atheism

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by pole85, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. jacksolomonsmith

    jacksolomonsmith First Technician

    Messages:
    196
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Location:
    West Midlands, Halesowen.
    That whole post baffled me.
     
  2. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

    Messages:
    1,665
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Something about it relating to his work. The rest...I'm not sure. :-)
     
  3. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

    Messages:
    2,908
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    I think 'done in the name of' are the key words here. Fact is, a lot of religions actually condemn those acts. "Thou shalt not kill." Many Christians would argue that the Crusaders who massacred Muslims for the 'Church' were not truly Christians at all. They may have referred to themselves as such, but if you don't live the faith it's just words. "By your fruit shall you know them." Ironically they actually killed many Christian natives of the lands they invaded because they were 'different' and therefore 'heathen' (in their eyes). Trust me, that isn't Christian. I don't know a whole lot about Islam, but I know many Muslims wouldn't consider the terrorist suicide bombers as true Muslims either.

    I guess a counter-argument would be that, cause or not, religion still provides a banner for different people to congregate under, and that can cause division. That's only true if one allows it to though, and if there were no religion in the world, I'm sure humanity would find something else to divide them, something else they disagree with. In fact they have.

    In part certainly. HUMAN history is written in blood, and religious (or more accurately the fundamentalist appropriation of religion) is just part of that.

    They'd find other gods. Not all gods are beings or icons that are worshipped in a religion. 'Money' and 'self' are common gods, something, ironically, many atheists worship, although they don't call them that. And greed and selfishness have been the cause of many a war. In fact they're often the hidden factors behind 'religious conflict'.

    I agree with this in part. I actually think that certain ideals in faith are good in government, but those same things are good in humanity as a whole. Being kind, treating others how you would like to be treated. That sort of thing. Things many atheists could get behind as well. I agree that the other baggage like you mentioned above should be set aside though.


    Speaking as someone brought up in a Christian household, I can tell you that while I was brought up according to Christian beliefs and taken to Church, the process of actually becoming a Christian is an individual's decision. Nobody is born a Christian. It's an acceptance of faith, and a decision. In fact they referred to the process as being 'born again'. I did make that choice at a fairly young age, although I backed out somewhat later* due to certain questions that arose in my mind. While I'm sure my father was disappointed, I wasn't condemned for it. In fact he said little and we still have a good relationship. I accept that's not the case everywhere though.

    *I wouldn't say I've given up on the faith entirely. I still believe in many of the ideals, and may well go back at some point, but point is I was not born that way and my true Christian parents didn't attempt to shackle me to their beliefs. In fact that would be against their religion what with the 'free choice admission', etc.

    Concerning that Richard Dawkin's fellow, I remember seeing a programme a while back. (I forget the name.) He was quite aggressive in the preaching of his beliefs. The amusing thing was, that while he espoused the idea that religion causes division and therefore conflict, in the conversations he was involved in, the religious person he argued with tended to be reasonable and polite in their debate. Dawkins got quite shirty though.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all atheist are like that, or that all religious people are reasonable. They're all human after all and there are plenty of people of all temperaments in all belief systems, but it did strike me as amusing and ironic. He really didn't cast himself in a good light, although I'm sure he's not like that all the time.
     
  4. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

    Messages:
    1,858
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Yes, this was my point about Dawkins (and not atheists in general); he's passionate about his belief but at times it seems he doesn't know when to stop and can end up coming off as much of a browbeater as the religious fundamentalist might. As such, just as with the religions you mention, his core message and sensible points get lost behind a charicature of Oolon Coluphid thumping a copy of "well, that about wraps it up for God".
    I can see how annoying it must be for him when people refuse to accept his arguments but if he already has the higher ground he really should tone down the aggression.

    Very good points about people finding other Gods and other excuses to be horrible to one another though. If we get rid of the memory of all religion tomorrow with some magic beam, hate will still find some way of manifesting itself. There's a rather good book on the subject by Howard Bloom called The Lucifer Principle that puts forward a theory that 'evil' is merely a byproduct of nature and that God and religion may well just be a channel for it to flow through. To the surprise of no-one, certain religious groups wern't happy with it and demanded it be banned. :lol:
     
  5. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

    Messages:
    1,665
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    I think seeing these two as separate rather then fundamentally interrelated is a mistake - and to accuse those who see them as connected as disingenuous is unreasonable.

    I also think it claims those who embrace a belief as not responsible for their actions. Or, at least, not truthfully committed to the truths as they see them so much as socially indoctrinated. Which, if you consider it to be true, surely - again - that carries a moral duty to protest against social indoctrination.

    Again, the quest to allow everyone to think freely and make their own choices is not cruel or unreasonable. Unwinnable, certainly, and if you brought down all faiths you'd only have to start again with the mass of other influences. But you don't fight the fights you can win; you fight the ones that need fighting. But I get that you see that as 'not one of those'.

    The reverse can also be claimed: everyone who ever did a good thing in the name of religion also did it for other reasons.

    Of course a firm belief in a faith and its related texts comes only from a place of it 'feeling right', 'feeling true', from our own already-skewed perspective. It also comes, often. from a sense of perceiving it as proven truth - which is how we understand everything the world throws at us. It's how I understand gravity.

    So the argument is 'nobody ever did anything just for God'. Which is a nuanced and likely position. But doesn't suddenly let religion off the hook as accomplice, motivator or manipulator. Not just because there were also 'other factors'. The religion is still a factor.
     
  6. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

    Messages:
    1,665
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Didn't see the post, but the gist of your meaning is clear.

    Sure. But if they didn't have those beliefs - if they weren't galvanised by them, confirmed on their actions by them - those patriotisms wouldn't occur.

    Separating the belief from all the things it comes from AND all the things it influences isn't really true to just how complex these two aspects are, how interrelated. The two are inseparable - you don't get one without the other. It's far more involved than 'They wanted to hate/love, so they did, they just found a label they liked'. No-one with true belief sees that faith as divorced from their choices - but, again, to suggest they should is to dismiss the place of religion in their lives.

    So you're essentially arguing that people would do the same things if that supernatural aspect were removed - that it's irrelevant - but that doesn't track. Not least because the supernatural aspects are about the soul, about sin, about eternal existence. Those are motivating factors. Fear of going to an actual, real hell is an absolute motivator if its a truth for you, it's not just a label you give to your fear of death. Not if you believe it. It causes a differing response to the one you'd have if you just feared death without it. It absolutely changes the way you interact with the world.

    There's no fundamental difference to a true believer between being nice through a fear of hell and being cruel though a sense of righteousness. And you can't just say 'Well sure, but you were gonna be nice anyway'. That's patently not the case.

    Put it another way: Racism and xenophobia are influencing people to join the BNP. This doesn't make it wrong to protest the BNP on the grounds that it's simply 'the label people have chosen' - nor does it mean that those members, having joined, will behave the same as if they didn't.
     
  7. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

    Messages:
    1,858
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    I think you're on to something regarding the internal difficulty with tribal loyalty and the intellectual commonsense viewpoint that your Jewish friends probably struggle with over the circumcision issue. However, I think it goes much further than that and is something entirely seperate from religion (although it can easily be applied to it) and more a part of the human psyche. Take sport, for example. I'm a passionate football fan and support my local team despite the fact that most of the time they are pretty dissapointing and their isn't any notable evidence to suggest they'll ever win anything. The intellectual part of me knows that I'm wasting my money on this hogwash but the passionate football fan part of me will argue the difference if someone "outside" the game tried to point that out in the aggresive, confrontational manner of a Richard Dawkins. If they put up banners outside the stadium saying "your wasting your money, your team are never going to win anything", that wouldn't be the way to convince me even though I'd know internally it was probably true and so I don't see it working for Dawkins either, more likely it will backfire on him and people like me who don't care one way or the other will just say "Oh no, not you again!" when we see him espousing his views.
    Similarly, the local tribal part of me will make fun of my football teams local rivals and the fans who follow them and will happily trade obscenities with them during a game wheras the intellectual part of me knows that this is a ridiculous way for a grown man to behave to behave. 100 years ago that sort of tribal behaviour would have found a different way to manifest itself and I doubt that by removing the existence of football it would somehow be absent from my psyche, just as in a Dawkins-like Atheist utopia, people would just find new ways to manifest all the problems that religion currently brings to the world.

    Oh no, were a step away from Godwin's law.

    Quick close the thread! :roll:
     
  8. Baxters_Hooch

    Baxters_Hooch Supply Officer

    Messages:
    667
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    This is getting silly now. I know this forum often goes wildly off topic but this stuff really doesn't belong here... at least Andrew if it keeps going in this direction move it to the Garbage Pod, this is the Series I-VIII conference!
     
  9. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

    Messages:
    1,665
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Sorry, but in the 8+ years the forum's been running we've always allowed threads to wander from their original point. it's the nature of conversation.
     
  10. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

    Messages:
    1,665
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Not knowing how to respond to your question isn't the same as lying to oneself. I think you've set yourself up as a judge to entire cultures based on some young people at university. Which, let's face it, is a 'find yourself' time and place, and one that for many represents the first time out of the social confines that originally influenced them.

    Here's the thing, though: people who lie to themselves behave as if the lie were true. If you think you're in love, you behave as if you were in love. If you think you're sick, you feel sick. Self-delusion IS, ultimately, the same as fact when it comes to the way ones behaviour is motivated.

    If you think a god needs you to act, it doesn't matter if you think it or just THINK you think it. In the end, you still act.
     
  11. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

    Messages:
    1,665
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    This. Very much this.
     
  12. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

    Messages:
    1,665
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    I dunno. Could you persuade me of this? :-)
     
  13. Baxters_Hooch

    Baxters_Hooch Supply Officer

    Messages:
    667
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Fair doos - I wasn't going against that, it's one of my favourite things about this forum! Just like jmc says, there's never going to be agreement, and it'd be sad to see this thread get really ugly and break the spirit of politeness and friendliness that this forum is uniquely good at maintaining.
     
  14. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

    Messages:
    1,858
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    As long as we can all agree that Calculators don't just die then I'll be able to go on whistling a happy tune :lol:
     
  15. stephypops

    stephypops Catering Officer

    Messages:
    417
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Well that made interesting reading blimey, way to get totally sucked in on a religious debate.
    I am an atheist and have strong views on the issue too but to get into them now would probably result in embaressment for myself as I fear I have the intellect the size of Rimmer's on the Holoship so would not fair well I fear also!

    Red Dwarf is what it is and to whomever started off this religious debate I hope you are happy with all the constant reverbirated messages that Andrew and jmc have shared across this thread, enough to make your head explode and I only read a few pages of it!

    :-)
     

Share This Page