I have to think that people back then looked at gods differently than we do.
And I think god evolve more now than in the past.
One of the reasons I think is the ability to tax.
The U.S. got rid of that function in the late 1700’s.
And then we got a lot of sub-branches of Christianity.
This did not happen in Germany, but the church still has the ability to tax and is part of the government because of the ability to tax. The same is true in other parts of Europe.
You said you were talking to Christians, so I answered the way I would talk to Christians.
If I am talking to another atheist, ya, they are all the same god, and the same heaven and hell.
Same tree, same fruit, just many branches.
I posted this a long time ago, but it may be pertinent here.
Suppose God is like a Rubics Cube as big as the earth. One person points up and says, “I have seen god and god is green”. A second person on the other side of the world points up and says, “I have seen god and god is red”. A third person at the No Pole points up and say, “I have seen god and god is blue”. And all around the world people see a single aspect (color) of god and all six religious groups see a different color god.
This was fine in days of old, but with trade and travel these differences became known as strangers always seemed to worship a god of a different color.
This upset all the religions who only saw one aspect of god and the next thing we know we are in a religious war, to impose one color over the others, because God is only of one color and we are the chosen ones because we know God’s color. Therefore your color god must be false.
This whole religious thing reminds me of the fable of “the emperors new clothes”.
I kind of understand what Mike may be trying to point out in some of his context here. Let me try to elaborate:
Notice how we can label ourselves in certain ways which attempt to describe a position which although stands contrary to others, can tend to be self-defeating or encouraging to opponents because we choose words to label ourselves in accordance to their expectations. I remember coming across the title, “History of Unbelief” which contextually seemed to be the story regarding the rise of various non-beliefs that opposed the status quo of the Western stronghold dominance of Christianity. The first thing that I remembered that bothered me was the term, “unbelief”, because it suggested that people were undoing something that was innately natural. I often notice even the more famous atheists who argue with religious people do not even seem to notice this use and actually support it without apparent recognition of its meaning by others.
If you go to a site or event that labels itself according to some position that is understood by those involved as the natural or normal position, it tends to beg the question that it is the normal view if you require wasting time arguing for it in isolation to the opposing views. At least, you should be able to understand that people who believe that their particular religious beliefs are the norm, when they see references to organizations that center around the philosophy of people claiming a comparative normalcy to themselves, they will view it as only something that could be understood as being only relevant with respect to themselves or others like them. In other words, if their were no religion, calling oneself an atheist seems rather redundant, unnecessary, and odd.
Also, even the titles can be more directly insulting and uninviting because they indicate motives and intents that even a cult would usually avoid without appearing deceptive. Imagine a cult calling themselves, The Wiser Ones, for instance. It’s success would certainly be less than one titled, The Wisdom in You. And here, we call ourselves, Center for Inquiry which suggests that some ‘we’ have knowledge for others to take a learning to. The most ridiculous term I ever heard was Richard Dawkin’s suggestion that we, atheists should call ourselves, “Brights”! The irony is, I think that somebody who called themselves, “Idiots” or “Morons” would have a bigger audience.(Maybe that’s how the Mor[m]ons got their success?) No one likes to think that they are dumber than others. And when they come across others who declare their wisdom too loudly, they are considered arrogant and are less liked.
“Atheist”, although not so insulting in many respects to some terms, still defines itself into opposition of others. Calling oneself a “skeptic” can do the same thing because it suggests that others are more ill-equipped to be sufficiently inquisitive enough. Another term that I find odd and rather outdated myself, is, “freethinker”. This may have been more appropriate during the Enlightenment when thinking freely could pose serious consequences. But if someone from an outside perspective comes across one who calls themselves a “freethinker’, it suggests that they believe that others who are external to their self-diagnosis cannot think freely!
So, I think that questioning definitions of labels is important. I always thought of myself as equally “atheistic” as my cat. I was surprised to discover that many atheists actually disagree with this because they felt that you would have to have the conscious recognition of the religious perspective first.
I was surprised to discover that many atheists actually disagree with this because they felt that you would have to have the conscious recognition of the religious perspective first.
A position which may have some merit, but I don’t think it’s set in stone. I’m well aware of the religious perspective having been immersed in it practically from birth. (I have some dim memories of being baptized when I was an infant) My Mom comes from a Roman Catholic family.
I walked away from it all because I came to realize that nothing about it added up or made any sense whatever. Especially the “We are the elect, the chosen ones of God” thing which in a universe spanning 13.7 billion light years in any direction strikes me as one of the single most breathtakingly arrogant claims of all time. It was a conceit which in my mind continues to begger belief but at the same time, I can understand it as it bring some people a measure of comfort.
By the same token, I don’t think one needs to understand the religious position in order to not hold to one. “I don’t know and I don’t care” is an increasing viewpoint these days and it has nothing to do with any sort of understanding of what it is to be religious. It’s one of those things that may be seen as a quaint superstition but which is otherwise just not on a person’s radar screen.
Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 18 June 2013 06:52 AM
... I don’t think one needs to understand the religious position in order to not hold to one. “I don’t know and I don’t care” is an increasing viewpoint these days and it has nothing to do with any sort of understanding of what it is to be religious. It’s one of those things that may be seen as a quaint superstition but which is otherwise just not on a person’s radar screen.
I think that this position was probably the most common view throughout most of history—even in the most remote ancient times. That is how I came up with my Temple Theory: the idea that the original temples were foremost created as token-holders of real estate claims of the various first tribal people as they settled down to farming (a non-religious origin). I would consider this under the term, “secular”, because it doesn’t suggest what one would argue regarding religious beliefs. It is an I-don’t-really-give-a-damn attitude about particular absolutes. Most people just go with the flow. But since they aren’t the ones caring, their views aren’t the ones that are ever recorded in history or passed on.
I think that most other non-human animals also have similar thinking. They too would form organized religion if they had the ability to communicate as effectively as us. The reason we don’t witness this so much in them now is because even if they fancied such thoughts, they don’t have the physiological patience to give-a-damn.
Go to The Christian Science Monitor website and pull up the science newsletter. You could easily replace the word “The Christian Science Monitor” with term “Atheist Newsletter” and have no problems.
What does this say about understanding the religious position?
Just as the Christians have a different option of what “Atheist” means, I think most atheists have a option of what “Christian” means that may not be mainstream thinking for a lot of Christians anymore.
“Atheist”, although not so insulting in many respects to some terms, still defines itself into opposition of others.
For this very reason, I like Julia Sweeney’s take on this ~ she suggests calling oneself a ‘naturalist’. Why? because that makes theists/believers Anaturalists, defining them by their opposition to others :)
“Atheist”, although not so insulting in many respects to some terms, still defines itself into opposition of others.
For this very reason, I like Julia Sweeney’s take on this ~ she suggests calling oneself a ‘naturalist’. Why? because that makes theists/believers Anaturalists, defining them by their opposition to others
I like the name “naturalist”, but I’ll date myself here, “naturalist” use to be the term for nudist. Is there something that Julia Sweeney not telling us?
My pick is “Gnostic” it is word that was used at a time when nobody could figure out religion. And use for a hundred different groups all going in different directions. But most of the groups felt that man was part of god and that knowledge would help him understand “god” (mankind). Sort of like an atheist god in today’s thinking.
There is very little that man does today that was or is not effected by man’s knowledge.
The word “Gnostic” means “knowledge”.
Jesus, Mary, Thomas and Judas taught Gnostic. And I am finding out students of Paul also taught and preached Gnostic.
At the time of Jesus there were three groups of interest, Gentiles, Christians and Gnostic. The Gentiles and Christians were new, the Gnostic teachings had been around for sometime.
Rome itself just about went Gnostic as a state religion. To end the confusion and to unite the people the Roman Church got rid of the Gentiles and Gnostics.
I don’t know if you noticed but CFI’s new member Sigfried is unhappy with the organized religion and their gods and wanted to create his own god that he can relate to. Gnostic thinking, some groups were against priests, each person was his own priest and advancement was by knowledge, some Buddha thinking here.
Instead of going right or going left, we give a little bit and those believers who need something to replace their beliefs with can have a custom fit for everyone.
On the negative side, I’m pretty sure there are a few Gnostic churches still in operation and that would be confusing for some. But I don’t think any of those churches are in America.
Another negative is that is that it involves more than a one liner and a lot of atheists would need updated.
It is quite possible that a move like that would cause a lot of notice and I bet the atheists would more than triple in number in just a few years.
I do not think anything going to change, but that’s my two cents.
**** This guy 1peter315 says he is an atheist and is on this forum and he defending his atheists’ thinking by explaining what there are two forms of atheism.
And what does that explain exactly?
For me, the reason why this is true is because of what atheism is. I define atheism as:
a) The belief that there are no gods. (Strong atheism)
b) A lack of belief in any gods. (Weak atheism)
I hope you are not implying that there is a difference.
a) The lack of any evidence for an undefined supernatural being suggests there are no gods of any kind (except as an invention of imagination)
b) The lack of any evidence for an undefined supernatural being suggests there are no gods of any kind (except as an invention of imagination)
At no point does belief of the “existence” of an undefined god enter either equation.
Define God, then we can talk. To identify God as a creative force is vague and tells us nothing. On the contrary, this vagueness has led to a general “feeling” of moral superiority resulting in endless (but meaningless) discussions, prejudices, wars, and enforced theocracies such as the Catholic Inquisition and Sharia law, which are fundamentally based on the same theology but demand blind obedience to their particular brand of God.
Earlier I have defined Potential of the Holomovement as the universal creative force which has demonstrable properties, both in science and philosophy (see Bohm).
To make it easier on Theists, I’ll pose this question.
If we count all the varieties of gods, demons, angels, spirits, etc. How many gods (spiritual beings) are there?
I will not accept the answer of ‘there is only one god” as that is clearly not the case (in context of theism).
Here is a hint,
Since the beginning of recorded history, which is defined by the invention of writing by the Sumerians around 6000 years ago, historians have cataloged over 3700 supernatural beings, of which 2870 can be considered deities. Those numbers are probably a very conservative estimate because we have no accurate information before 4000 B.C. This means any dieties worshipped by man before this period are unaccounted for.
In truth, the possibilities are nearly infinite. For example, in Hindu the entire living universe is merely a unique manifestation of Ishvara. This leads to the fact that there are 330 million “gods or goddesses.”
Which of these gods would you reject? And if you do would that make you an atheist in the eyes of those who believe in a different God? I believe the difference between a monotheist and an atheist is something like .03%. Most theists are atheist to all gods except their own.
An atheist does not believe in any of them (except as metaphor), which is the correct skeptic position.