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Discussions with religious people
Posted: 14 January 2009 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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steveg144 - 14 January 2009 10:33 AM

It’s a dubious argument at best. I respond to my friends roughly as follows:
“See, you’re operating from a totally different conceptual framework than they are. You think that if they get to know every other thing about you they will somehow
magically stop believing their little book of myths that tell them that you’re an abomination in the sight of their imaginary bedouin sky-god. They don’t care about
all the other, ‘normal’ things about you. They cannot see past the one thing about you that their god tells them matters more than all the other stuff that you seem
to think should matter to them. What is that one thing? That your’e homosexuals.”

You would be right had the hatred of homosexuals would _really_ be a religious one. But in christianity, the ban on homosexualism is from Leviticus! Where it also talks about Kosher foods, which christians don’t observe anyway. So the reason isn’t religous, it is just bigotry feeding itself on it.

So I suspect the reason for this view is bigotry and not religion. And bigotry can be adressed by “getting to know one another”.

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Posted: 14 January 2009 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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steveg144 - 14 January 2009 10:33 AM

This is the same argument some of my gay friends make:
“We need to dialogue with these people, we need to let them get to know us, when they see that we’re just like them,
they’ll stop hating us and they’ll come around.”

It’s a dubious argument at best. I respond to my friends roughly as follows:
“See, you’re operating from a totally different conceptual framework than they are. You think that if they get to know every other thing about you they will somehow
magically stop believing their little book of myths that tell them that you’re an abomination in the sight of their imaginary bedouin sky-god. They don’t care about
all the other, ‘normal’ things about you. They cannot see past the one thing about you that their god tells them matters more than all the other stuff that you seem
to think should matter to them. What is that one thing? That your’e homosexuals.”

I’d argue the same problem with non-overlapping conceptual frameworks is in play and inevitably must always be in play in any discussion between atheists and
hard-core believers. No matter what other good things we may bring to the table, they will not see past the one thing that their god tells them matters the most:
the fact that we don’t believe in him. We are damned to an eternity of hellfire because of our atheism, just like homosexuals are damned because of their homosexuality.
What can one of the damned possibly have to offer one of the saved?

I don’t care, even if you’re right most of the time, which I don’t think you are. You’re coming from a position of practically absolute non-Faith in all theists, whom you seem to have lumped together in a single package of untempered dogmatism. If you open yourself to dialogue, you may be disappointed in a great many of the theists you’ll encounter, so you don’t open yourself. That is a block to Faith that has crippled our movements. [See ]http://www.humanismtoday.org/vol13/chatlos.html.] You’ve pre-determined the outcome. You haven’t given them a chance. We can’t act like that and then expect the community to take us seriously when we say that each person should be treated as an individual and not judged on race, ethnic background, affiliation, etc. The broader community sees that and thinks we’re a group of cranky old cusses who want nothing to do with anyone because that’s how we behave. A classmate at the Humanist Institute called them OPOGs, Old Pissed-Off Guys. We can’t afford to do that to ourselves; if we do, we’re sealing our own doom. We have to keep trying even if we look a little silly coming back time after time to what seems like a hopeless cause. Eventually, if enough of us take a more open approach, the community will begin to see that. Then attitudes change toward us and toward what we believe. What I’m saying is: attitudes like the one you just presented are killing our movements.

Not every theist is absolutely dogmatic. I wasn’t. The only way to help them see their way out of whatever dogmatism and rigidity they may have is to take the chance. If Salk had taken your position, it is entirely possible that we still wouldn’t have a polio vaccine.

My way, you’re going to meet considerable resistance and experience many disappointments, but occasionally you’ll accomplish something; and if enough of us do it, we’ll accomplish a lot. Your way, you have the “satisfaction” of not being disappointed in anything particular because you’ve already written everyone off and taken satisfaction in that. You can’t accomplish anything like that.

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Posted: 14 January 2009 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I’m with PLaClair. Focus on the method of attaining knowledge and speak to those who are sincerely interested. I was once a devout Catholic, but my sincere quest for the truth lead me away from it. I would’ve loved if someone would’ve shared the skeptical process with me and given me a clear understanding of the scientific method. Some of the people you speak to will never question what they think just because they’ve been successfully indoctrinated. Others it just may be a matter of timing. And yet others are ready but simply haven’t had a fair opportunity to learn that they’re being indoctrinated.

Not every skeptic needs to be an activist. But some find value in it and for those people, you can’t be afraid of resistance. I’m in sales so this is easy for me to see. If my close rate is 10% and my goal is to sell 10, then I know that I must be rejected 90 times in order to achieve my goal. And if I’m worried about being rejected, then my focus is wrong.

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Posted: 17 January 2009 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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wandering - 14 January 2009 10:55 AM

You would be right had the hatred of homosexuals would _really_ be a religious one. But in christianity, the ban on homosexualism is from Leviticus! Where it also talks about Kosher foods, which christians don’t observe anyway. So the reason isn’t religous, it is just bigotry feeding itself on it.

A little off topic.

And not for a second to say it isn’t bigotry, but the fundamentalists I argue with rely far less on Leviticus than they do on Romans, 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians.
They do see it purely in religious terms.

And, boy, are they serious about it!

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If I have seen less far, it is because of these giants standing on my shoulders

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Posted: 18 January 2009 02:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Schtumpy - 17 January 2009 08:56 AM
wandering - 14 January 2009 10:55 AM

You would be right had the hatred of homosexuals would _really_ be a religious one. But in christianity, the ban on homosexualism is from Leviticus! Where it also talks about Kosher foods, which christians don’t observe anyway. So the reason isn’t religous, it is just bigotry feeding itself on it.

A little off topic.

And not for a second to say it isn’t bigotry, but the fundamentalists I argue with rely far less on Leviticus than they do on Romans, 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians.
They do see it purely in religious terms.

And, boy, are they serious about it!

But all three mono-religions are anti-homosexual. And all _could_ find some religous argument for not being anti-gay… So I conclude that the real problem is not religious

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