How about a book of Atheist virtues?
Posted: 01 October 2010 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]
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What makes a “holy book” so difficult to attack is the fact that theist believe attacks on the bible represents a rejection of the virtuous messages contained therein.
If there was a concerted effort by atheists, agnostics and humanists to write a clear and concise book of atheist, etc. virtues for the average reader, it could be presented as an alternative to the bible. By consensus, such a book would gain in stature, especially if it became apparent that atheists, etc. do very much believe in morals and virtuous behavior.
In fact, I believe that many biblical sins and virtues are the same as the virtues and sins of people who reject a supreme being. If anything this will break through the walls that have been erected by both sides.
Reading CFI stated goals, it occurred to me that while they are a fundamental view of secular beliefs and behavior, I believe that the creation of an Atheist’s (by any name) form of 10 commandsments, 7 deadly sins and (6?) virtues, would go a long way in humanizing atheists in the eyes of the theist. Theists could no longer claim that atheists are ‘evil” and devoid of values.
At least it could be pointed to as “common ground”, a good place to start.

[ Edited: 02 October 2010 05:22 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 02 October 2010 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It wouldn’t work as a list of Atheist virtues, since there are so many different ways of becoming atheist.  Humanist, perhaps.  Naturalist, maybe.  Rationalist, possibly.

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Posted: 02 October 2010 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 02 October 2010 07:17 AM

It wouldn’t work as a list of Atheist virtues, since there are so many different ways of becoming atheist.  Humanist, perhaps.  Naturalist, maybe.  Rationalist, possibly.

I was proposing a Book of shared positive atheist, humanistic, naturalist and scientific Values, not just reasons to be a non-believer by the logic of rejecting a god.
I believe we all agree on such virtues as “honor thy parents”, “do not steal”, “the golden rule”...etc.
However our coalition could add virtues such as , “First do no harm” (naturalist, medicine), such a mantra is not represented in the bible.  Then also, “no god will correct human mistakes, by prayer, thus each is responsible for his/her actions”
Then a list of responsibilities that come with a non-theistic belief, such as “actively promote the welfare of the environment, the oceans, the earth”, etc, with examples of how one may contribute, even in a modest way.
This book could also cite examples where science has contributed to the development of western civilization, where theocratic societies almost always are lagging behind and dwell in the past.

I see as a big problem that atheists and kindred, in addition to disproving the theist’s myths, are not replacing the good and valuable lessons from the bible with a source (book) of positive values which we espouse. The problem as you properly identified is that there is no united front, just a basic reliance on logic and reasoning. But that may not be sufficient. We have to lead in the presentation of beneficial social and natural values. Someone mentioned (correctly) that if you want to replace an established functioning (doubtful) social system with another, it is not sufficient to point to the Constitution and the BOR.
A Book of Human Values put forth by a Free Thinking coalition will allow a theist to shift his/her common values to a more reasoned position in line with non-believers. At least it will go a long way in “humanizing” atheists, etc.
We are NOT the devil!!!!! To convince theists of that is a first order of business.
This would be a major undertaking, but as mentioned, it is required if we are to replace the “holy and sacred books” and societies which are based on these with a functional replacement. Most people seek some guidance in this confusing world.
It will offer a choice between mythology and Objective Reason..

[ Edited: 02 October 2010 03:56 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 02 October 2010 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Such a Book could also point to allegories in the bible and explain in laymans terms what those allegories actually meant, rather than a “true” story.
Examples such as: (in response to the story of creation in 6 days) How long is god’s day? In this universe is it not reasonable to assume that one of god’s days may well be 2+ billion years, rather than 24 hours.
Then: (in repsonse to Adam and Eve eating the “apple” and being kicked out of paradise.) This is the allegory of Man becoming intelligent and eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge, thereby removing himself from the natural state of existence (animals).

The holy books are rife with allegorical tales, which contain a kernel of truth, but always ascribe them to the existence and necessity of god. A reasoned alternate explanation might well induce the theist to re-examine his dogmatic beliefs.

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Posted: 02 October 2010 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Let us shape the future, not just react to history!

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Posted: 02 October 2010 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Why should the evolution of man and ape from a common ancestor be so ridiculous?
In a human family of four children, three may be of average intellligence and learn to function quite well in their current environment. But the fourth may be a genius, named Albert, who changes the world and how we look at the universe.
So it is with the great apes. On the “animal” intelligence scale the great ape may well rank as the most intelligent, given its opposing thumb, versatility, and ability to learn things which are totally alien to its natural environment. Why could there not have been a “genius” apelike ancestor, who then sired a family of very smart apes, etc? The rest of the apes remained “average”.

I have cited this before, but perhaps it is worth repeating.
I a heavy monsoon season, the Alpha in a Chimpanzee family may run around and swing a stick at this unseen enemy which throws water on him and makes him wet and misereable. Perhaps there was an ancestor who was smart enough to jump and swing a stick, then climb and swing a stick, then throw the stick (or, over time, a stone), then develop bows, cannons, rockets and here we are with a man on the moon, still reaching for the stars.
Evolution cannot be denied (remember Albert), or we would still be swinging sticks at water laden, life giving clouds. Why would having evolved from an apelike common ancestor be ridiculous and blasphemy?
After hundreds of years of debate, the Roman Church just declared evolution as an acceptable scientific and theistic principle. This is the stuff that should be compiled iin an expansive volume of Common experience and virtue.

P.S. a thesis for a masters degree in Humanities? A place in the Library of Congress? Perhaps a place in public schools and colleges?

[ Edited: 02 October 2010 06:35 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 02 October 2010 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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As far as prayer is concerned, I see no harm in a daily moment of reflection and recognition of the majesty of a Universe, created by a violent event far in the past, which has evolved to provide a “paradise” (oasis) for humans. Humility is common virtue.

[ Edited: 02 October 2010 06:29 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 02 October 2010 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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ok, last afterthought.

Title: “The Book of Common Virtues and Shared Responsibilities in a secular society”.
A consensus view of commonly shared human experience and interpretation.
(endorsed by the following advocacy groups and organizations: CFI, ..........., ............, etc.

p.s. It should have been the title of the thread to begin with.

[ Edited: 03 October 2010 12:23 PM by Write4U ]
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