put in my mouth, and I have had many inserted on this thread, so I can sympathize. So what religion do you adhere to?

Or you don’t believe anything? You certainly are pretty invested for a guy who does not believe anything.

KevenSeven
Member

“(kevenseven)hasn’t experienced any positives from (religion)”

Uh, huh.

KillgoreTrout
Member

Khirad, thanks for your thoughtful reply!

Khirad
Member

Okay, I finally watched this, and my question is this:

How come no one mentioned Hooman Majd was on?!

He’s fucking brilliant AND witty.

And his expertise and insight was WASTED.

Oh, and how Maher brushed aside Islamophobia when Majd brought it up as a socially acceptable form of bigotry?

Hello?

Recommended:

The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran

The Ayatollahs’ Democracy: An Iranian Challenge

What a waste of a panelist. An utter waste.

KevenSeven
Member

Maher is less than perfect as a host and is blatantly tendentious.

I concede that point.

Gotta run to work.

ADONAI
Member

That was always one of my big problems with Maher. Even in the early days of politically incorrect when I was a loyal fan.

He just “wasted” panelists far too often. Never cared to pursue an issue with someone extremely knowledgeable on it. Simply dismissing it and moving on.

david p canada
Member
david p canada

Usually by interruption.

Not so much with wit.

liberallioness76
Member
liberallioness76

@david p – I’m with you on this one… I may agree with him on many issues but I have never been much of a fan of his show.

He’s all snark and no substance imho.

Khirad
Member

He seemed more interested in Matthew Perry.

(who, in his defense, was kinda funny with Dr. Cornell West)

ADONAI
Member

Well, Matthew Perry is a funny guy. I wish him luck with his new show.

But Mr. Majd’s time seems to have been supremely wasted.

AdLib
Admin

Hey, I’m jumping in here to play a rare role of Moderator…not the “Your comment has been sent to” type but the debate type.

As civil as folks are here, which is very, discussion and debate of religion requires a bit of extra consideration.

No one here is going to change anyone else’s mind about their personal beliefs so a constructive approach would be to be more exploratory than dismissive.

This is not to say that beliefs shouldn’t be freely expressed but generalizations and unflattering portrayals of people who believe or don’t believe something have no constructive purpose and advance no meaningful conversation.

I appreciate everyone’s consideration of this as the conversation continues.

ADONAI
Member

Discussing religion without insulting someone?

Can it even be done?

david p canada
Member
david p canada

Perhaps by those who take the commandment to “love thy neighbor” very seriously.

Mightywoof
Member

You do know AdLib blogs with God 🙂 ….. and Satan when he’s in the mood

ADONAI
Member

I don’t know who this “GOD” is he talks to.

I may have to kill it like I did Jupiter and Baal.

Mightywoof
Member

I approve of the Baal destruction – he wasn’t a nice god at all but I was always partial to Jupiter!

If you haven’t read God’s Blog:

http://planetpov.com/2010/03/16/gods-blog-3-16-2010/

ADONAI
Member

I approve!

Khirad
Member

Like I said, from now on AdLib should just interview Adonai.

Khirad
Member

But lay off Harry Baals!

The Dood
Member
The Dood

Yes…but it’s difficult.

whatsthatsound
Member

And Adlib said, “Let There Be Tolerance!”, and (hopefully) there was tolerance.

KevenSeven
Member

Ah, did not see you there at the top of the page.

Yes, I’d like to be able to express my opinions without being told directly that they are worthless or simplistic. I’d be ready to return the favor, if it is granted.

Khirad
Member

When I did see some, they were refuted with examples.

I kinda find it ironic it would irk you, in all due respect.

I mean, you make generalizations, than expect people not to generalize you and to treat you with the same respect you’ve not shown them?

I just don’t follow. Sorry.

whatsthatsound
Member

I suppose it goes without saying I’m completely with you on this. Mystifying, to be sure.

KevenSeven
Member

I think this would be a pretty good example:

ADONAI says:
02/15/2011 at 7:23 PM

“I don’t really care what you “think” atheists are.

I’m giving you the textbook definition.”

Well, actually, I’m pretty confident that my definition of atheism was the more correct one. And I am ready to back it up with citations.

david p canada
Member
david p canada

Bf you want to equate my personal beliefs in regards to true Christianity with the war-mongering, abortion-doctor killers, go right ahead.

But you’d be as wrong as you could be.

I hate being painted with that brush, usually wielded by genuine haters.

jdmn17
Member
jdmn17

David, your post brought to mind, along with AdLib’s comment some comparisons. We humans seem to struggle with religion, politics and sex. Because of some very effective work by certain elements of the media (both side of the liberal/conservative fence primarily) we seem to have polarized into two very divergent groups that are highly sensitive to each others. Add in some Libertarians, Socialists, Communists and whatever else you want and we have a very large mishmash of ideas. Same can be said for religion. It used to be, my experience, that people acknowledged others religions and politics – we were more prone to joke about it than screw up our faces in disgust. It seems like we were much less prone to judge or talk down to others beliefs. But the media seems to have driven wedges into us and when doing so people have reacted defensively and taken even harder positions

I think two years on HP along with having worked with a particularly aggressively conversion oriented religious man left me with a sour taste in my mouth for both conservatives and evangelical Christians. You said a couple of things the last week, and others have chimed in here and have given me some pause to stop judging and labeling as I’ve been doing.

I have retraced my roots back to the Evangelical (Baptist) Eisenhower Republicans who raised me and I am now left to wonder why the far right gets all the press and the quiet Christians who do believe in the teachings of their religious leader are somehow shoved aside for the blaring headlines of the more outrageous members of the Christian faith. I decry the lumping of all Muslims into the same group as Terrorists yet I’ve been remiss in letting myself hear the word Christian and shuffling them off to the world of evangelical nuts.

The same is true for conservative and I’ve been guilty of lumping all conservatives into the same family as Sara, Rush, Beck and Fox News.

I think I have some work to do. Let someone be who they are, speak to who they are instead of immediately dismissing them because I know their religion and politics.

For example, I have read enough of your posts that I would never equate you with the people who harassed and threatened me with death over the phone and in my mail box because my former wife worked as a nurse at Planned Parenthood, not on the abortion side but treating young women and their sexual partners with STD’s. She had no truck with the abortion side, was personally against it but felt it was a woman’s right. So for that we felt hunted and scared and two months ago when a man showed up in the PP parking lot in MN with a loaded pistol it brought it all back to me.

I have also read enough posts from people here who I respect like crazy who express their religious beliefs ranging from atheist to Christian and Muslim. I think I need to work on being more open to what people believe in. It doesn’t affect me as long as people don’t try to change my thoughts, well, maybe arguing their point is in some ways trying to change me. Or are they simply explaining because they like where they are and want me/us to know?

I don’t know. Late, rambling, but this thread has given me a lot today

Mightywoof
Member

jdmn – gosh what a thoughtful post!! I so agree with what you’ve said here …… tribalism seems to have been unleashed in the world and nobody wants to sit down and talk with The Other they just want to shout and hurl insults (which is NOT the same thing as spirited debate)

I felt the same way about conservatives and religion – especially Christianity – as you …… but then I ‘met’
Choicelady and her words and the work she does makes me realize that there are truly good people out there who do follow the precepts of their faith and walk the path of goodness, I also read the story of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish (a good Muslim) so, while you don’t have to have faith to walk a righteous path, there are those who walk that path with their faith.

Since 2008, the rise of the Fruitcakes calling themselves conservatives made me tar all conservatives with the same brush but then I started reading David Frums forum and found that there are conservatives in your country, pariahs in their own party nowadays, that are just as concerned as those of us who call ourselves liberal/socialist/commie about the level of social and political discourse and the level of debate there is invigorating even if you can’t subscribe to the conservative philosophy.

Like you, I’ve learned not to be so judgemental and tar all the religious and all the conservatives with the same brush.

Excellent response!!

SueInCa
Member

Perhaps the difference in Obama’s “religious actions” is the denomination he belongs to, United Church of Christ. I attended that church for a long time and they are not your garden variety religious fanatics. It is hard to put your finger on how the worship, kinda mystic, kinda godly, participation from lay people and open and affirming. It is the closest I ever got to feeling comfortable in a church in my adult life.

SueInCa
Member

Marion

Bill is a very angry atheist. To me it is as simple as that. Unlike others he has made a movie making fun of others’ faith. I saw the movie and in fact thought alot of the issues he pursued are valid, especially from the radical side of ANY religion or atheist including Bill. I am not sure where I stand in this argument. I don’t believe I have to participate in an organized sect to be a good person but I am not really ready to say there is no “higher power” either. I guess I am somewhere in the middle of it all.

So…………believing as I do, I really don’t care if the president is a martian. It has nothing whatsoever to do with his ability to lead the country and it offends me that some on the religious right seem to think it is the ticket to the promised land. All you have to do is conjure up Ted Haggard to know that is a big fat lie.

2ndClassCitizenPundit
Member

From what I have seen (I used to watch him on Politically Incorrect a long time ago), Bill seems to be moving from atheist to anti-theist.

An atheist has no purpose or interest in deriding and denigrating another person’s faith. An Anti-theist, on the other hand, will treat people who are of faith as if they are perpetuating a heinous crime.

This is because the nature of an anti-theist states that faith is a crime, or, in some slightly more tolerant cases, the purview of the intellectually damaged.

The fact is however, both an atheist and an anti-theist are products of faith as well. It is not possible to disprove the existence of a deity, any more than one can prove the existence of one. Atheism, and it’s more militant cousin, is faith that there is no God.

I freely admit that I am a spiritual person of faith. My spiritual tradition is not the same as others. My spiritual tradition is one that makes sense to me, but that does not mean I am “right”. I freely admit that I may be wrong. And if I am wrong, I will gladly pay the consequences for it, whatever those consequences are.

As a person of faith, I freely admit that this makes me somewhat unique. However, part of my faith says that I am not a god, and only a god can be infallible.

That’s called humility.

KevenSeven
Member

Wow.

Speaking of painting with a broad brush and simplifying and caricaturing…..

Could you work any harder to depict us anti-theists in a bad light?

whatsthatsound
Member

I think it can probably be summed up this way: Religious people probably shouldn’t talk about atheism as if they know what it is. They do not have the correct insight into it and end up mischaracterizing it and reducing it to absurdity.
AND
atheists probably shouldn’t talk about religion/spirituality as if they know what it is. They do not have the correct insight into it and end up mischaracterizing it and reducing it to absurdity.

david p canada
Member
david p canada

Very well put.

There does seem to be a lot of wishful thinking here about Obama being an atheist strolling around in Christian drag.

If he says he’s a Christian, that’s good enough for me. I’d better have some damned convincing evidence before I’m going to call the President a bald-faced liar.

whatsthatsound
Member

Yeah, exactly. HE is the only one who knows what his beliefs are, and how he came to them. Everything else is worth the price of a Starbucks Latte, IF you throw in four bucks!

KevenSeven
Member

Well, I don’t know if you are not a brain-eating cyborg, either, now do I?

But I am pretty sure that Obama is an Atheist. And I have no difficulty in so saying.

But thank you for your valuation of my opinion.

KillgoreTrout
Member

How could you even know such a thing?

KevenSeven
Member

That Obama is an atheist? Obviously I cannot “know” it. He never brings it up in our monthly lunches.

I don’t “know” that you are not a cannibal, do I?

I am of the OPINION that he is an atheist. There you have it. I hope that I may express an opinion without being excoriated for it.

KillgoreTrout
Member

I really don’t think a president’s religion, or lack of religion should ever be an issue. Theology is not in his job description.

KevenSeven
Member

I really don’t think a president should have to be taller than his electoral opponent, but I dare say that over the last 70 years the winner of the election tends to be taller than the loser.

I really think we should all have magic ponies that don’t need hay and don’t poop.

Until our three preferences come to pass, perhaps you and I could focus on what actually is. Rather than what we would prefer would be?

Mightywoof
Member

My Mum told me never to discuss politics, religion or sex if I wanted to keep friendships – she was certainly correct about religion! I’m an atheist and I’m OK with that – I’m OK with folks who find solace in spirituality or organized religion. I won’t pretend to understand why people need it but that’s OK – I won’t force my views on anyone and I get upset when others try to force their views on me. So yeah – correctomundo WTS!!

PlatoSunTsu
Member
PlatoSunTsu

Well said, as soon as someone tries to tell me why what they believe is “right” all I hear is what’s wrong.

2ndClassCitizenPundit
Member

If they are trying to tell you what path is “right” for you, then, yes, what they are telling you is wrong.

Belief can not be imposed from outside. It only comes from the inside.

whatsthatsound
Member

I have been both atheist and believer, and I see value in both. Neither my decision to reject the idea of a greater intelligence nor my later switch came about without a lot of deep thought that still goes on to this day.

When I see the shallow attacks from either side I can only shake my head.

KillgoreTrout
Member

When someone contemplates existence it is nobody’s right to say you are wrong or right. The entire concept of right and wrong are man made.
The only morality that we can make use of is that we are all connected. Connected on a basis that includes the entirety of of everything in the universe.
We are made up of remnants of stars and the basic elements that arouse out of that star quality and quantity.
That is as close as I can explain it. An aging traveler in the cosmos.

The Dood
Member
The Dood

Killgore
A lot of what’s been said here is part of why I “became” Buddhist. I have probably been so all my life and just didn’t know it had a name! I’ve been reading some of Stephen Batchelors books (he calls himself a Buddhist atheist) because even in Buddhism there are the dogmatic beliefs and rituals that turned me off to traditional Christianity long ago. Spiritualism is a personal thing…even atheists can be spiritual..nobody has all the answers!

KillgoreTrout
Member

There is much wisdom in Buddhism. Part of that wisdom is the advice that say respect all religions. Religions are just different pathways to the same destination. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another.

KillgoreTrout
Member

You have just equated the same thing as, “above right and left.” Good and evil. Beyond good and evil is closer to reality than any suggestion of good, or absolute evil. Religions, of any denomination have the absolute power or dictation determining what is good or evil. But it is a determination from a metaphysical point of view. It is not reality based.

whatsthatsound
Member

?????

whatsthatsound
Member

If I understand what you are saying (and I may be missing out completely), you are basically demonstrating the validity of my above statement. Most of religion is NOT a determination of what is good or evil – it is simply an attempt to describe the universe, as well as man’s place in it. Read the Bible, the Vedas, pretty much any religious writing, and probably a good ninety percent of it will be people describing what they saw, experienced, etc. Only a small fraction will be anybody telling anybody else what to do. However, that is the part that ends up causing all the trouble.

KevenSeven
Member

The bible is a string of narratives of a bunch of bronze aged peasants trying to make sense of bacteria and earthquakes, and this is some way to describe the universe?

Which revolves around which? The Earth or the Sun?

Fer crying out loud. Religion was an effort by ignorant backward people to explain the universe and man’s place in it.

Science is an effort by informed people using reason and observation and method to explain the universe and man’s place in it.

Religion was the first attempt at philosophy. Much better work has followed outside of religion.

whatsthatsound
Member

The Bible is partly what you say, but it is other things as well. For example, in the psalms and other portions you will find people attempting to put their numinous experiences into words, just as you will find in nearly any religion. Anyone, having such experiences, would wish to describe them, including you. It is not the fault of such people that their words got shoved together with other words written by people you accurately refer to as ignorant.

KevenSeven
Member

OK, so some people described transcendent and numinous experiences (which atheists can experience, btw) and this proves the existence of a god, how?

How is religion necessary at any point of this discussion?

jdmn17
Member
jdmn17

I am not a Christian or Jew. Yet the 23rd Psalm has always given me comfort.

When my father died, we had a horrid relationship and the funeral was just more of the same as I was seated toward the back of the “family” seating while his fourth wife and step son sat in the front row. The minister had no idea who I was, that’s how estranged we were. He asked me finally if I had a reading I wanted for him. He hated the 23rd as much as I loved it. I used to recite it to myself when he hit me – never really talked about that before – hmmm

Well the minister brightened right up and was happy to read it. I was the only one in the church it hit the way it was meant. And it gave me comfort once again.

I think the bible, well I have never studied it but I think the intent of much of it was simply to offer guidance for people to treat each other well and to find some peace. At least that’s my completely and probably naive perception.

I left Christianity at age 12, telling them I was going to church and instead walking around the lake near my home talking to the birds and watching nature.

There’s my diety. Nature. Not much or enough for many, more than enough for others. It suits me.

Khirad
Member

Heck, even Hitchens has acknowledged that.

And the Bible has trouble cohering with itself because it is so varied in content.

The narratives were strung together a bit later.

Also, who was talking about proving the existence of God?

Is Buddhism not a religion then? Taoism?

KillgoreTrout
Member

Khirad;

I am a Taoist. I know it is referred to as an Eastern religion, but I would call it more of a philosophy.
81 ideograms of remarkable wisdom.

Khirad
Member

Killgore Trout, What we’re stumbling over here is a definition of terms here, I think.

I know that when you get technical there are many who would argue that Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) are not religions in their Western definition even. Buddhism and Taoism further have the absence of a deity either altogether or in Buddhism’s case (except Tantric and Tibetan) the deities may or may not exist, but it’s just not important.

I’ve been using ‘religion’ self consciously as a ‘system of belief’ which has otherwise common elements of a religion. In Hinduism, the Vedanta school is more a philosophy, and the other of the great six schools of Hinduism (no longer extant), Samkhya, was atheistic itself.

In other words, for simplicity’s sake, I refer to it all as religion, knowing full well it’s much more complicated than that. It’s a broad brush which perhaps only helps perpetuate the broad brushing of different religions itself in polemics.

Hitchens attempted to tackle the Eastern Religions in “god is not Great”. He failed in my opinion, not because they are above criticism, but because he wasn’t very informed about them. His criticism was about as bad as C.S. Lewis’s, ironically enough.

I still find much of atheism – and I’ll push the envelope here – as a reaction to Western monotheism, in particular Christianity, which it grew out of. And it is sort of stuck in the very dualistic framework of Christianity. Sam Harris does a bit better job of being cognizant of that irony.

But here we go, how do we sort out of the different iterations and admixtures of philosophies, religions and ‘ways’? They are all worldviews. When it involves a text, some sort of clergy and ritual – I just opt for ‘religion’ whether or not there is a supernatural element or deities involved.

For instance, modern Unitarian Universalism has proven one doesn’t need to believe in God (or any particular dogma) to have a religion. My congregation’s reverend is an atheist and gives sermons on atheism!

whatsthatsound
Member

You’ll have to tell ME how this proves the existence of God, because I never wrote anything of the kind.

KevenSeven
Member

Excuse me? You are a self-proclaimed christian who does not believe in god?

What does the bible provide humanity that thousands of philosophers over the millennia have not? Besides a fiction of a supervising being who is keeping tally of how many times you have whacked off and is going to present you with the bill after you croak?

Khirad
Member

Actually they don’t all have that absolute power.

There is a lot of debate and interpretation within, depending on religion and sect. Polity and hierarchies also vary wildly.

I dug the Nietzsche reference though.

KillgoreTrout
Member

I suppose I meant absolute power, if one allows it by a strict adherence to scripture. Fundamentalism comes to mind.

whatsthatsound
Member

Fundamentalism most certainly comes to mind. It is the biggie, the aspect of religion that does the most harm. But perhaps the most radical “fundamentalist” who ever lived was Pol Pot, and he was an atheist. So I really think that religion needs to be considered from a much wider perspective than most of its loudest critics view it from.

For example, you seem quite certain that science is superior to religion. Are you willing to own that the scientific method yielded Hiroshima as well as small pox vaccines? If so, then mightn’t you be willing to concede that religion has both inspired and enslaved men?

whatsthatsound
Member

Kilgore, you can disregard my last question. I see that you are quite open minded and tolerant as regards spirituality as opposed to rigid, doctrinaire religions.

KevenSeven
Member

Science did not produce the attack on Hiroshima. Politics and war did so. If we had not had the technology to nuke Japan, we certainly would have continued to carpet bomb their cities, creating firestorms that killed as many in one attack.

What is so horrifying about the atom bombs dropped on Japan is not that they killed so many in one attack. As many died in Dresden, and nearly as many died in several Japanese cities.

What is so horrifying is that the damage was inflicted with a single plane and a single bomb. As a people we were perfectly prepared to lay waste to Japan’s cities. The American people were relieved to have had so potent a weapon.

War inevitably escalates to barbarism. It is unavoidable. Which makes a good argument for resisting going to war, I’d say

ADONAI
Member

I’ve studied both for a decade.

They’re equally arrogant and equally smug in their knowledge of “the truth”.

But, again, that is just my opinion from my own study on the subject.

whatsthatsound
Member

I feel the same way. Human beings create divisions so easily. The ones with the Stars Upon Thars are so certain that they are the ONLY “real” Sneeks, and the ones with No Stars Upon Thars feel exactly the same way!

ADONAI
Member

Indeed

Caru
Member

“Osiris, I am your son, come to glorify your soul, and to give you even more power.” ~ Horus, (Book of the Dead, Ch. 173)

“Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.” ~ Jesus, (John 13:31-32)

Let’s just say that remakes aren’t a new phenomenon. 😉

KillgoreTrout
Member

I would say there is no need for glorification. Anyone being glorified is setting up the concept of, I am better than you. This goes against true spirituality and is the cause, or reason for all wars.

Khirad
Member

I won’t even bring up the woefully ignored contributions of Zoroastrianism at this point.

It wasn’t so much a remake as copyright infringement.

KevenSeven
Member

I think you are reading a lot into Maher’s comments re: Obama’s faith or lack there-of.

Of course, you detest Maher, as you have made a point of saying for the last two years here. That’s OK, Bill is a smug little dick.

But I for one don’t believe for a moment that Barack Obama believes in any flying spaghetti monster in the sky.

Did I just call my good friend Barack Obama a liar? I suppose I did. What of it? He’s a politician. His morning movements smells as much as anyone else’s.

I just listened to the president’s press conference, and while I cannot recall the point he was making, I remember thinking that he was just proposing one cut or other in order to force the Repugs to cast an embarrassing vote, that the Dems could then use in the next election.

I like Obama. A lot. But as an anti-theist, I gotta insist that he does not walk on water.

I think Maher is spot on. Obama has no religious faith, but professes a faith due to his need to gain votes.

Hey, if the religious are so easily duped, tough luck of them. I wish it was not necessary to suck up to the bible thumpers, but there are lots of things in this life that do not suit me very well. This one is not at the top of the list.

PocketWatch
Member

KevenSeven – I, for one, never question anyone’s declaration of belief or lack thereof. Means nothing to me one way or the other, frankly. As long as they don’t try to prozletize, I couldn’t care less.

Having said that, it does bother me that politicians have to pander to religious ideologies. Imagine if we had a really, really great candidate for high office on either side of the “great divide” who was an avowed atheist…

Can we all hear the screaming and commentary that would ensue?

That’s a problem to me.

8)

KevenSeven
Member

Well, you may or may not question other people’s professions of faith or love or hope or whatever suits you. It is a free-ish country.

And you may go ahead and be bothered by the reality that it is next to impossible for an American pol to get elected without faking some religious conviction. You may as well go to the shore and scream at the tides for all the difference it makes. Until Man loses his fear of death, people will insist on believing in god. And those people will insist on being offended by people who do not believe in god.

I find people chewing gum offensive, but I don’t make any sort of deal out of it. Not worth the trouble.

My opinion: Obama is a secret atheist.

whatsthatsound
Member

“Until Man loses his fear of death, people will insist on believing in god.”

K7, it is just as inappropriate for an atheist to oversimplify and generalize concerning a religious person’s belief as it is for a religious person to generalize and oversimplify atheism.

KQµårk 死神
Member

I think K7 is right on that one but it’s only one reason people need to believe in the traditional notion of a supreme being. I think man has a need for answers for why we are here and what is our purpose in being here just as much. That’s the main reason fundamentalists cannot accept evolution.

Having been clinically dead a couple times I don’t fear death because it was not the scary place people think it is. It was really just like a peaceful rest. The deepest sleep you can imagine.

KevenSeven
Member

Oh, there are all sorts of reasons that people “need” to believe in the flying spaghetti monster in the sky.

I just cannot credence any of them.

whatsthatsound
Member

Oh, I agree with K7 that fear of death is ONE of the things that religion originates in. But like you, I don’t believe it is the only one. But, that’s what K7 tends to do, oversimplify and reduce to caricature, where religion, faith and spirituality are concerned. That’s what I’m referring to.

KevenSeven
Member

I was paraphrasing Freud there.

KevenSeven
Member

I think it is you that is over-simplifying and caricaturing.

I was not attempting to write a full essay on philosophy and psychology here. I did not say that the only reason that people cling to religion is their dread of death.

I said that religion will be with us as long as Man fears death.

whatsthatsound