Skip to comments.How to talk to an atheist (and you must)
Posted on 01/26/2005 9:46:21 AM PST by 7thson
When I pulled into the parking lot this morning, I saw a car covered with sacrilegious bumper stickers. It seemed obvious to me that the owner was craving attention. Im sure he was also seeking to elicit anger from people of faith. The anger helps the atheist to justify his atheism. And, all too often, the atheist gets exactly what he is looking for.
(Excerpt) Read more at townhall.com ...
This is a common misunderstanding of the First Amendment. Rather than getting theoretical over it, let me remind you that public decency laws were upheld till very recently in this country by judges that understood the Constitution far better than the current bunch.
sorry, I misunderstood your experience.
I would contend that you didn't actually die -- that your soul never actually left your body.
Have you considered that?
(I realize that you may not even believe you have a soul. I will just assert that a "blank" experience is a rather shaky prop for your beliefs.)
But this statement is absurd, tort!!! The hypotheses we humans construct re: the reality or the unreality of God can never be the measure or test of God. His reality does not depend in any way on human will or desire to prove or disprove His "existence." In other words, the ancient insight continues to be valid (and perennially so, it seems to me): Man is not the measure.
"So are you telling me that if you had to make the decision to burn by fire or jump to your death your thought your mind is going to tell you "Well this is it, I am spending my eternity as dirt so which will be less painless fire or falling? if you do that, is that not a "CHOICE"? "
Of course it's a choice. The only difference is that I won't be thinking about some mythical "eternity." I'll be thinking about which would be the most painless death. I'd guess it would be buy jumping, but I'm not in that situation.
I would not be thinking about some choice regarding an afterlife I don't believe exists, just about the immediate situation. You might be thinking about different things than I did.
In fact, each individual in the towers who had to make such a decision had his or her own things to think about. There were Christians, Jews, Moslems, atheists, and probably Buddhists, Shintos, Jains, and Hindus in that building, each facing death. Each had a different way of looking at the situation, I'm sure.
The Hindu might wonder what he was going to be reincarnated as. You might wonder what your "Heaven" was going to be like, just as the Muslim might wonder about his "Paradise." The Buddhist...well, who knows what the Buddhist would be wondering?
The point is that everyone has some sense of the meaning of death. Yours is one sense, based on your belief in Christianity. Perhaps you can imagine no other way of thinking...I don't know. But, I can tell you that the Hindu wouldn't be thinking about Jesus, nor would followers of any of the other religions.
Yours is just one of the religions followed by human beings. Each religion answers the same questions in its own way. You, naturally, believe that yours is the correct belief, but so do the others. For each of them, the beliefs give them some apparent understanding of the meaning of life and death.
For atheists, life and death are simply life and death. It's just another way of looking at the same thing. You believe one thing...others believe otherwise. I'm afraid you simply have to accept that.
I admit, strictly speaking, to lumping weak atheists into the agnostic category, but appreciate the finer distinction of how open their mind might be to the possibility of a supreme being.
Agree completely with your definition of a strong atheist. It is my conjecture and experience that many in this category have experienced deeply traumatic experiences in their life that lead them to conclude that God can't exist, or that if He does, then He's evil for having allowed the trauma to be perpetrated on them in the first place. Their denial of God's existence is more emotional than objective.
"When they get too obnoxious, force would be justified to enforce public decency.
Uffda! So, if they say something you don't like, blasphemy, for example, you feel justified in using force to stop them.
If my hypothetical bumper sticker said: "There is no God...damn it!" you'd feel justified in using force to stop me from saying that?
Sorry, annalex, that' ain't American.
This is a really nifty retort, tort; and would work really well if human beings lived only in their own minds, and not in their bodies, their emotional life, their connections to communities and environment, etc., etc. -- IOW, in contexts that are not limited to mental abstractions or the intellelctual life.
But they don't.
"I would contend that you didn't actually die -- that your soul never actually left your body.
Have you considered that?
(I realize that you may not even believe you have a soul. I will just assert that a "blank" experience is a rather shaky prop for your beliefs.)
First, I'd have to posit the existence of a "soul," by which I take you to mean some force that exists apart from the body. Sorry, but that falls into the realm of things I don't believe exist, along with all other supernatural entities.
Did I actually die? Of course not. If I had, I would not be writing this. But, then, neither did the others who had these NDEs. If they're here, they didn't actually die.
Experiences identical to NDEs can be easily induced with medication. The buzzing and white light thingie is a common symptom of anoxia, and the rest can be observed by using ketamine as a sort of anesthesia. People have visions all the time.
I once had an "out of body experience" following the ingestion of a sizable dose of mescaline. I saw myself driving down the road and pulling into the garage of my house, as if I were about 100 feet above the car. The human mind is capable of all sorts of strange stuff.
No, I didn't die. Neither did the rest who have NDEs. They ALMOST died. That's why I used the term clinical death to describe what happened to me.
Nope. You don't get to invoke facts that cannot be known until after the decision has been taken and acted upon to explain the motivations for the decision. The former cannot influence the latter, unless you have some way to cause information to flow backward in time.
So In your opinion I guess spenind eternity as "Dirt" is not a choice for you it just is... And you know what I to beleive that you will end us just as dirt for eternity not that I would wish that upon you, but you have Free Will and you will reap what you sow.
SO I guess you could say both me and you beleive what will happen to you at your death..You will be Dust in the Wind FOREVER>>>
Er, genocide isn't neutral by Divine morality:
And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
How do I know GOD gave the Ten Commandments to Moses?
How do I know GOD created the earth and Adam and Eve?
How do I know NOah built an ark?
How do I know I am truly living on earth? Evidence from the Book of Life...
> To anyone but an atheist, these are not "dangerous questions."
Nor are they "dangerous" to atheists.
Q1: " there was a beginning, an uncaused cause, i.e. God!"
A1: i.e.... somethign entirely else. "I don't know" does not equal God.
Q2: "i.e. a life force"
A2: Scientists ahve made living things (polio virii) from non-living molecular components. No "life force" was injected.
Q3: "Why does the organism have a will to live?"
A3: Because if it didn't, it wouldn't live, and thus wouldn't reproduce.
Q4: "the incredibly delicate physical constants, physical laws ..."
A4: Change the laws, and we become impossible. But change the laws and something *else* becomes possible.
Q5: "why our vision and mind are tuned to a particular selection of four coordinates"
A5: These are the ones that are useful for perception of our environment.
Q6: "He'd have to explain how biological semiosis arose through natural means."
A6: Look up the experiments of Urey, and the follow-on experiments of Fox.
Q7: "i.e. cardiovascular without the lungs, nervous system without the brain"
A7: Lungs and Brains aren't needed for life; note your nearest amoeba.
Q8-a: "explain how eyes developed concurrently across phyla i.e. vertebrates and invertebrates "
A8-a: Vertebrates evolved from invertebrates after the development of eyes. Look up Pikaia.
Q8-b: "virtually no new body plans since the Cambrian Explosion"
A8-b: Because optimums can be reached. There's a reason why really fast submersibles tend to look like fish, and why subsonic aircraft look like birds or insects (helicopters). Natural forces mean that certain forms function better than others. How effective would a fish shaped like, say, a mastodon be?
Q9: "Hed have to have a natural explanation for qualia "
A9: Without them you die and don't reproduce.
Not a one of these means either that God exists or doesn't exist. The ability to answer does not negate God, the inability to answer does nto make God inevitable.
> I often wonder about the psychology of atheism, what motivates it, and what atheists hope to achieve/obtain from it.
What do you hope to achieve by believing that the world is round, or that the Earh goes round the sun? It makes no difference to the lives of the vast majority of people. You believe things because they are, to your judgement based on the evidence at hand, so.
A better thign to wonder about is the psychology of those who demand that anyone who believes very differently about the supernatural is somehow sick or evil.
Yes I guess there will be many people like you and Mineral Man that will be DUST IN THE WIND. Forgotten about forever if that's ok with you then that's okay with me...
And for many of us we will be in Paradise with the Lord, Our Loved Ones living a Glorious exsistence, I am happy with that...
"SO I guess you could say both me and you beleive what will happen to you at your death..You will be Dust in the Wind FOREVER"
OK, so we don't need to bother with this discussion any further. Thanks!
Blackadder: (grabs Baldrick by the lapels) *We* are going to go to Mrs. Miggins', we're going to find out where Dr. Johnson keeps a copy of that Dictionary, and then *you* are going to steal it.
Blackadder: Yes, you!
Baldrick: Why me?
Blackadder: Because you burnt it, Baldrick.
Baldrick: But then I'll go to Hell forever for stealing.
Blackadder: Baldrick, believe me: eternity in the company of Beezlebub and all his hellish instruments of death will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me -- and this pencil -- if we can't replace this Dictionary.
Not so, obb -- my understanding is this marvel was accomplished by using a living molecular base for some super-added components. [Voila!!! Polio!] So far as I am aware, there have been no successful experiments in manufacturing a living system entirely from non-living matter.
I'd love to continue with the rest of your responses; but my lunch hour is about over, and I must get back to work.
Maybe later. Thanks for your reply!
If you ever make a comment that indicates you have figured it out, I'll be happy to respond. Until then, you are posting to yourself. Have a ball.
Those of us who do not want to rape, murder and plunder have co-operated to create a society where murderers, rapists and thieves get squashed. Rather than setting up a society where the law of the jungle rules and its every man for himself, we have co-operated to increase the safety of all.
And your label of sociopaths may make you feel superior to them, but it doesn't fool me. They don't agree with your version of society? You don't agree with theirs. Why are they the sociopaths and not you?
Because the majority backs my view of society over theirs'.
The strong survive and the strong should survive.
Explain Stephen Hawking then, or Bill Gates. Being a mindless thug, no matter how strong, is not a particularly effective way to survive in our society. Similarly, if we're talking about nations, being an aggressor is usually a very good way to make all other nations gang up on you.
Some atheists say that. Others say that there is not enough proof to conclude that God exists.
And I'm not an atheist. I just don't buy into any man-made religion, such as Christianity.
Missy, I swore that I was never going to engage you in discussion again after the last maddening experience, but I cannot let that remark go by. How dare you say such a thing? You have just decided that these people's lives have no meaning and that they have had no impact on the world around them because they don't believe in God.
If they have children, they will live on through their children and the love that they gave to them. If they have spouses, they will live on in the memories of the one left behind. If they've given time or money to a charitable organization, they will live on in the good that they did for someone else.
What you said was hateful and cruel and I don't believe for a second that Jesus would praise you for it.
Just yesterday I was shocked when I saw for the first time Calvin of 'Calvin and Hobbes' pissing on a cross. At the very next light I saw the second one I've ever seen. Why don't they just put a big sticker saying "We deserved 9-11!" That probably wouldn't even anger as many people.
> my understanding is this marvel was accomplished by using a living molecular base for some super-added components.
"To create the virus, the researchers first assembled single nucleotide bases into DNA based on the virus' known genetic sequence. An enzyme then transcribed the DNA into the single-stranded RNA genome. The virus could then replicate itself naturally."
"But the questions ethicists have raised about such work are numerous: Should we be playing God?"
Somebody has to!
(2 points to whoever gets the reference...)
Actually... dust in the wind is a misnomer. My body will be broken down into basic components, spread into the soil and water table surrounding my "final resting place," make their way into growing flora and fauna, where little bits of me will help make life continue. Just like all of my ancestors, and the bodies of your ancestors, and the bodies of every living thing that has ever died.
But on the other hand maybe your point of view explains all the dust in my apartment...
I can appreciate the gap. Truly.
I have absolutely no issue with weak atheists and with agnostics. None. Doubt exists - perfect. I have doubt too. Without it, I'd either be certifiable, or a prophet. Either one is bad. Prophets have hard jobs.
Strong atheists tend to be more militant, and more activists, while at the same time maintaining this surety that is not logically supportable. I wouldn't have an issue with strong atheists either if they weren't trying to undermine the some of the stronger traditions upon which the US was founded.
I am fascinated by agnostics, when you can get them to talk about it.
"Missy, I swore that I was never going to engage you in discussion again after the last maddening experience, but I cannot let that remark go by. How dare you say such a thing? You have just decided that these people's lives have no meaning and that they have had no impact on the world around them because they don't believe in God.
If they have children, they will live on through their children and the love that they gave to them. If they have spouses, they will live on in the memories of the one left behind. If they've given time or money to a charitable organization, they will live on in the good that they did for someone else."
I've had a tendency over the years to view atheists by three types: the ordinary atheist who doesn't believe but doesn't mind if you do, the pondering atheist who wants to present his reasoning (as if always reevaluating his own thoughts) and the evangelical atheist who insists that nobody else ought believe in God. IMHO, the Newdow's and Lewontin's are evangelical - using every power at their disposal to influence others.
Two questions for you, if I may. Have you ever believed? If so, what made you stop?
Public blasphemy or other public insult is a violation of rights unless the receiver of the message had consented to it. It would be fine in an environment which one enters knowingly, such as this forum. It is not fine on the public square if it violates the decency norm. Your comment is mild enough so it is not violative, and in fact the public square in the United States has deteriorated to such extent that it is hard to imagine anything to be below the pale. Nevertheless if some punk on the street, for example, yells at people that their wifes are ugly sluts and their children are cretins, such punk will be hauled away. The offence of plasphemy in justice should be treated no differently.
Stone Mountain: it's just your opinion that the judges who overturned the public decency laws understood the Constitution better than the ones who upheld them
I assume you meant the exact opposite. It is not just mine opinion: it is also the opinion of any conservative I know. These are the judges that gave us the IRS, the Social Security, undeclared by Conress foreign expeditions, the gun laws, and the hate crime laws, -- all in clear contradiction to the Constitution, -- and who invented the right to abortion from the constitutional penumbras. Besides, the 19 century judges were simply closer to the Founding Fathers in mentality and had a better grasp on the original intent of the Constitution.
"Two questions for you, if I may. Have you ever believed? If so, what made you stop?
Two answers for you. Yes, and it's a long story that I am not going to post here.
They are the ones who have Chosen to believe this way. They deny GOD they deny Jesus they have chosen there own path.
Why would GOD choose to remember them when they have chose to deny him?
AS fas as there loved ones go, they don't plan on seeing or ever hearing from them again after there physical death.
I never wished these things for Un-believing Atheists they have chosen it for themselves.
"Public blasphemy or other public insult is a violation of rights unless the receiver of the message had consented to it. It would be fine in an environment which one enters knowingly, such as this forum. It is not fine on the public square if it violates the decency norm. Your comment is mild enough so it is not violative, and in fact the public square in the United States has deteriorated to such extent that it is hard to imagine anything to be below the pale. Nevertheless if some punk on the street, for example, yells at people that their wifes are ugly sluts and their children are cretins, such punk will be hauled away. The offence of plasphemy in justice should be treated no differently. "
I'm sorry, but that's utter nonsense. Blasphemy, in itself, is not illegal, nor should it be. Indeed, your example fo the street punk is wrong, as well. He can freely do what you said and, while he might face retribution from the hearer, will not be arrested.
Blasphemy is a simple thing and may be directed at any deity you wish. I might say that Kali is a lying, thieving, murderous bitch. That is blasphemy. I could say, as has been said on this forum that Allah is a false diety and that its followers are criminals. That is blasphemy. Such an utterance would engender only amusement in this country, while it would create anger elsewhere.
What you're referring to is blasphemy only against the locally popular deity in the USA. That is not illegal, and should never be illegal.
When we lose the freedom to declare that there is no God, or that the popular God is a bully, we lose all of our freedom of speech. That is an opinion, and opinions are protected in the USA.
I would not say those things, nor would I put an anti-religious bumpersticker on my vehicle. I would, however, reserve my right to do so if I chose to. That right is one which I served in our nation's military to protect, and the oath I affirmed at that time is still in effect.
A Baby Christian hmmm really never heard that before, but I will tell you this As a Child of GOD I talk to him all the time I ask him for many things and I pray for where I fail in my life and you know what he answers me he guides me he has NEVER failed me NEVER. If that makes me a Baby Christian then that's okay...
THE LAW OF GOD...
I see nothing that makes exceptions for Atheists.
I am the Lord your G-d, Who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery"
"You shall have no other gods but me"
"You shall not take the name of your Lord in vain"
"You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy"
"Honor your father and mother"
"You shall not murder"
"You shall not commit adultery"
"You shall not steal"
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor"
"You shall not covet your neighbor's goods. You shall not covet your neighbour's house. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his bull, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour's."
"I just can't understand why it is a personal affront to people that you don't believe."
It is not an affront to anyone who is secure in his or her faith. It is only an affront to those who doubt, or to those who believe they have some calling to condemn all unbelievers. At least that's my opinion on the matter.
It has never concerned me that most people have some sort of religious beliefs. I can't imagine why I'd be upset by that. That's why I don't mind if folks worship however they choose. Why would I?
There are some religionists, though, who feel otherwise about those who disbelieve or who believe otherwise than themselves. Wars have been fought over such things, and not just a few. It's a sad thing, to me, since I believe that the realm of faith is a personal realm and has nothing to do with anyone but onesself.
Oh well...this has been a long thread and I'm just about out of steam.
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