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  (#16)
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September 28, 2012, 12:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scratch View Post
Yet another simplistic dismissal. Refer to my observation in the other thread regarding apocalyptic religions. Religious zealotry, regardless of stripe, is antithetical to freedom.
Not sure you're doing much to demonstrate that it's ME guilty of simplistic dismissals but ok. I agree about zealotry. I agree about religious zealotry too. Here's a rather zealous statement from a member of the clergy of the religion of atheism (check in around the 7:37 mark, if you wish to not waste your time with the whole thing):


"I do not despise religious people; I despise what they stand for." Put ANY other group name in place of "religious people" and he would be attacked for hate speech. Brash zealotry. And a whole crowd cheers? Of course they do.


Then later, at 14:28, his little diatribe begins. "Mock them! Ridicule them!... In public!"

Finally, at 15:21, he utters these rather chilling words: "Religion makes specific claims about the Universe which need to be substantiated and need to be challenged and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt."

Any time, Dr. Dawkins. Any time.


He's even insulting to his own audience of like-minded zealots at the beginning! Not to mention that he appeals to our constitution while betraying a woeful lack of understanding of how the framers drafted our constitution. What's more, he would do well to read the great thinkers of Evolutionary Theory like the late Stephen Jay Gould, who once rightfully declared that science, by its legitimate devices, can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God.


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  (#17)
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September 28, 2012, 01:06 PM

That's what irritates me... The atheist lobby has been successful in getting crosses removed from war memorials, advise their people to ridicule and persecute people of faith, and somehow religious folks are the intolerant ones.

The previous comments about Mormons... Put in anything other than a religious group into that sentence, and be labelled a bigot.


-Fitz

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  (#18)
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September 28, 2012, 01:12 PM

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Originally Posted by OrangeShirtDude View Post
Western Europe liberated itself from God and enjoyed a nice little pleasure-oriented eutopia for a time. What they weren't wise enough to realize is that freedom depends on virtue, virtue depends on faith, and faith depends on freedom.
If you think that virtue depends on faith, then do you consequently think that everyone without faith is not virtuous? Do you think that people act morally only because they fear god?

One does not need faith to be virtuous. Virtue can be derived through simple logic.

As far as I can tell, there are plenty of virtuous non-religious people, and atheists are not going on rape and pillage sprees simply because they don't fear your god. We are virtuous, because we are rational.
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  (#19)
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September 28, 2012, 02:14 PM

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Originally Posted by Witold View Post
If you think that virtue depends on faith, then do you consequently think that everyone without faith is not virtuous? Do you think that people act morally only because they fear god?

One does not need faith to be virtuous. Virtue can be derived through simple logic.

As far as I can tell, there are plenty of virtuous non-religious people, and atheists are not going on rape and pillage sprees simply because they don't fear your god. We are virtuous, because we are rational.

Ok I agree with you that people can be and are virtuous without a belief in an almighty god. Os Guinness explains that in his lecture. He links faith with virtue and freedom, but he acknowledges that it is faith in something, not necessarily God or a god. Everyone lives with some degree of faith, no matter how vehemently they try to deny it. So, again, virtue depends on faith. In what that faith is placed is not defined in the conceptual framework.

On the other hand, I disagree completely with the statement that virtue can be derived from logic and/or reason. First off, how can it? I'm told periodically that it can, but to date nobody has made a convincing link between reason, logic, and virtue. The laws of logic do not create anything--they simply tell us about how things are. In other words, the law of non-contradiction describes how A can not be both A and B at the same time, in the same sense. It does not dictate, it describes. We put our faith in the laws of logic because they are that which best describe reality. Nothing else occupies the space I occupy, yet that doesn't ever seem to put more money in my bank account. Logic creates nothing.

The very same can be said for reason. What is reason? Reason is a process that neither creates nor destroys anything. Reason is also not value-added. Rather it is quite vulnerable to abuse and adulteration. This is so easily illustrated by the laws of logic in action. Start with a false premise, and one may reason themselves into just about any conclusion they seek.

Finally, if we conclude that we are virtuous because we are rational, how do we explain the mass murders of the 20th Century done in the name of rationalism? (Think Stalin, Mao, etc.) You may believe that virtue comes from reason and logic. I am absolutely unconvinced of this and find arguments in support of the notion tragically inadequate.


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Last edited by OrangeShirtDude; September 28, 2012 at 02:17 PM..
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  (#20)
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September 28, 2012, 09:00 PM

According to Catholicism - and at least some other Christian sects - humans follow Natural Law and are capable of discerning the difference between good and evil because they have a conscience. Thomas Aquinas himself wrote volumes on the topic and why humans, in fact, do not need god to be moral. Catholic Church agrees, and points to Aquainas on this matter.

The 20th Century despots did achieve a pretty big death toll thanks to better weapons. Pre-19th Century religious war/conflict death tolls were not as deadly simply because the weapons sucked.

And, while Hitler may not have been a believer, what about his followers? 6 years into Hitler's reign, German census indicated that 54 percent of Germans considered themselves Protestant and 40 percent considered themselves Catholic, with only 3.5 percent claiming to be neo-pagan "believers in God," and 1.5 percent unbelievers. If faith is a source of moral compass, I guess it's not that big of an influence as those 54% Protestants and 40% Catholics willingly and enthusiastically followed Hitler.

Here is wikipedia entry on Nazi policy towards Atheists:
Quote:
On October 13, 1933, Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess issued a decree stating that: "No National Socialist may suffer any detriment on the ground that he does not profess any particular faith or confession or on the ground that he does not make any religious profession at all."[81] However, the regime strongly opposed "godless communism"[82][83] and most of Germany's freethinking (freigeist), atheist, and largely left-wing organizations were banned the same year.[84][85] In a speech made 24 October 1933, Hitler claimed to have "undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."[86] And in a speech made during the negotiations for the Nazi-Vatican Concordant of 1933, Hitler argued against secular schools, stating: "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith."[87] One of the groups closed down by the Nazi regime was the German Freethinkers League. One of its chairmen, Max Sievers, was beheaded by the Nazis on January 17, 1944 for treason. According to a 1945 U.S. Office of Strategic Services report, the Nazis "abolished the right to pursue anti-religious and anti-Church propaganda. The Prussian government closed the so-called secular (weltliche) schools in which no religious instruction was given and reestablished religious instruction in professional and vocation schools. All organizations of free-thinkers were forbidden." (wiki link)

Last edited by Witold; September 28, 2012 at 09:03 PM..
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  (#21)
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Wink September 29, 2012, 01:04 PM

Well I already agreed with you about this moral conscience business. I think it was Lee Stroebel who said that there are simple things that humans cannot NOT know precisely because they are woven into or fabric, so to speak. O. Hobart Mauer wrote on the topic of guilt and how it points to the doctrine of sin moreso to anywhere else, and Mauer was a skeptic. The atheist has no trouble at all in forming a moral code. The impossible hurdle for him is to explain its foundation. Bertrand Russell conceded this in his famous debate with Copleston. Mauer recognized the implications.

In 1960 he, Mauer, wrote an article entitled “Sin, the Lesser of Two Evils,” in The American Psychologist magazine. In it he said, “For several decades we psychologists have looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus and we have acclaimed our freedom from it as epic making. But at length we have discovered to be free in this sense to have the excuse of being sick rather than being sinful is to also court the danger of becoming lost. In becoming amoral, ethically neutral and free, we have cut the very roots of our being, lost our deepest sense of selfhood and identity. And with neurotics themselves, asking, “Who am I? What is my deepest destiny? And what does living really mean?”

About the Nazis and German populace, considering the ruling party coerced declarations of faith, are we really surprised by the survey results? Secondly, they talk up religion but what religion? Is it an expression of authentic belief? Doubtful since the Nazi policies and activities were diametrically opposed to Biblical teachings. It's impossible to find reasonable justification in the Bible for the Holocaust.


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  (#22)
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September 29, 2012, 01:27 PM

white guilt is fucking hilarious. sure, you can have our country. everything works so well in the middle east, right? bring your entire thought process here, it will totally be cool man.

where dont they have these problems? russia. everyone can say what they want about russia being a horrible place, but to me, as a person that isnt interested in being shit on for being white, it seems better and better by the day.
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