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So much for religion as a loving community.
Posted: 27 February 2013 07:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Jeciron - 27 February 2013 11:36 AM

When I take the time to consider my position, something I don’t always do, I find I agree with many of PLaClair’s points.  There clearly are moderate religions which alleviate an enormous amount of pain and suffering

—cocaine and heroin do the same thing.  And they work, too.  So we shouldn’t denigrate them, right!? If some people get relief there should be no warnings about their dangers?


while providing a supportive community for their members.  Judging from discussions here, community and good deeds are not the focus of this group, or at least not the focus of this forum, (I have no idea what participants here do in their non-forum lives).  My shallow sense of the general humanist mindset, is that we tend to be a diverse group of outliers and individualists who are often geographically isolated.  Most of us don’t seem to be looking to live in a close community of like minded secular people, not in way members of more conventional religions often do, and in this way and others, we seem to happily function quite differently from a religious community.

—-Not true in the Los Angeles area, not in several other areas I could name. We do live in a community of like minded secular people and the Internet is available for those who don’t.

—-I’m sure that some religious communities do what such communities should do.  They are few and far between, however, and many do more harm than good.

It is interesting then, that I seem to find myself, to some degree, opposing religion in a very general way.  If I don’t deeply desire what religion offers, why do I care at all, much less feel distinct animosity toward religion? 

I’d speculate my attitude primarily results from the fact that I find a person who adopts or inherits a religious viewpoint somewhat frightening and offensive.  When I write of someone possessing a religious viewpoint, I specifically mean, one who chooses to hold a belief in the efficacy of the supernatural, and promotes this belief as being exclusively correct and unchallengeable.  I don’t see how someone who adheres to such belief system can accept or even truly tolerate my secular viewpoint.  This inherit intolerance offends me, and judging from history, it should frighten me.  Quite frankly, I would like to see any system of belief built upon a dogma involving the worship of unchallengeable supernatural figure cease to exist. 

—looks as if we could be on the same page, after all.  I didn’t think so when you wrote, “Judging from discussions here, community and good deeds are not the focus of this group, or at least not the focus of this forum.”  That’s never been my experience on secular groups or forums.  I find secular groups as supportive as religious ones without the manipulation.

Now I recognize that doesn’t define many belief systems which are generally referred to as “religions”.  But, it seems that those alternative “religions” make up a pretty insignificant part of the religious population.  I cannot include the liberal branches of the Abrahamic religions, because, no matter how far they stray from a literal interpretation of their central dogma, as far as I know the core of their belief is that there is a single, all powerful, supernatural being.  The importance of forcing obeisance to this figure may wax and wane, but the nucleus of that idea always exists. 

I realize that cultivating intolerance for secularists is very far from the focus of most moderate religious believers, and even though my broad based discomfort and intolerance for religion clearly does affect my ability to effectively interact, I really don’t know how to resolve this issue.  While I have no desire to insult or harm people who hold a religious belief, (as I’ve defined such a belief)  my mere refusal to believe is offensive by definition.  I don’t know how to honestly mask my deep conviction that this sort of religion is a flawed and dangerous phenomenon.

—Why should you want to mask it?  It’s an honest conviction.  I suspect you don’t want people to have any reason to dislike you, and you’ll swallow your opinions so that doesn’t happen.  That’s never a wise thing to do.  Incidentally, secularists are usually much more tolerant of believers than believers are of secularists and even their fellow believers.

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Posted: 27 February 2013 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Lois, when you write this: “cocaine and heroin do the same thing.  And they work, too.  So we shouldn’t denigrate them, right!?” I wonder whether you’re even bothering to read what is being written. We should denigrate what stands to be denigrated, based on the facts. In doing so, we should be careful, precise and incisive. When I denigrate or criticize someone else’s beliefs, practices, statements, etc., I want to be able to support my charges with facts and reason. We can’t do that if we’re not even listening to what the other party is saying. If we’re just knocking down straw men, then we’re engaging in one of the worst practices of those we oppose.

No one here says we shouldn’t criticize and oppose those aspects of religion that invite criticism and opposition. No one. So why do you make a remark like that? Seriously, did you not read the remarks to which you are purportedly responding?

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 28 February 2013 12:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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PLaClair - 27 February 2013 10:57 PM

Lois, when you write this: “cocaine and heroin do the same thing.  And they work, too.  So we shouldn’t denigrate them, right!?” I wonder whether you’re even bothering to read what is being written. We should denigrate what stands to be denigrated, based on the facts. In doing so, we should be careful, precise and incisive. When I denigrate or criticize someone else’s beliefs, practices, statements, etc., I want to be able to support my charges with facts and reason. We can’t do that if we’re not even listening to what the other party is saying. If we’re just knocking down straw men, then we’re engaging in one of the worst practices of those we oppose.

No one here says we shouldn’t criticize and oppose those aspects of religion that invite criticism and opposition. No one. So why do you make a remark like that? Seriously, did you not read the remarks to which you are purportedly responding?

Why do you make remarks such as this:

 “Judging from discussions here, community and good deeds are not the focus of this group, or at least not the focus of this forum.”

You seem to have a problem with humanism.  Why don’t you describe exactly what it is so we can discuss it? You might also describe what it is about CFI’s management that is disturbing to you.

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Posted: 28 February 2013 04:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Lois - 28 February 2013 12:42 AM
PLaClair - 27 February 2013 10:57 PM

Lois, when you write this: “cocaine and heroin do the same thing.  And they work, too.  So we shouldn’t denigrate them, right!?” I wonder whether you’re even bothering to read what is being written. We should denigrate what stands to be denigrated, based on the facts. In doing so, we should be careful, precise and incisive. When I denigrate or criticize someone else’s beliefs, practices, statements, etc., I want to be able to support my charges with facts and reason. We can’t do that if we’re not even listening to what the other party is saying. If we’re just knocking down straw men, then we’re engaging in one of the worst practices of those we oppose.

No one here says we shouldn’t criticize and oppose those aspects of religion that invite criticism and opposition. No one. So why do you make a remark like that? Seriously, did you not read the remarks to which you are purportedly responding?

Why do you make remarks such as this:

 “Judging from discussions here, community and good deeds are not the focus of this group, or at least not the focus of this forum.”

You seem to have a problem with humanism.  Why don’t you describe exactly what it is so we can discuss it? You might also describe what it is about CFI’s management that is disturbing to you.

I didn’t write that. Jeciron did. So you’ve just illustrated the problem I have, and it isn’t with humanism. It’s with people who say they are humanists but then don’t act like it. As I wrote before, it doesn’t look like you’re reading what you’re criticizing. It’s crystal clear that you’re not reading it carefully and thoughtfully. Sorry but from a rationalist perspective, you’ve completely stunk up your end of this discussion. If you represented us to the outside world as you’ve posted here, you would make us look foolish. That’s not meant as a personal attack but as an objective assessment of your commentary, and it’s all coming from your own words.

My tag line about CFI’s leadership arose when Ron made some public statements that I thought were ill-advised, foolish and antithetical to this group’s interests if it hopes to be taken seriously by a larger audience. It might have had to do with blasphemy day or some other similar event, as I recall. My point is that for a group of people who say we don’t believe in a god, we sure spend a lot of time talking about it, and we do it ineffectively and counterproductively. There are plenty of things we can say about theism but we should pick our spots intelligently and not focus so much on what we don’t believe that we lose sight of what we are for. Unfortunately, that is what has happened here, in my view.

[ Edited: 28 February 2013 04:21 AM by PLaClair ]
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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 01 March 2013 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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My tag line about CFI’s leadership arose when Ron made some public statements that I thought were ill-advised, foolish and antithetical to this group’s interests if it hopes to be taken seriously by a larger audience. It might have had to do with blasphemy day or some other similar event, as I recall. My point is that for a group of people who say we don’t believe in a god, we sure spend a lot of time talking about it, and we do it ineffectively and counterproductively. There are plenty of things we can say about theism but we should pick our spots intelligently and not focus so much on what we don’t believe that we lose sight of what we are for. Unfortunately, that is what has happened here, in my view.

I appreciate your objectiveness.  Most people that I have come across, be they Jewish, Chrisitian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist,    believe anything that they here.
I often wonder why people dont try to verify and study for themselves things that they have heard.  Even more baffling is how people try to make judgements on things and situations that they dont know.

Its like what an Arabic proverb : “Saying I don’t know is half of the knowledge.”

Prophet Muhhamed (PBUH) has a saying
“It is enough (to make) a man a liar if he speak everything he hears”


Interesting read related to that can be seen here
http://muslimmatters.org/2011/06/28/saying-“i-don’t-know”-is-half-of-knowledge/

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Say: He is God, the Unique.
God, the Self-Sufficient.
He does not give birth, nor was He born.
And there is none equal to Him.

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