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Thread: Ask the atheist, again!

  1. #1

    Default Ask the atheist, again!

    Okay, not too long ago (by this subforum's standards), I started a thread called 'Ask the Atheist'. It was in honor of my favorite radio host, Tom Leykis. Leykis was an unabashed atheist with unconventional views on dating and sex. The man is a personal hero of mine (along with a few others who you likely don't care about because my heroes tend to be boring) because he not only didn't let sex and the pursuit thereof destroy his life, but because he also wasn't afraid of his views or what other people thought of them. The thread seemed to be popular, and people seemed to enjoy asking questions to an atheist. So I thought I'd try again.

    To give some background info:

    1) what is an atheist? To answer this, I have to delve in to some Latin. The prefix 'a' means "lack of, or without", such as in "apolitical" or "asymentrical". 'Theist' means "one who believes in one or more deities or gods". When you combine the two, you get "one who does not or has lack of a belief in gods or deities". That's all there is to it. I simply lack a belief in a god.

    2) lack of belief in a god is different from believing that a god does not exist. Personally, I believe that it is impossible for any of the Abrahamic gods to exist, for reasons I'll expand on if anyone asks. However, that does not mean that I rule them out as possibilities. If someone were to provide me with evidence that a god exists (as well as a meaningful definition for that that god 'is'), then I'd likely believe and worship. However, you can have a lack if belief in a god for all sorts of reasons. Lack of evidence, lack of caring enough to form a belief one way or the other, or even lack of hearing about said deity - those are all valid reasons for atheism.

    Well, I have tomorrow off and I'm drunk off my ass my booty call isn't answering her phone. So let's hear it - what questions do you have for atheists? I'm also a decent cook, so feel free to ask questions about how to properly roast a turkey or something.

  2. #2

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    Is there a religious gene? Did religion provide early man with an evolutionary advantage? Does religion provide contemporary man with an evolutionary advantage?

  3. #3

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    If religious groups kept their beliefs out of politics and/or didn't infringe upon others' rights because of their beliefs, would see anything intrinsically wrong with people holding religious beliefs?

    Does it really matters what people believe so long as they don't take negative action upon it?


    To complicate matters let me go on to ask this:

    If there is, in fact, something intrinsically wrong with religious belief, are the positive actions that a religious group might take (general community service, charitable work) a net good great enough to counteract the potential negative aspects? Do the ends justify the means?


    To potentially really complicate matters:

    Assuming the answer to the previous question is yes, then to what extent can religious institutions mildly infringe upon others' rights so long as they do charitable acts which benefit society? How bad can the ends get while still justifying the means?

  4. #4

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    Was religion a crucial characteristic in the development of the human race, as in, if there was a lack of faith 1000+ years ago would people have been able to keep their cool and keep investing into the now apparently non-existent cause?

  5. #5
    Mako

    Default

    Though our answers tend to match up, we do occasionally take different approaches. So I'd like to tackle a few of these.



    Quote Originally Posted by Tsendo View Post
    Is there a religious gene?
    Possibly. It's an interesting quandry man will have to tackle the more information we uncover. A religious gene in itself, no I don't believe so as that alone would not explain it. Something that leans a person more towards following a religious path, possibly. It's a question of nature vs. nurture that we currently don't have a complete answer to. I would wager somewhere inbetween, as those who follow religion tend to follow out of childhood indoctrination, or later hardship eased by the comfort religion offers.



    Did religion provide early man with an evolutionary advantage?
    It gave pseudo-answers to that which we didn't understand yet. Whether this gave us a particular advantage before is difficult to say as we can't run a comparison test to show progress without it.



    Does religion provide contemporary man with an evolutionary advantage?
    I do not believe so. Many humans may still feel they need a fantasy they can find solice in. Speaking genrally, a belief that flies in the face of reality (the earth is 6000 years old, all species were magically formed from dust), gives little incentive to preserve the world we live in (who needs to save the enivronment, if the apocalypse is to wipe it out?), and advocates against critical thought/analysis, and/or advocates the harm of another group; is a disadvantage to our species.



    Quote Originally Posted by NutFreeFruitcake View Post
    If religious groups kept their beliefs out of politics and/or didn't infringe upon others' rights because of their beliefs, would see anything intrinsically wrong with people holding religious beliefs?

    Does it really matters what people believe so long as they don't take negative action upon it?
    It depends how well they can recognize the seperation, and even then it is difficult to seperate what one believes if it comes into conflict to knowledge. It's not even the belief itself, its the process behind that leads to the irrationality. Faith in itself is belief without demand for evidence. Such a practice is not limited to just religion in most if not all cases. By actively diminishing the importance of critical thinking, this leads the indvidual open to be more easily mislead.




    To complicate matters let me go on to ask this:

    If there is, in fact, something intrinsically wrong with religious belief, are the positive actions that a religious group might take (general community service, charitable work) a net good great enough to counteract the potential negative aspects? Do the ends justify the means?
    The positive and negative aspects tend to be in area's so vastly different, that comparison of which is more beneficial is impossible. Is feeding the homeless more important then giving gays equality (which is the case of a church in DC.) I don't approve of something such as "moral credits", that committing acts of societal good gives them a free ticket to commit acts that negatively impact society.




    The general concept in all three of these is "Do humans need belief in religion?", I do not think they do. But I do think humans need belief in concepts that aren't necesarrily objectively true or "real". What do you think?
    Last edited by Mako; 23-Nov-2009 at 19:27.

  6. #6

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    What is it about Hell that makes you want to go there so much?

    That was a joke. This one isn't: Were you raised in a religion, or have you never believed in God? If the former, what made you come to the realization that there was no higher power?

  7. #7

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    Do you call this ask the atheist because you want to shock or offend Christians while gaining the support of like-minded people, or do you just consider your anti-religious perspective to be superior to the alternative?

    Yeah, that's question is totally a trap. Take the bait... just do it.

    But more seriously, I was coming in here to post that first questions Satyrical put, but he beat me to it.


    Here's a question though: did you know that Jesus loves you?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slang View Post
    Do you call this ask the atheist because you want to shock or offend Christians while gaining the support of like-minded people, or do you just consider your anti-religious perspective to be superior to the alternative?
    Of course it was meant to be offensive, I mean why shouldn't a thread where people ask an atheist questions be called "ask an atheist"



    Yeah, that's question is totally a trap. Take the bait... just do it.
    Loaded questions such as that hurt your argument rather than further it.




    Here's a question though: did you know that Jesus loves you?
    Do you really think that the love of some deity means something if a person believes they don't exist?




    That was a joke. This one isn't: Were you raised in a religion, or have you never believed in God? If the former, what made you come to the realization that there was no higher power?
    I was raised strict christian. I don't really know what caused my falling out with god. I think it had to with seeing how some one could glaze over something with "god did it/said so" with out bothering to think anything past that.

  9. #9

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by d4l View Post
    Of course it was meant to be offensive, I mean why shouldn't a thread where people ask an atheist questions be called "ask an atheist"

    Loaded questions such as that hurt your argument rather than further it.


    Do you really think that the love of some deity means something if a person believes they don't exist?
    Easy there cowboy, do I actually strike you as the type of person who would take something seriously? I'm a Christian, but I'm not going to come in here and shove my faith down your throat when it's not going to accomplish anything, especially in a thread like this. But hey, I like to post. If I wanted to actually prove a point, I would've used way bigger words.

  10. #10

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Slang View Post
    Easy there cowboy, do I actually strike you as the type of person who would take something seriously? I'm a Christian, but I'm not going to come in here and shove my faith down your throat when it's not going to accomplish anything, especially in a thread like this. But hey, I like to post. If I wanted to actually prove a point, I would've used way bigger words.
    Sorry if i took that too seriously, I've been away for a bit and don't really know your posting style yet. But i have seen some thing almost exactly like what you said in the older thread, so I took it as a serious argument.

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