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You just can’t win against a believer.
Posted: 01 June 2007 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Thanks Occam,

The frustration definitely contributed to me leaving the other forum. It is truly like trying to teach a pig to sing. However, the dilemma that JV and I have been having is this: How do we know that we do not do some good? How do we know that there are not people that read what we have say and identify with it so much that they are empowered to continue searching for answers or to actually break out of the bonds of religiosity…or just at the very minimum….to start questioning things they always thought were true? If we give up at the local level….where is the hope for making a difference if people of our own community will not in the very least accept us without having to tell us that they pray for us on a daily basis???

Like I have said before we live in a very small and backwards community. We live where most Americans live…small town America. All of us atheist, agnostics, humanists, secularists cannot just pack up and move to the big cities in order to escape the frustration of closed minds in small towns. I think that small-town America is where our biggest struggle for acceptance will come from in the long run….they all still think we are godless….and to them…that is a bad thing.

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Posted: 01 June 2007 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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If you are immersed in that environment, there are a few things you must do to make yourselves effective.

1.  Don’t be confrontational.  That polarizes them and drives them further into their beliefs.  Be conciliatory and stress that everyone should focus on their many areas of agreement rather than the few areas of difference (don’t use “disagreement”).

2.  Be very friendly and helpful.  If people like you, they are much more likely to justify your “freaky” beliefs, and this can’t help but move them toward acceptance of your beliefs.  They will still be theists, but they won’t fight as hard against others (hopefully young people) who voice the same beliefs.

3.  Get involved in community affairs, especially the school board.  That way, you can block the more extreme actions some of the fanatics may want to take.

4.  Rather than telling people that you are atheists, go for agnostic - that you just don’t know about the existence of God, especially when you see all the evils that he seems to let happen.  You may get some of them to question in their own minds.

5.  You may be surprised that other non-believers will quietly come out of the closet for you.  Support them.

Occam

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Posted: 02 June 2007 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Again thanks Occam:
These are exact same beliefs and we try very hard to abide by them.  Good to know we are seemingly on the right track.

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Posted: 04 June 2007 11:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Occam - 01 June 2007 10:32 PM

If you are immersed in that environment, there are a few things you must do to make yourselves effective.

1.  Don’t be confrontational.  That polarizes them and drives them further into their beliefs.  Be conciliatory and stress that everyone should focus on their many areas of agreement rather than the few areas of difference (don’t use “disagreement”).

2.  Be very friendly and helpful.  If people like you, they are much more likely to justify your “freaky” beliefs, and this can’t help but move them toward acceptance of your beliefs.  They will still be theists, but they won’t fight as hard against others (hopefully young people) who voice the same beliefs.

3.  Get involved in community affairs, especially the school board.  That way, you can block the more extreme actions some of the fanatics may want to take.

4.  Rather than telling people that you are atheists, go for agnostic - that you just don’t know about the existence of God, especially when you see all the evils that he seems to let happen.  You may get some of them to question in their own minds.

5.  You may be surprised that other non-believers will quietly come out of the closet for you.  Support them.

Occam

Excellent advice all around. I wonder how Christopher Hitchens, or the ground breaker of best selling atheist books, Sam Harris, might snarl at your suggestions. There are very few voices in the skeptical community who are as willing as Michael Shermer to confront the nonsense of being “conversationally intolerant” (Sam Harris’ idea, incorporated by Richard Dawkins—Here I find Richard should distance himself from Harris’ nonsense and “woo”). I support Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, and all others of the “secular” stripe who find themselves best selling authors, in fact I own their books. But, they’re wrong in approach, foolish and irrational when it comes to confronting belief systems.

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Posted: 05 June 2007 12:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Also, I think there is a misplaced appreciation for Dan Dennett’s belief in the problematic continuum of “Belief in Belief”. A fulcrum found in Sam Harris’ “moderate religious” is hard to deny, a less then discrete message that religion is to be feared is the theme. I also find Paul Kurtz’s “prophesy” of Islamic up rising lacking in so far as one needs to take in to account (here I would think Paul would understand) the already suppressive environment to which many Islamist “believed” themselves to be. To focus on the religious aspect alone is faulty, the political situation is not so easily dismissible. To then accept this contention by claiming “dogmatism” is the fault line is simplifying the belief systems even further.

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Posted: 05 June 2007 02:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Sorry Zarcus, but I don’t agree.  As individuals we have to adopt a less confrontational approach, however, Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and similar serve totally different purposes.  First, they keep those of us who are already non-theists motivated and active; Second, they generate a great deal of publicity so many who are almost neutral, but still sort of accept what they were taught earlier, to question themselves; Third, they upset the fundamentalists who then make very nasty stupid statements, and this alienates them from the more moderate theists; Fourth, they give the closet non-theists the courage to come out and state their beliefs. 

In the past the theists were sure that essentially everyone believed as they do.  This is changing as they hear dissent, and this is good because it gives young people an alternative to accepting what their parents believed.

Occam

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Posted: 05 June 2007 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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I have to agree with Occam. While I don’t agree with everything they say, I do think they have something important to contribute.  I should clarify though, what I don’t agree with, and it’s the only thing I don’t agree with really, is pulling the rug out from fundies.  This could cause more problems.  Fundies won’t know what to do with themselves if everything were suddenly pulled out from under them.  The alternative is not spelled out for them very well and this could cause mental and emotional chaos.

IMHO, as frustrating as it maybe, it needs to be gradual, with options shown to them every step of the way.  They are under the delusion that life is not worth living without JC in their lives or the goal of eternal reward.  I literally knew this guy who believed in reincarnation.  When I told him I did not he said I was hitting him right at the core of his beliefs and he just could not see how anyone could stand living life without the idea of an afterlife.  He insisted he would die if he did not have this thought in his life.

Of course, it did not matter what I said, he still believed life was not worth living without that superstitious belief.  Even so, the idea of strive to better ourselves and society can be very satisfying is now in his mind.  He has something to think about, IF he thinks about it.

Of course, since our beliefs were not compatible, we aren’t seeing each other anymore, but I know my influence is still there.  He was a bit out there for me, but we shared enough of our ideas that I think he now knows of an alternative to supernaturalism.  Which is good, but I never once tried to yank the rug out from under him, because I knew it would drive him crazy.

Psychologically speaking, slowly removing the delusions is the best approach, IMO.  Sudden disappearence of the delusion, psychotic or otherwise, keeps them from having a sudden breakdown.  I have a feeling this guy would have attempted suicide if he had a sudden loss of his afterlife delusion, as would many others under such delusions.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 05 June 2007 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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LOL Warning, I’m being a wise-ass, and pretty anti-humanist.

Well, Mriana, as I recall the first step in brainwashing was to create mental chaos, then the person was much more subject to accepting new information.  Second, if it decreases their ability to function, they’ll be less effective at spreading their trash.  Third, we are all concerned about the rapidly increasing population.  Suicide may not be the best way of dealing with it, but, well, better them than us.  cheese

Occam

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Posted: 05 June 2007 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Occam - 05 June 2007 02:58 PM

LOL Warning, I’m being a wise-ass, and pretty anti-humanist.

Well, Mriana, as I recall the first step in brainwashing was to create mental chaos, then the person was much more subject to accepting new information.  Second, if it decreases their ability to function, they’ll be less effective at spreading their trash.  Third, we are all concerned about the rapidly increasing population.  Suicide may not be the best way of dealing with it, but, well, better them than us.  cheese

Occam

Oh my!  Yes, I’d say that is pretty anti-Humanist, esp your third way.  Well, that would mean a few less fundies, that is for sure, but I wouldn’t wish anyone to commit suicide, not even *Mriana chokes* Far… *gags* well.  9.gif

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Posted: 06 June 2007 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Occam - 05 June 2007 02:25 AM

Sorry Zarcus, but I don’t agree.  As individuals we have to adopt a less confrontational approach, however, Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and similar serve totally different purposes.  First, they keep those of us who are already non-theists motivated and active; Second, they generate a great deal of publicity so many who are almost neutral, but still sort of accept what they were taught earlier, to question themselves; Third, they upset the fundamentalists who then make very nasty stupid statements, and this alienates them from the more moderate theists; Fourth, they give the closet non-theists the courage to come out and state their beliefs. 

In the past the theists were sure that essentially everyone believed as they do.  This is changing as they hear dissent, and this is good because it gives young people an alternative to accepting what their parents believed.

Occam

Occam, I tend to agree with much you have said here. In fact, I fail to see how exactly you are disagreeing with me.

I’ve given much thought to ways in which I may respond to your insightful post, but I’ve decided to wait to find where it is we are disagreeing. If you would be so kind as to highlight my shortcoming I would be most grateful. Then after further concideration I will address the issue in greater detail, including a response to your above comments. Thanks.

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Posted: 06 June 2007 08:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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zarcus - 04 June 2007 11:47 PM

I wonder how Christopher Hitchens, or the ground breaker of best selling atheist books, Sam Harris, might snarl at your suggestions. There are very few voices in the skeptical community who are as willing as Michael Shermer to confront the nonsense of being “conversationally intolerant” (Sam Harris’ idea, incorporated by Richard Dawkins—Here I find Richard should distance himself from Harris’ nonsense and “woo”). I support Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, and all others of the “secular” stripe who find themselves best selling authors, in fact I own their books. But, they’re wrong in approach, foolish and irrational when it comes to confronting belief systems.

I italicized the two sentences I was responding to.  While, like you, I get annoyed at their strident approach, I was pointing out that it serves a valuable purpose.  If we were to talk face to face I’m sure we’d very quickly find that our apparent disagreement was only verbal and not real.

Occam

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Posted: 10 June 2007 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Occam - 01 June 2007 10:32 PM

4.  Rather than telling people that you are atheists, go for agnostic - that you just don’t know about the existence of God, especially when you see all the evils that he seems to let happen.  You may get some of them to question in their own minds.

Occam

I have an issue with this. While I have this habit of not making people feel uncomfortable, I don’t want to try to hide my atheism. People might have hard time dealing with it, but part of getting them to overcome their bigotry against “atheists” is for them to actually know one (or two) personally. The religious people will have to face their own prejudices.

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Posted: 10 June 2007 06:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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daenku32, it depends on what you’re aiming for.  If you want to be “true” to yourself, and hope some people you tell will become less prejudiced, that’s fine.  However, if you are actively trying to change people toward being more accepting, you have to use techniques of persuasion.  One is to avoid letting people become polarized.  That’s what number 4 above was designed to do.  People are much more likely to move toward your position if it’s not too far from theirs.

Occam

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Posted: 12 June 2007 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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What irks me is so many think that our criticisms are just assertions and faith-based! They use such sophisms.

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 17 August 2007 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I concur with Occam. Over @ Theology Web, I there have an ignostic-Ockham thread. One said that theists wouldn’t accept the presumption of naturalism as that would be self-defeating.But they have to overcome the presumption.

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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