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My CFI dilema
Posted: 22 December 2012 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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RationalBeliever? - 22 December 2012 03:14 AM

All that seems to have been accomplished here is that people have put forth some very direct assumptions about what I believe, based on the fact that I used certain buzz worlds like “Christian,” “God,” and “Theism.”  Would anybody care to be just direct enough to tell me exactly what it is I do believe?  I’ll let you know if you’re on the mark or not.  The article from Greta Christina was interesting, but once again, I do not think that I personally am guilty of the things that have angered her and other atheists…and I do identify myself as a believer, in God at least.

And I think certain people on this board should consult their dictionaries as to the definition of inquiry.

No one has addressed your beliefs specifically Rational Believer.

I would say that since you are playing victim, maybe inquiry is not your thing.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 04:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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RationalBeliever? - 22 December 2012 03:20 AM

In fact, what I’ve encountered here is exactly what I might expect if I logged onto an Evangelical Christian site and posted that I don’t believe that God exists.

Cute rebuttal.

Perhaps you should go on an Evangelical Christian website, and tell what you believe. You’ll likely find what you’re looking for.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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RationalBeliever? - 22 December 2012 03:20 AM

In fact, what I’ve encountered here is exactly what I might expect if I logged onto an Evangelical Christian site and posted that I don’t believe that God exists.

Why don’t you try that and make sure to add that you are being persecuted for being atheist.
I am absolutely sure you’d get different answers than have been offered here. In fact, you’d be banned instantly for “blasphemy”..choir.gif

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Posted: 22 December 2012 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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All that seems to have been accomplished here is that people have put forth some very direct assumptions about what I believe, based on the fact that I used certain buzz worlds like “Christian,” “God,” and “Theism.”  Would anybody care to be just direct enough to tell me exactly what it is I do believe?  I’ll let you know if you’re on the mark or not.  The article from Greta Christina was interesting, but once again, I do not think that I personally am guilty of the things that have angered her and other atheists…and I do identify myself as a believer, in God at least.


In your OP you clearly identify yourself as a “Christian”. This term connotes a belief in a divine being, and in the case of Jesus, the son of god. You also believe in miracles, e.g. resurrecting the dead, healing, and an afterlife. As a Christian you also believe that Jesus came to fulfill the laws of the OT. So you must seek me out and kill me because I work on the sabbath, pick your day, Sat. Or Sun. Now you contend that you believe in god, at least. I take that to mean that you are Deist and not a Christian in the fundamentalist faith. Which is it then? No one can truly know what you believe until you declare yourself one or the other. You can’t be both, see Jrfferson for an example. Your contention also is that there atheists zealots bent on destroying religion. Yes, there are. Zealotry exists in every organization. So what? Christian zealots far outway those of us who are more vocal. Ever had an atheist team show up at your door shoving a tract in your face? Ever had an atheist hate group show up at the funeral of a friend or family member with a sign that said, “we hate fags’? Has an atheist ever shot up an abortion clinic or killed a doctor because god told them too? Has an atheist ever killed a president on god’s orders? my point is that your zealots far outweigh ours and sometimes it’s difficult not to be emotional when you are surrounded by theists who are directed by a myth to exercise power by voting, holding offices and influencing people to believe a narrow minded creed. IMO, I don’t care a damn what a person believes as long as I’m not forced to believe it as well and I will do all in my power to protect our 1st Amendment rights to a promote a secular society and not a theocracy. Can we live side by side? Hell yes. My neighbors are devout fundamentalists as are many friends and family members. I don’t hand out anti religious tracts, but if the subject comes up we debate the topic without rancor. I continuously remind them that the ACLU isn’t coming to take away their nativity scenes as long as they keep them on their own lawns. I also remind them that this country was NOT founded on fundamentalist Christian beliefs and that politics does NOT belong on the pulpit. As to CFI, there is no vagueness about the mission statement as you contend. It does promote science and reason based in empirical evidence. This means we champion people who don’t base their lives on myth and legend as relevant as those topics are for the study of philosophy and history, but on the facts and the more people become skeptics, the more humanity will be better able to tackle the problems we face and not look to “pie in the sky” solutions.

 


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 22 December 2012 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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RationalBeliever? - 20 December 2012 08:44 PM

I’ve had just as many people approach me attempting to disprove my belief in God as I have trying to convert me to theistic religions, if not more so.

But since you are already a member of a theistic religion (since you identify as a Christian), the “embittered atheists” probably just stand out in your memory more vividly.  Ain’t that the way it always is?

Are there any others like me here, or are you all embittered atheists?  am I in the wrong place?

I think of myself as a fairly open minded man, willing to see both sides of any argument.  Maybe you are in the right place.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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The article from Greta Christina was interesting, but once again, I do not think that I personally am guilty of the things that have angered her and other atheists…and I do identify myself as a believer, in God at least.

Well, I certainly hope you’re not, but whenever I hear the slam of “Angry Atheists” I like to bring up what Greta Christina pointed out to show that where the anger exists, it’s extremely well founded.

In fact, what I’ve encountered here is exactly what I might expect if I logged onto an Evangelical Christian site and posted that I don’t believe that God exists.

As some of the others have pointed out, playing the persecution card doesn’t go over very well with this crowd. Christians have enjoyed an unprecedented amount of political power in the past quarter century, and still have a profound influance.

Be that as it may be, this is a forum which is dedicated to inquiry and critical thinking which means that if you express a belief, opinion or stand of any kind, you will be challanged. The same applies to us as well. It’s not personal.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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my point is that your zealots far outweigh ours


Cap’t Jack

I lay no claim to any zealots.  As for your own, you can keep them.

I suspect that if I declared I did not believe in God on an Evangelical sight, I would be confronted by responses from people either telling me I was in the wrong place, or attempting to win me over to their way of thinking.  But really I see no need for anger on either side.  I went to a Christian high school, and was told for four years that I was going to Hell because I refused to believe in God in the same way that the predominant amount of the students and staff did.  I was surrounded constantly by antigay sentiment, people who had no concept of the Constitution, and one very enthusiastic student who boldly declared in a class debate that God did not love Democrats.  I had the frequent experience of my Government teacher asking our class to divide ourselves based on our opinions of current issues of civil rights, and found myself time and time again on a side with maybe two other people facing off against twenty.  I understand how frustrating it can be to face a majority that comes to a debate armed with the Bible, when you come armed with the Constitution.  That sort of debate is as fruitless as one between Creationism and Evolution, because the two sides are debating on entirely irreconcilable terms.  But this experience did not make me angry toward all Christians. I must say, to my school’s credit, that I was told by members of the wiser staff that doubt and faith were but two sides of the same coin, and it is natural to question established beliefs, and even core moral issues in the Bible…and that through this, we come to a better understanding of God.  There is a grand tradition of philosophical Christianity that is based on doubt, and inquiry.  It may not be what we see 9 times out of 10 on Fox News, but fundamentalism as we understand it in today’s political sphere really only dates back to Jerry Falwell.  I have spent my life questioning, doubting, looking for answers, trying to resolve the contradictions that exist in religion in general, Christianity certainly not excluded, and engaging in a continuous internal debate.  Is that not inquiry?  Is that not even the very definition of skepticism?

I went to an extremely liberal University at which nearly all of my friends subscribed either to atheism, agnosticism, or some form of New Aged nothing-in-particular.  And the people in the two former categories could be very confrontational in regards to my insistence on believing that God exists.  Note: I did not assert that belief unless asked, and did not impose it.  When I used the term “Missionary Atheism” I was not trying to describe missions in the literal sense, as one poster seemed to think.  I was trying to describe an attitude of trying to convince people that what they believe is wrong, and what you believe is right.  I also grew up in a non religious family, have a non religious girlfriend, and work with very outspoken nonbelievers.  I understand what it is to be in the minority in both situations.

As for my own beliefs, I would describe myself as a Deist with beliefs largely weighted toward the Judeo-Christian model.  You cannot be both Deist and Christian you say?  Well, people managed it for a large part of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, and what’s good enough for the great minds of the Enlightenment is good enough for me.  As for the problem of my defining myself as “Christian” you could do worse than to look to early Unitarianism, or New England Transcendental philosophy for a rough model.  Let me put it in terms easier to define.  Ask me how I vote on certain key issues, and see if it lines up with your image of what it means to be a Christian in America today.

I’m not trying to play the victim.  I’m sorry if I come across that way.  I’m trying to eliminate victimizing from the equation when it comes to free discourse.  Idealistic, I know…but in this case I am indeed a true believer.

[ Edited: 22 December 2012 12:44 PM by RationalBeliever? ]
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Posted: 22 December 2012 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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this is a forum which is dedicated to inquiry and critical thinking which means that if you express a belief, opinion or stand of any kind, you will be challanged.

I understand that, but the main opinion I wish to assert is that there is room for religious belief in a rational society, and that inquiry and skepticism need not be defined in the narrow terms of believing or not believing in God.  I can’t imagine why anyone would want to challenge that, but your point is well taken.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Hello and welcome RationalBeliever?,

RationalBeliever? - 20 December 2012 08:44 PM

  I don’t mind if people are without religious affiliation, but I do resent the implication that because I choose to affiliate myself, I cannot be a supporter of inquiry, constitutional rights, and rational thought.  What about enlightenment era Deists, our founding fathers and Sir Isaac Newton, for example, who devoted their lives to pursuing reason while still believing in the existence of God.

I think belief in God is one thing and religion another.

Of course religious belief is irrational, like belief in the virgin birth story or belief that Jesus is the son of God or the belief you can find out the truth about these matters from the authority of scripture.

Stephen

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Posted: 22 December 2012 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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RationalBeliever? - 22 December 2012 12:59 PM

I understand that, but the main opinion I wish to assert is that there is room for religious belief in a rational society

No, there isn’t. There is room in our society for faith and rational thinking, but these two are quite different. What you are implying here makes no sense. Rational belief (say, a belief that Australia exists) is based on evidence. There is zero evidence that your God exists.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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OK, from what I’ve seen so far is that you believe in a god, almost certainly Christian, that you think poorly of atheists but want them all to accept your beliefs, that you can’t understand why they seem intransigent in their beliefs, and you wonder how you got on the CFI mailing list.  You might consider going to the bottom of the page of the next CFI note you get and checking the “remove me from your mailing list” box. 

Of course there’s room for religious belief in a rational society; after all we see many small children who believe in Santa Claus, so why should we object to your believing in a god?  It’s only when the child tries to convince a rational adult that s/he also should believe in Santa Claus that the rational adult ignores the child’s ideas.  It seems similar to your arguments and my response.  LOL 

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Posted: 22 December 2012 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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you think poorly of atheists but want them all to accept your beliefs, that you can’t understand why they seem intransigent in their beliefs, and you wonder how you got on the CFI mailing list.  You might consider going to the bottom of the page of the next CFI note you get and checking the “remove me from your mailing list” box.

 


When did I write that I think poorly of all atheists, want them to accept my beliefs, or that they seem intransigent to me.  I’m not trying to get anybody here to believe in God, or become Christian, if that’s what you mean…and I’m not trying to get anybody to change their disbelief in God, so how does intransigence apply?  If you mean intransigent in the sense of unwilling to compromise, I don’t think it is asking for too much of a compromise to have a secular, constitutional government in which religious beliefs are relegated to peoples personal lives, and do not impact legislation or social policy…that is what I meant by “There is room for religious belief in a rational society.”  That is the only belief I have I want anyone here to accept.  I’m not a big fan of atheists who make assumptions about me based on preconceived notions about what it means to be a believer in the world today.  Neither am I terribly fond of Christians who tell me I am going to hell because I don’t believe religion has a place in a free government, or because I support same-sex marriage, etc.  But I don’t think poorly of all atheists, or all Christians. 

I thought I had made it clear in the original post that I had opted not to remove myself from the mailing list because I sometimes find the newsletters interesting, and was interested in pursuing a discourse here.

[ Edited: 22 December 2012 08:02 PM by RationalBeliever? ]
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Posted: 22 December 2012 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Well, I think it depends a lot on the particular claims one makes in one’s belief. Deism per se I don’t find particularly problematic, depending on how it’s characterized. If one wants (for instance) to identify God with the laws of nature (as per Spinoza and Einstein), then it’s not unreasonable to say “God” exists. The problem, of course, is that this “God” has no religious importance. It isn’t a person, doesn’t have beliefs or desires, doesn’t respond to prayer, and didn’t compose any holy book.

There are also liberal Christians and Jews who take the Bible as basically a work of literature. They just happen to like the stories as stories, in all their complexity, without taking them as anything like literally true. Again, depending on how that’s worked out, I don’t see any real problem with that. It becomes basically an aesthetic decision. I happen to disagree with the decision, since I don’t generally find the Bible of very high aesthetic merit (with the exceptions of a few books or passages here and there), but there are many kinds of art that I also find baffling or ugly that other people love a great deal, such as the Palace of Versailles.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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.

What you are implying here makes no sense. Rational belief (say, a belief that Australia exists) is based on evidence. There is zero evidence that your God exists.

I am not suggesting a society based on religious belief.  I am suggesting a secular, constitutional government, in which religion does not dictate legislation or social policy.  I am not trying to prove the existence of God.  Dare I say, I am “rational” enough to know it would be a pointless venture to try.  The only thing I am implying is that religion or personal faith, however you wish to define it, can be practiced or maintained on a personal and individual basis in a free, secular nation.  If I am trying to prove anything, it’s that religion doesn’t need to be entirely stamped out to make room for a rational, secular society.  My original posting was in response to an email from the CFI I received that was suggesting it was a positive thing that the number of people in the USA with religious affiliation was declining.

My impression is that you think I am suggesting a rational theocracy.  Of course that doesn’t make sense.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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I understand that, but the main opinion I wish to assert is that there is room for religious belief in a rational society…

Errrrr…no, not really. The really huge problem is that in demanding an acceptance of a number of propositions as true without any supporting evidence, religion is by it’s very nature irrational in the extreme.

By demanding an acceptance of a number of propositions as true without any supporting evidence and enforcing same while discouraging critical enquiry by the existential threat of hellfire and eternal damnation, it is also by it’s nature both irrational and oppressive.

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